Archive | August 23rd, 2011

‘Feast’ Moving into Former Oloroso Location

‘Feast’ Moving into Former Oloroso Location

The Oloroso sign is still up at 1024 S. Alamo St., but that will change before long.  The restaurant, formerly owned by chef Josh Cross, closed in November last year. Now, says businessman Andrew Goodman, his restaurant, Feast, is scheduled to open there in late September.

Andrew Goodman working on interior at Feast, a new restaurant in Southtown.

“It isn’t going to look at all like Oloroso,” said Goodman on Tuesday. He was working on the plastic protected floor in the front dining room, laying down tape so that he could paint baseboards.  The look, he says, will be “very crisp and clean” with white walls, dark wood floors, ball chandeliers over each table and “ghost” (transparent) chairs.

“We want the (atmosphere) to be cool and classic, but with great energy, a little sexy,” says Goodman.

He’s currently working on a menu with his chef, Stefan Bowers, who will be working at Feast beginning the first of September. Bowers is currently at 20 Nine Restaurant & Wine Bar at the Quarry.

The menu will offer a combination of appetizers, entrees as well as smaller plates with more generous proportions than one ordinarily associates with “small plates.”  Goodman describes the menu as being “flexible” — for instance if someone wants to try three of the salads, they can get smaller portions of all three on one plate. The food, at this point, is planned to be “New American with Mediterranean flair.”

He and Bowers will be doing a lot of tasting of food and wine pairings as they develop the menu and wine list, says Goodman. “We want the food and wine to work together well.”

Feast will be open only for dinner for a time after it opens, and will have a full bar, says Goodman. Goodman has had other businesses in San Antonio, including an antique store, Eden, but this is his first restaurant venture.

Main dining room of the former Oloroso.


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Bella Offers a Pleasant Escape by the River

Bella Offers a Pleasant Escape by the River

Bella sits next to the river.

Bella … on the River is housed in what used to be Delores Del Rio, and a few similarities have carried over from one to the other. The place still feels like a boite from another time with its dimly lit interior, stone walls and stairs, and that ever-so-slight ramshackle, casual air that keeps things from getting too serious.

Yet chef Sean Fletcher’s special menu for Restaurant Week was all seriousness, indeed. Seriously thought out and seriously delicious. It makes me want to return, especially to sample the cold asparagus soup with shrimp and fresh basil plus the Greek-style branzino.

Those were a couple of dishes that caught my eye before I ordered the Restaurant Week special, which came with several options for each course.

Before my options arrived, my waitress, who also served as bartender, brought out a roll with a roasted bulb of garlic set atop extra-virgin olive oil with a touch of dried rosemary. The roll was fair and the oil lacked that grassy EVOO bite that I like, but that garlic was so good I scooped out every last clove with my knife and could have eaten another.

Bella features plenty of good wines and some nice stemware to drink them from.

By then my orange salad arrived. Slender slices of juicy orange with no pith on the outside were topped with layers of Kalamata olives, red onion and crushed blanched almonds. The sweetness of the orange, the zip of the onion and the salty tang of the olives blended beautifully while the buttery almonds gave the dish a pleasant crunch. (I honestly don’t remember the alternative for the first course. The salad was so good it eclipsed all else.)

The main course was a beautifully fresh piece of escolar, atop a chimichurri sauce with a good punch of garlic and parsley. Capers and thin strands of delicately battered and fried onion crowned the dish. The alternative here was a petite filet mignon, which is probably quite wonderful, and yet the fish, even on a Monday, proved to be the right choice for me that evening.

Pan-seared escolar atop a chimichurri sauce with fried onions and capers.

Dessert was a choice of chocolate fondant or Virginia’s pistachio cake. I opted for the latter and was, again, rewarded with a truly delectable dish. The pound cake-type base, all butter and filled with nuts, was covered with pistachio cream and a mixture of nuts with chocolate shavings. Rich, without being heavy, the cake was a real treat. Thanks, Virginia, whoever you are.

I sat down fairly early in the evening, and yet there was a good vibe from the half-dozen or so other occupied tables. Everyone seemed to be enjoying the food as well as the Sarah Vaughn and other jazz greats on the sound system. That is, until the live jazz began. On Monday it was a pianist who sang the likes of “Mona Lisa” and “The Lady Is a Tramp” in an appealing, low-key manner.

If you remember growing deafer in the evenings when the all-too-loud music filled Delores Del Rio, you’ll be pleased to note that someone has turned down the volume. Now you can have a conversation without having to scream.

Virginia's pistachio cake.

And you can do that over a nice glass of wine. I had an icy Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand; it was not the wine I had ordered (I had asked for a French Sauvignon Blanc), but I was certainly pleased with it on so hot a day. It was also less expensive than the wine I had selected, so I even saved a few bucks on something I enjoyed.

By the way, you’ve got to love a restaurant that advises you of the following before you eat:

“Menu Disclaimers: Olives may have pits, Fish have bones, Meats prepared to your desired doneness, Clams and Mussels are in shells, be careful around Flaming Items, Hot Plates, Coffee and Hot Tea are Hot.”

That’s the spirit.

For more on Restaurant Week, which runs through Saturday, click on the Culinaria ad at the top of this page.

Bella … on the River
106 River Walk
210-404-BELLA (2355)
Dinner Monday-Saturday


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San Antonio One of Top Three U.S. Cities with School Salad Bars

San Antonio One of Top Three U.S. Cities with School Salad Bars

On Monday morning, on National Public Radio’s Fresh Air, restaurateur Alice Waters, who made her reputation focusing on fresh, locally grown and produced ingredients at her restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., had this to say about the issues of fast food and childhood diet:

“The place to go is school lunch — we need to go back to school. I am hoping that we can bring all children back to a positive relationship with food.”
Childhood obesity is a widespread problem in the United States. First lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign focuses on physical activity and healthier eating habits, while the nation’s city leaders and health professionals are working on addressing the diets and food attitudes of school-age children.

Caroline Roffidal-Blanco is a registered, licensed dietitian with the City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District. Is San Antonio moving in the right direction? She thinks so. Click here for more information on San Antonio’s Find Your Balance initiative.

By Caroline Roffidal-Blanco

Along with thousands of San Antonio students, salad bars are going “back to school” this week.

Through the successful efforts of the Healthy School Meals Initiative, more than 100 schools in San Antonio will be implementing salad bars this fall.  This makes San Antonio one of the top three cities, alongside New York City and Chicago, utilizing the most salad bars in schools. And it means that more than 100,000 students in Bexar County will now have access to healthy fruits and vegetables through salad bars as part of their school meals.

Nationwide, some 6,000 salad bars are scheduled to go into schools for K-12 students.

The Healthy School Meals initiative came about through the efforts of first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign, the San Antonio Mayor’s Fitness Council, and the City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District (Metro Health).

Research has shown that school children significantly increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables when they have a school salad bar.  At a recent Culinary Institute of America’s Healthy Flavors, Healthy Kids conference held in San Antonio, local middle and high school students participated in a Find Your Balance panel discussion, where they unanimously indicated they would prefer a salad bar as a healthy meal option at school.

In a recent report, F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2011,” Texas is ranked as the 12th fattest state.  Bexar County statistics are just as significant with 65 percent of adults and 30 percent of students being classified as overweight or obese.

In March of 2010, Metro Health received $15.6 million in federal stimulus funds through the Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant, also known as the Find Your Balance campaign, to focus on reducing the prevalence of obesity.

One of the major components of Find Your Balance is the Healthy School Meals Initiative, which is focused on meal choices as well as providing increased access to fruits and vegetables in schools through salad bars.

As school begins this week, the salad bars, which come from Cambro Manufacturing Company, Inc., are being put in place.  The state-of-the-art manufacturing includes built-in freezer packs that ensure proper chilling of the salad bars and facilitate convenient cleanup.

One way Americans of all ages could improve their diets is by eating more fresh, leafy greens.

Schools can also be flexible in what is served on the salad bars and how it is prepared. Some schools will be using local produce prepared fresh, some will use pre-packed salads. Others are using the salad bar as part of their reimbursable meals program and providing milk.

The Find Your Balance campaign also partnered with the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools initiative, which has a goal of donating 6,000 salad bars to schools nationwide.  Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools supports Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative. National experts from Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, the Alliance for Healthier Generation, and the Texas Department of Agriculture have also assisted.

San Antonio has been selected as a Let’s Move! city, so it’s no surprise that local schools are taking progressive steps in promoting healthy school meals through the use of salad bars. Through the various health initiatives of the Find Your Balance campaign, San Antonio is taking innovative strides to combat childhood obesity.


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