News and notes from the San Antonio food scene
Drinking and shopping: a delightful mix
In the deli, I was buzzed. By cheese, I felt tipsy. In frozen foods, I passed out, stone drunk on Merlot Carignan. The Central Market floral manager tossed me out of the store, and I landed by the valet stand. "Park this!" I sputtered, flipping off the aghast passers-by.
That was pure fiction. I have never been drunk at Central Market, nor am I endorsing public intoxication. Yet, a new feature at the upscale grocer eases the persistent aggravation of Hummer drivers, aisle dawdlers, and Express Lane violators: drinking while shopping.
Central Market now offers wine by the glass, which you can sip in the café or carry around while caressing packages of pork loin. According to Central Market Coverage Manager Jeff Buckley, the store applied for and received an additional alcoholic beverage license allowing shoppers to buy a glass of wine at the coffee bar for $2.50 a glass. The cramped café also will be renovated and expanded, which should make that area look and feel more akin to a restaurant than a tailgate party.
Strangely, I haven't noticed anyone juggling a goblet and a shopping basket. No one appears to be weaving her cart around the store, at least no more than usual. Are people not excited about the greatest innovation to hit shopping since the optical scanner?
"So far, it's not been an issue," Buckley said. "I haven't had anybody say anything at all."
Cheap downtown dining
Anyone longing to enjoy the downtown dining scene without taking out a loan can talk to Rick Frame. Travis 151, his new café/lounge at (where else but) 151 Travis, opened on January 23 to offer an alternative to the over-crowding and expense of the River Walk. Frame has created a relaxed environment in which he serves handmade, rustic, south Texas cuisine. The grand opening lunch menu includes calamari, Southern chicken salad, and smoked salmon macaroni - all within the $4-8 range - that can be enjoyed either in the lounge or on a picturesque outdoor patio overlooking the river.