Italy

Author Archives | John

It’s a ‘Lone Star Smoke War’ on Destination America Saturday

It’s a ‘Lone Star Smoke War’ on Destination America Saturday

Three Texas pitmasters, JD Davidsmeyer of San Antonio, Matt Pittman of Waxahachie, and Junior Urias of Midland, will battle it out for the title of BBQ Pitmasters Texas Champion Saturday on the Destination America channel.

pitmasters1The winner gets to move on in the “BBQ Pitmasters” competition, which has a $50,000 grand prize.

The episode, “Lone Star Smoke War,” airs at 8 p.m. CT on the Destination America channel.

Davidsmeyer is the found of JD’s Team Xtreme BBQ, which has been catering in the San Antonio area since 2003.

Urias is the owner of Junior’s Up in Smoke Catering in Midland.

Pittman is behind the barbecue-based website MeatChurch.com.

The show’s hosts are barbecue experts Myron Mixon, Moe Cason and Tuffy Stone.

To watch a video of the teams discuss their approach to brisket flat, click here.

Posted in News0 Comments

Helping the Food Bank Earns County Line the Restaurant Neighbor Award

Helping the Food Bank Earns County Line the Restaurant Neighbor Award

Fourteen years ago, Randy Goss, known to barbecue fans as “the Rib King,” wanted to offer live music at the County Line at 10101 I-10 W. So, he asked the company’s president, Don A. “Skeeter” Miller, about it.

Honoring the County Line: Eric Cooper (from left), Skeeter Miller, Julie Goss, Roger Creager and Michael Guerra.

Honoring the County Line: Eric Cooper (from left), Skeeter Miller, Julie Goss, Roger Creager and Michael Guerra.

What they came up with was a summer music series that does more than give music lovers a chance to hear some fine country music. It’s also a fundraiser for the San Antonio Food Bank in that guests are asked to make a donation of food or money in lieu of a ticket price.

The success of the event has been so great that the I-10 location of the County Line has been honored with the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Neighbor Award, which is given for outstanding community service.

Country music star Roger Creager was on hand before his concert Wednesday to present the award to Miller and Goss’ widow, Julie Goss. Eric S. Cooper, president and CEO of the San Antonio Food Bank, and Michael Guerra, chief development officer of the Food Bank, were also there to honor the success of the program.

Over the years, the music series has collected 800,000 pounds of food, which translates into 617,150 meals. Last year alone, the barbecue joint collected 105,000 pounds of food for those in the greater San Antonio area who are in need.

“We love to play shows which benefit the local community and we are glad to play a part in the County Line’s commitment to the San Antonio Food Bank,” says Creager, who has been performing as part of the concert series every year since 2001. “It just makes our show that much more fun.”

“County Line BBQ has been an integral partner in our mission to fight hunger,” Cooper says. “The rising cost of groceries coupled with the ongoing drought is impacting our community, and families are struggling to put food on the table. We look forward to fighting hunger and feeding hope with the County Line and its patrons this summer.”

For more on this summer’s series, click here.

Posted in News0 Comments

Lidia Bastianich Returns to San Antonio on May 7

Lidia Bastianich Returns to San Antonio on May 7

Celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich will return to San Antonio on May 7 for a luncheon benefiting KLRN.

Lidia Bastianich

Lidia Bastianich

The meal will be offered by Joseph Buonincontri at his Luce Ristorante e Enoteca, 11255 Huebner Road. He has hosted the PBS culinary star on several visits to the city.

Buonincontri’s menu begins with contemporary deviled eggs and tomato and ricotta crostini, followed by Belgian endive and walnut salad. Wild Alaskan halibut with braised fennel will be served with contorni of sautéed celery, Yukon gold potatoes and grape tomatoes. Fruit-filled fried half-moons will be the dessert.

Bastianich will talk with guests during the lunch and each person will receive an autographed copy of one of her cookbooks.

The meal begins at noon. Tickets are priced at $125 apiece. Call (210) 270-9000 for reservations.

Posted in Daily Dish0 Comments

By the Light of the Red Moon

By the Light of the Red Moon

The red moon is fast approaching — and what better way to greet this than with a cocktail so red that it shines by the light of the moon?

red moonThe Red Moon is a variation on the classic Singapore Sling with the cherry flavor given a pop in terms of both flavor and color. So, you need a bright red soda, such as Cherry 7-Up, as opposed to Dr Pepper, which is too dark. In the same way, you want the sweeter maraschino or the drier kirshwasser, both of which are clear.

Red Moon

1/2 ounce lime juice
2 ounces gin
1 ounce clear cherry liqueur, such as maraschino or kirshwasser
Bright red cherry soda, such as Cherry 7-Up or Frostie Cherry Limeade
1 maraschino cherry

Fill a Collins glass with ice.

Squeeze in lime juice.

Add gin and maraschino. Stir.

Fill the rest of the glass with cherry soda. Add a straw.

Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Makes 1 cocktail.

From John Griffin

 

Posted in Drinks0 Comments

Easy Elegant Baked Fish, South Texas Style

Easy Elegant Baked Fish, South Texas Style

Fiesta cookbookWhile covering the barbecue trail across Texas last fall, I managed to pick up a few cookbooks from various regions that offered culinary pictures of what people in the area made at some point in their history. One of these was a 1978 edition of “Fiesta: Favorite Recipes of South Texas,” which had been produced by the Junior League of Corpus Christi.

One of the great features of the book is that the easier recipes are marked with an asterisk, so they can be “prepared quickly and easily at the end of a busy day.” Here’s one, and it’s a great way to prepare fish that doesn’t lose its flavor in a heavy sauce. I made a few substitutions based on what I had handy, including celery leaves for parsley and lime for lemon. It was still an easy, flavorful dish, though my presentation may be anything but elegant.

No matter how you prepare the dish, you’ve got to love a recipe that tells you how to dress it up in style with this simple instruction: “To be really elegant, surround fish with hot boiled shrimp and a sprinkling of capers.”

Easy, Elegant Baked Fish

Easy, Elegant Baked Fish

Easy Elegant Baked Fish

1 (3-4 pound) fish
Butter
Salt
Cayenne pepper
Lemon wedges
Parsley
Shrimp (optional)
Capers (optional)

Clean, scale, wash and dry fish. you may cut off head, if desired. Put generous amount of butter in cavity, spread more butter on outside. Sprinkle with a little salt and cayenne pepper. Place in generously buttered shallow casserole and cover with well-buttered brown paper cut the shape of the casserole. Bake 400 degrees about 10 minutes per pound, or about 20 minutes for fillets. To serve, garnish with lemon wedges and parsley. To be really elegant, surround fish with hot boiled shrimp and a sprinkling of capers. Sheepshead is especially good prepared this way, but redfish or snapper is fine. You may also use several small whole trout instead, or even fillets, but 1 fish is prettier.

Makes 4-6 servings.

From Mrs. Max J. Luther III (Maxine Jenkins)/”Fiesta: Favorite Recipes of South Texas”

Posted in Recipes0 Comments

Fiesta Specials Capture the Color, Flavor of SA’s Favorite Party

Fiesta Specials Capture the Color, Flavor of SA’s Favorite Party

lilys fiesta1

Fiesta runs through April 27. Here are a few food and fun events happening that you can enjoy in between the parades, the Oyster Bake, NIOSA or whatever your favorite event is.

Lily’s Cookies Add Color to Your Fiesta

Lily’s Cookies, 2716 McCullough Ave., is getting into Fiesta in a huge way.

The bakery is offering all sorts of colorful cookies, from sombreros to colorful attire to flowers that you can enjoy throughout Fiesta.

For more information, call 210-832-0886.

Ocho Dishes Up the Fiesta Specials

The Hotel Havana and Ocho, 1015 Navarro St., have gotten into the Fiesta spirit. Guests receive a Fiesta wreath on their doors, while medal collectors can purchase the hotel’s third annual collectible.

Meanwhile, Ocho’s chef Toby Soto has created a special Fiesta menu that includes:

  • Pork and Golden Raisin Empanadas with Salsa Roja, $8
  • Pollo Verde Stuffed Piquillo Peppers with Mole Negro,$8
  • Albondigas de Res with a Smoked Tomato Broth, $8
  • Martinated Vegetable Skewers on a bed of Yellow Rice, $8
  • Mini Funnel Cakes, $8

Drink specials include:

  • Havana Margarita, $5
  • Cuban Breeze, $5
  • Sangria, $5
  • Sol, $4

Art and a Drink at a Great Price at Barriba Cantina

barriba1Barriba Cantina on the Riverwalk, 111 W. Crockett St., is ready to party in style.

Barriba is again featuring renowned local artist and designer H. Michael Karshis with his Countdown to Fiesta creation.

“Fiesta is the iconic San Antonio event that belongs to visitors and residents alike, so we are teaming with Dulce Vida tequila to offer anyone that brings in a Fiesta medal—old or new—our ‘Skinny Rita’ drink, one of our signature handcrafted drinks, for $3.25 (half off the happy hour price),” says Barriba Cantina general manager Gina Hartbarger. “We are limiting this offer to one discounted drink a day, during Fiesta only (through April 27), but the customer also gets a keeper glass with the recipe on it and a Fiesta-pink Barriba Koozie….what a deal! We will also post the medals on the Fiesta Wall near the Countdown to Fiesta artwork.”

“Fiesta is part Texas, part Mexico—just like Barriba Cantina,” says Karshis. “This installation has been up for a few months and I love it that customers are celebrating birthdays or anniversaries at Barriba and taking photos in front of the countdown.”

For information, call 210-228-9876

Earl Abel’’s Goes Global

Earl Abel’s, 1201 Austin Highway, is celebrating Fiesta with a new globally inspired dish every day through April 27. The special will be priced at $9 and will be available for both lunch and dinner.  Here are a few of the specials being offered:

  • 4/11: Greek cuisine featuring a Gyro Sandwich with Fries or Chips.
  • 4/12: Mexican cuisine featuring a Beef Taco, Cheese Enchiladas, Rice & Beans.
  • 4/13: German cuisine featuring Venison Sausage, Red Cabbage & German Potato Salad.
  • 4/14: Carribean cuisine featuring Fish Tacos with a Mango Salsa, Sweet Potato Fries or Chips
  • 4/15: Italian night featuring Spaghetti and Meatballs and a Dinner Salad.
  • 4/16: Texan theme with BBQ Beef Ribs, Baked Beans and Potato Salad.

Call 210-822-7333 for information.

 

Posted in Featured, News, Restaurants0 Comments

Beneficiary of Chefs 4 Chefs Fundraiser Dies

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.

Posted in News0 Comments

Beef Tagine with Roasted Cauliflower

Beef Tagine with Roasted Cauliflower

You don’t need a conical tagine dish to make tagine in your own home. You can use a Dutch oven, which is what I did when trying this recipe of Paula Wolfert’s from her fascinating “The Food of Morocco”  (HarperCollins, $45).

Once the beef is ready, add the cauliflower and tomato.

Once the beef is ready, add the cauliflower and tomato.

“Beef tagines can be very good indeed,” she writes. “After hours of slow simmering, the meat comes out buttery and soft, and the sauce acquires excellent flavor. The spicing in this dish follows the Marrakech style, while the sauce acquires excellent flavor.”

She goes on to praise the beef dishes: “These highly aromatic tagines, flavored with paprika and cumin, are sturdy dishes, nourishing and thick, especially good in winter — satisfying to wary travelers and men who have done hard physical work, or to folk who have just come off the ski slopes an hour outside Marrakech. Though they are not among he most elegant of dishes, these hearty stews are truly toothsome.”

When making the dish, follow the instructions carefully on how to handle the cauliflower. I cut it up too soon, so it was hard to turn during the roasting. The original recipe calls for the last half of the herbs to be stirred into the dish and cooked for a few minutes; I preferred to garnish the dish for an even fresher flavor.

Beef Tagine with Roasted Cauliflower

Coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided use
3 pounds beef short ribs or 2 pounds bone-in beef shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1- to 1 1/4-inch chunks
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, preferably Moroccan
1 medium white or red onion, grated
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, divided use
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided use
1 (2-pound) cauliflower
Pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne, to taste
12 ounces Roma (plum) tomatoes, peeled, halved, seeded and chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Brown the beef in turmeric, spices and herbs.

Brown the beef in turmeric, spices and herbs.

Heat a tagine, preferably flameware, set on a heat diffuser over medium-low heat until warm. Mix 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper and turmeric with 1 1/ tablespoons of the olive oil and add to the warm pan.

Add the beef and sauté gently until golden on all sides. Place a crumpled piece of parchment directly over the meat, cover tightly and cook for 15 minutes, without lifting the cover. (The meat will cook in its own juices, drawn out by the salt over low heat; do not add water.)

Add the paprika, ginger, cumin, grated onion, half of the herbs, and 1/2 cup water. Cover again with the parchment paper and the lid, and simmer gently for 3 hours, until the meat is very tender and has fallen off the bones.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the cauliflower in half, then cut each half lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Lightly brush a jelly-roll pan with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Mix the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes, and gently toss with the cauliflower. Spread the cauliflower out in one layer on the pan and roast for 15 minutes. Use a spatula to turn the slices over and roast for another 15 minutes, or until lightly caramelized. remove from the oven, cover loosely with paper towels and set aside.

Finish off the dish with fresh parsley and cilantro.

Finish off the dish with fresh parsley and cilantro.

Remove the meat from the tagine and remove and discard the bones. Return the meat to the tagine. Tilt the pan and spoon off and discard the excess fat. If necessary, add a few tablespoons water to make a smooth sauce.

Chop the cauliflower into bite-size pieces and scatter with the tomatoes over the beef. Bring to a boil to reheat. Correct the seasoning with salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes and the lemon juice. Sprinkle the remaining herbs over the top, and serve at once.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Adapted from “The Food of Morocco” by Paula Wolfert

 

Posted in Recipes0 Comments

Steve Silbas, Former Owner of Casbeers, Dies

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.”

 

Posted in News2 Comments

Josephine Street Cafe Marks 35th Anniversary This Month

Josephine Street Cafe Marks 35th Anniversary This Month

The original Fincke Meat Market, where Josephine Street Cafe now stands.

The original Fincke Meat Market, where Josephine Street Cafe now stands.

Josephine Street Cafe, 400 E. Josephine St., is celebrating its 35th year of business this month. The building that once housed Fincke’s Meat Market was purchased in April 1979 by Pat Molak and Mary Jane Nalley and reopened as the Texas roadhouse that continues to operate today.

Steak and shrimp, the Josephine Street Cafe way.

Steak and shrimp, the Josephine Street Cafe way.

Fashioned after the legendary Hoffbrau Steakhouse on West 6th Street in Austin, Josephine Street Café is a simple yet unique mainstay for many San Antonio residents. Longtime classics like “Steaks” and “Whisky,” as the signs in the windows read, as well as chicken-fried steak and onion rings mix with newer dishes like the beef tenderloin salad, club sandwich and fried shrimp.

Many recognize the space by the large oak tree that still stands in the center of the building. Like the iconic tree, Josephine Street Cafe holds strong to its original roots: home-cooked comfort food, friendly service and affordable prices. Those aspects are what Molak credits to the restaurant’s success.

“The secret to our long-lasting, and hopefully, continual, success is great food at very reasonable pricing and our wonderful staff, who, despite the casual atmosphere, take their job of providing outstanding service very seriously,” says Molak.

Situated on the corner of Josephine Street and Avenue A, Josephine Street Café is located in the heart of what is now known as Midtown and Pearl Brewery. However, the area has not always been the buzzing district it is today.

“We’ve seen quite a few businesses come and go in the area since 1979,” Molak says. “Of course, the largest impact has been the transformation of the Pearl Brewery into a full-blown food, retail, housing and destination complex. We are proud to have been a pioneer in this fabulous midtown neighborhood and are looking forward to many more years serving this area.”

For more information on Josephine Street Café, click here. Look below for more photos.

Fincke Meat Market, before it became Josephine Street Cafe.

Fincke Meat Market, before it became Josephine Street Cafe.

Josephine Street Cafe today. (Credit: David Kerstein)

Josephine Street Cafe today. (Credit: David Kerstein)

Posted in Featured, News, Restaurants0 Comments