Independence Brewing Co. celebrates International Beer Day

‘Taste of Texas’ features chefs across Texas and Native Texan inspired dishes. Photo: Independence Brewing Co, used with permission.

Friday August 3 is International Beer Day, and to celebrate, Independence Brewing Co., one of Austin’s largest and most beloved craft breweries, announces its ‘Taste of Texas’ campaigns. It features ten chefs in five cities that will create Texas-Inspired dishes featuring new seasonal brew “Native Texan.” The brewery has partnered with ten culinary experts statewide to celebrate the release of its new seasonal pilsner, Native Texan. Each of the hand-selected chefs and mixologists have been tasked with creating a Texas-inspired dish or cocktail incorporating the beer as its star ingredient. These limited-time, chef-prepared offerings will be served at choice restaurants across Texas exclusively on International Beer Day. (Independence Brewing Co., 2018)

Participating chefs and mixologists include:

Austin: Alma Alcocer (Executive Chef, El Alma); Anselmo Sanchez (Executive Chef, El Chile); Todd Duplechan (Chef/Owner, Lenoir); and Justin Gutierrez (Bar Manager, Yuyo)

San Antonio: John Brand (Chef/Culinary Director, Sternewirth at the Hotel Emma); and Jason Dady (Chef/Owner, Alamo BBQ Co.)

Houston: Hugo Ortega (Chef/Owner, Hugo’s); and Jacob Pate (Executive Chef, Night Heron)

El Paso: Aldo Mora (Executive Chef, Café Central)

Marfa: Alexandra Gates (Chef/Owner, Cochineal)

As the beer has made its way from stores among the ranks of Whole Foods Market and Buc-ee’s into the hands of thirsty Texans, it has resonated with many people, bringing back memories of days spent on the water for some and evenings spent on the porch swing watching the bluebonnets bloom and the sun set for others. For Independence Brewing Co.’s co-founder, Amy Cartwright, Native Texan has meant something uniquely special to her, reminding her why she fell in love with Texas in the first place. Native Texan is now available in Whole Foods Market, Buc-ee’s, HEB, Central Market, and select restaurants and bars throughout Texas.

“To me, Native Texan is about a sense of belonging, the quality of life here in Texas, the people, and the natural beauty. It’s a beer brewed by Texans for Texans,” said Cartwright. “I’m excited to see and taste what Native Texan means to the finest culinary talents in Texas through each of their creations.” – Amy Cartwright



Grammy-nominated Buika to perform at Pearl

Grammy-nominated Spanish artist Buika will be performing at the Pearl on Friday August 4. Photo: Manuel Velez, used with permission.

To celebrate San Antonio’s Tricentennial and its Spanish heritage, Pearl developed Olé, San Antonio: When San Antonio Meets Spain. This summer-long celebration runs until Sunday September 16 to commemorate the city’s 300th anniversary and includes events and activities related to four main pillars: gastronomy, music and dance, arts and architecture. (Pearl, 2018)

As a part of Olé, Grammy-nominated artist from Spain Concha Buika will perform a special concert at Pearl Park on Friday August 4 from 7p.m. to 10p.m. Known commonly by her stage name, Buika, the Spanish singer was voted one of “50 Great Voices” by NPR and nominated for the Latin Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Concha Buika will take over Pearl Park with a stunning performance that draws inspiration from flamenco, jazz and R&B. San Antonio favorite, Las Coronelas, the all-female mariachi group will open the show. The performance is free and open to the public. Parking information available online.

Pearl Park
303 Pearl Pkwy
San Antonio, TX 78215
(210) 212-7260

San Antonio Food Trails coming soon

San Antonio Food Trails is a food destination guide for visitors and locals alike. Photo: SweetFire Kitchen, used with permission.

San Antonio is fast becoming a foodie destination for visitors as well as locals. Culinaria is teaming up with Visit San Antonio to create a flavorful and fun culinary adventure. ‘San Antonio Food Trails’ is a call for the city’s finest for Best Margaritas, Tacos and BBQ Joints. In September, Culinaria will unveil this new, delicious and exciting concept. The trails will be a categorized journey to restaurants that offer some of the region’s best local cuisine, as decided by a committee of leading local restaurateurs, foodies and culinary ambassadors. (Culinaria, 2018)

Chef Johnny Hernandez noted that most people use their smart phone to plan their visits to different cities. San Antonio Food Trails is designed to be a convenient way for the savvy travel planner to get the most out of their culinary adventure to the Alamo City, while also providing locals with a new way to explore the tastes of their community. “One of our target markets are visitors to San Antonio, so a central walkable tour in San Antonio would be ideal in the coming months after our initial trails are announced,” Chef Johnny Hernandez said.

The list of restaurants that make up the inaugural San Antonio Food Trails will be unveiled this fall. Trails will be divided into four categories: margaritas, BBQ, tacos and a non-judged “Where the Local Chefs Eat” section.  Ten to 12 stops will be identified for each of the Food Trails.

To be considered for a designation on one of the recognized San Antonio Food Trails, the eatery must meet the following criteria:

  • Locally owned and located within Bexar County
  • Must make efforts to source locally, within 150 miles
  • Participate in city efforts to promote culinary events in San Antonio
  • Must be established as a business by designated city, county or state entities
  • Must have an active website and/or social media viewable to the public

To apply, visit Culinaria online and download an application.

Restaurants on the San Antonio Food Trails will be on a two-year rotation to give ample time for patrons to go on several “food crawls.” Explore, mix-and-match experiences and share your experiences. The San Antonio Food Trails are sure to be a conversation centerpiece for any lover of great local cuisine.

Culinaria is an independent, not-for-profit organization committed to promoting San Antonio as a premier wine and food destination while fostering community growth and enrichment. Culinaria is a registered 501 c (3) tax-exempt organization. A volunteer board of directors who represent the community and guide the organization in its mission to champion the wine and food industries governs Culinaria.

“We feel San Antonio has a lot to offer. We wanted to make it easier for visitors and locals to get to these places they might have never visited otherwise.” – Celebrity Chef Johnny Hernandez, who is helping lead development of the San Antonio Food Trails.

Kids Club Naturalist Program at La Cantera Resort & Spa

La Cantera Resort & Spa now has a nature program that gives guests’ children the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. Photo: La Cantera Resort & Spa, used with permission.

Part of the Destination Hotels collection, La Cantera Resort & Spa announces the launch of Kids Club Naturalist Program benefitting San Antonio Zoo and San Antonio Botanical Garden. A picturesque Hill Country nature trail on the west side of La Cantera Resort & Spa is now a classroom where children can get an up-close and personal introduction to flora and fauna. Children will learn about the different trees, cactus, birds and native wildlife such as raccoons, armadillos, deer, wild pigs and possums, that share the 550-acre grounds of the resort. (La Cantera Resort & Spa, 2018)

The Kids Club Naturalist Program is designed for children ages four to twelve and is available to resort guests for $70 per child. Reservations can be done online or by phone at (855) 499-2960. A trained resort staff member will accompany eight to ten children on a quarter-mile tree-shaded nature trail for the start of a four-hour adventure. Children will have the opportunity to see deer, road runners, lizards, hummingbirds and more, and to walk among the cedar, oak and cactus on the trail. Young naturalists get a backpack with tools to support their adventure, such as a magnifying glass, notebook to log observations and a booklet with naturalist-themed puzzles and games.

Children enrolled in the daylong Kids Club Naturalist Program will scout animal tracks, observe and categorize trees and wildflowers and learn to identify different kinds of animal poop. They will do this under a curriculum co-developed with San Antonio Zoo and San Antonio Botanical Garden. For their partnership, La Cantera Resort & Spa will donate a portion of the registration fee to these non-profit organizations. Aly Wehde, Director of Recreation for La Cantera Resort & Spa, worked with educational staff from San Antonio Zoo and San Antonio Botanical Garden on site as they developed the program.

On the trail, resort staff place molds of various animal tracks for children to discover (coyotes, rabbits, deer and more) just in case the critters that inhabit the grounds are a bit shy. Signs identify native Hill Country trees, flowers and plants. After the trail hike, children return to the Kids Club activity center for arts, crafts and educational exercises that complement the outdoor lessons.

While the kids are on their four-hour educational adventure, parents can relax at the adults-only infinity pool, take a few swings at one of the two world-class golf courses, be pampered with a signature treatment at Loma de Vida spa or sit and enjoy a hand-crafted cocktail and sumptuous meal at one of the property’s fine restaurants.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with La Cantera Resort & Spa on nature programming that connects children to the plant world,” – Bob Brackman, Executive Director of the San Antonio Botanical Garden.

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

Celebrate National Lasagna Day with Buddy V


Buddy V’s Nonna’s Lasagna al Forno. Photo” Buddy V’s Ristorante, used with permission.

National Lasagna Day is a holiday commemorated annually on July 29th to celebrate one of the most quintessential Italian dishes. A dish that is not only popular in the United States, it also has enormous popularity around the world even though there is debate among culinary historians over when this dish was created.

Straight from Buddy Valastro’s vault of family recipes, Nonna’s Lasagna al Forno is the holy grail of lasagnas and this is ultimate recipe needed to celebrate National Lasagna Day. Courtesy of Buddy V’s Ristorante at The Shops at La Cantera, this colossal dish features Italian sausage, bolognese, ricotta, provolone, parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Bring home one of the Cake Boss’ most beloved heirloom recipes. (Buddy V’s Ristorante, 2018)

Nonna’s Lasagna al Forno – Courtesy of Bryan Forgione

Béchamel Ingredients
8 oz. butter
10 oz. all purpose flour
10 oz. chicken stock
2 bunches Thyme


  1. Make roux with butter, chicken stock, and flour, cook out for a few minutes.
  2. Add rest and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid sticking to the bottom.
  3. Strain through china cap.

Nona’s Lasagna Al Forno Ingredients
11 sheets Lasagna Pasta
1 lb. Shredded Mozzarella
4 oz. Grana Grated
½ Gallon Ricotta
1 Bunch Basil Leaves
12 oz. Marinara
1/2 lb. ground beef, Cooked
1 lb. ground Italian sausage, cooked
12 oz. Béchamel


(1) Spray heavily with non-stick all sides and bottom of a pan roughly the same size as the pasta.
(2) Lay down parchment paper to cover bottom.  Lay down pasta evenly covering ENTIRE bottom corner to corner, start layering –béchamel –marinara -meat –mozzarella –ricotta–grana -basil.
(3) Add a layer of pasta and push down using another pan.
(4) Repeat process until you end up with 11 sheets of pasta total.
(5) Cover with parchment and plastic wrap and put in cooler, place the pan on top and weigh it down evenly overnight.
(6) Next day, use a grill spatula to loosen up all the sides.
(7) Flip onto a parchment lined sheet pan.
(8) Cut into 4 rectangles and wrap individually.

For each layer: 1 qt. of meat, 1 qt. of béchamel, 2 cups of mozzarella, 1 cup of ricotta, 1 cup of grana, 6 oz. marinara.

Pluckers Wing Bar celebrates 23 years

Pluckers Wing Bar is having food and drink specials all week to celebrate their anniversary. Photo: Melissa Skorpil, used with permission.

Pluckers Wing Bar is celebrating its 23rd anniversary this week from Monday July 23 through Sunday July 29 at all locations. Texas’ Favorite Wing Restaurant’s Celebration will feature Fan Favorites and food and drink specials, including 75-cent wings, $1 beers, $4 Holy Mac, and more. Pluckers will also offer their Pluckers Club members a new “Keep the Mason Jar” special. (Pluckers Wing Bar, 2018)

From July 24 to July 28, the first 100 guests at each location who are either Pluckers Club or Pluckers Club Lite members can participate in the “Keep the Mason Jar” special where guests who purchase a 16-oz. Pluckers Cocktail can keep the commemorative cocktail’s 23rd anniversary mason jar. Fans can join the Pluckers Club by downloading the Pluckers mobile app and signing up to become a Pluckers Club or Pluckers Club Lite member. Pluckers fans can also participate in 90s-themed Live Team Trivia on Wednesday, July 25.

Food and drink specials and events includes:

  • Wednesday, July 25: Keep the Mason Jar, $4 Fried Pickles, 90s Trivia
  • Thursday, July 26: Keep the Mason Jar, $5 Buffalo Bites
  • Friday, July 27: Keep the Mason Jar, $4 Holy Mac
  • Saturday, July 28: Keep the Mason Jar, $4 Tater Cakes
  • Sunday, July 29: $1 Miller Lites, 75-cent wings

In collaboration with Alamo Drafthouse, Pluckers will co-sponsor their Wing Eating Contest on National Chicken Wing Day, Sunday, July 29, at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar location. More information on the contest can be found online.

Owners Mark Greenberg, Dave Paul and Sean Greenberg opened their first Pluckers restaurant in Austin in 1995. Over the past 23 years, Pluckers Wing Bar has opened 23 locations, expanding to Baton Rouge, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Killeen, San Marcos and San Antonio. Pluckers is known for their signature wings and is consistently recognized as the best sports bar and chicken wing restaurant in the cities where it is located. It offers guests a fun, laid-back atmosphere where friends, family, and co-workers can enjoy a great meal and watch sports. Pluckers has been named in USA Today’s “Top Ten Wing Restaurants” and ESPN’s “Top 5 Sports Bar in North America,” along with being named one of “Austin’s Best Places to Work 2017” by the Austin Business Journal and Dallas Observer’s “Best Sports Bar.”


Jimmy Choo Outlet opens at San Marcos Premium Outlets

Jimmy Choo Outlet now open in San Marcos Outlet Mall.

San Marcos Premium Outlets recently announced that Jimmy Choo opened its first Texas outlet location on Friday July 20. Founded in 1996 in London, Jimmy Choo is a leading luxury fashion accessories brand with shoes at its heart. Known for its art of celebrity dressing, Jimmy Choo has dressed style icons from celebrities and royalty to musicians and heads of state. With more than 150 stores, the global brand opened a 2,300 square-foot storefront at San Marcos Premium Outlets next to CH Carolina Herrera, uniting the complete Jimmy Choo men’s and women’s collection of shoes, handbags, small leather accessories and sunglasses. (San Marcos Premium Outlets, 2018)

Jimmy Choo encompasses a complete luxury accessories brand. Women’s shoes remain the core of the product offer, alongside handbags, small leather goods, scarves, sunglasses, eyewear, belts, fragrance and men’s shoes. CEO Pierre Denis and Creative Director Sandra Choi together share a vision to create one of the world’s most treasured luxury brands. Jimmy Choo has a global store network encompassing more than 150 stores and is present in the most prestigious department and specialty stores worldwide. Jimmy Choo is part of the Michael Kors Holdings Limited luxury fashion group.

“We’re thrilled to have Jimmy Choo join San Marcos Premium Outlets’ diverse lineup of retailers and restaurants. We are continually looking for opportunities to provide shoppers with an elevated retail experience and we believe the opening of the Jimmy Choo outlet will exceed shopper expectations.” Celena McGuill, Director of Marketing and Business Development.

San Marcos Outlet Mall
3939 S Interstate 35
San Marcos, TX 78666
(512) 396-2200

Master Class: Plancton Marino at Hotel Emma

As part of Ole, San Antonio, Master Class: Plancton Marino is a culinary experience seafood fans. Photo: Pearl, used with permission.

As part of their culinary series during Olé, San Antonio, Hotel Emma will be presenting a unique experience on July 25 from 5:30p.m. to 8:30p.m. titled ‘Master Class: Plancton Marino.’ This innovative ingredient new to the culinary scene is described as tasting “authentically like the sea.” Tickets for the session are $25 and available for purchase online.  (Hotel Emma, 2018)

Plancton Marino, as an ingredient, is new to the culinary scene. Spain is the only country with authorization to cultivate the tiny marine organisms. Embraced by leaders in the cutting-edge Spanish gastronomy scene, plancton marino exemplifies the latest installment in Spain’s long history of experimenting with innovative techniques and ingredients.

Scheduled to take place at Hotel Emma’s exhibition kitchen, guests will have the opportunity to experience and discover plancton marino, which is not available anywhere in the United States. The special event will welcome expert and leading Spanish marine plancton food consultant Alberto Palomar who will talk about the origins of plancton marino as an ingredient in Spanish cuisine, the process of cultivation and the nutritional benefits. Sea food and sea salt lovers are encouraged to attend and try out this unique ingredient. There will also be a short documentary and a tasting activity.

Supper will feature a la carte specials on the menu with dishes highlighting Chef John Brand’s creative uses of plancton marino. The specials will be available during lunch and dinner service. Reservations may be done online. Larder and Sternewirth will be carrying tapas and dishes specifically designed to highlight this exclusive ingredient.

This event is part of the six unique culinary Master Classes Hotel Emma has prepared as part of Olé, San Antonio, a summer-long program celebrating San Antonio’s Spanish heritage in commemoration of the city’s 300th anniversary. Upcoming Master Classes include jamón (Spanish ham), conservas (tinned fish) and cheese.

Hotel Emma
136 E Grayson
San Antonio, TX 78215
(210) 448-8300

Bottling Department celebrates one year anniversary at Pearl

Bottling Department at Pearl is celebrating its one year anniversary this month. Photo: Bottling Department, used with permission.

Bottling Department, San Antonio’s first ever food hall, will celebrate its one-year anniversary at Pearl on Tuesday July 24 with complimentary birthday cake, live music, food and drink specials from 5p.m. to 8p.m. Tapas specials will be available all day. (Bottling Department, 2018)

Guests will be able to enjoy:

  • $5 Frozé (frozen rosé) and Peach Mimosas at The Bar
  • Tapas Tuesdays specials, as part of Olé, San Antonio program, at all the vendors including Tenko Ramen, Maybelle’s Donuts, The Good Kind, Bud’s Southern Rotisserie and Fletcher’s Hamburgers
  • Complimentary birthday cake for all guests while supplies last
  • Complimentary Bottling Department tote bag with any purchase at the Food Hall. Must show proof of purchase with receipt, valid starting at 5p.m. while supplies last
  • Music by DJ Steven Lee Moya

Bottling Department houses five independently owned food vendors that span a wide range of cuisine, along with a bar serving wine and beer curated in partnership with High Street Wine. Adjacent to Pearl Park, Bottling Department offers guests a welcoming place to dine, drink and relax while enjoying interactive water features, the nearly two-acre lawn of Pearl Park, and the abundant shade of the Pearl Pavilion. The tenants include Bud’s Southern Rotisserie, specializing in Southern comfort food with a soul deep in the heart of Louisiana; Fletcher’s, an all-American hamburger concept, Maybelle’s, offering gourmet donuts and fried pies made daily; Tenko, a fast-casual ramen bar; and The Good Kind, a healthy modern market and café.

Bottling Department
312 Pearl Parkway, Building 6
San Antonio, TX 78215

Summer Chef Collaboration Dinner Series at The Granary

The next dinner in The Granary’s Summer Chef Collaboration Dinner Series is this Sunday July 22. Photo: Robert J Lerma, used with permission.

The Granary’s Summer Chef Collaboration Dinner Series continues this Sunday July 22 at 6:30p.m. with the second dinner in the series. The three-part dinner series will focus on collaborative menus with nationally and internationally ranked chefs from various culinary backgrounds.  This Sunday, The Granary ‘Cue & Brew’s Chef and owner Tim Rattray partners with Charleston Chef BJ Dennis for a Southern smoke potluck style dinner. Chef Dennis is known for hosting several pop-up dinners, especially in Charleston, where he incorporates Gullah Geechee cooking, a style of cuisine from the culture of the descendants of West African slaves who settled on the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia. (The Granary ‘Cue & Brew, 2018)

Sunday’s dinner menu features below and more:

  • Smoked goat with suya spice
  • BBQ ribs with pineapple bbq sauce
  • Okra and smoked sausage purloo (rice)
  • Gullah red rice
  • Crab seasoning boil corn with crab roe butter
  • Stewed summer greens with smoked ham hocks
  • Hog head hash and rice
  • Cucumber salad

Cost is $85 per person plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are limited and can be bought online. The Granary has previously partnered with John Tesar of Knife Dallas in June and the final dinner is scheduled for August with acclaimed Chef Bo Bech of Geist in Copenhagen.

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