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Beneficiary of Chefs 4 Chefs Fundraiser Dies


Emma Dirmeyer

Emma Dirmeyer

In January 2013, the Chefs 4 Chefs fundraiser was born out of the desire on the part of local chefs to help Emma Dirmeyer, daughter of Biga on the Banks sous chef Daniel Dirmeyer. The young girl had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and was going through a strenuous series of radiation treatments.

More than a year later, Emma, 9, lost her battle on Wednesday. It was one day after the other beneficiary of this year’s Chefs 4 Chefs, Steve Silbas died.

“Two of our beneficiaries from Chefs 4 Chefs have passed away,” Suzanne Taranto Etheredge, president and CEO of Culinaria, posted Wednesday on Facebook. “Steve lost his battle yesterday morning and Sweet Emma passed away this morning. We are devastated by the news and wanted to let you all know, as I know how incredibly grateful they all are for the support from their Culinary family.

“We’ve learned through this process, how incredibly broad all of our chefs, volunteers and staff’s shoulders are. We thank you for helping with that weight and hope you’ll take a moment to think of their loved ones today.

“We are so very sad today, but thankful we could be a part of their journey, if even for a little while.”

A small, private service is being planned, according to another post on Facebook. It “will be followed by a Celebration Party! All will be welcomed to the party! We will post more details in the coming days,” the post reads.

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Steve Silbas, Former Owner of Casbeers, Dies


Steve Silbas has gone to join his Barbara.

Steve Silbas

Steve Silbas

Silbas, the former owner of Casbeers and a leading proponent of showcasing live music in San Antonio, died Tuesday.

Silbas had been in the news recently as one of the beneficiaries of this year’s Chefs 4 Chefs, a fundraising event to help those from the city’s restaurant community in need. Big Bob’s Hamburgers hosted another fundraiser on his behalf, featuring many of the area musicians who got a start playing at Casbeers, which was also known for its irresistible enchiladas.

At the time of the two events, Silbas had been in need of a kidney transplant. He suffered other physical problems since then, which resulted in his being hospitalized more than a week ago.

Silbas’ wife, Barbara Wolfe, who ran both Casbeers and Casbeers at the Church with him, died last December.

Social media featured an outpouring of grief and remembrances of the couple.

“Losing brother Steve Silbas is another gut punch on top of the loss of his wife/partner Barbara Wolfe,” local music writer and musician Jim Beal posted on Facebook. “As a team, Steve and Barb were among the very best friends musicians and music fans could ever have. And, they were among the most generous and giving persons inside and outside the music/restaurant whirl. Words, even carefully considered words, just are not enough to convey the love and respect me and mine have for Steve and Barb.”

 

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Chefs for Chefs: Serving Up Some TLC


The chefs gather for a group photo.

The chefs gather for a group photo.

When a member of the San Antonio restaurant community is in need, a number of restaurants have shown themselves willing to pitch in to help out.

Jesse Perez serves one of the brunch patrons.

Jesse Perez serves one of the brunch patrons.

That’s the basis of the 2-year-old event, Chefs for Chefs. The first year, the effort was to benefit the young daughter of a chef who has been battling a brain tumor. This year, one of the beneficiaries will be Steve Silbas, the beloved former owner of Casbeers who’s in need of a kidney transplant.

Smoked Trout and Kale Tart

Smoked Trout and Kale Tart

With that in mind, chefs from throughout the city showed up at Biga on the Banks Sunday morning to put on their best for the brunch.

You would never have known that chef John Russ from Lüke hosted hundreds from the San Antonio Cocktail Conference until the wee hours of the morning before showing up to serving a spicy shrimp and grits dish. Or that Jason Dady had just opened his new restaurant, Umai Mi, a day before arriving to serve his Asian-spiced deviled eggs, a taste of the new menu.

Steve Silbas

Steve Silbas

Jesse Perez from Arcade Midtown Kitchen offered chicken tinga, while Steve McHugh’s Cured showcased their house-cured meats. Damien Watel of Chez Vatel Bistro presented a veal roulade with mashed potatoes. Mark Bliss served a bright orange trout roe with blini that matched the color of the bacon-topped soup that Lisa Watel of Bite served at the neighboring table. Ceviche from Aldaco’s, smoked trout with kale from John Brand of Omni La Mansion del Rio and a lettuce wrap with mahi-mahi from Zedric’s: Fresh Gourmet to Go were among the other treats. Ron Smith of FreshPoint served up some fine Brazos Valley Cheese, while Casbeers was on hand, too, with their famous enchiladas.

Colorful desserts

Colorful desserts

Jeff Wayne White of Boiler House and Diana Barrios Treviño of Los Barrios, La Hacienda de Los Barrios and Viola’s Ventanas had tables as well as Bruce Auden’s team from the host restaurant, Biga. Daniela Borquez of D’Sweets Creations provided the mouthwatering array of desserts. Others pitching in included Lisa Filip, Mercedes Zachary and Fabien Jacob.

For those who remember the story last year of the young girl who was behind the first event, the team at Biga released the following update: “Emma, the daughter of Biga on the Banks’ Executive Sous Chef Daniel, was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor and went through radiation. Today, she has made great progress and continues to work on strengthening her immune system while getting better one day at a time. Team Emma inspired this amazing event last year and we hope that we will be able to help many more families in our culinary community for years to come.”

Mark Bliss of Bliss greets a guest.

Mark Bliss of Bliss greets a guest.

Damien and Lisa Watel talk with a patron.

Damien and Lisa Watel talk with a patron.

Jeff Wayne White of Boiler House. Behind him are Lisa Filip and Mercedes Zachary.

Jeff Wayne White of Boiler House. Behind him are Lisa Filip and Mercedes Zachary.

 

 

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Musical Memorial for Barbara Wolfe Set for Sunday


On Sunday, dozens of musicians from across the state will gather to perform at a memorial celebration honoring the late Barbara Wolfe, former co-owner of Casbeers, a beloved San Antonio eatery and live music venue. Artists slated to perform will include Augie Meyers, Ruben V., Claude “Butch” Morgan and more.

Steve Silbas and Barbara Wolfe

Steve Silbas and Barbara Wolfe

The event runs from 3 to 8 p.m. at Big Bob’s Burgers, 100 N. Santa Rosa at the corner of West Houston Street.

The memorial was created by the S.A. Blues Cats in conjunction with Bob Riddle of Big Bob’s Burgers as a way to honor Wolfe for her commitment to the San Antonio live music community and to assist her husband, Steve Silbas, with his current medical needs as he awaits a kidney transplant.

Admission for the event is $20, with all proceeds going towards Steve Silbas’ medical expenses. Big Bob’s Burgers will provide food and refreshments to all attendees at no charge. Free parking will be available across Houston Street.

For those unable to attend, donations can be submitted online. Click here for details.

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An All-You-Can-Eat Buffet, Oysters al Fresco and More Restaurant News


Oysters at Brasserie Pavil.

The city’s dining scene is bustling with activity and great tastes to tempt all palates.

Oysters on the patio

During Fiesta, Brasserie Pavil, 1818 N. Loop 1604 W., celebrated with an oyster bake on the patio.

Guests seemed to really enjoy the event and, as a result, the restaurant is offering an oyster bake each Thursday.

The menu includes $2 grilled or raw oysters, $2 classic martinis and $2 beers.

Call 210-479-5000.

Start the weekend right

Tommy Moore’s Cafe, 915 S. Hackberry St., is having its monthly all-you-can-eat brunch buffet this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

If you haven’t been to Tommy Moore’s, it’s a haven of home cooking with the fried chicken earning the highest praise. If you have been, then you know what lies in store.

The price is $10.95 for adults and $5.95 for children. Call 210-531-9800 to let them know you’re coming.

Carpaccio at Fig Tree Restaurant.

A mid-week treat

Wanna know the best fine dining secret in town? It’s the Tuesday and Wednesday prix fixe special at Fig Tree Restaurant, 515 Villita St.

Chef Byron Bergeron and his staff prepare a three-course menu that changes weekly. The specials include two choices of appetizer, entrée and dessert for $39. Wine pairings are available for $49.

Recent appetizer options have included smoked duck breast, a summer roll with a peanut sauce or zucchini blossoms with goat cheese and an heirloom tomato coulis. Past entrées options: Steak au Poivre, an oven-roasted prawn, Veal Blanquette with jasmine rice or crispy skin striped bass. Desserts run the gamut from an almond and pear tart to Domino Cake, a creamy house specialty. On a recent Tuesday, it was strawberries flambé prepared tableside.

For reservations, call 210-224-1976. Let your server know you’re interested in the prix fixe.

On the move

Fishland Fish Market, 4941 Walzem Road, is moving. Not far, mind you, just next door. But the new space will be much larger, so more diners can enjoy the kitchen’s seafood specialties. The move should be complete by July.

If you aren’t familiar with this haven of fried seafood, with some of the best hush puppies you’ll ever taste, check out our review. Though it appeared in September 2009, recent visits have shown it to be as good as ever.

Pasha readies second location

Pasha Mediterranean Grill will open a second San Antonio location on Loop 1604 at Blanco Road in June. The restaurant’s original location is at 9339 Wurzbach Road.

Closing

San Antone Cafe and Concerts, formerly Casbeers at the Church, is closing. The owners, Steve Silbas and Barbara Wolfe, have cited personal health reasons and the economy. Whatever the reason, it’s a shame. The owners have helped raised plenty of money for charities over the years through the Gospel Brunch and other fundraisers, while bringing in some fine music.

Many will miss the one-of-a-kind Tex-Mex enchiladas as well as the bean burger, one of the best in the city.

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Casbeers Changes Its Name


Casbeers is now the San Antone Cafe.

Casbeers at the Church, 1150 S. Alamo St., has changed its name to San Antone Cafe and Concerts.

The new name went into effect Jan. 1, owner Steve Silbas said.

The menu at the restaurant will remain the same, which is great news for those who love the enchiladas, the Southtown Bean Burgers and the onion rings.

The name was changed because of a rights question involving the restaurant’s original location, Silbas said. Rather than fighting it out in court, Silbas and his wife, Barbara Wolfe, decided to change the name.

The Southtown Bean Burger and the onion rings will remain the same.

San Antone Cafe will have the same hours:  11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday; and noon-11 p.m. Saturday. It will also have the same phone number: 210-271-7791. The website will change within the next few days to www.sanantonecafe.com.

On a more personal note, Silbas is facing bypass surgery on Jan. 10, so prayers and well wishes would be greatly appreciated.

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Recipe: Dorothy’s Potato Salad


Potato saladDorothy’s Potato Salad from Casbeer’s is an old-fashioned treat with mustard and mayonnaise.

Dorothy’s Potato Salad

8 large russet potatoes cut into 1-inch dice
4 ribs celery, diced
1 cup diced dill pickles
1 large onion
1 4-ounce jar minced pimentos
1 cup French’s yellow mustard (no substitution!)
1 (32-ounce) jar mayonnaise, any brand
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Cook potatoes in 4 quarts water until very tender. Drain and cool (they do not need to be cold, just easy to handle.)  Stir in, one ingredient at a time, celery, pickles, onion, pimentos, mustard, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. This will cause the potatoes to become creamy, resembling very lumpy mashed potatoes.

Makes 16-20 servings.

Source: Steve Silbas

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Particular About Potato Salad


twobrospotatosalad1It’s not a picnic, a barbecue or the Fourth of July, for some, unless the potato salad is there. And, not just any potato salad.

“It has to be my potato salad,” says an acquaintance of ours. In this case, it must be made with Best Foods mayonnaise and have some form of dill in it.

For every cook whose recipe is like this person’s, there are just as many who require salad dressing not mayonnaise, or ballpark mustard rather than Dijon. Some don’t put white or yellow onions in — they only use scallions. Some (and we find this hard to imagine) are annoyed when they encounter a crunchy bite of celery in the mix.

So good is potato salad, however, that despite the tedious actions of peeling potatoes, mincing onion and celery, boiling and peeling eggs, making and mixing in the dressing, most of us want it homemade. If not our way, then we want it the way our mom, aunt or an in-law made it.

Steve Silbas, who owns Casbeer’s at the Church, 1150 S. Alamo St., with his wife, Barbara Wolfe, makes his mother’s recipe. The technique that distinguishes this recipe is stirring in every ingredient individually, turning the salad into a creamy, mustardy, delicious blend.

“We had it at every family cookout, picnic and get-together —  even Thanksgiving and Christmas. My sister, Sylvia, now also carries on the tradition,” he says.

An unusual potato salad recipe, offered by Saundra Winokur of Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard, near Elmendorf, comes from her late husband, who was Egyptian. It also is a flavorful, creamy concoction, using only three ingredients, plus salt and pepper. The steamy cooked potatoes are blended with minced, blanched fresh garlic. Then, olive oil is drizzled in, while stirring, until it has a moist, loose texture.

Jason Dady of the Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills and other restaurants is a big fan of potato salads. They’re “way way too underutilized for the backyard barbecue,” he says. “I prefer mayonnaise/mustard based, but that’s not to say a great vinaigrette base isn’t delicious as well.  Potato salads are relatively cheap to make, not too much prep, and can be a great compliment to a wide variety of grilled or barbecued meats.”

The version Dady serves at Two Bros. BBQ Market, 12656 West Ave., gains an extra punch from dry mustard powder.

My own potato salad has changed over the years, as I discovered and added ingredients that only made it better. The addition of sour cream to the mayonnaise makes the mixture seem less oily. A bit of vinaigrette mixed in with the steamy potatoes while they are still warm adds a real boost of flavor.

Finally, I like to put in at least 2 freshly roasted poblano peppers, and a little bit of minced serrano. The green chile flavors will really come through if this is held in the refrigerator overnight.

John Griffin contributed to this report.

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