Archive | June 29th, 2011

‘Top Chef’ in Town, The Luxury Settling In, and So Is Lana Duke

‘Top Chef’ in Town, The Luxury Settling In, and So Is Lana Duke

Rumors and spot news are making the rounds on the San Antonio dining scene.

“Top Chef” here

First, the word is out that “Top Chef” is here filming for the new season. (Not the little guys that visited the Alon Market recently – the big-name chefs this time.)

Emeril Lagasse, Tom Colicchio and Padma Lakshmi were at Biga on the Banks last night, according to Biga. No forewarning to the kitchen staff at Biga, but some in the group of 12 did head in to greet them after dinner, handshakes all around. Then, some of the chefs moved on over to the Esquire Tavern to close out the night, we hear.

So, where are they staying, where are they filming, dining out, etc.? Those in the know are being pretty tight-lipped at this point. But keep your eyes and ears open, and don’t forget to send chef sightings to us at SavorSA!

Lana Duke of Ruth’s Chris fame gets Vidorra condo here

Lana Duke, shown here at downtown Ruth's Chris, will have a residence in San Antonio.

Meanwhile, it’s good to hear that a great lady, Lana Duke of New Orleans, owner of the local Ruth’s Chris Steak Houses, will have a second residence in San Antonio. She and her son, David, will be part-time residents at Vidorra, a high-rise condominium complex on North Center Street.

The Luxury

Can we look forward to rotisserie and roasted meats going on the menu?

Andrew Weissman says The Luxury has made some significant progress, the containers are in, the landscaping soon to be started. He won’t commit to an opening date yet, but says it’s “pretty darn close.”

As always the Weissman creativity is running full blast. He is thinking of putting in a huge rotisserie in order to roast pork and goat to sell by the pound. That’s always a luxury for the tired, hungry, homeward-bound downtown worker.

He says his trailer dining concept will be unique — even among trailer dining concepts. Wine on tap is always nice, and the river location, across the the San Antonio Museum of Art will be a good draw. We’ll let you know, as soon as we do, the answer to that “when” question.

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Posted in Daily Dish, News2 Comments

‘Don Strange of Texas’ Cookbook Wins Bronze Award

‘Don Strange of Texas’ Cookbook Wins Bronze Award

Published less than one year ago, “Don Strange of Texas: His Life and Recipes,” has been selected as the 2011 bronze medal winner of the Independent Publisher Book Award in the South- Best Regional Non-Fiction Category. The book was written by Strange’s wife, Frances Strange and co-written by Terry Thompson-Anderson. Photographs are by San Antonio food photographer Tracey Maurer.

Strange, who died in November of 2009, built his catering business around the wealth of foods available in Texas and served his fare in a down-home style that was well-received at both black-tie events and cookouts held anywhere from the White House lawn to his Hill Country ranch.

"Don Strange of Texas: His Life and Recipes" wins bronze award from The Independent Publisher Book Awards.

“Words cannot properly express how thrilled I am that our book is being recognized by this distinguished  group of professionals in the industry” says author Frances Strange.  “Just being considered for this award is such an achievement.”

Published by Shearer Publishing, the book is filled with the rich history of this high-profile Texas catering company. Anecdotes, more than 100 recipes and dozens of full color food and family photographs bring the story to life.

The Independent Publisher Book Awards, which was first launched in 1996, is intended to recognize excellence among books published by independent authors and publishers. The awards are open to all members of the independent publishing industry. It contains 69 national categories, followed by regional categories, such as the South, and the Best Regional Non-Fiction Award. Judging is based on design, production quality , content, and innovation.

The cookbook is part of the Don Strange of Texas brand which includes the Don Strange Marketplace e-commerce site, the Don Strange Ranch in Welfare, The Waring General Store, The Ropes Course, The Zip Line at Zinc Hill, The Buckhorn Saloon, Catering and Private Dining. The cookbooks are available at booksellers and online at

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Get Lost in a California Rosé

Get Lost in a California Rosé

Lost Summer California Rosé 2009

Fact: It’s a pink wine from California, which leads too many to think sickly sweet. But this dry little treasure is a surprise, especially at under $10 a bottle.

Summer is a key word that comes to mind when you take the first sniff of its youthful bouquet, with its touch of watermelon and strawberry. The color is that of a summer rose, pink in the sun and just irresistible.

Chill it down and enjoy its refreshing vigor with just about any picnic food you can imagine, from pork ribs right off the grill to buttered corn on the cob.

It’s also perfect for a picnic because it has a screw cap, so you don’t have to haul along a corkscrew in addition to everything else.

Feeling: Do just want to have something icy and pleasant after mowing the lawn or reading in a hammock under a shady tree? Then this rosé is a good bet to set you out on your lost summer afternoon or evening. It’s all about relaxation and enjoyment, though there’s a welcome depth of flavors, from tart fruit to a slight mineral quality that keeps things that much more interesting.

You can find Lost Summer in select H-E-B stores.

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The Cake Boss’ Pecan Wedges

The Cake Boss’ Pecan Wedges


Buddy Valastro, also known as the Cake Boss to his legions of TV fans, is coming to San Antonio in November. He’s set to appear at the Lila Cockrell Theater at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12.

If you can’t wait until then to get a taste of his baking magic, try this recipe for Pecan Wedges, which appears in his new cookbook, which is not surprisingly titled “Cake Boss: Stories and Recipes from Mia Famiglia” (Free Press, $25.99).

“These are decadent little treats,” he writes, “with a number of textures and flavors packed into fairly tight quarters: the pastry itself, a caramel-pecan mixture that’s pour into its center, and a chocolate shell.”

For tickets, which start at $96 apiece, click here.

Pecan Wedges

6 sticks (1 1/2 pounds) unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided use
1 cup sugar
2 extra-large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
4 cups pastry flour or all-purpose flour
1 cup light-brown sugar
3 tablespoons heavy cream
3 cups whole pecans
2 cups finely chopped semisweet high-quality chocolate

To make the dough, put 4 sticks of the butter and the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, and paddle on low-medium speed until thoroughly mixed, approximately 1 minute. Add the eggs all at once and paddle until incorporated, approximately 1 minute. Add the milk and the flour and mix until thoroughly blended, 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill until stiff enough to be manipulated, about 30 minutes.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out each piece of dough into an 18-inch log, 1 1/2 to 2 inches high. Transfer to a baking tray and flatten the center of the log out so it looks like a ravine. It should be about 3 inches wide, fatter at the end than at the center. Crimp the edge on both sides. Repeat with all four pieces of dough, leaving about 2 inches between the logs (you  may need to do this in batches) and set aside.

To make the caramel mixture, put the remaining 2 sticks of butter, the brown sugar and cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately remove from the heat and stir in the pecans. Spoon the pecan-caramel mixture int hte ravine in the center of the logs. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Remove trays from the oven, transfer the bars to a cutting board, and cut each bar crosswise into 4 or 5 wedges.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a double-boiler set over medium-high heat. Dip half of each wedge into the chocolate and let cool and dry on a wire rack or parchment paper for 30 minutes. These are best enjoyed the same day, but can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Makes 16 wedges.

From “Cake Boss” by Buddy Valastro


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