In honor of the traditional carol “The 12 Days of Christmas,” we put together a list of local offerings and events sure to please as you plan your holiday outings and festivities. And should you go all out and include all 12 days, it’s an Austintacious gift your true love will never forget.
Presenting the 12 days of Christmas, in true Austin style.
Partridge in a Pear Tree
Nashi pear chicken from Sway
One of Austin’s favorite restaurants: modern yet inviting decor and food seasoned to perfection with just enough heat to keep you coming back for more. The Nashi pear chicken dish includes Brussels sprouts, carrots, mushrooms, chives, Thai basil, and red chili.
Wild game fettine from Lonesome Dove
We were over the moon when Tim Love opened Lonesome Dove earlier this year. With his urban Western cuisine, Love has brought his signature dishes and style to Austin. Check out his proprietary wild game fettine, which features choice cuts of meat spit roasted over an open mesquite fire. For your two turtledoves select dove, lamb, Texas herbs, and citrus-chili paste fettine for $12, or better yet, sample the fettine trio for $18.
Three French Hens
Coq au vin blanc from Blue Dahlia Bistro
Coq au vin is a traditional French dish of chicken cooked in wine producing a delectable French hen. Lucky for us, there are several restaurants in Austin that do it justice. The bad news: It is not always on the menu. A favorite is coq au vin blanc from Blue Dahlia Bistro — chicken, mushrooms, garlic, capers, and prosciutto cooked in a white wine cream sauce — and the price is right at $16.
Four Calling Birds
What you choose for this gift depends on what kind of bird is calling to you, so here is a selection of four of the best Austin has to offer:
- Lucy’s Fried Chicken: Four-piece basket
- Shady Grove: Chicken-fried chicken
- Gourdough's: Country Clucker — fried chicken breast, potato pancake, creamed corn, and candied jalapeños. Priced at $7.99 for a Tuesday special.
- Pho Saigon Noodle House: Chicken noodle soup (pho ga)
Five Golden Rings
Austin is the place to shop local if you are ready for that golden ring. You can’t go wrong with advice from Benold’s or Russell Korman. For a more casual offering, check out Kendra Scott, Limbo, or Austin-based Noonday Collection.
Six Geese a-Laying
Grey Goose martini from Vince Young’s Steakhouse
Who can resist the Grey Goose martini with blue cheese-stuffed olives from Vince Young’s Steakhouse? The bar is magnificent, the atmosphere sophisticated and romantic, and the martini is near perfection. Talk about six geese a-laying. We don’t know about drinking all six between two people, so invite a few friends and share the fun.
Seven Swans a-Swimming
There is only one place in Austin to find seven swans a-swimming: The Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail. One of the most beautiful natural trails in the nation, we are blessed to be able to walk among a wide variety of wildlife including turtles, egrets, and swans. Take care when approaching — they look beautiful but can be vicious. It may be better to admire them from a distance as they glide around Lady Bird Lake.
Eight Maids a-Milking
Tres leches from Fonda San Miguel
There are literally dozens of places to get tres leches cake in Austin, but you cannot beat the authenticity of the traditional tres leches cake at Fonda San Miguel. Or for a special treat, try a longstanding Austin tradition — the Sunday brunch.
Nine Ladies Dancing
The Nutcracker from Ballet Austin
Where else to find nine ladies dancing but the Long Center and Ballet Austin’s annual holiday offering of The Nutcracker? Spring for the good seats.
10 Lords a-Leaping
If traditional isn’t your thing, Tapestry Dance is keeping Austin weird with a jazz Nutcracker: Of Mice and Music. With an original score and live jazz, it’s a high-energy evening and you can be certain those lords will be leaping. Tickets are $34.
Rollins Studio Theatre at the Long Center from December 10-20.
11 Pipers Piping
The Celtic Christmas at the Cathedral
Heavenly music in a sacred setting, the Silver Thistle Pipes and Drums is one of the many groups included in this annual concert presented by the Celtic Cultural Center of Texas in one of Austin’s most historic places of worship, Saint Mary’s Cathedral. Tickets are $30.
December 18 and 19
12 Drummers Drumming
Although the performance is not happening until February 23, it is a gift just to know about one of the best-kept secrets in Austin — the wonderful and free Percussion Ensemble performances offered by the faculty and students of the Butler School of Music at the University of Texas. Make a date to attend with a note as a special stocking stuffer. There’s no reason for the 12 days of Christmas to end in December.