Photo courtesy of Los Patios

Many locals love perusing through the produce and artisan goods offered at San Antonio’s many farmers markets, but waking up before the last tomato is plucked can sometimes be a dicey proposition. Luckily, an Alamo City development is helping night owls get the worm.

On May 6 from 4-7 pm, dining and retail destination Los Patios will debut its First Friday Night Market with an eclectic group of local vendors including Gardopia Gardens, Special Leaf, San Antonio Microgreens, Alamo City Kettle Corn, and more. Many of the restaurants and shops at the picturesque site will also stay open late to add to the fun.

The event will run concurrent to a sundown screening of animated hit Sing 2 on the property’s lawn. Guests are invited to bring their own lawn chairs or blankets and enjoy a bounce house and lawn games. Admission is free and food is available for purchase.

For property owners Christine Mayer and Dr. Paul Mayer, both events are a chance to connect with the broader San Antonio community and provide a welcoming space for families. Also the owner of Blue Heron Recovery, Mayer recently revamped Los Patios as a sober campus with popular dry spots Comfort Cafe, Naco Mexican and Olla Express Cafe.

"We're so thrilled about this event - both the movie night and the night market in tandem,” says Christine via release. “It's a great opportunity for families to come out and chill in a safe and relaxing environment, which is part of our health and wellness movement here on property.”

The Mayers are looking to make the night market a monthly tradition. And it will be the start of a busy May: In addition to the Friday festivities on May 6, Los Patios will be the setting of a virtual fundraising event for Blue Heron staged by nonprofit group Chef Cooperatives. Ticketholders for Bringing Back the Garden can pick up chef-curated picnic baskets on May 14, then enjoy an online tour of the grounds on May 17. Tickets and further details are available here.

6 things to know in San Antonio food right now: Popular brunch spot bellies up to new location

News you can eat

Editor’s note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of San Antonio’s restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.


The team behind Stone Oak’s Full Belly Café + Bar is getting a bit fuller. Real estate agent Mike Garansuay spilled the beans that the restaurant had rented a space in Olmos Plaza at 4212 McCullough Ave. for a second location of the American eatery. Though Full Belly reposted the news on its own channels, it did not reveal an exact opening date.

The Medical Center lunch crowd gained a new place to nosh on April 1. According to an Instagram post, the new Japanese concept Time To 8 has taken over the formerThyme for Lunch space at 9390 Huebner Rd #104. Guests can expect rice bowls, sushi, ramen, and bento boxes.

Austin-based coffee chain Summer Moon is continuing its San Antonio expansion with a fourth location at 21134 US Hwy 281 N. in Stone Oak. The spot, known for wood-fired beans, will celebrate its grand opening 7 am-12 pm on April 16 with giveaways, swag, samples, and discounts.

Other news and notes

Locals wondering why their Uber Eats and Favor orders take so long now have an answer. According to a study by online network Porch, San Antonio has the second-fewest delivery drivers among U.S. metropolitan areas. Using U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, the company determined that Alamo City has only three delivery drivers per 1,000 residents.

After a two-year delay, aspiring chicken parents can once again flock to the San Antonio Chicken Walk on April 16. The event, sponsored by the Food Policy Council of San Antonio, is a self-guided tour of San Antonio’s chicken coops ending with refreshments and fun at Garcia Street Urban Farm at 218 Garcia St. Guests can kick off their journey at Olmos Basin Farmers Market at 100 Jackson Keller Road between 9:30 am-1 pm. Tickets are available online.

Fans of fine dining and booze will be heartened to know that Landrace’s Dinner Series will be returning on April 21. The Riverwalk dining destination has teamed up with Fort Worth’s Blackland Distillery for a paired four-course dinner for the official return. Menu highlights include tuna ceviche and a springtime smore for dessert. Tickets are $120 and are available through Eventbrite.

Woman takes monarch butterfly under her wing for release in San Antonio

On a wing and a prayer

An Iowa woman went to great heights to heed the call of a nature center seeking help to relocate a single monarch butterfly to Texas.

Patty Loving, who’s originally from Texas but now lives in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa, had already booked a Southwest Airlines flight to Texas when she learned about the butterfly’s predicament. The Jester Park Nature Center in the Des Moines suburb of Granger posted November 2 on Facebook that a newly emerged monarch butterfly “desperately needs to hitch a ride to Texas ASAP.”

A group of seventh-graders discovered the monarch while assisting with a prairie-seed harvest at the nature center.

“We need to do something to help [monarchs],” Patrice Petersen-Keys, an official with the nature center, told Des Moines TV station KCCI. “And this is kind of one of those little feel-good things to say, ‘Hey, if this little monarch butterfly can make it to Mexico, we can all rally behind it and feel good about that.’”

Loving, who used to raise monarch butterflies in Texas, answered the nature center’s plea and volunteered — with permission from Dallas-based Southwest Airlines — to escort the wayward butterfly on her 900-mile flight from Des Moines to Austin. It turns out Jen Yáñez-Alaniz, a friend of Loving, runs CIELO Gardens in San Antonio, and that’s where the monarch eventually was released.

“I’m so happy to be a part of this special adventure,” Loving wrote on Facebook.

Loving told the Des Moines Register that after she opened an envelope that contained the butterfly over some flowers, it wiggled and initially gripped her finger but finally let go. That happened November 5, a day after Loving’s flight with the butterfly. In transit, the envelope had been kept in a sealed container inside a cooler.

“The happiest of all endings ever!!! … The emotions I am feeling are out of this world!” Loving wrote on Facebook after the butterfly fluttered away.

If Loving hadn’t transported the butterfly to Texas, it probably wouldn’t have survived the harsh winter in Iowa. Much of North America’s monarch population migrates to Mexico every year, stopping in Texas along the way, to escape the cold weather in northern climates. Many of the monarchs follow the I-35 corridor on their yearly migration journeys.

“In the spring, many will migrate back to the U.S., where they will reproduce, pollinate, and also be a food source, making our world a healthier place,” Loving explained on Facebook.

Courtesy of Whole Foods Market

Whole Foods co-founder John Mackey to check out as CEO in 2022

Natural progression

John Mackey, the trailblazing, high-profile, highly opinionated co-founder and CEO of Austin-based Whole Foods Market, is stepping down as the top executive at the natural and organic grocery chain.

In a letter posted September 30 on the company’s website, Mackey said he’s retiring in September 2022. Jason Buechel, currently the chief operating officer, will succeed Mackey as CEO. Upon retirement, Mackey will pursue some of his other “life passions” (including yoga), he wrote.

Mackey co-founded Whole Foods in 1980. In 2017, he shepherded Whole Foods through its $13.7 billion acquisition by e-commerce giant Amazon. At the time of the Amazon deal, Whole Foods was a publicly traded company with annual revenue approaching $15 billion. Today, Whole Foods operates more than 500 stores in the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom, and employs roughly 87,000 people.

“As a co-founder of Whole Foods, I’ve often explained my relationship to the company with a parent-child metaphor. As a parent, I have always loved Whole Foods with all my heart,” Mackey wrote. “I have done my best to instill strong values, a clear sense of higher purpose beyond profits, and a loving culture that allows the company and all our interdependent stakeholders to flourish.”

“All parents reach a time when they must let go and trust that the values imparted will live on within their children. That time has nearly come for me and for Whole Foods,” he added.

Mackey, a former vegetarian who now identifies as vegan, entered the grocery business in 1978 with the opening of a health food store called SaferWay near downtown Austin. Two years later, he co-founded Whole Foods, an Austin-based business that would go on to revolutionize the natural and organic foods industry.

Throughout his career, Mackey — a free-market libertarian — has never shied away from bold moves and comments.

In 2006, for instance, Mackey capped his own pay at $1 a year (while still owning a multimillion-dollar stake in Whole Foods). And for years, he anonymously published blog posts that got him into hot water over their criticism of Wild Oats Market, which Whole Foods bought in 2007 for $565 million. Also, he has been denounced for slamming the notion of public health insurance and equating Obamacare with fascism. Furthermore, Mackey routinely bashes labor unions.

Mackey, who celebrated his 68th birthday in August, grew up in Houston. He’s an alumnus of the University of Texas and San Antonio’s Trinity University.

Courtesy of Pearl Farmers Market

San Antonio harvests ranking as one of top U.S. cities for farmers markets

Ahead in its field

San Antonio has plowed through most of the competition to be named one of the best cities in the country for farmers markets.

Gardens Alive, a supplier of environmentally friendly products for gardeners, places San Antonio at No. 6 on its new list of the best cities for farmers markets. Houston, the only other Texas city to appear in the top 10, lands at No. 3.

To rate the best cities for farmers markets, Gardens Alive looked at data for the 50 largest U.S. cities in seven categories:

  • Number of farmers markets.
  • Number of organic farmers markets.
  • Number of winter markets.
  • Number of farmers markets that take credit cards.
  • Average temperature difference from 70 degrees.
  • Average annual rainfall.
  • Walk score.

Gardens Alive didn’t detail how San Antonio or Houston performed in each category, but the Alamo City earned an overall score of 24.4 out of a possible 50. Houston achieved a score of 29.8.

With a score of 42.9, Los Angeles topped the ranking.

“We weren’t surprised to see a [California] city at the top of the list due to the Golden State’s reputation for trends like farm to table, sustainable food sourcing, organic farming, and more,” Gardens Alive says. “We were surprised, however, to see just how far ahead of the pack Los Angeles was.”

The city of San Antonio boasts 19 farmers markets, according to Texas A&M AgriLife. Among them is Pearl Farmers Market, which is one of the top 10 farmers markets in the country as determined by USA Today 10Best. Pearl Farmers Market, held each Saturday and Sunday, ranks fifth.

“While you’re shopping for local produce, meats, and cheeses, you can listen to the sounds of live music or watch a cooking demo for ideas on how to use your fresh ingredients,” 10Best says of the Pearl market.

Texas A&M AgriLife lists 12 farmers markets in the city of Houston. One of them is the Urban Harvest Saturday Farmers Market.

“Sparking a wave of similar markets around the greater Houston area, this market launched with a mere seven vendors in 2004. Today, it hosts more than 90 merchants, making it one of the largest in the state,” CultureMap reported in April.

Across the country, more than 8,600 farmers markets are registered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Visiting farmers markets is an inspiring way to fully realize the value of fresh, locally grown produce,” Gardens Alive observes. “It allows us to get to know the people who grow our food and see exactly where that food comes from. However, we learned that not every city makes it easy to experience the myriad benefits of farmers market trips.”

Courtesy of Pearl Farmers Market

Pearl Farmers Market harvests Sundays for makers amid continued growth


Pearl Farmers Market, a staple of the mixed-use San Antonio development since its groundbreaking launch in 2009, has grown into such a flourishing success that it’s branching out with a new structure.

Just in time for its 12th anniversary on Saturday, May 15, Pearl Farmers Market, which hosts more than 50 local vendors at its weekend market events, will split its offerings across weekend days. The farmers market will continue to take place on Saturdays from 9 am-1 pm, while Sundays will be reserved for its Makers Market.

The change will allow the Makers Market to expand and add more local artisans and producers who create culinary-inspired wares. Beginning May 16, shoppers will have access to more than 40 Makers Market vendors every Sunday from 10 am-2 pm.

With the knowledge that fresh, local produce just tastes better, some 6,000 shoppers flock to Pearl Farmers Market every week, where they can purchase produce from vendors who grow within a 150-mile radius of San Antonio.

And word seems to be sprouting up about the market elsewhere, even outside of Texas. USA Today recently noted that the farm-to-table movement has grown so popular in the U.S. that there are now more than 8,600 registered farmer markets in the country. The publication planted Pearl Farmers Market at the No. 5 spot on its nationwide list of Best Farmers Markets in 2021, making it the only Texas famers market to be ranked.

It was a welcome shout-out for the market, whose many producers have suffered recent setbacks thanks to the pandemic and the February winter storm that devastated many Texas crops.

“After such a trying year with the pandemic and the winter storm that threatened so many of our region’s producers, we are thrilled with the national recognition placing us in the top five for U.S. farmers markets,” says chief marketing officer Elizabeth Fauerso. “Pearl’s weekend markets have grown tremendously over the last dozen years. As part of our market’s evolution, we are creating a new structure that features Farmers Market on Saturdays and Makers Market on Sundays.”

As part of its 12th anniversary celebration, Pearl Farmers Market will be serving up some complimentary cupcakes to market shoppers on Saturday, May 15, while those tasty desserts last.

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Hello Kitty Cafe Truck says hi to San Antonio on cross-country tour

in her tour era

The famously pink Hello Kitty Cafe Truck is making its way down to San Antonio in October for a special day of treats and cartoon cat collectibles.

The cutesy vehicle will bring a horde of new Hello Kitty clothing, plushies, and accessories to North Star Mall from 10 am to 7 pm on Tuesday, October 21.

Among the new items is a bright pink tote bag with rainbow straps and desserts decorating the front, an assortment of Hello Kitty baked goods, and a transparent coffee mug with sprinkles in the handle and different desserts printed on glass body. Visitors can also snag an adorable lunchbox and a 18-ounce or 32-ounce stainless steel rainbow thermos.

Hello Kitty rainbow tote bagThe bright pink reusable tote bag has rainbow straps.Photo courtesy of Sanrio

As for the hand-decorated baked goods, guests can expect to see Hello Kitty's classic friends Keroppi the frog and Chococat appear on petit fours. The leading lady appears on miniature cakes, a giant sugar cookie, small box sets of madeleines, and French macarons.

The popular attraction has been touring around the country for nearly a decade, drawing crowds of thousands of people every year. San Antonio will be its fourth Texas stop on the tour, after the truck visits Austin's Domain multi-use neighborhood on October 14.

As a note, the cafe truck only accepts debit or credit cards, and not cash.

Other Texas cities on the tour route include:

  • September 30 – Arlington
  • October 7 – Houston
  • October 14 – Austin
  • October 28 – El Paso

3 Lubbock luminaries on what ignites the Hub City

Faces and Places

In Lubbock, Texas, where locals have been pouring their livelihood into both the city and their craft, the community has created a Texas experience like no other. What sets apart a destination from others is the welcoming faces who meet travelers with open doors and a willingness to share the West Texas way of life with all who wander through.

CultureMap recently checked in with three Lubbock luminaries to learn what drew them to the city, what dreams they're making come true, and how visitors can take part in the magic.

Matt Bostick, sommelier and hospitality director of Llano Estacado Winery
Though his roots are in Texas, Matt Bostick found his passion for wine in Italy. While studying hospitality in Florence in 2011, he met Parisian sommelier Quinton Paillard, who encouraged his budding love of vino and set Bostick on the path toward becoming a sommelier himself.

After earning his degree in restaurant, hotel, and institutional management from Texas Tech University in 2012, Bostick joined Jackson Family Estates in Los Angeles. From there, he further honed his expertise as the lead sommelier for Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza, under the mentorship of Sarah Clarke A few years later, Bostick co-founded a restaurant called Baldoria and even developed a line of ready-to-drink cocktails with his business partner, David King.

"When David and I decided to create B&K Cocktail Company, our business venture brought us back to Texas," Bostick says. "With my family residing in Lubbock, it was a natural choice to settle here. Lubbock holds significant personal and professional values for me. It's my hometown, where I was born and raised, and where most of my family continues to live and contribute to this community."

Today, Bostick is the events director and sommelier at Llano Estacado Winery, Texas’ second oldest winery. Bostick guides visitors through a sensory journey, introducing them to the complexities of different wines, regions, and vintages while offering insights into history, production techniques, and the unique characteristics of each varietal.

"I help individuals identify tasting notes, appreciate nuances, and even recommend food pairings that enhance the overall culinary experience," he says.

Grape Day on October 21 is an ideal time to visit the winery to see Bostick in action. To celebrate the end of the harvest, which spans late July to early October, Llano features captivating self-guided tours, diverse art booths, delicious offerings from the finest local vendors, exciting games for kids, and a mesmerizing lineup of live music on the Lubbock Listening Room stage.

Admission is free, but for $35 attendees will receive a commemorative Grape Day wine glass along with two tickets redeemable for a glass of wine. Pre-sale drink tickets will also be available for purchase in a bundle of three tickets for $15 (otherwise each ticket is $8 at the event).

"Grape Day holds immense significance to me. It's a celebration that represents the culmination of hard work and a sense of community," Bostick says. "Llano Estacado Winery has not only been a pioneer in the Texas wine industry but has also contributed to our local community's growth. Events like this shine a light on the rich heritage and traditions of winemaking, connecting our community to a broader narrative of craftsmanship and appreciation for the finer things in life."

Ian Timmons, pitmaster and third-generation owner of Tom & Bingo’s BBQ
It's been called a West Texas legend since 1952, and as soon as you step inside Tom & Bingo's BBQ, you'll understand why. This old-school barbecue joint — and Lubbock’s oldest restaurant — is packed with nostalgia and dishes out authentic barbecue that would make original owners Tom and Bettye Clanton proud, and current owner Ian Timmons intends to keep it that way.

While studying at Texas Tech, Timmons worked under Dwayne Clanton (Tom and Bettye's son, who gained ownership of the restaurant in 1980) and earned hands-on experience as a pitmaster. Upon graduation, he moved to Denver with his wife, Kristi, where he worked at Denver Biscuit Company.

"I’ve always worked in restaurants," says Timmons. "From my first job at Dairy Queen to a local restaurant called Orlando’s, where I was a server and got fired for making pizzas during my shift."

Timmons' wife also happens to be Dwayne and Liz Clanton's daughter, making him the obvious choice to carry on the legacy when the couple was ready to retire in 2017.

Now, Timmons pays homage to Tom & Bingo's 70-year legacy by smoking modern bark-on-brisket, his own coarsely ground smoked beef sausage, and pork spare ribs on the original brick pits the predecessors used for decades. He's also expanded the menu to include scratch-made potato salad and slaw, but one item remains a constant since the early days of the restaurant: the steak burger.

"This fall we are switching from our legendary brick pits to a new Centex offset smoker, so it’s back to square one for us," reveals Timmons. "This fall will be a learning season for us! But we are excited to see what a new smoker can do for us."

You can also catch the eatery's new food truck out and about and look forward to more biscuit collaborations with Monomyth Coffee (inspired by Timmons' time in Denver, of course). "We'll also hopefully open a Biscuit Club location to help grow the breakfast scene in Lubbock," Timmons hints.

But perhaps the tastiest way to experience Tom & Bingo's, besides visiting the restaurant itself, is by sampling its goods at the Texas Monthly BBQ Fest in November. Held in Lockhart, November 4-5, the event helps raise funds for Feeding Texas and a network of food banks across the state.

Yung Cry Baby, aka Aaliyah Limon, resident artist with Charles Adams Studio Project
Full-time musician and vocalist Aaliyah Limon was born and raised in Lubbock, but when she was younger, she didn't feel the city had a place for her yet. After graduation, the aspiring talent took off to explore both coasts, working as a model and artist, but after a while realized she wasn’t as fulfilled as she had hoped and missed her family.

"I needed a break from my fast-paced lifestyle," she says. "I came back home to be with family, take a step back, and reassess what I really wanted to do with my life. When I moved back, my music took off much faster than I ever anticipated."

Now Limon is professionally known as Yung Cry Baby and serves as a resident artist with the Charles Adams Studio Project, a nonprofit that supports working artists in Lubbock.

"Because I'm passionate about it and motivated by the people who resonate with what I sing about, I've kind of kept with the momentum of things," Limon says. "I'm excited about what I do, and I love helping people heal through my music. Even if it only helps a little, it gives me a lot of joy knowing I can maybe help someone not feel alone."

Fans can see Yung Cry Baby perform not only at the karaoke bar she hosts at, but also at First Friday Art Trail, a monthly arts festival located in downtown Lubbock with a mission to bring together collectors, artists, and community friends for an evening of art, music, and fun. Participants are ever-changing, offering something for everyone.

"I love doing community-based things, especially when it comes to art," Limon says. "First Friday is always a blast for me."

Yung Cry Baby is currently working on her first full album, following the earlier release of her EP. Follow her on social media for updates.


Experience the people and places of Lubbock yourself by planning your next vacation here.

Llano Estacado Winery wine glass

Photo courtesy of Visit Lubbock

Matt Bostick helps visitors appreciate the wine at Llano Estacado Winery.

How to get every possible discount at the 2023 State Fair of Texas

State Fair News

The 2023 State Fair of Texas starts its 24-day run at Fair Park in Dallas on September 29, bringing with it music, games, food, and more.

But there are a multitude of discount ticket options offered by the State Fair and other groups, meaning there's no reason you should ever pay full price.

Single day ticket prices differ by the day, going for $15 for adults, $10 for kids 3-12 and seniors 60 and over Monday-Thursday; $20 for adults, $15 for kids 3-12 and seniors 60 and over on Fridays; and $25 for adults, $18 for kids 3-12 and seniors 60 and over on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are only valid for a pre-selected date. You can get $10 tickets on Tuesdays and Thursdays by using the code 23CULTUREMAP.

Premium one-day admission, valid any day of the Fair, are $24 and allow you to choose the day you want to attend. The most flexible ticket option is available for purchase exclusively online at BigTex.com/Tickets.

Two and four-pack combos for premium tickets with Food and Midway coupons are also available, starting at less than $100. You can get $15 off the two-pack combo or $30 off the four-pack combo by using the special CultureMap code 23MAPPACK.

One of the best ways to save is by purchasing a State Fair of Texas Season Pass. Available online at BigTex.com/Tickets for only $50, season passes include admission for all 24 days, as well as a variety of special benefits, like one free single-day bring-a-friend ticket (valid Monday-Friday only); a State Fair reusable bag (available to the first 5,000 season pass holders to redeem) a 10 percent off coupon on State Fair gear at official merchandise stores; and more.

Opening Day – Friday, September 29
Bring two jars of peanut butter to donate to the North Texas Food Bank for a special promotion and receive $10 admission at the gate.

Dr Pepper Value Days
Taking place every Tuesday and Thursday of the Fair, you can purchase admission online for a reduced price of only $10 on Dr Pepper Value Days. Fairgoers must be a Big Tex Insider to receive the promotion code, sign up now at BigTex.com/Insider.

North Texas Food Bank, Feed the Need
Every Wednesday of the Fair, visitors have the best discount opportunity to save big AND give back to the community. By bringing five canned food items, fairgoers will receive admission for only $5. All canned donations go to the North Texas Food Bank, which helps feed members of the community.

Senior Day
Every Thursday, senior citizens 60 years and older receive admission to the Fair for only $5.

Discount after 5 pm
On any night of the week, visitors receive reduced general admission after 5 pm. No matter your age, all guests pay the child price after 5 pm.

McDonald's coupons
Discount coupons are available at participating McDonald’s locations throughout North Texas on tray liners and inside their meal bags. With this coupon, any fairgoer can save $5 off on weekdays (Monday-Friday) and $7 off on weekends (Saturday-Sunday).

DART Discount
In addition to being able to use the GoPass app to take DART right to the front gates of Fair Park, guests can receive $5 off fair admission Monday-Friday, or $7 off on Saturdays and Sundays, by using the promo code 23DART when purchasing tickets on the State Fair website.

Military Appreciation Day presented by Chevrolet
All active military, retired military, and veterans save $5 off on weekdays (Monday-Friday) and $7 off on weekends (Saturday-Sunday) when they present valid documentation of military service at the gate or online. Spouses of service men and women with a valid Military Spouse ID and accompanying children under the age of 18 also receive discounted admission.

First Responders Discount
The State Fair is thanking the country’s first responders by honoring various active and retired public law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, and other emergency services agencies. All first responders can save $5 off on weekdays (Monday-Friday) and $7 off on weekends (Saturday-Sunday) when they present a valid badge or ID card from their department or organization at the gate or online. Spouses of first responders and accompanying children under the age of 18 also receive discounted admission.

4-Coupon Tuesdays
Discounts extend to the Midway for 4-Coupon Tuesdays. Most rides on the Midway are 4 coupons, with Kiddie rides discounted to 3 coupons on Tuesdays. Excludes the Thrillway and the Texas Star Ferris Wheel.

Thrifty Thursday Discounted Food Program
Every Thursday of the Fair, guests can save while snacking, as participating food vendors offer one of their signature menu items at a reduced price, ranging from mini versions to regular-size items.