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Peruvian-Asian Flavors Coming to Botika at the Pearl


Chef Geronimo Lopez and Pearl have announced the opening of Botika, a new Peruvian-Asian restaurant. Featuring Chifa and Nikkei cuisine as well as inventive takes on classic dishes from Asia and Latin America, the restaurant will open this summer 2016 at the Pearl.

Geronimo Lopez

Geronimo Lopez

 “I am thrilled to open this new culinary gateway at the Pearl,” said Lopez. “Chifa and Nikkei were born during the waves of Chinese and Japanese immigration to Peru in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  The new arrivals improvised, combining Asian recipes with local ingredients and spices, creating entirely new and exciting flavor profiles I think San Antonio will love.”

 “We are excited for Chef Lopez to introduce this new, imaginative concept to Pearl and to San Antonio,” said Shelley Grieshaber, culinary director at Pearl. “This global cuisine will be an experience that the city has yet to try, and we are delighted that Botika will call Pearl home.”

 The restaurant will feature an open kitchen and a sushi-ceviche bar with counter seating, plus an inviting cocktail lounge area with vibrant ambience and a wide variety of rums, piscos, and cachaças. Late-night dining service will also be available.

Lopez was most recently the executive chef and instructor at The Culinary Institute of America in San Antonio, where he led the opening of the school’s NAO restaurant (now Nao Latin Gastro Bar).  Including his home country of Venezuela, Geronimo has led the kitchen at top restaurants and resorts in six countries over the past 20 years.  For more information on Botika, please visit botikapearl.com.

botika

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The Paella Challenge Returns to the Pearl on March 13


Paella Gaucho mussels CanterAre you ready for some paella?

The seventh annual Paella Challenge at the Pearl is fast approaching. It will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 13.

paella soul food half cropChefs from across the city and region as well as a few from across the country will gather to present their unique take on the dish. Some will be as classic as can be, others will feature outrageous combinations of ingredients designed to delight the palate and challenge the taster. High school culinary programs from the city will also be on hand to show what they’re learning while competing for honors.

Tickets are priced at $80.12 for those 21 or older and $27.37 for those under 21. Prices include all you can eat and drink. For tickets, click here.

If you’re not familiar with paella, it’s a Spanish dish that begins with garlic and olive oil and then builds layer upon layer of flavor. Most are made with rice, but pasta is not unheard of as the base. Then you use your choice of seafood, chicken, chorizo, meats and vegetables in flavorful combinations.

At the Paella Challenge, you’ll see chefs using large paella pans and cook stands created especially for the occasion. But you don’t need any special equipment. This recipe for French Paella, from Francoise Bernard’s “La Cuisine: Everyday French Home Cooking,” uses a casserole dish or Dutch oven that you can use on a stove top. That way, you can make some for your next special occasion.

Play with the ingredients and tailor them to suit your family’s tastes.

French Paella

1 pound mussels, scrubbed and debearded
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (3 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces
5 ounces boneless bottom round veal roast, cut into 1/2-inch dice
5 ounces boneless shoulder end pork loin, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 or 2 zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tomatoes, peeled seeded and coarsely chopped
3 1/2 ounces Spanish chorizo, sliced crosswise
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups rice for paella, such as Bomba or Calasparra (see note)
Pinch of saffron threads
1 cup fresh or frozen petit pois peas
1 can artichoke bottoms, drained and quartered
1 1/2 pounds langoustines or head-on prawns

Add the mussels to a large pot, cover and cook over high heat, stirring once or twice, just until they open, 3 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to a bowl and remove 1 shell from each. Pour the broth through a fine strainer lined with a moistened paper towel into a glass measuring cup.

paella traditionalIn a very large flame-proof casserole, melt the butter in the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, veal and pork and cook until nicely browned. Add the onions and bell pepper and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Stir in the zucchini, tomatoes, chorizo, garlic and reserved mussel broth. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes.

Add the rice saffron and enough water to barely cover the rice. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add the peas and artichokes and cook until the rice is tender and the water is absored, 10 to 20 minutes. Add the langoustines and mussels in the half shell just long enough to cook the langoustines. Transfer to a large serving dish or a large skillet and serve.

Serve sangria as an aperitif, but no hors d’oeuvre. After the paella, you can serve a salad if you like and a light dessert such as fruit or ice cream. For wine, pour a chilled rose or light red wine.

Note: Check specialty food outlets like www.gauchogourmet.com for paella rice.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

From “La Cuisine: Everyday French Home Cooking” by Francoise Bernard

paella food bank

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Tamales! Returns to the Historic Pearl This Saturday


Photo by Tracey Maurer

Photo by Tracey Maurer

The sixth annual Tamales! Holiday Festival returns to the Historic Pearl, 303 Pearl Parkway, in San Antonio this Saturday from noon to 6 p.m.

Guests will be able to savor the tastes, sounds, and sights of the holiday season and celebrations in the city.

The Tamales! Holiday Festival at Pearl has evolved into a regionally and nationally recognized celebration of San Antonio’s vibrant culture and cuisine associated with the holidays.

At this free event, more than 20 different tamale vendors will be showcased, ranging from traditional San Antonio classics to South American and everything in between. Culinary students, celebrated restaurants and venerated chefs will showcase a blend of innovative twists and classic techniques, all with the traditional Central American dish wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves and steamed, the tamale.

In addition to the food, there will also be live music and entertainment for the entire family. For more information, visit www.atpearl.com or follow the Pearl on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

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Supper Opens for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


The dining room at Supper in the Hotel Emma.

The dining room at Supper in the Hotel Emma.

Supper has opened at the Hotel Emma, the crowning jewel of the Historic Pearl Brewery.

Chef John Brand

Chef John Brand

The new restaurant at 136 E. Grayson St., is helmed by chef John Brand, who also serves as culinary director of the hotel, which should be most every food lover’s dream resort, whether you’re visiting for a meal or for the weekend.

“Supper marks the first Texas restaurant project for acclaimed design team Roman & Williams, recipients of the 2014 Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award,” a press release from the restaurant reads. “Lauded for a design aesthetic that embraces the historic quality at the very essence of the Hotel Emma project, the duo created an intimate setting that seamlessly combines historic and modern elements. At Supper, with its menu of fresh, green market cuisine that flirts flavorfully with many local and regional cultural inspirations, Roman and Williams’ glossed white interiors set a light-filled stage for an unpretentious meal. Roomy booths create a welcoming ambience and pendant lights bathe the dining room in a warm, happy glow.

Apple and parsnip soup.

Apple and parsnip soup.

“Supper will boast 96 indoor seats, a scenic patio that accommodates seating for 50, and a private dining room for intimate gatherings and events for parties of up to 24.”

A recent lunch there showed Brand, known to many for his work at Las Canarias and Ostra, to be in fine form. The meal started with spinach and ricotta gnudi, a dumpling that’s related to gnocchi. It was presented with fried capers and grilled pickled artichoke hearts.

A cup of apple and parsnip soup added a fall feeling that was pure comfort.

Main courses included a juicy burger, served medium well as ordered, with a colorful salad on the side, and roast chicken with mushrooms, cauliflower and a parsnip puree.

Dessert was all indulgence with a burnt sugar panna cotta topped with sweet potato sorbet, crumbled chocolate cake and sea salt.

In short, the lunch held forth the promise of great flavors to come.

Your menu may not be the same as what we were offered. It will change with the season and whatever is freshest, from seafood to soups to salads.

Brand’s also overseeing Sternewirth, the hotel’s extensive bar, and Larder, where you can get coffee, pastries and gourmet treats to go (look for the burnt marshmallow Rice Krispie treats).

Supper is open for breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m.; lunch, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and dinner, 5 to 10 p.m. For reservations, call (210) 448-8351.

For more information on Supper, click here. For more in the Hotel Emma, click here.

Spinach and ricotta gnudi

Spinach and ricotta gnudi

The burger with a side salad

The burger with a side salad

Roast chicken with mushrooms and cauliflower

Roast chicken with mushrooms and cauliflower

Members of the Supper kitchen staff at work

Members of the Supper kitchen staff at work

 

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Chefs Get Seasoned for ¡Destinación Chile! at the Omni Hotels


Making Chilean-style empanadas during a week of classes in the food and culture of Chile.

Making Chilean-style empanadas during a week of classes in the food and culture of Chile.

Each year, Omni Hotels shines a spotlight on a new cuisine. This year, the focus is on the foods of Chile, and it will be featured in a three-month promotion beginning in October.

Fine seafood is a standard of Chilean cuisine.

Fine seafood is a standard of Chilean cuisine.

To get ready for ¡Destinación Chile!, more than 60 chefs from around the country descended on San Antonio recently to work with two chefs from Chile as well as professionals from the Culinary Institute of America at the Historic Pearl.

As you can see from these photos, the week-long immersion resulted in some fine looking food, a foretaste of culinary treasures to come later this year. Both La Mansion del Rio and Mokara will be participating in the promotion.

I wasn’t there for the classes, but I have been to Chile, so I can tell you to expect some excellent empanadas as well as winning salads, fine seafood, tender and juicy beef, hearty potato dishes, maybe some exotic ice creams and some exceptional wines.

Chefs from Omni Hotels around the county learn the flavors of Chilean cuisine.

Chefs from Omni Hotels around the county learn the flavors of Chilean cuisine.

Diners at Omni Hotels will get to try the Chilean dishes for three months, starting in October.

Diners at Omni Hotels will get to try the Chilean dishes for three months, starting in October.

The Chilean immersion involved more than 60 chefs.

The Chilean immersion involved more than 60 chefs.

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Arcade Midtown Kitchen to Close on Sunday


Arcade Midtown Kitchen in the Historic Pearl, 303 Pearl Parkway, is closing Sunday.

Jesse Perez at Arcade Midtown Kitchen in the Historic Pearl.

Jesse Perez has opened Arcade Midtown Kitchen at the Pearl.

After over two successful years at the Historic Pearl in San Antonio, chef Jesse Perez has decided to close the restaurant to focus on culinary expansions including his newest endeavor, Oxido, which is in New York City.

“I’m incredibly thankful for all of the support Arcade Midtown Kitchen has received over the past couple of years. We’ve experienced great successes as a restaurant and I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family and diving into new business endeavors and adventures,” he says. “After 20 years of focusing my energies in the kitchen, I am interested in more entrepreneurial freedom to explore different concepts.”

Perez will continue to be a strong ambassador not only for the San Antonio Culinary Community, but also for Texas. In addition to his other endeavors, he remains committed to the Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Culinary Taskforce, which is working to bring recognition to San Antonio’s culinary scene, as well as Culinaria. He will also continue as an active partner in Oxido, a fast casual Mexican restaurant with modern influences, as they plan future expansion. 

“We at Oxido are excited and fully supportive for Chef Jesse for embracing new business ventures and opportunities to forge full steam ahead with his brilliant career,” says Daihwan Choi, CEO and co-founder of Oxido. “We congratulate Chef for all the success that he created and achieved with Arcade, and look forward to our continued partnership with Oxido here in New York City and beyond. “

Jesse Perez is closing Arcade Midtown Kitchen.

Jesse Perez is closing Arcade Midtown Kitchen.

The restaurant’s last day of operation is Sunday, and the meals leading up to the end will be filled with celebrations, including Arcade classics such as chile and lime calamari, chorizo mussels and lobster soft tacos. The Arcade burger will return for lunch and dinner. Drink specials will include barrel-aged cocktails as well as flight tastings Arcade’s bar menu. Wine specials by the glass or bottle will be available all week long.

Perez has spent more than 20 years in the kitchen. Prior to opening Arcade Midtown Kitchen in 2013, he earned numerous culinary accolades, including Top Latino Chef in 2009 by the Flavors of Passion Awards. Arcade Midtown Kitchen became one of Eater’s Top 40 new restaurants of 2013 San Antonio’s Best New Restaurant.

For more information on Oxido, Perez’s New AYork fast casual restaurant, which serves traditional Mexican food blended with modern influences, visit www.oxido.nyc.

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Brewing Up Fun at Southerleigh


The open kitchen at Southerleigh.

The open kitchen at Southerleigh.

Chef Jeff Balfour is dishing up his brand of Texas cross-cultural cuisine to Southerleigh Fine Food and Brewery, which is now open at 136 E. Grayson in the Pearl Brewery.

Southerleigh plans to offer numereous beers on tap in addition to the ones brewed in house.

Southerleigh plans to offer numereous beers on tap in addition to the ones brewed in house.

As of Thursday’s opening, Southerleigh is already considered to be the 10th largest brewpub in the country.

So you can sip on a Seawall Belgian Wheat or a Darwinian IPA while dining on Pecan-Crusted Flounder, Old School Stuffed Crab, Braised Oxtail Pie or Brick-Griddled Diamond H Quail with oyster stuffing.

Starters range from freshly made pretzels to shrimp bisque to a roasted beet salad, while desserts include a wood-oven baked apple pie and, because it’s the season, strawberry shortcake with buttermilk sorbet.

Southerleigh houses a custom-manufactured brewery designed by Portland Kettle Works. Brewer William Les Locke Jr. has ensured that the new brewery sets new standards in San Antonio’s evolving brewing scene. It has a 15-barrel brew house, six serving tanks, and an extensive firkin/wood barrel-aging program. Southerleigh plans to offer up to twenty different beers on tap, including three hand engine, which will be available in flights or by the glass, bottle or growler. Current offerings also include the light Parsel Smash; Conjunction Curry Porter, an English porter with flavors of mustard seed, turmeric, fenugreek, cumin, curry powders, and black pepper; and a coconut porter.

Spooning up Shrimp Bisque.

Spooning up Shrimp Bisque.

Austin-based architects Clayton & Little and interior designer Joel Mozersky of Austin’s Joel Mozersky Design have worked together to design the space, which honors Pearl’s historic brew house with refurbished designs while also reflecting Balfour’s coastal southern cuisine.

The 7,900-square-foot space boasts multiple dining options, including bar seating, patio seating, and a private dining room housed in one of the original grain silos that can seat up to twenty people. Additional private dining in the north dining room will hold seating up to seventy-five people, and Southerleigh will have the capacity to host parties up to two hundred people.

Southerleigh is now open daily from 6 to 11 p.m. for dinner with the bar opening at 5 p.m. and staying open until midnight. Lunch will be added in a few weeks. For more information, visit www.southerleigh.com.

Kasey McCullough is Southerleigh's lab tech.

Kasey McCullough is Southerleigh’s lab tech.

Oak Grilled Gulf Red Snapper over Shrimp and Pork Jowl Soubise.

Oak Grilled Gulf Red Snapper over Shrimp and Pork Jowl Soubise.

 

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Get a Sneak Peek of Southerleigh


Chef Jeff Balfour shows some of the beers at Southerleigh that are being barrel-aged.

Chef Jeff Balfour shows some of the beers at Southerleigh are being barrel-aged.

The beers are aging in their tanks and barrels. The brick oven has been set up in the kitchen, and test runs are in progress. The serving dishes have been delivered. The final steps are being put in place before Southerleigh opens at the Pearl Brewery.

southerleigh8The latest restaurant and brewery in the complex will be a showplace for Texas and Southern comfort food with a coastal influence, says chef Jeff Balfour, a Galveston native and fan of what the gulf has to offer. Plus, you can expect some foods, from mussels to pretzels, designed to pair with the beers on tap.

The exact opening date still isn’t certain, but Balfour is hopeful to have the certificate of occupancy by the beginning of the April. A preview party is being held March 29 as part of the closing festivities of San Antonio Beer Week.

In the meantime, the chef has been putting the finishing touches on his menu, while head brewer Les Locke gets his beers ready for the taps. In addition to the series of copper and stainless tanks, Locke is also aging some of his beers in pinot noir barrels from A to Z Wineworks, the winery in which Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich is a partner; others are in old bourbon or rum barrels.

Dishes for mussels and fries

Dishes for mussels and fries

There’s still plenty of work to be done, but major steps are being taken each day.

Out front, workers are making sure the garden space is ready for the first Sunday Pearl Farmers Market, which begins this weekend.

Inside Southerleigh, workers were just as busy. On Thursday, they hung a new chandelier made from pieces found in the original Pearl Brewery.

The designer didn’t want to overdo the old pieces but wanted to make sure that those used would stand out. They include a Pearl clock at the host’s stand by the door, roller conveyors over the open kitchen and the facades of the old brew tanks. They also include the original pillars, which are not being painted but being shown in their aged glory.

When it’s finished, Southerleigh’s main dining area will seat about 140, while extra space can be had in front of the open kitchen, in the bar and out on the patio. A private dining room for up to 15 will be housed in the silo out front.

For more information, click here.

A view of the Southerleigh dining area from above

A view of the Southerleigh dining area from above

Tanks in the afternoon light

Tanks in the afternoon light

New tanks behind the facade of the old

New tanks behind the facade of the old

Beer waiting to be tapped

Beer waiting to be tapped

The new chandelier

The new chandelier at Southerleigh

 

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