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Farmers Market Issues Leaves Uncertain Future

Farmers Market Issues Leaves Uncertain Future

The Yard Farmers & Ranchers Market will vacate the premises at The Yard, 5300 McCullough Ave., at some point in the near future. There are several reasons involved, including a dispute this past Sunday that reportedly escalated into racial overtones.

YardLogo Farmers MarketAlso, parking problems have been an issue at The Yard. Before moving to the McCullough location, the farmers market had been a Sunday fixture at the Alamo Quarry shopping center, but it was asked to leave a few months ago, reportedly due to parking issues there.

The owners of The Yard Farmers & Ranchers Market, F. David Lent and Heather Hunter, argued with the owners of Ming’s Things food stand, Ming Qian and Hinnark von Bargen.

Hunter characterized the argument as as heated words between people who had been friends and colleagues. It began when von Bargen and Qian announced they’d be moving their stand to the new Sunday farmers market at the Pearl Brewery, which opens this coming Sunday.

While The Yard Farmers & Ranchers Market has a 90-day option to stay at The Yard, that may or may not happen, according to Hunter.  The Lent/Hunter farmers market has been a successful operation for four years.

The following note was posted on Facebook by Lent and Hunter:

“To all of our loyal customers, market members and followers. This past week has been truly challenging for us as we continue the fight to bring locally grown foods and sustainability to the San Antonio community.

“An unfortunate exchange took place after last Sunday’s market, which we deeply regret. Although it was an isolated incident between long-time business associates and dear friends, the brief altercation has been exaggerated and manipulated in the media.

“From a personal and business disagreement, sadly, this has the potential to have negative impact on the market members who have had no part in this situation.

“We personally have many friends and associates from all ethnicities and wholeheartedly embrace cultural diversity. We lived in Mexico for over five years and have traveled extensively in many countries not as tourists, but as cultural travelers and very much respect the differences and celebrate our commonalities.

“We greatly appreciate all of the support we have received for the market in this difficult situation. As for the future of our farmers market, we are evaluating at this point and ask for your continued support and patience.”

Speaking on the matter Thursday, Hunter emphasized that though a number of vendors will be moving to the Pearl Farmers Market, they still have the “full support of 25 steadfast vendors.”

Hunter and Lent will be considering their options in the weeks and months to come and didn’t wish to discuss their eventual plans either way – to close up shop or stay with their commitment to bring healthy food, produce and products to San Antonio customers they’ve served for the past four years.

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The Gunter Bakery’s Putting on the Dog

The Gunter Bakery’s Putting on the Dog


The Sheraton Gunter’s Market on Houston

The Gunter Bakery, the latest addition to the ongoing renovations at the Sheraton Gunter Hotel, is opening Tuesday.

The pet-friendly hotel at 205 E. Houston St. is celebrating with an ongoing fundraiser for the San Antonio Humane Society.

Twenty percent of all sales of Gunter’s Homemade Dog Treats and retail items for dogs will go to the SAHS.

But the hotel isn’t stopping there. From 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, the hotel is hosting a Puppy Hour. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $20 apiece, with 50 percent of the proceeds going to SAHS. Patrons will get happy hour food and drinks while having the chance to meet and play with adoptable pets. Guests can bring dogs on a leash and enter through the hotel as well as through the East Houston Street entrance.

Free valet parking is available, and the city garages are free after 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The Gunter Barkery will be open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and feature an array of baked goods as well as Gunter’s Homemade Dog Treats, which are priced at $3 each. Baked fresh by Market on Houston Executive Chef Rudy Martinez, the Gunter Barkery will offer four mainstay biscuits: Plain, Bacon, Beef and Chicken, all made with whole wheat flour, peanut butter, oats, banana, eggs and a flavored puree.

Other changes at the Sheraton Gunter include Market on Houston, which has a pet-friendly outdoor patio as well as the Bakery. Drinks can also be had at the hotel’s Bar 414.

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Festivities, Happy Hour, Planned for Thai Topaz Anniversary

Festivities, Happy Hour, Planned for Thai Topaz Anniversary

Thai Topaz is planning a day of celebratory events marking their first year of business at their new Castle Hills location at 2177 Northwest Military Highway on March 27.

It all starts with a traditional Thai monk blessing ceremony to take place at the restaurant from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Then, later in the day, there will be a happy hour and anniversary party from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

thai topaz pork salad cropped

Spicy Thai Pork Salad with lettuce leaves and lime at Thai Topaz in Castle Hills.

The family-owned restaurant has much to celebrate and share with customers.  The upscale yet family-friendly environment at Thai Topaz’ Castle Hills location has become a favorite of locals in the community, as evidenced by this successful first year in business.

The restaurant is locally owned and operated by David Thanairongroj and his family, who opened their first location in the Medical Center in 2005.

Somchai and Jiraporn Namarsa immigrated from Thailand and brought their authentic recipes to San Antonio.  Their original Medical Center location has become a lunchtime favorite of professionals and residents in the area, and the second location in Castle Hills, opened by their son-in-law, David Thanairongroj, promises to offer the same delicious cuisine in an upscale ambience.

The first anniversary celebration will offer a unique experience of Thai culture, cuisine, and festivities. Monks from the Wat Dhammabucha Buddhist Temple will be present for a blessing ceremony during the morning event, and the local community will attend the evening celebration.  Thanairongroj and his family will be on hand to greet customers.




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Becker Weekend: Bluebonnets, Bluegrass, BBQ

Becker Weekend: Bluebonnets, Bluegrass, BBQ

It’s coming right up, and if the bluebonnets actually make an appearance, it’s going to be a perfect weekend at Becker Vineyards in Stonewall.

Texas BluebonnetsThis Saturday and Sunday (March 14 and 15), the Annual Bluebonnets, Bluegrass, and B&B features winery owner Richard Becker’s brother Robert with his Bluegrass Band The Woodstreet Bloodhounds.  Guest banjo player will be the renown Eddie Collins of Austin. The event is complimentary (no cover charge); no reservations required.

Chef Jayson Cox will have barbecue with sides and trimmings for sale at the winery to enjoy with the music.

Co-authors of “BBQ Lovers Texas,” John Griffin and Bonnie Walker, will be signing and selling their book on the winery verandah Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

As always, the gift shop and winery will be open with plenty of wines to taste and shopping for great one-of-a-kind items.

 May 2 & 3 Annual Lavender Festival

It’s time again for the Lavender Luncheons at Becker Vineyards.  There will be Lavender Luncheons, presentations on uses of lavender, artisans selling lavender products, and lavender cooking demonstrations.  Need a break from the lavender?  There will also be wine tasting and general winery tours available.  The event is complimentary; parking is $5.

May 15  The annual Culinaria Luncheon will be at Becker Vineyards, but tickets and information about the culinary luncheon and festival are available at or 210-822-9555.

New Wines Released:  Malbec Reserve 2012, Tempranillo Reserve 2012, and Dry Riesling 2013.


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Learn How to Make Your Own Paella

Learn How to Make Your Own Paella

Have you ever wanted to make your own paella and not rely entirely on the host of wonderful chefs who serve it up each year at the Paella Challenge? Then make a reservation for this year’s Viva Paella at GauchoGourmet, 935 Isom Road.

Learn how to make your own paella.

Learn how to make your own paella.

On Saturday, you can attend the third annual paella cooking demonstration and sample three different versions of the noted dish.

Members of the San Antonio Chef Cooperative will be on hand to lead the making of the three version. The lineup includes Stephen Paprocki, Jeff White, Chris Cook, Isaac Cantu, Tyler Horstmann, Toby Soto and Chuck Hernandez.

Customers will be able to watch the preparation, ask questions, taste the different prepared paellas and take home recipes.

Other features include:

  • Beer tasting by Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery due to open this spring at The Pearl.
  • Authentic Spanish Chorizo Ibérico sampling.
  • Informative talks about Paella, the different kinds of paella rice, chorizo & equipment.
  • Paella booth with extensive selection of paella ingredients & cooking equipment for purchase.

The event runs from 10.30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is being offered in partnership with the San Antonio Chef Cooperative and Groomer’s Seafood.

The cost is $15 per person if bought by March 13 to enjoy all paellas, chorizos and beer sampling; $20 at the door. More information and tickets are available online at

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Les Dames d’Escoffier Bring Food, Film in Grand Style to Fundraiser

Les Dames d’Escoffier Bring Food, Film in Grand Style to Fundraiser

Meals on Reels table cropped

It was all glitter and pearls, top-notch auction items, perfect wine and food and a party to remember Thursday night as San Antonio’s chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International’s fundraiser filled a ballroom at the St. Anthony Hotel.

Meals on Reels, presented by members of the culinary organization for women, was one of this year’s events to bring in cash for scholarships and other support and opportunities for women who are in, or wish to become professionals in culinary pursuits of all kinds.

“It just went really smoothly, it was a great night, a really excellent collection of silent and live auction items – everyone did a great job,” said Les Dames President Kathy Shearer. She and restaurateur Dame Blanca Aldaco co-chaired the event. Debbie Gonzales, also a member of Les Dames and a manager at the St. Anthony, coordinated arrangements.

Planning began months ago, but the real push on site started a day ahead of the event as Dames and helpers set the stage, from auction room to banquet hall.

Grand Dame Rosemary Kowalski, in flapper finery.

Dame Rosemary Kowalski, in flapper finery.

Some 186 guests attended. The theme, Meals on Reels, was a posh take on a night at the Oscars. Tables gleamed with gray and aubergine linens, flowers, crystal candlesticks and swag bags. The entertainment was clips of foodie scenes from famous movies, shown on screens around the room and narrated by Dame Cynthia Guido and Ron Bechtol. The evening’s MCs were dames Tanji Patton and Leslie Komet Ausburn.

And of course, there was popcorn.

In the kitchen, St. Anthony Executive Chef Michael Mata and his staff cleared the way for Dames whose restaurant and cooking backgrounds prepared them to create and execute the ambitious menu Thursday night. The menu items matched those mentioned in the featured movies — ranging from Lobster Bisque and Grilled Quail to Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon.

Much of the prep work was done on Wednesday, under the guidance of Dame Naylene Dillingham, chef and owner of the renowned Mac and Ernie’s Roadside Eatery in Tarpley.

Meals on Reels quail dish cropped

Grilled Quail with Silky Rose Petal Sauce

Dillingham was assisted by restaurateurs and chefs, including dames Nancy Fitch, Cathy Tarasovic, Lisa Wong, Jenny Mattingsly and Denise Mazel, as well as Central Market Cooking School Manager Mary Martini. Dessert was prepared by Dame Anne Ng, of Bakery Lorraine.

A group of five female culinary students from the Culinary Institute of America, enrolled in Dame Julia Rosenfeld’s writing class, also made an appearance. They, along with Rosenfeld, Cathy Tarasovic and I pitched in to help with the cheese course for the event.

Photographs by Susan Jaime and Bonnie Walker

Auction table, featuring photo of Auguste Escoffier, is set up early afternoon.

Auction table, featuring photo of Auguste Escoffier, is set up early afternoon.

Silent auction items were collected by dames Di-Anna Arias and Erica Hanchey.

Live auction items, which provided fun later in the evening, included a one-week stay in a picturesque San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; a three-day culinary trip to New York for two, including dinner at the James Beard House; a chef-prepared dinner for 10 at Osteria Il Sogno in San Antonio; a private party for up to 30 people at the Don Strange Ranch; and a gourmet dinner prepared by members of Les Dames for 10 people at the home of Dame Pat Mozersky.

This fundraiser might be over, but the culinary expertise of this active local chapter of the international Les Dames d’Escoffier is planning another event, The Plate Changer,

for later this year.

About Les Dames d’Escoffier International: This year, Les Dames d’Escoffier, San Antonio Chapter (LDEI-SA), celebrates its Twentieth Anniversary. Our membership consists of dedicated professional women in the culinary arts, hospitality, agriculture, and other related fields. Our emphasis is on education and philanthropy and through our efforts, we are strengthening our community by following in the footsteps of legendary members both past and present from around the country such as Julia Child, Edna Lewis, Marcella Hazan, and Alice Waters. We are especially inspired and encouraged by our own chapter’s premier trail blazer and San Antonio star, Rosemary Kowalski, founder and CEO Emeritus of the RK Group.

Rose petals for the quail course and fruit breads by Jenny Mattingsly

Rose petals for the quail course and fruit breads by Jenny Mattingsly

Chefs Nancy Fitch, Lisa Wong and Cathy Tarasovic

Chefs Nancy Fitch, Lisa Wong and Cathy Tarasovic

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Get Early Bird Pricing on Culinaria Festival Tickets

Get Early Bird Pricing on Culinaria Festival Tickets

Culinaria Festival Week tickets are now on sale — and you can get most at a discount.
At the Grand Tasting

At the Grand Tasting

For one week only, Culinaria is offering early bird pricing on most tickets for Festival Week, which takes place May 13-17.

Plans for this year’s five days of food, wine and spirits are underway. Events include the Grand Tasting, the Best of Mexico and Burgers, BBQ and Beer. Whether you’re interested in a single event or you want to taste everything, there are tickets for you.
To purchase your tickets to this year’s Festival Week at a discount, visit
Early bird pricing ends at midnight March 6. (FYI: Discounts do not apply to Wine or Tequila Dinners, Food Truck, or Bubble Room.)

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Empty Bowls for Full Bellies

Empty Bowls for Full Bellies

SONY DSCSAMMinistries and the San Antonio Potters Guild are teaming up for the 15th annual Empty Bowls on March 8.

It runs 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Southwest School of Art, 300 Augusta St.

During the event, patrons can purchase handcrafted bowls made for the event. For each bowl purchased, the guest can enjoy soup and bread provided by local restaurants.

All proceeds benefit San Antonio families facing homelessness who are served by SAMMinistries.

The organizers offer a reminder for those planning to attend the Sunday event: “Don’t forget to set your clocks forward one hour on the night of Saturday, March 7th. We don’t want you to miss out on the fun!”

Admission is free, but the bowls are being sold with all proceeds going to SAMMinistries. For more information, call 210-340-0302.

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Wine, Spirits Notes: Hill Country Symposium, Wine Dinners, More

Wine, Spirits Notes: Hill Country Symposium, Wine Dinners, More

Fredericksburg hosts wine symposium

Highlighting the expanded goals for Texas Hill Country Wineries, the association will be hosting the first ever Hill Country Wine Symposium in 2015. Topics from vineyard to winery and business to hospitality will be covered over the two-day conference on March 24 and 25 at the Hill Country University Center in Fredericksburg.

“Our committee has put together a great lineup of industry experts and we are expecting over 100 attendees from all over the state,” says Executive Director January Wiese. The Symposium is bringing in speakers from California including Clark Smith of WineSmith, Don Brady of Robert Hall Winery and Al Wagner of Clos du Val.

red wineTexas wine industry expert speakers include Fredrik Osterberg- Pedernales Cellars; Rae Wilson, Wine for the People; Tim Drake,  Drake Consulting; Dr. Julie Kuhlken, Pedernales Cellars; Dr. Russ Kane, Vintage Texas; Tammy Boatright and Lindsay Kana, VingDirect; Kimberly Frost, Martin Frost & Hill and more.

The Grape Exchange Wine Reception at the end of day 1 will be a chance for growers around the state to share wines from their vineyards with wineries looking for more fruit for 2015 and beyond.

Exhibitor tables will provide wineries and growers the opportunity to meet new vendors for their businesses as well. Sponsors for the Symposium include Hill Country University Center, C&C Sales & Marketing Glass Tech, Frost Bank and Marquee Event Group.

For more details and topics to be discussed, see here. Registration is open now. Non-members $125/one day or $200/both days.  For additional information on Texas Hill Country Wineries visit the website here.

McInnis joins Bending Branch Winery in Marketing

Bending Branch Winery is proud to announce that Jennifer McInnis has joined its team as the company’s marketing and sales manager. McInnis will be responsible for marketing initiatives, social media and on premise restaurant sales.

bendingbranchwinery_ corks 2021McInnis comes from the San Antonio Express-News, where she reported on the Texas wine industry for six years before being promoted to food & drink editor of the Sunday Taste section in April 2014.

“I am proud to join the Bending Branch team during this exciting time for the winery and the Texas wine industry. It’s impressive what they have accomplished in a little more than five years, and I’m thrilled to play a role in helping them achieve their goals for the future,” McInnis said.

Bending Branch Winery, a boutique winery near Comfort, Texas, is a sustainable practices and organically focused operation with 20 acres of vines, comprising 16 varieties. For more information, news and events, visit

Remy Martin Louis XIII dinner, a high-end experience

18 Oaks at the JW Marriott San Antonio will feature a rare and special dinner on Feb. 27. The steakhouse has partnered with Remy Martin for an exclusive Louis XIII Dinner Experience for a select number of guests.

Remy Martin box croppedGuests will dine on items such as a duck confit salad, Texas Wagyu filet and pan-seared scallops and a grapefruit mint sorbet paired with a perfectly matched wine selection.

Dinner, which starts at 7 p.m., will be followed by a guided tasting of Remy Martin’s Louis XIII.  18 Oaks at the JW Marriott is at  23808 Resort Parkway.

The price per person is $195 (includes dinner, wine and Louis XIII tasting).  Reservations are required; call 210-491-5825.


Single malt Scotch tasting coming up at Crumpets

When it comes to single malt scotch, age isn’t just a number; it’s the number that matters. Join Crumpets Restaurant & Bakery for an evening of elegant food and perfectly aged scotch on Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.

Scotch glass illustrationEnjoy five single malt scotch selections paired with five equally rich dishes. Dinner will begin with a 12-year-old Glenkinchie paired with a Fromage de Chevre in Puff Pastry followed by a 16-year-old Lagavulin matched with Smoked Salmon Canapés.

The mid-dinner meal will include a 12-year-old Cragganmore and Prosciutto-Stuffed Mushroom followed by a 10-year-old Braichladdich and Lamb Chops with Fresh Rosemary and Dijon Mustard before dessert, Chocolate Florentine and a 14-year-old Oban.

Call 210-821-5600 to reserve your seat at $65 per person plus tax and gratuity. Crumpets Restaurant & Bakery is located at 3920 Harry Wurzbach, San Antonio, TX, 78209.



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Fête du Cuvée Fine Wine Auction Approaches

Fête du Cuvée Fine Wine Auction Approaches

Fête du Cuvée Fine Wine Auction, the Junior League of San Antonio’s black tie affair is presented by Wave Healthcare. This event is at 6 p.m. March 7 at the Bright Shawl, 819 Augusta St.

Exclusive lots will be featured in a silent auction including unique offerings, large format bottles, libraries and allotment wines, while a live auction will include one-of-a kind offerings and along with food and wine pairings from nationally and locally acclaimed chefs.

The name, Fête du Cuvée, is a play on the term “tête de cuvée,” which means the top of the line from any Champagne house. The idea behind the event is a celebration of the best of the best.

Chefs and Cellars Champagne pour cropProceeds from the event will benefit the community programs and projects of the Junior League of San Antonio. More information on the event can be found at

Participate in a wine auction, expand your personal cellar and experience an evening of food and wine while supporting the efforts of the Junior League of San Antonio.

The Junior League of San Antonio is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable. The Junior League works with more than 60 local agencies each year, making it the non-profit that supports other non-profits in San Antonio.

2015 Fête du Cuvée featured chefs:

Lisa Astorga Watel-Bite Restaurant

Jeff White-Boiler House

Brooke Smith-The Esquire Tavern

Luis Colon-Folc

James Smith-Morton’s The Steakhouse

Tim McDiarmid-Tim The Girl

Johnny Hernandez-True Flavors

James Moore-TBA Lounge (Signature Cocktail-French 75)

2015 Fête du Cuvée PASTRY CHEFS

Caitline Nykiel-Saveurs 209

Elise Broz and Stacy Zymboly-Inspired Occasions

 Event Sponsorship and Ticket Details

Ticket options include:

  • Toast the Night Individual Ticket, $150 each, includes access to the silent auction, live auction, chef stations, all wine pairings, and a commemorative tasting glass. The reservation has non-reserved seating. Standing tables will be available through The Gallery and standing room access in the Ivy Room during the Live Auction.
  • Fête du Cuvée Patron Table of 10, $2,500 per table, includes invitations for 10. Access to the silent auction, live auction, chef stations, all wine pairings, commemorative tasting glasses and a 2015 Fête du Cuvée gift for each guest. The Patron Table also includes 10 tickets to the Cellar Party preview event held in February.
  • Fête du Cuvée Patron Ticket, $250 each, includes access to the silent auction, live auction, chef stations, all wine pairings, a commemorative tasting glass, and a 2015 Fête du Cuvée gift. Patron tickets include reserved seating during dinner and the Live Auction.

Custom sponsorship packages are available for this event. For Fête du Cuvée sponsorship information, contact event chairwoman Liz Lamoureux at or 210-213-0874. Net proceeds from Fête du Cuvée benefit The Junior League of San Antonio, Inc.


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