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You Can Order All or Part of Your Thanksgiving Feast

The County Line’s smoked turkey breast is available for your party.

Whether you need help with dessert or the entire meal, you can find plenty of places in town that will help you out this Thanksgiving. Ordering early always helps.

Aldaco’s, 100 Hoefgen Ave., Sunset Station, (210) 222-0561; 20079 Stone Oak Parkway, (210) 494-0561 — Aldaco’s regular tres leches cake is available year-round. The seasonal flavor is Pumpkin Tres Leches, which is available for $39.95 for a 9-inch cake. Orders must be placed in advance and picked up by the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, all day at the Stone Oak location and by 3 p.m. at Sunset Station.

Big Bob’s Burgers, 447 W. Hildebrand, (210) 734-BOBS (2627) — Big Bob’s is smoking 15-pound turkeys this Thanksgiving season. The price is $39.95. Orders should be placed by Nov. 16 with the pickup running through closing time on Nov. 21.

Central Market, 4821 Broadway, (210) 368-8607 — Chef-prepared meals, sides and pies can be ordered for all your holiday needs. Or visit the website.

Chile Beach Jams at Saglimbeni Fine Wines, 638 W. Rhapsody, (210) 349-5149 — Order a handmade pumpkin spice roll from Chile Beach Jams. Place and pick up the orders at Saglimbeni Fine Wines. Call for prices.

CIA Bakery & Cafe, 312 Pearl Parkway, (210) 554-6464 — The CIA Bakery is offering pies this Thanksgiving in addition to its breads and other desserts. Pumpkin pies are $15.50 each and apple and pecan pies are $19.50. Orders must be received by Nov. 17. They can be placed in person at the café or by calling the number listed. Pies can be picked up on Tuesday, Nov. 20, and Wednesday, Nov. 21, during business hours, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.

The County Line, 10101 I-10 W., (210) 641-1998 — Treat yourself to any of a number of specials from the County Line. A boneless turkey breast generously rubbed with coarse black pepper and slow-smoked is sold for $16.19 a pound. The average weight is 4 pounds and feeds 10-12 people. Barbecue lovers can order an Emergency Kit priced at $11.99 a person. It comes with brisket, turkey, sausage, chicken, coleslaw, beans, potato salad, bread, barbecue sauce, plates and flatware, packed family style. No advance warning necessary, but you can call in your order and it will be waiting for you by the time you get to the restaurant.  Sides available in large portions include handmade bread, red skinned garlic mashed potatoes, mac ‘n cheese, salads and green beans. Fresh harvest cobbler (Granny Smith Green Apples, candied cranberries and walnuts) will be sold for $55; it serves 25-30 people. County Line’s Bread Pudding with Jack Daniel’s Bourbon sauce is $6.99 a serving; it’s enough for two people.

Pumpkin pie with a gluten-free crust can be ordered from the CIA Bakery.

Crumpets, 3920 Harry Wurzbach, (210) 821-5454 — You can order whole turkeys and hams to go with all the trimmings but without all the work. Desserts to go are also available.

Earl Abel’s, 1201 Austin Hwy., (210) 822-7333  — Orders for takeout, from turkey or ham dinners to pies, cakes and sides, should be made by Nov. 19. All pre-orders must be paid when the order is called in. Specials include a 23-pound oven-roasted turkey or a 6- to 8-pound honey-glazed ham for $160 and $145, respectively. The turkey package serves approximately 20 to 25. The family package includes 4 quarts of cornbread dressing, 1 quart of giblet gravy, 1 quart of cranberry relish, 25 yeast dinner rolls, and a free pumpkin pie and apple pie. A ½ turkey family package is priced at $100; a whole turkey  for $100; and a ½ turkey for $65. Sides such as green beans, candied yams, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, glazed carrots and many others can be purchased for $9.50 a quart; and our dinner rolls can be purchased for 35 cents each, minimum order of ½ dozen.

New Braunfels Smokehouse, 1090 N. Business I-35, New Braunfels, (830) 625-2416 — You can order everything from smoked turkeys to sides. Also check out the website.

Paloma Blanca, 5800 Broadway, (210) 822-6151 — Pumpkin tamales are available in your choice of pineapple or raisin for $10 a dozen. Tres leches cake lovers can get Paloma Blanca’s version, which is infused with pumpkin, topped with pecans, and covered in creamy milk (a whole cake costs $34.95). Thanksgiving orders require a 48-hour notice and need to be placed by phone or online ( by Nov. 20, as the restaurant will be closed on Thanksgiving day.

Pappy G’s, 1210 Pat Booker Road, (210) 659-7799 — Get holiday pies (sweet potato, buttermilk, pecan or cream cheese) and large orders of sides, including cornbread dressing. Orders should be picked up by 6 p.m. Nov. 21.

Ordering side dishes, such as cranberries, can take some of the work load off.

Mike’s in the Village, 2355-3 Bulverde Road, Bulverde, (830) 438-2747 — Mike’s is taking orders for savory cheesecakes to be used as party appetizers or however you want to serve them. They come in three flavors: crawfish, portobello mushroom and green chili. Prices are $75 for an 8-inch cheesecake or $90 for an 11-inch.

Two Step Restaurant & Cantina, 9840 W. Loop 1604 N., (210) 688-2686 — Beginning on Monday, Nov. 21st, Two Step Restaurant & Cantina will take orders for apple, pecan, and pumpkin pies for $24.95 each. Pies will be available for pick-up as late as Wednesday, Nov. 21, until 10:00 p.m.

Whole Foods, 255 E. Basse Road, (210) 826-4676; 18403 Blanco Road, (210) 408-3110 — Pies, turkeys, side dishes, breads — all are available for special order.

Zedric’s: Fresh Gourmet to Go, 9873 I-10 W., (210) 541-0404 — Zedric’s is offering the follow meals to go throughout the holiday season, but they are available by advanced order only: Turkey Dinner for 6-8 with Oven-roasted Turkey Breast with Gravy, Chorizo Cornbread Dressing, Herb Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans Amandine and Orange Zest Cranberry Sauce, $139.99; Rack of Lamb Dinner for 6-8 with Oven-roasted Rack of Lamb with Au Jus, Chorizo Cornbread Dressing, Herb Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans Amandine and Orange Zest Cranberry Sauce, $209.99; and Mom’s Apple Crunch Pie, $15.99. Place your Thanksgiving order by Nov. 19 with pickup from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. on Nov. 21.


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5-Minute Food Revolutions: Redefining What’s On Our Plates

Troy Knapp

SavorSA is teaming up with Plaza de Armas and NOWcastSA to help put you in touch with some of the people in San Antonio and the area who are redefining where our food comes from.

On July 24, we’re joining together for 5-Minute Food Revolutions, a forum which will feature nine people from the food scene across the San Antonio area. Each will speak for five minutes. Learn what they are doing that is out-of-the-ordinary, be it healthy restaurant fare or running a successful food truck to producing olive oil or farm-raised chicken and fresh eggs.

Stars of the event include:

  • Chad Carey of The Monterey
  • Marianna Peeler of Peeler Farms
  • Sameer Siddiqui of Rickshaw Stop
  • Troy Knapp of Hyatt Hill Country Resort
  • Saundra Winokur of Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard
  • Mike Behrend of Green Vegetarian Cuisine
  • Susan Jaime of Ferra Coffee
  • Tim McDiarmid, aka Tim the Girl, who caters and handles social pop-up events
  • Blair Condon of Green Spaces Alliance

The event is set for Aldaco’s at Sunset Station, 100 E. Hoefgen St. Doors open at 6 p.m. for snacks provided by Aldaco’s and drinks at the cash bar. Presentations begin at 6:30.

After the presentations, the presenters will take questions from the audience, so come hungry and curious.

NOWCastSA will document the event.

If you have any questions, please email or

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Griffin to Go: San Antonio Is the Real Margaritaville

Make your margarita the way you like.

If San Antonio had an official cocktail, the margarita would be it, no contest. It flows as freely as iced tea. Just stroll along the River Walk, and you’ll see various shapes of glasses rimmed with salt and filled with lime-, magenta- and mango-colored potions as potent as you want.

The drink’s history is as hazy as the morning after a margarita binge. Some prefer to believe the story that a bartender in Ensenada, Mexico, named it after the first customer who drank it, Margarita Henkel. Others like the story that it was created by Dallas socialite Margarita Sames, who spent her last years in San Antonio. Still more discount both. Yet all raise their glass to the creation, if the creator remains a mystery.

Over the years, the original recipe has evolved. Most cocktail books and even a few cookbooks then and now list only three ingredients in the drink: tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice. The proportions, however, vary from mixer to mixer. For one recipe in “The El Paso Chile Margarita Cookbook,” author W.P. Kerr offers an easy formula to remember: Use a 1:1:1 ratio of tequila to orange liqueur to lime juice. If you can’t remember that, you probably shouldn’t be drinking, he wisely adds.

Use watermelon, prickly pear, even jalapeño to make your margarita.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the cantina. The introduction of the frozen margarita made a sweetener of some sort an essential part of the drink (frozen treats need sugar to help with the concentrated flavors; think of the role sweeteners play in ice cream). And after the rise in popularity of sweet cocktails, such as cosmopolitans and apple-tinis, the margarita became loaded with the likes of Rose’s Lime Juice, simple syrup, sweet-and-sour mix or agave nectar. The refreshing acidity of lime juice, the sweetness of Cointreau or Grand Marnier, and the tang of tequila got candy-coated. And not too many seem to mind.

You can still find a few pristine versions of the margarita out there. Or you may be able to strong-arm a bartender into making the drink the way you want. A couple of examples include Steve’s Margarita, a lime-laden libation at La Fonda on Main, and La Bonita, which is available at both locations of Aldaco’s, where it is billed as being “for aficionados only.” It’s made simply with freshly squeezed lime juice, Don Julio Blanco and Cointreau – and beautiful it is, too.

Aldaco’s also features the avocado margarita, which is part of an age-old practice of incorporating fruits beyond lime and perhaps a kiss of orange into the drink. Versions made with mangoes, watermelon, strawberries, olives and even jalapeños are certainly popular, but perhaps the most exotic, especially for tourists, is the bright magenta of the prickly pear margarita, an excellent example of which can be sipped at Boudro’s on the River Walk.

Upscale margaritas using premium tequilas fill out many a drink menu. At Rosario’s, you’ll find more than three dozen tequilas, which are used to make such concoctions as the Mexican Handshake, a lively balance of sweet to tart, but with an emphasis on freshness. Two Step Restaurant and Cantina is another pleasant stop where you can sip your way through a varied margarita menu.

A more recent trend is the skinny rita, which uses agave nectar, instead of sugar. That means it has fewer calories but is also much sweeter. So, it has become the adult version of Diet Coke for many, especially women. Meanwhile, the Quarry Hofbräu has helped usher in a whole new craze that has caught on like wildfire. The Dos-a-Rita features a schooner of frozen margarita with a bottle of Dos Equis upended in the bowl-shaped glass. The two slowly merge as you drink more and more. .

We keep reinventing the margarita to suit the times, and the drink doesn’t seem to mind it one bit.

Alamo City Classic Margarita

Two Step offers a variety of margaritas.

I’m not a big fan of sweet margaritas, though I have enjoyed more than a few south of the border that were sweetened by Sprite. The following recipe from takes margarita tradition and sweetens it slightly, but keeps the drink solidly on the refreshing side.

You can use your own orange liqueur, but, as I learned from a true San Antonio native, my friend Gail Harwood, the preferred version is Mexican Controy, which you can only get in Mexico and bring back through Customs one green bottle at a time. Controy tastes like fresh oranges, whereas Cointreau and Grand Marnier taste more like marmalade or burnt orange peel. Triple sec is more about the alcohol than the orange flavor, and it can make as fine a margarita as the rest, if used properly.

Another variation would be to include blood oranges, when they are in season, instead of tangelo juice. The color is dramatic, and the juice adds a flavor different from the sweet tangelo.

Just before you are ready to pour your margarita, run a lime wedge around the edge and dip it in what you like. Tradition dictates salt, but you could use sugar, if you like it sweet. Or you could mix either with Lucas powder, a mouth-puckering Mexican treat with lime and chile in it.

The secret is to make it taste however you want it to taste.

2 parts silver or blanco tequila
1 part orange liqueur
1 part freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tangelo cut into wedges, with a wedge per cocktail, plus slices slices for garnish
Lime slices for garnish

In an ice-filled shaker, add tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice and juice of 1 wedge of tangelo per serving. Shake until icy cold. Pour into a chilled margarita glass or martini glass that has been rimmed with lime and salt. Garnish with a slice of tangelo and a slice of lime.

From John Griffin

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Tequila Tasting Will Benefit Museo Alameda

The agave plant is the basis of tequila.

An evening of food and spirits celebrating San Antonio’s and Mexico’s cultures while supporting the Museo Alameda, 101 S. Santa Rosa is set for 7 p.m. March 31.

Several local restaurants, including Aldaco’s, Cibolo Moon from the JW Marriott, Costa Pacifica and Luce Ristorante e Enoteca, will provide the food, which will be partnered with an extensive tequila tasting.
Brands represented include Caballos, Tequila Partida, Dulce Vida, Pura Vida, Tequila Patron, Tequila Uno, Tequila Baluarte, Jose Cuervo and Tequila Don Julio.
Tickets for the event cost $100. The Museo is the nation’s first Smithsonian affiliate museum. For reservations, call (210) 299-4300.
Beer, wine dinners at Lüke

Lüke, 125 E. Houston St., features a favorite from its Louisiana roots at its March beer dinner: Abita beer. Chef Steven McHugh and his culinary team will pair Southern menu selections with an array of Abita brews.

The dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m. March 15 with a reception featuring the Seasonal Red Ale. The first course includes fried oysters over radish choucroute with local honey and the Jockomo IPA, followed by crawfish bratwurst sliders and Save Our Shore (SOS) Weizen Pils (with 75 cents of every bottle sold benefiting the restoration of the Gulf Coast).  Local lamb, onion brûleé and sage grits with Vanilla Double Dog will be served before a crumble of Poteet strawberries and Creole cream cheese ice cream with Strawberry Harvest Lager.

The cost of the dinner is $60 per person plus tax and tip. For prepaid reservations, call (210) 227-5853 or email

Lüke’s monthly wine pairing dinner is the following week at 6:30 p.m. March 21, with wines from the Alsace region of France.

The reception wine is Lucien Albrecht Cremant Rosé, followed by salad of Gulf crab, shrimp, mirliton and local radish with Domaines Schlumberger Pinot Blanc.  Pan-seared sea bass “piccata” with cauliflower, capers and Meyer lemon with Trimbach Riesling will precede  roast pork “porchetta” with creamy polenta and morels with Riefle Pinot Noir. Dessert is strawberry galette with caramel and Willm Gewurztraminer.

The cost is $70 per person, plus tax and tip. For prepaid reservations, call (210) 227-5853 or email





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Say ‘I Love You’ by Making Reservations Early

You can treat your sweetheart to breakfast, lunch or dinner on Valentine's Day.

Valentine’s Day vies with Mother’s Day for being the biggest dining out day of the year. That means you need reservations, and the sooner you make them, the better. Otherwise, you may have to wait an hour or two with your loved one for the possibility of a table opening up.

Many places are offering specials over the weekend before Valentine’s Day, for those who want to celebrate a little earlier to avoid the crush.

Some prices listed below are per person, others are per couple. A few are listed per dish. Tax and tip are not included, unless otherwise indicated.

18 Oaks at JW Marriott Hill Country Resort & Spa, 23808 Resort Parkway, 210-491-5841 — The special Valentine’s dinner menu includes a series of appetizer choices, such as oysters on the half shell ($16) or roasted beet salad with goat cheese ($14) as well as the following entrées: 8-ounce filet mignon ($38), 16-ounce rib-eye ($45), baked stuffed lobster ($50), Windy Bar Ranch short ribs ($36), seared Scottish salmon ($34) or olive oil-poached monkfish ($35).

Achiote at the Grand Hyatt, 600 E. Market St., 210-224-1234 — The Valentine’s menu is available Feb. 10-11 and 14.   The special consists of a Spicy Smoked Avocado Cucumber Shooter and Seared Ahi Tuna Skewer with Citrus Ponzu, followed by Infused Watermelon and Fried Goat Cheese Salad with Arugula, Frisée, Radicchio and Thai Basil Vinaigrette. The entrée is Angus Beef Filet and Gulf Red Fish with Shiitake Mushroom Ragu and Rock Lobster Papaya Salsa. Dessert is Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Tahitian Vanilla Custard and a Dipped Strawberry. The cost is $50 a person and includes a glass of Champagne.

Aldaco’s at Sunset Station, 100 E. Hoefgen St, 210-222-0561 — Live flamenco and Spanish guitar will be offered on Valentine’s Day at 7 and 9 p.m. The restaurant is also offering a five-course special: bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese, Ensalada de Patatas y Atun (Russian salad with seared tuna), Gambas con Chorizo y Pan de Tomate (shrimp sautéed with chorizo and garlic, tomato garlic toasts), Champinones y Puntitas de Solomillo al Ajillo (roasted mushrooms and beef tenderloin with garlic sauce) and Flan de Cafe (coffee flan with Grand Marnier cream and shaved chocolate). Cost is $55 a person.

Red and gold beet salad.

Antlers at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort, 9800 Hyatt Resort Drive, 210-647-1234 — The special Valentine’s menu begins with an amuse bouche of  roasted pepper, goat cheese and basil, followed by a choice of  open-faced petite lobster rolls, brioche and tarragon oil or chile-crusted antelope medallions, crispy shallots and orange oil. A golden and crimson beet salad with blood orange, fennel,feta and roasted hazelnuts is served before your choice of cider-glazed rack of lamb, basil and mint gelée, carrot parsnip purée, warm potato salad with wild boar bacon; grilled salmon, smoked pepper and lemon quinoa, spicy Napa cabbage slaw with cilantro dressing; Niman Ranch filet, pan-roasted morels, purple flowering kale, sweet potato matchsticks, consommé of veal and fresh herbs; or Chile black bean cakes, avocado salsa, cumin and lime yogurt sauce.  Dessert is dark chocolate custard, roasted balsamic strawberries and vanilla crisp. The cost is $68 a person.

Biga on the Banks, 203 S. St. Mary’s St., 210-225-0722 — The special Valentine’s menu begins with a choice of carrot soup with lemon, honey and cumin; shrimp croquettes with olives; or roasted asparagus salad with raspberries and brie. Second course is a choice of hot-smoked salmon with roasted broccolini and hazelnuts, purple mashers, tomatoes and dill or beef tenderloin with corn pudding, poblano chimichurri, and guajillo chile sauces. Dessert options include Strawberry Rhubarb Fruit Soup with strawberry sorbet, strawberry rosewater mousse, rhubarb chips and rose petals; Turtle Cheesecake with caramel sauce, toasted pecans and pecan lace tuille; Chocolate Amaretto and Raspberry Pavé, layers of chocolate cake soaked with amaretto, raspberry ganache, candied almonds and raspberry coulis; Orange Canolli, citrus cookie filled with orange cream, vanilla citrus salad and mint oil; and Coconut Dacquoise, coconut pastry cream, tropical fruits, passion fruit sorbet and pineapple chips. the cost of the special is $57 a person or $75 with paired wines. La Rosa’s Photography will be here to take Valentine pictures.

The Bright Shawl, 819 August St., 210-225-6366 — Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for a special Valentine’s dinner, which include your choice of Wild Mushroom Bisque or Bright Shawl Signature Salad Greens with Sautéed Goat Cheese Dollars and Cranberries. Main course options are Stuffed Breast of Chicken with Wilted Spinach, Cream, Greek Feta Cheese, Garlic Confit and Lemon Butter Sauce ($26) or Angus Beef Steak Medallions á la Diane, Surf & Turf ($34). Dessert is a Fresh Berry Fruit Tarte or White Chocolate Chambord Napoleon.

Cibolo Moon at the JW Marriott Hill Country Resort & Spa, 23808 Resort Parkway, 210-491-5841 — The Valentine’s Day special is offered from 5 to 10 p.m. It begins with a choice of appetizer: foie gras with fig bacon jam and brioche or grilled jalapeño poppers wrapped in bacon and filled with cream cheese. Choice of entrée: redfish on the half shell with red chile butter and vegetable; filet and scallop with corn purée, jalapeño and smoked gnocchi; or the Blue Plate Special with seasonal vegetable. Dessert is a duo of dark chocolate Snickers torte and banana pudding.  The cost is $55 a person plus tax and tip. The full dinner menu will also be available.

Crumpets, 3920 Harry Wurzbach Road, 210-821-5600 — Dinner hours on Valentine’s Day are 5:30 to 10 p.m. All  entrées are served with appetizer, cup of soup or house salad, fresh vegetables and dessert. Main course options include Breast of Chicken with Montrachet Sauce ($35), Fresh Salmon Filet with Lemon-Butter and Capers ($35), Shrimp Lyonnaise with Wild Rice Blend ($45) , Tenderloin of Beef Savoy ($45), and Veal Scalloppini with Mushroom and Cognac Sauce ($45). The following is served with appetizer, cup of soup and house salad, fresh vegetables and dessert: Trilogy of Lobster Tail with Lemon Butter, Rack of Lamb Provençal and Tenderloin of Beef with Rossini Sauce ($55). Gourmet breakfast delivery, including a flower for Valentine’s Day, is available for $28.50 a person, plus tax and delivery fee.

EZ’s Brick Oven and Grill, various locations — EZ’s will be open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. on Feb. 14 and will offer two specials. The three-course dinner for two, starting with an organic spinach salad tossed with blueberries, artichoke hearts, toasted walnuts and house-made lemon ginger vinaigrette or a Caesar salad. It’s followed by an 11-inch Mediterranean pizza or calzone, featuring sweet Italian sausage, mozzarella cheese, roasted peppers and more or another favorite pizza or calzone.  For dessert, choose between a Blue Bell ice cream hot fudge sundae or a Valentine’s Day Big Red Blue Bell float!  Two glasses of wine and a bottle of sparkling Pellegrino water are included for $25 per couple. Exchange the two glasses of wine for a full bottle for $32.  If you just want dessert, Be My Big Red features  Blue Bell Ice Cream and Big Red for $4.

Fig Tree Restaurant,515 Villita St., 210-225-2111 — A three-course Valentine’s special is available Feb. 10-14. It begins with a choice of Ahi Tuna au Poivre and Hearts of Palm with Uzu Dressing or Seared Diver Scallop with Truffle Nage and Braised Leeks. Main course is a choice of Braised Waygu Short Rib, Creamy Polenta, Fresh Oregon Truffles and Natural Jus or Lobster and Saffron Risotto, English Peas, Spanish Chorizo, Pequillo Peppers and Lobster Foam. Dessert is either Chocolate Pavé with Berry Sauce or Raspberry Frangipane Tart with Almond Anglaise. Each meal is served with a glass of Champagne. Cost is $75 a person. Regular menu is also available.

Filet mignon a popular choice for a romantic dinner.

Francesca’s at Sunset at the Westin La Cantera, 16641 La Cantera Parkway, 210-558-2253 — The Valentine’s special is a three-course dinner that begins with the following appetizer choices: sweet white asparagus vichyssoise with shaved black truffle, white truffle-mint oil, white asparagus; surf and turf ensalada with organic romaine lettuce, chilled-steamed black mussels, Texas orange vinegar drizzle and pecan dust; or Haute Caprese with Burrata cheese, heirloom tomato, hoja santa herb, Champagne vinegar, Hawaiian black sea salt and extra virgin olive oil.  Main course options: Grilled lamb T-bone with mint chimichurri, Peruvian potato croquettes, yellow wax beans; seared lemon fish with fresh roasted beet and spinach rounds, mini kiwi blocks and orange foam; filet mignon with wilted red Russian kale, heirloom carrot crisps, purple carrot-cauliflower purée; or Scallops Salteado with multi-colored fingerling potato salad, quinoa pilaf, mustard vinaigrette. Dessert is a choice of a   banana split or tiramisù. Cost is $65 a person. Holiday hotel packages are also available for those with more than food on their minds.

Frederick’s, 7701 Broadway, 210-828-9050;  Frederick’s Bistro, 14439 N.W. Military Hwy., 210-888-1500 — The special menu includes choice of Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops with Leeks Ragout and Caviar, Spring Rolls with Mint Cilantro and Lettuce, Stuffed Quail and Mousse of Foie Gras  Terrine Platter, Assorted Seafood Delicacy or Tuna Tartar with Citrus Vinaigrette. Second course is Frederick’s Salad and Champagne Hazelnut Oil Vinaigrette, followed by a choice of Glazed Duck Breast with Orange Ginger Sauce with Wild Rice, Beef Tenderloin with Jumbo Shrimp and Roquefort Fresh Herb Sauce, Sea Bass and Jumbo Lump Crab Meat Napoleon with Champagne Caviar Velouté, Fresh Maine Lobster and Crab Navarin served with Spring Vegetables on a Bed of Parppedele Pasta or Veal Strip Loin with Foie Gras with Mushroom Duxelle and Madeira Sauce. Dessert is a choice of Frozen Lemon Grass Parfait with Mango and Passion Fruit Purées, Chocolate and Raspberry Mousse Cake or Dark and White Chocolate Terrine. The dinner is priced at $90 per person.

Kirby’s Steakhouse, 123 N. Loop 1604 E., 210-404-2221 — The special Valentine’s menu begins with a  choice of one of the following: Maryland Style Crab Cake,  Grilled Herb Polenta with Sautéed Baby Spinach and Robiola Cheese, Peppered Lamb Lollipops with a Cognac Button Mushroom Sauce and Totten Bay Oysters on the Half Shell with a Cilantro Lime Mignonette. Course two options: Chopped Salad,  Classic Caesar Salad,  Salad Lyonnaise with a White Truffle Vinaigrette  or Lobster Bisque.  Main course options: 7- or 10-ounce Blue Ribbon Filet with a choice of sauces,  18-ounce Rosewood Smoked Rib-eye with Signature Rub,  16-ounce prime New York strip, Lobster Newburg, Australian Barramundi Oscar or  Braised Lamb Shank.  All entrées accompanied by Lobster Mashed Potatoes, Sautéed White Truffle Wild Mushrooms and Grilled Asparagus. Dessert is Belgian Dark Chocolate Nirvana Cake with Tahitian Vanilla Bean Strawberry Compote. Cost is $85 a person.

Las Canarias, Omni La Mansion del Rio, 112 College St., 210-518-1063 — Executive Chef John Brand has created a special three-course and five-course menu to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The three-course menu includes choice of Roasted Shiitake Mushroom Bisque or Blue Bonnet Farms Hot House Green Lettuces; entrée choice of Pan-Roasted Local Farm Raised Chicken Breast with Swiss Chard, Yukon Gold Potato Purée and Natural Jus or Creekstone Farm’s Braised Beef with Lamb’s Grist Mill Polenta, Baby Carrots and Veal Demi-Glace. Dessert is a Valrhona Chocolate Tasting with Guanaja Chocolate Cake, Equatorial Mousse, Caraibe Panna Cotta and Caramelia Gelato. The five-course menu includes Dungeness Crab and Jerusalem Artichoke Velouté with Sea Urchin Roe; Gundermann Acres Beets with Local Watercress and Chèvre; Lavender Honey-Lacquered Duck Breast and Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Torched Figs and Fiddlehead Ferns; Tasting of Wagyu Beef Prime Rib with Chanterelle Risotto and Sauce Perigourdine; and Valrhona Chocolate Tasting of Guanaja Chocolate Cake, Equatorial Mousse, Caraibe Panna Cotta and Caramelia Gelato. The menus are available Feb. 10-14. The three-course meal costs $125 a person, while the five-course costs $150 a person. The regular menu will also be available.  Las Canarias’ regular champagne brunch offering will be available on Feb. 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The cost of the Champagne brunch is $39.95 a person.

Little Rhein Steak House, 231 S. Alamo St.,  210-225-2111 — The four-course Valentine’s special is available Feb. 10-14. Start with a choice of Shrimp and Crab Cocktail or Bacon Wrapped Quail Legs, followed by either a Caesar salad or Beefsteak Tomatoes with Blue Cheese Crumbles. Main course options are served with asparagus, sautéed wild mushrooms and au gratin potatoes plus your choice of the following: Prime Rib Eye, Filet Mignon, Grilled Salmon and Lobster Tail. Desserts include New York-style Cheesecake or Crème Brulee. Glass of Champagne is included. Cost is $68 a person. Regular menu is available.

Luce Ristorante e Enoteca, 12255 Huebner Road, 210-561-9700 — The restaurant is offering a three-course special beginning with a choice of  Zuppa di Aragosta (Lobster Bisque), Carpaccio Cipriani (Raw Thin Cut of Beef Tenderloin),  Baby Arugula Salad and Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, Mustard Aioli, Caesar Salad, Insalata di Mare (Cold Salad, Shrimp, Calamari, Scungilli, Diver Scallops, Garlic, Celery, Extra Virgin Olive Oil) or Caprese (Tomato Slices and Fresh Mozzarella di Latte, Basil and Olive Oil). Main course options:  Filetto e Capesante (Grilled Filet Mignon and Diver Scallop, Toasted Garlic Vegetables and Basil Mashed Potatoes, Veal Reduction) or Pesce alla Luce (Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass, Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto, Toasted Garlic Vegetables). Dessert choices are Spumoni,  Crème Brûlée or Chocolate Lava Torta with Vanilla Gelato. The cost is $36.95 per person.

Lüke, 125 E. Houston St., 210-227-5853 — The restaurant will host a private dining event featuring a prix-fix four-course dinner with wine pairings on Feb. 14. Seating begins at 7 p.m. in Lüke’s upstairs private dining space. Menu highlights include pan-seared scallops with Allen Benton’s bacon and spiced pumpkin “love letters.” Dark chocolate torte with blood orange sorbet is dessert. Cost is $75 a person. Prepaid reservations required. The downstairs dining room is also accepting dinner reservations.

Max’s Wine Dive, 340 E. Basse Road, 210-444-9547 — The Valentine’s Couple’s Menu begins with the Chef’s Choice Amuse Bouche and a half glass of bubbles, followed by Baked Jalapeño and Oysters “Max-a-fellers.” Second course is a choice of Pan-seared Veal Chop with balsamic red onion confit, twice baked white cheddar new potatoes, and Crab and Asparagus Bavorois or Cracklin’ Chicken and Butternut Squash Risotto Dessert:  Pandora’s Chocolate Box of Love (filled with fresh berries and a white chocolate and port mousse). A take-away Valentine’s treat: chocolate and gold laden truffles. The cost is $75 a couple; wine pairings available at an additional $25 per person. The regular menu and items from the couple’s menu will also be available.

Mike’s in the Village, 2355-3 Bulverde Road, Bulverde, 830-438-2747 — Mike’s will be offering a Valentine’s special Feb. 10-14 (the regular menu will be available Feb. 10-11). The multi-course meal will include Lobster Bisque, followed by Shrimp and Grits with Jumbo Shrimp. Entree choices include Pan-seared Sea Bass over Warm Fresh Spinach, Wild Mushroom and Crabmeat Salad with Lemon Scented Creole Cardinal Sauce; Tender Filet Medallion over Feta and Green Onion Potato Cake, Haricot Vert and Wild Mushroom Marchand de Vin Sauce; Pecan and Herb Crusted Lamb Chops with Apple Mint Chutney with Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Haricot Vert. Dessert, served with a glass of Prosecco, is a choice of Chocolate Tort with Warm Chocolate Glaze, Raspberry Sauce and Fresh Raspberries; Molten Chocolate Lava Cake; or Strawberry Shortcake with Balsamic and Black Pepper Syrup. The cost is $60 a person.

Ostra at Mokara Hotel & Spa, 212 W. Crockett St., 210-396-5817 — Ostra’s regular a la carte menu is available during its normal hours throughout Valentine’s Day weekend. Additionally, on Valentine’s Day only, Ostra will feature specials during dinner service, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Paesanos 1604, 3622 Paesanos Parkway, 210-493-1604 — The Valentine’s dinner is served with your choice of a bottle of Solletico Prosecco, La Crema Chardonnay or La Crema Pinot Noir. It accompanies two entrées of Classic Shrimp Paesano with pasta and two house salads, plus bread, followed by Limoncello Cheesecake. The cost is $95 per couple plus tax and tip.

Paesanos Riverwalk, 111 W. Crockett St., 210-226-8490 — Valentine’s seatings are at 7 and 9 p.m.  Dinner begins with an optional appetizer sampler for two (for an $14.95 a person) of Parmesan Crusted Artichoke Hearts and Giant Calamari with Duet Of Sauces and Crab Cake Croquettes. The special begins with  House Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette, Olives, Tomatoes and Feta Cheese.   Entree choices include Shrimp Paesano with Lemon Butter and Garlic; a Grilled Ribeye Steak and a Herb Garlic Béarnaise Sauce; Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breast with Linguini, Capers and Lemon Butter Sauce;  Grilled Ahi Tuna and a Basil Parmesan Vinaigrette; or Cheese Tortellini with Basil Pesto Cream and Pine Nuts.  Dessert is Lemon Mascarpone Cream Cake. The  children’s menu is a choice of Lasagna, Manicotti or Spaghetti with Butter or Tomato Sauce. Iced tea and soft drinks included.  The cost for the meal is  $51.95 a person plus tax and 20 percent tip; the cost for children ages 9 and under is $25.95 per child plus tax and 20 percent tip.

The Cupid Quesadilla at Paloma Blanca.

Paloma Blanca, 5800 Broadway, 210-822-6151 — The restaurant is offering the following specials Feb. 10-16: Sabor de Amor ($29.99), includes a 7-ounce filet mignon grilled “au” carbon and topped with chipotle butter; Cajita Corazón (19.99), a chicken breast filled with champiñones (mushrooms), corn and Oaxaca cheese, covered in a creamy poblano sauce and topped with melted cheese; and Quesadilla de Chocolate Cupido ($9.99), Chocolate Abuelita ice-cream sandwiched between two flat chocolate buñuelos drizzled in a Kahlua reduction.

Q on the Riverwalk at the Downtown Hyatt, 123 Losoya St., 210-222-1234, ext. 4240 — The Valentine’s menu will be available Feb. 10-11 and 14. It begins with an amuse-bouche of  Gulf Blue Crab Cake Paddlefish Caviar, followed by Hearts of Locally Grown Organic Romaine Lettuce with Heirloom Tomato, Aged Asiago Cheese and Moët-Blood Orange Vinaigrette. After an intermezzo of Passion Fruit Sorbet, dine on Chateaubriand with Fennel Bulbs, Swiss Chard, Baby Patti Pan Squash, Golden Beets and Chateau Potatoes with a choice of sauces. Dessert is Strawberry La Bomba, an explosion of strawberry and amaretto cream in an almond-flecked cake. The cost is $100 per couple and includes a glass of Champagne per person.

Romo’s Cafe, 7627 Culebra Road, 210-521-7666 — The four-course Feb. 14 special includes she crab bisque and foie gras garden, followed by a palette cleanser of tarragon sorbet and Champagne. For entrees, choose two of the following: beet and potato wrapped seabass with citrus beurre blanc; crab raviolo with crab aioli; handcut Texas rib-eye with red wine redux; lamb with a green peppercorn demi; and pheasant with herb l’orange. Choose your sides: potatoes gratin, haricot vert, spinach saute or herb roasted potatoes. Dessert is a trio of raspberry devil’s chocolate cake, cheesecake with honey and figs, and RoMo’s chocolate bar. Cost is $80 per couple.  A wine pairing including two special blends from the Boerne Wine Company is available for an additional $35 per couple. Book your reservation before Feb. 8 and receive a special gift (chocolate-dipped strawberries) and a rose for your date. On Feb. 11, the restaurant will celebrate Singles Awareness Day with a special menu for those Anti-Valentines.

Texas de Brazil, 313 E. Houston St., 210-299-1600 — The restaurant is offering special Valentine’s Day cocktails and a decadent chocolate dessert in addition to the regular offerings. Drink specials, priced from $7 to $9, include the Brazilian Rose, the Brazilian Kiss, the Raspberry Cream Dream and the decadent Milky Way Martini. The special dessert is a Triple Layer Chocolate Mousse Cake just right for sharing.

Tost Bistro and Bar, 14415 Blanco Road, 210-408-2670 — The Valentine’s Day special includes a multi-course meal that begins with a seared scallop on top of crispy roasted red beet risotto cake with spicy chimichurri, followed by Tost Bibb Salad with lardons, shaved carrots, cherry tomatoes with creamy buttermilk chive dressing or Butternut Squash Bisque. Main course choices are a pan-seared filet topped with truffle hollandaise with roasted wild mushrooms, grilled asparagus and creamy Yukon gold mash potatoes or crab-stuffed red snapper with roasted fingerling potatoes, spinach and a Champagne thyme beurre blanc. End with a choice of white chocolate mousse with fresh berries or house-made sorbet. The cost is $58.00 a person.

Two Step Restaurant and Cantina, 9840 W. Loop 1604 N., 210-688-2686 — The special Valentine’s Day menu includes a shared entrée, with your choice of 12-ounce Prime Rib Slow Smoked for 10 hours or 10-ounce Blackened Beef Tenderloin with Poblano Pesto Cream Sauce. Either choice is served with six Hot Buttered Shrimp with Tabasco Lemon Sauce and Horseradish Mashed Potatoes. Dessert is El Rey Chocolate Silk Custard. Two glasses of wine, your choice of Robert Mondavi Private Selection Chardonnay or Cabernet, included. Price is $50 per couple.

Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill, 15900 La Cantera Parkway, 210-690-3334 — Z’Tejas will offer a three-course Valentine’s Day menu Feb. 11–14. The menu features a Baja shrimp martini to start, followed by a choice of ancho grilled pork tenderloin, peppercorn-crusted filet, pan-seared sea scallops or pepita-crusted chicken. A white chocolate mousse with raspberries and PAMA pomegranate syrup will be available for dessert. Accompany the meal with Valentine’s Day cocktails featuring PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur. Menu items are priced individually.

Restaurateurs, if you would like to add your Valentine’s information, email or

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Great Beginnings: 7 Appetizers to Kick Off Your Meal in Style

Panela en Salsa Roja at Aldaco's.

Starting off a meal with a bite of food, whether you call it an appetizer, a tapa, or a small plate, can really whet your appetite for the meal to come. Here is where you’ll find many a chef letting his or her imagination run wild with the freshest ingredients and the most flair. Or, you will find pure comfort in tradition.

Here are seven great starters to enjoy. Several are new, one has been a San Antonio tradition for years, others are ethnic comfort foods. All are a wonderful prelude to your main course, whether it’s burgers, sushi or a gyro platter.

The dishes on the list are not the only great appetizers to be had in town. They are not listed in any order. They are merely meant to remind you of what the city’s restaurants have to offer.

1. Grilled Chinese Chicken Wings at Nosh, 1133 Austin Hwy., 210-824-8686 — Chicken wings are nothing new. But these beauties, with a taste of both peanut oil and sesame oil, are plump and juicy. You’ll be licking your fingers to catch every last drop of the Asian sauce or the creamy cilantro sauce on the side.

The sampler platter at My Big Fat Greek Restaurant.

2. Panela en Salsa Roja at Aldaco’s Stone Oak, 20079 Stone Oak Parkway, 210-494-0561, or 100 Hoefgen St., 210-222-0561 — It’s hard to describe just how good this appetizer is, given that it is simply a slab of fried Mexican cheese topped with salsa. But put the two together and you’ll discover culinary alchemy.

3. Scotch Eggs at the Lion and Rose, various locations — The Cardiff Clam Strips and the English Chips with Guinness Cheese often call us, but not as often as the Scotch Eggs. The pub grub favorite is made from a hard-cooked egg wrapped in sausage and cheese before cooking. Serve it with a mustard sauce on one side and a pint of Smithwicks or Newcastle on the other.

4. Sampler platter at My Big Fat Greek Restaurant, 19239 Stone Oak Parkway, 210-497-8500 — You want a lot of food? This sampler has it. Dolmas filled with beef and rice, hummus, eggplant dip, spanikopita and more fill the platter. As vast and varied as it is, a party of three managed to clear it and have a fine dinner afterward.

5. Ham and Tomato Shypoke Eggs at Timbo’s, 1639 Broadway, 210-223-1028 — When was the last time you had a skypoke egg? This Alamo City classic originated at Little Hipps Bubble Room and can be found at its descendant, Timbo’s. It’s essentially a nacho made to look like a fried egg, but the addition of silky ham and bright tomato takes it to a new level.

Onion pakoras from Pavani Express.

6.  Beef Sashimi at Sushi Zushi, various locations — Who among us carnivores doesn’t love a generous portion of beef? In this Asian equivalent of Italy’s carpaccio, the seared beef is served with a lively soy dipping sauce, ginger and onions. After one taste, you’ll clear the plate quickly.

7. Pakoras at Pavani Express, 5755 Evans Road, 210-680-3134 — San Antonio’s newest vegetarian restaurant offers several appetizers, including perfect pakoras. These crispy, deep-fried snacks are made with a variety of vegetables, a favorite of which onion.  The tangy tamarind sauce and the cilantro sauce both add to the fun.

Bonnie Walker contributed to this report.

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Ask a Foodie: Where’s the Best Tres Leches Cake?

The tres leches cake at Aldaco's in Stone Oak.

Q. My husband’s birthday is coming up and he loves tres leches cake. Who do you think makes the best in town? Thank you!

— A.C.

A. Tres leches cake was introduced to San Antonio largely through the efforts of Blanca Aldaco. Since then, you can find it at numerous places across town, and many of the versions are fine. But Aldaco still serves the best to be had.

The name tres leches refers to the three milks that are used to keep the cake moist. The lineup can vary, but it is usually sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream.

The Mother's Day tres leches cake.

What Aldaco does with this cake at her restaurant in Stone Oak, 20079 Stone Oak Parkway, is always rich and delicious.

She also varies the flavors she offers, depending on the season. The current lineup includes chocolate and Kahlúa in addition to the regular style

Call 210-494-0561.

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Welcome 2011 with Parties, Special Menus

New Year’s Eve parties abound in the Alamo City, with restaurants happy to help you raise a toast to 2011. Special menus, Champagne toasts and even fireworks are part of the plans available.

Reservations are necessary unless otherwise noted. And remember not to drink and drive.

Aldaco’s at Sunset Station, 100 E. Hoefgen St., 210-222-2561 — Ring in the new year with a three-course dinner beginning with caldo Tlalpeño with jumbo lump crab or  Tres Maria’s Wedge Salad, followed by your choice of lime-marinated grilled chicken breast over  angel hair pasta with roasted poblano alfredo or grilled rib-eye steak and papas bravas. Dinner concludes with Mexican bread pudding or Mexican hot chocolate with pan de polvo. The cost is $44.95 per person, including a Champagne toast and party favors.

Biga on the Banks, 203 S. St. Mary’s St., 210-225-0722 — New Year’s Eve seatings will be before  9 p.m. and after 9 p.m. The five-course menu includes some of the following options: lobster bisque, smoky duck breast salad, seared natural scallops, grilled beef tenderloin, rosemary-braised lamb shank, grass-fed veal chop and preserved lemon-roasted poussin. The cost is $100 a person plus tax and tip. The restaurant will be open New Year’s Day but will be closed Jan. 3-7.

Bin 555, Artisans Alley, 555 W. Bitters Road, 210-496-0555 — A five-course dinner is planned with seatings beginning at 6 p.m. Some of the items on the menu include sweet potato soup, Texas quail roulade, seared duck breast with foie gras-chestnut purée, and wood-oven roasted New York strip. Cost is $80 a person or $110 paired with wines. Tax and 18-percent tip not included. Full bar available. Open New Year’s Day.

Bohanan’s, 219 E. Houston St., 210-472-2600 — On New Year’s Eve, the bar will be open its regular hours of 11 a.m.-2 a.m. The restaurant upstairs will be open 5 p.m.-midnight with the regular dinner menu and holiday specials.

Brannon’s Cafe, Westin La Cantera, 16641 La Cantera Parkway, 210-558-6500 —  The New Year’s Eve special dinner, from 5 to 10 p.m., will feature four courses for $59 a person. The menu includes sweet potato gnocchi with cinnamon crème fraîche, followed by a Year’s End Salad with torched avocado, compressed English cucumber and petite lettuces with a serrano and mint vinaigrette. The main course is a choice of prime strip steak with Hoppin’ John Mashed Potatoes or pan-seared wreck fish with smoked okra and pancetta risotto. The finale is Before Your Resolution Chocolate Cake with dark chocolate genoise, mint cream and chocolate buttercream. The regular menu will also be available.

Coco Chocolate Lounge, 18402 U.S. 281 N., 210-557-9927 — Three different New Year’s Eve parties are planned for different areas with a Midnight in Vegas theme. One is a five-course dinner with a complimentary Champagne toast at midnight. Live music from Nic Dante and Stan Wayne Band. Cost: $75 a person. Coco XO will offer a video DJ and dancing all night. The cost per table starts at $500 and includes three bottles. The Coco Lounge Patio offers hip hop and an R&B DJ. The cost per table starts at $350 and includes two bottles. There is also a VIP party pass with access to all three parties.

The County Line, 111 W. Crockett St., 210-229-1941 — The River Walk restaurant will be open 11 a.m.-11  p.m or later depending on the crowds. Reservations are not accepted. Closed New Year’s Day.

The County Line, 10101 I-10 W., 210-631-1998 — The barbecue restaurant will be open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Reservations accepted.

Crumpets Restaurant & Bakery, 3920 Harry Wurzbach Road, 210-821-5600  — New Year’s Eve seatings start at 5:30 p.m. Entrées are served with appetizer, cup of soup or salad as well as vegetable and dessert. Appetizers include mousse truffle pâté, stuffed artichoke and  Nova Scotia smoked salmon. Soups: New England clam chowder and cream of mushroom. Entrée options, at various prices, include chicken breast with Montrachet  sauce, rainbow trout, Shrimp  Lyonnaise, Beef Wellington, salmon, veal scalloppini, and a Trilogy of lobster tail, rack of lamb and beef tenderloin. (No coupons accepted.)

814 A Texas Bistro, 713 High St., Comfort, 830-995-4990 — Closed for lunch Dec. 31. There will be two seatings in the evening at 6 and 9 p.m. The four-course prix-fixe menu is offered for $65 a person. Closed Jan. 1-4. Regular hours resume Jan. 5.

Fogo de Chão, 849 E. Commerce St., 210-227-1700 — New Year’s Eve hours are 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. for lunch and 5-10:30 p.m. for dinner. New Year’s Day hours are 4:30-10:00 p.m. The cost is $24.50 for lunch, $42.50 for dinner and $19.50 for salad bar only.

Francesca’s at Sunset, Westin la Cantera, 16641 La Cantera Parkway, 210-558-2253 — Ring in the new year with a tribute to Andy Warhol by Dom Perignon. The evening includes a multi-course luxury Pop Art-inspired menu from chef Ernie Estrada plus a glass of Moët and Chandon Imperial and Dom Pérignon’s Cuvée Andy Warhol. Door prizes and other activities planned. Cost is $125 a person plus tax and tip.

Frederick’s Bistro, 14439 N.W. Military Hwy., 210-888-1500 — New Year’s Eve hours begin at 6 p.m. The special four-course dinner includes the following entrée options: pomegranate-glazed duck breast, beef tournedo Rossini, sea bass and jumbo lump crab meat Napoleon, and grilled Maine lobster on a nest of spicy linguini. The cost is $70 plus tax and tip.

Frederick’s Restaurant, 7701 Broadway, 210-828-9050 — New Year’s Eve hours begin at 6 p.m. The special four-course dinner includes the following entrée options: pomegranate-glazed duck breast, beef tournedo Rossini, sea bass and jumbo lump crab meat Napoleon, and grilled Maine lobster on a nest of spicy linguini. The cost is $70 plus tax and tip.

The Gazebo at Los Patios, 2015 N.E. Loop 410, 210-655-6171 — New Year’s Eve hours are 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. A holiday special is chicken breast stuffed with roasted bell peppers, spinach and ricotta cheese, served with rice pilaf and fresh vegetables for $9.95. There a different kids’ menu available for $6.95.  Closed New Year’s Day.

Godai Sushi Bistro, 4553 N. Loop 1604 W., 210-492-9262 — Dinner service is available 5-9:15 p.m. New Year’s Eve. The party begins at 10 p.m. with food, music and dancing. Included in the cost of $55 a person is a split of Champagne, party favors, an all-you-can-eat appetizer bar including sushi and a dance floor with music. There will also be specials running at the bar all night. E-mail

Hotel Valencia, 150 E. Houston St., 210-227-9700, ext. 8412 — The party will be in the Vbar and Verona Ballroom. Vbar will feature a DJ while the band in the ballroom will play favorites from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. The dinner buffet will include an ice sculpture, sushi and carving stations and be served from 8 p.m. to midnight. The party continues until 2 a.m. Cost is $100 per adult age 21 or older and includes a Champagne welcome, two drinks, and access to all food stations.

Hyatt Hill Country, 9800 Hyatt Resort Drive, 210-647-1234 — The resort is offering a New Year’s package for a family of four. For $369, you get a smokehouse barbecue dinner for two adults and two children, a carnival, a family dance with live music, fireworks with synchronized music and a New Year’s Day breakfast buffet.  New Year’s Day events include a FunZone for kids.

Hyatt Regency, 123 Losoya St., 210-222-1234 — The New Year’s Eve celebration includes a part in the ballroom as well as a room for two. The menu includes standing prime rib of beef, Scottish salmon baked in puff pastry, braised veal loin, salads, artisan cheeses and desserts. The cost is $399 a couple.

JW Marriott, 23808 Resort Parkway, 210-225-0462 — The San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the New Year’s celebration, which runs 7:30 p.m.-1 a.m. The evening will include cocktails, dinner, dancing, live entertainment and a Champagne toast at midnight. Cost is $150 a person if reservations are made before Dec. 17 or $175 if made after that date.

Las Canarias, La Mansión del Rio, 112 College St., 210-518-1063 — The restaurant will offer a 5-course and a 9-course prix fixe menu for New Year’s, available from 5:30 to 11 p.m. A live band with dancing and party favors will be available after 9 p.m. The cost of the 5-course menu is $100 a person while the 9-course menu costs $150 a person. Price includes a Champagne toast, but not tax, tip or other drinks.   On New Year’s Day, the restaurant will offer a buffet from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. The price of the buffet is $26.95 ($13.50 for children, ages 5-12 years) and includes juice and coffee, but not tax, tip or alcoholic beverages. À la carte dining will be available from 1 to 10:30 p.m. Click here.

Limestone Grille, Ye Kendall Inn, 128 W. Blanco, Boerne, 830-249-2138 — The New Year’s Eve menu, served from 5 to 10 p.m., is a multi-course meal with appetizer, salad, and choice  of the following: herb-crusted Angus prime rib, prickly pear and herb-marinated duck breast, pistachio-crusted chicken, grilled mahi-mahi, prosciutto and provolone stuffed pepper-crusted veal chop, and surf and turf (the latter with a $9 surcharge). Dessert is a white and dark chocolate mousse tuxedo cup. Cost is $65 a person plus tax and tip. The hotel is hosting a separate New Year’s party. See details below.

The Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills, 1746 Lockhill Selma Road, 210-349-8466 —The Lodge will be celebrating its 10th New Year’s Eve with a six-course menu featuring a number of choices. Seatings begin at 5:30 p.m. A few of the dishes include seared diver sea scallop with celery heart-onion “salad” and “truffle syrup,” rabbit saddle with melted leeks, pan-seared Moroccan salmon, cast iron-seared beef tenderloin with smoked bone marrow pudding. Cost: $100 per person or $150 paired with wines. Tax and 20-percent tip not included. Full bar available. Open New Year’s Day.

Max’s Wine Dive, 340 E. Basse Road, Suite 101, 210-444-9547 — On New Year’s Eve, the restaurant is offering the following specials in addition to its regular menu: Fresh Bacon ‘n’ Beans ($15),  Potato Latke ($17),  Foie Gras Pain Perdu ($19), Max’s Ultimate Foie Gras Kobe Burger ($29),  Veal Osso Buco ($32), Filet Mignon ($38),  and Tres Leches Baked Alaska ($12).

Mike’s in the Village, 2355-3 Bulverde Road, Bulverde, 830-438-2747 — New Year’s Eve hours are 5-9 p.m. The special menu begins with Maine Lobster Bisque with Sherry, followed by a choice of  Pear Salad with Maytag Blue Cheese or House Salad with Craisins, Montrachet Goat Cheese and Roasted Almonds. The third course is a choice of  Dijon Mustard, Pecan and Herb Crusted Lamb Chops, Black Angus Filet au Poivre or Pan-seared Halibut. Dessert choices are  Pistachio-crusted Chocolate Truffles, White Chocolate Bread Pudding or Vanilla Bean Crème Brule with Raspberry Sauce. Live jazz from the Phil Grota Trio. Cost is $75 a person.

Mi Tierra Café y Panaderia, 218 Produce Row, 210-225-1262  — The restaurant is open 24 hours on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Reservations not accepted.

Ostra, Mokara Hotel and Spa, 212 W. Crockett St., 210-396-5817 — The restaurant will offer its regular menu from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Paesanos Riverwalk, 111 W. Crockett St., 210-227-2782 — New Year’s Eve seatings are at 6, 8 and 10 p.m. The multiple-course meal includes entrée choices of Shrimp Paesano, ahi tuna ceviche style, pan-seared sea bass in truffle butter, herb-crusted filet mignon, Parmesan-crusted chicken breast and cheese tortellini.  The cost of the 6 p.m. is $42.95 for adults or $24.95 for children ages 9 or younger. The cost for the 8 and 10 p.m. seatings is $58.95 per adult or $24.95 for children ages 9 or younger. Tax and 20-percent tip not included.

Q on the Riverwalk, Hyatt Regency, 123 Losoya St., 210-222-1234 — The three-course New Year’s Eve menu is served 7-10 p.m. Choices include either am élange of fresh wintergreens tossed with spiced pecans, feta and pink grapefruit or fresh lobster bisque. Entrée options include standing rib roast of Angus beef, fire-grilled filet of salmon or roasted breast of chicken with chevre. Dessert is a New Year’s Eve chocolate trio. The cost is $100 per couple. Complimentary self‐parking available at the Central Parking garage located across from the hotel.

Restaurant Insignia, Fairmount Hotel, 4o1 S. Alamo St., 210-223-0401 — The restaurant is in perfect proximity for the New Year’s celebration at Hemisfair Park with seatings at 7 and 10 p.m. The New Year’s Eve dinner will feature a six-course menu with some of the following options: lobster bisque, king crab risotto, cast iron-seared beef tenderloin and seared duck breast. Cost is $90 per person and $30 extra with wine pairings. Tax and tip not included. (The 7 p.m. seating must be over by 9:45 p.m.) Full bar available until 2 a.m. Open New Year’s Day.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House, 1170 E. Commerce St., 210-227-8847; 7720 Jones Maltsberger Road, 210-821-5051 — The New Year’s Eve parties bring a multi-course meal starting with a choice of appetizer, followed by choice of soup or salad. Entrée choices include filet mignon, rib-eye, stuffed chicken breast or Hong Kong sea bass, each complemented by a 6-ounce lobster tail. Dessert choices close out the meal. Cost is $89 a person plus tax and tip.

Silo, 1133 Austin Hwy., 210-824-8686 — A three-course dinner for $55 a person is available for those who dine before 6:15 p.m. Four courses for $90 a person is available for dining after 6:45 p.m. Entrée options include grilled  and roasted duck breast with duck confit leg, grilled beef tenderloin, pistachio-crusted Gulf snapper, grilled Australian rack of lamb and whole Maine lobster carbonara.

Thai Dee, 5307 Blanco Road, 210-342-3622 — The restaurant will be open noon-9 p.m.  New Year’s Day. Reservations not needed.

Tre Trattoria, 4003 Broadway, 210-805-0333 — Tre Trattoria will host a six-course menu with seatings beginning at 6 p.m. A few of the options include foie gras pastrami with pear mostarda, pan-seared gnocchi with creamy gorgonzola and honeycrisp apples pangrattato, spaghetti amatriciana with house-cured guanciale, local cabrito with polenta, and seared ahi tuna with puttanesca. Cost is $60 a person, $90 paired with wines. Tax and 18-percent tip not included. Full bar available. Open New Year’s Day.

Watermark Grill, 18740 Stone Oak Parkway, 210-483-7600 — There will be two New Year’s Eve seatings at 6 and 9:30 p.m. for a four-course dinner. The first course includes a variety of choices such as a Mango Avocado Lobster Tower or a Jumbo Lump Crab Cake. Second course includes Heart of Romaine with Artisan Brie or Tarragon-crusted Caribbean Lobster Tail. Saffron Vanilla Maine Lobster is one of the entrée options served prior to a dessert course that includes Chocolate Indulgence Trio among the choices. At the first seating the cost is $75 for the meal. At the second, it costs $95 for the meal paired with Louis Roederer Champagne.

The Wine Cellar at Zinc Bistro, 207 N. Presa St., 210-224-1313 — Zinc provides an intimate setting to celebrate New Year’s Eve in style with a wine-paired five-course dinner beginning at 8 p.m., with the opening of a 2000 Roederer L’Ermitage sparkler from Anderson Valley, Calif., offered with Oregon mushroom duxelles in sour cream tartlets and other appetizers.  At 8:30 p.m., the starters will be followed by a pot pie filled with cold water lobster and wild mushrooms in a sherry and lobster bisque and offered with a Montaudon Rosé Champagne NV from Reims, France.  A 2008 Melville Estate Pinot Noir accompanies the pomegranate and horseradish-glazed quail salad with arugula, frisee and a tangerine vinaigrette. The main course is a choice of Niman Ranch herb-crusted rack of lamb with a chipotle Bordelaise or a center-cut strip sirloin with Portobello compound butter. The wine is a 2006 Cenay Blue Tooth Vineyard Cabernet from the Napa Valley.  A glass of Grahams 10-Year-Old Tawny Port will accompany dessert, a winter-spiced molten chocolate cake with sugared raspberries and Sabyon sauce. Tthere will Champagne at midnight. Limited reservations. Cost: $100 per person.

Ye Kendall Inn, 128 W. Blanco, Boerne, 830-249-2138 — The New Year’s Party begins at 7:30 p.m. with an hors d’oeuvres and dinner buffet, bottle of wine (per couple), live entertainment with the Mo-Dels, dancing, party favors, Champagne toast, black-eyed peas and cornbread. The cost is $79 a person plus tax and tip.

Z’Tejas, 15900 La Cantera Parkway, 210-690-3334 — The restaurant is offering a three-course special Dec. 31-Jan. 2. The first course is Baja Shrimp Cocktail, followed by a choice of Z Salad, tortilla soup, soup of the day or Southwestern Caesar Salad. The third course is a choice of prime rib ($34.99) or Fresh Chilean Sea Bass on Papillotte ($41.99).

Zuni Grill, 223 Losoya St., 210-227-0864 — New Year’s Eve seatings are at 6, 8 and 10 p.m. The multiple-course meal includes entrée choices of Shrimp Paesano, pan-seared salmon, prime sirloin chimichurri, grilled chicken Tuscany pasta and grilled vegetable fajitas. The children’s menu  includes a burger or chicken tenders, both with fries. The cost for the 6 p.m. seating is $39.95 per adult or $19.95 per child ages 9 or younger. Cost for the 8 and 10 p.m. seatings is $49.95 per adult or $19.95 for children ages 9 or younger. Tax and 20-percent tip not included.

Restaurateurs, if you are not included on this list e-mail and we will update the list.

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Certify Your Love for Tequila

Are you tequila obsessed?  Crave learning more about its history, production, and grading?

Gabriel’s Wine & Spirits has partnered with Aldaco’s Mexican Cuisine and Partida Tequila to offer Tequilier Certification.  The class will be held on Saturday, July 31 at Aldaco’s Stone Oak.  For $400, you will spend the day learning in depth about tequila with topics including: types of agave; distillation process; standards of quality; maturation process, and more.  At the end of the class, participants can take an exam. If they pass, they receive a Level One Tequilier Certificate from the Academia Mexicana del Tequila.

According to a press release, this class will be the first offered in Texas.  It also states that only 22 people currently have this certification.

Lunch and tequila tastings are included.  Registration starts at 8:30 a.m., which is followed by class until 12:30 p.m.  Lunch will last one hour and the class will resume until 5:30 p.m.  Make reservations by July 17 by contacting Gabriel’s at or 210-831-0042.

Aldaco’s Stone Oak
20079 Stone Oak Parkway
San Antonio, TX 78258

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Last-Minute Reminder: Aldaco on ‘Good Morning America’

Blanca Aldaco of Aldaco’s is set to be among a number of San Antonians on ABC’s “Good Morning America” at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday.

She will be joined by Mayor Julian Castro, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and others for the unveiling of a Times Square window that honors the city. The window, part of the show’s Holiday Windows series, was designed by Jill Giles, who also created the recently opened Bohanan’s Bar at 219 E. Houston St.

The window’s theme is Pride, Passion and Piñatas.

On Tuesday evening, Aldaco spread some San Antonian cheer in the form of her signature margaritas at a Mexican bistro near the theater district called Toloache, which refers to “an herb for lovers,” she said.

“It was a fantastic evening,” Aldaco said in a message on Facebook. “The CVB hosted an amazing, tasty event reflecting the food of S.A., female mariachi and my margaritas.”

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