Ron Guest has cut and polished his teeth designing restaurants; swank, sharp--even garish--things from Mediterraneo in the Quadrangle and Taverna Pizzeria and Risottoria, to Aurora and the new Mariano's Hacienda. Now Guest wants to be commander. So he's formed Grupo San Miguel, a partnership that includes Jesús Carmona (formerly of Stars in San Francisco, Star Canyon, Avanti and La Duni), to launch Café San Miguel, a traditional Mexican restaurant named after the Mexican city of San Miguel de Allende. Opening in late June, San Miguel will sit on Henderson near McMillan in the former Taqueria Lupita location. It will be filled with original art (including art installations in the restrooms, Guest says, though we pray not composed of deposits, as they sometimes are in New York art museums) as well as handcrafted furniture and light fixtures. "It's almost kind of funky," Guest says.

Amid the current Washington threat of filibusters and an impending Senate nuclear winter over judges, it's important to note the critical work of the judiciary: namely, the recent Supreme Court decision protecting your right to have a cult cab dropped at your door, not by pompous waiters in bow ties, but by uniformed delivery truck drivers. The court ruled that New York and Michigan could not ban shipments from out-of-state wineries while permitting in-state wineries to do the same. "Discrimination," the court averred, 5-to-4. Yet like the rash of Senate blithering currently itching the world's most deliberative body, the ruling is irrelevant, at least in Texas. Earlier this month Texas Governor Rick Perry signed Senate Bill 877, which essentially declared the entire state wet for wine shipments. (Sheesh, can't somebody just Super Soak the whole damn Republic and get it over with?) The problem: Though the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission opened Texas for direct wine shipments in 2003, it ruled wineries must comply with existing wet/dry rules--a shipping nightmare since the patchwork bears no relation to ZIP codes. Still, even this may be irrelevant if Louis and Peggy Davion have anything to do with it. The Davions will open Swirll next month, a do-it-yourself winery in the Davis Building downtown. Here's how it works: Swirll imports bulk grape must from vineyards all over the world, offers sample tastings and guides you through the wine-making process utilizing your favorite must. Six weeks later, you bottle, cork and label your own fermented go-go juice. "And away you go with about two and a half cases of wine," says Louis Davion. "I call it the reality wine-making experience. Like the reality shows on TV, we put you right in the middle." Yeah, but can you sing or eat worms while inserting corks?

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Mark Stuertz
Contact: Mark Stuertz

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