Tag Archive | "John Griffin"

Look for ‘Barbecue Lover’s Texas’ Now in Bookstores

East Texas barbecue, such as this three-meat plate from New Zion Missionary Baptist, is one of several styles of barbecue in Texas.

East Texas barbecue, such as this three-meat plate from New Zion Missionary Baptist, is one of several styles of barbecue in Texas.

It was tough work, but someone had to do it, just to make your lives a little easier. So, San Antonio authors and SavorSA co-owners John Griffin and Bonnie Walker spent a little over four months on the Texas barbecue trail last fall for publisher Globe Pequot Press.

Barbecue Lover's TexasThey sampled a lot of pit-smoked meats from the Panhandle to Brownsville, from El Paso to Port Arthur. They took hundreds of photos and put thousands of miles on their cars, all to write “Barbecue Lover’s Texas” (Globe Pequot Press, $21.95), a guide to some of the state’s most popular and beloved food.

Along the way they found restaurants and food trucks, converted gas stations, plate lunches sold from residential yards and even a church-run operation — all offering Texas’ great brisket, ribs, sausages, sandwiches, side dishes and more.

In “Barbecue Lover’s Texas,” which is officially released Aug. 19, you’ll read about the people they met, hard-working folks with histories to tell about what they do and how they do it, people who taught themselves and folks carrying on traditions handed down through generations.

Also, the book differentiates areas of Texas and how the concept of what exactly is considered “barbecue” changes from region to region and sometimes by ethnicity.

Lovers of Texas barbecue can find the book in stores now. SavorSA will also post book signings and more over the next months.

Indulge your inner carnivore with this mouthwatering tour of Texas.

Indulge your inner carnivore with this mouthwatering tour of Texas.

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‘Food Lover’s Guide to SA’ Sale, Signing at Godai Friday

It’s only right to hold a (food) book signing among the delectable scents, smack in the center of the noise and bustle of a popular restaurant.

So, thanks to our friend and sushi guru, William “Goro” Pitchford, this signing of our new “Food Lover’s Guide to San Anotnio” will happen this Friday, from roughly 6-9 p.m. at Godai Sushi Bar and Japanese Restaurant, 11203 West Ave.

This 400-page book covers San Antonio, area by area, listing our favorite restaurants and markets, places to learn to cook, local events and festivals foodies love, as well as recipes from top local chefs and more.

Authors John Griffin and Bonnie Walker look forward to hustling copies of our books, of course, but also to see friends, followers of the SavorSA website and Twitter, and anyone else who just wants to show up and say ‘hello’. And, perhaps sit down and order dinner at one of the city’s most popular sushi bars.

If you were given or purchased a book that hasn’t been signed, bring it by and we’ll be happy to sign it for you.

The next book signing will be at the Quarry Farmers & Ranchers Market in the Whole Foods parking area at the Quarry, on Nov. 4.

This is the market’s 2nd Annual Holiday Unwrapping, featuring both edible and non-edible gift ideas, holiday menu inspirations and traditions. Nearly 30 market members will showcase, sample, sell and accept orders for the holidays. Among the special seasonal items: All-natural skin care products, cranberry salsa, pâté de Campagne, pumpkin spice French macarons, smoked King salmon, vegan and gluten-free pies, gift boxes of grass-fed beef steaks, local pecans, orchids and specialty plants and a full turkey dinner with all the trimmings and sides.

We’ll soon post an update for the Quarry market signing, as well as a full list of the sellers and treats available during the Holiday Unwrapping.

Other signings: Look for “Food Lover’s Guide to San Antonio” in other locations coming up next month and early December. We humbly believe “Food Lovers” makes the perfect (and very affordable!) gift for San Antonio foodies.


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SavorSA a ‘Must Read’ Blog: San Antonio Magazine’s Insider’s Guide

SavorSA is one of three local blogs deemed “must read” in the new August/Newcomer’s Guide edition of San Antonio Magazine.

The latest issue of San Antonio Magazine, a trove of info for newcomers to our city.

Thank you and muchas gracias! We humbly and gratefully accept this recognition. And, we thank our readers who help keep us on track and being our extra eyes and ears (and taste buds!) in the community.

We are also honored to be named along with our colleagues and friends, Rene Guzman (Geek Speak) and Debi Pfitzenmaier (SABusyKids).

Here’s what San Antonio Magazine says:

For foodies

Billing itself as a “one-stop center for all things related to food and wine,” it showcases the blogs of its founders, John Griffin and Bonnie Walker. Serious eaters and casual diners can get an interesting take on the city’s food scene.

They write: “The Grilled Cheese Sandwich at The Monterey, however, was purely an adult pleasure: stacked and tall, toasty and dripping with cheese and inviting you to smash your face in.”

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We Missed You!

Technical difficulties have plagued us for the past month, but we are happy to welcome readers back to SavorSA.

John Griffin and Bonnie Walker will be bringing you more restaurant news and reviews, events, food news, tips and recipes. Look for some new features and promotions in the weeks to come, too.

Please contact us at and, and let us know what you most would love to see on the website in the weeks and months coming up.

Thanks for reading, and please pass the word about on to your friends and fellow foodies.

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Daily Dish: Folklife Festival Starts Friday

Texas Folklife Festival Logo 2009It’s a food lover’s fantasy: Dishes from around the world are suddenly at your fingertips. You don’t have to go to the Philippines for lumpia or Belgium for mussels in white wine.

That’s right, the 38th annual Texas Folklife Festival is back. It gets underway Friday at the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus, 851 Durango Blvd., and continues through Sunday.

The three-day event will feature food booths from about three dozen cultures this year, including several newcomers representing Korea, Guam and Pakistan. You can sample shrimp chips from the Chinese Community Council, a baklava sundae from St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church, tamales peruanos from the Peruvian Club Social, and pickled watermelon rinds from the Texas Wendish Heritage Society.

There will also be live music, dancing and global color to enjoy while getting your fill of everything to eat.

For a full menu, visit and click on “On the Menu.” The Web site also offers everything from ticket prices to a map on how to get there.

Nicholas Mistry and I plan on being there Friday evening to blog live from the event. So, look on for photos and a first taste of this year’s Folklife Festival.

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Griffin to Go: Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

dsc02193It seems fitting somehow that my copy of M.F.K. Fisher’s “How to Cook a Wolf” is remaindered, the publishing world’s term for overstock, which is usually marked by a black slash across the bottom page edges to alert those who care about such things that I didn’t pay full price.

I didn’t pay attention to what the book was about when I bought it. I picked it up because Fisher is one of the all-time great food writers and anything of hers is likely to be pure pleasure to read.

Yet I seemed to be waiting for the right time to read it. So, it lingered for the past two years on my too-tall to-read stack.

It was only after I was laid off in March that I picked it up and discovered my timing could not have been more perfect.

That’s because the wolf she refers to is the one that howls outside the door of those in need.

In her case, she was writing about the world of rations and shortages that accompanied the second world war. The same attitude of living frugally, though, applies to many of us today in pinched circumstances.

Fisher didn’t let the war stop her. As she wrote, “All men are hungry. They always have been. They must eat, and when they deny themselves the pleasures of carrying out that need, they are cutting off part of their possible fullness,  their natural realization of life, whether they are poor or rich.”

She devised a series of recipes that stretches the food budget to the point of snapping. Knowing how to boil water leads to the creation of soup. From there you can build to eggs and dishes beyond your tastiest dreams. She even offers some recipes for homemade liquor, because  many would not want to go without that completely, either.

Sprinkled liberally throughout the book are tidbits of the opinionated cooking advice that Fisher is known for. Some of suggestions I wouldn’t follow, yet I enjoyed savoring her every word:

  • “One thing to remember about cooking any fowl, whether wild or domesticated, is that a good scrub with a cut lemon, never water, will make it tenderer and will seal in its flavors.”
  • “Of course, the best gravy is one quite innocent of flour, in spite of what your grandmother would say. It is made by swirling a little boiling stock or water into the rich odorous pan as soon as the roast is removed. It is boiled for a scant five minutes, skimmed slightly, thickened with a little fresh butter, and strained into a hot sauceboat.”
  • “A rolled roast seems more economical at first sight, because you do not buy the rib bones. But you must remember that bones are conductors of heat and make meat cook about six minutes faster to the pound, thus cutting down on the fuel bill …”
  • “Probably the wisest way to treat an egg is not to cook it at all. An accomplished barfly will prove to you that a Prairie Oyster is one of the quickest pickups known to man, and whether you are hungover or merely tired, a raw egg beaten with a little milk or sherry can you feel much more able to cope with yourself, and shortly too. ” (I guess salmonella scares were not so common in 1942.)

Her conclusion was a tonic for her times — and ours: “Now and then it cannot harm you … to enjoy a short respite from reality. And if by chance you can indeed find some anchovies, or a thick slice of rare beef and some brandy, or a bowl of pink curled shrimps, you are doubly bleed, to possess in this troubled life both the capacity and the wherewithal to forget it for a time.”

To do that, I have shaved many items off my must-have list — in addition to reading books I already own, that is. I don’t pour the expensive extra-virgin olive oil quite so lavishly any more. I share bulk packages with fellow unemployed friends, which means less food will go to waste. Potlucks are certainly less expensive than having people over for dinner — and you still get to share their company, which is what entertaining is all about.

I’ve started focusing on foods in season, which really are much cheaper and taste much better.

Most of all, I pay more attention to the foods I grow in my own backyard, from herbs to tomatoes to figs, because they taste far fresher and, consequently, far better than anything I could get even at a farmers market. Try a tomato and basil salad with your own homegrown ingredients, and you’ll see. You don’t even need olive oil with it. Only a dash of salt and some freshly ground black pepper.

An anchovy on the side would certainly be a nice complement. They’re still affordable and a great way to thumb your nose at wolves or whoever else may be at your door.

Need any more lessons from Fisher? “How to Cook a Wolf” is still in print.

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What’s Hot: Bare Fruit Cinnamon Apple Chips


Bare Fruit Cinnamon Apple Chips

Looking for a snack that’s a bit different, healthy and yet tastes great? Then 100 percent organic, “bake-dried” Cinnamon Apple Chips from Bare Fruit just might be what you’re looking for.

No sugar or preservatives are used in this gluten-free snack, just organic apples and organic cinnamon. That’s it. A 14-ounce bag is said to contain “30 apples” in it, according to the label.

The texture is crispier than you would expect from merely dehydrated fruit. And both the apples and the cinnamon offer a natural sweetness that’s so strong you won’t miss the sugar.

A chewiness will be off-putting to those who like their foods more processed, and you’re likely to find the occasional bit of apple core in a chip or two.

You could add these to cereal or to salads with a sweeter edge. Or just toss them with pecans.

Bare Fruit also makes “bake-dried” cherries and pears among other items, according to the company’s Web site, We found only the Cinnamon Apple Chips at Costco, where the 14-ounce bag sold for $5.99.

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