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Boerne Wine Company Offers a Sparkling Tasting


The Boerne Wine Company is hosting a Champagne tasting.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day: The Boerne Wine Company, 302 S. Main St., Boerne, is offering a special 14 percent discount on any Champagne or sparkling wine bottle purchase in the shop Feb. 7-14.

The wine bar will also be offering a special Champagne tasting on Feb. 7 featuring the House of Moët & Chandon, Clicquot, Ruinart and Tattinger. This tasting is limited to the first 30 responders, and is priced at $40 a person.

For reservations or more information, call 830-331-9424.

 

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Sip Away at the Boerne Wine Company


A customer fills his glass at the Boerne Wine Company.

If you haven’t been to Boerne in a while, you might not know about a great wine bar in the heart of Main Street. It’s called the Boerne Wine Company, and it’s managed by sommelier Jean-Yves Ferrer and a team of wine-knowledgeable people.

The setup is fairly simple, even if the gorgeous, grandiose interior seems anything but. You buy a card in increments of $25 and you go around the rooms, sampling the various wines in any of four coolers. Just insert your card into the machine and select the size pour you wish to purchase. Pours are available in 1.5, 2.5 and 5 ounces, and the amount of your selection and size will be deducted from your card.

The cellar at the Boerne Wine Company.

If you can only go in for a glass or two, save the balance on the card for your next visit. You can also add money to a card. The wines within the coolers are kept at the appropriate temperatures and are also airtight, so they don’t age after having been opened. The selection changes regularly.

This week, a few of the featured bottles included the Alsatian Hugel Gentil, Chateau Magrez Fombrauge from St-Emilion in Bordeaux, Raymond Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley and Palmaz Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, also from Napa Valley.

You can sip your wine around the bar in the great room of the shop, on the stone patio out back or in one of the cozy niches set up.

Patrons share some wine at the Boerne Wine Company.

You can also buy wine to take home with you or shop the massive humidor that stands to the right of the door as you enter. If you buy a bottle and don’t finish it, one of the staff members will gladly put a cork in it, so you can enjoy the rest later.

In the accompanying video, Ferrer offers a tour of the shop. For information, call (830) 331-9424 or click here.

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Epicure Is Coming to Boerne


Epicure will feature gourmet meats and cheeses.

Epicure is coming to Main Street, Boerne. The business will be part cheese shop, part salumeria.

Plans are to open at the end of November, says Jean-Yves Ferrer, who also works as sommelier at the neighboring Boerne Wine Company at 302 S. Main St.

A salumeria specializes in salami, of course, but also features prosciuitto, charcuterie and other specialty food products, which Ferrer promises for the shop.

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Fralo’s Plans to Add Microbrewery, Plus Eating Vegan and More


Artful pizzas at Fralo's that taste as good as they look.

Fralo’s Art of Pizza, 23651 I-10 W., is expanding at its Leon Springs location.

Owner Frank Hakspiel says he has purchased microbrewery equipment from Sea World and plans to open his own brewery on the property in the spring. The microbrewer from Sea World has agreed to help him get started once the equipment has been moved to the site.

He has already named one of the beers, Grant’s Pale Ale, for his infant son. Grant’s name is also on the caramelized pear and prosciutto pizza the restaurant offers.

Hakspiel is also talking about adding a second restaurant next door. It would offer high-end Italian food prepared by former Il Sogno chef Luca Della Casa, who has been working at the restaurant, making all of the revamped pasta dishes and providing specials each weekend. “He makes all of the pasta,” Hakspiel says.

Della Casa has also added a Torino pizza — Italian sausage, chicken, arugula, sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella and provolone cheese with a spicy tomato sauce — that was named after his home region in Italy. Torino is also a possibility for the name of the new restaurant, Hakspiel says.

Isn't she a beauty? Fralo's is going to transform her into a catering truck.

As if all that weren’t enough, Hakspiel has plans for the 1940s-era fire truck he has on the property. He plans on adding an oven to the back of the truck and use it for catering. Kids of any age who have played with a miniature fire truck should love having the real thing at a party.

We learned this over a wonderful lunch at Fralo’s with vegan travel blogger Carolyn Scott-Hamilton, who produces and writes HealthyVoyager.com. She was able to get a vegan pizza that she declared one of the five  best she has ever had. In keeping with Fralo’s ongoing desire to please a multitude of tastes and diets, the restaurant also offers gluten-free and whole wheat crusts as well as an off-the-menu feature of a miniature pizza made on a portobello mushroom for those who are avoiding flour.

For more information about Fralo’s, call 210-698-6616 or click here.

 

Exploring more vegan options

Carolyn Scott-Hamilton and her husband, Dan Hamilton: Healthy Voyagers at Fralo's.

Other restaurants Scott-Hamilton and her husband, Dan Hamilton, also her cameraman, visited during their stay were Mi Tierra, the Cove and Adelante. She described the latter, with its riot of color and collection of whimsical Mexican folk art as looking “like Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.”

The couple are from Los Angeles and were here on a Convention and Visitors Bureau trip for travel writers. A Boston blogger who writes about women traveling alone and an Orange County mom who writes about traveling with her kids were also invited. All three were part of teams that competed against each other in a series of events that ranged from feeding the lorikeets at the zoo to lassoing a statue of a cow. On Sunday, in the heat, the couple found themselves running from the Tower of the Americas to the Alamo, where they had to start a conga line and encourage as many participants as they could to join in.

If you’re wondering why Scott-Hamilton and her husband didn’t go to Green, Pavani Express or the city’s new vegan restaurant, Vegeria, which opened last week at 8407 Broadway, it’s because she likes to focus her trips on restaurants where vegans are welcome, even if the place is not entirely vegan.

At the Cove, she was able to get the Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger and a Vegan BLT along with a gluten-free beer before heading off to First Friday.

If you are looking for vegan food and are unsure if a restaurant can accommodate your tastes, give it a call first and ask. It’s as simple as that.

Wine Spectator honors area restaurants

Wine Spectator magazine has released its annual roundup of restaurants with excellent wine lists. New this year is Antlers Lodge at the Hyatt Hill Country, 9800 Hyatt Resort Drive.

Others to make the list are Bohanan’s Prime Steaks & Seafood, Biga on the Banks, Chama Gaúcha Brazilian Steakhouse, Coco Chocolate Lounge, Fleming’s, Fogo de Chão, Francesca’s at Sunset, Kirby’s, Las Ramblas, Morton’s the Steakhouse, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Silo, the Melting Pot, the Palm and Wildfish Seafood Grille.

The importance of the list has been debated, but despite any faults, it does bring in customers, which is why you’ll find a restaurant like Morton’s unveiling a new program, the Sommelier Selections of its wine list. This area includes boutique wines and rare gems that include Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mountain 2005) and Freemark Abbey Cabernet (Napa 2002), which are available only at Morton’s domestic locations.

Wine on tap

We always thought wine sales would go up if you could get a great glass without having to buy the full bottle. This is the secret behind the Boerne Wine Company, 302 S. Main St., Boerne, where you can try such top-shelf wines as PlumpJack and Palmaz by the glass from their dispenser systems that keep an open bottle fresher for longer period of time.

Now, Boston.com is reporting that a few wineries are selling their best by tap. “That’s right, sauvignon blanc and pinot noir from kegs, not bottles, dispensed from a tap like beer and ale,” the article says. “The approach promises to remake restaurant by-the-glass programs by lowering costs, dramatically reducing waste (wine in open bottles deteriorates rapidly), and making the whole process considerably greener. … But a switch won’t happen overnight.”

Costs, of course, are a factor. But if this catches on, it will be a revolution in wine and dining.

 

 

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Get Your Wine Glasses Clean with the Right Pair of Gloves


If you don’t have special wine glasses or friends who have invested a small fortune in the same, you may want to skip this post.

But if you have plunked down a chunk of change on some really good glasses, you know that putting them in the dishwasher can cause spots that don’t easily wash away. Plus, the stems on some are just too fragile for some machines.

That means the thrill of having fine wine glasses brings the chore of having to wash and dry them by hand. That, too, can be a slight problem because of how thin the bowls can be.

That’s where The Original Dish Drying Gloves come in. Slide your hands in and slip them into the bowl of the glass and you’ll be surprised at how quickly the glass is dried, and without any fingerprints or smudges.

The secret is supposedly the absorbency of the material used, which the manufacturer, Schroeder & Tremayne, says can hold three times its weight in water. How many glasses that would be I haven’t a guess, but in a few tests, I’ve been pleased at how quickly and thoroughly I’ve been able to dry my glasses. I haven’t tried them on other dishes yet. I may just grab another pair for that.

Caring for them is easy. Just wash them separately in cold water. And I love anything that bears the words: “Do not iron.” (Not that I would iron dish towels.)

Pay attention to a few other words on the label, too: “The Original Dish Drying Gloves should not be used as a potholder or oven mitt.”

The gloves sell for $9.50 a pair at the Boerne Wine Company, 302 S. Main St., Boerne. Call (830) 331-9424.

Why go to all this trouble, you ask? Because top wine glasses are engineered to showcase wine at their best. And if you’re going to drink great wine, you should be drinking it from a great (and spot-free) wine glass.

 

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