Arts Social intercourse

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

It’s official: The Christmas season has begun, as evidenced by the Christmas Tree Lighting in Alamo Plaza the day after Thanksgiving, an event sponsored by H-E-B. As a few of Santa’s elves serenaded the gathering crowd, some of the city’s notable names and faces filtered into the VIP area, including superstar reverend Buckner Fanning, Mayor Phil Hardberger, and City Councilman Art Hall, who was sporting the most darling fashion accessory — his new baby daughter in a Snugli. Capping the grocery-store giant’s 100th anniversary, the event showcased a panel of 10 finalists for H-E-B’s grand house giveaway. The winning family, including father Augustin Pecina, looked stunned but happy, and I was told that the mother’s hope — as outlined in her contestant information — was for a place her kids could finally call home.

The March of Dimes’ Signature Chefs event, held recently at the Westin La Cantera Resort, attracted hundreds of well-heeled supporters with salivating palates satiated by a dozen of the city’s finest chefs. Mike Bomberg, one of my favorites and the owner of Spice of Life catering, served up a sweet-and-spicy pork morsel served on a tostada, while the folks from the Thomas Avenue Beverage Company in Dallas cleverly served its grilled lamb and venison bits on sprigs of rosemary. Food Channel chef Sara Moulton was on hand to sign copies of her book, Sara’s Secrets for Weeknight Meals. According to event planners, she was a gem to work with, amenable to all that was planned and happily taking the time to talk with her fans. The event even attracted the next generation of celebrity chefs: Six-month-old August, son of Burgin Streetman and Bill Lambrecht, and 2-month-old Iman, the newborn daughter of March of Dimes San Antonio’s Executive Director Shawne Zakaria and her husband, Amir. Both babes were decked out in miniature, custom-made chefs’ coats and hats. Say it with me now: Awww!

If you missed the Bailey Banks & Biddle grand opening celebration at the Shops at La Cantera, you should kick yourself. Yes, the store opened in September, along with the majority of its neighbors, but it wisely waited until most of the hubbub passed before holding its festivities. The event, which benefited the San Antonio Public Library Foundation, drew a crowd that not only indulged in the beverages and bites from Biga on the Banks, but also shopped with holiday-fired enthusiasm.

I was fortunate to spend time with store president Charles Fieramosca, who, after plodding through the usual reporter-like questions with me, came alive when I asked him to show me a couple of his favorite pieces. He was the proverbial kid in a candy store, oohing and aahing over nearly everything. I tried on a beautiful necklace that featured a pavé diamond pendant on a chain with a clasp mechanism designed exclusively for the company — “the perfect gift for any occasion,” as Charlie described it, for a mere $6K. The biggest thrill was giving a $10,000 pair of diamond earrings a test drive. As Charlie and a few salesmen admired the glittering boulders that looked oh-so-perfect in my lobes, a rather unassuming gentleman emerged from the crowd, smiling and nodding in agreement. Once the earrings were safely back in a salesman’s hand, that unassuming gentleman almost imperceptibly disappeared back into the swirl of party guests. It was the best show of security, ever.

By Beverly Ingle

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