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Rendering courtesy of courtesy of Giles Design Bureau / Clayton & Little Architects

It's the most wonderful stressful time of the year! We get it — the holidays can be heavenly and challenging at the same time. If you're in dire need of a cozy escape from it all, give these local restaurants/coffee shops/bars a try. At the very least, you'll find plenty of Instagrammable Christmas opportunities and chances to escape from the stress of the holidays. Don't be a grinch, just get away!

Poetic Republic Coffee & Wine Co
Poetic Republic Coffee feels like San Antonio's own slice of Stars Hollow (here's looking at you Gilmore Girls fans) nestled on South Presa Street. Order yourself one of their handcrafted specialty lattes (they've got a seasonal menu out now with options like a Marshmallow latte), sit down with a nice book and take a breather. Don't forget to grab a bag of Writers Fuel coffee beans on the way out! (Did we mention they also serve wine?) 2330 S. Presa St.

La Frite Belgian Bistro
If you've been dying to take a European vacation but have no desire to step foot in the airport during the holiday season, head over to La Frite Belgian Bistro instead. The city's only authentic Belgian bistro feels like a mini European getaway tucked in Southtown. An order of La Frite mussels with a side of their signature frites is mandatory if you visit. 728 S. Alamo St.

Bar Du Mon Ami
After you've checked out the Light the Way display at UIW, drive a bit further down Broadway for a handcrafted cocktail at the Bar Du Mon Ami. If you caught a chill in this unusually cold winter weather, warm up with a $8 Bar Du Mon Ami hot toddy. This cozy bar is open every day of the week. 4901 Broadway

Miracle Pop-Up at the Esquire
The Miracle on Commerce Street Christmas pop-up at the Esquire Tavern is tucked away in the Esquire speakeasy (marked by a stocking on the doorway to the entrance). Warm yourself up with a naughty or nice shot and enjoy this quintessentially Christmas downtown escape with plenty of photo opportunities and fun, seasonal cocktails. For any aspiring Carrie Bradshaws out there, make sure to order yourself a Christmapolitan! (You'll thank us later). 155 E. Commerce St.

Coffee Crush
If you're looking for a cute caffeinated getaway on the North East side of the city, check out Coffee Crush. The locally owned and operated coffee spot recently celebrated its first anniversary, with many locals loving the shop's prime seating area, cute decor/vibes, and fresh pastries (and they usually have vegan options too). Coffee Crush's signature espresso shakeratos always get the job done if you need a caffeine fix after Christmas shopping! 18010 Bulverde Rd., #109

Brasserie Mon Chou Chou
If you've already explored Belgium thanks to La Frite, check out San Antonio's own little slice of France thanks to Brasserie Mon Chou Chou. The restaurant's Christmas decorations are not to be missed, and we loved that they even had options on their menu for guests with dietary restrictions (for example, the Couscous Aux Legumes Et Piment D'Espellette is warm, hearty, and completely dairy and egg free.) If you're okay with dairy, the Sandwich Au Fromage Raclette is a guaranteed crowd pleaser or good for the 'Gram if you're dining solo. 312 Pearl Parkway

Bonus: San Antonio Pets Alive!
If you're in need of some unconditional love and want to help pets in need, consider volunteering for a shift or two at San Antonio Pets Alive! The local pet shelter is always in need of fosters for pets looking for loving homes too, particularly during the holiday season. What better way to escape holiday stress then with a hearty dose of puppy love? Click here for more info about volunteer opportunities.

Further afield:
If you're doing some holiday shopping up in Austin and need a break, the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa is a serene spot with multiple restaurants, spacious grounds, and fun Christmassy opportunities open to hotel guests and visitors just stopping by like their Holiday in the Hills light trail, and a Holiday in the Hills Snowdown light display.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

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

4 San Antonio culinary pioneers win $21K from the Texas Food & Wine Alliance

CULINARY INNOVATION

Texas’ skyrocketing culinary scene is about to get a huge boost. The Texas Food & Wine Alliance’s grant program has awarded $107,500 to 19 culinary innovators around the state. This marks the Alliance’s 11th year providing funding to support culinary projects contributing to local communities.

The award winners were announced in a ceremony at Austin's Holdsworth Center on January 21. A private panel of distinguished culinary experts chose the winners out of 40 grant applications this year. Nine winners hail from Austin, three from Dallas-Fort Worth, three from Houston, and four from San Antonio. The awards range from $1,500 to $10,000, with a special $25,000 grant investment from Austin favorite Tito’s Handmade Vodka in honor of the company’s 25th anniversary. Grant funding will support chefs, farms, and culinary education groups, among others.

Out of the four San Antonio area winners, Talking Tree Farm received the most from the grant program, $6,250 to purchase shipping containers for storage and to buy a solar-powered cold room for their harvests. John Marshall High School’s culinary arts program will use their $5,000 grant to establish a morning café. Agricultural project Habitable Spaces and pasture-raised chicken farm Cielito Lindo Farm also won $5,000 each to purchase equipment or build infrastructure to further their endeavors in the culinary space.

Austin-area winners received the most funding from the grant program, totalling $53,750, while San Antonio winners received $21,250 in total. Dallas/Fort Worth winners were awarded $19,750, and the three Houston recipients won $12,750. All of the 2022 winners reflect just how diverse the state's trailblazing culinary scene continues to expand.

“All of this year’s funded projects will further enrich the state through innovation and giveback,” said Erika White, executive director of the Alliance. “We’re extremely grateful to each of the Texas communities, our sponsors and their support in allowing us to reward these mold-breaking projects.”

In Austin, organic farm Trosi Farms was awarded the most funding ($10,000), which will help construct a germination shed for more stable plant start production. Locavore pioneer Boggy Creek Farm won $7,500 in grants to provide ADA-compliant accessibility to their new climate-controlled Tomato House, while Texas’ first organic feed mill, Coyote Creek Organic Feed Mill & Farm, received $6,250 to help purchase a building to be used as a store for the local community.

The six other Austin area grant recipients, each winning $5,000, include Vista Farms at Vista Brewing, Jamaican family business Tierra Todun ATX, coffee roasters Rising Tide Roast Collaborative, culinary educator Chef Pascal Simon from Bake Austin, East Austin food truck Community Vegan, and Latinx pastry project Comadre Panaderia (who also just earned a James Beard nomination). All winners will be able to use their grants to improve efficiency and expand their businesses, or in Chef Pascal's case, further research and development for her upcoming cookbook for Gen-Z young adults.

After starting the program in Austin, grant co-chair and TFWA past president Cathy Cochran-Lewis says it was the Alliance’s dream to expand the grant statewide.

“We’re so humbled and thrilled to now not only support worthwhile projects across Texas but also to give more than a half million dollars in funding over the last decade to help dreams come true,” she says. “This is a tribute to the culinary talent and the community mindset we are lucky to have in our state.”

The winners in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas include:

For this year's Honorable Mention, the Alliance chose San Antonio eatery Tacos Cucuy, who will soon open a brick-and-mortar space with an expanded menu. Tacos Cucuy are currently looking for support to develop a Tex-Mex charcuterie program called La Cura Carnes Especiales.

More information about the 2022 grants and its recipients can be found on texasfoodandwinealliance.org.