A lot of us like to stretch out our birthdays; a week of celebration is not uncommon in my circles. The City of San Antonio is drawing its 300th out to a full year. But the best compromise might just be at Pearl, where savvy marketing is bringing us three months of concentrated activities from June 15 to September 16. Gastronomy, as the Olé, San Antonio organizers are billing it, is a primary focus. Here’s some stuff not to miss.
First, a kick off billed as El Dia Mundial de la Tapa at Pearl Stable
on June 21 ($100, 5:30-8pm), that launches Summer of Spain in grand fashion with tapas from “10 critically acclaimed chefs (many with Michelin stars to their name) from 10 different areas of Spain”. Plus, there's cava. And a designation of San Antonio as the first “official Capital of Tapas” in the U.S. Olé us!
There’s no excuse not to partake of at least one of the many other recurring events, a good example of which is The Flamenco Tablaos that are the collaborative effort of our own Chef Johnny Hernandez and various Spanish flamenco performers; they take place June 23, July 8 and September 14. As the dinner menus for these events appear not to vary from one to the next (ham croquetas, paella, wines …), the decision might as well be based on the entertainment. My vote goes to flamenco guitarist Luis Gallo, but if you prefer dynamic dance as a backdrop to your dinner, that option also exists. ($150, ole2018.ticketbud.com
Another serial event is the Intercambio Dinner Series pairing Pearl chefs with distinguished Spanish counterparts. The first takes place on June 26 and profits from the partnering of Cured’s Steve McHugh and Chef Patxi Zumàrraga, a Slow Food pioneer with modernist (she worked at experimental avatar El Bulli) restaurants in Madrid and Barcelona. (Go to curedatpearl.com
for details.) Other dinners include a Michelin-starred chef from Seville in collaboration with The Granary’s Tim Rattray (thegranarysa.com
) on August 1, and Southerleigh’s
Jeff Balfour making magic over beer pairings with a respected chef from Madrid. If I had to pick, it would be Cured, if only for the shared tradition of charcuterie. Olé otra vez!
The Gastronomy Monograph Series is yet another serial seducer; you have your choice of a deep dive into olive oil, cheese, tinned seafood (a Spanish specialty) and wine, among other topics. Most events are at Hotel Emma and are $25. (exploretock.com/culinaryconcierge
) A more hands-on experience can be had at the Culinary Institute of America – San Antonio, which is offering short, Spain-centric classes on Sherry, paella and tapas among other topics (atpearl.com/ole
). And a completely casual exploration of Spanish food, wines and spirits can be yours by taking advantage of Tapas Tuesdays at Pearl restaurants and Spanish Sipping Thursdays, which also repeat throughout the summer. Scott Ota at High Street Wine Company
, for example, will be featuring Spanish vinos from select producers and in various formats, including hard-to-find magnums. The Spanish obsession with goblets of gin tonic (no ampersand but lots of aromatic garnishes) will be in full flower at other bibulous institutions.
Olé, olé, olé, olé! as soccer fans chant. Without the need for gin.
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