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Tips for an eco-friendly, locally-sourced Valentine's Day

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Its late in the afternoon on the day before Valentine's Day and you still haven't come up with a plan for celebrating with your loved one. All is not lost, even if you are set on choosing gifts and activities that are eco-friendly and/or help support local businesses. Austin is overflowing with opportunities. The list of restaurants that are serving locally sourced ingredients continues to grow and grow. For an exhaustive list, check out the website for the magazine Edible Austin. More and more unique 'niche' businesses are appearing on the Austin scene. In addition, there are also an increasing number of music and film venues that are Austin originals as well. Take a look at the list for some specific ideas that are local and green.

Local, organic flowers
Local, organic flowers www.organicauthority.com

Local, organic flowers

Local Austin florist Eco Chic Floral offers flowers and arrangements that are organic and locally sourced.  One item they sell is a dish garden of succulents which not only last longer than cut flowers but require less water to maintain.

This business will be taking orders until 2pm on Valentine's Day and will donate $5 of your order to the Schoolhouse Project and $2 to the Texas Campaign for the Environment.

Restaurants serving locally courced food
Restaurants serving locally courced food www.barleyswine.com

Restaurants serving locally courced food

Barley Swine is only one of many Austin area eating establishments that create their menus around locally sourced ingredients.

If you're in the mood for something elegant try Justine's, Uchi or Barlata.  On the other end of the spectrum are eateries such as Tacodeli.  Somewhere in the middle you will find comfort food at Hoovers and eclectic choices at Kerbey Lane.

Finish up the evening with dessert at Lick Ice cream or pick up some chocolate covered strawberries at Amy's.

Organic chocolate from Chocosutra
Organic chocolate from Chocosutra www.dishola.com

Organic chocolate from Chocosutra

Chocolates are a popular gift item on Valentine's Day and you can find delicious choices at locally owned Chocosutra.

Chocosutra crafts their concoctions with organic raw cacao from Ecuador and instead of using sugar to sweeten the chocolate, they use local honey from Central Texas Bee Rescue.  Flavors are added using essential oils and other organic ingredients.

These chocolates can be found at Barton Creek Farmers Market and are on the shelves at Wheatsville, Tiny Taiga, JuiceLand and River City Market.

Locally owned Alamo Drafthouse CInema
Locally owned Alamo Drafthouse CInema www.cnn.com

Locally owned Alamo Drafthouse CInema

If your taste on Valentine's Day tends toward dinner and a movie, you can experience both at the locally owned Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. The menu always features locally brewed beer and the classy menu features many locally sourced ingredients.

Not only do the theaters (there are several locations in and around Austin) show first run movies they also program unusual films and a variety of activities, some of which encourage audience participation.

On Valentine's evening, the Slaughter Lane location is screening the comedy "Love and Air Sex" directed by Austinite Bryan Poyser who will be in attendance along with the cast.  Sure to be a unique experience.

Another suggestion for local entertainment is catching a show by an Austin musician at a local venue.  Check the Chronicle for listings and suggestions.

Enjoy homegrown Texas wine
Enjoy homegrown Texas wine www.vintagetexas.com

Enjoy homegrown Texas wine

If you don't feel like heading out of the house, get the fixings together for a romantic evening at home.

Shop at local stores for a wide selection of locally grown food and other locally produced items.  Central Market and HEB both feature Texas-centric choices for a delicious and elegant evening meal. 

Set the mood with Texas wine from Hill Country vineyards and homemade beeswax candles that you can find at stores such as TreeHouse. Rent a movie from locally owned Vulcan Video and you have the recipe for a romantic evening to remember.

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