Italy

Tag Archive | "Alamo Street Eat Bar"

2012 Was a Year of Eating Well


The Pearl has become a food lover’s center for festivals as well as restaurants.

Bliss is aptly named.

As we approach the end of 2012, it’s time to look back on the many great flavors that we sampled. The list is lengthy, thanks to a decided upturn in culinary offerings across the city, both on the dining scene and for the food lover in general.

One of the biggest food stories of the year was the continued growth of the Pearl Brewery, which saw the opening of three praise-worthy eateries and a trendy bar. It also was the location of an increasing number of food festivals, meaning thousands from all over the city were showing up on a regular basis for cooking demonstrations at the Saturday farmers market, for paella, burgers and barbecue or tamales, and for the restaurants, all in the quest of good food.

A glimpse into the kitchen at the Granary.

The list of new restaurants includes the Granary ‘Cue and Brew, which restored beer making to the premises. Artisan barbecue, fine brews and an irresistible condiment known as ‘cue butter all made this a welcome addition. The Boiler House Texas Grill and Wine Garden delivers on the belief that quality grilled meat is prerequisite in the Lone Star State, and the massive setting, covering two stories, is epic enough to complement chef James Moore’s ranch-style fare.

The most intriguing addition, though, is NAO, the Culinary Institute of America’s full-service restaurant, which has provided San Antonio with its broadest and most authentic taste of South and Central American cuisines to date. These exciting flavors, from seafood stews and roasted meats to an inviting cocktail program, have somehow not been able to secure a foothold before in a city that values its Tex-Mex above all; yet in just a few months, NAO has developed a local following, and its client base should grow as word continues to get out to the rest of the country that the school has a campus and a destination restaurant here. When the visiting chef series returns, with culinary stars from countries as diverse as Brazil, Peru and Argentina, you’d be wise to make your reservations as soon as possible.

The CIA’s flagship restaurant in San Antonio.

NAO is also built on the concept of small plates, which has also not been widely popular in San Antonio. Yet Bite in the Southtown area and a revitalized Nosh on Austin Highway are joining in the effort to break that mold.

Southtown continued to attract diners from across the city, as Mark Bliss returned with a new restaurant, the aptly named Bliss. The warmth of the place, the impressive setting and the comfort of the food, especially when enjoyed at the chef’s table in the kitchen, all help place it among the city’s best.

Johnny Hernandez opened two distinct venues in the Southtown area, if not Southtown proper. They include the Frutería at the Steel House Lofts, where you can get everything from market-fresh fruit for breakfast to an impressive array of, you got it, small plates for dinner, and Casa Hernán, an airy catering facility and brunch spot in his own home.

Another welcome addition to the Southtown scene was the Alamo Street Eat Bar, a food truck park that featured crazy good burgers from Cullum’s Attaboy, the Peacemaker combination of pork belly and fried oysters from Where Y’At and the DUK Truck’s duck confit tacos. Add Zum Sushi, The Institute of Chili, Wheelie Gourmet and a few other visitors, as well as a great beer lineup, and you’ve got some wonderful fresh treats. And what do food trucks provide but small plates, albeit from different plates, giving you the feel of being on a tapas trail?

An “Eat Street” crew films at the Point Park & Eats.

Another food truck park that opened up north in Leon Springs was the Point Park & Eat, which also offers a great beer selection and a wide array of foods from a lineup that has changed in the months that it’s been open. The culinary confections come from trucks such as Skinny Cat, Gourmet on the Fly, Blazin’ Burgers and Say-She-Ate.

Television continued to discover may of these culinary gems. Say-She-Ate was one of four food trucks filmed for the TV series, “Eat Street.” The others include Rickshaw Stop, Tapa Tapa and Society Bakery. Meanwhile, PBS celebrity chef Ming Tsai came to town to film segments of “Simply Ming” with Diana Barrios Treviño from Los Barrios, Elizabeth Johnson of the CIA, John Besh of Lüke (visiting from New Orleans) and Johnny Hernandez at La Gloria.

Sustenio, with Stephan Pyles’ blessing and David Gilbert’s gifts, made people realize the Eilan Hotel Resort and Spa off I-10 was not just a pretty façade. Its menu, with much of the dishes derived from local meats and produce, features an exciting array of ceviches that captured the freshness of the sea and a number of dishes using South Texas Heritage Pork products.

The $13 Burger at Knife & Fork.

The gastropub movement continued with the opening of Knife & Fork in the Stone Oak area. An outgrowth of the Bistro Six food truck, it offered a $13 Burger worth every cent, an extensive cocktail program and a laid-back atmosphere.

Meanwhile, the bistronomy craze — a hybrid of “bistro” and “gastronomy” — could be found in Laurent’s Modern Cuisine on McCullough Avenue. Next door to the still-vibrant and dependable Bistro Vatel, it proved that a segment of San Antonio does love its French food.

For those who enjoy a meal every now and then at home, the number of gourmet groceries grew, thanks to the addition of Trader Joe’s in the Quarry Extension and a second Whole Foods on Blanco Road, north of Loop 1604. The food warehouse Gaucho Gourmet expanded its hours to the public to six days a week, while Groomer’s Seafood reeled in even more seafood lovers, especially when lobsters hit a mouthwatering low of $5.95 apiece.

Classic cocktails have made a comeback.

San Antonio lifted it spirits high during the year. Distilled spirits, that is. Mixed drinks, both shaken and stirred, got a huge boost from the first annual San Antonio Cocktail Conference. But it didn’t stop there. The Blue Box in the Pearl and the downtown Brooklynite joined the likes of Bar 1919 in the Blue Star Complex and the bar at NAO as havens for hand-crafted classic cocktails. A rye sour shaken with traditional egg white, a real martini made with gin and a pisco sour bright with freshly squeezed citrus were all incentives that made exploring these nightspots fun.

Expect beer’s popularity to soar in the new year. Beyond the excellent brews at the Granary, we await Alamo Beer’s ambitious plans for a downtown complex that will feature a restaurant as well as a brewing facility as well as the launch of Branchline Brewery.

What else can we expect? The Pearl will continue to expand with the openings of Jesse Perez’s Arcade Midtown Kitchen and an as-yet-unnamed venture from Steven McHugh as well as the move of Green Vegetarian Cuisine, all of which will add to the draw of the campus. Culinaria has announced plans for a community garden center offering food and agricultural education for the city. Andrew Weissman is taking over the former Liberty Bar site on Josephine Street.

With these strides forward on so many fronts, the city’s culinary scene should continue to offer some enticing new flavors for anyone with a healthy appetite.

Posted in Featured, RestaurantsComments Off on 2012 Was a Year of Eating Well

A Dessert So Easy You Can Make It Without Turning on the Oven


Tapa Tapa’s Watermelon Poprocks

Are you looking for a fun, fresh and blessedly easy dessert this summer? Take a tip from Rudolfo Martinez, who operates the Tapa Tapa food truck at Alamo Street Eat Bar, 609 S. Alamo St.

Martinez, one of the crew in the truck wearing a “Not Rudolfo” T-shirt, has made a great many fans in the past year with his Watermelon Poprocks dessert, a simple creation that would take no time for you to make at home.

All it takes is some cubes of watermelon, which you can even buy already cut up, plus a few fresh mint leaves. Then top the mix with Poprocks, that childhood favorite that explodes on the tongue with an effervescence that is whimsical  and welcome. That’s it.You’ve got a simple treat that’s actually quite complex on the tongue.

You won’t want to add the candy until each individual serving is ready to be eaten. In other words, don’t sprinkle the Poprocks over the whole bowl of fruit and let it sit. The candy will get get soggy and lose its sparkle.

I hadn’t see Poprocks in stores for years — that is, until recently, when I found them at Spec’s, which is now at 5219 DeZavala Road as well as 14623 I-35 N. That means you can make this carbonated candy-crowned confection any time you’d like — and without having to turn the oven on.

Or you can just head to South Alamo Street and order up Martinez’s terrific fish tacos or 9-cheese macaroni and follow it with a taste of summer that’s light and perfectly refreshing.

Posted in Chefs' CornerComments Off on A Dessert So Easy You Can Make It Without Turning on the Oven

2nd Food Truck Throw Down Set During ‘Eat St.’ Filming


Say.She.Ate is one of the trucks to be filmed for “Eat St.”

“Eat St.,” the Cooking Channel show that celebrates the food truck business, is coming to San Antonio, and the folks at Boardwalk on Bulverde are celebrating with their second annual Food Truck Throw Down and Music Festival.

The show will be taping around town July 19-23, while the Throw Down is set for July 20-22. Last year’s Throw Down featured more than two dozen food trucks from the throughout the region serving up their finest while live music filled the air. Participants voted on their favorites.

“Eat St.”  won’t be at the Boardwalk during their entire filming. The crews will start at Jason Dady’s DUK Truck on July 19 for lunch at a spot yet to be determined.

On July 20, crews will be at Alamo St. Eat Bar, 609 S. Alamo St., to focus on Tapa Tapa.

Filming moves to the Point Park & Eats, 24188 Boerne Stage Road, on July 21, where footage of Say.She.Ate will predominate.

Tapa Tapa Shrimp Ceviche

On July 22, “Eat St.” meets Boardwalk on Bulverde, 14732 Bulverde Road, during the Thrown Down, while crews go to the Rickshaw Stop.

July 23 closes out the filming at Boardwalk on Bulverde for a spot on Society Bakery.

The public is invited to the filming, so this is a great chance for you to support the city’s burgeoning food truck scene, enjoy some fine eats and maybe get your face on TV.

For more information on the Thrown Down, click here.

 

Posted in UncategorizedComments Off on 2nd Food Truck Throw Down Set During ‘Eat St.’ Filming