Tag Archive | "Grand Hyatt"

Hot: Burgers, BBQ Sizzle for Crowd at Culinaria Finale

Culinaria 2014 Girls in line BBBThe sizzle of burgers, pits smoking, and the merciful existence of ice cold beer, water and lemonade gratified the hundreds of folks, who turned out for Culinaria’s Burgers, BBQ & Beer on Sunday.

Set with the backdrop of the historic Pearl Brewery building, the final event for Culinaria festival week showcased the works of cooks, chefs, helpers and beverage pourers and offered everything from spicy chicken wings and spicy  crawfish to grilled sliced Spam on burgers, brisket burgers and brisket quesadillas.

Chef Jason Dady and his crew from Two Bros. BBQ Market were serving up portions of brisket — and it was classic, with salty, peppery crust and luscious, tender meaty interior. No sauce for me, thanks — the beefy flavor on that ever-more-pricy cut of meat should not be muffled in any way!

Jesse chorizo burger Culinaria 2014

Arcade Midtown Kitchen’s triple-heat Green Chile and Chorizo Burger.

One really hot burger, courtesy of chef Jesse Perez from Arcade Midtown Kitchen was the chorizo burger topped with green chiles, dressed with a spicy sauce and salty crumbles of cotija cheese. I’d have eaten two, yes, but there was quite a bit more to come.

I was impressed with Green Vegetarian’s Earth Burger — my first taste. Once upon a time, a veggie burger was made with cooked, mashed soybeans, topped with slivers of onion and carrot and alfalfa sprouts. They were edible.  The Earth Burger has a good springy (I won’t say meaty) texture and flavor, and are a major leap above those we “enjoyed” back in the day.

Kiolbassa, it ain’t burger, but sausage is quite a classic barbecue item here in Texas. Far be it from me to pass up a bite or two of their good jalapeño or garlic sausage.

Brisket Burgers

Brisket Burgers

The Grand Hyatt put out brisket burgers, a using the flavorful brisket (85 percent) with a leaner cut (like strip loin) ground together after a little while in the smoker, then shaped and slapped on the grill over more smoke. I thought it was one of the most flavorful bites to be had.

Alamo Cafe brought brisket, for which we thank them. Not a purist’s version of Texas ‘cue, but a nice pair-up with Tex-Mex.  They served brisket quesadillas, cut into wedges and served with a refreshing spoonful of sour cream. They get two solid  “noms” for that dish.


After the event ended, the winners were in for popular votes for barbecue and burgers: Magnolia Pancake Haus and Jesse Perez for his Chorizo and Green Chile Burger. It was a great ending for an event that director Suzanne Taranto Etheredge said was the “best ever.”

Spicy crawfish from Luke sizzled with flavor.

Spicy crawfish from Luke sizzled with flavor.




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Grand Hyatt: A Furry Good Time on Thursday

Must Love Pets! at Grand Hyatt

Grand Hyatt  Must Love Pets Dave Rios ScoutCalling all canophilists and ailurophiles —  if you’re looking for the purrfect event to help you enjoy your Valentine’s Day, then then you’ll love “Must Love Pets,” where the Grand Hyatt will celebrate love of all shapes and sizes at the only happy hour in town where face-licking and tail wagging is a must!

Bar Rojo at the Grand Hyatt will celebrate the upcoming day a little early, on Thursday, Feb. 6, from 5-7  p.m. The event includes a pet trivia contest featuring questions of the animal kind, so brush up and flaunt your knowledge of all things wild to claim prizes during “Tail Trivia,” a trivia contest where all of the questions are tied to the pets that steal our hearts.

Dave Rios of KONO 101 FM will emcee the trivia contest, aided by his trusty four-legged sidekick Scout. (By the way, canophilists are those who love dogs and ailurophiles love cats.)

With complimentary sushi selections, drink specials and more fun than you can shake your tail at, Must Love Pets will make you howl with delight, especially if you’re looking for love this Valentine’s Day. Thanks to the Grand Hyatt’s Community Partner, the San Antonio Humane Society, you can go home with the fur of your dreams with one of the eligible, adorable and adoptable pups looking for “furever”  home.

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NAO at the CIA to Have Soft Opening May 23

Robert Fleming is opening a second Magnolia Pancake Haus this week.

NAO, the Latin restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America, will have its soft opening on May 23.

It will be in the Pearl Brewery, 200 E. Grayson St., and will feature dishes from throughout South America, Latin America and the islands.

NAO will be student-staffed and the menu will feature traditional dishes creatively reinterpreted for San Antonio diners.

Jesse Perez

In other Pearl Brewery news, chef Jesse Perez is opening his contemporary American restaurant, Arcade, this fall. It will be in the lab building near the stables on the property.

The streamlined industrial look of the space will be playful, Perez says.

We’re hoping the food will be as good as what we sampled from Perez during this year’s Culinaria.

In other restaurant news, Robert Fleming will be opening his second Magnolia Pancake Haus on Friday at 10333 Huebner Road.

Old favorites, such as the Apfelpfannekuchen and the pancakes as well as the house-made sausage and eggs to order, will be available. Call (210) 561-6117.

Robbie Nowlin, who left Jason Dady’s the Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills, to work at the prestigious French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., has returned to town. He will be working for Dady again, this time at Bin 555.

The Esquire Tavern

The Esquire Tavern, 155 E. Commerce St., has been named one of the top bars in America by Men’s Fitness magazine. The listing says that “Luckily despite its tourist-y location, this is a casual local favorite that just happens to boast the longest wooden bar in Texas. At 79 feet it’s the perfect spot to throw back a few Lone Stars (the “National Beer of Texas”), and hang with the locals. As for cocktails they’re fittingly big and boozy.”

The Grand Hyatt, 600 E. Market St., has a new executive chef. Lawrence Eells grew up moving around the world. As a young boy in a military family, he spent the majority of his childhood in places such as Okinawa, the Philippines, Shanghai, Hawaii, Albuquerque, San Diego, Minneapolis and Dallas.

After paying his way through college by working in the food industry, Eells took a job as chef de cuisine at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis in 1982. Since then, he has held a 30-year culinary career with Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, working nearly every position in the kitchen at nine properties across the United States, opening four hotels and forging incredible, long-lasting relationships along the way. Most recently, Eells was the executive chef at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa in Hawaii, a position he held for the past six years.“I bring excitement and innovation with strong roots,” he said. “I hope to continue to use my background and experience to make myself valuable to Hyatt for years to come.”

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Pork Rules at Paella Challenge

Jeff Balfour's paella

Want to make your own award-winning paella at home? Start with a whole roasted pig.

That was chef Jeff Balfour’s secret at Sunday’s second annual Paella Challenge at the Pearl Brewery.

“We took a roasted whole pig, a happy little Texas pig,” said a beaming and exhausted Balfour of Citrus at the Hotel Valencia, 150 E. Houston St., shortly after winning the award. His team used the shoulder and the butt among other fleshy parts in the paella itself and then garnished each serving with succulent bits of tongue and cheek.

It was over the top and gave Balfour victory in the competition. “We placed third last year and first this year,” he said, while holding the crown-shaped award.

Jeffrey Balfour of Citrus with his award.

Balfour offers paella at Citrus, but it’s a made-to-order version. For those who couldn’t make Sunday’s Paella Challenge but want to try the chef’s winning creation, it will likely be offered for a few nights in the near future, he said. Call 210-230-8412 for more details.

Winning second place was the team from Lüke, which is near Citrus at 125 E. Houston St. “They’re practically just right across the street from us,” Balfour said.

Chef Stephen McHugh, who worked with John Besh on the Lüke team, also used pork in their paella. Pork belly, actually, which was mixed with crawfish. McHugh was grateful for second place considering it was the team’s first time to participate.

Third place went to Jhojans Priego of Villa Rica in Veracruz, Mexico.

Last year’s champion, Ben Ford of Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City, Calif., had planned on defending his title. But word had it that a bad case of food poisoning prevented him from showing.

Crowds enjoy the perfect weather as well as the excellent food.

What he missed was an imaginative array of paellas that used ingredients in wholly unexpected ways, said Leslie Horne of Aurelia’s Chorizo in Boerne. Truffles and foraged mushrooms as well as her chorizo were among the ingredients the throngs sampled in the various dishes served throughout the day.

“The imagination that went into all of these dishes was most impressive, to say the least,” Horne said. “They went the whole hog with Jeffrey’s.”

The most creative, in her opinion was a Thai green curry paella from Jeffrey Axell of the Grand Hyatt, 600 E. Market St. The dish was a way of showing off the restaurant’s new Asian fusion cuisine.

Ford may not have made the event, but other chefs from around the country did. A few included Kent Rathbun of Abacus in Dallas, Peter Holt of Houston’s Lupe Tortilla, Dale Miller of Sperry’s in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and Tim McCarty of the Mayo Foundation in Rochester, Minn., who was grateful for the balmy weather.

Paellas of all different flavors filled the event.

Local chefs who served up paellas to the hungry masses included Craig Bianco of RK Group, Brian West of the Hotel Contessa, Jason Dady of the Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills and others, and David Wirebaugh of the downtown Hyatt Regency.

Johnny Hernandez of La Gloria Ice House at the Pearl and True Flavors Catering organized the event, which benefits scholarship programs at the Culinary Institute of America’s San Antonio campus and the Education Foundation of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

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Bar Rojo’s Sansai Sushi Offers Japanese Fare with South American Flair

South American Japanese food?  The Grand Hyatt’s Executive Chef Jeffrey Axell explains the concept: “We did some research and discovered that Sansei are third-generation Japanese, born in South America, who take regional Latin American influences and ingredients and meld them with traditional Japanese sushi preparation techniques and culture.”

The menu at Bar Rojo, available in the evenings on Wednesday through Friday, offers maki, sashimi, and nigiri with Latin American ingredients like fresh jalapeños, mango, hearts of palm, and jicama.   One unusual maki, the Achiote Roll, is made with Yuzu Orange Snapper Ceviche, mango, daikon, and micro cilantro, topped with smoked jalapeño aioli.  Another unique combination is the Bar Rojo Roll, which is Jalapeño-Cilantro Spicy Tuna, jicama, cucumber, and flying fish roe, all topped with avocado cream.  Some of the regular fish selections include salmon, yellowfin tuna, yellowtail (Japanese Amberjack), and Kona Kampachi.  A signature soy sauce, Aji Rojo Satsuma, adds spice and citrus notes.

To complement the meal, they offer sakes such as Tu Ku and Momokawa Sake Pearl, as well as Japanese beers, Asahi Select and Kirin Ichiban.

Bar Rojo
Grand Hyatt
600 E. Market St.
San Antonio, TX 78205
Menu Hours: Wednesday – Friday, 5 – 9 p.m.

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