Book excerpt: ‘Dry Heat’ by Len Joy

‘Dry Heat,’ Len Joy’s new novel, will be out March 1, 2022. Courtesy photo, used with permission.

Len Joy is the author of three previous novels, “Everyone Dies Famous” (2020), “Better Days” (2018) and “American Past Time” (2014) and a collection of short fiction, “Letting Go” (2018). In his new book “Dry Heat: A Novel” which will be out Tuesday March 1, the day All-American Joey Blade turns 18, he learns his ex-girlfriend is pregnant, is betrayed by his new girlfriend, and is arrested for the attempted murder of two police officers. Then things get bad. Below is an excerpt from “Dry Heat.”

Excerpted from “Dry Heat: A Novel.” Copyright © Len Joy. All rights reserved. Published by BQB Publishing.

“Dry Heat” by Len Joy


The gangs were always stealing the nylon basketball nets, so the park director had replaced them with galvanized steel chain, which rattled obnoxiously on every bad shot. Joey frowned as his jump shot clanked off the front rim.

“Your shot sucks today, Joey Blade,” Mallory said as she bounced the ball back to him.

“Your boobs are distracting me. Maybe it’s time you started wearing a bra.” Blonde, with a pixie cut that framed her cute little-girl face, Mallory could have passed for a twelve-year-old if it hadn’t been for her huge breasts. She was fifteen, two years younger than Joey, and they had been playground buddies for ten years. She lived with her creepy father in a rundown brick house a block away and escaped to the park most afternoons.

“Come on, concentrate, Mr. All American.” She lifted up her sweatshirt, flashing him as he took his next shot. An airball.

“Aargh.” Joey chased after the errant shot, hip-checking Mallory as he grabbed the ball. He dribbled out to the corner and swished a turnaround jumper. “Yes! No distractions that time.” He pumped his fist.

Mallory smirked. “Better get used to it. You’ll have plenty of distractions when you’re in Lala Land next week.”

Lala Land.

Joey was out of time. He had to make a decision about his trip to USC and he had to make it now. He clanked another free throw off the rim.

“What’s wrong, Joey?”


Mallory scowled as she bounced the ball to him. She knew what Joey’s dad was like. Dutch Blade was an unfiltered, heart- on-his-sleeve guy. He could chew someone out one moment and be hugging them the next.

“He doesn’t want you following in the immortal footsteps of O.J.?”

Joey gave her a look. Mallory was always a smartass. Three weeks ago, in his last high school football game, the Shadow Mountain Matadors had defeated Apache Junction, last year’s state champion, 28 to 24. Joey rushed for 264 yards and scored all four touchdowns for Shadow Mountain. After the game, he was contacted by every school in the PAC 10, all promising that he would have a bright future playing football for their university.

He thought it would be cool to have all that attention, but it was really like trying to date five girls at once. Everyone insisted their school was the best choice for Joey. He didn’t like disappointing people and he didn’t want to string anyone along, so he quickly narrowed the search to USC in Los Angeles and the University of Arizona in Tucson.

He dribbled out to the foul line and took another turnaround jumper. The shot was a foot short and wide left.

Mallory scampered over and picked it up. “You can’t blame that one on me.”

Joey tried spinning the ball on his index finger, but he couldn’t keep his focus. “Dutch grew up in Tucson. He loves the Wildcats. He’s always said that if his folks had had the money, he would have gone to U of A instead of Vietnam.” He glided out to the corner again. “Ball!” he shouted. Mallory fired a chest high pass to him and he swished a fifteen-footer.

“Maybe he just wants to keep you close so you can help with the family business,” Mallory said with a faux expression of innocence.

Dutch had started Blade Engine and Crankshaft when he returned from Vietnam. With the help of Joey’s mom, Callie, it had become the largest engine rebuilder in the southwest.

“My dad thinks anyone who goes to California just wants to be a movie star.”

Mallory tilted her head and squinted at him. “You’re pretty cute with that curly hair and those girly eyelashes. I could definitely see you in the movies.”

“Shut up, Mallory. This is serious.”

“What do you want to be when you grow up? A football player? Or are you planning to take over the business?”

Joey gave her the finger. They’d had that discussion before. “I want to be a writer. USC would be better for that, but to my dad, a writer is even worse than a movie star. He doesn’t think it’s a real job unless you’re sweating.”

“So, your big problem is deciding between a free education in California or Arizona?” Mallory arched her eyebrows, suggesting that was the kind of problem most people would love to have. Then she grinned and said, “You want to come over to my place for a glass of ice tea?”

“Uh . . .” Joey stared down at his feet. Mallory was cool, but he couldn’t stand her father. Donny Stewart worked at Blade Engine as a mechanic doing engine installs. He thought he was some kind of comedian. He was always telling stupid, dirty jokes and his delivery sucked. He acted like Joey was disrespecting him for not laughing his ass off. Joey knew Stewart resented him because he was the boss’s kid. Donny Stewart was an all- around creepy guy.

“My dad’s running the install center today.” Mallory said. “He won’t be home for two hours.”

“Ice tea sounds great,” Joey said.



  hours  minutes  seconds


‘Dry Heat’ release date


Local semifinalists for James Beard Foundation Awards

David Caceres, Head Baker at La La Panadería, has been named a semifinalist for “Outstanding Baker.” Photo: La Panadería, used with permission.

La Panadería and the Pearl are excited to announce that the following restaurants and chefs have been named semifinalists by the James Beard Foundation. The James Beard Foundation is a nonprofit organization with a mission to celebrate, support, and elevate the people behind America’s food culture and champion a standard of good food anchored in talent, equity, and sustainability. (Pearl, 2022)

Semifinalist for “Outstanding Baker” – David Caceres, Head Baker, La Panadería
Description: A baker of breads, pastries, or desserts who displays exceptional skill. Must consistently sell goods directly to the public, but does not need a brick-and-mortar presence and must have been working as a pastry chef or baker for the past three years.

Semifinalist for “Outstanding Wine Program”High Street Wine. Co, Pearl
Description: A restaurant or bar that demonstrates excellence in wine service through a carefully considered wine list and a well-informed approach to helping customers choose and drink wine. Makes efforts to create and foster a diverse portfolio of wines and wine team members.

Semifinalist for “Best Chef: Texas” – Chef Steve McHugh, Cured, Pearl
Description: Chefs who set high standards in their culinary skills and leadership abilities, and who are making efforts to help create a sustainable work culture in their respective regions. May be from any kind of dining establishment but must have been working as a chef in the region for at least three years.

Spring Break activities: iFLY Indoor Skydiving

Bring the family together for a thrilling and unique Spring Break activity. Photo: iFLY Indoor Skydiving, used with permission.

For families looking for something new to do during Spring Break this year, iFLY Indoor Skydiving is a thrilling and unique activity to incorporate into plans whether you add it to your vacation itinerary or you are planning to visit your local tunnel as a fun outing. With locations across the U.S., iFLY is a sports and recreation company with the mission to deliver the dream of flight. Guests do not need to be athletes or in the best shape of their lives. iFLY’s world-class instructors are pros at making flying safe and fun for everyone. (iFLY, 2022)

The company pioneered the body-flying “indoor skydiving” experience and is the world leader in vertical wind tunnel technology. Each iFLY tunnel is taking the proper precautions to ensure guests enjoy their flying experience by making an investment in new safety measures. In fact, iFLY’s wind tunnels have a fresh air advantage over other experiences. Advanced wind tunnel technology provides guests with clean air while flying by recirculating and refreshing the air from outside the iFLY facilities. Tested and proven, iFLY’s wind tunnels create an environment at least 10x fresher than the average store or gym when flying guests—even at slow wind speeds.

Austin-based iFLY Holdings, LLC, is the world leader in the design, manufacturing, sales, and operations of wind tunnel systems for indoor skydiving. The company has flown more than 9,000,000 people in a dozen countries and at sea since launching the modern vertical wind tunnel industry in 1998. iFLY has over 70 facilities operating worldwide and close to 40 in the US. iFLY supports and utilizes the safety and training guidelines set out by the International Bodyflight Association (IBA) to ensure the safety and progression of the sport of indoor skydiving. iFLY is the world technology leader and operator of body flight experiences and provides potential franchisees with robust and vetted tools and processes ranging from retail location selection to consumer operating models.

Book review: ‘Last Stop on the 6’ by Patricia Dunn

‘Last Stop on the 6’ by Patricia Dunn. Photo: google

Patricia Dunn is the author of the young adult novel “Rebels By Accident.” (Sourcebooks Fire, 2014). Her writing has appeared on Salon, in The Village Voice, The Nation, LA Weekly, The Christian Science Monitor, in the anthology Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women, and more. Patricia holds an MFA in creating writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She has been Senior Director of the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College and is co-founder of The Joe Papaleo Writers Workshop in Cetera, Italy. Her new book “Last Stop on the 6” is the return of the prodigal daughter to a world of long-buried hurts, political complexities, and female resiliency.

“Last Stop on the 6” begins as Theresa Angela Campanosi, or Angela, is sprung from jail after getting arrested at an anti-Gulf War protest in Los Angeles. It is set in 1991 against the backdrop of the Gulf War and the people who were against it. She left her Italian-American neighborhood of Pelham Bay, the Bronx, after an accident that left her brother, Jimmy, an up-and-coming actor, paralyzed. It is now ten years later and she receives a letter from her mother that includes a one-way ticket back to attend Jimmy’s wedding. Against her better judgement and because she blames herself for the accident, she returns to New York to deal with the guilt and secrets that make up her family. But now the groom has disappeared, leaving behind only a cryptic note and his collection of plastic patron saints on his nightstand. Angela’s asthmatic mother insists on keeping Jimmy’s fiancée in the dark; her father, three years sober, goes on a bender; Angela’s ex-boyfriend has taken over running the family exterminating business; and her stepfather just wants to feed everyone. She goes looking for Jimmy through the old neighborhood and discovers that our opinions about people—even ourselves—can be wrong, and that family is far more than blood.

Patricia Dunn presents an extraordinary picture of an Italian American family from the Bronx. Narrated in the first person point of view, readers get an insight into Angela’s conflicted personality: “In LA, I was the Bronx Girl – stubborn and tough- an activist with only three days to stop the war from happening. In the Bronx, in Pelham Bay, I was the sister who ruined her brother’s life.” Once she gets to New York, the first sign that she is not ready to return is her lack of a coat, which she had long ago donated to a homeless shelter. While she does not have a good view of her mom “Dad was the dreamer and Mommy was the sledgehammer who smashed those dreams into smithereens,” she still refers to her as ‘Mommy.’ The characters are complex, relatable, and well developed and the action flows easily from chapter to chapter. Using a combination of humor and drama, the author keeps it from being an overly depressing and dramatic tale of family bonds and obligations. Angela’s family is no doubt dysfunctional but they are also loving, supportive, and most of all, forgiving. In focusing on the life of one anti-war activist, “Last Stop on the 6” brings a Bronx neighborhood to life with all its complexities and humorous mis-adventures. It is recommended for readers who appreciate stories centered around strong families and the joys and pitfalls of growing up and growing wise.

*The author received a copy of this book for an honest review. The views and opinions expressed here belong solely to her.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Top foreign movies to enjoy this weekend

Train to Busan is an exciting zombie movie. Photo: google

If you are an adventurous movie watcher and looking for foreign movies to watch this weekend, here is a list of my top favorites. I have personally watched them all and depending on your preferences, they are worth watching. With the exception of Snowpiercer, which is in English, these are foreign language films. Even though some have the dubbed version, I prefer to watch them in the original language with English subtitles. Thanks to the various streaming services available nowadays, there are plenty of such movies around, so take a chance, you might surprise yourself. (Wikipedia, 2022)

I tried watching Parasite, the much talked about South Korean movie, but could not get into it, but that is just me. I never got around to watching Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan Labyrinth, though I hear it is good. On my Amazon to watch list is A Hero – an Iranian film about a man who is in prison because of a debt he was unable to pay. During a two day leave, he tries to convince his creditor to withdraw his complaint but this plan does not go as planned. Sounds like an interesting plot, I might watch it this weekend.

Here is my personal list of foreign movies to watch, in no particular order:

Tell No One (2006)
A French neo-noir thriller film based on the 2001 novel of the same name by Harlan Coben. An accidental discovery near a doctor’s estate stirs up painful memories eight years after his wife’s hideous murder and now circumstances are bound to take a turn for the unexpected. Does the good doctor know more than he is letting on? There is plenty of action and suspense.

A Man Called Ove (2015)
A Swedish comedy-drama film. Ove is the typical angry old man next door. An isolated retiree with strict principles and a short fuse, who spends his days enforcing block association rules that only he cares about, and visiting his wife’s grave, Ove has given up on life. After a boisterous young family moves in next door and accidentally flattens Ove’s mailbox, an unlikely friendship forms.

Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
A Chinese action-comedy film. The film tells the story of a murderous neighborhood gang, a poor village with unlikely heroes, and an aspiring gangster’s fierce journey to find his true self. Could be considered a parody of the martial arts genre.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
A Chinese martial arts drama film. Master Li, a warrior, asks Yu Shu Lien, the woman he loves, to pass on his sword, Green Destiny, to Sir Te. However, when the sword is stolen, Li embarks on a mission to find it. One of my favorite martial arts movie.

The Ring (1998)
A Japanese psychological supernatural horror film that follows a reporter who is racing to investigate the mystery behind a cursed videotape that kills the viewer seven days after watching it.
Also recommended – the original Japanese versions of The Grudge and Dark Water.

Train to Busan (2016)
A South Korean action horror film directed by Yeon Sang-ho. The film mostly takes place on a high-speed train from Seoul to Busan as a zombie apocalypse suddenly breaks out in the country and threatens the safety of the passengers. These are fast moving zombies like the ones in World War Z.

Snowpiercer (2013)
A South Korean post-apocalyptic science fiction action film. In a future where a failed climate change experiment has killed all life except for a few survivors who boarded the Snowpiercer, a new class system emerges.

The Artist (2011)
A French film that takes place in Hollywood, between 1927 and 1932 and focuses on the relationship between a rising young actress and an older silent film star as silent cinema falls out of fashion and is replaced by “talkies.” A must watch if you enjoy silent movies of the past, emphasis on the “silent” part – you have been warned.

Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi (2019)
An Indian Hindi-language period drama film based on the life of Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi. Laxmi Bai was known for her bravery as she led the battle against the British army to protect her kingdom; however, she is killed in the battle. An inspiring historical drama with a female lead. 

New movie release: Exorcist Vengeance

Exorcist Vengeance is now available on Digital and DVD. Photo: Uncork’d Entertainment, used with permission.

Uncork’d Entertainment has acquired North American rights to supernatural horror film Exorcist Vengeance starring internationally recognized action star Robert Bronzi (Death Kiss, The Gardener) and acclaimed actor Stephen Berkoff (Rambo: First Blood Part II, Beverly Hills Cop, “Vikings”). Uncork’d released the Millman Productions, Titan Global Entertainment and Proportion Productions production on Digital and DVD on February 8, 2022. (Uncork’d Entertainment, 2022)

A possession horror movie with state-of-the-art special effects, the film tells of a tough priest (Bronzi), someone the Vatican calls to do their dirty work. When a prominent family is terrorized by a demonic force, the priest is called upon by Bishop Canelo to root out the evil, but soon realizes the solution to this mystery is tied to his own past. He must find the killer and stop the Devil’s hold on the family before it is too late.

Directed by Scott Jeffrey and Rebecca J Matthews and written by Matthew B.C. (Medusa: Queen of the Serpents) and Jeff Miller (The Toybox; Ouija House; Clowntown), Exorcist Vengeance is based on the latter’s story. The film also stars Sarah Alexandra Marks, Nicola Wright, Simon Furness, Nicole Nabi, and Anna Liddell.

Jeff Miller (Death Kiss, The Russian Bride) and veteran filmmaker Mark L. Lester (director of Commando and Firestarter) are the executive producers and Scott Jeffrey, Rebecca J Matthews, and Miller serve as producers.

Exorcist Vengeance is available on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, Xbox, Google, DirecTV, Dish, and Comcast EST.

“This is my fifth movie with Bronzi, and this one packs an intriguing punch. It’s Death Wish meets The Exorcist meets Knives Out.” – Jeff Miller

“Exorcist Vengeance is a wildly entertaining horror film full of some dynamite scares and brilliant turns from Bronzi and Berkoff. Looking forward to horror fans seeing it.” – Keith Leopard, President Uncork’d Entertainment.

Uncork’d Entertainment was founded in July, 2012 by Keith Leopard, a Home Entertainment industry veteran with more than twenty-three years of experience in purchasing, acquisitions, merchandising, marketing, and analysis of major studio and independent supplier to the home entertainment market. The Company focuses on distribution in six areas: Digital Media, Physical Home Entertainment, Aggregation, Theatrical and Television, Foreign Sales, and has secured relationships across all platforms to ensure your film reaches the widest audience possible. Keith and his team are committed to maximizing revenue, controlling costs, and assuring their Content Partners the highest quality of service, a commitment to market and merchandise their film and a rewarding experience by partnering with Uncork’d Entertainment.

The Culinary Institute of America brings back student run cafe

Guests can visit the student run cafe pop up at Savor from now until April 12, 2022. Photo: Pearl, used with permission.

The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) San Antonio campus is excited to bring back its popular Bakery Café. Savor, CIA’s Modern American restaurant at Pearl, is hosting the pop-up bakery from now until April 12. Under the direction of Certified Master Baker Alain Dubernard, Chef Brian Krellenstein, and Hospitality and Service Management Instructor Angel Gonzalez, students in the college’s capstone course of Baking and Pastry Arts major will have the opportunity to showcase their skills in a real-world retail bakery and restaurant setting by operating both the front and back-of-house. Savor will transform into a pop-up café for breakfast and lunch, serving a range of fresh dishes Monday through Friday from 9a.m. to 1:30p.m. (The Culinary Institute of America, 2022)

Breakfast offerings include items like brioche French toast, house made croissant egg sandwiches, a roasted beef culotte potato hash with an over easy egg and a creamy pecorino polenta with sautéed mushrooms and soft poached eggs. Lunch will include items like homemade salads and sandwiches such as the Ultimate Grilled Cheese Blend Patty Melt, Grilled Vegetable Panini and Café BLT with grilled challah. Delectable pastries and cookies like the Walnut Orange Cranberry Scone, Manchego Guava Empanada, Alfajor Dulce de Leche and more will also be available for purchase.    

200 East Grayson Street, Suite #117
San Antonio, TX 78215

Pearl is a dynamic neighborhood built around the historic Pearl Brewery, which operated from 1883 to 1999. Located just north of downtown San Antonio on the banks of the San Antonio River, it is home to architecturally significant buildings like the brewhouse and stable—both built in 1894—and numerous plazas. Today, Pearl is home to dozens of unique culinary concepts, one-of-a-kind retail, weekend markets, residential communities, innovative office tenants, the San Antonio campus of the Culinary Institute of America, and the award-winning Hotel Emma. Pearl is a vibrant district where community gathers to play, work, and live; it is a place where things are made and celebrated with purpose and sincerity. We invite all to gather and experience the best of what San Antonio has to offer.


Anne Elise Hastings and her Revolving Cast of Characters announces sophomore album

Unmasking A Confidence Trickster is influenced by Appalachian roots with Hastings’ New Orleans flair. Courtesy photo, used with permission.

The first track on Anne Elise Hastings and Her Revolving Cast of Characters’ new album Unmasking A Confidence Trickster gets right down to business, revealing just what it is that makes Hastings tick. “Twice Married, Twice Divorced” premiered with Folk N’ Rock, and starts off sweet enough, but quickly reveals Hastings intent to, in her words, “get to be the one to reject” the person who is continuously proven to be wrong for the song’s main character. Fans can hear “Twice Married, Twice Divorced” now at this link. The new album is available now. (Anne Elise Hastings and Her Revolving Cast of Characters, 2021)

Anne Elise Hastings and Her Revolving Cast of Characters is a New Orleans-based alt-country band. Hastings carries her characters with powerful vocals and lyrically driven music, retaining her Appalachian roots while embracing her adopted city’s sensibility. With inspirations ranging from Dolly Parton to Janis Joplin, listeners are exposed to feelings of nostalgia, heartbreak, and resentment, all backed with compelling, pan-genre musical arrangements. Over time, Hastings’ Cast of Characters has undergone many changes, but always features a roster of multifaceted musicians who can switch instruments on a dime. The current cast is composed of Hastings on vocals and rhythm guitar, Isaac Worley on drums, Dustin Dietsche on guitar, and Tristan Clark on bass. 

Unmasking A Confidence Trickster has the twang and attitude of old school country but introduces a more modern edge of Hastings and Her Revolving Cast of Characters that demonstrates their broad scope of influences. The songs of Unmasking A Confidence Trickster show a vast range in emotion and tone. One moment, Hastings will channel her Great Grandmother, telling her love story. Then, she will be taking out her anger at a heinous ex-lover or navigating the dark waters of depression. For Hastings, this collection aims to break down the image that people have created for themselves, unveiling the con artist within everyone. After all, no one is a hero. Not even the writer herself.

Unmasking A Confidence Trickster track list:
Twice Married, Twice Divorced
Make You Care
Close Enough
Sara Jane
The Hardest Part
Jack Kerouac
Protest Song
Still Afraid
Loving You
Between My Teeth

PechaKucha San Antonio at the San Antonio Botanical Garden

PechaKucha returns for its first in-person event in two years. Photo: Jessica Giesey, used with permission.

PechaKucha San Antonio – the global arts and culture series that hosts speakers who share their passions in a unique format – is excited to announce its first in-person event after a two year hiatus due to the pandemic. The outdoor event is scheduled for Thursday, March 3, 2022, for the first time at the Betty Kelso Center lawn at the San Antonio Botanical Garden (555 Funston Pl, San Antonio, TX 78209). The night begins with a welcome reception at 6:30p.m., followed by presentations starting at 7:30p.m. (PechaKucha San Antonio, 2022)

Vol. 40 will feature a talented group of locals. The seven presenters include:

  • Maeve Bassett, Applied Ethnobotanist
  • Jennifer Hwa Dobbertin, Best Quality Daughter
  • Heyd Fontenot, Artist (*mature content)
  • Mara Nathan, Rabbi
  • Erika Prosper, First Lady of San Antonio
  • Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson, Poet Laureate
  • Tyler Ybarra, Coffee Pioneer

Emcee for the evening will be local musician and PechaKucha SA former presenter Alyson Alonzo. The welcome reception will feature music by DJ Anita Boogie and complimentary bites curated by local chefs and restaurants including Naco 210 Mexican Eatery & Patio, Bandit BBQ, Bakery Lorraine and Jardin. The event will also feature a cash bar. Tickets are $7 in advance or $10 at the door. Advance tickets are available HERE. 

PechaKucha San Antonio would not be possible without the support of annual sponsors, including:

  • Centro Properties
  • San Antonio Food Bank
  • Schroeder Art
  • Lake Flato Architects
  • San Antonio River Foundation
  • Zurich International Properties
  • Southwest School of Art
  • RYNO General Contractors
  • 500 Sixth

In-Kind sponsors for the event include: 

  • San Antonio Botanical Garden
  • Naco 210 Mexican Eatery & Patio
  • Bandit BBQ
  • Bakery Lorraine
  • Jardin
  • Josh Huskin Photography
  • AiAdvertising
  • Giant Noise
  • Sprocket Productions
  • Slab Cinema
  • Direct Motion Technologies
  • Gary Sweeney
  • Alejandro Dehoyos

PechaKucha San Antonio is presented in partnership with the Las Casas Foundation. For more information about PechaKucha, visit PechaKucha online and follow along on Facebook and Instagram. 

Pronounced “PEH-chuh KOO-chuh,” PechaKucha is a 20 image x 20 second arts and cultures series. We host speakers who share their passions in a unique format: Each presenter gets exactly 20 images, and each slide advances automatically every 20 seconds (for a total time of 6:40). San Antonio’s first quarterly PechaKucha Night was held in February 2011 and now attracts hundreds of attendees to venues throughout San Antonio. It highlights a broad range of individuals, including architects, artists, makers, academics, community leaders and more. PechaKucha (Japanese for “chit chat”) is an event format developed by Tokyo’s Klein Dytham Architecture to encourage creative professionals to share projects and ideas that they are passionate about. Since it began in 2003, PechaKucha has expanded to more than 1200 cities around the world. 

Hotel Contessa announces programming to celebrate the Margarita

Ambler at Hotel Contessa announces food and beverage programming to celebrate National Margarita Day. Photo: Hotel Contessa, used with permission.

Hotel Contessa is excited to announce a host of programming to celebrate National Margarita Day on February 22. To celebrate the holiday accordingly, the hotel will extend the celebration throughout the week with various specials and events throughout that week at the hotel’s restaurant Ambler Texas Kitchen + Cocktails. (Hotel Contessa, 2022)

The programming is as follows:

National Margarita Day Happy Hour – Tuesday, February 22, 2022 starting at 4p.m.
On National Margarita Day, Ambler Texas Kitchen + Cocktails will offer four unique twists on the traditional margarita for $8 during happy hour in the restaurant’s bar lounge between 4p.m. and 7p.m.

The cocktails include:
• Fire in the Sky – Casamigos Blanco tequila, orange liqueur, smoked paprika, and bell peppers
• Knocking on Desert’s Door – Desert Door Sotol, Chareau, prickly pear and citrus, garnished with lime and mint
• Misty Step – Del Maguey Vida mezcal, Santa Teresa 1976 rum, Benedictine, pineapple, and bitters
• Oaxaca Old Fashioned – Corralejo Reposado tequila, Del Maguey Vida mezcal, and Ambler bitters

***The bar’s regular hours are 12p.m. (noon) to 12a.m. 

Margarita Making Class – Wednesday, February 23, 2022 at 6p.m. 

Continuing the celebration of National Margarita Day throughout the week, Ambler Texas Kitchen + Cocktails will be offering a margarita making class with its new beverage director, Brandon Vela. The class kicks off at 6p.m. at Hotel Contessa’s third floor terrace overlooking the San Antonio River. Participants will learn the proper techniques and make their own margarita while enjoying light bites from Ambler Texas Kitchen + Cocktails. Guests will also receive a 20% discount toward a meal at the restaurant. The cost of the class is $45 per person and tickets for the class are available here.

Casamigos Tequila Dinner – February 24, 2022 at 6p.m.

Ambler Texas Kitchen + Cocktails will host a special five course dinner featuring Casamigos tequila and mezcal. The ticketed dinner is limited to 50 guests and tickets are $125 a person, which includes the cost of dinner, gratuity, tax, and valet parking at Hotel Contessa. Tickets for the dinner are available here.

See below for the dinner menu featuring unique cocktails made with, and inspired by, Casamigos tequila.

  •  Welcome Cocktail – Aloe, It’s Ambler – Casamigos mezcal, Chareau and lemon
  • First Course
    • Scallop Ceviche – grapefruit, lime, blood orange juice and habanero syrup 
    • Featured Cocktail – Pineapple Express
      • Casamigo Blanco, Casamigo Anejo, Ancho Reyes, citrus, serrano and bitters
  • Second Course
    • Grilled octopus – grilled octopus, frisee lettuce, roasted pears, toasted almonds, watermelon radish and roasted pear vinaigrette
    • Featured Cocktail – Another Sour
      • Casamigo Reposado, citrus, egg white and Texas bitters
  • Third Course
    • Al Pastor Taco – deconstructed with blue cornmeal cake, avocado crema and pickled red onions 
    • Featured Cocktail – Call Me Kiwi
      • Casamigos Blanco, kiwi, pineapple, citrus
  • Fourth Course
    • 6oz Filet – pozole bath filet, fried red peppers, pozole broth and crispy plantains
    • Featured Cocktail – George Clooney lost in the Rio Grande
      • Casamigos Reposado, grapefruit cordial and bitters
  • Fifth Course: 
    • Salted chocolate flan with a tequila caramel
    • Featured Cocktail – Mama’s Mexican Hot Coco
      • Casamigos Anejo, caffee del fuego and orange