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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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Street Tacos, Tequila Partida at Aldaco’s – Stone Oak


Take the doldrums out of Monday by enjoying hand-patted tortillas at a working taco station and a mixologist demonstrating current trends in margaritas at Aldaco’s – Stone Oak.

Street tacos, meat and fish, is an all-you-can-eat feature. The $30 entry fee also will buy two Partida Tequila cocktails and the opportunity to watch Jacques Bezuidenhout, Partida’s mixologist, demonstrate the latest trends in tequila and margaritas using fresh herbs and artisan mixers.

Reserve a place by calling 210-494-0561. Aldaco’s is at 20079 Stone Oak Parkway at Hardy Oaks. Visit Aldaco’s on the web at www.aldacos-stoneoak.com.

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Ask a Foodie: Where’s the Best Tres Leches Cake?


The tres leches cake at Aldaco's in Stone Oak.

Q. My husband’s birthday is coming up and he loves tres leches cake. Who do you think makes the best in town? Thank you!

— A.C.

A. Tres leches cake was introduced to San Antonio largely through the efforts of Blanca Aldaco. Since then, you can find it at numerous places across town, and many of the versions are fine. But Aldaco still serves the best to be had.

The name tres leches refers to the three milks that are used to keep the cake moist. The lineup can vary, but it is usually sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream.

The Mother's Day tres leches cake.

What Aldaco does with this cake at her restaurant in Stone Oak, 20079 Stone Oak Parkway, is always rich and delicious.

She also varies the flavors she offers, depending on the season. The current lineup includes chocolate and Kahlúa in addition to the regular style

Call 210-494-0561.

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Pumpkin Tres Leches at Aldaco’s-Stone Oak


The days are growing shorter and the temperatures are not quite so warm. But one sure sign that fall is here is the return of the pumpkin tres leches cake to Aldaco’s-Stone Oak, 20079 Stone Oak Parkway.

The fall favorite can be ordered for $44.95. Call 210-494-0561 to place an order.

You can also get a slice while visiting the restaurant. While you’re there, you can pick up a copy of “Cooking with Blanca,” Blanca Aldaco’s new cookbook. It includes recipes for margaritas, salsas, carnes, chile rellenos, arroz and more.

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Last-Minute Reminder: Aldaco on ‘Good Morning America’


Blanca Aldaco of Aldaco’s is set to be among a number of San Antonians on ABC’s “Good Morning America” at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday.

She will be joined by Mayor Julian Castro, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and others for the unveiling of a Times Square window that honors the city. The window, part of the show’s Holiday Windows series, was designed by Jill Giles, who also created the recently opened Bohanan’s Bar at 219 E. Houston St.

The window’s theme is Pride, Passion and Piñatas.

On Tuesday evening, Aldaco spread some San Antonian cheer in the form of her signature margaritas at a Mexican bistro near the theater district called Toloache, which refers to “an herb for lovers,” she said.

“It was a fantastic evening,” Aldaco said in a message on Facebook. “The CVB hosted an amazing, tasty event reflecting the food of S.A., female mariachi and my margaritas.”

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‘Today’ Takes a Taste of San Antonio


todayshow2Wednesday morning came early for Blanca Aldaco.

The restaurateur got up at 3:30 a.m. so she’d be bright-eyed and ready to shake up some of her signature cocktails. That may seem an odd hour to start drinking, even one of her zesty margaritas with its vitamin C kick.

But Aldaco was appearing on NBC’s “Today” show, which was in town for a live broadcast from the Arneson Theatre on the River Walk as part of its ” ‘Today’ Takes a Vacation” series.

The owner of Aldaco’s Stone Oak poured a series of drinks for hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb over the course of the broadcast, showing them what patrons of her restaurant already know: If you want a great margarita or a cool cucumber martini with your Mexican food, Aldaco’s is the place.

Aldaco wasn’t the only restaurateur to squeeze into the crowded theater for a few minutes of air time.

Chef Jason Dady was on hand to demonstrate how he makes his cherry-glazed baby back ribs at Two Bros. BBQ Market on West Avenue.

He was glad the morning was cool. Well, at least cooler than it was during Tuesday afternoon’s rehearsal. “Yesterday was brutal,” he said. “It was so hot out here.”

todayshow8Plus, he was demonstrating a cooking technique that required a sizzling hot smoker, which added to the heat wave.

Yet the impact of a national television appearance far outweighed any complaints about the heat. “You almost never know the true impact of an appearance,” he said. Some people who see the show may not visit San Antonio for months, but they may show up at Two Bros. because of the Wednesday appearance.

Dady, who also owns the Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills, Bin 555 and Tre Trattoria, said there “was definitely some irony” in his appearance on the show for his barbecue as opposed to the French- and Italian-influenced fare at his other places.

Yet “barbecue is a way of reaching a mass audience,” he said.

It certainly hit the right note with the show’s hosts. “Stop it,” Gifford said about taking her first bite. “I want this for breakfast every day.”

The two women continued eating their ribs into the next segment, a live performance by country sensation Lee Ann Womak.

todayshow7Segments on San Antonio and the surrounding area were interspersed with the day’s headlines, largely about Michael Jackson’s doctor, and regular features, such as the health alert.

While the national part of the program aired, Gifford and Kotb, in cowboy hats and Texas garb, flashed their mega-watt personalities for the packed house. They also mingled with many, posing for photos and signing autographs.

“They’re coming to us at 4 in the morning with margaritas – now’s that’s a health alert,” Gifford told the crowd in her signature deadpan.

The food took up plenty of room in the Arneson, which also featured mariachis, dancers, barges full of soldiers from Fort Sam and tourists alike.

That’s as it should be. As Dady said during his segment, “We’re very passionate about our food here.”

todayshow6So, Aldaco was scheduled to talk about her celebrated tres leches cake, while caterer Don Strange was there to show off his Grilled White Wings, pieces of chicken breast with jalapeño and Monterey Jack cheese wrapped in applewood-smoked bacon. And Michael Cortez had a basket of Mi Tierra’s candies, a colorful mixture of pralines, leche quemada and coconut flags, that looked and smelled great.

Many in the crowd brought their own food and drinks, books and chairs to keep comfortable during the long morning. No one seemed to mind “going crazy,” as one crew member called it, whenever the spotlight was on them.

It was why some arrived as early as 5 a.m.

“I wanted good seats, so why not?” said Theresa Rodriguez.

“This is so cool,” said Kori Posey. “I never have done one of these things before.”

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