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News and notes from the San Antonio food scene

Cool beans

The downtown area will have a new kid on the coffee block this fall. Austin-based Ruta Maya Coffee Co., known for its fair-trade, shade-grown, organic coffee, will open on the River Walk, 107 E. Martin, in early October. Although its beans have long been available at Costco, H-E-B, and Whole Foods, this will be its first coffeehouse in San Antonio. Owner Angel Mena said the coffeehouse plans eventually to host live music and poetry readings. In the meantime, the café will open with a full lunch menu, organic appetizers and light hors d'oeuvres in the evenings, and a specialty beer and wine list. A second location, at 1604 and Stone Oak, should open sometime next year.

Forza la famiglia

Rosy Tortore, owner of The Vine Italian Ristorante, 6387 Babcock, welcomes her nephew and new chef, Alessandro Moniello, newly arrived from Posillipo, Italy. Formerly the chef of Virgiliano in Naples, Moniello's specialties include Penne alla Puleinello and Strudello alle Alessandro. In honor of Alessandro's arrival, and because Naples is the birthplace of the Pizza Margherita, the Vine has added pizza to its menu. The Vine is open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m.-4p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 877-2129.

Mexican, not Moroccan

The Casablanca Grill, 4112 San Pedro, is under new ownership. Chef and owner Barbara Mixon has created a new menu that features basic Mexican fare by day, tortillas made from scratch and such favorites as chile relleno and fajita plates, and more upscale specialties by night, such as grilled rib-eye steak seared in Mexican spices and served over roasted garlic mashed potatoes with jalapeño barbacoa au jus. The grill is open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. For more information, call 735-3535.

Tandoori twins

India Palace has opened its second location at 15909 San Pedro in the Gallery Oaks Shopping Center. The restaurant is open 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. daily. For more information, call 403-3688.

Compiled by Nicole Chavez

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