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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. www.achioterivercafe.com

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. www.brightshawl.com

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.  lukesanantonio.com

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. www.maxswinedive.com

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. www.qontheriverwalk.com

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. twosteprestaurant.com

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 griffin@savorsa.com or walker@savorsa.com.

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Steven Krueger Tries His Hand at Blending Wine


Steven Krueger pours some Raymond Cabernet Sauvignon.

Steven Krueger spends most of his days recommending wines to the patrons of the Westin la Cantera as the resort’s sommelier. Recently, he was given the opportunity to try his hand at making some wine of his own.

He was one of a select group of sommeliers that spent time at Raymond Vineyards in the Napa Valley town of Rutherford, Calif., in order to learn about what goes into making wine. The end result will be bottled under the label 2009 Sommelier Selection Cabernet Sauvignon. It will be sold only at restaurants, such as Francesca’s at Sunset in the Westin.

Also on the panel were Virginia Phillip of The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla.; David Flom of Chicago Cut in Chicago;  Matthew Turner of San Francisco;  Emily Wines of Kimpton, San Francisco; Steve Giancotti of Lawrys in Dallas;  Ron D’Allegro of Knickerbocker, New York;  Jim Gallagher of Cole’s Chop House in Napa; and Steve Hirsch of Heritage, Chicago.

All of their names will appear on the back label, which will fold out and include a short bio of each.

According to the Raymond website, this was the second year that sommeliers have been invited to create a Cabernet Sauvignon blend for the winery. Of the first, it says, “Together, the sommeliers crafted a unique Cabernet Sauvignon, blended from the finest quality grapes in Napa, Sonoma and Lake Counties into the 2008 Raymond Sommelier Selection. The Sommelier Selection is an exclusive on-premise offering from an iconic Napa winery and a small cadre of the country’s most prestigious sommeliers.”

Krueger was honored to be included in the group. As he writes on his blog: “For me it was very exhilarating to contribute.”

The 2008 Raymond Sommelier Selection is now available at Francesca’s now for $14 a glass or $55 a bottle. The 2009 bottling that Krueger worked on will not be released until after the new year.

Also at the Westin, in the newly renovated  Steinheimer’s Lounge, Krueger offers an ever-changing list of wines that can be sampled from 5 to 6 p.m. The four-wine tasting costs $10 a person.

For more information, call 210-558-6500.

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Two Top Chefs Returning to San Antonio and More Dining News


A Bliss-ful return

Mark Bliss is headed back to San Antonio.

The chef who started Silo on Austin Highway confirmed a rumor that he is looking for a place, but in his usual terse style, he offered little other information except to say it should happen in about nine months.

Imagine the appetite we’ll have worked up by then.

Jesse Perez

Perez is back, too

Jesse Perez is back in town, working as a consultant for Alamo Cafe. We can only hope that he’ll also find his own place at sometime in the future.

Perez was once at Francesca’s at Sunset before leaving for Atlanta and Los Angeles. He was also named Best Latino Chef in the U.S. at the Flavors of Passion Awards. He recently served up his own barbecue at Culinaria’s Burgers, BBQ and Beer.

Celebrate Alamo anniversary in savory style

Chef Iliana de la Vega from the Culinary Institute of America’s San Antonio campus is offering a unique way to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Battle of the Alamo.

She suggests making Asado de Bodas, a dish typically served at weddings and other special occasions in this region during the early 1800s.

“In English the dish is known as ‘Wedding Stew,'” says de la Vega. “Traditionally it is served with Mexican rice. Today it is also popular served with pasta.”

To watch a video of her preparing the dish, click here.

There's more to Texas de Brazil than meat, as this colorful array of peppers attests.

Rising meat prices and a great deal for customers

“Lamb prices? We’ve seen over a 100 percent price increase since the beginning of the year,” says Evandro Caraegnato, culinary director for Texas de Brazil, which has a San Antonio restaurant at 313 E. Houston St. Beef prices have also skyrocketed.

Yet, the all-you-can-eat Brazilian steakhouse is offering customers a deal. Through the end of June, diners will get the meats, salads, side dishes and desserts for $39.99. For reservations, call 210-299-1600.

A second Magnolia

A second Magnolia Pancake Haus will open later this year, if all goes according to schedule, owner Robert Fleming says.

It will be located on Huebner Road, west of Interstate 10.

Magnolia will also be featured on an upcoming episode of “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” though the air date has not been set yet.

When host Guy Fieri was in town, he filmed the restaurant’s signature Apfelpfannekuchen, or apple pancake, as well as its house-made corned beef hash and bacon waffles.

The original is located at 606 Embassy Oak. Click here for more information.

Freetail Brewing Co. is opening a second location in Houston.

Freetail is growing

Freetail Brewing Co. has announced it’s opening a second location. This one will be in downtown Houston.

According to a release, “On Nov. 2, 2010, Freetail founder and CEO Scott Metzger announced the company’s search for a second location. After extensive research and analysis, bolstered by a robust social media campaign by thirty Houstonians, Metzger ultimately decided on approximately 20,000 square feet in a historic building in downtown Houston. Out of respect to the developer, the exact location cannot be named at this time.”

In the meantime, you can enjoy Freetail’s fine brews at its San Antonio location, 4035 N. Loop 1604 W.

This week marks the first San Antonio Beer Week, and Freetail is one of the participants. For a full schedule of events, click here.

Myron’s showcases Navarro Correas

Myron’s Prime Steakhouse, 136 N. Castell Ave., New Braunfels, will feature the wines of Navarro Correas’s Privada collection at a dinner at 7 p.m. Friday.

The menu will include a salad with shrimp, rhubarb, persimmon, beef and dikon in a chimichurri vinaigrette with  Privda Chardonnay; a roasted pepper duo of crêpes with Privada Malbec & Alegoria Malbec Gran Reserva; a duo of quail with blackberry and serrano gravy with Privada Cabernet Sauvignon;  and chili-spiced steak with the Ultra Red.

The cost is  $69 a person, plus tax and tip. For reservations, call  830-624-1024.

Taste some Slovinian wine

From 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, you can sample selections from Pullus, the oldest winery in Slovenia, at Deco Pizzeria, 1815 Fredericksburg Road.

How old is the winery? It was founded in  1239, more than 200 years before Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Wines in the collection include a Riesling, a Pinot Grigio, a Sauvignon Blanc and a pinot noir among others.

The tasting is free. Visit www.otracopa.co for more details regarding the wines of Slovenia.

If you have restaurant news, e-mail walker@savorsa.com or griffin@savorsa.com.

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Wine Dinners for All Tastes Are Happening Thursday


Culinaria, the city’s food and wine festival, gets under way this week with a series of events designed for every taste. On Thursday, four wine dinners and a tequila dinner have been scheduled for a number of restaurants around the city.

The wine dinners will be at Las Canarias, the Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills, Max’s Wine Dive and Francesca’s at Sunset, wihle chef Johnny Hernandez is hosting an Ambhar Tequila dinner.

David Launay, director of Chateau Gruaud Larose; Jean-Christopher Calvet, president of Aquitaine Wine Co.; and Dr. Richard and Bunny Becker of Becker Vineyards will host the six-course dinner at Francesca’s at Sunset in the Westin La Cantera, 16641 La Cantera Parkway. Highlights include wild salmon and prosciutto with Chateau St. Andre Corbin 2007; South Texas Antelope with Larouse de Gruaud 2007 and Becker Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009; and Texas Akaushi Beef with Foie Gras and Chateau Gruaud Larose 2006. Dinner is at 7 p.m. Cost: $110 a person plus tax and tip. Call 210-558-2253 for reservations.

Las Canarias at La Mansion del Rio, 112 College St., will feature the wines of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in a four-course meal plus cocktail reception. Highlights include Georges Bank Skate Wing with Karia Napa Valley Chardonnay 2008; Lavender Honey Lacquered Breast of Sonoma Duck with the Napa Merlot 2006; and Strube Ranch Wagyu with Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 and Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District 2007. Dinner begins at 7 p.m. Cost: $85 a person plus tax and tip.Call 210-518-1017 for reservations.

The Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills, 1746 Lockhill Selma, will present wines from Erath of Oregon and Texas’ McPherson Cellars. highlights include Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with Goat Cheese, Brioche and Basil with Erath Pinot Gris; Seared Diver Sea Scallop with Spring Farmers Market Palate and McPherson Viognier; Duo of Duck with Yukon Potato-Foie Gras Agnolotti plus Erath Pinot Noir and Erath Pinot Noir Estate Grown; and Porcini-crusted Sous Vide of Rack of Lamb with both McPherson Sangiovese and McPherson Tre Colore. A pre-dinner reception begins at 6:30 p.m. Cost: $85 a person, plus tax and 20-percent tip. Call 210-349-8466.

For information on the dinner at Max’s Wine Dive, call 210-444-9547. For information on Hernandez’s tequila dinner, call 210-822-9555.

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Restaurant Notes & Quotes: Pizza, Brunch and Dinners on the River


Fiesta is done, but there is more to come on the food, wine and restaurant scene in San Antonio.

Fundraiser a Feast for ARTS San Antonio.

ARTS San Antonio Floating Feastival 2010 patrons Mary Martinez, Xitlalt Herrera – Salazar,Trudy Madan, Rocio Rosenstein and Carla Ruiz.

The 29th annual fundraiser for ARTS San Antonio is coming May 10-11. The Floating Feastival 2011 offers gourmet dining while cruising along the San Antonio River.  Chefs will create a multi-course progressive meal complete with wine, beer, and soft drinks for the boat ride, which will last anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours. .

Culinary partners include Achiote River Café and Bar, Boudro’s Texas Bistro on The River Walk, Luciano Ristorante, and Zocca Cuisine d’Italia.   Although not required, guests are encouraged to dress in colorful, casual clothes. Check-in is at 6 p.m. at the Grand Hyatt, 600 E. Market St. Cruise boats set off at 7 p.m. Individual tickets are $150, or you can reserve a 16-passenger boat for $2,200. Proceeds from this event support the arts and education programs of ARTS San Antonio.

Contact Lee at 210-226-2891; e-mail lee@artssa.org; or visit www.artssa.org/specialevents/floatingfeastival.asp

Becker, Brasserie Pavil get together for Lavender Dinner

Spanish Lavender in bloom at Becker Vineyards.

On April 28, Brasserie Pavil hosts a five-course lavender dining experience, and each course is paired with a different wine from Becker Vineyards.

Chef Rene Bajeux’s menu is as follows: BlueBonnet Farm Arugula with Smoked Foie Gras Torchon Apricot Lavender Champagne Vinaigrette with Becker Viognier;  Bay of Fundy Wild Salmon, Shiitake Mushroom and Napa Cabbage, Tomatoes, Lavender Kieffer Lime Broth with Becker Chenin Blanc; Tea-smoked H Quail, Lavender Honey Glaze Roasted Corn and French Lentils with Becker Malbec; Broken Arrow Ranch Antelope Chop, Grilled Peaches, First of the Seasons Black Truffle, Porcini Risotto, Lavender Herbs de Provence Jus with Becker Reserve Cabernet; and Rosemary-infused Funnel Cake Cone, Lavender Gelato and Citrus Compote with Becker Late Harvest Clementine. 6:30 p.m.

Brasserie Pavil is at 1818 N. Loop 1604. Call 210-479-5000. Cost: $65.

Two new pizza restaurants open

Pepper and onion pizza at Big G's Pizzeria.

Big G’s Pizzeria is New York-style bliss at 7806 Callaghan Road at Torino Drive. The menu features wings, calzones, gyros and sandwiches, including a Philly cheesesteak, in addition to its generous slices. It is open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and noon-10 p.m. Saturday. Call 210-384-8899.

Meanwhile, Deco Pizzeria, at the corner corner of Fredericksburg Road and Zarzamora, has refreshed the facade of what was once a filling station, then a series of Mexican restaurants. The fresh, pale green and white paint and “Deco” sign are on the building at 1815 Fredericksburg Road, in what is termed the city’s Deco District. Deco pizza? We’ll see.

A bacon- and brisket-infused Bloody Mary at Francesca's at Sunset.

Brunch at Francesca’s

The brunch at Francesca’s at Sunset is off to a delicious start — and the views out the famous windows are just about as lovely at breakfast time as they are at twilight.

We sampled several of the new brunch dishes at Francesca’s, which is in the Westin La Cantera. Many of the tastes were excellent, including a chilled, clear gazpacho served in a martini glass as well as a dish of Kobe beef rib and seared foie gras that was perfectly cooked and utterly rich. A beautiful lobster salad with grapefruit supremes and lightly dressed greens was a refreshing appetizer, while the eggs Benedict featured crab cakes rather than Canadian bacon, and a nice substitution it was.

A trio of Bloody Marys are well worth investigating if you’re in need of an eye-opener. One is made with bacon- and brisket-infused vodka, giving the drink real heft.

“Brunch is here to stay; it’s something we are going to build on,” said Isaac Cantu, one of the chefs on the staff. The kitchen staff for Sunday brunch was hand-picked from restaurants throughout the hotel.

Francesca’s at Sunset is in the Westin La Cantera, 16641 La Cantera Parkway. Call 210-558-6500.

Morton’s raises the bar on its wine and spirits program

Morton’s the Steakhouse is unveiling a range of new drink selections that include a variety of boutique and hard-to-find wines at value prices.

  • For the sports fan: Morton’s was announced as the Official Steakhouse of the PGA Tour. To celebrate, a new Above Par wine menu was created. Included are the first vintage wine from Jack Nicklaus’ reserve line, a 2008 Jack Nicklaus Private Reserve (Napa), as well as an Ernie Els Bordeaux Blend (Stellenbosch, South Africa) and Greg Norman Shiraz Reserve (Adelaide, Australia). Morton’s has also created a signature Double Cross Mortini, garnished with a Chilean baby pear skewered on a golf tee, with $1 of every Mortini donated to Birdies for the Brave, a non-profit organization that supports military home front groups that provide critical programs and services for wounded warriors and military families.
  • For the beer connoisseur: Beer enthusiasts can experience vintage beers and ultra-premium crafts, trappists and lambics, including Lindemans Raspberry Lambic (Belgium), Fuller’s 2010 Vintage Ale (England) and Paulaner Hefe Wiezen (Germany). The menu also features an Orval Trappist Ale (Belgium).

  • For the wine aficionado: Morton’s has expanded its wine by the glass menu. The lineup includes Mollydooker among others. Guests can also experience several fine wines only at Morton’s restaurants in the U.S., including Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mountain 2005) and Freemark Abbey Cabernet (Napa 2002).  St. Supery Moscato (Napa 2009) is another new addition for those who are looking to pair something a little sweeter with their main course or as an after dinner drink.

Also launched in March 2011 is Morton’s introduced first national sommelier team. It is composed of 12 Morton’s sommeliers from within the company.

Closed

Le Midi Bistro, 301 E. Houston St., has closed.

If you have restaurant news, e-mail Bonnie Walker at walker@savorsa.com or John Griffin at griffin@savorsa.com.

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Sunday Brunch at Francesca’s, Mediterranean at Tangeré and More Restaurant Happenings


Graduation night offer from Rainforest Café

High school principals in San Antonio, are you worried about your seniors partying too hardy on graduation night and then attempting to drive? You might want to consider an offer from Rainforest Café, 110 E. Crockett St.

The restaurant is offering you the chance to set up a lock-in with an all-night dance and no alcoholic drinks. General manager Rocco Valentino sees this as part of the restaurant’s mission to serve the community. “I personally visit local schools, day care centers, elementaries,” he says. “We’re here and we want to do what we can to help.”

If you are interested in Project Graduation Night, contact Valentino at 210-227-6300.

RiverTini Pour-Off at Brasserie Pavil

This year’s RiverTini Pour-Off is at Brasserie Pavil, 1818 N. Loop 1604 W. It runs 5-7 p.m. March 31.

Other restaurants competing for the right to claim it makes the city’s best martini include Aldaco’s Stone Oak, Auden’s Kitchen, Boudro’s, the Cork Bar at the Hotel Contessa, Jason Dady’s restaurants, Lüke, Q at the Hyatt Regency, the Grand Hyatt, Quarry Hofbrau, the Vbar at the Hotel Valencia, and the Westin La Cantera Resort.

All proceeds benefit the San Antonio River Foundation. Click here for tickets, priced at $50 apiece.

Tangeré adds a Mediterranean touch

Tangeré is a Spanish word for touch. It’s also the name of a new restaurant at 4230 McCullough Ave. that chef Erick Abrams hopes will touch your taste buds.

Abrams, formerly of Métropolitain in the Quarry, has taken over the spot where Shiraz once was. For his new place, he has planned a Mediterranean menu of varied flavors that cover the map.

The onion soup with Gruyère will remind you of France, while the jamon Iberico Férmin will transport you back to Spain. Gnocchi and duck confit ravioli conjure images of Italy, and tagine of lamb and harissa summons memories of Morocco.

For dessert, sample a limoncello soufflé or an apple tarte tatin made to order.

Tangeré is open Monday-Friday for lunch and Monday-Saturday for dinner. Call 210-822-6644 for reservations. Click here for a menu.

Lobster salad with local Bluebonnet greens.

Francesca’s at Brunch

The Westin La Cantera Resort’s premiere restaurant, Francesca’s at Sunset, is now offering a classic Sunday brunch.

Brunch will be 10:30 a.m.–2 p.m. and will be served a la carte from a menu of appetizers and entrees through desserts.

Look for treats such as berries sabayon, lobster salad, chocolate almond French toast to customized eggs Benedict.  Guests can also explore the restaurant’s house-made Texas strawberry and apple honey jams, and desserts such as seasonal fruit crepes and Limencello berries.

Brunch beverages range from juices, iced and hot Tea Forte, and award-winning coffees.  As well, guests can match their mid- morning meal with a selection of cocktails such as freshly squeezed mimosa’s or Bloody Mary’s, mixed with a combination of fresh ingredients infused with vodka.

Seating is limited and reservations can be made by visiting www.westinlacantera.com/dining.html or www.OpenTable.com.

Appetizers are between $6-12 and entrees vary from $12-22. The resort is at 16641 La Cantera Parkway.

The Chicken Pasta Roll at Z'Tejas.

Lobster tacos, aged beef tenderloin on spring menu at Z’Tejas

Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill at the Shops at La Cantera, 15900 La Cantera Parkway, has introduced a new menu for the spring that features some lighter dishes and a few plates perfect for Lent.

The new items include chipotle-sautéed lobtser tacos with avocado, a smoked chicken pasta roll with either picante cream or green chile sauce, and a chicken and goat cheese salad with strawberries, grapefruit and a creamy cilantro vinaigrette.

Flame-grilled mahi-mahi is coated with a charred pineapple rub and topped with mango salsa while the aged beef tenderloin is served with lobster.

A new dessert is Mission Fig Beignets served warm with a raspberry sauce.

Call 210-690-3334.

CPA Special at Morton’s

Morton’s the Steakhouse, 300 E. Crockett St., is having a drawing to reward a certified public accountant this tax season.

April 18 has been designated CPA Appreciation Day. On that day, the winners of dinner for two will be announced.

To enter the contest,  call Morton’s at 210-228-0700 before April 17 to submit your name, phone number and e-mail address. The winner will be notified by phone and will have to bring proof of being a CPA.

Aldaco's Chicken Fajita Cobb Salad

Aldaco's Chicken Fajita Cobb.

Springtime salads at Aldaco’s in Sunset Station

Aldaco’s in Sunset Station, 100 E. Hoefgen St., has introduced a series of salads for spring.

The lineup now includes:

  • Aldaco’s Chicken Fajita Cobb with chopped bacon, shredded cheese, egg and rajas de poblano with a roasted jalapeño ranch dressing.
  • Tres Marias with romaine, rajas de poblano, sunflower sees and queso fresco in a lime-cilantro dressing.
  • Ensalada Nido de Avocado with chicken salad on avocado halves, jícama, and carrots in the lime-cilantro dressing.
  • Boone’s Salad features chicken, beef or grilled shrimp on lettuce, tomato and more with the lime-cilantro dressing.

Lenten specials include fish and chips Aldaco’s style, shrimp or fish tacos,  and   Pescado Aldaco, pan-seared mahi-mahi and two grilled shrimp with a mild chile de arbol garlic butter sauce.

Call 210-222-0561.

For a limited time

  • Marioli, 18730 Tuscany Stone, is offering fish tacos during Lent. Call 210-496-1111.
  • Smashburger, with various locations around the city, has introduced an Oreo Mint Milkshake to its lineup for a limited time.

Bonnie Walker contributed to this report.

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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. aldacos.net

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.) www.crumpetsa.com

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. www.fredericksbistro.com

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. www.frederickssa.com

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. www.lospatios.com

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 yonggoro@yahoo.com.

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. www.hotelvalencia-riverwalk.com

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. www.yekendallinn.com

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. www.prg-sa.com

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. restaurantinsignia.com

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.  www.yekendallinn.com

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. www.prg-sa.com

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

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Simply Grand


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Lori Baca (left) and Susan Houser

What makes a Grand Tasting grand? Is it the steelhead trout and olives marinated in Tito’s Vodka from Las Canarias? Is it the Brown Estate Zinfandel that kept evolving the glass into something richer and finer with each sip? How about a bacon-wrapped quail’s leg from Fig Tree Restaurant? Or a cocktail from Bohanan’s made with Maker’s Mark and ginger beer?

To the hundreds of people who filled the Grotto beneath the Convention Center Saturday evening for the New World Wine & Food Festival’s Grand Tasting, the answer could have been any of the above.

Throngs filled the vast space along the River Walk to sample smoked halibut chowder from the upcoming Auden’s Kitchen or mussels from Citrus, sip Saint Arnold’s beer or rose from Pedernales Cellars in Stonewall. Each bite seemed to be more satisfying than the one that preceded it.

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Bacon-wrapped quail’s leg from Fig Tree Restaurant.

Wildfish offered up a sashimi slice of Hebi, also known as Hawaiian spearfish, with a dollop of wasabi, while Lux Bakery tempted people with its pan dulces. At the same time, Bulgarian wines were poured alongside Scharffenberger sparkling wines.

Jason Dady offered a five-course meal, one dish from each of his restaurants, starting with a shrimp appetizer from Bin 555 and moving on to a Purple Cow (Blue Bell Vanilla with grape soda and whipped cream) from Two Bros. BBQ Market for dessert.

Though the array of food spread itself from the Grill at Leon Springs’ sliders to a leek and mushroom tart from the Peach Café in Boerne, the most common ingredient of the night seemed to be duck.

NWWFF-Grand7Kirby’s offered duck confit with a raspberry sauce while Acenar piled duck on a corn chip. Boudro’s offered duck carnitas on a taco, and Tong’s Thai offered duck with an Asian Twist. Francesca’s at Sunset served duck pot pies and captured more than a few hearts.

“The duck pot pie – that was the best,” said Michelle Robinson, who was attending the event for the first time. One of her favorite wines of the evening was Rivero Gonzalez from Mexico, which was a shame, she added, because “it’s not in the States yet.”

NWWFF-Grand4Jennifer Walker, a friend of Robinson’s visiting from the Cincinnati area, agreed that the duck pot pie was the best bite of the evening. But she had to admit that “it was all good.”

Her favorite wine was Becker Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve.

Walker’s husband, Mark, also fell for the duck pot pie, but equally good to him was the pomegranate-rhubarb macaroon filled with foie gras that Dady served from the Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills.

The couple had chosen to visit this weekend because of the Grand Tasting, and they enjoyed it so much they plan to come back next year, Mark Walker said.

The New World Wine & Food Festival concludes today with Totally Tejas at Rio Cibolo Ranch. For details, click here.

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