BY STEPHEN MACMILLAN MOSER
Nov. 25, 2005 -- "After a Fashion" -- Austin Chronicle
WALTZ ACROSS TEXAS It was time to get out of Dodge, careening headlong into the holidays, I knew it would be my last chance to make a break for it. So Alfred, Mark, and his boyfriend, Ceron, kidnapped me and took me to the furthest reaches of San Antonio. So near yet so far. We caroused and dined and caroused some more. Dinner conversation at the Palm with our friends Stuart Rosenberg and Tom Wensinger, VP and general manager of San Antonio's Neiman Marcus (he was able to assure us that, contrary to rumor, South Austin's Last Call is not closing, even though the new Austin Neiman's is under construction at MoPac & Braker), was animated and spirited. We had a great time and I was ready to return. But then we were asked to visit the fabulous new Hotel Contessa on the Riverwalk; how could we refuse? It's not often you get to be the first guest in a new hotel. It was superb – all suites, all gorgeous, great views, luxurious beds, and wonderful bath and body products. But it was just a prelude to our visit to Houston to see the divine Carolyn Farb in her stage debut in Die Fledermaus. Mme. Farb looked glorious and we couldn't take our eyes off her as she glided about the stage in her nonsinging role. It was a production of the Opera in the Heights company – a refreshing interpretation that was as light as it was lyrical. Dinner was at the stylish Gravitas (the venison chili-and-cheese fries were irresistible, but definitely a heart attack on a plate). I stayed at the Hotel Icon. Loving it so much, I don't understand why anyone would want to stay anywhere else. The next day we visited Ceron at his breathtaking Salon Ceron inside the Urban Retreat in River Oaks, and had lunch with Carolyn at the swank Cafe Annie, where we were doted over by award-winning chef Robert Del Grande (whom we saw actually trading recipes with award-winning chef Dean Fearing of Dallas' Mansion at Turtle Creek) and his vivacious wife Mimi. It was all so lovely and dreamy … then, of course, I had to return to my squalid little abode in Austin and sew my fingers to the bone making Christmas stockings, but it's always grand to see how the other half lives, n'est-ce pas?