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Photo courtesy of Garrison Brothers

Bourbon lovers, get ready: Garrison Brothers Distillery is launching its 2022 Bourbon Takeover of America on September 1.

The nationwide creative celebration of all things bourbon will run for the entire month of September, which also happens to be National Bourbon Heritage Month.

During that time, the award-winning, first-legal Texas whiskey distillery is partnering with America’s best bartenders and chefs from coast to coast to offer unique, limited-edition, bourbon-inspired cocktails and bites.

Wondering where to indulge in and around San Antonio? Here's your list:

Get even more out of the experience by downloading the Garrison Brothers Bourbon Takeover Passport App and then checking in with what you've just savored.

The more you check in, the more chances you have to be one of the 10 who wins the prize: a custom Garrison Brothers-branded barrel head serving tray, mixing glass, stirring spoon, and jigger.

The Garrison Brothers Bourbon Takeover Passport App is available for download in the Apple App and Google Play stores. Those 21 years of age and older are welcome to participate.

To find out more about 2022 Bourbon Takeover of America, go to www.bourbontakeover.com.

The celebration of all things bourbon will run for the entire month of September.

Photo courtesy of Garrison Brothers
The celebration of all things bourbon will run for the entire month of September.
Photo courtesy of Brasao

3 San Antonio steakhouses make the cut among Bumble's date night destinations

It's A Date?

There's still something romantic about meeting someone you really click with over a meal, and it looks great to suggest a cool, delicious restaurant for that first get-together. But it also adds to the pressure: According to a press release, an OpenTable and YouGov survey found that the top “stressor” for people going on first dates is “picking the right spot/activity.”

To address that unfortunate idea gap, OpenTable and Bumble teamed up to create a dining guide in 2021, listing the 100 Best Restaurants for a Date in America. This year, they reprised the popular list across Bumble’s three verticals — romance, friendship, and business — and three of those standout restaurants are in San Antonio.

“At Bumble, we’re fueled by bringing people together to build genuine connections across every stage of their life: dating, making friends and professional connections,” said Olivia Yu, Bumble’s global vice president of partnerships, in the release. “We saw great feedback from our community following our partnership with OpenTable last fall … [and] couldn’t wait to partner with OpenTable again.”

Before going any further, it’s time to acknowledge any weirdness in categorization. The methodology compared user ratings on OpenTable to determine the “best” restaurants, and then sorted them based on tags indicating whether each was "romantic," “good for groups,” and “good for business meals.” Although Bumble and OpenTable teamed up for this, the data is all automated.

In San Antonio, Brazilian steakhouse Chama Gaucha appears on the Best Restaurants for a Date list, while Brasao Brazilian Steakhouse lands on the Best Restaurants for a Friend Date. (Some crossover is probably permissible, but the OpenTable hive mind makes the rules). J-Prime Steakhouse makes the cut among Best Restaurants for a Business Meeting. Apparently San Antonians enjoy steak.

Austin also scored three restaurants on the lists, with a lot more variety. For dates, sushi restaurant Uchiko charms as always, and Trattoria Lisina (technically out in Driftwood) transports visitors to Italy. Both restaurants are often cited as must-tries, and have earned their popularity in large part because of atmosphere. One other Austin restaurant, Steiner Ranch Steakhouse, made the friendship list; none made the business list.

“People are craving connection, and partnering with Bumble to debut curated diner guides means skipping the dreaded ‘where should we go’ question and instead focusing on nailing that first impression,” said OpenTable chief growth officer Susan Lee in the release. “The win-win is that this movement for in-person socialization also supports the still-recovering dining scene.”

Now through August 18, these lists will pop up for users in Bumble, who can swipe for a link giving recommendations. Those who would like to browse more intentionally can view the lists on OpenTable. All can book, and if they don't agree with this year's lists, feel free to leave the reviews that build next year's.

Photo by Megan Bucknall

New service brings top chefs from San Antonio and beyond into your kitchen

Getting Personal

Life in the restaurant industry is complicated, but Texas does love its chefs.

Zach Knight, an Austin restaurant industry vet of 12 years, was on a gondola in Aspen with his friend Emmie Nostitz when the idea for Tivity was born in 2020. Knight received a call from a client, if he could call them that, asking to be connected with an Austin chef for a private at-home dinner. He had been making those personal connections to keep the restaurant spirit alive during the pandemic, but it wasn’t a business yet.

Nostitz, a creative director in advertising living in New York, saw that call as the signal it was: there was a market for this kind of connection. For the next six months, Knight and Nostitz traded calls and texts full of incidental ideas for an informal product slowly unfolding.

One of Knight's calls included an acknowledgment (that Tivity had to be real) and an invitation (that Nostitz should join, no pressure). Like many New Yorkers ready for a change, Nostitz found herself in Austin for a visit two weeks later, and for a home in 2021.

Tivity has branched out since then — with markets in Austin, Aspen, Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Chicago — but the service is still in a sweet spot between having an established community, and enjoying total freedom within its own system. It's not even tied to those markets; anywhere an individual chef is willing to travel is fair game, with nearby places like San Antonio representing a great opportunity to build lasting new cross-city relationships. That ethos extends to everything Tivity does. Most questions about how the service works are met with a question back: “How do you need it to work?”

As of July 2022, there’s a Google form to get things started. It asks about the necessary logistics, and opens up to “vibe.” The text boxes solicit information on the purpose of the event, the desired feel, and the type of guests, but notably, not the name of any chef or restaurant. But pulling from a wide pool of talent — sous chefs, chefs de cuisine, chef teams, and more from recognizable local restaurants — it’s hard to choose wrong.

“I think one of the best representations of what we do is a dating app. We are a matchmaker for chefs and clients,” says Knight. “We know what the chefs do, we know what the clients want, and we are matchmaking those experiences.”

Like a consultant, Tivity offers an opinion, or at least an idea. The team has noticed patterns early in conversations — clients choosing the same chefs and the same types of plates, again and again — that keep the service unnecessarily restricted.

“They say we want the chicken or the steak, and they don't know how to think outside the box,” says Nostitz, putting that paralysis of choice in sharp focus. “We end up talking to them and offering a Peruvian meal that they never, ever would have thought about.”

One of Tivity’s earliest, most defining meals took place during a more restrictive phase of the pandemic, for a client organizing her husband’s birthday. She requested steak. When she and Knight started planning over the phone, she mentioned that they would usually be in Spain, but couldn’t travel for birthday festivities. Tivity connected the couple with a chef to recreate “the dinner they would have had [in Spain],” who made a Spanish cake that caused the birthday celebrant to shed a tear over dessert.

“Before Uber, having a black car pick you up was getting a chauffeur,” says Knight, “and having a chef in your home was only stuff you saw on TV. We're really trying to bring that down so that it's a common idea.”

They’re succeeding. Tivity can get things started for a custom meal 24 hours after receiving a form, with about a month recommended in advance. Taking into account the huge variability Tivity offers (and the flexibility of pricing necessary to sustain that), a simple buffet-style spread could run a client in a home city roughly the same bill per person as most of the lower priced prix fixe menus around town on holidays. Meal preps are priced even lower, but for bigger budgets, a plated course dinner is comparable to one at top restaurants in Texas.

It’s as ready for an exclusive corporate celebration as it is for girls’ night. And hopefully, the duo says, it can make life easier on chefs, too, who suddenly have the chance to get creative and build a brand outside of the kitchen, to make some cash on the side, or even to offset a leisure trip near a far-away client.

Both Knight and Nostitz talk about the life-changing potential of food, for chefs and for everyone else at the table. Why should we be picky about whose table it is?

More information about Tivity, including an in-depth inquiry form and transparent pricing, is available at thetivity.com.

Photo by Kristen Kilpatrick

Texas-based Bumble sponsors 50 female athletes to honor 50 years of Title IX

Big League Bumble

Bumble is causing a buzz once again, this time for collegiate women athletes. Founded by recent Texas Business Hall of Fame inductee Whitney Wolfe Herd, the Austin-based and female-first dating and social networking app this week announced a new sponsorship for 50 collegiate women athletes with NIL (name, image, and likeness) deals in honor of the 50th anniversary of Title IX.

Established in 1972, the federal law prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or other education program or activity that receives federal money. According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, the number of women in collegiate athletics has increased significantly since Title IX, from 15 percent to 44 percent.

That said, equity continues to lag in many ways, specifically for BIPOC women who make up only 14 percent of college athletes. The findings also share that men have approximately 60,000 more collegiate sports opportunities than women, despite the fact that women make up a larger portion of the collegiate population.

With this in mind, Bumble’s new sponsorship seeks to support “a wealth of overlooked women athletes around the country,” according to the beehive’s official 50for50 program page.

“We're embarking on a yearlong sponsorship of 50 remarkable women, with equal pay amounts across all 50 NIL (name, image, and likeness) contracts,” says the website. “The inaugural class of athletes are a small representation of the talented women around the country who diligently — and often without recognition — put in the work on a daily basis.”

To celebrate the launch of the program, Bumble partnered with motion graphic artist Marlene “Motion Mami” Marmolejos to create a custom video and digital trading cards that each athlete will post on their personal social media announcing their sponsorship.

“These sponsorships are an exciting step in empowering and spotlighting a diverse range of some of the most remarkable collegiate women athletes from across the country. Athletes who work just as hard as their male counterparts, and should be seen and heard,” says Christina Hardy, Bumble’s director of talent and influencer, in a separate release. “In honor of the 50th anniversary of Title IX, we are so proud to stand alongside these women and are looking forward to celebrating their many achievements throughout the year.”

“Partnering with Bumble and announcing this campaign on the anniversary of Title IX is very special,” said Alexis Ellis, a track and field athlete. “I am grateful for the progress that has been made for women in sports, and am proud to be part of Bumble’s ’50for50’ to help continue moving the needle and striving for more. I look forward to standing alongside so many incredible athletes for this campaign throughout the year.”

“I am so grateful to team up with Bumble and stand alongside these incredible athletes on this monumental anniversary,” said Haleigh Bryant a gymnast. “Many women continue to be overlooked in the world of sports, and I am excited to be part of something that celebrates, and shines a light on, the hard work, tenacity, and accomplishments of so many great athletes.”

Last year, the NCAA announced an interim policy that all current and incoming student athletes could profit off their name, image, and likeness, according to the law of the state where the school is located, for the first time in collegiate history.

The 50for50 initiative adds to Bumble’s previous multi-year investments in sports. In 2019, Bumble also launched a multi-year partnership with global esports organization Gen.G to create Team Bumble, the all-women professional esports team.

To see the 50for50 athletes, visit the official landing page.

Photo courtesy of the Jerk Shack

The Jerk Shack spices up San Antonio with new Sunday brunch service

Jerks Who Brunch

Fried chicken on a weekend morning just took on a new flavor, as the Jerk Shack starts offering Sunday brunches. The husband-and-wife team put a Caribbean twist on some Southern American brunch classics that might wake you up and then immediately knock you right back out.

That means new menu items like catfish and grits with jerk remoulade, sweet potato and cream cheese French toast with dulce de leche, and a “Texas Toast Benedict” highlighting jerk pork or chicken (or regular bacon, if you’re not trying to stay on theme).

There’s no rush at all to get there early; the brunch menu is available from 11 am to 5 pm, alongside the regular menu, which already offers up items that pair perfectly with brunch: fried green tomatoes, a crispy chicken sandwich, or tacos smothered in avocado cream and pineapple pico de gallo. An array of colorful frozen drinks awaits hot summer days and stretches out those slow brunch vibes.

In January, 2022, the Jerk Shack opened its new location, replacing the actual shack with a modern interior and counter service, plus a drive-thru pickup window. Lines wrapped around the building. Since then, it’s started selling merch, chef Nicola Blaque was nationally recognized by Yelp on International Women’s Day, and staff participated in a donation drive by packing meals for Uvalde first responders.

Next, an additional location is slated for the very un-shack-like historic Schultze House at Hemisfair. This location is slated to open in "mid to end of 2023," a publicist confirms.

The Jerk Shack is located at 10234 Highway 151, Suite 103.

Photo courtesy of Stir

Texas-based Match stirs up dating scene for single parents with new app

Looking for the right swipe

The 20 million single parents in the United States now have a dating app to call their own: Dallas-based dating app company Match just launched Stir, a dating app designed to connect single parents who are seeking dates.

“Where mainstream dating apps cater to the general population, single parents can often feel like outliers, and they are oftentimes overlooked on mainstream dating apps,” says Din Thi Bui, vice president of new verticals at Match. “It was important for us to intentionally design an app for the single parent community, and make it easier for them to connect with others without fear of judgment.”

The rollout coincided with National Single Parent Day. Surveys conducted by Match continually show single parents find it tough to date. In part, Match says, that’s because some single parents feel potential partners are turned off when it’s disclosed that they have children.

Bui says the Stir app is available to any single parent interested in dating other single parents, regardless of sexual orientation and other factors. When building their Stir profile, a user can set various dating preferences.

One of the app’s unique features is Stir Time, which enables single parents to more easily coordinate their schedules.

The app can be downloaded from the iOS App Store or Google Play. Upgraded versions are priced at $39.99 for one month, $89.99 for three months, and $119.99 for six months. It’s available in English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

Matches made on Stir are based on responses to member profile questions related to hobbies, dating preferences, likes, dislikes, parental schedules, and communication preferences.

“Having kids shouldn't be a dealbreaker when dating,” Bui says in a news release. “We’re dedicated to giving single parents a dating experience where they are celebrated and feel like they can be themselves. With that, our hope is that they can truly focus on having a personal life beyond navigating parenthood.”

Match’s other dating apps include Tinder, Hinge, OurTime, and OkCupid.

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Where to see the once-in-recorded-history green comet approaching San Antonio

Seeing green

The world is buzzing with news of an approaching astronomical body, Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF), more often referred to in the news and social media as "the green comet." Its most recent appearance was 50,000 years ago — compared to the about 200,000 years since modern humans emerged.

"While the pictures of it have been impressive, its visual appearance differs greatly," explains Joe Wheelock, public program specialist at the McDonald Observatory at the University of Texas at Austin. "Currently you might glimpse it with the unaided eye as a fuzzy patch of light[,] but you would need to be away from city lights. Binoculars or a telescope would improve the view, and you might even glimpse a faint tail."

As tempting as it is — and as much fodder as its made on social media — this experience will not be easy for most Texans to photograph and share. "The pictures that have been posted on various websites were taken by experienced astrophotographers and in most cases cameras designed for astrophotography," Wheelock warns.

Some logistics to note when planning a viewing:

  • The comet will be closest to Earth (thus, likely the most visible) on February 1.
  • Wheelan says placement will also be good in late January and early February, and it will be best viewed after midnight. Since the new moon was on January 21, every day the moon will compete with it a little more.
  • The McDonald Observatory posts daily stargazing tips, so viewers will have a few chances at seeing something special, even if the comment doesn't work out.
  • Getting out of San Antn is the best bet against light pollution.

Those who are willing to make a trip out of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity should consider their best chances at out running the city lights. The closest popular option to San Antonio proper is McAllister Park, which sometimes hosts stargazing events. For a more structured approach, the Curtis Vaughan Jr. Observatory at the University of Texas at San Antonio hosts first Friday stargazing nights after sunset. The McDonald Observatory, although it is an entity of the University of Texas at Austin, is in Fort Davis, about 400 miles from San Antonio.

The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) maintains records of some of the world's least light-polluted skies and works to protect them, ensuring that these places stay available for reliable stargazing retreats. There are four IDA-certified Dark Sky Parks in Texas: Enchanted Rock (90 miles from San Antonio), South Llano River (120 miles), Copper Breaks (370 miles), and Big Bend Ranch (490 miles).

In addition to the certified parks, there is a smaller group of Dark Sky Sanctuaries, which are especially dark and carefully protected. There are two in Texas: Devil's River State Natural Area (170 miles) and Black Gap Wildlife Management Area (390 miles).

For more in-depth reading on the comet's trajectory and context, Wheelan suggests an article in Sky & TelescopeSky & Telescope.

San Antonio suburb among the richest places in Texas for 2023, plus more top stories

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. San Antonio suburb cashes in among the richest places in Texas for 2023. Alamo Heights has been renamed the third richest place in Texas for 2023 in a recent study.

2. San Antonio home sales slowed in December 2022, report finds. San Antonio sold 36,477 homes all year, a 10 percent decrease from 2021.

3. Here are the top 5 things to do in San Antonio this weekend. Nina Simone, Pink Floyd, the Beatles and more music-centered events made our roundup of the best things to do in Alamo City this weekend.

4. San Antonio Home & Garden Show returns with HGTV star. Ati Williams will headline the San Antonio Spring Home & Garden Show, which takes place February 24-26.

5. H-E-B opens first location in growing San Antonio suburb. The state-of-the-art facility offers 110,000 square feet of floor space, providing everything from cat food to charcuterie.


Popular Pearl brunch spot remixes with new weekend DJ nights

OONCE OONCE OONCE

Though Full Goods Diner has barely been open for half a year, it has already become a San Antonio staple for working weekday lunches and lingering Sunday Fundays. Now the Pearl eatery is looking to be a hot spot after dark.

Via release, the popular local haunt just announced a new limited-time music series, Full Goods at Night. Starting on February 2, Full Goods Diner will open select evenings throughout the month.

The Full Goods at Night series will feature popular local San Antonio DJs, including El West Side Sound, Hector Gallego, DJ Plata, Steven Lee Moya, and Cami Gee. Guests can enjoy live sets while indulging in a specially curated food and drink offerings.

The menu will include some of Full Goods Diner's best—selling items, such as French toast sticks, barbacoa waffle fries, and jumbo cheesy tots. Libations like the Attaboy Negroni, Royal Bermuda Daiquiri, Pink G&T, and more will fuel the festivities.

In addition to enjoying moonlight brunch, guests can relish some prime people-watching. And, of course, the restaurant is just a hop from other nightlife destinations like Pink Hill, 3 Star Bar, and Summer Camp Bar, making it the perfect party starter.

The series runs every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from February 2-25, 6-10 pm. The complete DJ schedule is listed below.

February 2 — El West Side Sound·
February 3 — Hector Gallego
February 4— DJ Plata
February 9 — El West Side Sound
February 10 — Steven Lee Moya
February 11 — Cami Gee
February 16 — El West Side Sound
February 17 — Steven Lee Moya
February 18 — Hector Gallego
February 23 — El West Side Sound
February 24— Steven Lee Moya
February 25 — DJ Plata