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A Taste of Something Different: Owner’s Dinner at Sandy Oaks

A Taste of Something Different: Owner’s Dinner at Sandy Oaks

Sandy Oaks 3Saundra Winokur, owner of Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard and Ed and Susan Auler, owners of Texas renowned Fall Creek Vineyards, offer you a unique farm-to-table experience on Friday, Sept.19, at 7 p.m.

Join Winokur and the Aulers as they present a unique dining event featuring local and seasonal bounty prepared by Sandy Oaks Executive Chef Chris Cook, paired with Fall Creek wines — and all showcased in Winokur’s home that overlooks the fields and sprawling live oaks dotting this working ranch.

The cost is $90 per person plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are strongly suggested, as this is a limited-seating event. To reserve your place, call 210-621-0044. Read more about Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard here.


Gulf Snapper and Blue Crab Bouillabaisse
Fall Creek Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, 2013
South Texas Black Heritage Pork – Floresville, TX
Apples and Mustard
Fall Creek Vineyards Chenin Blanc, 2013
Home Sweet Farm Lamb – Brenham, TX
Tapenade and Tomato
Fall Creek Vineyards GSM, 2012
Broken Arrow Ranch Antelope – Ingram, TX
Quail Egg and Foie Gras
Fall Creek Vineyard Meritus, 2010
Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard Honey – Elmendorf, TX
Panna Cotta and Pecans
Twin Springs Moscato

Posted in Daily Dish, Events, In Season0 Comments

It’s More Music for the County Line on Aug. 20

It’s More Music for the County Line on Aug. 20

Have you been undergoing music withdrawals since the County Line’s music series has come to an end?

Two Tons of Steel

Two Tons of Steel

Well, you’ve been given a one-time reprieve.

The County Line, 10101 I-10 W., is presenting Two Tons of Steel in a free concert from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20.

According to the restaurant, “There is no opener and no sponsors … just two hours of FREE music from Two Tons of Steel.  However, County Line’s commitment to the San Antonio Food Bank never stops, so guests are still encouraged to bring canned good donations.”

Free music, a chance to help the Food Bank and plenty of time to enjoy some barbecue. Who could ask for anything more?

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Robbie Nowlin New Exec. Chef at Hotel Valencia’s Citrus

Robbie Nowlin New Exec. Chef at Hotel Valencia’s Citrus

Chef Robbie NowlinAfter stints with The Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills and Las Canarias at Omni La Mansión del Rio, San Antonio chef Robbie Nowlin has been named to the executive chef position at Citrus, at the Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, Nowlin also worked at famed The French Laundry in California.

As of Aug. 1, the Valencia Group announced, signature dishes such as spring lamb shank with piperade, pickled eggplant, frisée and a mustard seed glaze and “Foie Gras Mille Crepe” with compressed strawberry, celery, banana, Tellicherry black pepper crème fraiche and candied hazelnut. will be holding their rightful place on the Citrus menu. Look for flavors that follow the seasons as one of the hallmarks of the new chef.

Stephen Bilby, director of sales & marketing for the Hotel Valencia, says Nowlin works hard at his craft and “possesses a certain charismatic flair that fits perfectly with our brand.”

Nowlin’s culinary career began early.  At 14 years old, with no formal training, Nowlin took a weekend job as a cook to earn some extra dough for skateboards. Soon, he was swapping wheels for sauté pans and Japanese knives. Now, 16 years later, the chef’s resume links him with noted local names such as Jason Dady, Damien Watel and John Brand — and on the national level, with celebrity chef Thomas Keller of The French Laundry.

Local foodies will remember that Nowlin won the Chaîne des Rôtissuers competition for best young chef three years in a row.

“I have always liked a good challenge,” Nowlin says.  “I just felt it was time and that I was ready to be an executive chef of a four-diamond hotel, especially one as sleek, modern and sexy as Valencia.”

The Hotel Valencia River Walk is at 150 E. Houston St.

Houston-based Valencia Group is a fully integrated hospitality company that provides management, development, branding and repositioning services for independent, full-service hotels owned by the company, in addition to third parties.

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Join Sustainability, Food-Issue Discussion: TEDx, Food Policy Council

Join Sustainability, Food-Issue Discussion: TEDx, Food Policy Council

If your concerns about food reach beyond finding the next trendy restaurant or cocktail bar, this upcoming TEDx salon, with the Food Policy Council of San Antonio, has a variety of issues on its menu.

There's nothing like vegetables at their freshest. The salon-type gathering will be Saturday, July 26, at the Urban-15 space, 2500 S. Presa St. from 5-9 p.m. and includes speakers and a potluck prepared by local chefs. The price is $35.

To address ways to support a healthy, sustainable and local food system for all people, in all walks of life, the discussion topics will range from connecting to the environment, our impact on the economy and include community participants in a dialogue about food and the policies that surround it.

Organizers say the target audience can be best described as: eaters.  Real eaters. These are people in San Antonio who care about equitable access to quality food and quality ingredients. This includes farmers market aficionados, green/environmental activists and supporters, buyers of organic produce, restaurateurs and caterers and educators (K-12 and college level).

Speakers include Judith Vega of San Antonio Metro Health, Angela Harsell of Green Spaces Alliance, Elizabeth Johnson, Mitch Hagney and Kerry Meath-Sinking, local chefs and professionals who work with local farmers

The potluck follows with dishes from Elizabeth Johnson, Steven McHugh, Taste Elevated, Gaucho Gourmet, Brook Summers, Restaurant Gwendolyn and more, including sustainable cocktails by The Brooklynite’s Boulvedier Group.

Tickets are in limited supply: Click on this link


Food Police Council of San Antonio

The Food Policy Council of San Antonio serves as a stakeholder forum to support a healthy, sustainable, and local food system for people, the environment, the economy and community; gathers and disseminates information for all who work toward that goal in the San Antonio area; and advocates for policy improvements relating to food.


TEDxSanAntonio encourages and supports events intended to foster discussion and community building around ideas worth sharing in San Antonio.


(Sponsored by Defining Delicious and Urban 15)


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Extra Time to Enjoy Perry’s 4444

Extra Time to Enjoy Perry’s 4444

Perry's Sesame-Crusted Ahi Tuna

Perry’s Sesame-Crusted Ahi Tuna

Perry’s Steakhouse first opened in 1979 as a small meat market in the Houston area. Over the last 35 years, Perry’s has grown to nine family-owned steakhouses across Texas and last year opened in Chicago, its first restaurant outside the Lone Star State. Two more are planned for this year, one in Denver and the other in Frisco, Texas.

Perry's Chopped Salad with Applewood-Smoked Bacon

Perry’s Chopped Salad with Applewood-Smoked Bacon

In honor of its 35th anniversary, Perry’s is offering an extended version of its summer promotion, 4444, which includes 4 courses for $44 after 4 p.m. The special is available now through the end of August.

“The great food gets people in the door, but it’s the unique dining experience that brings them back time and time again,” said Chris Perry, founder and CEO of Perry’s Restaurants. “In honor of our loyal guests who have supported us over the last 35 years, we’re proud to offer our 4444 special during July and August this summer.”

Perry's Crab Cake

Perry’s Crab Cake

On the special menu, you can choose from the following appetizers: fried asparagus with crab, Asian ahi tuna tartare, house-made Polish sausage and jumbo lump crab cake. Salad choices: Caesar, chopped salad with applewood-smoked bacon, field greens with pear and candied pecans, and an iceberg wedge with applewood-smoked bacon.

Entree options: 6-ounce filet mignon, 32-ounce Perry’s pork chop, sesame-crusted ahi tuna or grilled salmon. Dessert selections: crème brûlée, dessert trio, milk chocolate peanut butter candy bar or Nutty D’Angelo, which is prepared tableside.

The San Antonio Perry’s is at the Shops at La Cantera, 15900 La Cantera Parkway. For more information, visit or call (210) 558-6161.

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Benjamin Knack New Executive Chef at Las Canarias, Ostra

Benjamin Knack New Executive Chef at Las Canarias, Ostra

Chef Benjamin Knack

Benjamin Knack named to executive chef post at Omni hotels, La Mansion del Rio and Mokara, both on the River Walk.

Benjamin Knack, a nationally recognized food service leader and former competitor in “Hell’s Kitchen” on FOX American television, has been named executive chef at San Antonio’s Omni La Mansion del Rio and Mokara Hotel & Spa.

Omni says Knack will be joining the culinary team on July 17 to oversee both Las Canarias and Ostra restaurants at La Mansion and Mokara respectively.

A specialist in classical gastronomical techniques for more than 20 years, Knack’s focus has been on high-quality, innovative interpretations of American cuisine and more, according to his new employers.

Also, the chef was featured on season eight of “Hell’s Kitchen,” placing third in the competition.

Knack’s gourmet culinary creations will emphasize fresh seafood and local vegetables.

“The culture and cuisine of San Antonio is something that has long inspired me as a chef, and I look forward to capitalizing on everything the city has to offer in my approach at both Las Canarias and Ostra,” said Knack.

Knack was formerly executive chef for The Bedford Village Inn in Bedford, New Hampshire, focusing on seasonal ingredients to create top-quality meals. As the chef de cuisine for Boston’s Sel de la Terre Long Wharf, Knack also oversaw operations for sister company Au Soleil Catering. Just before joining Sel de la Terre Long Wharf, Knack worked as an instructor and manager for the New England Culinary Institute (NECI) in Montpelier, Vermont, where he instructed chefs-in-training on customer service and consulting.

Knack has also served as a pastry chef with Boston’s L’Espalier; executive chef for the Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro; pastry chef at Hyatt Hotels in both Beaver Creek, Colorado, and Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii; and pastry chef at Christopher’s in Phoenix.

“We look forward to chef Knack joining our renowned culinary team and creating some exciting concepts to incorporate into our restaurants and events,” said John B. Gomes, Director of Food and Beverage at Omni La Mansión del Rio and Mokara Hotel & Spa.

Knack fills the position formerly held by San Antonio chef John Brand. Brand was been selected as executive chef at the new Hotel Emma at the Pearl Brewery, set to be opened in 2015.

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Monterey, Umai-Mi Good Tastes Coming Up!

Monterey, Umai-Mi Good Tastes Coming Up!

The Monterey sign featured
New chef at The Monterey
Luis Segovia, The Monterey’s chef de cuisine, is a taco-loving, Culinary Institute of America Hyde Park grad who previously worked at San Antonio’s The Sandbar Fish House & Market and Il Sogno. Luis makes some pretty killer Beef Tongue Tacos with pickled bell peppers and cotija cheese. They’re on the menu now, along with the likes of Szechuan Queso Dip, a French Fry Po-Boy and a Smoked Sausage Corn Dog.
And because its summer in Texas, the Monty is serving three takes on mariscos: Charred Squid (jicama, mango, lime vinaigrette, green curry, crispy onions), Grilled Shrimp Aguachiles (lime, jalapeño, cucumber, avocados, red onion) and Campechana El Monty (shrimp, bay scallops, fish collar pickled onions avocado). In true El Monty fashion, this new menu is not one that stays within the lines.
The Monterey is located at 1127 S St. Mary’s St, San Antonio, TX 78210, in the King William neighborhood. The restaurant is open Tues-Thurs: 6pm-11pm, Fri and Sat: 6pm-12am, and Sun: 10am-2pm. For further information please visit


Chef Rebecca MassonChef Rebecca Masson teams up with Jason Dady at Umai Mi

Chef Rebecca Masson, acclaimed chef at Houston’s Fluff Bake Bar, will join Jason Dady at Umai Mi – Modern Asian Restaurant & Bar on July 15 at 6:30 p.m.

This is part of a guest chef series, and a chance for you to get some tastes from a Houston chef without making the drive!

This six-course meal is limited seating and you’ll want to make reservations soon at 210-496-0555. Umai Mi is at 555 W. Bitters at The Alley on Bitters.

The cost is $60 per guest, plus tax and gratuity; $30 beverage pairing available;  You can also donate $25 to Rebecca’s Charity Lucky Dog Rescue in exchange for a free high five and a fluffernutter





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Mr. Strange’s Barbecue Sauce

Mr. Strange’s Barbecue Sauce

Barbecue sauce

Thanks to Don Strange of Texas for sharing this recipe.


Mr. Strange’s Barbecue Sauce

1 cup ketchup
2 ¾ cups tomato sauce
2 tablespoons medium-hot chili powder
¾ teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons plus 1 ½ teaspoon black powder
1 ¾ cups water
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons plus 1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1 ½ teaspoon honey
1 tablespoons liquid smoke
½ pound (1 stick) plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter

Combine all ingredients in a heavy-bottomed  3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Stir the sauce until the butter has melted, then reduce heat and cool completely. Transfer to a storage container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate.

From Don Strange of Texas


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Thrill of the Grill: Plus 5 Steps to a Really Good Burger!

Thrill of the Grill: Plus 5 Steps to a Really Good Burger!

Fourth of July means grills will be fired up all over the state. Pits will be smoking, too, but we’ll offer some tips here on keeping things safe on and around the grill, plus some cooking and planning tips for your cookout from caterer Don Strange of Texas.

Also, below are some simple tips from a chef to cooking great burgers.

Grill Safety

  • Keep your setting in mind. It’s dry, which means that a fire could start easily from an ember or spark. So, have your garden hose, a fire extinguisher or a bucket of sand handy in case a fire does start.
  • Build your fire under only one side of the grill.

    Build your fire under only one side of the grill. You can move steaks to the warm (but not sizzling hot) side of the grill to hold.

    Watch out for children playing in the area.

  • Don’t wear loose clothing around a lit grill.
  • Don’t leave a grill unattended.
  • Don’t have your grill too close to your house or another building. Don’t place it under tree branches or wooden trellises that could easily go up in smoke.
  • Don’t light your fire with gasoline. Don’t spray lighter fluid on already-lit coals.
  • When you’re finished, make sure the fire will go out. If you’re using coals, close all of the vents on the grill.


Article from Edible Austin on Grilling Veggies click here.
Recipe: Mr. Strange’s Barbecue Sauce


Burger on grillOne Chef’s Five Steps to a Really Great Burger

1. Bun should be smaller than the burger so that the meat drapes over the sides. Pretzel buns best, they soak up juice of the burger without falling apart. Brush with butter, grill and keep hot until ready to top with burger.

2. Grind bacon (partially cooked with caramelized onion and garlic), white, yellow cheddar or smoked gouda, cheese and roasted garlic mixed into the ground meat. Favorite meat grind: Strip loin and tri-tip, using the bacon for the fat and keeping the lean-to-fat ratio at 80-20.

3. Shape the burger: Put a little water on the burger before you shape, helps with the handling. Don’t overhandle the beef as you form into patty.

4.  You might be making your burgers on the grill on July Fourth. That’s great. But, burgers also are very good either griddled or cooked in a cast-iron skillet.  Look for an internal temperature of 120 degrees in the center — this seems to be optimal for flavor profile. Also, do not press down on the burger with spatula as it will press out moisture — and you want a moist burger. If you want cheese, put it on top of the burger as soon as you flip — and only flip once!

5. Take off grill and put in bun that you have already grilled and have your toppings close by. You want to assemble as quickly as possible. Also, keep condiments at room temperature, so they don’t chill down the burger. Other toppings such as grilled poblano peppers, etc., should also be at least room temp or warm.


Tips from Don Strange of Texas on general grilling.

• Know your grill — all grills are not alike.  “No matter where or what we’re grilling, on the spot timing is the key. For things to be served at precisely the right time, the fire must be started on time and allowed to reach the right temperature before we start to grill,” says Vice President of Sales and Culinary Vision for Don Strange of Texas Catering Di-Anna Arias.

“Timing and temperature vary depending on your tools: charcoal, smoker, wood, gas grill—you can’t treat them all the same. Just because they each produce a flame, don’t expect them all to cook the same way or require the same amount of time.”

Grill Strip Steak• Not only does the type of grill have to be considered, but the type of meat as well.  Don Strange cooks grill tenderloins to medium rare and hold them in a warming area where they continue to cook. They have to be constantly monitored to be sure they’re not overcooked, then allowed to rest so they can be carved perfectly and served for dinner.

• Fish is another great option for grilling, and hint from the seasoned team at Don Strange of Texas: keeping the skin on the fish for grilling is the best option unless you have a fish basket. Spray the fish with cooking spray or vegetable oil and voila, unless you’re serving salmon. Try grilling the fish in foil with fresh herbs, citrus, whole peppers or chile flake sea salt for a savory taste that isn’t overwhelming.

Posted in Daily Dish, How To, In Season0 Comments

Sandy Oaks Debuts Garden Brunch at the Orchard.

Sandy Oaks Debuts Garden Brunch at the Orchard.

MimosasAdd Sandy Oaks to the list of great San Antonio Sunday brunches. The ranch’s Executive Chef Chris Cook, has created a new brunch menu that will be offered from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Complimentary mimosas or a glass of champagne, live jazz in a serene and beautiful country setting — enjoy these and more in one of the most inviting and interesting (it is a working ranch producing olives, olive oil and other products)  in the San Antonio area.

Brunch is $10 for children and $25 for adults. The kitchen, as well as the ranch, places an emphasis on buying Texas/local products with an emphasis on the same sustainable methods and philosophy practiced at Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard.

Sandy Oaks’ gift shop and olive tree nursery are now also open Sundays (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.), so this 25-minute trip from downtown San Antonio is an eating destination — and also a place to browse through a well-stocked gift shop or just relax for a drink on the patio that gives you a pretty view to the meadows and pastures, as well as the olive tree orchard that thrives on this 260-plus-acre ranch.

If you haven’t visited Sandy Oaks, this is a perfect time to get acquainted! Visit Sandy Oaks website for more information and directions by clicking here.

Sandy Oaks 3




Sandy Oaks Brunch Menu:

Cold Selections:
Seasonal fruit and berries with Queen Bee honey Greek yogurt
Imported and domestic cheeses with dried fruits and pickled vegetables
Young lettuces with Texas pecans, goat cheese, and white balsamic vinaigrette
House pulled mozzarella and heirloom tomato, garden basil pistou
Southern style Biscuits croppedHouse-smoked sustainable salmon with preserved lemon
House-made classic cheesecake and garden peach cobbler

Hot Selections:
Farm-fresh scrambled eggs
Migas with pico de gallo and queso fresco
Garden vegetable quiche
Applewood smoked bacon and country sausage
House buttermilk biscuits and cracked pepper cast-iron gravy
Orchard potatoes with caramelized onions and peppers
Truffled goat cheese whipped potatoes
Herb-seared breast of chicken with garden tomato, caper, and house olive sauce



One of the first commercial olive orchards in Texas, Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard, owned and operated by Saundra C. (Sandy) Winokur, lies just off of I-37, 20 minutes south of San Antonio, Texas. While best known for olive trees and products, Sandy Oaks is also celebrated for its emphasis on hospitality and education.


Sandy Oaks patio and jazz cropped

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