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San Antonio’s ultimate food lover’s guide


Chili queens OUR FUTURE

Chefs to watch





FLAVOR 2011-12 ///


San Antonio’s first vegetarian restaurant


10003 NW Military Suite 2115 (Corner of Wurzbach and NW Military) Sun - Fri 11am - 9pm • 210.233.1249


1017 N. Flores • Sun - Fri 8am - 9pm 210.320.5865



flavor 2011-12


7 Food Heritage Africa’s mark on San Antonio’s Chili Queens

53 Asian Chinese & Korean, Thai, Vietnamese

8 Three to Watch Behind the kitchen door with exciting young local chefs

57 Italian

13 Modern 21 European French, Bistros & Cafés 25 Steakhouse

61 Q&A San Antonio’s catering chef, Luca Della Casa 63 Mexican/Tex-Mex Mexican/Tex-Mex, Columbian, Puerto Rican

33 Barbecue

70 Global Caribbean, Greek, Hawaiian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Pakistani, Vegetarian-friendly

37 American Burgers & dogs, Southernstyle, Food Trucks

73 Gadgets Making your kitchen a happier place

40 Q&A San Antonio restaurant consultant Shelley Grieshaber

75 Pubs

29 Seafood

45 Deli & Diners 49 Sushi

81 Coffee/Desserts Promotional listings are printed in blue.

on the cover The Torre Lida from Costa Pacifica: fresh ceviche of tuna, avocado, and mushrooms, marinated in guajillo limon, served with chile serrano sauce. Cover photo by Josh Huskin.

Publisher: Michael Wagner Associate Publisher: Lara Fischer Editor: Greg Harman Associate Editor: Scott Andrews




Art Director: Chuck Kerr Listings Editor: Bryan Rindfuss Copy Editors: Natalia Ciolko, Veronica Salinas Contributing Photographers: Michael Barajas, Steven Gilmore, Mark Greenberg, Josh Huskin, Chuck Kerr, Veronica Luna, Sarah Maspero, Antonia Padilla, Alicia K. Ramirez, Bryan Rindfuss Web Editor: Jaime Monzon Contributing Writers: Scott Andrews, Ron

Bechtol, Natalie Ciolko, Sophia Feliciano, Enrique Lopetegui, Travis E. Polling, Brandon R. Reynolds, Bryan Rindfuss, Richard Teitz, Robb Walsh Editorial Interns: Ashley Feinberg, Andi Garza, Veronica Luna, Madeline Rau, Yvonne Zamora

Editorial Interns: Ashley Feinberg, Andi Garza, Veronica Luna, Madeline Rau, Yvonne Zamora


Advertising Director: Lara Fischer (x105) Account Manager: Chelsea Bourque (x123) Account Executives: Carlos Aguirre (x117), Brian Conness (x118), Marian Galvan (x111), Oscar Peña (x119), Mike Rodriguez (x120)


FLAVOR 2011-12 ///

Production Manager: Julian Cordero Production Designers: April Fairchild, Jay Reyna, Josh Trudell Circulation Director: Mark VanHudson (x121) Distribution: Juanita Alpizar, Oscar Alpizar, Pam Clepper, Janice Farnel, Jeff Miller, Carolina Ramos, Charles Tiller


Business Manager: Elizabeth Hubbard Office Assistant: Katelynn Mueller

Copyright 2011, San Antonio Current Co. all rights reserved. San Antonio Current Co. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Times-Shamrock Communications. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission of the publisher is prohibited. Publisher does not assume liability for unsolicited manuscripts or materials, which must be accompanied by a stamped, selfaddressed envelope to be returned. All editorial, advertising, and business correspondence should be sent to the address listed below. San Antonio Current 915 Dallas St. San Antonio, Texas 78215 Editorial: (210) 227-0044 / Fax: (210) 227-6611 Advertising: (210) 227-0044 / Fax: (210) 227-7733 Classified: (210) 227-CLAS / Fax: (210) 227-7755




Stone Oak-

Your locally-owned, neighborhood market offers a variety of All Natural, Organic, Local & National Brand Products.

Huebner Rd. Sonterra Blvd.


Huebner @ Stone Oak Parkway 19239 Stone Oak Parkway, Suite 117 • 210.495.4644 • 7AM - 10 PM Daily

Save 10% off any $20 purchase thru 12-31-11 (must present this ad) /// FLAVOR 2011-12


a world class experience Culinaria offers “hands-on� exploration into the culinary and wine-making arts for adults with adventuresome spirits, discerning tastes and especially those who appreciate the camaraderie of sharing and consuming new, and often exotic, flavors.

We proudly display chefs from this great city and bring in distinguished chefs from around the globe. To help ensure a great week long series of events, we highlight global as well as Texas winemakers and spirit producers. The mission of Culinaria is to promote San Antonio as a premiere destination for wine and food while fostering community growth and enrichment. Culinaria is a non-profit organization supporting local students in culinary arts and food related aid organizations.


FLAVOR 2011-12 ///


Chili stands, Haymarket Plaza, San Antonio, 1933. San Antonio Light Collection, The UT Institute of Texan Cultures at San Antonio, Gift of Hearst Corporation.

Africa’s mark on

San Antonio’s Chili Queens


he San Antonio Chili Queens are long gone from Haymarket Plaza, where their tables laden with tamales and steaming tortillas alongside pots of fragrant chili once stood. They were shut down in the late 1930s by a health department that didn’t approve of open-air kitchens. Robb Walsh, author of numerous books on regional cuisine, including The Tex-Mex Cookbook, speculates that the tent in the photo above (taken at San Antonio’s Haymarket Plaza in 1933) was provided by chili fans from one of the local Army posts. For awhile, keeping the cooking under canvas worked, but the Chili Queens

and their grand tradition were gone before 1940. That the Queens’ two-century run began in Military Plaza is appropriate. “Some people claim that women from the Canary Islands came out to the street to sell food to the military,” Walsh said. If so, the Queens were also aptly named, as the first ones would have been the wives and daughters of the city’s alcaldes, or magistrates. They were the settlers induced to leave their Canary Island homes with titles and offices under Spanish colonial rule. Before they arrived, the settlement was held only by the Missions’ Franciscans and Indians — and the Spanish military,

of course. The settlers brought their Berber-influenced cuisine with them, especially their fondness for cumin. A new piquant blend of meat mixed with peppers, New World chiles, and other spices became what the world knows as chili. So next time someone tells you that Tex-Mex is a bastarization of good Mexican cuisine, be sure to mention that there’s a little African mixed in, too, thanks to those Islanders. Discovering and preserving food heritage is part of the mission of the culinary nonprofit Foodways Texas, founded in 2010. Though still in development mode, the group has already established annual events

that have brought in foodies from across the state and beyond, including Barbecue Summer Camp, held this June in College Station, and a yearly symposium to discuss the “diverse foodways of Texas.” One of their most ambitious, and no doubt most important, projects is the documenting of oral histories related to how foods have been grown, prepared, and enjoyed. Based in Austin, where they offer frequent events, Foodways Texas has also established a presence here in San Antonio through a burgeoning relationship with the Pearl. For more information, visit foodwaystexas. com. — Scott Andrews /// FLAVOR 2011-12


Three watch Behind the kitchen door

Michael Sohocki Restaurant Gwendolyn


estaurant Gwendolyn has made quite a splash with Texas locavores since it opened last year in the River Walk location once held by Andrew Weissman’s Le Rêve. Gwendolyn’s chef-owner, Michael Sohocki, named his restaurant after the grandmother who taught him to make do with simple things, “to eat gristle off of chicken bones,” if necessary. But his interpretation of simplicity is extravagant. Gwendolyn’s prix-fixe meals feature local delights like venison from Luckenbach, South Texas quail, and heritage produce from small local farms. With rare exceptions (salt and pepper, for instance) all the food served at Gwendolyn is sourced from within 150 miles of San Antonio, a chef’s rule that Sohocki says he has broken “not once.” In addition to shopping locally, he disdains modern innovations like feedlot beef and factoryfarm produce. He keeps strictly to a collection of sources and cooking methods that were avail8

FLAVOR 2011-12 ///

able in San Antonio before 1850, when the invention of the refrigerated railroad car brought the advent of what he calls “hollow food.” Raised in Robstown on the edge of Corpus Christi, Sohocki began his culinary journey 18 years ago in San Francisco kitchens, where he trained before attending the four-year program at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. After graduating, his young family moved to his wife’s home in Osaka, Japan, where he started a cooking school named Industrial Strength Cooking, located within an English language school. When the family returned to the U.S., they chose San Antonio, a city Sohocki first visited as a child, deciding that opening a sandwich shop in one of SA’s many hospitals would be a prudent move. But first he decided to research a successful business. He chose to cook at the Cove, and his world changed. “What I did not know is that the Cove is entirely centered around sustainable, organic, and

local products,” he said. “Lisa Asvestas breathed a new life into me. I had never had any appreciation for those things at all. I was a standard, conventional CIA grad cook, so Cisco [the large restaurant supply company] was fine. For the first time, at the Cove, Cisco was the enemy.” Reading sustainable food advocate Alice Waters, Sohocki decided that he, too, wanted to “serve food that is honorable.” Though he was running the Cove kitchen, Sohocki left to upgrade his skillset, cooking under celebrated chef and restaurant owner Andrew Weissman at both Le Rêve and Il Sogno. Sohocki is well grounded now in both his technique and his new vision, and the bond with his new kitchen is visceral. “I have a relationship with the floor,” he said. “I have cleaned it with my own hands.” — Scott Andrews 152 E Pecan, Ste 100, (210) 222-1849,



with exciting young local chefs

Brooke Smith The Esquire Tavern


ike many children, Brooke Smith grew up wanting to escape her hometown. But, like many a child of San Antonio, she kept finding her way back home again and again. Smith is the chef at the resurrected Esquire Tavern, the 80-year-old River Walk institution that’s about as San Antonio as it gets. And Smith’s wanderings have made her ready to build a better San Antonio, a task she’s been preparing for her whole life. “I learned how to cook from my mother. She wouldn’t let any of her kids leave the house without knowing how to cook,” says Smith, who at 24, has already spent the bulk of her life in the kitchen. She found a mentor early on in restaurateur Mark Bliss of Silo Elevated Cuisine and the soon-to-open concept, Bliss. “He kinda took me under his wing to let me explore whether I liked cooking in a professional way.

And if I did, I would pursue culinary school. I ended up loving it.” After high school she quickly packed up for the New England Culinary Institute, where, with a spoon for a school mascot, she found her passion reinforced by skillful preparation. She’s since bounced around such notable kitchens as Portland’s Red Star Tavern, Austin’s Enoteca Vespaio, and SA’s Silo and La Frite. More recently, she slipped the noose to land a restaurant gig in that vagabond’s cove, the Virgin Islands. When she returned to town in September 2010, she talked with architect Chris Hill, who was hoping to breathe new life into The Esquire Tavern and its hundred feet of wooden bar. “His main thing was Texas, Texas, Texas,” she says. A menu of sirloin cheeseburgers, hangar steak sandwiches, and fried pickles attests to that. “We have a lot of spice in all of our food. The

Big Red short rib empanada that we serve on the weekends is a San Antonio hangover cure.” She’s found her own kitchen, and other things to love. “There’s all these little things popping up, they’re all local businesses, and I think it’s great. I think that San Antonio is under-appreciated, but we’ll catch up to where everybody else is at.” She says maybe she’d like to open a little 12top, an “open kitchen with a bar where you can sit around and watch people cook.” Ah, finally she’s settled. “But you know what, I’ve gone from treehouse restaurants to boats that travel all around the world and pick up produce portto-port and sell their food to pirates,” she says. “I’ve had so many wild ideas, it’ll change next year.” — Brandon R. Reynolds 155 E Commerce, (210) 222-2521, /// FLAVOR 2011-12


Must present this ad. Limit one per customer. Not valid with any other offer. Expires 11-30-11


FLAVOR 2011-12 ///

Jason Garcia Ocho Lounge


t seems that many who choose the chef’s knife have wanderlust in their blood. After an early life of travel with his military parents, Jason Garcia seems perfectly happy to keep spreading his roots in San Antonio since he returned in 1992 to the city of his birth. Spending time across Europe, he found he had begun to speak better Dutch and German than Spanish, becoming possessed by the need to “catch up with la cultura.” But there was another culture waiting for him in SA, and it was gastronomic. Garcia cooked at Biga at the Banks under Bruce Auden for several years, starting in 2003, and found it an intense place to learn the culinary craft. “Cooks on the line would test each other,” he said. “One would come up and say, ‘Close your eyes.’ Then

you would try to tell what he was holding by its smell.” Auden, he said, was a great teacher. “We were encouraged to try our own dishes. He would taste them, and say, ‘Try some of this in it.’” Later, Garcia worked at Weissman’s Le Rêve, which Gourmet magazine designated number six in the nation in 2006. After Rêve closed, he moved with Weissman to his new concept, Il Sogno at the Pearl. Leading Ocho’s kitchen since it opened in May, 2011, Garcia might seem a bit overtrained to deliver the laid-back New Cuban cuisine. The kitchen was originally thought of as just a back-up for the fashionable drinks at the lounge, something to take care of room service interests for the Havana Hotel in which it sits. But the food

is catching attention as Garcia fine-tunes the dishes on the drinks and food menu originally crafted by well-known Texas chefs Larry McGuire and Lou Lambert. On a recent afternoon I tried the shrimp and crab campachena with twice-baked saltines slathered savory with butter. The campachena is reminiscent of ceviche, but the fish is lightly steamed instead of marinated in lime juice. The portion was generous and the sour tomatobased sauce mixed nicely with the rather robust saltines. Before I was halfway through I knew that all was more than well, not too polished, but suave. — Scott Andrews 1015 Navarro, (210) 222-2008, /// FLAVOR 2011-12



FLAVOR 2011-12 ///


Still hungry? Go to for even more restaurant listings.

Lüke San Antonio

Modern Auden’s Kitchen San Antonio’s contemporary-cuisine godfather follows the upscale-downhome trend at Auden’s Kitchen, with globally inspired comfort food such as Duck Duck, featuring the bird two ways, and tempura shrimp served on cold Asian noodles with chunks of fresh watermelon. 700 E Sonterra Blvd, (210) 494-0070,

Bella On the River The River Walk has been sorely lacking a place like Bella — until now. Live jazz and a cozy patio make this a perfect choice for

tourists and locals alike. Mediterranean fare ranging from eggplant to chorizo paella spans the Southern European menu, with something for everyone. A romantic spot with tons of charm and reasonable prices, don’t miss Bella on The River. 106 River Walk, (210) 404-2355,

Mediterranean cuisine in a small meze plates format coupled with contemporary ambiance, an intimate bar, and large patio. The winning atmosphere and five-star food bring San Antonio a new level of culinary sophistication. 555 W Bitters Rd, (210) 496-0555,

Biga on the Banks

A Current readers’ favorite for River Walk dining and for its renowned guacamole, made fresh tableside with plenty of spice and citrus, Boudro’s makes braving the downtown tourists fun, and the Tex-Mex bistro fare is gastronomically rewarding, too. 421 E Commerce, (210) 224-8484,

Bruce Auden’s menu includes such SouthwestContinental dishes as chicken-fried oysters with squid-ink linguini and pancetta, and grilled Texas quail, all of which can be paired to appropriate wines by the glass from Biga’s ample list. 203 S St Mary’s, (210) 225-0722,

BIN 555 Jason Dady, executive chef and owner of Bin 555, offers


Lüke San Antonio’s pan-seared fish keeps it pretty close to home: nothing on that plate traveled far to find a spot on the River Walk brasserie’s menu. Gulf Coast fish, (usually black drum, a succulent relative of seatrout) is done up meunière — brown butter, lemon and parsley — and for those daring tastes, amandine as well. Blue crab is similarly sourced, and for other dishes Chef Steven McHugh hauls back eggs, chicken, and fresh produce from local farmers’ markets by the wheelbarrow load. “We try to be as local as we can, whenever we can,” he says. Lüke, opened in November, 2010, is the westernmost outpost of New Orleans chef John Besh’s culinary empire. As a brasserie, or what McHugh jokingly calls the “older obnoxious brother of a bistro,” Lüke makes French- and Germanstyle cuisine accessible to everyone, whether they arrive in a “three-piece suit or a swimsuit.” (A happy hour that includes 50-cent oysters helps, too.) “It’s in a fine-dining style because that’s our background,” McHugh says, but the menu doesn’t mind getting your hands dirty, offering hardy fare like croque monsieur (with fried organic yard egg), crispy Hill Country cabrito, shrimp creole, and sausages made in-house. But the choices might shift with McHugh’s next trip to the farmers’ market. “Our menu changes daily. It really depends on what I can get my hands on, what’s in season,” he says. Local fish and veggies aside, Lüke also stocks native whiskey (Garrison Brothers), vodka (Rebecca Creek), wine (Becker Vineyards), and among its 80 beers: Ranger Creek, Alamo, and Rio Ale, to name a few. (This too honors the brasserie tradition of being “a beer house that serves food.”) And despite its tourist-magnet location and its fine-dining pedigree, Lüke is intended to be a spot for San Antonians. So when McHugh says, “We very much want this to be a local restaurant,” he means all sorts of things. — Brandon R. Reynolds 125 E Houston St, (210) 227-5853,

continued on page 14 /// FLAVOR 2011-12



Fig Tree Restaurant

Wellington as a recurring delight). Take a date, and remember: reservations are highly recommended. 515 Villita, (210) 224-1976,

from page 13


Drew’s American Grill Wood-fired, New York-style pizza, and real Big Apple corned beef and pastrami done with Texas hospitality and charm. Bread made from scratch and imported mustard and pickles give every detail a glow. Large selection of wines by the glass and craft cocktails,

Firewater Grille A fresh, new place on the north side with varied menu items like New Age Nicoise Salad, Herb Mahi-Mahi, and Pineapple Upside Down Cake at affordable prices. 26108 Overlook Pkwy, (210) 4817645, to boot. 18740 Stone Oak Pkwy, (210) 483-7600,

The Esquire Tavern This comfortably hip lounge is redefining River Walk nightlife with its excellent, hand-crafted cocktails, quirky menu of tavern and bar eats, and the coolest atmosphere in town. This is the place for covert rendezvous or a midday lunch

that takes you beyond city limits into a whole different world of taste. 155 E Commerce Str, (210) 222-2521,

Feast A contemporary gem on the Southtown corridor, the Feast here is for all of the senses. The modern and glamorous décor set the scene for cocktails and a

we’re more than a [great] happy hour

[pork tenderloin]

trust us • you’ll be [impressed] kitchen • sushi • cocktails 14

the shops at la cantera 15900 la cantera pkwy • san antonio, tx 78256 210-877-5355

FLAVOR 2011-12 ///

new twist on familiar classics, like lettuce-wrapped barbacoa, saffron macaroni and cheese, and goat cheese-stuffed grape leaves. 1024 S Alamo, (210) 354-1024

Fig Tree Restaurant A Tuesday- and Wednesday-only prix fixe dinner — three courses with two choices each — changes weekly (with Beef

The Grill at Leon Springs L’Etoile is dead; long live Thierry Burkle’s new star, which serves updated, casual continental fare (with Asian accents) in a classy country kitchen. 24116 IH-10 W, (210) 698-8797,

continued on page 17


Elegant River Walk dining at the Hotel Valencia with the tastes of Spain mixed with the New World. Paella buffet at lunchtime draws the downtown crowd while the luxurious atmosphere brings visitors from all over town to dine at this downtown hot spot. Be sure to taste the excellent sangria, and more American and international fare by award-winning executive chef Jeffery Balfour. 150 E Houston St, (210) 2279700,

Modern American Cuisine

Steaks * Seafood * Sandwiches * Brick Oven Pizzas Hand-Crafted Specialty Cocktails American Wines & Select Micro-Brews HAPPY HOUR: M - F: 4p - 7p & 9p - 12a 18740 Stone Oak Parkway (Corner of Loop 1604) 210.483.7600

BRUNCH: SAT & SUN 9:30a - 3p /// FLAVOR 2011-12


Locally Owned and Operated

Built on three levels that descend down to the River Walk, Las Canarias is known for its romantic and relaxing atmosphere. A 2011 Wine Spectator Award winner, Las Canarias recreates the graciousness that accompanies fine dining. Signature items include: Heirloom Tomato

A dining experience like no other.

Salad, Crispy Smoked Lockhart Quail, Chateaubriand of Beef Tenderloin, Chocolate Mousse and the finest hand-made margaritas on the River Walk. For reservations, call 210-518-1063.

112 College Street San Antonio, Texas 78205

BIN 555 Restaurant & Wine Bar 555 W. Bitters Road at The Alley on Bitters (210) 496-0555 / Lunch and Dinner Monday – Thursday 11am–11pm Friday – Saturday 11am–12am

Now Booking Holiday Parties & Events



FLAVOR 2011-12 ///


McCullough Avenue Grill

from page 14

Max’s Wine Dive

Kona Grill Lunch & dinner entrees served alongside happy hour cocktails and beer and wine attract a diverse, lively crowd for the great food and atmosphere. Gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options also abound in this casual yet sophisticated anytime retreat. Reservations can be made online, or just stroll in. Outstanding quality awaits you. Multiple locations,


Las Canarias Chef John Brand has stepped up the service and menu at Las Canarias, and the New American menu (featuring Alaskan king salmon and Chateaubriand) in this River Walk setting makes for a romantic dinner or escapist lunch. The Omni La Mansion del Rio Hotel, 112 College, (210) 518-1000

Max’s Wine Dive is the last word in bacchanalia ... with style. Even unsuspecting dishes, like the truffled egg sandwich, will expand your mind’s eye and delight your soul. 340 E Basse Rd, Ste 101, (210) 444-9547,

McCullough Avenue Grill Liberty Bar Some vestige of the old, beloved Liberty has migrated to the painstakingly restored wooden windows and beautiful new bar in the remade nunnery, and just as importantly the food is unscathed, from the hefty bread and creative appetizers to the lightly charred quail in piquant green mole and Virginia Green’s chocolate cake. 1111 S Alamo, (210) 2271187,

Limestone Grille at Ye Kendall Inn The pretty rustic setting suits a sometimes stuffy Old World menu, but contemporary fare is available, too: smoke-roasted beef short ribs, yellowfin tuna nachos, Texas gulf shrimp and grits, as well as a surprising amount of gluten-free options. 128 W Blanco, Boerne, (830) 2499954, 

The Lodge This sophisticated sylvan retreat in the heart of the Northside put Chef Jason Dady on the map with French-Italian-inspired fare by way of California. Think big, spicy game entrees and seafood with a South American accent. 1746 Lockhill Selma, (210) 349-8466,

Jazz on the weekends and blues on Wednesday and Thursday nights are just one of the many reasons to sample Olmos Park’s new grill. Wild salmon, grilled ribeye, and lobster bisque are just a few of the magnificent house specialties, served in a lovely neighborhood spot. For lunch, soups, salads, and heartier entrees are also available. 4230 McCullough Ave, (210) 822-6644, continued on page 18 /// FLAVOR 2011-12



Oro at the Emily Morgan Hotel

cake. 6901 Blanco, (210) 616-0954,

from page 17


Restaurant Gwendolyn

Perched on the second floor of Neiman Marcus, Mariposa’s brightly lit, mid-century-modern dining room offers ladies who shop and lunch a refined respite, from the simple generosity of a fresh popover and demitasse of chicken broth to the buttery seared ahi tuna salad. Neiman Marcus, 15900 La Cantera Pkwy, (210) 694-3550




The small-plates menu at Silo sibling Nosh is New World bliss, with savory shrimp corn dogs and lemongrass-habanero meatballs. Mixologist-caliber novelty drinks like the basil-rita only sweeten the deal. 1133 Austin Hwy, (210) 826-6674,

Handsome, well-oiled bar with aspirational lunch and dinner fare, including the Havana Cubano torta and shrimp and crab campechana. Special touches sometimes exceed the kitchen’s reach, but much to rave about. 1015 Navarro, (210) 222-2008,

At lunch, Oro’s selection is cautious: Think chorizo corn dogs and Angus burgers. But the Oro flamegrilled Angus burger, while pricey, is one of the best in town — buttery bun, Angus and aged Swiss, with sweet onion and chopped lettuce providing just enough crunch. The

Emily Morgan Hotel, 705 E Houston, (210) 225-5100,

Picnikins Patio Café Former caterers infuse a modest menu with South African flair. The roasted poblano pepper soup packs a big enough punch you’ll want to order another bowl. Cool your mouth with a slice of Chocolate Lava

Chef Michael Sohocki has pledged that Gwendolyn (named after his grandmother, an Oklahoma pig farmer) will serve only products available within a 150-mile radius of SA. The menu rotates daily, delighting with such expertly prepared dishes as chicken and lentils, hickory-smoked quail over quinoa, and braised veal shank in a white wine reduction. Calling ahead is advised, and they happily accommodate vegetarians as well as other special needs. 152 E Pecan, Ste 100, (210) 222-1849,

Q at the Hyatt For all of the faults of its if-this-is-Thursday-it mustbe-enchiladas rotating cast,


IN 210.822.6644 4230 McCullough Ave 18

FLAVOR 2011-12 ///


10% discount with college or military I.D

the buffet is at least better than ordering a la carte. Yet even there, only the guacamole and shrimp stood out. 123 Losoya, (210) 2221234,

Roaring Fork Nouveau Southwest is done big Texas style at this fancy-ranch member of the Eddie V’s family.  The house-special Green Chile Pork Stew is a rich, hearty treat for two. Try it on the outdoor deck when weather permits. 1806 NW Loop 1604, (210) 479-9700


Silo 1604 A handsomely presented plate of shrimp adorned with tasso ham

pepper sauce and served over serrano-jack cheese grits is a favored dish, as are the signature chickenfried oysters at this stunning North Loop restaurant and bar. 434 N Loop 1604 W, (210) 483-8989,

20nine Wine Bar 20nine’s classy digs pay appropriate homage to the namesake Napa motorway with carefully selected and well-priced wines. Foods aspire to keep pace with the wines, but some dishes have the horsepower. 255 E Basse, Ste 940, (210) 798-9463,




Roaring Fork



HOURS Sun-Wed: 11am to 12am Thurs-Sat: 11am to 2am

Do you “LIKE”



Scan this QR Code to “Like” Don’s & Ben’s & find out about Specials, Give-AWays, and Tastings /// FLAVOR 2011-12


Truly French


Truly Fine Dining Truly Affordable

KITCHEN OPEN UNTIL 11PM LIVE MUSIC FRI/SAT 10:30PM HAPPY HOUR 4-7PM Bridal Showers • Baby Showers • Private & Corporate Events • Catering Legacy Center • 18402 US HWY 281N San Antonio, TX 78259 • 210.491.4480 20

FLAVOR 2011-12 ///

Visit for a virtual tour



Still hungry? Go to for even more restaurant listings.

La Frite Belgian Bistro

European french 20nine Wine Bar Bistro Bakery Originally envisioned as a basic bakery to supply French goods to Damien Watel’s restaurants, this light-filled, cheery cafe has ignited a demand for quiche and tarts under the guidance of the chef’s mother. Leonidas chocolates and the best croissants in town have whet our appetites, too. 4300 McCullough, (210) 8243884,

Coco Chocolate Lounge & Bistro Dine on delectable offerings made from the pure taste of chocolate inspiration. From cocktails to appetizers to unbelievable

desserts, Coco is the perfect thing for a girls’ night out or an entertaining first date for a mix of dining and nightlife. After some incredible eats, bottle service fulfills your every clubbing desire. 18402 US Hwy 281, Suite 114, (210) 491-4480,

Frederick’s A younger audience has keyed into this dowdy but disciplined Franco-Asian fusion restaurant in the shadow of fusty Dijon Plaza. Snails take on a new tone in a casserole with lusty sausage, white beans, and tomato, while foie gras is frankly fantastic seared and served with a Cognac and butter sauce. 7701 Broadway, (210) 8289050,

Taste Crepes & More The menu sports classics such as the Crepe Suzette, but also boasts unexpectedly named choices such as the “Camp Fire” crepe (modeled after the American s’more), “The Smurf,” the “Popeye,” and “Oh Baby!” featuring Nutella and fresh fruit. 17503 La Cantera Pkwy, Ste 103, (210) 558-0808,

The second owners of La Frite, a mom ‘n’ son duo with little previous restaurant experience, quickly settled into a comfortable competence after a rocky start, though a collection of Watelwerks, primarily Blue Dog-inspired paintings by ex-proprietor Damien Watel, does continue to watch over the operation. Initially, we weren’t convinced that some of the inventive changes being rung on the preparation of the signature mussels were necessary, but the more baroque of them seem to have been eliminated in favor of the classic mariniéres and plausible riffs such as an Asian version with sake, ginger, garlic, and scallion, and a Basque rendition featuring chorizo, chili, and smoked paprika. The mussels themselves may not be exceptionally plump but they will be fresh, and any of the sauces beg for sopping. Or slurping while no one’s looking. The frites, among the best in town, are obligatory. And though the menu recommends a Muscadet with the moules, we say that depends: the Basque might call for one of the smoky-spicy Belgian beers on tap. The Karmeliet, for example. Almost a meal on its own as well, and priced accordingly, is the salad of frisée aux lardons, a judiciously dressed composition of curly greens with good bits of genuine bacon, all topped with a perfectly poached egg. Add a little bread (and more beer) and, voila!, you’re instantly in the Eurozone. The petits plats that serve as starters include an onion tarte with brie and crêpes with ham and gruyere. The seafood and chicken vol-au-vent plates have justifiably become an institution. Another excuse to indulge in frites is the onglet, or hanger steak, and here we’d look at the evolving wine list for a Côtes du Rhône or even a big rouge from the Languedoc. They’re good with frites, too. — Ron Bechtol 728 S Alamo, (210) 224-7555,

continued on page 23 /// FLAVOR 2011-12


“Meson maintains good tastes and style.” - John Griffin, as reviewed in The San Antonio Express-News


Serving soup, salads, fowl, veal, seafood, steak and chop.

A private room for business meetings available. Catering off-site. Open for lunch 11am-4pm; Dinner every night until 10pm.

923 N.Loop 1604 E • 494-1055 • 22

FLAVOR 2011-12 ///

Stone Oaks


San Antonio’s Best Kept Secret

Hardy Oaks

281 N.

European Mac & Ernie’s Roadside Eatery


Naylene Dillingham’s wholly inventive pan-Texican fare is well worth the Hill Country drive. Try the Fryfecta — one lamb chop, one quail, and one filet — chicken-friend with bacon-jalapeño gravy. BYO wine for a $5 corkage fee. Cash or check only. 11804 FM 470 FM, Tarpley, (830) 562-3727,

Mike’s in the Village Mike’s has first-rate New Orleans food served in big, flavorful portions, including fried portabello mushroom, gumbo, and hearty po-boys. 2355 Bulverde Rd, Bulverde, (830) 4382747,

Tost Bistro Bar Boardwalk Bistro

from page 21

Mesón European Dining The rich heritage of European dining tradition is presented in grand style at Mesón, where in-the-know guests come to enjoy Spanish and Italian fare from across the pond, in an elegant and understated atmosphere. Try the filet mignon, chicken cacciatore, and the best fettucine alfredo in town. 927 FM N Loop 1604 E, (210) 494-1055,

bistros & cafés

the CHB Reuben. San Antonio Botanical Garden, 555 Funston, (210) 826-5800,

Bistro Vatel Damien Watel’s cozy and unpretentious signature restaurant is the place to get your French game and cassoulet fixes, but don’t skip the pistacchio-grapefruit tart when it’s on the menu. The chef-proprietor claims descent from Master Steward François Vatel and takes his legacy seriously. 218 E Olmos, (210) 828-3141,

Boardwalk Bistro

Copa Wine Bar

The 21-year-old Boardwalk, parkside on Broadway, has come of age as a casually sophisticated hangout for Mediterranean-influenced fare and grownup jazz. The wine-pairing menu is a deal, and the lamb tagine a model of the species. 4011 Broadway, (210) 824-0100,

Copa is a serious wine bar, and there are plenty to taste by the glass, bottle, or flight along with sumptuous, Spanish-accented tapas — all in a vaguely Iberian atmosphere. Current readers named Copa Best Wine Bar in 2010. 19141 Stone Oak Pkwy, (210) 495-2672,

Café des Artistes Damien Watel and family take on the restaurant at San Antonio Museum of Art with a selection of salads, sandwiches, and daily crêpe specials. We suggest Europeanstyle sandwiches, pastries, and wine on the terrace overlooking the River Walk’s Museum Reach. 200 W Jones in the Beretta Hops House, (210) 978-8155,

Anne Marie’s Carriage House Bistro This Botanical Garden gem transcends its tearoom trappings with inventive sandwiches and brunch specials, serious entrees, and a modest wine list. Don’t miss

La Frite Belgian Bistro This Southtown homage to European café life feels and tastes authentic, from the succulent moules and crispy frites to the pleasantly crowded row of sidewalk seating and a top-notch list of Belgian beers. 728 S Alamo, (210) 224-7555,

Jean Francois Poujol gets his game right at this sophisticated contemporary-dining restaurant. The accompaniments are adventurous with a rustic foundation, and the wine list (like the menu) is short but well edited. Retreat to the full bar for a perfect French 75 after dinner if the lounge music isn’t to your liking. 14415 Blanco, (210) 408-2670,

When you find yourself on the River. . .

Find Bella!

Southern European, Mostly Mediterranean Wine Bar Live Piano Jazz Nightly, 7pm Bella . . . On the River, 106 River Walk, 210-404-2355 Mon-Thu 5-10pm Fri & Sat 5-11pm Reservations Encouraged

Frederick’s Bistro  Frederick Costa’s relaxed, contemporary departure from his eponymous Broadway home of haute cuisine serves authentic bistro fare (and pizza) accessorized with a good wine list and a real bar. 14439 NW Military, (210) 888-1500, /// FLAVOR 2011-12



# 2 Steakhouse* in the Whole Steak-Loving state. Bohanan’s fame is founded on sublimely tender prime

a classic cocktail at the first-floor Bar at Bohanan’s,

beef grilled over mesquite. Enjoy Chef/Owner Mark

then join us upstairs for the best steak you’ve ever

Bohanan’s large custom cuts of aged corn-fed beef,

eaten. We’re located downtown, just a block from the

Akaushi beef, and seafood flown in daily. Start with

River Walk. *December 2007 Texas Monthly magazine.

(210) 472-26 00 24

# 221 East Houston Street San Antonio, Texas

FLAVOR 2011-12 ///

www . boh a n a ns . com


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Texas de Brazil

Steakhouse Barn Door Historic and charming, the Barn Door is a San Antonio institution. Although recent additions (including a wine room and a wi-fi-equipped patio) have brought the Barn Door up to date, the classics haven’t changed — Southern-style steaks and seafood, nostalgic décor, and Texas hospitality. 8400 N New Braunfels Ave, (210) 824-0116,

Bohanan’s Fine steaks and seafood are served in high style at this tony establishment in the heart of downtown. When you’re looking for the best eating in the city, Bohanan’s offers unrivaled

dining and elegance. Flaming desserts made in front of your eyes will wow even the most jaded connoisseur. 219 E Houston St, (210) 472-2600,

Little Red Barn In a state renowned for all things beef, it’s no small feat to operate the largest steakhouse in Texas since 1963. This family-owned joint has a retro appeal that would draw the likes of both Dolly Parton and indie filmmakers alike. Forget the hype, and go for a tried-and true-classic like this quintessential Texas roadhouse. 1836 S Hackberry St, (210) 532-4235,

Little Rhein Steakhouse With one of the best positions on the River Walk, Little Rhein could coast on its location laurels, but its dependable menu of prime steaks and chops is a perennial crowd pleaser, and the award-winning wine selection is among

Texas de Brazil is first and foremost a steakhouse, reflecting the setting of a grand estancia or ranch. The main attraction is the sizzling meats sliced and served with panache tableside by waiters in black gaucho pants. We didn’t sample all fifteen meats, but came pretty close. My favorite? The garlic-marinated picanha, a sirloin cap with succulent flavor. My companion tagged the leg of lamb as first-rate. Other winners include the small, spicy Brazilian sausages and the filet mignon. The herb-marinated pork loin was wanting in herbs, and the chicken breast wrapped in bacon was on the dry side.  Before indulging their inner carnivores, guests start off with soups and salads at a huge rectangular serving bar that separates the room into two dining areas able to serve about 100 people each. For soup we both tried the lobster bisque, very rich with loads of butter and heavy cream but a bit scant on the lobster.  At the salad bar, I recommend the smoked salmon, pepper salami, prosciutto, tabouli, and artichoke hearts. My dining partner raved over the quinoa with cranberries.  Diners signal their wish for more meat by flipping a placard (green for mas, red for basta), and the waiters come by frequently to make sure no really means no. My partner thought they were too attentive, but I liked the service and the staff’s comfort in answering questions about preparation and ingredients.   No proper Brazilian meal should end without flan, but I let myself be seduced by a huge piece of carrot cake, while the girlfriend opted for coconut chess pie. Dessert choices are presented on a tray of plastic replicas (a rolling dessert cart with originals would be a lot classier). But the carrot cake was moist, crunchy, and rich, and the pie was buttery and sweet. Other offerings include crème brulee, papaya crème, and key lime pie. — Richard Teitz 313 E. Houston St, (210) 299-1600,

continued on page 27 /// FLAVOR 2011-12


1902  South  Hackberry |  210-532-4235 26

FLAVOR 2011-12 ///


from page 25 the best in the city. In good weather, pick the patio. 231 S Alamo, (210) 225-2111,

Bruce Auden’s grilling tips

Check out Bruce at

Same with the pork and lamb products. The lamb is very different. You can get a Texas lamb, an Australian or New Zealand lamb. Those are very distinctive flavors. I don’t find as much difference between different locations with beef, besides whether it is feedlot or grass fed.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House


Our local outposts of the New Orleans-born chain serve properly cooked and aged beef with the signature sizzle. 2009 Best of SA choice for Best Steakhouse. 1170 E Commerce, (210) 227-8847; 7720 Jones-Maltsberger, (210) 821-5051,

Texas de Brazil

A five-time James Beard nominee for Best Chef Southwest, London-born Bruce Auden has trained some of the best rising talent in SA at his famed New American restaurant Biga on the Banks and at his new endeavor, Auden’s Kitchen, where he continues to experiment.

Excellent, well-prepared meats in a welcoming atmosphere with superior service. Best bets: picanha (sirloin), roast leg of lamb, Brazilian sausages, prosciutto, Brazilian black beans, and pork. 313 E Houston St, (210) 299-1600,

What is your favorite grilling style? Up at the house I only use wood, because it seems that if you are grilling, you want to impart something besides what you get in the kitchen, and you can close the lid for some smoke. We use oak and mesquite. Don’t use cedar; it adds oils to the smoke.

Is it necessary to marinate? People believe a marinade will make a difference to the tenderization, but it really doesn’t, unless you put in a lot of acid. But that ruins what you are cooking. Long marinades are fine in a zip-lock bag with either a dry rub or herbs and garlic. But I can’t think of any reason I would marinate liquid or acid too long. What types of meat do you prefer most? A fun thing to do is to get a few cuts of the same kind of beef from different farms and producers. Will you like the expensive meat better? Maybe you won’t discern a different taste. Find out.

How do you trim meat for the grill? I like whatever I’m grilling to have a pretty good amount of fat, it’s also easy to work with and it doesn’t dry out as fast. But that fat can burn up and burn the rest of your meat. I would start it out hot by searing the meat, then move it to the cooler side of the grill. Grilling means barbecue to many people. What else is easy to learn? So many items at the restaurant we start on the grill and then finish in the oven, or the other way around. If you want that smoky flavor, you can do the same thing at home. One tip is, if possible, use wood, the harder the better. Briquettes are horrible things. Who knows what’s inside them? At the end of the season, there are a lot of native grape vines in the Hill Country. Get your grill going, and put them in at the end. It adds great flavor. — Scott Andrews

Do you “LIKE”

Wine & Spirits? Facebook

Scan this QR Code to “Like” Gabriel’s & find out about Specials, Give-A-Ways, and Tastings /// FLAVOR 2011-12


The presentation is gorgeous, and it tastes as good as it looks… — SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS Beautiful setting, with excellent, well-prepared seafood. — SAN ANTONIO CURRENT Best Seafood Period. This is your place. — Guillermo Portillo - URBANSPOON


FLAVOR 2011-12 ///

20626 Stone Oak Pkwy #103 San Antonio, TX 78258 210-547-3437


Still hungry? Go to for even more restaurant listings.

Cabo Seafood + Bar

Seafood Cabo Seafood + Bar The contemporary, casual interior of Cabo Seafood + Bar transports diners to a lush beach resort paradise. A full bar and daily specials accent the offerings of seafood tartar, tostadas and incredible happy hour deals on tacos, crab cakes, and mango martinis and micheladas. 20626 Stone Oak Pkwy, (210) 547-3435,

Costa Pacifica Empanadas, enchiladas, and caramel crepes set Costa Pacifica apart from your typical seafood restaurant. Happy hour deals sweeten the pot, and a variety of preparations of octopus, shrimp, and fish fillets will demand many visits to try them all. Come get away to the Pacific coast, right in your back-

yard. 434 N Loop 1604 W, (210) 491-1378,

Crabby Jacks Like Hooters for Captain Ahab, just replace chicken wings served by scantily clad waitresses with fried shrimp served by scantily clad waitresses. Highlights include the crab combos and the bar happy hour. 16084 San Pedro Ave, (210) 496-3386

Groomer Seafood Market Hometown, premium seafood suppliers stocking favorites from the Gulf and beyond. The passion here is for quality and freshness, two key components of top-shelf seafood. Weekly specials and market reports keep consumers and industry folk alike up to

date on what’s new in the store. 9801 McCullough Ave, (210) 377-0951,

Mariscos El Bucanero  Your fish-phobic friends can get a top-notch asada plate (with enough for two), but this is a fresh-seafood lover’s paradise, from the spicy camarones aguachile to the whole fried fish with a guppy-size price tag. Plus: best fried shrimp in town. 2818 S WW White, (210) 333-0909

Mr. Cod Even though there’s a lot of fish on the menu at Mr. Cod, cleave to the cod. The fish strips are crisp and the meat flaky. Health warning: If you’ve ever suffered a coronary, you might

Cabo attempts to combine the laid-back atmosphere of the Mexican beach resort with the elegance of an after-hours club — and thankfully the risk of sunburn is minor and the ambient music stays at an appropriate level for easy conversation. The personable, young owners Juan and Maria Pablo operate two restaurants in Mexico City. They said they chose San Antonio for their newest venture due to the large number of Mexican nationals living nearby. To their pleasant surprise they found a relaxed setting, with a great view looking back toward downtown. And their reasonably priced, fresh seafood menu appeals equally to norteamericanos, as well. The interior utilizes a basic black-and-white décor that complements the unmodified exposed ceiling. The three-sided bar, with its artistically tiered arrangement of tequila bottles, dominates the dining room while four flat-screen TVs noiselessly convey sporting news.  Dress ranged from little black dresses and stilettos to shorts and flip-flops on a weekday evening as dusk turned to night.The ceviche tostada makes for a great starter — red snapper in lime, tomato, onion, and cilantro over a tostada. The appetizers also feature tuna and shrimp tacos, tuna tartar, and crab cakes and Gulf oysters. I had the Cabo signature salad, which featured good-sized fresh shrimp, bits of octopus, tender baby scallops, and strips of surimi with greens and toasted tortilla pieces. The lemony vinaigrette was a nicely balanced dressing for it all. My partner chose the jumbo shrimp, and she loved the dish. The shrimp came rubbed in garlic and guajillo chile warmed with a few tortilla crumbs; they really were jumbo! Underneath was a couscous with carrot and zucchini.  The couscous recurs with the shrimp dishes — a better accompaniment than the Mexican rice so popular around town. — Richard Teitz 20626 Stone Oak Pkwy #103, (210) 547-3438,

continued on page 30 /// FLAVOR 2011-12


Seafood from page 29 want to stick to the fish tacos. Almost everything on the menu here is fried and yellow, but at least it’s cheap. 5890 De Zavala, (210) 696-7263.

Neptune’s Seafood House Neptune’s is a neighborhood palace of fried fish, friendly service, and nautical knick knacks, including a battle-scarred marlin. The cornmeal-breaded and fried okra is utterly irresistible: crisp, fresh, and barely a whisper of greens. 1922 Goliad, (210) 337-7294

(210) 532-1315,

Wildfish Seafood Grille

The Sandbar The new incarnation of Sandbar at the Pearl is bigger and somewhat fancier, taking advantage of a full kitchen to produce hot plates characterized by sophisticated sauces and accompaniments, but its strengths are still the fresh fish in any form and its way with lobster, from rolls to the velvety bisque. Topnotch wine and beer, too. 200 E Grayson, (210) 222-2426

Heaping platters of fresh fried seafood are the draw at Rudy’s unadorned ordering counter. The crab cake served stuffed inside a deep-fried shell is a standout, but the oysters and shrimp are plump, the fish flaky and non-greasy. Use hot sauce. 4122 S Flores,

Sandbar’s Andrew Weissmann

Tiago’s Cabo Grille Inspired by the flavors of Cabo San Lucas, the food here is light, fresh, and flavorful. A spin on the traditional Mexican flavors, this coastal cuisine includes such fare as fire grilled skewers and street vendor-

AS FEATURED ON THE COVER 434 N LOOP 1604 W • 210.491.4497 30

FLAVOR 2011-12 ///

style tacos. Daily lunch specials and signature drinks, like the San Lucas Breeze, put Tiago’s a notch above the rest. Multiple locations,

Wildfish Seafood Grille Dark and sleek but relaxed,

any stuffiness is warded off by the lively bar scene at this Eddie V’s offshoot. Fresh fish dishes tend to be sauced, but polished, and the wine list suits the seafood. 1834 NW Loop 1604, (210) 493-1600,


Rudy’s Seafood /// FLAVOR 2011-12







FLAVOR 2011-12 ///






Still hungry? Go to for even more restaurant listings.

Bun & Barrel

Barbecue Augies Barbed Wire Grill There are no shortcuts to great barbecue. Slow, low cooking in an iron pit has produced the authentic taste of Texas style at Augie’s Barbed Wire Smoke House since 2009. Brisket, sausage, and even foot-long hot dogs are served alongside an excellent beer garden and tree house. 3709 N St. Marys, (210) 735-0088,

B&B Smokehouse Blink and you’ll miss it — but you’ll be sorry. Tiny and unassuming, B&B Smokehouse is known for melt-in-your-mouth brisket, St. Louis-style ribs, and to-die-for homemade BBQ sauce. After washing down

a Ranch Hand plate with sweet tea or pink lemonade, you’ll understand why folks drive out of their way for a hearty lunch at one of the Southside’s hidden gems. 2627 Pleasanton Rd, (210) 921-2745,

Bun ’N’ Barrel For ambience and taste, this is the closest to a real Texas barbecue experience in San Antonio. The pork ribs are really tasty, the brisket a solid B+, and the poppyseed rolls with the sliced barbecue sandwich rock. 1150 Austin Hwy, (210) 8282820,

backdrop for moist, slightly fatty, and smoky brisket, and a bottomless bucket of savory pinto beans. The meat doesn’t need the sauce, but it’s a good thin, tart-sweet, and tangy variety (it wouldn’t hurt the peppery sausage, though). Even the pecan pie, massproduced though it may be, contains a generous layer of nuts. 1610 NE Loop 410, (210) 824-9191,

Gonzales Food Market #2 — BBQ & Sausage

The Barbecue Station 

Lamb ribs, gourmet steaks, and barbecued chicken are just a few of the dishes that have Gonzales’ Food Market doing brisk busi-

Ranching and motoring memorabilia are the

continued on page 34

The Food Network’s Guy Fieri visited the Bun ‘N’ Barrel recently, a Saytown landmark that has received quite a few visitors during its 60 years of tossing down some of the best barbecue in the district. When it opened on the Austin Highway back in 1950, the restaurant was far enough out of town to keep its smoke pits going without squawking from neighbors. When long-time owners Courtney Broussard and Carlos Villasana put the joint up for sale several years ago, there were fears that new owners of the Bun would try to tidy it up and bury its yesteryear charm like so much of the old trail to Austin has been converted. Luckily, their next-door neighbors and tenant at Tong’s Thai bought the place, and there hasn’t been much change beyond the new coat of paint. (Yep, that big, red neon sign is still intact.) Angus burgers are charbroiled over open flame, the onions are still fresh cut and hand-battered. Back in the day, hunters could take their kill to age in the cool meat lockers of many a general store/gas station in Central and South Texas. Today, that’s not so common, but Bun ‘N’ Barrel still honors the tradition by offering custom BBQ services to ranchers and hunters. Bring in your own boar, venison, lamb, or turkey and they will treat you right. Cooked on wood, natch. One change from the old days: Coke has been replaced by Pepsi beverages, which means San Antonians can wash down their Sliced BBQ Sandwiches with a Big Red. “A lot of people like Big Red with barbecue,” says Dan Villasana, manager and son of the previous owners. “Somehow those two seem to go together.” — Scott Andrews 1150 Austin Hwy, (210) 828-2829, /// FLAVOR 2011-12



ness across the entire state, shipping their unrivaled barbecue wherever hungry mouths may be. Locals can enjoy all that and more, alongside warm potato salad, green beans, and slices of soft white bread. 2530 WW White Road, (210) 337-1041

House of Wings Quality is hard to put a price on, but the family-owned and operated House of Wings has been serving just that for years. It’s not just wings either — try the club sandwich, the fish burger, or the excellent Cobb salad for a departure from the usual spin. Good food at great prices. 19314 US Hwy 281 N, (210) 494-1760,

Jones Sausage & BBQ House 

nook earned high marks for its sausage in our 2007 BBQ survey, and in ’09 the sliced-brisket sandwich scored 18 toothpicks out of 20: center-cut, ethereally smoky, tender, and moist. Served on white bread, the way God intended. Save room for 7UP pound cake for dessert. 2827 Martin Luther King, (210) 224-6999

Quarry Hofbraü Equal parts beer joint and Texas ranch house, the Hofbrau is a great place to meet people and enjoy draft beers all day and night long. Live music, barbecue, and 24 beers on tap served at the old Cement Factory—come out and see what you’ve been missing. 7310 Jones Maltsberger, (210) 290-8066, quarryhofbrau. com

This rustic little Eastside

Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q This wildly popular, Leon Springs-born chain wasn’t part of the Current’s 2007 survey, but our readers voted it in themselves, naming Rudy’s Best Barbecue in 2008. Multiple locations,

Two Bros. BBQ Market  Chef Jason Dady and sibling Jake try their hands at the Texas triple lutz and pretty much land it with oak-fired smoke pits, a great dry rub, and a genius take on chicken thighs. The blueberry cobbler gets a standing ovation. Kid-friendly, with outdoor seating. 12656 West Ave, (210) 496-0222, Two Bros.’ Jason Dady

Digging for old man barbacoa Barbacoa is the grandfather of barbecue. Both have origins in the Caribbean, and like BBQ, barbacoa is made differently wherever you find it. In Mexico, sheep is slow-cooked in a hole dug in the earth. The meat is set over coals and covered in maguey leaves. Here on Texas beef ranches, the tradition has been to use a cow head. Melissa Guerra, author of Dishes from the Wild Horse Desert, and proprietor of the Mexican cookware shop that bears her name at the Pearl, told us how she does it at home, old-school Texas style. — Scott Andrews “The classic is beef-head cooked in a hole, and brought out the next day. Now it is baked or boiled cheek meats, full of collagen, and is chopped. Lacking that meat, you can get any type of meat and chop it. But that doesn’t make it real barbacoa — that’s a beef head wrapped in a gunnysack, and cooked in a pit, end of story, traditionally with cheek meats, brains, tongue, and eyes. Because of mad cow disease, you don’t get brains anymore. What you get in restaurants today is a very abbreviated version, because no one is going to dig a hole — though we have one at the house. It’s reinforced with metal, so the earth doesn’t collapse in. You build a fire and bake it over night. We’ve done that. The result is sort of hilarious, because when you put it on the table, all the fat starts to drag out of it. On one winter night it looked like stalactites as it cooled. The kids thought it was fascinating. ‘This is cool,’ they said, ‘Better than Jiffy Pop!” You scrape the pieces off and eat it with tacos. But you need a lot of people to eat it. What happens today is that people are really nostalgic for life on the ranch, that little taste of time. It’s not so much the flavor of the barbacoa, which is great, but that sense of time past.”





FLAVOR 2011-12 ///


from page 33




Gonzales Food Market BBQ and Sausage #2 2530 S. WW White Rd, San Antonio, TX 78222 (210) 337-1041 (Located between Rigsby &/// Southcross) FLAVOR 2011-12 35

*Full Service Dinner Available at 5p. 36 FLAVOR 2011-12 ///

6901 Blanco Rd. 210.616.0954



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The Monterey

American burgers & dogs

McCullough Ave, (210) 226-7556,


Big Bob’s Burgers 

Even though the “Shypoke Eggs” have been renamed “Armadillo Eggs” (nachos that resemble fried eggs thanks to strategically-melted cheeses atop jalapeños), the spirit of Little Hipp’s lives on at Armadillos. Giant burgers, tater tots, and retro ambience (boothside mini-jukeboxes provide a charming dose of nostalgia) give Armadillo’s only-in-Texas appeal while paying homage to a storied place where the food was anything but little. 1423

“The works” dominates at this very casual temple to an American staple, but the patties are serviceable, and the sides, especially the hand-battered onion rings, are above average. 447 W Hildebrand, (210) 7342627,

Five Guys Burgers and Fries The Five Guys menu is a paragon of simplicity: a hamburger either plain or with cheese, bacon, or both cheese and bacon, in both regular and “little”

sizes. Two sizes of fries in Five Guys or Cajun style. Oh, you have a choice of many, many free toppings, including grilled onions and grilled mushrooms. You can shortcut the decisionmaking process by asking for “all the way.” 260 E Basse Rd, Suite 107, (210) 822-6200,

The Monterey has a homegrown perspective, aspiring to provide local and sustainable cuisine with a new-country twist. They turn comfort-food classics into fine-dining treats. You’ll find items such as goat meatballs with honey aioli, smoked jalapeño cornbread, and crispy pig’s foot with succotash. Guests will order two or three plates, mixing sides and entrées. Thanks to, perhaps, a good memory of childhood — when we each contained an exploratory finesse that allowed for rampant experimentation — chefs here maintain the thrill of odd-ball pairings later rediscovered by many of us as so-called guilty pleasures. For that: Cheers! The Monterey knows how well crunchy chips pair with a soft bread, allowing me to gratefully order up the Frito Pie Po-Boy, a customer favorite, and ride the teeter-totter of soft roll and crunchy Fritos head-on into the creamy jalapeño mayo, shredded pork, gooey cheddar, and leafy green onions. Texturally speaking, this sandwich has got it going on. The house-made mayo really adds interest to this simple concoction; you get subtle, peppery heat instead of jalapeño wrath. Maintaining the same balance, the sharp cheddar’s barely there presence does not seek to overwhelm, and the touch of green veg serves as a bittersweet palate refresher to the Po-Boy’s savory pork. Split between two people, this sandwich is satisfying, especially when preceded with the watermelon, cucumber, olive, and feta salad that preps the belly for this kick-back meal. This is the kind of food that relaxes, adding to the convivial, retropicnic environment that is nothing short of picturesque under the night sky and medley of colorful lights. — Sophia Feliciano 1127 S St. Mary’s, (210) 745-2581,

continued on page 38 /// FLAVOR 2011-12


from page 37

fun for everyone. 111 Kings Court, (210) 737-7774,

Wing Zone

King’s Court Frankfurter Express This family-owned hot dog restaurant is one of the coolest hangouts in town. By day they run a brisk lunch business and in the evenings, film screenings and other neighborhood events draw even more crowds. Even vegetarians can enjoy the offerings at King’s Court, and loading up at the condiment bar is

Clean, modern space serving a rainbow of flavor options. Lemon pepper is a perennial favorite, in addition to the classic buffalo and spicy varieties. This is addictive food, people— taste at your own risk! Take out and delivery are available, but you won’t want to miss the atmosphere. 7828 Callaghan Rd, Ste 108, (210) 979-9464,


Chatman’s Chicken  This Eastside pocket of fried-chicken heaven serves its birds juicy and cracklin’, but the real prize is a box of fried corn fritters and okra. 1747 S WW White, (210) 359-0245

Ma Harper’s N’awlins Creole Kitchen Louisiana native Ma Harper’s home-style creole cooking — jambalaya, red beans and rice, and gumbo — tends to be mild but hearty. 1816 N New Braunfels, (210) 226-2200

Mama Lee’s Soul Food “Easy does it” makes for surprising quality all around. Best bets: Fried catfish, fried chicken, collard greens, and hearty meatloaf. 6060 Montgomery Dr, Ste 101, (210) 653-6262,

Max’s Wine Dive Max’s Wine Dive is the last word in bacchanalia ... with style. Even unsuspecting dishes, like the truffled egg sandwich, will expand your mind’s eye and delight your soul. 340 E Basse Rd, Ste 101, (210) 444-9547,

The Monterey This Southtown gem turns comfort food classics into fine-dining treats. Po-Boys, crispy pig’s foot, and grilled cheese sandwiches never tasted like this in Gram’s kitchen. 1127 S St. Mary’s, (210) 745-2581,

food trucks Boardwalk on Bulverde

Food trucks are the hottest trend in eating since sliced bread, and Boardwalk on Bulverde is ground-zero for the movement. Beer, wine, and food of all varieties are served out of funky trailers alongside such varied entertainment as movies and football at this ambling oasis of food trucks and good fun. 14732 Bulverde Rd, (210) 402-2829,

Cullum’s Attaboy Operating out of a vintage airstream trailer, Attaboy

reinvents the classic burgers and fries with welcome touches like handmade buns, fresh veggies, and add-ons like boudin sausage, Gouda, and cayenne ranch. Check Cullum’s website for current location status ( or stop by Tucker’s Kozy Korner (1338 E Houston), where you can find them every night starting at 5 p.m.

Say-She-Ate Mobile Eclectic Fare Chef Brandon McKelvey calls his Akaushi beef sliders and double-friedin-duck-fat Belgian fries “comfort food.” That’s fine with us, we’re just glad they’re both a staple on this

Breakfast Is An Experience, At Our Haus.


FLAVOR 2011-12 ///



111 KINGS CT • 737-7774

El Tacomiendo Taco Truck Monster tortas, tacos al pastor, and the illusive giant burrito bring smiles to the art crowd every Friday noon. What’s more, it’s a mobile mariscos purveyor, with a tasty shrimp cocktail, too. Parked at Artpace, 445 N Main, from noon2pm every Friday, (210) 843-1735

Wheelie Gourmet A colorful mobile sandwich joint with a Moroccan influence. The embrace of fresh bread and veggies, plus inventive spices and crispy Belgian fries, makes the ever-changing location worth the hunt and the service worth the wait. Call (210) 370-7692 for location updates.


new truck’s ranging menu that also includes new takes on Southern standards along with exotic offerings. Call (210) 446-8257 for location.



Come Celebrate With Us! HOURS: MON - WED 11AM - 8PM, THUR - SAT 11AM - 11PM

Chicago, New York, Veggie & San Antonio Hot Dogs


best hot dog by current readers 2011 Best Of SA

Cullum’s Attaboy







.290.8066 10 2 • r e rg e b s lt a M s 7310 Jone





Shelley Grieshaber For a decade, native San Antonian Shelley Grieshaber ran restaurants in New York City, an experience that fueled her drive to accomplish great things. After returning to SA, she joined the staff of the Center for Foods of the Americas, the school that became The Culinary Institute of America in 2008 and subsequently expanded from a 5,000 to a 30,000 square-foot facility. After developing the curriculum and serving as director of education for four years, Grieshaber left CIA San Antonio to develop the food and beverage program at Pearl Brewery. Now acting as an independent consultant and chef, she’s getting back to basics — cooking, catering, helping restaurants rework menus, and planning the next “Tamales at Pearl,” a December event that attracts over 20,000 hungry people to the flourishing complex. Other than Mexican food, what do you think San Antonio’s culinary scene is really great at? I think there are great pockets of everything if you’re willing to look hard and do some legwork. If you love great Turkish food, it’s out there. If you like great Italian, if you like vegetarian Indian food, it’s out there. You just have to work hard to find it.

When you have out-of-town guests, where do you take them? I’m a big fan of El Bucanero. To me, that’s San Antonio. I love the Monterey. I think for San Antonio that truly is a unique dining experience. It may be similar to what you’d see in Austin or Portland or Seattle, but for San Antonio, it’s an awesome example of what’s to come. I bring people to Pearl; I send people to Biga and Dough Pizzeria. Any rising stars of the culinary scene we should watch out for? I think you’re going to see good things from a guy named Tim Rattray who worked for Andrew Weissman for years. Rob Yoas, one of my graduates here at CIA, opened a restaurant called RoMo’s Café. He does duck-fat fries instead of doing traditional French fries and everything is made from scratch in the restaurant. They bake their own breads; they make their own doughs and cheeses. continued on page 42

Can you name a few restaurants that are worth driving out of town for? I always love going to the Welfare Café. It’s in the old Welfare General Store and highly German-influenced. I love Mac & Ernie’s, which is in Tarpley. It’s owned by a woman named Naylene. She is the hardest working cook I know, and for years she worked out of a kitchen that was just a shack, and you ate this gourmet, delicious food on paper plates on picnic tables. 40

FLAVOR 2011-12 ///


Is there great Turkish food in San Antonio? I think Turquoise and other smaller places are doing fun things and neat things on the Northwest side. I love that there are opportunities to go to places like Moroccan Bites … terrific food done well, but done very quietly.


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American from page 40 Would you ever consider opening a restaurant here? I think about it about every other week. I ran restaurants for years in New York City. It made me who I am as a person and helped really develop my personality and my drive to accomplish things. But at the same time, I enjoy the quality of life that you cannot have if you own a restaurant. Is there anything you think is definitely missing here? I would love to see everything, more of everything. I would love to see a more diverse Asian restaurant community. I love Vietnamese and Thai and Loatian. I would like to see that, a place that you’d love to go and hang out and have a great bowl of noodles and enjoy yourself, or a really great bánh mì sandwich. Do you see the food truck scene developing here? That’s the hundred-thousand-dollar question, because I worked on that too for Pearl, for a year. And San Antonio has made it so difficult to be successful in the food-truck business. It makes it very, very difficult to have a food-truck

scene like they do in Austin or Portland. In San Antonio, you have to pull it around with you. You have to move it every day. It has to be inspected at a designated inspection station every day. It has to be more than 300 feet from a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

have… is Topo Chico an ingredient [laughs]? Do you cook with it? It’s great to put into batters, because it makes them really light. I always have a great bottle of extra virgin olive oil and a drawer full of fresh herbs in varying states of decay.

scallions and let it sit. It’s almost like a confit because it’s sitting in oil. So if anyone comes over, I’ve got pistachios, I’ve got crack dip, and I can dig around for some crackers or some vegetables or something to serve it on, and ta-dah! — Bryan Rindfuss

Biga on the Banks, 203 S St. Mary’s, (210) 225-0722, What about unexpected guests? Dough Pizzeria Napoletana, I can do cocktail hour really well. I 6989 Blanco, (210) 979-6565, You worked on this for a year, always have wine and liquor, but I is it still in the works? ways have a bag of pistachios. Oh, there Mac & Ernie’s, 11804 FM 470, I was working on some concepts is something else in my refrigerator at Tarpley, (830) 562-3727, macanfor really quick foods, fast foods. And all times: it’s a Parmesan dip, but all my I don’t mean that in the traditional friends call it “crack dip,” because once Mariscos El Bucanero, sense of fast foods. … I’m trying to you start eating it it’s all over. 2818 S WW White, (210) 333-0909 answer this piece of the puzzle for Moroccan Bites Cuisine, Pearl — providing a meal someone Who makes it? 5714 Evers, Leon Valley, can grab and take with them and sit I make it. It’s both Parmesan and (210) 706-9700, out in the amphitheater or in the plaza Asiago with some herbs and some chili RoMo’s Café, 7627 Culebra, and experience something they’ve flakes, olive oil, and garlic. And you never experienced before. That, to serve it with either vegetables or crack- (210) 521-7666, The Monterey, 1127 S St. Mary’s, me, is what food trucks do in so many ers or a great piece of grilled bread. (210) 745-2581, places. Turquoise Grill, 3720 NW Loop 410, Do you purée it? (210) 736-2887, Which five ingredients do you I cut it up and put it in a food always have on hand? processor until it looks like pea gravel, Welfare Café, 223 Waring-Welfare, Boerne, (830) 537-3700, I always have really good butter. I and then I mix it with the oil, herbs, always have garlic-chili paste. I always chili, garlic, salt, pepper, and some What’s the point in that? It’s to protect the established brickand-mortar restaurants.

Texas Style Burgers. 1423 McCullough Ave. | 210.226.7556


FLAVOR 2011-12 ///


Order Online: To Order, Call: 210.979.WING(9464) 7828 Callaghan Road, Suite 108 Next to Lowe’s San Antonio, Texas 78230 /// FLAVOR 2011-12


San Antonio’s Own

Gourmet sandwiches, soups, salads, coffee, and desserts. 8096 Agora Parkway Selma, Texas 210.798.8646 (Near Pat Booker Rd.)

Olmos Park 4212 McCullough San Antonio, Texas 210.826.5667 (Just south of “The Circle”) 44

FLAVOR 2011-12 ///



Still hungry? Go to for even more restaurant listings.

Tootie Pie Gourmet Café

Deli & Diners The Beverage Bar & Café Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a variety of beverages in a friendly setting. Grab a coffee and baked item on the go, or stay for the pulled pork sandwich and a slice of pie. 2950 Thousand Oaks, Ste 10, (210) 3736178,

Bud Jones Restaurant  It’s Mom’s night off for four or 40 at this Southside family-oriented establishment, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. Understand the longevity by tackling the hubcapsized chicken-fried steak and the Rockport Shrimp. 1440 SW Military,

(210) 977-9161,  

DeWeese’s Tip Top Café Serving home-style meals since the Deco District was really Deco. They still have an old-fashioned telephone right up front with that really loud ring, the service is truly hospitable, and they don’t take plastic. (There’s a bank with an ATM across the street if you find yourself in need of cash.) 2814 Fredericksburg, (210) 7320191,

Earl Abel’s  Nostalgia and fried chicken keep this uprooted and replanted institution going. Classics such as lofty

Tootie Pie is an almost too cutsey-pie name, but as the company’s own literature touts Tootie as “a classic story of humble beginnings…” and reveals that “Tootie” is the nickname of the founder, so be it. For the company to have expanded from Fredericksburg into five locations, two of which are in San Antonio, suggests they’re doing something right. At the Tootie in Alamo Heights, the pies are displayed in a rotating cylinder in the center of the dining space. Check it out before you move on up to the counter. There you’ll find numerous sandwiches, bagels, paninis, soups, and salads which you are apparently obliged to consider before diving right into a Coconut Supreme. In a place founded on “hard work, determination and a loving hand,” it seemed only reasonable to have the pimento cheese sandwich tricked out with almonds and jalapeño. Bridge-club bland, it is not; the cheese mixture is very good, toasted wheat bread brackets it nicely, and crunchy iceberg is just right as a foil. Though it frankly tasted like tomato, the “signature” roasted red pepper and smoked Gouda soup was also rewarding. But the minute I heard the microwave ding, I knew it was all over with my blackberry pie: it had been turned to a mush resembling purple applesauce with seeds. The crust didn’t stand a chance. “Corporate” makes staff microwave all the berry pies, I was told. Take an anti-nuke stand. Of course there are pies that nobody would consider nuking, and one was the Lemon Velvet. “Our flaky golden crust” may be just a bit overstated, but at least it held up to the filling, a good balance of tart custard and light, cream cheese topping. The six-pound apple pie that launched the business didn’t immediately appeal, however. Maybe next time. — Ron Bechtol 5130 Broadway, (210) 829-4959,

continued on page 46 /// FLAVOR 2011-12


Deli & Diners

The Station Café

2211 NW Military Hwy, Ste 131, (210) 694-9288,

from page 37 meringue pies and flaky onion rings stand the test of time. 1201 Austin Hwy, (210) 822-3358,

Guillermo’s Deli

Fattboy Burgers & Dogs Fattboy makes up for lack of visual charm with “baddass” burgers and “hott” rings. Be sure to order the “fatt” size and to take your toppings All The Way; your momma’s not watching. 2345 Vance Jackson, (210) 377-3288,

Flour Power Café & Bakery  Solidly executed, elemental soups are complemented by more adventurous sandwiches, including the Pambazo, made with pulled pork, refried beans, avocado, and more. Save room for the cheesecake (and we seldom say that).

some mosaic floors and exotic light fixtures. 205 E Guenther, (210) 227-1061,

It’s a deceptively simple combo: spinach, bacon, grilled chicken, and provolone between two slices of focaccia bread. But something special happens when Guillermo’s adds it all up in their Chicken Bacon Spinach Cheese sandwich. It’s hearty on its own, but don’t skip the side of excellent bowtie pasta salad. 618 McCullough, (210) 223-5587,

Hearthstone BakeryCafe

Guenther House


The lunch menu doesn’t really inspire, but breakfast is an all-day event: perfect biscuits, stacks of pancakes dripping in syrup, and waffles topped with fresh strawberries and whipped cream are made more enjoyable by the cool green dining room’s hand-

Luther’s has morphed from an endearingly eccentric hamburger joint to gayfriendly hangout with a family-friendly vibe. The contemporary Americana menu transcends stereotypes of all kinds. 1425 N Main, (210) 223-7727,

Health and flavor go hand in hand at this great lunch & dinner spot. The freshness of the ingredients is tasted in every bite of homemade goodness, and nothing tops the fresh baked breads and confections at this family owned and operated café. Dine in or delivery, you can’t go wrong. Multiple locations,

Madhatters Teahouse and Café Best of SA 2008 winner for Sunday Brunch, Madhatters woos early risers and late hangover-nursers with bottomless mimosas and inventive Southwestern Eggs Benedict on the weekends. Enjoy homey sandwiches and desserts all week long in the Alice-in-Wonderland-like Southtown house. 320 Beauregard, (210) 2124832,

Magnolia Pancake Haus Breakfast and brunch are the name of the game at this continental-inspired diner. Avocado and shrimp omelet served beside a stack of these famous pancakes will change your outlook on the a.m. Syrup, like everything here, is homemade and powerful. Don’t miss the pancakes. 606 Embassy Oaks, Ste

100, (210) 496-0828,

Mary Ann’s Pig Stand The vintage façade and kitschy décor are the real draw at this San Antonio institution, but it also boasts a great back-story. Ask one of the lifer waitresses about it while you order a hearty breakfast, BBQ lunch, or home-style dinner (fried chicken, pork chops, or liver and onions, anyone?) The retro vibe wouldn’t be complete without sweet fountain treats like a root beer float, chocolate malt, or slice of pie. 1508 Broadway, (210) 222-9923, 

Mr. Tim’s Country Kitchen  The eponymous owner serves hefty and homey meatloaf, biscuits, and assorted other Americana offerings in this eclectic Southtown nook, and at

Hungry for more?

San Antonio Express-News Critics’ Choice 2011: Winner, Best Local Sandwich Shop

6901 Blanco Rd. • 210.616.0954 *Lunch Available till 5p


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For more listings & reviews visit or

Riverwalk Wine & Spirits THE ONLY DOWNTOWN LIQUOR STORE least one of the DIY fork sculptures that gives it character has moved to the new Presa digs. 620 S Presa, (210) 271-7887

Pam’s Patio Kitchen Pam’s is not unlike your charming aunt who’s occasionally a little dotty. It’s hard to know what to pick when a menu includes pad Thai, beef curry, stacked enchiladas, and pastas, but the shrimp tacos are tangy, fresh, and spicy. A snug atmosphere and the moderately priced, flavorful food go a long way toward making Pam’s a neighborhood favorite. 11826 Wurzbach, (210) 492-1359,

The Station Café Everything is made from scratch at this Southtown gem, which recently moved into much larger digs next door. Try the habanero turkey sandwich or Southwestern pizza, and top it off with a slice of coconut cream pie. 108 King William, (210) 444-2200,

Stinson Airfield Patio Cafe  A few aviation-themed menu items are all that hint of this historic airfield’s rich history, but a recent remodel of the terminal is faithful, and you can still hope for takeoffs and landings as you enjoy solid Tex-Mex and Ameri-Tex food at contemporary bargain prices ($6 lunch specials). 8535 Mission, (210) 923-5969

Tommy Moore’s Café & Deli Home-cooked meatloaf, serious fried chicken, and real mashed potatoes — all served in a supremely sophisticated setting. 915 S Hackberry, (210) 531-9800,

Patty Lou’s at the Olmos 


This popular diner serves solid Americana breakfast plates such as Eggs Goldenrod and fried-egg sandwiches in the historic Olmos Pharmacy building. Don’t skip the flaky biscuits, and take a walk on the mild-wild side with coconut and candied-jalapeño pancake toppings. 3902 McCullough, (210) 706-9855

Picnikins Patio Café Southwest calamari and sliders dress up happy hour, and awardwinning gourmet sandwiches are the perfect antidote to a too-short lunch break. Soups made from scratch are available every day, and elegant dinner entrees like mushroom and leek meatloaf, braised lamb shanks, and Angus beef tenderloin transform the eatery by night. 6901 Blanco Rd, (210) 616.0954, picnikinspatiocafe. com

W.D. Deli W.D. Deli makes flavor-packed, over-stuffed sandwiches (accounting for its 2011 Best Deli win in the Current’s readers’ poll), Caesar, chef, and other assorted salads, and a selection of soups that rotates daily. Cookies and cakes distinguish W.D. Deli. 3123 Broadway, (210) 828-2322,

Zedric’s Healthy, chef-prepared meals made with love and sound nutrition for smart people on the go. Offering breakfast, salads, lunch, dinner, and even snacks that will boost your energy and trim your figure at reasonable prices, Zedric’s will even deliver anywhere in San Antonio. Build a healthier you with delicious and easy meals from your new favorite spot. 2267 NW Military Hwy Ste 116, (210) 541-0404, zedrics. com

Centrally located within minutes of all downtown hotels Largest selection of beer, wine, spirits, snacks, accessories and convenience items downtown • Great Tequila Collection • Texas Beers, Wines and Spirits • Hotel Mini Bar Bottles • Humidor CALL FOR SPECIAL ORDERS AND HOSPITALITY SUITE SERVICE

412 E. Commerce • 210.224.2012 Hours: Monday-Saturday 10-9 • Closed Sunday /// FLAVOR 2011-12



FLAVOR 2011-12 ///



Still hungry? Go to for even more restaurant listings.

Niki’s Tokyo Inn

Sushi Fujiya Japanese Garden To immerse yourself in the taste and culture of Japan, this beautiful hideaway is the best place to experience it. The sushi chefs here are versed in the traditional modes of preparation, so belly up to the bar for an unforgettable experience. The hot dishes are fantastic, too. You’ll never think of ramen the same way again. 9030 Wurzbach Rd, (210) 734-3551,

settings and soft music fade to the background as you taste the authentic dishes of Korean and Asian provenance. Homemade kimchi and the best bulgogi you’ve ever had make Ilsong Garden the ultimate Korean dining choice in the city. 6905 Blanco Road, (210) 366-4508,

call it a dream come true. Whether a casual lunch or an intimate dinner, the sophisticated-but-affordable Kai Sushi is your first choice in Japanese dining. Happy hour specials for when you’ve got time to spare and a special to-go menu for when you don’t. 2535 NW Loop 410, (210) 340-6688,

Izakaya Nin

Kobe Japanese Steak House

Rustic clay tile and tin stars give Godai a Western feel, but the menu is classic: all the usual sushi suspects and an assortment of rice and noodle bowls. Go for what’s recommended. 11203 West Ave, (210) 348-6781

The casual, communal atmosphere of this premiere Japanese restaurant will transport you to the alleys of Tokyo as you sip sake, selected by Izakaya’s sommelier, and feast on charcoal-grilled yakitori and ethereal tempura. Happy hour deals on sushi rolls and cocktails will keep you coming back again and again. 20330 Huebner Rd, (210) 549-3030,

Ilsong Garden

Kai Sushi

Kumori Sushi

Family-owned Korean café with the perfect setting for date night. Elegant table

Authentic Japanese cuisine prepared by Japanese chefs in our humble city—

Teppanyaki and sushi abound at this northside Japanese eatery. Salads

Godai Sushi Bar and Restaurant

Teppanyaki chefs entertain with flashy displays of “traditional” cooking. Kobe offers wide selections of entrees served with soup, hibachi vegetables, and rice at lunch or try a salad and shrimp appetizer with dinner. Enjoy the onion soup, succulent teppanyaki scallops, and rich, tender New York strip steak. 1007 NW Loop 410, (210) 5249333,

and noodle bowls mix up the classic sashimi and rolls. Tempura and yakitori are always great, and the lunch specials make this great spot extra affordable. 700 E Sonterra Blvd, Ste 308, (210) 853-2001,

Niki’s Tokyo Inn A hidden gem of Japanese food emerges from an exterior that says “go away.” The fish is among the freshest in town and the presentation is elegant and free of gimmick and cream cheese. Take your purist friends and sushi novices who are really in it for the raw. Delectable whole fried fish makes a good closer. Our critic suggests you just put yourself in the chef’s hands. 819 W Hildebrand, (210) 736-5471

Osaka Japanese Steak & Sushi The fresh, firm sashimi served with jalapeñoshaped wasabi certainly gets the mouth watering at

this special hibachi-style restaurant. Try the flavorful giant cuts of Hibachi shrimp and the luscious Black Angus filet. 4902 Broadway (210) 822-0300,

Sansei Sushi at Bar Rojo As its name indicates, this flashy Grand Hyatt nook takes a South American expat approach to Japan’s culinary genius, adding jalapeño, cilantro, and avocado crema to a variety of maki rolls. A sophisticated sake selection is available for pairing, but you might want to finish with a chipotle-pineapple margarita. 600 E Market, (210) 224-1234,

Samurai Sushi The seafood is fresh and well-priced at this Medical Center area restaurant, and if some sushi rolls don’t live up to their menu pics, many of the more continued on page 50 /// FLAVOR 2011-12



“We Are Not Just Another Sushi Restaurant...”

from page 49 inventive dishes truly are Seafood Dynamite. 2320 Babcock, (210) 692-7555,

Sumo Steakhouse & Sushi Bar

Vance Jackson



DINNER Mon - Sat 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM Sunday 3:00 PM - 9:00 PM

210.340.8888 2535 NW Loop 410

(On the corner of Vance Jackson & 410, Next to Whataburger) 50


Equal parts nightclub and sushi bar, you’ve never experienced anything quite like Zïquid before. The cool blue lights and posh interior is the perfect place for well-heeled crowds to enjoy some fine dining and nightly entertainment at this bastion of after-dark enjoyment. Karaoke, signature cocktails, and more memorable details await you. 18730 Stone Oak Pkwy, Ste 108, (210) 495-1234,

Mild in its décor, but adventurous in its sushi creations. Try the LIR Roll, spicy tuna and avocado wrapped

Authentic Japanese & Asian cuisine is an adventure in good living and is perfectly suited for a casual lunch, an intimate dinner, or a fun gathering spot for happy hour.

p Loo

In a town where any food wrapped in rice is considered sushi, Wasabi is serving up flavorful modern rolls at decent prices. Let the chef go nuts with the anything-goes Whatever Roll. You can specify spicy or not, and perhaps even request a type of fish, but that takes the fun out of it. 9921 I-10 W, (210) 877-2300,

Sushi Zushi

FLAVOR 2011-12 ///

Wasabi Sushi Bistro

Traditional hibachi steakhouses offer not just an incredible meal of superfresh grilled meats and vegetables cooked before your eyes, but an entertaining dinner show as well. The sushi is fantastic and the house cocktails like the Fuji Mai Tai, the Zen Cooler, and the Yokozuna will keep you coming back again and again. 8342 I-10 W, (210) 5418999,

The assorted nigiri sushi selection is impeccably presented and very good, especially the fresh fatty tuna and the lush uni. Specialty rolls served from the bar are impressive. 1810 NW Military Hwy, (210) 3407808,  

20330 Huebner Rd, San Antonio, TX 78258 (210) 549-3030

in fresh salmon and sweet spicy sauce. Current readers’ 2010 pick for Best Sushi. 9867 I-10 W, (210) 691-3332,


Japanese & Asian Cuisine





san antonio steakhouse & sushi bar




Traditional Japanese Hibachi Steakhouse SUSHI & TEPPANYAKI

Luscious Steaks, Tender Chicken, Fresh Seafood, Savory Vegetables and Great Variety of Sushi. Exceptional Service and Entertainment for the Whole family! Great For Company Parties and Events!

OPEN 7 DAYS SUN-THURS: 11AM-930PM • FRI: 11AM-10:30PM • SAT: NOON-10:30PM

3:30-6:30 For Lunch & Dinner 20% Off Everything

6:30-9:30 Buy 1 Get 1 50% Off (All Dinner Entrees)

1007 NW Loop 410 • 210-524-9333

Mon-Thurs: 11:30am-2pm & 5pm-10:30pm Friday 11:30am -2pm & 5pm-11:30pm Saturday 11:30am-11:30pm Sunday 11:30am-10:30pm 8342 IH-10 West San Antonio, Tx 78230 210.541.8100 /// FLAVOR 2011-12


t u w D Ho o Yo HuHo ?


12710 West I10 | 210.641.1288 |

FLAVOR 2011-12 ///



Still hungry? Go to for even more restaurant listings.

Sichuan Cuisine

Asian chinese & korean Gaaboseh Korean Café

You won’t go to Gaaboseh for the Home Depot décor, but you will recall their Lunch Box specials. The impressive bento-box

houses pan-chan-like servings (pickled, shredded daikon and mung bean sprouts), iceberg-based salad with broccoli and a sesame dressing, vegetable maki, and a pair of fried mandu. 6019 Rittiman Plaza, (210) 829-0299

Go Hyang Jib Top-notch Korean BBQ and sushi. Try the chop chae platter, with delicate noodles and a squadron of other ingredients from chiles to slivered chicken breast. 4400 Rittiman, (210) 822-8846


HuHot Mongolian Grill Create your own stir fry destiny at HuHot. Choose from select seafood and meats, 24 different veggies, and 24 house sauces. Watch as your customized stir fry is prepared before your eyes on our large round Mongolian grill. Feast and repeat as trips to the gill are unlimited. Flanked by a menu of soups, salads, appetizers

Sliced pig ear in hot chili oil? Duck tongues showered in jalapeños? Crispy pork intestine with dried pepper? At Sichuan Cuisine, a sprawling and somewhat featureless restaurant, even a dish as simple as dan-dan noodle seems like a revelation with its lustrous noodles in a savory sauce containing ground pork, chili oil, and spinach. Chengdu-style steamed dumplings, their silken wrappers containing individual nuggets of pork, arrive in a bowl whose contents offer aromas of five-spice powder and chilies when stirred. Perfumy Sichuan pickle, with cabbage, radish, and crunchy celery bathed in a chili-vinegar oil, was also a hit on one visit. But in terms of merit-badge accumulation, the clear appetizer winner is the sliced pig’s ear, though the mound of rosy shreds does little to betray its origins—perhaps just as well. We have also boldly tried duck tongues served with a staggering quantity of sliced, but remarkably tame, jalapeños. How to eat is ancient puzzle. Less challenging is a simple plate of tea-smoked duck. Good and meaty and infused with just enough tannic smoke, it’s an exercise in exquisite minimalism. More in your face is the stir-fried lamb with spicy sauce and cumin sautéed until nearly dry and served over shredded lettuce that effectively cools the toasty spices. Sautéed until blistered and served with ground pork, the green beans that might be a standout at any other restaurant seem merely marvelous. Gluttons for both taste and punishment, we have also ordered the crispy pork intestine with dried pepper, and though the combination of copious red chilies and Sichuan peppercorns can get pushy, the dish proves to have staying power. Nevertheless, it is a relief to be able to dip into an order of crispy tofu in garlic sauce when the palate begins to numb. — Ron Bechtol 2347 NW Military Hwy, (210) 525-8118,

continued on page 54 /// FLAVOR 2011-12



and desserts. S’mores, anyone? 12710 IH 10 W, Ste 100, (210) 641-1288,

Ilsong Garden Don’t panic: We aren’t going to tell you to try the cod-intestine soup. Starters such as the “pancake” filled with squid and oyster are an easy introduction to the kitchen’s authentic style. A highly recommended sushi happy hour is 4-6 p.m. MondayFriday, and Current readers love the Korean barbecue, naming it best in the city for 2010. 6905 Blanco, (210) 366-4508

Kiku Garden Kiku offers a unique cookit-yourself Korean BBQ experience that is both fun and delicious at the same time. Start off with a platter of bulgogi and wang kalbi and let the good times

Sawasdee Thai Cuisine

roll. 4527 Goldfield, (210) 622-6699

Sawasdee Thai gets everything right — except the meats. But their attention to detail in their sauces makes it a vegetarian heaven. 6407 Blanco, (210) 979-9110,

Kim Wah Chinese Barbecue   At Kim Wah, today’s decoration is tomorrow’s dinner. Don’t be fooled by a long line of fan-drying ducks: You must order ahead. The duck is divine, wrapped in a puffy, dimsum-like bun. As for the rest of dinner — order from the serious Chinese menu and the chalkboard where you’ll find such exotic treats as braised intestine. 7080 Bandera, (210) 5202200,

Sichuan Cuisine Sichuan Cuisine revives interest in the fortunes of Chinese cooking, currently in the shadow of the more-exotic Vietnamese and Thai. Try the challenging sliced pig’s ear or duck tongues with jalapeño before retreating to the likes of the (also very

good) stir-fried lamb with cumin. 2347 NW Military Hwy, (210) 525-8118,


Bangkok 54 This San Antonio sibling of a Washington, D.C., establishment serves unusual and pleasing Thai variations, like soft-shell crab with basil, and very capable favorites like yum talay and Massaman curry. 2515 Nacogdoches, (210) 822-5454,

Jasmin Thai Begin your meal with spring or summer rolls,



6905 Blanco Rd. 210.366.4508 54

FLAVOR 2011-12 ///

then move on to Jasmin’s specialties: green papaya salad with dried shrimp and a bowl of noodle soup. Finish off with a plate of sticky rice with mango, when in season. 4065 Medical, (210) 6156622,

Mon Thai Bistro and Sushi Mon Thai offers both sushi and Thai cuisine, including spicy drunken noodles and shu’shee — salmon and vegetables in a mild red curry. Polish it off with fried bananas or tempura ice cream. 4901 Broadway, (210) 8223253,

Thai Lemongrass Restaurant Thai Lemongrass is still in search of an identity, but the Queen of Duck and green papaya salad are winners. 16666 San Pedro, (210) 490-3636

Thai Chili Curries, fish, and noodle dishes in over 30 authentic varieties make this Thai spot the ultimate in Pan Asian cooking. The sweet, hot and salty flavors of Thai cooking are found across this large menu, conveniently available from two locations in San Antonio. Try the Phad Prik


from page 53

Sawasdee Thai Cuisine

AWARDED “THAI SELECT” BY MINISTRY OF COMMERCE THAILAND Khing, or Tod Mun Pla, for a perfect experience. 19141 Stone Oak Pkwy, Suite 305, (210) 402-4042,

and salads. Don’t miss the grilled pork sandwich or the French onion soup. 8448 Fredericksburg, (210) 692-7019

Thai Corner

Lien Hung

Green curry with somen and an order of drunken noodles saved tired appetizers and perfunctory soup on Thai Corner’s bargain lunch menu, suggesting that entrees are the forte. Spice level five is a challenge; order six at your own risk. 8498 Fredericksburg, (210) 615-8424,

Try roasted meatballs, the #8 Pho with wonton dumplings, shrimp, pork, and more, and indulge your adventurous side with frogs’ legs in lemongrass with garlic and chili. Cash and check only. 280 Remount, (210) 599-7075

Pho Cong Ly

Stay on the savory side of the kitchen with the homemade curries and Koanom Jeeb dumplings. The spice-heat runs 1-5; go with 4 unless you plan to add condiments, such as chile-laced fish sauce. 5136 Fredericksburg, (210) 524-9440,

Save yourself any floundering with Chinese mainstays like lemon chicken and move straight into the lemongrass or pho dishes. Adventurers who dare rub lips with a little “soft tendon” in their bath of noodle soup (found under “fortifying combos” on the menu) will be rewarded with a tongue tingle worth remembering. 300 W Bitters, (210) 499-5572

Thai Spice

Pho Ha Long

Thai Spice is the frontrunner for the Queen of Siam’s throne. The automatic soup, generously endowed with rough dumplings of ground chicken, is unusually good — especially if you sneak in a little chili-spiked fish sauce when the waitresses, all clad in traditional garb, aren’t looking. Whatever your selection, don’t dither; this place is a matriarchy, and you know how moms and aunties get. 327 Agora Pkwy, (210) 658-1665

Unassuming but outstanding pho and bun served at recessionfriendly prices. We especially liked the number 44 with seafood and the bun tom thit nuong. 6424 NW Loop 410, (210) 521-4507,

Thai Pikul Restaurant

Tong’s Thai Restaurant Eclectic, upscale tiki atmosphere. Tong’s Thai offers several vegetarian dishes, a critically acclaimed lemon-grass curry, a large beer and wine selection, and a funky bubble tea room. Current readers’ choice for Best Thai 2010. 1146 Austin Hwy, (210) 829-7345, 

Yaya’s Thai Restaurant and Sushi Bar This Olmos Park addition to SA’s Thai pantheon stands out by virtue of its Panang curry with New York strip, the Hit and Run fried duck, and fresh, well-seasoned apps like the lemongrass-packed fish cakes and the crisp, carefully fried spring rolls. 5305 McCullough, (210) 399-1454,

vietnamese French Sandwiches

Hearty, leafy French Vietnamese sandwiches with excellent soups

Beer & Wine Available

Thai Buffet Mon - Fri 11am - 3pm

Two Great Locations 19141 Stone Oak Pkwy


4303 Thousand Oaks


Pho Sure This cozy spot offers the taste sensations of a variety of Asian cultures. Sushi, in addition to the ever-popular pho, is fantastic, as are the Thai and Vietnamese noodle dishes and savory entrees. Convenient for students and downtown residents, Pho Sure also offers delivery. 741 W Ashby, (210) 733-8473,

Van’s Chinese and Vietnamese Restaurant Careful selection will yield dependable cuisine at this panAsian eatery. An impressive wine list and specials like spicy lobster are among the finer reasons to visit this Broadway staple. 3214 Broadway, (210) 828-8449,

pho sure


vietnamese and chinese cuisine

Viet Nam Restaurant A Current readers’ ’10 pick, Viet Nam offers clay pots and banh xeo for the purist, and decadent spring rolls and richly accessorized pho for mainstream Asian dabblers. 3244 Broadway, (210) 822-7461

741 W. Ashby Pl • 210.733.8473 /// FLAVOR 2011-12


authentic Italian cuisine • extensive Italian & Californian wine list Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30 am-2:00 pm

Dinner Mon-Sat 5:30 pm-10 pm

: HAPPY HOUR : Mon-Sat 5:30-7:30 11255 Huebner Rd. #200 • 210.561.9700


Full Bar

FLAVOR 2011-12 ///

Private Wine Room

Outdoor Dining & Fireplace


Still hungry? Go to for even more restaurant listings.


Picking your pizza For pizza fundamentalists, the real — and only — way to eat a pizza is after it’s cooked in a wood-burning oven. For others (read: Americans), a gas oven will do. A pizza is a pizza is a pizza. But, is it really? The Current staff chose four representative slices of some of the best — or most renowned — local pizzas. If you’re serious about the art of pizza eating, you can’t start your journey without trying these four samples. Two of these pizzas came from a gas oven, two from ovens burning wood. Try them, enjoy, and decide.

a. Funghi e cipolli

b. Pepperoni-mushroom (Florio’s)

This pizza is a generous (and incredibly tasty) blend of goat cheese, mozzarella, mascarpone, mushrooms, herbs, and caramelized onions. Ask them to let it burn a little and get the crunchiest possible pizza.

The crust is crisp but not crackerthin, the toppings are generous, and the East Coast attitude is on the house.

(Il Sogno Osteria)


c. Meditteranean

(Guillermo’s Deli)

Guillermo’s perfect blend of feta, olives, and peppers is almost as good as it’s foccacia-like crust. Almost.


d. Margherita (Dough)



A thin-crusted relish of tomato sauce, house-made mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, and basil. There are three varieties of Margherita, but no matter what type of pizza you order, it is the wood-fired brick oven that is talked about: built in Italy.

a. Il Sogno Osteria, 200 E Grayson, (210) 2233900, b. Florio’s Pizza, 7701 Broadway, (210) 805-8646 c. Guillermo’s Deli, 618 McCullough Ave, (210) 2235587, d. Dough, 6989 Blanco, (210) 979-6565,

Italian Aldo’s Italian Ristorante


Il Sogno Osteria

Serving salads and pasta, complimented by grilled trout, chicken piccata, and other classical Italian entrees, Aldo’s Italian Ristorante offers the best in fine dining and continental flair. A lovely atmosphere only enhances the food. A true class act, from start to finish. 8539 Fredericksburg Rd, (210) 696-2536,

Smack dab in the center of Monte Vista, this charming neighborhood nook serves up traditional Italian fare with hearty pizzas and an unbeatable house salad as favorites among regulars. 2524 N Main Ave, (210) 735-5757,

Andrew Weissman’s take on casual “four-star” Italian dining combines sophisticated décor and presentation with hearty dishes straight from the boot. The wild boar with pasta and the oven-roasted chicken with truffled mashed potatoes are but two examples of the treats in store. Don’t skip the antipasti bar, either, and ask for

recommendations from the regional wine list. 200 E Grayson, (210) 223-3900

La Focaccia Italian Grill Stop by this Southtown eatery on a weekend evening for soothing piano styling paired with an Italian meal. 800 S Alamo, (210) 223-5353,

Lorenzo’s Italian Restaurant Despite not being as hip or trendy as other Italian eateries, Lorenzo’s is as authentic as it gets, with better Italian than you deserve. Try the satisfying lasagna and baked ziti. 8032 Fredricksburg Rd, (210) 692-9900, continued on page 58 /// FLAVOR 2011-12



Rossini Italian Bistro

from page 57

Tré Trattoria


Jason Dady’s penultimate outing — rustic, plentiful Italian served parkside on Broadway — succeeds with authentic salumi, gnocchi, and cast-iron griddled pizzas. 4003 Broadway, (210) 805-0333,

Joe Cosniac’s original Lincoln Heights heir serves the signature breaded, garlicky Shrimp Paesano, a meaty Eggplant Parmigiana, and if the devotees are to be believed, one of the best steaks in town. 2009 Best of SA readers’ poll winner for Best Italian. 555 E Basse, (210) 828-5191, paesanos. com

Tre Trattoria at the Fairmount Hotel

This branch of the fabled Paesanos offers new fare to a fresh crowd. The menu changes often, rotating in such nightly specials as lamb meatballs in Greek yoghurt sauce, oak-grilled Angus ribeye, and Lake Superior trout to be expertly paired with a host of reasonably priced Italo-centric wines. 3622 Paesanos Parkway, (210) 493-1604,

Piatti Locali Although it’s a chain, Piatti’s gives local ingredients a strong role in its menu. Try the Pollo alla Mattone, succulent and fat with flavor, and the baked Texas goat cheese served with Kalamata olives, a veritable hymn to the humble cabra. 255 E Basse, (210) 832-0300,

Piccolo’s Italian Restaurant With a deliciously formless lasagna and a shrimp pasta that seems oddly reminiscent of other offerings in town, Piccolo’s is one of those restaurants that provide an Italian experience at a very reasonable price, if the diner is willing to meet the kitchen halfway. 5703 Evers Rd, (210) 647-5524

Dine In - Carry Out - Catering Mon-Thurs 11:00am - 9:30pm Fri-SAt 11:00am - 10:30pm Sun 11:00am - 8:30pm

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Rossini Italian Bistro Simple but well-executed Italian cuisine from a menu that changes weekly. Bet on the appetizer salads, lamb, and fish dishes. Although it’s not always on the menu, the amberjack, sautéed with hearts and bottoms of artichoke and leek, was impeccably rendered on our visit. 2195 NW Military, (210) 615-7270.

Zocca at Westin Riverwalk Hotel Rustic and contemporary continued on page 61


Paesanos 1604 

Tuscan classics and housecured specialties, served family style. Don’t miss the Chef’s Market Salad that changes weekly; our rendition included baby arugula, Fredericksburg peaches, and pork torchon served with a pomegranete molasses dressing. 401 S Alamo, (210) 223-0401, /// FLAVOR 2011-12


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Luca Della Casa Since graduating from the unofficial School of Andrew Weissman, Piemonte, Italy, transplant Luca Della Casa has found an unlikely niche market by catering some of SA’s most delicious dinner parties.

And has this all been word of mouth? Most of it. I like to use the local farmers and providers. They get contacted constantly for catering or private chefs.

What brought you to San Antonio? I was living in Spain, in the Canary Islands, and a good friend of mine met a girl from Waco. They fell in love, they got married, and they moved here. I followed them as an adventure. Then I had the chance of meeting Massimo Palotteli, who was running Sage restaurant at the Fairmont Hotel.

How would you describe your style of cooking? Definitely my best guns are in Italian cuisine. I like to present a more modern concept of Italian cuisine, not too refined. Nowadays people want to have simple food, something they can recognize. There’s a lot of attention on the ingredients, so of course I love to work with local farmers and growers. And I like the idea of presenting Italian food that is healthy and not heavy and super-high-calorie like it could have been four years ago.

And since then? I worked for one year there and then I went to work at Le Rêve, where I stayed a little over two years. And then when Mr. Weissman decided to open Il Sogno, I moved there and I ran the restaurant for almost two years, till March of this year. And now? Since I left Il Sogno, I’ve been working mostly on catering private parties. It’s definitely a good niche of the market in San Antonio. There are a lot of people who can afford to organize parties at their house. They can have a nice dinner with their friends in the coziness of their place.

from page 58

Dough Pizzeria Napoletana

Italian collide creatively at this River Walk restaurant. The pastas and desserts are especially good. Our critic fell for the pappardelle Bolognese and the balsamic-blueberry sorbet. 420 W Market, (210) 444-6070,

Their wood-burning oven produces pies that are authentically, officially Neapolitan, with a crisp and savory crust topped with fresh, milky mozzarella melting into the sweet and tart sauce. 6989 Blanco, (210) 979-6565,

pizzeria CHUCK KERR

Deco Pizzeria Italian-style pizza and live music in the up-and-coming Deco District just north of downtown, served in a perfect date-night setting.

Savory meatballs, wings, and weekend lunch specials expand the options at this cute eatery just across the way from the Woodlawn Theater. Dinner and a show? Now you know. 1815 Fredricksburg Rd, (210) 732-3326,

Florio’s Pizza Italy? Forget about it—this is the real stuff, from New Jersey since 1980. There’s Bianca, of course, and the red Lodi has plenty of

Has Texas had any effect on the way you cook? Yes, definitely. Every time I travel, every time I move or experience a new country, I get influences from it and learn something — in getting to know new ingredients and techniques in cooking from the places I’ve been or the food I’ve been exposed to. What five ingredients do you always keep at home? Parmesan, olive oil, anchovies, onion, garlic. Could you make anything with just those items? With some pasta or salad or support to it, but that’s kind of the base to what I need to put together a meal. With the right protein or pasta or a greenleaf salad, a meal can come up pretty easy. What would you say is missing in San Antonio in terms of our culinary scene? San Antonio is such an interesting market. I think it would need a little bit of everything still. We definitely don’t need any more Tex-Mex restaurants. But for all the rest, it’s an open market. — Bryan Rindfuss

garlic atop the light base of cheese and thin tomato sauce, topped on a crust that is magically light and crisp. 7701 Broadway, (210) 805-8646

Grimaldi’s Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria Thanks to a watermodification system, this Brooklyn-based pizza franchise delivers a unique thin crust that’s hard to find outside greater NYC. Three sauce options (red, white, and pesto) and 20 toppings mean there’s no fear of a pizza Nazi disapproving of

your non-authentic tastes. 15900 La Cantera Pkwy, (210) 690-4949,

Ray’s Pizzaria Daily lunch and dinner specials at this authentic New York-style pizzeria. Calzones, stromboli, and Italian entrees like baked ziti, served with cheesy garlic bread, satisfy even the hungriest man. Finish the meal off with tiramisu or cheesecake for the real experience. 7214 Blanco Rd, (210) 348-9090, /// FLAVOR 2011-12


Tantalizing Flavors. Colorful Surroundings. 2011 BeSt of SAn Antonio AwArdS:

Best Enchiladas Best Fajitas Best Salsa Best Micheladas

910 South Alamo • San Antonio • 210.223.1806 LIVE MusIc on the weekends! 62

FLAVOR 2011-12 ///


Still hungry? Go to for even more restaurant listings.



Inspired nachos


Ever wondered just how many Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants there are in San Antonio? In 2004, “Mike F.” took it upon himself to answer that question. After scouring the yellow pages, building a spreadsheet, and thoughtfully removing establishments like Taco Bell, he posted his findings on the dining website Chow: 907 in SA city limits. While that number’s destined to be in a perpetual state of flux, it’s safe to say we’re in no danger of running out of nachos to try. Here, we turned a blind eye to classic nachos compuestos and rounded up four unusual suspects guaranteed to satisfy adventurous palates.


a. Nachos Agrios (Sour Nachos) from Los Barrios

a. Los Barrios, 4223 Blanco, (210) 732-6017, b. Adelante Mexican Food, 21 Brees, (210) 822-7681 c. Beto’s on Broadway, 8142 Broadway, (210) 930-9393 d. SoLuna, 7959 Broadway, (210) 930-8070,


Mexican/Tex-Mex Achiote River Café


Achiote’s pan-Latino menu promises more than it delivers, but saving graces include customizable Bahia-style “Hot Pots,” homey rice pudding, and margaritas in the relaxing riverside Terrace Bar. Grand Hyatt San Antonio, 600 E Market, (210) 224-1234,

The menu isn’t nearly as Chilango as the vivid décor might suggest, but if the haute Tex-Mex food fails to wow, riverside seating is romantic and the bar’s dance floor sizzles on weekends. 146 E Houston, (210) 222-2362,

Adelante This Alamo Heights staple

proves that healthy TexMex can still be tasty with tofu enchiladas, brown rice, refried beans, and sweetpotato fries served in a gallery-like setting. 21 Brees Blvd, (210) 822-7681

Aldaco’s Mexican Cuisine Stone Oak Blanca Aldaco has taken her Sunset Station sizzle continued on page 64

Few things say San Antonio like lunch at Los Barrios, the humble little sister of stately La Hacienda de los Barrios. A sinful twist on a classic concept, their signature Nachos Agrios reach new heights thanks to a decadent blend of Swiss and provolone finished off with pimentos and plenty of sour cream.

b. Tofu Nachos from Adelante “Health-Mex” is spoken at cheery, folk-art-filled Adelante, one of the earliest local champions of lard-free fare. Even if you opt for a variety more traditional than their protein-packed Tofu Nachos — served with either refried pintos or whole black beans — they’ll still benefit from Adelante’s crowning glory: thick slices of freshly roasted jalapeños.

c. Veggie Nachos from Beto’s on Broadway Exploring the middle ground between Latin American and Mexican cuisine, Beto’s offers a wealth of options with a menu based on mix-and-match combinations. Their Veggie Nachos defy convention with oven-roasted sweet potatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini, topped with cheddar, mozzarella, and creamy poblano sauce.

d. Nachos de Camaron from SoLuna Among “Los 5 Mejores” on Texas Monthly’s list of “The 50 Best Mexican Restaurants in Texas,” SoLuna puts an elegant spin on Tex-Mex staples and authentic Mexican dishes alike. Shrimp sautéed in white wine and herbs make their Nachos de Camaron — which come topped with mozzarella cheese and served with a side of guacamole — one of many estrellas on the menu. — Bryan Rindfuss /// FLAVOR 2011-12



north to convert the loopland masses with crema al cilantro and signature avocado margaitas. The now-ubiquitous tres leches cake was introduced to San Antonio by Blanca and her mother years ago, and the Kahlua Mocha variant is as moist and substantial as ever. 20079 Stone Oak Pkwy, (210) 494-0561,

Azuca This Southtown spot provides Latin cuisine that’s light on the Mexican accent. The fusion menu ambitiously aims to marry the best of the New World’s disparate cuisines (which apparently includes curly fries), with a special focus on seafood. 713 S Alamo, (210) 225-5550,

Beto’s on Broadway The veggie taco comes


stuffed with well-seasoned squash and caramelized onions. It’s almost as good as the savory potato-andspinach empanada. You’ll want dessert, too: banana with leche quemada and pecan. 8142 Broadway, (210) 930-9393,

Blanco Café This anchor of the homegrown chain serves massive Tex-Mex portions to happy weekend crowds. The just-right-greasy enchiladas are a Current readers’ fave, taking the top spot for 2009. 1720 Blanco, (210) 732-6480,

Cascabel Mexican Patio Tiny Cascabel on South St. Mary’s offers an intriguing alternative to taqueria fare, recipes from southern Mexico and light touches like silver napkin rings that set it apart from the Tex-

FLAVOR 2011-12 ///

Mex crowd. Don’t miss the tender, spicy cochinita pibil. 1000 S St. Mary’s, (210) 212-6456

flavorful, and the milanesa is a contender for best in town. 5008 S Presa, (210) 533-6222

Chacho’s The Monster Kong Nachos, Best of ’09 champions, are just ridiculous — unbelievably huge portions with enough calories to feed small armies and/or the average San Antonian. But don’t think it’s just about quantity here — the Monster Kong Nachos are loaded with four different types of meat: chicken and beef fajitas, shredded chicken, and picadillo, and the quality is surprisingly good. Multiple locations,

Daniel’s Café The food at Daniel’s defines hearty and homey: rich refried beans, perfect corn tortillas, tasty asada smothered in grilled onions, addictive chorizo. Even the rice, often a throwaway, is

soups brimming with sundry seafood, and crisply fried smelts chased with cold beer are just some of the staples in this seashore meets border-baroque environment. 3831 W Commerce, (210) 436-6056

El Milagrito

Dulce Vida Mexican Cocina & Cantina The moderately upscaled Mexican menu scores, but fails to justify its price point. Try the stuffed poblano pepper. 19178 Blanco, (210) 496-6724,

El 7 Mares Seafood Restaurant  Mariachis, ceviches, cocteles de mariscos,

Located right on the hopping St. Mary’s strip, El Milagrito has been serving delicious Tex-Mex for years, turning out hot and fresh-tasting dishes every time. The homemade salsa is the stuff of legend, and live mariachi music every Sunday serves to complement your brunch experience. 521 E Woodlawn Ave, (210) 737-8646,

Ernesto’s Mexican Specialties The inventive French-Mex sauces (try the jicama, continued on page 66


from page 63 /// FLAVOR 2011-12


Mexican/Tex-Mex from page 64 lime, and cilantro combo) and fresh fish dishes outshine their surroundings at this neighborhood strip-mall staple. Our critic says the avocado soup and cinnamon ice cream are sublime. 2559 Jackson Keller, (210) 344-1248,

Guajillo’s The entrees are healthier and less Tex than Mex by SA standards, but the chips, salsa, and desserts outshine the main menu — which includes many vegetarian options. 1001 NW Loop 410, (210) 3444119,

La Choza Mexican Restaurant The cabin’s food may be rustic, but it’s puro Mexico and right on. Try the hearty huaraches, the superior chicken-filled sopes, the

earthy, sauced-steak molcajete plate, and the subtle enchiladas verdes. 12151 Jones Maltsberger, (210) 490-5665

La Fiesta Patio Café Specializing in “healthier Tex-Mex” since 1974, La Fiesta Patio Café’s vegetarian-friendly menu is far from short on flavor. Enchilada samplers, puffy tacos (consider trying tofu as a filling), and chalupas (piled high with alfalfa sprouts) never tasted so fresh, and carnivores won’t miss the lard one bit. 1421 Pat Booker, Universal City, (210) 658-5110,

La Fogata La Fogata has served its infamous “I Forgotta” margaritas in an arboreal neon wonderland to a generation of San Antonians. The flamingo-pink and Miami-blue neon signs above the host-

ess stand announce entrée to another al-fresco world: a working-class DIY fiesta aesthetic crafted with glass bricks, more neon tubes, and tiled floors that seem to tilt with the ground directly beneath them. You can host a lovely family dinner to celebrate a graduation or homecoming beside a charming fountain, and if your group’s no fun, you can lose them by slipping into yet another cuarto in La Fogata’s noisy maze, one that’s filled with revelers chanting “shot, shot” and egging on the mariachis. 2427 Vance Jackson, (210) 340-1337,

rich and satisfying, and the ceviches fresh and tangy. Enjoy a house margarita on the ice-house’s airy patio, and don’t skip the camarones agua chile or the coconut flan. 100 E Grayson, (210) 267-9040,

La Hacienda de los Barrios Try the time-tested standbys such as the cabrito en salsa and the Cortadillo Zuazua style, a semi-stew of tenderloin. For dessert, an empanada filled with guava paste and cream cheese. 18747 Red Land, (210) 497-8000,

La Gloria

La Huasteca #2

Sure, the dishes aren’t precisely what you’d get south of the border, but they mostly survive their transplant from Mexico coast to San Antonio River still succulent and flavorful. The molcajete dishes are

There are outposts, both named La Huasteca #2, on West Hildebrand and North Zarzamora. The menudo (served daily) didn’t disappoint at either location: The tripe, though not of the honeycomb

variety, was incredibly tender. Both places served horchata, jamaica, and homemade tortillas. 2218 N Zarzamora, 1738 W Hildebrand, (210) 738-8777

La Michoacana #5 This location on North Flores is the newest of the five in San Antonio, boasting a carniceria, panaderia, fruteria, and more. The taqueria may be the chain’s strong suit; the tacos can be spectacular, especially creations like chicharron en salsa verde and calabacita con puerco. 1224 N Flores, (210) 223-3802,

Lisa’s Mexican Restaurant Lisa’s aced the basics with a hearty, rich pozole, a tasty lengua guisada, and solid refrieds. Finish up with a cocktail at Bar Mosaico. 815 Bandera, (210) 433-2531

"Beyond the Borde r"

AUTHENTIC MEXIC AN CUISINE / PAELLA EVERY SUNDAY 3810 Broadway • 822-3797 • Sun–Mon 11 am-9 pM (across from the Witte Museum) • Tues–Sat 11 am-10 pM 66

FLAVOR 2011-12 ///

Los Roberto’s Taco Shop A popular 24-hour destination with a California influence: más burritos, including the yummy over-the-top chile-relleno version, and at least six salsas. The tortas are also delicious, especially the carnitas deshebradas. 226 W Bitters, (210) 494-9131

Mariscos El Bucanero Your fish-phobic friends can get a top-notch asada plate (with enough for two), but this is a fresh-seafood lover’s paradise, from the spicy camarones aguachile to the whole fried fish with a guppy-size pricetag. Plus: best fried shrimp in town. 2818 S W W White, (210) 333-0909

Mary Lou’s Café This nuevo McCullough outpost of Mary Lou’s combines fancy decor with down-home dishes

that are robust and fresh. The enchiladas verdes and beans and rice are well above average, but ask for the salsa verde over the house dip. 4405 McCullough, (210) 3967909

Metro Basilica 2 Taco truck fare inspired more by DF than SA. For a song, branch out to less familiar menu items like mulita (meat and cheese sandwiched between two thick masa tortillas), lengua, and tripas, or stick with tried-and-true chicken quesadillas and carnitas tacos. 7627 Culebra, (210) 680-1412

Original Donut Shop/ Cocina Mexicana A Fredericksburg Road institution known for good breakfast tacos and outstanding doughnuts. They’re serious about that division in the dual drive-

thru lanes, but the Current recommends eating in the diner-like pastry area. 3307 Fredericksburg,  (210) 734-5661

The Original Mexican Named for the “oldest Mexican restaurant in the United States,” this 24-hour River Walk spot capitalizes on a hungry after-hours crowd. The traditional Mexican menu features standards like quesadillas and enchiladas, but the margaritas and the river view are the star attractions. 415 E Commerce, (210) 224-9951,

Paloma Blanca Mexican Cuisine  The menu offers traditional and updated versions of Mexican favorites, with standouts including the pollo asado, tacos al pastor, and shrimp fajitas. Choose from a variety of

margaritas to complement your meal, and don’t miss out on the signature pastel de tres leches for dessert. 5800 Broadway, (210) 8226151,

Pancho’s Mexican Buffet This Southwestern moreis-more chain is the place to take a sprawling familia for post-baptism feasting. Pancho’s cinnamon-sugarsprinkled sopapillas are a Current readers’ favorite. 8300 Marbach, (210) 6732930,

Picante Grill Offering an extensive selection of interior Mexican dishes, including chile en nogada, cochinita pibil, and birria, the atypical dining spot has become a popular location for San Antonians willing to experiment beyond the confines of everyday Tex-Mex. 3810

Broadway, (210) 822-3797,

Pollo Regio Feeling like family isn’t typical in a chain restaurant, but here there’s no escaping it. Our critics recommend the chicken, and, above all, the savory verde sauce made form avocado and jalapenos. 2901 Fredericksburg, (210) 785-9717

Ray’s Drive Inn Puffy tacos and a certain San Antonio je ne sais quoi are the draws at this Westside establishment, where an 1880s saloon sensibility collides joyfully with a Happy Days vibe. Portions are large (bring the whole family); our critics recommend the brisket puffy tacos. 822 SW 19th, (210) 432-7171

continued on page 68 /// FLAVOR 2011-12



Rosario’s Restaurant y Cantina Lisa Wong brought bright lights, big city to the cantina concept — aided by lots of concrete and a neon-lit faux palapa — and forged a Tex-Mex empire in Southtown that’s still frequented by the locals even as it becomes increasingly renowned among the travel and dining set. A three-category Best of SA ’09 juggernaut: Best Salsa, Best Mole, Tangiest Michelada. 910 S Alamo, (210) 223-1806,

Sazo’s Latin Grill Very good room-service fare. Problem is, it’s a restaurant. On the plus side: Gazpacho soup disguised as salsa and a tasty lump crab salad. Marriott Rivercenter, 101 Bowie,, (210) 223-1000

Taco Haven A Southtown staple for more than 30 years, the menu has expanded to include a few TexAmerican dishes such as chicken-fried steak and burgers as well as infamous tacos such as the Torres Special: refrieds, bacon, and guacamole. 1032 S Presa, (210) 533-2171

Taco Taco A plethora of choices here but the best thing to order is of course, the namesake: tacos of all kinds, served on piping hot, homemade corn or flour tortillas. This little Mexican restaurant has received tons of buzz from national publications, and for good reason. Conveniently located in Olmos Park. 145 E Hildebrand, (210) 8229533,

Taqueria Datapoint The food hasn’t lost its

late-night street charms at this taco-truck-turnedrestaurant. Current readers say you must try the gorditas, and our critics recommend the lengua taquitos and chicken torta. 4063 Medical, (210) 615-3644

Taqueria Guadalajara #1 Take comfort in surroundings that are puro San Antonio — Taqueria Guadalajara is Tex-Mex in a time capsule with all

of the traditional favorites. The carne al pastor is a blend that rocks, as the pork, beef, and onions are combined in perfect proportions. 2702 Roosevelt, (210) 532-5500

Taqueria Los Arcos Homey and pretty authentic Mex-Texican fare, with especially good sopes and outstanding tortas, at prices low enough to treat your entire work crew. 13777 Nacogdoches, (210) 599-1822

Tink-a-Tako Mexican Food & Cantina With 12 locations and counting, Tink-a-Tako is truly an SA success story. Don’t be fooled by the playful name, these family-owned eateries have been serving up serious Mexican food since 1986. And unlike other spots that offer conveniences like drive-through windows (as their Encino Rio location does), Tink-a-Tako serves patio-side margaritas the right way — with tequila


Best Of 2009 Reader’s Choice THANKS FOR VOTING US AS Best Breakfast tacos Voted Best Taco, 2011 by WOAI

Get Wild TonighWtith $90


Best Breakfast Tacos



772.8417 68

FLAVOR 2011-12 ///

210.822.9533 • 145 E. HILDEBRAND & McCULLOUGH


from page 67

Urban Taco

from the fully-stocked bar. 1662 Encino Rio, (210) 491-2700,

Tito’s Restaurant Located in the historic King William district, Tito’s has served “Real Mexican Food” for three generations. Fresh handmade flour and corn tortillas are served daily. Specials include grilled fajitas, an assortment of enchiladas, and the fiery Chella’s Taco. Open until 1 a.m. First Friday. 955 S Alamo, (210) 212-8226,

Urban Taco Possibly the only place in town you can ditch the tortilla in favor of a crisp lettuce wrap, Urban Taco puts a modern spin on Mexican dining with small but flavorful tacos made with fresh ingredients, including tasty red snapper, seared ahi tuna, and chile-rubbed pork. 290 E Basse, Ste. 105, (210) 332-5149,

colombian Fonda Latina

Fonda Latina successfully captures the flavors of authentic Colombian cuisine, serving traditional dishes like bistek a caballo — steak with a fried egg on top — banana-leaf-wrapped tamales, and arepas con pollo with aji. 6714 San Pedro, (210) 824-2544

Patio Dining on Highest Point in SA

puerto rican

Private Dining Available

El Bohio

We didn’t love the pasteles, but almost everything made with yuca and plantain was a savory hit, as was the traditional Cubano sandwich and the ropa vieja. 1127 Harry Wurzbach, (210) 822-8075

La Marginal While La Marginal performs on most of the staple dishes, this buffet is in desperate need of some TLC. The $8.99 offering is affordable and workable, as long as you stick with the tender pernil and salty, sweet plantains. 2447 Nacogdoches, (210) 8042242,




Gluten Free Menu Available

521 E. Woodlawn At St. Mary ’s


Handcrafted Margaritas


210.494.0561 • /// FLAVOR 2011-12


Tasteful North Indian Cuisine in an Elegant Setting

Voted Best Indian Food Texas Monthly, Oct - Nov 2007

Straight from the Mediterranean

Readers Choice Express News, 2006

Voted Best Indian Food Texas Monthly, June 2005

Readers’ Pick Best Sunday Brunch & Best Indian Food San Antonio Current, 2007

Zagat Rated 2006-2011

to the Alamo city, Chef Kadir Guner

with over 20 years experience in Turkish

cuisine brings San Antonio’s first Turkish pizza. You will also find Ali Nazik, seasoned lamb meat served over a hot pureed eggplant,yogurt and garlic flavored hot butter sauce. Lahmacun, a thin and crispy crust filled with a mixture of lamb and beef and Turkish spices.You will find these delicious specialtys amongst the wide array of authentic Turkish dishes.

Grand Champaign Thanksgiving Buffet

8507 McCullough Ave., No. B13 210.459.4083


FLAVOR 2011-12 ///

Fine Dining From 5-10 pm Tandoori & Masala Turkey also Available

Thursday Nov. 24 11-3:00pm Tandoori Turkey & Turkey Masala Chicken, Beef, Vegetables & More.

Call Us For Your Holiday Catering. 1031 Patricia Drive | 210.366.1030 | (off West Ave. One blk South of Blanco)

Gift Certificates Also Available


16602 San Pedro @ Thousand Oaks



Still hungry? Go to for even more restaurant listings.

Global carribean Calypso Rotisserie Calypso pegs itself a health-conscious Caribbean-infused lunch spot, with spice-crusted chicken and pork spinning behind the counter, delicious Cuban paninis, caramelized plantains, and more — all healthily cooked without a fryer (they don’t even have one on premises). 12030 Bandera, (210) 695-4242,


Cool Café Mediterranean Cuisine and Bar Affordable prices and an extensive and creative menu, featuring Mediterranean staples such as falafel and

Calypso Rotisserie

curveballs like crepes. 19141 Stone Oak Pkwy, Ste 507, (210) 403-2665

to make. 16602 San Pedro Ave, (210) 403-0565,

Demo’s Greek Food

Mina and Dimi’s Greek House

You can order a Greek beer or wine to wash down your tender beef souvlaki at this 19-year-old local fast-casual chain, which offers charming décor and on some nights belly-dancing, too. 2501 N St. Mary’s, (210) 732-7777,

John the Greek Serving authentic Greek home-style cooking since 1988. Belly dancers on Friday and Saturday night add to the fun but it’s the flavors of Athens that make John The Greek so compelling. Avgolemono soup, gyros, souvlaki and mousaka… just like mom used

Traditional Greek fare served with a side of warm hospitality. Although the pita is perfectly soft and savory, the flavorful gyro can stand on its own, perhaps accompanied by flaky spanakopita or a tangy Greek salad. Avoid the lunch rush, but if you can’t, go for Friday’s popular buffet, make sure you’re in it to win it. 7159 Hwy 90 W, (210) 674-3464,

Zorbas Greek Mediterranean Cuisine Zorbas serves an outstanding baba ganouj, very fresh falafel, and light and flaky

spanikopita. 2110 NW Military Hwy, (210) 5419936

hawaiian The Aloha Grill

Surprisingly, you can find authentic Hawaiian food on the Mainland. The Aloha Grill does Hawaiian best when sticking to the basics — and basic doesn’t mean simple. Lau lau and loco moco are attention grabbers. 1151 Harry Wurzbach, (210) 826-7426,

indian India Oven

Nan bread, authentic vegetarian and meat dishes, and a wide buffet have earned India Oven many longtime fans. The cozy interior is perfect for a date or just a simple lunch.

Enjoy the flavors of the subcontinent without hurting your wallet, and find yourself coming back again and again. 1031 Patricia, (210) 366-1030, indiaoven. com

India Palace Best of SA 2010 winner India Palace has shuffled sideways in its strip center, and the change has been for the better. Buffet steam table containers are changed regularly, and nothing seems really tired. Saag paneer and dal are reliable staples. 8747 Fredericksburg, Ste 100, (210) 692-5262

India Taj-Palace The buffet is exceptionally enticing at this Stone Oak continued on page 72 /// FLAVOR 2011-12



DIY dinner party

How to build the perfect table in less than 20 minutes

“We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink, for dining alone is leading the life of a lion or wolf.” — Epicurus Despite living at the same address, conflicting schedules mean my dad and I have to plan shared meals days in advance. Sometimes we throw a few friends in the mix and turn a week-night dinner into a real dinner party. Middle-of-the-week parties are great because there’s zero pressure. Years ago, such gatherings would have called for a trip to the florist, the green grocer, the butcher, the tobacconist, and the liquor store. Today, the decline of dinner parties means the bar has been drastically lowered. After a long day at work recently, I invited some friends over, and didn’t even bother with the grocery store. Using pantry scraps and leftovers, dressed in china and sprinkled with herbs, I threw together a more than decent meal with minimal fuss. The key lies in appearances. Reserve some time to dress the table, and you’re more than halfway there. Candles are easy and make an impact. Classical tunes from 88.3FM or jazz on 91.7FM takes care of the music. Add some fresh cut flowers (even from the garden) and you’ve got the trappings of a real fête, without necessarily spending a dime. While great food would seem like the centerpiece of a dinner party, my experience is that in today’s lazy world, just a carefully set table with friends gathered ‘round is enough to garner applause. (Honestly, you don’t even have to cook. Take-out on nice serving platters and you’re done. Trash the boxes before guests arrive and no one’s the wiser!) Each and every time I host a simple affair, someone echoes the old refrain “we should do this more often.” We can, and we will. — Natalia Ciolko

“Are we having fun yet?”

restaurant, due to fresh spices and vegetables cooked to perfection. Chicken korma, saag paneer, and cilantro-onion naan were especially notable. 20323 Huebner, (210) 497-4800,

Mela Indian Bar & Grill A favorite of at least one local chef for a reason, Mela serves some of the less-common Indian dishes and the spices are fresh and generous. Current critics especially loved the chicken chattinad, lamb nargisi, and falooda. 4987 NW Loop 410, (210) 6821234, 

Sarovar Indian Cuisine Chickpea-battered pakoras and vegetable samosas are starters for the likes of lamb koorma, enigmatic Chicken 65, hearty chickpea curry, and elegant lamb or shrimp biryani. 10227 Ironside, (210) 558-8289

middle eastern


with sides of both hummus and baba ghanoush. Though the portions are uncommonly small — and perhaps overpriced — the cost of going without such delicacies would be higher still. 3259 Wurzbach, (210) 680-8400,

Mediterranean Turkish Grill Dolmas, hummus, and fresh bread are signatures of this authentic Mediterranean grill. Turkish sandwiches are second to none, prepared from scratch at this familyowned kitchen. Treat yourself and your health with the health-inducing properties of Mediterranean cooking. 8507 McCullough, Ste B13, (210) 399-1645, letseat. at/turkishgrill

Moroccan Bites Family and fresh are the essence of Moroccan Bites. Fresh bread and mint tea will bring you to your knees, but skip the soups and go for the chicken or lamb tagine. 5714 Evers Rd, (210) 706-9700,

Jerusalem Grill

Pasha Mediterranean Grill

Long skewers of lamb and chicken beckon, but try the Syrian-style kibbeh instead,

Pasha serves delicious Mid-East fare, and the basic staples, including a

FLAVOR 2011-12 ///


from page 71

Vegan Bacon Cheese Burger, $10 Grocery-store pucks of textured vegetable protein have been the staple “burger” for vegetarians for years. While their appearance at chain restaurants more than a decade ago felt like progress for the meat-free set at the time, Rebecka Rodgers, one of two vegan chefs responsible for developing the Cove’s veggie offerings, knows TVP is “like a molecule away or something from being plastic.” Enter the refined whole-foods alternative packed with brown rice, mushroom, sunflower seeds, and “secrets.” If you think you’ve “been there, ate that, and shrugged,” think again. The patty was completely reformulated from a bean-based offering a year ago. “The other veggie burger just wasn’t doing it,” Rodgers said. “We just kind of pulled it out of our heads and it worked the first time around. We’ve been doing it like this ever since.” With tangy addenda like cashew butter and stone-ground mustard, generous fresh vegetables, a bun that sticks up for itself but doesn’t resist too much, the deluxe veggie burger here is one of the best you’ll find in the metropolitan statistical area. And it has the added secret weapon of a (deliriously smoky) tofu-and-sunflower-seed-based “bacon” that likely has mass-produced varieties at your local supermarket conspiring amongst themselves the way auto makers did years back with the electric car. It’s that good. — Greg Harman 606 W Cypress, (210) 227-2683,

smokey baba ghannouj, are as good as the main dishes. Standouts include the kabobs and the saffron-marinated cornish hens. 9339 Wurzbach, (210) 561-5858,

Kitchen gadget must-haves

Shiraz Persian Cuisine

I have an avocado slicer, a round slicer with a handle at one end. But the problem is that avocados come in weird shapes, and the slicer doesn’t fit them. So it’s kind of useless. There are a lot of useless kitchen gadgets out there, but a lot of useful ones too. Here are our essentials that serve multiple purposes. — Lauren W. Madrid

Shiraz blends traditional Persian dishes with contemporary flavors in a menu that features succulent lamb, tender marinated beef, and seafood. 4230 McCullough, (210) 829-5050,

Spiffy stick I love my food processor, but it’s a pain to clean. But my Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender is simple to take apart and wash. Plus, it’s skinny enough to blend soups, batters, sauces, drinks, smoothies, pretty much anything. It only has one speed, so it’s not good for chopping or grating, but if you need to get your soup from chunky to smooth in a minute, it’ll do the trick. Melissa Guerra, 200 E Grayson, Ste 122, (210) 293-3983,

Turquoise Grill A welcome setting for a variety of Turkish foods — including excellent Doner kebab, mixed grill, chicken tava, baklava, rice pudding — with affordable lunch prices. 3720 NW Loop 410, (210) 736-2887,


Kohinoor Restaurant & Grill

No-wait weight

The spices and service are warm and intoxicating at this family-run restaurant. Although the menu is a list of possibilities, not guarantees, take a chance on the special of the day. Also save room for desserts such as the rose- and fennel-scented sweet masala paan. 8515 Starcrest, (210) 637-7360

Digital scales overcome the conundrum of weighing lots of potatoes at once. This OXO Food Portion Scale has a zeroout setting, so you can put a bowl on it, zero it out, and then weigh your apples, tomatoes, or whatever. Ace Mart Restaurant Supply, multiple locations,


Zester par exellance Most people use microplane graters and zesters for lemons and limes. But they’re also fantastic for adding a little fresh nutmeg, cinnamon, or cheese to a dish. I can throw my Microplane USA zester into the dishwasher when I’m done without getting my box grater dirty. Mission Restaurant Supply, 1126 S St. Mary’s, (210) 293-1461

Green Vegetarian Cuisine Macrobiotic, vegan, and vegetarian tastes are well served at this familyowned, homegrown vegetarian café. Toothsome baked goods and savory breakfast and lunch options abound. A walk through the front yard garden will convince you of Green’s dedication to local, organic eats. 1017 N Flores, (210) 320-5865,

Green Fields Market Great quality food at even better prices. It doesn’t take a foodie to appreciate carefully selected ingredients. Bakery, beer and wine, produce, meat, seafood, and bulk goods are here in a plentiful array. Monthly events and an in-store health resource library make Green Fields Market a true community player. 19239 Stone Oak Pkwy, (210) 4954644,


Pavani Express Vegetarian Café The all-veggie, vegan-friendly food is worth waiting for. We recommend the delicious saffron lemon rice, a big puri (fried, tortilla-like puffed-up bread), navratam korma (mixed vegetables), paneer (homemade cheese), and pakoras (fritters). Most menu items are under $10, but you’ll need to combine plates for a real Indian dinner. 5755 Evers, (210) 680-3134 /// FLAVOR 2011-12



FLAVOR 2011-12 ///



Still hungry? Go to for even more restaurant listings.

Pubs Blue Star Brewing Located in the Blue Star Arts Complex, Blue Star combines basic Americana roadhouse food and decor with the city’s best selection of house-brewed beer, occasional live music and film screenings, and a patio that’s cooled with misters during the eternal summer. 1414 S Alamo, Ste. 105, (210) 212-5506,

Broadway 5050 Where you’ll find live music, and pure attitude. Friendly bar staff keep the mood fun and upbeat at this classic San Antonio establishment. Great burgers, and crafted cocktails are the key ingredients brought to life with local music, taking you back in time to the days of the

Freetail Brewing Co.

twist and shout. Multiple locations,

The Cove Recognized by none other than Texas Monthly for its burgers (available with a meat-free patty for a charge), the Cove has also become a veggie haven under the sustainability-oriented hand of Lisa Asvestas (who also hosts beer and wine tastings). The roasted-vegetables plate is a standout, the quinoa with fennel is satisfying and filling, and the veggie club is larded with superb fake bacon. 606 W Cypress, (210) 227-2683,

tastic, and the signature brick-oven pizza, too. But brisket and goat cheese make this the one brewpub on the Northside you shouldn’t miss. 4035 N Loop 1604 W, Ste 105, (210) 395-4974,

The Friendly Spot

Freetail Brewing

Bring your dog, your bike, and your crew to enjoy a selection of 180 cold brews, 24 unique drafts, and friendly eats till midnight served outdoors at the downtown ice house. A playground for the kids and potent sangria for bigger kids make The Friendly Spot your go-to for laid back lounging. 943 S Alamo St, (210) 2242337,

Yes, the house-made beers and ales are fan-

continued on page 77

Best Local Beer Barrel-aged La Muerta, Freetail Brewing Co. La Muerta, a bold imperial stout released each year on November 1 for Dia de los Muertos, transcends how you think about dark beers. But when the bold, roasty, chocolaty brew of 10 percent alcohol by volume is put into a used bourbon barrel for aging, it transcends itself. Whisky and vanilla notes combine with the already deep flavors to warm the souls even of the dearly departed for which it is named. The beer is rare and release dates are moving targets, so subscribe to the newsletter for a heads up. Freetail Brewing Co., 4035 N Loop 1604 W, Ste 105, (210) 395-4974,

Best Use of Beer by a Local Restaurant Pale Ale Crackers, Lüke San Antonio Instead of finished beer, the ingredients of beer in the making are the secret to flatbread-like crackers that make their way onto the table from time to time at Lüke to accompany a number of dishes. Chef Stephen McHugh uses the nutty spent grain from San Antonio’s Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling Co.’s Oatmeal Pale Ale and combines it with some of the wort to make the crackers. Wort is the sweet liquid that comes off the boiled grains before flavoring hops are added and yeast is inserted to start the fermentation process. Lüke San Antonio, 125 E Houston, (210) 227-5853, — Travis Poling /// FLAVOR 2011-12



FLAVOR 2011-12 ///



Scouring Texas for prickly pear, jalapeño, and huckleberry beer

from page 75

Flying Saucer Beer lovers unite! The Flying Saucer has landed in San Antonio to mix up the social scene with a lovable watering hole serving your favorite obscure brews and diverse fare such as soft pretzels, wraps, pizza, and many sandwiches. Nightly specials and themes increase the fun. 11255 Huebner Rd, (210) 696-5080,

The Lion & Rose A great bar to hang out with friends, watch a game, or play some trivia. Cute waitresses will steal your attention, but the British pub fare and drink selections will steal it right back. Shepherd’s pie, fish and chips, and bangers and mash will have you feeling right across the pond in no time. Multiple locations, continued on page 78


There is nothing wrong with a basic meat-and-potatoes meal (or black beans and rice, for my vegan friends), but variety makes the world a brighter place, and Texas brewers are doing their part to bring a little light to our corner of the universe. The travels and tastings of this humble correspondent have brought a lot of sunshine, spice, and everything nice to the tastebuds from innovative brewers stretching from San Antonio to Cedar Park. At Freetail Brewing Co. in San Antonio, brewers Jason Davis and John Lee brought out samples of beers in the works that included a refreshingly tart blackberry sour ale, a huckleberry sour that will make for easy summer drinking, and a witbier brewed with locally produced Twang lime salt, lime, and chile. The brewpub has upheld a long relationship with San Antonio’s Bolner’s Fiesta Spices as the supplier of many ingredients that grace their beers, from the coriander in year-round Rye Wit to several varieties of chiles. At the new Twisted X, a Tex-Mex themed microbrewery just north of Austin in Cedar Park, Bolner’s dried jalapeños are the magic ingredient in a well-balanced, but memorably warming, Fuego lager. Twisted X brewer and co-founder Jim Sampson babysat the lagers they are preparing for release while business partner Shane Bordeau scoured Central Texas for prickly pear fruits to use in a new brew called Siesta, which will include an addition of red corn from an area farm. The ingredients should produce an intriguing flavor profile while adding natural color. Freetail has used a similar tactic in its Spirulina Wit, which is brewed annually for St. Patrick’s Day as a naturally green beer using spirulina powder — it’s usually on tap for lovers of the verde cerveza into summer. — Travis E. Polling

Cold Brews


Unique Drafts

Friendly Eats Until Midnight Monday - Friday 3pm - 12am • Saturday - Sunday 11am - 12am 943 S. Alamo San Antonio, TX 78205

210-224-BEER (2337) /// FLAVOR 2011-12


Pubs TANGIA (Berber Chili)

from page 77

This traditional Moroccan “bachelor stew” made of meat chunks, onions, and a spice mix that includes chile powder (paprika) and cumin is probably similar to the stews the Canary Islanders brought to San Antonio in the late 1700s.

Where once milkshakes were served and pink pills sold, now music plays and drinks flow. Their signature dish might be Eggs Goldenrod — chopped hard-cooked eggs, gravy, and bacon over toast. It’s the perfect kid and hangover food, downright comforting.3902 McCullough, (210) 706-9855,

Sherlock’s Baker Street Pub & Grill Designed to resemble the living quarters of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s logic-minded hero, Sherlock’s rounds up the usual suspects for wallet-friendly cocktails, bar games, pub fare, and live music every night of the week. 16620 281 N, (210) 572-9307,

Tilted Kilt

Wurzbach Icehouse

Full bar, and nearly as many TV screens as beers on tap—36 to be exact—make the Tilted Kilt the ultimate sports bar. Hot waitresses in tiny outfits round out the winning lineup. Burgers, pizza, and salads take care of your every craving. Don’t miss the special events happening every night of the week. 2070 N Loop 1604 E, (210) 497-2800,

It’s absolutely a capital-b Bar in the old Texas ice house tradition, which at its simplest is a place to drink drinks with people you may or may not know. Serving wings, chicken strips, dogs and burgers, and yup, Frito Pie. 10141 Wurzbach, (210) 877-2100,

2 garlic cloves, minced 1/2 teaspoon paprika 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 pounds leg of lamb, cut into 1/2-inch dice with fat removed 2 large onions, quartered 1/2 cup beef broth Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the garlic, paprika, black pepper, turmeric, cumin, ginger, and salt in a bowl. Add the meat and toss until coated. Lay the onion quarters in the bottom of a baking dish and add the broth. Put the meat on top of the onions. Bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the meat is very tender. from The Tex-Mex Cookbook by Robb Walsh, published by Broadway Books. (See: “Africa’s mark on San Antonio’s Chili Queens” on page 7 for more about the Canary Islanders)






FLAVOR 2011-12 ///


Olmos Bharmacy /// FLAVOR 2011-12


Your Neighborhood Coffee Shop & Deli


Freshly Baked Pastries • Specialty Baked Sandwiches • Cheese Plates • Organic Free Trade Coffees • Expresso Drinks • Frappes • Smoothies • Coke/ Root Beer Floats • Import/Domestic Beers • Fine Wines • Live Music • Retail Gifts

Monday - Saturday • Open Late on Weekends M-Th: 7am - 6pm | Fri: 7am - 8pm (Except for 1st Fridays) Sat: 8am - 8pm Ask About Okur Specialty Ca es


926 S. Alamo • 210-227-CAKE (2253)


FLAVOR 2011-12 ///



Still hungry? Go to for even more restaurant listings.

CIA Bakery Café

Coffee/Desserts bakery & dessert Amy’s Ice Creams

This Austin chain is beloved for its especially creamy ices, its original house-made flavors (many suggested by customers) and its velvety fudge sauce. This is the place that made crunch’ns (candy bars, graham crackers, nuts, etc.) an ice-cream staple. 255 E Basse, (210) 832-8886,

Aspen Leaf Frozen Yogurt The self-serve shop features 14 flavors of frozen yogurt — 12 of which are fat free. Top your selection off with over 70 colorful, unique toppings like fresh fruit, cereal, nuts, and an assortment of chocolate candies. 22506 US Hwy 281 N, Ste 101, (210) 497-3461

Broadway Daily Bread As you’re inspecting the rows of radiant baked goods moving from the kitchen and into the paper bags, a server slices the banana-chocolate sample on the plate. You taste. Then it’s the date-nut. Next, blueberry. The queue

at Broadway Daily Bread keeps moving, but you’re hanging on the counter glass, crumbs piling before you. A sound you later realize is whole wheat being stone-ground on site means the rustic breads on the racks are doubly fresh. 5001 Broadway, (210) 822-1621,

Candlelight Candlelight’s ambience sets it apart from stop-ngo Starbucks. An eclectic mix of couches and divans provides for study or relaxation. In addition to coffees, cakes, and pastries, Candlelight offers beer, an extensive wine list, soups, and sandwiches. 3011 N St. Mary’s, (210) 7380099,

Choicolate Bribe or apologize your way to forgiveness with a box of luscious cocoa gems from this Stone Oak confectioner. Adventurous flavors like mango and habanero and Earl Grey are subtly delivered and elegantly decorated by St. Philip’s College (and Chicago Chocolate Academy) grad Jamie Choi. 700 E Sonterra Blvd, (210)


CIA Bakery Café This new Pearl outpost is devoted to mostly-French breads, pastries, sandwiches, soups, and coffee. Anything hyper-caloric — namely pastries — are deliciously decadent. 312 Pearl Pkwy, (210) 5546464, ciabakerycafe.asp

El Paraiso Paleteria The Deco District’s El Paraiso really is an icecream paradise, filled with dozens of house-made, Mexican-style popsicles in flavors such as mango with chile, horchata (cinnamonspiced rice milk), pecan, and plain old chocolate. It was a shoo-in for Best Paleteria 2008 in the Current’s annual readers’ poll. 1934 Fredericksburg, (210) 737-8101

Frosted Delights by Joyce Looking for a cup of joe with atmosphere downtown? Enter Southtown’s premiere dessert destination. Sit on the desk with

In the middle of the morning, a supervisor starts making rounds with a tray of gratis watermelon macaroons. That spirit of experimentation and free love, embodied in a hot pink pastry, is everywhere just beneath the polished surface of the CIA’s new bakery and café. The concept involves world techniques meshed with tropical flavors, exhibited by offerings such as the ethereal mango mousse, whimsically shaped by a flexible mold, set into mango gelee, and, finally, sprayed with a dusting of white velvet. “Our focus is quality, quality, quality,” said Jacob Griffin, the café’s manager who (trained at the Hyde Park CIA via Fairbanks, Alaska) has been running the ship since day one. In the kitchen, French-born Chef Alain Dubernard runs the staff who are composed of former students, current students, and aspiring ones. Thanks to the Pearl’s popular farmer’s market, Saturdays are the bakery’s big sale day for bread, but free-form baguettes and an inspired fougasse aux olives are available daily. New offerings include a challah loaf (“great for French toast”), and brioche, hard to find in town, is promised soon. A gleaming display of fantasies in pastry are the visual triumph of the cafe. The Monte Alban, a tiny chocolate-dusted miniature of its archeological namesake, looks like expensive jewelry. Dulce de leche alfajores and tarts of passion fruit and banana cream display the CIA’s Latin passion. But humble North American basics, like the chocolate chip cookie, are also done achingly well. The beverage menu is especially impressive, from Jamaica iced tea to café de olla and a sinful chocolate ganache, meaning the café is best thought of as a very flexible and capable coffee & tea house. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. onward, primarily salads and sandwiches, but experiments with daily specials like mushroom risotto hint at more ambitious menus to come. A limited run of late-night Friday & Saturday evenings have been hit or miss, Griffin said, so for now the café is only open until 5 p.m. daily and closed Mondays. The bakery will move to daily operation before year’s end, when the café ramps up its holiday offerings, Griffin added. In November, pecan and pumpkin pies will be available by order, and the day after Thanksgiving the operations will transform into a holiday wonderland with a “very modern and very French” buche de Noel and more seasonal favorites on daily offer. — Natalia Ciolko 312 Pearl Pkwy, (210) 554-6464,

continued on page 82 /// FLAVOR 2011-12


Coffee/Desserts from page 81 your dog and enjoy a sandwich or one of the famous cupcakes while soaking up the free wi-fi and watching the parade of activity on South Alamo Street stream by. 926 S Alamo, (210) 227-2253,

Kate’s Frosting So much more than cupcakes! The Main Avenue location now serves a full lunch menu of salads and sandwiches next door to the original bakery and a second location in Alamo Heights offers the same sweet treats that made Kate so famous. In addition to cupcakes, both stores offer jewelry, handbags, and more. Multiple locations,

Las Nieves Four dollars gets you nearly two pounds of fresh strawberry, mango, and pineapple drizzled in Lucas and lime. There are already people standing in line at Las Nieves as you are reading this. 4310 Blanco Rd, (210) 735-9884

Lily’s Cookies Decorative sweets that taste even better than they look, this shop has been making handmade goods that are out of this world since 2002. Conveniently located in Monte Vista, cupcakes are also on the menu in addition to a vast cookie bar. Gift ideas galore, even if the gift is just for yourself. 2716 McCullough Ave, (210) 832.0886,

Madexalli’s Cultural Coffee Bar Live acoustic performances on weeknights and wine and beer specials make this decidedly not just a coffee bar at all. The pastries are fresh, the brew is spectacular, and the intimate performances are all good reasons why you should put Madexalli’s at the top of your to-do list. 555 W Bitters Ste 112, (210) 233-1974

Mi Tierra Margaritas, sí. Post-bar sobriety enhancement, sí y como no. Pero, bakery? The drool-triggering kaleidoscope in the display counter is made of pastel pan de huevo, sugar-dusted cuernos, piedras covered in pink icing, coconut bars flying Mexico’s colors, delicately spiced empanadas, candied oranges, a flowerbed of festive galletas, and, yes, more. Point, smile, and order extra. 218 82

FLAVOR 2011-12 ///

Produce Row, (210) 225-1262,

Rd, Ste 132, (210) 691-2245,

Panifico Bake Shop

Grace Coffee Café

This bakery features traditional Mexican breads, cakes, pies, tarts, and even fluffy buttery tortillas. Try the assorted flavors of empanadas as well as the European-style tortes made with specialty chocolates, creams, and cheeses. 602 NW 24th St, (210) 434-9290,

In a hurry to order your triple-tall, two-pump vanilla, non-fat, extrahot, no-foam, caramel macchiato? Grace’s features a drive-thru for those of you who are on the go and serves Seattle’s Finest Coffee. For the non-coffee drinker, be sure to taste the refreshing mango smoothie. 3233 N St. Mary’s, Ste 102, (210) 736-6576,

Tootie Pie Gourmet Café Tootie’s microwaved berry pies are overshadowed by excellent sandwiches like the pimento cheese, tricked out with almonds and jalapeño. However, the Lemon Velvet is a good balance of tart custard and light, cream cheese topping. 5130 Broadway, (210) 829-4959,

Trinicakes Cupcakery Trinicakes Cupcakery in Lincoln Heights scores with their Apple Cinnamon cupcake: a soft, coffee cake with freshly whipped vanilla icing and speckles of cinnamon. Just call ahead to make sure they’re open. 999 E Basse, Ste 178, (210) 826-2427

coffee & tea Bagel Factory

You can take the girl outta NYC, but you can’t take NYC outta the girl, at least when it comes to this East Coast breakfast staple. Owner Suzanne Hermann knows chewy bagels and flavorful schmear, though she thoughtfully punches up her handmade options with some South Texas spice in the Serrano schmear and Ranchero breakfast sandwich. 15909 San Pedro Ave, Ste 115, (210) 499-0100,

Bubblehead Friendly service, inviting Asianinfluenced décor, and fruity drinks define this Southtown installment in the bubble-tea craze. Try the very-berry Urban Jungle or the Suicide. 1035 S Presa, (210) 2240559,

Chicago Bagel Enjoy one of over 10 flavors Chicago Bagel has to offer, especially the seasonal bagel. For lunch, try the lox and cream cheese bagel sandwich with tomatoes and onions, or the delightfully named Screaming Cluck, a chicken breast sandwich with provolone, jalapenos, and an avocado spread. 10918 Wurzbach

Grassroots Although they do offer a timeeffective “Quick Cup,” slowing down to enjoy a memorable pickme-up seems to be the theme of recently opened Grassroots Coffee, a welcome 180˚ from standing in line at you-knowwhere. Gourmet treats (baked on site), two locally roasted espresso options, cozy seating arrangements, and free wi-fi make Grassroots intimate, functional, and a cut above the rest. 343 W Sunset, (210) 805-9016,

Guadalupe Street Coffee A Westside hangout and community-development project that’s committed to neighborhood and coffee, featuring local artists’ work, especially with a political bent, fresh-baked goods, and extra-fine vibes. 1320 Guadalupe, (210) 212-6508, guadalupestreetcoffee. com

IAMA Coffee House IAMA stands for International Academy of Music and the Arts, a music school that serves coffee and sandwiches while the sounds of pianos and guitars float by. (Their motto is “At IAMA, you

haven’t had enough coffee till you can play ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ on the Ukulele.”) IAMA uses Boar’s Head deli meats to great effect, particularly the toasted turkey and cheddar sandwiches. 1627 Broadway, (210) 669-4277,

Koffee Kup The food and space (and the coffee, come to think of it) are kind of like your mom’s house — comforting and completely without fuss or pretense. Nothing is spectacular, but it all satisfies cravings for stick-to-your-ribs diner food. 1025 Donaldson Ave, (210) 785-9007

La Taza Coffee House This locally owned shop takes its cues from the traditional Mexican game Lotería, and serves as a second home to a wide variety of locals. The regulars seem as passionate about the owner as the coffee, which gets roasted in the Hill Country by Kiva Coffee Roasters. 15060 San Pedro, (210) 494-8292,

Olmos Perk Attentive baristas, a sophisticated work-and-chill friendly setting, and the finest fruit smoothie in town made Olmos Perk the top choice for Best Local Coffee Shop in the Best of SA 2010 readers’ poll. 5223 McCullough Ave, (210) 8582956,

Sip With a view of bustling St. Mary’s and Houston Street, this Andrew Weissman venture offers real citycafé fare: straightforward coffee and espresso drinks, pastries, and an assortment of Panini, such as the popular turkey and Swiss variety. 160 E Houston, (210) 2220149, /// FLAVOR 2011-12



FLAVOR 2011-12 ///

Flavor 2011