All You Can Eat (08-30-06) 

It’s hot to go, it’s ready. And you’ll make the curtain at the Majestic for Lyle Lovett’s Texas Homecoming Tour September 2. Chef Jeffery Balfour of the Hotel Valencia’s Citrus restaurant, 150 E. Houston and just down the street from the theater, will serve a pre-show themed dinner, including The Cowboy Man NY Strip, A&M Pan-Seared Diver Scallops, the Klein Texas Shallot Crusted Pork Tenderloin, and Grammy Winning Crème Brulee, for a mere $36 per person (excluding tax, tip, and alcohol). Reservations required: 230-8412. For more info on the concert, see this week’s Current Choice, page 42.

Enjoy a pre-Texas-Homecoming-Dinner cocktail in the Vbar lounge, under the colorful abstract and primitive figurative work of Mexican-born painter Carla Veliz, the 10th local artist to be featured in the hotel’s swank lounge. The opening reception for Pinturas Mixtas is 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, August 31; the show continues through mid-September. Hotel Valencia offers complimentary valet parking to restaurant and lounge guests (but don’t forget to tip).

At the other end of the dining firmament, Curly, the bald maitre d’ statue, is once again impassively surveying diners at the new Earl Abel’s location, 1201 Austin Highway. Something old: the beloved fried chicken can still be scarfed at the same tables and chairs and under the same chandeliers that filled the original Broadway-Hildebrand location. Something new: a 5,000 square-foot kitchen includes a bakery and a dedicated fry station for the aforementioned chicken. Something blue: The neon-blue “Coffee Shop” and “Restaurant” signs are already in place, soon to be followed by a grand opening the third week of September and —something borrowed — the familiar 17-foot-wide marquee (likely October, says partner Roger Arias, because the restaurant needs a variance from the city for the sign). In the meantime, you can see if the legendary chicken survived the relocation, 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m. weekdays and 6:30-10pm weekends. Arias says the restaurant may extend closing time by at least an hour each evening as soon as this weekend.

And, he adds, regarding the rumor that Earl Abel’s chicken is made from the original Harland Sanders’s KFC recipe: “Earl Abel changed the recipe and went out on his own, so the chicken that is at Earl Abel’s is nothing like the KFC chicken.”

We don’t like to let a week pass without dining for a cause, and this week’s opportunity comes via Boston’s The Gourmet Pizza Restaurant & Sports Bar, which will celebrate its grand opening September 5 in the Legacy Shopping Center, 1827 NE Loop 1604, with a private reception and silent auction benefitting the Boys & Girls Club of San Antonio. The Canadian chain’s trademark is the combo of a family-style, Italian-inspired restaurant and state-of-the-TV-art sports bar — augmented in this location with a large, outdoor patio. For more info, visit Bostonsalamocity.com.

Send your restaurant and food news to: Foodie@sacurrent.com.

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