Edible San Antonio 2021 Summer Issue #38

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san antonio® eat. drink. think.

edible San Antonio

edible The 2021 Summer Issue

Issue No. 38

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certifiedhumane.org certifiedhumane.org

2021 Summer Issue - Issue No. 38


Above: One of several signature cocktails at the Paseo at Estancia del Norte,The Natalia. (Photo courtesy) Cover: Signature Scallops at Estancia del Norte’s courtyard. (Photo by Tracey Maurer, styled by Di-Anna Arias)








NEW TRADITION Celebrate at Estancia Del Norte


SAN ANTONIO TRADICIONES Savor the Flavors of Fiesta



LATIN ROOTS Adán Medrano’s Queso Fundido





FOOD FOR THE SOUL Remembering Sandy Winokur


RANCH LIFE Fire and Ice Cream




SOMM SAYS Select the Best Wine for your budget




THE LAST BITE Running Rough




food for thought

San Antonio®


Our city is roaring back to life, and there are so many new restaurants and businesses that there weren’t enough pages to tell you about each one. That said, we must mention Stefan Bower’s Pumper’s Food Truck (burgers!) which will now be a permanent fixture on the St. Mary’s strip in front of Paper Tiger, and of course, Curry Boys BBQ, a joint effort from Andrew Ho and Sean Wen of Pinch Boil House and Andrew Samia of South BBQ and Kitchen, which is across the street from Little Death. NOLA Brunch & Beignets has moved to the space formerly occupied by Cookhouse to make way for Susan Sypestyn’s fresh, new project, Golden Wat Noodle, inspired by her heritage. Hemisfair is quickly turning into a culinary center with additions like the Re:Rooted 210 Urban Winery and (coming in 2022) an elevated Jerk Shack with a full bar. And the Pearl has added Chef Laurent Rea’s Mon Chou Chou, an incredible French brasserie, across from the Boiler House. Near the Pearl, welcome Hello Paradise from The Boulevardier Group … and there's so much more. Edible San Antonio is growing, too, adding a new and improved website to cover those stories we used to miss between issues and to keep our dear and constant readers up to date. We will be unveiling the new website during the summer months and publishing the print magazine every quarter. It’s

good to be back, San Antonio. Happy Father's Day and Viva Fiesta!


Frederic C. Covo EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Angela Covo MANAGING EDITOR Delia Covo CREATIVE DIRECTOR Sophie Covo Gonzales

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIR. Christopher Covo CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Marianne Odom, Amanda Covo CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dale Blankenship, John Bloodsworth, Marcy Epperson, Mimi Faubert, Molly Keck, Adán Medrano, Dawn Robinette, Cat Sansing, Michael Sohocki, Dave Terrazas, Lea Thompson DESIGN & LAYOUT Florence Edwards, Pixel Power Graphics COVER PHOTO by Tracey Maurer, Styled by Di-Anna Arias CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Jonathan Alonzo, Joey Machado, Tracey Maurer, Jason Risner, Annie Spratt, Raymond Tijerina


Michael Lorenzana ~ Southtown Designs Our heartfelt thanks to the friends and businesses who make this magazine possible. Remember to like us on Facebook! www.Facebook.com/EdibleSanAntonio LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Please call 210-274-6572 or email angela@ediblesanantonio.com ADVERTISING Please call 210-365-8046 or email fred@ediblesanantonio.com Homegrown Media LLC publishes Edible San Antonio quarterly, every season. Distribution is throughout South Central Texas and nationally by subscription. Your annual subscriptions support the mission and are $32 annually. Please order online at www.edibleSA.com or call (210) 365-8046 to order by phone. We make every effort to avoid errors, misspellings and omissions. If, however, an error comes to your attention, please accept our sincere apologies and let us know. Thank you. No part of this publication may be used without written permission of the publisher. soy_ink.pdf



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a special thank you EDIBLE SAN ANTONIO



Chef Michael Sohocki

Leslie Komet Ausburn

Darryl Byrd

Lainey Berkus

Roberta Churchin

Marianne Odom

Chef Stephen Paprocki

Adam Rocha

Di-Anna Arias

Chef Johnny Hernandez

Bob Webster

Chef Jeff White

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The endangered Attwatter's Prairie Chicken. (Photo courtesy TPWD)

LONE STAR LAND STEWARD ECOREGION AWARD WINNERS Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) recently announced the 2021 Lone Star Land Steward Ecoregion Award winners representing a variety of conservation goals and accomplishments, all which demonstrate excellence in natural resource management and stewardship. This year, T PWD celebrated 25 years of private lands stewardship virtually. “This s tyle of e vent will o f course have a different fe el than what we have all become accustomed to over the last 25 years, but we are excited about the opportunity to get these inspirational land stewardship and ranching heritage stories in front of more people than we ever have before,” Justin Dreibelbis, director of TPWD’s Private Lands and Public Hunting program, explained. The Lone Star Land Steward Awards recognizes private landowners in Texas for exemplary contributions to land, water and wildlife stewardship. With 95 percent of Texas land under private ownership, conservation and stewardship efforts of private landowners are of vital importance to all Texans. We highlight three of the 2021 seven ecological region award winners (drum roll please). Morgan O’Connor, Kelly Schaar, Bridey Greeson, Coastal Prairies – Dunn O’Connor River Ranch (Goliad County) Three sisters, Morgan O’Connor, Kelly Schaar and Bridey Greeson, own the Dunn O’Connor River Ranch in Goliad County – a property that’s been in the family since 1836. The trio implement a thoughtful approach to cattle production and actively manage the land to improve wildlife habitat. In 2007, the ranch worked closely with state and federal partners to serve as a release site for the highly endangered Attwatter’s Prairie Chicken on the intact, remnant coastal prairie. The property continues to serve as an important site for research and recovery efforts.

Kelly W. Walker Family (Wayne, Philip and Caton),Edwards Plateau – 7 Oaks Ranch (Crockett, Val Verde Counties) The 7 Oaks Ranch, originally founded in 1934, has been operated by the Walker Family for three generations. Since 2005, ranch owner Kelly W. Walker, Sr. and his three sons, Wayne, Philip and Caton, have been managing the ranch together. In March 2020, the three sons took on the leading role in managing the ranch following the passing of their father. The brothers forged creative partnerships with organizations and volunteers to help them manage their property for a variety of Texas wildlife. They actively implement prescribed fire, brush management and community outreach to carry on their father’s legacy of land stewardship and educate others on land management practices. Parten Wakefield, Post Oak Savannah Shady W Ranch (Brazos County) Shady W Ranch in Brazos County exemplifies the patience and persistence that stewardship requires. While Wakefield has experienced successes and setbacks in his restoration efforts through the years, he continues to work at doing what’s right for their land. Shady W Ranch is very engaged in the local community, particularly through programs like Big Brothers/ Big Sisters, allowing NRCS, Agrilife Extension and TPWD staff access as a demonstration site for grassland restoration, has an active outreach component that focuses on hunter and angler recruitment and takes part in multiple grassland restoration projects through prescribed burning, TPWD’s Pastures for Upland Birds Program and United States Fish and Wildlife Service Partners Programs. To learn more about the Lone Star Land Stewards program and all the winners, visit bit.ly/TPWD2021. ~ Frederic Covo ediblesanantonio.com


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ELEVATE YOUR WINE AND DINE AT HOME Umami.Life started out as a food and wine lifestyle resource targeting flavor-savvy eaters in 2015. Dale Blankenship and Cat Sansing worked to highlight restaurants and bistros, bars and wine bars, farm-to-market vendors, food trucks, personal chefs and caterers, wineries and local flavors so that foodies far and wide could find great taste wherever they went. For Mr. Blankenship, the website was an extension of his 30 years’ experience in the Texas wine and spirits industry. Through the years, he noticed many small food businesses struggled to promote and grow their companies thanks to limited resources. The goal of Umami.Life, which he created with Ms. Sansing, was originally to connect with specialty food and wine niche markets and give local businesses a worldwide reach. When the pandemic hit, the husband-and-wife team adjusted to the needs of their audience and rebooted to focus on cooking at home. “Thanks to the pandemic, we have so many new cooks and our hope is to support them with fabulous new recipes and wine pairings,” Mr. Blankenship said. “Now Umami.Life promotes and elevates a wine-and-dine lifestyle so people can enjoy cooking and eating at home.” Ms. Sansing, a trained journalist, has a passion for wellness and loves to cook, too, so the transition was seamless. “We want people to know they can have a healthy, elevated 6

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dining experience at home – eating healthy shouldn’t be boring,” she said. One of her favorite recipes on the site is the Flourless Chocolate Torte prepared with raisins and dates. “It’s a fabulous 7-inch springform cake,” Ms. Sansing added. They haven’t abandoned their original efforts to help promote small businesses, either. They create recipe cards utilizing ingredients from local artisanal makers with QR codes pointing to the recipe online, like the recipe they are kindly sharing with our readers for Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho that highlights Black Gold Garlic. “This helps regional small businesses get the word out about their great products by showing consumers how to use these specialty ingredients in tested recipes,” Mr. Blankenship explained. The wine enthusiasts also dedicate plenty of space to wine, wine pairing and wine selection. With our resident sommelier, Jennifer Beckmann, working night and day on her new venture, Re:Rooted 210 Urban Winery at Hemisfair, which is opening this month, they also contributed the wine article for this issue to help our readers select the best wines on a budget. For more great recipes and advice on wine pairings and selection, visit Umami.Life.


Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho When hot summer days call for relief from the heat, the fresh garden flavors of vine-ripe heirloom tomatoes and sweet watermelon are the perfect answer. It all comes together with fresh mint and basil while the smoky and balsamic-like notes of Black Gold Garlic provide depth. A drizzle of Black Gold Garlic and olive oil adds the crowning touch.

2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar BLACK GOLD GARLIC DRIZZLE 1 tablespoon crushed Black Gold Garlic (about 6-8 cloves) ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

INGREDIENTS • (Serves 6-8)


4 medium tomatoes (preferably heirloom varieties), chopped 4 cups seedless watermelon, diced 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped 1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon crushed Black Gold Garlic (about 8-9 cloves) 1 medium shallot, roughly chopped 1/3 cup loosely packed basil 1/3 cup loosely packed mint (Save small crown leaves for topping) Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar

Place all ingredients through basil and mint in a large bowl. Season with 1½ teaspoons salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the olive oil and vinegars. Working in batches, puree the mixture in a blender or food processor. If you prefer a liquid without solids, strain through a finemesh sieve into a bowl, pressing to extract as much liquid as possible, then discard the solids. (Great for your compost pile!) Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as desired. Cover and refrigerate until chilled (about 1 hour). To serve, top the soup with the Black Gold Garlic drizzle and small herb leaves. A wine pairing guide is available for this recipe at umami.life/tomato-watermelon-gazpacho. Enjoy! Recipe and photo courtesy of Umami.Life™



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Left: Patrick Curel at his shop. Above: The Elote, (Photos by Frederic Covo}

DOGS WITH SAN ANTONIO FLAIR Patrick Curel, proprietor of the Dogfather at 6111 San Pedro Avenue, is prepared to make you a hot dog you can’t refuse – but don’t expect a remake of the New York-style dog. This menu is puro San Antonio. “We aren’t trying to recreate the famous NYC hot dog – all our dogs have San Antonio flair,” Mr. Curel said. Indeed, the creative and spirited menu includes Guac Dog, a beef frankfurter with guacamole, pico de gallo, chips and crema and The Elote, a beef frank with roasted corn, queso fresco, parmesan, sal limon, crumbled Takis, mayo and fresh lime. If chili is your thing, indulge in the Frito Pie Dog with house-made Four Pepper Chili, pan-melted cheddar, Fritos, jalapeños and sour cream. (Besides the chili, the sauerkraut, the vegan queso and even the chimichurri are all made in house.) And not all the menu options are meat-based. The Dogfather offers vegan franks, too, which are quite popular. One of Mr. Curel’s favorites? “I like them all, but Pop It Like It’s Hot is a favorite,” he shared. That dog comes wrapped in bacon with cream cheese, queso and fried jalapeños. Keep an eye out for the weekly themed burgers (and hot dogs) that sometimes steal the show at The Dogfather, like the Glazed and Confused hot dog and the Up in Smoke burger they offered the week of April 20. Note they always have two great burgers on the menu: the Classic with 44 Farms ground beef, cheddar, bacon, arugula, tomato, onion, pickle, mustard & mayo and, of course, the Pop It Like 8

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Hot Burger with bacon, cream cheese, queso and fried jalapeños. The restaurateur has deep roots in the food industry. For more than a decade before his Dogfather adventure, Mr. Curel represented Jameson Irish Whiskey in South Texas. And he grew up and worked at the popular Two Peppers restaurant that was a long-time staple eatery near Fort Sam Houston – the restaurant his parents, Tito and Margarita Curel, created and sustained. “I actually grew up in the restaurant business,” he said. When the opportunity to have his own place presented itself, he was ready and thrilled to partner with Jamie Hoppe of The Bang Bang Bar to take The Dogfather to new heights. He explained that Ms. Hoppe opened the gourmet hot dog joint in 2017 with other partners, and “when they transitioned out, I transitioned in.” Things looked bleak when they were forced to shut down thanks to the pandemic, and like many local businesses, had to figure out a way to survive. The good news is that despite COVID, sales have grown and the future looks great. “We were able to reopen September 2020 to supply the bar and built a strong curbside business,” Mr. Curel explained. By Christmas, they had opened an outdoor patio and soon after offered socially distanced indoor seating. Now they are fully open – seven days a week from noon to midnight – and will soon expand their hours to 2 a.m., making The Dogfather a great spot for late night eats. To learn more about The Dogfather, visit sadogfather.com. ~ Angela Covo


by chef johnny hernandez

Heat & Eat Authentic & Deliciio! ediblesanantonio.com


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Photo courtesy of Briscoe Museum

Dim the lights, grab the popcorn, and don’t let your spurs catch on the red carpet – the Briscoe Western Art Museum is showcasing the Hollywood Western in a new light during Still in the Saddle: A New History of the Hollywood Western through Sept. 6. Step back in time and see the classic films in the context of then-current events, including the turbulent 1960s. Pairing historical context with film insights and facts highlights the films and the genre in a new perspective. Still in the Saddle shares the inside scoop on the cinematic art and storytelling of the Western. From an actual red carpet, velvet ropes and the unmistakable smell of popcorn to film clips rolling throughout the exhibition, the Briscoe will transform into a 1960s movie theater featuring almost 60 vintage original movie posters, original movie costumes and dozens of authentic lobby cards. Display screens throughout the exhibit will feature film clips illustrating representative moments of the genre, and costumes worn by John Wayne in the movies “Chisum,” “The Cowboys” and “The Undefeated” will be on display. The cinema focus is a creative way for Briscoe to spotlight the culture of the American West through the art of movies. “In the 40s and 50s, the Western was the most popular movie genre in America. Even through the social unrest, political turmoil, economic uncertainty and generational change we witnessed from 1969 to 1980, Hollywood Westerns continued to capture audience attention,” Michael Duchemin, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Briscoe Western Art Museum, explained. “As the world outside of the theater doors changed, many thought the Western would ride off into the sunset. Yet the Western remained as rich and complex as at any time in its history. Looking at these films in the social context of the 10

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period provides a renewed appreciation of the stories these films share.” Still in the Saddle was organized by the Briscoe with guest curator Andrew Patrick Nelson, a historian of American cinema and culture, film programmer, museum curator and media commentator. Dr. Nelson, Chair of the Dept. of Film and Media Arts and Associate Professor of Film Studies at the University of Utah, has written and edited numerous books and essays on Western cinema, including “Still in the Saddle: The Hollywood Western, 1969-1980” and “Contemporary Westerns: Film and Television since 1990.” Perfectly paired with the exhibition, the Briscoe’s popular Summer Film Series returns featuring an iconic film on the third Sunday of each summer month, with “Little Big Man” on June 20, “True Grit” on July 18 and “The Long Riders” on August 22. “The Shootist” will close out the summer on Sept. 5. Guest curator Andrew Patrick Nelson will introduce each movie and explain how it relates to Still in the Saddle. Trivia fans can test their knowledge of all things Western during Wild West Trivia Night at Briscoe’s McNutt Sculpture Garden on June 11, when questions will flow alongside beer, wine and light bites. Gather your posse and see who ends the night still in the saddle, with the top three teams taking home prizes. Films are free for members and $10 for future members. Enjoy both general admission to the Briscoe and a film for $12. Briscoe Summer Cinema passes are also available and include an individual museum membership, granting you unlimited access to the Briscoe’s exhibitions and programming throughout the year. Tickets are available online at briscoemuseum.org. ~ Dawn Robinette


San Antonio is poised to enter a new era of fine dining and food-fueled celebrations as Estancia del Norte, the city’s long-awaited hotel, opens its doors. Executive Chef Heather Nañez will oversee Estancia’s culinary offerings with the help of her fire-breathing right-hand man, Ignacio. Affectionately called Ignacio, a Spanish name that means “fiery,” t he six-foot-long c ustom grill i s sure to c harm any guest. Often described as “dreamy, one-of-a-kind and smoking hot,” the live-fire grill promises a visual spectacle for diners at the new restaurant, Lazo With Don Strange, as he cooks South-Texas-inspired dishes, choice cuts of meat and roasted vegetables. Expect to find Ignacio on the move as he brings life to any party. Whether he’s elevating flavors for a wedding dinner in the Estancia Ballroom, soaking up the sun and enjoying live Latin music with guests poolside, or preparing delicious steaks for folks playing pool in Leddy Ranch, Ignacio is always ready to work hard as Estancia’s guests play.

Chef Heather Nañez grills a whole grouper on Ignacio at Estancia del Norte Hotel . (Photo by Tracey Maurer)

“Lazo With Don Strange celebrates South Texas cuisine, emphasizing regional seafood, fresh produce and influences from Spain, Germany, France and Mexico. Locals know San Antonio stands out as a city with close geographical ties to the Gulf Coast and a place with a rich culinary history and community. I'm excited to share those stories with our guests, one dish at a time.” ~ Executive Chef Heather Nañez, LAZO With Don Strange

Estancia del Norte Hotel · Where San Antonio Celebrates ·

@LAZOwithdonstrange @estanciadelnorte

37 NE Loop 410 San Antonio, Texas 78217 ediblesanantonio.com


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Chef Blaque at the original location on the city’s west side at 117 Matyear St. (Photo by Jason Risner)

Good news keeps flowing in San Antonio. And trust me, this is good. Chef Nicola Blaque will be opening a third location of her uber-popular Jerk Shack at Hemisfair in downtown San Antonio (more on the new second Jerk Shack below). The third Jerk Shack restaurant will take over the beautiful space at the Schultze House, one of the historically recreated homes in the Hemisfair district. The 1,740-square-foot restaurant is set to open in the summer of 2022.

district and the downtown core than their crave-able Caribbean cuisine.” The Jerk Shack’s cuisine is inspired by the flavors of Jamaica and the Caribbean. Chef Blaque incorporated the flavors and techniques of Caribbean cooking into American favorites like mac and cheese and tacos, creating a unique blend of cultures – truly artisanal Caribbean cuisine. Patrons can also expect more traditional Caribbean dishes like braised oxtail, jerk chicken and more.


Chef Blaque enlisted the Executive Chef from her latest venture, Mi Roti at the Pearl, Chef Lionel “Butch” Blache, to run the kitchen with her at Jerk Shack’s Hemisfair location.

Jerk Shack’s third location will feature the menu and flavors of the original shop, but will also offer an elevated menu featuring steak and a traditional dining experience. The Hemisfair location will also include a full bar and cocktail program, which is not available at the other Jerk Shack locations. “The response to The Jerk Shack has been amazing, which has allowed us to expand across the city,” Chef Blaque explained. “Our fans and customers have been extremely supportive of our growth so we’re looking forward to bringing The Jerk Shack to Hemisfair.” The team at Hemisfair is delighted, too. “We’ve been huge fans of Jerk Shack since they opened their first location and we’re over the moon that Chef Nicola and her team are joining the Hemisfair family,” Hemisfair CEO Andres Andujar said. “I can’t think of a better addition to our parks


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Chef Blaque’s dream to elevate and modernize Caribbean street food while introducing a new cuisine to the San Antonio culinary landscape is certainly coming to fruition. In addition to her flagship location, she opened Mi Roti, a Caribbean-style concept at Pearl’s Bottling Department, in July 2020. The Jerk Shack’s second location at 10234 State Hwy 151 will be open for service this summer. For the latest updates, follow The Jerk Shack on Facebook @thejerkshacksatx or visit www.thejerkshacksatx.com. ~ Sophie Gonzales




CATERING | VENUES | EVENT MANAGEMENT info@donstrange.com • 210.434.2331 donstrange.com ediblesanantonio.com


Charcuterie at The Esquire (Photo courtesy)


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Chef Thierry Burkle hosts special Spurs Dinner at The Grill at Leon Springs in 2016. (Photo by Sophie Gonzales)

THE GRILL WILL BE BACK On May 13, The Grill at Leon Springs, near IH-10 and Boerne Stage Road, was destroyed in a 2-alarm fire. The fire was called in at about 12:45 a.m., and when the San Antonio Fire Department arrived, flames were already consuming the roof and the chimney had collapsed – they could only fight the fire from outside. Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q next door, which is only separated by a small walkway between the two restaurants, was also in jeopardy, but firefighters were able to contain the fire to The Grill. After putting the fire out, vigilant fire officials stayed through the night and had to quell the fire again at 5 a.m., when it restarted. The historic stone building was constructed by the Aue family in the 1920s to house the B29 Club, a popular dance hall for soldiers during World War II from neighboring Camp Stanley and Camp Bullis. In 1988, the building was renovated as the site of the very first Romano’s Macaroni Grill and in 2005, became the home of Master Chef Thierry Burkle’s popular Grill at Leon Springs. The ever-optimistic chef was devastated by the loss, but grateful no one was hurt. “Out of all terrible things come good things,” he said, recalling that his mother always faced challenges and adversity with a smile.

He also shared he was deeply moved by all the kindness from the community. “It is so humbling to have so many send such love, I am more emotional about the outpouring of love than the horrible destruction,” he said. “That’s why I came to this country and why I love this country – if you go down, you can come back up.” That love is also giving him the strength to look forward. “If you are alone, it’s so hard, but the support makes me feel like we can fly,” he shared. “With all the support, I’m ready to start again.” For 16 years, the chef collaborated with his closest friends to create amazing food and wonderful experiences for his many guests at The Grill – and he is determined to bring it back. “Overall, I see the birth of a new Grill, but first I want to thank everybody,” Chef Burkle said. “They gave me the strength to see this as an opportunity to put many new ideas to work.” He plans to rebuild and open in the next 6 to 8 months. “I am nothing without my staff, they are all part of the success of The Grill,” he added. “The Grill will be back.” We’ll keep you updated on the progress at The Grill. In the meantime, visit BUNZ Handcrafted Burgers at 122 E. Houston St. (Houston and Soledad), which Chef Burkle opened with Chef Edwin Salazar last year. Visit tastybunz.com to learn more. ediblesanantonio.com


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Restaurateur Kristina Zhao at the new bar at Dàshī, which is wrapping up the remodeling phase. The restaurant will be open this summer. (Photo by Angela Covo)

DÀSHĪ BRINGS ELEVATED SICHUAN CUISINE TO SA North Central San Antonio just got lucky. Restaurateur Kristina Zhao, founder of the uber-popular Sichuan House, is expanding and opening a new restaurant at 2895 Thousand Oaks Drive this summer. The new restaurant, Dàshī Sichuan Kitchen & Bar, will offer many favorites from Sichuan House, but the concept is new. “Dàshī means grand master in Chinese,” Ms. Zhao explained. “The idea is that the new restaurant is a collaboration of grand masters.” Indeed, she has assembled a stellar team, including Chef Jian Li, a master of Sichuan cuisine, who will be the restaurant’s executive chef, Chef Teddy Liang, who is consulting on the new menu and barman Ben Krick, who is consulting on the new bar program. Mr. Krick plans to implement modern techniques with a focus on Asia’s exotic flavors and spirits, including a very special tap system. “We will be serving carbonated Asian spirits on tap, already effervescent and very refreshing,” Mr. Krick explained. “This is a popular drinking trend in Asia and we are already seeing it in the U.S. Dàshī will have the first 3-tiered tap system in San Antonio pouring carbonated spirits.” Mr. Krick, who will also be opening an authentic British pub called The Dandy this summer in collaboration with Rosey’s Fish and Chips, is thrilled to be part of the team. “This is right up my alley,” he added. “Driven as I am to bring international flavors to San Antonio, working with this heavily Asian-driven menu and broad palette of Asian flavor profiles is a fun challenge and a great opportunity.” Chef Teddy Liang describes the project, under the direction of Chef Li, as Sichuan House 2.0. 16

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“The program will be an elevated, modern take on Sichuanese cuisine,” Chef Liang said. “My role is to help highlight the progressive aspects and help intertwine Chef Li’s traditional expertise with contemporary influences.” Some time ago, Ms. Zhao traveled to Chengdu as a culinary ambassador with Chef Dave Terrazas – a trip that inspired her vision for the new restaurant. At the grand food festival there, with many top Sichuanese chefs, she noted that young chefs were stirring up the pot and boosting the traditional Sichuan food movement with modern inspiration. “I hope to capture that spirit and share the progressive and the traditional aspects of Sichuan cuisine at Dàshī,” she explained. “Also, the restaurant will serve as a place to not only showcase grandmasters from the culinary world, but from all the arts.” Ms. Zhao also brought in grandmasters to help implement her design ideas, including carpenter extraordinaire Roland Davila, whose talent is evident in the new 6000-square-foot space, from the beautiful bar to the wood accents to the stunning handmade door. She plans to take full advantage of the grand new space and its huge kitchen, including special collaborations, events, pop-ups and maybe even cooking classes. Dàshī’s great kitchen opens the door to explore the richness of Sichuanese gastronomy – a culinary art boasting more than 5,000 dishes. “We are so fortunate to be working with this rock star team fueled by passion and creativity and the willingness to embrace the full repertoire of Sichuan cuisine,” Ms. Zhao said. “I’m certain our guests will enjoy a full culinary experience with every visit.”

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DISCOVER MEXICAN WHISKY Just in time for our summer Fiesta, Casa Lumbre introduces two Mexican spirits to the American market, both made from the purest form of ancestral corn – a non-GMO Cacahuazintle corn cultivated over generations by local farmers. The makers of the spirits honor Mexico’s cultural and culinary heritage by using an authentic tradition known as nixtamalization. Dating back 4,000 years, the process unlocks the full flavors of the grain and is still used to make tortillas and other Mexican staples. The team at Destilería Abasolo, the first-ever distillery in Mexico dedicated to whisky from inception, experimented with this technique to create two distinct and unique spirits: Abasolo Ancestral Corn Whisky and Nixta Licor de Elote. Destilería Abasolo is located in the heart of Jilotepec at an altitude of 7,800 feet, making it one of the highest distilleries in the world. The artisans mix the nixtamalized corn with malted corn, which is then double distilled in copper pots and open-air aged for months in American oak barrels. The result is a golden amber whisky with deep, nuanced notes of roasted corn, honey, vanilla, chamomile tea and leather. The Nixta Licor is crafted from tender, ancestral Cacahuazintle maize – half the corn is roasted while the other half is kept in its raw, tender state. Later, the corn is mac18

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erated in unaged Abasolo Whisky and mixed in with a “base madre,” a blend of nixtamalized Cacahuazintle corn, water and piloncillo, a form of unrefined cane sugar traditional to Mexico and Latin America. The result is not just a completely new flavor profile – it’s an entirely new category. With rich notes of roasted corn, caramel and vanilla, along with the sweetness from the corn and piloncillo, Nixta has a multitude of uses for both bartenders and chefs. As a cocktail modifier, it adds a hint of sweetness and umami to classics like margarita or in a coffee for a Mexican twist on the Carajillo. For cooking, reduce it to a syrup and pour it on panna cotta, flan, cake or ice cream to create a delicious and unexpected topping. The ancient Mesoamerican technique is also the base for corn tortillas. Locally, Chef Paul Morales of Ancient Heirloom Grains will deliver divine blue and pink tortillas ($3 per dozen, totally worth it) that he makes fresh from nixtamalized, non-GMO, single-origin, heirloom corn varietals sourced from Oaxaca, Mexico. They also offer Ancient Heirloom Grains Chef-grade masa flour that can be used in the recipe below. The company is based at San Antonio’s new food hub, THE CO-OP, but for now, only takes orders online at ancientheirloomgrains.com. If you’re feeling adventurous, enjoy this recipe to make your own as we celebrate Fiesta! ~ Delia Covo


Make Your Own Corn Tortillas The masa harina has already been nixtamalized for you, but we’re sure you’ll taste the difference with these freshly made tortillas and understand why this technique is so important to the creation of Abasolo Whisky and Nixta.

Cover a bowl with the dough with a damp kitchen or paper towel and let rest for about 10 minutes. Roll into golf ball sized balls. Place the dough between two pieces of wax paper and press in a tortilla press until it forms a 4-inch to 5-inch flat tortilla. Remove wax paper.


1 packed cup of Masienda Masa Harina 1 scant cup of water A dash or 2 of Mexican salt Tortilla press


Whisk the masa harina and salt together, gradually stirring in 1 cup of warm water until an evenly mixed dough begins to form. Use your hands to knead the dough for 2-3 minutes in mixing bowl until smooth

Heat a non-stick skillet or comal over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, lay the tortilla flat in the skillet and cook for 40-60 seconds per side, flipping it when speckled brown spots begin to appear on the bottom of the tortilla. The wonderful masa mix is available at masienda. com. To learn more about the spirits, visit www. abasolowhisky.com and nixtalicor.com.



Please call 210-365-8046 or email fred@ediblesanantonio.com




and cohesive (it should feel springy and firm, like Play-Doh). The masa should be quite wet, but not sticky.











little bites



SA Charter Moms’ Charter a Voyage of Learning includes interactive lessons from kitchen chemistry to gardening. (Photo courtesy SA CHARTER MOMS)


edible San Antonio


It’s summer 2020, months into a pandemic that has everyone on edge, including me. At some point, I turn off the TV and the phone, and walk away from the media’s constant reminders of the reality that’s kept everyone separated. But it’s not normal. Considering how social life as a chef usually is, this period has been ridiculously hard. Keeping my mind out of dark places, I launch a new project on my YouTube channel, Foodie Classroom, that aims to help kids learn a little bit easier by contextualizing their school lessons with something we all understand – food. But working on that solo at home, I was missing something essential … connection. That’s when my friend Inga Cotton reached out. Ms. Cotton is Executive Director of San Antonio Charter Moms, a group devoted to helping parents choose the best school option for their children. With an ever wholesome, positive attitude that makes everyone around her feel better, she asked if I’d be interested in contributing a blogpost with recipes and working on a special project for Charter Moms. Of course I say yes, I mean, it’s Inga. And it’s intriguing. “San Antonio Charter Moms stands for the idea that parents and caregivers have choices,” Ms. Cotton shared. “They can choose schools for their kids, and they can choose enrichment activities to do at home, like the one in our free Charter a Voyage of Learning guide.” The Charter a Voyage of Learning guide is a creative series of do-it-yourself activities designed to “stave off bouts of boredom as families continue to redirect and reimagine summer schedules like never before.” As part of the series, Ms. Cotton invited authors, educators, chefs, mental health experts, museum curators, performing arts leaders, ecologists, crafting experts and others to lead demonstrations with her, loading up parents and caregivers with easy crafts, projects and activities as entertaining and fun as they are educational – truly “edutainment” programming. Now at the beginning of summer 2021, the best part about the series is that while the lessons were broadcast live, they were also recorded and uploaded, providing ample opportunity for parents to use these wonderful assets at any time. And it’s free. “We believe parents are more powerful than they know. They know their children best, and they can choose activities that fit their interests and prepare them for the future they want,” Ms. Cotton explained. My “foodie” lessons were oriented toward Valentine’s Day and Halloween, but there are many other activities and options to keep the mind focused and learning, and they can be done as a family. From Kitchen Chemistry to Outdoor Activities, there’s something there for every age and interest. Did I mention that all the helpful lessons and programming at San Antonio Charter Moms is free? Watching Inga and her daughter make the Halloween treats through my tablet screen as I taught them live helped me feel connected again, and way more relaxed. Discover this great resource at sachartermoms.com/charter-voyage-learning. ~ Chef Dave Terrazas



little bites

BURGER BOY Burger Boy, a locally owned and operated burger joint established by the Bates family more than 35 years ago, has new owners that plan to bring the award-winning burgers to every part of our growing city. Their signature meal is the Working Man Special, which is made with fresh ingredients, including locally sourced never-frozen beef patties. This made-to-order meal is also served with large fries and a large drink. The original Burger Boy opened on N. St. Mary’s St. in the 1980s. Most recently, Burger Boy opened a new location near the corner of N U.S. Hwy 281 and Bitters Rd. – at 151 W. Bitters Rd. This is the fourth restaurant to open as Burger Boy continues its expansion across San Antonio. The latest burger joint will be open Sunday through Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. until 10 p.m., Thursday from 10:30 a.m. until 11 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. until midnight. Co-owner Bryce Pohlmeier has been anxious to share the news since the location was first announced. “We were especially excited to open this one,” Mr. Pohlmeier said. “Every Burger Boy we have planned to open this year and next have been chosen because of community feedback.”

“We know these restaurants are going to be fan favorites – not only because we stay local and true to our original ingredients, but because we’re serving customers that are looking for a hot, old-fashioned Burger Boy close to home. We’re more than happy to do that,” he added. By next year, the team will have added two more Burger Boy locations, one on S. New Braunfels and one near Live Oak, which are in development right now. The one on the Southside will open later this year (perhaps sometime this summer), and the Live Oak location is expected to open in 2022. Burger Boy is still locally owned and San Antoniobased. The four owners, Rick Molina, Guy Ellison, Tony Salinas and Mr. Pohlmeier, are passionate about the company and its roots – and its future. “The whole point of continuing Burger Boy is to stay focused on the brand,” Marketing Director Ramil Rodriguez explained. “They haven’t changed a single ingredient.” To learn more, including opening dates and currently open locations, visit www.burgerboysa.com.

The design concept at Burger Boy Bitters will be replicated at the Pat Booker restaurant in Live Oak, expected to open some time next year. (Photo courtesy)


edible San Antonio


little bites


Buzzworthy The United States is home to more than 2,000 species of native bees, including the well-known and beloved honeybee. But many gardeners don’t realize that some of our native bee species are better at pollinating native plants like blueberries and tomatoes than honeybees – and most look more like wasps or flies. Texas has several hundred species within its boundaries. Native bees are typically non-aggressive, but of course, some may sting if they feel threatened. They are highly efficient pollinators and exhibit a foraging behavior called flower constancy. This means they visit the same species of flower for extended periods of time, increasing the opportunities for pollination. And it turns out that 90 percent of bee species are solitary, meaning they don’t live in hives like the non-native European honeybee or any of the native bumblebees. These powerful pollinators play a special and important role in our environment. But you don’t need beekeeper skills to entice them to your landscape – providing plants that attract pollinators is easier than you think.


Bees see the colors white, yellow, blue and purple better than any other color, so fill your landscape with some coreopsis, ‘New Gold’ lantana, bee balm and various salvia. You’ll also attract beneficial insects, including pollinators, by planting herbs and allowing them to flower. The tiny white and yellow flowers on dill and parsley, and purple flowers on anise hyssop are excellent nectar sources for beneficial pollinators. And those lovely blue flowers on rosemary, they are bee magnets.

Native pollinators are known as keystone species, meaning many other species depend on their existence. For example, if there were no bees to pollinate herbaceous flowers and flowering trees, then there would be no fruit and seed produced for birds and mammals. According to some experts, 40 percent of the world’s pollinator species face extinction in the next few decades.


Bees are active during the day, so be sure to take special care when gardening around bee-loving plants. While they won’t be affected by liquid product applied to foliage once it’s dry (avoid spraying the flowers and buds), spraying liquid pesticide on plants when bees are actively foraging for food is extremely harmful. The bees end up taking the pesticide back to the hive and spreading the poison around, possibly killing the whole group. When purchasing plants, ask your nursery if they’ve been treated with systemic insecticides. If so, avoid and seek out plants that have not been treated with insecticides. When using systemic products, follow label instructions very carefully. There’s a lot of misinformation online about the harmful effects of systemic products on bees, so make sure to get your information from an educational or academic-based resource. Bees are essential to our environment and landscapes. Let’s do everything we can to care for and promote them. ~ Molly Keck, Integrated Pest Management Specialist for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Bexar County (Special thanks to San Antonio Water System) ediblesanantonio.com





SA Food Bank Farmers Market Olmos Basin 100 Jackson Keller Road 8 a.m – 1 p.m.


Dripping Springs Farmers Market Veterans Memorial Park Hwy 290 & RR 12 Dripping Springs, TX 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. SA Food Bank Farmers Market Leon Valley Public Library 6427 Evers Road 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. SA Food Bank Farmers Market New Braunfels Food Bank 1620 S Seguin Avenue New Braunfels, TX 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. 6/02, 7/07, 8/04, 9/01, 10/06


Cibolo Grange Farmers and Artisans Market 413 N Main Street Cibolo, TX 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.


edible San Antonio

FRIDAY Kerrville Farmers Market 529 Water Street Kerrville, TX 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. SA Food Bank Farmers Market Pica Pica Plaza 910 SE Military Drive 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.


Deerfield Farmers Market 16607 Huebner Road 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Farmers Market at the Cibolo Herff Farm 33 Herff Road Boerne, TX 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Huebner Oaks Farmers Market Huebner Oaks Shopping Center 11745 IH-10 W 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. MarketPlace at Old Town Helotes 14391 Riggs Road 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. 1st Sat of month


Legacy Farmers Market 16101 Henderson Pass (Behind the YMCA) 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

SA Food Bank Farmers Market Olmos Basin 100 Jackson Keller Road 8 a.m. – 1 p.m

New Braunfels Farmers Market 186 S Castell Avenue New Braunfels, TX 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.


Pearl Farmers Market Pearl Brewery 312 Pearl Parkway 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. SA Food Bank Farmers Market Mission Marquee Plaza 3100 Roosevelt Avenue 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. 3rd Sat of month SA Food Bank Farmers Market Najim Pavilion 5200 Enrique M. Barrera Pkwy 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. 6/05, 7/10, 8/07, 9/11, 10/02 SA Food Bank Farmers Market Olmos Basin 100 Jackson Keller Road 8 a.m. – 1 p.m

Alamo Heights Farmers Market Alamo Quarry Market 255 E Basse Road 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Legacy Farmers Market 16101 Henderson Pass (Behind the YMCA) 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Live Oak Farmers Market 8151 Pat Booker Road 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Pearl Farmers Market Pearl Brewery 312 Pearl Parkway 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. For schedules and information about San Antonio Food Bank WIC Farmers Markets, visit safoodbank.org

book the margarita truck for your next event! margaritas@lagloria.com follow us:

La Gloria Margarita Truck


www.LABONNEVIERANCH.com (830) 998-7601 ediblesanantonio.com


strictly local

STAY SAFE AND ... San Pedro Springs Park at 2200 N. Flores is the oldest park in San Antonio and the second oldest park in America – the first was Boston Common. The beautiful pool was built into the old lake bed. (Photo courtesy) 26

edible San Antonio




n San Antonio, sunny always means sultry weather … and everything that goes with it. Hot weather can deeply affect your health – some get seriously ill and over-heated in South Texas summer temperatures. Don’t ignore symptoms of heat exhaustion like nausea, headache and dizziness. Although the symptoms are vague, they serve as warning signs of an imminent and dangerous heat stroke. While a wickedly hot summer in San Antonio is nothing new, with the mild spring we’ve enjoyed this year, people can forget how deadly the heat can be. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service, heat is still the number one weather-related killer in the United States, with hundreds of fatalities each year. Excessive heat claims more lives every year than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes combined. Heat stroke is a serious illness that can kill or cause damage to the brain and other internal organs. Because hot weather really can kill you, NOAA starts alert procedures when the heat index is expected to exceed 105° to 110°F for at least two consecutive days. When the potential exists for an excessive heat event in the next 3-7 days, Excessive Heat Outlooks are issued to give public utility staff, emergency managers and public health officials time to prepare for the event. Excessive Heat Watches are issued when the risk of a heat wave is probable, but its occurrence and timing is uncertain. Excessive Heat Advisories or Warnings are issued when an excessive heat event is imminent. Advisories are issued for slightly less serious conditions than a warning, which is used for conditions actively posing a threat to life or property. We will certainly see triple-digit temperatures this season. But just because the mercury doesn’t hit a hundred, the heat index can, making it feel hotter than 100 degrees. If you plan to be outdoors in the hot weather for a while or if your place has no air conditioning, Metro Heath and the San Antonio Fire Department offer tips to help avoid dehydration or heat-related illnesses. Please remember this rule – it can save a life. Do not leave infants, children, the elderly or pets unattended in a parked car (even if windows are down or air conditioning is on) or in any other hot environment. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances. This is especially true during warm or hot weather when car interiors can reach lethal temperatures in a matter of minutes.

Avoid alcohol and caffeinated liquids. Drink water and juices. Sugary drinks are not recommended, but in San Antonio, aguas frescas are always allowed. Watch out for the high-risk groups. The elderly, infants and kids under 4, or those who are overweight are most sensitive to the heat. Be on the lookout for symptoms and know what steps to take. Symptoms of heat-related injury include headache, dizziness, nausea, muscle cramps or pale skin. If you recognize any of these symptoms, immediately move the person to a cooler environment and offer fluids. Spray or sponge cool water onto skin to help cool them down. Seek medical attention if symptoms don’t improve, or if vomiting and the appearance of sleepiness occur – call 911 for emergency medical assistance. It takes just a few minutes to go from being a little dehydrated to having a heat stroke. Exercise and reserve other strenuous activities for early or late in the day when it is cooler. Try to stay in the shade between noon and 4 p.m. as much as possible. If you must be in the sun, take breaks to cool off. Pay attention to weather reports and advisories. A heat advisory means that a period of hot temperatures is expected. The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a situation in which heat illnesses are possible. Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun and check up on relatives and neighbors. Start a trend. Use umbrellas (parasols), hats and sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun and keep the fashion statement loose and light to help heat escape away from your body. Check with your doc about meds. Some need to be kept cool and some medications can put you at risk in the heat or require that you avoid exposure to the sun. Remember to leave fresh water in the bowl for pets kept outdoors and provide as much shade as possible. Change water frequently to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. Project Cool: San Antonio residents who are 60 and older with critical need for a box fan can get one through this long-standing program. Call 211 (United Way Helpline) to request a box fan or to learn how to donate one to the program. Go for a swim. San Antonio has 26 pools (the Elmendorf Lake has its grand opening on June 15) that are already open to the public. And admission to the city pools? Oh yeah, it’s FREE. Visit bit.ly/SAPOOLS2021 to find a pool near you. ediblesanantonio.com


personal traditions

REMEMBERING “SANDY” WINOKUR It is with great sadness we report our dear friend Saundra “Sandy” Copeland Winokur passed away Monday, March 22, 2021 at her home in Elmendorf, Texas after a long illness. Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard has since closed, but we present her story here (reprinted from 2014) as a tribute to honor this great Texas pioneer and all her wonderful achievements. Thank you for all your hard work and many labors of love, Sandy, rest in peace. Ms. Winokur admires one of her favorite olive trees outside her house.

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edible San Antonio edible San Antonio


meet for thethe farmer food soul

In Memoriam



(reprinted from edible San Antonio Issue No. 7, Oct/Nov 2014)

herever Sandy Winokur casts an eye, she sees possibilities. Not so much to build businesses or to make a buck – but to make the world a better place for everyone. In that regard, Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard is a labor of love. Almost 20 years ago, in 1997, the owner, founder and operator of the olive orchard wondered if olive trees might grow here. She pondered this thought because she noticed our South Texas soil and climate was comparable to the Mediterranean, where the lovely olive trees thrive. “Well, I thought, if they grow in Greece, the Middle East and in Italy, they would probably grow here,” she said. But time and time again, she was told this would not work in Texas. “So for the next few years, my heart was in my throat almost the whole time,” she shared. No wonder she is one of about eight people who founded the Texas Olive Growers Council years ago. Ms. Winokur, 75 years young, was born in San Antonio and raised in Texas. She comes from a long line of ranchers that started out in Texas in 1842 – and she credits her family, particularly her grandparents, with her pioneering spirit. “They taught me that nothing is impossible and you can always start over,” she said. Ever a student and adventurer, her studies and interests took her all over the world. Ms. Winokur, who is also an educator, earned her B.A. at Austin College, her Master’s at Texas Christian University and her Ph.D. in devel-

opmental psychology at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. It was during graduate school she met and married Dr. Stephen Winokur. Their adventure took them to Chicago first, where she got the chance to study art at The Art Institute of Chicago, something she had always wanted to do. The couple then moved to New York City, and Ms. Winokur continued to pursue her art at great institutions there: the New York Academy of Design, The Arts Students League and the School of Visual Design. Art plays an important role in her life – when her husband passed away in 1988, painting and travel provided great solace. Her work includes amazing pastels, oils and modern collages. In the early 90s, Ms. Winokur went to Italy to study printmaking. And the more she learned about the ancient olive trees with every trip, the more they impressed her. In 1995, she finally returned home to help care for her father. By 1997, she purchased almost 300 acres in Elmendorf, just south of San Antonio. No one was growing olive trees in Texas at that time, but that little fact didn’t daunt her. There were several challenges along the way, however. Just 11 days after she purchased the land, a fire swept away 150 acres. Later, she lost about half of her first planting (more than 200 trees) thanks to a steep learning curve with irrigation systems. “Anything that could go wrong, did, so I realized it was time to build a house,” she said. It turned out to be a good bet, because once she was living there, things went a little more smoothly.

Sandy Oaks’ artisanal soap made from olive oil was part of the skincare line.

Olive aroma oil, one of many artisan products that were available in the shop. ediblesanantonio.com ediblesanantonio.com

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It was still hard to find people who knew how to plant the trees, so Ms. Winokur improvised and hired a fence builder to plant the trees. “I figured he would know how to plant them in straight lines,” she smiled. Today, things are a little different. She employs a staff who knows the orchard, like Joe Garcia, her property manager, from the beautiful first mature olive tree they actually found growing on the land called Papa’s Tree, to the gorgeous oak that was struck by lightning only to grow mightier. Mr. Garcia knows which trees need picking when, and can spot a troubled olive tree in a heartbeat. They’ve also expanded their offerings. Sandy Oaks sells trees (that was the first business), then they started the skincare line with Margaret Wolfshol, the olive leaf tea, developed olive oil jelly, and, finally, of course, the olive oil. The orchard houses a beautiful wine-tasting room and restaurant that is truly farm-to-table, contains a culinary garden, acres of flowers, and of course, the nursery, where she grows more trees to study and eventually sell. Ms. Winokur even developed a natural pesticide from essential oils that helped her conquer the leaf cutter that was killing the trees. They bottle and sell that, too, to help others. “That’s one of the things that sets us apart. What I really did was to look at what the olive tree did for people across the centuries and tried to replicate that,” she explained. Ms. Winokur loves the land, what she can do with it and the responsibility and stewardship that goes with it. “This is yours after all for just a short period of time,” she said. With that in mind, her goal is Zero Waste.

“We’re living what a lot of people talk about – we actually get to live what we preach and we are in the forefront of how we dream farms should be operated,” she said. This is her legacy.


September is harvest time for the olives. Early harvests were pressed by hand, with an ancient milling stone she brought from Egypt. “That was pretty hard to do,” she admits. Now with a group of advisers, the olives, which must be milled within 24 hours of being picked, are “mulaxed” or crushed with state of the art equipment. Even the pomace, the leftover paste after the olives are milled, is used to feed the cattle a special treat. The heart of Ms. Winokur's approach is to ensure that nothing goes to waste.


edible San Antonio




Edible Films





rom New York Times best-selling author and executive producer Jonathan Bailor comes BETTER, a transformative food documentary that examines a new, empowering and unifying way of eating, thinking and living – without debilitating shame and guilt. Released on May 25, the film has been endorsed by top medical doctors at Harvard and garnered Best Documentary and Best Storytelling awards at film festivals worldwide. BETTER offers a proven path toward safer, better living through revolutionary methods that lower the body’s weight “setpoint,” using simple, evidence-based solutions that work to optimize any diet (e.g., keto, vegan, paleo, kosher, halal, etc.) and help protect against today’s most common diseases. The documentary was filmed on-location at Harvard Medical School with Dr. David Ludwig, author of The New York Times best-seller Always Hungry, and with executive producer and creator Jonathan Bailor, who founded the field of wellness engineering and authored The Calorie Myth and The Setpoint Diet. Mr. Bailor’s goal is to put an end to diet wars, unveiling scientifically backed new ways of eating endorsed by doctors at Harvard, Johns Hopkins and Mayo Clinic. Ultimately, he hopes to end confusing and conflicting diet information with proven methods that can help curb diabetes and obesity (diabesity) and make weight loss an achievable goal. “Now more than ever, everyone is in desperate need of a proven, practical and simple way to protect their mental and

physical health. BETTER is not just a food documentary, it is a story of hope, empowerment, protection and betterment by every means necessary,” Mr. Bailor shared. The film features Mr. Bailor’s popular Ted Talk and inspiring success stories and intimate testimonials by Americans who have struggled with negative body image, vulnerability, feelings of inadequacy and humiliation that bring the movie to life in relatable ways. BETTER tackles these challenges by following the science and physicians leading this revolution and sharing the actual experiences of people exploring ways to decrease their dependence on medications and shame-based diets while staying safe in an increasingly unhealthy world. While at times the film seems to move a bit slowly, it still works because it’s packed with information to help everyone successfully reach those elusive weight goals. The impetus for Mr. Bailor’s brand of books and films to help Americans overcome overeating addictions came when he was a young boy watching his own grandfather suffer and ultimately pass away from complications of obesity and diabetes. There is no question this filmmaker is authentic, and his message is heartfelt. On a quest to help find a better way for Americans to eat, think and live, he hopes the audience will be inspired to use this actionable plan to reverse diabesity, a top risk factor for many illnesses, including COVID complications and death. To learn more, visit www.bettermovie.com.



classic tradition





ith almost 900,000 followers on TikTok, you might already know about Alejo “Al” Frugoni’s grilling magic. The Argentine asado king brings a delicious South American twist to Texas grilling, from the beautiful open fire grills he sells to the amazing chimichurri seasoning mix he developed. Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Mr. Frugoni, now 47, always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but he never considered his favorite pastime in Argentina, el asado, would turn into his mainstay. And the journey to this point, where his life’s passion would also become his business, took lots of turns.

When he was 18, he started his first venture, a marketing firm with his sister, Soledad, who was just 19. “Our company, DMI, was a promotional agency – 25 years ago, marketing was all done face-to-face, so I was always on the road,” he explained. At 24, after a traumatic robbery, he sold his share of the company and decided to travel the world. “My stake was about $8,000 and my mom bought the plane ticket – I headed to Italy first,” Mr. Frugoni shared.


He continued to travel the world and a year later found himself in Morocco, where he met the love of his life, Varanya, who happens to be from Texas. They got married while Varanya finished her degree in the U.S. and then moved back to Argentina for 13 years. There, they started their family – Luka, now 17, Sofia, 13 (the resident TikTok genius) and Sebastián, 11 – and enjoyed many asados together. True to Mr. Frugoni’s capitalist spirit, they also started a successful trucking company and invested in real estate. Business was good enough that they were able to regularly visit Varanya’s family. “Every year, we would come to Texas and visit Varanya’s family in San Antonio,” he added. Concerned about the state of the economy in Argentina and future opportunities for their kids, they decided to move here seven years ago to pursue the American dream. Mr. Frugoni sought out business opportunities and settled on something the whole family thought would be a sure-fire winner – the trampoline park business. He signed an agreement to become the Master Franchiser for Latin America and started construction on his own park in Buenos Aires in 2018. But the project was fraught with challenges. First, the park burned down 10 days before opening. They were able to rebuild the park with insurance proceeds and re-

Al Frugoni with his grills at the Memphis May fest 2021. (Photo by Joey Machado)


edible San Antonio




The Frugoni Family (Photo courtesy)

opened in 2019. Things looked great and they enjoyed two remarkably successful months – then the pandemic hit.


Frustrated, Mr. Frugoni started grilling up a storm, and realized his favorite wood-fired grills could do very well here. He reached out to the grill maker in Argentina and started a passion-based company – Al Frugoni Open Fire Cooking. He spells it out beautifully on his website, AlFrugoni.com. “Being raised in Argentina means your first word is ASADO. Asado is our word for barbecue, but it means so much more than that. It is an event that takes place a minimum of once a week and requires the attendance of a noble Malbec wine.” The asado is also an experience, a gathering of friends and loved ones partaking in a delicious meal cooked on an open fire. Besides the gorgeous, versatile line of grills he is exclusively importing from Argentina under the moniker Fuegos, TX, Mr. Frugoni looks forward to offering events (he’ll bring his grills and all the fixings for a proper asado), and will soon be posting his authentic family recipes on his website, where he also sells the best chimichurri I have ever tasted. Chimichurri is not difficult to make, but getting the proportions exactly right to achieve the proper flavor profile is always a little tricky. This chimichurri is sold as a seasoning and takes seconds to prepare – and only requires oil and vinegar. Al Frugoni Chimichurri is fool-proof, perfect every time and tastes authentically Argentine. We highly recommend it. To grill like a gaucho, go learn more about the grills and order the chimichurri at AlFrugoni.com.


edible San Antonio


new tradition






he latest hotel to open its doors in San Antonio is the luxurious Estancia del Norte Hotel, the new flagship of Presidian Hotels & Resorts, across from North Star Mall. Originally constructed as La Mansion del Norte in 1978, the historic hotel welcomed generations of travelers to relax, celebrate and explore all the city has to offer. After the extensive construction and multimillion dollar remodel, revitalizing its timeless Spanish archways, original courtyards and antique iron and glass elevator, Estancia now offers more than 20,000 square-feet of indoor and outdoor space, including the stunning courtyard, 227 rooms, 12 suites, five meeting rooms, a beautiful pool and the perfectly sized ballroom.


And Estancia is already making history. You don’t have to wait to be invited to another wonderful event catered by Don Strange. The hotel’s beautifully appointed new restaurant, Lazo with Don Strange, is the very first restaurant from Don Strange

Scallops prepared by Chef Heather at Lazo at Estancia del Norte Hotel. (Photo by F. Covo)



of Texas, the renowned San Antonio culinary and special events caterer for more than 70 years. Thanks to this collaboration between Brian Strange and Presidian CEO Charles Leddy (who is also from San Antonio), now you can have a taste of Don Strange whenever the mood strikes. Expect regional South Texas cuisine, like the delicious scallops on the cover, from Estancia’s Executive Chef Heather Nañez, who worked on the culinary vision for the restaurant with Don Strange of Texas. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner inside or outside for al fresco dining in the courtyard. The space also boasts a wine wall, private dining rooms and the moveable feast and grill the hotel affectionately named Ignacio.


The Lazo dining room boasts beautifully tiled floors and paintings by local artist Kathy Sosa. (Photo by Frederic Covo)

Estancia del Norte's moveable feast, thegrill known as "Ignacio." (Photo by Frederic Covo) 36

edible San Antonio


The Paseo Bar is an inviting gathering place, with open air courtyard views, an extensive selection of rare, boutique bourbon and tequilas and a bar program carefully orchestrated by Restaurant and Bar Manager Landon Scoggins. The daily Happy Hour from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. is the best way to discover all that’s delicious at Estancia. With $4 beers, $5 glasses of house wines and specially-priced craft cocktails like the Camila, a gorgeous cucumber margarita with Triple Sec and Lalo Tequila (made in Austin) or the Natalia, made with gin, infused with strawberries and basil, and whipped with an egg white (pictured in our table of contents) and half-priced appetizers, it’s easy to see why the Estancia might indeed be where San Antonio celebrates.

Detail in Dahlia Room painted by local artist Liza Proch. (Photo by Frederic Covo)


The Leddy Ranch Room combines rustic elegance with corporate casual to host grooms, business meetings and a guys’ escape. It has no less than 3 screens and a pool table, of course. The Dahlia Room is a sophisticated luxury space customized for bridal parties, birthdays and special occasions. Designed by and for Texas women, the Dahlia Room checks every box for a girl’s dream day. Host a ladies’ lunch or get pampered before your big day in this private oasis featuring a custom bubbly bar, plush lounge furniture, Hollywood vanities and concierge service. Our favorite detail? It wasn’t the gorgeous make-up and hair stations or the ample dressing rooms, but that button on the wall to ring for more champagne! An enchanting, private, secluded courtyard with a fountain connects the Dahlia to Leddy Ranch for a picture-perfect “first look” or intimate rehearsal dinner.


Gaga’s Homemade Bread Presenting a taste of Don Strange of Texas from Gaga Singleton, Brian Strange’s maternal grandmother, who ran the corporate kitchen at Don Strange for more than 20 years. Edible San Antonio is honored to share her wonderful recipe with our readers in honor of the opening of Lazo. Use this simple bread for dinner or add dried fruit to turn it into a delicious breakfast bread.


A carefully curated gift shop is not just for hotel guests, but for locals looking for that special something. Many of the gifts are locally made, from handcrafted and hand-painted shoes to local art. Estancia’s monthly hotel lobby pop-ups promise to showcase incredible and original works that could make a special gift for a loved one or yourself. Designating this property as extremely special among Presidian’s nine hotels was no accident. Presidian CEO Charles Leddy, born and raised in San Antonio, was committed to sparking this storied property back to vibrant life while honoring so much of its original character and charm. “This property, with its rich history and iconic architecture, has the potential to become a fixture in the rich fabric of San Antonio,” Mr. Leddy explained. “It is a very special property for Presidian. I feel extremely lucky to have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to revitalize a San Antonio landmark. Our goal was to restore the charm of the property while honoring its original design and enhancing many features with our own stylistic touches.”

(Photo and recipe courtesy Don Strange of Texas)

INGREDIENTS 2 packages dry yeast 2 cups warm water ½ cup sugar 5-6 cups flour 1 tablespoon salt ½ cup oil

DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 325°F. In large bowl, stir yeast and water until yeast is dissolved. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add half the flour, one cup at a time. Add salt and stir until smooth. Add oil and mix well. Mix in remaining flour one cup at a time. Add enough flour to dough so it isn’t too sticky to handle. When the dough is too stiff to work with the spoon, knead with hands. Set dough aside in a greased bowl and cover with a warm, damp dish towel. Place bowl in warm area of kitchen, allow dough to double in size (about 1 hour). Punch it down and let rise again for one hour. Divide dough into two loaves and place in greased loaf pans. Allow dough to rise again in pans to double in size and bake for about 1 hour. Enjoy! ediblesanantonio.com


san antonio tradiciones



iesta may not have started as a food festivity, but you can bet your crispy taco that local cuisine was on the scene at that very first Battle of Flowers Parade in 1891, more than a hundred years ago when Fiesta San Antonio first began. And there’s no question that the street foods of San Antonio are steeped in history and tradition. In the 1860s, as a burgeoning town on the banks of the San Antonio River, military regiments, ranchers and their families from outlying areas and travelers seeking the charms of the city would converge on the downtown plazas. “Chili Queens” would serve chili con carne, tamales, enchiladas, frijoles and chili verde


edible San Antonio


over flickering mesquite wood fires. Temporary tables, benches and oil lanterns provided a festive air to the gatherings. Typically, the historic village of La Villita, the early San Antonio settlement along the San Antonio River, swings open its gates each Fiesta to some 80,000 guests who gather over four days to dine on diverse ethnic dishes at a Night in Old San Antonio (NIOSA).


One of NIOSA’s most famous foods, with long lines of eager eaters, is Maria’s Tortillas. The delicate morsel is a hand-patted, grilled corn tortilla, buttered and filled with

cheddar cheese and salsa. Named for Maria Luisa Ochoa and introduced in the early 1950s, the booth sells nearly 10,000 of the freshly made marvels at one of Fiesta San Antonio’s signature events. At NIOSA, colorful perforated paper banners, a hallmark of Fiesta, flutter overhead, while different ethnic groups line the International Walkway bazaar with their delicious foods. San Antonio settlers who arrived years ago from Belgium, England, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland influenced local flavors with recipes brought from home. Fried mushrooms and frog legs lead the list of favorites, followed by crab cakes, baklava, Belgian waffles, pizza, Polish zummers, fried ravioli and gyros. At the Mexican market, the meaty Anticucho (grilled steak on a stick) is considered a rite of passage for devoted NIOSA fans. After NIOSA, the flavors of The Crescent City take center stage at the Japanese Sunken Gardens in Brackenridge Park with “A Taste of New Orleans.” This food-centered Fiesta event, which was postponed until April 2022, brings Cajun and Creole cooking to the Alamo City. The “Loo’zana” throw down

not only serves up the hottest foods, it also presents the coolest jazz. Get right with some gumbo, satisfy your craving for crayfish and tackle a gator tail while you promenade behind a brass band in a New Orleans second line.


Fiesta de los Reyes (June 19-20) at Market Square is a feast on foot. Guests stroll the colorful Mexican market and dine al fresco at one of at least 30 food booths preparing flautas, fajitas, puffy tacos and Cajun shrimp. The fresh fruit drinks or aguas frescas are made with strawberries, watermelon and pineapple and are known to be thoroughly refreshing. Many agree that some of the best food found at Fiesta comes from the Gordita booth across from Mi Tierra Restaurant. For more than 20 years, the ground meat, potato- and onion-stuffed corn cake has been a memorable meal for mayors and carnival crews, doctors, lawyers and downtown workers eager to escape the office on a Fiesta lunch break.

FIESTA 2021 This year, Fiesta takes place June 17-27 Things will be a little different this year with just 50 of the 115 events participating – some of Fiesta’s typical headliners, like the Oyster Bake at St. Mary’s University, were postponed until April 2022. The good news is that several Fiesta favorites, like Fiesta de los Reyes, Taste of the Republic and NIOSA, will carry on. “We are so excited to have Fiesta 2021. The Fiesta Commission’s priority has always been the health and safety of all Fiesta guests. Working with health expert Dr. Marty Makary and based on the current and projected scientific data, the Fiesta San Antonio Commission, the City of San Antonio and Metro Health have determined that

Fiesta 2021 can occur safely,” Fiesta San Antonio Commission President Walter Serna said in a statement. Note that each Fiesta event is unique and organized by its appropriate Participating Member Organization (PMO), so COVID-19 safety protocols will be different for every event. To view the complete schedule and find each event’s COVID-19 safety protocols, visit FiestaSanAntonio.org, click on the schedule to find the event you’d like to attend and protocols are listed at the bottom. Just partake and enjoy. That’s the way it’s done at Fiesta, baby. VIVA FIESTA!



latin roots

Adán Medrano makes corn tortillas. (Photo courtesy)



ueso Fundido is sometimes called choriqueso (chorizo-cheese). It’s a favorite throughout the Texas Mexican food region, which includes south Texas and northeastern Mexico. I make it regularly, especially when unexpected company drops in. Just pop it in the oven and wait for it to bubble. Yum, yum, it’s truly a “Norteño” classic. Queso fundido is made with beautifully melting Queso Chihuahua and Mexican chorizo, made with puerco, pork. Along with horses, pigs were the first European animals to be brought to the Americas by the Spaniards. Our indigenous ancestors did not readily welcome the Spanish pigs. The “Relación De Michoacán,” written in 1540, describes the reaction of the Michoacán king, Tzintzicha, when the arriving Spaniards made the mistake of gifting him with ten pigs.


edible San Antonio


“¿Qué cosa son éstos?” dijo al verlos. “¿Son ratones que trae esta gente?” “What are these things?” he said upon seeing them. “These people are bringing rats?” Tzintzicha immediately ordered the pigs killed, because he considered them to be not just giant rats, but omens of bad luck. He was certainly correct about the latter. Don’t let this story put you off pork or chorizo. Eventually pork became culinarily accepted and commercially important. This recipe for chorizo has two types of red chiles and the aromatic spices cinnamon, cloves and cumin. I love it and think this bubbling Queso Fundido is a crowd-pleasing appetizer. If you don’t want to make your own chorizo, buy a reputable brand at the store. The nice thing about making your own is that you can modify the amounts of spices and chiles you use and tailor the flavor to your personal taste. I love this Queso Fundido recipe. It bubbles!


Queso Fundido ~ A Norteño Classic INGREDIENTS FOR CHORIZO (makes 3¼ pounds) 8 chiles anchos, seeds and veins removed 5 chiles pasilla, seeds and veins removed 3 lbs lean ground pork 1 cup white vinegar 3 cloves garlic, peeled ½ tablespoon ground black pepper 1½ tablespoons salt ½ teaspoon ground cumin 3 cloves ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

INGREDIENTS FOR QUESO FUNDIDO (makes 6 servings) 8 oz Queso Chihuahua, grated 2½ oz Chorizo ¼ cup white onion, diced 6 tortillas (corn or flour)

DIRECTIONS FOR CHORIZO To seed and devein the chiles, split them open either with a paring knife or split them with your fingers. Remove the seeds and peel off the veins. Wear rubber gloves to protect your skin from the capsaicin. Place the chiles in boiling water for 15 minutes, then drain. In a blender, purée the chiles together will all the other ingredients until very smooth. In a large bowl, add the chile purée to the lean ground pork and mix well. Refrigerate for 24 hours to let all the flavors blend. Divide chorizo into small batches that are just the right size for later servings. Stored in the freezer they will keep for up to 3 months, but I bet you’ll eat it sooner than that.

DIRECTIONS FOR QUESO FUNDIDO Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a skillet, place the onion and chorizo and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. The onion will become translucent. Set aside. (If using store-bought chorizo with lots of fat, make sure to remove the excess fat.) Place the grated Chihuahua cheese in an oven proof dish at least 7 inches wide (but not wider than 10 inches). Sprinkle the cooked onion and chorizo over the cheese and bake for 10 or 15 minutes or until you see the cheese bubbling rapidly. Serve immediately, spooning the queso fundido onto hot tortillas for tacos. Enjoy! For more great recipes, remember to visit AdanMedrano.com.

Map of the region (marked in yellow) where Queso Fundido is a classic.



Mimi’s heirloom recipes



Editor’s Note: Mother’s Day comes first on the calendar – but fathers deserve to be celebrated, too. So we turned to a proven expert in the kitchen, Central Market Foodie Mimi Faubert, who makes magic every time she combines ingredients. She created a fool-proof, perfect brunch menu to help our readers start Father’s Day off exactly right.


or Father’s Day 2021, a twist on the classic steak and eggs breakfast would be the perfect start – just follow the directions and you’ll be Dad’s favorite all year long. Read the instructions all the way to the end and make sure you have all the ingredients you need to make the brunch a complete success.


First things first, prep the vegetables for the gratin the night before. If you can, set the table, too. Sunday morning, start with the steak and keep it warm while you prepare the rest of breakfast. And don’t forget to tell Dad he can sleep late … this will be served later in the morning as brunch. After the steak is done, cook the gratin. Cook the eggs about 5 to 10 minutes before the gratin is done.


edible San Antonio


When it comes to eggs, every dad has his preference – sunny side up, over easy, boiled, poached, etc. Growing up, Thanksgiving was my dad’s day to shine as the cook, and he would prepare a special treat for my brother Paul and me – the “googy eggs” that his grandfather used to make for him (basically a few soft-boiled eggs coddled in a small bowl with salt, pepper and butter). Perhaps the special occasion calls for a little alcohol to make the meal more festive. For the beer dad, there are some great “breakfast brews” you can serve like a michelada or a coffee stout/porter. For the more spirited, whip up a trendy Dalgona coffee and spike it with his favorite whiskey or rum. Or you can stick to the classics like a screwdriver, bloody Mary or mimosa. I learned from brunches at the now defunct but legendary Monterey that Spanish cava, with its wonderful tight-bubbled effervesce, is top-notch blended with freshsqueezed orange juice.


A Perfect Father’s Day Brunch Tomato & Summer Squash Gratin (Remember to slice up veggies the night before!) The bounty of Texas summer is just starting to arrive: summer squash, homegrown tomatoes, corn, peaches, shelled beans and more! It is important to use thinly sliced squash, single layers of barely overlapping vegetables and a thin lacey drizzle of olive oil. If serving more than 2 people, double the recipe and use a large baking dish.

INGREDIENTS 2 zucchini and 2 yellow squash, ¼” thin slices 3 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced 2-3 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves and woody stems discarded Extra virgin olive oil Seasoning: Maldon Sea Salt (crumble in your fingertips as you use it), fresh ground pepper and garlic powder (light sprinkling per layer, to taste) 1 cup grated aged cheese: Asiago, Comte, Reggiano, etc. 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs, moistened with some olive oil

DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 375°F and in a 9” square baking dish, layer the vegetables prepped the night before: zucchini, seasoning, thyme, oil, cheese yellow squash, seasoning, thyme, oil, cheese tomato, seasoning, thyme, oil, cheese Top it off with breadcrumbs and bake in the center of oven until breadcrumbs are golden brown and vegetables begin to roast, about 30 minutes. Allow to rest a few minutes before serving.

PREPARE THE STEAK Three tips for a delicious steak: start with room temp steak, use a pre-heated heavy-bottomed pan and season with salt right when you bring it home. I find thicker steaks are more forgiving so go for dad’s favorite cut sliced 1½ to 3 inches thick. Rub both sides of the steak with some olive oil and generously season with pepper. Preheat your heavy-bottomed pan or castiron skillet over medium heat. For a 1½-inch thick steak, cook about 5 minutes per side – double the time for a 3-inch steak. Transfer to a plate and keep warm under a foil tent towards the back of the stove top. If you have a toaster oven or warming drawer, set it to a low heat and stash the steak in there while you get everything else ready. It’s important to rest the steak after cooking for at least 10 minutes.

GENERAL GUIDE FOR PERFECT STEAK Generally, for a 1½-inch thick steak, 4 min/side = RARE, 5 min/side = MED RARE, 6 min/side = MED, 7 min/side = MED-WELL, 8 min/side = WELL DONE

Scrambled Eggs With Chives As an alternative to the conventional chicken egg, try using locally raised duck eggs as they tend to be a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids and protein. It tastes great and adds panache to your special brunch.

INGREDIENTS Eggs, room temperature 1 tablespoon heavy cream plus 2 teaspoons fresh chopped chives per egg Butter and fresh ground pepper Non-stick skillet and a saucepan it can rest on top of (like a double boiler)

DIRECTIONS Bring some water to simmer in the saucepan. Place the skillet on top and melt some butter in the pan. In a small bowl, whisk together the cream, pepper, chives and eggs. Pour into the skillet and keep stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula until the egg begins to set. They should be nice and creamy, not dry.

Dalgona Coffee Any festive beverage will complement Dad’s brunch feast, from freshly squeezed orange juice to a breakfast brew, but this whipped coffee might just be the ticket! If you’re not already familiar with the internet sensation that is Dalgona coffee, let me fill you in. It’s instant coffee granules and sugar whipped with water until foamy, then served over hot or cold milk. It was popularized in Korea because the airy, toffee-colored coffee topping resembles a local candy called Dalgona.

INGREDIENTS 2 tablespoons each of granulated sugar, instant coffee, hot water Dad’s favorite whiskey or rum (optional) Cup with ice and milk (dairy or non) for serving

DIRECTIONS Whisk the sugar, coffee and water until it’s rich, foamy and holds a stiff peak like meringue or whipped cream. (Takes about 5 minutes.) Fill a glass with ice, halfway with milk, add your choice of spirits (if using), then top with whipped coffee. Serve with a spoon or cocktail stirrer to swirl before drinking. This beverage can be served hot as well – just heat milk in a heat-resistant glass before adding the whipped coffee. Enjoy!



food for the soul



Wendell and Linda Ryan finish up the homemade ice cream. (Photo courtesy)



ummer in Texas. Hot days and hot nights are the norm in Texas, so when we get to relax, we usually think of ways to make the temperatures more friendly – meandering floats on Hill Country rivers, icy beverages or lazy Sunday afternoons by a pool. But some Texans actually turn up the heat – on

purpose. In July, many growing season prescribed fires are implemented all across Texas. The benefits are many, including removing heavy loads of fuels (these heavy fuel loads are almost always the culprit when there is a catastrophic wildfire), and increasing forage and habitat quality for many native Texas species and livestock. Almost all of Texas is a fire-adapted ecosystem. Natural fire cycles helped to maintain the biodiversity of plant life and kept the forests and grasslands healthy by removing excessive brush and undergrowth. Unfortunately, fire was largely removed from this ecosystem when the 56 44

edibleSan SanAntonio Antonio edible


Europeans settled here. The result? Since the mid-1800s, brush and cedar slowly choked a landscape that was once a mosaic of broad vistas with native prairie tall grasses and intermittent areas of timber. Fortunately, fire management became accepted as a tool for land management and after years of preparation, we implemented our first prescribed fire on the ranch in July, 2017. The process leading up to the first prescribed fire was daunting. It took eight years of planning and another full year of land preparation, including the dozing of very wide firebreaks. Almost 30 volunteers from two prescribed burn associations assisted as we burned. The effects of our very first fire were immediate and exciting. The very first evening, quail – a fire dependent species – and their young were scurrying around the burned areas. Deer were everywhere and birds were singing their hearts out.

I drove around the unit with a friend until midnight, making sure any still burning stumps or branches were moved into the pre-burned area. Inside the charred black, the glowing coals from burning stumps cast an eerie glow while a gentle breeze sent shimmering sparks to the earth. The next morning, and for many days, my son Virgil and I continued to patrol. The fire burned through the cedar, which was previously impenetrable on foot or by horseback. Our prescribed fire was doing its job, and doing it well. A few days later we experienced our first minor complication. As temperatures soared to the century mark in the days that followed the fire, humidity cratered. Spot fires began to creep backwards, closer to the southern edge of the burn unit. We watched closely. After a day or two of that we decided it would be best to re-fireproof that area. The very next day, and the day after, we received generous afternoon rains which put out the last two hot spots. It was such a great relief, and so beneficial for the recently burned land. Through all this, my eldest, Virgil, worked tirelessly with me day after scorching day. My husband was a trooper and supported as needed – my days were turned upside down with my responsibilities as fire boss. A dear friend, Linda Ryan, came to the area on business and thankfully ended up staying with us through the date of the fire to assist. She just happened to bring along her wonderful ice cream maker. My youngest, Wendell, who wasn’t able to help with the fire, surprised us by making homemade ice cream with fresh milk from our Jersey cow. Feeling inspired to adventure beyond plain vanilla, he added Canary melon. The result was simply amazing. I think we all would agree … homemade ice cream is pure heaven when you’re working outside on a hot Texas day. Our summer of fire and ice cream was a blazing success.

WENDELL’S HOMEMADE VANILLA AND CANARY MELON ICE CREAM These quantities prepare a gallon of ice cream.


2½ quarts whole milk 2 cups heavy cream 2 cans sweetened condensed milk 1-2 tablespoons vanilla, depending on your taste 1 canary melon, peeled, de-seeded and diced


Mix liquid ingredients and chill. Add diced melon. Pour into ice cream freezer. Freeze according to ice cream maker’s directions. Enjoy! Marcy Epperson lives with her family near Rocksprings where they raise grass finished beef, sheep, goats and horses. See what’s going on at the ranch on Instagram @heritagebeef or follow on Facebook @HeritageBeef to learn more about ranch life.

Controlled fire at the Epperson ranch will help maintain plant diversity, remove fuel and increase forage and habitat for wildlife. (Photo by Marcy Epperson)



sommelier says

SELECT THE BEST WINE FOR YOUR BUDGET BY DALE BLANKENSHIP AND CAT SANSING OF UMAMI.LIFE™ Editor’s note: Our resident sommelier, Jennifer Beckmann, will be back soon. During our pandemic pause, Ms. Beckmann has been working round the clock to bring our city a new treasure – Re:Rooted 210 Urban Winery at Hemisfair, which is now open for business. She’ll tell us all about the grand new venture in the next issue, but for now, please enjoy these great tips for wine selection reprinted with permission from the folks at Umami.Life™.


edible San Antonio


ow to select the best bottle of wine for your budget? People hunt for reviews and scores from experts, download apps for crowdsourced ratings or seek recommendations from wine professionals, but here are some insider tips to help make the journey easier and

more enjoyable. Wine has long been associated with intellectual pursuits and nation building, woven into the cultural fabric of societies since the beginning of time. That said, the wine industry is also in the business of manufacturing and supplying a consumer product. Behind the veil of romance, a minefield of economic risks, from the cost of land, vineyard management, facilities, equipment, employees and the impact of weather


Wine has long been associated with intellectual pursuits and nation building, woven into the cultural fabric of societies since the beginning of time. on crops to governmental regulations, taxes, distribution and marketing, is always looming. Growing grapes is an agricultural industry. Producing wine is a value-added industry for that agricultural product. Not all grape growers produce their own wines and not all wine producers grow their own grapes. Many growers also vinify their own grapes and many wine producers grow some of their own grapes and purchase the balance from other growers, creating a complicated landscape.


You don’t need a wine score or a wine angel sitting on your shoulder to guide you to the best bottle of wine for your budget in retail shops or on the restaurant wine list. You can find a great bottle in any price range if you know the three magic words – “location, location, location.” Using the golden rule of real estate will help you find the perfect bottle of wine for you and your budget. You’ll feel as triumphant as Indiana Jones unearthing a treasure. But no matter where in the world wine grapes are grown and wine is vinified, “location, location, location” is the essential clue to understanding the world of wine. Throughout Dale’s career spanning three decades in the wine distribution industry, he found labels that tie wines geographically as closely as possible to their grape source to be the best indicator of quality vs. price. This closely parallels the concept of farm-to-table sourcing of foods as a measure of quality.


So how does “location, location, location” apply to a wine label or wine list? Inspecting a wine label should be like zooming in on a Google Earth map – going from a 30,000-foot view to a bird’s eye view. If you’re still stuck at cruising altitude and can’t see the region or appellation, then move on as there are thousands of great choices. Deciphering a wine’s region/appellation is the core of the golden rule. American-made wines should list the American Viticultural Area (AVA). In European Union countries (France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Portugal), look for the classification of Quality Wines Produced in Specified Regions (QWpsr) or Table Wine (TW). Regions can be listed as AC or AOC in France, DOC or DOCG in Italy and Spain and QmP in Germany. In South

America (Mexico, Argentina, Chile), listings are like those on American wine labels, which show the AVA or wine growing region.


You may often see unfamiliar wineries or labels on wine lists. Fear not! These are generally small boutique wineries that represent some of the best examples of their varieties. Having tasted wine from countries, regions, appellations, sub-appellations, estates and vineyards across the globe, we follow these very same guidelines ourselves when selecting a bottle. Generally, avoid wine labels with critters and pretty pictures on them. This is usually a peacocking distraction from a wine that might not be well made. Also try to avoid wines with origins showing just the name of the country. These typically represent large volume wine processes that involve extra chemistry to produce. (Headache time for sensitive individuals!) In the U.S., there are exceptions in which a producer may use grapes from two separate growing regions, but regulations require that this wine be labeled by the state designation. In this case, most conscientious producers will give more specifics as to the grape source on the back label.


It’s possible to find well-made wines at exceptionally low prices from time to time for reasons known only to industry insiders. Wine distribution can be a cutthroat business. However, in the U.S., the industry generally considers the premium wine category to begin at $9 retail. Fine wine generally begins at around $15 retail. On-premises (restaurant) pricing is far different from the price you see in the wine aisles. Don’t complain to restaurant staff if the wine you drink and like at home is 3 to 4 times the price on their wine list. The economics of restaurants necessitate a different pricing strategy – and don’t forget they are properly opening it and serving it for you as well. While you’re searching for that Goldilocks bottle to match your entrée, consider starting your meal with a bottle of sparkling wine or Champagne. Bubbles pair with everything! No matter the reason or season, “location, location, location” will guide you to your best wine adventure. Remember, the best bottles of wine reflect a taste of time, place and passion.



the last bite



t’s been a rough year. Like all other restaurants in San Antonio, Gwendolyn, Kimura and Il Forno were shut down at the beginning of the Covid crisis – plunging us into a world of unprecedented financial and professional darkness. All three restaurants were also shuttered at one time or another for the appearance of a Covid case, forcing the entire crew to get tested and anxiously await results. With shaky, ramshackle government instructions still hot off the press, we formed a CDC-compliant sanitation policy and applied for the first PPP, disaster loans, private grants, city grants, state grants, federal grants – honestly, I can’t keep track of what all. One year hence, I can share a few personal conclusions. First, the PPP was largely a waste. The (admirable) intention was to keep people employed, but that’s not what happened. At times we threw money out the window at them because they were not allowed to work in an ordered shutdown and the money had to be used up by a certain time (a rule which changed in the middle, too late for us to alter course). At other times, we paid people to stay home because of symptoms, or fear of symptoms, or fear of the possibility of symptoms in this weird slosh of whether we could ... or should ... tell people to work. Would that be considered reckless endangerment? Would we go to jail? We paid people for working, we paid people for partially working, we paid people for not working. Many got PPP AND hourly wages AND unemployment in a rat’s nest the TWC is still trying to untangle. In the end, despite all that economic stimulus splashing around, we lost most of our team anyway. Ever since, we’ve been scrambling to retrain new employees in the worst hiring environment I’ve ever seen. Six out of seven applicants don’t show up for interviews (of those who show, four out of five don’t show up for their first day). CDC guidelines do not take cost into consideration. The cost of rubber gloves skyrocketed to more than $110 a case and stayed there.


edible San Antonio


All our laser thermometers ($90 each at the time) were stolen in a month. Rubbing alcohol climbed to $20 dollars a bottle, then disappeared entirely. In most cases we reverted to bleach, which we could usually get our hands on and was what we understood, anyway. We rotated through a dizzying array of cleaning chemicals as one sold out and another came available. You’re probably aware of the toilet paper issue. I found it largely impossible to teach the difference between cloth and N95 masks to anyone. I had some of the latter stashed for painting projects and handed them out like rare treasures –they were gone in a day. And of course, having created a training for no-touch service and the absurd number of gloves that entailed, we quickly depleted every resource for gloves – and there were no more to be had at any price. For months. All the while, when any employee called in with a sniffly nose or a cough, for any reason or sometimes no reason, really – all we could say was OK. Some got tested, others didn’t. And I’m not really sure how far my authority extends anymore. Is demanding a Covid test a responsible reaction to an employee staying home, or a violation of medical privacy? Will I be sued for ordering it, or arrested for not? The good news is that business is steadily improving and we see evidence that consumer confidence is slowly creeping back into the limbs of our industry. Customers have been unfailingly patient and gracious. Also, the staff who were able to stay with us have all become hardened veterans. They’ve done so much more than any one person should have to, many working two or even three jobs at once filling in for those who called out or didn’t show up (or both). We’re just scrambling to keep our hands on a spray bottle, staying as safe as possible while trying to put out good food that still means something. When all this is over and we are full staff again, life will seem effortless. Now, please excuse me, I was just informed I just became the butcher – and there are eighty pounds of chicken with my name on it. Bye.

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• No Antibiotics • No Antibiotics or Added or Added Hormones— Hormones— Ever Ever • All Vegetarian • All Vegetarian FeedsFeeds • Raised • Raised Outdoors Outdoors or in Deeply or in Deeply Bedded Bedded Pens Pens @nimanranch @nimanranch | nimanranch.com | nimanranch.com



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edible San Antonio

edible The 2021 Summer Issue

Issue No. 38