Books, booze, and taxes

There's couscous on Page 232

If you feel a close kinship with Queen Elizabeth I, or have ever wanted to seal a deal over wine with Peggy Guggenheim, then thank the San Antonio Public Library Foundation and several generous hosts for the Literary Feast, March 3-5 and 10-12. The feast consists of several dinner parties based on a favorite book or literary theme. A Nancy Drew-themed evening includes selections from The Nancy Drew Cookbook: Clues to Good Cooking and screenings of Drew films, and a "Casablanca" soiree will feature Moroccan cuisine and Sam the Piano Player. Reservations are $150. Times, dates, and locations vary, so visit for more information.

Chicago shrugged

Experience flavor from the City of Big Shoulders when Tony Mantuano, executive chef of Spiaggia in Chicago, visits Central Market, 4821 Broadway on Friday, March 4 from 6:30-9pm. Mantuano will provide lessons in classic Italian cuisine with recipes from The Spiaggia Cookbook, including langostinos with green beans, crescenza cheese-filled ravioletti, and bomboloni. Admission is $65.

Straight outta Chile

Sun Harvest, 17700 Highway 281 North, presents a Walnut Crest wine seminar Tuesday, March 8 at 7pm. The tasting includes varieties of Walnut Crest Chilean wines and samples of cheese. Cost is $5.

Department of irony

On Saturday, March 5, from 9am-9pm, and Sunday, March 6, from noon-6pm, anyone who brings 10 non-perishable food items to any Liberty Tax Service locations in San Antonio will receive free tax preparation. The drive benefits the San Antonio Food Bank, which helps low-income people.

However, Liberty Tax, the third-largest tax preparer in the U.S., has been criticized lately for charging high interest rates on loans secured against customers' tax returns. In early February, ACORN, a national group with local chapters that works in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, protested in front of Liberty Tax offices, including one on S.W. Military Drive, alleging that it engages in predatory lending practices on the poor - the same group of people who might need the food bank.

Perhaps dropping off food is a better way to help the needy: The Food Bank is looking for such items as peanut butter, cereal, tuna, rice, beans, and canned soups and stews. For a complete list and more information, visit

Compiled by Arron Block and Lisa Sorg

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