Tag Archive | "CIA"

Bolivian Chef Visits NAO

Eric Calderon brings a taste of Bolivia to NAO at the CIA.

Chef Eric Calderón of Grupo Gastronómico in Bolivia has brought his native cuisine to San Antonio this week. He is the latest guest chef to appear at NAO, the New World restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America in the Pearl Brewery,  312 Pearl Parkway.

Students at the culinary school will be working with him, while the public can taste his creations on Sept. 14-15.

The Novo Andino prix-fixe menu includes P’eske, a Bolivian Quinua Real, Ají Amarillo, Queso Fresco; Soltero, a Giant Choclo Corn, Queso Fresco, Tomato, Red Onion, Locoto peppers, and Chicha Reduction; Charquean Paceño, a Sun Dried Beef Tenderloin, Fava Beans, Stuffed T’unta Freeze Dried Potatoes, and Poached Guinea Egg; Mondongo, Pork Ribs Bathed in Ají Colorado and Garlic Sauce with Pork Skin and “Mote” Hominy Corn; and Sucumbé, a Warm Bolivian “Ponche” Seasoned with Clove and Canela.

The cost of the meal is $65.

The Latin Cuisine Certificate Program began on June 18 and has featured a variety of food from Peru, Brazil and now Bolivia, with renowned visiting chefs that specialize in each cuisine. The last installment of the program will be the cuisines of Argentina with visiting chef Hubert O’Farrell on Sept. 20-25.

For reservations, call (210) 554-6484.




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CIA San Antonio to Offer Associate Degree in Baking and Pastry Arts

The Culinary Institute of America is set to offer an associate in applied science degree in baking and pastry arts to its campus in San Antonio, starting in August 2013. The program is based on the proven curriculum offered at the college’s campuses in Hyde Park, N.Y., and St. Helena, Calif. This follows the successful launch of the CIA associate degree program in culinary arts in San Antonio last year.

Classes will emphasize extensive hands-on experience in baking and pastry techniques, as students learn the production of all manner of breads, cakes, pastries, desserts, and confections.

Additional studies cover topics such as Principles of Design, Baking Ingredients and Equipment Technology, and Nutrition, as well as leadership courses such as Introduction to Management, Menu Development, Introduction to Customer Service, and Controlling Costs and Purchasing Food.

Near the end of their sophomore year, students will gain real-world experience in the CIA Bakery Café and NAO: New World Flavors, two restaurants open to the public on the CIA campus at the Pearl Brewery site. More information on the program can be found online at:

Chef Alain Dubernard at the CIA Bakery Cafe at the Pearl.

This expansion of the CIA’s baking and pastry program is under the direction of Alain Dubernard, department chair for baking and pastry arts at the CIA San Antonio. Dubernard joined the college’s faculty in 2004 after a celebrated career as a pastry chef and entrepreneur in London, Paris, and Mexico City. He taught courses such as Restaurant and Production Desserts and Individual and Production Pastries at the Hyde Park campus and served as associate dean for baking and pastry arts there before moving to the San Antonio campus to oversee its baking and pastry program.

In addition to the upcoming baking and pastry degree, the Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio offers an associate degree in culinary arts and a 30-week certificate in Latin Cuisines, along with continuing education courses for chefs and foodservice professionals and a variety of food enthusiast classes. The San Antonio campus also hosts several annual industry leadership conferences, including “Healthy Flavors, Healthy Kids” and “Latin Flavors, American Kitchens.”

Scholarships for CIA degree programs are available through the college’s El Sueño initiative and other financial aid opportunities. For more information, call 1-800-CULINARY or visit

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Upcoming Events

March 17

Hand-on Teens Spring Break Camp: Sushi 101

11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Central Market, 4821 Broadway, 210-368-8617 —  The Cooking School staff will help teens learn to roll their own sushi. On the menu: Miso Soup; California Rolls; Shrimp Nigiri; Tempura Shrimp Rolls; and Dessert Sushi. No raw fish will be served. Cost: $40.

March 19

Cooking Class at Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard

There’s an olive in my soup! Check out this cooking class at Sandy Oak Olive Orchard near Elmendorf. Class begins at 11 a.m. Sandy Oaks chef Cathy Tarasovic will inspire your inner soup-making creativity— plus come out to see the newly remodeled kitchen and teaching area at Sandy Oaks.  $45 per person. For more information on Sandy Oaks and to register for classes, click here.

March 20

The Spicy Indian

4-6:30 p.m., Central Market, 4821 Broadway, 210-368-8617 — Raghavan Iyer, award-winning culinary instructor and cookbook author, will lead a class in Indian spices. Savor the bounty of vibrant flavors, sensuous sauces and unusual combinations in this interactive class that includes such dishes as: Potato-Pea Cakes with a Tomato-Jaggery Sauce; Sprouted Bean Salad with Potato Croutons; Fresh Spinach-Red Lentil Soup with Chiles; Poached Catfish in Caramelized Onion Sauce; Plump Garbanzo Beans with Mango Powder, Black Salt and Pomegranate Seeds; Basmati Rice with Yogurt & Fresh Curry Leaves; and Red Bananas with Cardamom over House-made Vanilla Ice Cream. Cost: $65.

March 22

Miami Spice

6:30-9 p.m., Central Market, 4821 Broadway, 210-368-8617 —The Cooking School staff will add some spice to your cooking as you learn to blend the flavors of Florida and the Caribbean with dishes that will please your palate and expand your repertoire: Hearts of Palm and Orange Salad; Grilled Tuna with Mango-Ginger Mojo; Caribbean Rice and Black Beans; Spicy Cuban Guava-glazed Ribs; Yuca Fritters with Pickled Onions; and Key Lime Cheesecake. Cost: $45.

March 23

Learn @ Lunch: Spicy Italian

Noon, Central Market, 4821 Broadway, 210-368-8617 — Mary Martini,  Cooking School manager, will help you spice up your Italian repertoire with these easy-to-prepare and delicious-to-eat recipes in our one-hour, lunchtime class: Spiced Italian Salad with Spinach, Artichokes and Pepperoncini; Italian Sausage Bread; Pasta with Sundried Tomato Arrabbiata Sauce and Meatballs; and Italian Spiced Plum Crisp. Cost: $25.

March 24

Chiles! Chiles! Chiles!

6:30-9 p.m., Central Market, 4821 Broadway, 210-368-8617 — The Cooking School staff will utilize a variety of chiles and show you how to spice up any meal. Menu includes: Emily’s Favorite Shrimp Salsa; Rajas (Poblano Strips in a Cream Sauce); Spiced Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with an Ancho Bourbon Sauce; Chipotle Sweet Potato Gratin; Spiced Spinach; and Cajeta Crêpes with Spiced Nuts. Cost: $45.

March 25

Traditional Italian Spices

6:30-9 p.m., Central Market, 4821 Broadway, 210-368-8617 — Gina Stipo, cookbook author, culinary instructor and culinary tour leader, will lead a class that uses fresh herbs grown in the Tuscan countryside as well as those that coursed through the area during the spice trade hundreds of years ago. Stipo’s menu includes Risotto Milanese con Zafferano e Piselli (Saffron & Pea Risotto); Crespelle con Asparagi e Besciamella (Nutmeg and Black Pepper Infused Asparagus Crêpes with Besciamel Sauce); Tagliatelle con Anatra Medievo (Tagliatelle Pasta with Medieval Duck Ragu that includes Cloves, Cinnamon & Black Pepper); and Pere in Vino Rosso con Cannella Mascarpone (Pears Poached in Spice-infused Red Wine with Cinnamon Mascarpone Cheese). Cost: $65.

A Taste of New Orleans

7 p.m., the County Line, 10101 I-10 W., 210-641-1998 — Chef Garrett Stephens resumes his monthly Pitmaster Cooking Class at the County Line with a four-course dinner offering “A Taste of New Orleans.” After a reception featuring Hurricanes, he’ll lead a class in making the following menu: Grilled Oysters Rockefeller with Crispy Pancetta and Gruyère, Creole-grilled Mirliton Ratatouille, Nawlins’ Style BBQ Shrimp, and Bananas Foster with County Line Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. The class comes with a souvenir recipe book. Cost: $50, plus tax and tip.

March 26

One Dish Meals

9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Culinary Institute of America, Pearl Brewery, 312 Pearl Parkway, 210-222-1113 — What could be more simple and convenient than preparing a one dish meal? Whether it’s a fresh, crispy salad on a hot summer day or a hearty baked casserole served in the middle of winter, one dish meals fit the bill. In this hands-on class, you will discover easy-to-master cooking techniques and flavorful recipes for an exciting assortment of delicious, everyday selections. From slow-cooked braises to simple pasta dishes that can be assembled in minutes, you’re sure to enjoy the globally inspired cuisine featured in this class.  As a participant in this class, you will receive a CIA logo apron and a copy of the CIA’s “One Dish Meals” to take home. Cost: $250.

Olives Olé International Olive Festival

Paella at Olives Ole, by Leslie Horne, producer of Aurelia's Chorizo. Photograph by Tracey Mauer

10 a.m.-4 p.m. San Antonio Botanical Gardens, 555 Funston Place — Les Dames d’Escoffier celebrates the olive in this day-long event at the beautiful Botanical Gardens. Health and wellness seminars, international olive oil tasting, cooking demonstrations, gourmet concessions and the region’s largest olive bar will be offered. Check out the popular food booths, such as the made-on-site paella and the grilled veggie sandwiches. Purchase your own olive trees and talk to olive tree growers to find out the best variety of olive tree for your area. Cost: $15.

March 29

A Big Night

6:30-9 p.m., Central Market, 4821 Broadway, 210-368-8617 — Mary Martini, Cooking School manager, will lead a class themed after the foodie favorite, “Big Night.” You will learn to prepare the famous timpano that was arguably the star attraction in the 1996 film as well as other memorable recipes. Menu includes: Mixed Green Salad with a “Big Night” Frittata; Seafood Risotto; the Famous Timpano filled with Meatballs, Pasta and Rich Ragù Sauce; and Chocolate Grappa Cake. Cost: $50.

March 30

Wine Tasting with Riedel

6:30-9 p.m., Central Market, 4821 Broadway, 210-368-8617 — Buzz Whalen of Riedel Crystal of America, Inc., will lead a tasting in which you’ll compare four wines in your own set of Riedel Vinum Wine Glasses (which you will take home—$116 retail value) to the wines in a standard glass. Discover for yourself how the proper container enhances both the taste and aroma of each selection. Four distinguished American wines will be sampled: Sauvignon Blanc; Chardonnay; Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. Food will be paired with each wine. Cost: $80. No discounts or coupons will be accepted for this class.

April 2

Gourmet Meals in Minutes

9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Culinary Institute of America, Pearl Brewery, 312 Pearl Parkway, 210-222-1113 — With today’s hectic pace, there doesn’t seem to be enough time to prepare creative and flavorful meals. But it is possible. Inspired by the CIA “Gourmet Meals in Minutes” cookbook, this course focuses on culinary foundation techniques that will help enhance your kitchen knowledge, hone your skills, and increase your speed and efficiency. You’ll learn to prepare a variety of foolproof recipes that save precious minutes at mealtime without sacrificing flavor. Forget takeout—get ready to cook at home! As a participant in this class, you will receive a CIA logo apron and a copy of The Culinary Institute of America’s Gourmet Meals in Minutes to take home. Cost: $250.

April 9

Baking at Home: The Desserts

9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Culinary Institute of America, Pearl Brewery, 312 Pearl Parkway, 210-222-1113 — Impress your family and friends with the delectable desserts featured in Baking at Home. During this class, you’ll learn fundamental techniques and simple recipes for preparing a selection of irresistible favorites. Through chef demonstrations, informative lectures and kitchen production, you’ll discover how easy it can be to create impressive, professional-quality desserts in your own kitchen. Improve your baking skills today and astonish your loved ones tomorrow!  As a student in this class, you will receive a CIA logo apron and a copy of “Baking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America” to take home. Cost: $250.

Sharpen your knife skills on April 30.

April 30

Sharpening Your Knife Skills

Since knives provide the foundation for good food, it’s essential for every cook to understand how to get the most from this indispensable implement. In this class, you’ll learn all about knife selection, maintenance, and usage. You’ll also discuss and practice proper knife care, knife handling and safety, and knife cuts. From creating a dice to producing a chiffonade, you’ll gain the skills you need to take your cooking to the next level. As a participant in this class, you will receive a copy of the CIA textbook “In the Hands of a Chef” along with a CIA logo apron to take home. Cost: $250.

May 2-6

Mediterranean Cuisine Boot Camp

7 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Culinary Institute of America, Pearl Brewery, 312 Pearl Parkway, 210-222-1113 — This five-day gastronomic excursion highlights the renowned cuisines of the northern Mediterranean, including Provence, Southern Italy, and Spain, and explores many of the lesser-known but up-and-coming dishes of Greece, Turkey, and North Africa. From pasta and phyllo to tapas and tagines, you’ll study the ingredients and dishes associated with the bountiful Mediterranean table. As a Mediterranean Boot Camp participant, you’ll receive two chef’s uniforms, each with a jacket, pants, and a neckerchief. Paper chef’s hats, side towels, and aprons will be provided in class. Cost: $1,750.

May 7

The Flavors of Asia

9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Culinary Institute of America, Pearl Brewery, 312 Pearl Parkway, 210-222-1113 — Discover the treasures of the Asian kitchen. The styles, culinary traditions, and flavors that encompass Asian cuisine are as vast as the continent itself. In this one-day exploration of the intricacies of Asian cookery, you’ll explore the cuisines of Vietnam, Thailand, China, Japan, Korea, and India. You’ll discover intriguing new ingredients and techniques unique to the Eastern world, and also learn how to incorporate everyday food items into your Asian-inspired dishes. Then, using the cooking methods, ingredients, and flavor profiles discussed in class, you’ll prepare a variety of authentic Asian dishes. As a participant in this class, you will receive a CIA logo apron and a copy of the CIA “Flavors of Asia” cookbook to take home. Cost: $250.

May 11

Culinaria Begins, with Sip, Savor & Shop

6:30 p.m. Sip, Savor & Shop at The Shops at La Cantera, kicks off Culinaria’s lineup of events.  The Shops at La Cantera will host the annual Sip, Savor & Shop event as you sip your way through an amazing wine tasting, savor the flavors in San Antonio style with an array of restaurants showcasing their culinary talents. Then shop at the wide variety of retail outlets offering special shopping incentives and giveaways. This event will showcase the best of San Antonio’s wine, fashion and food. $35 pre-sale, $50 at the door.  Click here for Culinaria ticket purchasing.

May 12

Culinaria: Winemaker Dinners
7 p.m., various restaurants throughout the city.  San Antonio’s best chefs will be creating exquisite menus that pair up with educated winemakers for intimate dinners around the city. Seize the opportunity to gather and dine with these esteemed guests. There are many delectable options to choose from and we don’t envy the decisions you will have to make! Advanced ticket sales only. Click here for Culinaria ticket purchasing.

May 13

Culinaria: Becker Vineyards Winery Lunch
Noon, Becker Vineyards, Stonewall (off Highway 290 east of Fredericksburg)
Spring is in full swing and the Beckers host a multi-course luncheon at the winery.  San Antonio and Hill Country Stars will create amazing dishes paired with visiting winemakers who will share their winees and histories with guests, one of Culinaria’s sell-outs every year, book your seat fast! $65 pre-sale only. Click here for Culinaria ticket purchasing.

Culinaria: The Black Tie
7 p.m., Westin La Cantera Resort, Palo Duro Room.
During this formal evening chefs and winemakers host an intimate gathering where the best cuisines and wines are paired with careful consideration. A dazzling mix of entertainment and knowledge, the Black Tie is back with a vengeance and ready for your presence. We have to be honest, seating is very limited. Don’t wait on securing your tables or tickets. $250 per person or tables available. Advanced ticket sales only. Click here for Culinaria ticket purchasing.

Culinaria: Best of Mexico
7:30 p.m., Villita Assembly Building downtown.
Welcome to the fastest growing event on the schedule. Passion reigns supreme as rich flavors are infused with colorful culture! Trends are shared and demonstrated celebrating all the treasures of Mexico as chefs from Mexico and San Antonio compare and contrast all that Mexican cuisine has to offer. Spirits, (tequila!) wine, and beer play their part too — remember this haute event as you plan your weekend of celebrating in San Antonio! $50 pre-sale, $75 at the door. Click here for Culinaria ticket purchasing.

May 14

Culinaria 5K Run/Walk
7:30 a.m.; The Shops at La Cantera
Now through May 6-$25, May 7-12-$30, Race Day-$35
This is the first 5K event at the Shops at La Cantera and promises to be a hit with the running community. The smooth and fast 3.1-mile loop course will take runners past all the major shops right down the main streetscape. Runners will start in the parking lot and head south on the road that bisects the old and new sections, finishing the race along the scenic perimeter road and entering back where they started. Post race refreshments include great wine, beer and food offerings shared with good friends. All registrants will receive a cotton Culinaria t-shirt and wine glass.  Register online now. Click here for Culinaria ticket purchasing.

Culinaria: Wine/Food Seminars
(Times Pending: Check closer to the date for further information)
Whether you’re an aficionado or a novice, the wine and food seminars are both educational and your chance for a glimpse into the hot topics of what Culinaria is all about-the food and the wine. Click here for Culinaria ticket purchasing.

Culinaria: The Grand Tasting
7 p.m., The Grotto at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
It’s the event your friends will be talking about all year — and the one you’ll absolutely regret missing! Chefs dazzle your palate with trend- oriented fare and take new spins on old classics. San Antonio’s famed River Walk sets the stage for a night on the town as well as giving your heart everything it desires. An array of wines and beverages complement the cuisine and round out an event that also features lively entertainment. You will cherish the festival glass you receive that commemorates the evening you just experienced. $75 pre-sale, $100 at the door. Click here for Culinaria ticket purchasing.

May 15

Culinaria: Sunday Brunches
11:30 a.m.; various restaurants. (Check for details closer to the date.)  Start your final day of the festival week off right with one of San Antonio’s amazing brunches. You can be sure that delightful drinks will be part of the menu as well. $60. Click here for Culinaria ticket purchasing.

Culinaria: Burgers, BBQ, Beer & Texas Spirits

Noon – 4 p.m. at the Pearl Brewery. Texans love their burgers, barbecue and beer… and in San Antonio, everyone from our local hangouts to the finest of dining establishments offer their best version of the classic backyard fare. This casual event provides you the chance to sample some of the goodness. Add in craft beer, cocktails or maybe a glass of pinot and you’ve found a perfect Sunday afternoon. $35. Click here for Culinaria ticket purchasing.

May 21

Risotto: Classic Skills and Techniques Demo

10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Culinary Institute of America, Pearl Brewery, 312 Pearl Parkway, 210-222-1113 — In this culinary demonstration, you will explore the principles of risotto cookery. Besides the essential components of the perfect risotto, the class will focus on the use of seasonal and regional ingredients to prepare dishes beyond the classical Risotto Milanese. As part the session, you will taste and explore a variety of risottos and discuss preparation and ingredient options. Added bonus: Your fee for the demonstration will be credited to enrollment in a future class. Cost: $39.95.

June 4

Everyday Grilling

9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Culinary Institute of America, Pearl Brewery, 312 Pearl Parkway, 210-222-1113 — Grilling isn’t just for steaks and burgers—this popular cooking technique can be used to produce a variety of foods with exotic flavors. Focusing on the lessons and recipes from the CIA Grilling cookbook, you’ll learn the tips and tricks for preparing nearly any food on the grill. From zesty appetizers to mouth-watering entrées to luscious desserts, there’s no limit to what you can prepare over the flame. Join us for this introductory class and we’ll satisfy your passion for outdoor grilling and culinary adventure. You will receive a CIA logo apron and a copy of “The Culinary Institute of America’s Grilling” cookbook to take home. Cost: $250.

South American Ceviche Demo

10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Culinary Institute of America, Pearl Brewery, 312 Pearl Parkway, 210-222-1113 — You will watch our chef-instructor prepare a variety of South American ceviche recipes. You’ll not only learn new culinary techniques and sample each of the delicious items prepared, you will also receive a copy of the recipes to take home. Our menu of the day features Columbian fish ceviche, Ecuadorian shrimp ceviche, Peruvian ceviche, and Tiradito. Added bonus: Your fee for the demonstration will be credited to enrollment in a future class. Cost: $39.95.

June 11

The Italian Table

9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Culinary Institute of America, Pearl Brewery, 312 Pearl Parkway, 210-222-1113 — Satisfy your craving for true Italian cuisine. In this hands-on class, you’ll embark on an exploration of traditional Italian home cooking inspired by The Culinary Institute of America’s new release, “A Tavola!” Emphasizing seasonal foods, handcrafted ingredients, and the flavors and textures of a perfectly cooked meal, these delicious age-old classics—from antipasti to stews, braises, and simple pasta dishes—will help you uncover the secrets of authentic Italian cooking. As a participant in this class, you will receive a CIA logo apron and a copy of “A Tavola!” to take home. Cost: $250.

If you have events to include, please e-mail or

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Restaurant Notes and Quotes: Erick’s Plans to Expand, Plus Bites Along the Barbecue Trail

As the 2011 begins, here are a few of the things we’re seeing:

Erick’s is expanding

Erick's Tacos is growing.

Erick’s Tacos, the great little taco truck at 12715 Nacogdoches Road, is expanding. The building next door should be ready within a month, the owners say.

It looks like it will offer indoor dining, something we would have appreciated on a recent blustery Saturday when we stopped by for a plate of chorizo con bistec tacos and a cup of fresas con crema (strawberries smothered in Mexican crema).

Things weren’t too cold. The heat from the habanero salsa kept us warm.

For more information on Erick’s, call 210-590-0994 or click here.

On the barbecue trail

Plenty of you have traveled up to Taylor, northeast of Austin, for the barbecue at two famous eateries, Louis Mueller’s Barbecue and The Taylor Cafe. Last week we stopped for  brisket, chipotle sausage and a smoky half-chicken at Mueller’s (photo at right), then headed over to say hello to Vencil Mares, proprietor of The Taylor Cafe.

Mares, 87, still tends the pits at the cafe he purchased in 1948. His brisket is legendary, as is the unpolished, mid-century ambiance of the restaurant, which faces the railroad tracks near a State Highway 95 overpass.

Mares was greeting a smattering of friends and fans — light clientele on a cold, rainy Tuesday night. He still points out the fact that the restaurant once was segregated, right down the middle. The two long, old counters with bar stools are still there, facing each other across a serving area that runs the length of the restaurant. The segregation, happily, is a thing of the past — but there is something very nice about the fact that Mares is still there to oversee the creation of some of the state’s best barbecue.

Weissman to address CIA graduation

Andrew Weissman of Il Sogno and the Sandbar in the Pearl Brewery has been asked to address the next graduating class of the Culinary Institute of America’s Hyde Park, N.Y., campus.

On Jan. 21, the chef will speak to the associate’s degree graduates in the culinary arts and baking programs.

This is exciting for Weissman, who graduated from the campus before launching his own culinary career.

Thumbs up for Luby’s salad ‘bar’

You can now build your own side salad at Luby’s — at least at the Main Avenue location just north of downtown.  The popular cafeteria has reconfigured the bowls of greens, vegetables and other salad ingredients at the beginning of the serving line. Point out your choice of greens and the server will custom build your salad for you. Pepperoncini, sliced cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, bacon, feta cheese, hard-cooked eggs and more can add up to a pretty good-sized salad. It could easily be a main dish as well. If it’s the tuna salad or the creamy lime Jell-O mold you like at Luby’s, those types of salads are still there, too.

This sent us looking on the Luby’s website where we found a photo depicting a prototype of a new generation Luby’s. It looks great — will there be one built in San Antonio? Or, maybe they’ll remodel some of the older Luby’s. We’ll keep you posted.

Casa Grande opens

Casa  Grande has opened at 389 N. Loop 1604 W. It offers Mexican food, including a dish called a casuelita. Call 210-545-7600 for hours.

Two closings

Pizzabella, 14218 Nacogdoches Road, has closed. A sign on the door thanked its customers but said it was closing , 13777 Nacogdoches Road, is closed.because of the economy. The Italian restaurant opened in 2005.

Fatty’s Burgers, 13777 Nacogdoches Road, has closed.

If you have restaurant news, e-mail

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Beer Adds to Rio-style Grilled Chicken

Brush Rio-style Grilled Chicken with beer.

Brush this Brazilian chicken dish with beer to give it an extra layer of flavor. Instead of a brush, use a bundle of herbs, such as cilantro, parsley, rosemary or whatever you enjoy.

The dish is traditionally served with a side of toasted farofa, which is powdered manioc root and can be found at Las Americas Latin Market, 6623 San Pedro Ave.

Rio-style Grilled Chicken (Galeto)

3 whole spring chickens

1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons cilantro, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, roughly chopped
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper, finely ground

1 bottle ale
An herb brush

Farofa, toasted

Cut chickens in half. Set aside.

Place white wine, cilantro, parsley, onion, garlic, oil, salt and pepper in a blender and purée until smooth. Marinate chicken for up to 2 hours.

Skewer the chicken halves and season with additional salt and pepper. Grill the chickens over a charcoal fire and baste the chicken with the ale, brushing the meat every 5 minutes with an herb brush. Serve with toasted farofa.

Makes 8 servings.

From Almir Da Fonseca/Culinary Institute of America

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CIA Plans Fourth Campus in Singapore

The Culinary Institute of America started on the East Coast with its main campus in Hyde Park, N.Y. Then it opened one on the West Coast in Napa Valley’s Greystone. The addition of San Antonio to the mix a few years ago was said to be the Third Coast, situated as it is at the gateway to Central and South America.

Now the school is adding a fourth campus, one with a coast far from the United States. The new school is in Singapore, and it will take on the CIA name in January.

In many ways, the history of the new school is reminiscent of the way in which the San Antonio campus began, says Mark Erickson, vice president for continuing education.

In San Antonio, the school began as the dream of Kit Goldsbury, who owned the Pearl Brewery and wanted to see a world-class cooking school on the site that would train students from the area. So, he started the school with the help and guidance of the CIA, which eventually assumed ownership.

In Singapore, the school was also started with CIA leadership. The difference was the school’s deal was with the Singapore government, Erickson said. Yet, the school was created with the goal of providing educational opportunities for the country’s students. The CIA was one of a select group of schools to be invited to the Asian country. Others included John Hopkins and Cornell.

In the way that the San Antonio campus is the center for Latin American culinary research, the Singapore branch will focus on the diverse food styles of Asia, from India to Malaysia, he said.

The Singapore project began about four years, around the same time as work in San Antonio. The reason the school didn’t come aboard sooner, Erickson said, is because some of the structure of the program was subject to the ways of the government. And politics anywhere can take time.

Yet all seems on track for the Singapore project, which has many on the school’s staff excited with the possibilities that await.

According to CIA president Tim Ryan, when celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten wants to change up his menu, where does he go? Singapore.

The same excitement can be felt about Saturday’s opening of the new facility on the San Antonio campus and the expansion of programs in the coming year.

It’s a time for growth for the school, and that can only mean good things for foodies, regardless of which campus is close at hand.

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So Much to Learn About Mexican Cuisine, Rick Bayless Says

Rick Bayless makes a green mole.

Chef Rick Bayless’ name is known to many for his Mexican cookbooks and restaurants, including Chicago’s Frontera Grill and Topolobampo. His face is recognizable to many more, thanks to his PBS series, “Mexico — One Plate at a Time.”

But his contribution to the culinary scene is far greater, according to Iliana de la Vega, Mexican/Latin cuisines specialist at the Culinary Institute of America’s San Antonio campus.

“He opened the door of Mexican cuisine in the United States,” she said Wednesday as she introduced the celebrity chef during a series of cooking presentations that celebrated the culinary heritage of Central Mexico. The forum was part of the opening day of the annual Latin Flavors, American Kitchens symposium that the CIA sponsors at the Pearl Brewery.

Rick Bayless

Yet Bayless, standing in the new lecture hall and demonstration kitchen at the CIA, said he’s the first to admit that he has “a whole lot more of the cuisine” left to learn. So he continues to study, because the more he knows, “the better I can do the work that I do every day.”

During his years of study, he has loved “watching Mexican food evolve,” he said. And the more he understands, the more he’s able to nudge some of that evolution.

One dish that interests Bayless is mole. “Mole in Mexico is a pretty big deal,” he said.

That’s because it can take so many forms, beyond the peanut butter variety that is commonly served. No matter the form, the end result is a dish filled with “depth, complexity, intrigue,” he said.

The goal is to create a sauce in which all of the ingredients blend together. You shouldn’t be able to pick apart a good mole and dissect the cumin from the clove.

To demonstrate this, Bayless tossed together a green mole, which uses fresh ingredients as opposed to dried chiles. The end result didn’t have a recipe so much as a collection of items blended to taste.

He started by filling his Vitamix with roasted tomatillos (about one-third of the container), then added a healthy amount of pumpkin seeds, which works as a thickening agent. He tore off a generous handful of cilantro and added a surprise ingredient to some: leaves of romaine lettuce. The lettuce is a part of many people’s recipes, but you could use radish leaves instead for a little extra bite, he said.

He poured chicken broth over all of it and said some would end the recipe there. But he decided to give the mole extra flavor by adding some spice. In a molcajete, he ground together canela, or Mexican cinnamon, as well as a couple of cloves, a few peppercorns and a pinch of cumin. Only a pinch, he said. Though too many Americans think cumin is what makes food taste Mexican, the truth is that “cumin is used very sparingly in Mexico,” he said.

Once the spices were ground, Bayless added them to the tomatillo mixture and pulverized everything in the Vitamix. The point was to get the mixture as smooth as possible, before finishing it off in melted lard.

That’s right. Lard. “Lard is iconic in Mexican cuisine,” he said. And in mole, it is the ingredient “that brought it all together.”

But not just any lard. It has to be freshly rendered pork fat, not the white blocks that sometimes sit for months on grocers’ shelves.

“It has to be good lard,” Bayless said. “It has to fill the kitchen with the incredibly beautiful aroma of roast pork.”

Bayless poured the tomatillo mixture into the warm lard and stirred it together, heating it until it was ready to serve. It would work on tacos, on chicken, on pork …  In other words, make the mole to suit your tastes and use it however you like.

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San Antonio in the New York Times? Yup

The New York Times won no fans in San Antonio recently when it ran a story declaring Austin to be the breakfast taco capital of America. The paper, however, seems to want to mend a few fences by focusing on the city in its weekly 36 Hours travel feature.

Writer Dan Saltzstein singles out a number of foodie spots, including Il Sogno, Melissa Guerra’s Tienda de Cocina and the CIA at the Pearl Brewery as well as Casbeers at the Church, the Cove, Aldaco’s Stone Oak, the Green Lantern and the Smokehouse on Roland at Rigsby.

The author does manage to stick a foot partially in his mouth. He recommends a stroll along the River Walk, but urges you to “avoid the often overpriced restaurants and bars that line it.” Not all of the restaurants along the River Walk are good, but neither are blanket statements condemning the lot.

For the full article, click here.

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What Would You Pay to Watch a Taping of ‘Iron Chef America’?

Want to buy a 1945 Chateau Lafite Rothschild, often considered one of the greatest wines of the last century?

Or would like to get two VIP passes to a taping of “Iron Chef America”?

These are but two of the items currently featured in the Culinary Institute of America’s online auction, which is a complement to the school’s annual leadership awards gala.

The culinary school is accepting bids through April 1. Other items include dinner for six at José Andrés Minibar, a six-seat restaurant in Washington, D.C.; dinner for four at New York’s Le Bernardin; and a Chicago weekend package.

Johnny Hernandez, Sheri Noland and James Sanchez have donated a San Antonio weekend package that includes a two-night stay at the Hotel Contessa, a dinner for two at Hernandez’s La Gloria, which is expected to open in May, and dinner for two at Acenar, where Sanchez is executive chef.

Click here for the full list and for details.

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WalkerSpeak: Del Grande’s Skewered Scallops with Fresh Corn Mayo


Robert Del Grande

I’ve only attended two or three classes presented by Robert Del Grande, one of Texas’s top chef/restaurateurs. He is perhaps most famous as the longtime proprietor of Houston’s (now closed) Cafe Annie.

He is personable and amusing. More important, though, he can teach as well as cook.

As I awaited Del Grande’s presentation at the Culinary Institute of America’s recent conference here, I remembered a lesson from him I learned years go, and never forgot. It was a discussion about the deceptively simple art of roasting vegetables, such as a tomato or an onion to use in a salsa or a mole, or as a garnish for tacos.   You can lightly roast something or you can nearly burn it. In between these two extremes are the series of in-between stages — and all of them will yield a specific flavor.  Master these and you’ve learned an important lesson about making Mexican food taste right.

At the Latin Flavors, American Kitchens conference, Del Grande taught us another dish that will go into my repertoire:  Sea Scallops Roasted in Green Corn Husks with Fresh Corn Mayonnaise.

While it sounds fancy, and maybe a little complex, it was actually simple. Wrap a big, juicy scallop in a strip of fresh corn husk, jab a skewer through it and sear it in butter until the bottom is nicely browned. Flip it and do the same to the other side. Dress it with the fresh corn mayo, top it with some sprinkles of red chile and serve with a wedge of lime.

DelGrandeScallops1If one wishes to serve these scallops as finger food (and this presentation was about Latin street foods) the skewers make them easy to pick up. If you’re serving it on plates, it’s best to take out the skewers but leave the husk on. They come off easily.

The best part about the dish, as far as I was concerned, was the Fresh Corn Mayonnaise. It was perfect for the scallop, but looked as though it would adapt widely to many other uses — as a dip or a spread as well as a topping.

The basic technique is to pull of the husks and silk on fresh ears of corn, then grate the raw corn on a grater over a bowl.  The result will be a wet, starchy purée of corn. Heat up butter in a skillet, add the corn and cook it, stirring. As Del Grande pointed out, it looks just like scrambled eggs as you cook it.

The corn is mixed with mayonnaise, olive oil, lime juice and salt then used to top the scallops.

Other beautiful dishes were prepared that day, and we’ll run more of the recipes in the near future. But, for me, this dish was a great excuse to drive out to Costco for a pound of fresh scallops.

Click below for Del Grande’s recipe:


Sea Scallops Roasted in Green Corn Husks with Fresh Corn Mayonnaise

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