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12 Budget-Friendly Ideas for Dining-Out Romance in Houston

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11. House of Pies, 6142 Westheimer and 3112 Kirby

I know, you're thinking, "There's no way House of Pies can be romantic," but if you and your date both have a fun, goofy sense of humor, it really can be. The people-watching potential at 1 a.m. is some of the best in the city. My husband and I have had some really memorable nights where the manager was making balloon animals for the adults and we had everyone hanging spoons off their noses. (Fine, maybe it's not your idea of romance, but it's a cherished memory for us.) The corned beef hash (well done, please) and eggs is a good choice. They apparently have a good cheeseburger, too. For dessert, there's something about good pie and mediocre coffee that's apt to set off a twinkle in your eyes and laughter in your heart.

10. Breakfast at Pondicheri, 2800 Kirby

Want to dine out but don't want to spend a lot of money? Don't go out for dinner. Go out for lunch or even breakfast. This one is especially good for people who work the night shift. Maybe a romantic dinner won't work, but how about a nice breakfast instead? Get traditional Indian flavors like cardamom and rosewater involved, and breakfast suddenly just got sexy. Try Pondicheri's outstanding breakfast thali, a sort of combination plate with that includes potato curry, saffron yogurt, fresh fruit, carrot paratha, a fried egg and more. There are two different types of mimosas available, even on the weekdays. There's one with orange juice and raspberries, and another with mango juice and blueberries.

9. Go Out for Ice Cream

Whether your creamy confection of choice is found at Fat Cat Creamery, Cloud 10 Creamery, Sweet Cup Gelato or somewhere else, going out for ice cream is fun and economical for couples. Cap it off with a budget-friendly trip to a museum, the Houston Zoo or a walk in a park.

8. Thai Pepper, 2075 West Alabama

While most Thai restaurants have reasonable prices, the fact that Thai Pepper is housed in an old bungalow with dim lighting and real tablecloths makes it more romantic than most. Get a big bowl of tom yum goong (spicy broth with shrimp, lemongrass and chiles) and some creamy red or green curry, and soon the heat of the food will match the effect your date is having on you. There are only a few parking spaces directly in front of the restaurant, but you can park in front of the house next door as well, which belongs to the same owners.

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Phaedra Cook
Contact: Phaedra Cook