Tag Archive | "Gaucho Gourmet"

GauchoGourmet Holidays! Book Signing, Toy Drive for the Kids

Gaucho Gourmet’s Saturday Market this week will feature a Texas-sized Holiday Book Signing, with six authors present and signing four great Texas food books.

This is a one-time chance to pick up gifts for the food-lovers on your holiday gift lists, and have them signed. The following authors will be on hand Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.:
Texas Hill Country Cookbook• Chef Terry Thompson-Anderson, veteran chef and culinary instructor, will be present to sign her cookbook “Texas on the Table: People, Places and Recipes Celebrating the Lone Star State,” destined to become the definitive book on Texas cooking.
• Chef Scott Cohen, former executive chef of Las Canarias at La Mansion del Rio Hotel and current instructor at Le Cordon Bleu Austin, is signing his “The Texas Hill Country Cookbook – A Taste of Provence” for the discriminating palate and lover of local products.
• Renowned Hill Country Chef Ross Burtwell and contributing author Julia Celeste Rosenfeld are signing their striking “Texas Hill Country Cuisine: Flavors from the Cabernet Grill Texas Wine Country Restaurant,” perfect for all Hill Country cuisine and Texas wine connoisseurs.
• Bonnie Walker and John Griffin will be signing their recently published “Barbecue Lover’s Texas – Restaurants, Markets, Recipes & Traditions” for the guys and gals who are meat lovers (especially barbecue!) on your Christmas list.

Toys for Tots Benefit now through Dec. 13 — win a giant Pannettone

GauchoGourmet is also accepting donations of new, unwrapped toys between Mon, Dec. 6 through Saturday Dec. 13 to benefit Toys for Tots and ultimately the less fortunate children in our community. This toy drive is in conjunction with Groomer’s Seafood.

panettone albertengoWith each donation dropped off at GauchoGourmet, the donor’s name will be entered into GauchoGourmet’s biggest and best giveaway yet. The winner will be announced Sept. 13 at 2 p.m. and will receipve a specially ordered 22 pound Panettone Christmas cake, made by artisanal producer Albertengo, from Italy.

Bring toys, sample some of the great holiday gourmet items at GauchoGourmet and pck up gifts — all this Saturday.


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Restaurant Notes & Quotes: Pearl Gets Boehler House; Luke, Barbaro

Pearl acquires Boehler property

Minnie'sPearl has announced its plan to proceed with the purchase and restoration of the Boehler property at 328 E. Josephine St. The most recent occupant, Minnie’s Tavern and Rye House has closed, but the famous leaning structure will stay in its place. It also, for many years, housed the Liberty Bar.

Boelers liberty bar sepia“We regrouped and everyone felt like it’s a very special and historic structure,” said Elizabeth Fauerso, a spokeswoman for the Pearl. “You don’t find often a building that has such a place in San Antonio’s history and such an emotional connection to so many people.

“Our objectives are to restore the historic building,” Fauerso said, “and also to think about the streetscape and try to improve it. We want to think about how to add more green space, outdoor space or seating space; to think about how to add more parking so that it can actually support that establishment; and then to think about a really cool and interesting use for the little house.”

Silver Ventures plan to work together with the HDRC and its neighbors in Tobin Hill to preserve and repurpose historic assets bringing them new life within the San Antonio community.

Spicy crawfish from Luke sizzled with flavor.

Spicy crawfish from Luke sizzle.

Lüke at Fredericksburg Crawfish Festival

As part of the Fredericksburg Crawfish Festival this weekend, Luke San Antonio’s chef John Russ will be hosting a special Creole Brunch on Sunday (May 25) from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Marktplatz.

Russ’ festival menu features Crawfish Po-Boys, Crawfish Etouffe, and Cajun Eggs Benedict among other New Orleans-inspired items. Tickets cost $55 per seat and $450 for a table of eight.  Brunch and festival tickets can be purchased online at

Menu for Luke’s Creole Brunch: Passed Hors d’Oeuvres: Crawfish Summer Rolls with Petite Herbs and Spicy Mayo, Mini Crawfish Pies with Smoked Tomato Sauce. Action Station 1: Crispy Fried Softshell Crawfish Po-Boys. Action Station 2: Crawfish Étouffée Popcorn Rice, Pickled Vegetables. Action Station 3: Cajun Eggs Benedict Buttermilk Biscuits, Tasso Ham, Crawfish Hollandaise. Buffet: Seasonal Lettuce, Boiled Crawfish, Creole Mustard Vinaigrette, Fried Bread, Hard Eggs, Bacon Deviled Eggs, Heirloom Tomato, Fresh Pulled Mozzarella, Herbs, Sugarcane Vinegar. Dessert: Classic Banana Foster, Rhum Cake, Vanilla Cream.


Barbaro 1Barbaro’s new hours, late night menu

Barbaro, 2720 McCullough Ave., serving craft pizza, cocktails and beer, has extended its hours on Friday and Saturday nights, until 2 a.m.

The restaurant also has launched a late-night menu for these weekend nights when they’re open late, see below for a sample of a recent menu. The menu changes each day, but here are some ideas of types of things they’ll be serving.  Late night menu runs from Friday and Saturday, 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.  On the menu are items such as  Fried Bread, House Ricotta, Roasted Tomatoes, and Chives; Chicken Liver Mousse, Apricot Jam, Toast; Seared Lasagna, Mornay, Fried Egg; Roasted Bone Marrow, Truffled Tomato Jam, Basil Salad, Toast; Fried Chicken Livers, Piperade, Mahon, Toast; Pizza Bianca- Fior De Latte, Beef Fat, Roasted Green Onions; Cheese Pizza.

Also, Barbaro has launched a new cocktail menu created by bar manager, Elisabeth Forsythe. The menu includes some unique and delicious concoctions, such as the Rhubarb Mule and IP- Yay! (gin, lemon, grapefruit, IPA syrup). See new items here.

Domaine Carneros Wine Dinner at Fig Tree

Fig tree logoT.J. Evans, winemaker for Domaine Carneros, will be at Fig Tree restaurant on Wednesday, June 18, for a wine dinner that begins with a reception at the Dashiell House, 6:30 p.m.  The price is $115 per person, including tax and gratuity. For reservations, please call Pat at 210-225-2111.

On the menu:  Reception: Le Reve Blanc de Blancs 2006 with Foie Gras Terrine and Apple Ginger Chutney; Brut Vintage Cuvee 2009 with Poached Langostino Tails, Crab Tortellinis, Lemongrass Broth; Brut Rose Cuvée de la Pompadour NV with “Blanquette de Veau,” Rice Pilaf, Baby Carrots, Seasonal Mushrooms;  Estate Pinot Noir 2011 with Domestic Cheeses; Fonseca Porto, Tawny 10 years old with Mixed Berries “Gratin” and Madeleines, along with coffee service.

Luca Della Casa at GauchoGourmet

Luca della CasaGauchoGourmet, 935 Isom Road hosts a tasting event on May 31, from 10.30 a.m. 1.30 p.m. featuring Silo & Nosh’s Executive Chef Luca Della Casa. Della Casa will be seen very soon competing on national TV to become a future “star chef” and have his own TV show. (The show, “Food Network Star” is on the Food Network at 8 p.m. June 1. This is the show’s 10th season. Finalists will have to impress mentor-judges Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis.)

Della Casa will present samples of different Italian appetizers with some of GauchoGourmet’s best ingredients featuring Sicilian fruit peels and Piedmontese hazelnuts; two risotto recipes using exclusive 7-year aged Carnaroli rice; and share cooking techniques to prepare an authentic Italian meal. Customers who purchase tickets will also enter a drawing for a dinner for two at one of Luca’s restaurants.

Tickets are $10 per person and can be purchased online at .



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Gaucho Gourmet Says ‘Cheese!’

This Saturday, March 29, feast your eyes on a mighty big cheese tray at Gaucho Gourmet, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

The warehouse/store full of fine imported foods at 935 Isom Road will be displaying and better still — offering tastes — from an array of 40 to 50 of the best European and local Texas cheeses. Plenty of accompaniments to mix and match and pair with the cheese will be on hand as well.

Hoja Santa Goat Cheese 'Cacciota'

Hoja Santa Goat Cheese ‘Cacciota’

Other highlights will be the cutting of a 100-pound aged Italian Provolone and the presence of local Texas cheesemaker Haute Goat bringing a series spreadable goat cheeses in terrific flavors such as Chimichurri,  Basil Pesto, Fig & Black Pepper and Bacon/Maple/Horseradish.

Another Texas cheese to sample will be the Hoja Santa Goat Cheese made at the Mozzarella Company in Dallas. Called “Cacciota,” this mellow semi-soft cheese is a Texas version of Monterey Jack and is aged 2 months.

Members of the San Antonio Chefs Coop and Alexander Vineyards, producer of fine French wines in Fredericksburg will add their comments and expertise on Saturday as well.

Tickets can be purchased online at and are $10 per person.

Sharp Shooter Cheddar

Sharp Shooter Cheddar from Veldhuizen Cheese, Dublin, Texas





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Paella Pleases Palates at Goucho Gourmet

Paella Gaucho dirty rice cropped

A gumbo-themed paella, with shrimp, chicken and chicken livers and vegetables, was something different for the crowd of paella lovers at Gaucho Gourmet Saturday.

The irresistible scents of steaming seafood, cooking rice, saffron and chorizo enticed a hungry crowd gathered at Gaucho Gourmet today for Viva Paella.

The event offered tastes for devotees of the famous rice dish who came and watched demonstrations by a chefs with the Chefs Cooperative, tasted everything — then shopped for paella cookware and ingredients, or whatever they had on their lists.

Paella Gaucho Crowd with John croppedThe warehouse setting of Gaucho Gourmet, at 935 Isom Road, draws chefs, cooks and serious foodies and shoppers every Saturday. But this week, Viva Paella offered an especially appealing draw judging by dozens of folks who squeezed into the store’s back room.

The participating chefs included Steven Paprocki, Chris Cook, Jeff White, Issac Cantu, James Canter and Tyler Horstmann. Leslie Horne, owner of Aurelia’s Chorizo, fried up samples of her spicy Spanish sausage, as well.

Link here for the Texas Quail, Chorizo and Mushroom Paella recipe from Aurelia’s Chorizo owner Leslie Horne.

Chef and paella champ James Canter

Chef and paella champ James Canter

Canter is a three-time winner of the San Antonio Corona Paella Challenge at the Pearl and demonstrated a seafood paella packed with gleaming mussels in the shells and finished off with squid ink and green peas. Visit here for more information on the Pearl paella challenge.

The chefs also prepared a traditional paella, showing the vibrant yellow color of the its characteristic spice, saffron. A less traditional paella, a gumbo paella, packed in shrimp as well as chicken and chicken livers, giving it a bit of a Cajun dirty rice flavor and texture.

Luciano Ciorciari and helpers at the warehouse, warehouse, also supplied a long table with everything a cook might need for making the dish, including paella in a multitude of sizes, small glass jars holding envelopes of saffron, cooking utensils, terracotta dishes and more.

In the main room of the store, a cheese demonstration was another crowded station. Cheese will be in the spotlight at another warehouse tasting soon, Ciorciari said. Special imports are on their way from Italy for that, but freshly made burratta was available, as always, in a basket next to the deli area — selling out fast. Coffee samples were also available from Susan Jaime’s Ferra Coffee.

GauchoGourmet’s regular warehouse opening hours during the week are Mon-Fri, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. On Saturdays, they are going to be open from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Lunch is served 10.30 a.m. -2 p.m. and the deli will close at 2.30 p.m. For more information go to the website here or phone 210-277-7930

Paella chefs Issac Cantu, Steven Paprocki and Tyler Horstman at Gaucho Gourmet.

Paella chefs Issac Cantu, Steven Paprocki and Tyler Horstman at Gaucho Gourmet.

Photographs by Bonnie Walker and John Griffin

Chris Cook, left, and Jeff White, serve up a traditional paella.

Chris Cook, left, and Jeff White, serve up a traditional paella.

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Wild Game, Fresh Truffles at GauchoGourmet Saturday

Black truffles are here!

Truffles, a great seasonal taste, especially when fresh.

Stock up on some of the best tastes of the season this Saturday.

GauchoGourmet, 935 Isom Road is holding a Wild Game Tasting event on Dec. 14, featuring a selection of seasonal game meat specialties with discounted pricing including lamb and venison prosciutto by Salumeria Biellese, wild boar and venison sausages as well as Mangalitsa pancetta.

Customers will be able to sample the different meats and watch chef Tyler Horstmann of Tejas Steakhouse and other renowned chefs from San Antonio Chefs Cooperative, including Jeff White of Boiler House, Tyler Horstmann of Tejas Steakhouse and Isaac Cantu of Cordillera Ranch preparing wild game products.

Also available will be two kinds of fresh truffles, black Burgundy and white Alba truffles – sold by the ounce.

Alexander Vineyards of Fredericksburg will be sampling and selling fine French wines and Johnson’s Backyard Garden is onsite with local and organic produce.

If you want to stud your lamb with rosemary, do it lightly.

If you want to stud your lamb with rosemary, do it lightly.

Something new — Hudspeth River Ranch all-natural lamb from will be available from Comstock, Texas. Choose from rack of lamb, loin chop T-bones and ground lamb. (All natural, no added hormones or antibiotics, 100 percent grass fed.)

GauchoGourmet is at 935 Isom Road.  210-277-7930 or fax 210-497-2364.

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Restaurant Notes & Quotes: Italian Holiday Treats, Brooklynite Party, More

Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden invites guests to an evening with gourmet Texas cuisine and craft beer from Austin’s Adelbert’s Brewery on Tuesday, Nov. 26.

Adelbert’s is known for creating high-quality Belgian-style ales. Guests will enjoy a five-course menu created by executive chef Jeff White paired with craft beers from the Austin-based brewery’s portfolio. Both White and a beer master from Adelbert’s Brewery will be on hand to discuss each dish and its beer pairing. Don’t miss it!

Adelberts beersThe five-course menu includes: Baby Barbacoa Puffy Taco with beef heart and cheek with red chile and Achiote aioli on a puffy flour tortilla — paired with Black Rhino. Crab Stuffed Squash Blossoms with milk honey and pecan smoked bacon relish —  paired with Naked Nun. Spanish Black Mussels with red wine onion tomato broth, local Spanish chorizo, cotija cheese and grilled Lavain bread — paired with Gypsy Series.

Plus, Boiler House Surf and Turf: Corned Pork Belly and Cherry Stone Clams with corned beef-style cured pork belly, garlic butter roasted clams — paired with Scratchin’ Hippo. ABC Bread Pudding with apple, maple bacon, cheddar cheese and custard pudding with Tripel B caramel sauce — paired with Tripel B.

Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden is at 312 Pearl Parkway, Building 3. The dinner Tuesday begins at 6 p.m. and costs $65 per person, excluding tax and tip. Call for reservations and ticket availability at 210-354-4644.

You know you love that tacky holiday sweater: time to roll it out!

This isn't the ugliest we've seen. Photo credit to the Ugly Sweater where you can shop for more!

Really, this isn’t the ugliest we’ve seen! Photo credit to the Ugly Sweater where you can go shopping.

Cooler weather is slowly but surely rolling into San Antonio, and we find ourselves dusting off those old holiday sweaters.

This year, The Brooklynite wants to see the tackiest ones you own.  On Wednesday, November 27, The Brooklynite is hosting a Tacky Holiday Sweater Contest and Party, and the lucky contest winner will receive a gift card to The Brooklynite at midnight.

Imbibers will enjoy specials on cocktails from 5-10 p.m., including the new cocktail, Too Tall for Fall — a concoction of apricot brandy, house ginger beer, apple bitters, cinnamon and lemon, for $6. The Brooklynite is at 516 Brooklyn Ave., 210-444-0707


Holiday chocolate and coffee event our favorite present: a discount!               

GauchoGourmet, 935 Isom Road, is having a grand holiday chocolate and coffee event on Nov. 30. This event at their store at 935 Isom Road features 20 percent off  special on their wide selection of French produced chocolates by Valrhona and Cacao Barry as well as 20 percent off all organic and locally roasted Ferra Coffee.

Gaucho Gourmet chocolateCustomers will be able to taste the different types coffees paired with fine chocolate and sample delicious desserts made with the featured products. Take home simple recipes to create desserts for your own holiday feast and watch pastry chef Melissa Beverage demo how to make chocolate mousse at 10.30 a.m..

Also, Gaucho Gourmet’s holiday sweets have arrived. Choose from among artisan panettone, from Albertengo & Maina traditional, cioccolato, moscato, apricot and pandoro. Also, for great gift possibilities, pick up nougats: torrone, turron, panforte, marzipan and almonds. Finally, Italy’s great collection of holiday cookies will be generously represented, plus mantecados and polvorones, chocolate truffles, Perugina Baci and chocolate-covered breadsticks.

Gaucho Gourmet hours are Monday through  Friday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For additional info visit Call them at 210-277-7930.

wine whiteTaste a Tuscan Holiday at Luce

Wine is a very important part of an experience at Luce Ristorante e Enoteca, The Super Tuscan Wine Dinner includes the unique opportunity to sample the following World Class Super Tuscan Wines, Ornellaia & Ornellaia Masseto.  See all of the tasty details below.

Call 210-561-9700 for reservations; $100 per person. Luce is at 11255 Huebner Road.

A wine dinner at Luce is the perfect opportunity to make new friends and to have an elegant and relaxing night out with family, says owner Joe Buonincontri.

Menu: Antipasti: Salami Assortiti , or assorted Tuscan meats; Crostone alla Toscana (Toasted Bread topped with Sausage, Pancetta, Mushroom); Crespelle alla Fiorentina (Spinach Filled Crepes with Bechamel Sauce). Zuppa: Zuppa di Lenticche (Puree of Lentils, Carrots, Onions, Potato); Gran Piastre (Entree) Costolette di Vitello (veal chop); Dessert, Pannetone with Vanilla Gelato.

Wines included are:

  • Villa Sandi Prosecco
  • 2011 Frescobaldi: Tenuta Frescobaldi di Castiglioni
  • 2011 Ornellaia Le Volte
  • 2009 Frescobaldi Mormoreto
  • 2010 Ornellaia Le Serre Nuove 6
  • 2011 Coppo Moscato d’ Asti

Choco Patisserie closing

Choco Patisserie, 13523 Nacogdoches Road, is closing Nov. 27. You have a few more days to get some of their wonderful baked goods.

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Think Holidays! Johnson’s Backyard Comes to SA, Holiday Stroll, More

Holiday Stroll at Central Market is Thurs., Nov. 7

Come and get a glimpse into the array of treats available at Central Market for the holiday season. Sample some of these offerings as you walk through the store — plus, get ideas to dress up your table for the holidays.

Japanese sushi seafoodMore than 20 stations will be offering seasonal fruit in the produce area, sushi from holiday platters in seafood and taste a perfect pairing of pinot noir with all-natural hickory smoked turkey in the market. There will be ideas for stocking stuffers in healthy living and bites of coconut cake in the bakery. Beer and wine experts will be on hand to answer your questions about the art of pairing your beverage of choice with your holiday meals or party menus.

The Holiday Stroll costs $10 per person and includes a wine glass, a coupon for $5 off a purchase of $25 and a goodie bag. You’ll want to make your reservation for this event, which is Thursday, Nov. 7 from 5-8 p.m. at Central Market on Broadway. Reserve online at Then, check in at the main entrance to the store on Thursday.

Johnson’s Backyard comes to Gaucho Gourmet Saturdays

Johnson’s Backyard Garden, organic farm and CSA based in Austin, will begin bringing its produce to San Antonio this Saturday at Gaucho Gourmet, 935 Isom Road.

Johnsons Backyard Garden“We’re really excited about having them here every week,” said co-owner of Gaucho Gourmet, Luciano Ciorciari. “Their produce is awesome, and it will be a great addition to our Saturday market.”

The Saturday market is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and features cooking demonstrations, samples, a new cheese bar to browse through, an olives-and-more bar, imported pastas, sauces, charcuterie, freshly made sandwiches, spices, fine wines and many other imported items for the dedicated foodie to explore.

Johnson’s Backyard Garden is at 9515 Hergotz Lane in Austin. Contact them at (512) 386-5273 or visit their website at

The following Saturday, Nov. 16, Gaucho Gourmet will be holding a Duck & Foie Gras Feast, featuring a special on  2 ounce presliced foie gras at $4.95 each, 10 percent off on all duck products including duck salami, duck bacon, duck prosciutto etc. as well as a duck-dedicated sandwich menu onsite.

Gaucho Gourmet's imported salami and other cold cuts sandwich.

Gaucho Gourmet’s imported salami and other cold cuts sandwich.

San Antonio chef Steven Paprocki, will be doing a foie gras cooking demo and the menu will include Duck BLT with Foie Gras and Duck Sausage Sandwich. Alexander Vineyards of Fredericksburg will pour samples of French wines including Sauternes and Champagne and be selling the wines by the glass and bottle.

In addition to its Saturday hours, this warehouse-style gourmet shop is also open Mondays through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For additional information, visit or call (210) 277-7930.


Fall Harvest Pig Roast at Sustenio Saturday

Sustenio at the Éilan Hotel, Resort & Spa hosts a Fall Harvest Pig Roast on this Saturday, Nov. 9. The evening will feature ishes crafted by celebrity chef Stephan Pyles, paired with tequila concoctions from author Lucinda Hutson. Hutson’s book, “Viva Tequila! Cocktails, Cooking, and Other Agave Adventures,” is a fun-filled journey through the world of tequila.

Leslie party John pic pigThe meal’s centerpiece will be a whole, roasted suckling pig from Loncito Cartwright of Twin Oaks Ranch. A true old-time Texas rancher of the first order, Cartwright breeds grass-fed, hormone- and antibiotic-free pigs, lambs and cows at his family’s Twin Oaks Ranch just south of San Antonio in Dinero, Texas.

Sustenio’s Fall Harvest Pig Roast will begin with al fresco appetizers and a  Mexican Harvest Punch, a spicy gingered apple punch with pomegranate seeds and tequila reposado, served on Sustenio’s patio, then move indoors for an three-course meal complete with a whole hog from Loncito Cartwright paired with wine and spirits. The harvest dinner begins at 7 p.m. and is $75 per person. Contact Sustenio at 210-598-2950 today to reserve your place in this not-to-be-missed dinner event.

Groomers is Turducken Central

As Thanksgiving approaches, you might have been considering a Louisiana-style feast with Turducken as the centerpiece. Groomer’s has  joined with  La Boucherie Cajun Meats out of Louisiana for this offering to San Antonio residents for the holidays.

Turducken Cajun MeatsThis unique item is composed of de-boned turkey, duck and chicken, combined into one entree.  Only the wing bones on the turkey remain for aesthetic purposes. For a healthier product, the fat and skin are removed from the duck and chicken.  These three meats are then separated by layers of homemade stuffing and flavor is added with a seasoning blend.
Varieties of stuffing include Traditional Cornbread, Shrimp and Sausage, Wild Rice Pecan, and Jalapeño Cornbread and will be going for $75 dollars each. Each of these (three birds in one!) is 15-16 pounds and will feed about 14-18 people.
Groomer’s Seafood is at 9801 McCullough Ave, San Antonio, TX 78216; (210) 377-0951.

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NY’s Famous Salumeria Biellese Arrives at GauchoGourmet

Starting Monday September 16, GauchoGourmet will be selling fresh, all natural and Slow Food certified artisanal sausages brought in from New York’s Salumeria Biellese, also known as ‘Sausage Maker to the Stars.’

The company is one of the most recognized producers of sausages, salame and salumi in the U.S.

The selection of fresh sausages includes prior customer favorites like the sweet and hot Italian sausage, exclusively made from Berkshire hog meat from the Tri-State area, as well as Portuguese style linguisa and Polish style kielbasa.

On Saturday, Sept. 21, GauchoGourmet will also offer the mild Italian Sausage and the Chicken Jalapeño sausage from the grill for $6.50 each from 10.30 a.m. until 1.30 p.m. to eat in or take out in addition to other menu items.

Chicken_jalapenoA special feature will be the Chicken Jalapeño sausage, which was developed by Salumeria Biellese’s Marc Buzzio in collaboration with Chef Bobby Flay and which has quickly developed to one of the biggest sellers. Bobby Flay approached Marc Buzzio to create a grilling sausage with a “Latin flair” and some spiciness, and after exchanging some ideas and trying out different recipes, Bobby loved the outcome and uses this sausage in several of his restaurants: great flavors of jalapeño and cilantro with a good kick.

Customers will be able to purchase these fresh sausages by the pound at GauchoGourmet’s deli counter. Supplies are limited.

GauchoGourmet is at 935 Isom Road. Call 210-277-7930 or visit them at their website, here.

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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.

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Upcoming Events

July and August

Pearl Farmers Market goes on summer hours to help vendors and customers beat the heat. The market will be open from 8 a.m. to 12 noon.

July 5

First Thursdays at Pearl

First Thursdays of each month during the summer, 5-8 p.m., will be a night of special deals from Pearl shops such as Melissa Guerra, Adelante and Twig Book Shop. There will be pop-up sidewalk sales. The Pearl, 200 E. Grayson St.

Tour of Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard

Saturdays, 11 a.m. Sandy Winokur, founder and owner of Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard will give you a brief history of the olive industry from ancient times to the new Texas olive industry. Learn about the numerous varieties of olive trees grown and sold at Sandy Oaks. Visit the facility where many of the products we sell are produced, including our olive oil. Sample our culinary and skin care products. The tour lasts about 30 to 45 minutes and is free.  No reservations required.

Saturdays, 1-3 p.m. After a tour of the orchard, stay for lunch and enjoy the chef’s Special-of-the-Day.  Beverages are also available. Sandy Oaks is in Elmendorf, about a 25-minute drive from downtown San Antonio. The address is 25195 Mathis Road. 210-621-0044

July 10, Aug. 7

Wine Camp at 20Nine Restaurant & Wine Bar, Quarry Market.  If you’ve always wanted to learn about wine – not only what to drink, but how to taste and evaluate wines, this Wine Camp is for you. The first sessions (8 classes per session) begin Tuesday, July 10 and continue each Tuesday in July. The second sessions begins Tuesday, August 7 and continue each Tuesday through August 28. Wine camp is from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sessions are $20 per session, per person or $140 for all eight sessions. Attendance is limited and confirmation may be guaranteed by advance credit card payment. For reservations or more information call, 210-798-9463.

Culinaria’s Hot, Hot Summer

Cinema Culinaria. Every Thursday between now and Aug. 16,  EZ’s Brick Oven & Grill is partnering with Culinaria to present Cinema Culinaria. Check out Culinaria’s list of foodie movies, then enjoy a snack at EZ’s Sunset Ridge Shipping Center location, 6498 N. New Braunfels Ave. No reservations or ticket necessary, just come and enjoy. Culinaria website

Restaurant Week, Aug. 18-25.  It’s time to highlight some of San Antonio’s favorite restaurants offering great prices. Here’s the bottom line: You get a three-course meal for $15 at lunch and $35 at dinner. These are chef-created menus specifically for Restaurant Week. Keep informed by follow Culinaria on Twitter @culinariasa, for updates. They’ll be announcing participating restaurants soon. SavorSA, @mysavorsa will also be tweeting updates as we receive them. Restaurant Week reservations are not required; however making them is a good idea. Make your reservations by calling the participating restaurants.

Aug. 11.

Rambling Rosé

In the hottest part of the summer, Culinaria reminds you that a perfect summer wine, especially for Texas’ spicy food, is a great, dry rosé. Rambling Rosé will again be hosted by Becker Vineyards, Aug. 11. You’ll participate in a blind tasting of a varied selection of rosés along with a panel who will help guide you through the palate of flavors.

Chef John Brand of Las Canarias at the Omni La Mansion del Rio Hotel and Ostra at Mokara will provide tastes of food that goes well with a cool glass of rosé to complete the day.

There are two sessions: 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. The cost is $25 per person. Click here to make your reservations. Becker Vineyards is off Highway 290, near Stonewall, on Jenschke Lane.

Culinaria Summer Jazz Fest:  On three Saturdays, Aug. 18, 25 and Sept. 1. Jazz in the comfortable surrounds of the Shops at La Cantera.

Oct. 7

Culinaria has added a healthful living event to its lineup this fall.

Culinaria and HEB will be bringing you Feastivál at the Pearl Amphitheater on Oct. 7, noon until 3 p.m. Feastivál will give you a chance to explore a range of wholesome, savory dishes that won’t expand your waistline. Feastivál will also offer cooking demonstrations, wine seminars and plenty of recipes to show you how healthy living can be delicious!

Tickets will be $10 in advance at your local H-E-B and $20 at the door.








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