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Tag Archive | "Lüke San Antonio"

Get Ready for a Day of Pork, Drink and Fun


The pigs are getting fat, and the next Creole boucherie is in the works.

pigDon’t know what a boucherie is? Well, Urban Dictionary defines it as “a party distinguished by consumption of mass quantities of food, beer, soft drinks and hard liquor.” In other words, food and fun.

It all begins at 11 a.m. Feb. 8 at Vintage Heart Farm, which is providing the pigs. You’ll also get demonstrations from John Russ of Lüke San Antonio, Pieter Sypesteyn of the Cookhouse and Where Y’At, Diego Galicia and Rico Torres from Mixtli, and Heather Nanez from Bohanan’s with guest appearances from other San Antonio chefs. Cocktails will be under the care of Jesse Torres from Mixtli and Mezcaleria Mixtli.

“We will kick off the day with a traditional grit and grillades brunch,” an announcement of the event says. “Throughout the day our chefs will be demonstrating how to make classic recipes using the whole pig. Our Sunday afternoon supper begins at 3 p.m. featuring a collection of dishes that our chefs have demonstrated.”

The boucherie will be taking place outside on a working farm, so plan and dress accordingly.

Vintage Heart Farm is at 1700 CR 332, Stockdale.

Tickets are $150 for adults or $75 for children under 10, plus processing fee. For tickets click here.

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Restaurant Notes & Quotes: Pearl Gets Boehler House; Luke, Barbaro


Pearl acquires Boehler property

Minnie'sPearl has announced its plan to proceed with the purchase and restoration of the Boehler property at 328 E. Josephine St. The most recent occupant, Minnie’s Tavern and Rye House has closed, but the famous leaning structure will stay in its place. It also, for many years, housed the Liberty Bar.

Boelers liberty bar sepia“We regrouped and everyone felt like it’s a very special and historic structure,” said Elizabeth Fauerso, a spokeswoman for the Pearl. “You don’t find often a building that has such a place in San Antonio’s history and such an emotional connection to so many people.

“Our objectives are to restore the historic building,” Fauerso said, “and also to think about the streetscape and try to improve it. We want to think about how to add more green space, outdoor space or seating space; to think about how to add more parking so that it can actually support that establishment; and then to think about a really cool and interesting use for the little house.”

Silver Ventures plan to work together with the HDRC and its neighbors in Tobin Hill to preserve and repurpose historic assets bringing them new life within the San Antonio community.

Spicy crawfish from Luke sizzled with flavor.

Spicy crawfish from Luke sizzle.

Lüke at Fredericksburg Crawfish Festival

As part of the Fredericksburg Crawfish Festival this weekend, Luke San Antonio’s chef John Russ will be hosting a special Creole Brunch on Sunday (May 25) from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Marktplatz.

Russ’ festival menu features Crawfish Po-Boys, Crawfish Etouffe, and Cajun Eggs Benedict among other New Orleans-inspired items. Tickets cost $55 per seat and $450 for a table of eight.  Brunch and festival tickets can be purchased online at www.FBGCrawfish.com

Menu for Luke’s Creole Brunch: Passed Hors d’Oeuvres: Crawfish Summer Rolls with Petite Herbs and Spicy Mayo, Mini Crawfish Pies with Smoked Tomato Sauce. Action Station 1: Crispy Fried Softshell Crawfish Po-Boys. Action Station 2: Crawfish Étouffée Popcorn Rice, Pickled Vegetables. Action Station 3: Cajun Eggs Benedict Buttermilk Biscuits, Tasso Ham, Crawfish Hollandaise. Buffet: Seasonal Lettuce, Boiled Crawfish, Creole Mustard Vinaigrette, Fried Bread, Hard Eggs, Bacon Deviled Eggs, Heirloom Tomato, Fresh Pulled Mozzarella, Herbs, Sugarcane Vinegar. Dessert: Classic Banana Foster, Rhum Cake, Vanilla Cream.

 

Barbaro 1Barbaro’s new hours, late night menu

Barbaro, 2720 McCullough Ave., serving craft pizza, cocktails and beer, has extended its hours on Friday and Saturday nights, until 2 a.m.

The restaurant also has launched a late-night menu for these weekend nights when they’re open late, see below for a sample of a recent menu. The menu changes each day, but here are some ideas of types of things they’ll be serving.  Late night menu runs from Friday and Saturday, 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.  On the menu are items such as  Fried Bread, House Ricotta, Roasted Tomatoes, and Chives; Chicken Liver Mousse, Apricot Jam, Toast; Seared Lasagna, Mornay, Fried Egg; Roasted Bone Marrow, Truffled Tomato Jam, Basil Salad, Toast; Fried Chicken Livers, Piperade, Mahon, Toast; Pizza Bianca- Fior De Latte, Beef Fat, Roasted Green Onions; Cheese Pizza.

Also, Barbaro has launched a new cocktail menu created by bar manager, Elisabeth Forsythe. The menu includes some unique and delicious concoctions, such as the Rhubarb Mule and IP- Yay! (gin, lemon, grapefruit, IPA syrup). See new items here.

Domaine Carneros Wine Dinner at Fig Tree

Fig tree logoT.J. Evans, winemaker for Domaine Carneros, will be at Fig Tree restaurant on Wednesday, June 18, for a wine dinner that begins with a reception at the Dashiell House, 6:30 p.m.  The price is $115 per person, including tax and gratuity. For reservations, please call Pat at 210-225-2111.

On the menu:  Reception: Le Reve Blanc de Blancs 2006 with Foie Gras Terrine and Apple Ginger Chutney; Brut Vintage Cuvee 2009 with Poached Langostino Tails, Crab Tortellinis, Lemongrass Broth; Brut Rose Cuvée de la Pompadour NV with “Blanquette de Veau,” Rice Pilaf, Baby Carrots, Seasonal Mushrooms;  Estate Pinot Noir 2011 with Domestic Cheeses; Fonseca Porto, Tawny 10 years old with Mixed Berries “Gratin” and Madeleines, along with coffee service.

Luca Della Casa at GauchoGourmet

Luca della CasaGauchoGourmet, 935 Isom Road hosts a tasting event on May 31, from 10.30 a.m. 1.30 p.m. featuring Silo & Nosh’s Executive Chef Luca Della Casa. Della Casa will be seen very soon competing on national TV to become a future “star chef” and have his own TV show. (The show, “Food Network Star” is on the Food Network at 8 p.m. June 1. This is the show’s 10th season. Finalists will have to impress mentor-judges Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis.)

Della Casa will present samples of different Italian appetizers with some of GauchoGourmet’s best ingredients featuring Sicilian fruit peels and Piedmontese hazelnuts; two risotto recipes using exclusive 7-year aged Carnaroli rice; and share cooking techniques to prepare an authentic Italian meal. Customers who purchase tickets will also enter a drawing for a dinner for two at one of Luca’s restaurants.

Tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased online at www.gauchogourmet.com/events.html .

 

 

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Spring Warm-up: Openings, Events, Tastings, Fun


Rosario's new Panela cheese, grilled and topped with two salsas.

Rosario’s new queso Panela, grilled and topped with two salsas.

Three much-anticipated restaurants open soon.

First, Rosario’s, at 3715 San Pedro Ave., will open Monday (March 31) for lunch and dinner. Enjoy the dishes and drinks you love at the downtown Rosario’s on Alamo Street, plus some new items. We sampled some favorites and the new grilled panela cheese with two salsas, seviche, a Rosario’s burger (complete with chalupa inside and some real good fries) and more at a soft opening Thursday night.

Hot Joy, opening at the former location of China Latina, will open April 3. The restaurant is at 1014 S. Alamo St.

Aldaco’s Dominion will also be opening in April, but toward the end of the month.

Conger’s Smoke Shack food truck announced they will move to a brick-and-mortar location. This will be at 3714 Broadway. A skip and a jump near the Pearl, and across the street from the Witte Museum. Will they still be setting up shop at Quarry Farmers and Ranchers Market?  No, says Heather Hunter, but they will be there this coming Saturday for one last round of great barbecue.  Chela’s Tacos, which has been there the past couple of weeks, will be taking over that post.

Travis Park and St. Anthony Hotel

St. Anthony Hotel garden.

St. Anthony Hotel garden.

Join The St. Anthony Hotel Monday (March 31) to celebrate the Grand Reopening of the historic Travis Park. The vibrant greens of spring and the new visions and plans for Travis Park will be honored for a full day.  At 9:30 a.m. the hotel participates with Southwest Airlines President and CEO Gary Kelly and other contributors to restore the park and invite you to join them.

This will be followed in the evening (6 p.m.) by farm-fresh foods crafted by  St. Anthony chef, Mike Mata, paired with wines from Becker Vineyards, and the soft sounds of Brent Watkins’ live jazz for Twilight on the Plaza.

Crawfish at Lüke

Celebrate crawfish season in true style this Sunday (March 30) at Lüke San Antonio downtown. From  3 p.m to 6 p.m at the restaurant at 125 E. Houston St., it will be not just lots of crawfish crawfish1but also savory sides such as crawfish boil potato salad, boiled “corn in a cup,” and Poteet strawberry shortcake for dessert. St. Arnold Brewery will be the featured beer for washing down those crawfish.

The event is all you can eat and drink, for $48 per person.  Call them at (210) 227-5853. See their event page at  https://www.facebook.com/events/776505119029244/?context=create&source=49

 

King and Queen Anchovy Poker Run

Michael Westheimer and Elaine Wolffe have a party planned and you’re invited. Saturday, April 5, is the King and Queen Anchovy Poker Run.

Poker handHere are the attractions: Five restaurants, five bites, five drinks and (most important) five cards.

The best hands will win prizes, including tickets to Cornyation and gift certificates to the participating restaurants: Bite, The Monterey, The Brooklynite, Cured and Minnie’s.

The fun starts at  1 p.m. at Bite. The cost is $50; chefs are donating their hospitality so proceeds go to support Fiesta Cornyation.

Check out the Facebook page here and make reservations soon.  https://www.facebook.com/events/474137272715017/

Baby grapesSummer events coming up at Becker Vineyards

The new outdoor pavillion is open now at Becker Vineyards, in the Texas Hill Country. The pavillion oversees the lavender field, plus new outdoor restroom facilities are available, too. Don’t forget the winery’s 16th annual Lavender Festival, with lavender luncheons, vendors selling lavender and gardening-related items, lavender cooking demos and more. Plus there will be, of course, wine tastings. The event is May 3 and 4. Go to their website here for more information.

April means Hornitos tequila at La Fogata

Aldaco MargaritaLa Fogata knows tequila — and mixes no fewer than 300 gallons of their tequila concoctions each week. La Fogata features monthly tequila tastings to allow its guests to explore different tequila flavors and enjoy special cocktails crafted by their experienced bar staff.

April’s featured tequila is Hornitos. On Saturday, April 19,  before you head to your table, stop by the tequila tasting table to learn more about Hornitos tequila. The free tasting table will feature the tequila served both straight up and mixed in margaritas. The tasting table will be open on La Fogata’s main patio from 6-8 p.m. La Fogata is at 2427 Vance Jackson Road.

If you can’t make the tequila tasting, don’t worry:  La Fogata is featuring Hornitos throughout the month of April, so you have the opportunity to try the tequila by ordering it in your favorite drink at La Fogata.

 

 

 

 

 

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Boardwalk on Bulverde, Lüke Both Plan Weekend Celebrations


Rickshaw Stop at Boardwalk on Bulverde.

Boardwalk on Bulverde and Lüke on the River Walk are both planning celebrations this weekend.

Boardwalk on Bulverde, 14732 Bulverde Road, is going to party this Friday and Saturday. The food truck park is celebrating is second anniversary with a BYOB special that also includes free beer and the introduction of a new truck.

The new truck is Ritt’s Twisted Brisket. It will join a lineup that includes, according to the park’s website, Rickshaw Stop, Guilty Pleasures, Primo Passo Pizza, Society Bakery, Totally Shredded, KC’s Cones, Dirty Dawgs, Toastie Buns and Taco King.

If you’ve been getting cabin  fever this week from all of the rain, just come out Friday or Saturday to enjoy a good meal and have some fun.

The park is open noon-3 p.m. and 6-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

For more information, click here.

Meanwhile, Lüke, 125 E. Houston St., is calling in a number of local chefs for a fundraiser at 6 p.m. Sunday to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

According to general manager Justin Solomon, “Most of you know that LLS is a great charity that we support 100 percent.”

With that in mind, the restaurant’s chef, John Russ, has teamed up with Michael Sohoki from Cafe Gwendolyn, Jeff Balfour from Citrus, and Laurent Rea and Elise Broz from Laurent’s Modern Cuisine for a five-course dinner that will be prepared on the stage of the Empire Theater, 226 N. St. Mary’s St. The theme is “Tonight We Feast.”

“Also on stage will be Brent Watkins and company to provide live jazz for the evening,” he continued. “Spirits, wine, and beer were graciously donated by our local and national sponsors. The minimum donation for a seat is $100, of which 100 percent will go to LLS.”

For reservations,  call (210) 998-5126 or email argel.lim@lls.org.

 

 

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A Grand Tasting with Room to Spare


Chef Jesse Perez talks with patrons at the Grand Tasting.

Culinaria’s Grand Tasting, sponsored by Ambhar Tequila Saturday night, was a grand mix of glitz and glamor, side-by-side with  a casual ambience that gave the event more the feeling of a gathering of friends. Where last year’s event was something of a noisy mob scene, this year’s audience was scaled down, with plenty of space to mingle, taste and talk.

The food, while small in scale in terms of portion size offered diversity as well as a great variety of flavors, from tenderest breaded calamari with a sweet and sour sauce from Citrus to Jesse Perez’s scrumptious albondiga on an unexpected base of creamy white bean hummus; from molecular sorcery to whole-grain cookies. Within a few steps you could down a tiny, open-faced meatloaf slider from the JW Marriott, then sip a watermelon-based gazpacho with seafood from 20nine.

Culinaria CEO Suzanne Taranto Etheredge (left) and Jenny Niemann enjoy the Grand Tasting.

While strolling through the grotto area under the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, we found plenty of treats to love, including the strips of tender beef in a cognac cream sauce, served on a rich spoonful of mashed potatoes from Kirby’s Prime Steakhouse. The restaurant also offered dessert right at the next table — three delicious varieties of hand-rolled chocolate truffles — chile, tangerine and walnut.

Chef Steven McHugh, of Lüke San Antonio presented a colorful, updated chicken salad, sans mayonnaise, but bursting with flavors from tiny tomatoes, sprouts, mini-croutons and a light, spiky dressing.

Peeler Farms chicken in a salad from Luke San Antonio.

Chicken tinga tostadas from Paloma Blanca and Chile en Nogada from Picante Grill were among the Mexican flavors of the evening, while Jason Dady offered a tequila ice made in a smoky bowl of dry ice.  It was a fun feat of molecular cooking, though his Thai-infused treat of coconut, curry and various spices tasted even better.

Chef Jason Dady swirls some dry ice to cool off his drink.

Flour Power Cafe and Lux were among those offering sweets to finish off the tasting.

Numerous other restaurants and wineries kept patrons happy, while the lines moved quickly, whether they were after food or wine, tequila or beer. An icy glass of Kim Crawford Saugivnon Blanc from New Zealand, a chilled California Chardonnay from  J. Lohr and some Hogue Cabernet Sauvignon with winery founder Gary Hogue himself on hand were some of the wines on hand, while Ambhar offered tastes of silver, reposado and añejo tequilas and explanations to guide you through what makes each special.

And again the weather cooperated with the event, providing a gentle breeze.

Culinaria’s 2012 festival concludes Sunday with Burgers, BBQ and Beer at the Pearl Brewery. Click here for details.

Flour Power Cafe offer tastes of several varieties of cakes

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Restaurant Notes & Quotes: Lüke/Becker Dinner, Real Ale, Il Sogno, Viola Barrios


Lüke Wine Dinner to Feature Becker Wines

Steven McHugh, executive chef at Luke San Antonio.

Lüke San Antonio will team up with Becker Vineyards for a wine dinner next Wednesday.  The price will be $60 per person plus tax and tip. Luke is at 125 E. Houston St. To make reservations call 210-227-5853.

Becker wines on the menu are Fume Blanc, Texas 2010, Becker Prairie Roti, Texas Hill Country 2009; Reserve Chardonnay, Hidden House Vineyard 2010; Chenin Blanc Texas 2011; Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Canada Family Vineyard, 2009; and Clementine, Bingham Vineyard 2010 (late harvest viognier).

Menu items to include Louisiana Crawfish Bisque, Stuffed Crawfish Head and Tapioca, House-made Fromage Blanc Dumplings, Texas Rabbit Rouladen and Orange Basil Semifreddo.

Barrios Family Awards Scholarship in Viola’s Memory

Viola’s Huge Heart Foundation has selected its second scholarship recipient, Daniela Portillo, an incoming sophomore at Providence High School. This is the second such scholarship from the foundation. The first was awarded to Abigail Issarraras.

The Barrios family, owners of Los Barrios Mexican Restaurant and La Hacienda de los Barrios, established the the charity in memory of Viola Barrios. The scholarship supports young women who exhibit the kind of hardworking, generous characteristics of Viola, and who may not otherwise have an opportunity to pursue a high quality education.

Daniela Portillo and her family will be at Los Barrios, 4223 Blanco Road, at 5 p.m. today. They’ll meet with well-wishers and customers of the restaurant Viola Barrios founded, with the help of her daughters Diana Barrios Treviño and Dr. Teresa Barrios, and her son, Louis Barrios. The foundation also supports a Les Dames d’Escoffier scholarship in Viola’s name.

Il Sogno Celebrates Two Years at Pearl

Osteria Il Sogno, at the Pearl Brewery, will be celebrating its second anniversary this month, chef/owner Andrew Weissman said.

“We would like to thank our many loyal guests who repeatedly visited us and supported our concept,” said Weissman. He also noted that Il Sogno was listed as the No. 3 top “most delicious” restaurant in the recently published  “Fearless Critic,” while another of his restaurants, Sandbar, also at the Pearl Brewery, was given the No. 1 listing. Chris Carlson is executive chef at Sandbar.

Tost Weekend Specials

Tost Bistro Bar specials this weekend will be Fresh Atlantic Striped Bass and Fried Chicken Livers. Tost is open for lunch daily except Sundays and Mondays, and the Sunday Brunch is Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tost happy hour is from 4-7 p.m., $15 per person gets you drinks from a lineup of selected house spirits and beer. On Fridays and Saturdays, happy hours are 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. For more information call Tost at 210-408-2670.

Real Ale Beer Dinner at Westin La Cantera’s Palo Duro Pavilion

Check out the delicious possibilities when pairing a great beer with chef-prepared foods created to match. This will happen at the Real Ale Brewing Company dinner on July 22 at the Westin La Cantera Resort’s Palo Duro Pavilion. The reception begins at 7 p.m., with the four-course meal at 7:30 p.m.  Please make reservations at 210-558-2305.

Five different beers from Real Ale in Blanco will be poured and paired with a special menu by chefs Isaac Cantu and Henry Wesolowski.

Erick Ogershok, head brewmaster of Real Ale Brewing Company, will be the host. Click here for the ales and menu featured at the dinner.

Bright Shawl on Takes a Break for Renovations

The Bright Shawl, the restaurant and meeting space owned by the Junior League of San Antonio, Inc., is taking a break this summer to renovate its kitchen and refurbish its dining room.  The restaurant will be closed through July 27 while the work is being completed, and it should be reopened by early August. The Bright Shawl is at 819 Augusta St. The original facility housing The Bright Shawl was named a Texas landmark in 1973, and the restaurant there has been in continuous operation since 1925. For more information on The Bright Shawl, click here, or call 210-225-6366.

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John Besh Here in August for KLRN Chef Series


John Besh (center) talks with guests at Luke.

Celebrity chef John Besh, owner of Lüke restaurants in both San Antonio and in New Orleans, will be here  Monday, August 15, as the guest chef and star of the KLRN Chef Series.

The award-winning chef, whose cooking show airs on KLRN-TV, will bring the flavors of New Orleans here as he presents from 7 to 9 p.m. at the St. Anthony Hotel, 300 E. Travis St.  He’ll do a cooking demonstration based on recipes from his cookbook “My New Orleans: The Cookbook.” Then, those in attendance will dine on a multi-course, authentic Southern meal.

Tickets are $150 a person or $1,800 per table. For more information, call 210-270-9000 or click  here.

 

 

 

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GO TEXAN Restaurant Round-Up Is July 25-31


Hundreds of Texas restaurants and wineries are serving their best Lone Star fare this month during the 2011 GO TEXAN Restaurant Round-Up, presented by Farm Credit, July 25-31. Part of the proceeds will be donated to Texans in need.

“Our farmers, ranchers, winemakers and fishermen make it easy for chefs to serve fresh Texas fare,” Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said. “The GO TEXAN Restaurant Round-Up celebrates the farm to table connection while Texans enjoy local products and support local food banks.”

Restaurant dining, Texas style, featured at GO TEXAN Restaurant Week.

Restaurants across the state are participating in this year’s Round-Up, including Luke in San Antonio, Garrido’s Restaurant in Austin, The Vintage House Restaurant at Messina Hof Winery and Resort in Bryan, Cocina del Caribe in Mission, Grumps in Granbury, and Mercado Mayapán in El Paso.

Texas winemakers will be providing award-winning wines ranging from traditional Rhone varietals such as Cabernet and Merlot to up-and-coming Mediterranean varietals like Viognier and Tempranillo

Texas Hills Vineyards owner Gary Gilstrap’s wines will be featured in establishments around the state. While his favorite wine pairing is his Toro de Tejas Tempranillo with smoked meats — “It goes well with anything off the grill,” he said. His advice to Texas chefs is to start with the best food and wines, and to think outside the case.

“If the food is good and the wine is good, and if they’re better when you put them together, then you’ve found the perfect pairing,” said Gilstrap. “It’s not always going to be traditional.”

This week-long dine-around is an adventure, plus a chance to sign up to win one of the Texas-size giveaways.

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Lüke’s Celebrity Chef, John Besh, Shares the Love


John Besh (center) talks with guests at Lüke.

For the past week, chef John Besh has been in San Antonio helping the staff at his restaurant Lüke, 125 E. Houston St., get ready for a big opening night party on Thursday.

The River Walk brasserie, a sister of Besh’s Lüke in New Orleans, opened late last month, just in time for Thanksgiving.

An elbow-room-only crowd welcomed the celebrated chef and author of “My New Orleans: The Cookbook,” who divided his time between talking with the crowd and stopping to pick up a dish or direct a guest to one of the food stations.

“It’s a blessing,” says Besh of the success of Lüke thus far. “This is a bigger space but the spirit, the soul of the original Lüke is really here.”

Sautéed shrimp for a tasty Shrimp and Grits at Lüke.

What surprises have Besh encountered in getting acquainted with the local palate?

“I was surprised at how popular some of the things we have on the men have been. Like the choucroute (sauerkraut and sausage) and fresh oysters. ” And, “the Croque Madame and Croque Monsieur sandwiches outsell our burger,” he says.

It’s been a lot of work for Besh during the past week. Try telling that to his sons, though, who are back at home in New Orleans. “They think I’m off at Schlitterbahn or (Fiesta Texas) or Sea World,” the chef says with a laugh.

Besh’s business partner, Stephen McHugh, is chef at at the local Lüke.  The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner. For information, call 210-227-5853 (LUKE).

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Restaurant Notes & Quotes: Aldaco’s Helps Blue Santa; Lüke Shares with Tots



Bring a toy to Lüke, receive a free appetizer

Christmas comes a little early this year at chef John Besh’s new restaurant, Lüke San Antonio on the River Walk. Luke will be a drop-off location for the Marines Toys for Tots Foundation of San Antonio,  a nonprofit fundraising and support organization for the United States Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program.

As part of the program, diners are encouraged to bring new, unwrapped toys to place under the Lüke Christmas tree throughout the month of December.  The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation of San Antonio will then deliver these expressions of holiday cheer to needy children in the community.

Every Lüke diner who brings a toy for the program will receive a complimentary appetizer from enticing appetizer menu. The restaurant is at 125 E. Houston St.

The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation has supported the Toys for Tots program since 1991, and during that time has helped collect more than 64 million toys for needy children, worth $344 million.  For more information about Lüke San Antonio, call 210-227-LUKE or visit www.LukeSanAntonio.com.

Make a child happy; get a free hot cocoa

Warm up your heart with hot chocolate at Aldaco's Stone Oak.

If you drop off a Blue Santa child’s gift donation at Aldaco’s Mexican Restaurant through Dec. 17th, you’ll receive a complimentary hot chocolate. Aldaco’s Mexican Cuisine is at 20079 Stone Oak Parkway. Call 210-494-0561 for information.

The Blue Santa Program began in San Antonio in 1976 when officers from the Community Relations Unit adopted needy families at Christmas time. The officers provided these families with groceries for Christmas dinner and presents for their children. These police officers, wearing their blue uniforms, became known as “Blue Santas.” This year, SAPD officers and volunteers will assemble the gifts, wrap and label them, and make sure the appropriate gift is delivered to each child on the Blue Santa list.

Rashin Mazaheri (right center) talks with a customer on the closing night of Shiraz.

A last taste of Shiraz

Shiraz, 4230 McCullough Ave., went out with a bang Saturday.

Owner and chef Rashin Mazaheri had a full house of fans who wanted one more taste of her Persian delicacies before it closed.

Plates bearing the likes of Fesenjen (chicken with walnuts and pomegranate), the house shrimp made with a lemon cream saffron sauce, Bandary (sirloin strips in a spicy pomegranate sauce) and Lamb Gormeh Sabzi (pieces of lamb in a parsley-cilantro sauce) moved swiftly from the kitchen to the diners, who talked of how bittersweet it is to lose such an old friend.

Bandary, or sirloin in a spicy pomegranate sauce, at Shiraz.

Mazaheri decided to close the restaurant after 12 years because her law career is taking off and she wanted to be sure the quality of the food never slipped. So, she has sold it to Erick Abram, formerly of Métropolitain, who plans to open the Mediterranean-flavored Tangeré in February.

He was on hand for the closing, and Mazaheri introduced him around to many who welcomed him and his forthcoming project.

As joyous as the event was, complete with belly dancers and plenty of wine flowing, it was also sad because San Antonio has lost another of its finer independents. As one customer was overheard to say, “Where am I going to get food like this that’s this good? Nowhere else in town.”

Winter feast at Tre Trattoria

“Inverno Festa” Italian Wine Dinner at Tre Trattoria, 4003 Broadway Blvd., is a five-course dinner with wine. The event begins with a reception this Wednesday at 6 p.m., with dinner at 6:30.  The price is $60 per person. Call for reservations at 210-805-0333.

The first course is Honeycrisp Apple and Pumpkin Soup with Spiced Pancetta with a 2008 Antinori Bramito del Cervo Chardonnay; second course is Arancini with Bolognese with a 2005 Tentua Di Prima Voce; third course is Veal Milanese with Saffron Beurre Blanc with a 2004 Bertani Valpolicella Ripasso Secco; fourth course is Tuscan Rib Eye with Taleggio “Mac n Cheese,” with a 2004 Ceretto Barolo Zonchera, and fifth course is Polenta Budino with Cherry Compote and Pear Brulee, served with the 2007 Michele Chiarlo Moscato d’Asti.

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