Kumori Sushi and Teppanyaki

I really like sushi. It makes me happy. When I eat it, I want more. I dream about it, then crave it the next day. This is especially true if I have tuna. Recently, I tried Kumori, a sushi and teppanyaki restaurant located on Sonterra Blvd in the same shopping center as Auden’s Kitchen. Kumori originated in McAllen where it has several locations. Its San Antonio location is less than a year old. Kumori’s San Antonio Menu

Miso Soup at Kumori

Miso Soup at Kumori

The atmosphere at Kumori is comparable to many of sushi restaurants in town (Godai and Sushihana, as well as Sushi Zushi come to mind), perhaps slightly more upscale. The service is good, but stand-offish. The food decent, but certainly not the best I’ve had in town. While Kumori has numerous rolls to choose from, too many have cream cheese in them. The gyozo were over-steamed, limp and falling apart. Watered down, in texture and taste. I won’t be ordering the gyozo again. The dipping sauce, a diluted soy sauce mix, was alright, but a bit strange. Can’t I just have soy sauce? While I can’t comment on the teppanyaki since neither I nor my Mr. tried any of those dishes, the spicy tuna roll was good. The tuna firm with good color and flavor. My favorite, in spite of the cream cheese, was the Maui Wowie roll. The tuna was very good. I liked the crunch of the soft shell crab tempura. The sweet and spicy was also nice, avocado and chipotle mayonnaise playfully fighting in my mouth.

Maui Wowie Roll at Kumori

Maui Wowie Roll at Kumori

I will definitely go to Kumori again. It’s convenient and good. I’d like to try the Teppanyaki. But Kumori did not re-order my list. My favorite sushi places in San Antonio are still Sushihana, Godai and Mon Thai.

Kumori on Urbanspoon

Top Shelf Margarita

T.G.I.F.F! This week has been a bitch. A week where, even without a medical diagnosis, I am absolutely positive I have dementia. A week in which I totally botched two pre-school assignments for my son. (As any parent will tell you, school assignments are not really the child’s alone, which is total crap. But that rant is probably better left for a blog post later in my son’s academic endeavors.) One: I completely forgot. Then tried to make up for it by saying I’d go to Albertson’s to get what Little Man needed. Albertson’s hasn’t been in San Antonio for like what? Ten years? The other: a show and tell for the letter “q” in which Little Man (who is 4 and as such is off the hook) brought “Quincy” the Robot. Apparently I’ve forgotten the order of the alphabet. I am sure there are other things, but I’ve forgotten them too.

So what’s the answer? Escape with alcohol, obviously. I mean, if I am going to forget things, I might as well use alcohol to forget that I’ve forgotten. Right? Besides, February 22, Tuesday of this week, was National Margarita Day – which in my opinion, for what it’s worth (see above), is horribly misplaced on the calendar. Really, February? This day should be held some time in the summer, when you enjoy a margarita on a patio, with warm air and light cool breeze. Whatever. I have been waiting all week to celebrate. No matter how bad things are Tuesdays and margaritas don’t mix. So tonight I am fully embracing National Margarita Day with my husband’s fabulous top shelf margaritas . Tequila take me away…

Top Shelf Margarita

Top Shelf Margarita

Ingredients

  • Finely grated lime zest
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • Lime slice or wedge
  • 1 ounce top-shelf tequila
  • 1 ounce Grand Marnier
  • 1 ounce Simple Syrup (see recipe below)
  • ¾ ounce fresh lime juice
  • ¼ ounce fresh orange juice
  • 1 cup crushed ice cubes

Directions

In a rimmed plate combine the lime zest and salt; mix well. Run the lime slice around the rim of a stemmed, wide-mouthed glass to moisten it, then turn the glass upside down and press the rim in the salt mixture. Set glass aside.

In a cocktail shaker combine all remaining ingredients and shake well to chill.  Pour into the prepared glass and serve immediately.

Simple Syrup Recipe
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heat on low, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. (Alternatively, heat in the microwave.) Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups

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Triple D Tour: Dough Pizzeria

I have posted about Dough Pizzeria before, but you really cannot say enough about this fabulous restaurant. And while the word is out in San Antonio, as evidenced by the crowd and hour long wait at 6:00p (relax…have a glass of wine, the food is well worth it), Dough is about to get some (more…they were previously written up in Food and Wine Magazine) much deserved national attention. This time televised, as Guy Fieri stopped by to showcase Dough on Food Network’s Diner’s, Drive-Ins and Dives.

GNO at Dough Pizzeria

In front of the Wood Burning Oven at The Heart of the Action

On this stop of my Triple D Tour, a couple of friends joined, a Girls’ Night Out planned a couple months ago, long before Fieri following was even a factor. As with any proper GNO, you start with cocktails or a bottle of wine. This time, a bottle of a very good Primativo. Half a glass in, conversation and laughter flowing, enjoying our ring side seats at the heart and hearth of the action in front of the enormous wood-burning oven, the appetizers arrive: Winter Burrata (with a porcini, mascarpone, ricotta, & truffle oil filling with melted leeks and oak roasted mushrooms) and Oak Roasted Mushroom Bruschetta (with whole roasted garlic cloves and sun-dried tomatoes).

Oak Roasted Mushroom Bruschetta (Half Order)

Winter Burrata with Melted Leeks and Mushrooms

So what happens when three girlfriends – together for the first time in two months, a glass of wine down, another in hand, action all around – start eating these amazing appetizers? Silence. An almost Zen-like food induced trance, broken only by the only slightly audible moan and hum that snaps you to, with the thinking realization…“Was that out loud?” Creamy. Tangy. Crunchy. Earthy. Sensual. You savor. Relishing a transient time talking only ruins. Your tongue otherwise deliciously occupied. We had a few of these moments, laughing joyously after each. More wonderful conversation, a sip of wine, a sip of water.  Then rapt again in the food.

Pork Love Pizza

Next – the Pork Love pizza. Crisp dough sauced slightly with fresh tomato sauce, piled with pancetta, speck, Italian sausage and salami on a bed of Fior di Latte. Hushed whispers of oooohhhh. Eyes closing involuntarily. Yes…love indeed. And if that was not enough, we indulged in the amazing Nutella Panino, toasted bread filled with heavenly Nutella, drizzled with caramel surrounding a mound of fresh whipped cream. What choice did we have? After all, it was World Nutella Day. Again, we paused for a moment of silence.

Nutella Panino (in honor of World Nutella Day)

And while you do experience instances of quiet intimacy with the food at Dough, ultimately a meal at Dough is incredibly lively and social. Tables of families, friends, couples, commiserating happily between bites. A place where you can sit by a friendly neighbor who along with sharing a wonderful story of being on the very first episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives at a place called Mac and Ernie’s in Tarpley, Texas, also shares a piece of candied pancetta that leaves you temporarily speechless, smiling. Then continuing your conversation, chatting happily about the bite you just had and other delightful bits.

Dough never disappoints, down to every detail. The food is impeccable, delicious. The service is gracious yet informative; the staff incredibly knowledgeable (way beyond just regurgitating the menu). The atmosphere warm, welcoming, like being hugged close by a dear friend. I could rave about Dough all day. Just try to shut me up! Another piece of that candied pancetta should do it.

Guy Fieri was Here

Dough Pizzeria Napoletana on Urbanspoon

Triple D Tour: El Bohio

When I heard that Guy Fieri was in San Antonio filming his show Diner, Drive-Ins and Dives, I thought it would be fun to “follow” him and go to all the restaurants he spotlighted while in SA: El Bohio, Magnolia Pancake Haus, Beto’s, Taco Taco, Bun N Barrel, Moroccan Bites and Dough Pizzeria. I am calling my adventure the Triple D Tour. First stop: El Bohio.

Guy Fieri Autograph at El Bohio

While probably considered the “dive” in the group (it’s located in a poorly maintained shopping center), El Bohio serves rich, flavorful, authentic home-style Puerto Rican food that just makes want to dive right in. In fact, the interior atmosphere and the wonderful food is more a reflection of its name El Bohio, which itself suggests a modest countryside home, than its location.

Every weekday El Bohio offers a buffet (at the incredibly reasonable price of $5.99!) filled with family favorites: roasted pork, chicken stew, sausage and potatoes, black beans, pinto beans, white rice, yellow rice with pigeon peas, and sweet plantains. The buffet also included an iceberg lettuce salad with tomatoes which was not much to speak of and soup which I heard people raving about but ultimately had no room remaining to try.

Pulled Pork, Yellow Rice with Pigeon Peas, Chicken Stew and Plantains! YUM!

Sausage with Potatoes and more Chicken Stew

Everything was robust and delicious, hitting every spot just right on the chilly day I went. The roasted pork was really well seasoned, playing perfectly against the starchy sweet plantains. The sausage and potatoes cooked respectfully, not overdone, chewy or dry. The chicken stew was especially good (and my personal favorite), hardy chunks of chicken, carrot and potato, their yellow tint pleasing to the eye, foretelling, and delivering, the amazingly complex tastiness of sofrito (a traditional base for many Puerto Rican dishes). I actually had two servings of this great stew, both times along side the yellow rice with pigeon peas. So good! I left completely full, satisfied and happy I took the plunge!

El Bohio on Urbanspoon

Thai Comfort Food: Tom Kha Goong

This is Galangal. Galangal is a root in the ginger family. But don’t call galangal, ginger. It’s definitely different. Unique. Special. You are not going to find it at every grocery store like you can ginger. I was fortunate and found this fresh galangal at Central Market.

Galangal

Ginger is practically a household word. Galangal is not an ingredient you go throwing around in casual culinary conversation. People will look at you funny, unless of course, they know Thai food. That’s because galangal is the root used to flavor most authentic Thai soups, including this one: Tom Kha Goong or Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup. I always thought that was ginger. I was wrong. My taste buds should have tipped me off. Galangal is earthy and mellow in distinct contrast to the peppery sharpness of ginger. It is cozy and warm. On the day I made this wonderful soup, it was rainy and cold – perfect weather to wrap myself up in some rich, creamy, fiery Thai food.

Tom Kha Goong

TOM KHA GOONG

Ingredients

  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock or broth
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, torn in half (or 1 heaping tbsp of shredded)
  • 1 lemon grass (white part only), crushed
  • 1 lemon grass (white part only), sliced diagonally 1″
  • 1 inch galangal, sliced thinly
  • 12 fresh salt water shrimp, shelled and cleaned, leaving the tail intact
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 can straw mushrooms, drained
  • 1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 4 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 4 Tbsp fish sauce (to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp Sambal or Sriracha sauce
  • 2-3 dried red chili peppers, lightly crushed

Directions

Heat the chicken broth in a pot over medium heat. Add lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves and galangal; simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the coconut milk, chilis and sambal; increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil.

Add the mushrooms, lime juice, fish sauce and shrimp to the pot. Reduced heat to medium and cook uncovered for another 5-7 minutes or until shrimp are pink and firm to the touch.

Remove soup from heat and immediately serve in individual bowls.

Serves 4

Notes

  1. This recipe is a riff on this recipe by Sugar & Everything Nice
  2. I used Organic Lite Coconut Milk, Thai Kitchen brand
  3. If you cannot find fresh kaffir lime leaves, use jarred. It’s not the best, but it will do. I found jarred kaffir lime leaves at Whole Foods. They were shredded so I improvised the amount.

Mangia Bene!

Brunch at Tre Trattoria Downtown

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of meeting a group of fellow foodies for brunch at the new Tre Trattoria Downtown, now occupying the space that literally two days prior was Insignia Restaurant. Chef Jason Dady teased his tweeps for those 48 hours, finally letting the cat out of the bag less than 24 hours prior to opening. Yes, sadly, Insignia is no longer. No worries. While the lunch and dinner menus are dramatically different and reflect those currently served quite successfully at the original Tre location at The Boardwalk on Broadway, the brunch menu at Tre D (as I’m calling it) thankfully is only slightly more than a logo change.

What remains unchanged is the marvelous mimosa menu, which truth be told, is really why we are here. First two mimosas are $1.00, which is great since you will want to try more than one of the creative choices. You also will still see the signature salmon dish (cooked beautifully as ever), the delicious blue crab and cream cheese stuffed crepes, breakfast pizzas, frittatas featuring seasonal ingredients, and the traditional Texas breakfast of steak and eggs that Tre elevates by serving a filet with hollandaise.

Blue Crab and Cream Cheese Crepes

Frittata with Seasonal Vegetables

Breakfast Pizza with Fried Egg and Prosciutto

As expected, there are some new faces on the menu. Notably, the Breakfast Panini which features all the elements of breakfast: a potato latke, a fried egg – yolk dripping golden goodness, crispy chopped bacon glazed with maple syrup, all on a grilled English muffin. Breakfast in a bite, every bite. In theory, this should work. Really work. I practically eat my breakfast this way, anyway. A bit of this, a bit of that, all vying for position on my fork, then dipped in a bit of maple syrup. Yum! But this didn’t quite make it for me. With a touch too much maple syrup, the sweetness overpowered the dish. I wanted more salt. I mean…I am sure it was there, just buried…deep. And crunch. The English muffin was on the soft side; unfortunately so were many of the other elements on the sandwich. I prefer the hard edges of a really toasty English muffin. For me this difference would have made the Panini much better, adding some textural variety my mouth craved.

Breakfast Panini at Tre Trattoria Downtown

A closer look at that Breakfast Panini

Another new item on the menu is the Mascarpone Polenta topped with a fried egg. While I did not have a taste, it looked fabulously creamy and surprisingly hardy. My friend enjoyed it very much. I am looking forward to trying this dish out at a future foodie brunch.

Given what seems like a Clark Kent fast transformation, I could be slightly skeptical. However, with its highly regarded signature Tuscan food, Tre Trattoria is a proven brand. Add a laudable brunch, with a strong following, and I can only anticipate that Tre Trattoria Downtown will do superbly.

Tre Trattoria Downtown on Urbanspoon

Pork Enchiladas with Salsa Verde and Pepper Jack Cheese

Have I told you that I’m in love with my slow cooker? Well…yes, him too. But I mean my All-Clad Slow Cooker with aluminum insert from Williams-Sonoma. I do not just love it. I am in love with it. The way it looks. The way it feels. All the ways it cooks. 

I love my slow cooker for the things it cooks. Recently I made a Salsa Verde Braised Pork recipe by Sunset Magazine. I tweaked the recipe slightly, searing the pork on the stove top first in the aluminum insert while bringing the other ingredients to a boil in a separate pot. Then placing the aluminum insert into the slow cooker and pouring the salsa verde over top. For those of you do a lot of slow cooking, you can appreciate what a beautiful thing this truly is. Up until a couple of months ago, I seared in a separate pan, losing some of those delicious bits. I’d dropped large pieces of meat onto counters, onto a floor on one unfortunate occasion. Yes, it was a bit of a splurge this slow cooker of mine, but totally worth it. 

The Salsa Verde Braised Pork was as delicious as it was easy to make. I made enough for an army. In addition to the having it over rice the first night, later in the week I fixed quick nachos with it and this past weekend I made these wonderful Pork Enchiladas. A dish that keeps on dishin’ – gotta love that! 

Pork Enchiladas with Salsa Verde & Pepper Jack Cheese

 

Pork Enchilada dinner with Mexican Rice

 

Pork Enchiladas with Salsa Verde and Pepper Jack Cheese 

Ingredients 

  • 3 cups shredded Salsa Verde Braised Pork
  • 3 cups prepared salsa verde
  • 1/2 cup, plus 2 tbsp Canola Oil (2 tbsp for salsa, ½ cup for enchiladas)
  • 8 corn tortillas (6 to 7 in. wide)
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves for garnish

Preparation 

Preheat an oven to 400°F. 

In a fry pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 tbsp oil until it is not and rippling. Quickly add tomatillo sauce and fry, stirring constantly, until the sauce begins to bubble. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the sauce starts to thicken, 5 minutes more. Add salt to taste. Keep warm. 

To make the enchiladas, in a frying pan, heat the remaining ½ cup oil over medium-high heat until sizzling hot. Using tongs, quickly pass each tortilla through the oil to soften; drain on paper towels. 

Spoon some the tomatillo sauce onto the bottom of a baking dish. Using your fingers, dip each tortilla briefly in the warm sauce, place on a plate, put a large spoonful of shredded pork near one edge, sprinkle with a little cheese and roll up the tortilla. Place, seam side down, in the baking dish. Cover with the remaining sauce and cheese. Bake until thoroughly heated and cheese is bubbling, about 10-12 minutes. 

Remove the enchiladas from the oven. Serve immediately, top with sour cream and garnish with cilantro leaves. 

Mangia Bene!

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Boardwalk on Bulverde

Boardwalk on Bulverde

Over the weekend, my family and I went to the grand opening of Boardwalk on Bulverde. Boardwalk on Bulverde is the first food truck park in San Antonio, taking a cue from similar Austin parks which are seeing significant success.

Food trucks (also referred to the more image conscious “mobile kitchens”) have seen an increase in popularity in most major metropolitan cities (as well as in the most unlikely of towns EatSA March 2009 review of Food Shark – Marfa, TX). Many have been putting out amazing food for some time, revolutionizing and elevating the concept of food truck food. Through concerted energy (including from Jason Dady, prominent San Antonio restaurateur and owner of the DUK Truck) gourmet food trucks are finally getting their long overdue recognition and acceptance in San Antonio. From the size of the crowd at Saturday’s event, San Antonio had some pent up demand. I am a huge fan, and I hope the momentum continues.

While we did not get to sample food from all the trucks, I did have a chance to walk by all and the smells wafting from each were amazing. The food we did eat was excellent, all washed down with a fabulous chocolaty Ranger Creek Porter served up by the resident “tavern” Cambo’s Cantina.

Seared Ahi Tuna Tacos from Bistro Six

Crab Cake with Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce from Bistro Six

We started with the Crab Cake in a Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce and Seared Ahi Tuna Tacos with a Chimichurri relish sweetened with agave nectar, both from Bistro Six. Both delicious!

Ohhh G! Sandwich from Wheelie Gourmet

We also tried the Ohhh G! sandwich from Wheelie Gourmet. This was a decent sandwich, the gyro meat tender and flavorful. However, for me the sauce – a tangy take on BBQ sauce – was a bit off. I checked out their menu later in the evening and noticed that the sandwich normally comes with a rosemary dill sauce. In my opinion it seems a better match. Given their other menu offerings (also featuring the rosemary dill sauce) were entirely sold out when I ordered, it is likely that they had just ran out. I would like to try this sandwich again with the rosemary dill sauce. I think it would lift it to greatness.

Pound Cake with Fresh Berries & Whip from G&G Bistro

The finale to our meal was a pound cake over strawberry puree with fresh berries, topped with fresh whipped cream and a pistachio crumble. What a super sweet surprise! Unbelievably fresh, very well executed – the whip not in the least runny, the pound cake moist, not at all soggy. It was a perfect ending to a wonderful meal. A meal pieced together from all the fabulous options you will find at the Boardwalk on Bulverde. I am looking forward to tasting many more incredible combinations!

Food trucks at the Boardwalk:

Bistro Six

Cambo’s Cantina

DUK Truck

G&G Mobile Bistro

K Hill BBQ Company

Miko’s Ice

Saweet Cupcakes

Tin Can Tacos

Toastie Buns

Uncertain Farms

Wheelie Gourmet

For hours of operation, visit Boardwalk on Bulverde.

Pork Carnitas from Tin Can Tacos

Boardwalk on Bulverde is family friendly, including four-legged members, with a sandbox and small play set to occupy the kiddos.

Parking is limited and needs some re-working. We actually had to cross a pretty busy Bulverde Road, which was lined with the parked vehicles of other patrons, to get to Boardwalk on Bulverde. This may have been due to opening day madness, but the owners should take note. Don’t let the parking deter you though. The food is totally worth it (thus the parking situation)!

Boardwalk on Bulverde Chow Hound Bar on Urbanspoon

2010 – The Year of Eating Dangerously Well

The blog the Bitten Word listed the 10…no, 13…no, 15 best things they made and ate last year Bitten Word: 10 Favorite Food Magazine Recipes. This got me thinking. I should do something similar. So here are my top five things I made and ate. I have also included the top ten dishes I ate but didn’t make.

TOP 5…ok, 6 DISHES I MADE

1.  Seafood and Rice Bisque Interestingly this creation started off as a Cooking Light recipe with oysters. When we couldn’t find oysters due to the BP oil spill during a visit to the Texas coast in September, I substituted locally caught gulf shrimp and lump crab meat. Then I went off the deep end and added butter and more bacon, nixed the whole milk and used half and half, and then added more bacon. The result was my husband’s favorite dish of the year. Definitely not light cooking but calories don’t count on vacation. Right?!

2.  Cheesy Mashed Potatoes My holiday mashed potatoes. And by holiday, I mean a stick of butter, eight ounces of cream cheese, a cup of heavy cream and a sprinkle of white cheddar. SO YUMMY! If it makes you feel any better, I garnish them with chopped chives. But they, of course, are optional.

3.  Bourbon Balls This recipe is close to my heart. The recipe comes from my Great Aunt Veronica. She too was a lover of all things food. She was the food editor of the Pittsburgh Press, a feminist before that word was either en vogue or dirty, and an excellent cook. There is no question my passion for food is coded in my DNA. It is not just what I do. It is who I am. Thank you Aunt Ronnie.

4.  Rustic Tomato Sauce with Olives and Artichokes. I have to say this is probably one of my favorite dishes I ever make. It is a standard at our house. It is simple and delicious. I would not change a thing about it (except for adding some Hot Italian Sausage every once in awhile to it to appease my husband).

5.  Cauliflower and Bacon Au Gratin I used pancetta. It’s still bacon. And come on…everyone knows, EVERYTHING is better with bacon. And cheese. This has both. You barely even know the cauliflower is there. Delicious.

6.  Anglo-Asian Lamb Salad I love this recipe by Nigella Lawson not only because I just adore Nigella Lawson but because it was the first lamb recipe I ever made. Crazy right? Prior to this attempting this recipe, even during the preparation of this recipe, I was incredibly intimidated by cooking lamb at home, despite adoring lamb. It is so rich and flavorful. And easy to cook as I found out! How ridiculous that I hadn’t cooked it before. I have since cooked lamb a number of times. So glad that silliness is over!

TOP 10 THINGS I ATE I DIDN’T MAKE (#1 is Number 1, the rest are in no particular order)

1.  Burrata Caprese Dough Pizzeria Napoletana Hands down the winner. Perfect in every way. Delicious, addictive, dreamy, creamy, incredibleness. If you have not eaten at Dough or eaten this at Dough, go. Now.

2.  Oak Roasted Mushroom Bruschetta Dough Pizzeria Napoletana Order both the Oak Roasted Mushroom Bruschetta and the Burrata Caprese. Combine. Expect your mind to blow.

3.  Fried Quail drizzled with Sage Honey Luke San Antonio Crispy, salty, crunchy, sweet. I could eat dozens of these incredible little birdies!

4.  Shrimp and Grits Luke San Antonio Admittedly at the preview I was on the fence about this dish, but at the Grand Opening it became one of my favs. The grits were perfectly prepared, the shrimp cooked flawlessly, the sauce wonderfully spicy hitting all the right spots. Love this dish.

5.  Lily’s Cookies Lily’s Cookies Almost too beautiful to eat, these works of art are so good. In October, I was honored to meet the owner, artistic muse, the brains and the brawn behind Lily’s Cookies, Christine McCrae Kelly.  She was even more delightful than her cookies and that says a lot!

6. Rather Sweet Sweet Rolls Rather Sweet Too (Fredericksburg, TX) Sweet rolls as big as Texas. From award winning baker and cookbook writer Rebecca Rather, Rather Sweet Bakery and Café turns out some of the best baked goods and café food you will ever get in the hill country. But it’s definitely worth a trip to Fredericksburg just to go to Rather Sweet and eat these amazing sweet rolls.

7.  Spicy Grilled Eggplant Thai Dee Thai Dee is one of my favorite San Antonio Restaurants, Thai or otherwise. The Spicy Grilled Eggplant is just so full of flavor. Layers of rich, smoky, depth of flavor, so good my mouth is watering as I am writing, remembering. If you have not ventured out to discover this little gem of a restaurant, Google map it (it is in the most unlikely of places) and experience the treasure that is Thai Dee.

8.  Coffee and everything else Olmos Perk Friendly. Fun. Fantastic coffee and atmosphere. This place makes me just plain happy.

9.  Crab Cake Silo Elevated Cuisine Maybe it is because every time I go to Silo it is for a special occasion that I so love this place. Maybe it is their crab cake. Either way I always leave blissful (wink) and satiated.

10.  Marfalafel Food Shark (Marfa, TX) Ok, it is a trek to Marfa – no doubt. But if you find yourself in this neck of the woods…uh, desert, do yourself a favor and eat at Food Shark. No one should be scared to eat at food trucks anymore. Some amazing things are coming out of food trucks these days – case in point, the falafel at Food Shark. I craved them for days.

Lastly, the dish I wish I hadn’t eaten and am SO happy I did not make: Baba Ganouj Zorbas Mediterranean Cuisine. Sticky Floors and funky ashtray. Bottom line: gross. Consider yourself warned.

Happy New Year: I Am Still Here

I know New Year’s resolutions are essentially artificial constructs perpetuated mercilessly, in my opinion, by the multi-billion weight loss and self-help industries. I still have them. But there is also something about a new year, the sense of starting fresh, that makes me pause and reflect on where I’ve have been and where I am going on a broader scale.

Last year I had the standard resolutions: eat healthier, exercise more. Later in the month, I also gave myself a dare – to start and keep up with a food blog. After initial hesitation and requisite self-doubting – Can I do this? Should I do this? – came the eventual, peaceful answer. Yes I can. Yes I should. No doubt. On January 22, 2010, EatSA debuted first blog post Truth and a Dare.

Starting was relatively easy, as starting something always is, although I did have to get up to speed on the basics of blogging, having never done one before and I am over forty. I’m not sure those aren’t really the same thing – and it just dawned on me, but I was a forty year old virgin. Huh.

Keeping up with the blog was more difficult at times, as keeping up with something always is, even if it is more fun than you ever thought it would be. The biggest obstacle: overcoming time constraints that necessarily come from having a family and two part time jobs. That and well, once my cherry was popped (so to speak) I couldn’t just blog. Oh no. Would I have sex in only one position? NO. So, of course, this meant I needed a Twitter account @eatsatx and a facebook page EatSA. And by August I had a self-hosted website through WordPress. Holy Moly! I started a virgin, now I am doing everything in sight and having a blast. But frankly it was wearing me out. It was time to come up for air from the social media orgy.

In September I had a birthday. I took a breath. I reminded myself why I started EatSA, why I enjoyed the facebook page and what made Twitter and its community of foodies and social media gurus so important and valuable to me. I decided to be better, easier on myself. This was a journey. Take time and relish. I thought to myself…you never know who you will meet or where you will go. I was right.

If at the beginning of last year you told me that in the process of writing my blog my year would end with meeting Chef John Besh at the Grand Opening of Luke, his first San Antonio based restaurant, in a room filled with many new friends met mostly through Twitter, I would have said – no way, not going to happen. But it happened and it was fabulous. I ate fantastic food: crunchy, sweet shrimp in a cup (a foodie addict’s crack), crab legs the size of my arm, the best shrimp and grits I’d ever tasted, and I had my picture taken with Chef John Besh. (P.S. For those who haven’t been, you should go to Luke. The food and atmosphere are amazing.)

If at the beginning of last year, you told me that in the process of writing my blog in that same final month I would be on a panel of San Antonio foodies – Krys Theilen @yelpsanantonio, Edmond Tijerina (food critic for the San Antonio Express News) @etij, and Elizabeth Anderson @WaspyRedhead - speaking about how social media impacts restaurants and food in front of social media experts at the Social Media Breakfast SMBSA Website, I would have said – no way, not going to happen. But there I was…talking about Eric Ripert and Anthony Bourdain, EVOO and Bieber Juice, and how this nobody from SA became a fly on the wall during a conversation between two food greats and in the process fell in love with Twitter.

So what will this year bring? What will I do next? What will I cook, eat,  say? Who will I meet? I don’t know. I am looking forward to finding out. But now…if you tell me some thing may happen, I’ll say…may be.  The truth is…the possibility exists by mere fact of doing…of daring to do. And if it involves large helpings of food (recipes, restaurants and writing) with a side of social media, no doubt it’ll be good.

Me and Chef John Besh at Luke SA Grand Opening