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County Line Music Series Moves to Thursdays


The popular live music series at The County Line is back, and it continues to raise food and funds for the San Antonio Food Bank.

Blue Highway Band

Blue Highway Band

But there’s a difference this year.

The Ancira Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram 2016 Live Music Series, as it is officially called, is now on Thursday nights at the restaurant, 10101 I-10 W.

Also new this year: full seating and dining are available on the patio beginning each concert night at 6 p.m. through the end of the concert at 9:30 p.m. Happy hour will run inside and outside of the restaurant, from 3 to 9:30 p.m. on concert days.

The series is now in its 16th year and “our faithful crowds have grown up with the series,” says Mike Crenwelge, general manager of The County Line.

Held on the restaurant’s open-air patio, the headliner goes on at 7:30 p.m. Concerts are held rain or shine.  Free parking is available at Hallmark College, less than one block away.

Here are the performers for the 2016 series to date:

April 28           Prophets & Outlaws

May 5              Sam Riggs

May 12            Mike Ryan Band

May 19            The Damn Quails

May 26            Band of Heathens

Cameron Nelson

Cameron Nelson

June 2              Ruby Jane

June 9              Cody Canada – solo

June 16            Blue Water Highway Band

June 23            John Baumann

June 30            Mike & The Moonpies

July 7               Matt Kimbrow

July 14             Dawn & Hawkes

July 21             Southern Brothers Tour featuring Adam Hood and Jason Eady

July 28             Folk Family Revival

Aug. 4              Cameran Nelson

Aug. 11            Bri Bagwell

Aug. 18           Jake Ward

Aug. 25           Special Guest TBA 6/12

Sept. 1             Dale Watson

Sept. 8            Harvest Thieves

Sept. 15          Roger Creager
The live music series is free. However, all who attend are asked to make a food or monetary donation to the San Antonio Food Bank.  Since it started, the series has raised more than 934,742 lbs. of food for the San Antonio Food Bank.  In the 2015 series alone it raised 47,278 pounds.

“Live music nights at The County Line are THE place to be for all hunger fighters,” says Eric Cooper, President and CEO, San Antonio Food Bank.  “We are so very thankful to the team at The County Line for their effort and passion and making the Food Bank a beneficiary of this great concert series.  For 15 years, two great institutions have come together with food, music and philanthropy to feed Southwest Texas.”

Sponsors thus far include Ancira Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram; Rebecca Creek; Enchanted Rock Vodka; Twilight Services; KSYM 90.1 FM; Comfort Air; Red Bull; Ozarka; Hallmark College; and Pure Party Ice.

The County Line continually updates the concert lineup on its website at http://countyline.com/I10Music_shedule_sponsors.html. Call 210-641-1998 for more information.

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Tips for Making Your Best Chili Ever


How do you make your chili?

How do you make your chili?

Chili is a San Antonio staple. But what kind of chili? Is it made with beef or a mix of game, sausage or even a touch of bacon? Does it have beans? Does its redness come strictly from ground chiles or do you add tomatoes to the stock? Does vegetarian chili count? Can you use corn kernels, garbanzo beans or tofu and still call it chili? What about white chili with chicken meat and green chiles?

Chili is a personal dish, with no right or wrong answers. It’s all a matter of your tastes, including the tricky issue of beans. Yes, beans are not used in Texas chili, but we probably have as many bean-loving immigrants from the Midwest as we do from south of the border, and they’ve never heard of chili without beans, so that’s how they make it.

Even though there are countless ways of making chili, some rules do apply across the board. That’s what we heard from three local chili experts, who offered tips for making your chili even better, whether you’re making a large pot for a party or for dinner during the next cold snap. Here’s what they had to say:

Robert Riddle, the “Big Bob” of Big Bob’s Burgers, 447 W. Hildebrand, offers his own chili on the Big Filthy, a burger jacked up with refrieds, jalapeños and cheese. It’s also in his Frito pie as well as his chili cheese fries and tots.

The most important thing you can do to make a great chili is to cook the chili powder. We do this two different ways. First we add the chili powder to the meat that has been cooked with the garlic and onions. We continue cooking the chili powder into the meat until the color starts to darken. We then add roasted poblano chiles and tomatoes and cook everything down until it thickens. While it is cooking we usually have to add more chili powder, so we place it in a dry skillet and roast it until the color darkens. The last advice I can give you is to simmer the chili for a couple of hours until all of the flavors blend completely. Chili is difficult because it is such a simple dish. Practice, practice, practice.

How do you serve your chili? Covered in cheese? Onions? Bacon?

How do you serve your chili? Covered in cheese? Onions? Bacon?

Garrett Stephens, pitmaster at The County Line, 10101 I-10 W. and cooking instructor, knows his way around chili in the same way he knows his smokers.

For chili, I think that it is best to use fresh spices. Instead of chili powder, I use fresh ancho chiles and make a purée out of them. I grind my cumin from seeds, and use fresh garlic clove instead of granulated garlic. I use marrow bones with onions and cilantro to make a rich broth in lieu of using water in a recipe. I would also suggest using a round steak, cut in a 1/4-inch cube, instead of ground beef. The trick would be to stop the cooking process once the meat has tendered, so that it doesn’t break down and flake apart.

Geronimo Lopez, executive chef at NAO, the Culinary Institute of America’s restaurant in the Pearl Brewery, 312 Pearl Parkway, knows chili con carne from his home country of Venezuela. It’s different from chili in Texas, but he knows that some rules apply, no matter the recipe.

There are a lot of differences in recipes, and you can use a lot of different types of meat, whether it’s game or different cuts of beef. But one thing you have to do is that the way you cut the meat must be the same. The meat must be the same size, so you can get the same mount of tenderness and so it cooks all at the same time. People need to choose their chiles carefully, so you get the right amount of heat and not too much. Balance is important with all of your flavors. Once the heat is in there, it’s kinda hard to take it out. But you can try. The one thing I know is that you can take a toasted baguette and stand it up in your pot. That can take out some of the heat, but not all. If it’s still too much, you could try to divert some of the spiciness with some sweetness, if you want.

If you haven’t developed your own chili recipe, we offer the following suggestions:

 

There's room for all kinds of chili.

There’s room for all kinds of chili.

Red Chili, Texas Style

Sizzling Pork Green Chile

Jamie’s Chili from Scott Cohen

Cincinnati Chili

Haymarket Chili

Vegetarian Chili with Cheese and Scallions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?


Fast away the old year passes, the song tells us. But we’re not going to let it go without a big blowout. New Year’s Eve parties galore dot the city scene, and the following are a few restaurant options that are offering feasts to greet 2013.

Reservations are required. Tax and tip are not included in the prices shown.

Enjoy live music during Biga on the Banks’ New Year’s party.

Achiote at the Grand Hyatt,  600 E. Market St., (210) 451-6171 — New Year’s Eve dinner is from 5 p.m. to midnight. The buffet includes salads, such as an arrangement of greens and winter vegetables, Moroccan Cous Cous and Legumes, Jicama with Red Endive and Chili Lime Slaw, Thai-inspired Green Papaya, duo of poached pears, and Roasted Beet, Citrus and Feta;  Traditional Seafood Soup with Saffron Aioli and Seed Crusted Baguette; a Seafood and Ceviche display with Poached Shrimp, King Crab Legs, Red Snapper Ceviche, Pacific Ahi Poke’ and Taro Chips; Anti-Pasti and Cheese Specialties; Carved dishes, such as Achiote-Crusted Natural Beef Tenderloin, Roast Rack of Lamb, Parsley Marble Potatoes, and Mahi Mahi Steamed on Asian Greens with Coconut Green Curry Broth; and  Daniel’s Denim and Diamond Dessert Display. The cost is $60 for adults, $30 for children, ages 6-12. Tax and 18 percent tip will be added to each check. Does not include beverages.

Alamo Street Eat Bar, 609 S. Alamo St., (210) 227-2469 — Ring in the New Year with a variety of treats from various food trucks, including the DUK Truck, and plenty of cheer on tap.

Barriba Cantina, 111 W. Crockett St., (210) 228-9876 — The cantina will be open New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day with free live music on both nights from 9 p.m. – 1 a.m.

Biga on the Banks, 203 S. St. Mary’s St., (210) 225-2722 — The New Year’s Eve menu includes an amuse bouche of crab, cucumber and caviar, followed by appetizers that include Many Mushroom and Duck Confit Raviolo, Foie Grass Terrine, Chicken-Fried Oysters, Crab Spring Rolls,  Smoked Sturgeon Profiterole,  selection of artisan cheeses,  farm-raised American Transmontanous caviar ($85 supplement) or  Wild American Hackleback Caviar ($50 supplement). Soup and salad options:  Lobster Bisque,  Grapefruit and Avocado Salad (add butter-poached lobster $12),  Chardonnay Braised Leeks (add caviar $12),  Emile’s Hydroponic Greens with Rebecca Creek goat feta, Romaine Leaves with red pepper Caesar dressing (add 3 chicken-fried oysters $8) and Spinach Salad (add grilled quail $8). Entrees:  Grilled Yellow Fin Tuna,  Slow Braised Veal Osso Bucco,  South Texas Antelope and Bandera Quail,  Grilled Beef Tenderloin,  Australian Lamb Rack and additional fish options.  The dessert list has not been written yet. Price: $100 per person. Late seating includes live music and a glass of Champagne.

Bin 555, 555 W. Bitters, (210) 496-0555 — The New Year”s Eve menu comes with optional wine pairings. On the menu: Amuse: 2008 Argyle Brut with Bruschetta & Baba Ganoush and Ras El Hanout Chickpeas, Cilantro and Mint. Appetizer: 2008 Zaca Mesa Roussanne with choice of Roasted Butternut Lobster Bisque, Pan Roasted Pork Belly and Braised Beef Cheeks. Salad: 2010 Amici Sauvignon Blanc with choice of Butter Leaf Salad, Mixed Field Greens, or Autumn Squash Salad. Pasta: Iberico Pea Risotto with 2010 Feudi LaCryma Christi Bianco. Entrée choices: Wood Fired Halibut with 2009 Sequoia Grove Chardonnay; Local Texas Rabbit with 2009 Pierre Amadieu Vacqueyras La Grangeliere Grenache/Syrad; or Braised Lamb Shank with 2009 Pierre Amadieu Vacqueyras La Grangeliere Grenache/Syrah. Dessert: Taylor Fladgate 20-Year-Old Tawny Port with choice of Chef Dady’s Signature Nutella Torte, Raspberry, Hazelnut Nougat and Smoked Pistachio Anglaise, Panettone Pain Perdu, Cinnamon Mascarpone Chantilly, Raspberry and Sour Cranberry Compote, Apple & Pear Granola Crumble or Jim Bean Black Honey Bourbon and Crème Fraiche Ice Cream. Cost is $60 a person or $90 with wine pairing. Tax and 18 percent tip added.

Bliss, 926 S. Presa St., (210) 225-2547 — On New Year’s Eve, the restaurant will offer a 5-course menu for $100 a person.

Boardwalk Bistro, 4011 Broadway, (210) 824-0100 — The restaurant will be open 5 p.m.-1 a.m. with a five-course special that includes plenty of choices.    Start with a choice of appetizers such as Cold Water Seafood Risotto, Baked Eggplant Involtini, Grilled Lamb Kofta with Cinnamon Yogurt and Shrimp Casino in Puff Pastry. Soups:   Cold Water Lobster Asparagus Bisque, Winter Squash Soup with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Sweet Pea with Ham and Croutons and Heirloom Tomato Basil with White Cheddar Breadsticks. Salads:  Traditional Caesar Salad, Mesclun Greens with Fried Shallot and Stilton Bleu Cheese, and Spinach Salad with Corn Bread Croutons. Entrees: Prosciutto Wrapped Black Cod ($63),  Surf and Turf  (grilled lobster tail and filet mignon, $72), Panko-crusted Eggplant Napoleon ($52),  Applewood-smoked Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin ($65), and Grilled Lamb T-Chop ($68). Desserts: Duo of Crème Brulee, New York Cheesecake with Berries,  Chocolate Pecan Caramel Torte with Frangelico Anglaise,  and Tiramisù with Frangelico Anglaise filled Chocolate Truffle.  An optional flight of wines can  accompany each course for an additional $20.

Bohanan’s Prime Steaks and Seafood, 219 E. Houston St., (210) 472-2600 —The restaurant will be open New Year’s Eve for those celebrating along Houston St. The regular menu with steaks, including Akaushi Beef,

Laurent’s Modern Cuisine

Boiler House Texas Grill and Wine Garden, 312 Pearl Parkway, (210) 354-4644 — Chef Jesse Perez of the upcoming Arcade Midtown Kitchen joins Boiler House chef James Moore to create a special six-course New Year’s menu that includes:  Chilled Smoked Sturgeon, Caviar Creme Fraiche;  Moroccan Quail Medallions, Pomegranate Molasses;  Confit Rabbit Terrine, Pickled Mustard Seed Aioli;  George’s Bank Diver Scallops, Smoked Oyster Stew;  Balsamic Braised Cabrito, Goat Cheese Farro Risotto;  and ‘Crispy & Salty’ Chocolate Bar. The price is $65 per person (food only); plus 6 half glasses of paired wines, $25 per person, or  six half glass of premium wine for $45. Balloon drop and champagne toast at midnight.  Live music 8 p.m.-1 a.m.

Bolo’s at the Omni San Antonio Hotel, 9821 Colonnade Blvd., (210) 699-5803 — New Year’s Eve seatings begin at 6 p.m. and continue until 10 p.m. The meal features a Spanish Tapas-style menu with dishes from different regions of that country. The price is $65 a person and includes a Champagne toast at midnight. The bar in the hotel will have a large-screen TV broadcasting the drop of the ball at midnight for those who want to watch.

The County Line, 10101 I-10 W., (210) 641-1998 — The restaurant will be open New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Reservations will be taken.

The County Line Riverwalk, 111 W. Crockett St., (210) — The River Walk location is open New Year’s Eve from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and New Year’s Day from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. No reservations accepted.

Crumpets, 3920 Harry Wurzbach Road, (210) 821-5454 — On New Year’s Eve, chef Francois Maeder will be serving appetizers such as artichokes stuffed with goat cheese and almonds or Nova Scotia smoked salmon with cream cheese. Guests can experience Crumpets Trilogy, a special main course featuring a lobster tail with lemon butter, rack of lamb Provencal, and tenderloin of beef with Rossini sauce. Other entrées offered are chicken, shrimp, Rainbow trout, veal and beef. All include an appetizer, cup of soup, house salad and dessert.

Fig Tree Restaurant, 515 Villita St., (210) 225-2111 — There will be two seatings on New Year’s Eve: 6-9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.-midnight. The special menu starts with an optional connoisseur caviar course (30 g of osetra) for a $150 supplement. The dinner includes Caramelized Onion Tart with Figs, Chevre and Arugula Pistou; Peking Quail with Persimmon Chutney; Bok Choy and Pear Salad; Lobster Cannoli Chanterelles and White Truffles, Mascarpone Béchamel; Chateaubriand for Two with Béarnaise and Chateau Potatoes. Dessert choices: Dark Chocolaté Pavé, Milk Chocolate Mousse or Wild Morello Cherry Crème Brulee. The price is $98 a person plus tax and 18 percent tip.

Celebrate the arrival of 2013 at your favorite restaurant.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, 255 E. Basse Road, (210) 824-WINE (9463) — Fleming’s will celebrate Dec. 28-31 with a special menu that includes a complimentary Gulf shrimp and grits appetizer, followed by a choice of Delmonico Steak with Blue Crab & Gruyere Glaçage ($74.95), Filet Mignon and Lobster Brioche Bread Pudding ($69.95), and Lobster Tail with Macaroni and Cheese ($79.95). Chocolate Budino ($9.95) is the special dessert. Magnums of Gloria Ferrar Sonoma Brut will be poured at $12 a glass or $100 for the 1.5-liter bottle. The regular menu will also be offered.

Frederick’s Restaurant, 7701 Broadway, (210) 828-9050; Frederick’s Bistro,  14439 N.W. Military Highway, (210) 888-1500 — Both restaurants will ring in the new year with the following special menu. First course is a choice of Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops with Leeks Ragout and Caviar Beurre Blanc, Seared Veal Carpaccio with Herbed Cheese, Stuffed Quail and Foie Gras Terrine Platter or Assorted Seafood Delicacy. Second course: Frederick’s Salad and Goat Cheese with Champagne, Hazelnut Vinaigrette. Main course choices: Orange Ginger Glazed Duck Breast Over a bed of Wild Rice Risotto, Beef Tournedo “Rossini” with Foie Gras and Perigourdine Sauce, Sea Bass and Crab Meat Napoleon or Grilled Maine Lobster. Fourth course is choice of dessert. Cost is $85 a person.

Gallo Pizzeria, 164 Castroville Road, (210) 264-0077 — The pizzeria is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. New Year’s Eve.

The Granary ‘Cue and Brew, 602 Avenue A, (210) 228-0124 — A five-course tasting menu will include oyster on the half shell, root beer-glazed scallop, TG Texas Toast and ‘Cue Butter, Smoked Bison and Baked Alaska. The cost is $68 a person. Add $20 for beer pairings.

Hyatt Hill Country Resort, 9800 Hyatt Resort Drive, (210) 767-7999 — Two packages are available for New Year’s. The Sea World package includes full breakfast buffet for two adults and two children (under 12) each day, tickets to  SeaWorld’s Twilight New Year’s Eve Party from noon – 9 p.m.,  and transportation to and from the resort. Some of SeaWorld’s New Year’s features: fireworks spectacular, A Dolphin Christmas,  Elmo’s Christmas Wish,  Shamu Christmas,  A Sesame Street Christmas,  and Clyde & Seamore’s Countdown to Christmas. Antlers Lodge New Year’s Eve dinner package includes overnight accommodations, four-course dinner for two, live entertainment, party favors, Champagne toast at midnight and breakfast buffet for two on Jan. 1. Call for prices.

JW Marriott,23808 Resort Parkway, (210) 483-6622 — The resort is offering a variety of activities and events to celebrate the New Year. Raise a toast and dance the night away in Crooked Branch or High Velocity after enjoying dinner either 18 Oaks and Cibolo Moon, both of which feature special New Year’s Eve menus. A complete New Year’s Eve package is available for $239, which includes a guest room and a $50 resort credit that can be applied to golf, spa or dining. 18 Oaks will feature a selection of special a la carte dishes on New Year’s Eve, including Cast Iron Baked Fontina for $16 and a 16-ounce Ribeye for $48. Cibolo Moon is offering a New Year’s Eve buffet dinner for $28 featuring king and stone crab, oysters, aged cheeses, smoked meats, prime rib, Shiner-brined turkey and much more. A Kids’ Zone dinner buffet is also available for $14.

Kirby’s Prime Steakhouse, 123 N. Loop 1604 E., (210) 404-2221 — Chef Daniel Nemec is preparing a special menu priced at $89 a person. Start with a choice of Texas Sterling Lamb Wellington,  Cedar Plank Diver Sea Scallops With Grilled Applewood Smoked Bacon and a Chive Beurre Blanc,  House-made Crisp Gnocchi With Garlic Sautéed Wild Mushrooms and Sauce Carbonara,  Broiled Veal Marrow and Kirby’s Signature Maryland Style Crab Cake. Second course choices:  Oven Roasted Grape Tomatoes with Baby Mozzarella, Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette in a Parmesan Tuile;  House Caesar;  Baby Arugala and Fire Kissed Strawberry Salad; or Lobster Bisque. Third course choices:  Grilled 7- or 10-ounce Blue Ribbon Filet; Grilled 16-ounce Ribeye; 7- or 10-ounce Filet Oscar; Grilled Cobia Fillet; Oven-Baked Cold Water Western Australian Lobster Tail with Alaskan King Crab Dressing; Texas Sterling Lamb Shank Osso Buco; 16-ounce Prime New York Strip.  Served with side and choice of dessert. Melina Narezo Band will perform.

Las Canarias at Omni La Mansion del Rio, 112 College St., (210) 518-1177 — On New Year’s Eve, the restaurant will offer a special five-course pre-fixe menu for $100, with reservations available from 5:30 to 11:00 p.m. Menu items include a chilled white asparagus velouté, Pacific sturgeon and Strube Ranch wagyu beef bavette. Á la carte dining will also be available at featured menu prices. A live band with dancing and party favors will perform from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. and a complimentary champagne toast will be offered at midnight to bring in the New Year. Complimentary parking will also be available on a first come, first serve basis. On New Year’s Day, the brunch will be from 6:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. The cost is $25 for adults, $15 for children ages 6-12 and free for those 5 and under. The buffet menu consists of eggs and omelets made to order, Texas cut cinnamon raisin French toast, fried eggs Benedict with crispy pork belly and a selection of breads and cereals, among other options. The buffet also includes complimentary parking, juice and coffee; all other beverages are non-inclusive. Las Canarias’ à la carte dining will be available from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.

Laurent’s Modern Cuisine,4230 McCullough Ave., (210) 822-6644 — The New Year’s Eve menu will include a five-course meal with the chance of adding a cheese course to the lineup. Some of the items on the menu include appetizer choices of Diver Sea Scallop with sweetbread strudel, candied orange, blood orange gastric; Ahi Tuna Tartar, caramelized sea urchin, fried quail egg; Foie gras crème brûlée, mini ginger bread and torchon sandwich; or Three cheeses Profiteroles, Brie, Humblefog and Gruyere, Yellow pepper coulis.  Salad course: -Petite Mache salade, baby Heirloom, shaved asparagus, frisee, champagne vinaigrette.  Main course choices:  Norwegian Halibut (or Sea Bass), Fresh Peas and Horseradish puree, Miso beurre blanc; Farm raised Capon, baby vegetables, Parsnips puree, Red plum-chicken jus; Beef Tenderloin, Crispy Pig Feet, Sauce Perigourdine, Truffled dauphines potatoes; or Half roasted Maine lobster, curried crab meat, Roasted corn Hach, Sauce Americaine. The price is $75 a person while the cheese course is an optional $10 more.

Little Rhein Steak House, 231 S. Alamo St., (210) 225-2111 — New Year’s Eve sittings are 5-6:30 p.m., 7-9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.-midnight. The early dinner special includes choice of Shrimp Cocktail or Bacon Wrapped Quail Legs, followed by Beef Steak Tomatoes with Blue Cheese or Field Greens with Cranberries, Walnuts, Goat Cheese and Basil Vinaigrette. Main course choices:  Prime Rib, Prime Strip Loin,  Center Cut Filet Mignon, Bay of Fundy Salmon Fillet or Center Cut Filet and Lobster. Entrees served with Au Gratin Potatoes, Sautéed Wild Mushrooms and Buttered Asparagus. Dessert is either Sticky Toffee Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream or  New York Cheesecake with Strawberries.  A glass of Champagne included. Price is $70 a person plus tax and 18 percent tip. Later seatings add lobster bisque to the menu. Price is $79 a person plus tax and 18 percent tip.

Ring in the new year with Morton’s Legendary Chocolate Cake.

Mike’s in the Village, 2355-3 Bulverde Road, Bulverde, (830) 438-2747 — The regular menu will be served all New Year’s Eve.

Morton’s The Steakhouse, 300 E. Crockett St., (210) 228-0700 — The restaurant will be celebrating during dinner on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Oro at the Emily Morgan Hotel, 705 E. Houston St., (210) 224-0146 — New Year’s Eve seating starts at 5:30 p.m.  Begin with a Belvedere Martini, followed by Bluebonnet Farms Petite Lettuces or Charleston She Crab Soup. The main course is a choice of grilled ribeye with sherried lobster mushrooms or pan-roasted halibut with hickory smoked oyster sweet potato hash. Dessert is a choice of espresso tiramisu or caramelized pear and apple beignets. The cost is $79.95 a person and includes the martini, a glass of Moet et Chandon Brut Champagne and complimentary valet parking.

Ostra at the Mokara Hotel, 212 W. Crockett St., (210) 396-5817 — Reservations can be made from 6:30 to 11 p.m. with bar beverage service continuing until 2 a.m. Party favors and champagne toasts part of the celebration.

Paloma Blanca, 5800 Broadway, (210) 822-6151 — The restaurant will be open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. New Year’s Eve.

Perry’s Steakhouse,15900 La Cantera Parkway, (210) 558-6161 — Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille is offering a three-course menu followed by a champagne toast at midnight. For each course, guests can choose from a selection of Perry’s signature items, such as the lobster bisque, Perry’s Famous Pork Chop and Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy Bar dessert. For those dining at 5:30 p.m. or earlier, the cost is $54.95 per person plus tax and tip; it is $74.95 per person plus tax and tip for 6 p.m. or later.

Say Happy New Year with fireworks!

Q on the Riverwalk at the Downtown Hyatt, 123 Losoya, (210) 362.6325 — The New Year’s Eve celebration will feature dining from 6 to 10 p.m. The meal includes choice of the following main courses: house-smoked standing rib roast, fire-grilled fillet of salmon or roasted breast of chicken. Side dishes include roasted butternut squash risotto, baked mashed potatoes, au gratin potatoes, and grilled seasonal vegetables. There will also be a build-your-own salad bar as well as desserts that include vanilla bean creme brulee, mini-strawberry cheesecake, chocolate mousse shooters and cappuccino tarts. The cost is $50 a person.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Concord Plaza, 7720 Jones Maltsberger Road (210) 821-5051; Sunset Station, 1170 E. Commerce St. (210) 227-8847 — The specially priced menu consists of Ruth’s Chris steaks and other signature favorites for $99 per person and includes a Champagne toast as well as view of fireworks from the balcony of the Sunset station location.

Silo, 1133 Austin Hwy., (210) 824-8686; 434 N. Loop 1604 W., (210) 483-8989 — The New Year’s Eve special menu begins with a choice of lobster bisque, chicken-fried oysters, ricotta gnocchi, tuna carpaccio or five-spice Texas quail. Second course choices: Hydroponic mixed greens, baby wedge salad, Caesar salad, or roasted beet and watercress salad. Third course options: Roasted duck breast and confit leg, grilled beef tenderloin, prosciutto-wrapped sea bass, grilled Australian rack of lamb, or whole butter-poached lobster. Fourth course choices: Toasted coconut mousse pie or Callebaut dark chocolate truffle tart. A glass of Piper Heidsieck Brut is the finale. Price is $85 a person.

Sustenio at Eilan Hotel Resort & Spa, 17103 La Cantera Parkway, (210) 598-2950 — There will be two seatings on New Year’s Eve. The first is at 7 p.m. and features a three-course dinner priced at $75 a person.  The second is at 9 p.m.  and features a five-course dinner with dancing at iDance City and a Champagne toast, all for $125.

The Terrace Grill at Riven Rock Ranch, 390 Hermann Sons Road, Comfort, (830) 995-4045 —The New Year’s Eve party begins at 8 p.m. and runs until 12:30 a.m. The meal includes passed appetizers, soup or salad, a choice of Beef Tenderloin with red onion and Singing Water red wine marmalade, sweet cream whipped potatoes and Texas caviar or seasonal fresh fish topped with blue crab and pecan brown butter sauce with wild rice pilaf and Texas caviar. Cost is $99.95, which includes party favors and a complimentary glass of Champagne at midnight.

Texas de Brazil, 313 E. Houston St., (210) 299-1600 — The restaurant will be open early and late, offering diners skewers of meat as well as its extensive salad bar.

Thai Dee, 5307 Blanco Road, (210) 342-3622 — Thai Dee Restaurant will be open on New Year’s Day serving your favorite Thai dishes.

Tre Trattoria in Alamo Heights, 4003 Broadway, (210) 805-0333 — All parties receive family-style antipasti on New Year’s Eve, followed by the following menu. First course choices: Slow Roasted Caprese with House Pulled Mozzarella and Basil; Pear and Apple Panzanella with Rye, Arugula, Shaved Fennel, Spiced Walnuts and Lemon; or Salt Cod and Yukon Gold Fritters, Roasted Cauliflower Salad and Caper Aioli. Second course choices: Roasted Pumpkin Bisque with Spiced Pumpkin Seeds and Caramel Crema or Mussels and Chickpea with Saffron, Italian Sausage, Caramelized Fennel and Greek Yogurt. Third course options: Pan Seared Diver Scallop with Pecan Ice; Butter Poached Cold Water Oysters with Creamy Orzo, Chiles and Bottarga; or Tagliatelli with Smoked Local Cabrito, Calbrese Peppers, Pecorino and Rosemary. Fourth course choices: Pan Seared Ahi Tuna with Beluga Lentils; Wild Boar Ragu and Creamy Polenta; Grilled Tuscan Ribeye and Smashed Red Potatoes with Fontina; or Crispy Skin Duck Confit with Grilled Chicories. Fifth course options: Nutella x 3; Butterscotch “Blondie” with Thyme Chantilly and Praline “Crumble”; or Olive Oil Cake with Citrus and Mint. Price is $69.95 a person. Price does not include tax and 18 percent tip.

Tre Trattoria Downtown at The Fairmount Hotel, 401 S. Alamo St., (210) 223-0401 — The special New Year’s menu begins with an optional apertif of Cinco Vodka, Cava and Hibiscus flower syrup with Pomegranate Juice and Lime ($12 supplement). It is followed by a choice of House-made Mozzarella Caprese Salad, Caesar Salad or Lobster Bisque. Second course is Pearl Farmers Market Bruschetta served family style. Third course is a choice of Tuscan Farro Salad, Black Eyed Pea and House Sausage, or Israeli Cous Cous with Crab ($7 supplement for the latter). Fourth course choices: House-Made Pan Seared Potato Gnocchi; House-Made Tagliatelle with Wild Mushrooms, Thyme and Parmigiano Reggiano; or House-cut Fettuccini with Roasted garlic, Wilted Spinach, Basil and Parmigiano Brodo. Fifth course choices: Seared Diver Sea Scallops: Pan Seared Salmon with Marinated Purple Cabbage; Grilled Tuscan Marinated Ribeye ($15 Supplement); or Cornish Game Hen. Dessert choices: Nutella x 3, Vanilla Gelato, or Fresh Fruit and Local Honey Parfait. Price is $90 a person plus tax and tip or $120 with wine pairings.

The Westin La Cantera Resort, 16641 La Cantera Parkway, (210) 558-2253 — Dinner on New Year’s Eve will be in Francesca’s at Sunset and will include an Alice in Wonderland theme. Chef Stephen Gonzalez and sommelier Steven Krueger are planning a five-course meal with matching Champagnes. The price is $125 a person.

 

 

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County Line Pitmaster Class Rescheduled for Nov. 18


The next Pitmaster class at the County Line, 10101 I-10 W., has been rescheduled to Nov. 18.

Beer-brined chicken wings from chef Garrett Stephens.

Garrett Stephens and his barbecue team will focus on football, now that the season is alive and well. The theme for the class will be the “Ultimate Football Tailgate Party.”

Class participants will enjoy a full serving of each o the four courses as Stephens demonstrates how to prepare each dish, taking questions from the guests as he cooks.  Everyone receives a recipe book, with space to take their own notes.    Sponsors are Blue Moon and Leinenkugel Beer.

A cocktail reception featuring the El Borracho Gallo Margarita from Barriba Cantina begins at 7 p.m.; the class/dinner begins at 7:30 p.m.

Grilled Brats from Garrett Stephens' Pitmaster class at County Line.

The Nov. 18 menu will feature: Grilled Pizza with Italian Sausage & Peppers and Basil Vinaigrette; Beer Brined, Pit-Kissed Thai Chicken Wings; Grilled Sheboygan Brats in Crème Ale and Onions on Semmel Roll (the real deal, imported from Wisconsin) and Grilled Banana Pizza with Chocolate and Hazelnut for dessert.

Beers from Blue Moon Brewery and Leinenkugel will be paired with each course.

Since the grill will be fired up, the cooking class will be held outside on the restaurant’s shaded patio; in case of rain, the class will be moved inside.

The cost for this cooking demonstration, recipe book, cocktail reception and four-course dinner is only $50 per person (does not include tax and gratuity).

This is the last Pitmaster Class for 2011, but more are planned for 2012.  To make a reservation, contact the restaurant at 210-641-1998 or garretts@countyline.com; the last two Pitmaster Classes have sold out a week before the event.

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Sausage, Cheese and Garlic Shine in Grilled Chorizo-stuffed Mushrooms


Grilled Chorizo-stuffed Mushrooms

Grilling mushrooms filled with chorizo, garlic and more makes for an easy appetizer. And this recipe, from Garrett Stephens of the County Line, comes topped with Manchego cheese for an extra rich layer of flavor.

Stephens served these beauties with a Shiner Blond, one of our favorite summer time brews.

Stephens will be cooking up more such treats at his latest Pitmaster Class at the County Line, 10101 I-10 W., this Friday evening. For more information, call 210-641-1998 to see if any seats are left.

Grilled Chorizo-stuffed Mushrooms

16 large white mushrooms, stemmed, caps clean with dampened towel
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound Mexican or Spanish chorizo, depending on your taste
¾ cup finely diced onions
4 cloves minced garlic
½ cup bread crumbs
¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
½ cup Manchego cheese
½ lemon, juiced
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Generously brush the mushrooms with olive oil and place on vegetable grill grate.

Sauté the onions 1-2 minutes until they begin to sweat.  Add garlic and cook 1-2 more minutes.  Add the chorizo and cook through.  Drain excess oil from chorizo mixture and transfer to a bowl.  Add the breadcrumbs, herbs, and lemon juice.  Season mixture to taste with salt and pepper.

Stuff the mushrooms with mixture and top with a little cheese.

Set a grill up for indirect grilling.  Place mushrooms on vegetable grate set on away from heat.  Cover grill.  Cook the mushrooms until tender and nicely browned, about 15-20 minutes.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

From Garrett Stephens, the County Line.

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Get Maximum Flavor from Your Grill


Have your plan ready before starting, Garrett Stephens advises.

Are you going to grill this weekend? You’re not alone. Folks across the country will be lighting up charcoal or warming their propane grills for cookouts featuring everything from steaks and hamburgers to veggie skewers and portobello mushrooms.

But as much as Americans love to grill, not everybody gets the best results. So, to help you out, we asked three grill masters in town to offer five tips for better grilling. The answers are mostly varied and the advice is certainly sound, but we must point out two tips that did come more than once and should be taken to heart:

Don’t over-season the meat; that is, if it’s the meat you want to taste. And practice a little patience: Let the meat rest a few minutes before you cut into it; it’ll be juicier and taste a whole lot better.

Garrett Stephens, pitmaster at the County Line Barbecue, 10101 I-10 W., offers the following tips for after you’ve dusted  off the grill:

  1. Have a game plan in order to wow your friends and family with the perfect outdoor feast. To start, take a quick inventory of what meats will be gracing your plate. You will need to set your grill up accordingly. For burgers, dogs, kabobs, fish, and thin cut steaks you will want to set your grill up for direct heat, and leaving 4-6 inches from your coals. For thicker cuts, such as roasts, whole chickens, ribs, and thick cut steaks you will want to have a part of your grill set up to accommodate an indirect method so that you wont end up charring your heartier cuts and leaving the middle underdone.
  2. Pat meat dry and wipe off excess marinades.

    Make sure you are adding the flavors that your grill was destined to create by adding rubs, marinades, and smoke. A proper marinade should consist of an acidic ingredient, such as vinegar, wine, or citrus juice; a little oil, such as olive; and various spices and herbs. Rubs generally consist of various spices, herbs, and even citrus zests ranging from sweet to savory. Rubs will not only tenderize cuts of beef, but will add deep, wonderful flavor. Rubs should be applied several hours prior to grilling and the meats left in a refrigerator.

  3. Be sure to thoroughly wipe off excess marinade before you grill in order to prevent flame from flaring up.
  4. While grilling, be sure to add wood chips to your coals just before you throw on your cuts. Experiment with different types of woods to obtain smoky flavors ranging from delicate to earthy, and aromatic to sweet.
  5. Finally, as you pull off your pieces of culinary genius, take a moment, 5- 10 minutes, to let your works rest. If you cut in too quickly, the juices will run out all over your plate instead of in your mouth, which is where they should be. If you let the meat, rest the juices will permeate the meat and the final product will be the perfect compliment to your Fourth of July picnic.

Select the right wine to go with the meat you're grilling, Troy Knapp says.

Troy Knapp, executive chef at the Hyatt Hill Country, 9800 Hyatt Resort Drive, is also a certified sommelier. So naturally, pairing what you grill with the right drink is important:

  1. Quality — Purchase the best you can afford. All-natural beef is better for you and the environment. When it comes to meat, you generally get what you pay for. You are better of going with a smaller piece if you are looking to save. Think quality over quantity and you will be much more satisfied in the long run. Simple seasoning is the best way to enhance a great cut of meat. Use great quality olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground pepper.
  2. Tempering — For an evenly cooked steak, allow your steak (or other protein) to acclimate to room temperature before putting it on the grill. This should take approximately one hour on your kitchen counter and be sure to cover.
  3. Resting — A crucial step that allows the juices to integrate properly and ultimately provide a juicier finished product. Once removed from the grill, simply let the steaks rest for approximately 7 to 8 minutes before cutting into them.
  4. Wine — Steaks with higher fat content such as a rib-eye or New York strip will benefit from a big wine with significant tannin such as a Syrah, Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon. Lean meats such as tenderloin pair much nicer with lower tannin reds such as Merlot or Pinot Noir. Don’t forget about dry rosé for grilled fish and chicken. Make sure you slightly chill the reds by placing in the refrigerator for a half hour to achieve a temperature of approximately 60 degrees.
  5. Sides — Refreshing sides are a nice accent to rich barbecued, grilled or smoked meats. Instead of creamy potato salad or coleslaw, go with a roasted potato salad with vinaigrette and herbs or a vinaigrette slaw. Add accompaniments such as chimichurri or pickled vegetables. Items with good acidity will add a light fresh component and will surely excite the palate.

Salt and pepper are all you need to season that steak, Jason Dady says.

Jason Dady, whose restaurants include the Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills, Bin 555 and Tre Trattoria and feature a grill or two, offers the following tips:

  1. The best results come from a hot grill. Too many people use coals that are too cool or a gas grill that has not gotten hot enough
  2. Don’t use too much oil. It aids in flames, which can cause the extra carbon bitterness in the food. Use the least amount of oil.
  3. Rub the grill with a lightly oiled rag prior to grilling while coals and grates are hot. It will act as a natural “non-stick.”
  4. Pat all meats dry prior to cooking. They should not be wet. It will help in allowing the caramelization of the meat to get a richer, darker flavor profile.
  5. Salt and pepper — it’s all you need. Kosher salt to season with and fresh cracked black pepper. Let your steak taste like your steak!

 

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Grilled Caesar Salad


Garlic makes the dressing for this Grilled Caesar Salad.

Use both direct heat and indirect heat from the grill to make this special Caesar salad.

Grilled Caesar Salad

Dressing:
2 egg yolks
2 cloves garlic
3 anchovy fillets
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Croutons:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups 1/2-inch cubes ciabatta bread
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Salad:
2 heads romaine lettuce, cut in half lengthwise
1 tablespoon light olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

To make the dressing: Place the egg yolks, garlic, anchovies and mustard in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse for 10 seconds. Slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream. Add the cheese, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco. Season with salt and pepper and pulse until combined. Refrigerate.

To make the croutons: Heat your grill. Melt the butter in a small saucepan on the stovetop, add the garlic and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, making sure to not let the butter brown. Strain the butter into a small bowl. Add the bread cubes, season with salt and pepper, and toss together. Place the bread on the perforated grill pan and grill over direct heat for 2 to 3 minutes, turning constantly, until toasted light brown on all sides. Using barbecue mitts, remove the grill pan from the grill and allow the croutons to cool.

To make the salad: Brush the inside of each lettuce half with light olive oil. Place the lettuce on the grill, cut side down, over indirect heat. Close the lid and grill for 1 minute, or until lightly browned. Remove and let cool.

To assemble: Place a lettuce half on each plate, grilled side up. Pour the desired amount of dressing over the lettuce and top with croutons and cheese. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

From Garrett Stephens/The County Line

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Memphis-rubbed Pork Shoulder


Memphis-rubbed Pork Shoulder

A rub and a marinade combine to give this smoked pork shoulder extra flavor.

Memphis-rubbed Pork Shoulder

County Line Memphis Rub:
1 cup ground paprika
1/2 cup brown sugar
5 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon celery salt
3 tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons dry mustard
5 teaspoons garlic powder
5 teaspoons onion powder

Injection marinade:
3/4 cup apple juice
3/4 cup white grape juice
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Meat:
1 (10-pound) pork Boston Butt (choose a piece of meat with a good quantity of fat)

For the rub: In a clean and dry container combine paprika, sugars, salts, peppers, mustard, garlic powder and onion powder. Blend well. Sugar should be completely blended into mixture and the final product should be uniform in color with no lumps.

For the marinade: Mix juices, salt and Worcestershire sauce together. Using a meat injector, liberally inject the pork from all sides with the marinade.

Use any leftover marinade to moisten the pork so the rub sticks. Rub your spice rub into the pork, and don’t be shy.

Place the pork in your refrigerator overnight so that the meat will soak up the flavors.

Take the meat out an hour early so it can reach room temperature before it hits the smoker.

Preparing your smoker: You shoudl always cook with wood, whether it be hardwood logs or hardwood charcoal — just stay away from regular charcoal.

Once your coals are ready, add the meat. The ideal range for smoking your meat is between 200 and 225 degrees. you should plan on smoking your meat for about 1 1/2 hours per pound. For the last 3 hours of smoking time, remove your meat and wrap it tightly in foil. Once the meat reaches an internal temperature of 185 degrees, pull it. Always use a calibrated meat thermometer. Meat should pull apart easily with two forks.

Makes 8-10 servings.

From Garrett Stephens/The County Line

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County Line Cooking Class Is Smokin’ Good


Mouthwatering Memphis-rubbed Pork Shoulder with Green Apple Coleslaw

Anyone wanting to present a cooking class would do well to look at the example set by the County Line.

The barbecue joint at 10101 I-1o W. kicked off a monthly series of cooking classes recently with a lesson in pit-smoking that was perfect fun. It was held outdoors on a balmy autumn evening. The menu was loaded with pork products, from bacon to sausage, that made you want to ask for seconds. The prickly pear margaritas and the beer were flowing. Oh, yeah, and the instructor made everything he did look perfectly easy.

Garrett Stephens

San Antonio native Garrett Stephens started his restaurant career as a dishwasher. For the last 15 years, he has been preparing barbecue at the County Line, so he knows his way around a smoker, which he demonstrated with his Memphis-rubbed Pork Shoulder. Use only Boston Butt for this succulent creation, he said, and make sure you select one with plenty of fat on one side. Leave it on and it will hold the meat together after smoking it for hours. Then when you are ready to serve, the skin will remove easily, he said.

Preparing the meat requires two steps. The first is to inject the meat with a marinade that uses a mixture of apple juice, grape juice and Worcestershire sauce. “Use every bit of the marinade,” Stephens said, which will cause the meat to expand once it is injected. The other is to make a rub, which Stephens makes by combining celery salt, cayenne pepper, dry mustard, garlic powder and brown sugar among other ingredients.

When the meat is ready to smoke, it is important to maintain a temperature range of 200 to 225 degrees as you cook it for 1 1/2 hours per pound. So a 10-pound Boston Butt will take 15 hours to smoke.

And always smoke it with wood, not regular charcoal.

Stephens paired this dish with a coleslaw that incorporated Granny Smith apples.

Hatch Chile Stuffed with Chived Cream Cheese

He started the evening with frozen prickly pear margaritas, which are easy to make. Simply scrape the seeds from the center of a cactus tuna, or prickly pear, which adds a vibrant magenta color to the drink and a welcome touch of sweetness.

He followed that with an appetizer in which he took Hatch chiles and filled them with chived cream cheese and smoked sausage before wrapping them in thin bacon and turning them onto the grill. Use indirect heat and make sure the bacon cooks on all sides. It was simple, yet it had the audience sighing with satisfaction, especially when paired with the seasonal Smoked Hatch Green Chile Blonde Ale from Freetail Brewing Co., one of the evening’s sponsors along with Whole Food and Barbecues Galore.

Next came a garlicky Grilled Caesar Salad that had an almost mayonnaise like dressing that Stephens whipped up in a food processor. Two cloves of garlic were mixed with egg yolks, lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco as well as three anchovy fillets.

Don’t be afraid of the anchovies in your Caesar dressing, he said. “They add buttery richness and saltiness.”

The salad was a perfect foil for Freetail’s Rye Wit, a light-bodied, refreshing beer that cut through the thickness of the dressing.

Grilled Peach Kebabs

Stephens closed out the evening with grilled peaches and pound cake topped with the County Line’s special Jack Daniel’s sauce. Oil down the grill for this one and make sure it’s both hot and clean before placing the cake down, Stephens said. And don’t let yourself get distracted. The pound cake cooks in about 45 seconds.

I’ve been to plenty of cooking classes where the recipes were solid but just didn’t inspire me to recreate them at home. Not so here. In the few days that have passed since the class, I’ve already made the coleslaw. And I’m just waiting for some of my Anaheim chiles to ripen a little further before I grill them in a variation of Stephens’ recipe. That Jack Daniel’s sauce is going to get a good workout this fall on everything from chocolate-pecan pie to vanilla ice cream.

Stephens summed up his approach to smoking meat in a manner that applies to all cooking: “Barbecue is fun. If you’re not having fun, you shouldn’t do it.”

For more on the County Line, click here.

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Add Prickly Pear to Your Margarita


Tradicional Margarita

Lime wedge
Salt
1 ounce Jose Cuervo Tradicional or silver tequila
2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
1 ounce prickly pear juice
1/2 cup ice

Rub the rim of a chilled margarita glass with the lime and dip the glass into the salt to coat it.

In a cocktail shaker, combine Jose Cuervo Tradicional, lime juice, Grand Marnier, prickly pear juice and ice.

Shake vigorously and strain drink into a rimmed glass filled with ice.

Makes 1 cocktail.

From Jose Cuervo/The County Line

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