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Ready or Not, New Year’s Is Around the Corner


Happy New Year's!

San Antonians love to party on New Year’s Eve. Well, we love to party almost any day of the year, but New Year’s Eve is special. The following restaurants are offering special meals or special hours to ring out the old and ring in the new. Reservations are required at ease. Prices do not include tax and tip.

And Happy New Year’s!

Achiote at the Grand Hyatt, 600 E. Market St.,  210-224-1234 — The New Year’s Eve dining hours are 5 p.m.-midnight. The buffet will include the Achiote Salad Bar, a Seafood and Ceviche Raw Bar with fresh oysters, shrimp, crab claws and Peruvian Red Snapper Cilantro Ceviche,  Antipasto and Cheese Station with Lobster Bisque and Roasted Carrot Kabocha and Ginger Soup, and an  Assorted Dessert Bar. Entrees will be served tableside, and choices include:  Naturalwell New York Steak with Roasted Shallot Sauce, Miso Glazed Salmon with Char Sui Bar BBQ Sauce,   Stuffed Wild Rice Cornish Game with Cherry Port Sauce,  and Petite Filet and Chile Glazed Shrimp. All entrees served with local baby vegetables and choice of either Roasted Garlic Peruvian Mashers or Herb and Texas Blue Cheese Polenta.  Cost is $60 a person, plus tax and 18 percent tip.

Barriba Cantina, 111 Crockett St., 210-228-9876 — The restaurant and bar will be open regular hours, 11 a.m.-2 a.m. on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. There will be live music with no cover charge. And reservations are not needed.

Biga on the Banks, 203 S. St. Mary’s St., 210-225-0722 — Biga has two options:

  • The New Year’s Eve early menu will be served 5:30-7:30 p.m.  The menu includes an amuse bouche of Duck rillete with cumberland sauce, followed by choice of appetizer: two Pork and Mushroom Spring Rolls with cilantro and ginger dipping sauces (add spring roll for $6 extra); Grilled Natural Scallop with lobster risotto and truffled butter; Hong Kong Crab Congee with scallion chile oil; Cuzco Ceviche, Gulf fish and shrimp, sweet potato, avocado, chile and crunchy corn; Chicken-Fried Oysters with squid ink linguini, Swiss chard, pancetta and mustard hollandaise; 10 ounces of Farm Raised American Transmontanous caviar ($85 supplement); or 10 ounces of Wild American Hackleback Caviar ($50 supplement). Soup and salad choices include  Hong Kong crab congee with scallion chile oil; Chardonnay Braised Leeks, smoked salmon, capers, organic egg, an dlemon dill vinaigrette (add caviar for extra $12 ); Grapefruit, Watercress and Endive Salad with hard cheese, toasted almonds, honey vinaigrette (add seared foie gras for extra $12);  romaine Leaves with red pepper Caesar dressing, tiny croutons and Parmesan tuile (add chicken-fried oysters for extra $8); Spinach salad with tart apples, brie, spiced pecans, bacon, trumpet royal mushrooms, gaufrettes and warm sherry garlic vinaigrette (add grilled quail for extra $8). Entree choices include two fishes of the day; Roasted Australian Lamb Rack with wild rice mushroom strudel, soft fennel, date chutney and balsamic mint sauce; Slow Cooked Veal Cheeks, pappardella pasta, asparagus, herbs and porcini jus; Grilled Beef Tenderloin, smashed purple potatoes, asparagus, portabella mushrooms, blue cheese béarnaise, and port veal demi glaze (add two shrimp for extra $7); and Beef Bourguignon in Puff Pastry, fingerling potatoes, broccolini, mushrooms, bacon, baby carrots, pearl onions.  Dessert options: Pistachio Dacquoise, with dark chocolate mousse, raspberry crush and orange dust; trio of panna cottas — strawberry, coffee and cajeta, and Dulce de Leche and Banana Crepe, coconut anglaise, dulce de leche ice cream and caramelized banana. Cost is $65 a person.
  • The later dinner will be served 8 p.m.-midnight. The menu includes an amuse bouche of Duck rillete with cumberland sauce, followed by choice of appetizer: foie gras terrine with cherry-Grand Marnier marmalade, two Pork and Mushroom Spring Rolls with cilantro and ginger dipping sauces (add spring roll for $6 extra); Grilled Natural Scallop with lobster risotto and truffled butter; Hong Kong Crab Congee with scallion chile oil; Cuzco Ceviche, Gulf fish and shrimp, sweet potato, avocado, chile and crunchy corn; Chicken- Fried Oysters with squid ink linguini, Swiss chard, pancetta and mustard hollandaise; 10 ounces of Farm Raised American Transmontanous caviar ($85 supplement); or 10 ounces of Wild American Hackleback Caviar ($50 supplement). Soup and salad choices include  Hong Kong crab congee with scallion chile oil; Chardonnay Braised Leeks, smoked salmon, capers, organic egg, an dlemon dill vinaigrette (add caviar for extra $12 ); Grapefruit, Watercress and Endive Salad with hard cheese, toasted almonds, honey vinaigrette (add seared foie gras for extra $12); Emile’s hydroponic greens, Rebecca Creek Goat feta and lemon maple vinaigrette;  romaine Leaves with red pepper Caesar dressing, tiny croutons and Parmesan tuile (add chicken-fried oysters for extra $8); Spinach salad with tart apples, brie, spiced pecans, bacon, trumpet royal mushrooms, gaufrettes and warm sherry garlic vinaigrette (add grilled quail for extra $8). Entree choices include three fishes of the day; Hill Country Axis Venison and Bandera Quail; Roasted Australian Lamb Rack with wild rice mushroom strudel, soft fennel, date chutney and balsamic mint sauce; Slow Cooked Veal Cheeks, pappardella pasta, asparagus, herbs and porcini jus; Grilled Beef Tenderloin, smashed purple potatoes, asparagus, portabella mushrooms, blue cheese béarnaise, and port veal demi glaze (add two shrimp for extra $7); and Beef Bourguignon in Puff Pastry, fingerling potatoes, broccolini, mushrooms, bacon, baby carrots, pearl onions.  Dessert options: Pistachio Dacquoise, with dark chocolate mousse, raspberry crush and orange dust; trio of panna cottas — strawberry, coffee and cajeta, and Dulce de Leche and Banana Crepe, coconut anglaise, dulce de leche ice cream and caramelized banana. Cost is $100 a person. Music by Bett Butler and Joel Dilley.

Boudro’s on the Riverwalk,  421 E. Commerce St., 210-224-8484 — Boudro’s will be open New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day from 11 a.m. to midnight. The New Year’s Eve special will include a starter of Texas Blue Crabcake with Avocado Frisée Salad, Tangled Onion Rings and Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette. The Entrée will be a combination plate with Grilled Black Angus Tenderloin, Bordelaise and Potato Galette along with a Baby Lobster Tail Etoufee, Choron Sauce and Wild Mushroom Spinach Flan. Dessert will be a Frangipan and Apple Tart with Champagne, Vanilla Sabayon. The cost is $45 aperson, plus tax and gratuity, or $70 a person with wine pairings. Regular A La Carte Dinner Menu available. Credit card number required for reservations, call (210)-224-8484. www.boudros.com

Ring out the old at your favorite restaurant.

Fig Tree Restaurant, 515 Villita St., 210-225-2111 — The New Year’s Eve menu begins with a little something special: 30 grams of  Osetra caviar for a $150 supplement. The prix fixe includes Duck Terrine with Apple Cider Poached Quince, Mache Salad, Cider Vinaigrette;  Sunchokes Ravioli with Season’s First White Truffle and Truffle Scented Honey; Butter Poached Lobster with Saffron Risotto, English Peas, Pequillo Peppers, and Spanish Chorizo; Roasted Veal Tenderloin with Poached Veal Cheeks, Creamy Polenta and Chanterelles; and your choice of Pineapple Tatin with Almonds Crumble and Passion Fruit Sorbet or Chocolate Fondant with Fiore de Latte Gelato.  The cost is $98 a person plus tax and 18 percent top.

Las Ramblas at the Hotel Contessa, 306 W. Market St., 210-229-9222 — Enjoy a four-course wine-paired dinner with a midnight Champagne toast on the rooftop. Seating is at 10 p.m.  The menu includes Duck Bacon “BLT” amuse bouche with Volvetti Prosecco, followed by Carpaccio Melange with Shrimp, Lobster, Scallop and Octopus with 2009 White Haven Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Smoked Oyster and Salsify Soup with Foie Gras Torchon will be paired with 2009 La Crema Pinot Noir, followed by Certified Angus Beef with Honeycomb Potato, Cabrales, Pancetta and White Truffle Dust with 2008 Navarro Correas Malbec Gran Reserva. Dessert is Frozen Strawberry Terrine with Champagne Gelee, Dark Chocolate Torte, Marcona Almond Butter and Cookie Crumb iwth Neige Apple Ice Wine. The cost is $125 a person plus tax and tip.

Little Rhein Steak House, 231 S. Alamo St.,  210-225-2111 — Little Rhein has two New Year’s Eve options.

  • The early bird menu, served from 6 to 6:30 p.m., begins with a choice of Shrimp Cocktail or Quail Legs, followed by a choice of Beefsteak Tomatoes with Roquefort Cheese or Field Greens with Cranberries, Walnuts, Goat Cheese and Basil Vinaigrette.  Prime Rib-Eye,  Prime Strip Loin,  Filet Mignon, Wild Salmon or  Filet and Lobster are the entrée choices. Entrées served with Au Gratin Potatoes, Sautéed Wild Mushrooms and Buttered Asparagus. Dessert choices: Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream or  New York Cheesecake with Strawberries. A glass of Champagne is included. Cost:  $70 a person plus tax and 18 percent tip.
  • The later menu is offered at seastings set for 6:30-9 p.m. or 9 p.m.-midnight. The menu includes choice of Shrimp Cocktail  or Quail Legs, followed by Lobster Bisque. A choice of Field Greens with Cranberries, Walnuts, Goat Cheese and Basil Vinaigrette or Beefsteak Tomatoes with Roquefort Cheese precedes choice of Prime Rib-Eye, Prime Strip Loin, Filet Mignon, Wild Salmon or Filet and Lobster. Entrées served with Au Gratin Potatoes, Sautéed Wild Mushrooms and Buttered Asparagus. Dessert choices: Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream or  New York Cheesecake with Strawberries. A glass of Champagne is included. Cost is $79 a person plus tax and 18 percent tip.

Lüke, 125 E. Houston St., 210-227-5853 — A New Year’s Eve dining event featuring a prix fixe five-course dinner with wine pairings will be offered. Seating begins at 8 p.m. in Lüke’s upstairs private dining space overlooking the River Walk. Cost is $150 per couple, plus tax and tip. Prepaid reservations are required for event. Lüke will also offer its full menu from 11 a.m. until midnight on New Year’s Eve. lukesanantonio.com.

Mike’s in the Village, 2355-3 Bulverde Road, Bulverde, 830-438-2747 —  Mike’s will be serving its regular menu along with some specials from 5 to 9 p.m.

Ocho at the Havana Hotel, 1015 Navarro St., 210-222-2008 — New Year’s Eve at the Hotel Havana will include live music by Son y No Son from 9 p.m. to 12:30  a.m. Cost is $100 a person and includes wine, Champagne and passed hors d’oeuvres. The menu features Fried Quail and Waffle, Truffled Egg Rolls, Shishito Pepper Bites, Fried Avocado Lollipops with cilantro lime crema, Cornflake-crusted Shrimp and Tinga Tostadas. Special room rates may also be available over the holidays.

Oro at the Emily Morgan, 705 E. Houston St., 210-225-5100 —Oro is having a three-course Champagne dinner and fireworks showing from 5 to 11 p.m.  the evening begins with a chef’s offering to stimulate your palate, followed by your choice of smoked oyster and corn chowder with caviar crème fraiche; Oro mixed lettuce, marinated tomatoes, goat cheese and white balsamic vinaigrette; or sweet potato gnocchi, truffle, shaved Parmesan and veal jus. Main course choices are pan-seared filet, roasted pepper potato dauphinoise, asparagus and clove demi; natural grilled chicken, caramelized onion sweet potato puree, wilted spinach, and chile hollandaise; or herb-seared farm-raised trout, borracho black eyed peas, and tomato cucumber escabeche. Dessert choices:  Tahitian vanilla bean and cherry crème brûlée, snicker doodle cookie and seasonal berries; selection of Da Vinci sorbets — mango, lemon, or pomegranate; or Oro trifle, seasonal berries, crème anglaise and chantilly cream. A Champagne toast and fireworks showing on the rooftop included. Price is $65 a person.http://www.savorsa.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=31244&action=edit&message=10

It's party time, San Antonio.

Q on the Riverwalk, Hyatt, 123 Losoya St., 210-382-6325 —The New Year’s dinner will be served from 5 to 10 p.m. The menu includes house-smoked standing rib roast of Angus beef, fire-grilled Arctic char, fillet of salmon, Korabuta pork loin with grilled Korabuta pork chops and roasted breast chicken with fresh oregano. The salad display will feature winter greens tossed with spiced pecans, bay shrimp, marinated mushroms and amphissa olives. Selections from the dessert display include vanilla bean crème brulee, chocolate mousse shooters and cappuccino tarts.

Texas de Brazil, 313 E. Houston St., 210-299-1600 — The Brazilian steakhouse will be serving its regular menu of meats as well as the varied salad bar and desserts. Dining hours will be until late in the evening.

Tost Bistro & Bar, 14415 Blanco Road, 210-408-2670 — The New Year’s Eve menu begins with Lobster and Crab Croquette, blood orange béarnaise sauce and micro greens, followed by a choice of Wild Mushroom Bisque with herb crème fraiche and shiitake “bacon” or Arugula, Brie and Fig Salad with crispy prosciutto, shaved red onions and balsamic Dijon vinaigrette. The entree choices are Pan Roasted Sea Bass with butternut squash puree, grilled broccolini and Champagne beurre blanc; Braised Veal Osso Bucco with creamy Yukon goat cheese masher and tomato, onion and olive ragout; or Seared Beef Tenderloin with truffle hollandaise, bleu cheese mash potato and grilled asparagus. Dessert is the Tost Trio with Crème Anglaise. Cost: $55 per person or $90 with the midnight celebration. Tax and tip not included. An open bar will be from 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.

The Westin La Cantera,16641 La Cantera Parkway, 210-558-2253 — If the Mayan calendar brings everything to an end in 2012, then it’s time to party down on New Year’s Eve at the Westin La Cantera where the last supper is the party theme of the evening. Wear your toga if you’d like and enjoy a Mayan-themed menu that includes Various Mayan Flavors, such as Blue Corn and Sikil Pak Cannelloni, Tamale Negro, Xni-Pek and Sour Cruda Xcatic Salsa. Whetstone Valley Goose with Black-Eyed Pea and Confit Hash, Pulverized Corn, Red Pipian, Salt-Brined Hen Yolkand Celery Root Puree will percede Ossabaw Pork Tenderloin, Brushed Anchiote, Sylvetta, Bacon, Mashed Plantain, Golden Corn Puree and Huitlacoche Coulis. Lobster with Avocado, Chanterelle Puree, Sweet Potato, Carrot, Sweet Corn Granola and Foie Gras Sauce will be served before  Chayote Mousse, Vanilla Cornbread, Cocoa Nib, Crunchy Beet, Horchata, “Gold,” and a Pine Nut Praline. Mayan cocktails, Pol Roger Champagne and more will be available. The cost is $125 a person.

Zinc Bistro and Wine Bar, 207 N. Presa St., 210-224-1313 — Celebrate the New Year in the wine cellar at Zinc with a five-course dinner that begins at 8 p.m. Matching wines and Champagnes will be paired with the dinner courses. The menu starts with appetizers of Oregon mushroom duxelle in a sour cream tartlet, gorgonzola and tobacco onions on lavosh squares and brandy-cured salmon on crisp flatbread with poblano cream cheese and daikon sprouts paired with Canals and Munne Rosé Cava. Shiitake mushroom and arugula consommé with shaved serrano ham will preced pomegranate marinated duck confit salad with spicy walnuts and orange vinaigrette and 2009 Louis Tete “Le Pot”,Beaujolais. After mango basil granite, there is a choice of filet of black Angus beef tenderloin with shallot-cabernet demi glace or poached halibut with shrimp, crawfish and clam stock. Both will be paired with 2007 Orogeny Pinot Noir. Zinc profiteroles and Moet et Chandon Imperial Epernay will close out the meal. A Champagne toast at midnight is included. Cost is $100 a person, plus tax and gratuity. All reservations must be prepaid.

Restaurateurs, if your restaurant is not on this list, please email details of your party to griffin@savorsa.com or walker@savorsa.com.

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Have Visions of Honey-Glazed Hams and Christmas Treats Dancing in Your Heads


Book your reservations for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Christmas falls on a weekend this year, which means a great many restaurants will be closed on Dec. 25 and many are closing earlier than usual on Dec. 24. But the following will be open for special meals. Make sure you make reservations. Prices do not include tax and tip.

And have a merry Christmas.

Achiote at the Grand Hyatt, 600 E. Market St., 210-224-1234 —At Achiote, you’ll find:

  • A Christmas Eve buffet from 5 to 10 p.m. with a salad station, Carved Smoked Prime Rib with Yellow Tomato Chimichurri, Horseradish Sauce and Salsa Verde as well as Pollo Verde Tomatillo Salsa, Grilled Salmon with Ancho Ginger Jus, Roasted Rosemary Red Potatoes, Rice Pilaf/Black Bean and Corn, Pork Posole, Roasted Calabasas, Shrimp and Roasted Corn Chowder, Homemade Tortilla Chips and Queso. A bread display and assorted desserts are also available. Cost: $20 a person plus tax and 18-percent tip.
  • The Christmas Day buffet will be served noon-9 p.m. Highlights include: a salad station, Slow Roasted Strip Loin, Roasted Pork Loin, medley of roasted potatoes, wild rice pilaf, Roasted Carrot and Kabocha Soup, Togarashi Seared Mahi Mahi, Chimichurri Chicken Breast, roasted local harvest vegetables and Poblano-Garlic Creamed Corn. A bread display and assorted desserts are also available. Cost: $20 a person plus tax and 18-percent tip.

Auden’s Kitchen, 700 E. Sonterra Blvd., 210-494-0070 — Christmas Eve hours are 11 a.m.-8 p.m. with lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner from 3-8 p.m. The appetizer special will be  Crispy Lobster Wontons with a sweet chili dipping sauce. For  $36.95, a three-course prix-fixe will include choice of  Frisee and Apple Salad with cherries and walnuts or a cup of soup;  choice of Lamb Stroganoff with local mushrooms over peppered spaetzle  or  Cioppino with mahi mahi, shrimp, mussels, and scallops; and choice of  Beignets with three sauces: Mexican chocolate, caramel with pink sea salt and clementine marmalade. All specials will be available a la carte.  Closed Dec. 25-26.  www.audenskitchen.com.

Biga on the Banks, 203 S. St. Mary’s St., 210-225-0722 — Christmas Eve hours are 5-8 p.m. The special menu includes the following starters:   Shrimp Spring Rolls, Duck Dumpling with foie grass apples and braised cabbage, Steamed PEI Mussels with Spanish chorizo, Chicken-Fried Oysters, House Apple-Smoked Salmon Nachos, and Farmed-Raised American Transmontanous Caviar. Soups and salads include  Turkey Chowder, Pear and Tangerine Salad, Warm Spinach Salad, and Baby Iceberg Lettuce. Entrees include Seared Natural Scallops,  fresh catches for the day,  Close-to-Bouillabaisse,  Braised Veal Osso Buco, Grilled Beef Tenderloin,  Roasted Game Hen with Boudin sausage risotto,  11-Spiced Texas Sika Venison and Grilled Texas Quail, and Smoky Pork Loin Chops. Dessert options include  Christmas Pudding, Eggnog Creme Brulee with Santa’s favorite cookies, Chocolate Bouche de Noel, Chocolate Soufflé with candy cane anglaise, and Apple Pie with vanilla ice cream and walnuts.

Boudro’s on the River Walk, 421 E. Commerce St., 210-224-8484 — Boudro’s will be open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The holiday special includes a Christmas Salad with sour apples, spice almonds and smoked tomato piloncillo vinaigrette, black Angus rib-eye with Bordelaise, Yukon gold scalloped potato and Parmesan and cream spinach flan. Dessert is winter spiced molten chocolate cake with sugard raspberries. The cost is $38 a person. The regular dinner menu is also available. www.boudros.com

Crumpets, 3920 Harry Wurzbach, 210-821-5454 — On Christmas Eve, dinner will be served from 5:30 to 11 p.m. Chef François Maeder will be serving a holiday menu beginning with appetizer choices such as Mousse Truffle Pâté, Stuffed Artichoke or Nova Scotia Smoked Salmon and Cream of Mushroom or New England Clam Chowder soups. Entrée choices include Breast of Chicken with Montrachet Sauce, Fresh Rainbow Trout, Shrimp Lyonnaise with Wild Rice Blend, Tenderloin of Beef Savoy or Veal with Chanterelles Mushrooms and Cognac Sauce. Or try the Trilogy, which includes an appetizer, soup and house salad, Lobster Tail with Garlic Butter, Rack of Lamb and Tenderloin of Beef Rossini. www.crumpetsa.com.

Santa's helpers know what they want for dinner. Use our list to help make your plans.

Earl Abel’s, 1201 Austin Hwy., 210-822-3358 — Earl Abel’s has a busy holiday schedule:

  • Christmas Eve hours will be 6:30 a.m.-11 p.m. with Christmas wassail and a series of seasonal specials, including Christmas Ham Steak, traditional roasted turkey, Rosemary and Lemon Roasted Chicken, pot roast, fried chicken, fried shrimp and Niman Ranch Top Sirloin, plus a limited menu of regular favorites.
  • Earl Abel’s will be open on Christmas Day for the first time since 1965 and only the second time in its 78-year history. Hours are from 9 a.m. to noon for breakfast with the special menu served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Only the special menu will be served and will include the following entrées: Christmas Ham Steak, traditional roasted turkey, pot roast, fried chicken, fried shrimp and Niman Ranch Top Sirloin. The To Go window will be closed but to-go fried chicken orders can come into the main dining room with the cashier.
  • There is a takeout menu with your choice of an 11-pound Honey-Glazed Country Ham ($160) or 23-pound Oven-Roasted Turkey ($145) with cornbread dressing, giblet gravy, cranberry relish and dinner rolls for $145. Or get half a turkey with sides ($95) and just a turkey for $90.

Frederick’s Restaurant, 7701 Broadway, 210-828-9050, and Frederick’s Bistro, 14439 N.W. Military Hwy, 210-888-1500 — The restaurants will be open for dinner only on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The special Christmas menu will include, but will not be limited to, some of the following starters: Mussel and Crab Chowder, Cherry Wine Infused Beef Consomme, Duck Foie Gras Mousse and traditional escargot. Main course options include Frederick’s Traditional Turkey, Apple Cider and Maple Syrup Glazed Christmas Ham, Beef Tenderloin, Norwegian Salmon, Gratinated Fresh Maine Lobster Thermidor and Curried Lamb Chop.

Hyatt Hill Country, 9800 Hyatt Resort Drive — The resort has two options for Christmas Day:

  • Flavors of Christmas buffet in the Hill Country Ballroom will be offered Christmas Day from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Breakfast items will include  eggs Benedict, an omelet station, blintzes, pecan-smoked sausage, rosemary bacon and fresh Danish. The seafood bar will have pickling, spiced and chilled shrimp, hand-shucked oysters and smoked salmon and mussels. A rustic soup and salad station  will feature lobster bisque, chicken noodle, and French onion. On the butcher block:  oak-smoked prime rib, espresso and maple glazed ham and citrus coriander basted tom turkey. Pasta bar, tamales with green chile sauce, pecan crusted chicken, roasted pork loin and brown buttered apples, maple roasted sweet potatoes, butter whipped potatoes, green beans and pancetta, and wild rice with dried fruit are among the other dishes.  Desserts and drinks include  white hot chocolate, eggnog with fresh grated nutmeg, mulled apple cider, chocolate dipped strawberry trees, chocolate croissant, spiced poached pears, ice cream and gingerbread cake, spiced chocolate truffles, pecan chocolate pie, cranberry tarts and pumpkin pie. There will be a children’s buffet, and the Joe Posada band will play light jazz. Cost is $49.95 for adults, $39.95 for seniors over 60, and $23 for children ages 5-12. Call 210-767-7999 for reservations.
  • Christmas dinner in Antlers will be from 3 to 9 p.m. December 25th 3-9 p.m. The prix fixe dinner will begin with  Lobster Bisque and spinach and arugala salad with red onion, walnuts, locally sourced feta, warm green apple and jalapeño bacon vinaigrette, followed by your choice of two of the following: English cut, oak smoked prime rib, Roasted Turkey Roulade with a chorizo and dried fruit stuffing, grilled Texas quail with cornbread stuffing and pan seared seasonal catch with a locally sourced honey BBQ glaze. Sides include   herb roasted red potato, Hill Country grits casserole with Homestead Gristmill grits, smoked cheddar and chorizo and Roasted Brussels sprouts jalapeño bacon and roasted chestnuts. Dessert is baked “hot chocolate” with mint ice cream and Bailey’s cookie. Cost is $52 for adults, $40 for seniors over 60, and $20 for children ages 5-12. Call (210) 647-1234, ext. 51, for reservations.

Las Canarias at the Omni La Mansion del Rio, 112 College St., 210-518-1063 — The Christmas Day buffet will be served from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with omelets made to order, Applewood Smoked Bacon, country breakfast sausage,  Belgian Waffles, Classic Mushroom and Gruyere Quiche, Olive Oil Fried Egg on Smoked Salmon Benedict, blintzes, Roasted Chestnut and Butternut Squash Bisque, chilled jumbo prawns, Louisiana Gulf oysters and cocktail crab claws, Smoked Trout Salad, Seared No. 1  Tuna, carving board of French charcuteriere and cheeses, handmade tortillas and gorditas, tamales, prime rib, Guinness and Honey Roasted Turkey Breast, leg of lamb, Grilled Shrimp and Texas Sausages with Shiner Bock BBQ, artisan hearth-baked breads, Chocolate Sponge Cake, Cream Cheese Cake Brulee, Lemon Shortbread Tarts and more. The cost is $68.95 a person.

Las Ramblas at the Hotel Contessa, 306 W. Market St., 210-229-9222 — The Christmas Day buffet will be 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Carving stations will feature Fruita Mustarda Rotisserie Prime Rib, Whole Roasted Duck with Orange Cognac Glaze, Rosemary Peppercorn Leg of Lamb with Cranberry Pinot Reduction and Valencian Paella Station. The main buffet will include artisan cheeses and fruit, country breads, lobster bisque, couscous salad, organic greens, Waldorf Salad, Apricot Brie Stuffed Pork Loin with Butterscotch Glaze, Kalamata Olive Bread Pudding with Asiago, roasted broccoli, shallots and cauliflower, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, apple fennel crisp, candied yams, eggs, waffles and omelets, boiled shrimp, snow crab claws, oysters, crawfish, ceviche shooters, mussel salad, and salmon, and the Pastry Chef’s Table, There will be a children’s buffet, and Santa is supposed to make an appearance. Cost: Adults, $39.95; children ages 7-16, $17.95 and children 6 and under, free.

The Lion and Rose, various locations — The locations will be open on Christmas Day with the regular menu.

Lüke on the River Walk, 125 E. Houston St., (210) 227-LUKE (5853) — Lüke will be open Christmas Day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The full menu and special à la carte holiday entrées will be available. lukesanantonio.com.

Morton’s the Steakhouse, 300 E. Crockett St., 210-228-0700 — Morton’s is open for lunch, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., on the following dates: Thursday, Friday and Dec. 20-22. There will be a limited menu plus a special prix fixe option with choice of soup or salad and entree for $35 per person. Christmas Eve hours are 5-10 p.m.

Oro at the Emily Morgan, 705 E. Houston St., 210-225-5100 — On Christmas Day, a family-style dinner will be served 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Salad will feature baby spinach with strawberries and goat cheese. The main course will be a family-style serving of chicken confit, buffalo sausage, and petite filet and sauces alongside seasonal vegetables and cranberry-studded wild rice with bacon and onions. The dessert assortment will include Tahitian vanilla bean creme brulee, bittersweet chocolate cake, tres leches with seasonal berries and cheesecake with chantilly cream. The cost is $44.95 per couple or $79.95 per four people.

Have yourself a merry Christmas dinner.

Q on the Riverwalk, Hyatt, 123 Losoya St., 210-382-6325 — At Q, two buffets are offered on Christmas Day:

  • From 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., the menu will include such options as roasted peppercorn strip loin, crusted white fish, prime rib and bone-in ham, an antipasti display, baby Yukon potato salad, and more in addition to mini-chocolate pot de cremes, muesle breads, winter spiced carrot cake and eggnog shooters.
  • From 5 to 10 p.m., the Christmas dinner menu will feature roasted peppercorn strip loin, crusted white fish, and achiote-roasted pork shoulder as well as antipasti display, baby Yukon potato salad, and more in addition to muesle breads, baguettes, Texas berry buckles, spiced carrot cake and eggnog shooters.

Scenic Loop Cafe, 25615 Boerne Stage Road, 210-687-1818 — Christmas Eve hours will be 11 a.m.-8 p.m. with a limited menu. Christmas Day brings a holiday buffet from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The Westin La Cantera, 16641 La Cantera Parkway, 210-558-2439 — A host of holiday happenings are going on at the Westin. At 5 p.m. daily, guests are guided around the property by the storyteller, Bandera Cowboy Makin’ Dust, who sings and tells holiday stories while introducing the lores and legends of La Cantera. The program concludes with snow magically falling from the sky as the choir begins to sing a holiday song at the top of Plaza San Saba.  Santa’s Workshop, which runs through Dec. 24, is a place where guests can take a photo with Santa, make a holiday toy or decorate cookies with the elves. Some charges may apply.  Brannon’s Holiday Feast is served family style from 5 to 10 p.m. each evening. Lunch beginning at 11 a.m. will be added Dec. 17 and continue day and night through Dec. 25. Entrees include honey-glazed ham and grilled top sirloin with buttermilk biscuits, rosemary-roasted red bliss potatoes and sautéed green beans, plus warm chocolate molten cakes for dessert. Cost: $18 for adults; $12 for children. free for children 5 and younger. Minimum two people required.  For more on holidays at the resort, visit www.westinlacantera.com/holidays.html

Restaurateurs, if your restaurant is not included in this list, please email details to griffin@savorsa.com or walker@savorsa.com, and we will update the file as soon as we can.

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Give Thanks, and Don’t Forget to Make Reservations!


A traditional Thanksgiving dinner can be yours at many area restaurants.

Thanksgiving is approaching and there are numerous options if you want to dine out. Reservations are required at all places, unless otherwise marked. Tax and tip are not included  in the prices.

Achiote at the Grand Hyatt, 600 E. Market St., (210) 224-1234 — The buffet will be from noon to 9 p.m. Highlights include a salad station with organic mixed greens, Waldorf salad, tortilla slaw, shrimp pasta salad and fruit salad; a main area with  roasted tom turkey, Virginia bone-in ham, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, candied yams, corn and roasted poblano stuffing, giblet gravy, greens beans, miso-glazed salmon, cauliflower au gratin and roasted carrot kabocha soup with  horseradish yogurt, peach-apple chutney, cranberry-orange relish and whole grain mustard; and assorted desserts.  Cost is $30 a person, plus tax and 18 percent tip.

Antlers at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort & Spa; 9800 Hyatt Resort Drive (210) 647-1234 — Family style Thanksgiving dinner is 3-9 p.m. First course: Caldo verde with chorizo, leek, potato and kale; Fall harvest salad with locally sourced greens, shaved apple and green pear, toasted almonds, Brazos Valley blue cheese, cranberry jalapeño vinaigrette. Second course: Smoked turkey and kettle gravy; Lavender honey glazed ham; Chorizo stuffing; Tequila-jalapeno and traditional cranberry sauce; Butter whipped potatoes; Scalloped sweet potatoes with homemade marshmallow crust; Creamy baked green beans with mushroom and fried onions; Fresh baked breads and butter. Third course: Individual dessert selections; choice of one: Caramelized pumpkin tart with white chocolate whipped cream; Roasted apple-cranberry cobbler; Bourbon chocolate pecan pie. Cost: adults, $51; seniors, $40; children 5-12 years, $20; children 4 and under, free.

Auden’s Kitchen,700 E. Sonterra Blvd., (210) 494-0070 — Thanksgiving dinner will be served 11 a.m.-5 p.m. The special includes a salad, the dessert buffet and choice of entrée.   Appetizers, served a la carte, include  sizzling mushrooms, meat and cheese plate, roasted garlic white bean dip, and steamed mussels and fries. Entrées include sage-roasted turkey, pork sausage and apple dressing, creamy green bean with crispy shallots, skin-on mashers, pan jus, cherry cranberry sauce;  ancho-rubbed roasted turkey, charred poblano and sweet potato au gratin, brussel sprouts with Spanish chorizo, ancho jus;  14-ounce rib-eye, horseradish mashers, rosemary grilled asparagus, sautéed mushrooms, Auden’s Kitchen zinfandel steak sauce;  and whole roasted trout with potato galette, sautéed Swiss chard (if available), pine nut brown butter, cured lemon.  The dessert table will include pumpkin éclairs, pecan pie bars, walnut brownies, snickerdoodles and chocolate chip cookies. Cost is $38.95 for adults or $18.95 for children. The kids menu includes a traditional turkey plate, fish and chips, a burger and fettucine with marinara sauce.

Biga on the Banks,203 S. St. Mary’s St., (210) 225-0722 — The special Thanksgiving meal is 11 a.m.-8 p.m. There will be a buffet of appetizers and salads, followed by your choice of seated entrée: herb-roasted free range turkey with sourdough sage and applewood-smoked bacon dressing;  free-range turkey mole poblano; garlic-rubbed prime rib of beef rib-eye; braised lamb with tomatoes, coconut and curry flavors;  organic Eggs Benedict; and several fish options. Children’s options include chicken or turkey pasta, a child’s turkey plate and a child’s beef plate. The dessert buffet includes Chocolate Pecan Tart, Butternut Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust, Sweet Potato Pie, Maple Vanilla Crème Brûlée, and Pumpkin Tartlette with Sweet Whip Cream. There is also a kids table with desserts, including dried fruit studded Rice Krispie treats, rocky road brownies and mini pumpkin cupcakes. Cost is $55 for adults, $27 for children ages 12 and under.

Boudro’s, 421 E Commerce St., (210) 224-8484 — The special dinner will be 11 a.m.1 p.m. The special menu includes a choice of butternut squash or green apple soup or spinach salad with pears, pickled red onions and almonds. Entree choices are Black Angus Rib-eye with chipotle bordelaise or achiote butter-basted turkey breast with savory dressing. Dessert options: Sweet potato pecan pie, pumpkin crème brûlée or a regular dessert off the menu. The cost is $38 for adults or $15 for a children’s turkey dinner. The regular dinner menu is also available.

Crumpets, 3920 Harry Wurzbach Road, (210) 821-5600 —The special Thanksgiving menu will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. All adult entrées are served with appetizer, bread, house salad and dessert. Appetizer options include  Mousse Truffle Pâté, Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese, and Puff Pastry with White Wine Mushroom Sauce. Entrée options: Roasted Turkey and Baked Ham with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy ($28.50); Tenderloin of Beef ($35.50) ; Veal Scaloppini ($33.50)  Fresh Rainbow Trout Amandine or Meunière ($28.50). Children under 10 can have a turkey and ham plate with salad or dessert for $12.

Earl Abel’s,1201 Austin Hwy., (210) 822-3358 — The restaurant will open at 6:30 a.m. with Thanksgiving dinner from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. No reservations accepted. Among the appetizers will be pumpkin soup and deviled eggs. Roasted turkey with handmade cornbread dressing, giblet gravy and cranberry relish; fried chicken with mashed potatoes; Thanksgiving pot roast; fried shrimp; and venison sausage with German potato salad and red cabbage will be among the specials served that day. Pies, of course, will be available, including pu mpkin, chocolate iced box, pecan and maple as well as strawberry shortcake and chocolate and butter crème cakes. A children’s menu is also available.

The Emily Morgan,  705 E. Houston St., (210) 225-5100 — The Thanksgiving buffet is 10 a.m.-3 p.m.  Omelet station with all the fixings; Assortment of dim sum and spring rolls, dipping sauces, ancho chile shrimp, jicama slaw, ceviche with avocado, mango, and fresno pepper, assortment of fruit and berries, selection of imported and domestic cheeses. Salads: Marinated wild mushroom, with pickled onion; seasonal field greens, marinated tomato and pecans; baby spinach. strawberries, spiked almonds; fresh mozzarella and local tomato, aged balsamic vinegar, caramelized sweet potato puree, green bean casserole with blackened breadcrumbs, roasted new potatoes with garlic oil, honey-glazed carrots with pink peppercorns. Main dishes: Braised turkey with smoked apple dressing; Shiner Bock braised beef pot roast with carrots and potatoes; Blackened catfish with braised collard greens. Desserts: Chef’s selection of pies, tortes, and cakes.  $39.95 per person; Kids 10 and under eat free.

Frederick’s Resaturant, 7701 Broadway, (210) 828-9050, and Frederick’s Bistro,14432 N.W. Military Hwy., (210) 888-1500 — Lunch and dinner will be served at both locations. Frederick’s traditional Thanksgiving turkey will home-style stuffing, fresh cranberries and seasonal vegetables will be available for $25 a person in addition to other specials (Black Angus beef tenderloin with Gulf shrimp, jumbo sea scallops, lamb with garlic red wine sauce) and regular menu items.

Hyatt Hill Country Resort & Spa in the Springhouse Café: 9800 Hyatt Resort Drive, (210) 520-4000 for parties of 12 or more — The Thanksgiving meal is from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Reservations are not required. Rustic Soup Station: Butternut squash soup, pozole with cilantro and diced onion; Salad Bar: A selection of local greens, dressings and salad accompaniments prepared to order, composed salads derived from the fall harvest; Seafood: Jumbo shrimp and cascabel chile cocktail sauce, smoked salmon with traditional garnish and mini bagels, Cheese kiosk and artisinal breads, locally made cheeses and crusty breads; the Butcher Block: Citrus coriander basted tom turkey with homemade gravy, maple glazed honey-baked ham spicy mustard, Roasted beef steamship with horseradish, Traditional cranberry sauce; Pasta: Bourbon Barbecue ribbon pasta with red onion and local sausage, brisket with egg noodles with smoked paprika sauce, sweet potato with marshmallow gratin, corn bread stuffing, mashed garlic potatoes, baked “fresh catch” with lime butter cream sauce, roasted acorn squash with sherry and chestnuts, haricot vert and pancetta; breakfast:waffles, pancakes with assorted toppings; omelet bar, bacon and country sausage, biscuits and gravy, pastry, tarts, traditional pies, Black Forest Cheesecake, Red Velvet Cake, Warm Fig Bread Pudding with Bourbon Hard Sauce, White hot chocolate. Cost for adults, $38.95; seniors, $28.95;  children ages 5-12, $19.50; and children 4 and under, free.

Butternut squash and other fall vegetables are many Thanksgiving menus.

JW Marriott, 23808 Resort Parkway, (210) 483-6622 — The Thanksgiving buffet is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The feast includes a Hill Country salad bar; cold seafood including shrimp and slipper lobster; carving stations with slow-roasted tom turkey, prime rib and bourbon-glazed boneless ham; side dishes of roasted carrots, asparagus and parsnips, cornbread stuffing, buttermilk whipped potatoes, country-style candied yams, green bean casserole. The extensive dessert lineup includes Spiced Pumpkin Pie, Spiced Mincemeat Pie, Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie, Cinnamon Crumb Apple Pie, Red Velvet Cake, Fuji Apple Cider Cake, Chocolate Hazelnut Cake, Almond Caramel Cream Cake, Sweet Potato Roasted Marshmallow Tart, Orange Cardamom Truffle Tart, Key Lime Curd, Milk Chocolate Fudge, Pecan Caramel Swirl Cheesecake, Myers Lemon Vanilla Cream Cake, pralines, truffles, chocolate candies, and almond and coconut macaroons. There is a kids buffet, too. Cost is $52.95 for adults, $45.95 for seniors, $25.95 for children, and free for children ages 3 and under.

Las Canarias, Omni La Mansión del Rio, 112 College St., (210) 518-1063 — The Thanksgiving buffet will be 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Highlights include omelets made to order, applewood-smoked Wisconsin bacon, country-style pork sausage, maple blueberry sausages, sweet potato waffle station, Eggs Benedict, quiche, Meyer lemon and beet cured salmon and smoked halibut, charcuterie, salads, colossal shrimp, lobster and crab claws, fresh shucked oysters, heirloom tomatoes with Sandy Oaks Texas Olive Oil, smoked prime rib, roasted suckling pig, Texas citrus and sage roasted turkey breast, grilled Texas sausages from Elgin, grilled shrimp with Spanish chorizo. Pastry choices include Bourbon Texas Pecan Pie, Brown Butter Pumpkin Cheesecake, Caramelized Pineapple Cheesecake, Valrhona Chocolate Mousse Cakes, Pumpkin Pie Mousse Verrines, Rum Raisin Bread Pudding with Vanilla Anglaise, Warm Toffee Puddings with Toffee Sauce and more. Cost is $68.95 for adults, $34.95 for children ages 6-12.

Las Ramblas, Hotel Contessa,  306 W. Market St., (210) 298-8040 — The Thanksgiving buffet will be 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Carving stations include slow applewood-smoked prime rib, roasted turkey with giblet gravy, salt-crusted striped bass and Valencian paella station. The main buffet will feature artisan cheese and fruit, roasted butternut squash bisque, roasted beet mélange, Waldorf salad, roasted chicken breast with spinach and sun-dried tomato ragout, honey-glazed spiral cut ham, baked orrechiette with brie fondue, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, spicy corn bread pudding, candied acorn squash, boiled shrimp, snow crab claws, oysters, crawfish, ceviche shooters, mussel salad, and whole poached and chilled salmon. Breakfast items include a waffle station and omelet station. A children’s buffet is also offered. Cost: adults, $38.95; children ages 7-16, $16.95; and children 6 nd under, free. Sangria and mimosas: $9.

The Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills, 1746 Lockhill Selma, 210-349-8466 — The restaurant is not open Thanksgiving Day, but chef Jason Dady is offering a Maine Lobster Thanksgiving Dinner Menu during Thanksgiving week, Nov. 22, 23 and 25, 26. Live Maine lobster will be the star of this four-course menu for $40. Reservations are required and may be made by phone or emailing  info@thelodgerestaurant.com.

Luby’s, various locations — The cafeteria is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a Thanksgiving special that’s available whether you want to dine in or take dinner to go. The cost is $10.99 per person.

Luce Ristorante e Enoteca, 11255 Huebner Road,  (210) 561-9700 — Thanksgiving dinner will be served 12:30-4 p.m. There will be a special three-course dinner, starting with a choice of Zuppa di Zucca (butternut squash soup)  or  Insalate Misto (salad with goat cheese truffle), followed by a main course of  Tacchino (slow-roasted tom turkey with pine nut stuffing, vegetables and cranberry sauce). Dessert is a choice of pumpkin pie  or vanilla ice cream with berries. The cost for the special is $23.95 for adults or $7.95 for children under 12. The entire menu will also be available. Complimentary mimosa for all adults.

Lüke on the River Walk, 125 E. Houston St., (210) 227-LUKE — Lüke has invited 50 servicemen and women stationed at Fort Sam Houston to take part in a traditional Thanksgiving meal with a New Orleans twist at 2 p.m., and the public can show up to support the troops by joining them in the meal. The cost is $45 for adults and $20 for children 12 and under. The meal includes a fall greens salad, followed by Pumpkin Soup with Crab Meat. Whole roasted turkey will be served over mirliton and shrimp dressing with Bourbon Pecan Pie for dessert.

Mike’s in the Village, 2355-3 Bulverde Road, Bulverde, (830) 438-2747— The restaurant will be serving turkey and all of the fixings from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thanksgiving Day.

Sweet Potato Pie is one of the many seasonal desserts you'll find.

Ostra at the Mokara Hotel & Spa, 212 W. Crockett St., (210) 396-5817 — Ostra will have its regular à la carte menu available all day. Featured specials will be available during dinner service after 5:30 p.m.

Q on the Riverwalk, 123 Losoya, Downtown Hyatt, (210) 222-1234 — The restaurant is having one buffet from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and another from 5 to 10 p.m. The first will feature chimichurri-based Angus strip sirloin, pan-seared salmon, oak-smoked tom turkey, an antipasti display, salad bar and assorted desserts. The cost is $42.50 for adults, $12.50 for children ages 7-12 and free for children 6 and under. The evening meal will feature roast pork loin with apples and onions, smoked tom turkey, a salad bar, and dessert. Cost is $28 for adults, $12.50 for children ages 7-12 and free for children 6 and under.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House, 7720 Jones Maltsberger Road, (210) 821-5051 — The Thanksgiving menu will be served 2-8 p.m. The special includes a choice of starter, including the soup of the day, Steak House Salad or Caesar Salad; followed by an entrée of sizzling turkey and dressing with gravy and cranberry relish plus your choice of side dish. Dessert options: Warm Apple Crumb Tart, Chocolate Chunk Bread Pudding, ice cream or sorbet. The cost is $49 a person.

Texas de Brazil, 313 E. Houston St., (210) 229-1600 — Dinner on Thanksgiving begins at noon. In addition to the usual array of meats and sides, roast turkey and gravy, sweet potato casserole and cranberry sauce will be available. 

Westin La Cantera Resort, 16641 La Cantera Parkway, (210) 558-2439 —  In the Grand Ballroom, the buffet begins at 10:30 a.m. and will include Sweet Potato, Corn and Jalapeño Soup and harvest greens that can be dressed with smoked duck, spiced pecans, pear, celery and cider vinaigrette. Carving stations will have Sage, Rosemary and Thyme Roast Turkey, Garlic Studded Roast Beef and Honey-glazed Ham, all with  whipped potatoes, turkey gravy, sausage and cornbread stuffing. An American artisan cheese display, chilled Gulf shrimp, chicken breast,  autumn squash, Potato-encrusted Fresh Cod and a chef’s selection of pies including pumpkin, pecan, apple and cherry. Breakfast specialties include Cinnamon Belgian Waffles, made-to-order omelets, smoked  bacon and country sausage and more. There will also be a children’s buffet.  The cost is $42 for adults, $221 or children ages 6-12, and free for children under 6 with a paying adult. Activities include balloon artistry for the kids, live entertainment and ice skating for all ages.

Zocca at the Downtown Westin, 420 W. Market St., (210) 444-6070 — Thanksgiving lunch and dinner will include free-range, hickory-smoked turkey with chestnut dressing, cranberry-citrus relish, and maple-glazed carrots. The three-course sprecial ends with a sweet potato and pecan tartlet with cinnamon-infused cream and warm mulled cider. The cost is $32 for adults and $16 for children.

If your Thanksgiving dinner was not included, email the details to griffin@savorsa.com or walker@savorsa.com.

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Fralo’s Plans to Add Microbrewery, Plus Eating Vegan and More


Artful pizzas at Fralo's that taste as good as they look.

Fralo’s Art of Pizza, 23651 I-10 W., is expanding at its Leon Springs location.

Owner Frank Hakspiel says he has purchased microbrewery equipment from Sea World and plans to open his own brewery on the property in the spring. The microbrewer from Sea World has agreed to help him get started once the equipment has been moved to the site.

He has already named one of the beers, Grant’s Pale Ale, for his infant son. Grant’s name is also on the caramelized pear and prosciutto pizza the restaurant offers.

Hakspiel is also talking about adding a second restaurant next door. It would offer high-end Italian food prepared by former Il Sogno chef Luca Della Casa, who has been working at the restaurant, making all of the revamped pasta dishes and providing specials each weekend. “He makes all of the pasta,” Hakspiel says.

Della Casa has also added a Torino pizza — Italian sausage, chicken, arugula, sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella and provolone cheese with a spicy tomato sauce — that was named after his home region in Italy. Torino is also a possibility for the name of the new restaurant, Hakspiel says.

Isn't she a beauty? Fralo's is going to transform her into a catering truck.

As if all that weren’t enough, Hakspiel has plans for the 1940s-era fire truck he has on the property. He plans on adding an oven to the back of the truck and use it for catering. Kids of any age who have played with a miniature fire truck should love having the real thing at a party.

We learned this over a wonderful lunch at Fralo’s with vegan travel blogger Carolyn Scott-Hamilton, who produces and writes HealthyVoyager.com. She was able to get a vegan pizza that she declared one of the five  best she has ever had. In keeping with Fralo’s ongoing desire to please a multitude of tastes and diets, the restaurant also offers gluten-free and whole wheat crusts as well as an off-the-menu feature of a miniature pizza made on a portobello mushroom for those who are avoiding flour.

For more information about Fralo’s, call 210-698-6616 or click here.

 

Exploring more vegan options

Carolyn Scott-Hamilton and her husband, Dan Hamilton: Healthy Voyagers at Fralo's.

Other restaurants Scott-Hamilton and her husband, Dan Hamilton, also her cameraman, visited during their stay were Mi Tierra, the Cove and Adelante. She described the latter, with its riot of color and collection of whimsical Mexican folk art as looking “like Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.”

The couple are from Los Angeles and were here on a Convention and Visitors Bureau trip for travel writers. A Boston blogger who writes about women traveling alone and an Orange County mom who writes about traveling with her kids were also invited. All three were part of teams that competed against each other in a series of events that ranged from feeding the lorikeets at the zoo to lassoing a statue of a cow. On Sunday, in the heat, the couple found themselves running from the Tower of the Americas to the Alamo, where they had to start a conga line and encourage as many participants as they could to join in.

If you’re wondering why Scott-Hamilton and her husband didn’t go to Green, Pavani Express or the city’s new vegan restaurant, Vegeria, which opened last week at 8407 Broadway, it’s because she likes to focus her trips on restaurants where vegans are welcome, even if the place is not entirely vegan.

At the Cove, she was able to get the Vegan Bacon Cheeseburger and a Vegan BLT along with a gluten-free beer before heading off to First Friday.

If you are looking for vegan food and are unsure if a restaurant can accommodate your tastes, give it a call first and ask. It’s as simple as that.

Wine Spectator honors area restaurants

Wine Spectator magazine has released its annual roundup of restaurants with excellent wine lists. New this year is Antlers Lodge at the Hyatt Hill Country, 9800 Hyatt Resort Drive.

Others to make the list are Bohanan’s Prime Steaks & Seafood, Biga on the Banks, Chama Gaúcha Brazilian Steakhouse, Coco Chocolate Lounge, Fleming’s, Fogo de Chão, Francesca’s at Sunset, Kirby’s, Las Ramblas, Morton’s the Steakhouse, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Silo, the Melting Pot, the Palm and Wildfish Seafood Grille.

The importance of the list has been debated, but despite any faults, it does bring in customers, which is why you’ll find a restaurant like Morton’s unveiling a new program, the Sommelier Selections of its wine list. This area includes boutique wines and rare gems that include Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mountain 2005) and Freemark Abbey Cabernet (Napa 2002), which are available only at Morton’s domestic locations.

Wine on tap

We always thought wine sales would go up if you could get a great glass without having to buy the full bottle. This is the secret behind the Boerne Wine Company, 302 S. Main St., Boerne, where you can try such top-shelf wines as PlumpJack and Palmaz by the glass from their dispenser systems that keep an open bottle fresher for longer period of time.

Now, Boston.com is reporting that a few wineries are selling their best by tap. “That’s right, sauvignon blanc and pinot noir from kegs, not bottles, dispensed from a tap like beer and ale,” the article says. “The approach promises to remake restaurant by-the-glass programs by lowering costs, dramatically reducing waste (wine in open bottles deteriorates rapidly), and making the whole process considerably greener. … But a switch won’t happen overnight.”

Costs, of course, are a factor. But if this catches on, it will be a revolution in wine and dining.

 

 

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The Texas Version of the Three B’s: Burgers, BBQ and Beer


Esquire Bar owner Chris Hill looks on while guests sample a burger.

The tangy aromas of smoke and meat were in the air, as the sun shone brightly on Burgers, BBQ and Beer, Culinaria’s last event of a highly popular 2011 festival.

How popular? Many events sold out and, at Saturday night’s Grand Tasting the Culinaria store was bought out. “No more T-shirts, nothing left. That’s amazing,” said Suzanne Taranto Etheredge, president and CEO of the festival.

By noon Sunday, the parking lot at the back of the Pearl Brewery was filling up with people drawn in by the scents of smoke, bacon frying and just-opened bottles of beer. As part of the ticket price, hundreds of festival-goers were able to pick up some of the city’s most innovative, chef-cooked burgers and not-your-everyday ‘cue. The perfect weather was thrown in at no added cost.

You could even shop. Melissa Guerra’s stand offered a few items from her store, including $69 leather huaraches in a startling shade of purple.  Her Tienda de Cocina offers Mexican cooking supplies, ingredients, dishes, cookbooks and more.

Or, you could stop at Al’s Gourmet Nuts where author Travis Poling was signing his book on Texas brews, “Beer Across Texas.” The event also  marked the beginning of the first ever San Antonio Beer Week. Click here for information on this series of events.

Oyster barbecuer "Moose" offers bivalves in a spicy sauce on the half shell.

Stephen McHugh, chef at Lüke on East Houston Street, and his crew, served barbecued oysters on the half shell accompanied by an herb-buttered crouton. The bivalve, simmering in spicy juices, went down easily with sips of cold beer. The Two Bros. team of Jason Dady and Jake Dady offered their spicy pork deshabrada, or pulled pork. Ben E. Keith invited one and all to sample conventionally pit-smoked fajitas, bacon-wrapped jalapeños, beef tenderloin and chicken, with all the trimmings. Jesse Perez brought out his smoker and prepared meaty chicken drumsticks in what he called an “old school” barbecue with chipotle and a touch of habanero, another recipe that called for the clean, refreshing taste of an icy beer.

Patricia Wenckus, chef at Auden's Kitchen, with Perny Shea, catering and sales manager.

Patricia Wenckus, chef at Auden’s Kitchen in Stone Oak, and Perny Shea, catering and sales manager for chef Bruce Auden at Biga on the Bank, put up a good fight against smoke pouring off the grill. “It doesn’t matter where I go, it’s coming after me,” said Wenkus, laughing. Her offering of the day was a lamb burger with handmade potato chips on the side.  Chef John Brand from Las Canarias at La Mansion del Rio was grilling Wagyu beef sliders, with toppings that ranged from yellow cheese and pickles to black truffle mayo and foie gras mousse.

Jeff Balfour of Citrus created this pork boudin burger with pickled shrimp slaw.

Beef and lamb weren’t the red meats of choice for burgers at the event, however. Shrimp and pork burgers were passed out. Two of the most popular burgers were pork, including Jeff Balfour’s pork boudin sausage burger topped with pickled shrimp in a tangy coleslaw mix.  Another grilled pork burger was topped with brisket bacon, a smoky-beefy-chewy and delicious creation from the JW Marriott.

Brian West of Las Ramblas in the Hotel Contessa served up a mixed seafood burger with crispy salmon skin.

Timbo’s, located next to the Pearl Brewery complex, is known for its big burgers. But that wasn’t on its menu Sunday. The restaurant offered its delectable Shypoke Eggs with tomato melted under the cheese.

Max, a standard poodle, waits for a treat at the Pearl amphitheater.

Next to the parking lot, the amphitheater overlooking the Museum Extension of the River Walk was a comfortable resting place for weary moms and dads or anyone wanting to get out of the sun while sipping on an icy mix of locally made Dripping Springs vodka and cranberry juice. A few even got up to dance to the music of Ken Little and Rodeo Ho Ho, and even the pooches on leashes got a few tastes of some of the festival fare — if they were lucky.

Though the festival ended Sunday, more stand-alone Culinaria events will be happening later this year. For a look at what is coming up, go to www.culinariasa.com.

Photographs by Bonnie Walker

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March of Dimes: Las Ramblas, Anaqua Grill and SoGo Take Top Awards


MarchofDimes1

It was a night of tasting, mingling and bidding at a live auction during the March of Dimes fundraising event, Signature Chefs Auction, Sunday night.

MarchofDimes3At the dozen or so stations, San Antonio chefs and cooks vied for top honors.  Judges Ron Bechtol and myself picked the winners. These were Las Ramblas Restaurant at La Contessa Hotel, first; Anaqua Grill at the Marriott Plaza San Antonio, second; and SoGo, an independently owned restaurant on Stone Oak Parkway, third.

From Las Ramblas, chef Brian West and his crew served a tasty take on Turducken, the Louisiana turkey stuffed with a duck and a chicken. In West’s dish, the chicken was represented by a soft poached egg in a shell, topped  with duck confit and garnished with a crisp slice of turkey bacon.

Chef Enrique Perez, at Plaza San Antonio’s Anaqua Grill, served a simple but beautifully balanced small plate of scallop sashimi with infused olive oil, topped with ajillo chiles, a garlic crouton and microgreens.

MarchofDimes2SoGo chef and owner Mark Arriola and his crew offered tender, salty strips of braised, smoked pork belly tucked into a soft, steamed bun and topped with a sweet-sharp flavored green papaya slaw.

Music, a live auction, busy bartenders, drawings and a well-dressed crowd also kept the party fueled throughout the evening.

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Ask a Foodie: Where’s Brian West?


jean_victor_balin_toque1

Q: I had heard that Brian West was running a small restaurant in the San Antonio area. Do you know where he is? I love his food!

Thanks!

Andrea

A: We’re happy to report that chef Brian West, late of Café Paladar, is still on the San Antonio dining scene. He is now cooking at Las Ramblas in the Hotel Contessa, 306 W. Market St., (210) 229-9222.

If you have a dining question, e-mail griffin@savorsa.com.

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