Tag Archive | "Stella Artois"

It’s Shuck, Rattle and Roll at Oyster Bake

Sausage on a stick is a favorite at the Oyster Bake.

Stuck on you: Chicken on a stick. Any questions?

The annual Fiesta Oyster Bake kicked off Friday evening with a host of musicians, plenty of food on a stick, and beer and wine to wash it down with.

Oysters baking over hot coals.

The two-day event, traditionally one of the bigger parties during Fiesta, takes place on the grounds of St. Mary’s University.

This year’s event got off to a rousing start, thanks to perfect weather in the mid- to lower 70s, a gentle breeze and a clear sky for the triumphal fireworks that ended the evening.

Somewhere in that mix you can find oysters three ways: raw and served in shots, baked over hot coals, and deep fried.

But it could be possible that foods on a stick were stealing the briny bivavles’ thunder, or at least threatening to do so. There was sausage on a stick, chicken on a stick, steak on a stick and a pork chop on a stick.

Warming tortillas for chalupas.

On Friday night, plenty of people were stopping by the wine booth to sample some of Barefoot Bay’s line of wines, including Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and, for sweet wine lovers, Moscato. That was where you could find me for the first half of the evening, pouring wine for the customers and trying to get people a wine they would enjoy.

Barefoot Bay made that easy for customers by offering some suggested pairings, such as the Pinot Grigio with the oysters or the Merlot with the sausage. For a change, the wine booth will be open on Saturday this year, so, if you make it out to the second day of the Oyster Bake, give the pairings a try.

Time to sort the oysters.

Beer drinkers had the choice of several fine beers, including Stella Artois and Beck’s, which were $1 more than the Bud Light, yet the line was practically nonexistent. Take a tip: Get the Stella Artois. It loves the oysters, the habanero salsa on the pork chop, the butter on the roasted ears of corn.

Armadillo Eggs, anyone?

Music choices for the evening included Smash Mouth performing a little ska mixed with its big hits, including “Walk on the Sun,” and Kevin Fowler on the country music stage. Jazz with a little surf sounds and a swinging version of “These Boots Were Made for Walking” filled the third stage.

The fun ended with a dazzling fireworks display that impressed the crowd, prompting a few old-timers to say it was the most impressive they had seen in years.

Fiesta Oyster Bake continues Saturday. For more information, click here.

For a full schedule of Fiesta events, click here.

Friday's opener closes with fireworks.

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Beer of the Week: Stella Artois


Beer of the Week is sponsored by the Lion & Rose. Each week, we introduce you to a wonderful brew that’s a little bit different and well worth seeking out.





Stella Artois

This lager is probably Belgium’s most famous beer. Not necessarily the best, mind you, but certainly the most popular.

Popularity is, after all, determined by those qualities that are most desired and yet can also appeal to the public at large. So, don’t expect Stella Artois (pronounced R-twah) to provide the same complexity you’ll find in the Chimay brews or an Orval. But do expect a finely crafted beer that’s great for quaffing on a hot day.

In other words, grab a six-pack of this if you’ve got to mow the lawn and put in any spring flowers this weekend. You’ll be able to reward yourself for a job well done. And if it rains, you can still reward yourself for your good intentions.

What you’ll notice first when you start pouring the beer is a gorgeous golden color that shows off the wheat to good effect. The head builds nicely but soon dissipates to little lacing around the edge.

The brewery suggests you pour it into a chalice, and it even offers deals on its website where you can get your own engraved chalice to drink it from. Click here to learn more.

The nose is filled with wheat and a slight skunky quality that’s not off-putting, just somewhat odd.

The taste is what makes the beer so popular. It’s pleasant, with a refreshing lightness and clean feeling that has a touch of wheat and an even lighter note of hoppiness. The finish is dry and a touch bitter, in the best way possible.

This is lager at its most essential. It tastes like beer, like what you think of when you think of beer, like beer on a Platonic level.

So, don’t think. Drink.

That’s what people love about Stella Artois and it’s what will have you wanting more.

It’s perfect with a great deal of flavors, so you can have with whatever you have a hankering for. At the Lion and Rose, you could start with spicy Hackney Hot Wings or go with something as comforting and earthy as Holloway Road Hummus. Then move on to a Lion and Rose Garden Salad with cheddar, bacon and egg or Fin, Feather and Shell, a fried plate of fish, chicken and shrimp.

You might want to finish the Artois before dessert, because its bitterness will fight sweets. Or you could have another instead of dessert.



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Lines, Food, Spirits, Fun and More Lines

Barbara Hunt serves up a Mediterranean-style sandwich from Boardwalk Bistro.

Culinaria’s Grand Tasting is always an occasion for sampling excellent fare from the area’s best restaurants, fine wines and other spirits. But Saturday’s sold-out gathering was also a chance to mix and mingle with thousands of others while enjoying the evening.

Often that was while waiting in line for the likes of Jeff Balfour’s braised oxtail tostada from Citrus and John Brand’s combination of oysters from Ostra and pork belly from Las Canarias.

Guest chef Susana Trilling (right) from Oaxaca talks with Culinaria's director of development, Ginger McAnear.

It was the first time Ben Dorris had ever tried an oyster, but he braved a briny bivalve with friends Joe Carreon and Vanessa Jauer. He was not impressed with the texture, but his friends, who have had a little more oyster-eating experience, were.

The evening’s sponsor, Ambhar Tequila, offered samples of their silver, reposado and aƱejo tequilas as well as cocktails for those who wanted something in addition to the vast array of wines on hand. These ranged from the crisp Joseph Drouhin Puligny-Montrachet to the silky elegance of the Chalone Pinot Noir. Bottles of Belgian beer Stella Artois disappeared quickly during the balmy evening.

Diane Wiltz is one of the volunteers pouring wine at the Grand Tasting.

The long lines meant some restaurants had to stretch the food they brought, though each of the chefs and their restaurants brought enough for 1,500 servings. Barbara Hunt of Boardwalk Bistro started out serving a Mediterranean-style sandwich with lamb. When the lamb ran out, it became a vegetarian sandwich with a roasted tomato and some tzatziki sauce adding such bold flavors that no one really missed the meat.

Shea Ash of the Peach Cafe in Boerne handed out several treats, including a mini-muffuletta with olive salad from her business partner Nancy Fitch’s restaurant, the Pomegranate in Artisans Alley.

Guest chefs included Nordic chef Trine Hahnemann as well as Susana Trilling of Oaxaca, who hopes to have her new line of culinary products, including mole enhancers and salt from her region of Mexico, in area stores soon.

Chocolate truffles from Kirby’s and cake from Flour Power Cafe were among the choice desserts for those with a sweet tooth.

Long lines greet chef Jason Dady each year.

The longest lines were those waiting to sample the multi-course mini-meal prepared by Jason Dady’s restaurant group. As he has done in the past, Dady offered samples of dishes that represent his restaurants, which include the Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills, Bin 555, Tre Trattoria, Two Bros. BBQ and the DUKTruck.

Shredded flank steak with a molasses-Shiner Bock barbecue sauce and a bright coriander-based pickle on top, a Mediterranean tossed salad, smoked deviled eggs with crab meat and cheesecake were among the various treats he served.

It took 22 members of his staff to keep the plates moving and to offer guests a personal explanation of what each dish was.

Lines were so long at Dady’s booth that the chef stayed more than an hour after the event ended to make sure everyone still waiting in line got to taste what he had to offer. We ran into Dady at The Monterey shortly before midnight where he was treating his staff to a late meal for the hard work they’d done.

Photographs by Bonnie Walker.

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