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10 things to know about Culinaria Food & Wine Festival Week

The Pearl was packed on Sunday at Culinaria.
The Pearl was packed on Sunday at Culinaria.

Culinaria's Food and Wine Festival Week wrapped up Sunday in San Antonio. KSAT news found 10 things to take away from this culinary extravaganza.

1. There is a lot -- A LOT -- of great food to eat in San Antonio.

Chefs from around the Alamo City showcased their culinary bites at a multitude of Culinaria events for Festival Week. We attended the four big ones: Thursday's food truck night at North Star Mall (location changed due to weather); Friday's Best of Mexico at The Shops at La Cantera; Saturday's Grand Tasting at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center; and Sunday's Burgers, BBQ and Beer at the Pearl.

Jason Dady had one of our favorites at the Grand Tasting: his take on chips and dip with shrimp chips and a sort of red curry paste with cilantro, mint, and jalapeno.

We also liked the duck tacos from Dady's DUK Truck at food truck night, and people waited an hour to get duck fat french fries from the Say She Ate truck.

Speaking of food trucks, San Antonio's only Colombian food truck, Sabor Colombia, presented its authentic fare at Best of Mexico. We loaded up on fried plantains like nobody's business.

KSAT news producer Erica Hernandez said the burger served up by Magnolia Pancake Haus executive chef Dave Rapozo at Burgers, BBQ and Beer was exceptional. And the sliders presented by Chef Steve McHugh of Cured practically melted in our mouths. And the Alamo Cafe's brisket quesadilla. And ... check out our favorites here.

2. You can get 35 flavors of boozed-up ice cream in San Antonio.

Say what?! Saucy Sweets is serving up boozy ice cream via its Facebook and Pinterest pages. We came across its booths at two Culinaria events -- inside the Grotto at the Grand Tasting and inside the VIP room at the Pearl Stables at Burgers, BBQ & Beer. Both rooms were nicely chilled.

We spoke with the makers of these iced cocktail confections. Mike Rogers and his crew say they don't have a brick and mortar spot set up just yet, but they're hoping to find a location someday soon.

3. The Best of Mexico is well worth the $50-$65 for admission.

Tickets were $50 prepaid, $65 at the gate. But for the amount and quality of food and drink served and poured all night long, you will be glad you shelled out the money.

We were taken on a tour of everything we love about San Antonio's Latin roots, from El Machito's twist on fideo to Lux Bakery's postres to a surprisingly fresh and crisp tortilla soup (yes, soup!) from Nicha's to various street tacos and everything in between. And that's not even mentioning the tequila-filled cocktail menu.

4. Great food goes fast.

Especially at Saturday's Grand Tasting. The event started at 7 p.m. Several booths started to run out of food by a little after 8:30 p.m. But lack of leftovers can be a good thing.

5. Apparently, the spirits never run out.

For Culinaria, everyone's cup runneth over. Not once did we see anyone run out of anything alcohol-related. It's a good thing (for all involved) that the cups were tiny. That is, unless you purchased the $5 keepsake Culinaria cup. That was a bit bigger. Mine's blue.

6. Keeping it simple can be surprisingly effective.

At the Best of Mexico event, H-E-B set out a few trays of sliced fruit, cucumber, and jicama -- all of it sprinkled with that mouth-watering chili pepper, lime, and salt seasoning we generally know and love as Tajín. The H-E-B chefs curled up some prosciutto slices and called it a night, serving up the simplicity with featured wines.

You'd think, with all of the complicated, well-seasoned, subtly complex dishes up and down the stretch of food booths, that people would overlook it. Yet there was always a line at the H-E-B booth and we heard people talking all night about how they just could not get enough.

7. San Antonio chefs will throw down for their fellow chefs -- in good times and bad.

If you happen to be a chef who's down on your luck, your fellow San Antonio chefs will help you. Gladly.

Culinaria's Chefs 4 Chefs programs help provide culinary scholarships and aid to local chefs who are enduring personal hardships.

At each event during festival week, tables were set up for silent auctions where people could write down their bids on gift baskets, wine, and other donated products. One table was even auctioning off a weekend getaway to historic Gruene.

8. Of all of the major events, there is only one in the hot Texas sun.

It's the one that has chefs slaving away at the grill -- Burgers, BBQ and Beer at the Pearl. Be sure to hit up the H-E-B water bottle stands early and often. And grab a beer while you're at it.

9. Pace yourself.

With all the great chefs, savory food, and bountiful libations, be careful -- you can have too much of a good thing. We did and we're paying for it.

10. Have your sweatpants handy. By Sunday, you will need them.


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