I have a mental list of all the strangest press releases I've received in my short time as food critic for the Press. They include:
- A hand-made flyer for a penis-shaped muffin restaurant in Montrose
- A self-written press release from a restaurateur who described himself as an "elitist" "asshole" "mercenary"
- A box that contained nothing but canned tuna and a pair of men's Speedos with "It's the Tuna!" written across the ass in gold glitter pen
And now, this.
But by God, the restaurant is going to hold its April Frontera Festival.
I found it supremely bizarre that the first prepared statement from her restaurant, Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen, after the shooting would include a quote from Casares saying: "I love the flavor of that a mesquite wood-fire grill gives meat." Nowhere in the press release did it mention that Casares probably isn't sitting around thinking about mesquite wood these days, since -- you know -- getting shot in the stomach isn't enough to worry about.
But maybe I wasn't giving the poor press release a fair shake. After all, it's entirely possible that it could have been scheduled to be sent out weeks ago.
So I emailed Casares's main PR guy, Dick Dace of The Epicurean Publicist, to ask if the restaurant had any other statement about Casares's condition other than the fact that she thinks "any meat, fish, beef, chicken or carbrito, cooked over a mesquite is a taste of home."
Dace responded right away, with a much more appropriate statement from Casares's family:
As you may have already heard, our mother and owner of Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen, Sylvia Casares, was recently shot and seriously wounded at her home. The police are working hard to investigate the incident to its fullest. Our mother's doctors and nurses are doing a wonderful job, and expect her to make a full recovery. We appreciate all the concern from friends and ask them to keep her in their thoughts and prayers. As our mother would want us to, we remain focused and optimistic on her recovery. If you would like to send your well wishes to Sylvia, there is a guest book at both her Woodway and Westheimer locations.
From Nicholas Martinez, Celeste Martinez, and Jason Martinez - the Family of Sylvia Casares
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Dace confirmed that the press release was scheduled weeks ahead of time. But it was still jarring nevertheless.
And in case you're wondering, that Frontera Festival is still on throughout April. I don't think Casares would have it any other way.