Food & Drink All you can eat

News and notes from the San Antonio food scene

There’s a great story about Tim Zagat, who along with his wife is the founder of the eponymous, on-line, diner-driven restaurant guide. Apparently, Zagat owns a telescoping fork, which he uses to surreptitiously spear samples from his neighbor’s plates from across the table. I suspect it’s all apocryphal, made up by jealous restaurant critics, but it does illustrate the reach the guide has developed over the last 20 years.

In town for the launch of the first all-Texas guide, Zagat told the audience gathered at the Hotel Contessa that an average of 4-6 Zagat respondents per day are likely to dine at any of the restaurants listed on, amounting to a continual “report card.” He also said that Texans tend to eat out about 25 percent more per week than the national average — perhaps because dining out is about 25 percent cheaper in the Lone Star state. Yes, even at the fancy places. Quality of service, Zagat stressed, was a problem all over the country. Awards for the most popular restaurant (Paesano’s), top décor (Francesca’s at Sunset), top food (Le Rêve), and top service (also Le Rêve) were also presented.

Coming up: We may be several hundred miles from the beach, but that doesn’t mean you can’t let the “Spirit of Aloha” embrace you at the 10th Annual Alamo Aloha Festival — scratch that — FIESTaval, noon-8 p.m. Saturday, April 22, at the Lou Hamilton Community Center in Lady Bird Johnson Park. The event will feature “fire dancing,” a traditional Polynesian dance, Hawaiian food — including a roasted pig — and a blood drive. So go get your blood taken, stumble woozily over to the roasting pig ... and try not to get too close to the fiery torches. Talk about a fiesta-style event. The Alamo Aloha FIESTaval is free and open to the public. Info: 822-9933.

In Southtown, Holden’s 101, 101 Pereida, is now open `see “Who Needs SOHO?,” January 18-23, 2006`. Named for Catcher in the Rye’s Holden Caulfield, the bar offers acoustic bands and rotating art exhibits — Scott Kaynor’s paintings are now hanging — along with wine and beers. For more information and hours of operation: 444-0101.

- Compiled by Ron Bechtol, Ashley Lindstrom, and Susan Pagani

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