Edible San Antonio

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edible S A


san antonio®

eat. drink. celebrate!

The Holiday Issue Issue No. 31

2019 san antonio cocktail conference san antonio, unesco creative city of gastronomy

W AT E R L O O W AT E R L O O N O. 9 G I N N O. 9 G I N A G AI N GW I NI TW H I TP HR EPSREENSCEEN C E Resisting Resisting convention. convention. NeverNever surrendering surrendering to tradition. to tradition. We could We could have have mademade another another London London dry gin—but dry gin—but TreatyTreaty Oak is Oak intently is intently focused focused on creating on creating the flavors the flavors of now of now and here. and here. We wanted We wanted to create to create a spirit a spirit that that invoked invoked as much as much art asart science. as science. So weSo infused we infused it with it with the pecans the pecans and juniper, and juniper, grapefruit grapefruit and lavender and lavender that that taste taste like Texas. like Texas. It took It took training training our minds our minds to collectively to collectively believe believe that that refining refining spirits spirits means means distilling distilling presence. presence.

The Holiday Issue 2018/2019 - Issue No. 31


Above: Chef Steve McHugh’s Mesquite Cake (Photo courtesy Cured at Pearl) Cover: The 2019 San Antonio Cocktail Conference Signature Cocktail “Call Me, Honey” (Photo by Jason Risner)




SWEET TALKER Joy of a Pastry Chef










LOCAL INGREDIENT Mesquite Bean Revival


NEWS YOU CAN USE Our Creative City and more




THE COFFEE LADY Celebration!




FEEDING HOPE Hidden Hunger on College Campuses


LOCAL PINTS Vista Brewing




SOMMELIER SAYS Gifts for Wine Lovers


LATIN ROOTS Joy of Sipping







S A® PUBLISHER

Frederic C. Covo


Alamo Ranch Farmers Market 210-446-0099 www.alamoranchfarm.market Call or visit website for information


SA Food Bank Farmers Market Main Plaza 115 Main Avenue 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Final market – Dec 18 San Antonio Farmers Market Olmos Basin 100 Jackson Keller Road 8 a.m – 1 p.m.


San Antonio Farmers Market Leon Valley Community Center 6427 Evers Road 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.


4 City Farmers Market Journey Fellowship Church 16847 IH-35 N Selma, TX 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Cibolo Grange Farmers and Artisans Market 413 N. Main Street Cibolo, TX 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. Final market Dec 13

People’s Nite Market 1314 Guadalupe Street 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Dec 13


Blanco Farmers Market Shrine Auditorium 901 North Loop 1604 W 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Kerrville Farmers Market Downtown 529 Water Street Kerrville, TX 3 p.m. till dark 1st Fri of month

Pearl Farmers Market Pearl Brewery 312 Pearl Parkway 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. San Antonio Farmers Market Olmos Basin 100 Jackson Keller Road 8 a.m. – 1 p.m


Deerfield Farmers Market 16607 Huebner Road 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Alamo Heights Farmers Market Alamo Quarry Market 255 E. Basse Road 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Farmers Market at the Cibolo Herff Farm 33 Herff Road Boerne, TX 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Final market – Dec 15

Boardwalk on Broadway Farmers Market 4001 Broadway 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Four Seasons Market Huebner Oaks Shopping Center 11745 IH-10 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Goliad Market Days 231 S. Market Street Goliad, TX 9 a.m. – 4 p.m 2nd Sat of month

Pearl Night Market Pearl Brewery 312 Pearl Parkway 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. 1st Thurs of month

Legacy Farmers Market Legacy Shopping Center 18402 US Hwy 281 N 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

edible San Antonio

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

San Antonio Farmers Market St. Matthews Recreation Center 11121 Wurzbach Road 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Pearl Holiday Night Market Pearl Brewery 312 Pearl Parkway 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. Dec 06, 13, 20


MarketPlace at Old Town Helotes 14391 Riggs Road Helotes, TX 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. 1st Sat of month


Legacy Farmers Market Legacy Shopping Center 18402 US Hwy 281 N 10 a.m. – 3 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 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.



Angela Covo


Delia Covo


Sophie Covo Gonzales


Christopher Covo


Marianne Odom, Amanda Covo CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Ryan Badge, Jenn Beckmann Sam Bloch, John Bloodsworth, Linda Brewster, Will Castro, Maria Elena Cruz, Marcy Epperson, Suzanne T Etheredge, Mimi Faubert, Michael Guerra, Sandeep Gyawali, J.E. Jordan, H.E. Konyecsni, Noi Mahoney, Steve McHugh, Teresa Morris, Jeff Ragan, Jenn Riesman, Michael Sohocki, Jason Thompson, Lea Thompson DESIGN & LAYOUT

Florence Edwards, Pixel Power Graphics Cover photo by Jason Risner CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Victoria Cappadona, Randy Fath,

Guadalupe Gomez, Christina Hecki, Natalie Juarez, Jason Risner, Alexa Gonzalez Wagner


Please call 210-274-6572 or email angela@ediblesanantonio.com ADVERTISING

Please call 210-365-8046 or email fred@ediblesanantonio.com Our heartfelt thanks to the friends and businesses who make this magazine possible. Remember to like us on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/EdibleSanAntonio Homegrown Media LLC publishes Edible San Antonio every eight weeks. Distribution is throughout South Central Texas and nationally by subscription. Subscriptions are $35 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



© 2018/2019 All rights reserved.

4:03 PM






The orchard is open to the public Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.


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a special thank you EDIBLE SAN ANTONIO



Chef Michael Sohocki

Leslie Komet Ausburn

Darryl Byrd

Sandy Winokur, Ph. D

Roberta Churchin

Marianne Odom

Chef Stephen Paprocki

Adam Rocha

Di-Anna Arias

Chef Johnny Hernandez

Bob Webster

Chef Jeff White

edible San Antonio


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Mr. Friesenhahn sorts pecans at the Comal Pecan Farm. (Photo by Guadalupe Gomez)



ecan trees have been part of the Texas landscape for millions of As an ingredient, pecans yield health benefits as well. It’s considyears. In the 16th century, Spanish explorers discovered pecans ered a heart healthy snack because it primarily contains unsaturated in Louisiana, Texas and Mexico and called them nueces de la ar- fat. Studies confirm pecan nuts can help with weight loss by increasing ruga, which roughly translates to wrinkled nut. In 1919, the Texas State metabolic rates and reducing hunger pangs. Pecans are also rich in anLegislature declared the pecan tree the state tree and eight years later the tioxidants and formidable cancer fighters. Pecan oil has a high smoking 40th Legislature reaffirmed the decision. point (about 470°F) and can be used for cooking, frying, as a butter According to the Texas State Historical Association, the pecan tree is substitute in baking and salad dressing. the most widely distributed tree in the state, native to 152 Texas coun- BUY LOCAL AT COMAL PECAN FARM ties and grown commercially in some thirty additional counties. About Texas pecans are harvested from September to November. In our 60,000,000 pounds of pecans are harvested in Texas every year, equally own backyard, Comal Pecan Farm produces Cheyenne, Pawnee, Wichdivided between natives and improved varieties from planted orchards. ita and Kiowa pecan varieties on a 60-acre orchard in New Braunfels. When most people in Texas think about pecans, they think pecan Mark Friesenhahn owns and operates the orchard, which he started in pie. The sweet treat graces dinner tables across the state during the holi- 1989 on land he purchased that had been owned by the Friesenhahn days and is a popular staple in restaurants, grocery stores and even local family for generations. Today, Mr. Friesenhahn’s farm totals 110 acres, convenience stores. And while we all agree that pecans make a terrific and the pecans are harvested from his own 60-acre orchard as well as pie, the pecan and the tree have a plethora of wonderful uses. two other smaller orchards – about 100 acres of pecan trees all together. The wood is a favorite of pitmasters for smoking pork, beef and even The Comal Pecan Farm retail store at 231 High Creek Road in New game meats. Pecan wood is also a hard, beautiful and durable wood – so Braunfels is open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays hardy it is used for flooring and furniture and sourced from live timber. and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. ~ Jason Thompson ediblesanantonio.com


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Amaranth (Top) and Clover microgreens growing at Freshwater Farms.(Photo by Christina Hecki)




fter Christina Hecki was diagnosed with a rare neurological illness in 2014, she struggled to manage intense pain and fight against harmful cells without relying on dozens of pills. Ms. Hecki and her husband, Scott Park, were looking for a natural cure when a friend introduced them to microgreens. “Microgreens are simply vegetables in the infancy stage. The best way I can describe them is as a ‘living salad,’” she explained. “Most people think the seed takes its nutrients from the soil, but the seed is already fully equipped with all the nutrients it needs to survive throughout its lifetime.” After the germination stage, microgreens can be ready to eat – raw or cooked – within a span of a few days to a few weeks. Microgreens can come in a variety of flavors and beautiful colors. They can be used as a main course or a simple garnish and they contain rich nutrients. According to Ms. Hecki, there are up to 140 percent more nutrients in a single microgreen serving than in an entire head of broccoli. The couple installed an aquaponic system in their backyard, started growing and consuming microgreens and quickly saw an improvement in Ms. Hecki’s health. Eventually, the harmful cells disappeared from her neurological scans and she started feeling better than ever. “These tiny, little bite-sized flavorful greens completely saved my life,” she says. “We knew we had to share with others.” After Ms. Hecki’s rapid recovery, the couple started growing microgreens for friends, then chefs. A tattoo artist, Ms. Hecki decided to make it official and incorporated both her tattoo and microgreens businesses – the latter because they wanted to expand their crops to share the tiny greens with more people. For the microgreens, she teamed up with her husband and together they launched Freshwater Farms to fulfill local restaurant orders


edible San Antonio


and bring microgreens to the public at the Pearl Farmers Market. “People confused microgreens with sprouts when we first opened at the market,” she said. Many customers are surprised to learn that microgreens are alive when they are sold. Once the microgreens are cut, they begin dying and should be eaten as quickly as possible. “We have a lot of return customers and restaurants who are beginning to understand the nutritional value of the greens,” she added. The couple credits Chef Stephen Paprocki of Texas Black Gold Garlic and Chef Chris Cook of former Cafe O’liva for helping them get their business off the ground. They became active members of the Chef Cooperatives and enrolled in Launch SA’s Break Fast & Launch program, where they learned skills they needed to succeed as a culinary business. Today, the farm uses a hydroponic system to grow 400 nonGMO delicate microgreens, which require constant daily care. The farm sources more than 52 heirloom seed varieties – including rainbow chard, beet, onion and garlic – to offer unique and flavorful microgreen mixes such as the special health blend made with broccoli, kale and kohlrabi. In February, the couple purchased nine acres of land to expand Freshwater Farms plus a building for growing rooms to outsource daily maintenance and watering chores. The company works with customers and caterers like Tim the Girl to develop orders for special events. Freshwater Farms is also talking with the horticulture department at Palo Alto College to teach and work with students and the food community. “We didn’t intend for this to be something, but I’m having the time of my life,” Ms. Hecki said. “I color and play in the dirt for a living – it’s a beautiful thing.” ~ Lea Thompson

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Chef Adán Medrano makes tortillas from scratch. (Photo courtesy)



n commemoration of San Antonio’s tricentennial and the rich culinary legacy that distinguishes our city, the Briscoe Western Art Museum will host San Antonio native, Chef Adán Medrano, for a special presentation of “Truly Texas Mexican: History and Flavor Profile of Texas Native Cooking.” The documentary filmmaker, author and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America-San Antonio will demonstrate the regional flavor profiles and dynamic that helped shape our local cuisine for centuries, tying the past to the present. He also shared his expertise and assisted in the City’s successful bid to become a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy in 2017. Chef Medrano’s culinary program complements the Briscoe Museum’s current exhibit, Destino San Antonio, a visual narrative of the diversity and evolving culture of the city from the mid-1860s through the 1920s, shown through the lens of the museum’s extensive stereograph collection. The chef-author will cook up recipes from his recent cookbook to highlight dishes made from native ingredients with a gourmet twist, such as shrimp and cactus paddle gorditas with fresh chile paste. 8

edible San Antonio



The presentation will include a San Antonio classic, “carne con chili,” the recipe made famous by local women who cooked in the plaza in the nineteenth century. The women would set up mobile restaurants in Military Plaza and serve the spicy dish with a side of corn tortillas to a diverse mix of patrons. Photographs of the Chili Queens also appear in the Destino exhibition. The chef differentiates the cuisine they served from today’s Tex-Mex because flavor profiles created by the Chile Queens were “deeply rooted in the indigenous cultures of what is now northeastern Mexico and South Texas.” He believes that foods and flavors that were an integral part of native diets for thousands of years continue to shape the way we eat today. Chef Medrano’s special presentation, “Truly Texas Mexican,” takes place from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, January 19, in the Jack Guenther Pavilion at the Briscoe Western Art Museum. The event includes a forty-minute cooking demonstration by Chef Medrano and an informative lecture on Texas-Mexican cuisine. A tasting follows the presentation and attendees will have an opportunity to purchase a signed copy of the cookbook, packed with wonderful recipes. To learn more, visit www.Briscoe.org. ~ Ryan Badge



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(Photo by Noi Mahoney)



or restaurant owners Jeff and Jenn White, San Antonio’s East Side proved to be the perfect spot to open a new eatery where they plan to serve affordable comfort food with a modern twist. Eastside Kitchenette will open in an historic 116-year-old renovated Victorian cottage in the up and coming Government Hill neighborhood. “It will be Southern comfort, warm-your-belly kind of food,” Chef White said. “We are very excited to get in here and be part of this neighborhood, part of the renaissance.” The building features a 120-seat dining space with a large, wraparound patio that showcases beautiful views of downtown San Antonio. Eastside Kitchenette’s menu will include dishes such as Kobe beef chicken fried steak, a 1935 recipe for barbecue Southern meatloaf, fried chicken, chicken and waffles, poke bowls, Southern fried duck confit, and lighter fare, like salads. Ms. White referred to Eastside Kitchenette as “our baby,” and said opening the new restaurant is the culmination of 10 years of work and planning. “Jeff wanted us to have our own place and I wanted it – it’s something we’ve talked about and looked at for years,” she explained. Chef White, who was born and raised in San Antonio, has had a stellar career in the hospitality industry, from Biga on the Banks to L’Etoile, Austin’s Louis 106 and as executive chef at the Grey Moss Inn. He was also celebrated as the executive chef at Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden at the Historic Pearl. The husband-and-wife team are residents of Dignowity Hill and most recently, were partners in Tucker’s Kozy Korner


edible San Antonio


ocus on Eastside Kitchenette. Their goal for the new restaurant is to provide delicious and affordable food and create a space that’s accessible for everyone, including kids and dogs. “We are designing this space to have a fun, easy and casual spirit. We are planning family events, we’ll have a playground outside for kids and dogs are definitely welcome on our huge wrap-around patio,” Chef White said. “We’ll be serving lunch, dinner, brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, and eventually we’ll offer breakfast service, too.” Eastside Kitchenette also features a full bar, so adults can enjoy a cold one while the kids play on the playground outside.


The restaurant was originally set to open in December, but with a building that was more than a century old, renovations took a little longer than expected. “It took longer than we thought to get everything up to code – we had to do things like add drains in the floor of the kitchen,” Ms. White shared. They also added three new air conditioning units, as well as all new furniture and upholstery and TV sets for the patio. Along with all the renovations to the building, the Whites said the most important ingredient at Eastside Kitchenette is love. They want everyone to feel welcome. “We want our customers to make themselves at home, and we want to make all of our customers happy,” Ms. White added. For updates about the opening and to learn more about Eastside Kitchenette, follow them on Facebook @Eastside-Kitchenette. ~ Noi Mahoney



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eignets may be the official donut of Louisiana, but Southern Grit Beignet, a pop-up at the Pearl Farmers Market, makes the airy treats with creative local flavors right here in San Antonio. Co-owners Michael and Elisa Grimes brought their unique beignets to New Orleans for the 3rd Annual Beignet Festival – a one-day event highlighting more than 30 beignet-driven dishes from nationally-renown restaurants and small businesses – in early October. The company was the first out-of-state vendor invited to participate at Beignet Fest, thanks to their strong social media following and demand from Louisiana-based fans. The couple, along with market staffers Gizzelle Mena-Fernandez and Janel Ortega, traveled to New Orleans with the company’s new trailer in tow. Together, they served hundreds of banana pudding beignet flights, made with 1,000 pounds of dough, to hungry festival attendees. “Our line was probably 50 yards long, but it was the fastest line because this is what we do every weekend,” Chef Grimes shared. “We make it all in a fresh, old-school way – the right way – and we’re really proud of the product that we delivered.” Though the crew wasn’t named as a festival finalist, they were delighted to be part of an event that would help the community. All Beignet Fest proceeds benefit the Tres Doux Foundation, which supports nonprofits for children with developmental learning disorders. Now that Southern Grit is back in town, the team is prepping to introduce its new mobile beignet stand, complete with a new coffee, sandwich and small bites menu in the coming weeks. “We’re just showing the versatility [of beignets] by pushing ingredients and flavors to the max, and showing what a donut can do,” Chef Grimes said. Southern Grit began serving beignets in Feb. 2017 and creates savory plates like Tasso ham beignets with Creole tomato sauce and Romano cheese, and sweet seasonal flavors like pumpkin spice latte beignets, served with an orange marmalade sauce and prickly pear yogurt parfait beignets. The company partners with local coffee brands like Estate, Pulp and Theory to offer a menu of rotating coffee blends with weekly beignet specials. They also source ingredients and vendor products found hyper-locally at the Pearl to create new flavors. “As small business owners, the odds are against us from the minute we open,” he added. “We try to support other vendors


edible San Antonio


Chef Michael Grimes makes beignets from scratch every weekend at the Pearl Farmers Market. (Photo by Angela Covo)

in everything we do.” Southern Grit’s collaborative and creative approach has found a loyal customer base among out-of-town visitors and residents, but it takes time. While traditional carnival-style beignets can be prepared, fried and served immediately, Southern Grit beignets require several days for the dough to ferment and develop flavors before they are hand-rolled, cut and ready to fry. “When we run out of beignets, that’s it for the day. We can’t just whip up another batch quickly,” Chef Grimes said. “We believe in the low-and-slow method, all good things take time.” Grab an order of beignets and hot coffee from Southern Grit from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays at the Pearl Farmers Market. For information and updates, visit facebook.com/southerngritflavor. ~ Lea Thompson


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(Photo courtesy)



one Star Brewing Co. recently partnered with Jess Pryles, the Hardcore Carnivore, who will act as their official spokesperson and advocate for Texas live fire cooking. “I could not be more excited for this partnership since Lone Star Beer has always been my beer of choice,” Ms. Pryles said. “I’m proud to be working alongside Lone Star to honor the Texas traditions of live fire cooking.” The brewer has a long history supporting local pitmasters, chefs, barbecue cooking teams and food festivals throughout the state and salutes those who enjoy live fire cooking. “Jess Pryles is a great addition to the Lone Star brand family,” Lone Star Brand Manager Elkin Vasco explained. “Our goal is to collaborate on authentically Texan recipes and offerings that live fire cooking enthusiasts and Lone Star Beer advocates will truly enjoy.” To celebrate the announcement, Lone Star will be giving away 10 signed copies of the Hardcore Carnivore cookbook this holiday season. Visit @lonestarbeer and @hardcorecarnivore on Instagram to learn more about the contest. In the meantime, enjoy this beer brine recipe from Lone Star Beer and the Hardcore Carnivore during the holidays. “This brine is perfect for any poultry you may be making during the holiday season.” Ms. Pryles added. “The trick is to use pickling salt, which dissolves easily into the liquid.” 14

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LONE STAR HOLIDAY BEER BRINE By Jess Pryles, Hardcore Carnivore® (Suitable for a 10-12lb turkey, scale up as needed) INGREDIENTS 64 oz Lone Star Beer 192 oz water (1.5 gallons) 2 ½ cups pickling salt 2 cups brown sugar 6 to 8 allspice or juniper berries 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns 3 bay leaves (dried or fresh) 3 cloves garlic, peeled DIRECTIONS Place water in a pan over medium low heat and add salt and sugar. Whisk/stir until the crystals are dissolved, then allow the mixture to cool. Add remaining ingredients. Submerge turkey and brine for 12 to 16 hours. Rinse before cooking. Enjoy!

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apping a road to good health seems to be on everyone’s radar today. Vitamins and supplements fill shopping carts. Gluten free and vegan foods abound. Being a “health nut” no longer has negative connotations. And dozens of good-for-you food lists consistently recommend honey in their top ten. Some use it as the ultimate sugar alternative, but honey is also a great source of antioxidants, has antibiotic and antifungal properties and helps with allergies and digestive issues. It soothes sore throats, helps heal wounds and more. But what do we really know about honey? Let’s talk about what we think we know. ONCE HONEY GETS HARD, IT’S TIME TO TOSS IT. Nope! Properly stored honey never goes bad. Even honey discovered in Egyptian tombs was still perfect. When honey “gets hard” and you can’t get it out of the jar, it’s because it crystallized and turned into sugar. Want to turn it back to its liquid-y, natural state? Don’t microwave it or you’ll ruin its chemical structure. Simply boil some water, take it off the heat, and warm the jar of honey in the hot water for a few minutes. Good as new. ALL HONEY TASTES THE SAME. This couldn’t be farther from the truth! If you’re a honey skeptic (admitting it is the first step), stop by a local farmers market and get a taste of different flavor profiles of honey from different counties. Each will have a unique flavor profile based on the kind of flowers in the area of the hive. And how about flavored honey? Lavender honey isn’t from bees that pollinated lavender plants – it just means lavender oil was mixed into the honey. Be sure to ask before buying. HONEY CAN BE ORGANIC. There is no way that honey can be guaranteed to be 100 percent organic because you can’t control where bees roam. They pollinate as they please and pick the best flowers, even if those pretty blossoms were loaded with chemicals. Be wary of “organic” labels! GOOD HONEY WON’T CRYSTALLIZE. People often think honey isn’t “pure” if it crystallizes. Not true! Honey is highly concentrated sugar solution (70 percent sugar, less than 20 percent water). If your honey never crystallizes, even after months, it probably isn’t 100 percent real honey. To prevent crystallization, companies cut honey with corn syrup or heat pasteurize to make honey molecules all the same size (so, not raw). Be happy if your honey crystallizes.

Best practice: get your honey from your local farmers market from a beekeeper you know. At the Pearl Farmers Market, beekeeper David Holdman is a great source o information and honey. (Photo by Angela Covo)

I BUY LOCAL HONEY, SO IT’S GOOD FOR MY ALLERGIES! Local honey can be great for allergies thanks to its local pollen particles, but it’s not enough to read the label. Sometimes that “Bexar county honey” was produced as far away as Argentina and merely packaged here. Be sure to go to a local farmers market like the Pearl and ask where their hives are located. Which is why it’s important to … KNOW YOUR BEEKEEPER. The best place to get raw, local honey – the kind packed with those dazzling health benefits – is a farmers market within 100 miles of your home. In South Central Texas, we have an abundance of great beekeepers willing to share their knowledge. In town, family-owned Holdman Honey, a regular at the Pearl Farmers Market, has been working for years producing raw, truly local honey from more than 800 hives in seven Texas counties. Learn more about the wonders of local honey and follow them on Facebook @holdman.honey. ~ Hannah-Elyse Konyecsni ediblesanantonio.com


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he Gazebo at Los Patios, the tea room where San Antonio’s smart set dined for generations, opened in March 1971 with prices that weren’t too easy on the pocketbook when gasoline was just 36 cents a gallon. The house specialty, Crepes Gazebo, was $4.25. The Gazebo Combination, with shrimp salad and chicken salad, $4.95. A champagne aperitif cost $1.25 and quaffing a pitcher of Coors set you back a buck. Movers and shakers like businessman John Steen and his wife Nell, banker Charlie Cheever and newspaperman Frank Bennack, Jr. all signed the guest book on that first day of service – and they couldn’t get enough of those homemade, hot-buttered biscuits, free with every meal. After nearly 50 years of continuous service, the Gazebo Restaurant at Los Patios, the greenbelt oasis along Salado Creek, will close its doors on Dec. 30. But all is not lost, as Los Patios owner John McClung is already exploring new opportunities. He plans to focus on Los Patios’ long-standing private event services to be expanded into the Gazebo space, short-term hospitality rentals via Airbnb, and to address the growing demand for live/work spaces. “By closing the daily dining operations, we’ll have more time to devote to creative thinking for new uses for our spaces,” Mr. McClung said. “We’re embracing change, which can be scary, yet fulfilling.” Such changes might leave loyal customers feeling a little bit nostalgic, so Los Patios invites them to bring a photo and a story of their own memorable times to the Gazebo until the end of the year and enjoy an entree at 1970s prices. Los Patios was the vision of the late John Spice, a San Antonio native and landscape architect who transformed a wild tract of land at the city’s edge, scarred by former quarry operations, into a verdant complex of shops, restaurants and gardens in the 70s. “When John bought the property, there was nothing north of here but cows,” Mr. McClung said. At the time, the only building on the land was a bar called Tom’s Hideout. “It was run by a fellow named One-Eyed Tom,” he added, “and being pretty far out in the country then, underage drinking was not frowned upon. When patrons had too much to drink, the story goes Tom would take out his glass eye and put it in a glass on the bar. That would pretty much stop the drinking – and it cleaned his glass eye as well.” Mr. Spice, who died in 2011, oversaw the construction of a campus of buildings designed mostly by Frank Welch, a one-time


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A glimpse of the Gazebo in the 70s, courtesy of Los Patios.

protégé of architect O’Neil Ford, known for his graceful, light-filled spaces. He sold the business to local investors in the late 1980s to pursue projects in England. Today, Los Patios’ buildings host tenants ranging from an antique dealer to an urban planner on the tree-lined, creekside acreage, with just a whisper of traffic from nearby Loop 410. At one point, there were three restaurants on the property – the Brazier, a steak house overlooking the creek, the Hacienda, featuring Southwestern cuisine, and the Gazebo. “The Gazebo stayed true to its roots as far as the menu and the ambience,” Mr. McClung said. “But the market changed in many ways, and in recent years at an accelerated pace.” The development of Southtown and Pearl, as well as the explosive development north of 1604 left much of midtown conflicted about its future. But the McClungs weren’t willing to sacrifice the natural beauty of the property. Right now, they are reimagining the space and considering working with local chefs. “We want to stay as close to the original vision of Los Patios as possible,” he shared. “Since we announced the Gazebo year end closing a few weeks ago, many well-wishers asked if Mary and I are sad. My response has been not at all. We are grateful we had a good long run, grateful we have a diverse business that can grow into another, and grateful for the incredibly dedicated and hardworking staff as well as the thousands of customers we were privileged to serve.” ~ John Bloodsworth

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e General Manager Michael Wagner will revamp the Paramour bar program. (Photo courtesy)



lmost a year after Chris Ware exited from Paramour, San Antonio’s trend-setting bar, the matter of bringing the right general manager was settled and announced on Nov. 28. Paramour’s new GM, Michael Wagner, is a San Antonio native who brings an A-lister’s experience from award-winning bars and restaurants he worked at in California and Las Vegas. Returning to San Antonio, he discovered one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. and plans to build on that vitality at Paramour. Considered a master of cocktail classics, his passion for crafting new cocktails will be in full force at San Antonio’s first rooftop bar and he plans to grow Paramour’s list of hard-to-find spirits and expand their extensive wine and champagne program. His goal is to “create an innovative customer experience unmatched at any other bar or lounge.” “Everything is bigger in Texas, so I want our bar program, which includes an extensive and often times rare list of spirits, wine and champagne, to be big, bold, and in your face,” Mr. Wagner said in a statement. “We want people to celebrate everything and anything here at Paramour.” Paramour owner Martin Phipps agrees. His dream is for Paramour to be recognized by the James Beard Foundation as an award-winning bar. Great artwork and lounge seating add to the 8,000-square-foot

rooftop bar’s vibe where the city skyline rivals the view – and they accept reservations. The bar sits above The Phipps Building at 102 Ninth St. along the River Walk’s northern reach.


Expect seasonal bar offerings and an interactive bar menu designed to help patrons broaden their horizons. Selecting what to drink at Paramour has morphed into the realm of fantasy with their new Choose Your Own Adventure menu. And while the collaboration with Chef Jason Dady has ended, Paramour will still offer delicious eats from their small kitchen with an innovative program highlighting the best of San Antonio’s culinary arts with new chefs and concepts featured every couple of months. The Paramour team is working on expanding the menu to include breakfast, lunch and dinner. There will be new catering options for private events and parties at Paramour as well. In the meantime, you can start your day off right by scheduling morning meetings there with their delicious coffee and free WiFi. Keep up with Paramour at ParamourBar.com for updates and information about their special events, like the upcoming New Year’s Eve party.



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Chef Joel “Tatu” Herrera stands in front of his memorial mural at Folklores, reserved for culinary heroes who’ve passed away. (Photo by Delia Covo)



orn and raised on the Westside of San Antonio, Chef Joel “Tatu” Herrera remembers going back and forth to the Southside because his grandparents lived there. Now he lives on the Southside, too, and wanted to build something that would fill a gap for his neighbors. “My wife is from the Southside and we got married at the church across the street last year,” he said. Originally, he planned to open a restaurant. But then he realized there were no independent, locally owned coffee shops in the area. As a chef, he accepted the culinary challenge. He dove deep, visited every coffee shop in San Antonio, read everything he could get his hands on.


edible San Antonio


And as he honed his barista skills, it was natural for his culinary background to take over. “I didn’t know a thing about coffee, but, like cooking, I got obsessed with it,” Chef Herrera said. “It’s very different, but knowing about flavors and what goes well together really helps. It’s like food. When I was writing the menu, that’s the kind of thing I wanted to do, create things that are familiar, but still add something a little different.” And he’s not striving to create just another coffee house. He wants people to have an experience and try new things at Folklores. He offers a limited menu of food and will be expanding into bakery goods soon.

Most of all, he wants Folklores, which opened on October 15, to be part of the fabric of the community, a place where his neighbors can connect. “It’s a space to get away, unwind, chat with your neighbors, hang out with your family, relax,� he said. He explained the neighborhood has been very supportive. In less than a month, he’s been able to employ his brother, Monroe, and his sister-in-law. His wife Emilie works when she can, and his son comes in on the weekends.


MORE THAN A CUP O’ JOE Chef Herrera works with local small batch roaster 1885 Coffee Co. because he wants to keep it local. While the Chef says he can and will make you a latte or cappuccino, he’s put together his own beverage menu with the “Tatu� touch. Look for his signature coffees, like the Siouxie with Mexican choco-late, coffee, chocolate, piloncillo and Mexican cinnamon, the Joker in the Pack with cereal, cereal milk, coffee, strawberry syrup, or the Sheena with banana milk, milk, coffee, nutmeg and cinnamon – all original creations. Folklores Coffee House is located at 5007 S. Flores in the heart of San Antonio’s outh side. Follow them on Facebook @ southsidecoffeehouse for hours and more information. ~ Will Castro and Angela Covo

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

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The cafĂŠ is covered with eclectic art, religious paintings, tattoo art – all very personal. Pointing at a portrait of Chef Paul Bocuse, he explained the renowned French chef died this year and was one of his idols. He also has a great photograph of his grandfather with an accordion. “It’s all my stuff and so many different types of art inspire me,â€? Chef Herrera explained. Besides what’s on the wall, he is embracing grassroots pro-gramming at Folklores. Every second Wednesday they host a poetry slam and readings. “This guy came in and asked me if I knew how big the poetry scene was on the Southside. He said that we have a perfect

spot to host [poetry slams],â€? the chef said. “It’s important to me to be here for the community – many of our poets have to go to the orth side if they want to read. I have the space, so why not?â€? And recently, the Girls Scouts stopped by and set up a Tiny Lending Library to “take a book, bring a bookâ€? in the cafĂŠ – they made 300 Lending Libraries for their Tricentennial project

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little bites



XSW offers more than just great films, music and a chance to visit the iconic SouthBites. From March 11 to 13, chefs, entrepreneurs, activists, farmers and food enthusiasts will come together to explore the latest technology, trends and innovation in the food world and how those things can be leveraged to change the way we grow, cook and consume food to create a more sustainable and healthier world. This year at least 25 different food panels are scheduled for the Food Track. Here are some highlights to whet your appetite. Ag Tech: Shaping the Future of Farming will discuss how modern farmers can use high tech to build more sustainable farms. Suzy Welch, CNBC journalist & vegan activist investor, will moderate a panel of investors to discuss alternative proteins and what they mean for the scientists, entrepreneurs and investors excited about tech’s next big wave in the Alt. Protein session. Founders of one of the top chocolate companies in the Netherlands will share what they are doing to eliminate slave labor in the cocoa fields during Changing the Chocolate Industry. A panel with Danielle Neirenberg, founder of the Food Tank, will gather young food activists, entrepreneurs, teachers and storytellers to share their challenges and triumphs during Cultivating the Next Generation of Food Leaders. Vote with Your Fork – Consumers & Regenerative Ag also features Ms. Nierenberg with Jason Jones of Vital Farms and investors to talk about regenerative ag’s potential to reverse climate change and improve the quality of our food. In an exclusive interview with Chef Christina Tosi, the award-winning founder of Milk Bar, she’ll share how she transformed her whimsical dessert destination into an internationally recognized icon over the past 10 years and what’s next for her brand. After you’re all fired up, learn what it takes to create a culture that woos employees and customers and helps your business stand out in a saturated market with proven industry pros during


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The iconic SouthBites sign welcomes hungry crowds at SXSW. (Photo by Alexa Gonzalez Wagner)

Is Your Restaurant Worth Talking About? Find out what the Fourth Agricultural Revolution is, its impact and consequences at the Future of Food panel or get the inside scoop about the cutting-edge trends of the wine industry in Future Wine: Millennials, Tech & Change. If you’re ready to dig into the past, another panel discussion with Matt Barnard (CEO of Plenty), Chef Dominique Crenn and writer Mark Bittman will cover the growing health impacts of homogenized foods and the democratization of access to the pure food and flavors of our ancestors, bringing culture back to our tables and health back to humanity. Food recovery takes center stage in How America Can Feed Itself, Not Landfills. Sugar’s historical role in beverages, alternative sweeteners and novel sweetener technology for beverages is the basis of How Sweet is Our Future? From branding techniques to the benefits of mindfulness, this year’s SXSW Food Track covers a range of topics and trends from different angles to get all foodies up to date and inspired. And we haven’t even covered the films, yet. SXSW announces the film lineup in January 2019. SXSW, founded in Austin in ’87, is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the creative convergence of the interactive, film and music industries. The ten-day event takes over the city and features sessions, showcases, screenings and exhibitions. The unparalleled networking opportunities spur creative collaborations, and that’s the magic of it all. SXSW 2019 starts with the Film Festival and Interactive Conference on March 8 and closes with the Music Festival on March 17. If you make it up to Austin during SXSW, don’t forget to stop by the SouthBites Trailer Park and indulge a little. Celebrating its sixth season, the popular food truck park is a SXSW staple. Notable SouthBites alum return every year – and every year, new culinary stars join their ranks. For schedules, badges and complete information, visit www.sxsw.com. ~ Angela and Frederic Covo

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t’s been more than a year since Chez Vatel Bistro closed, but Chef Damien Watel has found a new space for his classic French restaurant. Born in Lille, France, Chef Damien Watel (pronounced vatel) studied culinary arts in Paris and found his way to Dallas to work for his restaurateur uncle in 1984. He opened his first restaurant, Watel’s, also in Dallas when he was just 26. His first venture did well, and he sold it to move to San Antonio in 1993. By 1999, he opened Bistro Vatel (later renamed Chez Vatel Bistro) in Olmos Park, to great acclaim and earned a strong, loyal following. Meanwhile, Chef Lisa Astorga was working on refining her culinary skills at the Houston Art Institute. As part of her culinary education she traveled the world, discovering new skills and tastes. While working for Sodexo in Houston, she jumped at the chance to join filmmaker and actor Tommy Lee Jones’s culinary team. She spent several years working for Mr. Jones and credits the actor for introducing her to the love of her life in 2004 at a fundraiser for the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis in Palm Beach, Florida. Chef Lisa, who was still based in Houston, finally moved to San Antonio to shorten her commute and maybe, to be a little closer to Chef Damien. “Traveling with Mr. Jones was great, but finally it was time for me to settle down,” Chef Astorga-Watel explained. They married in 2010 and together they have Enzo, 8 years old. Chef Damien also has two grown children, Harry, who is studying finance and Stephanie, who is an aspiring screenwriter in Dallas. In 2012, they opened Bite in Southtown. “It was a cool space, small enough to be manageable and in a great area, so we jumped on it,” she said. Chef Watel had been in Olmos Park for 18 years, and after a fire next door, it was necessary to remodel Chez Vatel Bistro, which was very popular and known for its outstanding French fare. But the difficulties to reconfigure his restaurant in Olmos Park were insurmountable, so he closed in 2017 and joined Lisa at Bite. Working independently, he cast his eye up and down Broadway and landed on the vacant spot left by L’Etoile at Top of Broadway. “At this point in my life it’s about location, location, location,” Chef Watel said. “This is the space I wanted, centrally located and near my clientele.”

Lisa, Enzo and Damien Watel enjoy a little family time. (Photo courtesy)

The new landlord was willing to gut the place and remodel, and the deal was done earlier this year. Now we can look forward to a true collaboration between these two great chefs. The new restaurant will seat 95 guests in the 3,450-square-foot space at 6106 Broadway. Named Bistr09, they expect to open in late January or early February and explained it will be a little fancier than Chez Vatel. “Conceptually, there’s been so much of a focus on casual, we’re going for something much more stylish than my old place, something closer to fine dining,” Chef Watel said. Bistr09 is not intended to be a carbon copy of Bistro Vatel. This time around, patrons can expect brunch and a full bar. The food will be classic French cuisine. “We will offer all the favorite classics from Chez Vatel at Bistr09, but there will be some new and exciting additions,” he explained. They also designed everything themselves, including the new marble bar, which has a timeless, classic look. The artistic, culinary couple will divide their time between Bite and Bistr09, with Chef Lisa focusing more on front of the house. “Lisa is full of energy and an extrovert, while I am a little quieter and more reserved. It’s an excellent contrast and the perfect match … she makes friends easily and I love working in the kitchen,” Chef Damien added. Follow them on Facebook @Bistr09 for definitive opening dates and more information.



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Festive holiday cocktails are a feature of the Miracle pop-up series. (Photo courtesy)



ward-winning bartender Benjamin Krick established a solid reputation in town with a great foundation in craft cocktails, showmanship and a thirst for knowledge and travel. At Juniper Tar, where patrons discovered wine, tea and exotic cocktails from every corner of the globe, his creative flair was on full display. But the sophisticated spot shut down last June – its owner mired in financial difficulties. Mr. Krick didn’t miss a beat and created his own opportunity with a new concept in a renovated 1930s cottage on San Antonio’s East Side. “Pastiche is a French term for celebrating the inspiration of others,” Krick said. “A lot of the drinks I had at Juniper Tar were inspired by my travels and other bartenders I’ve met.” Set to open in January, the new bar at 1506 E. Houston St. joins Tucker’s Kozy Korner (now under new management), Dignowity Meats, Cherrity Bar & Kimura and Eastside Kitchenette in the neighborhood. “Pastiche came together after meeting friends of friends who wanted to open a wine bar,” Mr. Krick said. “We talked for weeks – we had the same vision for a bar. The timing was perfect to find a new home.” He explained the cocktail program at Pastiche will be like Juniper Tar with a “relaxed, bohemian, international vibe” – but the setting adds new flavor. “Pastiche is in a house, so the atmosphere will be different,” Mr. Krick said. “The menu will be wine based, and we’ll incorporate tea – teas from all over the world.” Besides cocktails, Pastiche will also offer ciders, beer, wine and small bites. Last year, restaurant industry magazine StarChefs named Mr. Krick as a winner of its 2017 Rising Stars Award lineup of “up-and-


edible San Antonio


coming chefs and culinary professionals who represent the vanguard of the contemporary American dining scene.” He was recognized for his bartending skills, especially for his Portuguese gin & tonic. “In his explorations, Mr. Krick collected stories of food, friends and diverse cultures, which he brought back to San Antonio as his cocktails’ missing ingredients,” StarChefs wrote. His first bartending gig was managing a wine bar in Charlotte, North Carolina, before catching a case of wanderlust. He moved to Spain to learn more about grapes. After Spain, he traveled to 25 countries in Europe and Northern Africa. “Traveling is definitely important, I travel as much as I can,” Mr. Krick shared. “It’s a way to meet new friends, learn new things, get international bartenders to come to San Antonio and do guest gigs.”


The team at Pastiche plans a Miracle pop-up, a Christmas-themed cocktail pop-up bar officially participating in the annual “Miracle” series. Follow Pastiche on Facebook @pastiche.sa to find out exactly where and when. This is the fifth year for the series, created by Greg Boehm of Cocktail Kingdom in New York City’s East Village. Now a worldwide phenomenon, the Miracle pop-ups are transforming 82 bars in cities like Chicago, New York, Paris, Toronto and San Diego into winter wonderlands. The idea behind Miracle was to create a Christmas-themed pop-up cocktail bar that serves holiday cocktails in a festive setting to “get even the grouchiest grinch in the holiday spirit.” “It’s going to be a fun pop-up bar,” Mr. Krick said. “Then we’ll have the grand opening for Pastiche in January during the San Antonio Cocktail Conference.” ~ Noi Mahoney

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aniel Barnes established Treaty Oak Distilling 12 years ago and together with a team of distillers, sommeliers, botanists and architects, produces an award-winning portfolio of hand-crafted whiskey and gin. Leading the way for the small spirits movement, their growth reflects their dedication to a mission – to be true to their creative spirit (and to prove real bourbon isn’t always from Kentucky). The award-winning crew isn’t afraid to take risks nor are they willing to conform, and they are prepared. After all, to break the rules and defy convention requires deep understanding, tremendous talent and a little good karma, which they have plenty of. “We strive to strike the perfect balance between heritage and innovation,” Mr. Barnes said. “Our willingness to be different based on knowledge and expertise is what sets us apart.” Perhaps that’s why Mahalo Spirits Group, a leading craft spirits sales group, chose to partner with Treaty Oak and is already expanding the Texas distillery’s presence to seven new markets, including California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee and Virginia. Soon they’ll be working on the national roll out. The Treaty Oak portfolio includes three flavorful and unique styles of whiskey and of gin. The 95-proof Ghost Hill Texas Bourbon, aged four years under the hot Texas sun in first-use American White Oak barrels, is a prime example of their efforts. The Red Handed Bourbon with peppery aroma, cherry and apple flavors and spicy rye finish earned a Double Gold medal from The Fifty Best. The 100-proof Red Handed Rye is aged 10 years and worth the time it takes to sip slow. Waterloo No. 9 Gin received a “Gin Masters Award” in London and the New Western style gin (the first to be introduced in Texas), has a smooth finish and honors the city of Austin’s original name. Waterloo Antique Gin has a cinnamon finish and is meant to be served neat. It’s also the longest aged gin on the market. The Waterloo Old Yaupon Gin features botanicals including yaupon holly (a tea leaf native to Texas and much of the south), juniper, kaffir lime and licorice root, sweetened with Wildflower Honey. For both the bourbon and the gin, Treaty Oak draws on local resources, starting with Texas limestone-filtered water. In partnership with James Brown, who happens to be at the forefront of the heirloom grain movement, the team sources corn, wheat and malted barley from Barton Springs Mill, where 90 percent of the grains are grown by Texas farmers using sustainable organic practices. Treaty Oak also ‘fesses up when it’s

Texas GNT, Treaty Oak Waterloo No. 9 Gin & Tonic. (Photo by Frederic Covo)

necessary to source from outside partners. “We find the best of the best and make it better,” Mr. Barnes shared. “There’s no shame in that. Th e only shame would be blatantly misleading our customers.” With a new website and classical branding and packaging that’s inviting and attractive, Treaty Oak is ready to represent on the national stage.

THE DISTILLERY About 25 miles south of Austin in Dripping Springs, the Treaty Oak distillery is open to the public. The wonderful event space recently hosted the 2018 Texas Chef Roll which featured local chefs and a visit from Chef Jeremiah Tower. The facility also houses Ghost Hill Restaurant, a full kitchen and bar featuring Texas-centric food and beverages, The Cocktail Lab where science meets the art of cocktailing, a visitor center, The Bottle Shop, where guests can purchase brand gear and limited-edition whiskey only available at the distillery and family-friendly entertainment. To learn more about Treaty Oak’s whiskey portfolio, visit treatyoakdistilling.com. For more information about Waterloo Gin, visit www.waterloogin.com. Mr. Barnes will also be teaching a seminar for the San Antonio Cocktail Conference at 1 p.m. on January 19 at the Sheraton Gunter Hotel. ediblesanantonio.com


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Culinary students Alex Park and Jeff Ragan get ready to hone their skills working at CIA’s Live Fire Kitchen. (Photo by Angela Covo)

LIVE FIRE KITCHEN Y ou can’t miss the enticing aroma of grilling vegetables and meats on market days at the Pearl. Every weekend during the Pearl Farmers Market, students from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) fire up a grill and open the Live Fire Kitchen to the public. The outdoor kitchen is a permanent feature of the CIA campus, just steps from its main entrance. The aspiring chefs prepare a variety of tacos and sometimes offer specials like Grilled Oysters with an Herb Compound Butter. The Live Fire Kitchen gives the students a chance to showcase their skills while learning new recipes and new techniques. Candidates from the CIA’s Manager-in-Training Program (MIT) manage the outdoor kitchen and the experience gives them expertise in managing inventory, developing menus and guiding a team of employees. The CIA opened the Live Fire Kitchen for the students, but it is not a required class. Students apply for the opportunity to work there and get the opportunity to hone skills they’ve learned in class. Learning to properly trim briskets for the Live Fire Kitchen’s


edible San Antonio


Smoked Brisket Tacos is a perfect example of the value of this hands-on practical. Students smoke four to five briskets every weekend and trim, make the rub and cook the briskets with guidance from the MIT. Menu “specials,” the purview of the MIT, are often creative and help students stretch their culinary horizons. The diverse list of cuisine presented as specials include items like Chorizo Yucca Cups, Ahi Tuna Poke Tacos and Indian Butter Chicken Skewers with fresh Naan Bread. Learning how to work professionally as a team and with the public adds another important learning opportunity for the students. They get to practice important skills such as customer service, hospitality and public relations techniques, and master the professional standards needed to succeed in this industry. And after grueling days, weeks and months training to cook well, students also enjoy being reminded about the joy of their chosen profession. “Seeing repeat customers who greet us by name is a pretty cool thing,” one of the students said. Indeed. In the restaurant business, if having repeat customers is the main objective, then the CIA’s Live Fire Kitchen is on the right track. ~ Jeff Ragan

farmer’s journal


TENTATIVELY, TO 2018 FARM BILL HOUSE AND SENATE FIND COMMON GROUND AFTER DROPPING CONTROVERSIAL MEASURES THAT WOULD LIMIT ACCESS TO SNAP. BY SAM BLOCH, NEWFOODECONOMY.ORG Special thanks to writer Sam Bloch and the New Food Economy for allowing us to share this great summary published online on Nov. 29. he New Food Economy is a nonprofit newsroom investigating the forces shaping how and what we eat. Read more at newfoodeconomy.org.


t last, it’s here. After months of negotiations, Agriculture Committee leaders from the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate announced they’ve reached an agreement, in principle, on the 2018 Farm Bill – a nearly trillion-dollar legislative package that sets out policies on a range of food and agricultural priorities, from crop subsidies to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps), for the next five years. Senate and House Agriculture Committee Chairmen Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Mike Conaway (R-Texas) and Ranking Members Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) announced the agreement on Nov. 29. “We’re pleased to announce that we’ve reached an agreement in principle on the 2018 Farm Bill,” lawmakers said in a statement. “We are working to finalize legal and report language as well as CBO [Congressional Budget Office] scores, but we still have more work to do. We are committed to delivering a new farm bill to America as quickly as possible.” The tentative deal was reached after House Republicans agreed to dump new, stricter laws around SNAP, a major bone of contention in their chamber. Bloomberg reports those provisions will be left out of the final bill. That would reconcile the House bill with the Senate bill, which did not impose new restrictions on SNAP benefits. The final version of the bill will be available to the public in December. “It’s more the Senate version than the House version,” Rep. Mike Conaway told Bloomberg. “Everything we had in the House bill was important, but we made the compromises we needed to make to get this deal done.” He added that the bill would include more provisions to at-

tack food stamp fraud. (Current practices used to police food stamps fraud tend to unfairly penalize small retailers on dubious charges according to a report from The New Food Economy’s H. Claire Brown.)


While details are still emerging, Teaganne Finn of Bloomberg Government reported that major conservation programs, along with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) proposal to legalize industrial hemp, are included in the tentative deal. The Conservation Stewardship Program, or CSP, subsidizes farmers who do things like plant cover crops, graze pasture, and work to minimize pesticide applications, in order to improve air, soil and water quality. The House version had called to eliminate the program, much to the chagrin of some farmers. Meanwhile, Sen. McConnell’s hemp provision would remove the plant, which is fueling the booming Cannabidiol (CBD) market, from the federal controlled substances list. It also allows hemp growers to apply for crop insurance – which crop farmers, especially those growing commodity grains, heavily depend upon to cover any losses. A proposal by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to limit the amount of those subsidies will not be included in the bill, Ms. Finn reported. The National Farmers Union (NFU) expressed optimism that relief might soon arrive for family farmers and ranchers. “Getting a farm bill through the finish line before the end of the year is critical for the long-term viability and sustainability of family farmers and ranchers across the country,” NFU President Roger Johnson said in a media statement. “Senate and House agriculture leaders and their staff have worked tirelessly to resolve differences in the chambers’ respective farm bills, and we’re optimistic they’ve come to terms on a farm bill that begins to provide the relief and certainty farmers need amidst struggling markets due to oversupply and trade volatility. We urge Congress to approve a farm bill before the end of the year.”



news you can use


Learning about the local tastes of other lands is a wonderful experience – and we recently discovered a way to get authentic and local artisanal treats from Japan, even if you can’t leave town. Bokksu is a curated, artisanal subscription service shipped directly from Japan, dedicated to exploring Japanese culture through food. Each box is based on a theme and usually includes teas and sweet and savory treats. After trying the November box and checking with friends who traveled to or lived in Japan, everything was deemed authentic and delighted our experts. We enjoyed every taste, too. The Golden New Year box (January 2019) is a great example. In Japan, this time of year is a celebration of rebirth, spiritual cleansing, and, of course, food! Oshougatsu (Japanese New Year) is a festival with customs that includes deep cleaning the home and hatsumode (visiting the local Shinto shrines to pray for family health and happiness). During oshougatsu, the osechi-ryori (New Year›s Meal) involves a beautifully-plated, lacquered bento box with layers of fresh fish, rice and soybeans. To honor that tradition, Bokksu created a limited-edition

custom Bento box to ring in the New Year and created this sampler to represent osechi-ryori by celebrating the best and most iconic flavors with snacks that shimmer with gold. Each box includes a tea pairing specifically selected to complement that month’s delicacies as well as a Tasting Guide that describes the story and flavors of each item in the box. Visit Bokksu.com to order or learn more. ~ Frederic Covo



THE WINTER EDITION Culinaria’s winter celebration of restaurant dining returns with Restaurant Weeks from January 21 to February 2. The nonprofit organization works with more than 100 participating restaurants across San Antonio, Boerne and New Braunfels. The program offers a cross section of the culinary scene that encompasses our region’s diverse range of cuisine and includes many time-honored restaurants as well as buzz-worthy newcomers. It’s a great way to savor favorites or discover new treasures. Visit CulinariaSA.org for the most up-to-date listing of restaurants. Reservations aren’t required but are a good idea! Call restaurants directly to book reservations or click on their links to reserve online through OpenTable. This year, winter menu offerings include $25 Breakfast/Brunch, $15 Lunch, $35 Dinner and $45 Dinner. Bon appétit! ~ Suzanne Taranto Etheredge 26

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Culinaria “Restaurant Weeks” is a great week to celebrate San Antonio. This spread features the work of Executive Chef Anthony Mesa at Dorrego’s at the Hotel Valencia Riverwalk. (Photo courtesy)

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CREATIVE CITY OF GASTRONOMY UPDATE On October 31, 2017, the City of San Antonio was officially designated a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, joining 179 other member cities around the world in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. The network recognizes seven themes, which include Crafts and Folk Arts, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts and Music. To date, just 25 other cities have been recognized in the field of Gastronomy, and only one other in the U.S., Tucson in Arizona. Texas is the only state with TWO creative cities (Austin is a Creative City of Media Arts) and San Antonio is the only American city that is both a Creative City and a World Heritage Site. In total, there are nine U.S. cities in the network. Since the official announcement, many initiatives developed as part of the designation are moving forward, like the ones mentioned here.

CALL FOR NOM NAT ON The San Antonio Dept. of Arts & Culture has added Culinary Arts to the mix and nominations for the 2019 Distinction in the Arts (DIA) honorees will be open until Friday, Feb. 1, 2019. The Dept. of Arts & Culture seeks nominees in Visual Arts, Music, Performing Arts, Literary Arts, Arts Patronage, Arts Administration, and, for the first time, CULINARY ARTS! After the nomination process closes, the SA Arts Commission DIA Committee will review nominations before recommending honorees, who will be recognized at a public awards ceremony on Oct. 10, 2019 at the Tobin Center. Visit bit.ly/SAartawards to learn more about the program and how to nominate.


Get those films ready! In the application, SA was asked to cross-link two arts and the Food Film Festival was born. In conjunction with UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy, SAFILM-San Antonio Film Festival added a new category: Food Films. They will accept both short and feature length films in the new category, and accepted films will screen on DAY ONE of the fest. Please share and help promote this important first for San Antonio. To learn more, visit SAFILM.com.



the coffee lady

Learn all about coffee at the San Antonio Coffee Festival on January 5. (Photo courtesy)



Linda Brewster knows coffee – the passionate coffee enthusiast founded the San Antonio Coffee Festival in 2011. Thanks to San Antonio’s growing number of outstanding local coffee roasters, brewers and coffeehouses, Ms. Brewster shares her insights on SA’s local coffee culture in this column.


an Antonio’s ORIGINAL Coffee Festival returns to La Villita Historic Arts Village on Saturday, January 5, 2019 – the seventh celebration of fun, food, festivities, and of course, lots of coffee. Specialty Coffee Tasting Flight tickets are already available and coffee lovers are encouraged to purchase soon as the 7th annual San Antonio Coffee Festival is expected to sell out early.


Thanks to great feedback from many fans, this year’s San Antonio Coffee Festival will be a little different to accommodate popular demand. Expanded areas will provide more space for our growing audience. For the first time, admission will be limited to ticket-holders to ensure a great, intimate experience for Specialty Coffee Tasting Flights. We added a VIP ticket option to enhance the experience and create an exclusive opportunity in the first hour of the event. And the Specialty Coffee Tasting Flight will include five tastings this year instead of four. The San Antonio Coffee Festival continues to offer the most extraordinary opportunity to learn all about San Antonio’s local coffee culture. This grass roots community effort to support and showcase local coffee artisans on the grounds of La Villita is an excellent example of people connecting to support the local community. The hallmark of the festival’s Specialty Coffee Tasting Flight, besides freshly brewed, locally roasted coffee, is the opportunity to meet and learn from local coffee artisans representing more than 25 regional coffee companies brewing 80-plus different coffees from all over the globe. (If you find a favorite, roasters will have coffee available for purchase to brew at home.) 28

edible San Antonio


The festival’s signature educational workshops will feature hands-on demonstrations about coffee roasting, how to make better coffee, expert secrets for making the best iced coffee, coffee cocktails and more. Visit the new Wellness feature in Plaza Nacional with local fitness and mindfulness experts hosting activities. Enjoy live music and entertainment on two stages while local and visiting artists display coffee-centric artwork in Plaza Juarez.


The San Antonio Coffee Festival is a quest for the best cup of coffee in all of San Antonio. As founder of the Festival, part of the thrill is connecting with fellow coffee enthusiasts. For six years we’ve watched how coffee creates connections throughout our community – and meeting coffee artisans in our community expands my perspective as I learn their stories and come to know their special talents. When I brew my pot of Texas Sludge Coffee Company’s “Rise & Shine,” I recall time spent with owners Susan and Jon Rodriquez and stories we’ve swapped. To finish dinner parties with a flair, I load up my Chemex with Olla Express Café’s Mezcal-infused Café de Olla, reminded of Andrea Ley’s dream to share her deeply rooted Mexican coffee experience. And I can’t wait to try locally roasted Mad Dog Blend Alpha No.1 – a Kenyan/Honduran blend recently debuted by Jose Baker, owner of 1885 Coffee Co. Experiencing coffee prepared by people I know and want to support simply feels different, like when people knew their butcher, baker and florist. The precious coffee beans consistently remind me how interconnected we all are around the globe. The San Antonio Coffee Festival nurtures that sense of connection and creates a space for everyone to discover Texas coffee artisans. Be sure to get your tickets early, as the event is expected to sell out in advance. A portion of the proceeds will help fill up the food pantry at Little Church of La Villita to aid the homeless in the downtown area. Visit SAcoffeefest.com for tickets, updates and additional information.

feeding hope




r. Michael Guerra of the San Antonio Food Bank writes the Feeding Hope column in every issue of Edible San Antonio. His goal is to spotlight the food economy from different perspectives, particularly that of those in need. San Antonio is booming with a thriving economy and strong sectors in health, high tech and the culinary arts. There’s no question we live in a great city – one of the most livable, healthy cities in the nation. According to the US Census Bureau, San Antonio also has the SECOND highest poverty rate of the 25 most populous cities in the US (following Detroit). While the unemployment rate in San Antonio is low, approximately 25 percent of our residents earn such a low wage that they qualify for private/public services to stabilize their home. Emergency food pantries are a key component in the safety net for individuals living in poverty. Food pantries stock nonperishable food, perishable items like produce and dairy, and often non-food items and pet food for the individuals they serve. There are more than 300 emergency food pantries in the greater San Antonio area and many receive most of their food (about 75 percent) from the San Antonio Food Bank (SAFB). More often than not, today’s food insecure individual is a senior who retired after a long career, a currently employed individual or even a college student. But it’s the growing demand at college campuses that’s driving the fastest expansion of emergency food pantries in the region. As food insecurity on college campuses continues to grow, campus leaders across the nation are taking stock of the serious challenges their students are facing. According to a 2018 survey of 66 college campuses sampling more than 43,000 students across the nation – 36 percent of four-year degree students were food insecure and 42 percent of community college students were food insecure. And food insecurity gets worse for a student as the semester progresses. We should be alarmed that more than one-third of university students and nearly half of our community college students are at risk for hunger. But how is this possible? Researchers point to ballooning costs of higher education, inadequate financial aid packages and increasing enrollment of low-income students in higher education. The research also points to a surprising and alarming consequence of food insecurity for college students – eating disorders. College students adopt coping strategies to help with food

At Palo Alto Community College, the SHARE Center helps food-insecure college students. (Photo courtesy SAFB)

insecurity that lead to eating disorders – skipping meals, stretching meals to make them last longer, purchasing inexpensive and processed foods and eating less healthy meals to eat more. When they do find access to food, binge eating can also become a serious problem. Much worse, in terms of overall health, food insecure college students are more likely to experience stress, poor mental health and depression, poor sleep quality, fatigue and lack of energy, irritability and headaches – and lower grade point averages. Given the enormous challenge and truly critical consequences that so many college students face, what solutions are available? In the short run, the first essential element is to do better at enrolling these students in the SNAP program. SNAP is the largest public safety net for food, but only 12 percent of eligible college students report having enrolled in SNAP. A second short term solution would be to fund food scholarships through organizations like the San Antonio Food Bank. Food scholarship dollars can support college students to secure food at campus food pantries, freeing up grocery money for other critical needs like housing, transportation, health costs and more. Food scholarships are generally underfunded but could have a strong impact. In the long run, higher education research that examines the fast-rising costs of two-year and four-year coursework, coupled with stronger work-study programs for students in need, would go a long way in minimizing the problem of food for college students across the nation. For more information about food scholarship for college students or to find a food pantry on a local campus, visit www. safoodbank.org ediblesanantonio.com


Scratch-made olive bread from Sandy Oaks Olve Orchard (Phtoto courtesy)


Welcome to our newest section, the Edible San Antonio Local Dining Guide. Special thanks to our growing list of sponsors, all local and independently owned establishments that support Edible SA’s mission. Restaurants are selected for their commitment to using local and seasonal ingredients as much as possible and for their partnerships with local farmers and food artisans. Enjoy!



Stylish and hip, South Alamode makes authentic gelato fresh daily using the finest ingredients. The Southtown eatery at Blue Star offers specialty Italian sandwiches and outstanding coffee. Generous portions are the rule Open Wednesday through Sunday Noon – 10 PM



1420 S Alamo St, SATX 78210 210.788.8000 | southalamode.com

2720 McCullough Ave, SATX 78212 210.320.2261 | barbarosanantonio.com

2403 N St Mary’s St, SATX 78212 210.530.4236 | eatchisme.com




LUNCH | TUE – FRI 11:30-2 PM DINNER | TUE – THU 5-9 PM | FRI – SAT 5-10 PM



2195 NW Military Hwy, SATX 78213 210.503.5121 | clementine-sa.com

720 E Mistletoe Ave, SATX 78212 210.320.8211 | cookhouserestaurant.com

14439 NW Military Hwy #100, SATX 78231 210.888.1500 | fredericksbistro.com

edible San Antonio


AT BIG TEX Old World Methods, Extraordinary Results Locally Sourced, Sustainably Prepared Lunch | Tue-Fri 11-1:30 PM Dinner | Tue-Thur 5:30-9 PM | Fri-Sat 5:30-10 PM Reservations Recommended



152 E Pecan #100, SATX 78205 210.222.1849 | restaurantgwendolyn.com

403 Blue Star, SATX 78204 210.635.0016 | burgerteca.com

518 River Road, Boerne TX 78006 830.331.1368 | littlegretel.com







260 E Basse Rd #101, SATX 78209 210.822.1088 | piranhakillersushi.com

403 Blue Star, SATX 78204 210.635.0036 | villaricasa.com

106 Auditorium Circle, SATX 78205 210.802.1860 | pharmtable.com

eat chinese


四 savor sichuan 川 食 四川 府




102 9th St Suite 400, SATX 78215 210.340.9880 | paramourbar.com

3505 Wurzbach Rd #102, SATX 78238 210.509.9999 | facebook.com/sichuaneats


(Photo Courtesy)



latin roots

Paul Randles, Andrew Anguiano and Rob Rodriguez showcase Southside Craft Soda at Dress for Success gala at the Witte Museum. (Photo by Angela Covo)



ndrew Anguiano and Gregg Spickler, co-founders of Southside Craft Soda, want to change the way San Antonians drink soda. Faulted for a slew of health issues, soft drinks have been dished a bad rap for years. But if the duo’s plan pans out, our city will have better, local options. Along with Rob Rodriguez, they are busily concocting a creative blend of local quality ingredients as an alternative to the traditional corn syrupy drinks we all love and hate. Mr. Anguiano and Mr. Spickler are no strangers to artisanal drinks – they met while working at a local brewery. One day, after a few beers and some good conversation, they realized no


edible San Antonio


one was making craft soda in South Texas. With the know-how to fill that niche, they took a leap of faith and Southside Craft Soda was born. They are also working to create more wholesome beverages. For starters, they won’t use corn syrup to sweeten their beverages. Southside Craft Sodas are infused with honey and sweetened with pure cane sugar. “I think we are ready for craft beverages and I feel that soda could be a way to introduce the concept of craft drinks to our culture,” Mr. Anguiano said. “San Antonio is a diverse city.” Mr. Anguiano has deep roots in South Texas, going back centuries. His family cultivated the land around San Antonio’s

Missions, now a UNESCO World Heritage site, preparing food with what was naturally available. Using South Texas ingredients and capturing our local flavor is what matters most to him. “We are very proud of our Texas heritage. It is part of our story. That’s why we look for regional and local ingredients that will accent otherwise traditional flavors,” he explained. Mr. Spickler, a 33-year-old brewmaster and culinary genius, was also born and raised in San Antonio. He studied at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park and made his way back to South Texas after traveling the country. The idea of experimenting with small-batch artisanal soda stemmed from their desire to bring back the joy of drinking an old-fashioned, flavorful “pop.” And anyone driving past the make-shift storefront would probably have no idea that just inside, the mad scientists are creating one of the most exciting things to happen to soda in San Antonio since Big Red. One look at the menu and it’s easy to see what all the fuss is about. These days, they are brewing root beer infused with mesquite beans – the ones strewn about backyards across the city and generally regarded as trash. Thanks to Southside Craft Soda, they’ll soon be part of a delicious artisanal root beer soda, constructed in the heart of the Southside. The mesquite bean has a sweet flavor and is surprisingly versatile if you treat it right. The artisans learned to capture the sweet flavor profile by boiling the beans down until they reach the consistency of a thick syrupy liquid. The result is not oversweet and imparts a rich honied flavor. Mr. Spickler described it as complex, nostalgic and familiar. “It has an amazing aroma,” he added. “It tastes like Apple Jacks and Graham crackers.” While we’ve all heard of soda infused with bacon or even bubble gum, for Mr. Spickler, the work they are doing at Southside Craft Soda is no marketing ploy. “I wanted to make a great product that was really Texas,” he said. “The mesquite bean is a great representation of Texas. You can’t find the mesquite bean in many states, but it’s all over Texas. Native Americans used it in their diets, but other than that, people have forgotten it is even edible. I was looking to bring that back.” Using readily recognizable ingredients, not necessarily utilized in food or drink preparation, they are reinventing how San Antonio enjoys its soda. “I really want to find ingredients that while regional, still allow us to create something totally different,” Mr. Anguiano shared. Currently, the entrepreneurs are experimenting with a variety of flavors they plan to introduce to their working menu. Two flavors, the TexaCola and Lucha Root Beer (not to be confused with the Mesquite Bean Root Beer), will soon be available in bottles. “For us it’s not about a marketing gimmick,” Mr. Spickler explained. “We want local ingredients, of course, but it’s more

Southside Craft Soda uses ingredients like mesquite bean to capture local flavor. (Photo by Natalie Juarez)

(Photo by Frederic Covo)

about capturing the flavor of the region in a unique way. Everyone in Texas recognizes the mesquite tree.” Their mission for the Alamo city is to “create an experience versus a physiological need.” “We are not making a soda you chug. Our goal is to create a drink folks can appreciate,” Mr. Anguiano added. Sipping soda may be an emerging trend in the culinary world. After all, enjoying a meal is much more than the sum of its composition, method of preparation or even presentation. Ultimately, it’s about the feeling it evokes as we enjoy it with the people we love. The young company’s mesquite root beer will be available in spring 2019. Get a taste of Southside Craft Soda from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursday, January 17 at the San Antonio Cocktail Conference new event, Come and Taste It at Battle for Texas in the Shops at Rivercenter. To learn more about San Antonio’s own artisanal soda, visit southsidecraftsoda.com.



sweet talker

Pastry Chef Jenn Riesman poses with her custom cakes between events. (Photo by Angela Covo)

JOY OF A PASTRY CHEF BY JENN RIESMAN Chef Jenn Riesman joins our ranks as our resident pastry and baking expert. She’ll share her ideas, tips and maybe even a recipe or two as Edible San Antonio’s Sweet Talker. To learn more about her work, follow her on Instagram @jennriesman.


s a pastry chef, I’m usually asked the same group of questions. What is my favorite thing to bake? oo ie a d ie What do you specialize in? to a e


edible San Antonio


How long have you been baking? over a de ade What’s the most you’ve ever made of something? do t really ave a a er or t at t o d ri t e oliday o 201 ade 2 vario ie or a et Most people know that the more complex a baking project is, the longer it takes to produce. And while I’m often asked how long it took me to make sugar flowers for a wedding cake, I’ve never been asked what I thought about while making them. During the holidays, much of my time will be devoted to desserts for parties and gatherings – lots of dessert tables and

mini treats are in my future. Sometimes my tasks are funny … who else do you know that will gladly spend four hours hand painting cookies? I could spend the entire day shaping pies and singing along to the radio or crimping adorable tiny empanadas by the hundreds. I do it because I know they’re good. I know I did my best. I think about the spice combination to use and imagine someone smiling while they stand over the dessert table. As an overly anxious person, I hope the other loners at the party find the platter of chocolate chip cookies and pecan bars I put out – they were baked just for them. When I make biscuits, I reflect on how as a kid, my mom and I would make “honey bears” out of scrap biscuit dough we baked and doused in honey, or pancake syrup, if that was all that happened to be around. The longer my shifts, the more I tend to think about those that I love. I hope they’re OK without me. I hope I’m not forgotten. I hope the chocolate birthday cake with layers so carefully swirled with dulce de leche is loved and remembered, long after it’s been eaten. It’s comforting to imagine an old married couple, years from now, finding pictures of their wedding cake and remembering that special day so long ago. Working in the hospitality industry all my adult life kept me pretty busy. Moving for jobs, creating custom cakes, opening a hotel and various restaurants, plus charity work and staging for chefs I admire took up a chunk of my life. To say I don’t have a lot of personal time is an understatement. Though to be clear, what I do professionally is very personal, a reflection of the best parts of me. I like to hope this is an opinion shared throughout my industry. For every decorated cookie or perfectly garnished dessert – someone, somewhere took the time and painstaking effort to do it. Devoted professionals come in early, stay late and are often underpaid. And in the case of artisans, you’re forced to sacrifice many unpaid hours and time with your family to follow your passion. I don’t regret the holidays and birthdays I’ve missed, but I wish I could remember every co-worker’s name who has hugged me over the years as I hurriedly set up yet another dessert buffet. You can tell when a baked good has been loved by the person who made it. From an ornate life-sized gingerbread house to the perfect layers of a croissant, an artisan gave their best intentions to a product for someone else. Pastry chefs spend countless hours shaping

bread, decorating sweets and baking cupcakes by the hundreds. We put our hearts into what we do. You must be in touch with your emotions to really understand baking. As a young pastry cook, my chef would tell me “feel your product … listen to what it tells you.” Years later and a tiny bit wiser, I understand that a timer doesn’t always get it right. Minutes and seconds can be counted, but it’s touch, smell and instinct that leads to perfection. Those same instincts tell you if something’s wrong, too. More than a few pastry chefs, including me, have been brought to tears over a curdled custard. To be overwhelmed with emotion over the sight of the perfect golden browned crust is a moment I hope all bakers experience. To all the pastry chefs, bakers and artisans in San Antonio, thank you for working through the night, waking up at dawn and spending back to back days making sure that no matter how bad it gets –there’s always pie. I appreciate every handpiped snowflake and all the creative ways you can pipe “Season’s Greetings.” If you ever catch me at the bar, chances are I’ll have some purse cookies to give you. You are what makes the holidays magical and even the most uncomfortable family gatherings bearable. I’m so excited to be part of Edible San Antonio and to be able to write about our amazing craft.

“I do it because I know they’re good. I know I did my best. I think about the spice combination to use and imagine someone smiling while they stand over the dessert table.” Chef Jenn Riesman




edible San Antonio





edible San Antonio


local ingredients




he inaugural Mesquiteers Fest, a celebration of Texas’s mesquite harvest, took place at Desert Door Distillery in Driftwood on a hot, dry day last summer. The ambience epitomized the sense of place endemic in the budding Texas Mesquite

Movement. On this Saturday afternoon, serious foodies sampled Texas mesquite-infused foods and drinks by Desert Door Distillery, Buster’s Mesquite Smoked Pecans, Just Like Mama’s Barbecue, Miche Bread, Two Hives Honey and SRSLY Chocolate. Festival organizers are members of a movement, an informal group devoted to reintroducing the mesquite tree as an organic, locally available food source and educating people about the delicious, healthy properties of its edible parts. Once a valued source of food, medicine and fuel for the indigenous people of Texas, the mesquite tree became the scourge of ranchers and farmers who later settled in Texas. They viewed the tree as a pestilence and sought to eradicate it. But lately, the tree’s reputation has improved as people rediscover the nutritional and culinary value of the mesquite pod (bean). Mesquite pods are high in protein and dietary fiber. They contain a fair amount of iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium and zinc. It also has a unique, pleasing flavor with notes of mocha and cinnamon. Dried, ground mesquite pods create a healthy, flavorful flour. Sandeep Gyawali, owner of Austin’s Miche Bread, explained the group hopes to increase interest, appreciation and demand for Texas mesquite by getting the word out about the many ways to use the mesquite pod. Mr. Gyawali discovered mesquite flour while looking for a mystery ingredient for a Slow Food Austin fundraiser. He sourced the mesquite flour at Whole Foods and was surprised to learn it was imported from Peru. He later discovered most mesquite flour available in Texas is imported from South America, despite the tree’s abundance in the state (56 million acres of

mesquite trees, about 76 percent of mesquite grown in the US). He recognized a rare opportunity to restore this native ingredient as part of the regional diet by providing locally sourced mesquite pods and flour. With a grant from the Austin Food and Wine Alliance, Mr. Gyawali purchased a hammer mill to process mesquite pods and recruited people to harvest ripe pods – and the Texas Mesquite Movement was born just two years ago. “It’s about eating local, a sense of place,” he said. With mesquite cooking demonstrations at local farmers markets, he teaches how to forage the pods and process dried pods in a kitchen blender. Although he coined the movement’s name, Mr. Gyawali emphasizes the movement is accessible to everyone. Chef Steve McHugh of Cured at Pearl shares Mr. Gyawali’s vision of a thriving local mesquite industry. The two-time James Beard nominee discovered mesquite flour while researching ingredients for a forgotten foods theme for the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival. He was intrigued by its unique nature and enigmatic, lingering quality. For Chef McHugh, as with Mr. Gyawali, the value of a local mesquite industry transcends it’s creative culinary uses. He views it as the “largest food source in Texas that no one uses” and envisions working with local foodbanks to make the local ingredient a resource to help feed everyone. Chef Elizabeth Johnson of Pharm Table also appreciates the unique gastronomic characteristics of the mesquite bean. First introduced to mesquite flour while visiting Peru, she found it’s medicinal properties and pleasant flavor most interesting. Naturally gluten-free, the flour’s high mineral content fulfilled her ideal of an ingredient that promotes health with an organic, preventative approach. She also values the ingredient as a lost heritage food. She uses the flour to create gluten-free cheesecakes for special events. Mesquite flour will be a featured ingredient at Acequia,

Sandeep Gyawali of Miche Bread, founder of the Texas Mesquite Movement. (Photo courtesy) ediblesanantonio.com



T (Photo by Victoria Cappadona)

her restaurant concept for one of a trio of restaurants that are part of the redevelopment project at La Villita. The menu at Acequia will include foods made with native heritage ingredients Canary Islanders would have encountered here 300 years ago. Ramon Juan Vasquez, executive director of American Indians of Texas at the Spanish Colonial Missions (AIT-SCM) in San Antonio, explained that more than 300 years ago, American Indians viewed the mesquite as “el Arbol de Vida,” the tree of life. They traditionally used all parts of the tree for life-sustaining purposes. The AIT-SCM is currently working toward purchasing a hammer mill to process mesquite pods and participate in a state mesquite industry. Today, only rancher Victoria Cappadona and Mr. Gyawali offer locally harvested mesquite flour for sale – perhaps because harvesting mesquite pods is very labor intensive. Despite the tree’s abundance, supply is the barrier to success for the domestic mesquite industry, according to Ms. Cappadona. Mesquite pods ripen during the hot Texas summer and must be harvested before they fall to the ground. Workers are scarce, and the cost of labor is often financially unfeasible. Despite these obstacles, Ms. Cappadona is optimistic about the future of a Texas mesquite industry. “I see a lot of potential for growth. It’s all about education – teaching people about the value of this holistic, organic food.” To learn more about mesquite flour and other local mesquite products, visit www.michebread.com and cappadonaranch.com. 40

edible San Antonio


exas mesquite bean pods can be harvested between May and September, depending upon region. Hotter regions in Texas have an earlier harvest. Some regions even yield two harvests in good years. Mesquite pods (beans) should be harvested directly from the trees. Once they fall to the ground, pods should not be harvested – they may be contaminated with animal fecal matter or an invisible mold that produces a neurotoxin. Ripe beans look tan and may have purple and pink striations (striated pods have the best flavor). Beans should pluck off stems easily, dried seeds make a rattling sound when the pods are shaken. Not all trees produce good tasting beans. Bean foragers should taste a few beans from each tree. If they all taste sweet and not bitter, the entire tree can be harvested. The beans should look clean with no black spots. After harvesting, roast or freeze beans right away to prevent any bruchid beetles inside the beans from hatching. The beetles are harmless, but undesirable. Freezing or roasting prevents beetles from developing. Roasting develops more complex flavors, like warm spices and mocha. Place beans (on sheet pan) in a 250-300°F oven until they change from beige to medium brown. The beans should feel dry and snap when bent. This could take 20 minutes to two hours depending on temperature, moisture and sugar content. Check frequently to make sure they don’t burn. Once roasted, cool, store in an airtight container and freeze. Process dried or roasted beans into flour with a spice grinder or blender. Sift out coarse bits. Store flour in freezer. Add silica gel packs to mesquite flour to prevent clumping. Leftover coarse bits are useful for making extracts, syrup or coffee.

MESQUITE CAKE Serve with Horchata Ice Cream, Local Blackberries, Marcona Almonds By Chef Steve McHugh, Cured at Pearl (Yield: Serves 8) FOR THE MESQUITE CAKE INGREDIENTS 6 tablespoons sunflower oil 3 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1½ cups sugar ½ cup mesquite powder 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 3 eggs, large 2 egg yolks, large ½ cup plain whole-milk yogurt ½ cup horchata 2 teaspoons vanilla extract DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease 10-inch spring form pan with 1 tablespoon sunflower oil. (Set aside the remaining sunflower oil.) Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Set aside. Using mixer on medium-high speed, cream sugar, mesquite powder, butter and the remaining sunflower oil in large bowl until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium-low and add eggs one at a time, followed by egg yolks, beating well after each addition. Add the whole-milk yogurt, horchata and vanilla extract, beating to blend. Slowly add the flour mixture, beating to blend.

Pour resulting cake batter into pan and lightly tap the pan to eliminate air pockets. Bake for 1 to 1¼ hours until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The cake should pull away from the sides of the pan and appear golden brown. Let cool completely. FOR THE CARAMEL SAUCE INGREDIENTS ½ pound sugar 1 cup heavy cream 3 tablespoons butter 3 tablespoons honey ½ teaspoon vanilla extract 1½ teaspoons maple syrup DIRECTIONS Combine sugar, ½ cup of heavy cream, butter and honey in heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir with a whisk until sauce turns a light golden brown. Remove from heat and stir in ½ cup of heavy cream, vanilla extract and maple syrup. Return to medium heat. Continue to stir with the whisk until sauce reaches a deep brown color. Reserve warm. TO PLATE INGREDIENTS fresh blackberries Marcona almonds mesquite cake horchata ice cream DIRECTIONS Cut mesquite cake into portions and heat slightly. Drizzle with caramel and top with almonds, berries and horchata ice cream. Enjoy!

Chef Steve McHugh’s Mesquite Cake (Photo courtesy Cured at Pearl) ediblesanantonio.com


mimi’s heirloom recipes

MOSHI MOSHI MISO! BY MIMI FAUBERT This quintessential foodie is also a Food Hero at our local Central Market. Ms. Faubert is not professionally trained – she is one of those rare talents with a superior palate and natural skills. You’ll typically find her in a kitchen, whipping up something extraordinary at home for her family or at work. And her tips, stories and recipes are always spot-on.


very day, all day. Besides rice in the steamer, a constant in my mom’s kitchen is a pot of miso sitting on the stove, waiting to be ladled into bowls. It is generationally enjoyed and rarely exists in its simple form, which would be the classic light caramel-colored broth speckled with the usual suspects – tofu, green onions and seaweed. I recently lifted that lid in Mom’s kitchen to find shirasu (teeny-tiny white fish), potatoes, daikon, salmon, Napa cabbage, mushrooms, radish greens, kabocha, cilantro, oysters, clams, snapper head, chile pequin AND a very humble can of tuna from the pantry sharing space amongst the usual suspects – preference with a good dose of use-what-you-got. My mom’s pot of miso soup is different nearly every time, so even when I get the simple usual suspects version, it’s exciting.


Miso is a wood-barrel-aged, pasty blend of soybeans, salt, a culture called koji and sometimes other grains like rice and barley. Koji curious? Aspergillus oryzae is the scientific name of a time-honored fungus in Japan, used for centuries to produce traditional fermented foodstuffs like soy sauce, sake and miso. Miso is simple, but complex – like whiskey, one of my favorite things. Both vary greatly by region, grain (quality, variety and ratio),


edible San Antonio


barrel-aging, batch size and the maestro overseeing and guiding the process. Forms of miso have existed for about 3000 years in Japan, but the paste form we know and love today manifested about the same time whiskey did, circa 1500 AD. Centuries of steadfast craftsmanship affect its complexity, color and richness. Miso ranges in color, style, texture and flavor influence. Like whiskey, not all miso is created equal.


Hatcho and Saikyo miso are names derived from places in Japan. Hatcho has a deep, dark color from an aged soybean mix originally produced in its namesake, along the Pacific coast south of Tokyo. Saikyo is a 200-year-old version and less salty, lightly sweet, creamy-textured white miso from the old capital of Kyoto.


Misos are named according to color, which denotes age and ingredients. Shiromiso (white) is typically a blend of soybeans and rice not aged for very long. Akamiso (red) is soybeans, barley and some other grain(s) and aged longer, yielding a deeper, saltier flavor. Inakamiso (country) is a red miso that’s older, chunkier and a bit more complex. If you find miso with the name Enjuku, it’s what I call a “Gucci akamiso” with refined, distinctly rich umami. Awasemiso (mixed) blends red and white for a bit of both worlds. Dashi iri on a label means fish and seaweed stock “dashi” was added to the paste, a convenience since dashi and miso go hand-in-hand. I love all miso – sitting in a restaurant outside Tokyo with my mom, her uncle and a plate of grilled eggplant medallions garnished with skillfully-placed dollops of dark brown goodness, blended with sake and mirin to enzymatically infuse a piece of buttery fish for the grill, flavoring homemade pickled veggies packed and aged in the fridge, a small spoonful on hot, steamed rice, as an amplified sauce for pork katsu, fortifying a rich broth for udon or ramen or stirred into a warm pot of dashi broth with the usual suspects.

THE RECIPE ~ MISO SOUP INGREDIENTS 2 ½ cups water 3” x 3” piece kombu seaweed, rinsed 1 tablespoon loosely-packed katsuoboshi (thin shavings of dried, smoked tuna)* 1-2 tablespoons miso paste (shiro is pictured), to taste As much as you prefer of the Usual Suspects: dried wakame seaweed, cubes of soft tofu, brown clamshell mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced green onion DIRECTIONS Place a good-sized pinch of wakame in a small bowl, add enough water to cover. Set aside. Bring the water to a boil, add the kombu pieces and katsuobushi. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook about 3 minutes and strain. Congrats, you’ve made dashi! This can be chilled and kept refrigerated 3-7 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Simmer the strained dashi stock in a 1-quart pot and stir in miso paste. Avoid clumps of miso paste – loosen the paste by mixing with hot broth in a small bowl, then stir it all back in. TIP: My grandmother would partially immerse a small mesh strainer in the broth and use a spoon to press the paste. Do NOT boil the miso, simply keep it hot. Add and cook mushrooms, then stir in remaining ingredients and serve immediately. Have a Zen moment noticing the moya (misty), cloud-like ball of soup form in your bowl as the solids settle in a wonderfully scientific manner. Stir up this moya moya and enjoy! *Traditionally, substantially more katsuobushi added, about 3 parts to 4 parts water, but I felt like adding less. Also, leaving out the katsuobushi is perfectly fine. You can keep it strictly a kombu dashi or use (shitake) mushroom stalks to up the umami.


la e or o e ade i o o

P oto y

i i a ert



local pints




elcome to the next level of the Texas craft brewing revolution. At the gateway to the Central Texas Wine Trail in Driftwood, Kent and Karen Killough offer up local brews, food and music at Vista Brewing Company – along with hyper-friendly hospitality. The Killoughs always had a love of hospitality. But when Kent accepted a position in finance that took them from Austin to England, they were enchanted by friendly pubs called “locals” – places to meet friends, enjoy local brews and live music. They returned with a vision – not to recreate an English pub, but to create world class beer amid local warmth and family atmosphere with a Texas flair – incorporating the very essence of the Hill Country. They also understood that to make world class beer, they needed a world class brewer. They found Josh Watterson, a graduate of the World Brewing Academy, an alliance established by the Doemens Academy in Munich and the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago. Josh was grounded in traditional German brewing. He honed his fermentation skills in top wineries of Willamette Valley and at Bridgeport Brewing in Oregon and won 38 national and international brewing competition awards, culminating in Brewer of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival of 2014. He was thrilled to join the Killoughs at Vista Brewing, where everything starts with the land.


Vista Brewing’s 21 acres, originally granted to Alamo Commander William Barrett Travis, had been occupied by generations of Hill Country ranchers. The couple went to work restoring the integrity of the land, including the historic stone wall, preserving the natural beauty and ecology. “With everything that’s been built here,” Kent explained, gesturing at the airy, glassed-in tap room and the brewery building, “of the 657 trees which were on the property, there are 641 still standing.” Those 16 felled trees remain onsite. The bench we were sitting on, the table and the bar were all fashioned from the felled trees. 44

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(Photo courtesy)

Even the water for the 20-barrel Corvallis brewing system comes from an aquifer-fed, 450-ft-deep well. The water is used in its natural state. “All we do is run it through a charcoal filter. We leave the minerals in and utilize it in the framework of our beers, working around the mineral profile. Most of the minerals are absorbed by the yeast,” Josh said. Vista Brewery’s Adair, a Kolsch named for Kent’s mom, features a light, lager profile, with fruity notes and finished with German Noble hops. “I don’t get funky with, say, watermelon rind and cucumbers,” he explained. “I just keep going back to the German Kolsch base malt and Wye yeast. I like to keep the lagers delicate.” What is new to the brewer are indigenous ingredients foraged on the property like persimmons, agarita berries and prickly pear. Lady Bird, a Bière de Garde (beer for keeping) or traditional farmhouse ale, is infused with a spice unique to Vista’s neck of the woods called papaloquelite, from the Nahuatl word for butterfly. Another brew dubbed Dream Weaver incorporates wildflower honey from Vista’s 16 beehives. “The honey was never heat-treated, so the yeast loved it,” Josh said. An organic one-acre farm provides most of the vegetables on the restaurant’s menu which features seasonal sandwiches, soups and salads. Vases of zinnias and sunflowers from the garden decorate the tables. The beef, pork, and lamb come from neighboring ranches, the spent grain from brewing goes to local farmers to feed cattle, pigs and sheep. Even the saison beers are aged in local repurposed wine barrels. Looking through a wall of glass onto the beer garden, sheltered by live oaks, it’s easy to imagine sitting here, watching daylight fade and listening to Texas singer-songwriters who perform here regularly. Soon Vista’s hospitality will include a “Leave in the Morning” experience with overnight accommodations in tiny houses. When dinner’s over, the last pint’s been raised and the music dies down, guests can “stay all night” at this Hill Country haven. To learn more and get updates about the “Leave in the Morning” experience, visit vistabrewingtx.com. ~ J.E. Jordan


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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 @marcy_ epperson and follow on Facebook @Heritage Beef to learn more about ranch life.


uring the short, chilly days of winter, nothing is more satisfying to the body and soul than a steaming, fragrant bowl of Caldo de Res (Mexican beef stew). Across South Texas, when the mercury drops, those deep soup pots magically find their spots on the stove. Hearty, warming and comforting, this delicious stew is a perfect balance of light beefy broth, vegetables and meat. Super hungry? Have more potatoes and meat. Want a lighter meal? Sip the broth. Caldo de Res is one of those go-to recipes for me – and I’m so lucky to have my own grass finished beef and bones handy whenever the mood (or the weather) strikes. After the first cold front of substance this fall, I made my way to our tiny grocery store for cabbage to make caldo. !Pero no! All the cabbage was gone, and there was none in the back, nor was there any cabbage to be found in Del Rio at all the next day. Clearly everyone was celebrating the crisp weather with pots of caldo – everyone except us, though, thanks to the run on cabbage! (Who knew cabbage would have such a day of glory?!) For the next cold front, I was ready. I was determined to beat everyone to the cabbage section. I triumphantly grabbed a beautiful head of cabbage, a few other ingredients and headed home. My joy was palpable. Within minutes of getting home, I started the soup and the comforting, familiar aroma of caldo wafted throughout the house. Two hours later, we had a lovely, simmering pot of caldo which was enough to feed us and a ranch guest for two days. Freeze the leftovers to have whenever a broth is needed. With the colder temps on their way, here’s all you need to stay warm and happy.

Ms. Epperson’s caldo is the certain cure for the winter blues. (Photo by Marcy Epperson)

CALDO DE RES INGREDIENTS 2 pounds stew meat 2 pounds soup bones with marrow (optional) 1 medium onion, chopped 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped 2-3 ripe tomatoes, rough chopped (or substitute 1 can chopped tomatoes) 4 potatoes, quartered 2 carrots, peeled and sliced (optional) 4 ears corn, halved 1 stick celery (or two, sliced into 2-3” lengths, strings removed) 1/2 bunch cilantro 4-6 cups chopped cabbage DIRECTIONS Put meat and soup bones into a large heavy stock pot, cover with water. Bring to a boil, then add onion, garlic, tomatoes and celery. Boil gently for about one hour, then add potatoes, corn, carrots, cilantro and cabbage. Cook until potatoes are tender. Salt to taste. Ladle into large bowls. Serve with fresh corn tortillas or cornbread and butter. Enjoy! ediblesanantonio.com



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sommelier says


THE UNCOMMON CONNOISSEUR BY JENNIFER BECKMANN, CERTIFIED SOMMELIER & CSW We all have that friend – the one who’s been inundated with decorative bottle stoppers, travel wine bags and those not-so-adorable wine glass charms. Here are three gift ideas to delight the most eclectic wine aficionado in your life during the holidays or any time at all.


Few frustrations in the wine world match crumbling cork. The traditional tool to use for this case is the ‘ah-so,’ a two-pronged instrument. Its dual prongs slide between the cork and the inside of the bottle, gently hugging the fragile cork as you pull – a test of dexterity and patience. With a normal corkscrew, downward pressure can totally degrade the cork, crumbling it into the bottle. Enter the hybrid cork remover, The Durand. Brilliantly designed to include a helix corkscrew and a two-pronged ah-so, this is, without question, a dream come true for collectors with older bottles. With this gadget, a stabilizer bar assists the helix corkscrew by resting across the opening of the bottle. The two-pronged ah-so is then gently inserted around the cork and pushed down until the hand rests on top of the stabilizer bar. The added support of both systems allows removal of the cork without crumbling or much manual dexterity. This tool is the one most coveted by wine hosts around the world. For more information or to purchase, visit thedurand.com. Sells for about $125


There are meals where the spicy, high alcohol and jammy notes of California Zinfandel may compliment one course and the elegant and the nuanced beauty of a Burgundian Pinot Noir are perfect for the next. But committing full bottles means sacrificing some wine to oxidation. But now, the wine lover in your life can pour a single glass from any bottle without pulling

the cork. THE CORAVIN is a wine preservation system that inserts a needle through the cork, allowing the juice to pour through a pressurized spout. Unwanted oxygen is replaced with Argon, an inert gas, so the wine remains unharmed by oxidation for weeks to months as opposed to days. The system comes in several styles and prices to fit the needs of every wine collector. To learn more, visit Coravin.com. Remember to raise a glass with loved ones to savor sweet, shared memories. Open that bottle that reserved for a special occasion, eat every last cookie on the plate and always remember that wine brings us all closer – the naughty and the nice!


Following the ‘Somm’ movie craze, wine professionals and enthusiasts alike were inspired to hone their blind tasting skills. Whether viewed as a unique sensory gift or a great party trick, the ability to identify a wine by variety, origin and vintage by tasting is an impressive skill. But for the ultimate blind tasting test, the wine lover in your life needs the Riedel Sommeliers Blind Blind Tasting Glass. Each 13-ounce glass is made of opaque black blown crystal, obfuscating all visual cues. More than just a test of skill, the glass doubles as a learning tool to help exercise other senses, as well -- a perfect gift for those with sommelier dreams. For more information or to purchase, visit Riedel.com or Amazon.com, search for Sommelier Blind Blind Tasting Glass. Sells for about $79-95.



the last bite



f a restaurant uses the word “truffle” on a menu – assuming you order items priced under two digits – you can be pretty sure that the food will not contain truffle. How much should a truffle cost? It depends how far down the ladder you’re willing to go. The current price for Alba white truffles (unquestionably the king of this food) is $1030 a pound – that’s 25 percent cheaper than last year due to heavy rains and ideal conditions. In a fine dining restaurant such as Gwendolyn, truffles are THE most revered, recognizable ingredient we can carry. Finer than caviar. Finer than gold forks. It is a mark of … I don’t know … legitimacy, or maybe even dignity. Dude, here’s an Alba truffle. Welcome to the varsity team. But truffle products, like people, come in a variety of shades from drop-dead serious to complete B.S. If you can’t pay $60 or $80 an ounce for the best, there are steps down through inferior grades of truffles (okay) to lesser known species (meh) or countries of origin, to domestic (even farm-raised!) truffles, to chips and shreds, to dried or canned (eek!) and finally, at the bottom … truffle oil – typically no truffle, but synthetically flavored with 2,4-dithiapentane. I have little interest in splitting hairs between living truffles (you get what you pay for), but the case of 2,4-dithiapentane presents an interesting philosophical wedge. All species of truffles contain a whirlwind of aromatic chemical compounds – but the most identifiable is 2,4-dithiapentane (an organosulfur derivative of formaldehyde). The point is when you touch a toothpick to 2,4-dithiapentane and touch your tongue, your brain SCREAMS truffles. Kapow. As a chef, this is something like a superpower: I can make something burst with flavor where there wasn’t any. While there are lots of other nuanced chemicals that make up the unique and widely varying flavor of truffle, this is the one that doesn’t just hit the nail on the head but explodes the two-by-four, blasts through four sheets of drywall and into the neighbor’s attic window. With its chief constituent, we can out-truffle a truffle several thousand times over. If you’re in the market for


edible San Antonio


truffle eating, and I’m in the business of serving them to you, the existence of this superpower poses an ethical risk: my ability to lie to you – to manufacture the impression that I am serving you truffles – vastly increases. And all over this country, as the “T” word gets hipper and hotter, you can be sure this fraud will be the order of the day. (It’s worth noting our country’s labeling laws do not protect you from anyone using the words “truffle flavor” or “truffle concentrate” on any menu or bottle regardless of contents.) But what about those who are not in the market? Under normal circumstances, most human souls would never have the chance to have a fresh slice of truffle from Alba cross their lips. But the flavor, like that first kiss, is unforgettable and even life changing. If you ever get to experience it, you will not be the same person. Concerning those who have little chance of tasting the real thing, is it better to share the fake stuff (dirty light), or would it be more ethical to withhold it (clean dark)? Is it better to introduce a good thing in caricature or not at all? I once stood strong on this point of purity, but if we’re talking about a purity people can’t get, well then, I’m not so sure. If you could only hear Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor on kazoo … do we take it or leave it? I love truffle fries, drowned in grated (real) Parmigiano Reggiano, chopped parsley and “truffle” oil. But I enjoy them from an informed point of view. I have no shred of suspicion that I am eating truffles. I drizzle the oil over soup or fold it into mashed potatoes to get that “Thwang!” of truffle I crave. It forces me to drag into question other artificial flavors under the same circumstance. I’ve taught food classes to little kids from inner city schools, wherein I fed them a “real” strawberry – and there’s always one kid who says something like, “pssht, that’s not strawberry.” I stumble, less sure of myself. Maybe that little boy’s truth is stronger than my truth: the artificial flavor of his strawberry Kool-Aid more powerful, and though it hurts to say, more authentic, to his life than the real one I brought him. Truth be told, I’d be hard pressed to find a tomato that fits my definition of a “real” tomato in his world (or in mine, for that matter). In the privacy of my truck I sip a strawberry soda to experience that “bang” that is my student’s only measurable reference to strawberry, which I compare to the flavor of that grocery store strawberry I gave him, picked green 1000 miles away, three weeks ago … which tasted like the cardboard it was packed in. No wonder his opinion is so low. How “real” was the real I provided? How real was his? When it comes down to it, I guess I would rather have served the artificial than nothing, with an explanation that the real thing is out there – and that it is more complex, more magical and undeniably better in some way that I can’t quite explain.

W AT E R L O O W AT E R L O O N O. 9 G I N N O. 9 G I N A G AI N GW I NI TW H I TP HR EPSREENSCEEN C E Resisting Resisting convention. convention. NeverNever surrendering surrendering to tradition. to tradition. We could We could have have mademade another another London London dry gin—but dry gin—but TreatyTreaty Oak is Oak intently is intently focused focused on creating on creating the flavors the flavors of now of now and here. and here. We wanted We wanted to create to create a spirit a spirit that that invoked invoked as much as much art asart science. as science. So weSo infused we infused it with it with the pecans the pecans and juniper, and juniper, grapefruit grapefruit and lavender and lavender that that taste taste like Texas. like Texas. It took It took training training our minds our minds to collectively to collectively believe believe that that refining refining spirits spirits means means distilling distilling presence. presence.

edible S A


san antonio®

eat. drink. celebrate!

The Holiday Issue Issue No. 31

2019 san antonio cocktail conference san antonio, unesco creative city of gastronomy