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Archive | February 28th, 2012

Ask a Foodie: Where Would You Go for Tex-Mex?

Ask a Foodie: Where Would You Go for Tex-Mex?

The chips and salsa at Rosario's.

Q. We have family visiting this weekend. They want to eat Tex-Mex. Can you recommend one such restaurant downtown and one out in the I-10 or 1604 area?

— Rick

A. In a city known for its Mexican and Tex-Mex, you have plenty of options. Here are a few of our favorites, both downtown and on the north side.

Rosario’s, 910 S. Alamo, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, which is a milestone for any restaurant. But there’s a reason the place is still going strong: Owner Lisa Wong makes sure that the food coming out of her kitchen is as good as it gets. Bonnie Walker and I stopped in on a recent Saturday afternoon for lunch, and by the time we left, there was a line of people waiting for tables.

The salsa is still that smoky, spiky treat with plenty of jalapeño and tomato flavor. A bowl of fideo, filled with beans and noodles, was pure comfort on a cloudy afternoon, while shrimp nachos were loaded with richness from both the cheese and the seafood. The carnitas were perfect as always, with sizzling bites of pork complemented by a cup of beans in a porky broth.

And, of course, Rosario’s is known for its tangy array of margaritas as well as its tequila selection. The salsa music on weekends adds to the lively vibe that flows through the place.

Wong’s other place downtown, Ácenar, 146 E. Houston St., is great if you want to dine on the River Walk. The food is slightly different, with a few more upscale items, including buttermilk fried oysters and duck chalupas, well worth investigating. You can also arrange a barge dinner, if there’s enough time, and enjoy the likes of pasilla-rubbed roasted chicken or grilled adobo pork loin while gliding down the river.

Aldaco's tres leches cake is a treat for anyone with a sweet tooth.

In the I-10 or Loop 1604 area, Aldaco’s at Stone Oak, 20079 Stone Oak Parkway, is always great for a party that never stops. The margaritas flow freely, including a unique one made with avocado, and sipping one on the patio while the sun sets is a great San Antonio pleasure. Plus, Blanca Aldaco makes sure you get food you enjoy, even if you are a gluten-free diet. The weekend brunch, with a great breakfast relleno, is also a good bet.

La Hacienda de los Barrios, 18747 Redland Road, is another place to remember, especially if you have a large party. This is a wonderful place to introduce people to the local favorite, the puffy taco, which Diana Barrios Treviño makes better than most. (She even topped Bobby Flay when he appeared at the restaurant for one of his throwdowns.

Another place not to miss is El Mirasol Alta Cocina, 13489 Blanco Road. Owner Jesse Calvillo and his staff treat you right, whether you’re just dropping by for a margarita and a plate of queso flameado or you want enchiladas with a choice of sauces.

Readers, what other places would you recommend for guests visiting from out of town who had a hankering for San Antonio’s authentic brand of Tex-Mex?  Post your suggestions below.

If you have a food question, email walker@savorsa.com or griffin@savorsa.com.

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Red Velvet Pancakes with Cream Cheese and Pecans

Red Velvet Pancakes with Cream Cheese and Pecans

Red Velvet Pancakes with Cream Cheese and Pecan Topping

Red Velvet everything — the madness really hit its stride last year, and seems to be holding steady this year. These pancakes, along with some fresh fruit and pan-grilled country sausage were dinner for us recently. We cut down on the sugar a bit so they wouldn’t be quite so dessert-y. They were tender, a little tangy with just a touch of chocolate. Serve them on National Pancake Day, Mother’s Day — or any special breakfast or even dinner, on a cool, drizzly night.

Red Velvet Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons butter, melted
4 ounces cream cheese
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons half and half
1/2 cup toasted pecans

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and cocoa powder in a large bowl.

In another large bowl, beat egg with buttermilk, sour cream, food coloring and vanilla extract until smooth.

Whip batter until smooth.

Slowly whisk in the flour mixture, adding melted butter in gradually as well, until all lumps are out.

Heat a large nonstick pan over medium heat, then drop in batter 1/4 cup at a time to form pancakes.

Flip when bottoms are set and bubbles are forming on top and cook until firm and fluffy all the way through.

To make a cream cheese topping: Put cream cheese and half and half in a stand mixer and whip until fluffy and smooth. Add powdered sugar slowly. Top pancakes with some of the cream cheese mixture and sprinkle over pecans.

Makes 6 pancakes

Adapted from recipe at foodrepublic.com

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