Eat. Drink. Give. It’s the motto of Culinaria and one that is exemplified in San Antonio Restaurant Week, Aug. 16-23. It’s a holiday week for participating restaurants and an indulgence for patrons as they give back while dining out.
The biggest problem I encounter during Restaurant Week is that I’m full by day two. My advice is to navigate this week carefully. First, I make a plan – and I try to stick to it. I go to restaurants that I didn’t make it to the prior year and I go twice a day, every day, for an entire week. No, I’m not scared. Not even a little. But I do take a lot of food to-go. I usually just make reservations and trust the chef to take me away to culinary bliss.
If you’re not as adventurous, menus are available online. With more than 85 participating restaurants (and counting), you have plenty of options.
Wear loose fitting clothes, plan on to-go containers to stock your fridge. San Antonio chefs do not play around – indulgence is headed your way.
I also recommend that you gather your friends, Restaurant Week is meant to be shared. Order the wine and specialty cocktails – but keep a glass of water nearby, hydration is key. Don’t forget the designated driver if you do imbibe, or consider a taxi or rideshare service.
Participating restaurants will naturally be busy, making a reservation will help, but patience will ultimately pay off. Enjoy that extra time with those amazing people you bring with you for this experience. I truly embrace it as exploration and a time to catch up with everyone that I know.
From up-and-coming restaurants to local legends, Restaurant Week means special menus for your dining delight. Restaurants offer three-course, prix fixe menus at two affordable tiers. Tier 1: $15 lunch and $35 dinner or Tier 2: $10 lunch and $25 dinner.
Here is where the "give" part of Culinaria comes in. For each lunch that is purchased during Restaurant Week, participating restaurants will donate $1 to Culinaria and the programs it supports while each dinner will be a $2 donation. You will undoubtedly find fulfillment in helping the San Antonio community – so will your stomach.
Food is at the heart of what Culinaria does. Sharing the culinary talents of the San Antonio community is the ultimate goal – but it's more than that. Culinaria is a nonprofit organization that encourages visitors beyond San Antonio to take part in the events filled with delicious food and fine wines while enhancing a strong, culinary community and encouraging a healthy way of life for San Antonio’s residents.
With funds raised through Culinaria events, the organization gives back to its ever-supportive community through scholarships, the Chefs 4 Chefs program and the upcoming Culinaria Urban Farm. This evolution of goals through Culinaria’s mission will help San Antonio elevate into new spheres of cultural possibilities.
The Chefs 4 Chefs program gives us the opportunity to provide aid to chefs who may be enduring personal hardships. This started when we discovered one of our own local chefs was in need as his daughter, Emma, had brain cancer and could certainly use financial assistance as well as a lifting of spirits. The call was made and of course, our precious San Antonio culinary community responded in a way that we never thought possible.
Some of the most talented chefs in our community went to their own sphere of influence and reached out to anyone who had ever had a meal in their restaurant, looked to a chef to plan their special event, and those who simply enjoyed dining for a notable cause. The result was a true testament to what the San Antonio culinary community is all about: lifting one another up and coming together effortlessly to aid one of their own with whatever they are able to give – time, talent or money. Words really can’t describe how amazing it feels to be a part of something greater than yourself and to witness the passion that comes along with it.
Chefs 4 Chefs has filled a purpose that we had no idea existed, but have prepared for the challenge through offerings like Restaurant Week. Chefs have entertained us, fed and helped us with milestones for ages. This is the finest way that we know of to honor them in their time of need.
Bringing our community together through education is also a part of what Culinaria does and the upcoming Urban Farm will assist in filling that need. While in the capital campaign of the Urban Farm, the goal of the project is to encourage the values of a farm-to-table diet and teach our community the process of growing one’s own produce and transforming it into a healthy – and tasty – meal. San Antonio Restaurant Week will also bring us another step closer to accomplishing this goal.
Every time you eat and drink at a Culinaria event, whether it be our Festival Week or our upcoming Experience Agave event; you give. You inspire us. You change lives.
So dine out and dig in, San Antonio. Your efforts will yield great results for the community, your wallet, and your appetite.
Eat. Drink. Give. at San Antonio Restaurant Week this August 16-23. For a list of restaurants, menus and other events of Culinaria, visit us at www.culinariasa.org, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter @culinariasa or Instagram @culinariasa. You can also reach us by phone (210) 822-9555.
*Featured/top image: Boiler House appetizers served during Culinaria's Restaurant Week 2013. Photo courtesy of Culinaria.