March Madness at COVER 3

COVER 3 is now taking reservations for seats to view the basketball games this weekend. To go catering options also available. Photo: COVER 3, used with permission.

Attention sports fans: the NCAA Men’s Final Four basketball tournament is coming up this weekend in San Antonio at the Alamodome. The final four teams in the March Madness tournament (Villanova vs. University of Kansas + Loyola University Chicago vs. University of Michigan) will be facing off this Saturday, March 31, with the championship game on Monday, April 2. COVER 3, the leading high-end sports bar and restaurant in Central Texas, is taking reservations for those interested in watching the basketball tournament on site. To secure the best seats, simply call and set up a reservation today by calling the preferred COVER 3 location, Downtown Austin, Anderson Lane, Round Rock or San Antonio. (COVER 3, 2018)

COVER 3 is not only the perfect game-viewing spot for college basketball fanatics, but also for families and residents who want to get together and cheer on their favorite team. The restaurant has previously been added to CNN’s list of “101 of the best sports bars in the U.S” as well as the “Best Sports Bar in the Central Region” by Sports Illustrated. Each COVER 3 location features enough televisions to give guests an extensive selection of tables to choose from that are comfortable and nearest to the TV/game of their choice. Serving upscale food, craft cocktails and high-end wines, COVER 3 remains elegant and still manages to provide guests with the best viewing experience to watch all TV coverage of the month-long basketball tournament.

COVER 3 is also happy to take care of all the food prep for those hosting their own viewing parties at home. Their Party-To-Go take-out option features a pre-set menu of some of COVER 3’s most popular game-day items, including the White Queso, Green Chile Beef or Chicken Tinga Nachos, various sliders and wings options, tacos, signature dishes like the Brick Chicken Mac n’ Cheese, side options, as well as healthier items like the Allandale Salad, COVER 3’s most popular menu item at every location, and desserts such as the Brownie Bites, Cheesecake and Key Lime Pie. The food and beverage minimum for all Party To Go orders is $300, no exceptions. Please note Party To Go Orders for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday must be placed and confirmed no later than Friday at 2:30pm.  Full ordering details available online.

San Antonio: 1806 TX-1604 Loop, San Antonio, TX 78248
Downtown Austin: 1717 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78703
North Austin: 2700 W Anderson Ln #202, Austin, TX 78757
Round Rock: 2800 N Interstate Hwy 35 #200, Round Rock, TX 78681


Television adaptation: ‘Instinct’ by James Patterson and Howard Roughan

instincttvJames Patterson is the best-selling author of thrillers, children’s books, non-fiction books and romance novels as well as many stand-alone novels. He is best known for the Alex Cross, Women’s Murder Club and Middle School series. As a generous supporter of universities, teachers, colleges, independent bookstores, school libraries and college students, he has donated millions of dollars in grants and scholarships to encourage Americans of all ages to read more books. Some of his books have been adapted to movies and television, including ‘Along Came a Spider,’ ‘Kiss the Girls’ and ‘Zoo.’ The most recent is ‘Instinct,’ previously published as ‘Murder Games’ and co-written with Howard Roughan. It has been adapted into the television series Instinct for CBS starring Alan Cumming and premiered on March 11.

According to Amazon, ‘Instinct’ centers around Dr. Dylan Reinhart, a renowned bestselling Ivy League expert on criminal behavior who has written the book on the subject. When a copy turns up at a gruesome crime scene along with a threatening message from the killer, he is recruited by Elizabeth Needham, the headstrong and brilliant NYPD Detective in charge of the case. She needs his help to investigate a souvenir left at the crime scene which turns out to be a playing card. When another card turns out at the next murder scene, Dylan suspects that the cards are not a signature but a hint pointing at the next target. To stop him, Dylan must get inside the mind of a criminal and convince him to lay down his cards before it is too late.

Movie adaptation: ‘Ready Player One’ by Ernest Cline

The movie adaptation of Ernest Cline’s ‘Ready Player One’ opens in theaters on Friday March 29.

Ernest Cline is an American novelist, slam poet and screenwriter best known for his debut novel ‘Ready Player One’ and ‘Armada.’ His 2009 movie Fanboys became a cult phenomenon and he recently co-wrote the screenplay for the upcoming movie adaptation of ‘Ready Player One,’ with Steven Spielberg as director. ‘Ready Player One’ is a science fiction novel about a teenager and his search for an Easter egg in a worldwide virtual reality game where the winner inherits the game creator’s fortune. The movie adaptation stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg and Mark Rylance and opens in theaters on Thursday March 29, 2018.

According to Amazon, ‘Ready Player One’ is set in the dystopia future of 2045 where reality is an ugly place. The only time Wade Watts really feels alive is when he is plugged into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade has devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within the world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When he stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself harassed by other players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on and if Wade is going to survive, he needs to confront the real world he has always been so desperate to escape.

Wine paired dinner at The Granary

Winemaker Dinner will take place at The Granary on Sunday April 8.  Photo: Robert J. Lerma, used with permission.

The Granary ‘Cue and Brew has partnered with German winemakers Christian Hermann and Stefan Steinmetz, to host Winemaker Dinner, a specialty wine paired dinner, on Sunday April 8 at 6p.m. The evening will feature 12 different German wines and a six-course dinner expertly curated by Chef Tim Rattray. The specialty wine comes from Germany’s famed Mosel Rivery Valley region with over 2,000 years of winemaking history of producing the purest wine in the world. Tickets are $75 per person and reservations can be made online. (The Granary ‘Cue and Brew, 2018)

The dinner will begin with passed hors d’oeuvre of Texas elk and smoked bluefish then move on to a six-course dinner featuring pomegranate cured Ora King salmon, pork belly, barbecued beef with foie gras and more. Paired wines to be served include: Steinmetz Pinot Noir 2015, Steinmetz Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Kabinett Feinherb 2016, Steinmetz Piesporter Treppchen Riesling 2016, Steinmetz Kestener Herrenberg Riesling 2016, Steinmetz und Hermann Wintricher Geierslay Riesling Kabinett 2016, Steinmetz Wintricher Geierslay Riesling 2016, Steinmetz und Hermann Urziger Wurzgarten Alte Reben Riesling 2016, Hermann Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Kabinett 2016, Hermann Erdener Herzlei Riesling Spatlese 2015, Hermann Erdener Treppchen Riesling Auslese 2015 and Hermann Erdener Pralat Riesling Auslese 2015. After the dinner, guests will be able to purchase these wines for their home collections.

The Granary ‘Cue and Brew
602 Avenue A
San Antonio, TX 78215
(210) 228-0124

Buddy V’s Ristorante opens in San Antonio

Buddy V's Ristorante
Chef Bryan Forgione puts the finishing touches on dishes during the grand opening of Buddy V’s Ristorante. Photo: Darren Abate, used with permission.

On Thursday, March 22, the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Buddy V’s Ristorante at The Shops at La Cantera. It featured Buddy “Cake Boss” Valastro, his wife Lisa Valastro, their four children and various family and Cake Boss cast members, in celebration of the restaurant’s highly anticipated opening. (Buddy V’s Ristorante, 2018)

Following the ceremony, invited guests, media and tastemakers enjoyed a private reception at the restaurant. Hosted by the “Cake Boss” himself, the bash featured delectable hors d’oeuvres and passed dishes including Grandma’s Meatballs with beef, veal, pork, marinara and parmesan, My Mother in Law’s Capellini Shrimp Scampi with roasted tomatoes, spinach, garlic and white wine, and Bone-In Veal Parm Chop oven baked with provolone, mozzarella and marinara; along with wine and signature cocktail offerings.

Aside from remarks by Jason Lapin of Blau + Associates, on behalf of Elizabeth Blau and Kim Canteenwalla, there was also a champagne toast by Buddy Valastro in honor of the event. In true “Cake Boss” fashion, numerous cakes exemplifying the spirit of San Antonio including The Alamo, armadillo, cowboy boots and more, were presented for guests to enjoy and satisfy their sweet tooth.

Buddy V’s Ristorante is now open and serves both lunch and dinner. Hours are Sunday through Thursday from 11a.m. to 10p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11a.m. to 11p.m.

Renowned baker Buddy “Cake Boss” Valastro has opened Buddy V’s Ristorante at The Shops at La Cantera, partnering with veteran restaurateurs Elizabeth Blau and Chef Kim Canteenwalla, to bring a taste of Valastro’s family gatherings and beloved heirloom recipes to San Antonio.

Inspired by family gatherings, neighborhood barbecues and the beloved recipes passed down by Buddy’s mother, grandmother and aunts, the restaurant features signature dishes such as My Dad’s Bucatini Carbonara with pancetta, cracked black pepper and egg; Lisa V’s Linguine & White Clam Sauce with white wine, garlic and extra virgin olive oil; Bone-In Veal Parm Chop oven-baked with provolone and mozzarella and served alongside spaghetti marinara; Valastro Sunday Gravy with meatballs, sausage, lamb, pork and a bowl of rigatoni; Steak Pizzaiola with peperonata, grana padano and polenta, and Nona’s Lasagna Al Forno.

Author Q & A with Rebecca Kightlinger

Rebecca Kightlinger, author of ‘Megge of Bury Down.’  Courtesy photo, used with permission.

Q: How long did it take you to write ‘Megge of Bury Down’ and how did the story come about?
A: It took roughly seven years from concept to publication. Like many of my narrators, Megge just appeared in my mind’s eye one day when I was ready to write and started showing me around her home and telling me the story of her family and her life.

When she described a river that ran alongside a circular castle and emptied into an estuary along a southern coast, somewhere west of Holland, I got out a globe and opened Google Earth, and realized that the river was the Fowey. Megge’s story was set in Cornwall.

I then had to research medieval Cornwall, medieval medicine and midwifery, and ancient grimoires and herbcraft. Then I had to turn this story into a novel. Never having written one before, I knew I would have to seriously study writing craft. That was when I learned about low-residency MFA programs.

I looked at all of them from Pennsylvania to the east coast and felt most strongly attracted to the University of Southern Maine. It was there, at Stonecoast, among the talented students and faculty, that I learned how to take Megge’s story from mostly summary narrative to a scene-driven novel.

Q: Fans of which authors/books do you think would enjoy this title and why?
A: I think fans of novels featuring strong female characters will enjoy this book. Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon comes to mind: iconic mystical and mythical fiction set in Dark-Age Cornwall. Bradley’s characters are depicted as real people in a world in which the mystical plays an integral part and the protagonist is often at odds with her family: wanting to belong but often rejecting the core tenets of her family’s beliefs. The Mists of Avalon features strong women who are outside the bounds of traditional society, and I think this resonates with readers of all ages.

Q: What do you want readers to remember about your story or characters long after they have finished reading?
A: I hope they will hold on to the feeling of togetherness and protectiveness that exists in Megge’s family through generations, even after family members have passed. In this family, there is such a strong bond that they are willing to return to the living world after death, and even die horrific deaths, rather than allow wisdom and knowledge to be lost. There is an abiding sense of love, trust, and dedication that transcends death.

Q: Is the book based on events in your life or related to your background or expertise/experiences?
A: Not consciously. But since Megge’s mother and aunt were healers in a rural setting where there were no physicians handy, I might have drawn on some of my experiences in Guyana, where non-physician clinicians provide medical care very skillfully. The birth scenes did come naturally given my work as an OB/GYN, and I enjoyed writing them.

Q: What is your favorite genre to write?
A: Historical fiction. Most of my stories are from a distinct time in the past. My first novel, which I haven’t published, was set in the 1930s and involved the struggle to organize the Steelworker’s union.

Megge’s story is set in the thirteenth century, but I’ve already written drafts of some of the future installments in this series, and they are set in every century from the fourth century to the present day. Researching each era and location is fascinating and a great pleasure.

New release: ‘Megge of Bury Down’ by Rebecca Kightlinger

‘Megge of Bury Down’ is the new release by Rebecca Kightlinger.  Courtesy photo, used with permission.

Rebecca Kightlinger is a novelist,  book critic for Historical Novels Review, fiction- submissions reader for New England Review and Stonecoast Review and a copy editor for Stonecoast Review. Earning an MFA from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program and a copyediting certificate from UCSD, she turned her Masters thesis into her debut novel. Kightlinger and her husband reside in northwestern Pennsylvania. (Smith Publicity, 2018)

Confused, unsure, and trying to avoid a twist of fate, a vow that she fears will lead to murder, a young woman makes a decision that places her family in unimaginable danger. A story intertwining destiny with reckoning, and tradition with dreams, the debut coming-of-age novel ‘Megge of Bury Down: Book One of the Bury Down Chronicles’, by Rebecca Kightlinger, radiates feelings of togetherness and protectiveness as seen through the eyes of a young girl embroiled in a mystical struggle that threatens to tear her family apart.

Set in thirteenth-century Cornwall, on a sheep farm in the shadow of Bury Down, known for a thousand years as the land of the second sight, a healer has vowed to face flames rather than fail in her one task in this life: to bring her young daughter to vow to protect The Book of Seasons, an ancient grimoire whose power sustains the spirits of all their ancestors.

On the night of her vow-taking, wanting only to become a woman of Bury Down like her mother and aunts and drawn by an inexplicable yearning to possess her mother’s book, Megge reaches for it. But when she touches its cover, it burns her fingers and she hears it whisper, “Murderer.” Fearing that the book will make her harm those she loves, she rejects it and renounces her birthright.

To what lengths will Megge’s mother go to help the child find the courage to take that vow? And how far will Megge go to elude a terrifying destiny?

This newly released title, ‘Megge of Bury Down’, addresses family issues prevalent in today’s world in a tender yet cryptic setting, creating a story readers of all ages will want to visit again and again.

In this magical and suspenseful chronicle, ‘Megge of Bury Down’ depicts:

  • An unimaginable bond of family. Through generations, even after family members have passed, togetherness and protectiveness are ever-present in Megge’s family.
  • Powerful female characters and how their strength, wisdom, and compassion allow them to defy all odds.
  • The intense conflict between the yearning to belong and the need to find your own path.
  • Tolerance—understanding that the life you must lead to hone your skills may make you an outsider, even to those you serve.
  • A real-life setting—Bury Down is an ancient hill fort whose ruins can still be seen on a hilltop just outside of Lanreath, Cornwall.

‘Megge of Bury Down: Book One of the Bury Down Chronicles’ is available for purchase in paperback and e-book via Amazon and all major booksellers.

“Creating powerful female characters, combining magic and medicine, Rebecca Kightlinger tells a compelling tale of what it takes to walk the ‘path of the protector.’ In a timeless yet also timely story, Kightlinger’s heroine rallies supernatural strength and all matter of healing arts to find her path toward protecting books, the land, and most of all her fellow women. Readers will not forget the women of Bury Down.” —Elizabeth Searle, author We Got Him and librettist for Tonya and Nancy: The Rock Opera

SweetFire Kitchen Easter Feast

SweetFire Kitchen is having an Easter Feast on Sunday April 1.  Photo: SweetFire Kitchen, used with permission.

Next up on the calendar is Easter and SweetFire Kitchen at La Cantera Resort & Spa is having an Easter Feast on Sunday April 1 for $65 for adults and $26 for children. Reservations are available through open table or by calling (210) 558-2479. (SweetFire Kitchen, 2018)

SweetFire Kitchen is located on the lobby level of La Cantera Resort & Spa and features an open-air style kitchen. Guests can enjoy home style cuisine and signature dishes and a full-service bar with unique craft cocktails, an extensive wine list and draught beers.

Menu includes:
Raw Bar
Calamari salad, olives, Meyer lemon & dill
Gulf Coast oysters on the half shell, cucumber- vodka mignonette
Cajun rubbed poached shrimp, chipotle cocktail sauce
Cheese & Charcuturie
House cured meats & Texas cheeses
Spiced lavosh, seasonal jams & local honey
Salad Table
Artisanal greens, spring vegetables & assorted dressings
Braised duck & quinoa salad, celery, fennel & citrus
Baby romaine, brown butter croutons, roasted tomatoes & roasted garlic dressing
Beet & potato salad, pickled mustard seed & tarragon
Grilled spring vegetable antipasto, fava bean hummus & crostini
SFK Specialties
Apple wood smoked bacon
Chicken apple sausage
Pork sausage
Scrambled eggs, chives & roasted tomatoes
Roasted Yukon gold potatoes, caramelized onions, peppers & Smoked paprika
Sautéed BBQ shrimp, Jalapeno sausage & cheese grits
Grilled Texas squash, leeks & blistered tomatoes
Roasted heirloom carrots & English peas, cardamom butter
Action stations
Made to order pancakes
Blueberries, chocolate chips, Oreo pieces, butter, whipped cream
Chocolate sauce, caramel, maple syrup
Made to order omelets & eggs
Carving Station
Garlic & herb rubbed Prime Rib, horseradish cream & Au jus
Porchetta, bourbon-apple mostarda
From the Bakeshop
Display of house made breads & pastries
Assorted verrines
Milk chocolate mousse cake
Texas orange cheesecake
Pistachio financier, hazelnut streusel
Cream puffs strawberry, raspberry
Olive oil and mascarpone cream cake
Chocolate almond tarts
Easter sugar cookies
Carrot cake carrot macaroons
Action station
Orange crepes hazelnut cream filling mandarin orange ice cream

SweetFire Kitchen
16641 La Cantera Parkway
San Antonio, TX 78256
(210) 558-6500

Easter Specials in San Antonio

Bakery Lorraine is one local restaurant having Easter specials.  Photo: Bakery Lorraine, used with permission.

Easter is right around the corner and local restaurants will be having Easter specials and brunch ideas for those who opt to eat out. Whether it is special Easter pastries, drinks specials or brunch, there is something for everyone. (Bakery Lorraine, Boiler House, Southerleigh, Rosella at the Rand, Twang, 2018)

Easter specials include:
Bakery Lorraine will offer special Easter egg moon pies, carrot cake and bunny heads made with white chocolate mousse and strawberry compote. Hours: 7a.m. – 8p.m.

Boiler House will have Easter Brunch specials including carrot oatmeal pancakes, cast iron rabbit bread pudding, Lobster Cobb, cured salmon patty melt and a country ham Benedict. They will also have brunch favorites such as the “David Lee Roth” Krispy Kreme Burger, Hangover Hash and Green Chili Pork and Eggs. Hours: 10a.m. – 10p.m.

Southerleigh will celebrate Easter Sunday with delicious drink specials including specialty mimosas, Micheladas and various brewed beers. Hours: 10a.m. – 4p.m.

Rosella at the Rand will offer a “Live Jazz Easter Brunch” from 9a.m. – 3p.m. The Brunch menu includes, Chicken and Waffles, Tom’s Huevos Rancheros, Chicken Biscuits and gravy and more. For beverages, the full bar will be serving mimosas, Bloody Marys and Micheladas. Rosella’s newest location, Rossella at the Garden will also be offering the same Easter Brunch menu from 9a.m. – 3p.m. Rosella on E Jones Ave will be open serving breakfast from 8a.m. – 3p.m.

For those planning on celebrating Easter Sunday at home with family and friends, Twang has some delicious recipes. These include: Michelada Deviled Eggs: Traditional deviled eggs with a twist of Michelada inspired flavor by using Twang’s Michelada Beer Salt; Sugar Cookie Balls: A sweet and easy no-bake dessert perfect for Easter festivities using Twang’s Cafe Zuca vanilla sugar and Slow Cooker Pulled Pork: A unique appetizer for guests to enjoy before the egg scavenger hunt.

Tickets to Culinaria Wine + Food Festival now on sale

Culinaria Wine + Food Festival is coming up in May and early bird tickets are now on sale. Photo: La Cantera Resort & Spa, used with permission.

Culinaria Wine + Food Festival is coming up in May and tickets are now available for purchase. Scheduled for Thursday May 17 through Sunday May 20, Culinaria celebrates the best of food through events featuring gourmet creations paired with elegant wines for extravagant tastings prepared by San Antonio’s best chefs, guest chefs and global and local wineries.  Culinaria was created to highlight San Antonio’s passion for food and to spotlight the city as a premiere food and wine destination. In the beginning, it was just a weekend of food and wine on the Riverwalk. Now it has expanded to include events as diverse a food competition and a barbeque extravaganza. (Culinaria, 2018)

Individual tickets start at $75. Early bird ticket purchases are 25 percent off through April 1. Ticket packages feature special amenities and include:

Rising Star: $275
Single ticket package for one to all events: Bubbles, Texas Grand Tasting, Texas Taco Showdown and Burgers, BBQ & Beer.

Weekend Warrior: $210
One ticket to the Texas Grand Tasting, Texas Taco Showdown and Burgers, BBQ & Beer.

A-Lister: $340
VIP ticket package for one to attend all events with access to VIP areas. Bubbles, Texas Grand Tasting, Texas Taco Showdown; Burgers, BBQ & Beer.

Chop It Like It’s Hot: $125
Ticket Package to include one ticket to the Texas Taco Showdown and Burgers, BBQ & Beer.

La Cantera Resort & Spa, a part of Destination Luxury collection, will host Culinaria Festival and is offering guests special rates during the event using promo code: CULINARIA18. Rates start at $249 for standard rooms, $349 for SEVEN, a 46-room “adults only” guest floor experience and $399 for The Villas.

Scheduled events include:
Bubbles – 7p.m., Thursday, May 17, Topaz at La Cantera Resort & Spa
Becker Luncheon – 11:30 a.m., Friday, May 18, Becker Vineyards
Texas Grand Tasting – 7p.m., Friday, May 18, San Antonio Ballroom at La Cantera Resort & Spa
Texas Taco Showdown – 12p.m. to 6p.m., Saturday, May 19, La Cantera Resort & Spa
Burgers, BBQ & Beer – 6 p.m., Sunday, May 20, La Cantera Resort & Spa

La Cantera Resort & Spa
16641 La Cantera Pkwy
San Antonio, TX 78256
(210) 558-6500