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There Is No In and Out at the New In-n-Out

There Is No In and Out at the New In-n-Out

The wait is over. The eating can begin. But where to sit?

The wait is over. The eating can begin. But where to sit?

San Antonio has greeted the opening of the city’s first In-n-Out Burger with the glory and attention generally reserved for a Spurs championship win, NIOSA or a papal visit. ‘

How long are you willing to wait for a burger?

How long are you willing to wait for a burger?

The store opened at 10918 Culebra Road on Thursday and has been faced with lengthy lines at both its counter and drive-thru window ever since. After 9 p.m. Friday, the lines were so long that one of the traffic volunteers estimate that the wait for drivers was more than an hour while the foot traffic probably was just under an hour.

“It’s been like that all day,” he said.  

What is all the hoopla about? In recent years, In-n-Out Burger has been  hailed as breaking the stereotype surrounding how fast-food restaurants are run. The meat is said to have never been frozen, the potatoes are supposed to be peeled on site, and an emphasis is placed on freshness on all levels. All of that is supposed to translate into burger nirvana, which is why Julia Child, who loved the rewards a great burger can provide, was said to have kept a list of In-n-Out Burger locations with her.

But would you wait in line an hour for a chain burger? The crowds didn’t seem to mind; otherwise, they could have left anytime they felt like it.

The store is on Culebra Road, north of Loop 1604.

The store is on Culebra Road, north of Loop 1604.

I’ve waited three hours in line for Franklin Barbecue in Austin, almost two hours for Killen’s Barbecue in Pearland and 90 minutes for Pecan Lodge’s ‘cue in Dallas, and all were worth it. In fact, I can’t tell you how many times I wish I were standing in line at Killen’s for another of their beef ribs. Texas barbecue, in my book, doesn’t get any better.

But I bypassed my chance for an In-n-Out burger Friday night. I had eaten at one in Las Vegas about seven or eight years ago. The memories of that visit, both good and bad, will hold me over until the hysteria dies down and I can see if it’s still the same.

In the meantime, if you’re in the Culebra and Loop 1604 area and want a burger but don’t want to wait in line, you can always go to Red Robin, Carl’s Jr., Steak ‘n Shake or Jim’s. They are all within a stone’s throw of In-n-Out, and all of them looked like they were doing a bustling business on Friday night as well.

Hours are Sunday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Friday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.

There is some outdoor seating in back of the restaurant.

There is some outdoor seating in back of the restaurant.

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Got $400 for an Ounce of Scotch?

Got $400 for an Ounce of Scotch?

It’s the most expensive whisky ever sold, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Only 355 bottles made it from Scotland to the United States, and one of them has landed in San Antonio.

Macallan MIf that hasn’t caught your attention, you might just want to skip to the next story.

But if the idea of a celestial single malt Scotch way out of range of most of our budgets kicks your thirst into overdrive then you might be interested in learning that one, single, solitary bottle of Macallan M can be found at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, 23808 Resort Parkway.

You’ll find it in the resort’s 18 Oaks prime steakhouse, where it is listed at a price of $400 an ounce.

That’s right, $400 an ounce.

But it’s not just the Scotch that’s so exclusive. Even the bottle merits attention.

According to a press release on the Scotch, “M is born of a collaboration between three masters of their crafts: Fabien Baron; Lalique; The Macallan, with a unique objective: to create the most sophisticated whisky in the world contained in an exquisite, exclusively designed crystal decanter. M is a masterpiece of design brought to conception by creative director Fabien Baron; brought to life by Lalique’s mastery of crystal; and brought to purpose by The Macallan’s highly complex, meticulously crafted single malt whisky.”

Note the spelling of “whisky,” and remember that Scotland refused to secede, so I guess the British spelling sticks.

And remember, as the press release points out, “It is the ultimate 1-up for that special business dinner.”

And if you’re picking up the tab, invite me, too.

 

 

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The Food at San Antonio’s Airport Gets a Nod

The Food at San Antonio’s Airport Gets a Nod

On a Thrillist ranking of the top 50 best airports for food and drink, San Antonio International Airport has landed at a decent No. 21, ahead of Houston Hobby but behind airports in Austin and Dallas.

airport1Problem is, the writers, Kevin Alexander and Liz Childers, seems to have hit only one terminal, because they left off any mention of Rosario’s or La Fruteria. But they did have this to say:

Sure, you can dance with “Macho style” burritos from Las Palapas or a craft beer at Alamo City Microbrewery, but why do any of those things when you could just go to Iceman Gervin’s Sports Bar, which has amazingly hilarious basketball-based names of pub foods, like a Slam Dunk turkey sandwich, Base Line nachos, and a Nothing but Net club sandwich. Though I’m still patiently waiting for their Danny Green Eggs and Ham.

Austin-Bergstrom International landed at No. 13 as much for its live music as for its Salt Lick barbecue, but the big surprise, to the writers as well as most readers, is that Dallas/Fort Worth International landed at No. 1. The reason seemed to be largely the wealth of barbecue and craft beer options, which is enough to keep most of us going no matter how long the layover is.

For the full article, click here.

 

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The Monterey Is Ready for Its Closeup

The Monterey Is Ready for Its Closeup

Fans of The Monterey, 1127 S. St. Mary’s St., will be happy to know that their favorite King William eatery and bar has gone Hollywood — sort of. The establishment features prominently as the improvised Monterey Coffee Bar in “The One I Wrote for You,” a new movie starring Cheyenne Jackson, Kevin Pollak, Christine Woods and Christopher Lloyd.

Cheyenne Jackson (right) and Rushi Kota appear in a scene filmed at the Monterey.

Cheyenne Jackson (right) and Rushi Kota appear in a scene filmed at the Monterey.

The film’s main character, Ben Cantor, portrayed by Jackson, makes his living as a barista to support his family after walking away from a promising career as a songwriter. Unbeknownst to him, however, his 10-year-old daughter enters him in a songwriting reality TV show. The movie follows his journey as he gets caught up in the fast-paced world of television entertainment while struggling to maintain his integrity and family values.

“The One I Wrote for You” was shot in the Alamo City last year, and Monterey partner Erick Schlather said he was happy to have the cast and crew take over his restaurant for a few days to shoot day and night scenes. “It’s great to see films of this caliber shot in the Southtown, and I hope they do more because this area lends itself to some great visual surroundings,” he said. “There was no disruption of services at all because they filmed on days that we were closed.”

The film, which is rated PG, will have its red carpet premiere at 7 p.m. Dec. 2 at Santikos Palladium IMAX and open Dec. 5 in 13 Texas cities and Los Angeles for its limited theatrical release. For more information, visit www.theoneiwroteforyou.com.

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Get All or Part of Your Thanksgiving Dinner to Go

Get All or Part of Your Thanksgiving Dinner to Go

Sometimes you just need a little help getting all of the holiday meal together. Here are places where you can get everything you need from smoked turkeys to the whole dinner. Just remember to place your orders early enough.

Cured is offering a Turkey and Turtle meal to go. (Photo by Veronica Luna)

Cured is offering a Turkey and Turtle meal to go. (Photo by Veronica Luna)

Big Bob’s Burgers, 447 W. Hildebrand Ave., 210-734-2627 —The burger joint is smoking turkeys for Thanksgiving. They are fully cooked and reheat in an hour. The price is $49.95 and it feeds 4-6 people.

Bill Miller Bar-B-Q, various locations — Get a broad-breasted turkey hen or a turkey tom, honey-glazed spiral-cut ham, sides, pies and more. Visit the website for options and prices.

Central Market, 4821 Broadway, 210-368-8607 — Chef-prepared meals, sides and pies can be ordered for all your holiday needs. Or visit the website.

The County Line, 10101 I-10 W., 210-641-1998 — Boneless turkey breast generously rubbed with coarse black pepper and slow-smoked is sold for $16.38 a pound. The average weight is 4 pounds and feeds 10-12 people. Barbecue lovers can order an Emergency Kit priced at $12.49 a person. It comes with brisket, turkey, sausage, chicken, coleslaw, beans, potato salad, bread, barbecue sauce, plates and flatware, packed family style. No advance warning necessary, but you can call in your order and it will be waiting for you by the time you get to the restaurant.  Sides available in large portions include handmade bread, red skinned garlic mashed potatoes, mac ‘n cheese, salads and green beans.

Crumpets, 3920 Harry Wurzbach Road, 210-821-5600 — Crumpets is offering whole roasted turkeys in two sizes: 18-20 pounds for $72.50 or 10-12 pounds for $45; boneless glazed hams for $8.50 a pound (5-pound minimum); spiral-cut bone-in ham for $9.50 a pound (from 6 to 14 pounds on average); smoked turkey breast for $9.50 a pound; as well as mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, dressing, cranberry sauce, and seasonal pies and cakes.

Cured, 306 Pearl Parkway, 210-314-3929 — Chef Steven McHugh’s Turkey & Turtle Thanksgiving package has a complete spread that’s perfect for two or a small family with everything from a whole bird to sides and simple reheat instructions. The package is priced at $185 and features one six- to eight-pound Smoked Heritage Midget White Turkey from Parker Creek Ranch, a multi-generational, family-owned sustainable farm near San Antonio. The from-scratch sides include cornbread dressing, a fennel and citrus salad, and turtle soup. Orders must be placed no later than Nov. 24 and will be available for pickup Nov. 25 or 26.

Green Vegetarian Cuisine, 200 E. Grayson St., (210) 320-5865 — Vegan pecan and pumpkin pies are available for $14.99. An advance notice of 72 hours is needed. Click here for order form.

Jim’s Restaurants, various locations —Whole pies are available to go. Call the location closest to you for prices and selection.

Several places are selling pumpkin pie to go.

Several places are selling pumpkin pie to go.

New Braunfels Smokehouse — For a full list of Thanksgiving foods, check the website. Orders must be placed by 2 p.m. Nov. 24 for two-day delivery or noon Nov. 25 for overnight delivery.

Two Bros. BBQ Market, 12656 West Ave., 210-496-0222 — You can order a whole meal that feeds up to 12 for $119.99. Pickup on Nov. 26 can be made for orders placed by Nov. 23. The meal includes spiced smoked turkey, candied yams, smoked sausage cranberry pecan dressing, mashed potatoes and giblet gravy, green bean casserole and apple cobbler as well as dinner rolls.

Whole Foods, 255 E. Basse Road, 210-826-4676; 18403 Blanco Road, 210-408-3110 — Pies, turkeys, side dishes, breads — all are available for special order.

Zedric’s: Fresh Gourmet to Go, 9873 I-10 W., 210-541-0404; 5231 Broadway, 210-824-6000 — Meals or dishes are available for pickup Nov. 24-26. They include a family meal deal that feeds 4-6 for $99.99 and includes an herb-roasted turkey breast, three sides, gravy, cranberry relish and a gluten-free pumpkin pie. Other options include the turkey breast by itself for $34.99 and sides, such as balsamic-roasted brussels sprouts and caramelized onion sweet potatoes, for $10.99 for each 32-ounce serving.

To be included in this list, email details to griffin@savorsa.com.

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Restaurant Week Returns in January

Restaurant Week Returns in January

Culinaria’s Restaurant Week has become so popular that it’s spawning a second week, which is set for Jan. 19-24.

Culinaria Restaurant Week 2013The plan didn’t originate with the non-profit, which promotes San Antonio as a food and wine destination. “The restaurants came to us with those dates,” says Suzanne Taranto Etheredge, Culinaria’s president and CEO.

There will be two tiers of prices during the January week. The first tier will include $15 lunches and $35 dinners, while the second tier features $10 lunches and $25 dinners.

Menus will be posted on culinariasa.org as we get closer to the event. “You should start looking about a month out,” Etheredge says. “I’ll be interested to see what the chefs come up with for winter: warm soups, warm everything.”

Restaurant Week has proven such a hit for Culinaria and for the participating restaurants that you can expect to see it expanded to two weeks this August, she says. And plans are in place for two weeks in January 2016 as well.

One dollar from each Restaurant Week plate sold goes to benefit Culinaria’s programs, which include scholarships and Chefs for Chefs, which raises money for kitchen workers and their families in need.

 

 

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Chef Brian West Takes on Two New Jobs

Chef Brian West Takes on Two New Jobs

Brian West

Brian West

Brian West has taken on two new jobs lately.

The chef, who once ran Cafe Mariposa and taught at the Culinary Institute of America’s San Antonio campus, has become executive chef of Tribeca di Olmos, 4331 McCullough Ave.

He has also been named ops chef on Food Network’s “Restaurant: Impossible.”

I’m the guy who the writes the menus, teaches the cooks and cooks most of the food,” West said in a message. “It’s nuts but I love it.”

If West is doing all this on the show, then what does the host, Robert Irvine, do? “Robert is the star,” West said. He “doesn’t do the kitchen much.” Hosting does take up some time, to be sure. 

West met Irvine when he was in town recently to film an episode on Knife and Fork Gastropub, 20626 Stone Oak Parkway. The show’s staff liked his work so much that they “hired me for the rest of the season,” he said.

He has flown off to film several episodes, but he still has time to run the kitchen at Tribeca. We’re overdue there for a visit, so we look forward to seeing what West has in store.

That’s not all West has been up to. He also has an essay on the history of Texas Barbecue in “Barbecue Lover’s Texas,” Bonnie Walker’s and my latest book.

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Dignowity Meats Is Coming

Dignowity Meats Is Coming

Dignowity Meats is coming soon.

dignowity meats

The guys behind Crazy Carl’s, Andrew Samia and Shane Reed, are opening Dignowity Meats soon.

The restaurant, located at 1701 E. Houston St., will specialize in smoked meats. A soft opening is set for Nov. 15 with lunch service starting thereafter at 11 a.m. Dinner service, along with beer and wine offerings, is tentatively set for spring.

Dignowity Meats is a joint venture between Andrew Samia and Shane Reed of the Crazy Carl’s food truck and Denise Aguirre and Noel Cisneros of the Point Park & Eats and Taps y Tapas.

The restaurant will specialize in smoked meats by the pound, hand-crafted sandwiches, and specialty sides. It will pay homage to both the classic east coast deli and Midwest smokehouse,  taking premium cuts of meat and smoking them in-house. Some of the staple menu items will include pastrami, pit beef, pork belly, turkey breast and smoked bologna. Scratch-made sides, such as sharp cheddar mac and cheese with smoke bacon, braised greens, and jalapeño cheddar cornbread, will accompany the meats along with fresh squeezed lemonade and brewed teas.

Samia and Reed’s backgrounds, having grown up in the Northeast and Midwest respectively, helped drive the vision for Dignowity Meats. Being fond of old school mom-and-pop delis that cooked all of their products on-site, they wanted to bring that taste to San Antonio. Their simplistic approach of paying attention to detail, from inception to finished product, truly allows the ingredients to shine and earned them a feature spot on the Cooking Channel’s “Eat St.”

 

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Savor Warm Flavors of Old Mexico at Cocina Heritage

Savor Warm Flavors of Old Mexico at Cocina Heritage

Cocina Heritage quesadillas cropThe corn tortillas are hot off the stove, the rajas (strips) are made from freshly roasted chiles and the mole is deep, dark, a little spicy with a touch of chocolate.

All of the above, and everything else,  is made on site at Cocina Heritage The Restaurant, which opened a couple of months ago at 118 N. Medina St.  Cocina Heritage grew out of a catering company by the same name.

Two sister, Silvia Alcaraz and Lupita Rivero, moved to San Antonio 25 years and 22 years ago respectively, from Mexico. Alcaraz runs the business and front of the house; Rivero is chef and queen of the kitchen.

The sisters went into catering partly because they were hungry for authentic tastes of Guanajuato and other areas in Mexico. Such things as tinga de pollo, fruit cups, handmade corn tortillas made from molino-ground masa, rajas de poblano with crema and much more. They planted the first seeds of their business with Bake, Broil and Brew, an incubator kitchen on the near West Side.

“We were always bringing food back from Mexico — even frozen — to have tastes (of home),” says Alcaraz.

Cocina Heritage blackboard cropSo now, at this neat, informal cafe in the shadow of the Commerce Street Bridge north of Interstate 10, they are sharing.

They serve Mondays through Fridays, breakfast and lunches only, so this is a good place for downtown workers to visit.

Check out the list of quesadillas first, posted on the wall behind the ordering area.  These are real stars of the show, as the tortillas, made with fresh masa — and tasting as though made fresh to order — wrap some sensational flavors. The mildly spicy-smoky chicken tinga, and the rajas (strips) of freshly roasted poblano chiles were our choices — both excellent. Each was enriched with Mexican cheese — queso fresco plus some Mexican crema in the rajas.

Squares of Mexican panela cheese, a little firmer than the melting queso fresco, is stuffed into a compact, perfectly battered chile relleno.  Tomato sauce on top lends more warmth, and some simple but beautifully balanced flavors.

Cocina Heritage chile relleno croppedThe chile relleno is served with white rice — lightly seasoned and studded with green peas and carrot. It was also a perfect vehicle for the sweet-savory taste of mole we sampled. Again, all of the chiles and nuts and seeds that go into this complex and famous Mexican sauce were roasted and ground on premises.

Breakfast items look tempting, and we’ll be back to try them, as the aguas, including a signature agua fresca at Cocina Heritage made from a variety of sour prickly pear, called agua xoconostle — a lovely shade of pale pink and a refreshing bit of acidity to contrast with the bit of added sugar and classic cactus fruit taste.

French press coffee, juice, organic tea and baked goods (such as our pumpkin muffin topped with pepitas in a light frosting) make this a good place for a mid-morning or afternoon meeting, too.

Especially if you work or live near downtown, Cocina Heritage needs to be prominent on your beaten path to really good Mexican food.

Cocina Heritage muffins cropped

 

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Halloween Scares Up Some Fun at Area Restaurants

Halloween Scares Up Some Fun at Area Restaurants

Halloween is bringing plenty of treats to area restaurants. Here are a few.

Authors John Griffin and Bonnie Walker to sign their new book Oct. 31

Authors John Griffin and Bonnie Walker to sign their new book Oct. 31.

Barbecue, books and more

John Griffin and Bonnie Walker will be at Texas Pride Barbecue, 2980 E. Loop 1604, Adkins, to sign copies of “Barbecue Lover’s Texas” for the last Friday fish fry of the season.

The signing begins at 6:30 p.m., at which time you can get your fill of barbecue as well as fried pollack or shrimp, have a few longnecks and listen to live music on a fall evening.

For more information, call 210-649-3730.

Copa is in a partying mood

Copa Wine Bar, 19141 Stone Oak Parkway, is having a Halloween party. On the menu for the evening:

  • Cocktail Specials-SCREAMsicles, Leinenkugal, Orange Shandy, French Vanilla Infused Sake
  • Hocus Pocus: Sparkling Rose & Blood Orange Italian Soda
  • Wine Specials: Happy hour all night with 25% off all wine and beer (excluding flights), $15 Make your own Concha y Toro Flights, $5 Sangria by the glass, 1/2 off full-size bottles of bubbly, 1/2 off anything from the Stellar Cellar
  • Food Specials: Belly of the Beast Tacos and Candy Corn Jarfaits
  • Costume Contest 7-10 p.m. Winner gets a 5-liter bottle of Casillero del Diablo Cabernet.

Call 210-495-2672 for more information.

Dale Watson

Dale Watson

Dale Watson at Two Step

Two Step Restaurant and Cantina, 9840 W. Loop 1604 N., is hosting Dale Watson and his Lonestars on Halloween evening. The music begins at 8 p.m.

VIP tables are $40 apiece and include an appetizer and a bucket of goodies from Lone Star Beer.

In addition to the concert, the restaurant is offering a haunted house and kids’ games.

For reservations and VIP tables, call 210-688-2686.

 

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