Tag Archive | "San Antonio dining"

Griffin to Go: Are Too Many Diners Expecting the Moon These Days?

Diners, beware. Open season has been declared on those of you who eat out. And the complaints aren’t just coming from wait staff.

Do you see this person as friend or foe?

Do you see this person as friend or foe?

Chefs, managers, critics and even some actors are getting into the mix.

Oh, sure, there are still a few people who go out to eat, politely order their food, eat and enjoy themselves, tip their server between 15 and 20 percent, maybe thank the chef and then leave. But if you’re one of those people, you need to realize that you’re part a dying breed.

Today’s diners are far less gracious. Don’t think that I’m merely talking about the hipster crowd or Millennials, because the rampant bad behavior seems to belong to no single age group. There are grumblers, old and young, who are never satisfied with what they’re served and make no bones that anything less than perfection is unacceptable.

Take tables, for example. Anywhere they’re seated is not good enough. Too close to the kitchen. Too far from the bar. Too noisy. Too close to another table. Too lacking in feng shui. After playing Goldilocks with the chairs a half-dozen times, they still haven’t found a place that’s “just right,” and they blame the restaurant for it.

Or maybe the table is filled with diners who spend 20 minutes taking pictures of their food and then complain that the meal is not hot enough. Really, folks? How long does it take to take a picture? I have often joked that food photography has become the 21st century’s way of saying grace, because, in a way, it’s a form of being grateful for the food that has been set before you. But if it takes longer to get your picture than it does to say the common table prayer, then you have no right to complain about the temperature of your food — or much of any else.

And let’s not get started on the issue of tipping.

Sure, service needs to evolve to meet the new standards, demands and eccentricities of today’s entitled diners. But where is the line drawn between reasonable and ridiculous? The gripes and sniping have gained in volume, as if some people think they’ll get a free meal if they scream loud enough; their puerile behavior leaves the rest of us wondering what we did wrong because we were enjoying our meal. Some of the restauranteurs who failed to cave in to these diners’ demands have later discovered online reviews from those same upset people who have lashed out in their outrage. These reports pile grievance on top of grievance until it seems as if their dinner had been served in a prison instead of a neighborhood bistro.

Too often, though, these posts come across as outrageous and unintentionally funny, and they have led to the hysterical Real Actors Read Yelp series on YouTube. There are more than 20 of these short videos, and each one is sadder and more laughable than the one that came before it. For a particularly apt example, click here. At the end, you can choose any of the others until you’ve had your fill.

In recent weeks, various stories have appeared about a supposed report that a New York restaurant has done comparing its service from 10 years ago to its service today. Why are so many more complaints are generated nowadays about the service? Videos from both years show that, of course, the diners are the problem and not the restaurant. That is why I say “supposed,” because the restaurant’s identity has not been revealed, so there have been claims that it’s a hoax.

Whether it’s false or true, you may want to read one account of the story (click here) because it offers a lot to chew on, in San Antonio as well as New York. Pay attention to the comments at the end of the piece, too. The vitriol from the readers, who come from all backgrounds and not just the restaurant business, equals the petulance of some diners.

This standoff is likely to get worse before it gets better. But all you prickly, picky diners who expect support from food critics, think again. Your behavior is turning off those who eat out for a living. In a recent online chat, Tom Sietsema of the Washington Post had this to say after being asked what a restaurant was supposed to do after a person slipped and fell in the dining room: “More than any other business I know, people expect restaurants to be and do everything. Can you imagine asking your hair dresser to give you a free trim because it was your birthday? Or expecting half-off on a root canal if your dentist kept you waiting more than 15 minutes?”

So, the next time you go out, leave your attitude at home. You’ll find yourself enjoying the experience more. So will the people around you. If you can’t do that, then kindly limit yourselves to restaurant drive-thru windows. You may not realize it now, but it never pays to bite the hand that feeds you.

Posted in Griffin to Go, RestaurantsComments (3)

Copa Becomes a Smokehouse on June 28 for a Great Cause

Copa Wine Bar, 19141 Stone Oak Parkway, is turning into a smokehouse for one afternoon in order to raise money for a young boy named Rowan.

Jeff Bridges will be smoking brisket and chicken.

Jeff Bridges will be smoking brisket and chicken.

Rowan’s Smokehouse at Copa will be held on June 28 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. or until all of the barbecue sells out.

“Rowan is a delightful young boy and the son of some dear friends of ours,” owner Angie Bridges says. “He has been diagnosed with a rare disorder, Shwachmann-Diamond Syndrome. It affects the pancreas, GI tract, immune system, blood and bone marrow. He is only 7 but has spent over 800 days in the hospital, had dozens of blood transfusions, made 59 trips to the OR, yet is one of the happiest, most amazing little boys you’ll ever meet. He finds joy in the little things and never ever feels sorry for himself.

“We all could learn a thing or two from Rowan, our little trooper!”

Bridges’ husband, Jeff, will be smoking briskets and chicken with side dishes. Plats are priced at $20 apiece or $50 for a family of four. Each plate comes with a ticket good for a bottle of Pedernales Brewing Co. beer, a glass of wine or a glass of Rowan’s ginger lemonade. There will also be some great silent auction items.

For more information about Rowan, click here.

For more information about Rowan’s Smokehouse at Copa, call (210) 495-2672.

Stephan Pyles, Paula Lambert team up

Two Texas food icons are coming together to bring Italy to San Antonio in a special four-course dinner at Sustenio this Saturday night.

Stephan Pyles

Stephan Pyles

James Beard award-winning chef Stephan Pyles, the driving force behind Sustenio’s Mediterranean menu, will join Texas cheesemaker and cookbook author Paula Lambert for an Italian-themed menu. Each course will be paired with a wine from Italy.

The dinner begins at 7 p.m. in the private dining room at Sustenio.

The cost is $85 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Reservations are available on a first-come, first-served basis for 40 guests and can be made by calling Sustenio at (210) 598 -2950.

The menu includes a first course of Soft Shell Crab with Paula’s Mozzarella, Local Tomatoes and Basil, served with 2011 Feudi di San Gregario Falanghina from Campania, Italy.

Next, Tortellini with Swiss Chard and Fresh Herbed Ricotta will be paired with a 2010 Edoardo Sobrino “Vigna Cristina” Dolcetto di Diano d’Alba from Piedmont, Italy.

The third course features Grilled Free-Range Veal Chop with Peach Mostarda, Brown Butter-Sage Polenta and Fire-Roasted Artichokes and Almonds served with a 2009 Pasquale Pelissero Bricco San Giuliano Barbaresco.

Finally, Pyles’ Orange-Mascarpone Panna Cotta with Chocolate Chip Biscotti and Vin Santo Gelée will be paired with a 2008 Antinori Santa Cristina Vin Santo Trebbianco from Tuscany.


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Join Nao for Some Savory New Culinary Adventures

Plenty is happening these days at Nao, the Culinary Institute of America’s restaurant on the San Antonio campus.

Nao's Venezuelan Siete Potencias, or Seven Powers

Nao’s Venezuelan Siete Potencias, or Seven Powers

The restaurant at 312 Pearl Parkway is showcasing the foods of Venezuela as its latest culinary adventure. Plus, it’s hosting a dinner with a chef who graduated from the school and has his own cookbook out.

The series has drawn a large following from the local community, chef Geronimo Lopez said, with about 40 percent of all dinners ordered being the culinary special.

Venezuela holds a special connection for Lopez because that is his homeland. “Venezuela is a large country and a rich melting pot,” he said. “Venezuela’s cuisine draws from the Caribbean, the Andes and the Amazon. These make up the colors and flavors that invite you to savor life.”

He’s been pleased to be able to find many of the ingredients at local supermarkets as well as the international markets that serve the city’s increasingly diverse population. It’s far different from previous years, such as when he lived in Paris, and he had to make seemingly endless substitutes whenever he tried to make a Venezuelan dish.

Venezuelan cuisine was heavily influenced by Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and French settlers as well as African and Native American traditions. It is a diet rich in seafood with plantains, yucca and beans as well as chicken and beef.

Geronimo Lopez

Geronimo Lopez

The dishes on his menu include the Caracas-style Chicken Polvorosa, a chicken pot pie with sweet and spicy flavors; Red Snapper Paraguito Frito, in which the crispy fish is served with plantain tostones and a touch of coleslaw; and Butterflied Sirloin Santa Barbara with queso fresco, diced avocado and yuca fries. Siete Potencias, or Seven Powers, Seafood Cocktail features shrimp, conch, mussels and clams as well as the sweet pepper aji dulce, onion, tomato and crisp plantain chips.

Dessert is Bienmesabe, a Venezuelan type of tres leche made with an airy coconut genoise, pastry cream, and meringue brûlée.

Lopez is happy to have found his favorite Venezuelan rum, Diplomatico, which has been barrel-aged for 10 years, much like a scotch, he said. Nao’s beverage director, Tim Bryand, has used the tea-colored liquor in a cocktail he created called Rio Caribe, which also features pineapple, lime, honey and Angosturra Bitters.

A special three-course menu featuring these dishes is available for $42 until July 7.

Chef Adan Medrano, author, book-signing

On June 19, Nao and the Twig Book Shop will be co-hosting a dinner featuring chef Adán Medrano, a graduate of the San Antonio CIA and author of the new cookbook, “Truly Texas Mexican.” The evening will include a book-signing and reception as well as a three-course dinner featuring dishes from the book.

A CIA student at work at Nao.

A CIA student at work at Nao.

“I am quite enthused about partnering with Chef Geronimo Lopez and the team at Nao because they understand the international taste dimensions of cuisines of the Americas,”  Medrano said. “I’m looking forward to meeting each of the guests and sharing perspectives on their dining experience. I am so proud to collaborate with the progressive, cutting edge kitchen of Nao as Chef Lopez is a brilliant chef who takes deliciousness to new levels.”

The book signing and reception will be in the Nao lounge from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. with wine and passed hors d’oeuvres, including Smoked Trout with Chipotle-Yerbaniz Mayonnaise; Albóndigas de Chile Ancho; and Flor de Calabaza Rellena con Frijol y Chorizo.

The dinner begins at 6:45 p.m. with a duo of mini-gorditas featuring Nopalitos con Camarón and Frijoles Refritos with Queso Fresco. The meal will continue with Chile Relleno Lampreado served with Arroz con Cilantro. Dessert is a Watermelon Ice with Blueberries served with Hojarascas.

“Adán captures the essence of Mexican influence and heritage, and we are excited to have him take us on a journey to the deep Mexican roots of Texas,” Lopez said.

Tickets are priced at $80 per person and include a signed copy of “Truly Texas Mexican,” the recepion and the three-course dinner. All dinner proceeds go to the not-for-profit CIA. For reservations, call 210-554-6484.

Those who deep-dive into behind-the-scenes restaurant news may have seen that the CIA is advertising for a faculty member to oversee the restaurant. Does that mean Lopez is leaving? No, he said, explaining that managing the restaurant is done a rotational basis, so he will still be a part of the San Antonio campus, but he will have other duties.


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It’s Dad’s Turn to Be Treated Special, and Restaurants Are Happy to Oblige

Mother’s Day is still the busiest restaurant day of the year, but it seems that a lot of places are willing to pay tribute to dear ol’ Dad with plenty of specials. Father’s Day is June 15 this year. The following list has everything from steaks to Mexican to vegetarian dishes, so that all dads can be happy on their special day.

Reservations are recommended at some places, though you won’t need them at all. Just call first and spare yourself the trouble. Prices do not include taxes or tip.

Arcade Midtown Kitchen, 303 Pearl Parkway, (210) 369-9664 — Arcade will be offering their second annual Father’s Day Steak-Out menu just for dad from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The menu will include specials like P.E.I. Mussels with Chorizo, Lobster Soft Taco, 8-ounce barrel-cut filet, 14-ounce New York Strip, Peruvian Sea Bass and Chocolate Pudding Cake.

Barraca Paella and Tapas Bar, 1420 S Alamo St No. 101, 210) 445-2203 — Bring Dad to Barraca Paella and Tapas Bar for Sunday Brunch off regular menu, with prices ranging from $10-$12 per item. Bottomless Mimosas are $6. Choose from among Eggs Benedict, Tortilla Espanola, Torrejas, Spanish-Style omelet, Jamon y Queso con Huevos, Fruit Parfait, Steak and Eggs, and an Omelet of your choice, with 3 ingredients.

Mozie's top sirloin is served with lemon butter.

Mozie’s top sirloin is served with lemon butter.

Bohanan’s Prime Steaks and Seafood, 219 E. Houston St., (210) 472-2600 — Enjoy classic cocktails and wine at Bohanan’s Bar, then head upstairs for Akaushi beef, executive chef Mark Bohanan’s large custom cuts of prime aged corn-fed beef, seafood flown in fresh daily, and table-side desserts flambé. In honor of Father’s Day, all fathers will receive a complimentary sleeve of golf balls.

Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden, 312 Pearl Parkway, (210) 354-4644 —Father’s Day specials in additional to the regular brunch menu are available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. They include: Caballero Ranchero ($15), barbacoa, smoked bacon, jalapeño jack and smoked cheddar cheese, charred tomatillo salsa on grilled bread topped with 2 eggs and ranchero diablo sauce; Hanger Steak Benedict ($19), braised hanger steak, grilled Lavain bread, poached eggs, Meyer lemon hollandaise with roasted potatoes; Pan Roasted Salmon ($23), 
warm German potato salad, mustard hollandaise; Kobe Chicken Fried Steak and Eggs ($28), pan-fried Kobe steak , two poached eggs and House sausage cream gravy; and Dad’s Grown Up PB&J Cake ($9), peanut butter cream chocolate cake with raspberry chipotle sauce. There will also be drink specials with to-go pricing.

Cantina del Rio, 1299 Gruene Road, Gruene Historic District at New Braunfels, (830) 515-1950 — Doors open at 11 a.m. Tender chicken or beef fajitas marinated in a fresh-squeezed lime marinade, served with beans, rice, real guacamole, fresh pico and your choice of fresh flour or homemade corn tortillas are among the items to order. Enjoy a frozen margarita, sangria or ice cold beer on the deck tucked into the trees of Gruene Historic District.

The County Line, 10101 I-10 W., (210) 641-1998 — If Dad has a hankering for barbecue or Texas favorites like chicken-fried steak or a rib-eye steak, then check out the full menu from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Father’s Day.

Crumpets, 3920 Harry Wurzbach Road, (210) 821-5600 – Father’s Day brunch will be served 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Specials include appetizer, house salad, breads, dessert and a choice of iced tea or coffee and wine or Champagne. Start with a choice of Scottish Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese or Mousse Truffle Paté, followed by choice of Shrimp Salad on Avocado, Eggs Benedict or Chicken Breast with Champagne Sauce ($26.50); Veal Scaloppini with Mushroom-Cognac Sauce, Rainbow Trout Amandine, Tenderloin of Beef with Green Peppercorn Sauce, or Shrimp Lyonnaise over Wild Rice Blend ($32.50); or the Trilogy of beef tenderloin with Rossini Sauce, lobster tail with lemon butter and rack of lamb Provençal ($45.50). Children menu, priced at $12.50, is tortellini or chicken breast with salad or dessert.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, 255 E. Basse Road, (210) 824-9463 — On Father’s Day from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., guests can enjoy a choice of the Prime Rib with a Trio of Sauces, Fleming’s Signature Eggs Benedict, Prime Rib Hash or Baked Brioche French Toast layered in vanilla and orange custard with choice of appetizer and dessert – all for only $39.95 per person. In addition, each dad will receive a $25 dining card valid for a future visit.

Tiu Steppi's Steak with Cheese.

Tiu Steppi’s Steak with Cheese.

Green Vegetarian Cuisine, 200 E. Grayson St., (210) 320-5865 — Green is offering a menu designed just for dad! It will include: an entrée, drink and dessert for $12.99. Ask your server for details.

Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar, 1287 Gruene Road, Gruene Historic District at New Braunfels, (830) 606-1287 — Doors open at 11 a.m. Hungry dads (and moms!) will love the mouth-watering ribs with handmade BBQ sauce or a 16-ounce bone-in rib steak, among the many items on the menu. Both are served with a garden dinner salad and your choice of side.

Habanero’s Grill, 13444 West Ave., (210) 499-0099; 17711 I-10 W., (210) 699-4681; 12243 Nacogdoches — Dads get a free roll of duct tape when you visit on Father’s Day.

Las Canarias at Omni La Mansión del Rio, 112 College St., (210) 518-1063 — On Father’s Day, Las Canarias will offer a Champagne brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The cost is $52.95 per adult and $26.95 for children ages 6-12, plus tax and tip. Highlights off the brunch menu include: Vanilla Malt Pancakes and Waffles Prepared to Order with Fresh Berries and Brown Butter Pecans, Brioche Raisin and Cinnamon Texas French Toast with Vermont Maple Syrup, Fresh Shucked Gulf Oysters and Jumbo Shrimp, Modelo BBQ Baby Back Ribs Chef Carved from the Smoker, Cooked to Order Black Angus Beef Tenderloin, Bourbon Pecan Pie, Pretzel Bacon Brownies, among other items. Regular à la carte dining at Las Canarias will resume at 5:30 p.m. and will feature a Chef’s Special Bone-In Rib Steak. Reservations are recommended.

Liberty Bar, (210) 227-1187 — Brunch hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The menu includes plenty of eye openers as well as Liberty Huevos Rancheros, Broken Arrow Ranch Sausage and Eggs, Chilaquiles Norteños and Irish Steel Cut Oats with your choice of flavorings.

Two Step Restaurant's Shiner Bock Shrimp Scampi

Two Step Restaurant’s Shiner Bock Shrimp Scampi

Max’s Wine Dive, 340 E. Basse Road, (210) 444-9547 — Executive chef Justin Johnson and his team are creating a special for Dad: Smoked Prime Rib with two eggs any way and roasted potatoes ($25) along with the regular brunch, featuring items such as a Migas Omelet and a Fried Egg Sandwich, and the dinner menu. Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Mike’s in the Village, Bulverde Road, Bulverde, (830) 438-2747 — Father’s Day brunch will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A three-coure prix fixe menu begins with your choice of Cobb Salad, Caesar Salad or Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, followed by a choice of a half rack of Barbecued Baby Back Ribs, Smoked Brisket with Loaded Mashed Potatoes, Creole-seasoned Prime Rib, Eggs Benedict with Canadian Bacon or Bacon French Toast. Dessert options: White Chocolate Bread Pudding, White Chocolate Brownie or New York Style Cheesecake. A kids’ menu is available. Adults pay $26.95 and children under 10 pay $7.95.

Morton’s the Steakhouse, 300 E. Crockett St., (210) 228-0700 — The Father’s Day special includes three courses for $59. Start with a choice of salad, then choose from the following entrees: double-cut filet mignon, double-cut prime pork chop, braised beef short rib, chicken blanco or honey-chile glazed salmon fillet. Get a side dish and a choice of dessert, including dark chocolate mousse, key lime pie or an individual souffle.

Mozie’s, 601 Hunter Road, Gruene Historic District at New Braunfels, (830) 515-1281 — The doors open at 11 a.m. On the menu, you’ll find a thick 10-ounce top sirloin finished on a flat top grill with Hoffbrau-style lemon butter. Served with skinny fries and a lettuce wedge salad with bleu cheese dressing. Also offering a half-pound charbroiled cheeseburger, “The Char-King,” and some pasta dishes.

One Lucky Duck, 303 Pearl Parkway, (210) 223-3825 — One Lucky Duck has something brewing for the health-conscious dad. Buy a shake or a made-to-order juice and dad gets one free. Dad must be present to redeem, only one per dad.

Ostra Restaurant at Mokara Hotel & Spa, 212 W. Crockett St., (210) 396-5817 — Ostra’s regular à la carte menu will be available during breakfast and lunch. Featured specials will be offered during dinner service beginning at 5:30 p.m.  Reservations are recommended.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House,7720 Jones Maltsberger, (210) 821-5051; Grand Hyatt San Antonio, 600 E. Market St., (210) 227-8847 — Father’s Day Chef Specials include handcrafted cocktails for $13 and craft beers for $5 apiece. Specials include prime rib ($48), lobster tail and filet ($63) and pan-roasted Chilean sea bass piccata ($35). Ruth’s Classics, a pair of multicourse options, are also offered.

Texas de Brazil is featuring its full array of meats.

Texas de Brazil is featuring its full array of meats.

Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard, The Kitchen at Sandy Oaks, 29195 Mathis Road, Elmendorf (210-621-0044)  —  Sandy Oaks is offering lunches off their new summer menu, complied by food and beverage director and chef, Chris Cook. While there is no special Father’s Day brunch, this lovely ranch setting, just 20 minutes from downtown San Antonio on I-37, would be a great getaway for all the family. See more about Father’s Day at Sandy Oaks HERE.

Taps y Tapas, 1012 N. Flores St., (210) 277-7174 — Brunch begins at 10 a.m. and goes until everything is sold out. “Bottomless (somewhat) mimosas,” according to the restaurant, are served in the bar.

Texas de Brazil, 313 E. Houston St., (210) 229-1600 — Service begins at 11 a.m. Fathers will receive a certificate for a complimentary dinner in the future.

Tiu Steppi’s, 9910 W. Loop 1604 N., (210) 688-9885 —During the week leading up to Father’s Day, you can buy a growler and fill it up with one of the craft beer selections for half price. On Father’s Day, you can get a special 8-ounce Steak with Roquefort Cheese and Red Wine Peppercorn Sauce in addition to the regular menu. The dessert special is Chocolate Espresso Panna Cotta.

Several places are featuring Bloody Marys.

Several places are featuring Bloody Marys.

Tucker’s Kozy Korner, 1138 E. Houston St., (210)) 320-2192 — Brunch hours are 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. with dishes such as Southern Fried Chicken, Benedict East, and Ham and Eggs. It’s all served up with a touch of gospel music.

Two Step Restaurant, 9840 W. Loop 1604 N., (210) 688-2686 —On Father’s Day, Two Step Restaurant is featuring bottles of Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet for $100.  Shiner Bock Shrimp Scampi with Jalapeño Bread Crumbs and Mashed Potatoes for $17.95 and a 22-ounce Porterhouse with Au Jus and Mashed Potatoes for $29.95.

Zoko Restaurant & Bar, 700 E. Sonterra Blvd., (210) 494-2804 — Sunday brunch is served 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. with a menu that includes Grilled Hangar Steak and Eggs, Chicken Basquaise, Grilled Shrimp and Salmon Duo, Eggs “Beni” and Steamed Mussels. You can order a Bottomless Mimosa or Bloody Mary for $15.

Z’Tejas, 15900 La Cantera Parkway, (210) 690-3334 — Father’s Day hours are 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. All dads receive a $25 bonus card for a future visit.

Restaurateurs, if you’re not listed here and want to be included, email details of your Father’s Day specials to

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The Best of Mexico and the Best Weather Imaginable

The St. Anthony Hotel crew serves up mini tacos.

The St. Anthony Hotel crew serves up mini tacos.

Hundreds of Mexican food fans, not to mention more than a few margarita lovers, poured into a corner of the Shops at La Cantera Friday evening for Culinaria’s annual Best of Mexico feast.

Spicy fideo? An El Machito treat.

Chicken chilaquiles, a spicy fideo capped with some queso crumbles and seared tuna with watermelon cubes were among the delicacies that were served up by a host of restaurants, including Vida Mia, El Machito and La Fruteria.

The St. Anthony Hotel kept the comals heated and lines long as they offered five different types of mini tacos, including barbacoa made from rib-eye, al pastor loaded with pineapple, and bites of shrimp. Picante Grill served up bits of chiles en nogada, complete with the walnut cream and pomegranate seeds. A warm bowl of handmade soup is welcome, and Nicha’s tortilla soup with plenty of cheese melted on top was no exception. Lux Bakery offered tastes of empanadas both sweet and savory.

Other participants included La Fogata, Z’Tejas, La Gloria, Sabor Colombiano and Big Pimp’s Nacho Factory as well as H-E-B, which offered chile-spiked fruit, Mexican charcuterie and cheeses, guacamole and a series of Mexican-inspired salads.

It didn’t matter if the dish was not originally Mexican in origin. Leslie Horne of Aurelia’s Chorizo brought paella with everything from octopus to mussels — and chorizo, of course — was a hit with diners. Two large pans, prepared by chef Jeffrey Balfour emptied quickly.

Luz Bakery's empanadas

Luz Bakery’s empanadas

Another treat that disappeared quickly was the whiskey bread that Bar Louie handed out; and when that disappeared, the bar offered bits of airy, salty pretzels with stone-ground mustard. All it needed was a cold beer from the beer tent.

Wine and beer lovers had a host of options to wet their thirst, while tequila and margarita lovers had a separate area where they could sample all they wanted.

Adding to the scene was a night of perfect weather in which to enjoy the food, libations and the Latin-flavored music of Colao. As the sun began to set, strings of lights overhead intertwined with colorful papeles picados that waved in the gentle breeze to add a romantic touch.

Culinaria’s Festival Week continues Saturday with afternoon seminars at Bar TBA and the Grand Tasting at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. For a full list of activities, click here.

Chicken chilaquiles from Vida Mia.

Chicken chilaquiles from Vida Mia.

The papeles picados wave over the crowd.

The papeles picados wave over the crowd.

Colao adds a Lain music sizzle to the evening.

Colao adds a Lain music sizzle to the evening.



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Easter’s Coming. It’s Time to Make Brunch Plans.

Get your bacon and eggs a little something different this Easter.

Get your bacon and eggs — and more– this Easter.

Easter is coming, and area restaurants are getting read to fix their best brunch dishes just for you. But you need to make reservations at most places, if you want a guaranteed table. Here are some of the offerings in the area. Prices do not include tax and tip.

Biga on the Banks, 203 St. Mary’s St. at Market Street. 210- 225-0722. Kids’ menu available. Service from 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Biga’s brunches are rightly famous year round. For Easter you’ll find entrées like roasted rib-eye of beef, seared natural scallops with parmesan mashers, and red chili pork pozole with white cabbage, oregano and lime share the spot light with more breakfast-style offerings including a Maine lobster frittata and a Biga take on eggs Benedict with smoky paprika hollandaise. After ordering your entrée, help yourself  to an array of appetizers, salads, muffins, sushi, cheese and many other options.

Audens Kitchen 7The kids’ table desserts are served at kids’ height, making the goodies very reachable for young brunchers.  Adults have numerous sweets to select from like coconut raspberry cake, lemon meringue tarts, chocolate cremeux, mint chocolate cheesecake, cookies, brownies and more. Adults $59 and kids’ menu will be available for $27.
Reservations are a good idea.

Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden, 312 Pearl Parkway, 210-354-4644 — Easter brunch is 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Order off the regular brunch menu or choose one of chef Jeff White’s specials, which include Caballero Ranchero with barbacoa, smoked bacon, jalapeno jack and smoked cheddar cheese;  Wagyu Hanger Steak Benedict; Lobster Carbonara Pot Pie;  Ultimate Steak and Eggs; and Lemon Curd Trifle. Prices vary.

Charlie Wants a Burger, 223 Losoya St., 210-227-0864 — Easter hours are 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. with breakfast offerings in the morning, plus the regular menu of food and drinks.

The County Line, 10101 I-10 W., 210-641-1998 — The restaurant will be open 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. with its regular array of slow-smoked meats. Or, if you want your ribs shipped to you, click here.

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse will offer French Toast on Easter Sunday.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse will offer French Toast on Easter Sunday.

Crumpets, 3920 Harry Wurzbach, 210-821-5600 — Easter brunch is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m with live music accompanying the meal. All entrées are served with appetizer, house salad, fresh vegetable, breads, dessert, and your choice of coffee or iced tea and wine or champagne. Appetizers include Puff Pastry with White Wine Mushroom Sauce; Scottish Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese; and Mousse Truffle Pate. Entrée choices: Shrimp salad on avocado, eggs Benedict or chicken breast with Champagne sauce ($29.50 each); Split rack of lamb Provençal, Grilled salmon fillet with lemon butter and capers, Prime beef ribeye with choice of sauce or Shrimp Lyonnaise ($39.50 each); or the Trilogy of beef tenderloin with Rossini sauce, lobster tail with lemon butter and rack of Provençal ($49.50). The children’s menu for kids under 10 include tortellini or chicken breast with salad or dessert for $12.50.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine, 255 E. Basse Road, 210-824-9463 — A special Easter Three-Course Brunch menu will be offered 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Choices include Prime Rib with a Trio of Sauces, Fleming’s Signature Eggs Benedict, Prime Rib Hash or Baked Brioche French Toast layered in vanilla and orange custard with choice of appetizer and dessert.. The price is $39.95 per person. In addition, guests will also receive a $25 dining card valid for a future visit.

Frederick’s, 7701 Broadway, 210-828-9050; Frederick’s Bistro, 14439 N.W. Military Hwy., 210-888-1500 — Easter Brunch specials include appetizer choices of Shrimp and Crab Cocktail with Spicy Cocktail Sauce ($12), Baked Oysters Casino ($10) and Crab Cake ($11). Main course choices: Parmesan Crusted Rainbow Trout ($21), Grilled Lamb Chops ($26), Beef Filet Mignon with Jumbo Shrimp ($33), Eggs Benedict ($19) and Sea Scallops and Shrimp with Tomato & Garlic Sauce ($22). Call for hours.

Hilton Palacio del Rio, 200 S. Alamo St., 210-222-1400 — Easter Brunch seatings are at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. The meals will be served in the hotel’s Salon del Rey Ballroom, and includes a brunch buffet, a glass of champagne, an appearance by the Easter Bunny, and complimentary valet parking. Visit the petting zoo including baby goats and sheep, bunnies, chicks, a piglet, and more. Guests will also enjoy a live harp performance during brunch.

Hyatt Hill Country Resort, 9800 Hyatt Resort Drive, 210-767-7999 — Easter brunch in the new Independence Ballroom will be 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. An Easter egg hunt on the lawn begins at 9 a.m. and other family activities are planned. Pricing: Adults – $54.95, Seniors (60+) – $44.95, Children ages 6-12 – $26. Evening dining in Antlers Lodge will be available.

JW Marriott, 23808 Resort Parkway, (210) 483-6622 — The Easter Buffet will be from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Pricing: Adults $70; seniors $60; children ages 4-12 $30. The menu includes all of your favorites with a Hill Country twist.

Farmers Market omeletLas Canarias at the Omni La Mansion del Rio, 112 College St., 210-518-1177 — Las Canarias’ Easter Champagne Brunch will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Items on the brunch menu include Eggs Benedict with House-Cured Ham, Texas Cinnamon Raisin Brioche French Toast, Bananas Foster over Pearl Sugar Belgian Style Waffles, Blood Orange and Dill Gravlax Salmon, and Farm Fresh Eggs and Omelets Made-to-Order, along with a full salad station including an assortment of meats and cheeses. Featured dishes include Texas Redfish and Shellfish Paella along with a chef carving station offering Apple and Mint Stuffed Leg of Lamb and Smoke Prime Rib of Beef. A pastry station will include an assortment of handmade brownies and cupcakes, Lemon Meringue Shortbread Tarts and Croissant Bread Pudding with Spiced Caramel Anglaise. The price is $72 per adult and $36 for children ages 6-12. Regular à la carte dining at Las Canarias will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Las Ramblas in the Hotel Contessa, 306 W. Market St., 210-298-8040 — Easter Brunch will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Executive chef Jordan Mackey has created a menu of Easter specialties, including traditional holiday favorites with flavorful Spanish overtones. Entree selections include but are not limited to applewood-smoked prime rib, Moroccan maple-glazed ham, honey-glazed turkey breast and an extensive seafood bar and smoked seafood display. Paella Valencia, roasted salmon and pasta also highlight the chef’s savory selections. Artisan cheeses and Spanish cured meats, fresh vegetables, salads and a roasted asparagus soup will also be served, in addition to a waffle and omelet station. A children’s buffet with macaroni and cheese, mini corn dogs, chicken tenders and pizza will also be available. There will a dessert buffet for all. Prices are $51 for adults, $17 for children ages 7 to 16, and free for children 6 and under. Sangrias and mimosas are priced at an additional $12 per person.

Little Gretel, 518 River Road, Boerne, 830-331-1368 — Easter hours are 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Seating is on a first-come-first-served basis and no reservations will be taken. The busier time tends to be between 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Luce Ristorante e Enoteca, 11255 Huebner Road, 210-561-9700 — Easter hours are noon – 9 p.m. with a three-course special for $39.95 a person. The menu begins with a choice of Zuppa di Zucca (Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Soup, Braised Escarole, Pancetta), Caesar Salad or Caprese, followed by a choice of Costolette D’ Angello (Parsley and Garlic Brined Grilled Lamb Porterhouse Chops) or Pesce alla Luce (Pan Seared Fresh Halibut Fillet). Dessert choices: Spumoni, Tiramisu, Crème Brûlée and Chocolate Lava Torta with Vanilla Gelato.

Lüke San Antonio, 125 E. Houston St., 210-227-5853 — Easter brunch is served 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Specials include boiled crawfish with new potatoes; Jamon Tejano, house-cured ham with a goat cheese fritter; Redfish “on the Half Shell”; and Twin County Farm Lamb Ragout. The dessert special is Heavenly Hash with candied pecans, nougat marshmallow and devil’s food brownie.

Marie Callender’s Restaurant & Bakery, 4788 NW Interstate 410 Loop Frontage Road, 210-680-4257 — Dine in for Easter Brunch or Easter Ham Dinner. Easter brunch includes a selection of traditional brunch items while the dinner includes ham with pineapple sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy and more. Some of the options for dinner to go include:

Salad bar saladHam Feast ($99.99) – A bone-in spiral cut quarter ham and chipotle-pineapple glaze topping with feast trimmings. Serves up to 6 people.

  • Turkey Feast ($99.99) – A delicious oven roasted turkey breast with all the feast trimmings. Serves up to 6 people.
  • The Ultimate Whole Turkey Feast ($119.99) – A whole roasted turkey with all of the feast trimmings. Serves up to 8 people.
  • Ham and Turkey Combo Feast ($139.99) – A roasted turkey breast and bone-in spiral cut quarter ham with chipotle-pineapple glaze topping and all the feast trimmings. Serves up to 8 people.
  • The Ultimate Whole Turkey & Ham Feast ($149.99) – A whole roasted turkey, bone-in spiral cut quarter ham and chipotle-pineapple glaze topping. Serves up to 8 people.
  • Brunch Feast ($49.99) – Perfect for an Easter brunch, this feast includes eight freshly baked muffins, two 9” classic quiches, seasonal fruit, whipped topping all packaged and ready to go. Serves up to 10 people.

There are also 30 types of pie available to go in flavors such as Apple, Chocolate Cream, Lemon Meringue and Pumpkin.

Max’s Wine Dive, 340 E. Basse Road, 210-444-9547 — Easter brunch is 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Order off the regular brunch menu with some Easter specials, including mimosas. Also, for a special price get an Easter Retail Package with wine. To make a reservation call the number above. Easter specials include Smoked Tomato Aioli with pickled Quail Egg and Bavarian Crème Salad and Smoked Duck Breast Omelet with Spinach, Brie and Marbled Potatoes. Prices vary.

Morton’s the Steakhouse, 300 E.  Crockett St., 210-228-0700 — Morton’s will be open for dinner on Easter with the regular menu and a steak and lobster special for $55.

Use fresh ham, not cured or smoked, in this recipe.

Use fresh ham, not cured or smoked, in this recipe.

Mike’s in the Village, 2355 Bulverde Road, Bulverde, 830-438-2747 — Easter Brunch is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  First course is a choice of House Salad, Caesar Salad or  Baby Spinach Salad with Bacon and Boiled Egg. Second course is a choice of House Cured and Baked Virginia Ham with Sweet Potato Hash and Sautéed Vegetables;  Grilled Fresh Wild Caught Salmon with Lemon and Capers; Cajun Seasoned Prime Rib; Shrimp with a Tomato and Andouille Sausage Broth plus Smoked Gouda Cheese Grits; or  Eggs Benedict with Sautéed Spinach and Applewood Bacon.  Dessert choices: Blueberry Bread Pudding with Lemon Chantilly Sauce; Strawberry Crepes with Chocolate Drizzle; and  Bananas Foster with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. The price for adults is $26.95. Children’s menu choices: Grilled Cheese with French Fries and Fresh Fruit;  Grilled Chicken with French Fries and Fresh Fruit;  Chicken Tenders with French Fries and Fresh Fruit; and Pancakes with Bacon and Fresh Fruit. The children’s options, for kids under 10, come with a drink for $7.95.

Omni San Antonio Hotel at the Colonnade, 9821 Colonnade Blvd., 210-699-5803 — Easter Day Champagne Brunch in in the Omni Grand Ballroom is from ​10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. with seatings every 30 minutes until 2 p.m. Breakfast entrees include Applewood Smoked Bacon, Country House Chicken and Apple Links, Eggs Benedict with Canadian Bacon and Red Pepper Hollandaise and Vanilla Cinnamon Swirl French Toast. An omelet station, seasonal fruit, Warm Butter Croissants and Fruit Danish, Muffins, Sliced French Baguettes and Bagels, and salads will be offered. Easter favorites: Smoked Pork Loin with Granny Smith Apple and Fennel; Roasted Salmon with Wild Mushroom Confit and Wine Reduction; Garden Herb Marinated Chicken Breast and Natural Jus; Green Bean Amandine; Dungeness Crab and Pea Soup; Home-style Mash Potatoes; and Saffron Rice Pilaf with Orzo.

Also: Carved-to-order: Garlic and Thyme Studded Baron of Beef with Raspberry Merlot; Mustard Crusted Leg of Lamb with Mint Jelly; and Hickory Smoked Bone-In Ham. Seafood Display: Citrus Brined Shrimp, New Zealand Green Lip Mussels, and Crab Claws. Cowboys Campfire: Hill Country Chili and Jalapeno Cornbread, Pickled Ham Hocks and Honey Baked Beans, Venison and Root Vegetable Stew, and Fredericksburg Peach Cobbler with Roasted Oats and Texas Pecans. Desserts: S’mores Bar with Graham Crackers, Bite-Size Desserts and Bars, Mini Cakes and Pies and Sugar-Free Delights. Prices are ​​​​$50 for adults, $43 for seniors 65+ and $21 for children ages 5-11.

easter2Ostra at the Mokara Hotel & Spa, 212 W. Crockett St., 210-396-5817 — Breakfast will be available at Ostra beginning at 6:30 a.m. Ostra’s regular à la carte menu will be available during breakfast and lunch. Featured Easter specials will be offered during dinner service only beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Paesanos 1604, 3622 Paesanos Pkwy., 210-493-1604; Paesanos Lincoln Heights, 555 E. Basse Road, 210-828-5191; Paesanos Riverwalk, 111 W. Crockett St., 210-227-2782 — Easter hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. with the regular menu plus blackboard specials.

Piatti at Eilan, 17101 La Cantera Parkway, 210-251-3542 — Easter brunch begins at 11 a.m. with service going until closing. Easter specials will be offered in addition to the regular menu.

Q on the Riverwalk at the San Antonio Hyatt, 123 Losoya St., 210-510-4477 — The Easter brunch will be from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Included will be a Seafood Station with Chilled Prawns – Marinated Mussels – Half Shelled Oysters; a series of salads plus Cream of Asparagus Soup with Blue Crab Meat. At the Breakfast Station: Made-to-Order Omelets, House Smoked Chairman Reserve Brisket Sopas, Bourbon Pecan French Toast with Molasses Butter and Maple Syrup, Chicken Jalapeno Sausage and Smoked Bacon. Entrees: Herb Roasted Halibut Lemon Confit, Apple & Fennel Stuffed Organic Chicken Breast and Hickory Smoked Bison Brisket with Prickly Pear BBQ Sauce. At the Carving Station: Cedar River Farms All Natural Beef Rib-Eye and Heritage Bone-In Ham. Desserts include Cream Puffs, Petite Fours, Chocolate Dipped Strawberries Fruit Tarts and more. The price is $47 for adults and $23 for children ages 4-12. Complimentary Champagne or Mimosa. Complimentary self-parking across the street, if space is available.

Rio Rio Cantina, 421 E. Commerce St., 210-226-8462 — Easter hours are 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. with breakfast options in the morning. The regular food and drink offerings will be available until closing.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Concord Plaza, 7720 Jones Maltsberger Road, 210-821-5051; Grand Hyatt, 600 E. Market St., 210-227-8847 — The Concord Plaza location will be open 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Easter with the full menu as well as Ruth’s Classics, a multi-course prix fixe special. The Grand Hyatt location will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner on Easter.

ChampagneSilo Elevated Cuisine, 434 North Loop 1604 W., (210) 483-8989 — A three-course Easter Champagne brunch will be 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  First course, choice of one: Lobster Bisque, Smoked Salmon, Grilled Honey Ancho Glazed Quail, Classic Caesar Salad, Baby Arugula, Little Gem Lettuce. Second course: Silo Eggs Benedict, Maine Lobster Scramble, Seared Sea Scallops, Southern BBQ Grilled Redfish, Oven-Roasted Chicken Breast, Beef Tenderloin. Third course: Vanilla Bean Cheesecake, Dark Chocolate Truffle Mousse Pie. Children’s menu: Angel Hair Pasta with butter, garlic and cheese bread, Chicken Tenders and third course, Chocolate Sundae. Cost is $38 per person not including tax and tip; Children’s menu, $11.

Sustenio at Éilan Hotel and Spa, 17103 La Cantera Pkwy., 210-598-2950 The Easter Brunch Buffet will be from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and will feature chef Stephan Pyles’ newly unveiled Mediterranean-inspired menu. At the carving station, Sustenio’s signature Grilled Bistecca Fiorintina “Prime” Porterhouse will be accompanied by Spinach Florentine and Chianti Jus. Other carving station choices include Oven-Roasted Prime Rib with Horseradish Cream and Natural Jus and Apple Honey Glazed Spiral Ham infused with Anise and served with Apple Chutney. Other entrees: Oven Roasted Salmon with Mango and Peach Chutney; Grilled Breast of Chicken with Organic Mushrooms and Natural Jus; Farmers Market Vegetables and Whipped Yukon Potatoes.

FLEMINGS_EggsBenedict_DetailThe brunch also includes Sustenio Chicken-Fried Steak Benedict with Buttermilk Biscuit; Traditional Eggs Benedict with Nueskie Canadian Bacon and House Hollandaise; Brioche French Toast with Honey Butter and Pure Maple Syrup; and Applewood Smoked Bacon and Country Sausage. The omelet station provides made-to-order creations while seafood options include Poached Jumbo Shrimp and Crab Claws; Oyster Shooters; Sashimi; and Crudo. Other features: local artisan cheeses, antipasti, charcuterie and marinated olives, seasonal fruit, smoked salmon, Caesar and other salads, side dishes, a Brick-Oven Flatbread Station and dessert selections, including a made-to-order “Liquid Nitro” Ice Cream Station. Prices are $59.95 for adults, $49.95 for seniors and active military; and $19.95 for children ages 4 to 12.

Texas de Brazil, 313 E. Houston St., 210-229-1600 — Service on Easter begins at 11 a.m. Early diners can also enjoy scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, pastries and more in addition to the array of meats.

Tre Trattoria Alamo Heights, 4003 Broadway and Tre Trattoria Downtown, Easter Brunch from 10-4.  210-805-0333. See full multi-course brunch online here. $42.50 non-inclusive of tax and tip.

Tre Trattoria Downtown, 401 S. Alamo, at the Fairmont Hotel. Easter Brunch from 10-4. (210) 223-0401. See full multi-course brunch online here. $42.50 non-inclusive of tax and tip.

Tuk Tuk Taproom, 1702 Broadway, 210-222-8277 — On Easter weekend, Dim Sum Pajama Brunch will be available both Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. People are encouraged to wear their pajamas and come as they are. The prices are $25 for adults and $14.50 for children under 14.  For reservations:

Z’Tejas, 15900 La Cantera Parkway, 210-690-3334 — Easter brunch hours are 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Receive a complimentary photo with the Easter Bunny.

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Dear Dining Valentine: Possibilities (Almost) Endless

Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday this year, which means you need to make your reservations early. Otherwise, a great many places are going to fill up quickly. Even casual places are taking reservations that evening, so call first. Don’t just drop by expecting to get a seat without a wait.

The suggestions below cover all kinds of tastes and budgets. Prices do not include tax, tip or alcoholic beverages, unless otherwise noted.

814 A Texas Bistro, 713 High St., Comfort, (830) 995-4990 — Valentine’s Day seatings are at 6 and 8 p.m. The special dinner will include four courses for $60 a person.

Antlers Lodge at Hyatt Hill Country, 9800 Hyatt Resort Drive, (210) 520-4001 — The Valentine’s Day menu will be offered on Feb. 14 and 15. The special dinner begins with the chef’s amuse-bouche, followed by a choice of lump crab and mango with cumin-scented apple chips or grilled wild boar chop with tomato jam. Local greens with strawberry and avocado and butternut squash soup with smoked duck breast will be served before a choice of Niman Ranch filet, roasted asparagus with citrus and fresh herbs, lobster mac and cheese, port wine and amber ale; grilled swordfish, lemon and thyme-scented salsa and creamy polenta; pan-seared elk tenderloin, spicy greens, roasted fingerling potato and cilantro pesto; or mustard crusted tofu, bitter greens, sweet potato purée. Finish with your choice from the chef’s dessert selection. The price is $68 a person.

Barriba Cantina offers drinks, appetizers and live music in addition to dinner.

Barriba Cantina offers drinks, appetizers and live music in addition to dinner.

Arcade Midtown Kitchen, 303 Pearl Parkway,  (210) 369-9664 — Arcade will host a special Valentine’s Day prix-fixe dinner menu that will have specialty cocktails offered along with their  champagne and sparking wine list. On Feb. 15, the restaurant will continue to serve the special menu, along with a limited version of the regular menu. Join Arcade Midtown Kitchen for their “Lovers Brunch” on Feb. 16, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. At the Lovers Brunch, the restaurant will offer a limited regular brunch menu, with special dishes for sharing with that special someone. More details and the menus will be posted during the week of Valentine’s at

Azuca Nuevo Latino, 713 S. Alamo St., (210) 225-5550 — The restaurant will be offering its 11th Aphrodisiacs Dinner, which includes appetizer, soup or salad, choice of Pan-seared Jumbo Prawns and Pan-seared Nut-encrusted Ahi Tuna or Beef Tenderloin Medallion and Australian Lamb Lollipops, plus dessert. The Tropicante Orchestra will perform. Call for prices.

Backyard Bistro, 167 Panther Ridge, Pipe Creek, (830) 535-4094 — The special Valentine’s menu is available 5-9 p.m. Feb. 13-15. The dinner for two special includes a 22-ounce heart-shaped rib-eye with potatoes gratin, asparagus and demi-glace.  The price is $45 per couple. Visit for more Valentine’s specials.

Barriba Cantina, 111 W. Crockett St., (210) 228-9876 — Barriba Cantina offers free live music, a River Walk view and food, and because Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday this year, it also has happy hour specials from 3 – 6 p.m. with $4 drafts, $4 well drinks and $2 off all Barriba Cantina signature cocktails. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. with Guitar Smokehouse Army performing 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. Christine Roberts will perform at 5 p.m.

Becker Vineyards, 464 Becker Farms Road, Stonewall, (830) 644-2681, ext. 230 — Valentine’s dinner in the Lavender Haus Reception Hall begins at 6:30 p.m. with the 2013 Provençal. The first course is Yellow Fin Tuna Wontons with the 2013 White Wing, followed by Cream of Tomato Soup and the 2012 Reserve Cabernet Franc. Bacon Wrapped Beef Tenderloin with a cherry demi glace and the 2012 Raven will be served before Flourless Chocolate Torte and the 2012 Vintage Port. The evening concludes with a cheese cart and the 2012 Viognier. Chef Ariel Dvorin of Chef’s Catering in Austin will provide the meal. The price is $115 a person.

Biga on the Banks, 203 S. St. Mary’s, (210) 225-0722 — The special Valentine’s Day Menu features a multi-course dinner served from 5:30 – 11 p.m. It includes an amuse bouche of mini brioche salmon rillettes, cucumber, dill and a savory tart, followed by a first course choice of red pepper shrimp bisque; warm spinach, brie, trumpet royal mushrooms, spiced pecans, gaufrettes, tart apples and sherry garlic vinaigrette; orange salad with greens, lardons, blue cheese, avocado, walnuts and walnut vinaigrette; or lobster thermidor ravioli spinach with sherry butter. The second course is a choice of grilled beef tenderloin with baked potato gnocchi, asparagus and port veal reduction; seared Gulf snapper with white bean and crab cassoulet; pappardelle roasted chicken pasta with arugula, goat cheese, lemon capers and Parmesan; or the vegetarian dish of the evening. The final course is Gewurztraminer Apple Pie with Biga crunch ice cream; Meyer Lemon Posset with candied hazelnuts, basil cream and lemon chips; or Milk Chocolate Cheesecake with passion fruit anglaise, strawberries and dentelle tuile. The price is $69 per person, or $89 with paired wines.

Bliss, 926 S. Presa St., (210) 225-2547 — On Valentine’s Day, Bliss will be open from 5 to 11 p.m. featuring a four-course prix fixe for $75 a person.

Boardwalk Bistro, 4011 Broadway, (210) 824-0100 — There will be two Valentine’s Day seatings. The first is from 5 – 8 p.m., the second from 8:30 – 11 p.m. A five-course menu will be offered with prices that range from $72 to $82 a person. The menu includes your choice of appetizers, soups and salads. Main course is a choice of Prawns with Creamy Polenta ($78);  Pistachio-encrusted Crab Cake ($78);  Chateaubriand for One or Two (One:$82, Two: $160);  Braised Center Cut Pork Chop ($76);  Lobster Trilogy of lobster tail, lobster risotto and a chilled lobster salad ($82); or  Exotic Mushroom Canneloni ($72). Dessert choices included. The Jim Cullum Jazz Band will play for both seatings.

Bohanan’s Prime Steaks and Seafood, 219 E. Houston St., (210) 472-2600 Valentine’s Day at Bohanan’s can include your choice of champagne, the menu of prime steaks and seafood, as well as table-side desserts flambé that will set your night on fire. Live jazz and intimate surroundings are featured at Bohanan’s Bar, where you can order your favorite cocktails and late-night bites from the bar menu.

Boiler House, 312 Pearl Parkway,  (210) 354-4645 — The Boiler House will be running a special prix-fixe Amore dinner menu Feb. 13-15. The regular menu will be available as well. The special menu begins with Duck Meatballs á la Matriciana, meatballs with tomato-based sauce with pork belly and pork cheek with house ricotta. The second course will feature baby iceberg lettuce, cherry tomatoes, shaved fennel, apple cider lardons, blue cheese, pine nuts and a green apple vinaigrette. The third course is a choice of branzino seared with buratta ravioli, tomato brown butter and shaved Parmesan or veal breast, braised with Parmesan rind, natural jus, house mustard Brodo and brown butter Gnudi. Satisfy your sweets craving with the Sfoliatelle, a puff pastry filled with Nutella chocolate and topped with macerated strawberries and Moscato Zabaione. The cost of the Prix Fixe dinner is $55 per person, plus $35 for wine pairing, if desired. It is available from 5 p.m. to close.

Cantina del Rio, 1299 Gruene Road, Gruene Historic District at New Braunfels, (830) 515-1950 — The Sizzlin’ Valentine’s Special is available Feb. 14-16 with happy hour prices and a dollar off tender chicken or beef fajitas marinated in a fresh squeezed lime marinade, served with beans, rice, guacamole, pico de gallo and your choice of fresh flour or homemade corn tortillas. Prices are $8.95 for one or $17.95 for you and your sweetheart. Enjoy a frozen margarita or sangria (for $3) or an ice cold beer ($2.50-$2.75) on the deck tucked into the trees of Gruene Historic District.

The Slow-Smoked & Flame-Kissed Pork Chop at the County Line.

The Slow-Smoked & Flame-Kissed Pork Chop at the County Line.

The County Line, 10101 I-10 W., (210) 641-1998 — The County Line is taking reservations, even for two, for Valentine’s Day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The full menu will be served including its latest menu item, the Slow-Smoked & Flame-Kissed Pork Chop, a half-pound center cut pork loin chop seasoned with lemon pepper before smoking and grilling. It’s served with the restaurant’s famous garlic mashed potatoes and grilled veggie kabob for $15.99. Happy hour specials in the bar area (only) between 3-7 p.m. include $2.50 domestics, $3.50 imports, $2.50 well drinks and $4 frozen or on-the-rocks margaritas, plus discounts on select appetizers. (These specials and reservations are not available at the County Line River Walk location.)

Crumpets, 3920 Harry Wurzbach Road, (210) 821-5600 — The Valentine’s special menu will be available Feb. 14-15. It comes with choice of appetizer and choice of soup or salad, vegetables and dessert. Entree choices include: Breast of Chicken with Montrachet Sauce ($40.50); Fresh Salmon Filet with Lemon-Butter and Capers ($52.50); Shrimp Lyonnaise with Wild Rice Blend ($40.50); Tenderloin of Beef Savoy ($52.50); Veal Scaloppini with Mushroom and Cognac Sauce ($52.50); or Trilogy of Lobster Tail with Lemon Butter, Rack of Lamb Provençal and Tenderloin of Beef with Rossini Sauce ($65).

Cured, 306 Pearl Parkway,  (210) 314-3929 — Cured is hosting a three-course Valentine’s Day dinner for couples. For the first course, guests will enjoy Crab Cappuccino, followed by a second course of Lamb Chops with Lemon Verbena plus Cauliflower Purée and early Spring Vegetables. Ending on a sweet note, guests will indulge in Malted Chocolate with Truffle Mousse and Cashew Crunch. This special prix-fixe menu will include a glass of wine for each guest of their choosing, white, red or sparkling. The dinner is $100 per couple (additional beverages not included). It is available from 5 to 11 p.m.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, 255 E. Basse Road, (210) 824-9463 — Valentine’s will be celebrated Feb. 13-15 with a multi-course prix-fixe menu. Dinner begins with a pan-seared scallop served over goat cheese polenta followed by a choice of a Fleming’s Salad or Modern Caesar.The entree includes a filet mignon paired with your choice of an 8-ounce lobster tail ($69.95) or pecan-crusted salmon ($59.95).  Guests can choose to pair their meal with Fleming’s featured cocktail, French Kiss 75, for $10 extra and end the night with house-made cinnamon sugar doughnuts with homemade lemon custard and blueberry dipping sauce for $9.95.

Francesca’s at Sunset at La Cantera Resort, 16641 La Cantera Parkway, (210) 558-2442 — A three-course special will be served on Valentine’s Day. It begins with a choice of Salad of Hydroponic Watercress and Celery with Texas ruby red grapefruit or Roasted Winter Squash Soup.  It is followed by a choice of Pan-roasted Black Cod or Grilled Rib-eye. Dessert is a choice of Gianduja Cherry Tart or Vanilla Butter Cake. The price is $65 a person, or $85 with wine pairings.

Frederick’s Restaurant, 7701 Broadway, Ste. 20, (210) 828-9050;  Frederick’s Bistro, 14439 N.W. Military Hwy., Ste. 100, (210) 888-1500 — There are two special menus.

  • The first is offered on Feb. 13 and 15 at a cost of $55 a person. First course is a choice of Shrimp Cocktail and Jumbo Lump Crab Meat with Spicy Asian Cocktail Sauce; Sea Scallops with Leek Ragout and Caviar; Mousse of Duck Foie Gras with Spring Mix Salad; or Baked Brie Puff Pastry Stuffed with Spinach and Goat Cheese. Second course is a choice of Veal Strip Loin with Port Wine and Shiitake Mushroom Sauce; Sea Bass and Jumbo Crab Meat Napoleon with Caviar and Champagne Veloute; or Beef Tournedos Rossini Perigourdine Sauce. Third course is a choice of Le Trio: Crème Brulee, Chocolate Terrine, Rum Euphoria; Black Forrest Cake, Black Cherries, Kirchwasser; Coupe Valentin: Amaretto Fruit Salad with Sorbet; or Frozen Grand Marnier Souffle with Strawberry Coulis.
  • Second is available on Feb. 14. It begins with your choice of Jumbo Crab  & Salmon Cake with Avocado Vinaigrette;  Spring Rolls with Mint Cilantro and Lettuce Wrap; Seared Beef Sirloin Carpaccio with Herb Cheese & Roasted Pepper Vinaigrette;  Smoked Salmon Roll with Cream Cheese Caviar & Shrimp Cocktail Platter; or Gratinated Lobster Canneloni. Second course is Frederick’s Salad with a Champagne & Hazelnut Oil Vinaigrette. The main course is a choice of Grilled Lamb Chops with Garlic Cabernet Sauce & Gratin Potatoes;  Beef Tenderloin with Jumbo Shrimp and Roquefort Fresh Herb Sauce with Mushroom Risotto;  Parmesan Crusted Red Snapper with Avocado Relish & Basel Beurre Blanc; Sea Bass and Sea Scallops with Champagne Caviar Veloute and Garlic Mashed Potatoes; or Fresh Maine Lobster Navarin with Spring Vegetables Over Linguine Pasta. Dessert is a choice of  Black Forrest Cake, Black Cherries & Kirsch Wasser; Frozen Grand Marnier Souffle with Strawberry Coulis; Coupe Valentine: Amaretto Fruit Salad with Sorbet; or Ginger Ice Cream & Lychees Syrup. Price is $85 a person.

Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar, 1287 Gruene Road, Gruene Historic District at New Braunfels, (830) 606-1287 — The Valentine’s special is available Feb. 14-16. An 8-ounce New York strip accompanied by bacon-wrapped stuffed Texas gulf jumbo shrimp. They’re served with loaded mashed potatoes and served with an iceberg wedge salad for $24.99. And to finish off the meal, there is the Ultimate Turtle Cheesecake, a creamy cheesecake with rich fudge topped with caramel, pecans, chocolate chips and whipped cream. It’s served with two spoons.

Gruene Hall, 1281 Gruene Road, Gruene Historic District at New Braunfels, (830) 606-1281 — Take in a Valentine’s Day dance with Bri Bagwell.

Guenther’s Biergarten Grill, Highway 473 and 6th Street, Comfort, (830) 995-5370 — The Valentine’s special is offered from 5 to 9 p.m. It includes a choice of garden fresh salad or house pickled cucumber salad, Crawfish bisque and a choice of Basa Gratin, Tortilla Crusted Tilapia with Corn & Black Bean Salsa, Champagne Chicken or Seared Beef Fillet Salad. Each dinner comes with fresh baked handmade bread and a selection from the dessert menu. The price is $26 per person.

The bacon-wrapped filet at Josephine St. Cafe.

The bacon-wrapped filet at Josephine St. Cafe.

Josephine St. Café, 400 E. Josephine St., (210) 224-6169 — Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Jo Street Feb. 13-15. Start with an iceberg wedge salad, topped with cracked black pepper, bacon, diced tomatoes and a chunky blue cheese dressing. Then feast on a 7-ounce bacon-wrapped filet served with a fresh vegetable of your choice. Then, indulge in a slice of handmade cheesecake. The price is $22.25 a person.

Kirby’s Prime Steakhouse, 123 N. Loop 1604 E., (210) 404-2221 — The four-course Valentine’s menu begins with a choice of appetizer, followed by soup or salad. Main course options: Grilled 7- or 10-ounce Blue Ribbon Filet with your choice of sauces (Roquefort, Cognac Pepper, Béarnaise); 18-ounce Rosewood Smoked Ribeye; Prime 16-ounce New York Strip; Grilled Atlantic Salmon and Rosemary Skewered Diver Sea Scallops; Oven Baked Dover Sole Fillet with Jumbo Lump Crab and a Chardonnay Shallot Cream; and 8-ounce Cold Water Lobster Tail, Butter Poached or Grilled. Side and dessert included. Price is $85 a person.

La Fogata, 2427 Vance Jackson Road, (210) 340-1337 — On Valentine’s Day, enjoy a free taste of Camarena Tequila from 7 to 8:30 p.m. In addition to the regular menu, enjoy one of two specials, grilled chicken breast or a tilapia fillet, both served with grilled vegetables and a creamy poblano fettucine. The dish will be available throughout Valentine’s weekend.

Las Canarias at Omni La Mansión del Rio, 112 College St., (210) 518-1063 — In celebration of Valentine’s Day, Las Canarias will feature a special three-course prix fixe dinner menu, available from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Feb. 14-15.   The first course consists of a choice of house-made charcuterie board with embellishments or a ceviche flight. The main course gives diners a choice between a “love birds” pan-roasted pheasant breast with black truffle mousse or a cast-iron seared petite beef tenderloin with brown butter potato puree. Finally, the meal will conclude with a decadent Valrhona chocolate manjari with cherry marmalade. The price is $130 per couple, not including alcoholic beverages.

Liberty Bar, 1111 S. Alamo St., (210) 227-1187 — Liberty Bar is offering a prix-fixe Valentine’s menu after 5 p.m. Feb. 14-16. The menu includes an amuse bouche, choice of appetizer, choice of soup or salad, choice of the following entrees: Shrimp and Red Snapper Baked in Cilantro; Braised Lamb Shanks with Garlic; and Stuffed Tomato a la Grecque Rice, Currants, Garlic and Onion with Onions Agrodolce, Raisins, Brown Sugar and Port Fennel Florentine. Dessert choices include Hot Dutch Maiden (Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Dark Fudge Sauce, Pecans, Whipped Cream and Morello Cherry); Wretched Excess (Virginia Green’s Chocolate Cake and Hot Dutch Sauce with Crème Fraîche); Rancour and Recrimination (Sour Cherry Tart and Bittersweet Bar); and aged port. The price is $60 a person.

Luce Ristorante e Enoteca, 11255 Huebner Road, (210) 561-9700 — On Feb. 14 and 15, Luce will be offering a three-course Valentine’s Day menu with options for every diner, from a crisp Caesar Salad to Grilled Filet Mignon and, of course, desserts. Service is from 4:30 – 10:30 p.m. both evenings. The price of the special is $44.95 per person.

Max’s Wine Dive, 340 E. Basse Road, (210) 444-9547 — Valentine’s Day specials will be available from 3 p.m. – midnight Feb. 13 through Feb. 15. They include  Smoked Beef Short Ribs with white wine poached rainbow carrots and purple potato salad;  Blackened Redfish with preserved lemon, passion fruit gastrique, parsnip puree and fried Brussels sprouts; and  Red Velvet Crumb Parfait with almond butter custard, chocolate ganache and vanilla bean whipped cream. Prices for the specials are $25 for entrees and $10 for desserts.

Mike’s in the Village, 2355-3 Bulverde Road, Bulverde, (830) 438-2747 — A special four-course Valentine’s dinner will be available exclusively on Feb. 14 and in addition to the regular menu Feb. 13 and 15. The menu includes a soup, salad, entree choices of Lobster Thermidor with Creamed Spinach, Pepper-crusted Filet Mignon, Seared Duck Breast with Cherry Demi Glace or Pomegranate, Rosemary and Garlic Marinated Lamb Chops, plus dessert and a glass of champagne. The price is $60 a person.

Morton’s the Steakhouse, 300 E. Crockett St., (210) 228-0700 — Celebrate Valentine’s Day Feb. 13-16 with a steak and lobster special for $55.

Mozie’s, 1601 Hunter Road, Gruene Historic District at New Braunfels, (830) 515-1281 — Valentine’s specials are available Feb. 14-16 and include a succulent 6-ounce filet and a 16-ounce porterhouse T-bone. Both flat-top grilled, covered in Hofbrau lemon butter and served with a bleu cheese wedge salad and a choice of side ($29.95). To sweeten your dining experience, try specialty martinis including Strawberry Cheesecake, Godiva Chocolate or Key Lime Pie.

Nao, 312 Pearl Parkway, (210) 554-6484 — Enjoy a Brazilian-themed Valentine’s Day Menu. The four-course menu with optional wine pairings will be offered during regular dinner hours, 5:30 – 10 p.m. Lovers will begin the dinner by savoring acarje, a traditional white bean fritter stuffed with spicy okra pepper, followed by choosing either the Bahian-style lobster stew or a fresh palm heart and chayote salad as the appetizer. For the main course, guests can select either the picanha & molho verde or grilled shrimp “vatape”. End the night by indulging in the crème de papaya con cassis for dessert. The Valentine’s Day dinner is $45 per person. There is also a wine pairing that is an additional $25 per person.

Ocho at the Hotel Havana, 1015 Navarro St., (210) 228-2008 — The Valentine’s special is a four-course menu that comes with a glass of sparkling wine. The menu includes a first course of Mixed Greens, Roasted Artichoke and Asedero Crostini with a Strawberry Balsamic Reduction, followed by Asparagus Bisque with Shaved Prosciutto and Piquillo Lime Crema. The third course is a choice of Wild Mushroom Crusted Hanger Steak with a Port Demi-glace, Chorizo Au Gratin Potatoes and Seared Green Beans or Havana Spiced Texas Redfish, Agave-glazed Vegetables and Roasted Cauliflower Puree. Dessert s a Red Velvet Torte with Bailey’s Ganache and garnished with Chicharrones. The price is $75 a person.

Ostra Restaurant at Mokara Hotel & Spa, 212 W. Crockett St., (210) 396-5817 — Ostra will feature a three-course prix fixe dinner menu, available from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Feb. 14-15. You can get the special with optional drink pairings, the first of which is a welcoming Corazon pomegranate margarita.First course consists of a choice of roasted shiitake mushroom soup, Bluebonnet Farms lettuce salad or Texas gulf shrimp cocktail – beverage pairing is a Mulderbosch Rose from South Africa. The main course gives diners a choice of nine spice tuna fillet or a tenderloin of beef ‘Oscar style’ – beverage pairing is a Cline Live Oak, Zinfandel from Sonoma County. Finally, diners will indulge in a chocolate lover’s trio consisting of silk cheesecake, strawberry profiterole and toasted coconut tart. The price is $120 per couple; beverage pairings can be added for $32 per person.

Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille, 15900 La Cantera Parkway, (210) 558-6161 — Perry’s is offering a prix-fixe menu Feb. 14-15. The special menu includes choice of soup or salad, entrée served with whipped potato purée and seasonal vegetables, and dessert. Entree choices include an 8-ounce filet mignon, a 14-ounce prime New York strip, a 14-ounce prime rib-eye, Perry’s Famous Pork Chop, grilled salmon, chicken Oscar, sesame-crusted ahi tuna and a vegetable plate. Prices are $59.95 a person if seated by 5:30 p.m. or $74.95 if seated after 5:30 p.m. (The regular menu will not be offered either evening.) Live music begins at 6 p.m.

Elaborate desserts are a part of many Valentine's Day dining options.

Elaborate desserts are a part of many Valentine’s Day dining options.

Q on the Riverwalk at the Hyatt Regency San Antonio, 123 Losoya St., (210) 510-4477 — The Valentine’s Day special is a prix fixe menu that begins with an appetizer choice of pan-roasted Arctic char with chorizo potato hash or wild game sausage cassoulet with crusty garlic bread. It is followed by a salad of Bluebonnet greens with pancetta crisp, spiced poached pears, goat cheese and roasted potatoes.  The main course is a choice of seared scallops, lentils and bacon with smoked leek beurre blanc or braised beef short ribs with root vegetable puree, braising jus and fried parsnips. Dessert is warm vanilla chocolate cake with chocolate ganache, cherries and port. The price is $60 a person, plus $35 extra for customer wine pairings.

Restaurant Gwendolyn, 152 E. Pecan, Downtown, (210) 222-1849For a romantic dinner near the River Walk, Chef Michael Sohocki has pre-selected a seasonal menu for his seven-course dinner that includes his house-cured charcuterie board from his non-electric kitchen. All dishes are house-cured,  house-butchered and made with the labor of love. The menu offers options such as; Smoked Oyster “Bloody Mary,” Beet Salad with Citrus Gelee, Shrimp Tortelloni with Champagne Cream, Exotic Mushroom and Braised Lamb Beggar’s purse, Rosewater Sorbet, Strube Ranch Hanger Steak Marchand de Vin, and Chocolate and Cigarettes for dessert. Pricing for seven-course menu is $125 with additional pre-selected wine for $65. Please make reservations at the phone number above.
 San Antonio Botanical Garden, 555 Funston — The Botanical Gardens are offering three different Valentine’s options, ranging from the exclusive to the inexpensive:
  • Schedule a private dinner for two. Start with champagne in the Overlook, with panoramic views. Dine in the glass conservatory setting. This is limited to three couples, one couple per evening, February 13-15, 2014. Reserve by calling (210) 829-0804. The Carriage House Bistro chef will personally consult with you on your “Yellow Roses” themed menu. The price is $500 per couple.
  • Dine in the Carriage House Bistro on Valentine’s Day from 5 to 7 p.m. Stroll in the garden before dinner. There will be a prix fixe menu for $75 per person (wine not included). A yellow rose and chocolates are offered for each Valentine couple. Call (210) 826-5800.
  • Have lunch at the Carriage House Bistro from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 7- 16, 2014 (closed Monday). Call (210) 826-5800. The special menu includes Seared Mahi-Mahi and Roasted Pork Tenderloin in a Marsala glaze over rice pilaf with grilled asparagus topped with sundried tomato hollandaise. It comes with a Bowl of Love Salad,  spring mix greens with walnuts, strawberries, and feta tossed in a champagne vinaigrette.

Sea Island Shrimp House, various locations — Get half-price Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi wine by the glass or by the bottle Feb. 14-16. Plus, the first 25 guests at each location to order a glass of wine on Valentine’s Day will receive a special gift. Special prices are $1.90 a glass or $6.50 a bottle.

Silo, 1133 Austin Hwy., (210) 824-8686; 434 N. Loop 1604 W., (210) 483-8989 — Valentine’s Day brings a four-course special that begins with a choice of Lobster Bisque, Chicken-Fried Oysters, Bandera Quail, Tuna Tartar or Roasted Vegetable Bruschetta. The second course is a choice of roasted beet salad, baby frisee and pear salad, a classic Caesar or Texas Heirloom Tomato Salad. Third course is a choice of Berkshire Pork Chop, Maine Lobster Paella, Parmesan-Crusted Seabass, Australian Lamb Loin or Petit Filet Mignon. Finish off your meal with a choice of toasted coconut pie, Callebeaut Belgian Chocolate Mousse or Vanilla Cheesecake. Price is $75 a person. Optional wine pairings available for an additional $18.

Sushi Zushi, various locations — If you want sushi on Valentine’s Day, you can treat your loved one to the Heart to Heart Roll for $14 in all San Antonio and Austin locations. The Heart to Heart roll includes tempura Izumi Tai (Japanese whitefish), cucumber, basil, citrus aioli, and other ingredients. It is available the month of February through March 14. Also on Valentine’s Day, happy hour will be from 3 to 7 p.m. with food and drink discounts. Visit

Tre Trattoria Alamo Heights,  4003 Broadway, (210) 805-0333 — A Valentine’s Day special 5-course menu will be available for $60 a person. Menu features include: House Cured Turkey and Giblet with “Creamed Greens” Roasted Turkey Jus and Apple; Butter Poached Oysters with Orzo, Cripsy Shallots and Caviar; “Cast Iron”  Filet with roasted fennel “gratin” and smoked pecan Romesco; Pan Seared Scallops with Fried Brussel Sprouts, roasted sunchoke puree and anchovy vinaigrette; and polenta crusted veal Milanese with saffron beurre blanc and local kale “slaw.”

Tre Trattoria Downtown, 401 S. Alamo St., (210) 223-0401 — On Valentine’s Day, the restaurant will be offering a five-course menu for $65 a person. Menu choices include Bruschetta with House Focaccia, radish, shell bean, ricotta, and mint; White Gazpacho with almonds, cucumber, grapes and balsamic; Spring Panzanella with buffalo Burrata; Spring Pea Gnudi with blistered cherry tomatoes, oregano, and Parmesan brodo; Crespelle with duck ragu, wilted arugula and Pecorino Romano; Gnocchi with lobster, tarragon, and chiles ($8 supplement); Pan Seared Scallops with Grilled Ramps and Romanesco; Filet of tenderloin with spring carrots, new potatoes and Foie Butter ($8 supplement); and Chicken Cacciatore with capers, San Marzano, Calabrese peppers.
Tribeca, 4331 McCullough Ave., (210) 320-0698 —The Valentine’s menu begins with a choice of Shrimp Bisque with Crème Fraiche or Endive Salad with Caviar Dressing, blue cheese, roasted walnuts and fresh apples, followed by a choice of Seared Beef Tenderloin, grilled asparagus and mash potatoes with Truffle Hollandaise; Rack of Lamb with Israeli couscous and mint cacik sauce; or Seared Red Fish with truffle risotto, Brussels sprout leaves and melted leek. Dessert is a ginger chocolate tart with rose-scented gelato and Champagne strawberry panna cotta. The price is $45 per person.
Umai Mi at the Alley, 555 W. Bitters Road, (210) 404-1555 — Chef Jason Dady’s modern Asian concept will be open with its regular menu and Dady Date Night specials.
Z’Tejas, 15900 La Cantera Parkway, (210) 690-3334 — There will be several Valentine’s specials available Feb. 13-16 in addition to the regular menu. They include Cornbread Panzanella Salad ($10.95), Guajillo New York Strip ($29.95), Buttermilk Pork Chops ($15.95), Crispy Chicken Thighs ($14.95) and Champagne Wishes and Truffle Dreams ($7.95).
Bonnie Walker contributed to this report.
Restaurateurs, if you would like to include your Valentine’s offering, email

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Chefs for Chefs: Serving Up Some TLC

The chefs gather for a group photo.

The chefs gather for a group photo.

When a member of the San Antonio restaurant community is in need, a number of restaurants have shown themselves willing to pitch in to help out.

Jesse Perez serves one of the brunch patrons.

Jesse Perez serves one of the brunch patrons.

That’s the basis of the 2-year-old event, Chefs for Chefs. The first year, the effort was to benefit the young daughter of a chef who has been battling a brain tumor. This year, one of the beneficiaries will be Steve Silbas, the beloved former owner of Casbeers who’s in need of a kidney transplant.

Smoked Trout and Kale Tart

Smoked Trout and Kale Tart

With that in mind, chefs from throughout the city showed up at Biga on the Banks Sunday morning to put on their best for the brunch.

You would never have known that chef John Russ from Lüke hosted hundreds from the San Antonio Cocktail Conference until the wee hours of the morning before showing up to serving a spicy shrimp and grits dish. Or that Jason Dady had just opened his new restaurant, Umai Mi, a day before arriving to serve his Asian-spiced deviled eggs, a taste of the new menu.

Steve Silbas

Steve Silbas

Jesse Perez from Arcade Midtown Kitchen offered chicken tinga, while Steve McHugh’s Cured showcased their house-cured meats. Damien Watel of Chez Vatel Bistro presented a veal roulade with mashed potatoes. Mark Bliss served a bright orange trout roe with blini that matched the color of the bacon-topped soup that Lisa Watel of Bite served at the neighboring table. Ceviche from Aldaco’s, smoked trout with kale from John Brand of Omni La Mansion del Rio and a lettuce wrap with mahi-mahi from Zedric’s: Fresh Gourmet to Go were among the other treats. Ron Smith of FreshPoint served up some fine Brazos Valley Cheese, while Casbeers was on hand, too, with their famous enchiladas.

Colorful desserts

Colorful desserts

Jeff Wayne White of Boiler House and Diana Barrios Treviño of Los Barrios, La Hacienda de Los Barrios and Viola’s Ventanas had tables as well as Bruce Auden’s team from the host restaurant, Biga. Daniela Borquez of D’Sweets Creations provided the mouthwatering array of desserts. Others pitching in included Lisa Filip, Mercedes Zachary and Fabien Jacob.

For those who remember the story last year of the young girl who was behind the first event, the team at Biga released the following update: “Emma, the daughter of Biga on the Banks’ Executive Sous Chef Daniel, was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor and went through radiation. Today, she has made great progress and continues to work on strengthening her immune system while getting better one day at a time. Team Emma inspired this amazing event last year and we hope that we will be able to help many more families in our culinary community for years to come.”

Mark Bliss of Bliss greets a guest.

Mark Bliss of Bliss greets a guest.

Damien and Lisa Watel talk with a patron.

Damien and Lisa Watel talk with a patron.

Jeff Wayne White of Boiler House. Behind him are Lisa Filip and Mercedes Zachary.

Jeff Wayne White of Boiler House. Behind him are Lisa Filip and Mercedes Zachary.



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New Year’s Eve Is Coming. Have You Made Reservations Yet?

Greet 2014 in style at any of the following places, which appeal to all tastes and price ranges. Call each for reservations. Tax and tip not included.

new year 2014aBiga on the Banks, 203 S. St. Mary’s St., (210) 225-0722 — On New Year’s Eve, there will be two seatings. The early will be 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. with a cost of $65 per person. The late menu will be 8 – 10:30 p.m. at a price of $100 per person. Menu highlights: Seared scallop and tasso ham risotto; Chicken-Fried Oysters with squid ink linguini; beef tartar with green peppcorn and mustard; pork and shiitake spring rolls; crab cake with shrimp remoulade and chervil; Praline Opera Torte with hazelnut souffle glace; Grasshopper Mousse; and Banana Cajeta Crepe with coconut anglaise.  The  late seating includes party favors and a glass of champagne.  Live music from 8:30 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. by Katchie Cartwright and Richard Oppenheimer. The price for  children 12 and under is $25.

Bliss, 926 S. Presa St., (210) 225-2547 — Dinner will be served from 5 to 10:30 p.m. with the regular menu being offered. View the fireworks from the patio.

Boardwalk Bistro, 4011 Broadway,(210) 824-0100 — A special five-course menu will be served from 5 to 11 p.m. Aaron and George Prado will be perform 8 p.m. – 12:30 a.m. The menu includes the following choices: Appetizer choices: Lump Crab in Puff Pastry, Braised Beef Short Rib on Polenta, Grilled Scallop, and Roasted Beet Wedges with Smoked Almonds and Goat Cheese Crumble. Soups: Icelandic Lobster Bisque or Venison & Smoked Chicken Gumbo, Black-Eyed Pea with Ham Hocks or Creamy Curry with Almonds and Shrimp Dumpling. Salads: Micro Caesar, Mixed Greens with Balsamic Vinaigrette or Duck and Poached Pear Salad. Entree choices: Golden Sea Bass ($78); Grilled Lamb Chops in Pomegranate Sauce ($72); Walnut Encrusted Roasted Filet Mignon ($78); Rack of Pork Chops ($72); Lobster Trilogy ($82); Exotic Mushroom Canneloni ($72). Desserts: Duo of Crème Brulee, New York Cheesecake with Berries, White and Dark Chocolate Macadamia Caramel Torte, Tiramisù, and Pistachio Cake. Optional flight of wine is $25 extra.

The Brooklynite: Dance into 2014 with the Brooklynite’s famous Tiki menu, paired with some classic swing music. Grab a date or fly solo and find a dance partner when you get here. We will have drinks galore and our food truck’s parked outside, offering you a one-stop place to welcome the new year. With Jazz DJ, Adam “The Jazz” Tutor.  No cover but make your reservations today at 210-444-0707. Tues. Dec. 31, 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Jan. 1. The Brooklynite is at 516 Brooklyn Ave.

Cantina del Rio, 1299 Gruene Road, Gruene Historic District at New Braunfels, (830) 515-1950 – Have a casual New Year’s dining experience featuring Sizzlin’ Chicken or Beef Fajitas served with beans, rice, guacamole, pico and your choice of flour or homemade corn tortillas. $9.95 for one or $18.95 for you and your date. Enjoy award-winning margaritas ($5.95) on our heated patio tucked into the trees. Opens daily at 11 a.m.

The County Line, 10101 I-1o W., (210) 641-1998 — The barbecue joint is open New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Reservations suggested for both.

Crumpets, 3920 Harry Wurzbach, (210) 821-5600 — New Year’s Eve hours at 5:30 – 11 p.m. Dinner includes choice of appetizer, soup or house salad, entree, vegetables and dessert. Appetizer choices include Mousse Truffle Paté, Artichoke Stuffed with Fresh Goat Cheese and Almonds, or Nova Scotia Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese. Soup choices: Cream of Mushroom or New England Clam Chowder. Entrees: Breast of Chicken with Montrachet Sauce or Fresh Rainbow Trout Amandine ($40.50), Shrimp Lionnaise, Beef Wellington, Salmon Fillet, or Veal Scalloppini ($52.50), or the Trilogy of Lobster Tail, Rack of Lmab and Tenderloin of Beef Rossini ($65). Dessert: Grand Marnier Crème Brûlée.

Two GlassesFleming’s Prime Steak House & Wine Bar, 255 E. Basse Road, (210) 824-9463 — Fleming’s is offering a special New Year’s Eve menu that includes a three-course prix fixe meal featuring a filet mignon paired with an 8-ooune lobster tail. Price is $69.95 per guest.

Frederick’s Restaurant, 7701 Broadway, (210) 828-9050; Frederick’s Bistro, 14439 N.W. Military Hwy., (210) 888-1500 — New Year’s Eve hours are from 5 to 9 p.m. First course choices: Seared Jumbo Sea Scallop, Seared Veal Loin Carpaccio, Stuffed Quail and Foie Gras Mousse Platter or Assorted Seafood Delicacy. Second course: Frederick’s Salad and Goat Cheese with Champagne, Hazelnut Vinaigrette. Main course choice: Grilled Lamb Chops, Beef Tornedo “Rossini” Foie Gras, Lobster Duo or Seabass and Jumbo Lump Crab Meat Napoleon. All main courses served with seasonal vegetables. Choose from an assortment of our delicious desserts. Price is $85 per person.

Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar, 1287 Gruene Road, Gruene Historic District at New Braunfels, (830) 606-1287 – This New Year’s, dine in cozy rooms with natural stone fireplaces overlooking the beautiful Guadalupe River and enjoy an 8-ounce New York Strip with grilled bacon-wrapped shrimp, loaded mashed potatoes and served with an iceberg wedge salad ($24.99). Great with a cold Shiner Cheer or a spiked coffee drinks. Opens both days at 11 a.m.

Gruene Hall, 1281 Gruene Road, Gruene Historic District at New Braunfels, (830) 606-1281 – Head to Gruene Hall for a festive New Year’s Eve celebration with Kevin Fowler (advanced tickets recommended) and free live tunes New Year’s Day at the annual Hair of the Dog Day on New Year’s Day, featuring Guy Forsyth, Walt Wilkins & The Mystiqueros and Shinyribs.

Hyatt Hill Country, 9800 Hyatt Resort Drive, (210) 767-7999 — There are two packages for New Years:

  • The family package includes a barbecue dinner for two adults and two children (under age 12) in the ballroom. It also includes Champagne or apple cider toast at midnight, carnival games, ferris wheel, carousel, s’mores by the Windmill Plaza fireplace, fireworks spectacular, family dance with a live DJ, New Year’s Day breakfast buffet for two adults and two children in the ballroom and a late checkout. Rooms start at $499 a night. (Carnival is only available to registered guests. Additional tickets are $49 for children (4-17) and $89 per adult.)
  • The NYE 2013 Dinner Package includes four-course dinner in Antlers Lodge for two adults, live entertainment, champagne toast, breakfast buffet for two in the ballroom, party favors and late checkout. Rooms start at $499 a night. (Antlers is only available as a room package for Hyatt Regency Hill Country guests. Additional occupants of the room may dine for an additional fee: $49 for children (4-17) and $89 for an adult.

JW Marriott, 23808 Resort Pkwy., (210) 276-2500 — Three family-oriented parties are planned. Click here for details on each.

Kirby’s Prime Steakhouse, 123 N. Loop 1604 E., (210) 404-2221 — The special New Year’s Eve menu features your choice for four choices, starting with Texas Sterling Lamb Wellington, Cedar Plank Diver Sea Scallops, House Made Crisp Gnocchi, Broiled Veal Marrow or Maryland Style Crab Cake. Second course choice: House Caesar, Baby Arugula and Fire Kissed Strawberry Salad or Lobster Bisque. Main course choice: Blue Ribbon Filet, Grilled 16-ounce Ribeye, Filet Oscar with Jumbo Lump Crab, Grilled Cobia Fillet, Oven Baked Cold Water Western Australian Lobster Tail, 16-ounce Prime New York Strip or Texas Sterling Lamb Shank Osso Buco. Each is served with Prosciutto San Danielle Asparagus, Susie’s Famous Mashed Potatoes and Cognac Deglazed Wild Mushrooms. Dessert: Belgian Dark Chocolate Vortex. Price is $89 per person.

Las Canarias at Omni La Mansión del Rio, 112 College St., (210)  518-1177 — A special three-course pre-fixe menu will be offered from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. and a five-course pre-fixe menu from 8 – 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. The three-course menu will cost $70 per person, with the addition of wine pairings available for an extra $19. The five-course menu costs $114.00 per person, with wine pairings available for an additional $31. Special a la carte dining at featured menu prices on request. A live band with dancing and party favors will be from 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. A complimentary champagne toast will be offered at midnight to bring in the New Year. Complimentary parking available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Liberty Bar’s 30th Birthday Bash. Join Liberty Bar devotees at 1111 S. Alamo St. as the restaurant and bar throw a New Year’s Eve birthday party celebrating three decades in business. For the price of a ticket ($125 for one, $200 for a couple), enjoy a wide array of food and drink from frivolous to serious. Here’s the menu: Rare roast tenderloin with chimole, grilled oysters, garlic fried baby artichokes in thinly sliced Parmesan cheese … plus many more dishes old and new. Live music, fireworks and dancing. Freshly steamed tamales norteñas will be served at midnight along with a high-powered champagne toast. Music includes Sauce Gonzalez/West Side Horns; Beto and the Fairlanes; and Michael Martin and The Infidels.  For reservations: 210-227-1187 or visit the website here.

Luce Ristorante e Enoteca, 11255 Huebner Road, (210) — Dinner service begins at 4:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. The special menu begins a choice of Butternut Squash Soup with Braised Escarole and Pancetta, Insalate Misto with Goat Cheese Truffle, Caprese salad, Caesar or Pasta Fagioli. Main course: Filetto e Arogosta (6-ounce Grilled Filet Mignon and 5-ounce Lobster Tail). The price is $49.95. The regular menu will also be offered.

new year 2013Max’s Wine Dive, 340 E. Basse Road, (210) 444-9547— Max’s will be hosting a party from 3 p.m. to midnight with a three-course New Year’s Eve prix-fixe menu priced at $50 a person not including beverages. Dishes include Rack of Lamb with Blue Honey Mustard Glaze, Sauté Eggplant, Red Peppers, Wild Mushrooms, Pecan Brown Butter, and Fried Fennel Polenta. Max’s will be providing all hats, streamers, necklaces, and other festive New Year’s Eve party items.

Morton’s the Steakhouse, 300 E. Crockett St., (210) 228-0700 — Morton’s will be open both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day with regular dining.

Mozie’s Bar and Grill, 1601 Hunter Road, Gruene Historic District at New Braunfels, (830) 515-1281 – Mozie’s is featuring its legendary Meatball & Angel Hair Pasta – one large authentic Italian pork and beef meatball smothered in a slow-simmered Italian plum tomato sauce. Topped with ricotta and Romano cheeses and served on a bed of angel hair pasta with crisp, fresh baked and griddled sourdough garlic bread and an iceberg lettuce wedge salad topped with Mozie’s Bleu Cheese dressing, pepper bacon, diced tomato and cracked black pepper ($15.99). Opens daily at 11 a.m.

Nao, 312 Pearl Parkway, (210) 554-6484 — The New Year’s Eve special menu includes Crispy Oyster Causea, Caribbean Lobster Pot, Roasted Diver Scallop and Chorizo, Seared Sweetbreads, Dry Aged Rib Eye and Poached Xoconostle Cactus and Pear. The price is $85 a person.

Ostra at Mokara Hotel & Spa, 212 W. Crockett St., (210) 396-5817 — Guests are also welcome to bring in the New Year with party favors, champagne and celebration. Reservations are available from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.; bar beverage service continues until 2 a.m.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House, 600 E. Market St., (210) 227-8847 — New Year’s Eve hours are 6 – 11 p.m.  with a four-course special plus the regular a la carte menu. The Sizzle, Swizzle and Swirl Happy Hour menu is available in the Prime Bar from 3 – 7 p.m.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House, 7720 Jones Maltsberger, (210) 821-5051 — New Year’s Eve hours are 4 – 11 p.m. with a four-course special offered. The Sizzle, Swizzle and Swirl Happy Hour menu is available in the Prime Bar from 4:30 – 7 p.m.

Sustenio, 17103 La Cantera Parkway, (210)-598-2950 — Sustenio is offering four ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve:

  • Dinner and room: Dinner for two in Sustenio’s private dining room, featuring a four-course meal and chef’s demonstration of each course. The evening includes wine parings with each course, party favors and champagne toast at midnight, with live entertainment and dancing in Sustenio’s lounge, followed by a stay the night at the hotel. Dinner begins at 8:30 p.m. Price: $509 per person, plus tax and tip. To reserve your special room and dinner package, call (855) 257-3040 and request “NYE Package with Dinner.”
  • Early seating: First seating (reservations available 6 – 8 p.m.). Four-course dinner priced at $85 per person.
  • Late seating: Second seating (8:30 p.m.). Four-course dinner in Sustenio, plus champagne toast at midnight, with party favors, live entertainment and dancing. $150 per person.
  • Chef’s demonstration dinner: Dinner for two in Sustenio’s private dining room, featuring a four-course meal and chef’s demonstration of each course. The evening includes wine parings with each course, party favors, and champagne toast at midnight, with live entertainment and dancing in Sustenio’s lounge. Dinner begins at 8:30 p.m. $175 per person.

Texas de Brazil, 313 E. Houston St., (210) 299-1600 — Early and late seatings available on New Year’s Eve.

Tuk Tuk Taproom, 1702 Broadway, (210) 222-8277 — You don’t need a reservation to drop on New Year’s Eve for some Asian street food and a fine beer. New Year’s morning brings a pajama party brunch.

Restaurateurs, if you do not see your place listed here, email the information to

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Two Halloween Parties Promise to Scare Up Some Fun

Looking for some fun ways to celebrate Halloween this week? Here are two holiday-themed parties, and both are on Wednesday, which means you can have some more fun on Halloween.

jackolanternJason Dady is having a Halloween Eve dinner at Bin 555, 555 W. Bitters Road. The evening features five courses of fall fare, including Trout “Roulade” alongside local braised greens, lardons, and smoked tomato vinaigrette. Courses include wine pairings.

Reception is begins at 6:30 p.m. and includes wine and cocktails; dinner begins at 7 p.m. The price is $55 plus tax and 18 percent tip includes both dinner and wine pairings. It’s $25 extra for additional wine pours.

For reservations, call (210) 496-0555 or visit

The Brooklynite, 516 Brooklyn Ave., is having a costume party starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Spooky drink specials, available until 10 p.m., include Blood & Spice (Scotch, orange juice, Cherry Heering, sriracha syrup and a grind of cracked pepper) and the Sin Is In (Scotch, Sherry, maple vinegar, a local coffee cordial and chile de arbol) as well as some old favorites, such as the Corpse Reviver #2 (Gin, lemon juice, Lillet, Dry Curaçao, Absinthe), all of which are priced at $6 apiece.

Coinciding with the drink specials a horror movie marathon will be playing with seats available for reservation to get the best spot in the house!  A costume contest will be held at midnight with the winner receiving a gift certificate to The Brooklynite.

For reservations, call (210) 444-0707 or visit

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