Tag Archive | "Roy Maas’ Youth Alternatives"

Restaurant Notes & Quotes: New Watermark Chef, Winter Tost Menu, Ruth’s Chris Treats Kids, and More

New chef at Watermark Grill

Philippe Pinon has been named executive  chef of Watermark Grill, 18740 Stone Oak Parkway.

The  French-born chef with more than 20 years experience was most recently at the Four Diamond Award-winning Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove.

“We are thrilled to have a chef with Philippe’s depth and breadth of experience join us,” said Patrick J. Kennedy, owner of the Watermark. “We want to give him the opportunity to put his own personal stamp on the restaurant and look forward to unveiling the new menus on Dec. 15. We are excited and we think our guests are going to be as well.”

The restaurant will close temporarily while Pinon works with the staff to prepare the new menus. It will reopen Dec. 15 with new hours as well as a new menu. Watermark Grill will be open for lunch and dinner 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Saturday.  The restaurant will be open for brunch and dinner 10:30 a.m.–9 p.m. Sunday.

Visit or call 210-483-7600 for more information.

New winter menu at Tost Cafe Français

The braised short rib at Tost.

Seasonal items abound in the new winter menu at Tost Cafe Français,  14415 Blanco Road.

A few samplings include Wild Mushroom Soup, Grilled Caesar Salad, Homemade Country Pâté, Acadian Peppered Shrimp in a Fried Onion Cup, Crispy Skin Salmon served on wilted spinach leaves, a large order of fried mussels (Moules Frites) served with french fries and aioli, Pernod Flambéed Shrimp with sautéed fall vegetables, Shiner Beer Braised Short Ribs, Steak Frites with Beurre  Maitre d’Hotel, and Wild Mushroom Risotto.

For reservations call 210-408-2670.

Ruth’s Chris treats kids to Thanksgiving dinner

The Spurs Coyote and Roy Maas resident Leah get acquainted at the Ruth's Chris Thanksgiving dinner.

It wasn’t just dinner at a restaurant — it was Thanksgiving dinner, Nov. 21,  with all the trimmings at Ruth’s Chris Steak House for residents at Roy Maas’ Youth Alternatives. Supporters and even the Spurs mascot, the Coyote, came to dine with the kids on food prepared by chef Chris Brooks and his team.

Lana Duke, who owns both San Antonio locations of Ruth’s Chris as well as restaurants in two other cities, was on hand to enjoy the festivities.

Emcee Sonny Melendez, left, chef Chris Brooks and Ruth's Chris owner Lana Duke host a Thanksgiving meal for residents of Roy Maas' Youth Alternatives.

This marks the sixth year that former foster child Duke has opened the doors of the Concord Plaza location of her San Antonio restaurant to the children of Roy Maas’ Youth Alternatives, and prepared a Thanksgiving feast that they will not soon forget.

The San Antonio steakhouse is the only Ruth’s Chris location to undertake this elaborate endeavor. “For many of these children it is the highlight of their year,” says Duke.

Orange Leaf Yogurt’s 12 Days of Christmas

Nothing says holidays like the rich taste of gingerbread or the creamy smoothness of eggnog. Now Orange Leaf Yogurt is offering you a chance to enjoy those flavors without all the calories.

It’s all part of Orange Leaf Yogurt’s “12 Days of Christmas” contest. For every Gingerbread or Eggnog yogurt you purchase from Dec. 1 until Dec. 24, you can enter your name in the “12 Days of Christmas” drawing for a chance to win one of several terrific prizes.

Orange Leaf Yogurt is at 1207 N. Loop 1604 W., Suite, 103, in The Vineyards Shopping Center.  It is open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday.  Call 210-492-LEAF (5323) or visit

Sunday Fun Days at McNay

The McNay Art Museum, 6000 N. New Braunfels Ave., is offering Sunday Fun Days throughout the holiday season.

Families and friends can get together from noon to 5 p.m. each Sunday to view the art collection, shop the gift shop and sample food from Wheelie Gourmet, a new food truck in town.

Neil Hajji, co-owner of Wheelie Gourmet, jumped at the chance to be a part of the Sunday Fun Days. “It seemed like a natural fit since we love to promote the arts and we like to think our food is a an art form in itself, being Moroccan-inspired sandwiches,” he says.

Wheelie Gourmet’s food truck is easy to spot because of a mural created by Eric Fonseca of Cofa Productions. There’s also an environmental green aspect to this foodmobile.  “Our truck runs on bio-fuel that we make ourselves.  No kidding! We collect the vegetable oils that we (and other restaurateurs) cook with and turn it into fuel,” Hajji says.

For more information and locations for Wheelie Gourmet, visit

Grounds and gift shop visitation are free; museum entry-fees apply.  Visit for additional hours and fees. Click here for more information on Wheelie Gourmet.

Golden Arches up north

A new McDonald’s has opened at 3806 N. Loop 1604 E. at Bulverde Road. Call 210-497-4600.

First Saturday buffet at Tommy Moore’s

Tommy Moore’s Café and Deli, 915 S. Hackberry St., is hosting its monthly First Saturday all-you-can-eat buffet from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. this week.

The holiday buffet will include turkey, ham, oyster cornbread dressing and more.

The cost is $10.95 for adults and $6.95 for children ages 6-12. Call 210-531-9800.

Posted in Featured, RestaurantsComments Off on Restaurant Notes & Quotes: New Watermark Chef, Winter Tost Menu, Ruth’s Chris Treats Kids, and More

Christmas in July to Benefit Roy Maas Youth Alternatives

The Christmas in July Sangria & Salsa Kitchen Party, from 4-6:30 p.m. Thursday at Melissa Guerra’s Tienda de Cocina, is a fun way to start your holiday giving.

Christmas in July kicks off a campaign, The Little Refrigerator That Could,  to help the nonprofit Roy Maas Youth Alternatives stock its refrigerators and cupboards. New culinary items are needed, as well as kitchen tools, utensils, appliances, mixers, baking dishes and much more.

Roy Maas Youth Alternatives is a program that cares for more than 600 children a year. These kids come from backgrounds of abuse and neglect. Some have never had a healthy meal; many have lived without three square meals a day.

Through this program, businesses (such as Melissa Guerra’s store) can sponsor the refrigerator and kitchen drive, or individuals may host a culinary party to benefit RMYA.

The event at Tienda de Cocina Thursday is open free to the public. During July, those who purchase items at the store or online, or donate at least $25 through Melissa Guerra receive a 20 percent discount on personal orders.

Tienda de Cocina is in the Full Goods Building at the Pearl Brewery, 200 E. Grayson St.

Posted in Daily Dish, NewsComments Off on Christmas in July to Benefit Roy Maas Youth Alternatives

Griffin to Go: Don Strange Gave Us Razzle Dazzle and More

DonStrangeIn the musical “Chicago,” a shyster lawyer advises his clients to give the jury “the old razzle dazzle” to cover up how shallow their cases really are.

Don Strange, who died Wednesday at age 69, certainly followed the first half of that equation – his passion for impressing people was legendary – but the flash was always built on a sure foundation. It was built on Texas product and principle. And that, more than the firework displays or the lavish arrays of food, was the basis of his success.

Talk to anyone who hired Don Strange of Texas for an event and you’ll hear stories of how memorable certain images were from the event. But they’ll also tell you how good the food tasted.

Talk to any of Don Strange’s friends or acquaintances, and you’ll hear the story of a big-hearted man who loved working and helping others. This is a man who started several charities, including Helping Hands and Breakfast of Champions, to help children in need. He also championed Roy Maas’ Youth Alternatives for the same reason.

Bruce Auden of Biga on the Banks would consider himself more of an acquaintance than an intimate friend, yet he was broken up by the news of Strange’s death. “He was one of the nicest people you could ever know,” the chef said. “He never had anything negative to say about any restaurant or any one. And that’s rare in this business. His outlook on like was so much better than anybody else’s.”

Auden will miss “the positive vibe” that Strange gave off, a feeling that more of the newcomers on the catering scene would do well to adopt, he said.

I could feel that the few times that I really talked with him, which was only in recent months. Though we had met at numerous functions in the past, we never really had even a short conversation until he appeared for a taping of the “Today” show in July at the Arneson Theater.


Don Strange of Texas' Grilled White Wings feature chicken, jalapeno and cheese wrapped in bacon.

When I re-introduced myself, he immediately made the conversation about me. I have been friends with his mother-in-law, Mary Singleton, over the past 8 or 9 years. She once taught how to make a pie crust and had been a great source of encouragement ever since. He told me that she had been worried about me since losing my job, and he was pleased that he would be able to tell her that I was fine.

In a matter of a few words, he made me feel as if I had known him for ages. And it makes me sad to note that I won’t have the chance to get to know him better.

It didn’t really matter to him that he was downtown on that sweltering morning.  He was there to do something he loved: promote Texas’ fabulous food. He was there with folks from Mi Tierra, and both waited several hours to get on the air. In the end, the show ran long and both missed their chance.

Most of us would have grumbled about all the wasted time. Not Don Strange. The next time I saw him, he just shrugged it off. He had promoted Texas food to the nation for years, appearing on numerous talk shows and serving his mouthwatering fare from the White House to Hollywood.

As Auden said, Don Strange was always out there, pounding the pavement to tell people about what Texas had to offer in terms of great eats. And with that came exposure to the land that produced it. “He was one of the first people who really promoted San Antonio on TV,” Auden said.

San Antonio is grateful for that. All his customers will certainly relish the memories of events he catered for them. But those who knew him even slightly will treasure more highly the warmth and generosity of the man behind the business.

Posted in BlogsComments Off on Griffin to Go: Don Strange Gave Us Razzle Dazzle and More

This Week: Texas Gold, Enchiladas and More


This past week, SavorSA has treated you to a host of stories ranging from the new liquid gold pouring forth in Texas, olive oil, to news ways to prepare red and green enchiladas.

Here’s a quick look at what was posted. Click on the headline to read a story you may have missed.

Posted in NewsComments Off on This Week: Texas Gold, Enchiladas and More

Kids Get a Taste of Life in the Kitchen

Fernando Guevara of Roy Maas' Youth Alternatives learns the ins and outs of the restaurant business through a program at Ruth's Chris Steak House.

Fernando Guevara of Roy Maas' Youth Alternatives learns the ins and outs of the restaurant business through a program at Ruth's Chris Steak House.

Story and photos by Jenny Martinez
Special to SavorSA

There was more than cooking going on in the kitchen of Ruth’s Chris Steak House this summer.

Starting in July, former foster child and local Ruth’s Chris owner Lana Duke opened her restaurant’s kitchen doors to the kids of Roy Maas’ Youth Alternatives and offered some hands-on, real-world culinary training. This summer’s culinary program was the latest addition in Duke’s ongoing efforts to help the children of Roy Maas’ Youth Alternatives overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.

The children who showed an interest in the culinary arts were selected to train at the restaurant at 7720 Jones Maltsberger Road under the supervision of executive chef Chris Brooks, who is also a former resident of Roy Maas’ Youth Alternatives.

“I’m happy to give back,” said Brooks. “They (kids) are doing an awesome job!”

The participants went through an intensive 10-day training program where they learned the ins and outs of the restaurant business, including food handling and sanitation, food preparation, baking, short orders, meat preparation and front-of-house service.

“We wanted to basically show them what the day-to-day operation is like in a real kitchen. They are going through the same training process as a real Ruth’s Chris employee would go through,” he said.

Even though the trainees learned that working in a real restaurant is no easy task, they didn’t shy away from considering careers in the culinary field.

Chris Brooks, executive chef of the Ruth's Chris Steak House at 7720 Jones Maltsberger Road, helps teens in Roy Maas' Youth Alternatives learn about life in a professional kitchen.

Chris Brooks, executive chef of the Ruth's Chris Steak House at 7720 Jones Maltsberger Road, helps teens in Roy Maas' Youth Alternatives learn about life in a professional kitchen.

Participant Jose S.  expected the training to be a challenge but is still excited about pursuing a career in the restaurant industry.

“The kids were really excited about the opportunity,” said Rebecca Durand, senior program director of transitional services at Roy Maas’ Youth Alternatives. “Jose was going around telling everybody, ‘I’m going to get a job at Ruth’s Chris.’ I told him keep that positive attitude.”

It wasn’t all work and no play for the curious culinary students. Part of being a chef is making sure the food tastes good. So, it’s no wonder Joe E.  said that “getting to eat” was his favorite part of his training.

When their training was complete, the graduates sat down with Brooks and general manager Steve Clemens and were treated to a delicious meal for a job well done.

Posted in FeaturedComments Off on Kids Get a Taste of Life in the Kitchen