Southwest Elixirs/ Facebook

Congratulations, you made it! After 11 days of celebrations, Fiesta San Antonio is in the rearview mirror. We bet you’re feeling a little rough. It’s OK to rush order some blackout curtains, but hiding from a four-day hangover won’t make the symptoms go away any faster.

What will help is a little self-care. Save the cheese enchiladas for later in the month and eat mindfully at one of these local spots. We can’t promise that you won’t still reach for the Advil, but at least you’ll have enough energy to pack that flower crown up.

Las Nieves
Feeling as dried out as a corn husk flower? Get some bloom again at one of the three locations of this local snack shop. True, it will be hard to resist snack shop faves like corn in a cup and Hot Cheetos, but stick to a more hydrating cucumber or jicama fruit cup. Wash it down with the mineral water rusa topped with salt, lime, and Lucas. Gatorade wishes it has so much power.

Pharm Table
Few local restaurants take San Antonio’s health as seriously as this Southtown hot spot. Chef Elizabeth Johnson composed the menu through an Ayurvedic lens, suggesting each meal start with a pickled ginger amuse-bouche. From there, the globally inspired fare centers veggies in dishes like a zucchini noodle bowl topped with a toasted cashew and coconut crumble.

The breakfast taco was practically made for hangover recovery, but hangover recovery isn’t just about the immediate boost. This downtown eatery lightens up the morning staple with entirely plant-based ingredients. Order the La Tejana — a vegan scramble with pico de gallo, salsa ranchera, and tender potatoes — for a solid foundation.

Rise Up
Instead of buying out the corner store’s stock of corn syrup-filled treats, opt for one of Rise Up’s açai bowls to sate the hangover sweet tooth. The Acai Breakfast feels as decadent as a tub of Blue Bell but is loaded with nutrient-rush fruits like blueberries and bananas. Plus, a generous scoop of almond butter gives a protein boost to help keep cravings at bay.

If ever a coffee shop understood post-festival malaise, it’s this tiny spot inside Vibras nightclub. Power through late afternoons with a pink horchata latte, a delightful rice milk brew with a double shot of espresso. Not only will it give you the oomph to last this tough week, but its Neapolitan color scheme also looks absolutely adorable on a Zoom call.

Though it may be tempting to hop off the wagon after Fiesta’s social whirl, it’s easy to hold your horses thanks to the city’s many mocktails. This downtown retreat offers some of the city’s most imaginative zero-proof sippers, including the quenching Blood Moon with hibiscus tea and the fortifying Criolla Shake — a protein blast with peanut butter, cold brew, egg white, and orgeat.

Southwest Elixirs
This East Side shop bills itself as a wellness café, but that doesn’t mean it wants you to choke down wheatgrass. Its concoctions may offer potential health benefits, but taste is at the fore. Try the For the Sol shot to soothe a still gurgling afterparty stomach. Or detox with the Cosmic Limeade, a zingy mix of activated coconut charcoal, lime, maple syrup, and alkaline water.

Righteous Pie/ Facebook

6 things to know about San Antonio food right now: Favorite pizza truck serves last slice


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 weekly roundup of essential food news.

Openings and closings
Popular pizza truck Righteous Pie has served its last slice. The two-year-old operation, most recently parked at the Block, was especially known for its variety of plant-based alternatives like vegan cheese and summer squash. In a frank social media post, the trailer said that continuous construction and food inflation caused the project to be untenable.

Dance club Cream is clearing out the cobwebs of Saint Paul Square. Via Instagram, the Beacon Hill night spot announced it had begun renovations of a multi-story building at 102 Heiman St. Creatures of the night will lurk in the goth-themed main level, while technophiles will sweat in the basement. The top floor, with a skyline view, will be available for private bookings and musical showcases. Though the owners did not yet divulge a projected opening date, the original Cream will stay open until the first bass drop before transitioning to a hookah lounge and late-night eatery.

The owners of South Side spot Bobbie's Café are taking a second concept under their wing. According to a new Facebook page, Birdie's Bake Shop, Coffee House & Eatery will take flight this summer. Located next door to the Southern restaurant, the shop will dish out French pastries and plenty of caffeine.

Other news and notes
We guess there's a market for it. Touring dining experience Karen's Diner stops in San Antonio on September 16 and 17. During the pop-up, purposefully rude servers dish out burgers and fries in a vaguely '50s atmosphere. Unlike other famous Karens like BBQ Becky, however, the concept prohibits racist, sexist, homophobic, or ableist slurs. It does not, however, ban hefty pricing. The $47 ticket covers one burger, one soda, and an order of fries.

And apparently, there's a market for this one too. In celebration of Fiesta, Bakery Lorraine has debuted a pickle macaron. Available at all locations, the sesame seed-topped cookie is filled with pickle curd buttercream and retails for $3.

Like many of us, it looks like Texas Monthly's long-running TM BBQ Fest is so over Austin. The magazine announced that its meat festival will return to Lockhart for a second year. The two-day extravaganza, held November 4-5, kicks off with the BBQ World Fair in Lockhart's historic downtown on the 4th, followed by a November 5 picnic featuring pitmasters from the magazine's vaulted top 50. Members of the TM BBQ Club get first dibs on the tickets on June 1.

Beerhead Bar & Eatery/ Facebook

5 things to know in San Antonio food right now: Illinois beer chain untaps first local outpost


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 weekly roundup of essential food news.

Openings and closings
A national craft beer franchise is brewing up its first San Antonio outpost. According to Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation records, Illinois-based Beerhead Bar & Eatery will soon begin construction at 19338 Babcock Rd. #100. Though exact pours vary by location, the chain boasts a gobsmacking beer list with 500 bottles and 40 taps. The food is the expected mix of pretzels, pizzas, sandwiches, and salads jazzed up with ingredients like smoked Cheddar and arrabbiata ranch. Opening details are still forthcoming, but the build is set to wrap up in July.

TDLR filings also reveal that the long-awaited Artista Hotel is finally coming to fruition. The $19 million downtown project will include a street-level restaurant and a River Walk restaurant, according to a 2021 release. Though particulars have not been announced, hotel manager Accor owns the Morgans Originals restaurant group, whose portfolio includes tony international concepts like Carna by Dario Cecchini, Katsuya, and Fi'Lia.

Broadway Corridor mainstay Van's Restaurant seems to have permanently shuttered. According to a report from KSAT, health inspectors suspended the license of the once bustling eatery due to plumbing and pest issues. Than Hein Nguyen, who identified himself as the restaurant's chef, told investigators that the restaurant is no longer open to the public but that he occasionally uses the kitchen to cook for family. An independent CultureMap visit confirmed that the building appeared vacant, with broken windows and other signs of disrepair.

Other news and notes
Local bars are busily stuffing their schedules in preparation for Fiesta San Antonio's unprecedented crowds. Jaime's Place will host a four-day pachanga on April 20-23. The four-day festival will include markets, a performance from oldies cover band NCS Band, DJ sets, and Show Us Your Stacys, a daylong tribute to West Side style.

Meanwhile, St. Mary's Strip favorite The Squeezebox is hosting the Smirnoff ICE Preparada Fiesta April 21-23. The bar will serve three riffs on the iconic Fiesta drink, paired with branded medals. Other diversions during the three-day party include live Tejano music, drag performances, and a Sunday appearance of the Fajita Lounge.

Amols' Fiesta/ Facebook

6 essential San Antonio shops for scoring last-minute Fiesta gear


We hate to break it to you, but there's not much time left to prepare for Fiesta. Those bare walls with nary a swag of papel picado just won't cut it. The good news is that there's one shopping weekend left before the entire city explodes like a giant cascarón. Whether you're new to town or need a retail refresher, these shops will bring the party just in the nick of time.

Amols' Fiesta
Since 1949, Amols' has been San Antonio's go-to Fiesta spot, offering essential decorations like piñatas, door wreaths, and paper flowers. Those needing a wardrobe refresh will also find guayaberas, embroidered dresses, and serape sashes for piling on the medals. The purple Fredericksburg Road shop will be packed all week, but the staff is friendly and startingly efficient. Plus, the store hours have been extended to 10 am-6 pm, Monday through Friday; 10 am-4 pm, Saturday; and 11 am-3 pm, Sunday.

The Cascaron Store
There's no way to do Fiesta without getting flecks of tissue paper in your hair. This 927 Austin Hwy embraces the mess with colorful eggs and mini piñata shaped like maracas, margaritas, and cactuses. Local party planners should put the Cascaron Store in their Rolodex now. Designers are on staff to create some truly jaw-dropping custom props.

Dos Carolinas
This Pearl boutique is a must for breathable, elegant guayaberas. Owner Caroline Matthews stocks them in a variety of fabrics ranging from classic cotton broadcloth to seersucker and gingham. Shoppers can even nurse a post-Flambeau Parade hangover wearing a fabulously soft "guayarobe." Though it's too late for this year's celebration, the shop also offers custom shirts. But, hey, guayaberas are San Antonio appropriate year-round.

Divide & Conquer
For a one-of-a-kind Fiesta lewk, it's hard to top this downtown menswear store. The guayaberas are wild, sporting prints that run the gamut from psychedelic to preppy. If things get nippy (it is Texas, after all), there is also a selection of chic leather goods. The guayabera jacket offers the best of both worlds.

Fiesta at North Star
Conveniently located across from North Star, this mega-store is one-stop shopping for official San Antonio Fiesta merch. Outfit your front lawn with yard stakes, flags, and garlands, then outfit yourself with hand-painted hats, light-up bracelets, and tiny sombrero fascinators. It even offers tissue paper by the case for a tequila-fueled crafting party.

This Broadway shop focuses on gorgeous goods sourced from fair trade artisans from remote villages in Mexico. Top picks include gorgeous long dresses embroidered with brightly embroidered yokes, slouchy sweatshirts with dazzling handwork, and Otomi cummerbunds and suspenders. The straw totes are also a must — especially the handwoven pig.

Amols' Fiesta

Amols' has been San Antonio's Fiesta supplier since 1949.

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

World’s largest Spanish rap battle competition taking over San Antonio’s Paper Tiger for Fiesta


San Antonio’s premiere event to kick off Fiesta has arrived. The Red Bull Batalla is the biggest Spanish-language freestyle rap battle series that takes place all in one night on Thursday, April 20.

Eight of the best Spanish-language lyricists from the United States and Mexico – with championship titles to match – will battle it out on-stage in a bracket-style tournament from 9 pm to 2 am at Paper Tiger. In collaboration with the Fiesta San Antonio Commission, Red Bull has created their first-ever Red Bull Fiesta medal that will be available for the first 500 patrons at the event.

Initial confirmed participants in the championship bracket include:

  • Cuban, the 3rd place finalist in the 2022 Red Bull Batalla USA (from Texas)
  • Jordi, the 2022 USA Texas Regional Cup Winner (from Texas)
  • Oner, the 2022 National Champion of Red Bull Batalla USA (from Florida)
  • Reverse, the 2021 National Champion of Red Bull Batalla USA (from Florida)
  • Yartzi, the two-time National Champion of Red Bull Batalla (from Puerto Rico)
  • Lobo, the 2019 Red Bull Batalla de Los Gallos Mexico National Champion (from Mexico)
  • Yoiker, the 2022 National Champion of Red Bull Batalla México (from Mexico)

“Fluffy the Host” aka Omar Cadena and DJ Lobo will guide the night’s events with additional talent from opener DJ Rudy. Texas Latin DJ collective Peligrosa will conclude the evening with a “special collaborative performance” according to a press release.

While the competition takes place, guests can enjoy curated Red Bull cocktails, as well as free haircuts and beard trims during a first-come, first-serve pop-up barbershop experience with several local barbers. A few featured barbers include Faded Culture’s Sergio Barron and Adrian Barron, Oscar Cantu aka “Kurly Kutz” of Koo Kutz Barber Shop, and others.

More information and RSVP for the Red Bull Batalla Exhibición can be found on Eventbrite.

Photo courtesy of Fiesta San Antonio Commission Betsy Newman Photography

13 festive events newcomers must attend during Fiesta San Antonio


If you're a recent transplant to San Antonio, chances are you don't know what Fiesta is really all about. Though the 11-day carnival is arguably the city's most cherished tradition, locals tend to keep it close to their chest. Unlike some other towns' touristy to-dos, this shindig is by locals and for locals.

Still, one must start somewhere. While there are dozens of official and unofficial events, these are some of the favorites newcomers shouldn't miss. Stock up on sunscreen and buy a new hat. It's time to party.

Fiesta Fiesta
An event so nice they named it twice; this April 20 kickoff to the season packs Travis Park with food, fun, and fireworks from 4-10 pm. Free and open to the public, this party is also dog-friendly. Here's your chance to buy a puppy guayabera.

Taste of the Republic
This year, the culinary kickoff to Fiesta will take over San Antonio's most iconic venue. Grab a cocktail, walk the Alamo grounds, and nosh on bites from more than a dozen of the city's top chefs. April 20, 6-10 pm.

A Taste of New Orleans
Jazz fills the air at this tribute to the Big Easy, help at the Sunken Darden Theater April 21-23. The menu includes iconic NOLA bites like etouffee, gumbo, boudin, and beignets. There's also some lagniappe for the kiddos courtesy of face-painting booths and clowns.

Fiesta Oyster Bake
Aw shucks! The world is your oyster at this annual foodie festival, held April 21 and 22 from 5-11 pm. Dozens of vendors take over the St. Mary's University grounds, selling every possible iteration of signature shellfish. The music ain't too shabby, either. Headliners this year include Pat Green, Color Me Badd, and Everclear.

Alamo Heights Night
Party in the '09 during this family friendly block party featuring food, rides, and live entertainment. The one-night-only engagement takes place on April 21 at the University of the Incarnate Word.

Texas Cavaliers River Parade
This floating parade has been making a splash since 1941. More than a dozen floats will dazzle spectators on April 24 from 7-9 pm.

Fiesta de Los Reyes
A multi-day tribute to San Antonio's rich Mexican heritage, this free event happens from 10am-midnight Sunday through Friday and 10 am-1 am Saturday. Each night from April 21-30 at Market Square features a bonanza of Fiesta foods and some of the nation's most popular Tejano and Conjunto acts.

A Night in Old San Antonio (NIOSA)
One of Fiesta's wildest parties, NIOSA takes over La Villita from April 25-28 to celebrate the city's diverse cultural heritage. Expect long lines and a raucous crowd — especially on Thursday's college night. And bring plenty of cash — this year, the fest did away with the wristbands.

Fiesta Cornyation
Part political lampoon, part burlesque show, this decidedly adults-only revue takes over Charline McCombs Empire Theatre April 25-27 with two shows a night at 7 pm and 10 pm.

Taste of the Northside
Though many of Fiesta's events take place in the city's core, this foodie spectacular gives North Siders a reprieve from all those high Uber fares. The April 25 event isn't cheap but provides bites from more than 25 local restaurants and endless wine and beer samples.

Battle of Flowers Parade
The grand dame of Fiesta's parades, this vivid promenade is produced exclusively by women. Tickets are required for dedicated seating, but plenty of free vantage points are throughout the route. And if you have the day off (who can work during Fiesta?), head to Bonham Exchange afterward for their legendary day party. The parade starts at 9:30 am on April 28.

King William Fair

Nestled among the breathtaking homes of the historic King William District, this street fair includes food and drink vendors, children's activities, and artisan vendors. It's even more fun for those who live in the neighborhood. Charm your way into getting an invite to one of the front-yard parties.

Fiesta Flambeau Parade
Billed as "America's largest illuminated parade," this dazzling display On April 29 is the rowdier cousin of Battle of the Flowers. Reserved seating is available, but the smart money is to park at one of the bars on the route. Margaritas definitely help with all the hooting and hollering.

Want even more ideas of how to celebrate? Check out the full list of official events here.

Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Inventive Hill Country winery cracks open new tasting room in Fredericksburg


One of the most prominent names in Hill Country wines is uncorking a new tasting room in Fredericksburg. On September 22, Grape Creek Vineyard’s owners, Brian and Jennifer Heath, will cut the ribbon to their latest property, Invention Vineyards, at 4222 S. State Hwy. 16.

Heath Family Brands has used the name for some time, first as a vintage from the Grape Creek portfolio. A 2022 purchase of Slate Mill Wine Collective cleared the way for Invention to be born as its own estate label.

Under longtime winemaker Jason Eglert, Invention crafts mostly Texas blends. The line also includes several single-varietal wines, focusing on Old World grapes like Tempranillo, Mourvèdre, and Viognier.

The property echoes that approach. The tasting room is on the former 35-acre site of Pioneer Flour Mills founder Carl Hilmar Guenther’s original mill. The entrepreneur did business in Fredericksburg for eight years before volatile weather conditions prompted a move to San Antonio.

A handful of Guenther’s original stone buildings still stand near the entry to Invention, but new construction houses the brand’s tasting room and state-of-the-art production facility. Nodding to the original structures, the rustic-industrial facility utilizes weathered brick and a corrugated roof.

Though the business has been open during the build-out, the grand opening will be the first opportunity for guests to see the completed compound. Tours will be offered from 11 am to 5:30 pm, with light bites served throughout the day.

San Antonio museum saddles up for new photo exhibit honoring the West's modern cowboys

Campfire Tales

A major San Antonio is saddling up for an intimate look at the modern American cowboy lifestyle through the lens of acclaimed photographer Anouk Masson Krantz.

Her new exhibition, "American Cowboys," opens September 29 at the Briscoe Western Art Museum, showcasing stunning black-and-white images that reveal the enduring culture of the ranching families and rodeo communities.

The exhibition promises a behind-the-scenes look at the less-urban world surrounding San Antonio and other Texas locales. Featuring over 100 stunning photographs, Krantz's lens provides a contemporary homage to cowboy culture across the frontier.

Raised in France but now based in New York City, Krantz has traveled across America to photograph the daily lives and enduring culture of today's cowboys and cowgirls. Her subjects are ranchers, tight-knit rodeo crowds, and the virtues of the Western lifestyle that remain remarkably unchanged for more than 150 years.

Her being raised outside of America is important for connecting mythology — what she learned in France as tropes — to reality. Many San Antonians have become used to knowing ranchers and equestrians, but the French photographer's images provide an inspiring and fresh outside view into the enduring pioneering spirit of the West..

"Krantz's intimate portraits and stunning panoramas showcase the life of today's cowboys and ranchers — and vividly prove that what she'd heard of, and we all think of as the Western life, is alive and thriving," says Briscoe president and CEO Liz Jackson.

Selected images on Krantz’s website feature a cowboy on horseback tipping his hat in a timeless, polite gesture, framed surprisingly through a car window as if glimpsed across eras. Another photo depicts women seated around a vintage car, chatting with one another. Juxtaposing classic cowboy iconography with candid moments of connection, the photos reveal the photographer's fascination with both pervasive myths and ephemeral glimpses of Western American life.

"Although long admired for their strength, relentless work ethic and humble values, the American Cowboy is more than a myth.” Jackson remarks.

Guests can anticipate hearing unique insights directly from the acclaimed French photographer herself during an exclusive tour, as she shares details about capturing the authentic daily lives of humble, yet virtuous cowboys and their families. Visitors can also keep exploring the Briscoe's Western offerings, which have long been a defining part of the museum's curatorial style.

"The exhibition pairs well with our permanent collection where visitors can see both historical and contemporary art, tools of the cowboy trade, and artifacts of the West," says Jackson.

Krantz's critically acclaimed photography offers an inspiring and fresh view into the enduring pioneering spirit of the West. Fans will also have the opportunity to take home a signed copy of Krantz's latest art book Ranchland: Wagonhound, which won the 2023 Western Heritage Award.

"American Cowboys" will be on display at the Briscoe Western Art Museum from September 29, 2023, to January 22, 2024. Tickets ($14, plus discounts for children, seniors, military, and students) to the Briscoe are available at briscoemuseum.org.

Shot from American Cowboys at the Briscoe Western Art Museum

Photo courtesy of the Briscoe Western Art Museum

Anouk Masson Krantz lends her images from touring the American West at the Briscoe Western Art Museum, starting September 29.

H-E-B soars to No. 2 in Forbes' prestigious list of best employers in Texas

everything is truly better

San Antonio continues to prove it hosts the best of the best employers in Texas as the statewide grocery chain H-E-B moves into the coveted No. 2 spot on Forbes' 2023 list of "America’s Best Employers By State."

The highly anticipated list, published August 22, is a collaboration between Forbes and Statista to survey the satisfaction levels of tens of thousands of workers employed by national companies.

In addition to being based in San Antonio, H-E-B operates more than 300 stores in Texas and employs 154,000 people. Its mammoth presence throughout the state — coupled with a great work environment and advancement opportunities — is what propels it to the top year after year. The ranking is a seven-place improvement from its No. 9 rank in 2022.

It gives back to the community, too. Earlier this year, H-E-B and its Tournament of Champions Charitable Trust collaborated to support San Antonio Zoo's "Generation Zoo" master plan with a combined total of $3 million in donations. The partnership solidifies H-E-B's commitment to San Antonio families and the city's public education sector.

"As longtime supporters of San Antonio Zoo, H-E-B is excited to be a part of this transformative effort," said Winell Herron, Group Vice President of Public Affairs, Diversity, and Environmental Affairs in a press release. "We’re proud our gift will support the zoo’s vision to expand conservation and education opportunities while creating beautiful spaces that will continue to welcome families for generations to come."

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio also received high praise, coming in at No. 26 overall. The only employer that scored higher than H-E-B was Nasa, in Houston.

Although Forbes explains that the national list isn't the same as their best large employers list, it's meant to serve as an in-depth analysis of companies that are "closer-to-home options for every American worker."

Forbes and Statista determined their rankings by surveying 70,000 Americans working at employers in the U.S. with at least 500 employees each. The final list features 1,392 highly recommended employers in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Nearly 270 employers ranked highly in multiple states.

Here are the 30 best large employers in Texas, as determined by Forbes and Statista:

San Antonio:

  • No. 2 – H-E-B (based in San Antonio; more than 300 stores in Texas)
  • No. 26 – University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

Houston area:

  • No. 1 – NASA (based in Washington, D.C.; Johnson Space Center in Clear Lake)
  • No. 4 – Houston Community College
  • No. 5 – Houston Methodist
  • No. 6 – Texas Children's Hospital
  • No. 18 – National Oilwell Varco
  • No. 19 – Bechtel (based in Reston, Virginia; major corporate hub in Houston)

Dallas-Fort Worth:

  • No. 6 – Texas Oncology, based in Dallas
  • No. 9 – Fidelity Investments (based in Boston; major corporate hub in Westlake)
  • No. 14 – Capital One (based in Richmond, Virginia; major corporate hub in Plano)
  • No. 17 – University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas
  • No. 22 – Southwest Airlines, based in Dallas
  • No. 24 – Texas Health Resources, based in Arlington
  • No. 25 – General Motors (based in Detroit, Michigan; major assembly hub in Arlington)
  • No. 27 – City of Plano
  • No. 28 – Toyota North America, based in Plano


  • No. 3 – Google (based in Mountain View, California; major corporate hub in Austin)
  • No. 13 – Apple (based in Cupertino, California; major corporate hub in Austin)

Throughout Texas:

  • No. 8 – Salesforce (based in San Francisco, California; offices in Austin and Dallas)
  • No. 10 – IKEA (based in Sweden; five stores in Texas)
  • No. 11 – Costco (based in Issaquah, Washington; 38 stores in Texas)
  • No. 15 – Cardinal Health (based in Dublin, Ohio; 23 locations in Texas)
  • No. 16 – Microsoft (based in Redmond, Washington; offices in Austin, Dallas, Friendswood, Frisco, Houston, San Antonio, and The Woodlands)
  • No. 20 – Leidos (based in Reston, Virginia; locations in San Antonio, Houston, and Webster)
  • No. 21 – Cisco Systems (based in San Jose, California; offices in Austin, Dallas, Irving, Richardson, Houston, Laredo, and San Antonio)
  • No. 23 – IBM (based in Armonk, New York; offices in Austin, Houston, Dallas, and Frisco)
  • No. 29 – Nike (based in Beaverton, Oregon; 26 locations in Texas)
  • No. 30 – Charles Schwab (based in San Francisco, California; 25 locations in Texas)