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My trip to San Antone’ for the Foodways Texas Benefit

Two Thursdays ago I headed to San Antonio, TX, for the Foodways Texas annual board meeting and Benefit sponsored by The Culinary Institute of America; Foodways Texas (known as FTX to the insiders) is an organization I’m committed to, and also helped found. We’re a diverse crowd made up of Texas scholars, chefs, journalists, restaurateurs, farmers, and ranchers that have come together to preserve, promote and celebrate the diverse food cultures of Texas. (Some of my previous blog posts have more about FTX and my connection with them).

Macho BurgerFor lunch, I stopped at Chris Madrid’s for the infamous “Macho Burger,” a ½ lb. patty with cheddar cheese and jalapeños, an old school skillet burger. It’s a down home type of no-frills place, and I noticed that Chris Madrid also started his business in 1977; the very same year we opened up Goode Company Bar-B-Que on Kirby. After lunch, I had some time to burn before our board meeting, so I went to the Alamo. Walking around the grounds, I felt lucky and glad to be from Texas.

My next stop was at The Pearl Brewery, which is now filled with restaurants, shops and is also a gathering place for The Culinary Institute of America. The Pearl was fully operational for roughly 118 years until late 2001, when Kit Goldsbury decided to redevelop the 22-acre area. My first order of business was to attend the Foodways Texas board meeting.

My next stop was at The Pearl Brewery, which is now filled with restaurants, shops and is also a gathering place for The Culinary Institute of America. The Pearl was fully operational for roughly 118 years until late 2001, when Kit Goldsbury decided to redevelop the 22-acre area. My first order of business was to attend the Foodways Texas board meeting.

After the board meeting, there was an FTX Benefit sponsored by The Culinary Institute of America. The menu, “Texas Immigrant’s Dinner,” included dishes that represented the various cultures of Texas settlers. Among the chefs were:

– Andrew Weissman of Il Sogno & Sandbar
– Tan Nguyen of Central Market, San Antonio
– Jason Dady of The Lodge Restaurant of Castle Hills
– Rebecca Rather of Rather Sweet Bakery & Cafe
– Jesse T. Perez, Consultant for Alamo Cafe
– Steven McHugh of Luke
– Elizabeth Johnson-Kossick of The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio

We congregated outside at communal tables for dinner. I had the opportunity to visit with Molly O’Neill, keynote speaker of the Benefit, writer for the New York Times, and publisher of a cookbook called “One Big Table: Portrait of American Cooking.” She’s traveled more than 500,000 miles around the United States visiting small towns – backwoods type of places – collecting stories and recipes from diverse individuals and cultures, which led us to a conversation about hamburgers. This is where Jim Gossen, Louisiana Seafood supplier, added his angle on how a hamburger patty should be prepared. After we all put our two cents in, we agreed that our individual preferences and beliefs about The Hamburger is something deeply rooted in our childhood up-bringing.

There were a few more places I wanted to check out on the Riverwalk before the night was over. I’ve heard good things about The Esquire Tavern, so that was my next stop.

Moscow MuleThe Esquire opened in 1933 to celebrate the end of Prohibition, and has plenty of Texas history engraved in its roots. One of their signature drinks that they’re known for is a Moscow Mule, which they serve in a copper cup.

Here’s the recipe for the Moscow Mule:

– 1 half lime
– 2 ounces vodka
– 4 to 6 ounces ginger beer

Smoked BourbonMy next stop was the SoHo Wine & Martini Bar where I visited with Lufty, the owner of this fine establishment. We started talking Barbeque which, unbeknownst to me, was a natural step into him sharing his latest invention with me – a smoked brisket and sausage infused Bourbon. Lufty makes a mean cocktail, and he was right on target with my preferences.

I ended the night at Mi Tierra Restaurant, where the sound of Mariachi music filled the room. It was a great way to end a wonderful day in the old streets of San Antone’.

If you’d like to learn more or become a member of Foodways Texas, please visitwww.foodwaystexas.com for more information.

 

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