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Wine Dinners for All Tastes Are Happening Thursday


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

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

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

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

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

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

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Totally Tejas Event Wraps Up Totally Successful Festival


NWWFF-TotallyTejas10The day drew to a close at Rio Cibolo Ranch, where the final event of this year’s New World Wine & Food Festival took place on Sunday. Rain had been forecast but never materialized. A first-ever Texas Regional Barbeque Showdown was fun for the SavorSA judges who participated. But, it was a real treat for people who sampled the peppery pork ribs, succulent chicken and flavorful brisket outside at the smokers all afternoon.

This popular event was as well-attended as ever. And, in fact the  festival was a success — even in this year with an economy in the doldrums.

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Brandon Garza cutting ribs for the Beko 1 Team

“We had more people at the festival than we expected this year,” said festival president and CEO, Suzanne Taranto. “Everything has been so great.  Saturday night at the New World Grand Tasting the chefs really stepped up their game. On Friday, the Black Tie was sold out. The (new) Bubbles Event on Thursday was crazy;  people just about killed us to get tickets,” she said, joking. The event, at the top of the Watermark Hotel, marked the anniversary of the festival.

While barbecue, music from Texas Tide and hayrides were big attractions outdoors at Totally Tejas, inside, in the sprawling pavilion, there was more. The fare ranged from salami, cheese and prosciutto to sushi, wild mushroom tarts, from H-E-B,  Shypoke Eggs from Timbo’s, pulled pork and  crab cakes.  Wines poured were from Texas to New Zealand and all parts in between. Vodka with muddled berries was a big draw, as were icy bottles of St. Arnold beer and root beer.

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Best Ribs: Wack 'Em & Stack 'Em

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Best Chicken: Beko 1 (Ben E. Keith Foods)

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Best Brisket: Two Bros. BBQ

Late in the afternoon, the winners of the Texas Regional Barbeque Showdown were announced. This contest pitted San Antonio restaurants against amateur barbecue teams.  The winners were Wack ‘Em & Stack ‘Em, getting top prize for their ribs; Beko 1 (Ben E. Keith Foods) took first prize for barbecued chicken. San Antonio restaurateur Jason Dady (Two Bros. BBQ) took top honors for his team’s brisket.

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