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Morton’s Shows Off Its Renovations

Morton’s Shows Off Its Renovations

The main dining area at Morton's

The main dining area at Morton’s

Morton’s the Steakhouse, 300 E. Crockett St., has recently completed a renovation of its interior. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then let these images tell you stories of the new look the restaurant is sporting in its main dining area, secondary dining room and bar. Oh, and a photo of Morton’s Hot Chocolate Cake, just to remind you of a happy ending there.

The bar area at Morton's

The bar area at Morton’s

A dining area at Morton's

A dining area at Morton’s

Morton's Hot Chocolate Cake

Morton’s Hot Chocolate Cake

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Bruce Auden’s Cooking Up a Storm at the Gage This Weekend

Bruce Auden’s Cooking Up a Storm at the Gage This Weekend

The Gage Hotel

The Gage Hotel

No other time of the year lends itself to a road trip like summer. And what better destination than the Gage Hotel?

Located in Marathon, Texas (where it is usually about 10 degrees cooler than San Antonio temperatures) near Big Bend National Park, The Gage is a historic, mission-style hotel that will be hosting chef Bruce Auden of Biga on the Banks on Saturday as a part of the “Grilling at the Gage” series.

Auden and his right hand man, chef Martin Stembera, will be cooking up a storm in the Gage’s kitchen and will be joined by Auden’s wife, Debra, who will be baking bread for the event. After dinner will be a performance from singer/songwriter Kelley Mickwee.

Auden’s menu is as follows:

–Hill Country wild boar cooked with Asian spices wrapped in lettuces with bean sprouts, cashews and spicy sauces

–Jerk Scallop with Texas cheesy grits and pineapple rum relish

–Bandera Quail and grapefruit salad with avocado, walnut and bleu cheese

–Axis Venison and Lamb on corn pudding with “massaged” kale, fig relish and juniper sauce

–Sticky Toffee Pudding with bourbon fruit and English Custard

For  more information, visit gagehotel.com or call 800-884-GAGE.

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Thirsting for a Fine Wine? Bob’s Has the Award to Show It Has What You’re Looking For

Thirsting for a Fine Wine? Bob’s Has the Award to Show It Has What You’re Looking For

For the second consecutive year, Bob’s Steak & Chop House has been recognized by Wine Spectator with a Best of Award of Excellence in the magazine’s 2015 awards. The restaurant, located at 5815 Rim Pass Drive, at The Rim is one of only two establishments in San Antonio to win this award and one of 31 in Texas.

Bob's Steak & Chop House

Bob’s Steak & Chop House

“It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized for the second year in a row,” said general manager Patrick Bean.  “This award shines a spotlight on our commitment to running the best wine program in San Antonio.  Having an amazing wine list is an important part of creating special dining experiences for our guests.”

Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Wine List Awards recognize restaurants whose wine lists offer interesting selections, are appropriate to their cuisine and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers. To qualify for an award, the list must present complete, accurate wine information. It must include vintages and appellations for all selections, including wines available by the glass. Complete producer names and correct spellings are mandatory, while the overall presentation and appearance of the list is also taken into consideration.

The Best of Award of Excellence honors restaurants whose wine lists typically offer 350 or more selections along with superior presentation, and display either vintage depth with several vertical offerings of top wines or excellent breadth across several wine regions. Bob’s Steak & Chop House has a list of more than 550 wines.

Bob’s Steak & Chop House is a traditional American Prime Steakhouse with drinks, fine wines and large cuts of the prime steaks, chops and seafood. For more information, visit www.bobs-steakandchop.com/locations/san-antonio or call (210) 222-2627.

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David Gilbert New Chef at Hotel Valencia Riverwalk

David Gilbert New Chef at Hotel Valencia Riverwalk

David Gilbert of Tuk Tuk Taproom

David Gilbert of Tuk Tuk Taproom

The Hotel Valencia Riverwalk has announced a change to the hotel’s culinary program and its signature restaurant, Citrus. David Gilbert, a StarChefs.com “Rising Star,” has been named the executive chef, and will supervise all culinary operations.

Gilbert brings with him a wide array of culinary works, including international tenure at the Michelin-starred Restaurant Vermeer in Amsterdam. Gilbert has worked in the kitchens of the The Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead, Atlanta, and the The Ritz-Carlton in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Other pursuits include time as the executive sous at the Inn at Perry Cabin by Orient-Express, where Gilbert initiated a fresh farmers market menu that gleaned national recognition. He was named chef de cuisine at St. Louis’ Eau Bistro in Missouri and executive chef of the Beverly Hilton’s landmark restaurant.

In Texas, Gilbert was at Luqa in Dallas, and at Sustenio at Eilan Hotel Resort & Spa in San Antonio. For his work at Eilan, he was recognized by the James Beard Foundation as a 2013 Best Chef Southwest Semi-Finalist. Most recently, he pursued his passion of Southeast Asian cookery and in the same year opened Tuk Tuk Taproom.

Gilbert’s addition will usher in a new restaurant concept and menu, which will be formally announced in the coming weeks. “We could not be happier as we add Chef Gilbert to our Valencia family and can hardly wait to see what he has in store for our guests,” says Chad Taylor, Hotel Valencia general manager.

Gilbert replaces Robbie Nowlin, former head chef, who recently stepped down to focus on his philanthropic efforts within in the community.

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Jason Dady Opens Shuck Shack

Jason Dady Opens Shuck Shack

Oysters at Shuck Shack

Oysters at Shuck Shack

Jason Dady at Shuck Shack

Jason Dady at Shuck Shack

It’s oyster time at Shuck Shack, Jason Dady’s latest venture. The casual new seafood restaurant is at 520 E. Grayson St.

The menu features a half-dozen oysters from different spots along the Northeast coast, such as Cooks Cocktail and Cavendish Cup, both from Prince Edwards Island, Mallet from New Brunswick and Black Bear Point from Bagaduce River, Maine. Gulf oysters are also available. Or, if you prefer them cooked, you can order your orders in several styles: Texas, Casino and Rockefeller.

If you prefer soup, there’s Clam Chowder a la minute, Oyster “Chowdah” and Lobster Bisque. There are also fish and chips, salads, sandwiches and snacks you can share.

If you prefer something not from the sea, there’s a big burger, a bacon-wrapped hot dog and a “funky” grilled cheese with broccoli.

Cocktails are on the menu.

Cocktails are on the menu.

There’s also a full bar with playful drinks meant for the San Antonio summer, including a Limonaide made with Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka and a lime paleta, a caipirinha, a gin and tonic with a dash of rhubarb bitters, Trash Can Punch and a frozen Negroni pitcher.

The sign over the building is hand-painted on a piece of flotsam that Dady said washed up during the recent flood.

There’s a play area for kids and picnic tables for those who want to sit outside as well as air conditioned comfort for those who don’t.

Shuck Shack opened to the public on July 4, then took a few days off. From July 7 to 18, it will be open for dinner; thereafter, it’ll be open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 11 a.m. to midnight Friday-Saturday. Sunday brunch will be 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Call (210) 236-7422 for information.

Just shucked bivalves at Shuck Shack.

Just shucked bivalves at Shuck Shack.

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A Hive of Activity on the Roof

A Hive of Activity on the Roof

A ride to the roof

A ride to the roof

Thyme grows in an irrigated wall.

Thyme grows in an irrigated wall.

It was a truly unique way of getting to lunch. You had to ride a cherry picker up to the roof over a portion of the Omni Colonnade, 9821 Colonnade Blvd. alongside I-10.

The jaunty trip above the pavement was long enough to give you time to take in the view, which included the verdant USAA campus to one side and subdivisions to the other.

Once you stepped out of the cage, the hotel’s executive chef, Sam Boisjoly, could be found serving up an array of treats. He stood surrounded by pots bearing everything from assorted herbs and peppers to tomatoes and edible flowers.

Those ingredients from the rooftop garden were then used in the chef’s menu for the day, which included jalapeño cornbread Caprese salad, lemongrass chicken satay and honey-roasted opa alongside a pitcher of cilantro watermelon lemonade.

Boisjoly’s pride was in evidence. In addition to being charge of food at the hotel, he’s also in charge of the garden, which he has tended with care, despite the unrelenting heat and exposure.

Jalapeños ripening in the sun.

Jalapeños ripening in the sun.

Also on the roof were the hotel’s bee boxes, filled with about 400,000 bees who have been busy making honey. During the press conference, the first harvest occurred with a suited beekeeper removing the honey-filled slats while exposed but interested visitors kept a respectful distance. The hotel plans on drawing honey twice a year, once in the summer and again in late fall.

All of this was to promote the hotel’s new approach of bringing a farm-to-table approach to the food being served. The farm of potted plants and  on the roof is being used in Bolo’s, the hotel restaurant, while the honey, which was extracted back on the ground, will be bottled and sold at the hotel.

And you don’t have to ride a cherry picker to taste the bounty that the hotel is harvesting.

Executive chef Sam Boisjoly (right) cooks with the foods he's grown.

Executive chef Sam Boisjoly (right) cooks with the foods he’s grown.

The hives are home to about 400,000 bees.

The hives are home to about 400,000 bees.

The view from the roof

The view from the roof

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Chefs Get Seasoned for ¡Destinación Chile! at the Omni Hotels

Chefs Get Seasoned for ¡Destinación Chile! at the Omni Hotels

Making Chilean-style empanadas during a week of classes in the food and culture of Chile.

Making Chilean-style empanadas during a week of classes in the food and culture of Chile.

Each year, Omni Hotels shines a spotlight on a new cuisine. This year, the focus is on the foods of Chile, and it will be featured in a three-month promotion beginning in October.

Fine seafood is a standard of Chilean cuisine.

Fine seafood is a standard of Chilean cuisine.

To get ready for ¡Destinación Chile!, more than 60 chefs from around the country descended on San Antonio recently to work with two chefs from Chile as well as professionals from the Culinary Institute of America at the Historic Pearl.

As you can see from these photos, the week-long immersion resulted in some fine looking food, a foretaste of culinary treasures to come later this year. Both La Mansion del Rio and Mokara will be participating in the promotion.

I wasn’t there for the classes, but I have been to Chile, so I can tell you to expect some excellent empanadas as well as winning salads, fine seafood, tender and juicy beef, hearty potato dishes, maybe some exotic ice creams and some exceptional wines.

Chefs from Omni Hotels around the county learn the flavors of Chilean cuisine.

Chefs from Omni Hotels around the county learn the flavors of Chilean cuisine.

Diners at Omni Hotels will get to try the Chilean dishes for three months, starting in October.

Diners at Omni Hotels will get to try the Chilean dishes for three months, starting in October.

The Chilean immersion involved more than 60 chefs.

The Chilean immersion involved more than 60 chefs.

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Arcade Midtown Kitchen to Close on Sunday

Arcade Midtown Kitchen to Close on Sunday

Arcade Midtown Kitchen in the Historic Pearl, 303 Pearl Parkway, is closing Sunday.

Jesse Perez at Arcade Midtown Kitchen in the Historic Pearl.

Jesse Perez has opened Arcade Midtown Kitchen at the Pearl.

After over two successful years at the Historic Pearl in San Antonio, chef Jesse Perez has decided to close the restaurant to focus on culinary expansions including his newest endeavor, Oxido, which is in New York City.

“I’m incredibly thankful for all of the support Arcade Midtown Kitchen has received over the past couple of years. We’ve experienced great successes as a restaurant and I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family and diving into new business endeavors and adventures,” he says. “After 20 years of focusing my energies in the kitchen, I am interested in more entrepreneurial freedom to explore different concepts.”

Perez will continue to be a strong ambassador not only for the San Antonio Culinary Community, but also for Texas. In addition to his other endeavors, he remains committed to the Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Culinary Taskforce, which is working to bring recognition to San Antonio’s culinary scene, as well as Culinaria. He will also continue as an active partner in Oxido, a fast casual Mexican restaurant with modern influences, as they plan future expansion. 

“We at Oxido are excited and fully supportive for Chef Jesse for embracing new business ventures and opportunities to forge full steam ahead with his brilliant career,” says Daihwan Choi, CEO and co-founder of Oxido. “We congratulate Chef for all the success that he created and achieved with Arcade, and look forward to our continued partnership with Oxido here in New York City and beyond. “

Jesse Perez is closing Arcade Midtown Kitchen.

Jesse Perez is closing Arcade Midtown Kitchen.

The restaurant’s last day of operation is Sunday, and the meals leading up to the end will be filled with celebrations, including Arcade classics such as chile and lime calamari, chorizo mussels and lobster soft tacos. The Arcade burger will return for lunch and dinner. Drink specials will include barrel-aged cocktails as well as flight tastings Arcade’s bar menu. Wine specials by the glass or bottle will be available all week long.

Perez has spent more than 20 years in the kitchen. Prior to opening Arcade Midtown Kitchen in 2013, he earned numerous culinary accolades, including Top Latino Chef in 2009 by the Flavors of Passion Awards. Arcade Midtown Kitchen became one of Eater’s Top 40 new restaurants of 2013 San Antonio’s Best New Restaurant.

For more information on Oxido, Perez’s New AYork fast casual restaurant, which serves traditional Mexican food blended with modern influences, visit www.oxido.nyc.

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Couldn’t Make It to the Hot Wells Harvest Feast? There’s More to Come

Couldn’t Make It to the Hot Wells Harvest Feast? There’s More to Come

The recent Hot Wells Harvest Feast was such a success that future meals are being planned for the grounds on the ruins of the former hotel and spa.

Robbie Nowlin stands in the Hot Wells ruin.

Robbie Nowlin stands in the Hot Wells ruin.

The “first #hotwellssummernights will be the first week of July,” says chef Robbie Nowlin, who’ll be overseeing the dinner series. The exact date for the first hasn’t been set, but “It will be a pizza party with lots of beer and live music. $35 dollars a person. Wood-fired pizzas cooked outside. I will be doing the cooking with a little help from Halston Connella, Justin Parr and Josh Kirk. The toppings for the pizza will be inspired from the Hot Wells garden, of course.”

The event will be limited to the first 150 patrons.

All those recent rains have been good for the garden, which “is exploding like 10 times as much as during Harvest Feast,” he says.

The series will be held on a regular basis, less during the summer than during the fall, given the heat. A portion of the proceeds will go to both the Hot Wells Conservancy and Sala Diaz, an art exhibition space.

It’s not the only item Nowlin’s working on these days. The chef, who recently left the Hotel Valencia “to focus on my non-profit projects,” he says, is also planning a dinner series at the Flight Gallery in Blue Star Complex. He’ll be teaming with Parr, an artist, who’ll provide a visual aspect for the meal while Nowlin provides the food for that fundraiser.

And he’s continuing with his monthly #WickedNightsAtWickes dinner, which raises funds for Haven for Hope in the form of H-E-B gift cards. This month’s dinner, featuring Jason Dady, is happening Sunday.

Ready for pizza at Hot Wells?

Ready for pizza at Hot Wells?

Tickets were long gone for the event, which was announced on Robbie Nowlin’s Facebook page and on Instagram as chef_driven. You need to follow him on either page to find actual dates and times for all of the events and to get advance tickets.

All of these non-profit events will likely keep him busy for a while — until he’s ready to announce his next venture, that is.

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Chris Cook to Be Executive Chef at O’liva Cafe

Chris Cook to Be Executive Chef at O’liva Cafe

The upcoming O’liva Café, 115 Plaza de Armas, has announced that Chris Cook has been named the farm-to-table restaurant’s executive chef.

Chris Cook

Chris Cook

Owner and general manager Chuck Hernandez met Cook through San Antonio’s Chef Cooperative and soon thereafter contracted Cook to do some consulting work for O’liva, which led to the job.

Cook has 23 years of experience working in the culinary industry and brings his knowledge and creativity to O’liva. “Cook has a lot of experience working in the downtown market, and we also share a similar mission to bring an elevated styling to an ancient product. He’s able to take my ideas and modernize them. This is a powerful alliance that I believe will ensure the success of O’liva,” Hernandez says.

Cook, who’s already in the midst of planning for the restaurant, says, “I believe in this project, Café O’liva, and what it stands for, because it will be great for the community of San Antonio. Even beyond the restaurant, we’ll be providing a consistent selection of goodies through the market and CSA, as well as a wide array of boxed to-go lunches for the professional crowd.”

He also points out that another of O’liva’s primary goals is to educate people, not only about olive oil and local wine and beer, but about healthy eating and lifestyles. Cook, along with the O’liva team, will be designing wellness programs and personal training opportunities.

Cook, who is the co-founder of the Chef Cooperative, is excited about the upcoming pop-up feast, Offishal, set for June 13 at the Spanish Governor’s Palace, which is a collaboration between the Cooperative and O’liva Café. Tickets are still available for this event and can be found at chefcooperatives.com.

For more information on O’liva, visit olivasa.com.

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