Tag Archive | "Texas Folklife Festival"

Texas Folklife Festival Dishes Up Some Global Favorites To Hungry Crowds

A campfire cooker checks on a Dutch Oven cobbler.

A campfire cooker checks on a Dutch Oven cobbler.

What happened? The Texas Folklife Festival opened Friday evening and the temperatures were not too hot, thanks to an afternoon shower that cooled things off a bit. That’s a bit of a change for those of us who know how the thermometer regularly tops 100 during the three-day event.

A Sacred Heart worker prepares a raspa with homemade fruit syrup.

A Sacred Heart worker prepares a raspa with homemade fruit syrup.

What hasn’t changed is that the event is still packed with plenty of treats from around the world, from cultures that have made their mark on Texas through the years. From Vietnam, there were egg rolls filled with the goodness of bacon and cabbage. The Poles offers pierogi, potato-filled dumplings with a bacon sauce. The Germans had sausage on a bun, and the Wendish Society offered noodles.

A strawberry and chamoy raspa.

A strawberry and chamoy raspa.

All around the grounds were plenty of events for families to enjoy. Western shootouts, karate demonstrations and corn husk doll making joined with pony rides, dance demonstrations and re-enactments of historic customs, from cooking to fabric weaving. And there was plenty of music on stages across the campus of the Institute of Texan Cultures.

And it was fun to watch the belly dancers-in-training in front of the Turkish booth while enjoying a meaty doner kebab stuffed in a pita with a side of dolmas, or stuffed grape leaves.

A Turkish doner kebab and dolmas.

A Turkish doner kebab and dolmas.

Lines were long in front of the crepe booth, where you could get savory crepes as well as a dessert version filled with Nutella, banana and strawberries. The group from Sacred Heart Church also offered a unique touch: raspas flavored with syrups that they had made from the likes of mango, strawberry, guavva and pineapple; if you’ve never tasted the real deal on a raspa before, don’t miss this chance.

The Texas Folklife Festival continues through Sunday.

Hours are Saturday, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.; and Sunday, noon – 7 p.m.

Prices: Adult (13+), $12 at the gate; Child (6-12), $5 at the gate; and children 5 and under are free. Click here for more information.

A young karate student prepares to kick a board in two.

A young karate student prepares to kick a board in two.

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Are You Ready for Scotch Eggs and Egg Rolls? It’s Texas Folklife Festival Time

The thermometer has crept up to the triple-digit range in the past week. That must mean it’s time for Texas Folklife Festival.

texas folklifeThe favorite of food lovers and music lovers alike, no matter the temperature, runs Friday through Sunday on the grounds of HemisFair Park  around the Institute of Texan Cultures.

The array of food this year is a veritable feast of global treasures that have made an impact on the state through the years. Plus, there are some American treasures that make any festival fun. Deep-fried Girl Scout Cookies, anyone?

Here’s the food lineup to whet your appetite:

  • Argentine: Empanadas, Alfajores
  • Belgian: Belgian sausage, au vin blanc mussels, Belgian waffle, black cow, Rijstpap (rice pudding)
  • Carnival: Funnel Cake, Corn Dog, Deep Fried Twinkies, Deep Fried Oreos, Deep Fried Girl Scout Cookies
  • British: Fish & chips, Scotch egg, English Chips and Cheese, Banger on a Stick, Fried Mushrooms
  • Chinese: Crab rangoon, fried rice, egg roll, fried chicken wontons, Jin duey (sesame balls), fortune cookies, shrimp chips.
  • Crepes: Ham and Cheese, basil vegetarian pesto, sun-dried tomato veggie, chicken pesto, Peanut Butter Heaven, dulce de leche turtle, Nutella banana, sweet cheese
  • Filipino: Oriental noodles, chicken adobo, rice, Inihaw, Pancit, Lumpia
  • Opa’s: Bratwurst, Smoked sausage on a stick or bun, jalapeño/cheese sausage, smoked turkey leg, smoked sausage in flour tortilla, beef jerky, turkey jerky, German potato salad, sauerkraut, bread pudding
  • Greek: Gyro, Greek salad, baklava
  • Hawaiian: Big kahuna (shave ice), Kona cream, ice cream, Lihing powder, Gummy Bears
  • American Indians: Buffalo burger, Indian taco meat, fry bread, Indian taco, cactus tuna drink
  • Irish: Corned beef sandwich on cracked wheat roll
  • Italian: Messy Giuseppe’s, Spumoni, Cannoli, Pizzelle, Italian ice.

Hours are Friday, 5 – 11 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.; and Sunday, noon – 7 p.m.

Prices: Adult (13+), $10 in advance, $12 at the gate; Child (6-12), $5 in advance, $5 at the gate; and children 5 and under are free. Tickets are available at H-E-B stores, Ft. Sam Houston, Lackland AFB and Randolph AFB. Click here for more information.

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Texas Folklife: Coming Soon, a Celebration of 40 Years

For three days every summer, Texans gather at the Texas Folklife Festival to celebrate their unique heritage through music, dance, food and crafts. This year, the festival will be June 10-12 at the Institute of Texan Cultures.

Also featured is a year-long exhibit that formally opened May 19 at the Institute. The exhibit,  “40 Years of Texas Folklife Festival Memories,”  showcases stories, images and sounds highlighting the festival’s most memorable moments.  The 10 sections of the exhibit feature oral histories, photographs from four decades, souvenirs, costumes, musical instruments and more.

Your admission to the Texas Folklife Festival will also include entry to this exhibit on the main exhibit floor at the Institute.

The  Texas Folklife Festival itself distills the essence of Texas into a three-day celebration of music, dance, costume, crafts, food and diversions from the many unique people who call Texas “home.”

“The Texas Folklife Festival has made a huge difference over the years,” says  Jo Ann Andera, festival director since 1981.  “There are groups that exist and thrive today because they wanted to participate in the Folklife Festival.  Ukrainian, Greek or Lebanese, they are proud of who they are and they are proud to call themselves Texans.”

For some Texas Folklife Festival participants, the event is a family reunion. Groups such as the Wends, Greeks and Lebanese have attended since the very beginning. As the years have gone by, beloved festival personalities have passed away, most recently, Claudia Ball, the second festival director, whose memory is honored in the exhibit.

“The Texas Folklife Festival has touched so many lives and brought together so many diverse groups,” says Andera, festival director since 1981.  “It was right after Vietnam and the Civil Rights movement and the public was so divided. When we started this 40 years ago, we had no idea how much the festival would mean to them or how important it would be for San Antonio and Texas.”

The Texas Folklife Festival is held on the grounds of the Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Durango Blvd. Festival hours are 5–11 p.m., Friday, June 10; 11 a.m.-11p.m., Saturday, June 11; and noon-7 p.m., Sunday, June 12.  Adult admission (age 13 and up) is $10 in advance or $12 at the gate. Child admission (age 6-12) is $5 advance or $5 at the gate. Children 5 and under free.  Advance tickets go on sale May 1 at, the Institute of Texan Cultures museum store, HEB stores, Ft. Sam Houston, Lackland AFB and Randolph AFB.

For more information and tickets, call (210) 458-2300, visit , or follow Texas Folklife Festival on Facebook.


The Institute of Texan Cultures is located on the UTSA HemisFair Park Campus, 801 E. Durango Blvd., a short distance from the Alamo and the River Walk. Regular museum hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday; noon-5 p.m. Sunday.  Museum admission is $8 for adults (ages 12-64); $7 for seniors (ages 65+); $6 for children (ages 3-11); free with membership, UTSA or Alamo Colleges identification. For more information, call 210-458-2300 or visit

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Restaurant Openings and Other News

Los Agaves Cocina Mexicana has opened near Blanco and Loop 410 in the spot that formerly housed Bianco Pasta Vino.  It has a full bar and starting next week, will offer happy hour specials.  The restaurant serves traditional Mexican favorites, as well as San Antonio classics.  Some menu items include mole, crispy tacos, gorditas, and enchiladas verdes.  On the weekends, breakfast will be served starting at  8 a.m.

Philly’s Phamous Italian Ice has expanded its menu to include chicken and beef Philly Cheesesteaks.  The recipe is from Malik Rose’s former restaurant, Malik’s Philly’s Phamous.  The small orange stand is located across from Churchill High School and also serves more than 20 flavors of Italian ice.

Texas Pride Barbecue announced that it won two awards at this year’s Texas Folklife Festival.  The restaurant took home the blue ribbon for its booth, which served brisket sandwiches.  Its peach cobbler also won a second place ribbon.  The restaurant, located east of the city in Adkins, has an extensive covered outdoor dining area and frequent live music.

Los Agaves Cocina Mexicana
7115 Blanco Road, Suite 110
San Antonio, TX 78216
Hours: Monday – Thursday, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Philly’s Phamous Italian Ice
12054 Blanco Road
San Antonio, TX 78216

Hours: Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Closed Sunday.

Texas Pride
2980 E. Loop 1604 S.
Adkins, TX, 78101
Hours: Tuesday – Wednesday, 11 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Friday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.; Closed Monday.

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Weekend Calendar: Folklife, Wine Dinners, Classes and More

“Red meat is not bad for you.  Now blue-green meat, that’s bad for you!”
~Tommy Smothers

Spectacular dinners, creative cooking classes, and snacking on more than 40 cuisines can be penciled into your weekend calendar.

A Night Inspired by the Passion of Chef José Andrés
Thursday, June 10, 6:30 p.m., $65 plus tax and 18% gratuity
Bin 555
555 W. Bitters Road (Artisans Alley)
The first course is Bagels and Lox, a crispy bagel cone with salmon roe, mascarpone and chives. The next course is Guacamole with Hass avocado, tomato granité, tomato and lime segments, with house-made corn chips and cilantro. Third is Asparagus, Quail Eggs 63*C, Mushrooms and Frisée, followed by Deconstructed New England Clam Chowder. The next course is Lobster Americaine, butter-poached Maine lobster with a pipette of lobster bisque. Boneless Chicken Wing with Spanish Green Olive Purée will be followed by Beef Hangar Steak with Piquillo Pepper Confit. The meal concludes with Pineapple and Fennel Salad with Coconut and Chilled Pineapple Soup.   The price includes two selected glasses of wine.  Call 210-496-0555 for reservations.

Blackbird Wine Dinner
Thursday, June 10, 7 p.m., $150 plus tax and gratuity
Bohanan’s Prime Steaks and Seafood
219 E. Houston St.
Michael Polenski, the winery’s proprietor, will discuss the Merlot-based wine, which will be paired with this six -course meal prepared by chef Mark Bohanan.  The first course is Fredericksburg Peaches with Basil-infused Youngblood Honey, matched with 2009 Blackbird Arriviste Rosé; which will be followed by Butter-poached Cold Water Lobster and Cantaloupe Sashimi with Citrus Sea Salt, paired with 2009 Maisonary Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. The third course is Texas Rio Star Grapefruit Sorbet with Bruléed Grapefruit Supremes.   The next course is Manchester Farms Quail Stuffed with Spinach Chorizo on Haricots Verts finished with Berry Lacquer, complemented with 2004 and 2007 Blackbird Illustration Cabernet Sauvignon.  The fifth dish is Grilled and Roasted Prime Beef Tenderloin, Cippolini Onions, and Red and White Fingerling Potatoes, paired with 2006 and 2007 Blackbird Contrarion Cabernet Sauvignon.  Dessert is Chocolate Decadence Petits Fours, paired with 2007 Blackbird Arise Merlot.  Valet parking is available.  For reservations, call Jenny Rabb at 210-324-5645.

Texas Folklife Festival
Friday, June 11, 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.; Saturday, June 12, 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Sunday, June 13, 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.; Adults $15 ($10 in advance), Children ages 6 – 11 $5 ($5 in advance), Children 5 and under free
Institute of Texan Cultures
801 S. Bowie St.
More than 40 different cultures will gather celebrating their costumes, dance, and food.  Advance tickets are available at: H-E-B stores, Ft. Sam Houston, Lackland Air Force Base, Randolph Air Force Base, UTSA’s Fiscal Services offices, and the Institute of Texan Cultures Museum Store.

Cooking Demonstrations at the Pearl
Saturday, June 12
Pearl Farmers Market
200 East Grayson
In addition to fresh produce, cooking demonstrations and musical entertainment are on the agenda at the Pearl Farmers Market, local chefs will be offering cooking demonstrations and sharing tips and recipes for using fresh seasonal produce. Chef Brian West of Las Ramblas will be performing this week’s demo.  Demonstrations start a 9:30 a.m.; the market’s general hours are 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.   The market also features a changing chef’s table lunch menu by chef Johnny Hernandez, “representing what is seasonal and regional in our cuisine.” Hernandez serves the meal family-style and discusses each vendor and their seasonal ingredients. For information or reservations, go to

“CIA Favorites
Saturday, June 12, 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., $250
Culinary Institute of America (CIA) San Antonio
312 Pearl Parkway, Building 3 (In the Pearl Center)
Learn some of the CIA’s favorite recipes including appetizers, entrées, and desserts.  Participants will receive a CIA logo apron and a copy of “The Culinary Institute of America Cookbook”.

Raw Culinary Arts Cooking Class
Saturday, June 12, 2 – 4:30 p.m., $50 plus $15 food fee
8618 Brookhaven St.
The menu includes: Green Monster Smoothie; Nut Burgers without the Grease; Kale Chips; and Fajitas with Guacamole.  For reservations, call 210-710-4793 by June 10th.

Second Saturday Art & Wine Galleries Tour
Saturday, June 12, 4 – 8 p.m.
Boerne, Texas
Galleries and wine shops will exhibit art and have wine samples.  At Boerne WineSeller, 412 River Rd., there will be an artist reception for Janice Joplin from 2 – 8 p.m.  A free trolley will shuttle you between all of the events. 

Gospel Brunch with a Texas Twist
Sunday, June 13, 10:30 a.m. – noon, $25 adults, $12.50 children
Gruene Hall
Gruene Historic District
New Braunfels, TX
“A New Orleans style gospel brunch with a Texas twist.”  More information is at

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Are You Ready for Texas Folklife Festival?

Indian fry bread

The 39th annual Texas Folklife Festival is just a few days away. The event will be June 11-13 at the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Durango Blvd.

Bring an appetite, because the menu of dishes from around the world that have made it to Texas is bountiful. There will be a host of favorites, such as jerk chicken from Jamaica, gyros from St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church, bratwurst and other meats on a stick from the Wurstfest Association, and empanadas from the Asociacion Amigos de Colombia. Filipino lumpia, Chinese egg rolls, Salvdoran pupusas, Wendish noodles and British meat pies will also be available.

For those with a sweet tooth, there will be Greek and Turkish baklava, frozen Snickers bars, fried Twinkies, peach and pecan cobbler, Hawaiian shave ice and Texas yam pie.

The weather is often warm during the festival, so it might also help to know what drinks will be sold. Tamarind tea, huisache tea, jamaica tea and a cactus drink called apakomisene will all be sold by the American Indians in Texas at the Spanish Colonial Missions. The Japanese American Society of San Antonio will offer mugicha (barley tea), and the Lebanese group from St. George Marionnite Church will offer mint tea. Bubble tea will be at the Lion Dance Association booth while the Turkish American Association will have Turkish coffee. Texas wines will be offered, and the UTSA Alumni Association will pour beers of Texas.

This is only a small taste of all that will be served.

Tickets cost $10 in advance or $15 at the gate for adults (12 and older), $5 for children ages 6-11, and $8 for groups of 20 adults or more. Tickets can be purchased online at, where you can also take a look at the full menu.

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Griffin to Go: Feasting at Folklife Festival

img_9760The kids dancing with glasses on their heads were cute. The booths with handmade baskets and Polish pottery caught our eye more than once. And the air-conditioned inside exhibits were blessed relief from the sweltering temperatures.

But let’s face it, the Texas Folklife Festival is about eating. At least to me, it is.

Several hours after leaving the UTSA HemisFair Campus, I’m still full. But I’m glad I ate every bite.

img_9709My camera-toting colleague and live-blogger, Nicholas Mistry, and I also enjoyed talking with most everyone we met at the various booths, including Susie Tolman with her painted eggs at the Czech booth; Chip Liu, who wrote out SavorSA in Chinese caligraphy for us; or Robin Pate at the Chuckwagon Gang’s booth, where coal-topped Dutch ovens were filled with steaming hot gingerbread. (On Saturday, the latter group promises free tastes of apple pie.)

img_9747James and Marieta Baer were full of ways to modify the recipe for their Wendish group’s celebrated noodles. The traditional method is to serve the noodles in a chicken stock with parsley on top. But if you prefer beef, use beef stock. Add a touch of onion or celery, even some fajita seasoning, if you like it spicy. (For the basic noodle recipe, check our recipe file.)

Now that’s a true melding of cultures, which is what Folklife celebrates each year.

I just wish some of the booths had had all of their food ready when we passed. We missed trying a few dishes  because they simply weren’t there.

But we did enjoy the finely diced chicken with chiles and coconut that makes up the Guamanian kelaguen as well as that booth’s grilled chicken skewers with a healthy dose of fresh ginger in the seasoning.

A poppy seed kolache and a Pilsner Urquell at the Czech booth was most welcome, as was the shaded table offered to some weary wanderers.

We also heard people rave about the anticuchos at the Peruvian booth, the pupusas at the Salvadorian booth and the spice-sprinkled Luling watermelon from the San Antonio Men’s Garden Club, among others.

img_9813I cannot sing the praises high enough of the men who tend the grills at the various booths offering meat on a stick. This extends from Baldemar Garza grilling perfectly seasoned, tender fajitas for San Alphonsus Catholic Church to Richard Gonzales preparing shish kebabs for St. George Maronite Church’s Lebanese booth. (And, no, I did not see a woman working the grills. I think they’re too smart for that.)

Recipe hunters should be on the lookout, because a few groups were more than willing to share their recipes, from bread to wine. One was Theda Sueltenfuss, who offered her recipe for homemade sauerkraut, which Nick dubbed “German kimchee,” as well as free samples. (Check our recipe file for the recipe).

The heat, though, must be acknowledged. Though a few booths handed out paper fans, all they did was stir up more hot air. So, drink plenty of water — or the Lebanese booth’s cooling mint tea — and stay out of the sun as much as you can. At least one booth benefited from the heat in an unexpected way: at the East Texas Yamboree, the warm yam pie tasted as if it had just been removed from the oven. It was so good, my inner Homer Simpson was calling for a second slice.


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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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