The Bank of San Antonio Hosts Private Aircraft Viewing Event With Merlin1

By Eleanora Morrison | Photography by Vincent Gonzalez

THE SETTING: The Bank of San Antonio recently hosted an event with Merlin1, one of San Antonio’s premier private jet charter companies, to introduce private banking clients to alternative transportation options that exist for both business and personal travel. Now a member of Texas Partners Bank, The Bank of San Antonio offers private banking clients access to VIP event series that connect them to resources to support lifestyle goals. 

THE STYLE: Texas Partners Bank CEO Brent Given and Merlin1 Founder Jim Foody both addressed their guests, celebrating the joyous occasion of convening in person for the first time since the pandemic, thanks to vaccines and the socially distanced setting of a partially open-air hangar. Guests viewed Citation III and Learjet 35 jet models and reunited to the sounds of Nina and the Texas Gypsies as they sampled bites and sipped beverages catered by Page Barteau. 

THE PURPOSE: After an expansive 2020 merger, The Bank of San Antonio is now a member of Texas Partners Bank, and part of a greater network of Central Texas banks that includes The Bank of Austin and Texas Hill Country Bank. This recent growth has increased the bank’s commercial lending capacity to enable the fastest financing for big plans and has provided the integrated resources for business growth. Eager to help Central Texas businesses continue to grow and thrive, Texas Partners Bank is now a one-stop-shop to customize comprehensive financial and insurance solutions for Central Texas businesses.

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Local eateries are open for business, and we all get to support them wherever we go, no matter what city we call home. Join our editors Jake Gaines in Austin, Cynthia Smoot in Dallas, Jennifer Roosth in Houston, and Eleanora Morrison in San Antonio as they share their statewide selections that are perfect for summer.


So Well Done Austin Salad


Lutie’s, the long-waited garden restaurant at the new Commodore Perry Hotel, Auberge Resorts Collection, is the hit everyone knew it would be. In fact, it might be the best meal in town these days. The restaurant features stunning design by powerhouse style maker Ken Fulk and a culinary program by husband-and-wife chef team Bradley Nicholson and Susana Querejazu, formerly of acclaimed local establishments.


The Lolo Austin Texas wine bar


Swift’s Pizza Company, created by Kris Swift and Adam Jacoby of Jacoby’s and Grizzelda’s, offers authentic Italian fare that can’t be beat on the Eastside. Set within Swift’s Future Design decor, we recommend you “build your own pizza” from the delectable menu. The beverage program features modern twists on classic cocktails, as well as local and imported draft beer and wine. 


Rebel Cheese Austin Texas


The newest must-dine in the city, courtesy of the Lettuce Entertain You restaurant group, is hands down ABA, in the newly opened Music Lane development in SoCo. From the modern interiors to the extensive patio seating options under the mighty oaks, it’s a breath of fresh air serving contemporary yet approachable cuisine.



pastry from La Tarte Tropézienne  dallas texas


Eataly Dallas recently opened its first-floor café, Caffè Lavazza, an Italian-style, all-day café and bar experience. The space serves as Eataly Dallas’ first-floor entrance from NorthPark Center. The star of Caffè Lavazza will be La Torre (The Tower), an Italian favorite often found in elegant metropolitan bars, and will feature an overflowing array of savory or sweet bites to share amongst friends (or to enjoy yourself).


Georgie Dallas Restaurant


Commanding three levels and nearly 70,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space, this one-of-a-kind Restoration Hardware retail concept presents artistic installations of luxury home furnishings in a gallery setting. It includes the Rooftop Restaurant, which offers an ingredient-driven menu in a year-round, skylit garden escape beneath a dramatic atrium with retractable glass walls, sparkling chandeliers, and heritage olive trees.


Food from Rise & Thyme Dallas tTexas


Fletcher’s Original Corny Dogs has added an all-beef dog, Make Mine Texan, at Fletcher’s Pop-Up appearances throughout the summer. Fletcher’s worked with local meat purveyor Syracuse Sausage to create an original recipe for the company made with brisket (and other secret ingredients) to give it a natural, hickory flavor that compliments Fletcher’s proprietary cornmeal batter.



Bottled Blonde Pizzeria + Bier Garden


Gatsby’s Prime Steakhouse and the Daisy Buchanan lounge seek to bring new energy and a touch of the past to a structure that dates back to the 1920s. Both are on a historic and storied Montrose Boulevard block, just a stone’s throw from the Houston Museum District. The expansive patio is primed for people watching on the colorful thoroughfare.


Chocolate Crepe Sweet Paris Crêperie & Café


With so much development in the Woodlands,  the Back Table Kitchen & Bar stands alone on the grounds of The Woodlands Resort, serving seasonal, southern-inspired fare with global accents. What’s not to love about the 5,413-square-foot waterfront venue with an 800-square-foot terrace overlooking the 18th green of the Panther Trail golf course?


Adair Restaurant Houston


A new French dining experience has just arrived in Houston. Always on the forefront of culture, of course, the city’s latest fare, Le Jardinier, is in the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Located in the new Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, the seasonal ingredients and rich nutrients are artfully crafted into each dish.



Salad from Jardin San Antonio


For a serenely rural and relaxing experience, escape to SweetFire Kitchen, the culinary jewel of La Cantera Resort. The inviting atmosphere allows for indoor and outdoor dining, offering breathtaking views of the sweeping San Antonio Hill Country.


Los Azulejos San Antonio


Recently opened in the lobby of the Jones & Rio building, just a stone’s throw from the San Antonio Museum of Art, Shiro Bistro offers fresh, contemporary Japanese cuisine that pushes the envelope of imagination and possibility through its presentation of cleverly curated plates. Fish is ordered daily, so reservations are encouraged.


Sandwich Best Quality Daughter San Antonio


Looking for upscale dining options before a night at the opera or symphony? Stouts Signature is now open at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. Featuring delectable plates from filets to risottos and backed by a full bar of handcrafted cocktails, Stouts Signature at the Tobin Center complements the arts with their own unique dining experience.




Hello, you warm, gorgeous summer. According to our intuitive self-help expert, Austin-based Resonance Repatterning Practitioner, Mary Schneider, the summer season is ripe for opportunity, change, and a continued recalibration of what’s important.


Thankfully, it looks as though our summer might be different from last year’s with the revision of the mask mandate and pandemic protocol. Trying to imagine all the events and activities set in motion with this pronouncement truly astonishes the mind after the last year we all endured. What a lovely time of year to have all this transpire. Summer is the season of fun and relaxation, especially in the south. More importantly, summer’s most distinguishing characteristic is its power to heal, nourish and nurture. Of course, these are also all the attributes of the sun.


Had I lived with the Incas, Aztecs, or the Mayans, I would have been a committed sun worshipper like their cultures. With the advent of summer, people today join the ranks of celebrants answering the call of long-forgotten compulsion. Or, maybe not. There are continents of believers working long hours in stressful jobs to be able to get to the water to enjoy its restorative qualities. Beaches are covered in every color of the rainbow where not one more towel will fit. Today, we venerate the sun as much if not more than these three Indigenous Peoples combined.


Let’s face it. Healing properties are the sun’s stock and trade. This sounds rather masculine, yet it should be mentioned the sun is considered predominantly masculine. Breathing mountain air while drinking in the light of the sun allowed centuries of ailing patients to restore their health. In the U.S. alone, 127 million people live in coastal counties. Admittedly, the water is a big draw…and so is the sun.



Even ancient healing modalities recognized the curative properties of the sun. In Chinese Five Element acupuncture, the “stomach meridian” is associated with nurturance, nourishment, and caretaking (of others and the self). The color that heals this meridian is yellow, and one of its modalities is being in the sun. Stomach Meridian issues develop by the caretaking of others to the detriment of oneself, which refers to the maternal instinct when the mother’s needs are not fully met while she supports those around her.


In the Ayurvedic chakra system, the fire chakra is located in the solar plexus. Even the name of this chakra refers to the sun. It is masculine and relates to paternal energy and power, and not surprisingly, anger and abuse contribute to this chakra imbalance. A modality we frequently employ for an imbalanced fire chakra is to sit under a tree and let the light filter over your body. Keep your eyes open and allow the direct sun to enter your eyes and continue through your brain. Stay there for about five minutes to begin to feel nourished. The sun also supplies amounts of Vitamin D that we all need to stay healthy. 

The sun’s most significant contribution is as a purveyor of light, and this is why it deserves to be respected. In fact, all the faiths in the world speak and pray about the light. Christianity speaks of being the way and the light. The Hindus have Diwali, their Festival of Lights. Vesak, Buddha’s birthday, is one of Buddhism’s most important holidays. Festival of Lightsin Judaism is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem. These all flow to seeking enlightenment. And there is much, much more to know. So, what are you waiting for this summer? Enjoy the light responsibly and the many ways it can enhance your well-being.



While vacationing, why not curl up with a good book and a view of somewhere that soothes your soul? When you do…at the beach, at home, or anywhere there is a quiet space, enjoy these recommendations from our bibliophile, Lance Avery Morgan.



By Massimiliano Capella and Alvar González-Palacios

This tome tells the story of the collection of Paolo Zani, a renowned entrepreneur, and great art enthusiast. Over three decades, Zani collected over 800 works at his home in Italy (Cellatica in Brescia), which was designed and remodeled over time in order to accommodate them.

$35. At 


By Tyler Brûlé, Nolan Giles, Joe Pickard, and Andrew Tuck

A celebration of all things Italian, this volume is overflowing with insights and fully illustrated with specially commissioned photography to paint a uniquely gorgeous portrait of such a dynamic nation.

$65. At



By Bernardine Evaristo and Liz Johnson Artur

Take an inside look at 2020’s identity, diversity, and inclusivity at a time when COVID dictated its rules but did not persuade art. Three different visions created a unique moment: the Valentino Collezione Milano fashion show.

$85. At


By Ann de Mondenard, Agnès Sire and Peter Galassi

Cartier-Bresson, hailed as the eye of the 20th century, was one of the world’s most acclaimed photographers. Paris was his home, on and off, for most of his life, and the photographs he took of the city and its people are some of his most recognizable and beloved images…with 160 photos taken from a career lasting more than fifty years.

$60. At



By Peter Conrad

This book’s focus on film’s otherworldly, hypnotic and magical qualities is perfect for both movie fans to discover new films and directors and students of cinema who will see familiar classics with fresh insight.

$39.95. At


By Max Donnelly

Dresser, a man who was, and continues to be, one of the most influential British designers of all time is still widely regarded as Britain’s first independent industrial designer. More than a century later, Dresser’s works, showcased in this splendidly illustrated volume, still look remarkably modern.

$21.95. At



By Mika Yoshitake

Kusama is known for working in a broad range of media–including painting, performance, sculpture, and installations. In recent decades, she has risen to worldwide fame through the explosive popularity of her mesmerizing infinity mirror rooms and vibrant sculptural installations.

$40. At


By Stefan Andersson

Taking a look at the rich history of pot-making along the way, this book serves as a step-by-step guide to the basic techniques of the craft, offering a wealth of tips on glazing and firing. This illustrated handbook guides both beginners and more experienced potters through the fascinating process of one of humanity’s oldest crafts.

$25. At



Symphony Of Chefs Event Benefits KidLinks


By Cynthia Smoot    Photography by Thomas Garza

THE SETTING: This year’s Symphony of Chefs by Design was an evening of culinary composition and the ultimate chef-driven feast…created with the guests in mind. Due to the pandemic, instead of the usual in-person dining event supporters have become accustomed to, table sponsors could design their own one-of-a-kind experiential venue, thus ensuring the comfort of all attendees. Options included the choice to dine in the private room of a restaurant or host a chef-prepared experience at their home. Guests could also enjoy a virtual chef-taught interactive cooking class followed by a delicious dinner.



THE STYLE: As an example, Executive Chef Janice Provost of Parigi hosted guests of Alliant Insurance Services in her private Parisian speakeasy event space. Jaime and Greg Lyons chose to entertain their guests in the private dining room of Nick & Sam’s Park Cities. Antoinette and Barry Davis opened their Preston Hollow estate to friends who enjoyed a meal prepared by Executive Chef Luke Rogers. Urban Rio’s private rooftop in Plano was the scene for the Urban Energy Funds family fête. Cristi and Kevin Ryan’s home offered guests an informal indoor/outdoor setting to enjoy a menu prepared by Nick & Sam’s Chef Jon Kleifgen. Other dining experiences happened throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area as well. Each chef paired their dishes with wines from LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards.


THE PURPOSE: Funds raised from this popular annual event will support KidLinks’ efforts to provide Healing, Hope, and Happiness through music and media for those children most in need.

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Have the need for speed? Look no further than the BMW M4 GT4 experience, according to our man-about-track, Michael Satterfield of

Photography courtesy of


At the Circuit of the Americas, I was standing outside one of the V.I.P. suites on the front straightaway, watching a practice session for the GT4 America, as the rain rolled in. The BMW M4 GT4 of Stephen Cameron Racing set the fastest lap of the session, lapping the 3.4-mile track in just 2:19.360 on a damp track. The next session, the BimmerWorld Racing team would put down a 2:17.383 when it was dry. The speed, sound, and excitement are why we love motorsports, but like most automotive enthusiasts, I have always wondered what it would be like to drive these cars on the track, haven’t you?


As I watched the professional drivers make their laps in Austin, I had no idea that just a few weeks later, I would be invited to participate in the BMW M and M4 GT4 Experience at the BMW Performance Center in The Thermal Club (near Palm Springs.). While I have driven many, many cars on many tracks, this experience would put me behind the wheels of the same cars driven in professional racing series around the world. This wasn’t a track day or a streetcar driving school. This was the real deal, without an instructor in the right seat. Flying into Palm Springs, the BMW Performance Center West is in the heart of the Coachella Valley. For flying privately, the Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport is next door. The Palm Springs area is the perfect home for the BMW Center, offering guests access to world-class hotels, dining, golf courses, and an average of 350 sunny days a year.


The BMW M4 and M4 GT4 Experience starts in the classroom. After introducing the instructors and a basic program outline, we began by learning the basics of seat and steering wheel positioning, tire dynamics, and all the basics we need to know on the track. The experience is limited to only 15 people per class, and each class is broken into smaller groups to maximize track time and personal interaction with the instructors. Our class was divided into two groups, Blue and Green, and each member was given a number that would correspond with their car on the track.


We would first go outside to learn more about the BMW M4 GT4 race car, with instructors answering questions and showing us how the racing steering wheel, pedal box, and shifter systems work. They also highlighted many of the special race-only features on the GT4 and how similar the GT4 race car is to the factory street BMW M4. The BMW M4 GT4 uses the same engine and transmission, including control electronics as the BMW M4 street car with only slight gearing changes. The M4 GT4 also uses an innovative tuning software, power sticks (USB drives), that give race teams the ability to make pre-approved software changes to meet the balance of performance for different racing series.


Next, we were shown to another room in the BMW building, where we picked out our race suits, gloves, Nomex socks, and racing shoes. All in red, white, and blue matching the famous BMW M livery on the GT4 cars. Once fitted for our safety, each group is directed to one of two tracks. The Blue Group to the two-mile-long South Palm track to drive the BMW M4 street car in a series of lead-follow laps. My Green group went to the handling course on the BMW campus to get some laps done in the BMW M2. Eventually, we went against the clock and our fellow classmates to see who could set the fastest time on the course in the M2.



The handling course starts with a few slow lead-follow laps where the instructor guides the group around the course to learn the optimal line. Then we are let loose behind the wheel of a BMW M2 to try and set our best time. While we did our laps, instructors coached us by radio, with tips on braking points and lines. Thanks to their instructions, I shaved seconds off my laps times and started consistently putting in some of the faster times for our group. We had to wait until the afternoon session to learn who set the official fastest time.


After some practice in the M2, we swapped courses with the other group to drive the BMW M4 on the South Palm track. These M4s are standard cars, just like you would buy from the dealer, on performance street tires. The point of this exercise is to familiarize yourself with the track layout and rotation procedure when on the track. The instructor has everyone set the car in M1 mode and had us follow behind his lead car about two-to-three car lengths apart. After a few slower warm-up laps, we start picking up speed and are quickly hitting triple digits on the straightaways. The M4 is good, so the M4 GT4 should be even better. After wrapping up on the track, we headed back to the BMW Center building for a lunch break.


Time on the track flies before lunch is served in the BMW café that overlooks the track and provides a great vantage point to watch the private jets land at the airport next door. It was the perfect time to meet your fellow classmates, from a father and son duo who took part in a two-day course to improve their racing skills to a young woman who had never been behind the wheel of a race car. This course is designed to accommodate any skill level.


Once lunch was over, our group headed back to the M2 course to set our official lap times while the Blue Group took on the M4 GT4. Unlike the first round on the handling course, our official time was now required, and we also must bring the car to a complete stop in the stop box. Stopping before or after the box netted a two-second penalty. My first lap time was just over 49 seconds, yet as the laps went on, I decreased it to around 46 seconds. The other group would also run through the same course, and our times would be compared at day’s end. Wrapping up at the M2 handling course, we suited up in our BMW racing suits, climbed aboard a few BMW X7s and headed back to South Palm, this time to pilot the M4 GT4 car.



After getting fitted with a HANS device and helmet, our instructors helped us into the car, ensuring our belts were perfectly tight and our pedals and steering wheel were in the correct position. Unlike the M4 street car, the seat is fixed in the M4 GT4. As the pedals and steering wheel move, I immediately noticed the seating position was several inches further back than a standard street car, which shifted my line of sight out the side windows dramatically. After a quick radio check, we fired up the cars and fell into line on the pit road behind the instructor.


We roll onto the track, and just like with the M4, we roll through a few slow laps to familiarize ourselves with this very different car. BMW designed the M4 GT4 for customer racing, so it’s one of the most user-friendly race cars to drive. It has simple controls, so by the second lap, it feels like I have been driving it for years. The electronic instrument cluster shows far more information than you would have time to look at on the technical South Palm track. The only thing you need to see is the shift light. So, as you make your way through the gears and hit triple digits on the straights, it is hard not to feel like a hero. The sound, sensation of speed, and the thrill of chasing down your classmates on the straightaway is hard to describe until you experience it yourself.


The M4 GT4 has an incredible amount of grip, thanks to the sticky tires and aero package. Having driven a number of race cars over the years, the M4 GT4 is by far one of the most composed and easy to navigate, plus the fact that it can do this while still having A/C keeping me cool and comfortable while racing in the California desert is amazing.


After our final lap, we pulled back into the pits, leaving the cars running to help cool them down. As we pulled off our helmets, everyone was smiling ear to ear and talking about how awesome the drive was. We piled back into the X7s toward the BMW Performance Center to change and to hear our final results from the M2 handling course. Back in the classroom, our instructors handed out our completion certificates, USB drives that contained our on-track video, and the top three times from the handling course. I brought in third place, beat out only by a few milliseconds by my friend, Manual. However, we were almost two seconds behind Dave, who obviously spent more time on the track than we did.


The BMW M4 GT4 Experience is by far one of the best one-day courses in which I have ever taken part. The fact they can take almost anyone and, by the end of the day, have them lapping a GT4 race car on a track is incredible. It comes down to their talented team of instructors that include men and women who are champion race car drivers, stunt drivers, professional drifters, and most importantly, automotive enthusiasts. For those who want more than just the single-day experience, the BMW Performance Center also offers two additional M4 GT4 packages with private coaching, ideal for those who want to make the jump into amateur racing. 


For more information or to book your own experience visit and visit Principle Automotive at for more information on any BMW.

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