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Courtesy Texas Food & Wine Alliance

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.

(Courtesy Boerne Kendall County Economic Development Corp.)

Two new breweries getting ready to pour it on in San Antonio area

Brewing News

Editor's Note: With a new brewery popping up in San Antonio seemingly every month, we're brewing up a new column to track all things beer in Alamo City.

Boerne’s brewing scene grows
Despite the closure of Boerne Brewery in 2022, the craft brewing community in the Boerne/Comfort area continues to expand and further showcase the Texas Hill Country as a destination for fans of locally produced beer — as well as wine and spirits. Local homebrewer Donald Kretz plans to bring his recipes to the masses this spring with the planned launch of 28 Songs Brewhouse and Kitchen.

(Courtesy Boerne Kendall County Economic Development Corp.)

Donald Kretz, owner of 28 Songs Brewhouse and Kitchen, shows the new signage that a contractor is placing for the brewpub, which will occupy the former Main and Market building at 110 Market Ave. in Boerne.

A veteran who fostered a successful career in the defense/intelligence industry, Kretz is now focused on turning his love for craft brewing into his own full-fledged brewpub. In early January, Kretz and his team began renovating the former Main and Market building at 110 Market Avenue, north of downtown Boerne, where four breweries — Cibolo Creek, Tusculum, Free Roam, and Dodging Duck — all sit within walking distance of each other.

Kretz is using a newly created Facebook page to keep people updated on the brewery's construction progress. In one post, he explained that the name 28 Songs refers to how cardinals can sing 28 different songs, adding that many people in this region feel a spiritual connection to the bird.

According to Kretz, the new nano-brewery will include indoor and outdoor seating for more than 150 people, a five-barrel brew house, and 28 taps to handle a lineup of original core beers and a rotation of small-batch brews.

Additionally, 28 Songs will have live music, a jukebox, games, multiple televisions, and a variety of pub grub made in house. The planned food menu will include appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, salads, flatbread pizzas, and desserts.

Progress at Breakaway Brewing
Meanwhile, San Antonio’s next brewery is humming along. Owners of Breakaway Brewing Co. said in mid-January that beer production has begun at their fledgling East Side facility. The husband and wife team of Chris and Jean Pal-Freeman are developing the cycling-themed brewery in the Government Hill neighborhood next to Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.

According to Breakaway Brewing, interviews for food positions are underway, and the first batch of company merchandise has arrived. The owners have been eyeing an opening timeframe in late January or early February.

Weathered Souls making more friends
January 28 will be a big day at Weathered Souls Brewing Co.: That’s when their inaugural Weathered Souls and Friends event takes place, offering visitors a chance to try a few beers produced by more than 20 breweries located around Texas and nationwide.

The idea here, according to Weathered Souls, is to bring bits of different types of small, independent breweries to local craft beer fans who do not get to travel much.

Participating breweries include Baa Baa Brewhouse and Ingenious Brewing — both from Texas — Good Word Brewing & Public House from Georgia, and Claimstake Brewing from California. The fun at Weathered Souls begins at 11 am on January 28.

Photo courtesy of Culture Commons

New exhibit in downtown San Antonio spotlights Black contemporary artists

Art News

An opening reception on Thursday, January 19, celebrated the launch of a new exhibit designed to spotlight the multifaceted work of talented Black artists. Located in the City of San Antonio's Culture Commons Gallery inside the Plaza de Armas Building (115 Plaza de Armas), “Between Yesterday & Tomorrow: Perspectives from Black Contemporary Artists of San Antonio” showcases the cultural and life experiences of local Black artists.

Featuring a wide range of drawing, painting, photography, mixed media, digital media, assemblage, sculpture, and quilting, themes of the exhibit include Black history and identity, family dynamics, social connections, personal human experience, spirituality, and resilience.

"The goal was to drive the collective vision of Black contemporary artists as documentarians of the historical and social conscience of their time,” Curator Barbara Felix commented. “When the individual selected works came together in the gallery, I realized the prospect of this show was coming to fruition in a way that beautifully celebrates each artist and their vision."

Participating artists include Bernice Appelin-Williams, John Coleman, Kaldric Dow, Kwanzaa Edwards, Anthony Francis, Alain Boris Gakwaya, Deborah Harris, Edward Harris, Paul Hurd, Carmen Cartiness Johnson, Alethia Jones, Theresa Newsome, Wardell Picquet, Calvin Pressley, Don Stewart, Naomi Wanjiku, and Angela Weddle.

“Culture Commons is an accessible gallery space that can draw the public to be plunged into an artistic experience that amplifies the diverse voices of our community,” said Department of Arts & Culture Executive Director Krystal Jones in a release. “The ‘Between Yesterday & Tomorrow’ exhibit is an important addition to the arts landscape of the city, and we could not be more pleased to provide a platform to present it to the public. This rich collection of artists provides gallery visitors unique perspectives into the personal experience of being Black in San Antonio.”

The exhibit is free and open to the public every Wednesday through Friday from 11 am to 4 pm. Following the opening reception on January 19, the exhibit will remain open through November 17, 2023, with various community events scheduled throughout the year, including:

POETRY NIGHT: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised — Wednesday, February 22, 2023 (6 – 9 pm)
An evening of music and voices curated and hosted by 2020-2023 San Antonio Poet Laureate Andrea Vocab Sanderson

ARTIST TALK: Panel Discussion — Wednesday, May 17, 2023 (6 – 8 pm)
Featuring curator Barbara Felix and exhibited artists discussing unique stories about their art, influences, and experiences with participation from audience members.

PRIDE MONTH EVENT: Comfortable in Our Skin — Wednesday, June 28, 2023 (6:30 – 9 pm)
An evening of music and dance honoring our LGBTQIA+ Community

FILM NIGHT — Wednesday, August 23, 2023 (6 – 8 pm)
Join the Department of Arts & Culture and local African American filmmakers in the screening of several short films.

DANCE EVENT: Premier Dance Performance by Tanesha Payne — Wednesday, October 11, 2023 (6 – 8 pm)
Experience the world premiere of a new site-specific dance choreographed by San Antonio based movement artist Tanesha Payne, who uses dance to make people a better version of themselves.

Courtesy McIntyre's

Houston bar McIntyre’s adds to entertainment options in San Antonio’s Southtown

A new place to party

The Southtown area south of downtown San Antonio has a plethora of dining, bar, recreational, and other entertainment options for all ages. The newest dining and drinking destination for residents and visitors, however, hails from Houston.

McIntyre’s, an icehouse-style sports bar with three original locations in the Houston region, expanded into San Antonio in late 2022, opening at the former bar The Patio at 1035 S. Presa St. An extended grand opening was held December 29 through January 2.

Like its Houston-area counterparts, the San Antonio McIntyre’s blends indoor and outdoor spaces with textured walls, a range of seating options, and ideal views of large, high-definition televisions positioned across the sizable patio.

The patio at McIntyre’s is dog friendly, a key aspect that complements the relaxed vibe at the growing bar chain.

Michael Paolucci, who is partnering with Kyle Berg on McIntyre’s ownership and operations, said their first San Antonio location was well-received by locals and tourists opening up during the final days of the recent holiday season in the Alamo City.

“The first two days were great,” Paolucci said.

The drink menu features traditional and craft beers, cocktails on tap, signature, classic and frozen cocktails, a wide selection of whiskeys, as well as wines and champagne.

McIntyre’s hosts resident food trucks to feed hungry guests. Garcia Barbecue is scheduled Sundays through Tuesdays and every other Saturday, serving up smoked quest nachos, sandwiches and tacos.

Another venture, Jeepney Street Eats, is cooking up various goodies Wednesdays through Fridays, and every other Saturday.

Visitors may also take advantage of happy hour and an assortment of lawn games, such as cornhole.

Paolucci and Berg are not done in San Antonio: McIntyre’s has filed a project with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation to develop a second San Antonio location near North Star Mall at 86 NE Loop 410.

Courtesy McIntyre's

Houston-based sports bar McIntyre's opened its first San Antonio location in Southtown at 1035 S. Presa St., adding onto the neighborhood's growing number of entertainment offerings.

36th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. March and Celebration returns in person to San Antonio next week

One of the city's favorite annual events is returning to its pre-pandemic, in-person format next week. On Monday, January 16 at 10 am, the 36th Martin Luther King, Jr. March and Celebration will take place throughout the city.

Described as the "largest march in the nation," the march is the result of an ongoing partnership betwee the City of San Antonio, District 2 Councilman Jalen McKee-Rodriguez, and the San Antonio Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission chaired by Dwayne Robinson. This year’s theme, “Together We Can Be THE Dream,” was created by Shaunda Hopkins Lohse and chosen by the MLK Jr. Commission.

"We are overjoyed to share the details of the 2023 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. March. Often touted as the largest in the nation, next year’s March will return in-person for the first time since the COVID pandemic,” McKee-Rodriguez said. “After successfully advocating to triple the budget for the march, and receiving record engagement in our annual Artwork and Theme contests we have no doubt it will be even more joyous, connective, reflective, and more accessible to those who also hope to live Dr. King’s dream.”

According to a release, Dwayne Robinson, who is now serving as the new chairman for the MLK Jr. Commission, is hoping for maximum turnout from the city and hopes residents show up in record numbers for the march.

“We are excited to return, not only the in-person MLK, Jr. March, but also the Youth Summit, Wreath Laying Ceremony, Inter-Faith Service, Trinity University Lecture, Baptist Minister’s Union Worship Service, and announce the recipients of the MLK Public Service Award and Scholarship recipients,” Robinson said. “We’ve waited for three years to showcase to the nation that the city of San Antonio continues to honor the legacy of the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As King once said, ‘The beauty of genuine brotherhood and peace is more precious than diamonds or silver or gold.’”

Kicking off at 10 am, the 2023 celebration will start at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Academy, on 3501 Martin Luther King Drive, ending at Pittman-Sullivan Park, 1101 Iowa Street. Afterwards, a park celebration will take place at Pittman-Sullivan Park, set to include a main stage with multicultural performances, a health and wellness area, a youth area, food and merchandise vendors, and information booths.

More information on the march and other celebrations coming up this weekend are below:

Trinity Lecture
Thursday, January 12, 2023 – 7 pm
Location: Trinity Lecture Laurie Auditorium

Baptist Ministers Union Worship Service
Friday, January 13, 2023 – 7 pm
Location: Antioch Baptist Church

Youth Empowerment Event
Saturday, January 14, 2023 – 3 pm to 9 pm\
Location: The Espee at Sunset Station

Wreath Laying Ceremony
Sunday, January 15, 2023 – 2 pm
Location: MLK Plaza (N. New Braunfels St. and E. Houston St.)

Inter-Faith Worship Service
Sunday, January 15, 2023 – 4:30 pm
Location: St. Gerard Catholic Church

Pre-March Service
Monday, January 16, 2023 – 8 am

Pre-Worship Service
Monday, January 16, 2023 – 9 am
Location: Martin Luther King Jr. Academy

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. March
Monday, January 16, 2023 – 10 am
Starts at: Martin Luther King Jr. Academy
Ends at: Pittman-Sullivan Park

Commemorative Program & Public Awards Ceremony
Monday, January 16, 2023 – 12 pm
Location: Pittman-Sullivan Park

To stay up to date on the MLK March and events, head to SA.gov.

There's still time to recycle your Christmas tree at these San Antonio locations

O, Christmas Tree

We may be sneaking into mid-January this week, but there's no shame if you haven't taken down your Christmas decorations quite yet. Maybe you haven't had the time, or maybe you just don't want to let go of that holiday magic, refusing to acknowledge the growing pile of pine needles on your living room floor. Luckily, these spots around town have you covered for your recycling needs.

According to a release, the City of San Antonio Solid Waste Management is hosting its four recycling centers through the rest of this week. Atlas Organics, the City’s composting partner, will be hosting one until January 14 as well. Trees are biodegradable and should be ground into mulch or composted instead of landfilled.

“Christmas trees are a beautiful tradition,” said Solid Waste Marketing Manager Marcus Lee said in the release. “When the season ends, if you take your Christmas tree to any of the tree-cycling drop-off locations, you renew its beauty by giving it back to the earth to help new trees grow — not to the landfill where its life cycle stops permanently.”

The full list of locations and times is below:

CITY DROP-OFF CENTERS
Until January 14 from 8 am-5 pm
Bitters Brush Drop-Off Center - 1800 Wurzbach Parkway, 78216

Jan 14 from 8 am-noon

  • Culebra Road Drop-Off Center – 7030 Culebra Road, 78238
  • Frio City Road Drop-Off Center – 1531 Frio City Road, 78226
  • Rigsby Road Drop-Off Center – 2755 Rigsby Road, 78222

ATLAS ORGANICS
Until January 14 from 8 am-5 pm
8963 Nelson Road, 78252

In mid-January, customers may also visit the Bitters brush location and receive free mulch from the trees that were collected while supplies last. Additionally, Atlas Organics will offer a 23 percent discount off the first yard of their premium compost as a thank you for choosing a sustainable recycling method for live Christmas trees. More on this offer can be found at on their website.

“This is a great offer opportunity for the citizens of San Antonio,” said Solid Waste Director David Newman, in the release. “I hope they will take Atlas up on their offer for some premium and wonderfully rich San Antonio Compost.”

According the release, tree recycling requirements are below:

  • Only live trees will be accepted.
  • Trees over six feet tall must be cut in half.
  • All decorations, lights and stands should be removed.
  • Garlands or wreaths will not be accepted.

Customers can also place smaller real trees in their green organic bins for their normal collection dates. The cart lid must close completely, and customers are asked to not bag their trees.

And if you're still clinging on to that holiday spirit, you're not alone: As of Sunday, January 8, the Menger Hotel was still sporting their towering tree — and who can blame them for not taking down the centerpiece of their gorgeous two-story lobby?

Menger Hotel Christmas TreeThe Menger Hotel's glorious Christmas tree. Menger Hotel/Instagram

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

Seeing green

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

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

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

Some logistics to note when planning a viewing:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hot Headlines

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

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

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

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

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

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


Popular Pearl brunch spot remixes with new weekend DJ nights

OONCE OONCE OONCE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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