Tag Archive | "Biga"

Eric Nelson Plants a Garden of Flavor at Work

Eric Nelson's herb garden at Zachry.

Eric Nelson knows that the freshest herbs you can cook with are the ones you grow yourself.

Eric Nelson

So, the corporate executive chef for Zachry did what he needed to do to make his job easier: He put in a herb garden in an upraised bed just outside the home office on Logwood.

About two dozen herbs in all were planted, including five types of mint, four types of basil, three oreganos, Provençal lavender, onion chives, two varieties of thyme, two parsleys, two sages, lemon grass, a bay leaf tree, aloe vera and mint marigold.

Now, the herbs are a regular feature at the Crossing Cafe at Zachry, where six food stations offer gourmet treats to employees as well as guests.

The herbs are used as “décor on all catering tables, for buffets, in most all dishes served in the café and catering,” says Nelson. “We have a very wide variety that we can use in any shape or form.”

Nelson's Original Baja Fish Taco

Nelson puts his oregano to good use in his Original Baja Fish Tacos, which he demonstrated recently at the Pearl Farmers Market. The dish originated in California, where the chef grew up before heading to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., where he met his wife, Laura.

He found work in restaurants in La Jolla, Calif., Irving, Texas, and Beaver Creek, Colo., before the couple decided to come to Laura’s hometown of San Antonio in 1996. He became the executive sous chef at La Mansión del Rio under Scott Cohen before beginning to work at Zachry.

At the construction firm, Nelson overseas all of the company’s catering needs, whether in-house or at the company’s two off-premise ranches.

Eric and Laura Nelson serve fish tacos at the Pearl Farmers Market.

Nelson offers some advice for home gardeners who want to put in their own herb beds: “Make sure you have the right soil and proper drainage (rock and sand layers). Make sure it is the size you need, a little herbs go a long way.”

His garden at Zachry is “completely organic,” he says. To help keep the plants healthy, “we use mint marigolds to fend off the bugs (bugs do not like their smell) and nematodes, if you get grub worms.”

Planting an herb garden is not new at restaurants. Nelson had one when he worked at La Mansión. But the chef says he had an inspiration that dates back further: “I remember Bruce (Auden) from the old Biga had herbs growing all around the old house that he used in the restaurant. Sometimes when you drove by in the morning, he would be out there drinking his morning coffee, watering all his herbs.”

Now, most mornings you’re likely to find Nelson doing the same as he tends his own garden before the day’s work in the kitchen begins.

(Photographs provided by Eric Nelson.)

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Mom Wants a Day Off: You Can Make the Reservations

Mother’s Day is coming, and one way to tell her how much you love her is to treat her to a brunch, lunch or dinner that she doesn’t have to cook or clean up after. Here are some of the options available in a broad array of food styles and price ranges.

Reservations are required, so plan ahead. Prices do not include tax and tip.

Achiote at the Grand Hyatt,600 E. Market St., (210) 451-6171 — The Mother’s Day Buffet is 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Cost is $42 a person. It features a sushi station; a salad station with Shrimp Salpicon, Chile Jicama and Cucumber Salad, Caprese Salad and Seasonal Fruit Salad; Chef Carved Meats including Herb and Mustard Crusted Strip Loin and House Smoked Berkshire Pork Loin; Wild Mushroom Bisque; Lomo Salteado; Pollo Verde with Charred Tomatillo Sauce; Margarita Pan-Seared Red Fish; Arroz Con Gandules; Roasted Garlic-Ginger Mashed Potatoes; Seasonal Baby Vegetables; Sesame Asparagus; a Custom Egg Station and Seasonal Pastries and Cakes Prepared by Chef Daniel.

Aldaco’s, 20079 Stone Oak Pkwy., (210) 494-0561 — The restaurant will open at 10 a.m. May 13 and is accepting reservations for its brunch, which features everything from breakfast chile rellenos to a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar.

Aldaco’s at Sunset Station, 100 Hoefgen St., (210) 222-0561 — The Mom’s Saturday Brunch is May 12 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Items on the Specialty Spring Brunch Menu: Eggs Benedict ($11.50) with homemade hollandaise, grilled ham, grilled asparagus; fresh fruit or home fries; custom waffle or shortstack pancakes ($9.50) with your choice of plain, blueberry, chocolate chip, banana or bacon; Custom Omelet ($8.50) with your choice of fillings: onions, bell peppers, roasted vegetables, ham, tomatoes, bacon and cheese; Big Country Breakfast ($10.50) with split biscuit with cream gravy, two eggs any style, bacon, sausage and home fries; Roasted Vegetable Fritatta ($10.50); Big bowl of oatmeal ($6.50) with your choice of Cinnamon Apple n’ Raisin with Brown Sugar or Mixed Berries and Cream; and the following kids choices ($5): Bowl of cereal and fresh fruit or silver dollar pancakes or waffles.

Biga on the Banks, 203 S. St. Mary’s St., (210) 225-0722 — Easter brunch hours will be 10 a.m.-4 p.m.The buffet will include appetizers, salads and desserts, while one entree is chosen from the menu. Entree options include: Maine Lobster omelet, Organic egg Benedict with Serrano ham and chive hollandaise, cocoa nib waffles with caramelized bananas, seared natural scallops with chilled carrot and crème fraiche dill vichyssoise, fine herb baked red American snapper, roasted leg of lamb, pepper roasted rib-eye of beef with blue cheese mashers, and jasmine tea smoked duck.. The selection of desserts: Carrot cake, cream cheese icing and candied carrots; Fresh blueberry baby tarts; Eclairs, Tiramisu, Texmati rice pudding; Torta Divina; and Sparkling strawberry fruit soup. There will also be kids’ desserts. The prices are $54 for adults and $27.50 for children under 12.

Bin  555, 555 W. Bitters, (210) 496-0555 — Brunch hours are 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Start with a choice of appetizer: Caesar Salad with Romaine Hearts, Grilled Red Onion and Parmigiano Reggiano; Creamy Lobster Bisque with Smoked Butternut Squash and Chives; Poached Egg with Summer Squash, Crispy Pancetta and Sweet Onions; or “Toast, Ham, Jam and Fruit.” Entree choices: Baked Crepe with Wild Mushroom Cream, Caramelized Onion and Spring Asparagus; Scrambled Eggs, Heirloom Tomatoes, Crispy Pork Belly and Arugula; Pan Roasted Salmon with Smoked Potato, English Peas, Radish and Meyer Lemon Beurre Blanc; or Sous Vide of Beef Tenderloin Petite Filet with Spring Vegetable Friscasse and Guinness Bordelaise ($5 Supplement). After Wood Oven Baked Brie with Spanish Torta, Dried Cherry Jam and Celery Hearts, choose a dessert: Nutella and Dark Chocolate “Soufflé” Cake with Raspberry, Smoked Pistachio and Hazelnut; Banana Pudding with Peanut Butter Mousse, Mascarpone Chantilly, Caramel and Nilla Nougat; or “Berries and Cream.” Cost is $29.95 a Person. An $11 children’s menu is available. An 18 percent tip will be added to all checks. Dinner hours with the regular menu begin at 4 p.m.

The Bright Shawl, 819 Augusta St., (210) 225-6366 — Mother’s Day hours are 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. On the menu: Fresh Fruit Salad, Vanilla Yogurt, Granola, Oatmeal, Brown Sugar, Raisins, Milk; Assorted Bread, Muffins, Croissants, Butter & Cream Cheese Spread; Assorted Cheese Display,  Crudités, Ceviche, Deviled Eggs, Chilled Shrimp and Orzo Salad, Crabmeat Salad, House and Caesar Salad. Eggs Benedict, Sausage, Bacon, Breakfast Potatoes, Biscuits & Gravy, Seasonal Quiche; Selections of Seasonal Poultry, Fish/Crab Cakes, Vegetables and Wild Rice, Selection of Pasta, Italian Sausage with Peppers and Onions, Meatball Marinara, Garlic Bread. Other brunch features are an omelet station with traditional fillings, a waffle station with assorted toppings. Also, Beef Roast, Au Jus, Horseradish Cream. Children can order their own personal Chicken Tenders with French Fries. For dessert: Assorted Cakes, Brownies, Fruit Pies, Bread Pudding with Jack Daniel Sauce, Chocolate Mousse. Visit the website. Prices are $28.95 for adults, $19.95 for seniors (age 65 and up), $12.95 for children ages 6-12, $7.95 for children ages 3-5, and free for children 2 and under. Coffee, teas, orange juice, a glass of champagne or a mimosa are included in the buffet price.

The County Line, 10101 I-10 W., (210) 641-1998 — Mother’s Day is being celebrated May 11-13 with a few words of advice for the barbecue lover: “We’ll do all the work. You take all the credit.”

Crumpets, 3920 Harry Wurzbach, (210) 821-5600 — Crumpets is offering three special menus for Mother’s Day. The first is on Saturday, May 12 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. On May 13, the brunch is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with the following specials: Appetizers: Puff Pastry with White Wine Mushroom Sauce, Scottish Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese and Mousse Truffle Pate. Entrées: Eggs Benedict ($29.50), Chicken Breast With Champagne Sauce ($29.50), Shrimp Salad On Avocado ($29.50), Veal Scaloppini with Mushroom Cognac Sauce ($36.50), Fresh Rainbow Trout Amandine ($36.50), Tenderloin of Beef With Bordeaux Mushroom Sauce ($36.50), Shrimp Lyonnaise Over Wild Rice Blend ($36.50) and Trilogy of Tenderloin of Beef with Rossini Sauce, Lobster Tail with Lemon Butter and Rack of Lamb Provençal ($49.50). Children’s menu for kids under 10 is Ricotta Tortellini or Chicken Breast ($10.50). A special menu for dinner will be 5:30-11 p.m. May 12 and 5-9 p.m. May 13. For the full menus, click here.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, 255 E. Basse Road, (210) 824-9463 — Mother’s Day brunch is 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. and includes a special three-course menu with the following entiree choices: Filet Mignon Benedict, New Orleans Style French Toast, Fleming’s Frittata, Steakhouse Filet Mignon Cobb or Prime Rib. Cost is $34.95 for adults. The children’s brunch menu costs $16.95. Each mother will receive a $25 gift card for a future visit to Fleming’s.

Frederick’s Restaurant, 7701 Broadway, (210) 828-9050; Frederick’s Bistro,  14439 N.W. Military Highway, (210) 888-1500 — Mother’s Day lunch is 11 a.m.-3 p.m.  Appetizer options include: Cold Avocado and Roasted Poblano Soup  ($8), Shrimp Cocktail and Crab Meat , ($10), Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Mini Bagel  ($9), Escargots with Spanish Chorizo, Garlic Butter Shiitake Mushrooms  ($10) and Crab Cake and Spring Mixed with a Remoulade Sauce ($11). Main courses:  Parmesan Crusted Rainbow Trout with Avocado Relish ($18), Pan Seared Norwegian Salmon with Whole Grain Mustard Sauce ($22), Veal Piccatta with Mushroom Marsala Wine Sauce  ($23), Lamb Chops with Garlic Fresh Thyme White Wine Sauce ($25), Sea Scallops and Shrimp Provenςale Sauce  ($21), Beef Tenderloin with Grilled Shrimps and Bearnaise Sauce ($31), Pork Chop with Apple and Calvados Brandy Sauce ($20), and Fresh Alaskan Halibut Veronique Sauce ($26). A children’s menu is also available.

Hyatt Hill Country Resort,9800 Hyatt Resort Drive, (210) 767-7999: Brunch in the Hill Country Ballroom will be 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Brisket hash with poached egg, rosemary brown sugar bacon, country sausage links, cheese blintz with orange marmalade, personalized omelets, pancakes and waffles, fresh shucked oysters, oak-smoked mussels and bay scallops, iced shrimp and roasted chili cocktail, oak-smoked salmon with cucumber dill sauce, molasses-brined pork loin, chimichurri grilled flank steak, house-smoked turkey with dried fruit chutney, orzo “mac n cheese” and build-your-own pasta and gnocchi, salads, desserts, and a kids’ corner fill out the buffets. Prices: Adults, $49.95; Seniors, $39.95; children ages 5-12, $23; and children 4 and under, free.

Kirby’s Prime Steakhouse, 123 N. Loop 1604 E., (210) 404-2221 — Special Mother’s Day hours will be 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. with the full menu plus special lunch and dinner plates.

Las Canarias at La Mansion del Rio, 112 College St. is offering extended hours for the Champagne Brunch from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 13. Some of the items on the buffet include: Farm Fresh Eggs and Omelet’s Made to Order, Cider Cured Bacon and Sausages, Skillet Potatoes, Bananas Foster over Pearl Sugar Belgian Style Waffles, Nutella Stuffed Texas French Toast with Local Orchard Spiced Syrups, Rosemary Buttermilk Biscuits with House Made Country Gravy, Quiche, Savory Tart of Vodka Cured Salmon, Eggs Benedict with Crabmeat, Chilaquiles, Colossal Chilled Shrimp, Cocktail Crab Claws and Lobster Tails, Mini Lobster Rolls, Color Burst Farm Heirloom Tomato Salad, Hearts of Romaine Caesar Salad, La Chinata Smoked Paprika Deviled Eggs, Togorashi Seared Tuna, European Cured and Sliced Meats, Artisan Farmer and International Cheeses, Blackened Texas Red Fish, Berkshire Pork Loin Stuffed With House Chorizo, Ricotta Tortellini with Wild Mushrooms, Chef Carved Smoked Prime Rib of Beef, Guajillo and Garlic Grilled Shrimp, Halibut Paillard and an array of desserts: Red Velvet Cake, Classic Carrot Cake, Chocolate Opera Torte with Hazelnuts and Coffee Buttercream, Mini Cookies, French Macaroons, Truffles and Pralines, Blueberry White Chocolate Panna Cotta, Raspberry Mousse Bombes, Triple Chocolate Mousse Tarts, Lemonberry Swiss Roll, Strawberry Shortcake, Key Lime Pie, Coconut Macaroons and Espresso Cream Puffs. The cost is $69.95 per person and $29.95 for children, 6 – 12 years of age. In addition, the regular à la carte dining at Las Canarias will resume at 6 p.m. Reservations required.For more information or to make a reservation, call Las Canarias at 210-518-1063.

The Lion and Rose, various locations — The brunch will include such options as Eggs Benedict, Irish Hash and Eggs, Wimbledon French Toast, a Breakfast Burger and more. The Westlakes location will feature bagpipe players at 1 p.m.

Luce Ristorante e Enoteca, 11255 Huebner Road, (210) 561-9700 — Luce has a special menu for Mother’s Day and an a la carte menu. Hours are noon-4 p.m. The special menu features three courses for $29.95. Start with choice of Zuppa di Aragosta (Lobster Bisque), Caesar Salad or Caprese (Tomato Slices and Fresh Mozzarella di Latte, Basil and Olive Oil). Main course choices: Ravioli di Aragosta (Lobster filled Ravioli, Tomato Basil Cream Sauce, Maine Lobster Meat), Agnello Scottadito (Parsley and Garlic Brined Australian Lamb Chops, Gorgonzola Gnocchi, Toasted Garlic Vegetables, Texas “Pesto”) or Pesce alla Luce (Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass, Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto, Toasted Garlic, Vegetables). Dessert choices: Spumoni, Tiramisu, Crème Brûlée or Chocolate Lava Torta with Vanilla Gelato.

Lüke, 125 E. Houston St., 210-227-5853 – A three-course prix-fixe menu will be offered with seatings at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. in Lüke’s upstairs private dining space overlooking the River Walk. Menu includes heirloom tomato salad, local lamb shoulder and leg and cornbread pudding. Cost is $45 per person and includes a glass of Champagne for all adults and a rose for mom. Children may order from Lüke’s children’s menu. The lamb special will also be available in Lüke’s main dining room. Visit for more information.

Max’s Wine Dive, 340 East Basse Rd., Suite 101, 210-444-9547 — Max’s Mother’s Day brunch is 9 a.m.-3 p.m. with the regular menu and the following specials: Chef’s Devilish Angel Eggs ($8), Potato Encased Salmon Filet ($19), Madame Le Trois Sando (triple layered New World Bakery sourdough bread with ham, brie & mustard aioli, bacon, white cheddar, garlic aioli, Farm Sunny eggs, Gruyere, and truffle aioli ($15) and Homemade Cinnamon Rolls ($8).

The Melting Pot, 14855 Blanco Road, #110, (210)-479-6358 — The special Mother’s Day four-course menu begins with a choice of: Bacon and Jalapeno Swiss, Gruyere and Emmenthaler Swiss cheeses, blended with jalapeno, and Nueske’s Bacon pieces or Loaded Baked Potato Cheese Fondue, followed by Southwestern Cobb Salad. The third course can be cooked in any of our four cooking styles and includes Filet Mignon, Peppercorn NY Strip, Key West Shrimp, Honey Dijon Chicken, Blackened Mahi Mahi, and Chicken and Vegetable Pot Stickers. Dessert is chocolate fondue. Cost is $40 a person. There is also a Little Angels Plate for children under 12 for $16.

Mike’s in the Village,2355-3 Bulverde Road, Bulverde, (830) 438-2747 — Mothers Day Brunch will be 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Prices: adults $39.50; kids age 5-12, $15.50. Features include an omelet station, carved to order Creole Seasoned Rib Eye, Herbed Roasted Turkey Breast, Roasted Salmon with Lemon Butter Sauce, Spinach and Smoked Bacon Quiche, Rosemary and Garlic New Potatoes, Orzo Pasta, Glazed Baby Carrots, Smothered Green Beans, Garden Salad, Tropical Fruit Salad and White Chocolate Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce. Moms can have a complimentary glass of wine or mimosa. Freshly ground coffee, hot teas, iced tea, apple or orange juice and sodas are included. Mimosas: $2.50.

Morton’s the Steakhouse, 849 E. Commerce St., (210) 228-0700 —The Mother’s Day special is a multi-course meal for $59 a person. Start with a choice of Lobster Bisque, Ahi Tuna Tower, Jumbo Shrimp Alexander, Caesar Salad, Morton’s Salad or Chopped Spinach Salad. Follow that with choice of 6 oz. Center-Cut Filet Mignon served with Steamed Asparagus Spears,Honey-Chili Glazed Salmon Fillet with Vegetable Relish or Chicken Bianco with Artichokes, Capers & White Wine Sauce. Dessert choices are Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee, Double Chocolate Mousse or Individual Souffle. The regular menu is also available.

Myron’s Prime Steakhouse, 10003 N.W. Military Hwy., (210) 493-3031; 136 N. Castell, New Braunfels, (830) 624-1024 — Mother’s Day hours are noon-8 p.m. with the full menu available at both locations.

Oro at the Emily Morgan, 705 E. Houston St., (210) 225-5100 — Brunch hours on Mother’s Day are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Breakfast items: omelets made to order, Texas blueberry pancakes, applewood smoked bacon and Frenso pepper and aged cheddar biscuits. Main dishes: Achiote honey rubbed pit-style ham, hickory smoked prime rib, herb-seared Scottish salmon, coriander mustard smeared pork loin. Salads, vegetables and desserts are also featured. Prices: $39.95 for adults, $19.95 for children.

Ostra, 212 W. Crockett St. regular à la carte menu will be available during breakfast and lunch hours on Sunday, May 13. Featured specials will be offered during dinner service only beginning at 5:30 pm. Reservations are highly recommended. Call Ostra at 210-396-5817.

Paloma Blanca, 5800 Broadway, (210) 822-6151 — Chefs Dimas Reyes and Adelfa de la Rosa are offering a buffet with two live stations from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost: adults, $19.95; children ages 5-12, $9.95. There will be a quesadill and tlacoyos state and a taqueria station plus the following bullet items: Tostadas Coyocan, ceviche, Chilaquiles Verdes with Pollo, Miniature Moyetes, Pan Dulce del Dia (sweet bread), Scrambled Eggs, Papitas Fritas, Black Refried Beans, Isabella’s Pancakes (for children only), fruit cocktail, pork ribs,   Tilapia Yolanda,  Chile Relleno a la Crema, Pollo en Mole Negro, tamales and desserts.   Aguas frescas and iced tea included.   A flower for all mothers.

Q on the Riverwalk, 123 Losoya St., (210) 362-6325 — The Mother’s Day buffet will be from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Features include a grand salad display; hand-carved roasted meats including prime rib, apricot-glazed pork loin and tamarind-glazed salmon; breakfast items including made-to-order omelets, pancakes, poached eggs, brisket hash, bacon, sausage and breakfast potatoes; and a dessert display. Cost is $42 a person. Champagne and parking included.

Roaring Fork, 1806 N. Loop 1604 W., (210) 479-9700 — Roaring Fork will feature a special Mother’s Day Brunch from executive chef Matt Inouye from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Romo’s Cafe, 7627 Culebra Road, (210) 521-7666 — Romo’s will be offering brunch on Saturday and Sunday, May 12-13, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with its regular menu plus blackboard specials on Saturday. The chef promises a selection of handcrafted and unique recipes for the occasion as well as a variety of mimosas and a three-course prix fixe option with a complimentary rose for Mom.

Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard, 25195 Mathis Road, Elmendorf, (210) 621-0044 — Treat Mom to lunch Saturday, May 12, in the beauty of the olive trees at Sandy Oaks. A free tour is at 11 a.m. followed by lunch from noon to 3 p.m. On the menu: Bone-in chicken breast stuffed with Boursin and spinach with olive pan jus and whipped potatoes ($10) or, for the kids, a mini-cheeseburger with Sandy Oaks home fries and sweet pickles ($8). Dessert is Sandy Oaks’ Famous Olive Oil Pound Cake with Macerated Texas Peaches and Chantilly Cream ($4).

Tejas Steakhouse and Saloon, 401 Obst Road, (830) 980-2205 — On Mother’s Day, the restaurant will be open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. The brunch options will include Eggs Benedict (traditional or Southwestern style) ($9), Biscuits and Gravy with sausage ($8), One Eyed Cowboy (fried egg over chicken-fried steak) ($11), and Lost Bread (Tejas homemade French toast) ($8). Add eggs, scrambled or fried, for $1.75.

Texas de Brazil, 313 E. Houston St., (210) 299-1600 — The restaurant will open at 11 a.m. on Mother’s Day with its full array of meats brought to the table. Complimentary dessert and non-alcoholic drinks for Mom, plus she gets a chance to enter a drawing for a $200 spa gift card.

Texas  Roadhouse, various locations — Texas Roadhouse is celebrating Mother’s Day May 10-13 by collecting entries from moms for a two-night stay at the Ritz-Carlton in Dove Mountain, Ariz.

Tost BistroBar, 14415 Blanco Road, (210) 408-2670 — Service is 11 a.m.-4 p.m. with a three-course special. Starter choices: Pork Belly and Waffle (Maple Glazed Pork Belly on bacon waffle with maple citrus crème fraiche and fresh apples), grilled frisee and crab salad; or Chilled Corn and Chile Soup with avocado creme fraiche. Entree choices: Pan-seared Snapper with peas and carrot hash, cauliflowers puree and caramelized leek tapenade; Pan-roasted Filet with parsnip masher, asparagus and blue cheese béarnaise; or Crawfish Benedict poached egg on top of a crawfish cake served with asparagus, corn and potato hash with blue cheese béarnaise. Dessert choices: watermelon sherbet or Fresh Strawberry Shortbread with Cracked pepper and strawberry balsamic glaze. Cost is $29 a person.

Tre Trattoria, 4003 Broadway, (210) 805-0333 — A five-course special will be offered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Begin with antipasti, followed by your choice of appetizer: Mixed Field Greens with Shaved Sweet Onion, Goat Cheese and Champagne Vinaigrette; Slow Roasted “Caprese Salad” with House pulled Mozzarella and Basil Two Ways; “Minestrone”; or Warm Butter Poached Shrimp with Pickled Spring “Escabeche,” Israeli Cous Cous and Saffron Aioli. Entrees include Lump Crab Crespelle with Espellete Cream and Crispy Parsnips; Grilled Rainbow Trout with Salsa Verde and Brussels Sprout Hash; Petite Tuscan Marinated Ribeye with Rosemary Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Heirloom Tomato Relish ($7 supplement); House Spaghetti with Bolognese; or Slow Braised Chicken Thighs with Polenta, San Marzano and Gaeta Olives. After a cheese course, choose from the following desserts: Nutella x 3 or Ricotta Cake with Orange and Mint. Cost is $35.95 a person. An $11 children’s menu is available. An 18 percent tip will be added to all checks. Regular dinner menu available after 4 p.m.

Tre Trattoria, Fairmount Hotel, 401 S. Alamo St., (210) 223-0401 — Brunch hours will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. After antipasti, choose from the following appetizers: Mixed Field Greens with Goat Cheese, Pistachios and Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette; Slow Roasted “Caprese Salad” with House Pulled Mozzarella and Basil Two Ways; Chilled English Pea Bisque with Crispy Prosciutto and Charred Spring Onion; or Steamed Farm Fresh Egg with Asparagus, Radish, Tarragon, Toasted English Muffin. Entree choices: Duck Confit and Sweet Corn Crespelle with Parmesan Crema and Garlic Breadcrumbs; Pan Roasted Salmon, Braised Cannellini Bean Ragu, Rhubarb Agrodolce; Petite Tuscan Marinated Ribeye with Rosemary Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Smoky Salsa Rossa ($7 Supplement); House Tagliatelle, Roasted Oyster Mushrooms, Thyme and Pecorino; or Slow Braised Chicken Thighs with San Marzano Pepperonata and Gnocci Sardi. After a cheese course, choose from Nutella x 3 or Ricotta Cake with Orange and Mint. Cost is $37.95 a person. An $11 children’s menu is available. An 18 percent tip will be added to all checks. Regular dinner menu available after 4 p.m.

Two Step Restaurant and Cantina, 9840 W. Loop 1604 N., (210) 688-2686 — On Mother’s Day, the restaurant will open an hour early – at 10 a.m. – to serve up such dishes as home-style pancakes, house-cured bacon, and made from scratch muffins.

Wildfish Seafood Grille, 1834 N. Loop 1604 W., celebrates the Mother’s Day holiday with a special meal from executive chef Eddie Djilali. Hours are 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.  The menu will be served a la carte with selections including: Crispy Cashew Calamari served with fine cut vegetables, red chile, ginger and soy; Tartare of Pacific Ahi with Sliced Avocado, Citrus Fruits, and Sesame Lavoche; Lemon Sole in a Parmesan Crust sautéed with Plum Tomato-Herb Salad and Lemon-Garlic Butter Sauce; Filet of Atlantic Salmon lightly Smoked with Bok Choy, and Chinese Vinaigrette;Georges Bank Scallops sautéed with Citrus Fruit, Roasted Macadamias, and Brown Butter; 8 ounce Center Cut Filet Mignon. For reservations for Mother’s Day at Wildfish Seafood Grille please call 210-493-1600 or visit the website.
Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill, 15900 La Cantera Parkway, Suite 25100, (210) 690-3334 – Mother’s Day brunch will be served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. New brunch items include Stuffed French Toast with raspberry cream cheese and the Good Morning Torta prepared with ham, poblano rajas, griddled eggs and Jack cheese. Z’s Weekend Fun Bar featuring build-your-own Bloody Marys and Mimosas for $4 will also be available. During brunch, Z’Tejas staff will take and print complimentary keepsake photos, and all moms will receive a free dessert. For more information, visit

John Griffin contributed to this report.

Restaurateurs, if you want to be included in our lists, email or

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Griffin to Go: A Taste of San Antonio in Upstate New York

I had to leave town in order to get a unique taste of San Antonio.

I am in upstate New York as part of my master’s degree program, and just after leaving the airport in Albany, my friend Carol decided she need to stop at Michael’s to pick up a picture frame. So, off we went to the store, and while she was shopping, I started browsing the aisles. That’s where I found a cookbook from Burt Wolf and Andrew F. Smith titled “Real American Food” (Rizzoli, $12.98). The front promised “Authentic Regional Cuisine” as well as “Restaurants, Markets, and Shops Plus Favorite Hometown Recipes,” while the back listed San Antonio as one of the 10 cities included, along with Boston, San Francisco, Richmond, Chicago and New Orleans among others. It was the only city in Texas to be included.

The volume, which came out in 2006, was wrapped in cellophane, so I couldn’t tear right in and see what San Antonio treats lay in store and from which restaurants.

But once in the car, I removed the wrapper and opened to read only what was included about San Antonio. I first found some fairly generic pictures included shots of margaritas, chiles and cascarones. Good, certainly, as descriptive as the images from Miami, Philadelphia and New Orleans, though I would have preferred one or two landmarks in view. (Mariachis and Christmas lights at Mi Tierra, for sure.)

The information was also some tasty morsels on the city’s culinary history, including Fritos, puffy tacos, Church’s chicken, Tex-Mex and chili, while highlighting restaurants such as Azuca, Rosario’s, Liberty Bar, Josephine St. Cafe, Ray’s Drive Inn, “Biga on the Bank” (sic), and Schilo’s. (Just seeing Schilo’s name made me long for a mug of their house-made root beer.)

But it’s the recipe area where such a book’s reputation stands. Here, Wolf, who hosted the PBS series, “Burt Wolf’s Table,” and Smith have provided us with several expected favorites: huevos rancheros, chili con carne, tortillas, enchilada sauce and pecan pie.

But there was one curiosity that I’ve never seen in the city: BBQ-Rubbed Sweet Potatoes. According to the legend that precedes the recipe, “Sweet potatoes originated in the tropical areas of the Americas and they were widely distributed throughout the Caribbean in pre-Columbian times. European explorers exported sweet potatoes to Europe, where they became popular enough to be mentioned by Shakespeare in the ‘Merry Wives of Windsor. Europeans also introduced sweet potatoes to Africa, where they were quickly adopted due to their similarity to the yam. It is through the slave trade that sweet potatoes and yams were introduced into the American South, where they were commonly grown by slaves and poor whites. It wasn’t until after the Civil War that the sweet potato became popular throughout the United States. This recipe for BBQ-Rubbed Sweet Potatoes is a real American creation fusing traditions from Africa with those of barbecue.”

I guess the word “barbecue” is what makes it a San Antonio dish. Regardless or its origins, the recipe sounds so good and so easy to adapt to your tastes (less cumin, more chili powder, no brown sugar, maybe a touch of cayenne — the choices are endless and yours to play with) that I can’t wait to get home to give it a try.

BBQ-Rubbed Sweet Potatoes

2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons BBQ spice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
4 medium sweet potatoes
4 tablespoons salted butter
4 tablespoons light brown sugar

Sweet potatoes

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

In a medium bowl large enough to fit each of the sweet potatoes, mix together the paprika, chili powder, BBQ spice, garlic powder, cumin, poultry seasoning, salt, oregano and onion powder.

Wash each sweet potato thoroughly under cold running water. Carefully pierce each potato 4 to 5 times, with the tip of a small knife or the tines of a fork. With the sweet potato still wet, dredge each potato into the spice rub and place on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake the sweet potatoes for about 1 hour 20 minutes, or until they are very tender when pierced with a fork. To serve, split each potato open, lengthwise, and dollop each with 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.

Makes 4 servings.

From “Real American Food” by Burt Wolf and Andrew F. Smith

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Texas Food and Wine — What a Sensational Pair

Chef Kelly Casey (with pastry bag) of Hudson's on the Bend in Austin plates her dinners.

It wasn’t about the prosciutto-wrapped quail, so juicy and tender with each bite. It wasn’t about the cocoa powder and raspberry flavors that mingled so beautifully in each sip of the Inwood Estates Tempranillo-Cabernet blend.

It was, however, about how the lush red fruit flavors of the 2007 Fall Creek Meritus joined with slices of Texas beef tenderloin marinated in coffee and chipotle to reach new  gustatory heights.

That was the point of the first Edible Texas Wine-Food Match, held Friday at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center in Austin.

Five chefs, narrowed down from a field of more than 35, were competing to see who could make the most successful pairings of Texas ingredients with Texas wines.

It was clear to both the celebrity judges’ panel and to the audience who did that best: David Garrido of Garrido’s in Austin.

Susan Auler (left) of Fall Creek Vineyards and celebrity chef Jacques Pépin enjoy the Edible Texas Wine-Food Match.

The chef, who once worked for Bruce Auden at the original Biga, took home the $5,000 grand prize as well as the People’s Choice Award. The centerpiece of his meal was the already-mentioned beef tenderloin with the Meritus,  but he also presented a crispy oyster with habanero-honey aïoli partnered with the Fall Creek Vineyards Chenin Blanc 2010 and a pastel de calabaza, or zucchini cake, with lemon crema and spicy caramelized pecans served with the Sister Creek Muscat Canelli 2010.

Patrick James “P.J.” Edwards of San Antonio’s Bin 555 won a second place commendation from the judges for his meal, which started with a crudo of Gulf Coast group with cured Poteet strawberries and Becker Vineyards Provençal Rosé 2009. It was followed by roasted lamb loin with herb-glazed turnips and porcini-raspberry soil, which was presented with the Becker Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009. A Grapefruit “Dreamsicle” with vanilla semifreddo and the Becker Vineyards Clementine 2010 rounded out his meal.

Organizer Marla Camp

Other chefs in the competition included Peter Smith of the JW Marriott in San Antonio as well as Kelly Casey of Hudson’s on the Bend in Austin and Josh Raymer of Navajo Grill in Fredericksburg. Each presented small plate versions of his or her entire menu to the crowd.

Chef Josh Raymer of Navajo Grill's Prosciutto-Wrapped Quail alongisde a Fredericksburg Market Salad with Pickled Peaches.

The local ingredients included a number of treasures worth seeking out at farmers markets as well as grocery stores: Pure Luck cheeses, Round Rock Honey, quail from Diamond H and Texas Quail farms, Shiner Bock, Broken Arrow Ranch Venison, Bluebonnet Hydroponics lettuces, and Texas olive oil. Alongside Casey’s blue cheese cheesecake were figs from her own trees.

Other Texas wines poured included Messina Hof’s Riesling and Riesling “Angel,” Perrisos Viognier and Petite Sirah, Stone House Scheming Beagle Port, and Flat Creek Muscato, Estate Syrah and Port.

Kelly Casey's Hopelessly Blue Cheesecake with her homegrown figs.

The judges included celebrity chefs Jacques Pépin and John Besh as well as Mozzarella Company found Paula Lambert, François Dionot of L’Academie de Cuisine and Michael Bauer of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Proceeds from the evening, planned by Marla camp of Edible Austin and Terry Thompson-Anderson of the Texas Food and Wine Gourmet, will benefit the not-for-profit Texas Center for Wine and Culinary Arts, which is being planned for Fredericksburg. The goal is to raise all of the money needed to operate the center before it opens in October 2013.


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Jason Dady Extends Restaurant Week at His Eateries

Didn’t get to visit enough restaurants during Restaurant Week? Then check out one of Jason Dady’s places.

The chef and owner of the Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills and Bin 555 among others, has announced that he’s continuing his specials through the end of September.

The menus will change weekly, he says, but three-course lunches will be offered for $15 and three-course dinners for $35. The specials will be available at the Lodge, 1746 Lockhill-Selma; Bin 555 at Artisans Alley, 555 W. Bitters Road; Tre Trattoria, 4003 Broadway; and Restaurant Insignia in the Fairmount, 401 S. Alamo St.

For more information, call 210-349-8466.

Bruce Auden of Biga on the Banks, 203 S. St Mary’s St., also reminded us that his restaurant has a three-course dinner special every evening for $37.

The official Restaurant Week concludes tonight. For more information, click here.

In other restaurant news, Freebirds World Burrito has opened a new location. It’s at 125 N.W. Loop 410 in the Plaza del Norte center.

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Learn to Bake Bread with Biga’s Debra Auden

Sorcery is not needed to make great bread, though sometimes it seems like it.  Weak crusts, poor crumb, and lackluster flavor can be symptomatic of a bad loaf.  Learning techniques and tricks from an expert can elevate the simplest bread into a work of art.

Baker Debra Auden will share some of her skills for making rustic sourdough from a biga starter.  Her intermediate level class, taught in Wimberley, will focus on various ingredients and their function in the bread-making process.  The hands-on class will feature dough formation and the sourdough process.  Participants will take home a finished loaf and some sourdough culture for future batches.

“My intent in teaching these baking classes is to be able to finance the development of a bakery on our property focused around a wood-burning oven akin to the masonry ovens of old Europe around which the villagers would bring their dough to bake off,” says Auden of San Antonio’s Biga on the Banks, 203 S. St. Mary’s St. She hopes to be able to open the facility during the week so locals may also use the ovens.

The cost per student is $65. Upcoming classes are 1-4:30 p.m. Saturday and July 17.  The class size is limited to eight students, but she will consider hosting additional classes if necessary.  To learn more about the classes or to sign up, e-mail with “bread class” in the subject line.

4050 Fischer Store Road
Wimberley, TX 78676

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Ask a Foodie: Restaurant Recommendations, We Have Some

Rosario's Shrimp Nachos are good for an appetizer or a meal.

Q. I’m visiting from out of town and am a real foodie. I’m interested in places near the Convention Center that I can either walk to or take a short cab ride.  Thanks.  — C.Z.

A. The famous local food, as you probably know, is Tex-Mex, but San Antonio other good things to offer in or near downtown. On the River Walk, we recommend Biga on the Banks (high end, not Tex-Mex), or for contemporary, leaning to French, try Fig Tree with its edenic patio cascading down to the water.  Also on the river is Ácenar, with its mod ambience and authentic Mexican dishes. Las Canarias at the Mansion del Rio  (contemporary American) is good, as is Boudro’s for a taste of Texas with a Southwestern touch.

Another high-end steak place to try might be Bohanan’s. On Houston Street, a bit of a walk, or short cab ride.

A smaller restaurant that has been near downtown a long time and is very popular, you’d want a cab for. That’s El Mirador. A little further in a cab in that general direction is a colorful place we like to take out of town guests,  Rosario’s Cafe y Cantina. If you like margaritas, definitely try one here. In the same neighborhood is La Frite, a Belgian bistro, and Azuca with its pan-Latin dishes.

Restaurant Insignia, in the Fairmount Hotel across the street from the convention center, is great for lunch or dinner, if you’re looking for something as fun as a brisket burger with garlic fries or the San Antonio pizza.

At Market Square downtown, where you can buy lots of Mexican crafts and souvenirs and so forth, is Mi Tierra, a huge Mexican restaurant with decent food and a big, showy bakery full of Mexican sweets and breads. Mariachis stroll the aisles and it’s fun. It’s also open 24/7.

There are many more good restaurants to walk to, so don’t hesitate to contact SavorSA again if you want more ideas, when you get here.

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10th Anniversary: Biga Brings Back Memorable Dishes

Biga on the Bank’s 10th anniversary means a blast from the past (tastes, that is) for the faithful.

Beginning  Monday, April 19, the night of The Cavaliers River Parade, Biga will feature dishes that the restaurant was built on. These include Shiner Bock onion rings with habanero ketchup, “expensive” mushrooms sizzling with garlic, and duck confit on a potato rösti with Granny Smith apples and cider sauce, dishes that were on the menu at the original Locust Street location..

These items will be on the menu until Oct. 10.

Biga on the Banks is at 203 S. St. Mary’s St. on the River Walk.  (210) 225-0722.

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Arts & Eats Brings It Home


Arts & Eats came home this year.

ArtsAndEats094The annual fundraiser for the Blue Star Contemporary Art Center was held at the center Wednesday for the first time in several years.

The format was slightly different, with only six restaurants offering food and fewer tables with wines. But the selection of both was well-chosen and plentiful, which pleased the sold-out crowd.

Josh Cross from Oloroso offered a cheese plate with aromatic selections from around the world, while Thierry Burkle of the Grill at Leon Springs served up tender stuffed lamb loin. Jason Dady, representing Restaurant Insignia, served a foie gras terrine on a toasted brioche that patrons were told to eat like a taco. Easy instructions to follow.


2000 Bertrani Amarone della Valpolicella

Bruce Auden of Biga on the Banks offered crepes with chicken, asparagus and “expensive mushrooms.” Damien Watel was represented with two booths, one from Bistro Vatel served up sturgeon parfaits with a crisp blini and a touch of trout roe while Bistro Bakery plated blood orange profiteroles for dessert.

Wines ranged from the Kim Crawford Pinot Grigio and Simi Russian River Chardonnay for white lovers to the Col Solare, Washington state’s answer to Opus One, and the 2000 Bertrani Amarone della Valpolicella. For those who didn’t want wine, Alamo Beer Company popped the tops of more than a few bottles and Grey Goose poured martinis. Some also sipped on bright Blue Cosmos, perfect for the theme of the evening, A Rhapsody at Blue.

All that food and all those spirits certainly made it easy to support a good cause.


Josh Cross' cheese plate with aromatic selections from around the world.


Bruce Auden's crepes with chicken, asparagus and "expensive mushrooms."


Damien Watel's blood orange profiteroles.


Jason Dady's foie gras terrine on a toasted brioche


Damien Watel's sturgeon parfaits with a crisp blini and a touch of trout roe


Thierry Burkle's tender stuffed lamb loin.

Photos by Nicholas Mistry.

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