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Get Early Bird Pricing on Culinaria Festival Tickets


Culinaria Festival Week tickets are now on sale — and you can get most at a discount.
At the Grand Tasting

At the Grand Tasting

For one week only, Culinaria is offering early bird pricing on most tickets for Festival Week, which takes place May 13-17.

 
Plans for this year’s five days of food, wine and spirits are underway. Events include the Grand Tasting, the Best of Mexico and Burgers, BBQ and Beer. Whether you’re interested in a single event or you want to taste everything, there are tickets for you.
 
To purchase your tickets to this year’s Festival Week at a discount, visit CulinariaSA.org.
  
Early bird pricing ends at midnight March 6. (FYI: Discounts do not apply to Wine or Tequila Dinners, Food Truck, or Bubble Room.)

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Hot: Burgers, BBQ Sizzle for Crowd at Culinaria Finale


Culinaria 2014 Girls in line BBBThe sizzle of burgers, pits smoking, and the merciful existence of ice cold beer, water and lemonade gratified the hundreds of folks, who turned out for Culinaria’s Burgers, BBQ & Beer on Sunday.

Set with the backdrop of the historic Pearl Brewery building, the final event for Culinaria festival week showcased the works of cooks, chefs, helpers and beverage pourers and offered everything from spicy chicken wings and spicy  crawfish to grilled sliced Spam on burgers, brisket burgers and brisket quesadillas.

Chef Jason Dady and his crew from Two Bros. BBQ Market were serving up portions of brisket — and it was classic, with salty, peppery crust and luscious, tender meaty interior. No sauce for me, thanks — the beefy flavor on that ever-more-pricy cut of meat should not be muffled in any way!

Jesse chorizo burger Culinaria 2014

Arcade Midtown Kitchen’s triple-heat Green Chile and Chorizo Burger.

One really hot burger, courtesy of chef Jesse Perez from Arcade Midtown Kitchen was the chorizo burger topped with green chiles, dressed with a spicy sauce and salty crumbles of cotija cheese. I’d have eaten two, yes, but there was quite a bit more to come.

I was impressed with Green Vegetarian’s Earth Burger — my first taste. Once upon a time, a veggie burger was made with cooked, mashed soybeans, topped with slivers of onion and carrot and alfalfa sprouts. They were edible.  The Earth Burger has a good springy (I won’t say meaty) texture and flavor, and are a major leap above those we “enjoyed” back in the day.

Kiolbassa, it ain’t burger, but sausage is quite a classic barbecue item here in Texas. Far be it from me to pass up a bite or two of their good jalapeño or garlic sausage.

Brisket Burgers

Brisket Burgers

The Grand Hyatt put out brisket burgers, a using the flavorful brisket (85 percent) with a leaner cut (like strip loin) ground together after a little while in the smoker, then shaped and slapped on the grill over more smoke. I thought it was one of the most flavorful bites to be had.

Alamo Cafe brought brisket, for which we thank them. Not a purist’s version of Texas ‘cue, but a nice pair-up with Tex-Mex.  They served brisket quesadillas, cut into wedges and served with a refreshing spoonful of sour cream. They get two solid  “noms” for that dish.

 

After the event ended, the winners were in for popular votes for barbecue and burgers: Magnolia Pancake Haus and Jesse Perez for his Chorizo and Green Chile Burger. It was a great ending for an event that director Suzanne Taranto Etheredge said was the “best ever.”

Spicy crawfish from Luke sizzled with flavor.

Spicy crawfish from Luke sizzled with flavor.

 

 

 

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Culinaria Stages a Grand Tasting of Fine Foods, Wines and Spirits


A grand night for Culinaria's Grand Tasting.

A grand night for Culinaria’s Grand Tasting.

Culinaria’s luck with the weather held another day during its annual Festival Week. The Grand Tasting at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center Saturday evening was marked by a balmy evening in which to enjoy some of the city’s finest chefs offering their best food to have with fine wines and cocktails.

Jordan Mackey of Las Ramblas offered golden tomato gazpacho.

Jordan Mackey of Las Ramblas offered golden tomato gazpacho.

Michael Sohocki from Restaurant Gwendolyn served blood sausage over polenta, while the Culinaria Institute of America scooped up mashed plantains, which they topped with shredded pork. Kirby’s Prime Steakhouse offered a beefy salad. Paloma Blanca served chipotle chicken over rice.

A trio of Saucy Sweets.

A trio of Saucy Sweets.

Jordan Mackey from Las Ramblas offered a refreshing golden tomato gazpacho, while Jesse Perez of Arcade Midtown Kitchen added a little punch with his spicy shrimp salad.  Jason Dady of Umai Mi presented a creamy-spicy spread over shrimp rice crackers with fresh basil and other herbs on top. Jeff White from Boiler House topped shredded pork shoulder with a cashew slaw and avocado for a treat reserved for the VIP area, though he managed to sneak a couple of samples out to us.

Several restaurants presented multiple tastings. Stella Public House dished up Brussels sprouts and a skewer of Caprese salad alongside their panna cotta with a salted caramel topping. Cocina Heritage caterers presented a spicy shredded pork as well as a lively salad.

A few wines of note in an evening filled with fine wines included the Michelle Brut Rosé from Washington state, the bone dry Hugel Riesling from the Alsace, the Megahertz Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, and the Bending Branch Petite Sirah from Comfort.

Perhaps the most welcome feature of the evening was the fact that Culinaria limited the number of guests, which meant no waiting for a sample of Saucy Sweets’ alcohol-laced sorbets in flavors such as mint julep and piña colada or for an extra bit of fried kale from Lüke’s booth. There were no elbows to avoid in case you wanted to turn around, and plenty of most everything in case you wanted to sample something a second time.

Culinaria’s Festival Week concludes Sunday with Burgers, BBQ and Beer at the Pearl Brewery. For more information, click here.

Cocina Heritage caterers offered a salad and spicy shredded pork.

Cocina Heritage caterers offered a salad and spicy shredded pork.

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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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5K — Plus Early Bird Prices for Culinaria Festival


Runners begin the Culinaria 5K Run.

Runners begin the Culinaria 5K Run.

Sign up for Culinaria’s fourth annual 5k Wine & Beer Run now. This popular race takes place on March 22, on the roads and pathways in and around The Shops at La Cantera, situated at the edge of the Texas Hill Country. There will be an array of post-race festivities for runners as well as entertainment, great food and drinks.  Price from now until sellout is $55.

The event begins at 8 a.m. For signup information, go to www.CulinariaSa.org.

 

Early Bird Pricing to Culinaria Festival Week

Culinaria Festival Week this year is May 14-18. Now and through Feb. 21, you can purchase early bird tickets to some of the week’s most popular events.
  • The Best of Mexico, May 16
  • Becker Luncheon, May 16
  • Grand Tasting, May 17
  • Burgers, BBQ & Beer, May 18

This is the only discount that will be available and only through Feb. 21. Visit the website at www.CulinariaSA.org  for more information and a preview of the tickets available.

Jeff Balfour's Pork Boudin Burger with pickled shrimp slaw

Jeff Balfour’s Pork Boudin Burger with pickled shrimp slaw

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Culinaria Festival Week 2013: Tickets On Sale Now


Jeff Balfour, chef at Citrus, created this popular boudain sausage patty topped with pickled shrimp.

Jeff Balfour, chef at Citrus, created this popular boudain sausage patty topped with pickled shrimp for Burgers, BBQ & Beer.

Culinaria hosts a wide range of activities year-round. Tickets now are on sale for the main event. That is, the 2013 Festival Week that is set for May 15-19.  The festival is filled with food and chefs, wine and winemakers, vendors, entertainment and  and great chances to mingle with other food and wine lovers.

Act fast — there is a one-week 15-percent discount on select tickets.  (The discount does not apply to Food Truck Event, Bubble Room or any children’s tickets.)
The Events:
Winemaker Dinners: Wednesday and Thursday May 15, 16
Food Truck Event: May 16, 6-9 p.m.
Becker Luncheon: At Becker Vineyards in Stonewall, May 17.
The Best of Mexico: Shops at La Cantera, May 17, 1-4 p.m.
Sabado at Casa Hernan, Saturday Morning Brunch: May 18, 11-1 p.m.
The Bubble Room at the Grand Tasting: Advance purchase only, May 18, 6-9 p.m.
Grand Tasting, May 18, 7-10 p.m., Henry Gonzales Convention Center, Grotto
Burgers BBQ & Beer: The Pearl, May 19, 1-4 p.m.
For ticket information and more, link here to Culinaria Events

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