Flavor File: Umai Mi opens, Esquire and Brooklynite receive national nods and SoHo kitchen to house Say She Ate eats

Well, that was a busy weekend. The San AntonioCocktail Conference came to a close, Culinaria’s Chefs for Chefs Brunch raised funds for former Casbeers owner Steve Silbas and Umai Mi (555 W Bitters, (210) 496-0555), Jason Dady’s Asian BIN 555-replacement, opened its doors. The menu includes a tamarind-glazed brisket with spicy peanuts and pickles, which the staff previewed during the Cocktail Conference’s opening night gala at the Majestic. Based on that dish alone, it looks like Dady might have another hit on his hands.

Hope you’re still hungry, because Meat Week San Antonio will kickoff eight nights of carnivorous activities at The Point Park & Eats (24188 Boerne Stage, (210) 251-3380) on Sunday, January 26 with founders Chris Cantey and Erni Walker. The week will go on to include event stops at Big Bob’s Burgers, Tucker’s Kozy Korner, The Granary, The Barbecue Station, The Big Bib, Branchline Brewing and Taps y Tapas. Visit facebook.com/MeatWeekSanAntonio for details.

Another opening to keep an eye on this week is Big Hops Gastropub (22250 Bulverde, Ste 106, (210) 481-1564). The gastropub, owned by Rob and Kylie Martindale, will feature progressive bar food via Rico Torres and Diego Galicia of Mixtli. Expect to find more than 50 beer taps along with tapas-style fare and bar snacks.

Good drinks deserve good food and soon patrons of SoHo Wine & Martini Bar(214 W Crockett, (210) 444-1000) will be able to enjoy both without leaving the comfort of their barstool. Say She Ate’s Brandon McKelvey and the folks at SoHo are working on adding a kitchen, no larger than the truck space, to the bar. Bar-goers will still see sliders and some variation of duck fat (probably not the fries), along with other upscale bar snacks such as bacon-wrapped, goat cheese-stuffed figs, lobster mac ‘n’ cheese and a short rib sandwich on Bakery Lorraine bread. While there’s no specific date attached, look for the kitchen to open sometime in late February or early March. In the meantime, McKelvey will beef up his culinary skills by staging, or interning, at The Monterey.

Turns out good things come to those who work their tails off. Blue Box bartender Elisabeth Forsythe was crowned Miss Speed Rack Texas after beating 20 female bartenders in a round-robin style competition in Austin last Wednesday. Speed Rack is an organization that aims to promote female ‘tenders while raising money for breast cancer research. Forsythe, a 14-year industry vet, will go on to compete in the Speed Rack finals in NYC on May 8.

Speaking of good things, the national accolades keep coming for area bars: John T Floore Country Store (14492 Old Bandera, (210) 695-8827), The Brooklynite (516 Brooklyn, (210) 444-0707) and The Esquire Tavern (155 E Commerce, (210) 222-2521) all received nods in Southern Living’s list of 100 Best Bars in the South. Congrats, folks!