The scene at the Fiesta Art Fair at the Southwest School of Art Sunday was all about the ceramics and baskets, jewelry, photographs and fine art, but food and music played a part, too.
“I think the quality is great this year,” said Sandy White, walking around and checking out the booths. “If you can afford it,” she added ruefully. I had to agree with her about the particular item she wanted to pick up and “maybe use as a purse.” A basket with a price tag of $5,800.
I’m not saying the basket wasn’t worth it. I firmly believe that artists and artisans know the time and skill that went into their products. And the basket maker’s booth was one of my favorites, too. Plus, there was plenty of affordable art on hand. I never miss the gift shop at the center, either; Christmas is less than eight months away.
After doing my usual first fast walk through the aisles (I do the stop-and-examine walk-through after), I stopped to marvel at the marimba player for the band Hot Sauce. Toro Flores is incredible and all I might have wished for was to be transported (along with the music) to a breezy cabana overlooking the Caribbean, with icy margaritas delivered by, well, breezy cabana boys.
Meanwhile, grill cook Jerry Perez from La Margarita was turning slabs of skirt steak, destined to be cut into fajitas, on a long grill at the restaurant’s food booth. If there is an iconic aroma that signifies Fiesta, it is meat and smoke. Maybe it’s the iconic scent of San Antonio, because I swear if I’ve been traveling for more than a few days out of town, I know I’m home when I drive through downtown and catch that scent on the air.
After covering the booths at the art center and allowing myself one fajita taco, it was a trip down to Milam Park to check out the beginning of the makings of the Rey Feos’s 300-foot enchilada.
Having just done an outdoor cooking event that involved health department permits, I had wondered what the setup would be, and I found pretty much just what I imagined — at least as far as the screening protection went. The 300-foot long cover for the enchilada assembly seemed to be workable. I was less convinced by the foil pans over Sterno. As it turned out, n0 Guinness Book record was set Saturday. According to the rules, the enchilada must be made with one 300-foot tortilla. And, the enchilada must be dipped in oil after the filling is inside.
Huh? I’ve dipped plenty of enchiladas in my life, here and in Mexico. The tortilla goes into the hot fat — which softens it— before, not after it is filled. Good grief. Do you really want all that oil leaking into your queso? I think San Antonio needs to challenge those rules, seriously.
But let’s hope los feos try again. Does anyone have a 300-foot comal on which to heat up that monster tortilla?
Fiesta de los Reyes is new this year and continues through next weekend in Market Square. The event supports the Rey Feo Consejo Educational Foundation, which offers scholarships to deserving high school students.
I thought about the enchilada construction as I roamed around the Fiesta Home Tour in Monticello Park area later that day with a friend. Surprisingly, gorgeous kitchens were not my favorite part of this tour. The houses ranged from unpretentious to near-grand, and each was lovely in its own way. But it was a free-form swimming pool at a Spanish-Mediterranean house on West Mulberry that really caught my fancy. After a hot day of Fiesta travels, a dive into the pool would have made a perfect ending. Along with one icy margarita …
Check out more upcoming Fiesta events by clicking here.