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At New Quarry Market, You Can Have Your Goat Two Ways


Mark Rodriguez (right) talks with customers about his Alamo City Pepper Products.

Sunday marked the grand opening of the Quarry Farmers and Ranchers Market. And it was indeed grand, with Mayor Julián Castro dropping by to mark the official opening. But the main attraction for many, and not just the younger set, was the pen Springfield Farms set up with baby goats that were glad to be fed and petted. A pair of hens was also on display, but they couldn’t compete with the goats for attention.

Oh, yeah, there were also fresh peaches, heirloom and conventional tomatoes, Indian cucumbers, kohlrabi, beans, blackberries, leeks and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables from nearby farms as well as baked goods, including some gluten-free, locally harvest honey, fresh cheeses and granola. One of the market’s organizers, David Lent, was handing out samples of organic watermelon.

Mark Rodriguez of Alamo City Pepper Products was sampling his series of seasonings, which included a powdered version of the Indian ghost pepper. Even a touch on the tip of a toothpick was enough to set one’s tongue on fire. Far milder but no less flavorful were the Jalapeño Salt, Honey Chipotle and Hatch Green Chile Salt.

A baby goat waits for a treat.

Koch Ranches offered grass-fed kebabs, hot dogs and sliders, including some made from ground cabrito, which proved to be the big seller of the morning. Did anybody make the connection between the cabrito on the bun and cabritos in the pen? Did anybody care?

They were more interested in checking out the varieties of squash on display, including calabaza, zucchini, yellow and pattypan, which one vendor said she liked to fix simply by sautéing it with salt, pepper and a little olive oil.

The lineup of farmers, ranchers and culinary artisans included Cowgirl Granola, Edelen Farm, Engel Farms, From Deborah’s Garden, Good Gluten-Free Foods, Humble House Foods, Koch Ranches, Markley Family Farm, My Father’s Farm, Nature’s Select, Orange Blossom Farm, Patty’s Petals, Sol y Luna Baking Co., Springfield Farm, The Gardener’s Feast, The Lemonade Co. and Zamudio Farm.

The market runs each Sunday from 8 a.m. to noon.

Indian cucumbers

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¡Por Vida! — Helping You Eat Healthier, So You Can Live Better


By Chris Dunn

¡Por Vida!

That’s the name of a new program designed to help diners make healthier choices at San Antonio area restaurants.

It was recently launched by The Healthy Restaurants Coalition, a partnership among the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, the San Antonio Restaurant Association, the San Antonio Dietetics Association, the Mayor’s Fitness Council, and interested people in the community.

The coalition hopes to promote healthier food choices in restaurants and better nutrition within the community by identifying those menu items that meet nutritional guidelines developed by The Healthy Restaurants Coalition.

Participating restaurants will display the red and yellow “¡Por Vida!” logo (a yellow fork and spoon intertwined in the shape of a heart on a red background) beside the qualifying menu items.  Detailed nutritional information will also be available on request.

During a conference announcing the program, Dr. Fernando Guerra, director of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, pointed to the “tragic trends” of obesity and diabetes especially among children in our community.  He stressed the importance of reaching young children at “a critical stage of development,” citing statistics that, without intervention, 30  to 40 percent of them will be obese by grades 3 or 4.

San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro singled out the unique, cooperative spirit that exists among the participating organizations. “Healthier eating is recognized as a community responsibility,” he said, adding. “Here, restaurants are proactive.”

Charter participating restaurants include McDonald’s, Pico de Gallo, Jim’s Restaurants, Delicious Tamales, Fish City Grill, Carino’s Italian Restaurants and the RK Catering Group.

Professional dietitians worked with each participant to identify or create entrées and side dishes that meet nutritional standards developed by the Healthy Restaurants Coalition. No more than 700 calories, 23 grams total fat, 8 grams saturated fat, 0.5 gram transfat, and 750 milligrams sodium will be in an adult entrée and two side items.  Children’s nutritional standards have also been developed.

A number of local dignitaries praised the program’s goals.

Ruben Cortez, president of the San Antonio Restaurant Association, said, “San Antonio has our commitment.” But he added that, though “market forces are key” for ¡Por Vida! to be successful, the consumer will ultimately determine the success of the program.

Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said that, along with making healthy choices in what people eat, they must also exercise.  “We need to tie the two together,” he said.

Rayna Wooten, president of the San Antonio Dietetics Association, noted that “San Antonio is in the battle for its life” against obesity and diabetes, while State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte said the biggest problem our community faces is “what’s on our dinner plate.”

Chris Dunn is a contributor to SavorSA and an organizer of ¡Por Vida!

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Culinary Institute Opens With Music, Confetti and Great Eats


CIA president Tim Ryan (left) and Pearl Brewery owner Kit Goldsbury celebrate the opening of the new San Antonio culinary facility.

Urban 15 performs before the ribbon-cutting.

The celebration at the Pearl Brewery Saturday was pure San Antonio. The smoky scent of pit barbecue made everyone think of food, while the music, dancers, a festive crowd and even confetti made up the rest of the picture.

Hundreds of San Antonians gathered for the official opening and offered an enthusiastic welcome to the Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio.

The school is quickly becoming “the artistic, the cultural and the intellectual center of San Antonio,” Mayor Julián Castro said. “We’re sizzling right now and this is a great component of it,” with a good deal more to come.

The development of a culinary school at the Pearl Brewery started several years ago when local developer Kit Goldsbury and his business, Silver Ventures, purchased the vacated historic property that encompasses some 22 acres. Goldsbury’s partnering with the CIA was at the epicenter of his vision for the property.

Kit Goldsbury (right) and Mayon Julian Castro pose for a picture while CIA president Tim Ryan (left) and David Kellaway, managing director of the CIA's San Antonio campus, look on.

Goldsbury, clad in his trademark jeans, with a ball cap on his head, was audibly moved as he took the podium on stage. “I thought I was going to cry up there,” he said after the ribbon-cutting.  But he was smiling while he said it. “It’s been quite a journey.”

“It’s a great day,” said Ken Halliday, Silver Ventures’ CEO. “It’s a dream come true … But the most exciting thing is looking around and seeing the whole community turn out to share it.”

Hundreds of San Antonians and guests came to celebrate the CIA opening.

Goldsbury and CIA president Tim Ryan performed the ribbon-cutting ceremony on a long string of red jalapeño peppers to the sound of a loud blast followed by a shower of colorful confetti which  rained down on them. The Urban 15 dance group began the ceremony by leading a parade of CIA graduates in white coats and toques through the stage area.

Ryan credited Goldsbury’s dream, or El Sueño, as it has come to be called, with making the school a reality. But the work is only just beginning.

In today’s cities, Latin workers make up anywhere from 25 to 75 percent of the workforce, yet few of those are owners or chefs, Ryan said. Bringing them through the CIA, under Goldsbury’s scholarship program, will help change that.

At the same time, the San Antonio campus will help “elevate Latin American cuisines to its rightful place with the top cuisines of the world,” he added.

The recent Latin Flavors, American Kitchens symposium stressed that by bringing in chefs from Chile, Brazil, Mexico, and Guadeloupe alongside celebrity chefs, such as Rick Bayless and Mark Miller, to explore traditional Latin cooking techniques and exciting flavors

Rick Bayless' pit-roasted Pork Pibil was hand-shredded and tucked into tacos with pickled red onion.

When the official ceremony ended, lines formed for the tender tacos of spicy Pork Pibil and pickled red onions, a specialty of the Yucatan area of Mexico. The pork, in a marinade of achiote and blood orange juice, was pit roasted all night.

There were also lines for Brazilian churrasco-style meats, including a fire-roasted lamb, as well as Mexican-style black beans from Francisco Javier Cárdenas, ceviche from Cuban-born chef Maricel Presilla and wild mushrooms sautéed with a touch of the Chilean spice, merkén, from Santiago’s Christán Correa.

Visiting chef Francisco Javier Cárdenas from San Miguel de Allende serves up his special Mexican black beans.

Local restaurants also got into the act, with the RK Group offering huitlacoche-stuffed tortillas and Las Ramblas offering lobster chorizo and pickled squid. CIA graduate Johnny Hernandez also offered some treats from his restaurant, La Gloria, which is also located on the Pearl Brewery campus.

One of the biggest treats for the throngs that showed up was a free cooking demonstration from Bayless, author of numerous cookbooks on Mexican cooking and star of the TV series, “Mexico — One Plate at a Time.” Folks packed the tent in which he cooked and then waited patiently as he signed copies of his cookbooks.

But it seemed to be the world of tastes that people enjoyed most. And that’s what the new CIA, San Antonio campus promises to provide for many years to come.

Photographs by John Griffin and Bonnie Walker

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Last-Minute Reminder: Aldaco on ‘Good Morning America’


Blanca Aldaco of Aldaco’s is set to be among a number of San Antonians on ABC’s “Good Morning America” at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday.

She will be joined by Mayor Julian Castro, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and others for the unveiling of a Times Square window that honors the city. The window, part of the show’s Holiday Windows series, was designed by Jill Giles, who also created the recently opened Bohanan’s Bar at 219 E. Houston St.

The window’s theme is Pride, Passion and Piñatas.

On Tuesday evening, Aldaco spread some San Antonian cheer in the form of her signature margaritas at a Mexican bistro near the theater district called Toloache, which refers to “an herb for lovers,” she said.

“It was a fantastic evening,” Aldaco said in a message on Facebook. “The CVB hosted an amazing, tasty event reflecting the food of S.A., female mariachi and my margaritas.”

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Healthier Kids’ Menu at Pico de Gallo


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Kathy Shields, Chronic Disease Manager, SA Metropolitan Health District

By Chris Dunn
Special to SavorSA

Pico de Gallo, 111 S. Leona St., has announced its commitment to improving the health of the children of San Antonio by introducing a new children’s menu that focuses on “lighter, healthier, and appropriately-sized options.”

Supporters in attendance at Thursday’s unveiling included Dr. Fernando Guerra, director of Health at Metro Health; San Antonio Restaurant Association president Lita Salazar; Dion Turner, president of the San Antonio Dietetic Association; San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro; Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson; and State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, District 26.

Pico de Gallo’s owners and staff worked for the past six months with the Healthy Restaurants Coalition, led by Metro Health in partnership with SARA, local dietitians, health educators, and other interested participants, to develop a menu that features 20 healthy items, including entrées, side dishes, desserts, and drinks that have less than 5 grams of fat and no more than 10 grams of added sugar.

“I am proud to be on the forefront of this effort and look to my industry peers to join us,” said Ruben Cortez, whose family owns Pico de Gallo.

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Sen. Van de Putte, the Mayor, and Ruben Cortez

On the menu, a cartoon rooster, Little Pequín, points children to the healthy choices. Items include entrées, such as Grilled Chicken Tenders and Beef or Chicken Soft Tacos, side items, such as Spanish rice and carrots or green beans, and desserts, such as fruit cup and apple sauce.

Van de Putte emphasized the importance and urgency of this initiative:  “An entire generation will be burdened by chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure before they even reach 18 unless we take action now.”

Adkisson noted that the incidence of diabetes in San Antonio is twice the national average and, in addition to individual pain and suffering, costs the county $100 million a year.

Castro pointed out the potential benefits that can come from this kind of cooperative effort. “When entities are willing to work together for the greater good, tremendous things happen,” he said.

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