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A Nutty Valentine’s Day Tale

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This is a story of castration and cuisine.

The food in question is calf fries, which, in polite parlance, is what you’re left with after a bull has been transformed into a steer.

Since many are not willing to waste any part of a cow or pig (think barbacoa, for one of many examples), the severed parts are converted into what is also marketed as Rocky Mountain oysters.

Strange as it may seem, calf fries have become a favorite snack of many, especially during A Night in Old San Antonio, where they have been a hit for more than 40 years. Shortly after Frontier Town was created in 1966, the breaded and fried jewels have been a fixture eventually being served alongside other favorites, such as Texas Bird Legs and Cowboy Klopse (a deep-fried meatball in jalapeño batter).

NIOSA is still months away. This year’s dates are April 20-23. But work on the calf fries and many other food treats to be served is well under way.

A group of volunteers met with chairman Nancy Avellar and several food providers, including Opa’s of Fredericksburg and Labatt’s, to sample everything from K.C. Wild Wings (a pork shank with an easy to handle bone) to sausage.

Richard Bolner of Bolner’s Meat Market, 2900 S. Flores, was on hand to serve his calf fries, which he provides each year. The demand has grown through the years, he says, and he now has to provide 1,000 pounds a year. That translates into about 1,800 or so orders over the course of the four nights.

“People come (to Frontier Town) just to get them,” he said.

It’s true, you’ll find some who raise their nose at such a delicacy. Others have to have a few beers and a couple of dares before they’ll partake. But the majority of people standing in line, and the lines can get long, are there because they like the flavor.

Whether they know it or not, they’re grateful Avellar and her crew are working year-round to ensure everything served at NIOSA is on the ball, if you’ll pardon the pun.

For more information on NOISA, click here.

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