Edible San Antonio Spring 2023

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edible SAN ANTONIO No. 40 Spring 2023 LET'S FIESTA SPRING 2023 | Issue 40

Did you know you can help regenerate America’s grasslands while having nutrient-dense pastured products delivered to your door? In fact, for every box you purchase we will seed 100 milkweed plants giving the Monarch Butterfly a fighting chance on their epic migration. The population of these endangered pollinators have been declining for decades but together we can reverse that trend by restoring habitat in their migration corridor.

ediblesanantonio.com 1 ii Spring 2023 EATREP.COM
VERIFIED REGENERATIVE Delivering healthier meats for a happier planet. Combat Veteran-Owned Business Black-Owned Business Award-winning Wines Beautiful Wedding & Venue Space Open to Public Saturdays & Sundays 1-5pm 7590 Old Spring Branch Rd. Spring Branch, TX 78070 830-885-2963 KaiSimoneWinery.com CONTENTS 2 FROM THE EDITOR 6 WHAT'S ON OUR COUNTER 8 NOTABLE EDIBLES What's Happening Around San Antonio 14 LOCAL LEGENDS Fiesta! 18 FARMERS MARKET Alamo Heights Farmers Market 20 SPOTLIGHT ON LOCAL Ladino 22 EDIBLE ENDEAVOR The Magpie 28 EDIBLE ENDEAVOR Kai-Simone 31 EDIBLE INK 34 EDIBLE ENDEAVOR Celzo 36 FARMER'S DIARY Zanzenberg Farm COVER Blackberry Compote Parfait (photo by Heather Barnes) THIS PAGE Fiesta (photo by Feista San Antonio Commission) Butter Lettuce Salad (photo by Heather Barnes) RECIPES IN THIS ISSUE 24 BLACKBERRY COMPOTE PARFAIT WITH BASIL INFUSED WHIPPED CREAM 26 BUTTER LETTUCE SALAD WITH ROASTED CARROTS AND BEETS AND FRESH CILANTRO 40 CHILLED ZUCCHINI AND ROASTED POBLANO SOUP Spring 26 14

Welcome to the inaugural issue of the rebooted Edible San Antonio magazine, wholly dedicated to exploring the vibrant food scene of this city. Special thanks to our new publisher, Monique Threadgill, and associate publisher, Ralph Yznaga, also of Edible Austin and Edible Houston, for bringing us into the family.

As a resident of San Antonio for over 25 years, I have long been struck by the diversity and richness of the city’s local culinary traditions. From the ancient influence of the native people, rich Hispanic heritage and immigrants like the Canary Islanders to Tex-Mex, traditional Texas barbecue and contemporary fusion cuisine, San Antonio is a food lover's paradise.

When I first moved here in 1996 my cousin and I used to frequent places like Bennigan’s and Jason’s Deli. While I still dream about those potato skins, I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing our city grow by leaps and bounds when it comes to culinary offerings and the skilled chefs that go above and beyond to serve innovative, scratch-made cuisine.

I’ve been shopping at the Pearl Farmers Market since its inception, when there were but a few tried and true farmers and food and product vendors, and parking was easy to find and free.

It’s undeniable the impact that the Culinary Institute of America has had on our city. So many of the students who have gone through the program have made a name for themselves and helped elevate our city in the process.

Having relocated from Longview, Washington, where my hometown favorite, Bruno’s Pizza, was the height of weekend dining, I have always been ecstatic about our Tex-Mex and Mexican food here. You can (almost) literally throw a stone and hit a legit taqueria with all the goods like caldo de pollo, street tacos and enchiladas. However, I adore the fact that now so many more cuisines are being represented in San Antonio, and in such a phenomenal way. We have Sichuanese, Vietnamese, Caribbean, Italian, French and more. Whatever you crave, we’ve got it!

In our spring issue, we are happy to showcase some of the most beloved and buzzed about restaurants, chefs and food experiences — from our world-renowned, historically-significant, weeks-long Fiesta to trendy new eateries and showstoppers like Ladino, which perfectly exemplifies the aforementioned diversity.

In our Notable Edibles section, we’re bringing you the inside scoop on all the delicious happenings, including our fellow food writer and gourmand, Julia Celeste Rosenfeld’s scintillating new cookbook, “San Antonio Eats,” featuring top local chefs and restaurants. In What’s on Our Counter, we are showcasing some hot tips by local makers, including how to beat the dreaded cedar fever.

So keep us on your counter for the latest culinary news. We hope that this magazine will serve as a guide to all the tasty experiences this city has to offer, and that it will inspire you to explore and appreciate the glorious culinary mélange that San Antonio has become. Thank you for joining us on this edible journey. Bon appétit!


Monique Threadgill monique@edibleaustin.com


Ralph Yznaga ralph@edibleaustin.com


Kimberly Suta kimberly@ediblesanantonio.com


Claire Cella Stacey Ingram Kaleh


Heather Barnes

Olivier J. Bourgoin

Ashley Brown

Karina Mackow

Nathan Mattise

Eileen Pace

Emily Treadway


Heather Barnes

Luci Cooper

Karina Mackow

Patty Robertson

ADVERTISING SALES info@ediblesanantonio.com

CONTACT US: 512-441-3971 info@ediblesanantonio.com ediblesanantonio.com

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San Antonio is published by ATX Publications LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be used without written permission of the publisher. ©2023. Every effort is made to avoid errors, misspellings and omissions. If, however, an error comes to your attention, please accept our apologies and notify us. Edible San Antonio is a member of Edible Communities.
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Texas Mushroom Monks

Mushrooms aren’t just good for omelets, stir frys and soup! Using natural healing methods passed down over the course of a thousand years, Texas Mushroom Monks is making the circuit around San Antonio and sharing their stories of healing. Found at the Healin g Arts Festival, Farmers Market at Wonderland Mall, Garden Ridge Market Days, Shavano Farmers Market and others, the owners, Barbi Holstlaw and her husband Tom, are happy to educate us on the myriad health benefits of medicinal mushrooms. From reducing inflammation to creating younger-looking skin, easing fibromyalgia pain and increasing brain function, different mushrooms have different health benefits. For instance, the Cordyceps militaris mushroom with culinary grade gourmet black ants has been cited in medical studies as possibly boosting exercise performance, improving symptoms of Type 2 diabetes and fighting tumors. Some other benefits of eating mushrooms may include help with bronchitis, anemia, kidney and liver disorders, and even reduce the side-effects of some cancer treatments. In even more exciting news, Blue Box, an upscale bar at the Historic Pearl, will be rolling out mushroom-infused cocktails on their spring menu. Called Monk Cocktails, they are made with Texas Mushroom Monk’s mushrooms such as fresh lion’s mane, chaga and cordyceps. Texas Mushroom Monks can even help you grow your own mushrooms with starter kits they sell at the markets. Orders can also be placed via their online shop. texasmushroommonks.com

JD’s Chili Parlor Chilified BBQ Sauces

Who doesn’t like BBQ with all the fixin's? Lately, we’ve noticed some “hot” additions to the JD’s Chili Parlor’s collection of chilified sauces. Their signature five-pepper blend has now found its way into a line of exhilarating BBQ sauces. JD’s Original is made with molasses, brown sugar and honey and has, not surprisingly, quickly become a favorite among San Antonio cue-meisters. With a spicy profile and five-pepper blend, JD’s Original has always been a chili kicker! Known for their creative flair with Americana fusions, JD’s has brought several more flavors that chili-kick these sauces into the next stratosphere. Meat, like chicken and ribs, loves the Blackberry Chipotle, which pairs perfectly with the subtly smoky chipotle and sweet blackberries, but truth be told, this agave-based BBQ sauce elevates every dish it graces. Another fan favorite, particularly for BBQ lovers that like to play with fire, is the Honey Hot Habanero. This sweet locally-sourced honey and spicy habanero sauce brings a sneaky back-end heat that will knock your socks off … just a little bit. It goes exceptionally well with brisket, pork butt and ribs, and is the answer to a killer wing sauce. JD’s sauces are available at the Alamo Heights Farmers Market, New Braunfels Farmers Market, select boutique shops, H-E-B stores and online, although please note that not all sauces are available at all locations.


CedarX, Allergy Relief, and Mold Relief Formulas from Integrative Healing Institute

“Cedar fever” describes San Antonio and the Texas Hill Country’s worst allergy season and never seems far from taking us down for the count. Every year, thousands of Texans get slammed with sneezing, itchy eyes, sinus headaches and fatigue — symptoms of allergies to the massive amounts of pollen blown southward on the wings of Arctic cold fronts. The good news is relief is imminent, thanks to the Integrative Healing Institute of San Antonio, which created a solution called CedarX. This blend of organic essential oils is natural and easy to use. Simply apply a drop of the oil to your wrists, rub together and inhale. The company also offers an allergy relief formula and mold relief formula, because we know that in South and Central Texas there’s no shortage of things to sneeze at. IHI’s fascinating health products use organic herbs and homeopathy and are completely safe to use. CedarX and other allergy formulas can be found at Rhonda’s Nature’s Way, Good Stuff, Gardenville Health Food Store, Fifi and Fidos, Greener Grooming and H-E-B. All of the products can also be purchased online, with free shipping for orders over $30. Ihisa.com

Urban Tree Company

If you have a home cook or chef in your house, consider a special gift (even if it’s for yourself) from Urban Tree Company. The owners of this uniquely sustainable business are arborists who decided to do something good for the environment, not to mention the local economy. The company works with cities, homeowners and neighborhoods in the San Antonio area to source local oak, pecan, mesquite and cedar trees. Urban Tree artisans then mill the wood and transform it into fine home goods, furniture, children’s toys and stunning wood jewelry. Kitchen offerings include finely-crafted cutting boards, serving platters, salt urns, elegant sushi sets and utensils in a variety of beautiful designs. Get ready to amp up your cooking game! As arborists, the company also offers tree service and tree health services for homeowners, as well as firewood at reasonable prices.


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Left Page Top: Photo by JD's Chili Parlor Left Page Bottom: Texas Mushroom Monks Above: Photo by CedarX Left: Photo by Urban Tree Company
Eileen Pace is a lifelong broadcast journalist with multiple awards for her stories that aired on radio stations around the state and NPR affiliates across the country. She lives in San Antonio with her Schnoodle, Argentina, and volunteers as a canine foster mom, and is working toward certification as a tour guide to show off San Antonio and the Texas Hill Country to out-of-town visitors.


well as featured chefs’ restaurants, you will inevitably wow your friends and family with these new recipes at your next get-together.


Taste the seasons of Texas with pop-up Naibor, led by chef Ian Lanphear. Noted for its style, creativity and sustainability efforts, Naibor’s dining experience centers around the calendar with inspiration pulled from the freshest seasonal foods, from wild foraged edibles to locally-sourced goods, produce and meats. Naibor also strives for zero food waste through preservation practices such as fermentation and charcuterie. For unique and innovative flavors of Texas like beer-braised turnips, chilled radish and buttermilk soup, and chanterelle and fig leaf ice cream, check out dates and locations for Naibor’s next pop-up online. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook at @naibor.tx.


It’s a thrilling time when more and more women in esteemed fields are getting the recognition they supremely deserve. There are few industries that are more challenging for a woman to make headway in than the culinary industry, so we are excited to learn about the James Beard Foundation’s list of semifinalists for 2023. Chef Nicola Blaque of the popular Jerk Shack was nominated for Best Chef, Texas; pastry chef Anne Ng (along with partner, Jeremy Mandrel) of beloved Bakery Lorraine was nominated for Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker; and chef Jennifer Hwa

Dobbertin of Best Quality Daughter was nominated for Emerging Chef. Congratulations are also owed to powerhouse chef John Russ of Clementine, who was also nominated for Best Chef, Texas, along with the wonder trio — Andrew Ho, Andrew Samia and Sean Wen of Curry Boys BBQ. Finally, Weathered Souls Brewing Co. was nominated for Outstanding Bar. Keep an eye out for the finalists

announcement this March and the winners announcement in June. We have our fingers and toes crossed for y‘all!

For more details, visit jamesbeard.org


For the true flavor of San Antonio, head to your local bookstore — yes, the bookstore. “San Antonio Cooks” is a new cookbook by Julia Rosenfeld and Figure 1 Publishing featuring over 80 diverse recipes from the city’s leading chefs and culinary hot spots. The colorful cookbook includes mouthwatering appetizers, main dishes and sides, as well as luscious desserts. From Texas staples like cornbread, barbacoa, and Mexican street corn, to a twist on old favorites like chocolate banana cream pie and soon-to-be new favorites like bacon jam deviled eggs, Asian dumplings and watermelon and elderflower sorbet, there are recipes for all tastes and budgets. Available at local bookstores as


Waffles on a stick?! If you’ve been wondering where these have been all your life, then wonder no longer. What the Waffle food truck and catering company is now located at The CO-OP SA on 11911 Crosswinds Way. Veteran owned and operated, What the Waffle is also a family business with children of owners Greg Jones and William Clay Brown pitching in as taste testers. Kids love the colorful Party Pop waffle, which is rolled in Fruity PEBBLES™ cereal. Other customer favorites include the Cinna Munsta, which resembles a churro sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, and the Shakin Bacon, a sweet and savory blend of applewood-smoked maple bacon inside and out, topped with maple syrup and powdered sugar. Chicken wings and tenders were added to the menu two years ago. Waffles are made from scratch and the chicken is brined for 24 hours in a proprietary blend of over a dozen herbs and spices. Seeing the smiles and customers’ expressions when they take that first bite of WTW’s chicken and waffles with a twist is what keeps this dynamic duo going! Who doesn’t want to support a business that encourages you to eat dessert first?! Delivery of What the Waffle is now available through Grubhub.

For more information, follow What the Waffle on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @whatthewafflesa.

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Left Upper Page: Anne Ng & Jeremy Mandel photo by Josh Huskin Left Lower Page: Photo by San Antonio Cooks Top Right Page: Naibor photo by @kelseaizzabee Middle & Lower Right: Photos by What the Waffle


Have your cake and eat it too with Cakes by Felicia. From cookies to conchas to custom-ordered 3D sculpted cakes, Cakes by Felicia bakes all desserts in-house from scratch. But if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary for your next special occasion, try one of their famous Belgian chocolate high heels filled with mini cupcakes or chocolate covered strawberries (optional add-ons include mini chocolate bottles of wine or tequila).

Packaged in a chic red bag with a see-through window, this treat is sure to send someone head over heels. Cakes by Felicia is located inside Folklores Coffee House at 1526 E. Grayson Street.

Visit them in person or online at cakesbyfelicia.com. You can also follow them on Facebook at Cakes by Felicia or on Instagram @cakesbyfeliciasa.


Shop smart — with smart shopping carts!

The Whole Foods Market located in the Vineyard Shopping Center at 18403 Blanco Road is one of three Whole Foods nationwide to test out the new technology of the Amazon Dash Cart. Sign in and access one of the 30 available carts by using the QR code in the Amazon app for a completely new shopping experience. Unlike traditional shopping carts, Dash Carts have camera sensors that scan items and weigh produce, while a digital screen displays and tracks spending in real time. Check out through a designated lane where payment is processed by credit card attached to either a Whole Foods or Amazon account. Don’t wait, shop smarter today! For more info, go to wholefoodsmarket.com.


If you like hearing about food as much as you like eating it, then listen up! The Mirepoix is a live, food-centric podcast brought to you by local industry professionals, Chef Kaius of The Chef Kaius Xperience and Gilberto Valdes of The Gild. The Mirepoix is a French word for a mixture of finely diced vegetables, such as celery, onions and carrots, used as the seasoning base for meat or sauce dishes. Listen to Kaius and Valdes mix it up live as they share behind-the-scenes stories of their experiences in the food industry and catering arenas. They also discuss their journeys as minorities in the field and how it has shaped them as chefs, caterers and consummate professionals. Each podcast episode features a “Ketchup” review of the week and a history lesson on a particular food dish and cocktail, as well as what they’re famous for — food! The Mirepoix airs on YouTube Monday nights at 7:30 p.m. or you can find the shows on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Learn more about Chef Kaius at thechefkaiusexperience.com, Instagram @chefkaius, or Facebook at Home Chef Kaius. Follow The Gild on Instagram @TheGildTX.

As soon as she learned to read and write, that's all Emily Treadway wanted to do. She loves Texas history and, while she hates cooking, she loves eating, especially the diverse tastes and flavors of Texas cuisine.


First introduced to San Antonio in 2011 at the Quarry Farmers & Ranchers Market, Ming’s Thing sold sausages, sauces and pickled foods. The following year, Ming’s expanded its menu and began offering catering services.

Now located near the Historic Pearl at 914 Elmira Street, Ming’s has a roomy dining area and patio for its customers where it still serves the same great food, including their to-diefor steamed buns with pork belly, as well as chilled and hot noodle dishes dressed in tons of gorgeous fresh veggies. Ming’s menu has something for everyone, from a kids’ menu to a drink list offering Japanese and Asian brands of sake, wine and beer. To celebrate the Chinese New Year, Ming’s presents two new specials: clam bàng soup and mógū mushroom soup. Try one or both! We also recommend ordering the Thai soup with sweet potato noodles (instead of rice), pork belly and a century egg. Ming’s caters weddings, office parties and other special events.


Go Fish Market is “off the hook!” A threein-one stop located at 125 W. Grayson Street just east of the Historic Pearl, Go Fish Market is part restaurant, part wine bar and part seafood market. Go Fish reels in a brand-new look and original bites for San Antonio. For a special dinner cooked at home, swing by the market for fresh seafood. If you’re celebrating with a night out, order from a wine list offering 60 wines and 11 sakes, all personally sampled and selected by the staff. The food menu has something for everyone, from sashimi, oysters and fish tacos to traditional fish and chips — which is anything but traditional! New to San Antonio, Go Fish also introduces a cured and dry-aged fish process, which promises a scrumptious experience with every nibble.

For more information, visit gofishmkt.com or follow them on Facebook and Instagram at @gofishmarket.

For more information, visit mingsthing.com or follow them on Facebook and Instagram @mingsthing.

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Left Page Top: Photo by Felicia's Cakes Left Page Right: Photo by Whole Foods Right Page Top & Middle Left: Photos by The Mirepoix Right Page Top Right: Photo by MIng's Thing! Right Page Middle & Lower:
Photos by Go Fish Market
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P arty L ife


There are parties and then there are Parties with a capital P! Numerous cities around the globe are well versed at “putting on The Ritz” with world-renowned signature events. Rio de Janeiro has Carnival and New Orleans celebrates Mardi Gras with a savvy mixture of class and extravagant debauchery. Then there are those more obscure events that are celebrated just as fervently by those faithful to their traditions.

Philadelphia has its New Year’s Day Mummers Parade

(the oldest continuous folk parade in the U.S.). The walled city of Siena, in Italy, puts on the craziest horse race I’ve ever seen, called Il Palio. Jockeys dressed in medieval costumes ride bareback at breakneck speed around the town’s main plaza while jam-packed crowds cheer them on from the periphery of the plaza.

And then, there is something special, something so very uniquely our own, and that’s Fiesta San Antonio, which takes place this year from April 20th through the 30th.

What began with a meeting of a small group of San Antonio high society women in Alamo Plaza, with horse buggies and baby strollers colorfully decorated with flowers that were then playfully thrown at each other, has grown to encompass a multitude of citywide events that run

the gamut from grandiose to irreverent. It’s a party that takes over the entire city, as locals already know. Fiesta is simply synonymous with San Antonio.

Although from humble beginnings, San Antonio now takes its Fiesta very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that numerous businesses, banks and schools shut down on the day of a premier event known as The Battle of Flowers Parade, named after that initial flower throwing affair.

Although there are several other notable parades that take place during Fiesta, The Battle of Flowers is the second largest annual parade in the United States. It began in 1891 to commemorate the battles of the Alamo and of San Jacinto. Interestingly, Fiesta, as it has been known since 1960, was first called Carnival, then Spring Carnival.

As far as parades are concerned, another renowned feature of our city is the San Antonio River and its world famous River Walk. A stroll down the River Walk is always a pleasant adventure. It really comes alive in all its splendor during the holiday season and also, you guessed it, during Fiesta when it is home to the Texas Cavaliers River Parade.

No matter what type of entertainment you’re looking for, there will be something for everyone at Fiesta. From family fun to adult humor, live music and dancing, multiple parades, fanfare, glitzy costumes … and, oh, the food!

Food and Fiesta are forever conjoined. All things Fiesta-related cannot fail to remind us of food. The word “fiesta” itself is now embedded in the city’s DNA. There’s even the homegrown Bolner’s Fiesta Brand of Spices, which was founded in 1955 by San Antonio native Clifton Bolner.

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Photos by Fiesta San Antonio Commission

But “fiesta” literally means “feast,” and feast implies food and drink and in copious amounts. One of the most well known events is NIOSA, which stands for “A Night In Old San Antonio.” This year will be its 75th anniversary and, as mentioned, tons of food and many gallons of adult beverages will be consumed (and spilled) during this four-night celebration of our city’s multicultural heritage. Gourmet foods are not the focus here, but rather popular party eats that represent a variety of cuisines. Anything on a stick goes!

Similar types of food are available at various other events, such as the popular King William Fair. If you love oysters, there’s also the longrunning St. Mary’s University Oyster Bake or A Taste of New Orleans, which celebrates the influence of the French culture in Texas. This one is always a favorite with Cajun staples, such as jambalaya, red beans and rice, and crawfish.

For those looking for a bit more than party food, there is the Champagne & Diamonds party held in the Rosenberg Skyroom at the University of the Incarnate Word, which raises money for college and trade school scholarships, as well as for donations to the University Hospital nursing program.

In recent years, food enthusiasts have flocked to chef Brian West’s A Taste of the Republic event, which is meant to interpret the “Six Food Republics of Texas” and features other top chefs like Braunda Smith of Lucy Cooper’s Ice House, gourmet bites and all the libations you desire. This year’s event will take place at The Alamo and is a fantastic way to kickoff Fiesta.

Regardless of your preferences, come one, come all and join in on this world-class fun and food regalia.

Find out more on upcoming Fiesta events at fiestasanantonio.org.

Olivier J. Bourgoin has been a wine broker and consultant, as well as a freelance writer, who has been involved in these industries in and around the greater San Antonio area for more than 25 years. A native of France with family roots deep in the wine producing region of Burgundy (known as the cradle of the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grape varieties), he is known as “Olivier The Wine Guy” and was featured as such on a local weekly radio segment for 20 years.

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Left Page: Photos by Lucy Cooper's Middle & Right Page: Photos by Fiesta San Antonio Commission



The Alamo Heights Farmers Market, located in the parking lot near Whole Foods at the Quarry Market, is dedicated to providing “local food for local people.”

“We’ve always been focused on local,” says owner and market manager, Danielle Rodriguez. “We’re the market that doesn’t aim for tourists, but every day San Antonio residents.”

Rodriguez says the market’s repeat customers love the location’s convenience and its ease of parking.

“Plus, they know they can trust the quality and have built relationships with the vendors. Everyone knows each other by first name. It’s a tight community,” she says.

In fact, this has been my primary go-to market for the past few years, largely due to its convenience. If I’m in a hurry, I can be in and out in no time. I can also attest to the fact that visiting with the vendors is one of the reasons why I continue to go back. Not only are they knowledgeable about their products and often food in general, but they are also simply good people making incredible products.

There’s just something inherently special about buying food directly from the people who grow it and make it. In this environment, transparency is prioritized, unlike at some corporate grocery stores, where you have no idea who’s making your food, how they are making it and with what ingredients. These vendors welcome questions about their products and the vendor options run the gamut but typically don’t repeat.

“We will forever and always be a ‘farmers’ market. There’s a reason why we don’t have arts and crafts. You’re getting to meet the people who

are picking your produce, usually fresh that day, before they go to the market,” says Rodriguez.

The Alamo Heights Farmers Market has two consistent farmer vendors, 9-1 Produce and Wholesome Harvest Farm, that bring a variety of the freshest, locally grown seasonal veggies, from greens like kale and bok choy to squash, okra, tomatoes, sprouts and so much more. They often have jams and pickles as well as chicken and duck eggs.

AHFM includes ranchers too. B Healthy Meats pops up with high-quality Texas Longhorn grass-fed beef. I typically buy the ground beef

with an all-beef patty, blistered tomatoes, spring mix, fig jam and a balsamic drizzle on sourdough buns made by vendor, Concha Style.

Thankfully, the market’s got a new mushroom vendor, Groovy Girl Mushrooms, to provide some of those freshly harvested ‘shrooms for the vegan mushroom burger. This is the kind of “circle of life” mentality that customers cherish.

You will also find low-salt spice blends from Robert Brews, sparkling teas made with health enhancing olive leaves from Special Leaf, my dogs’ favorite dog treats from Lucky Dog Bakery, premium botanical skincare products from In The Weeds and more.

Some of the newer vendors on the block include Saddle Up Artisan Brittles that make a number of yummy brittles and bark with different types of nuts; True Hemp Science, which sells CBD products like gummies, oils and tinctures, and Ruya Flowers that makes gorgeous arrangements and bouquets from dried flowers that they grow and dry themselves.

for tacos or burgers, but they offer a wide array of fine cuts. Goatilicious Dairy and Cheesery makes a variety of utterly addicting goat cheeses and the most divine cajeta (Mexican caramel) I have ever tasted in my life. It goes great in your morning coffee.

As an added bonus, Rodriguez, who is also a chef, operates a food booth called 6202 SA Foods and whips up elevated comfort food like breakfast sandwiches and burgers that utilize the ingredients and artisan-made products of her vendors. The goat cheese fig burger is made with Goatilicious’ garlic and herb goat cheese, along

Although not a huge market, it’s versatile. I have always felt like it has everything I need and then some. I also appreciate that I can bring my dog and some of the vendors even put water out for pets. Additionally, Rodriguez makes sure to provide entertainment — either live music or a DJ — and, if you’re lucky, you might even get to witness some improv performances.

“Some people like to break out into dance in the middle of the parking lot. No kidding, it just happened this past Sunday several times when the song ‘Suavemente’ was playing,” laughs Rodriguez.

This, for me, is just the icing on the local, scratch-made artisan cake.

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Alamo Heights Farmers Market 255 E. Basse Rd San Antonio, TX 78209 Sundays, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Plenty of parking Dog friendly alamoheightsfm.com Instagram: @alamoheightsfm alamoheightsfm.com
Kimberly A. Suta is editor of Edible San Antonio, a filmmaker, food writer, event planner, culinary tour guide and has a media company called Homegrown Chef. She loves nothing more than sharing the phenomenal food, chefs and restaurants that San Antonio and Texas have to offer.




Executive chef and partner of Ladino, Berty Richter, moved to Austin in 2016 after working in New York City for 16 years. Before that, he grew up in Israel and developed a talent and passion for cooking from his mother and grandmother.

“My grandmother and mother spent most of the day in the kitchen, and we would cook together,” he explains. “Eventually, after I finished military service, which is mandatory in Israel, I decided to pursue a culinary career.”

Andrew Weissman’s much lauded, Il Sogno at the Historic Pearl, which shuttered its doors in 2018.

In Austin, he opened up a food truck called Hummus Among US before launching a fast casual concept called TLV. Both were great successes until the pandemic hit, which slowed things down a bit, but also opened up new avenues for growth for Richter.

In 2021, Richter became a partner with the Emmer & Rye Hospitality Group, and the opportunity presented itself for him to take over the former space occupied by chef

“The Pearl wanted to have a concept there that would be more service focused and offer Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food. I wanted to go back and explore my roots and family traditions, because that’s where I got my start,” he says. Here’s where the story gets interesting. If you have not heard the word “Ladino” before, it’s not just an obscure word plucked out of the ethers to slap on the face of a modern restaurant. Ladino actually refers to the unique language spoken by the Judea-Spanish people, called Sephardic Jews, who were exiled from Spain in 1492 during the time of the Crusades and Spanish Inquisition. The Catholic monarchs, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, gave them 24 hours to pack up as much of their belongings as they could and flee or face persecution.

According to Richter, Ladino is now an archaic spoken and written language that is preserved by, perhaps, only 130,000 people in the whole world. Richter is, in fact, one of them.

“The Spanish Jews moved through the Mediterranean by way of the Balkan states, so the language got mixed up with French and Italian, too, but mostly is a mix of Spanish,

Greek, Turkish and Hebrew,” explains Richter. “My family came from Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey and, eventually, Israel.” Of course, this means that Ladino cuisine is equally influenced by all of these countries. Consequently, Ladino’s menu transports guests to all of these different places with varying flavors and ingredients — some you may be familiar with and some that might surprise you. Sure, they have hummus, babaganoush, kebabs and fresh-baked pita bread, but you can bet it’s unlike any you have tried before.

holidays. It’s something the whole family eagerly awaited each and every year.

The dish features a white fish carefully poached in a lemon, egg and oil emulsion. Through trial and error, Richter was able to successfully create a modern interpretation of the dish that encapsulates his past and the meaning Ladino holds for him.

“It’s that one-of-a-kind, home-cooked dish that has a special place in my heart, and I wanted to make it special here too.

According to Richter, he uses not only the food, but the music and ambiance to tell the story of that significant migration.

One of the most cherished signature dishes on the menu is called agristada, a modern interpretation of a traditional dish called agristada de pishkado in Ladino. The Greek version of this dish is called avgolemono, which literally means “egg–lemon.”

For Richter, this dish takes him back to his mom’s kitchen. Agristada is a dish that, due to its complexity, is only made twice a year for the high

Based on the reactions of our guests, I think I’ve accomplished that,” he confides.

Rather than the usual big chunks of fish covered in sauce, served cold, Richter uses small pieces of white fish (such as tile and snapper), sourced as locally as possible. He adds two versions of the scrumptious sauce to the plate — one that the fish sits in and a foamy iteration on top. He also incorporates confited onions with herbs as a garnish and finishes with a sun-dried red pepper called Urfa biber.

Ladino may just be the most thoughtful restaurant to celebrate your mom this Mother’s Day. Order the mezas de algeria, a chef-curated, shared dining experience to fully explore the cuisine and get a rare taste of something truly original made with heart, soul and history. Learn more and see menu at landinosatx.com.

ediblesanantonio.com 21 20 Spring 2023
WORDS BY KIMBERLY SUTA | PHOTOS BY LADINO Above: Chef Berty Richter Kimberly A. Suta is editor of Edible San Antonio, a filmmaker, food writer, event planner, culinary tour guide and has a media company called Homegrown Chef. She loves nothing more than sharing the phenomenal food, chefs and restaurants that San Antonio and Texas have to offer.

Flying High

By 2018, chef Sue Kim had found culinary success. Raised in Seoul, South Korea, she worked in kitchens across New Zealand, Japan, Thailand, South Korea and the U.S. She opened an Italian restaurant named Buccumi in Los Angeles. She ran multiple kitchens simultaneously for The Standard Hotel, also in L.A. And she operated as the chef de partie (head of a kitchen section) at the Michelin-starred Melisse in Santa Monica.

It’s impressive from 10,000 feet, but these experiences also taught Kim what she didn’t want in her day-to-day life.

“There are limitations to a big corporate operation,” Kim says. “I don’t care how big your kitchen is — even if you have to take care of 10,000 people in a day for a huge banquet, and I get that people need to do that sometimes — I just do not like food that has to be produced in that way. I was complaining a lot back then, which is probably why Eugene [Sanchez, her husband] decided I needed to be pushed into doing my own thing.”

To finally leave those career frustrations behind, the couple's answer was to simplify. In the summer of 2018 they moved back to San Antonio, where Sanchez grew up and Kim previously worked at Dough Pizzeria Napoletana and Minnie’s Tavern. In November 2019 they

soft-opened The Magpie, a small East Side dinner kitchen that Sanchez calls “our anti-institutional move.” For the past three years, in 650 square feet imagined and operated by the duo — Kim the culinary veteran, Sanchez the professor who worked in kitchens as a kid — things have been kept intimate and manageable while the menu changes constantly and without restraint.

When I started this restaurant, everybody was like, ‘Is it gonna be a high end restaurant? Is it going to be a casual dining restaurant?’ But I never even actually thought it would be in any category of restaurant. I just wanted to deliver some delicious food,” Kim says. “Sometimes I choose ingredients because I miss them so much, [because] I have been away from my country so long. And sometimes I’m just thinking about ingredients and figuring out how I’d like to eat them, or what is the best way to consume them. That’s the way I think about food.”

“I mean, we are curious people. I’m

always looking for new things,” Sanchez adds. “Sometimes when you feel a certain kind of way, a certain kind of food will enter your mind. And if that food doesn’t exist, but it should exist, then you just have to make it. Lots of Magpie dishes have come from that. Like the meatloaf patty melt — that was a dream, for me.”

Maybe San Antonio seems like an odd home for a restaurant where one week customers enjoy a black rice banchan set featuring soy-braised tofu and black sesame tuile and then dig into a poutine ribeye topped with cheese curds and beef just the next. But Kim and Sanchez were intentional about settling here instead of Seoul or Los Angeles. To start, the logistics looked right — rent for a tiny space was “cheap enough,” says Sanchez, and competition on the East Side was minimal despite the area becoming much hipper than what he remembers from his childhood in the 1980s. Kim also knew surviving a restaurant opening takes a village, and the couple had great family support waiting in San Antonio. “And they have supported us a lot,” she emphasizes. “If they hadn’t, we might have closed already due to the pandemic.”

But perhaps the most surprising factor to those not as familiar, the couple say customer tastes in town have broadened. Today’s San Antonio has many more open-minded eaters than the place where Sanchez and Kim used to live.

“San Antonio hasn’t really changed how I cook, but if I want to do these 20 things, back

then I could only maybe get away with one or two of them. Now, I know the San Antonio culinary area has become more … vivid?” she says. “People have more experience with different things. So now, if I do three or four new things instead of one or two, people won’t be shocked.”

Vivid has been a good word to describe The Magpie. During the early days of the pandemic, it became a coveted destination for a takeout order, and the restaurant’s handful of tables (just 22 seats initially) have been full more nights than not since reopening. “The vibe has never really changed,” as Sanchez puts it. “We used to just be that little space inside, and we just wanted that space to be full all the time.” The corresponding demand eventually led to more seats on the patio. And to start 2023, The Magpie closed for all of January to remodel in the name of capacity, expanding to accommodate at least 40.

“Practically speaking, we never had a choice about whether or not to eventually expand or relocate. There was too much pressure from customers — we outgrew the space a long time ago,” Sanchez says. “During the pandemic we were hit as hard as anyone could have been and had to break every single one of our rules. We swore we’d never do reservations. Sue vowed she’d never do takeout. I never wanted a patio, but it was either offer outdoor seating or perish outright. Eventually we had so many employees that we couldn’t even fit another body into our space.”

“Really it’s not for us that we’re expanding, it’s for our customers,” Kim adds. “Yes, the menu will change, and the kitchen will change. We will feel bored and want to change something.”

“A feeling can be held, though,” Sanchez interjects. “Even while everything changes.”

Kim agrees. She says that if anyone wonders if the changes to the restaurant’s structure will change what The Magpie is, her answer is no.

“Expansion won’t change what we are.”

Learn more and see menu at magpie.us

Journalist Nathan Mattise (@nathanmattise) is always working to perfect his sourdough bagels. He also enjoys bocce, amaro, road trips, and a good playlist.

ediblesanantonio.com 23 22 Spring 2023
Left Page: Soy-braised Oxtail Right Page Top Left: Pan-Seared Red Snapper Right Page Top Right: Calamarata Pasta Right Page Bottom: Oxtail Ragu



Bok Choy, Green and Red Cabbage, Kohlrabi, Napa Cabbage

Broccoli, Cauliflower, Romanesco

Easter Egg Radish, Scarlet Turnip, Watermelon Radish, Fennel, Beets

Garlic, Leeks, Shallots, Spring Onions, Sweet Onions

Microgreens, Salad Greens

Mustard Greens, Rainbow Chard, Spinach

Texas Ruby Red Grapefruit (until April)

And... Strawberries!

From the Water Crawfish

Soft-shell Crab (from April) Black Drum, Sheepshead, Spanish Mackerel

For more information on farmers markets, seasonal recipes and what’s in season, visit ediblesanantonio.com

Blackberry Compote

Parfait with Basil Infused Whipped Cream

Recipe and photos by Heather Barnes Serves 4

½ c. sugar

2 c. fresh blackberries

1 T. corn starch or arrowroot starch

Juice from ½ lemon

2 T. water


Dissolve the sugar with blackberries in a saucepan over low to medium heat for about 5 minutes until the blackberries become mushy. Add in the remaining ingredients and reduce heat to low. Stir every minute for 10 minutes until it thickens. Remove from heat and cool completely before serving.


2 T. fresh basil

1 c. heavy cream

2 T. powdered sugar


Chop basil to release flavor and add to a bowl with the heavy cream. Let sit in the fridge for 4 to 8 hours. Strain the basil out and beat with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Add powdered sugar a tablespoon at a time and continue to beat. Serve right away.

Assemble your favorite yogurt in layers with granola of your choice, a layer of blackberry compote and top with the basil-infused whipped cream.

24 Spring 2023
What's In Season

Butter Lettuce Salad with Roasted Carrots and Beets and Fresh Cilantro

Recipe and photos by Heather Barnes Serves 4

4 beets, quartered

6 carrots, cut in half longways

2 heads butter lettuce, chopped

½ c. strawberries, halved Cilantro, for garnish


3 T. olive oil

½ T. Dijon mustard

½ T. fresh lemon juice

1 t. honey

Salt and pepper to taste


Set oven to 450°. Drizzle beets and carrots with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast beets and carrots for 30 minutes or until browned.

After going to art school and culinary school, Heather Barnes found her passion for photography and food styling. She loves spending time with her family, cooking, and entertaining. You can view more of her work at HeatherBarnes.com or on Instagram at @heatherbarnesphoto.

ediblesanantonio.com 27 What's In Season
photo by Mockup Graphics

Dr. Sheila Adams Pours Her Heart into Kai-Simone Winery

Dr Sheila Adams is no stranger to challenges. She was a Behavioral Health Officer with the U.S. Army who served for more than two decades. She also spent time in academia, earning her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin with a social science research focus. But when Adams retired from the military in 2016 ready to start her next act, she never could have predicted the challenges ahead. Going from long hours and the emotional toll of mental health and military work virtually anything else had to be easier — especially if that anything else involved wine, right?

" Well, they drove me to drink in the military,” jokes Adams, who is now the founder, CEO and manager of KaiSimone Winery alongside her husband, Donald, and which they named after their two children. “No, I’d been in the military 28 years, but truth be told I always wanted my own business. I loved what I did in the military, but sometimes you feel it’s time to try something different. And it was time.”

As you might imagine, shifting from mental health work and military life to wine isn’t the most natural career transition. Adams put in nearly three years of work between retiring from the military and opening Kai-Simone Winery in Spring Branch in Fall 2019. Luckily, she was not afraid of intensive training. Breaking into wine without any industry background might seem daunting. But the specialty knowledge required — from understanding grape agriculture to the winemaking process to the logistics of operating a vineyard — sent Adams into a familiar place: a period of extensive research and learning.

“I’m a retired Lt. Colonel. I was obviously very high up and had been in leadership a majority of the time I was in the military,” she says. “Well in my field I might be an 8 or 9 or 9.5 out of 10 in terms of my experience, but in the wine industry I was a 0.5. I had to go back to school so to speak. And if I don’t feel like I’m adept or knowledgeable about something, I don't mind reaching out.”

Adams read plenty as part of her preparation, but reaching out to experts is exactly what she credits for helping to get Kai-Simone off the ground. Back in 2017, one of her first decisions was hiring wine consultant Tom Payette. “He was like my private tutor,” Adams says, recalling how they’d spend five to six hours per week talking through details as granular as what building materials to use at the winery.

On top of that, Adams visited roughly 40 wineries across the U.S., allowing her to see both what other wine professionals were doing as well as connect with them to ask about business and procedures. Adams can draw a direct line from that time of self-guided study to Kai-Simone’s initial success. Her cellar is a prime example. Adams initially envisioned a highly designed space accented by striking floor tile. “[My consultant, Payette] waited ‘til I was done and then said, ‘Sheila, look. I can see your vision and it’d probably look great. But it’s not practical,’” Adams recalls. “‘In the process of winemaking, the erosion that will come, the constant water on the floor, the chemicals used for cleaning ... it’s just not going to work.’"

Being the thorough professional she is, Adams didn’t immediately take this at face value. But Payette suggested she visit San Antonio’s Freetail Brewery to see the chiller system she’d be using, and Adams noticed an unexpected detail at the brewery — tile floors. When she asked the head brewer about the tile, he said, “It’s the worst decision we made. It was so nice when we put it down, but it sucks — the grout lines can’t stay clean, the acid eats at it.”

Adams' trip to Freetail also uncovered another of her strengths developed from her previous career. Having worked so long in behavioral and mental health, Adams has a high-level people focus. This strength not only lends itself to quality customer service at the winery (she preaches engagement, being transparent and treating everyone like a VIP), but, also, behind the scenes, Adams excels at finding collaborators. While chatting at Freetail, for instance, Adams learned that the head brewer had gone to school to be a winemaker. More than a year later, she brought him on as the head winemaker at Kai-Simone. Over the past two years, as businesses of all kinds have had to pivot due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Adams found nearby partners outside of wine, like a soy candle maker, who could collaborate on small scale events at the winery. And, in 2021, when a local farmer came by the winery to offer microgreens, Adams again saw potential. She ended up partnering with the farmer to send him for training and to industry conferences to help her grow grapes at Kai-Simone.

But perhaps the greatest skill Adams has transferred over from her previous career is resiliency, a way of facing problems head on and searching for attainable solutions over time. As if opening a business in a new field isn’t difficult enough, Adams and Kai-Simone Winery got started just months before the pandemic took hold and barely a year before Texas’ historic winter storm that was particularly hard for those in agriculture. “It’s been horrible, I’m not going to say otherwise,” Adams says regarding those challenges. “When I look at what I expected to make, it’s not close. But we’re not sinking, we can pay the bills.” When normal

operations weren’t feasible, Adams looked for creative alternatives and the winery leaned heavily into building up wine clubs, hosting outdoor activities and offering intimate private event space. Back when she first chose wine as her next act, one of Adams’ biggest motivations was the industry’s lack of diversity, something she saw firsthand during her research trips. At the time, the city of Spring Branch, where Kai-Simone is located, didn’t have any nearby Black-owned wineries. Seeing this, Adams set a long-term goal to do what she could to make it easier for Black professionals interested to enter the wine industry. While the challenges of day-today business in the COVID-19 era have kept her from holding the trainings and workshops she envisions, she’s naturally started to make

progress. Adams consistently responds to people seeking professional advice on site or through social media, given how helpful other winemakers were to her when she was getting started. When possible, she’s made a point to hire a diverse staff and partner with diverse professionals. That microgreen farmer now turned vigneron, for instance, is a Black, military veteran like Adams.

“I’m not yet an expert in the field, but I now probably know more than most people,” she says. “If you really look at this industry, there are many different models for a winery.” And so far, for this small winery outside of the Fredericksburg strip with big ambitions, the model Adams created looks like a winner.

ediblesanantonio.com 29 28 Spring 2023
Journalist Nathan Mattise (@nathanmattise) is always working to perfect his sourdough bagels. He also enjoys bocce, amaro, road trips, and a good playlist.


Rough Hollow Lakeway and Tuscan Village Horseshoe Bay make healthy living as easy as stepping outside your home

Just outside of Austin are two resort-style communities, Rough Hollow Lakeway and Tuscan Village Horseshoe Bay, which are dedicated to providing their residents fulfilling and active lifestyles. Both communities enable this lifestyle by their masterfully planned amenities, as well as providing a socially rich environment for all ages.

Rough Hollow Lakeway provides direct access to beautiful Lake Travis and the Hill Country. Living in Rough Hollow is “more than a lifestyle, it’s a way of life.” The heart of this community, Highland Village, is the community center that provides yearround activities and fun for residents and guests. The community center is waterthemed with a children’s pool, splash pad, a lazy river and an adult pool with a swim-up bar. Highland Village also provides world-class facilities that contribute to an active lifestyle including tennis, basketball and pickleball courts, a soccer field, sand volleyball, and a playscape for children. These amenities allow Rough Hollow residents to participate in physical activities, without leaving the comfort of their neighborhood. Having an active social sphere is key to living an active life and Rough Hollow also enables this by having an event pavilion with a demonstration kitchen that

residents can rent out to host events. They even have “The Rough Life Director,” whose job is to hold community events for residents to enjoy like yoga in the pavilion, festive holiday celebrations, and resident appreciation events.

Another aspect of an active lifestyle that Rough Hollow provides is unparalleled access to the Hill Country and Lake Travis. There are over 22 miles of hiking and bike trails with spectacular scenic views. Even better, Rough Hollow has three miles of Lake Travis shoreline with access to the Rough Hollow Yacht Club & Marina. Here, residents are provided complimentary paddle boards and kayaks for lake fun. The Yacht Club also features world-class cuisine and residents get a 10% discount. From the world class amenities, stunning Hill Country views and socially active events, Rough Hollow is perfectly designed to promote the active and healthy lifestyle that people today seek.

Another great lifestyle community, Tuscan Village, is located in the prestigious Horseshoe Bay Resort Community. This peaceful oasis is expertly designed for residents aged 55+ to escape the hectic city life. Tuscan Village welcomes residents into “The Good Life,” which consists of rolling hills with beautiful views, active lifestyles, and a plentiful social life. Like Rough Hollow, Tuscan Village offers a resort-style community with world class amenities meant to promote a wellness-oriented lifestyle.

Club Salus is the epicenter of the community, a private resident’s club. Club Salus offers two popular pickleball courts, an

outdoor lap pool, a fully equipped fitness center and a dedicated yoga studio with a trained yoga instructor for private classes. Like Rough Hollow, Tuscan Village believes that part of living an active lifestyle is having access to fresh air and nature and provides walkable nature trails throughout the neighborhood for residents to explore. There is also covered outdoor seating and a grill at Club Salus that residents can enjoy. Tuscan Village also encourages residents to have a fulfilling social life by hosting many different events and has begun an expansion of the facilities including a community great room as well as a multipurpose event space that residents are able to rent out to host their own events and clubs.

“In May of 2021 we came to Horseshoe Bay for the annual Golf on The Rocks tournament,” say Tuscan Village residents Greg & Doree. “After being enthralled with

Left page: 4 golf courses at Tuscan Village Horseshoe Bay

Above: Pickleball at Tuscan Village

Top Right: Lazy River at Rough Hollow

Middle Left: Horsehoe Bay Marina

Middle Right: Rough Hollow Fitness Center

Below Right: Rough Hollow Marina

Below Left: Pool at Tuscan Viillage

Bottom: Yoga at Rough Hollow


• 4 Renowned Golf Courses

• Tennis

• Pickleball

• Expansive Fitness Center

• Boating, Fishing & Water Recreation at Lake LBJ

• Hiking Trails

• Dog Park

• Community Garden

the area, we thought that perhaps we could leave California and decided on the spot to move forward. The draw for us were the four golf courses, amazing friends we made over the years and a lifestyle that we both enjoy. Here in Tuscan Village, we have wonderful neighbors and a laid-back lifestyle. We enjoy the many activities that the resort offers and are learning that you really DO have to learn to say “no,” as we could be going places every night of the week! This is our forever home.”

Learn more at tuscanvillage.com or call 830.693.0424 & roughollowlakeway.com or call 512.617.1776.


• Miles of Hike and Bike Trails

• Prestigious Yacht Club & Marina

• Expansive Fitness Center

• Adult Pool with Swim-Up Bar

• Lazy River

• Children's Playscape

• Tennis, Pickleball & Basketball Courts

• Soccer Field

• Sand Volleyball

• Dog Park

ediblesanantonio.com 31 30 Spring 2023

cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.”

Beets were used by the ancient Romans as an aphrodisiac. In fact, the nitrates in beets increase blood flow, and they contain high amounts of boron, which aids in the production of human sex hormones.

Sliced pickled beets are often served on burgers in Australia.

The world’s largest beet was grown in 2005 in the Netherlands. It weighed nearly 157 pounds.

Beet juice can be used to determine the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. The juice turns pink in an acid solution, and yellow in an alkaline solution.

Bumper beet crop? Make beet chips! Thinly slice beets using a mandoline. Toss with olive oil, place on a non-stick baking sheet, and put in the oven immediately. Bake at 300ºF for about 20 minutes, then reduce to 225ºF and bake for about an hour. Remove from the oven just as they begin to brown to avoid overcooking. Toss with sea salt and serve.

Beets are said to have grown in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon

Tractor tires are often filled with liquid to increase traction and allow them to pull heavier loads. Beet juice is commonly used, as it weighs about 30% more than water, and resists freezing to about -37ºC.

Beet juice is also added to rock salt for de-icing roads—it can melt to lower temperatures, and its stickiness helps keep the salt on the road.

32 Spring 2023
—Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

sparkling dreamS


About four years ago, Fernanda Sampson-Gómez had a particular frustration. The Mexico City native moved to Austin with her wife and wanted to pursue an MBA at the University of

Texas, but she couldn’t find the right beverage to become her de facto work companion.

Sampson-Gómez grew up with agua frescas, but they contain too much sugar for her at this point in life. Many sodas and energy drinks had the same issue. While everyone around Sampson-Gómez reached for seltzer whenever it wasn’t time for caffeine or alcohol, even the growing selection of sparkling waters around Central Texas felt lacking. “Topo Chico and all these waters have some kind of flavor hint, and they’re fine,” she says. “But honestly, I wanted more.”

Sampson-Gómez craved something that simply didn’t seem to exist. Luckily for her, the answer seemed obvious, though: Just make it.

“Celzo has been a dream come true,” Sampson-Gómez says of her new sparkling water brand, which launched in fall 2022. “I wanted to create a product that represents my culture and roots — a drink that represents agua fresca flavors in an elevated and authentic way. And when I’m drinking something, I want it to be functional. So I wanted to find the balance between flavor and health, because in my experience, I’d get trapped there. I’d be craving something with flavor, then I’d look at the nutritional facts and think, ‘Oh damn, that’s a lot of sugar.’ Celzo is a drink where that

sacrifice — choosing between flavor and health — no longer exists.”

According to Sampson-Gómez, it took a year and a half for Celzo to go from concept to cans on shelves. That’s impressive, but even more so when you consider this entrepreneur/CEO had no prior background in beverage development or consumer packaged goods. Sampson-Gómez worked in advertising before her time at UT Austin. And while that gave her confidence that she could recognize a market opportunity or identify something with consumer appeal, she knew virtually nothing about formulas or fulfillment. So when she created Celzo, Sampson-Gómez started with the one aspect she did know: flavor.

“I keep wanting to put her on Master Chef, she’s so good with flavor,” says Cat, Fernanda’s wife and co-founder of Celzo.

“Now I get to share some of Fernanda’s heart and flavor with the world, and I love that. There’s this phrase in Spanish that translates to, ‘Where you put the eye, you put the bullet.’

Fernanda was always like, ‘I’ll figure out how to make this thing.’ I saw her go through all this, talking to formulation people or the people who make cans, learning this new vocabulary. For me, it was overwhelming. For her, it was like, ‘OK, now I understand more. What’s next?’”

Celzo comes in three flavors — Lemon/Ginger/Basil, Spicy Tamarind and Strawberry/Hibiscus/Mint — combinations which came from experiments in SampsonGómez’s own kitchen. First, she turned her home into a modern seltzer warehouse, acquiring and trying every sparkling water she could find. She recalls next heading to H-E-B to grab raw ingredients and experiment, trying to settle on the right combinations then refining the balances between flavors. Once she had the right mix, she’d create small samples for friends, family and neighbors to gather feedback.

Sampson-Gómez’s insistence on authentic, robust flavor didn’t stop when Celzo went from DIY to genuine production, either. “When things got more serious and we had an agency working on our formula, I worked very closely with them,” she says. “I’d ask about everything. ‘Why this much of this? What about this?’ To finish Spicy Tamarind, I went to Mexico and bought as many candies, as many references, as I could get. The formula table looked like a little candy store.”

This first run of Celzo offers a noticeably fuller flavor than most seltzers. If many sparkling waters seem carbonation-and

water-heavy with just a hint of taste, Celzo essentially flips that script. The Spicy Tamarind can be downright savory with its slight chile essence and an almost creamsicle sweetness on the backend.

In addition to flavor, Sampson-Gómez wants to set Celzo apart through a focus on nutrition. Even as she was advocating for the right taste, the CEO remained adamant on keeping the drink relatively healthy. The current 12-ounce can has only 50 calories and 9 grams of total sugar, versus about 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar in some colas. For the additive functionality Sampson-Gómez desired, each Celzo can proudly contains ingredients like green tea (leading to 30 milligrams of caffeine, about a third of a cup of coffee) and hemp extract. The inclusion of hemp extract specifically was a point of emphasis for Sampson-Gómez, as she uses it herself for anti-inflammation purposes and believes it’s an untapped ingredient in beverages today.

Sampson-Gómez hopes she can release new flavors within the year, and has goals to get Celzo across Texas before eventually distributing across the U.S. and Mexico. For now, it all remains quite new.

Tasting events have been overwhelmingly positive, and customers keep unearthing use cases, too. At one event, people told SampsonGómez that Celzo has become their go-to non-alcoholic option at parties since many mocktails can be overly heavy or sweet. At another event, customers revealed they’ve adopted Celzo as a post-workout drink given it’s less sugar-y than many energy drinks while also offering that hemp extract to aid recovery The brand’s slogan is all about presence and positivity — ”Vive El Momento,” or “Live in the moment” — and, so far, that fits whether you’re talking about customers or the couple at Celzo’s core.

“Cat’s previously been in startups, I previously owned an advertising business. But it’s never like this, where you’re fully immersed in every single angle of the product,” SampsonGómez says. “I’m Mexican, and I feel like we always grow up figuring out things. It’s a talent. So it’s exhausting, it’s a lot, and you have to keep everything working. I have meetings with investors one afternoon, and the next day I’m at a tasting. But having that can in your hand has so much meaning. How can you refuse to be part of this when it’s so fun?”

ediblesanantonio.com 35 34 Spring 2023
Journalist Nathan Mattise (@nathanmattise) is always working to perfect his sourdough bagels. He also enjoys bocce, amaro, road trips, and a good playlist. Left Page: Fernanda and Cat photo by Mélanie Duault Middle & Right Page: Photos by Celzo

Hog Wild

Last summer was one of our state’s hottest on record — July alone was the second hottest month in Texas since 1895.

Second to what? August 2011. In fact, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that in 128 years of record-keeping, Texas had never had a hotter July.

Huge swaths of the Lone Star State suffered under extreme heat or exceptional drought conditions, and the impact has been felt by many in the form of cattle sell-offs and auctions running overnight to wildfires catching not only dried grasses but shrubs and trees, as fire departments struggled to find adequate water supplies for their efforts. Everyone — farmers, firefighters and residents alike — had been hoping and praying for rains to replenish the groundwater and set the stage for a better growing season in the next year.

This story is all about Zanzenberg Farm, however.

And you may be wondering what this small pig farm in the middle of central Texas has to do with any of this. On a dusty, hot morning a few months ago, I braved the backroads to Zanzenberg Farm to find out.

Kayte and Justin Graham, owners of Zanzenberg Farm, rotate about 80 heritage hogs through a mix of degraded pasture, scrub oak trees and a recently rehabilitated Pecan orchard. It’s hardly a landscape lush with forage for grazing livestock — and that’s exactly the point. The Grahams work with their

pigs to improve soil biology and hydration through targeted doses of the animals’ intrinsic behaviors: rooting for tubers, wallowing in pools of water, trampling manure into the ground. These actions break the surface compaction of the soil that causes rainfall to run off rather than infiltrate, and begin to stimulate the microbiota required for plant growth. “Pork is the byproduct of what we do, not the goal,” Justin repeats often during my visit. The goal is regeneration.

This progressive approach, where animals help improve the land they’re raised on, is how Kayte cut her teeth on farming in the first place. “I was [initially] drawn to agriculture from a nutrition standpoint, wanted to remake the food pyramid, solve childhood obesity,” she chuckles, recalling some of her idealism as a nutrition undergrad at Texas State University. After reading “Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan and about the work of Alan Savory on reversing desertification using mob grazing in Africa and West Texas, she began to see a bigger picture. One where livestock management can not only provide nutritious sustenance for communities, but also improve the environment for future generations.

Justin, on the other hand, grew up in Uvalde, Texas, in the cradle of conventional agriculture — where heavy synthetic inputs and plowing the soil were a way of life. He didn’t see any examples of regenerative systems or intensive, rotational grazing where strategic impact is followed by long periods of rest and regrowth.

“After WWII, Texas brought in angora goats and sheep, seeing a profit in supplying the clothing industry and overgrazing the land,” he explains. He rejected the traditional ranching world and went off to Texas State University to study art history and anthropology. There he met the love of his life, Kayte, and an entirely different way of doing things.

“What do you know about mob grazing?” Kayte had asked Justin, intrigued at having met someone at a college party with a background in ranching. “Mob … you mean, like the mafia?” Justin had followed up, only half-jokingly.

36 Spring 2023
FARMERS DIARY Photos on this page:
by Karina Mackow

After graduation, they both landed jobs far from one another but stayed connected with the occasional visits and long, philosophical Facebook chats in between. Kayte was working for Betsy Ross, a pioneer in holistic cattle management, and Justin had been hired on as a ranch hand in West Texas. He was also slowly accepting his fate as a steward of the land, not exactly the lone painter/wrangler he had envisioned as a young man. After reconnecting, the two were married and started to contemplate their future together.

Using money saved up over many hardworking summers, the Grahams were able to find 2.75 acres in Center Point just within their budget. Newly married and with a baby on the way, they bought it together and immediately started building a chicken coop. At that point, Justin had a well-paying fracking job and the couple’s plan was to build a nest egg while homesteading for their growing family: another boy was on the way. But Justin’s oil job dried up, and they had to pivot. What if the farm could produce enough to support them financially? Could they use the methods they had learned from Betsy Ross and practiced on a smaller piece of land? The answer was yes — but with pigs.

They started with two registered pure-bred GOS, or Gloucestershire Old Spots, a heritage breed prized for its docile temperament and long, broad-shouldered backside that yields more than your average-sized chop. Over the years, this evolved into a “farm cross” utilizing other breeds like the Texas Red Wattle and Berkshire for particular traits like tolerance to sun exposure and strong mothering instincts. Soon, demand outstripped supply and they took on a neighboring 72-acre lease to increase production and establish their own breeding program.

Through my visit, Justin waxed philosophical, often taking a broad and optimistic view, committed to the value that a small farm integrated

with its community can bring. He is driven by a desire to make dynamic contributions to the community’s economy and culture. Currently, Zanzenberg Farm partners with several local businesses to divert food waste to growing pigs and feeding humans. They pick up 700 gallons of spent curds and whey from River Whey Creamery every other week that would otherwise go in a landfill, and instead give it to their pigs to give the pork a distinctively clean, sweet finish that customers love. Pint & Plow Brewery Company in Kerrville also benefits from a relationship with Zanzenberg as their spent grain are fed to the pigs, which adds a welcome infusion of presoaked kernels into the soil seedbank and their hungry bellies.

One of the most appealing aspects of raising pigs compared to other grazing animals is how much of the animal can be used. Kayte takes full advantage of this with a lengthy sausage menu, robust paté and ambitious goals for a pecan-finished cured meat program. When it rains enough for the pecan orchard to produce large, saleable nuts, they harvest, shell and sell those as well.

Like any small farm, diversification is a major key to success and the Grahams have fully embraced that understanding. In 2015, the city of Kerrville welcomed them to start a farmers market in their historic downtown Water Street. It continues to this day, every Friday afternoon from 4 to 7 p.m. with Zanzenberg Farm as its founding vendor. Pint & Plow serves up beers, Joju Baker slings neapolitan-style pizza pies, and the community comes out for fresh food, social connection and the opportunity to support their local farmers. The Grahams have also renovated a sprawling ranch house on their leased property into a group Airbnb, close enough to the Guadalupe River and Fredericksburg for day trips but still far enough in the country that the stars still shine quietly at night. It features a hot tub and add-ons like a box of their pork to cook during your stay, farm tours and even “dinner with your farmer,” a unique chance to share a meal and conversation with the Grahams themselves.

The talented chef Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due, an Austin butcher shop and restaurant that champions hunting and eating wild hogs coined the phrase “Eat a hog, save the world.” Will eating a hog really save the world? By taking them out of the fields where they cause so much destruction and onto your plate (in ridiculously delicious fashion), Griffiths highlights our ability to provide food and environmental benefit at the same time.

Zanzenberg, and the many dedicated, progressive farms like them, accomplish the same end from the domestic side of the equation. By harnessing pigs’ indisputable impact on the land for regeneration rather than depletion, they are at the forefront of what it will take for us to eat meat in a more sustainable way.

ediblesanantonio.com 39 38 Spring 2023
Left Page Top: Karina Mackow Left Page Bottom: Zanzenberg Farm Right Page Top: Zanzenberg Farm Right Page Bottom: Mackenzie Wade

Chilled Zucchini and Roasted Poblano Soup

Courtesy of Cappy’s: Cappy Lawton & Trevor Lawton

Serves 6–8

Roasted Poblano

1–2 poblano peppers


Preheat oven to 400°F. Roast poblanos in the oven for 25–30 minutes, rotating occasionally, until skins are charred. Transfer peppers to a plastic bag or a bowl and cover. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool, then peel, seed, and coarsely chop. Set aside.

Zucchini and Roasted Poblano Soup

3 tbsp butter

1 large onion, roughly chopped

4–5 zucchini, roughly chopped (4 cups)

2 cups chicken stock

1/4 tsp sugar

Roasted Poblano

1 cup half-and-half, plus extra if needed

1 tsp kosher salt, plus extra to taste

1 tsp black pepper, plus extra to taste

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Kosher salt and black pepper

Zest and juice of 1 lime


Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 5–10 minutes, until slightly caramelized. Add zucchini and stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 10–15 minutes, until zucchini is fork tender. Remove from heat and stir in sugar to dissolve. Transfer the mixture to a blender, and add remaining ingredients. Purée until smooth. Season with more salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside to cool to room temperature. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Taste the chilled soup and season to taste. Pour into chilled glasses or small bowls. Finish with a pinch of salt and pepper and a squeeze of lime juice.

ediblehouston.com 41
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Excerpted from San Antonio Cooks: Favorite Recipes from Local Chefs and Restaurants by Julia Celeste Rosenfeld. Photography by Jessica Attie. Copyright ©2022 by Julia Celeste Rosenfeld. Recipes copyright ©2022 by Cappy’s. Excerpted with permission from Figure 1 Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.