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Spiraling Toward Valentines Night

While the idea of going to a busy spot on Valentine's night fills me with roughly the same level of apprehension as being renditioned to a blacksite in Albania,I can't help being curious as to everyone's plans on this hallowed evening.

What are your Valentine's plans?

Why did you pick that place?

Anybody heading out to the hinterlands of Austin[Taylor,Winchester,Spicewood]?

Are any local restaurants getting with the program and offering reasonably priced couples deals?

Anybody grabbing takeout and calling it a night in front of the Panasonic? What's your favorite takeout spot that actually has good food?

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  1. After more than 30 years of dining out in Austin/Central Texas on Valentine's Day—everywhere from the Four Seasons to the humble Lazy Daisy (for all you oldtimers out there)— I've come to the conclusion that Valentine's Day (in fact just about any holiday) is definitely a dud night to dine out. In Europe you reserve a table, it's yours for the evening. Not so in the U.S. of A. It's my belief that Valentine's Day, and similar holidaze, bring out the worst in restaurants. It's profit-making time and food and service suffer in the rush to turn tables. St. Valentine smiles down on lovers 365 days a year, so the stars of romance, restaurants and lovers are more apt to align on most any other night, no? As for the actual Feb. 14th, I can think of nothing more romantic than cooking a wonderful meal together whilst sharing a bottle or two o' vino.

    3 Replies
    1. re: xalapenocharlie

      Well, V-day happens to fall on a Saturday this year, so I think I may just head to the Farmers Market that morning and see if I can put together a nice seasonal local dinner. (beets, cabbage, a nice fatty cut of pork?). I know the Fredericksburg Grass-Fed folks were running low on beef last weekend because of the draught, but maybe they'll surprise.

      All in all that seems way more romantic than a chaotic restaurant scene.

      1. re: jwynne2000

        What a great idea! I was thinking we'd just go to Dirty's, sit at the bar, order some burgers/tots and share a limeade.

        1. re: jwynne2000

          Fredericksburg Beef is not going to be back at the Farmer's Market until April because of the drought. There's still the lamb people and the chicken/dug/boar guy, neither who's names I can remember right now.

      2. On the off chance I am not chained to the oven, I stay as far away from restaurants as possible on this evening and NYE as well!! In the past, the best V day experiences I've had have included another couple or two, great food, conversation, and wine! Usually followed by a game of Catch Phrase or Foodie Fight!

        1. We'll be in Fredericksburg. We are planning to have an amazing burger at Alamo Springs (super low key) and finish the evening at the Lincoln Street Wine Bar. We may even stop in Luckenbach for an hour or so. I can't wait for this getaway.


          1. Can 179 Statesman readers be wrong? The online edition has a poll with Carmelo's housing the competition for most romantic restaurant in Austin.Has anyone ever eaten there? I've driven by there a 1000 times...

            2 Replies
            1. re: scrumptiouschef

              Definitely a nice spot, soft candlelight and music. Good food and great service

              1. re: scrumptiouschef

                I've eaten there and the food was good. I took my mom for a special dinner and she had the beef stroganoff. It's prepared tableside and was to die for. I had a pasta dish that was fine, but not as good as hers. We also got bananas foster for dessert and it's flambed tableside. Tableside preparation and flambe is not an experience you get very often, so for me it was a special occasion type of place.

              2. I personally never have gone out for V day. I hate to.
                I am making a simple elegant but comfort food for just a good friend. Nothing elaborate.
                His place, nice kitchen, mine is too small, besides he has a jacuzzi, pool and is on the
                beach with an amazing view ... YES just friends
                I do have friends that live in Austin and all staying in, I have been there before but don't
                the restaurants, they all decided too busy and just as easy to cook in
                Most of those I know who live there, a quick chinese or maybe a quick pizza and nothing

                1. The wife and I make fondue. It's really easy, romantic, and fun. We just do two courses - Cheese and Chocolate. Doesn't sound like a full meal but we are stuffed. Whole Foods sells the cheeses pre-grated, just toss in some wine and you are good to go. Apples and a nice crusty round loaf of bread. Buy some nice melting chocolate, strawberries, pound cake or home made marshmallows...a night to remember on the cheap.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: LakeLBJ

                    Nice idea. I have done that before, my ex was so so for it. I loved it. I thought it was perfect. I love your idea. Yes very romantic

                  2. New to the boards here, hellos all around ...

                    The boyfriend and I ordered some heart-shaped lobster ravioli from Pasta & Co. on Kerbey Lane. Cheesy, yes, but eating at home means we can drink all the bubbly we want on the cheap. And isn't bubbly what Valentine's Day is all about?

                    3 Replies
                      1. re: kchurchill5

                        We'll be having a candlelight dinner at home. I'm making escargot, duck ala range, risotto w/asapargus, and raspberry mousee w/ champagne.

                        1. re: amykragan

                          Like my parents, we got married on Valentines Day. About 7 years ago while we were still living in NY we had a dinner at Marcus Samuelsson's Aquavit that ran about $350 if I recall. Since then, we decided to never go out again on our anniversary as the meal did not live up to expectations (not even close).

                          So, to celebrate 14 years of wedded bliss we headed to Ciola's in Lakeway last night. The room was pretty full for a Thursday, I think others had the same idea as we did. Ciola's isn't by any stretch the best Italian in Austin but I always have a solid meal there and the service is professional and gracious as always.

                          Onto the meal; we had an app of clams oreganata which were good. For dinner, I had pasta della dario, penne in a cream/gorgonzola sauce with grilled chicken, portobellos, cherry tomatoes and asparagus. Usually I can't finish a heavy dish like this but I was hungry. Wife had seafood garibaldi, lingiuni with assorted shellfish. She had been craving this for a while so she was happy. For dessert we had spumoni; the spumoni here is a specialty. While not as good as the spumoni at L&B Spumoni Gardens in Brooklyn, it was good enough, albeit a little too frozen.

                          Happy Valentines Day all. Welcome Basilette!

                    1. Valentines Day wrapup.

                      What would Fast Black do?

                      After watching a young Morgan Freeman tear up the screen on an old vhs copy of Street Smart the other day I've been asking myself that question alot lately.So when Valentine's Day reared its ugly head yesterday it was time to think like Fast Black.

                      Saturdays can be pretty hectic for me and the affection unit.Tying up all the loose ends meant we had about 45 minutes for the ritual Valentines meal...couple that with the fact that this pedazo of time came right in the middle of the day and we're left with scant options.

                      Rolling up Airport I'm blessed with a moment of clearlight reasoning.What could be finer than taking our repast on the front porch of a deserted Tamale House? Situating ourselves on the picturesque stoop among the blowing leaves of ancient Chronicles and Onions we admire the view of a busy 51st street as we wait the 5 or so minutes for our platters. Since it's Valentines Day I allow the a.u full run of the menu

                      Are you sure you don't want a can of coke instead of water?

                      Yeah,yeah,yeah of course you can add cheese.IT'S VALENTINES DAY.

                      Chorizo too? Don't push it honey,even this fat whip has his limits.

                      The Huevos Rancheros are always a big,glorious mess of food.Two adequately cooked fried eggs topped with Ranchero sauce and an imperial pint of runny yellow cheese make this platter my favorite item on the menu.

                      The Migas are the best in Austin,a loose scramble of eggs,peppers,onion,totopos and more of the wonderful bright yellow cheese.

                      Accompanying tortillas are the tough,cheaper than cheap,Mission-style flour bombs that no self respecting taqueria in Austin would sell.Oh well,Bobby's made a few million bucks in this little roadside shack so I don't see him tinkering with his formula anytime soon.

                      With a Valentine's feast fit for a king denting the wallet at under ten bucks I have to say this was the best one in recent memory.

                      How was your Valentine's Day?

                      1. I took my wife to try the Blue Dahlia on East 11th.

                        I had the open-faced turkey sandwich and coffee. My wife had the lasagna and mochaciatto.

                        Simple, good quality food with a nice presentation.

                        Not crowded at all (which is what I was shooting for); they only take reservations for tables of 6 or more.

                        I'd go again.

                        1. i love blue dahlia. i went over to check out the new market Newflowers on Manchaca and Wm. Cannon. it was a madhouse. i had to circle the lot for 15 mins. at one point, there was an ambulance b/c some guy got pepper-sprayed after he got OUT of his car to bitch at some lady for taking his parking space. anyhoo...
                          got 4 lobster tails for $4 (!) each - they were 5 oz-ers. got a couple $1 artichokes which ended up being $.20 because my receipt said they charged me for limes. got some cheap $3 wine that wasn't great but good price. then went to randalls for the $1.20-something asparagus and got a pound of clearance gulf shrimp for $3.99, and a bottle of Cristalino sparkling wine. then finished at HEB with $.88/lb strawberries. we gorged on Cheddar-Stout fondue, steamed lobster/shrimp/artichokes, Roasted Asparagus and Arugula Salad w/ Shallots and Parm, wine and the rest of my chocolate birthday torte. yuM!!!

                          1. Agree with liking Blue Dahlia, it was actually on my short list for Valentine's Day option. Friends from NYC were in town and once again Mulberry did not disappoint, blogged about it here www.fabulousdrinksaustin.com