Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cheap Date


I hate using them, especially in slightly more upscale establishments. They make me feel a little too squirrely, and dare I say a little too Jewish. But I'm getting over that quickly. Restaurants put them out there to be used, right?

Recently, for a mere $21, we procured coupons to 7 restaurants at $25 apiece. That's $175 in restaurant money for the price of $21.

We used one at Buenos Aires Cafe a couple of weeks ago, but the restaurant was too dark for iPhone photos and I was too lazy for a post. We had two dinner entrees and my favorite Argentinian dessert, and our total with a generous tip came to $19. (I'll post in the future on BAC, because I'm sure to return many times. Hint: My review will likely be positive.)

We used a second coupon last night at Cipollina West Austin Bistro. I've always adored this little spot -- because it is completely and utterly, well, adorable -- but the coupons are going to spoil me rotten.

Last night at Cipollina, we shared calamari and two entrees: pizza and duck confit.

The calamari was stand out -- sturdy breading, aioli with a tang, and fresh herbs sprinkled on top.

A little about the duck confit. At $17, it might be a couple of bucks overpriced because though it was billed as a duck confit entree, it's a salad. A tasty, well-seasoned arugula salad with pickled onions and some shredded confit duck on top. The fantastically pan fried gnocchi that came with it were some of the best I've had in Austin - not a stretch given that my demographically-stunted city is short on Italian spots in general - but we wanted a bit more. Come on, Cipollina, if you're going to skimp on the duck, then consider throwing in a few more gnocchi. It's water and flour, for cryin' out loud. Overall, despite my whining, it was a lovely dish. Made more lovely by previously discussed coupon. (Note: we did pick off a few gnochhi before the photo below was taken. One of these days, I'll become accustomed to whipping out the iPhone camera before taking even a bite!)

Now let's talk about the pizza. I've always liked the pizza at Cipollina, and I'm so glad we ordered outside the box with a roasted kale, preserved meyer lemon and goat cheese pizza. It was gooood. I expected the tangy meyer lemon and tangy goat cheese to have some sort of double-negative effect, but the combination was nothing short of genius. This very good pizza would've been great if they hadn't brought it to the table half-burned. Maybe it was only 40% burned; I'm willing to be fair here. You can judge for yourself in the photos below.

Our meal with applied coupon came to $27. One appetizer, two entrees (or a salad and an entree), and one beer for $27. A very good deal. But to paraphrase my thoughtful date, we would've felt gypped if we'd paid an extra $25.

Our coupon spree continued after dinner and a stroll around the Clarksville neighborhood and quick stops to admire Treaty Oak and Things We Can't Afford on our way to Amy's.

I've complained about Amy's in the past, but to be fair, I was complaining mostly about the Burnet location. I think their Mexican vanilla is highly overrated but their Darth Chocolate is the bomb.

We had a few coupons courtesy of Mike's realtor, and I took a road less traveled, combining the dark chocolate ice cream with a creamy cheesecake ice cream and topping the whole thing off with hot fudge.

Viva le Coupon!

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