Arts Social intercourse 

Sweating gracefully through the fall shopping, drinking, and theater season

“Where’s the stinkin’ cold front?!” This is what I was thinking last Wednesday as I traversed a steamy block’s walk between the parking lot and Yokonyu Sushi on Houston Street on my way to the Charbay Vodka tasting. As regular readers know, vodka is my spirit of choice, so I was particularly looking forward to this mid-week respite. On hand to mingle with the guests was the restaurant’s proprietor, Jesus Hernandez Muzquiz, and Marko Karakasevic, a 13th-generation distiller from the family that owns Charbay. The talk of the evening was Charbay’s Green Tea Vodka distilled from you guessed it green tea leaves. ’Twas tasty, as was the ruby-red-grapefruit variety.

The end of September ushered in a new era in San Antonio fashion with the grand gala openings of The Shops at La Cantera. While the city was celebrating in all its finery and rubbing shoulders with the likes of former Mayor Nelson Wolff and Cornerstone mega-church pastor John Hagee, who were spotted deep in conversation at the Neiman Marcus party I sadly missed out on the festivities. I was lounging on the beach in the Bahamas. (Insert self-pitying sigh here.) I have had the chance to explore the new shopping mecca since returning, though, and was delighted to discover that the evening crowd comprised an interesting assortment of patrons: ’09-ers who had escaped their 410 Loop Leashes, middle-class sightseers, several cliques of teenagers battling their consciences as they agonized over whether to spend a year’s worth of baby-sitting income on one hot new bag. Among all there was to see BCBG Max Azaria, Tiffany’s, Nordstrom, Apple, and Tumi stores I couldn’t help but wonder what the kiosk operators will do when if! it rains.

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The one downside of a vacation is returning home to empty cupboards and a bare refrigerator. The remedy: Get thee to Central Market! I think the most egalitarian place in the world is a grocery store: Moms with a full face of makeup and a cart of kids, moms with no makeup and a cart of kids, gay couples, food snobs, granola-heads, average Joes, young, old, rich, poor and they’re all blending together just fine. It sometimes makes me wish the world were an H-E-B. I learned that my favorite sommelier, Heidi, is expecting again, and she pointed out a yummy Riesling I hadn’t tried, a 2004 Unckrich Pfatz Spätlese Riesling.

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San Pedro Playhouse opened its new season with a 75th anniversary celebration and gala performance of Gypsy. It was the first event I’ve been to in years at which I didn’t recognize a soul, which I found both odd and intriguing. Is the theater set a tight-knit group that keeps to itself? Considering that my husband and I found it hard to initiate conversation with anyone other than a volunteer usherette, perhaps so. The performance was quite good, as was the catering by Circa 1900, evidenced by the crowd that pounced like hungry lions the moment platters of bacon-wrapped shrimp, overstuffed wraps, and perfectly seasoned meatballs were set on the buffet.

I wrapped up my weekend with an excursion to the Central Library, ostensibly for the dedication of the children’s section in honor of the late Amy Freeman Lee, who for more than 60 years served as chair of the Judges’ Committee of the Young Pegasus Poetry Competition, which recognizes the creativity of young San Antonio poets from preschool to age 18. Since I had my four daughters in tow, my plans were thwarted, and I was relegated to the stacks to view the festivities from the sideline. A sizable crowd had gathered for the ceremony, including a few winners of the competition and library director Ramiro Salazar, who seemed to know everyone in the room even though he is just this week celebrating his six-month anniversary with the library. And although I had to wear my mommy hat rather than my Social Intercourse hat, it was nonetheless a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

By Beverly Ingle



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