by Mike Marrero photos by Karey Drew
This column is intended to provide you with upscale and unique dates that do not break the bank and prevent date night monotony. This evolving topic will vary weekly to accommodate foodies, drinkers, music lovers, and more. There will also be casual suggestions like dive bars, brunch, comedy shows, festivals, picnics, and wine tastings too. This week’s installment has you starting off and focusing your budget at Origin Kitchen and Bar near McKinney Avenue and Knox Street.
Origin Kitchen and Bar excels in serving healthy food that tastes great! Origin sources locally as much as possible and the sources many times change weekly. Often they use greens from Tassione Farms, Windy Meadows Farm chicken, Vital Farm eggs, Village Bakery, and cheeses from Paula Lambert’s Mozzarella Company in Deep Ellum. Even when working with distributors, Chef Scott Tobey is a big fan of using Farm to Table distribution, and the Go Texan partner program.
Every item we tasted from the Strawberry Margaritas to the Grilled Oyster Mushrooms were carefully thought out and individually prepared with the highest of care. The ambiance and service combined with great food and drink make this a perfect spot for a date night Tuesday through Saturday night. Origin also has a loyal brunch following seven days a week.
While all of the drinks we tasted were delicious, we recommend ordering a Strawberry Margarita with jalapeño infused tequila with cold pressed strawberry juice, lemon, lime, and agave for $11, and also a Turbo Shandy with Titos Vodka, Rhar & Sons Blonde, lemon, and ginger beer for $10. Both drinks were very refreshing and perfect for the upcoming higher temperatures. You should start off by sharing the Bacon Wrapped Quail with Swiss chard and chili puree for $15. While the quail was excellently prepared, the bacon was also properly cooked with just the right amount of crispiness… and when you dip it in the chili puree all three flavors combine for one tasty bite. For dinner share the Berkshire 3 Bone Short Rack with spicy BBQ sauce, stone ground grits, corn crème foam, and pico de gallo for $25 along with a side of the grilled oyster mushrooms for $6. This delicious combination is filling for two people and you get to sample a variety of flavors and textures.
Normally I save desert for a second location to extend date night, but you have to share the Paleo Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart with date and dark chocolate crust, toasted almonds, and coconut fluff for $12! We were completely caught off guard that a dessert could taste so good while being much healthier and lower calorie than expected. Origin Kitchen and Bar is located at 4438 McKinney Ave, Dallas.
So now what do you do? While well worth it, you’ve spent $95-$100 including tip of your $100 budget. Well, after you have loosened your belt and taken a few deep breaths so you can move again, you need to hop in the car and take a short 10 minute drive to Trinity Groves on the other side of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. You are running out of time to be a tourist in your own city and see the Trinity River and the Dallas skyline after a once in a life time spring. The Continental Avenue pedestrian bridge is open to the public, runs parallel to the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, and there is ample free parking very close by within Trinity Groves.
Try to time your arrival at dusk so you can see the sun setting in the west, and the Dallas skyline to the east. When you first walk onto the bridge, you will notice many families with small children and pets, so I would walk about midway onto the bridge right above the Trinity River and trees to find a spot to sit. You can bring blankets, but there are already many seating options there for you. I can’t officially tell you to bring a bottle of wine and two plastic cups, but I’ve heard it is a good time.