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Off a budget, on a budget—restaurant picks for Valentine’s Day

Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05

vday

Ociris Alvarez/ The Prospector

Customers dine at Crave, a restaurant that offers a variety of cuisines and treats.

   Whether you are pinching pennies with your significant other preparing for Valentine’s Day, or ready to spend all of your savings on a night out on the town, El Paso is not short of places to go.

As one of the busiest days of the year, Valentine’s Day brings flocks of people to local restaurants.

“Valentine’s is by far the number one (busiest holiday),” said Julio Lopez, owner of Coco.Miel.

For some, a formal dinner date is ideal for Valentine’s.

“Probably out to eat, maybe some drinks, and then there I could give her a gift,“ said Sergio Sanchez, junior criminal justice major. “Any nice restaurant you know. Anything that requires you to dress somewhat formal.”

A high-scale option is Cafe Central, located downtown. The restaurant offers options such as a plate of Puntas de Filete, roasted long green chile and jalapeño au jus and a plate of lobster ravioli.

“I remember my last Valentine’s I went to Cafe Central,” said Memo Bayona, sophomore psychology major. “It is really nice. I remember I ordered duck and she got meat and it was very good.”

Another option is the local restaurant Crave, with locations on the East and West Side of town. Offering a mixture of foods and a unique atmosphere, Crave has something for everyone, from sandwiches and burgers to fish and chicken and waffles.

If you are looking for something a bit more exotic, Hayashi Hibachi is a good option for some Japanese food. Aside from the array of sushi available, diners can sit in front of the grill and watch the cook prepare the Hibachi meal, while putting on a bit of a show at the same time.

If you are looking to really get away, take a trip to Old Mesilla and have dinner at The Double Eagle restaurant. Near Las Cruces, N.M., The Double Eagle offers fine dining or a more casual meal and takes you inside an alleged haunted hacienda for an unforgettable experience.

A thing to look out for when looking to impress that certain someone will be special dinner packages. “We are making a special menu with about three or four different packages including wine or champagne,” Lopez said. “Starting from $50 all the way to $200 we are going to have a pasta dish, maybe a seafood dish, a meat dish, and a vegetarian dish different from our menu.”

There are, however, more affordable options to consider for Valentine’s Day.  
“There is this really good place called Coco.Miel,” said Carlos Velasquez, senior history major. “I like the atmosphere and it seems like a very different place, out of the ordinary. I always have the chicken bacon sandwich and the pizza. It is really good.”

Located on the East Side, Coco.Miel offers an upscale environment at an affordable price. After the meal, hop over to Cocobar around the corner and celebrate with some drinks. Although it is a full bar, the entire menu is always available in the restaurant and the bar.

If your dinner happens to begin at a later time, Star City Kitchen and Bar is a perfect option for Valentine’s. Located near UTEP and open 24/7, Star City offers a unique menu at night.  So whether dinner starts at the beginning or end of the night, they offer fish tacos, macaroni and cheese, and scrambled eggs.

If you happen to be in the mood for some authentic Chicago style deep-dish pizzas, Sparrow’s is the place to go. Located on the East Side, Sparrow’s Spirits and Pies offers a unique style of pizza not found anywhere else in town. Layered in with your favorite toppings, the pizzas are a mouth full. Although the pizzas take about 45 minutes to cook, it is well worth the wait and, with a full bar inside, the wait does not seem to last too long.

If you find yourself with empty pockets, try cooking your Valentine’s meal instead of going out into the crowds.

“When we were living in Austin, we had just moved there and didn’t have money and he made Parmesan chicken from scratch,” said Alexsia Licon, junior multimedia journalism major. “It was probably the best Valentine’s dinner ever.”

Steven Mansfield may be reached at prospector@utep.edu.

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