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Archive | May 4th, 2010

Johnny Hernandez’s La Gloria Now Open

Johnny Hernandez’s La Gloria Now Open

Small fried tacos with crumbled Mexican cheese samples of La Gloria fare.

Johnny Hernandez’s long-anticipated opening of La Gloria was Wednesday.

The fare is Mexican street foods, including tortas, tacos, panchos, tlyudas, dorados and more.

The restaurant, with a patio overlooking the new Museum Reach of the San Antonio River Walk, is across the parking lot from the new Culinary Institute of America building, under construction now. The CIA is Hernandez’s alma mater.

As the early afternoon temperatures began to rise on Monday, two days before opening, Hernandez’s staff was working on serving a private party. Manager Francisco Mannechez and assistant manager Eric Valdez handled the talking and details, while La Gloria’s chef de cuisine, Greg Fernandez, watched over as food came out of the open kitchen.

Hernandez was running interference but stopped a moment to sit by his mother, Teresa Hernandez. He pointed out the view to the river and mentioned that the lights outside would, he hoped, would complement the look of the lighting on a shade the Pearl is putting up before the summer gets too warm.

La Gloria patio, river side, has a pretty River Walk view.

Teresa Hernandez was proud but nervous, as a mother would be. “No, I didn’t teach him how to cook,” she said in answer to my question. Hernandez’s father was a longtime employee of Earl Abel’s and gets the credit for steering his son toward the restaurant business.

Hernandez headed back to the kitchen on an errand as the food began to be served. His mother leaned across the table. “I think he’s going to have to do a variety platter,” she said, indicating a large blackboard of menu items on the wall. “Everyone is going to want everything.”

Photos by Bonnie Walker

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Get on the Trail: New Webcasts Showcase Texas Wineries

Get on the Trail: New Webcasts Showcase Texas Wineries

The Texas Department of Agriculture has launched a new series of web videos highlighting eight Lone Star wine trails.

Winemakers and trail representatives will share travel tips for each trail, as well as specifics about annual trail events, celebrations and what visitors can expect.

“Friendly personalities, beautiful scenery and award-winning wines characterize Texas wine trails,” Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said. “We’re excited people all over the world can access the new GO TEXAN WineCasts to uncork the fun,  unique and welcoming experiences of Texas wine country.”

The series began last Tuesday with the Texas Bluebonnet Wine Trail,  a group of eight wineries scattered from Brenham to Montgomery featuring a unique event for each season, including a Wine & Wildflowers Trail celebrating the trail’s namesake bloom.The videos are posted on a YouTube channel for GO TEXAN wine, and featured on TDA’s Texas wine site, www.gotexanwine.org.

Subsequent video episodes released weekly will cover these wine trails:

Cross Timbers Wine Trail, stretching north from the Ft. Worth area. These seven wineries are in one of the oldest wine regions in the state.

Dallas Wine Trail, a cluster of four urban wineries. This trail brings the rural winery experience to the heart of Dallas.

Wine Road 290 is a group of nine wineries located near the charming, historic town of Fredericksburg between Austin and San Antonio.

Grapevine Wine Trail, near Grapevine in North Texas, the trail features nine wineries and hosts themed events throughout the year, such as the Murder Mystery Trail and the Valentine Wine Trail.

The Munson Wine Trail, comprises 12 wineries stretching across the northeast corner of Texas, beginning just north of Dallas. They offer a range of events each year, such as barrel tastings and the McKinney Wine & Jazz Festival.

The Texas Wine Trail is located in the heart of Central Texas, this trail is made up of 24 wineries and is the second most popular wine destination in the country, second only to Napa/Sonoma.

Way Out Wineries are between the High Plains and the Texas Hill Country. These eight small-town wineries host five road trips each year, each with a seasonal theme.

Visitors to Texas wine trails also can pick up the Texas Department of Agriculture’s wine passport, which offers rewards, including Texas wine accessories, gourmet winery dinners and group wine tastings, for visiting four or more wineries.

Photo above: Bobby Cottle of Pleasant Hill winery near Brenham uses a wine thief, a sort of large glass straw that pulls wine from a barrel so that winemakers can sample its progress as it is aging.

Texas is the fifth-largest wine-producing state in the nation with more than 180 wineries, contributing more than $1.35 billion annually to the state economy. Nearly 1 million travelers visit Texas wineries each year.

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A Treat for Cinco de Mayo

A Treat for Cinco de Mayo

Grill fish in a basket.

Looking for a new way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo or merely enjoy grilled fish? Then check out this easy, yet low-calorie dish from celebrated grill master Steven Raichlen, who will be in San Antonio on May 24 for a fund-raiser benefiting KLRN. (Click here for details.)

“You may not find this dish in traditional Mexican cookbooks,” Raichlen writes in “High-Flavor, Low-Fat Mexican Cooking,” “but the flavors of the simply grilled fish served with a silken salsa of avocado, chiles and fried garlic are as ancient as the country itself. I’ve called for snapper here, but you can really use any fish. For ease in turning the fish on the grill, cook it in a wire fish basket.”

Grilled Snapper with Avocado Sauce

4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless snapper fillets
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice

For the salsa:
1 poblano chile
1 jalapeño
1/2 medium white onion, cut in half
5 cloves garlic (2 cloves peeled, 3 cloves peeled and thinly sliced), divided use
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small or 1/2 large avocado, peeled and seeded
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup no-fat sour cream
1/2 cup water, fish broth or bottled clam juice
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or to taste

Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper and sprinkle with garlic. Arrange the fillets in a baking dish and pour the orange and grapefruit juices over them. Marinate for 1 hour, turning once or twice.

Meanwhile, prepare the salsa. Heat a comal or cast-iron skillet over a medium-high heat. Roast the chiles, onion and the 2 peeled garlic cloves until nicely browned, 8 to 10 minutes for the poblano and onion, 4 to 6 minutes for the jalapeño and the garlic. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Seed the chiles.

Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Fry the sliced garlic until it is lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Do not let it burn. Drain the fried garlic in a strainer.

Place the roasted chiles, onion and garlic in a blender with the avocado, chopped cilantro, cumin, sour cream, water or fish broth, and lime juice. Purée until smooth, adding water as needed to obtain a thick but pourable sauce. Correct the seasoning, adding salt, pepper and lime juice to taste. Add the fried garlic and pulse the blender just to mix.

Preheat the grill to high. Place the fish in a fish basket sprayed with cooking spray oil. Grill the fish until it’s cooked to taste, about 4 minutes per side. Arrange the fish fillets on places or a platter and pour the salsa over them. Garnish with cilantro sprig and serve at once.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis: 290 calories per serving, 36 g protein, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 9 g carbohydrate, 118 mg sodium, 62 mg cholesterol.

From “High-Flavor, Low-Fat Mexican Cooking” by Steven Raichlen

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