Few other secular holidays are as polarizing as Valentine’s Day. Whether you subscribe to the commercial-driven expectations for an evening of epic romance or plan to go about your day as if there were nothing to set it apart from any other Friday, the fact remains:
You, dear Austinite like to “wine and dine.” As you prepare yourself for the impending flood of best! partner! everrr! social media posts, you may also be scrambling to prepare for your own evening of romance. Here’s a word of advice: Show off that creative side and consider a variation on the traditional date: a traveling dinner. This play on the traditional three-course meal means more food, more diversity, and more fun.
Begin your dinner adventure at one spot for appetizers, then pick up and settle in somewhere new for the main course before ending the night at a final location for a dessert. Too much food? On a budget? Easy. Split the main course to make for a cheaper night and more indulgence in your other courses and to get closer to your lover.
Here are a few themed traveling dinners with all three dining locations within the same general area. Feel free to mix and match from within the categories or get inspired to create your own three-course adventure.
Appetizers: Torchy’s Tacos
1311 S. First
Whet your appetite with Torchy’s queso and chips at this food trailer location. Try your best to resist the tacos before moving on to your main course…
Main Course: Dock & Roll Diner
1503 S. First
If it’s before 8pm, walk two minutes south to Dock & Roll Diner. Let those lobster rolls melt in your mouth. If it’s after 8pm, try the nearby Mellizoz Tacos for a delicious taco main dish. The fried avocado taco is a personal favorite.
Dessert: Gourdough’s Doughnuts
1503 S. First
If you’ve experienced Gordough’s before, you know what you're in for. Go ahead and wrap up your night with your favorite doughnut-shaped heart attack. If you’re new to Gordough’s, a word of caution: Taking on one of these enormous pastries alone could leave you down for the count for the rest of the evening.
Appetizers: Fat Cactus
1318 S. Congress
Now that the dust of the food trailer migration from SoCo Avenue has settled, this is one of the gems of a trailer left behind. Kick off your night with Fat Cactus’ green chili hummus and tortilla chips.
Main Course: Ms. P’s Electric Cock
1101 S. Congress
Take a moment to let your inner teenager giggle at this chicken trailer’s innuendo of a name, and then get down to businesses with their crispy fried chicken and coleslaw.
Dessert: Hey Cupcake
1511 S. Congress
Claim a picnic table for dessert or get your cupcake to go at this trailer solely dedicated to huge, salivation-inducing cupcakes. Their tagline speaks for itself: “100% Non-Fat Free Goodness”.
Appetizers: Hai’s Food and Lemonade Stand
You’ll have to strike early to take advantage of Hai’s Food and Lemonade Stand – it closes at 6pm – but you won’t regret biting into the cheap and delicious egg rolls that have been a godsend to students on a budget since 1976.
Main Course: Piranha Killer Sushi
207 San Jacinto
Enjoy the Downtown Austin vibe and a sushi boat-for-two with your date at Piranha Killer Sushi. Consider the exertion of finding parking just another stop along the adventure, even though we all know what a nightmare it can be Downtown.
Slip into this Asian fusion sushi bar to finish your night with drinks and dessert. Two favorites are the banana cake with caramel and the giant fortune cookie.
Appetizers: Casa Colombia
1614 E. Seventh
Get a feel for the homemade South American style food that Casa Colombia prides themselves on with an appetizer order of empanadas or aborrajados (sweet fried plantain stuffed with mozzarella cheese).
Main Course: Vivo
2015 Manor Rd.
The trendy, low-lit atmosphere of Vivo is one reason to check it out. The steak jalisco is an even better reason. Try not to K.O. on their delicious menu before moving on to sweets for your sweet…
Dessert: MiJo’s Tex-Mex & Cantina
1000 E. 11th #150
For your last stop of the night, enjoy the sopapillas or trés léches cake with a margarita in hand. Relax and allow yourself a congratulations for filling your stomach with so much goodness.
Take your sweetie for a twirl around all this Austin culinary goodness and create your own take on the traveling dinner.
Happy traveling, lovers!
Read more Extra Helpings stories at austinchronicle.com/daily. The Austin Chronicle’s First Plates Awards & Food Issue hit stands Thursday, February 13.
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