After 15 years, David Garrido departs Jeffrey's, and the timing's right for Alma Alcocer-Thomas to take over; plus, more food and wine options on Valentine's Day.

New Horizons

The local restaurant grapevine is buzzing with the news that chef David Garrido is leaving the executive chef position at Jeffrey's (1204 W. Lynn, 477-5584) after a tenure of 15 years. The affable Garrido describes his departure as completely amicable and says he maintains a close friendship with Jeffrey's owners Ron and Peggy Weiss as well as a business partnership with them in O's Campus Cafe. Garrido's new position developing special projects for Comida Deluxe, the parent company of Chuy's, will give him the opportunity to explore his "Mexican culinary roots" and work a more family-friendly schedule. Longtime chef de cuisine Alma Alcocer-Thomas steps into the executive chef position, making Jeffrey's one of the few kitchens in town with a woman at the helm.

Valentine's Alternatives

The catering departments at Central Market (4001 N. Lamar, 206-1000; 4521 Westgate Blvd., 899-4300) offer takeout dinner menus for two in three different price ranges ($59.99-79.99). All dinners come with tapered candles and your choice from three romantic movies on DVD. Check the menus on the Web ( and order now for pickup on Feb. 14. Over at the Whole Foods Market (525 N. Lamar only, 476-1206), the four-course romantic dinner menus for two ($69) feature vegetarian choices, as well as a "Little Heartthrob" menu ($10) to feed one kid while mom and dad enjoy themselves. They're available Feb. 11-14. At Wheatsville (3101 Guadalupe, 478-2667), choose from a selection of Equal Exchange Fair Trade Chocolates, enjoy a healthy indulgence with their heart-shaped vegan Chocolate Raspberry cake, or scoop up a handful of Chocolove super premium chocolate bars on sale for $1.69 each. And, if dinner and a movie fits your Valentine's bill, the Alamo Drafthouse folks have some interesting programming ideas. At South Lamar, they'll be screening the epic romance of Gone With the Wind with a fabulous Southern-inspired four-course dinner with wine pairings. At the Village, they're offering the sensual Like Water for Chocolate with a sophisticated Interior Mexican feast complemented by four wines. Each meal is $60 per person and includes a red rose for each couple. Make necessary reservations online at

Wining & Dining

With Valentine's Day falling on Tuesday, many of our area wineries have very inviting special promotions planned for both the weekend before as well as the weekend after the holiday. Spicewood Vineyards (830/693-5328, hosts their annual Valentine's Dessert Extravaganza on Feb. 11 and 12, 18, and 19, where $10 entitles guests to sample 10 Spicewood wines paired with a variety of desserts. Becker Vineyards (830/644-2681, celebrates their popular Merlot & Chocolate tasting with chef Frans Hendriks and his Roscar Chocolates both weekends. That event is free and open to the public. Becker is also hosting Valentine's luncheons on both Feb. 11 (chef Dawn Gentle) and Feb. 12 (chef Vickie Bonewitz). The three-course meals are $50, and reservations are required. Up on Lake Buchanan, at Fall Creek Vineyards (325/379-5361,, enjoy a three-course Valentine's luncheon prepared by chef Rebecca Rather on either Feb. 11 or 12. Lunch is $60 per couple, including wine and a rose for each couple. Reservations are required. Chef Rather will also be happy to sign copies of her cookbook, The Pastry Queen.

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