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Courtesy of Hotel Contessa

One of the River Walk's most elevated hotels is reaching for even higher heights, announcing Michael Collins as the new executive chef. Collins will be responsible for all culinary experiences at the boutique Hotel Contessa, from in-room dining to the sophisticated chic Ambler Texas Kitchen + Cocktails.

“We’re thrilled to have Chef join the team and bring an elevated approach to our Texas-inspired offerings,” says Denise Mojica, director of marketing for Hotel Contessa, in a release. “Since coming on board in August, he’s already made a huge improvement to our food program at Ambler; our new and loyal guests alike have been noticing and fully embracing the thoughtful and intentional changes.”

The chef brings 30 years of experience to the role, with extensive experience in the Texas Hill Country. He previously served as food & beverage director and executive chef at JL Bar Ranch Resort & Spa in Sonora, Texas, which he helped open. In San Antonio, he directed culinary operations and vision development as food & beverage director and executive chef at the Hilton San Antonio and held executive chef roles at the Elian Resort & Spa and Tapatio Springs Resort & Spa in nearby Boerne. He also boasts additional resort experience in prestigious locations across the country, and most recently served as an independent consultant for properties such as Sorrel River Ranch Resort & Spa in Moab, Utah; Lucky Arrow in Dripping Springs; the Kessler Collection in Orlando; and many more. He plans to put his own unique mark on the menus at Hotel Contessa.

“I’ve lived in Texas for the past 10 years, and have developed a huge love and appreciation for the preparation of food and ingredients of the region,” says Collins in the release. “We are lucky to have so many great purveyors, ranchers, and farmers right in our backyard. The plan is to utilize their produce and protein whenever possible in the dishes we prepare at Ambler.”

While the Ambler menu will always feature permanent signature items, seasonal dishes play an important role and rotate throughout the year.

“My goal is to offer good, simple comfort food at an elevated level. Think mom's cooking, but refined and using the best product available," Collins continues. “We are using seafood from the Gulf, and protein sourced from Central Texas. One of my favorites on the menu is our Texas Akaushi which we get from Beeman Ranch in Harwood, Texas.”

Other menu highlights will include shared plates such as cast iron goat cheese brulée; codigo poached and chilled shrimp; grilled Bandera quail; char-grilled oysters; and fried green tomatoes. New house specialties like blackened Gulf red snapper and seafood pappardelle will compete with the Texas Akaushi (which comes in flat iron form, New York Strip, tenderloin, ribeye, and Tomahawk) for diners' attention – no doubt necessitating repeat visits to mollify the anxiety of indecision.

Photo courtesy of San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau

San Antonio rolls out the welcome mat as one of America's nicest cities

That's nice

San Antonio has always been a city well-known for its hospitality. Now, we have proof that we're one of the nicest cities in the country.

Language-learning app Preply surveyed more 1,500 residents of the country’s largest metropolitan areas to determine which cities are home to the politest people and the rudest people. Fortunately, San Antonio made a list of the polite cities (or, put another way, the least rude ones).

Alamo City came in at No. 14 on the list, right behind El Paso, which appears at No. 13. Dallas followed San Antonio at No. 15, tied with Charlotte, North Carolina. There's even more Texas hospitality topping the list, with nearby Austin coming in at No. 1 and Fort Worth ranking No. 3.

“From our results, it seems that Austinites enjoy a laid-back, friendly city atmosphere, even as the city continues to grow rapidly,” Preply observes. “In general, the state of Texas has a reputation for politeness and friendliness, along with the rest of the South, underscoring the stereotype of Southern hospitality. It makes sense that five of the most polite U.S. cities are concentrated in the Lone Star State.”

At the top of Preply’s ranking of the rudest cities is Philadelphia. Houston lands at No. 10.

Preply’s list of the most polite cities differs from one published earlier this year by Condé Nast Traveler magazine. The publication’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards survey crowned Greenville, South Carolina, as the friendliest city in the U.S., with San Antonio at No. 4 and Austin at No. 10.

Meanwhile, a list released last year by Airbnb placed Austin at No. 7, Dallas at No. 9, and San Antonio at No. 10 among the country’s most hospitable cities.

Courtesy of Briscoe Western Art Museum

San Antonio's Briscoe saddles up with special end-of-summer programming

Into the sunset

Besides a margarita, the best way to cool off in this Texas heat is to head to the air-conditioned environment of a local museum. San Antonio's Briscoe Western Art Museum maximizes on this wisdom, knowing the transporting power that a change of scenery can hold — even if just on canvas. The museum's ever robust programming continues this August with an invitation to roam the West without ever leaving San Antonio.

Of course, the primary means of escape is the ongoing summer exhibition "The Sons of Charlie Russell: Cowboy Artists of America," which features 70 works of art showcasing the forefathers of Western art. Including works from 17 public and private collections, the exhibit seeks to show how these pieces provided foundations, traditions, and ideals for today’s contemporary artists. Viewed together for the first and only time, the collection is on display through September 5.

To send the exhibit off in style, August's accompanying programming brings Western art to life through artist talks, demonstrations, and more. Tour the exhibition during a gallery talk with Briscoe Curator of Art Emily Wilson; paint along with Chad Poppleton, one of the Cowboy Artists featured in the exhibition; or chill and enjoy a Western film (along with free beer courtesy of Ranger Creek Brewery). More details on August events are below:

Cowboy Creations: Learn from Cowboy Artists
Bringing the art of the exhibition to life, members of the Cowboy Artists of America are appearing in a series of demonstrations and talks throughout the exhibition. Guests can enjoy meeting and watching these talented cowboy artists share the processes behind their work. Join Chad Poppleton for a unique painting workshop Saturday, August 6, from 1 pm to 4 pm, where you will create your own cowboy art as Poppleton shares his insights and experience in this hands-on workshop. Hear from Cowboy Artists of America (CAA) artist and the 2022 President of the CAA Bruce Greene, who will provide a glimpse into his life as a cowboy artist as part of The Lessons of Our Fathers programming on Saturday, August 27 from 10 am to 11:30 am. Teal Blake leads another paint-along on Saturday, September 3, from 11 am to 1 pm.

210 West: Gallery Talks
Using the exhibition gallery guide, Curator of Art Emily Wilson will provide an overview of the tools and strategies used to evaluate narrative art during a Gallery Talk on Friday, August 12 at 1 pm. Exploring selected works from the exhibition, guests will leave with a deeper appreciation of the artistic strategy, methods, and design choices made by the artists.

Family Fun: STEAM into the West with "The Sons of Charlie Russell"
Families and visitors of all ages can learn about the American West through the works featured in "The Sons of Charlie Russell" during the museum’s Full STEAM Ahead series on the third Saturday of each month. From transportation and weather, to animals, astronomy, and engineering, each program explores an aspect of life in the West to engage and inspire learning. Full STEAM Ahead is included with museum general admission on August 20, and a special Whimsical Windmills event from 11 am to 1 pm will explore the iconic and innovative image of the West. Using the windmill as inspiration, families and children will create their own alternative energy homes using recyclable materials.

What is a Western? Summer Film Series
Perfectly pairing with the summer exhibit, the museum's popular Summer Film Series explores the elements of a Western and how the genre has been reinterpreted through the years. The first film in the series (Wind River) will explore the traditional components of Western cinema, kicking off with a short presentation on the foundations of the Western on Saturday, August 21, at 1 pm, followed immediately by the screening. Each film is included in general museum admission, with free brews courtesy of Ranger Creek Brewery. Popcorn, drinks, and snacks will be available for purchase.

The Lessons of Our Fathers: How Western Art Stays Relevant
Explore the history and significance of "The Sons of Charlie Russell: Cowboy Artists of America" exhibit, and learn more about its efforts to maintain and evolve the style and subject matter of traditional Western art. Panelists will include renowned experts on Cowboy Culture, including author and Western art scholar Byron Price, whose book, The Sons of Charlie Russell, commemorates 50 years of the Cowboy Artists of America and inspired the title of the Briscoe’s summer exhibition. Moderated by Briscoe's Emily Wilson, the event will feature light bites and refreshments. Registration for the panel discussion is included in museum general admission on Saturday, August 27.

Photo courtesy of Brendan van Son

Slide into San Antonio for real mouthwatering eats and true historic sites

On the Road

When you think of San Antonio, you may immediately remember the Alamo. But in addition to that legendary Texas landmark, there’s so much more that makes this authentic city memorable.

Awash in Old World charm and a melting pot of culture, San Antonio is a kaleidoscope of history, food, art, and more.

These eight highlights cover some of the not-to-be-missed experiences you should prioritize while in this immersive destination.

Explore the River Walk
Forgive us for stating the obvious, but the Paseo del Rio — the River Walk — lives up to its reputation as the No. 1 tourist attraction in all of Texas.

The world-renowned, 15-mile urban waterway has multiple personalities: quiet and park-like in some areas, while others are brimming with activity from European-style sidewalk cafes, boutiques, art galleries, nightclubs, and gleaming high-rises.

Explore the vibrant maze of walkways, bridges, and canals by foot or jump aboard a Go Rio! river barge for a guided tour or a dinner cruise.

See history come to life
The Mission Reach, an eight-mile stretch along the San Antonio River, has recreational trails, pedestrian bridges, pavilions, and portals to the beautiful, colonial San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes Concepción, San José, San Juan, and Espada.

You can also find Hot Wells along Mission Reach. It's a one-time bathhouse-turned-resort turned-entertainment complex that burned several times over, and the ruins are fascinating.

Downtown, the Spanish Governor's Palace is the only remaining example in Texas of an aristocratic, 18th-century, Spanish Colonial, in-town residence (and it's reportedly very haunted!).

The 1731 San Fernando Cathedral is the oldest standing church and continuously functioning religious community in Texas. Four nights a week, French artist Xavier de Richemont’s The Saga is projected on the façade of the cathedral and tells the history of San Antonio through music, sound, light and visual narration.

South Texas history, culture, and natural science are the focus at The Witte Museum, where you'll find dinosaur skeletons, cave drawings, wildlife dioramas, and several historic homes.

Head to historic art districts
Located on the south bank of the River Walk, the charming La Villita (which translates to “little village”) occupies one square block in the heart of downtown San Antonio.

It was one of the city’s original settlements, and now the tiny district’s cobblestone streets are lined with an eclectic array of adobe structures and early Victorian and Texas limestone buildings that house boutique-style shops with works and wares from artists and craftsmen.

Dating to 1840, Market Square (El Mercado) is a festive combo of Tex-Mex cuisine, music, entertainment, and shopping with more than 100 locally owned businesses.

Just past the hustle and bustle of downtown you’ll find Southtown the Arts District, a trendy, creative community populated by historic houses, converted warehouses, artist lofts, shops, galleries and restaurants.

It also includes the King William Historic District, which reflects San Antonio’s German heritage in a treasured residential area that was originally settled in the late 1800s. There are many mansions in the area, and you can tour the beautiful Villa Finale while there.

Discover even more art
With more than 20 museums, San Antonio has no shortage of artistic experiences, including street murals that dot the city.

With a Mediterranean-style mansion setting, The McNay art museum is beautiful on the outside and inside, with 22,000-plus collection of works, including post-impressionist and modern pieces, medieval offerings, Native American art, and more.

The San Antonio Museum of Art is housed in a castle-like structure that was formerly the Lone Star Brewery. It’s notable for its antiquities collections and a 30,000-square-foot Center or Latin American Art — the largest of its kind — as well as an Asian art wing that spans nearly 6,000 years of history.

Located in a historic building with a sculpture garden onsite, the Briscoe Western Art Museum is a hub for the art and culture of the Wild West.

For an immersive and interactive experience, Hopscotch is a unique, 20,000-square-foot art gallery with 14 distinctive, playful, and whimsical installations from more than 40 local, national, and international artists.

And San Antonio’s newest contemporary art center, Ruby City, is a crimson-hued building that displays paintings, sculptures, installations, and video works.

Find The Pearl
A vibrant micro-community all its own, The Pearl is a highly curated culinary and cultural destination with multiple dining options, shops, and a weekend farmers market, all centered around a historic German brewery that was founded in 1881.

Pearl’s Bottling Department Food Hall has also risen to the rank of a must-visit culinary hub thanks to resident gems like Caribbean street food-peddler Mi Roti and tasty ramen emporium Tenko Ramen.

Just outside the food hall is the Park at Pearl, an expansive lawn where you can catch a concert, fiesta, or dance party on any given evening.

Indulge in an epicurean experience
Known as the culinary capital of Texas, San Antonio is recognized as one of only two U.S. cities designated as a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy (the other is Tucson) because of its unique blend of cuisine options. And it’s about more than just the crazy-good food, too; local restaurants serve up experiences, traditions, and culture.

But where to start the foodie tour? In 2022 alone, dining destinations across the city received seven nominations for the James Beard Awards, one of the highest honors in the culinary industry.

Put these nominees on your short list, including Clementine for chef John Russ’s seasonal eats inspired by global flavors.

Pitmaster Esaul Ramos’s 2M Smokehouse has impressive barbecue — and desserts, too — for the ultimate savory and sweet combo. And if you get nothing else at Cured, you must order chef Steve McHugh’s ultimate charcuterie plates.

Renowned Mexican restaurant Mixtli fuses old pre-Hispanic techniques with modern, avant-garde cuisine, and the menu rotates every 45 days. Pastry chef Sofia Tejeda’s delectable desserts there are not to be missed, either.

Speaking of baking, bakery-cafe La Panaderia specializes in making handmade bread and pan dulce inspired by Mexico’s Golden Era with influences from the famous bread-baking brothers José and David Cáceres.

Modern wine bar and bottle shop High Street Wine Co. has a distinctive selection of small-production wines, and their shareable snacks and small bites are equally impressive.

Put October 27-30, 2022 on your calendar for the Tasting Texas, Wine + Food Festival, which is being hosted in historic Travis Park downtown. It’s the first-ever statewide culinary festival to partner with the James Beard Foundation and will showcase both distinguished and up-and-coming chefs from all across Texas, as well as national all-stars and diverse talent.

Attend a show — or three
Prominently situated near San Antonio’s River Walk, the Tobin Center is a world-class venue that’s a central hub for performances as well as for local performing arts groups.

The opulent Majestic Theatre, built downtown in 1929, is a stunning setting for touring Broadway shows, concerts, and the San Antonio Symphony.

The neighboring Charline McCombs Empire Theatre reflects the beaux-arts grandeur of the 1920s and hosts touring musical acts and other entertainment headliners.

The 1926-built Aztec Theatre is a beautifully restored Meso-American-themed masterpiece for live concerts and other touring productions.

Get in touch with nature
Historic Brackenridge Park is a 343-acre refuge in the heart of the city, where you'll find more than just walking trails and picnic-perfect zones. Also onsite are the Japanese Tea Garden, Sunken Garden Theater, and the San Antonio Zoo, the third largest in the nation with a collection of more than 3,500 animals representing 750 different species from around the globe.

Not far from Brackenridge, the San Antonio Botanical Garden is teeming with beautiful, lush vegetation; there’s even a sensory garden, where emphasis is placed on the texture and scent of plants. Its monumental exhibition, Rooted, is from acclaimed contemporary artist Steve Tobin and features more than 20 towering, nature-inspired sculptures — it’s on view through October 30, 2022.

Discover more to look forward to during a San Antonio sojourn and start planning your trip here.

Courtesy of Hyatt Regency River Walk

River Walk hotel celebrates 40th anniversary with $38 million transformation

Revamped River Walk

One of the city’s premier hotels is celebrating four decades of River Walk hospitality with a gorgeous transformation. Hyatt Regency San Antonio recently announced the completion of a $38 million renovation, updating 602 guest rooms and 28 suites to reflect the upscale urban hotel’s prime position as a connecting feature between Alamo Plaza and the River Walk.

“We are ecstatic to celebrate the momentous milestone anniversary of 40 years in the San Antonio community with a new and vibrant chapter for our iconic River Walk hotel,” said Philip Stamm, area vice president and general manager of Hyatt Regency San Antonio, in a release.

“As our location sits directly between two of the city’s most famous attractions, we made this investment in our hotel and community to complement the revitalization of the downtown area, from the renovation of Alamo Plaza to the numerous updates that have been made to our nearby museums and attractions.”

Conducted by San Antonio-based Canco Construction, national design firm DLR Group, and Lombardi Construction, the collaborative effort broke ground in early December 2021. Canco is a local, minority-owned contractor specializing in commercial construction in South Texas.

“Born and raised here in San Antonio, I am honored to be an integral part of this historic renovation. My family and friends have enjoyed this beautiful hotel for many years,” said Frank Cannon, president and CEO of Canco Construction. “My team takes great pride in knowing that our craftsmanship and work will be enjoyed by future generations of visitors.”

Floor-to-ceiling windows, showcasing sweeping downtown views, are a highlight of the updated guest rooms. Each room features brand-new hardwood flooring, complemented by modern amber-colored accent rugs, a denim accent wall, and a wooden hearth-inspired structure that doubles as a wall mount for brand-new 75-inch flatscreen televisions.

New amenities include updated mini-refrigerators, sleek furniture, and convenient work center desks with installed lighting and built-in power access. The hotel’s indulgent suites were transformed to serve as dual purpose spaces, ideal for luxury accommodations or entertainment locations for social gatherings and small events.

“Our design creates more work and dining options for the contemporary guest,” said Christopher Berenfeld, senior designer at DLR Group. “The extra space makes working from your hotel room, and collaborating with others, easy and convenient.”

Behind the smooth, gliding barn door, bathrooms were redesigned with luxury finishes including marble stand-up showers with premium sliding glass doors and dual rainfall and handheld shower combination systems, a lighted vanity mirror, and granite sinks and countertops. Hotel corridors and elevator waiting areas have also been updated to showcase the atrium-style hotel, which oversees The Alamo and River Walk.

The renovation of the Hyatt Regency San Antonio took place in concert with the multi-year, multi-million dollar revitalization of Alamo Plaza, including the addition of a $15 million Alamo Exhibit Hall and Collections Building, set to open in fall 2022.

“Hyatt Regency San Antonio Riverwalk is a vital hotel in a key, historic intersection connecting the River Walk and the Alamo,” said Marc Anderson, President & CEO of Visit San Antonio. “The renovation of this signature hotel for leisure and business travelers showcases how San Antonio is a city on the move while remaining proud and respectful of its roots. With Hyatt Regency’s renovation visitors will be able to enjoy an improved San Antonio experience starting from the upgraded airport to the Alamo Plaza restoration and new experiences throughout the city.”

For more information on Hyatt Regency San Antonio or to make a reservation, please visit HyattRegencySanAntonio.com.

7 things to know in San Antonio food right now: Buzzy River Walk bar plots 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.

Openings and closings

Popular River Walk hangout Elsewhere Garden Bar & Kitchen is setting its sights, well, elsewhere. In a lengthy social media post, owner Terrin Fuhrmann revealed that the team has purchased a six-acre plot on the North Side to develop as a second outpost. Fuhrmann was mum on the exact details, but he did promise that the new location would have the “same feeling and message” as the original spot. However, the large footprint would offer “a much deeper and immersive experience.”

An Austin nightlife concept now has a San Antonio concept under its wing. According to an Instagram post, The Lucky Duck has quietly opened at 810 N. Alamo St. ahead of its grand opening on May 28. The indoor/outdoor space features a full bar and a looming mural by local artist Scotch! The launch weekend will be celebrated with specials, a DJ, and live music.

The North Side’s tony Estancia del Norte hotel now has an equally fancy restaurant. According to a release, San Antonio caterer Don Strange opened Lazo with Don Strange on May 23. Helmed by former Boiler House sous chef Sarah Myles, the eatery focuses on South Texas-inspired cocktails and dishes.

Popular Northwest Side trailer Early Bird Coffee will soon roost in a permanent home. Via Facebook, the brand announced that it was moving into a permanent home at 11745 I-10, #527 in the Huebner Oaks Shopping Center. Final touches are expected to be completed in time for a midsummer opening. The original Airstream outpost will remain open in the meantime.

Six months after closing to fix a water leak, Southtown’s La Frite Belgian Bistro returned on May 24. Mother-and-son owners Icy and Miles Donnelly used the downtime to spiff up the place. Still, chef Federico Villega’s menu remains essentially the same. However, fans of the restaurant’s mussels will have to do a little planning if they want to wish the team a happy return. The restaurant warned on Instagram that the first two weeks are reservation only.

Other news and notes

Downtown bar Bentley’s on Broadway caused an online stir on May 19 by declaring that it was changing its age requirements to 25-plus. The concept did not offer any reason for the change, which was met with mixed reactions on social media.

Downtown’s Omni La Mansión del Rio hotel has a new executive chef. The property named Andres Farias as the leader of its culinary programs via release, citing his wealth of experience at luxury chains like Starwood Hotels, Marriott International, and Intercontinental Hotels. A Venezuela native, he plans to meld Latin influences with contemporary Texan cuisine.

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Legendary Red Hot Chili Peppers heat up San Antonio with 2023 tour stop

one hot minute

One of alternative rock's most legendary acts is headed to San Antonio on their highly anticipated North American tour next year. Red Hot Chili Peppers will play the Alamodome on Wednesday, May 17, 2023.

Kicking off in Vancouver, British Columbia on March 29, RHCP will also stop in Houston's Minute Maid Park on Thursday, May 25 to close out the North American leg of the tour before heading to Europe. Effortlessly hip modern rock band The Strokes will support the Chili Peppers on both Texas stops, along with talented bassist-vocalist Thundercat.

Tickets go on sale at 10 am Friday, December 9 online. Other supporting acts along the way include Iggy Pop, The Roots, The Mars Volta, St. Vincent, City and Colour, and King Princess.

Touring in support of their two No. 1 studio albums released in 2022, Unlimited Love and Return of the Dream Canteen, the Chili Peppers have played sold-out shows in London, Paris, Los Angeles, and more with notable artists such as A$AP Rocky, Anderson.Paak, Beck, and HAIM.

The first rock band in 17 years to score two No. 1 albums in one year, the band has been red-hot on the Billboard charts and at the MTV Video Music Awards, where they received the Global Icon Award and brought the house down with a performance of the No. 1 single “Black Summer,'' which also won the award for Best Rock Video.

Fronted by the impossibly chiseled and ageless (he's 60!) Anthony Kiedis, the Chili Peppers formed in 1983. Unabashedly proud of their LA roots, the band burst onto the scene with early singles such as "Higher Ground" and "Give It Away," both showcases of bassist Flea's slappin', funk-fueled basslines.

Throughout the peak of alternative music in the '90s, the band saw tragedy, personnel changes at guitar, and reinventions — Kiedes' rap-singing, Flea's bass grooves, and singalong choruses all constants over the decades.

While many '90s alt-rock acts fizzled, the Chili Peppers stayed relevant; the band boasts two anthemic singles with more than 1 billion streams — "Californication" and "Under the Bridge" — and more than 25 million followers on Spotify.

Expect this show to be packed with Gen Xers and new fans for what promises to be one hot minute.

Red Hot Chili Peppers 2023 tour dates:

  • Wednesday, March 29 – Vancouver – BC Place
  • Saturday, April 1 – Las Vegas – Allegiant Stadium
  • Thursday, April 6 – Fargo, North Dakota – FargoDome
  • Saturday, April 8 – Minneapolis – US Bank Stadium
  • Friday, April 14 – Syracuse, New York – JMA Wireless Dome
  • Friday, May 12 – San Diego – Snap Dragon Stadium
  • Sunday, May 14 – Phoenix – State Farm Stadium
  • Wednesday, May 17 – San Antonio – Alamodome
  • Friday, May 19 – Gulf Shores, Alabama – Hangout Music Festival
  • Thursday, May 25 – Houston – Minute Maid Park

Texas-based 3D printing company tapped by NASA to build on the moon

To infinity and beyond

An Austin-based builder of 3D-printed homes, ICON, is making one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind by signing a $57 million contract with NASA to build on the moon.

According to a release from ICON, the Texas company will soon venture into a new frontier of space dimensions. The contract, announced on November 29, was awarded to the company under NASA's Phase III Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. This program allows ICON to use the $57 million award to build their Olympus system, which adds to previous construction done by both NASA and the Department of Defense for exploration of the moon and beyond.

"ICON’s Olympus system is intended to be a multi-purpose construction system primarily using local lunar and Martian resources as building materials to further the efforts of NASA as well as commercial organizations to establish a sustained lunar presence," the release stated.

The project will work in conjunction with NASA's Artemis program, which launched its first rocket in 50 years on November 15. ICON will work with the program to:

  • Use lunar regolith samples brought back from Apollo missions, in addition to other regolith simulants, to see their mechanical behavior in lunar gravity.
  • Bring advanced hardware and software into space through a lunar gravity simulation flight.
  • Create results to inform future lunar construction approaches for the space community.
  • Establish critical infrastructure necessary for a sustainable lunar economy and habitation.

“The final deliverable of this contract will be humanity’s first construction on another world, and that is going to be a pretty special achievement," said Jason Ballard, ICON co-founder and CEO.

"It's a construction system we call Olympus system that will allow us to use the local materials of the moon to build all the elements of infrastructure necessary for a lunar outpost and ultimately a moon base ... launch and landing pads, roadways, habitats, you name it, all the things on the moon," said Ballard.

He added that they hope to start building on the moon by 2026, starting with a launch and landing pad.

In addition to the grant, ICON was awarded a subcontract in 2021 to support NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate to create the world's first and only simulated 3D-printed Mars surface habitat. Called Mars Dune Alpha, it is located at NASA's Johnson Space Center and is assisting in long-duration science missions.

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Read the full story and watch the video at KVUE.com.

6 things to know in San Antonio food right now: New beer garden quietly opens

New 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.

Openings

The owners of Gold Feather have unofficially untapped a new venture, LadyBird Beer Garden. Although official channels are keeping details mum, a Facebook page run by landlords VLA Real Estate spilled the beans on the November 25 opening. In addition to serving craft beer, the concept at 447 W. Hildebrand Ave has a full kitchen, bar, and a small patio for enjoying the mild December weather.

Months after coyly announcing a second location, Elotitos Corn Bar sprouted a new Government Hill location on December 3. The snack shop is well known for its aguas frescas and elotes flights, offering the street food staple in various flavors. The new outpost is open Monday through Saturday, 3-9 pm.

Following the recent San Antonio expansion of Oregon-based Dutch Bros Coffee, another out-of-towner is gaining some local buzz. According to Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation records, Arkansas franchise 7 Brew Coffee is brewing its first Alamo City location at 4825 Walzem Rd. Barring delays, the project will be completed in May 2023.

Pop-up concept Rose Hip Coffee has found a permanent home at 116 W. Olmos Dr. in Olmos Park. The broadened Rose Hip Market combines caffeine with boutique retail, offering everything from kid's clothes to ready-to-eat sandwiches and salads. The playful equestrian wallpaper might make it a can't-miss selfie spot.

Other news and notes

A new cocktail conference will lift San Antonio's spirits in January. The Culinaria-hosted Third Coast Cocktail Summit will feature seminars, tastings, dinners, and tipsy soirées during its five-day run from January 10-14. All-access passes are now available for $250 for industry and $500 for general admission at the nonprofit's website.

In other booze news, Kinsman's Brandy Alexander Tour is back in full swing for the holiday season. Dorćol Distilling's annual celebration of the famous desert cocktail has drafted 14 spots to offer the renowned desert cocktail this year, including several newcomers like Allora, Bar Loretta, Double Standard, Ladino, and Sojourn Trading Co. A full list of participants can be found here.