Roots salad Kitchen/ Facebook

Our only regret for Black Restaurant Week San Antonio? There are only so many meals we can eat in a day. So we’ve learned to form a game plan before diving into the dozens of restaurants participating in the annual celebration of culture and cuisine.

Founder Ryane Smith’s labor of love, held this year from February 26 to March 5, has become an annual tradition. Each year, participating restaurants agree to donate a dollar from a special to a local charity; this year, the San Antonio Food Bank. That alone is an excellent reason to schedule lingering dinners and mid-day lunches.

But it is also a chance to discover new favorites to return to month after month. Here are a few of ours to get your calendar started.

Carmens de la Calle
For over 20 years, this venue has been delivering la vie boheme to locals via its cozy downtown hideaway. The food pairs nicely with the flamenco often found inside. Order the house paella with chicken, chorizo, and seafood, or order empanadas 72 hours in advance. They come in a mind-boggling assortment of global flavors — everything from the Japanese-inspired Samurai Chicken to beef picadillo.

Kirk’s Jerk
Kirk’s family-run food truck specializes in — what else — jerk chicken. Jamaica’s most famous culinary export is made into tacos, sandwiches, and sliders — and even a salad bowl. That’s just a lip-smacking start. For a limited time, the Converse trailer will also be dishing out oxtails and curry chicken for a complete family feast. All are served with the necessary sides: cabbage, rice and peas, and plantains.

Momma Luv’s
This Northeast Side eatery combines soul and Caribbean cooking in one of the most piquant menus in town. Southern specialties like fried catfish and collard greens can be mixed and matched with island favorites like Jamaican beef patties, plantains, and slow-stewed chicken.

Mr. A. OK’s Kitchen
An industry vet with more than 20 years of experience, chef Steven Harris specializes in the soul food once ubiquitous at Southern meat-and-threes. That means every sandwich and entrée comes with at least one side, a list that covers all the classics — mac ‘n’ cheese, greens, black-eyed peas, dirty rice, fried okra, and more.

Roots Salad Kitchen

It used to be conventional wisdom that people who wanted a healthy meal in San Antonio had to cook it themselves. Not anymore. Spots like Roots are dishing out plenty of veggies and whole grains, all served as a fast-food value meal. Chef Chris Cukjati takes it one step further by introducing a global flavor palate. Chimichurri gives zing to flat iron steak in a Tex-Mex salad; shrimp is paired with crunchy green apples and a sunny orange dressing.

Sweet Yams
A more health-minded take on Southern fare, this East Side eatery offers lean meats, gluten-free bread, and organic produce. All of the sides are vegan, but omnivores might not notice. The red beans and rice is insanely flavorful, thanks to a squirt of sriracha and creamy avocado.

Trices Café & Lounge
Owned by chef Elsie Glasu-Atunuwa, Trices is one of only a handful of restaurants in Alamo City offering West African standards like egusi soup (a nutty comfort food made from blended melon seeds) and jollof rice (a vibrantly spiced dish made in a tomato stew). Try either with a Malta Guinness, a sweet, malty soft drink with just a hint of the familiar stout’s flavor.

Wine 210
This elegant neighborhood wine bar has an intriguing array of bottles, ranging from patio pounders like Field Recording’s Skins to big reds like Longevity Cabernet Sauvignon. The snacks are naturally designed to let the vino shine. Opt for charcuterie, olives, hummus, or a decadent double-chocolate cake.

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San Antonio International Airport clears runway for 1st nonstop flight to Europe

booking tix now

Big news for Texas travelers: San Antonio International Airport's first-ever nonstop flights to Europe will begin in 2024.

Passengers can now book tickets via Condor Airlines for flights from San Antonio International Airport (SAT) to Germany's Frankfurt Airport (FRA) between May 17 and September 6, 2024. Flights will initially operate three days a week – Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays – and flights to Frankfurt are expected to take a little more than 10 hours, while flights coming in from overseas will last about 11.5 hours.

The seasonal service is a "spectacular win" for the city, according to Mayor Ron Nirenberg, and could bring in an estimated $34 million annually. The airport has been seeing wins left and right, having just been named one of the nation's least stressful airports, and consistently handling busier and busier days.

"Germany is where San Antonio has the most demand for travel in Europe because of the cultural, historic, tourism, military, and business ties," Mayor Nirenberg said in a news conference on September 21.

San Antonio Airport System Director of Airports Jesus Saenz foreshadows that the SAT-FRA flight is "just the beginning" of possible flight expansions for the airport in the future.

"We fully believe San Antonio will utilize this service to Europe and take advantage of Condor’s extremely competitive airfares," he said. "Once that happens, we anticipate Condor will expand their services even further."

The airline will be using a brand new Airbus A330-900neo aircraft for the nonstop flights, which features 30 business class seats, 64 premium economy seats, and 216 economy seats.

"With our growing fleet of A330neos, we can provide better travel options to more Americans every year," said Condor CEO Ralf Teckentrup said in a release. "I am particularly proud to offer the only nonstop connection from San Antonio, Texas to Frankfurt, Germany – the heart of Europe, where travelers can enjoy the popular touristic sights of Germany or travel beyond conveniently by air, road, or rail. I invite everyone to try out our newest and most luxurious in-flight experience ever."

Monday flights will depart from SAT at 10:05 pm and arrive in Frankfurt at 3:20 pm the following day. Returning flights from FRA on Mondays will depart at 3:40 pm and arrive at SAT at 8:05 pm.

For Wednesday and Friday flights, departures from SAT will take place at 8:25 pm and arrive at FRA at 1:40 pm the next day. Returning flights from FRA will depart at 2:00 pm and arrive at SAT at 6:25 pm.

New honky-tonk surprisingly two-steps into St. Paul's Square


When Steve Mahoney first relaunched Francis Bogside and sibling wine bar, Anne’s, in the former home of Smoke BBQ, rumors circulated on how he would use the expansive upstairs space. Now, San Antonio has its answer. In a surprise move, the veteran bar owner debuted his latest venture — honky-tonk concept Blayne’s — on September 22.

The name pays homage to the late Blayne Tucker, the former co-owner of the Mix and managing partner of Floore’s Country Store. A tireless advocate for the city’s musical scene, he helped usher in the Save Our Stages Act, assisting hundreds of venues to stay afloat nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“[Blayne’s] impact in San Antonio is nothing short of extraordinary,” said Mahoney via a release. “We hope to continue his efforts and support live music in the city.”

Fittingly, music will be in the air at Blayne’s, starting with The Babylonz and DJ Guero Vaquero from 5 pm to 2 am on the soft opening night. A large dance floor, pool tables, and bar games complete the honky-tonk vibe.

Like many of Mahoney’s bars, Blayne’s has a solid food program. The Tex-Mex fusion menu features eclectic pub grub like red curry short rib mini tacos, southwest eggrolls, street corn bites, smoked barbacoa pizza, and customizable nachos. The initial press announcement didn’t deeply discuss the drink options but promised margaritas, house cocktails, and beer.

Though no official announcement has been made, Mahoney has another bar up his sleeve. The Francis Bogside website teases the January 2024 opening of Robert’s, named after Mahoney’s late business partner, Robert Darilek. Details, including the location, are slim, but the landing page touts “feature club-style seating, an extensive whiskey list, and a cigar menu.”

Following the September 22 sneak peek, Blayne’s will be open Wednesday through Saturday, 5 pm to 2 am.

Blayne's San Antonio

Photo by TXTroublemaker

Blayne's food menu includes red curry short rib mini tacos.

San Antonio contemporary art sale preps red dots for 33rd year

The eye of the beholder

Sometimes it feels like the only art most people will ever have in their homes is funky craft market finds, but one San Antonio art hub is making its contemporary curation accessible in a popular annual sale. The 33rd annual Red Dot Sale is returning soon.

Held at Contemporary at Blue Star, the exhibition and celebration of local artists officially opens to the public on October 6th. Don't fret if you can't make it to the opening weekend, as the Red Dot art sale will be on display until January 9, 2024. Eager art buyers will even be able to look at pieces for purchase online at the official Blue Star Red Dot website.

There will be a special opening night celebration on October 4 from 6-10 pm, where guests who purchase a ticket will be able to preview the artwork on display and for sale from more than 100 San Antonio based artists. (The event page also teases a silent disco after-party.)

Previous Red Dot Sales have reportedly seen prices as low as $200, so there really are works available for most budgets.

The Red Dot Art Sale is a fundraiser that helps keep Contemporary at Blue Star running year after year. According to this year's call for submissions (now closed), half the proceeds from the event go toward funding Contemporary at Blue Star's ongoing exhibitions, and half will go to the artists who put their work on display.

Continuing the ongoing theme of supporting talented local artists, the Red Dot exhibition also features an honored artist who has consistently displayed dedication to supporting the San Antonio arts scene.

This year that chosen honoree is Cathy Cunningham-Little, an artist inspired by explorations of illusions versus reality.

According to Cunningham-Little's official biography, her central theme in her pieces were inspired by her father's loss of sight due to a genetic disorder.

In Cunningham-Little's own words, viewers of her artwork are, "asked to become an active participant in a dialogue with the work as they experience the dissolution of boundaries between substance and space."

The sale also spotlights Andi Rodriguez as this year's distinguished patron, as well as the MOSAIC Student Artists — a group of high school students who study studio art and business in an after-school program with the Contemporary.

The Red Dot exhibition and sale will also feature augmented reality (AR), thanks to a partnership with a San Antonio-based art tech startup called Kaleido. Guests who attend the show will be able to utilize Kaleido's AR to hear straight from the artists about their work (as opposed to reading a placard describing what the artwork is supposed to be).

“I am thrilled that Red Dot celebrates San Antonio’s vastly rich community of artists,” said the Contemporary’s Executive Director Mary Heathcott in a release. “I am also excited to partner with Kaleido, which has the potential to share Red Dot works and artists across the globe. With innovation being one of our pillars, this new partnership will elevate the Red Dot show to an immersive augmented reality engagement.”

Tickets ($75) for the opening event are still available in a limited quantity — purchase them via Eventbrite.