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Scenes from the Cowboy Breakfast

Scenes from the Cowboy Breakfast

Crowds fill the parking lot of the Cowboys Dancehall.

Crowds fill the parking lot of the Cowboys Dancehall.

The 37th Cowboy Breakfast drew tens of thousands of people out on a cool but clear Friday morning. The annual event, promoted as the world’s largest cooked breakfast, is always a draw, even when it rains, but in the right weather, the crowd can be fierce. And so, by 5:30 a.m., lines waiting for a free taco or biscuits stretched all the way across the parking lot of the Cowboys Dancehall.

Keeping the coal fires burning so the cooking can continue.

Keeping the coal fires burning so the cooking can continue.

By the end of the event, organizers were planning on having served:

  • 12,000 Kiolbassa Chorizo and egg tacos
  • 10,000 Pruski’s sausage and egg tacos
  • 10,000 Rudy’s BBQ beef tacos
  • 8,000 Pioneer Biscuits and Kiolbassa Sausage
  • 8,000 bacon and egg tacos
  • 5,000 potato and egg tacos
  • 5,000 Kiolbassa Sausage wraps
  • 5,000 pastries from Flowers Baking Company/Buttercrust
  • 5,000 pints Oak Farms milk and orange juice
  • 2,500 servings of Pioneer Biscuits and gravy

No one knows how any cups of coffee McDonald’s would be served or how many Mission Tortillas would be used.

It takes a team to wrap the sausages.

It takes a team to wrap the sausages.

The event is sponsored by Jordan Ford, which provided the vans that transported people from the parking lot at the nearby Rialto movie theater to the breakfast site.

On Thursday, the Cowboy Breakfast showed its appreciation for wounded warriors, their families and support staff by delivering tacos and biscuits and gravy to the Warrior Family Support Center at Brooke Army Medical Center.

How did all this get started? A press release on the event offered a little history: “Paying homage to the trail riders of the Old West, the Cowboy Breakfast began in 1979 with a handful of cooks and grills in the parking lot of Central Park Mall, its home for 23 years, as the sendoff for trail riders beginning the annual trek to the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo.”


That cooler full of taco filling will empty quickly.

That cooler full of taco filling will empty quickly.

A hot cup of coffee and a taco are worth the wait.

A hot cup of coffee is worth the wait.

The action behind the scenes is non-stop.

The action behind the scenes is non-stop.

Warm tacos and a friendly smile to start the day.

Warm tacos and a friendly smiles a great way to start the day.

It's never too early to ride a mechanical bull.

It’s never too early to ride a mechanical bull.

Waiting for the rest of the day to begin.

Waiting for the rest of the day to begin.

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Calling All Carnivores: Meat Week Is Upon Us

Calling All Carnivores: Meat Week Is Upon Us

meatweekMeat Week begins Sunday, and you know you’ve been hankering for it.

The fun starts at Big Bob’s Burgers, 4553 N. Loop 1604 W., with the 50/50/50 burger. Get there after 4 p.m. and enjoy a promotion with Alamo Beer Co. As a promotion for the event reads, “Bob has his famous Meat Week San Antonio 50/50/50 burger to help us celebrate — that’s BEEF, BACON, PORK BUTT oh my!”

The weeklong series of events includes:

  • Monday — Smoke Shack, 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday — B&D Ice, 6:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday — B-Daddy’s BBQ, 6 p.m.
  • Thursday — The County Line on 1-10, 6:30 p.m.
  • Friday — The grand opening of Dignowity Meats with Alamo Beer Co., 6-9 p.m. RSVP required.
  • Saturday — The Point Park & Eats food truck extravaganza and tap takeover.
  • Sunday, Feb. 1 — A bike run to Taps y Tapas is at 2 p.m. followed by a Super Bowl Party at the Bungalow with kickoff at 5:30 p.m.

For more details, email local hosts Denise or Noel at


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Get Ready for a Day of Pork, Drink and Fun

Get Ready for a Day of Pork, Drink and Fun

The pigs are getting fat, and the next Creole boucherie is in the works.

pigDon’t know what a boucherie is? Well, Urban Dictionary defines it as “a party distinguished by consumption of mass quantities of food, beer, soft drinks and hard liquor.” In other words, food and fun.

It all begins at 11 a.m. Feb. 8 at Vintage Heart Farm, which is providing the pigs. You’ll also get demonstrations from John Russ of Lüke San Antonio, Pieter Sypesteyn of the Cookhouse and Where Y’At, Diego Galicia and Rico Torres from Mixtli, and Heather Nanez from Bohanan’s with guest appearances from other San Antonio chefs. Cocktails will be under the care of Jesse Torres from Mixtli and Mezcaleria Mixtli.

“We will kick off the day with a traditional grit and grillades brunch,” an announcement of the event says. “Throughout the day our chefs will be demonstrating how to make classic recipes using the whole pig. Our Sunday afternoon supper begins at 3 p.m. featuring a collection of dishes that our chefs have demonstrated.”

The boucherie will be taking place outside on a working farm, so plan and dress accordingly.

Vintage Heart Farm is at 1700 CR 332, Stockdale.

Tickets are $150 for adults or $75 for children under 10, plus processing fee. For tickets click here.

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Do You Have What It Takes to Be Part of the Slim Down Showdown?

Do You Have What It Takes to Be Part of the Slim Down Showdown?

Can you lose weight, eat healthier and change your lifestyle for the better?
Changing your life for the better is the goal of the Slim Down Showdown.

Changing your life for the better is the goal of the Slim Down Showdown.

Thirty-five people from across the state hope so. H-E-B has named members of the public and their own employees to participate in the fifth anniversary of the H-E-B Slim Down Showdown. Presented with Nestle, Beanitos and belVita, this is a 16-week contest designed to provide contestants with the education and tools they need to live a healthier lifestyle, and the chance to win cash prizes.

You may not have been chosen for the contest, but you, too, can take part. Details on that appear below.
In the Community Contest, 15 members of the public were chosen to compete for a grand prize of $10,000 and a Healthy Hero prize of $5,000. They will embark on a life-changing journey alongside 15 H-E-B employees, or partners, who are eligible for a separate grand prize of $10,000 and a Healthy Hero prize of $5,000.
As part of the fifth anniversary celebration, H-E-B has selected five Second Chance partners who have previously participated in a past season of Slim Down Showdown. The Second Chance winner will receive $2,500.

The 15 Slim Down Showdown Community Contestants are:
  • Michael Plata, San Benito
  • Bonnie Tisdale, McAllen
  • Janie Ramirez, Edinburg
  • Darralyn Johnson, Austin
  • Robin Russelll, Granbury
  • Nathan Dennis, College Station
  • Veronica Allen, Houston
  • David Nungaray, San Antonio
  • Tamlynn Niemietz, New Braunfels
  • Cathleen Nogueron, San Antonio
  • Bobby Mowles, Victoria
  • Terra Gauvain, Austin
  • Michael Wise, Katy
  • Petra Pearce, San Antonio
  • Clay Jackson, Houston 
 The 15 Slim Down Showdown Partner Contestants are:
  • Jose Trevino, Mission
  • Lettie Tellez, Raymondville
  • Santos Segovia, Mission
  • Shay Malcolm, Austin
  • Rebecca Lockridge, Waxahachie
  • Courtney Combs, Austin
  • Brock Hartman, Corpus Christi
  • Michelle Mathis, Rosenberg
  • Brandon Singleton, Houston
  • Daisy Gallegos, Houston
  • James Griffith, San Antonio
  • Veronica Jones, San Antonio
  • Manuel Naredo, San Antonio
  • Laura Cuellar, San Antonio
  • Jeremy Peebles, Corpus Christi 

The 5 Slim Down Showdown “Second Chance” Partners are:

  • Jessica Flores, Houston
  • Douglas Macis, Austin
  • Albert Moreno, Weslaco
  • Anastacia Chadis, Corpus Christi
  • Jacquelyn Ary, Brownsville

Contestants were chosen based on their willingness to embrace the program and to publicly share their journey and the resulting lifestyle changes through blogs, vlogs and social media. Grand prize winners are selected based on overall health improvement, participation and fan engagement. Healthy Hero winners demonstrate the most progress on health markers such as body mass index, blood glucose and cholesterol levels.
From Jan. 17-23, all contestants will come to San Antonio to participate in Fit Camp, an intensive, week-long wellness program with experts from H-E-B, Methodist Healthcare and the Cooper Aerobics Center. H-E-B manages the contest, including overall nutrition and fitness education. Methodist Healthcare provides medical oversight and testing for the program and Cooper provides expert speakers for Fit Camp.
Once they return home, contestants will receive one-on-one coaching and support from H-E-B’s registered dietitians in addition to their individual meal plans and fitness goals developed during Fit Camp. They also receive a one-year gym membership, courtesy of Gold’s Gym, to help them with their fitness routine. Winners will be announced on May 9 at a ceremony at the Henry B Gonzales Convention Center in conjunction with the H-E-B Health & Wellness Family Expo.  
Each week throughout the Showdown, the contestants will be blogging and vlogging about their experience. You can read about their journey at or participate yourself by taking part in the Slim Down Showdown Challenge, an online healthy living course with recipes, workouts, summaries, videos, and a mobile tracker for weight. Last year, nearly 9,600 people signed up for the online challenge and recorded losing a total of 71,429 pounds.
This year, participants can log their progress to help their hometown win the H-E-B Community Challenge, a one-of-a kind competition that runs from January through April and mobilizes schools, businesses, organizations, individuals and leaders toward the common goal of transforming their community’s health. Five communities will be named winners with one participating school in each of the winning communities receiving a $1,000 grant. Winning schools and communities will be recognized at the Slim Down Showdown Finale on May 9 in San Antonio.
For more information, visit

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Becker Wines: Hilltop Cafe Vintner Dinner; TX Winery Picks

Becker Wines: Hilltop Cafe Vintner Dinner; TX Winery Picks

Another dinner, with fine food, fun and great wine is scheduled in the Texas Hill Country, at the Hill Top Cafe outside of Fredericksburg on U.S. 87.

This Hill Top Café Vintner Dinner with Becker Vineyards will be Sunday, Jan. 25 beginning with a 5 p.m. reception.

Hill Top Neon SignProprietors Johnny and Brenda Nicholas will be welcoming guests during the reception before starting the several course dinner. Along with being co‐proprietor of the Hill Top Cafe, Brenda Nicholas is also the culinary director. She is creating the seasonal menu to pair with Becker wines. Also attending will be Johnny Nicholas and Drew and Laura Tallent.

Richard and Bunny Becker, proprietors of Becker Vineyards, and Nichole Bendele, public relations and Tasting Room coordinator for Becker Vineyards will also attend.

The dinner will be $75 plus tax and gratuity. The reception is at 5 p.m., dinner is at 5:30  p.m. For reservations, please contact the Hill Top Café at 830‐997‐8922. Or, email at

Menu and wines follow.

Reception:  Becker Vineyards’ 2013 Provenςal

First Course: Duck Confit Spring Rolls served with C-4 Ranch Beet Greens with Becker Vineyards’ 2012 Autumno (60 percent Merlot, 40 percent Cabernet Sauvignon)

Second Course:  Sunshine Honey Bee Farms Mixed Greens with C-4 Ranch Beets, Texas Rio Star Grapefruit, Texas Chevre, Lightly Toasted Native Pecans and Prickly Pear Vinaigrette with Becker Vineyards’ 2012 (50 percent Barbera, 50 percent Merlot)

Third Course: Bandera Semi Boneless Quail stuffed with Louisiana Crawfish Dressing and served with C-4 ranch Roasted Winter Vegetables with Becker Vineyards’ 2012 Raven (75 percent Malbec, 25 percent Petite Verdot)

Grilled Gulf Catch of the day with Sweet Ginger Chimichurri with Becker Vineyards’ 2013 White Wing (Sauvignon Blanc)

Fourth Course: Brenda’s Dark Chocolate Valrhona Cake and Chantilly Cream with Becker Vineyards’ 2012 Primavera (70 percent Merlot, 30 percent Syrah)


Becker, McPherson make top 101 winery list from

Becker Vineyards 2013 Provencal croppedTwo Texas wineries made the “101 Best Wineries in America” list released by Microsoft’s

At No. 87 was McPherson Cellars, in Lubbock. Becker Vineyards in Stonewall, was No. 93.

Check out the rest of the list here.



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Culinary Cause: Great Flicks, Food and Fundraising

Culinary Cause: Great Flicks, Food and Fundraising

The San Antonio chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI) is hosting Meals on Reels on Thursday, Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. at The St. Anthony Hotel, 300 East Travis Street, San Antonio, TX 78205.

LDEI is a charitable organization of women in the culinary fields. The San Antonio chapter celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2015.

The event will feature a cocktail reception plus cooking demonstrations and a multi-course dinner of movie-inspired fare.

julie_and_julia 2 posterAll of the meals will be prepared by esteemed members of the local chapter. Each course will be paired with wine and a culinary-themed movie clip. Courses include Lobster Bisque; Quail with Rose Petal Sauce; Palate Cleanser; Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon; a cheese course presented by Jarlsberg; and multiple desserts. The event will be supported by The St. Anthony Hotel catering staff.

Lots of glitter and some great items will complete the scene with silent and live auctions.

Tickets are $175 per person with corporate tables available. Seating is limited to ensure the highest quality culinary experience for all guests.

Tickets can be purchased by purchasing tickets here.

Meals on Reels will help fund the Les Dames San Antonio chapter’s scholarships, grants and Green Tables program.

LDEI is a non-profit international association of women with successful careers in food, wine, hospitality, nutrition and agriculture. The group is dedicated to assisting others through scholarships, education, advocacy and philanthropy.

copper panLocal LDEI members undertake a range of philanthropic activities throughout the year including support for the Time Dollar Community Connections garden, Green Spaces Alliance and the Farm-to-School program. Generous college scholarships are presented to women from the San Antonio area to study in culinary-related, hospitality, beverage or agricultural fields. LDEI also supports Roy Mass Youth Alternatives with an upscale Holiday Party for the children it serves that includes a steak dinner, gifts and entertainment. In addition, LDEI members lead nutrition and cooking classes throughout the community.

For additional information about the San Antonio chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International and the Meals on Reels fundraiser, please visit the chapter’s website at, or contact event co-chairs Blanca Aldaco or Kathy Shearer (210-861-5346).

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Learning Can Be Fun — When You’re Learning About Cocktails

Learning Can Be Fun — When You’re Learning About Cocktails

The San Antonio Cocktail Conference is fast approaching. And while the parties you’ve grown to love, including the opening night gathering at the Majestic Theater and the Houston Street stroll, are back, so are more seminars than ever.


The Aviation

These get-togethers, on both Friday and Saturday, Jan. 16-17, focus on all aspects of the cocktail, from setting up your own home bar to creating your own signature cocktail as well as discussions on gin, various types of whiskeys and more.

The following is a list of the seminars, a brief description of each, the time, the place and the price.

For a full schedule, click here.

Terroir and Sustainability: A Conversation
Sheraton Gunter Hotel, Friday, January 16, 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

While the tasting of a spirit allows us to explore its profile, taste, and aroma, few things speak louder about a spirit’s DNA than its terroir. Come and hear from two premium brands at SACC, including the Peruvian Pisco Portón, discussing the importance of enforcing an artisanal and sustainable approach in the making of their spirit. Join in the discussion and learn about the important steps taken to shape the future of the industry. Tasting is required.

  • Price: $35

How Sweet of You: Discovering Sweeteners in Cocktails
Sheraton Gunter Hotel, Friday, January 16, 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

Discuss the various sweetening agents and alternatives, and how each affects the taste of cocktails.

  • Price: $35
aviation rickey2

The Gin Rickey

Part 1: The ABC’s of North American Whiskeys
Sheraton Gunter Hotel, Friday, January 16, 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

Discover the history of the evolution of American whiskey at a tasting workshop on the styles and definitions of American and Canadian whiskeys.

  • Price: $35

Gin Is In, but What’s IN your Gin?
Bar 414 at Sheraton Gunter Hotel, Friday, January 16, 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

A discussion and educational presentation on gin botanicals, why the brands use what they use, and how to pair the gin you use with a particular brand of tonic. Combining Spanish gin and the tonic culture.

  • Price: $35

Self-Branding for Bartenders
Sheraton Gunter Hotel, Friday, January 16, 1:00 – 2:15 p.m.

It may come as a surprise… but you are a brand. Not in the “Let’s go buy a Super Bowl commercial or 2-story gin cannon” way, but by the most basic definition of the word. The question is are you ACTING like a brand? Building your personal brand and maintaining it is so important in today’s competitive job market, and you must become your own best advocate, setting yourself up for the future job you’ll apply for, creating buzz around your name, self-branding is vital and it’s the first step in the networking process.

  • Price: $35


The Mechanics of the Hustle
Sheraton Gunter Hotel, Friday, January 16, 1:00 – 2:15 p.m.

With craft cocktails all the rage at the moment, bars need to speed up service without compromising quality. Demand is off the charts and it is our job to keep up the supply. As bartenders/bar managers at three very different high-volume craft cocktail bars in three of the largest markets in the US, these are women with a few tricks up their sleeves.

  • Price: $35

The Four Seasons of Cognac
Sheraton Gunter Hotel, Friday, January 16, 1:00 – 2:15 p.m.

From winter to summer, cognac finds its place in every cocktail. Experience cognac through a hands-on seminar aimed at highlighting the aroma profile of the spirit. Discover the seasonality of cognac through an incredible tasting showcasing nine different cognacs along with a spice & condiment pairing plate.

  • Price: $35

Scotland vs. Mexico Parte Dos
The Last Word, Friday January 16, 1:30 – 2:45 p.m.

We will build upon last year’s Scotland vs Mexico by comparing rare Milagro and Glenfiddich liquids. We’ll add a “bridge” spirit, using a traditional Oaxacan espadin Mezcal, Montelobos. This seminar will invite guests to discover new tastes and palates in spirits they might have overlooked by showing similarities in their aromas, craft and production.

  • Price: $45

Part 2: Pappy Hour – what’s All the Fuss About?
Sheraton Gunter Hotel, Friday, January 16, 1:30 – 2:45 p.m.

Enjoy a brief history of the Stitzel Weller Distillery and an explanation of the move to premium for American whiskies, from the glut years to the bourbon mania of the present. A panel of experts will participate in a discussion of how American whiskey still delivers incredible value, including suggestions on bottles that are delicious, readily available, and won’t break the bank.

  • Price: $35
The Chelsea Sidecar

The Chelsea Sidecar

The Cocky Rooster
Bar 414 at Sheraton Gunter Hotel, Friday, January 16, 1:30 – 2:45 p.m.

Mixology is a craft and the #1 trend across the US. That figure behind the bar is not simply an autonomous drink mixer; to the patrons, the bartender is the most powerful figure in the restaurant/bar. When facing an abyss of trend thirsty individuals looking to socialize for hours over several hand crafted cocktails, it can be easy to lose the meaning of “Hospitable Service”. A discussion of today’s definition of ‘mixologist’ – sometimes humorous, but always educational – and ideas for making patrons feel welcome. No intimidation: we’re bringing service back!

  • Price: $35

Cocktail Branches
Sheraton Gunter Hotel, Friday, January 16, 3:00 – 4:15 p.m.

Following the release of the book, Cocktail Branches, this seminar takes some of the most popular classic cocktails made today and shows you just where you can go with them. Michael explores all the hidden variations for a broader drinking society!

  • Price: $35

Deadly Games (Nitrogen, Fire & Stupidity)
Sheraton Gunter Hotel, Friday, January 16, 3:00 – 4:15 p.m.

David Denney, one of the nation’s best-known hospitality attorneys, and Jason Kosmas, co-founder of both Employees Only (World’s Best Cocktail Bar 2011 – Tales of the Cocktail) and 86 Co. Spirits, will present a session on the business and legal aspects of some all-too-common practices that can leave guests seriously injured and put bars into financial ruin. The session will discuss some significant examples from around the world involving the dangerous service of alcohol. From dangerous service to dram shop liability, bar owners and professionals will learn from actual examples, with takeaways that will directly impact their businesses upon returning from SACC.

  • Price: $35

The Importance of Yeast in Spirits Production
Sheraton Gunter Hotel, Friday, January 16, 3:00 – 4:15 p.m.

Usually when discussing distilled spirits, fermentation is just given a quick nod. But the fact that without it we would not be able to distill and create our spirits at all. Join us as we discuss the process of fermentation, where it begins and ends and its importance in creating the base line of your flavor profile in agave spirits and beer. You will sample a hand-made and bottle fermented shandy with a local beer and agave syrup, as well as a deliciously refreshing beer and tequila cocktail.

  • Price: $35
The Clover Club

The Clover Club

The Psychology of Ordering: Understanding what your Guests Want and Why they Want It
Sheraton Gunter Hotel, Friday, January 16, 3:00 – 4:15 p.m.

There are many factors that determine what a customer orders and why. This seminar aims to help bartenders, managers and servers better understand and satisfy their guests’ needs by exploring the psychology of ordering. This seminar will cover the psychological impact of things such as atmosphere, menu design and staff attitude on your guests with an end goal of giving the best service possible.

  • Price: $35

“Real Substance” – How the Martini Helped Shape Cocktail Culture
Sheraton Gunter Hotel, Saturday, January 17, 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

No one drink has been more instrumental in defining cocktail culture than the martini. Yet the martini’s origins are anything but clear. It is the mythical beast in the realm of drink. No one knows for certain when or where this intoxicating combination of hard water and fortified wine came to be, but one thing is for certain: without the martini the world would be a much less sophisticated place. join us as we look back at the roots of the world’s most iconic cocktail and learn how one drink has helped to shape the way cocktails are enjoyed today.

  • Price: $35

What Now? – Career Opportunities for Professional Bartenders Beyond the Bar
St. Anthony Hotel, Saturday, January 17, 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

We live in an age where there is an unprecedented demand for highly skilled professional bartenders. With a demand like this there are scores of new career paths opening up for young men and women with the right training and correct motivation. Do you have what it takes? Panel Guests: Jason Kosmas (founder – 86 Co., co-founder – Employees Only NYC), Omar YeeFoon (Brand Ambassador – 86 Co.), Curtis Cheney (bartender turned distiller), and Bill Norris (writer/beverage director).

  • Price: $35


Exploring Honey Cocktails
Sheraton Gunter Hotel, Saturday, January 17, 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Honey has long been used as a tasty sweetener in cocktails both classic and new, but most mixologists have a limited understanding of the range of aromas and flavors that nature’s spectrum of honey varietals can bring. Join Charlotte Voisey for a lively, fun and educational tasting of honey, spirits and cocktails!

  • Price: $35

Tex vs. Mex: Texas Flavors vs. Mexican Spirits
The Last Word, Saturday, January 16, 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

Tex-Mex has been marginalized as bad tacos and – even worse – margaritas. So it’s time to look beyond the mixto tequilas and sour mix. This seminar explores the smoke and spice of current Mexican spirits and liqueurs and pairs them with true Tex-Mex – Texas BBQ and authentic Mexican cuisine. Attendees palettes will be tested as a range of Mexican spirits are paired with cocktails beyond the margarita and the two best cuisines that Texas has to offer.

  • Price: $45

Mixology 101: Build Your Own Signature Cocktail
Sheraton Gunter Hotel, Saturday, January 17, 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

Ever wanted to mix and create a signature cocktail of your very own? Now’s your chance! Join Jonathan Pogash, “The Cocktail Guru”, for a hands-on, fun and informative session on how to choose flavor ingredients and create balanced drinks. We will delve into a bit of cocktail history, learn about bar tools and proper techniques, and ultimately let loose and experiment with some of the best seasonal mixers and quality spirits on the market. It’s all about creativity and fun!

  • Price: $50

From Berry to Beverage: The Story of Juniper
Sheraton Gunter Hotel, Saturday, January 17, 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

What is this mystery berry that makes gin so unique? Accompanied by classic and innovative juniper-based libations, Kerrin will discuss the history of juniper and its evolution from mythical medicinal wonder to spirits world game changer.

  • Price: $35
The Negroni

The Negroni

Porch Cocktails? F-sho!
Patio at Luke Riverwalk, Saturday, January 17, 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

In New Orleans, they don’t hide crazy; they parade it on the front porch and give it a cocktail! Join Chef John Russ on his ‘front porch’ and learn the history and traditionsof the porch lifestyle of the Mid-City New Orleans. Recipes, anecdotes and rumination on those often lambasted but truly loved drinks will be shared among friends!

  • Price: $45

White Whiskey: The Flavorful Alternative to Vodka
St. Anthony Hotel, Saturday, January 17, 1:00 – 2:15 p.m.

Head distiller and co-founder of Ranger Creek, TJ Miller, will discuss the process and techniques for making white whiskey and the flavor component it can add to cocktails.

  • Price: $35

Are You Experienced?
Sheraton Gunter Hotel, Saturday, January 17, 1:00 – 2:15 p.m.

Choosing a cocktail and the right music may not be separate decisions. What should you be drinking when listening to different genres of music? When listening to jazz, country, blues – whatever the vibe is – we will examine how these two cultures are perfectly harmonious.

  • Price: $35

Whiskey Bon Voyage
San Antonio River Cruise – Launch from IBC Plaza, Saturday, January 17, 1:00 – 2:15 p.m.

Join Daniel Barnes and Matt Moody in this one of a kind tasting while traveling by barge on the San Antonio River. Learn about the qualities that make this spirit unique by tasting through a few out-of-production bottles, modern bottles, and some very special treats from Treaty Oak Distilling. Guaranteed to rock the boat – sign up quickly, seating is very limited.

  • Price: $45
The Gimlet

The Gimlet

Bohanan’s, Saturday, January 17, 1:00 – 2:15 p.m.

Join John Garrett, David Suro and Judah Kuper to celebrate two maestros of Mezcal, Aquilino Garcia Lopez (Oaxaca) of Mezcal Vago and Emilio Vieyra (Michoacán) of Siembra Metl. These mezcaleros will share their stories from growing up surrounded by this special art, to the struggles and triumphs along the way. This special engagement will allow you to hear how they are preparing for the future, and about the passion and persistence it takes to ensure a place in this growing category. Discuss the differences between Oaxaca and Michoacan with tastings from each producer.

  • Price: $45

Shaking It Up with Champagne!
Sheraton Gunter Hotel, Saturday, January 17, 1:00 – 2:15 p.m.

Join LUPEC NYC ladies, Meaghan Dorman (Raines Lawroom, Dear Irving), and Lynette Marrero (Speed Rack, DrinksAt6) for an effervescent discussion on mixing booze and bubbles. Explore Nicolas Feuillate champagne craft cocktails while learning how to elevate the cocktail experience with different expressions of this quality ingredient. Participants will come away with a higher appreciation of the value to quality ratio that champagne can bring to beverages.

  • Price: $45

The Speakeasy Experience in your own Home Bar
Sheraton Gunter Hotel, Saturday, January 17, 1:30 – 2:45 p.m.

How did a guy whose professional background is finance, whose career is entrenched in corporate strategy, with NO professional bar training, get inspired by leading mixologists like Meehan and Schwartz and Morgenthaler to become a non-professional professional behind his own home bar? Jack Preston spends his days in corporate America as SVP of Finance & Strategy for Restoration Hardware, and his nights hosting guests in his home – with a bar menu that rivals some of the best bars and speakeasies around. Jack will take you on his journey to test over 160 cocktails and teach you how to take your bar to the next level, including buying liquors that make a difference, creating your custom menu and acquiring the best tools. Bonus: “To vodka or not to vodka”.

  • Price: $45

The Relativity of Flavor Pairing
The Last Word, Saturday, January 17, 1:30 – 2:45 p.m.

A scientifically insightful approach to pairing food with drinks, focusing on beer, spirits, and cocktails. We’ll cover the science of flavor perception using all the senses and relating it to the format of the paired dinners. Exploring food and drink-centric cultures beyond our borders to give a true perspective on what it takes to give meaning to a spirits/cocktail/beer dinner. We’ll take your spirited dinner from an unrelated food/brand showcase to an harmonic, convergent and synergic experience.

  • Price: $45

Old School Distilling Families/New School Spirits
St. Anthony Hotel, Saturday,January 17, 3:00 – 4:15 p.m.

The history of the Henderson Family in the bourbon industry: the story behind the creation of Angel’s Envy, some of the highest rated new whiskies in the world, secondary barrel finishes, integration into old school and new generation cocktail creations, and lots of laughs. There will be lots of room for questions – this seminar is highly interactive and fluid!

  • Price: $45

Into the Glass
Sheraton Gunter Hotel, Saturday, January 17, 3:00 – 4:15 p.m.

Dushan and Jason explore where inspiration comes from to figure out how you can get flavors into the glass. Sometimes it is an ingredient, sometimes a spirit or a technique, sometimes a classic cocktaili or even an occasion – regardless, cocktails are about a time and place. Learn different ways to achieve flavor and then determine how to incorporate them.

  • Price: $35
Tom Collins

Tom Collins

Brandy Cocktails: A Flight of Brandy for Tasting & Accompanying Appetizers
Sheraton Gunter Hotel, Saturday, January 17, 3:00 – 4:15 p.m.

This seminar is a small group exploration of assorted brandy cocktails paired with simply elegant noshes – bites that also incorporate the spirits. Olaf will create gastriques and reductions and work them into cocktails giving you a sneak peek into the way he entertains at home.

  • Price: $45

Guilty Pleasure
Sheraton Gunter Hotel, Saturday, January 17, 3:00 – 4:15 p.m.

In this seminar we will examine the symbiotic pleasures of pairing chocolate with spirits. Maybe the two should always be enjoyed together! Chocolate with bourbon, chocolate with rum, chocolate with cognac, and chocolate with sherry – we will have a sinfully good time enjoying every combination. With Dallas Chocolatier, Dude, Sweet Chocolate.

  • Price: $35

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January Locavore Dinner Has Been Canceled

January Locavore Dinner Has Been Canceled

This event has been canceled. Look for announcements of future events at Sandy  Oaks Olive Orchard.


ELMENDORF — “Delicious” has a whole new connotation.

Farm-to-table, locavore, eating local, sustainable and organic farming – all of these terms have been used increasingly in the past decade or more, indicating that what tastes good should also be good for you.

WarmOlives1The commitment by farmers and other food producers to high-quality, sustainable growing practices for food that is robust in nutrition and flavor, has been at the heart of the locavore movement and adding a defining touch to fine dining.

This is not a simple effort, but a far-reaching philosophy that’s put down roots in every aspect of food production in farms throughout the United States as well as internationally. From site preparation to planting, fertilizing to harvest, and finally to the dining table, the locavore movement is thriving.

One important tenant to the locavore philosophy is to try to limit the transportation of food for hundreds or thousands of miles to its final destination. The positive result of this is that the numbers of small farms in America, once dwindling, are now on the rebound.

At Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard, sustainable practices have yielded an agricultural product that many said couldn’t be raised in Texas.

Sandy Oaks at harvest time, 2014.

Sandy Oaks at harvest time, 2014.

Not only is the ranch raising olives – many varieties of them – the quality of the olives, olive products and oil, is exceptional by industry standards. Sandy Oaks is certainly one of the best examples of how attention to best practices in agriculture yields great benefits – even under challenging conditions.

Founded by pioneering olive grower Saundra Winokur in the late 1990s, Sandy Oaks is an ideal place for initiating a new series of dining and learning experiences showcasing products from fruits, vegetables, breads and cheeses to wine grown and produced within a 100-mile radius.

The Locavore Dinner Series, beginning Jan. 16, will be dedicated to the farmers
in this area who will showcase their products and tell their stories. The series of
six dinners will be held outdoors in good weather or in a spacious and
well-appointed indoor dining area in inclement weather.

“In addition to our producing of a food product – olives from our olive orchard — which is very important, we also have a chef’s garden that uses the same organic principles and practices with growing herbs and vegetables,” says Winokur.

“Olives are our major crop, of course, but we are also trying other fruits as well, such as figs and pomegranates. We test what works best in our sandy soil out here, as well as in our microclimate.

“We constantly try to expand on our food presence here and that will eventually include grass-fed beef from animals we are raising now,” Winokur says.

Saundra Winokur photo cropped horiz

Saundra Winokur, founder of Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard.

“In addition to what we practice as farmers, we’ve also created an on-site restaurant that supports local growers. We have a strong belief in farmers markets and support them – we take our products to the Pearl Farmers Market in San Antonio each week.

“We pay tribute in many ways to farmers – and artisans – how hard they do the difficult work of farming here in South Texas. And, this is what the new Locavore Dinner Series 2015 is all about,” says Winokur.

The founder’s philosophy is shared by executive chef Chris Cook and the other enthusiastic staffers at Sandy Oaks.

Cook’s vision of the Sandy Oaks Locavore Dinner Series is to focus as much on education as on the food he and his staff prepare for the meals. Also, noting Winokur’s emphasis on promoting individual farmers, Cook says their goal is to have most, if not all, food served during the series be locally sourced (within a 100-mile radius).

Those who sit down to the table will be able to talk to some of the farmers or vintners who produced the food and wine that is on each menu after listening to them describe their work.

Food and Beverage Director, Chef Chris Cook

Executive Chef Chris Cook

The fact that the meal will be served at a long, communal table to a limited number of guests is fitting for a farm-to-table style dinner – and also, says Cook, “I’m hoping at the end of the meal everyone who’s attending knows everyone else’s name.”

“It’s important to me that people not only have a good meal, but have also come away knowing more about where their food comes from, how it is produced and why they should eat locally.

“At Sandy Oaks, we hold this philosophy near and dear to our hearts – and we try not to make compromises,” says Cook.


Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard Locavore Dinner Series 2015                               

This is the first in a series of six dinners. SavorSA will post the dinners before they are scheduled. 

January 16, 2015. 6 p.m. reception; 7 p.m. dinner. $80 plus gratuity.

Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard, 25195 Elmendorf, Texas. Please purchase tickets online or by calling 210-621-0044. See Sandy Oaks’ website at for more information and directions to the ranch, which is about 25 minutes’ drive from downtown San Antonio.


Pontotoc Vineyards,

My Father’s Farm,

Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard,


Tour of Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard with olive oil tasting

Selection of Texas cheeses, pickled seasonal vegetables

Pontotoc Estate Tempranillo


Peeler Farms Chicken Cassoulet, My Father’s Farm beet and spinach

Pontotoc Smoothing Iron


Sandy Oaks Olive Oil-poached Gulf Shrimp, pomegranate and sweet potato

Pontotoc Valley Spring


My Father’s Farm Smoked Turnip and Cilantro Bisque, crispy kale and pickled radish

Pontotoc Spy Rock


Sandy Oaks Olive Oil Cake, pear and vanilla brulée, dried grapefruit

Pontotoc San Fernando Academy

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GauchoGourmet Holidays! Book Signing, Toy Drive for the Kids

GauchoGourmet Holidays! Book Signing, Toy Drive for the Kids

Gaucho Gourmet’s Saturday Market this week will feature a Texas-sized Holiday Book Signing, with six authors present and signing four great Texas food books.

This is a one-time chance to pick up gifts for the food-lovers on your holiday gift lists, and have them signed. The following authors will be on hand Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.:
Texas Hill Country Cookbook• Chef Terry Thompson-Anderson, veteran chef and culinary instructor, will be present to sign her cookbook “Texas on the Table: People, Places and Recipes Celebrating the Lone Star State,” destined to become the definitive book on Texas cooking.
• Chef Scott Cohen, former executive chef of Las Canarias at La Mansion del Rio Hotel and current instructor at Le Cordon Bleu Austin, is signing his “The Texas Hill Country Cookbook – A Taste of Provence” for the discriminating palate and lover of local products.
• Renowned Hill Country Chef Ross Burtwell and contributing author Julia Celeste Rosenfeld are signing their striking “Texas Hill Country Cuisine: Flavors from the Cabernet Grill Texas Wine Country Restaurant,” perfect for all Hill Country cuisine and Texas wine connoisseurs.
• Bonnie Walker and John Griffin will be signing their recently published “Barbecue Lover’s Texas – Restaurants, Markets, Recipes & Traditions” for the guys and gals who are meat lovers (especially barbecue!) on your Christmas list.

Toys for Tots Benefit now through Dec. 13 — win a giant Pannettone

GauchoGourmet is also accepting donations of new, unwrapped toys between Mon, Dec. 6 through Saturday Dec. 13 to benefit Toys for Tots and ultimately the less fortunate children in our community. This toy drive is in conjunction with Groomer’s Seafood.

panettone albertengoWith each donation dropped off at GauchoGourmet, the donor’s name will be entered into GauchoGourmet’s biggest and best giveaway yet. The winner will be announced Sept. 13 at 2 p.m. and will receipve a specially ordered 22 pound Panettone Christmas cake, made by artisanal producer Albertengo, from Italy.

Bring toys, sample some of the great holiday gourmet items at GauchoGourmet and pck up gifts — all this Saturday.


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6 Ways to Help the Less Fortunate This Season

6 Ways to Help the Less Fortunate This Season

SAN ANTONIO FOOD BANK: Benefiting the hungry in San Antonio

Turn hungry holidays into happy holidays by ordering holiday cards from the San Antonio Food Bank. Designed by the Food Bank, you can send these cards to family, friends, coworkers, colleagues, and clients to wish them a happy holiday while helping to put food on the tables of those in need. Purchase cards here.

Christmas at the Caverns: Perfect for families and visiting relatives! Beginning on November 28 and running through December 23, Natural Bridge Caverns will be illuminated by thousands of twinkling lights outside along with two new underground Christmas shows and other holidays attractions on the grounds. $2 from every ticket will be donated to the San Antonio Food Bank and if you bring two cans of food to donate as well, you will receive a $2 gift card to use for food, beverage, or retail items at the park.  For more information and list of all holiday attractions click here.

NUTCRACKER SWEETS: Benefiting Battered Women and Children’s Center

The popular Nutcracker Sweets holiday tasting event is back – bigger and more scrumptious than ever. The event venue is the cherry on top: the exquisite Tobin Center.Christmas nutcracker

Nearly 20 of the city’s top restaurants, bakeries, chefs and trucks will roll out an evening of holiday delights – from savory to sweet – on Monday, Dec. 8 (2014) from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. Proceeds benefit the Battered Women and Children’s Shelter.

“Domestic violence has been making national headlines lately,” says Marta B. Peláez, BWCS president/CEO. “But it remains a local issue that knows no socio-economic boundaries – and no particular season.”

Nutcracker Sweets tickets are $50 for adults, $25 for 13 – 17-year-olds, and entrance is free for kids 12 and younger. Tickets are available online at or may be purchased by phone by contacting Brooke Bell at 210-930-3669.

HOLIDAY TOY DRIVE: Benefiting Marine Corps Toys for Tots

Boardwalk on Bulverde, 14732 Bulverde Road, will host its annual holiday toy drive benefiting the Marine Corps Toys for Tots San Antonio on Dec. 5-6.

Admission is free, but attendees are encouraged to bring a new unwrapped toy for donation to Marine Corps Toys for Tots San Antonio.

On December 7, the food truck park will host its first Silent Disco event. Guests are invited to attend this high energy yet silent experience where the DJ broadcasts through headphones worn by event-goers. Admission is free and toy donations will be accepted (donations on Sunday will distributed to local children in San Antonio, not through Toys for Tots).

Boardwalk on Bulverde will feature a host of food trucks during this weekend-long celebration. For more information, visit or by calling 210-402-2829.

JINGLE BELLS AND BURGERS: Benefits Elf Louise Project

elflouiseThe new Big Bob’s Burgers, 4553 N. Loop 1604 W., will mark its grand opening by hosting Jingle Bells and Burgers to benefit Elf Louise. The fundraiser will be Dec. 9 from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. 

The cost is $20 per person, which includes a burger, fries, drink and beer. All of the money will be donated to the Elf Louise Christmas Project, which provides toys to less fortunate families. In 2012, more than 19,000 children in 5,434 San Antonio families were given gifts.

Lucas Jack, who opened for Foreigner at The Majestic, and who does both covers of Billy Joel and Elton John, as well as his own music, will be entertaining. He’s playing for free as well.

There will be raffle items, including eighth row center Spurs tickets Santa himself will be there for pictures.

Tickets can be purchased at the door.

COWS FOR COATS: Benefiting local shelters

chick-fil-aParticipating Chick-fil-A restaurants in San Antonio and New Braunfels are collecting new and gently used coats Dec. 1-6.

Your coat donation will also get you a coupon for a free grilled chicken sandwich or chicken nuggets.

The coats will be donated to shelters in San Antonio and New Braunfels to distribute to those in need.




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