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Valentine's Day in Austin's 2nd Street District

February 14 is fast approaching here in the 2SD (and everywhere), and happy hearts are setting their sights on the perfect way to spend the evening. Reservations around town are filling up fast, but never fear: Valentine's Day in Austin's 2nd Street District offers a plethora of ways to treat your honey right. Ready to spoil the object of your affection? Read on for menu specials and gift ideas galore.

Taste the Romance: Valentine's Day Restaurant Recommendations

Sink your teeth into some New American cuisine at The Bonneville, which offers a sumptuous 4-course prix fixe menu ($65 per person) on the 14th, including smoked mushroom tian, ricotta agnolotti pasta with mini chicken meatballs, warm lobster nicoise, tiramisu and more. Dinner comes with a complimentary Persephone Punch, and you can add wine pairings for $30.

Can't decide between surf and turf? Have both in style at III Forks, offering a three-course prix fixe menu ($160 per couple) from February 10 through 14. It includes dinner for two featuring filet mignon and coldwater lobster tails served with whipped potatoes, off-the-cob cream corn, vine ripened tomatoes and spring onions, and chocolate lovers' dessert. Additional wine pairings and champagne are on offer to make the evening pop.

Lovers of the grape, rejoice: CRU Food & Wine Bar on 2nd Street is serving up a perfect 4-courses Valentine's meal with your choice of filet of sole with crawfish nantua, roasted mushrooms and jumbo asparagus; beef tenderloin with pommes puree, haricot verts and green peppercorn sauce; or lamb loin with provencal vegetables, roasted baby yukon gold potatoes and sauce choron. The $55 prix fixe menu runs alongside an exhaustive list of wines from all over the world; instead of committing to just one, try one of CRU's famed wine flights to find your favorite vintage.

In the mood for some laid-back elegance? Bring your valentine to La Condesa for a romantic menu of specials featuring fresh, seasonal ingredients from Texas providers. Its exclusive seasonal menu can be enjoyed a la carte or as a shared plate experience to elevate your dinner favorites to the next level. Then, finish the night strong at La Condesa's adjacent bar, known for its specialty cocktails like the Alma Blanca or a classic pisco sour.

If simplicity is key and all you want is a touch of old world romance and some finger-licking good Neapolitan pizza, look no further than Numero 28. Treat your favorite person to a delicious southern Italian experience: indulge in fresh pastas, oven-fired pizzas, small plates and Italian wines served in a warm and intimate atmosphere.

Super Sweet Gifts Galore

There's no shortage of great gifts to shower upon your beloved. From artisanal soaps and spa products to unique jewelry and dapper menswear, you're sure to find something to surprise your valentine and/or #treatoself with this year. Take a gander at what's for sale in the 2SD this February:

Feather your nest with gorgeous, organic goods from Hacienda...

Keep your gent outfitted to the hilt with threads from League of Rebels...

Melt the stress away with apothecary products from Luxe Apothetique...

Set the mood for love with luxury goodies from Mercury Design Studio...

Inhale deeply and enjoy ultimate indulgence from milk + honey...

Knock 'em dead with retro-chic looks from Modcloth...

Get the "person who has everything" something cool from PRIZE...

Add a touch of color with local fave Rae Cosmetics...

Bejewel them (or yourself!) with baubles from Sikara & Co...

Or work up a sweat together with fitness gear from St. Bernard.

For more tips on enjoying the 2nd Street District and everything it offers, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Have yourself a happy heart day and we'll see you around the neighborhood!

Farm to Table at La Condesa & The Bonneville

Fresh carrots at La Condesa     Photo credit: Hannah Rose

Fresh carrots at La Condesa     Photo credit: Hannah Rose

For most of us, summer means traveling, tan lines, and playing in the sun. For restaurants, however, this season is a time to change the menu and try new dishes. In the 2ND Street District, where we are all about community and giving back, the chefs at our restaurants endorse farm to table techniques while still keeping things interesting with local produce.

What is farm to table? It’s what happens when a restaurant takes what is given to them by local farmers instead of from across the country or the globe. This not only supports local, but also spurs creativity among chefs. While our 2ND Street chefs agree that farm to table cannot be carried out 100%, when local produce is in season, the dishes are even more delicious. We asked some of the chefs and restaurant owners from the 2ND Street District how they work with farm to table, what original creations they’ve come up with, and what inspires them.

La Condesa - Chef Rick Lopez

"We partner with Sustainable Food Center, which hosts a chef series every fall. I’ll call or order via email & take what Johnson’s Backyard Garden has to get rid of in excess. This is how we create our specials. We try to switch our menu 4 times a year."

On Farm to Table Original Creations

Zanahoria: The salad has 4 different types of cooked carrots: roasted with salt & pepper, shaved raw, pickled, and chimichurri. The carrots are purple, red, orange, and yellow so the finished product looks like a campfire. They’re placed on top of crispy quinoa and a cardamom yogurt that comes from White Mountain Yogurt in East Austin.

“I love carrots. As a baby, all I hate was carrot purree. I was turning bronze.”

Zanahoria at La Condesa    Photo credit: Hannah Rose

Zanahoria at La Condesa    Photo credit: Hannah Rose

On Inspiration

“I'm inspired by how knowledgeable our guests have become now when it comes to food. They're really into the whole farm to table thing. I really aim to please and quench people of their thirst for knowledge while trying to teach too. We're named after a place in Mexico City and we gain inspiration from what the chefs are doing there. When you travel to Mexico, it's not exclusively tacos or anything like that. They have great produce. It's what they do & how they present it.”

Heirloom Tomato Salad at The Bonneville    Photo credit: Hannah Rose

Heirloom Tomato Salad at The Bonneville    Photo credit: Hannah Rose

The Bonneville - Chefs Chris & Jennifer Hurley

On Farm to Table Techniques

“We go to the farmers markets and farms ourselves, but you can’t do it 100%. Certain things you can’t get local, like scallops, which come from the East Coast. We use Sustainable Food Center, where they know how their animals are raised. Other partners include Republic Square and Boggy Creek Farms, both in Austin, and IO Ranch in Lampasas.

On Farm to Table Original Creations

Local Heirloom tomato salad with house-made bacon jam and avocado. Tomatoes come from Johnson’s Backyard Garden and Boggy Creek. The Bonneville makes its own bacon and smokes it in-house.

If you love bacon, you must come in and try it...it is unbeliveably delicious.

Watermelon & tequila-infused jalapeno margarita: Watermelon is symbolic of summertime. The cocktail is sweet in the front of your mouth with a kick in the back.

Jalapeno Watermelon Margarita at The Bonneville     Photo credit: Hannah Rose

Jalapeno Watermelon Margarita at The Bonneville     Photo credit: Hannah Rose

On Inspiration

“Our famers and ranchers inspire us. They’re the experts, whether it’s game or produce. Sure, it’d be great to have what we want handed to us, but those conversations between ourselves and the farmers are what make us create new dishes with their produce finds.”

The Bonneville

*We're proud of being 75% locally owned and operated. Stop by and meet the people that make The 2ND Street District Where Texas Warmth Meets Austin Cool. *

How many years Have you been in business? 1 and 1/2 years

Why do you love what you do? Because we have always loved bringing joy to people by cooking for them.

What’s the coolest thing about Austin? How fun loving and eclectic it is and how rapidly it's evolving.

What’s your favorite product or menu item in your store or restaurant? Chicken under a Brick ...and, no, you cannot keep the brick.

Tell us a fun fact about you or your business. We use actual bricks from the hardware store for the chicken.

Thank you, Jennifer and Chris from The Bonneville! Be sure to visit The Bonneville's tent at White Linen Night and sample their delectables.

White Linen Night Goes Full Color In the 2ND Street District

Mike Johnston - TRUTH

Mike Johnston - TRUTH

 

What began in New Orleans as a way to celebrate local artists and lure residents into the streets, The 2ND Annual White Linen Night now beckons Austinites and city visitors to The 2ND Street District (2SD) for a night uniting the culinary and creative communities.

In addition to the ticketed wine & food pairing block party and the free in-store events throughout the 2SD, attendees will also be able to view the new public mural by a rising star in the art community, Mike Johnston.

Known also as "TRUTH," Johnston calls himself a street art evangelist spreading joy to the public. He has designed a piece to be located in the AMLI Downtown service court, located directly across the street from the entrance of W Austin

I am jazzed about creating a mural for the 2nd Street District. After having a few art shows in this area, I have really fallen in love with it! I’m hoping that the wall I’m painting will brighten someone’s day. Thank you to [2SD Management] for giving me the opportunity and crafting the lovable phrase that I am using as inspiration ‘Texas Warmth Meets Austin Cool!’
— Mike Johnston

The 2ND Street District prides itself on being the "best-in-class merchant district in the city, filled with Austin's finest retailers and restaurants. In addition to being devoted to nurturing local businesses and keeping Austin weird, you might not know that the 2SD is committed to continually focusing on and providing for its community, by way of free concerts and events, scholarship competitions, support of local non-profits, and now, by installing another work or public art to be unveiled on White Linen Night, August 2nd.

Please visit and enjoy!

Don't forget to let us in on the fun and tag #2NDStDistrict when you share your pics.