2016 Culinaria Burgers, BBQ, & Beer

2016 Culinaria Burgers, BBQ, & Beer

Literally on top of the Hill Country, event attendees had an almost 360 view of the beautiful Hill Country below while they explored Burgers, BBQ, and Beer from many different local restaurants including the Jason Dady brothers (Shuck Shack), John Brand (Supper at Hotel Emma), and many more that I tried for the first time. This outdoors, family friendly event is a nice, casual note to end an intense Culinaria Festival week of non-stop gourmet events.

I love running into favorite chefs, foodie friends, and letting my daughter and husband expertly share their opinions on which unofficial winners stood out. My husband likes it because I think it represents what Texas means to him – beefy burgers, cold beer, and talking to friendly strangers. So much so that Priest Holmes, 90s Longhorn football player empathized the point by adding football to the mix.

This year was the first time for the event to be hosted at LaCantera Resort and the space really opened up the event. Y’all know how much I love the Pearl and downtime but the parking lot of the resort afforded much more room and space to stand in line, wander with friends and family 4 deep, and not be on top of each other.  They probably had enough space for twice the amount of booths. 🙂

Congratulations to the amazing Culinaria team for putting together another amazing Culinaria Festival Week!  Remember that the money raised is invested in the San Antonio community through culinary scholarships and contributions to the new Culinaria community garden. The chefs dedicate their time and money and product to these events and don’t forget to tell them how much you appreciate them too.

Audible Football Moment

Although the focus of this blog post is on Culinaria and the celebration of food in San Antonio, my husband wanted to make sure we did not under play (get it??) Priest Holmes and his contributions to football both at UT Austin and as a Super Bowl champion and 3x Pro Bowl Selection,ranks 15th in all-time rushing touchdowns in the NFL. One of the words my husband used to describe his career achievements(who started ahead of Ricky Williams) were “bad ass.”  Holmes was gracious when Jonathan thanked him for his contributions to football and making my husband’s year.

Jonathan has always been the biggest fan of Geekette Bits and one day I connected the way I feel for chefs, with the passion and ability to recount dishes served by year and event is the same way he feels about UT Football players (and their post Longhorn careers.)  Check out Priest Holmes Foundation and learn about his contributions to the kids of San Antonio focusing on Encouraging education, Enhancing the lives of children, and Empowering our youth. (My kind of guy!)

My husband, Horns Up w/ Priest Holmes. The way I feel for chefs, Jonathan feels for UT Longhorn Football players.
My husband, Horns Up w/ Priest Holmes. The way I feel for chefs, Jonathan feels for UT Longhorn Football players.

Experience like a Pro

Having attended this event for almost a decade now (at least five years???) I have learned a few recommendations:

  • It is HOT!
    • Wear cool clothes
    • Dump water on yourself
    • Wear a hat, bring an umbrella to shield from sun
    • Bring sunscreen or borrow some from registration
  • Bring tupperware!
    • You will never be able to eat every single thing and you’ll want to. Give yourself a fair chance by bringing tupperware, ziplock baggies, and a bag to carry your goodies in. Chefs will appreciate you not wasting their food
  • Think Tailgating
    • There will be chairs, etc but you could also easily bring your own
  • Use shuttle to event, easy parking
    • If you don’t like lines and are willing to chance chefs running out of food, don’t try to go in the first hour.
  • Truly kid friendly
    • I think Jaden was in elementary school when we first started
    • Tickets great price $10 for <21 years olds…great way to introduce them to a lot of different foods, starting with something they’re familiar with
  • Military discount

What We Tried

As it is impossible to try them all, (looking forward to leftovers in my tupperware for dinner tonight!)

  • Dady brothers were trying out some Korean inspired short ribs with sesame seeds that were perfectly crusted. As a Korean foodie, I feel confident in my endorsement
  • Supper chef John Brand’s team had a roasted corn chilled salad that complimented their wagyu beef burger delightfully
  • Francis Bogside offered two choices, a pastrami sandwich that they sous vide for 3 days after brining meat for a month!
  • Zinc chef Robbie Nowlin had a burger with a parmasean chip inside deepening the umami

There were probably over 20 restaurants represented in addition to the ice-cold free flowing beer, wine, and cocktails.

What did you try?  What were your favorites?

Tasty Photos

2016 Culinaria Food Festival

2016 Culinaria Food Festival

Festival Week, Culinaria’s popular gustatory get-together, features multiple events over the course of four days! From food trucks to haute cuisine, beer to champagne, Festival Week truly offers something for everyone! The 2016 lineup is shaking out to be the best yet!

As one of Culinaria’s featured bloggers this year, I am very proud to partner with one of my favorite not for profit organizations! You will never meet more passionate people running Culinaria who partner with local chefs and schools to not only elevate San Antonio, TX as a foodie destination nationally, they also are focused on scholarships and education for the community from kids on up!


Check out the video to get an idea of past festivals.

Festival Events

The Farm Dinner

Be one of the first to dine in Magnolia Halle for a sampling of what’s in store for the upcoming Culinaria Farm. Chef Jeff White (Boiler House), Chef Robert Fleming and the Magnolia Pancake Haus team along with a few friends including Chef Luis Colon (Folc), Chef Josh Cross and Chef Robbie Nowlin (Boudro’s and Zinc) will create a multiple-course dinner.

The Culinaria Farm – $85

Back to Bubbles


High end and fabulous, this event is all that sparkles. With a secluded setting at La Cantera Resort and Spa, our guests will have the opportunity to enjoy an intimate evening with local chefs and vineyards paired with a beautiful setting. We’ve resurrected a favorite that will prove to be elegance defined.

May 20, 2016 7:00 PM – 10:00PM
$75 in advance, $100 at the door
La Cantera Resort & Spa – Adult Pool

Tacos And Talk (And Tasting)


  • 11:00 AM – Tempranillos of Texas
    11:30 AM – Taco Town
    11:30 AM – American Whiskey
    12:30 AM – Speak Like a Somm
    1:00 PM – Coffee & Booze
    2:00 PM – Texas Fine Wine Seminar
    2:45 PM – Demo with Chef Rowan
    4:00 PM – Mixology at home

$50 ($75 at the door) – Ages 21 & Older
$10 – Under 21, free – 5 & Under
La Cantera Resort & Spa – Plaza San Saba

The Grand Tasting (Reimagined)

The re-imagined Grand Tasting: creations by talented local and guest chefs along with wine as well as spirits brought to you at one spectacular event. This long-running event of Culinaria will feature some spectacular elements and all of the sights and sounds that make such a celebration complete.

$100 ($125 at the door) – Ages 21 & Older
La Cantera Resort & Spa – San Antonio Ballroom


Burgers, BBQ & Beer

The smoke and smells will lead you to your favorite chefs; you’re in charge of paring their creations with a beer, cocktail or glass of wine. A recipe for the perfect afternoon event, pick your favorite creation and we’ll award the chef who brings it home. Roll up your sleeves and dig in, the bib is optional.

$50 ($75 at the door)
$10 – Under 21, free – 5 & Under
La Cantera Resort & Spa – West Lot


Follow on Social

Facebook: facebook.com/CulinariaSanAntonio

Twitter: @culinariasa

Instagram: @culinariasa

@CULINARIASA  #EatDrinkGive  #Culinariasa  


Our venue host is offering a special rate for Culinaria guests! Click here to view La Cantera Resort & Spa’s room availability and rates during May 19-23, 2016!


Sign up for Uber and insert the promo code CULINARIAFEST16 to receive a free ride on us, up to $20 off.
You can also use MY code for a FREE ride any other time too here: https://www.uber.com/invite/5d8mv
Festival Fotos Over the Years

2014 Culinaria’s San Antonio Restaurant Week

2014 Culinaria’s San Antonio Restaurant Week

My favorite time of the year is here and that’s Culinaria’s Restaurant Week!  Although we are a month out (almost exactly!), Culinaria is a local non-profit culinary organization that works towards creating opportunities to share food among friends, neighbors, and those in need.  It has helped put San Antonio on the map as a culinary destination not just layover.

Restaurant Week is Culinaria’s celebration of amazing San Antonio restaurants and this year there are almost 70 different restaurants and food trucks participating!  The participating restaurants and their amazing chefs have a set menu that you can take advantage of (much less expensive than ordering items a la carte).  I love it, this is literally my favorite time of year (besides the middle of May when Culinaria’s Festival Week occurs.)

When: Saturday, August 16 through Saturday, 23, 2014


San Antonio Restaurant Week benefits Culinaria, so your dining experience during Restaurant Week will be a charitable one. With each meal ordered specifically for San Antonio Restaurant Week, restaurants will donate $1 for lunch and $2 for dinner to Culinaria and the programs it supports.

2014 Culinaria San Antonio Restaurant Week

How much for a fantastic meal supporting your local non-profit organization?

Participating restaurants will offer a prix-fixe menu – encompassing a three-course lunch and dinner for three different tiers:

  • $15 lunch and $35 dinner.
  • $10 lunch and $25 dinner
  • Restaurant Week on The Move: $8 lunch and $15 dinner

*Reservations are not required to participate – but, are a good idea – and can be booked directly with the restaurants.


Here are the restaurants participating with an easy map to all of them to optimize your trip!

Make sure you follow Culinaria on Twitter here:  https://twitter.com/culinariasa and Facebook here:  https://www.facebook.com/CulinariaSanAntonio

Culinaria Becker Vineyard Luncheon

The weekend of the Culinaria Festival starts with the incredibly popular Culinaria Becker Vineyard Luncheon. The Beckers play host to four local chefs each taking one course of the meal and pairing it with the Culinaria’s guest winemakers for the week. The result is an afternoon that is tasty, informative and the perfect way to kick off the weekend. This year’s featured chefs and restaurants include: Chef Cullen Holle, Tre Trattoria Downtown, Chef Michael Mata, the St. Anthony, Chef Jeff White, the Boiler House and Elaine Bicknell, Elaine’s Table. This year’s featured wineries include: Becker Vineyards, Bending Branch, Brennan Vineyards and Messina Hof.

Learn more about Culinaria San Antonio.

Becker Vineyards on Social Media:

Becker Vineyards Lavender Haus Reception Hall
May 16, 2014
11:30 AM-2PM
Pricing: $75/person
Attire: business casual

2014 Menu

Begins around 11:30
Smoked Meats and Cheeses and wine

1st Course
Spring Love Salad
Cherry Balsamic Tomatoes-Citrus Oil Olives-Pearl Mozzarella-Fig Vinaigrette-Fresh Salad Greens Bouquet-Parmesan Ribbons-Freshly Grated Pink Salt Garnished With Chicken
Mike Mota St. Anthony Hotel

2nd Course
Pan Fried Soft Shell Crab, Smoked Apple Cider Beets, Sour Goat Cheese Crema and Pickled Red Grapes
Jeff White The Boiler House

3rd Course
Comfit of Lamb Belly with a Ragu of Shoulder, Cacio Pepe Sauce con Burrata , Spring Carrots, Peas, radish, and Goat Milk Biscott.
Cullen Holle Tre Tattoria Downtown

Elaine’s Famous Carrot Cake Elaine’s Table Kerrville

Culinaria Becker Vineyard Luncheon Culinaria Becker Vineyard Luncheon Culinaria Becker Vineyard Luncheon Culinaria Becker Vineyard Luncheon Culinaria Becker Vineyard Luncheon Culinaria Becker Vineyard Luncheon Culinaria Becker Vineyard Luncheon Culinaria Becker Vineyard Luncheon Culinaria Becker Vineyard Luncheon Culinaria Becker Vineyard Luncheon Culinaria Becker Vineyard Luncheon Culinaria Becker Vineyard Luncheon Culinaria Becker Vineyard Luncheon Culinaria Becker Vineyard Luncheon Culinaria Becker Vineyard Luncheon Culinaria Becker Vineyard Luncheon

2014 Culinaria San Antonio

2014 Culinaria San Antonio

Since my favorite things in life involve food, it’s no surprise that my favorite month in San Antonio, TX is May. Not only was my daughter born in this month, but Culinaria also conducts its annual festival of culinary events! This year Culinaria will run from Wednesday, May 14 through Sunday, May 18, 2014. During this time there will be TWELVE amazing chances to understand why San Antonio is a wine and food destination! Not only does the not-for-profit organization pronounced “COO-linaria” showcase our local chefs that make San Antonio a city on the rise where food is concerned, Culinaria also helps support the local community by providing culinary scholarships and aid to local chefs enduring personal hardships (through their “Chefs 4 Chefs” program.)

Culinaria’s fabulous weeklong festival of food isn’t just for 21+. I bring my daughter to the Food Truck event where we sample food from tons of different local food trucks, wines and beers from both local and out of state purveyors (a lot of time the family owners pouring you a glass at the booth), play games in the field, and cool off with free ice cream being passed out by HEB. Another family friend event that she personally requests is the Burgers, BBQ, and Beer at the Pearl where we enjoy going from restaurant booth to restaurant booth, sampling the over the top dishes, comparing notes, and then sitting at a table to enjoy our food. I won’t spoil the surprise for a future post but just like a good family meal, Culinaria brings people together over great food, great chefs, and great times.

2014 Culinaria San Antonio  Food Truck Event Presented by H-E-B, Domingo at Casa Hernan "The Sunday Morning Brunch", Taste Test Education by Chris Ware at Arcade, barrels in Becker Vineyard wine room.
From left going clockwise: Food Truck Event Presented by H-E-B, Domingo at Casa Hernan “The Sunday Morning Brunch”, Taste Test Education by Chris Ware at Arcade, barrels in Becker Vineyard wine room.

These events will sell out. They will be more expensive at the door.

Check out all the events here, the hyperlinks below take you directly to purchase tickets and learn more about this awesome experience!

2014 Culinaria San Antonio
From left going clockwise: Becker Luncheon, Tequila tasting at Johnny Hernandez’s brunch, Becker Luncheon, Chef Jesse Perez with Bunny Becker at Becker Vineyards.

Social Media:

2014 Culinaria San Antonio Wine glasses needed for Becker Vineyard wine tasting, Burgers, BBQ, and Beer event at the Pearl, White wine tasting with Beckers and Sommelier Steven, Where Y'at Po Boy at Food Truck event
From left going clockwise: Wine glasses needed for Becker Vineyard wine tasting, Burgers, BBQ, and Beer event at the Pearl, White wine tasting with Beckers and Sommelier Steven, Where Y’at Po Boy at Food Truck event

Luke San Antonio | Chef John Russ

I was delighted at the invitation I received to attend the Culinaria Wine Makers Dinner on Wednesday, May 15th, 2013.  Having been a fan of Luke San Antonio, since it’s arrival to the San Antonio downtown culinary scene in December 2010 (attending the very first event!), I’m always happy to go back.  It’s actually a favorite of both mine and my sister and we meet there often for catch up lunches since she already works downtown. Having lost my husband to his MBA program, my sister was the perfect “plus 1” for this lavish affair.

It also always means more to me when I get to know the chefs of local restaurants more personally, which if you’ve met Chef John Russ, is very easy to do! 🙂  I actually first met him at the beginning of this year during the San Antonio Cocktail Conference, when Luke was one of three stops on the Riverboat cruise (another fabulous cause!).  Having not seen a picture of him, and apparently not eating at Luke since Chef Steve McHugh left in September 2012 to focus on his own restaurant…I started chatting up the guy shucking oysters, shooting the breeze about how fabulous the oysters were and to keep them coming. 🙂  At some point I asked him what it was like with the new executive chef…if he missed McHugh or was the new guy as good as I heard?  Well, thank goodness I had heard only good things!  Turns out the chef is a man of the people, happy to talk to the restaurant’s guests shucking oysters!  I thought, “Wow what a humble guy!”

I learned that he was from NOLA, where he had met Chef John Besh and worked with him at August (’nuff said!)  He’s got lots planned for the restaurant this year, will continue cooking up great meals and supporting not only great nonprofit, local causes but especially our local farmers.  Having met a lot of the local farmers myself at the Pearl Farmers Market, I knew exactly who he was talking about when he would mention where the pork (South Texas Heritage Pork) and strawberries (Oak Hills Farms in Poteet, TX) came from.  He actually went as far as to change the planned five course dinner because Fredericksburg, TX peaches came into season, just in time.

My sister who in recent years is a MILLION times more adventurous than the shell of a foodie she once was, enjoyed all the courses too (a test for the reformed picky eater…)  We loved each perfectly paired course with the refreshing Texas wine from the Duchman family (more about them later.)

Pop Up Dinners!

Be sure to become a fan of Luke San Antonio on Facebook here!  They have a fantastic private dining area that has a clear view into their main kitchen.  When the space isn’t booked for events on Fridays and Saturdays, the chef will prepare a unique tasting menu and post it, pop up style, the day of on their social media accounts!  (You can subscribe to alerts from a specific Facebook page by hovering over the Like button and then selecting “receive notifications”.)  Thanks Justin Solomon, the incredible front house man, for the tip!

Check him out his tweets, @johnny_russ and his drool worthy pictures on Instagram.

LĂĽke on Urbanspoon


1st Course
‘Sweet Heat’, Marinated Gulf Coast Shrimp,
Pickled Grape Tomatoes, Fried Garlic, Spanish Olive Oil, Ms. Julies’ Pea Greens

2nd Course
Charred Bandera Quail, Fredericksburg Peaches
Spiced Pecans, Goat Milk Ricotta, Local Lettuces

3rd Course
Roasted Cabrito, Eggplant Confit
Heirloom Tomato and Sweet Pea Ragout, Sea Island Peas

4th Course
Ms. Cora’s Strawberries
Crumbled Amoretti, Mascarpone
Canto Felice

luke san antonio culinaria wine dinner chef john russ

luke san antonio culinaria wine dinner chef john russ

luke san antonio culinaria wine dinner chef john russ

2012 Culinaria Restaurant Week Menus | San Antonio

It’s one of my favorite times of the year!  Culinaria’s Restaurant Week!

Website:  http://culinariasa.org/wine-festival/main/restaurants.php

Antler’s Lodge at the Hyatt 
view menu

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Bella on the River
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Biga on the Banks
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Bin 555 
view lunch menu
view dinner menu

Boudro’s Texas Bistro on the Riverwalk 
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BRIO Tuscan Grille 
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Citrus at Hotel Valencia 
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El Jarro
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Esquire Tavern
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Fig Tree Restaurant
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Fogo de ChĂŁo Churrascaria
view menu (normall $45 at dinner!)

Grey Moss Inn Restaurant 
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Ibiza Restaurant and Patio Bar at Hilton Palacio del Rio 
view lunch menu
view dinner menu

Kirby’s Prime Steakhouse
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La Gloria
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Las Canarias at the Omni
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Little Rhein Steak House
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Max’s Wine Dive
view lunch menu
view dinner menu 

Mela Indian Bar & Grill
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Ostra at Mokara Hotel and Spa 
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Paesanos (1604) 
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Paesanos (Lincoln Heights) 
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Paloma Blanca
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Perry’s Steakhouse and Grille 
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Q on the Riverwalk at the Hyatt Regency

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Restaurant Gwendolyn 
3 course dinner and 5 course dinner

RoMo’s Café 
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Ruth’s Chris Steak House (Downtown)
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Texas de Brazil 
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The Lion & Rose (Park North) 
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The Lion & Rose (Stoneoak) 
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The Palm 
view lunch menu
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Tost Bistro & Bar
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Tre Trattoria (Alamo Heights) 
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Tre Trattoria (Downtown) 
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Yard House
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Zinc Bistro & Wine Bar
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view lunch menu
view dinner menu