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Tag Archive | "San Antonio food trucks"

The 4th Annual Spring Fling Is Set for Boardwalk on Bulverde


Boardwalk on Bulverde will host its fourth annual Spring Fling May 22-24. Sponsored by Miller Lite, this family-friendly food festival is free and open to the public.

boardwalkThroughout the weekend, Boardwalk on Bulverde will feature a variety of food trucks serving food from all over the world. Trucks include Treats on Streets, Gracie’s Kitchen, G. Bros. Chicago Style Pizza, Gilbo’s Grill, and the first food truck built by Cruising Kitchens, Wheelie Gourmet. Adults can cool off with ice cold Miller Lite products.

On Friday, May 22, the entertainment will be provided by DJ Quake, while The Kerosene Drifters will bring live music to the evening of Saturday, May 23.

Boardwalk on Bulverde is San Antonio’s first food truck park, located at 14732 Bulverde Road, approximately 2 miles south of Loop 1604. The recently remodeled venue features a
playscape for kids, a mobile school bus arcade, washers and a basketball hoop. During Memorial Day weekend, a moon bounce for the kids and a mechanical bull will provide
fun for the entire family.

A portion of the proceeds from the Spring Fling will benefit the Monarch Academy at Morgan’s Wonderland. The Monarch Academy was created to provide students with special needs a unique learning environment so they will reach their maximum individual potential.

Hours for the Spring Fling are 6 to 11 p.m. May 22, noon to 11 p.m. May 23 and noon to 8 p.m. May 24.

For more information, visit www.boardwalkonbulverde.com or cal 210-402-2829.

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Brian West Sends Up Smoke Signals; SpiceSea Gourmet Moves On


A few years back, I ran into chef Brian West at Boardwalk on Bulverde during a festival featuring food trucks from all over the region. It was a hot afternoon, but that wasn’t stopping the crowds from lining up in front of their favorites. The queue was particularly long in front of Davila’s BBQ, visiting from Seguin, proving once again that barbecue, especially in Texas, has an appeal that transcends the venue in which its presented.

It could be a food truck, a sit-down restaurant, a roadside stand or even inside the main Whole Foods in Austin. It doesn’t matter. We’ll eat it.

smoke1That day, however, West was hoping for a little more cutting edge food from the trucks. Pork belly, maybe, he said.

What he didn’t know then was that Davila’s was serving pork belly tacos that day. They just weren’t on the written menu.

West also didn’t realize then that he would one day be running his own barbecue food truck.

Smoke the food truck is coming, and West is going to be offering a few of those cutting edge items he wanted along with the traditional items you expect.

Brisket, pulled pork, Dr Pepper pork ribs, Shiner Bock-brined turkey and house-made bratwurst will all be available by the pound while you can also order Frito pie, guava-glazed crispy pig tails, braised pork belly with apple butter and poutine-style tater tots. Beer-can chicken, brisket sloppy joes on handmade bread and fried catfish will also be on the menu.

West’s barbecue bona fides include teaching it at the Culinary Institute of America during his tenure as an instructor. He also wrote a history of Texas barbecue for Bonnie Walker’s and my book, “Barbecue Lover’s Texas.”

You can try Smoke two different ways: It will be a food truck and it will also be a restaurant at 700 E. Sonterra Blvd., which is a little more than a mile from West’s old restaurant, Cafe Mariposa/Cafe Paladar.

For more information, visit www.smokethetruck.com

Celebrate St. Pat’s at Boardwalk on Bulverde

Boardwalk on Bulverde

Boardwalk on Bulverde

Smoke is planning to be at Boardwalk on Bulverde, 14732 Bulverde Road, during the fourth annual Feast of St. Patrick on March 13-15. Sponsored by George Killian’s, the event is free and open to the public.

Throughout the weekend, Boardwalk on Bulverde will feature a variety of food trucks serving food from all over the world. From Cajun cuisine to Vietnamese and seafood, you’ll find something to satisfy every taste. Trucks include Treats on Streets, Gracie’s Kitchen, Vietnamese Cuisine, Smoke, Kitchen Cabin, Gilbo’s Grill, Mr. Fish and the first food truck built by Cruising Kitchens, Wheelie Gourmet. Adults can get into the St. Patrick’s day spirit by enjoying George Killian’s Irish Red during the Feast.

March 13 entertainment will be provided by DJ Quake, while The Kerosene Drifters will bring live music to Saturday night.

Boardwalk on Bulverde is San Antonio’s first food truck park. Newly remodeled, it features a playscape for kids, a mobile school bus arcade, washers and a basketball hoop.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Susan G. Komen San Antonio. While at the Boardwalk on Bulverde, attendees can register for Race for the Cure, which will take place at the Alamodome on April 11.

The event will run Friday, March 13, from 6 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, March 14, from noon to 10 p.m.; and Sunday, March 15, from noon to 8 p.m. For more information about Boardwalk on Bulverde can be found online at www.boardwalkonbulverde.com or by calling 210-402-2829.

Beer Week at Random

Random Beer Garden, 11 Upper Cibolo Road, Boerne, is jumping on the San Antonio Beer Week bandwagon. The annual celebration runs March 21-28, and Random’s part includes tap takovers on the bookending Saturdays.

On March 21, the lineup will feature Boerne Brewery and two from Austin: Infamous and Uncle Billy’s. On March 28, try beers from Independence (Austin); Wild Bunch (LaGrange) and Pedernales (Fredericksburg).

One of the trucks featured on March 21 will be Chef Bully, the new venture from Cibolo chef David “Bully” Page, a winner on TV’s “Frankenfood.”

spiceseaSpiceSea Gourmet moves on

The SpiceSea Gourmet is moving down the road. The well-loved food truck will serve its last meal in Texas at the Point Park and Eats, 24188 Boerne Stage Road, this Friday evening. Sorry to see this one go.

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Keep on Food Truckin’


Messina Hof was one Texas winery pouring at Culinaria's food truck event.

Messina Hof was one Texas winery pouring at Culinaria’s food truck event.

A ham crepe filled with rosemary-scented Israeli couscous. A BLT crowned with a deep-fried soft shell crab. Beignets hot out of the fryer with a generous dusting of powdered sugar on top.

The line at Say.She.Ate waits patiently to eat.

The line at Say.She.Ate waits patiently to eat.

These were but three of the delectable treats people could sample during Culinaria’s third annual food truck event, which was held Thursday evening in the parking lot of the Alon Market off Northwest Military Highway. The event is part of this year’s Festival Week, which continues through Sunday.

A large crowd of people of all ages could be found strolling from truck to truck or from table to table in order to sample wines from Texas, California, Oregon, Italy, Portugal and other corners of the world. H-E-B also offered samples of charcuterie, fresh fruit, guacamole and more to pair with their wines.

There were plenty of activities for children, too, but the trucks were the main feature of the evening, as people stood in lengthy lines to try dishes such as the duck fat fries from Say.She.Ate and the duck confit tacos from Duk Truck.

Want sriracha in your Whoopie Pie?

Want sriracha in your Whoopie Pie?

SpiceSea Gourmet, Cheezy Jane’s, Crazy Carl’s, Slider Provider, YAO, Bite Street Bistro, Where Y’At, Crepe Nation, Rickshaw Stop, Stout’s Pizza, Dixieland BBQ, K Hill BBQ Company and Saweet Cupcakes were among the other trucks vying for people’s attention. The Whoopie Pie truck handed out samples of its sriracha-laced desserts.

A breeze made the temperate day even more enjoyable, aided by a refreshing beer or samples of well-chilled white wine, such as the Vermentino from Bending Branch Winery in Comfort  or the Chardonnay from Oregon’s A to Z Wineworks (also known as Gregg Popovich’s winery).

Culinaria continues Friday at 7 p.m. with the Best of Mexico at the Shops at La Cantera, 15900 La Cantera Parkway. For more information on this year’s festival, click here

Bite Street Bistro offers a soft-shell crab BLT.

Bite Street Bistro offers a soft-shell crab BLT.

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Two Cajun Food Trucks in Transition


Want to buy a food truck?

Pieter Sypesteyn of Where Y'At

Pieter Sypesteyn of Where Y’At

A couple of the Cajun trucks currently feeding the San Antonio area are for sale.

Pieter Sypesteyn is selling his current Where Y’At truck, but not his business. He has announced that he’s getting a new truck. He still plans to sell his New Orleans-inspired creations, including his oh-so-sweet beignets and, come spring, crawfish.

He posted the following on Facebook: “Where Yat Food Truck is FOR SALE!!! Don’t worry, I’m not selling the business, just the truck. If you are interested in opening a food truck of your own, this is the opportunity of a lifetime. Financing is available on this custom truck built by Texas’ best food truck builders, Cruising Kitchens. They can tailor it to fit your specifications. The truck is up for sale or lease, and is ready to work. Please call, text, or email for more details. Thanks. Pieter. 210-420-0090.”

Fat Bellies is the other Cajun truck that’s for sale. A Facebook posting on Tuesday said the truck was for sale and the business was closing, but the truck’s Facebook page had disappeared on Wednesday. If it’s true, Earl Styles, we’ll miss your cooking.

 

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Slider Provider, Pork U Take Top Chili Prizes


Chili judge Shawn Gordon (left) waits for a beer at the Point Park and Eats.

Chili judge Shawn Gordon (left) waits for a beer at the Point Park and Eats.

Most of the past week has been perfect chili weather, drizzly and cold. But for Saturday’s chili cook-off at the Point Park and Eats, Mother Nature decided to provide a perfect day. Thermometer readings were in the 80s as the panel of judges gathered to taste the various bowls of red that had been cooked up for the day’s event.

One of the entries after the judges had their taste.

One of the entries after the judges had their taste.

Judges included Jason Ard from Branchline Brewing Co., Chili Queens Ana Fernandez and Jenn Villanueva from the Institute of Chili (their chili had been named best in the county last fall by Food & Wine magazine), Katy Baez and Shawn Gordon of Keep It Local Team, Jessica Elizarraras of the Current, and myself. When we had finished tasting the entries in the early afternoon, Slider Provider had come out on top with its dense bowl of meat and spices.

The public had a little longer to make up their minds, and when their votes were tallied, Pork U took the prize for people’s choice.

Chocolates from Chocollazo

Chocolates from Chocollazo

The real winners were the folks who took advantage of the unseasonably fine weather and sampled their way through more than the chilis. There were also fine foods from  trucks such as Dixieland BBQ, Ritts Twisted Brisket and Rickshaw Stop, while Chocollazo offers fondue and truffles to finish off the meal. Karbach Brewing Co. handed out beer samples, while a DJ handled the tunes.

I don’t know who Denise Aguirre and Noel Cisneros, owners of the Point, paid for such a day, but it was worth every cent.

Three judges: Jessica Elizarraras (from left), Ana Fernandez and Jenn Villanueva.

Three judges: Jessica Elizarraras (from left), Ana Fernandez and Jenn Villanueva.

 

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Coming Up: Food Bank’s Harvest of Hope, Boiler House, More


Harvest of Hope,  Sept. 15

Hosted at the Westin La Cantera Resort, Harvest of Hope is a tasting event that benefits the San Antonio Food Bank. September is Hunger Action Month, and you can check out many ways to help those who are in need of food for themselves and families. Click here.

At Harvest of Hope, guests are invited to sample signature dishes prepared by San Antonio’s finest chefs, restaurants, hotels and catering companies, while listening to live music and bidding on fabulous silent auction items.

To purchase tickets for $100 or to sponsor a table, please contact Jennifer Carter, special events coordinator, at (210) 431-8309 or jcarter@safoodbank.org.

One Lucky Duck sign

One Lucky Duck Juice Bar and Takeaway Now Open at Pearl

The first franchise of One Lucky Duck Juice Bar and Takeaway outside of New York City has opened in San Antonio. One Lucky Duck offers fresh and premade juices, shakes, and salads, in addition to various other chef-driven menu items from Pure Food and Wine in NYC.

Some of the healthful, delicious options at One Lucky Duck include vegan cookies and macaroons, granola, and nut bars, as well as to three- and five-day cleansing options. Stop by and explore the newest addition to the Pearl culinary scene. Hours are 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sunday. They are at 303 Pearl Parkway. 210-223-DUCK (3825).

Be There: Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden Fall Preview Wine Event

wine bottleBoiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden is introducing fall and seasonal wines with a Fall Wine Preview Event. On Sept. 9, come and taste 20 wines including reds, whites and bubbles, from the Discoveries and Selections portfolio specifically blended for Lasco Enterprises, the parent company of Boiler House.

Featured wines include Guard Shack Zinfandel, Retrospect Cabernet and Meritage and Max and Jacques Pinot Noir.

Chef Jeff White will pair the wines with Texas-Ranch style tapas highlighting the restaurant’s signature breads and spreads as well as gourmet sliders including Green Chili Pork with green goddess slaw; Prime Rib with horseradish crème fraiche; and BBQ Short Rib with house-made pickles and lemon aioli. 210.354.4644

Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden is at 312 Pearl Parkway. To come to this Sunday, Sept. 8 event, 2-6 p.m, is $45 per person, not including tax or tip.

Reserve your seat by calling the Boiler House directly at 210.354.4644.

Kevin Sousa, Pittsburgh restaurateur

Kevin Sousa, Pittsburgh restaurateur

 

The Granary ‘Cue & Brew at Pearl, Kevin Sousa — Guest Chef Collaborative Dinner

The Granary ‘Cue & Brew at the Pearl announces their next Guest Chef Collaborative dinner. The dinner, Monday, Sept. 9, will be star James Beard nominee and chef, Kevin Sousa from Pittsburgh, Penn. Sousa’s restaurants include Salt of the Earth, Union Pig & Chicken and Station Street Hot Dogs.

Seatings will be available at 6 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. Cost is $69 per person. Beer & wine pairings are extra. Look forward to seven “innovative” courses. Check The Granary website here for more information, and to make reservations on Open Table.

 

FratellosOpen now: Fratello’s on Broadway

This Italian deli also make pizzas, salads, panini, antipasti, soups and more.  An Italian Market offers “fresh baked breads, cookies and pastries, as well as an assortment of gelatos.  Fratello’s will offer imported Italian pastas, San Marzano tomatoes, olive oils and vinegars. Check out the website at www.fratellosdeli.com. 210-444-0253.

 

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It’s Lucky No. 7 for Rickshaw Stop


Sameer Siddiqui didn’t know what to make of his wife’s screams when he heard them penetrating the fog of his sleep. It was 5:30 in the morning, and he was eventually able to make out  that Meagan was jumping up and down and shouting “Oh, my God!” over and over again.

Meagan Siddiqui (left) answers a customer's questions about Rickshaw Stop's menu.

Meagan Siddiqui (left) answers a customer’s questions about Rickshaw Stop’s menu.

After taking a moment to get a stronger grip on consciousness and find out what was going on, he was ready to join in the screaming, too.

The couple had just learned that their food truck, Rickshaw Stop, had been named the seventh best food truck in all of America.

The honor came from the food website the Daily Meal, which selected their 101 best food trucks from all over the country. The list stretches from the best in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago to trucks rolling through smaller towns, such as Food Shark from Marfa (No. 44), the Flying Stove from Wichita, Kan. (No. 96), and Bruno’s Gastro Truck from Smith Mountain Lake, Va. (No. 86).

Meagan had been up early to get ready for her other job when she saw a tweet from someone alerting her to the list. She called it up and began going through it slowly as it appears in the story, in reserve order. “Once I got to No. 50 and didn’t see us, I thought, ‘No way. We’re only 2 years old, and they’re putting us up how high?’ Then I reached the top 10 and there were all these names I recognized and I saw ours and I couldn’t believe it. I just started screaming,” she says.

But make no mistake about it. That photo on the website is of the smiling couple as they look out the window of their stainless steel-and-green truck. It appears along with the following note of praise:

Billed as “San Antonio’s only Pakistani food truck,” Rickshaw Stop is a family-owned and operated affair run by Sameer and Meagan Siddiqui with the help of Sameer’s mother Gety, Aunt Bina, and Uncle Shabbir. “Each recipe we use has been created and approved by the entire Siddiqui/Khan family,” their site proudly notes. Rickshaw Stop’s two main items are kebabs and samosas. Sounds simple, but the simplest things sometimes require the most attention, and the Siddiqui/Khan quality assurance team has made sure of that. Rickshaw Stop marinates both their beef and chicken for at least 48 hours “to ensure all of the Pakistani flavors are distributed throughout the meat — no exceptions.” If they don’t, they’ve explained, “the flavor is completely different.” And that’s simply not acceptable. Not when they hold themselves to the standard of serving food you’ll likely only have had if you’re “friends with a Pakistani family or you’ve spent extensive time in Pakistan.” The move here is obvious. Get The Tony and ask for one of each kebab (one beef, one chicken), plus two samosas. For $6 you can get a chicken or beef kebab, marinated in a Pakistani spice mix, char-grilled over an open flame, and served taco-style in thin, flaky Pakistani paratha bread with onions, cilantro, and three sauces: Spicy (cilantro/mint), Sweet & Sour (tamarind), and Mild (yogurt/cilantro).

Rickshaw Stop's Sameer Siddiqui serves a customer.

Rickshaw Stop’s Sameer Siddiqui serves a customer.

The writeup certainly captures the basics of the Rickshaw Stop experience, but it doesn’t take into account the work that the Siddiquis have faced in getting San Antonio to try Pakistani food. On a recent Saturday night at the Point Park and Eats on Boerne Stage Road, Meagan patiently answered a steady stream of customers’ questions about the food that ranged from the spice level to what certain food items were. Samosas are like empanadas, she told one customer, who ended up ordering a pair as part of the Tony, the truck’s best-selling item, which is a combination of two kebabs and two samosas. The kebabs are served taco-style over a flatbread with cilantro, onions and sauce.

News of the honor has passed quickly through people who patronize the truck during their weekday lunches at Port San Antonio and Rackspace, which is where Meagan works her other job. It has pleased her to read some of the internal messages people sent out about the Daily Meal’s list, because they were singing the praises of Rickshaw Stop without known Meagan’s involvement in the truck.

It’s been a busy year for the Siddiquis. Last July, they won the Boardwalk on Bulverde’s Food Truck Throwdown. At about the same time they filmed a segment for the Cooking Channel show “Eat Street,” which has aired in Canada and is set to air here later this year. And now the news from the Daily Meal has arrived like a cherry atop the kheer.

Though the couple have had a few days for the news to settle in, they still find it a little unbelievable. “We’re more in awe rather than really understanding what it all means,” she said, before pausing to help another customer.

They do understand one effect of the list: The crowd worked their way through every item on the menu that evening, resulting in a total sellout.

Rickshaw Stop will be at the Point Park and Eats, 24180 Boerne Stage Road, on most Saturdays for the next few weeks at least. To find out a full schedule, click here or follow the truck on Twitter @RickshawStopSA. 

Rickshaw Stop has brought Pakistani food to San Antonio.

Rickshaw Stop has brought Pakistani food to San Antonio.

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Grilled Cheese Truck: Good Eating, Boost for Veterans


San Antonio has its share of gooey, chomp-worthy grilled cheese sandwiches. Some are plain, some fancy, but most of them are served in restaurants.

Triple-Cream Brie, Peach and Thyme Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Triple-Cream Brie, Peach and Thyme Grilled Cheese Sandwich

On the Fourth of July, along with the crowds and fireworks at Woodlawn Lake will be the Texas premiere of the truck dedicated to grilled cheese sandwiches. The Grilled Cheese Truck, begun in Los Angeles and now  making its way east (there is a truck in Phoenix), will be at the event all day, says CEO Dave Danhi.

The signature sandwich is the Cheesy Mac and Rib (see photo at bottom of page) with Southern-style macaroni-and-cheese topping slow-roasted barbecued pork rib meat, caramelized onions and an extra dash of sharp Cheddar cheese.

“It has a little bite, all natural cheese, mainly sharp Cheddar, and all fresh product. There’s a proprietary rub on the rib,” says Danhi. And, “it weighs 3/4 of a pound.”

The Grilled Cheese Truck will be a part of the July 4th Celebration at Woodlawn Park.  General Clark, Dave Danhi, and Vernon Gibson, the first veteran franchisee candidate, will be on hand to greet active duty military personnel and veterans and serve grilled cheese sandwiches free of charge to them from noon – 2 pm.

Danhi’s realization of just how popular this American classic sandwich is came when he entered a grilled cheese sandwich competition in 2009, just for fun. The line of people to get stretched a mile long  and five-people wide.

Dave Danhi of the Grilled Cheese Food Truck

Dave Danhi of the Grilled Cheese Truck

While he didn’t win that competition, the former award-winning chef, whose focus was fine dining during his 20-year career, launched some serious research into the possibility of having a food truck dedicated to the grilled cheese sandwich. He found first, there was a need. No dedicated grilled cheese trucks were out there.

Then, Danhi sent out some feelers on social media, the communication lifeline of food truckers everywhere, and the response to a grilled cheese truck “exploded.” Within the first week MSNBC caught wind of it and things went nowhere but up.  At this point, with five trucks on the ground and another two coming soon, the company already has an impressive 63,000-plus followers on Twitter.

July 4th introduces the Grilled Cheese Truck to San Antonio, but there will be two trucks working out of Austin and San Antonio. The San Antonio truck will be on the roll July 5, the day after its introduction.

Grilled Cheese truckThe food side of this story is about a chef who left the physically tough business of restaurant cooking following back surgery — only to jump back into an entirely different side of the business. That’s interesting enough — but there’s more to it.

Danhi will be here to introduce the truck at Woodlawn Lake Park next Thursday, but so will General Wesley K. Clark and Vernon Gibson, the first veteran franchisee candidate.

The highly decorated retired general, who was in 2004 a candidate for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, plays a vital role in the rest of The Grilled Cheese Truck’s story. Clark is supervising the implementation of the veterans franchise program for the truck. The first 100 franchise owners will be veterans of the U.S. military — and to Danhi, that support to the nation’s oft-neglected vets is as important as serving over-the-top grilled cheese sandwiches.

Caprese Grilled Cheese

Caprese Grilled Cheese

“Vets come back home and we don’t have jobs for them. They have skills, they have a good work ethics and work hard. But, when Vernon Gibson got back to the U.S., the only job he could get … paid $12.50 an hour,” Danhi said. Vets can look forward to significantly better pay than that by being food truck franchise owners, says Danhi.

Vets who find themselves owners of one of these trucks will have a hefty menu to work with. The sandwiches mentioned here are just a few — there are seven or eight cheeses and you can have a “plain” grilled cheese on either wheat or white. Other sandwiches, such as the Buffalo Chicken Melt or the Double Cream Brie Melt with Bacon, Smoked Onion & Bourbon Marmalade, and Candied Pecans. A long list of add-ons include sliced apple, fresh basil, spinach, smoked onion marmalade and avocado.

“We have a dessert item that — well, I’d be in a lot of trouble if I ever took it off the menu,” said Danhi. You’ll have a chance to try the S’more Melt: Toasted Marshmallows, Nutella and Crumbled Graham Crackers next week.

Follow The Grilled Cheese Truck on Twitter @GrlldCheeseTruk and for San Antonio schedules, go to the home page here and and click on Texas. And, you can check out a video on the company here.

The Grilled Cheese Truck's Cheesy Mac and Rib Sandwich

The Grilled Cheese Truck’s Cheesy Mac and Rib Sandwich

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Burger Brawl: Grills on Wheels, Chillin and Grillin Are Tops


San Antonio loves its burgers, as the turnout at the Point Park and Eats Burger Brawl proves.

Saturday was a fine day for a burger or three — or even five. And it was a great day for a competition that any food truck devotee would love: A burger brawl, complete with cold beer on tap, families and kids, a dog or two and live music.

Burgers. Any questions?

But the burgers reigned supreme, as far as the judges were concerned. The Point Park & Eats Burger Brawl pitted five trucks and their best efforts against one another — and only one of these five delicious burgers, judged on a surprisingly long list of attributes, would win.

John Griffin and I were among the lucky judges who had the onerous task of tasting each of the burgers, which we did over a period of an hour or so in the early afternoon. With us on the panel were Lauren Madrid, restaurant writer for The Current; Jason Ard, owner Branchline Brewery; and Shawn Gordon, well known to Yelpers, food truck and Twitter followers as the Food Truck Stalker.

If you haven’t been to the Point Park, it is set in a good-sized lot off Boerne Stage Road, west of I-10. It has a comfortable sprawl, plenty of picnic table seating under the trees, a mass of sail-type canopies stretched high above the ordering area, a comfortably sized deck with chairs and tables, an order-up bar and a bit of indoor seating as well.

Jason Ard, whose new brewery will be offering its first commercial release in January, showed off a couple Branchline’s brews. An Eggnog Stout, hinting at sweet spices and even notion of rum, charmed us all and made us wish we could take some home for the holidays. The Rye IPA, heavier-bodied than usual, had a viscous mouth feel, a deep, long-lived head and left just a bite of bitterness at the back of the tongue. These were great burger beers — something we’ll be looking forward to after the holidays are over.

The winning truck, at least with the judges, is Grills on Wheels.

What do judges look for when choosing a great burger from one that’s just really good? The same thing all burger-lovers do — at least those who want to sit back and ponder, taste, talk and consider some more.  We discussed the heat, the aroma, the appearance of the bun, its toastiness or lack thereof, the quality of the meat, its thickness, texture and flavor; the right cheese in the right amount — the list does go on.

Everyone admitted to a few prejudices, likes or dislikes. (But as seasoned burger tasters, we set these aside to judge each sandwich on its own merits.)

Gordon admitted one standard burger ingredient left him cold. “I don’t like pickles,” he said, offering no apologies. “I don’t know why, I just never have liked them.” He also had a general complaint about burger makers these days. “Why don’t they season the meat?” That very good point came into play during the judging. Burger makers, listen up; even just salt and pepper make a difference.

Madrid made threats about tossing sub-par burgers on the floor and stomping on them (this did not happen). John said the make-or-break quality to look for in a burger was inside the bun. “For me, it’s the quality of the patty and how it’s made,” he said.

A Christmas touch at Gourmet on the Fly.

After tasting and re-tasting, and much discussion, we made our choice. It all came down to the top burger, which was from Grills on Wheels, a relatively new truck on the scene.

The Burger Brawl draws crowds.

How it won: The burger (Angus beef) was thick and well-seasoned — as in, salt and pepper, a hint of garlic. Its two slices of Texas toast were buttered and toasted gold. The bacon was smoky and crisp, and the ketchup was spiked with just the right amount of hot-peppery sriracha sauce. All of it, flavors, texture, taste of the meat, finger-warming temperature of the burger itself and that lingering burn made it a winner.

Later on, the people had their chance to choose, and the People’s Choice was a burger that the judges had all liked as well. It came from Chillin and Grillin. Other trucks in the competition included Skinny Cat, MARS Mobile Kitchen and Gourmet on the Fly.

After the morning’s judging, we checked in with Denise Aguirre, who said that the Burger Brawl wasn’t a cinch to pull together. “It was a lot of work,” she said.

Her effort appeared to be worth it. The park was filled with people early in the afternoon and the event was scheduled to last late in the evening.

The promo material for the event billed the Point Park & Eats’ Burger Brawl as the “first annual.” So, if you missed it this year, put it down on your calender for next year.

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H-E-B Rounds Up Some Food and Fun, All in the Name of Charity


Where Y’at serves up New Orleans barbecue shrimp.

Shoppers in the area of Loop 1604 and Blanco Road know the H-E-B Plus there as a dependable source of great food to cook with. On Saturday, the store proved it once again, only this time the food was free and it was ready to eat.

Jason Dady serves up his nachos while his daughter, Tessa, watches. Saturday was her birthday.

The parking lot of the supermarket was the site of the first H-E-B Food Truck Face Off, and it brought four of the city’s mobile kitchens together for a friendly competition.

The competitors all had to use H-E-B products in their dishes, which were served up to hungry lines of people until their supply ran out.

The crowds enjoy the free food.

By the time the judges’ had finished their work, Pieter Sypesteyn of Where Y’At had taken first place for his New Orleans barbecue shrimp, made with Chimay ale and baguette, both included among H-E-B’s Primo Products.

His victory meant that Gordon Pictures, a Christian movie production ministry, would take home $10,000 from H-E-B. Sypesteyn also won the people’s choice award, which brought another $500 to the charity.

Jason Dady and his DUK Truck took second place with Not’Cho Dady, nachos made entirely with H-E-B Primo Products. His $5,000 prize will be going to Culinaria’s new educational center and community gardens.

Johnny Hernandez brought his True Flavors catering wagon out and made pulled pork tacos, which earned $2,500 for the Culinary Institute of America’s San Antonio campus.

Michael Anthony Romo and his MARS Mobile Kitchen also served up an heirloom tomato and watermelon gazpacho.

This is the first of H-E-B’s Face Offs. The reaction from the crowds should guarantee it won’t be the last.

Johnny Hernandez (center) and his team make pork tacos.

MARS Mobile Kitchen offers heirloom tomato and watermelon gazpacho.

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