Two simply sweet words can change a person’s outlook on the most pink and red holiday we as Americans celebrate each year…“Be Mine!”
This got me thinking–in a rather unconventional way–about what I consider mine, the love of life and food that brings me joy. The story behind the patron saint of lovers is filled with passion and an unconventional romance, so I thought this year I would see what Austin has to offer the more unconventional Valentine.
Fire, Butterflies and Scratch Made Goods
In a quiet, country style pocket neighborhood in east Austin sits a triage of food, drink and creativity that sets the stage for lovers and singles alike. Patrizi’s Italian Restaurant is a family owned food truck and the food epicenter of The Vortex complex, located at 2307 Manor Road. Patrizi’s kitchen is alive with fresh ingredients and aromas from family recipes.
Owners Matt and Nick Patrizi maintain the love of food and ensure “handmade pasta and scratch made sauces” are just as authentic today as they were in their Grandfather’s kitchen during the 1940’s. In my book, that is a romance all in itself. Patrizi’s offers an indoor/outdoor destination, including a vast courtyard with a stage hosting entertainment (it can also be used for friendly hula-hoop contests).
Various small fire pits are great spots to dine outdoors with friends or snuggle up with your Valentine. You can also grab a few sweet, pink or bubbly drinks at the adjoining Butterfly Bar which holds one of the most antiquated bar-tops in Austin.
Keep up with Patrizi’s social communities to hear about special events, like their monthly pre fixe Dinner Night, featuring flavors of old world Italian cooking. Dinner Night is your opportunity to grab a bottle of wine and try out off-menu creations from the Patrizi’s kitchen. Dine on a 3-5 course meal and get to know all those faces inside the trailer. A full bar menu and frequent live music and dancing all make The Vortex venue a triangle worth losing yourself in.
Dogpatch’s Favorite Single Gal Lives On
Here’s one for the sports loving, fearless and food loving Sadie Hawkins’ ladies of the modern day. Why wait for your man of the moment to make a plan? You have an opportunity to create your own date perfection at our all gender approved sports bar, Cover 3. Try a place that will suit everyone and keep the frou-frou to a minimum, with casual atmosphere and food and wine menus that will delight even tough critics.
Don’t expect your average bar food. Instead, be prepared to lighten up the cuisine with dishes like Hong Kong Salmon, house pickled veggies and, my personal favorite, the Cover 3 Frito Pie made with Matt’s secret chile. Another local favorite is the chilled shrimp and crab tower.
All of this, paired with wine and a seasonally appropriate sport of choice, might show the best kind of love for your sweetheart. So go ahead ladies, invite him to the unexpected experience of a sports bar romance at Cover 3’s newest location at 1717 West Sixth Street.
Make Your Heart Dance, Laugh or Something Else
St. Valentine’s Day Bash allows you to take a night out one day prior to the hearts and flowers for one last ditch effort to find your Valentine!
Join Shoal Crossing Social Club on February 13, 2015 when they host their first annual event filled with live music. Dance to tunes from Kris Kimura’s Wasabi Big Band, mingle at the bar or grab a cigar in the smoking lounge.
Early birds can partake in dance lessons or opt for a three-course dinner. Tickets can be purchased at a variety of levels and prices, but I recommend you purchase in advance. Wear your best cocktail attire for a night full of big band entertainment from swing to sophisticated ballroom sounds.
Sci-Fi Love Stories
Prefer a low key Valentine’s Day of exploration and hand holding? Set your sights on finding Sci-Fi romance at 5th Dimension Books and let Cupid’s arrow target a gift that will last a lifetime. A popular stop for couples strolling around Austin’s Hyde Park neighborhood, 5th Dimension offers a unique collection of books available for purchase from this local bookmobile.
Patrick, one of the bookmobile’s co-owners, shared with me, “We often see couples browsing and speaking softly to one another about which books they like.” You can find rare collectible volumes at 5th Dimension that are sure to delight even the most hard to please bibliophile!
If that isn’t enough, the mobile shop is parked outside Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery, where you can find a sweet collection of confections that will bring any day of romantic strolling to a properly delicious finale.
Love Grows in the Food Lab
If your Valentine is family sized or compiled of a group of friends, check out Showcase Day of the University of Texas Food Lab Challenge. Experience food from local purveyors such as Third Coast Coffee, Noble Pig, East Side King, Austin Beerworks and more. You will be invited to taste samples throughout the day and enjoy entertainment provided by Bonfire Choir.
The Food Lab and a prized panel of judges will decide and announce which of the 21 finalists will walk away with $30,000 in cash. These food entrepreneurs were challenged to innovate in consideration of the global food system, including agriculture, distribution, packaging and consumption. This first time food challenge prize is a solid reward for those involved and a supportive way for our city of food lovers to encourage and educate this Valentine’s Day.
Attend this free and public event on February 14, 2015 at 100 E 24th Street from 10:30 AM-4 PM. Be sure to RSVP in advance in order to attend.
@CrisMueller wants to know:
Do you prefer a conventional or unconventional Austin Valentine’s Day?