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A Cool Night for Hot Tastes

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Crowds enjoy the food and wine at the Grand Tasting

A day of torrential rains may have affected the start of the Valero Texas Open, but not Culinaria’s Grand Tasting Friday night at the Grotto beneath the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

Hundreds of people showed up to sample foods from a host of restaurants in the area, including Biga on the Banks and Auden’s Kitchen, Peach Cafe in Boerne and Picante Grill as well as wines from California, Australia, Texas and around the world.

The evening was a healthy mixture of favorite flavors with some truly delightful, unexpected treats. Many of the restaurants drew long lines, as people eagerly devoured tastes from Jason Dady’s restaurants and El Jarro de Arturo. Kirby’s Steakhouse offered a scooped out half of a guava filled with goat cheese, wrapped in a strip of duck breast that was then covered in prosciutto before being roasted.

The Grill at Leon Springs treated guests to a Baja tempura shrimp wrapped in a tortilla and topped with guacamole. Eduard Peyer of the downtown Hyatt offered pulled pork belly sliders with a tangy slaw. Jesse Perez of Fuego in Los Angeles served up shrimp with a lotus root chip on top.

Tomme Johnson, chef at The Grill at Leon Springs, serves Baja Shrimp Tacos.

For those with a sweet tooth, Flour Power Cafe, which recently relocated to 2211 N.W. Military Hwy., served up three types of cake, including chocolate cherry, white cake with strawberry filling, and chocolate with Bavarian cream. Mahatma Rice, meanwhile, dished up a Coconut Lime Rice Pudding so delicious that we just had to share the recipe (click here).

The wine lineup featured old friends, such as the MacPherson Viognier, as well as the fruity Nine Vines Rosé. Big reds that impressed included pours from Roy Estate, Jordan and Brown Estate.

Jesse Perez, who is originally from San Antonio and was named Best Latino Chef in the U.S. at the Flavors of Passion awards, will be one of the chefs featured at Saturday’s Best of Mexico tasting, which is set for 6 p.m. at the JW Marriott. For more information on the festival, visit Culinaria’s website or check out the weekend calendar at SavorSA.

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