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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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Thanksgiving Wines to Be Thankful For


If you are serving red wine, think of something light-bodied and bright.

Ask five different wine people what they will be pouring for thanksgiving dinner and you’ll likely get five different answers. Why is that? Because the foods on the table are so broad in flavors that they lend themselves to a remarkable number of wines. So, serve Champagne and let the bubbles cut through the heaviness of the gravy and dressing. Or pour an off-dry Riesling and let its touch of sweetness complement the relish, the sweet potatoes and the turkey. Pinot Noir is a favorite with many because of its versatility with food.

Better still, have several choices, from dry to sweet, to appeal to all tastes at the table.

About the only answer you’ll get an agreement on is that a traditional Thanksgiving dinner is not for your heavier wines. So, leave the oaked Chardonnays and California Cabernets in the wine rack. Think brightly acidic wines or low-tannin treats, and you’ll do just fine.

Here are a few choices from five local people involved in the wine business.

Sarah Verheyen of Glazer’s of Texas:

“We are going to the big family set-up where I bring Beringer White Zinfandel because that is what my in-laws like. I don’t even bring any food — that is what they want!

“Beforehand, I am going to make a stuffed chicken with wild mushrooms and sage dressing for the four of us, so I will probably pair that with some Pinot Noir of some sort. Pinot Noir was the turning point, which I am sure it is with a lot of wine folk; (it made) me fall in love with wine, food and wine pairing and literally, (and) that led to meeting my husband, having my awesome step children, and now my son. Can’t be more thankful for anything in a glass than Pinot Noir!”

Kellis Chandler of Republic National Distributing Company:

“My mother and I are adopted by the Walthal family (a retired Trinity prof) for Thanksgiving. I’m the wine guy, so it’s an opportunity to pull that great Pinot Noir I have been wanting to share with special people. I usually bring a well-made, crisp Chablis-like (if not Chablis) to start things off.

Put away the oaky Chardonnays in favor of something crisp and light.

“It’s funny, these folks are not wine geeks, so we very rarely talk about the wine. They just look at me and nod with a smile on their faces, and comment on how nice the wine is.”

Don Pullum, winemaker for Sandstone Cellars and winemaking consultant for Torre di Pietra Winery:

“I’m going Moroccan for Thanksgiving.  Appetizers include Fried Eggplant Jam, Sweet Tomato Jam, Marinated Olives and Spicy Gulf Shrimp. The wine? Torre Di Pietra 2009 Blanc Du Bois Reserve: It’s a full-bodied, complex white with about 0.5 percent residual sugar that is very versatile in pairing with food. It’ll handle the the complex spices, sweetness, and peppers in the various appetizers. This wine is the first time I’ve worked with Blanc Du Bois, and I’m thankful that I had the opportunity. I’ve a new respect for this varietal.

“The entrée: Tagine Turkey Meatballs with Herbs and Lemon. Sides include Baked Root Vegetables with Prunes Spiced Lentils with Pumpkin Couscous. And the wines: Sandstone Cellars 2009 IX, a blend of 75 percent Tempranillo and 25 percent Touriga as well as the 2006 Bodega Muga Reserva Rioja. I’m thankful for having Mason County growers growing interesting Iberian varietals that produce wines which favorably compare to many wines produced in Spain, Portugal, Italy, and southern France.

“Dessert is  Semolina Pancakes with Figs, Almonds, Butter and Warm Honey. The wine is Haak 2007 Blanc Du Bois Madeira. I’m thankful to Raymond Haak for going through all the trouble to make this wine.

“And assorted cheeses with the Sandstone Cellars 2006 IV (a port-style wine). Thanks to Paul and Nancy Buist for growing Touriga at their Robert Clay vineyard.”

Nichole Bendele, public relations and tasting room coordinator for Becker Vineyards:

Rosé complements many of the Thanksgiving dishes.

“Our dry rosé, the Becker Vineyards Provençal (made from Mourvèdre) and a dry Robert Weil Riesling (Erstes Gewachs) are what I’ll be bringing to my brother’s house for a traditional Thanksgiving meal!  Yum!  I haven’t decided on what red I’ll bring – maybe a Seghesio Vineyards Zinfandel.

“The Provençal (and hopefully our Alsatian-style Gewurztraminer will be bottled by then) and some of the lighter-bodied reds like the Prairie Rotie (Rhone-style blend) and Reserve Grenache are some people also enjoy with the Turkey and trimmings.  These reds aren’t too heavy with tannins and won’t overpower the food.”

Philippe Placé, co-owner, Coco Chocolate Lounge & Bistro, 18402 U.S. 281, Suite 114:

“I am actually hosting the Thanksgiving meal this year. My wife Kim’s family will be here, so we will have about 15 people.

“We will start  with a cold fresh salmon and asparagus terrine paired with an Auxey Duresses 2007. It’s one of the underdogs of Burgundy, and I absolutely love it. It is a little leaner and racier than a Meursault with a deep gold color and hints of hazelnut.

“The turkey will be rubbed with sage and spices about three days before being cooked, and the rub will be reapplied every day. I will have some haricot verts sautéed with almond, plus black-eye peas prepared by the 94-year-old grandmother of Kim. Sweet potato fries. Garlic mashed potatoes two colors. Parsnip tournés with a citrus zest. The stuffing will be made of French brioche, apples, chestnuts, onion, leeks, parsley, fresh grapes and chicken stock.

“The wine served with that will be a Morgon ‘Les Charmes’ 2006. I love it that wine that my parents would always serve for special occasions will be served at my home. From the Beaujolais appellation, the Morgon has a beautiful rich purple color with hints of plums and cherries. It’s full bodied wine with a lot of character.

“For dessert, there will be apple tart tatin by me and pumpkin pie made by Kim. I will be serving the dessert with the Becker Vineyards Muscat Canelli Amabile. We finish with a Texas wine that I happen to love! I love the hints of nutmeg and cinnamon and that tender sweetness.

“I have much to be very thankful for this year. I had the chance to visit my family in July. My dad’s health is degrading rapidly, and I was able to talk to him and spend some amazing time with him and my French family. I am very thankful for my wife that keeps me going every day and never doubts my ability to be a good dad, good husband and a good restaurateur. I am thankful for my two outstanding sons that I love immensely. I am very thankful for having a successful business that allows me to take care of my employees, partners and my family.”

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Monday’s Contest: ‘Julie & Julia’ Giveaways — Plus Chocolate!


** UPDATE ** This contest is now closed.

Thank you to everyone that entered, and congratulations to the winners!

First-prize winners:

  • Lisa Calcagni
  • Juliana Perez
  • Mary Anthony
  • David Lent
  • Perny Shea

Second-prize winners:

  • Ashley Harris
  • Sue Duffy
  • Grace Gribble
  • Rachel Benefiel
  • Carryn Sheehan

Third-prize winners:

  • Sandy White
  • Julia Rosenfeld
  • Natalie Barajas
  • Juliana Connolly
  • Jason Carpentier

cocologococo1coco2

Think chocolate!

SavorSA and COCO Chocolate Lounge & Bistro have a really sweet deal for some lucky San Antonio moviegoers in Monday’s big drawing.  In addition to free passes for two to the Tuesday, July 28th special screening of “Julie & Julia,” five first-place winners will receive gift certificates for an appetizer or a dessert. The COCO gift certificates will be valid through August.  (The movie officially opens Friday, Aug. 7. )

SavorSA also will give away five more pairs of passes to second-place winners. And just to keep the numbers simple, we’ll give away movie posters to five third-place winners as well.

Giveaway passes to the screening Tuesday will be for a specific time and place (no exchanges available).

If winners visit COCO, at 18402 U.S. 281, Suite 114, the day of the screening and mention SavorSA and their winning tickets, they will get another special treat from the lounge.  (COCO will have the list of the winners from SavorSA Tuesday.)

halfheader_julieandjulia

To see a trailer of the movie, go to www.julieandjulia.com.

Here’s the synopsis:

Meryl Streep is Julia Child and Amy Adams is Julie Powell in writer-director Nora Ephron’s adaptation of two bestselling memoirs: Powell’s “Julie & Julia” and “My Life in France,” by Julia Child with Alex Prud’homme.

Based on two true stories, “Julie & Julia” intertwines the lives of two women who, though separated by time and space, are both at loose ends until they discover that with the right combination of passion, fearlessness and butter, anything is possible.

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French Fare for Bastille Day


frenchfoodIf you are celebrating liberté, égalité, fraternité on Tuesday in connection with Bastille Day, France’s Independence Day, you may want to check out one of the French restaurants in our area.

Here is an alphabetical list of places, all of which are in San Antonio unless otherwise noted. One of the more notable, Le Reve, is included even though it is closed for  vacation:

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