Walking Tour Introduces San Antonio Visitors to Eateries off the Beaten Path
Last week I was one of about 9,000 people who had the chance to “farmer up” during the 2017 Commodity Classic, which is America’s largest farmer-led and farmer-focused convention and tradeshow. My Facebook feed was filled with fabulous sights including:
- The San Antonio River Walk, which is our nation’s largest urban ecosystem
- WildSeedTM Farms, our nation’s largest working wildflower farm
- Three-pound cinnamon rolls at Lulu’s Bakery and Café.
One of my favorite ways to see a city is through a walking tour, and I never turn down an opportunity to sample local foods. When I heard a group of ladies from Iowa was embarking on a walking food tour, I couldn’t wait to join them! (Special thanks to Carol Coleman for organizing this wonderful outing.)
Our walking tour included five mouth-watering stops:
- Hotel Havana served Cubano sandwiches with harissa paste and a Dijon mustard sauce. My friend and Culinary History of Iowa author, Darcy Maulsby, and I loved the “layers of flavor” and texture. The toasted bun was amazing, too!.
- Viva Tacoland, an open air restaurant overlooking the Riverwalk, served samples of margaritas and tacos. ¡Delicioso! I’ve never before had pork belly or panelo tacos, so I’m thankful to have had this chance to try something different.
- La Boulangerie was opened just two years ago by a couple, who had operated a bakery in France before deciding to move to San Antonio. It was named “best bakery and coffeehouse San Antonio 2017.” The proprietors treated us to bourbon crème brulee.
- Nectar Wine Bar & Ale House served up a beautiful charcuterie plate including lamb and rosemary sausage, Red Drago, bresceola, triple cream cheese, prosciutto, brandied cherries, balsamic mustard seeds and honey. That honey tasted like sea salted caramel. Oh. My. Yum. I spread triple cream cheese on a cracker, drizzled honey on top and thought I’d found heaven!
- Zinc Bistro & Bar is known for its unique guacamole and prickly pear margaritas. While lots of places serve tableside guac, I’ve never had it made before with roasted serrano peppers, lush grape tomatoes and perfectly ripened avocados.
Mexican, European and Western cultures have melded together to create a unique urban culture, as well as unique cultural cuisine. Although it’s famous for Tex-Mex, San Antonio is gaining attention as America’s next big culinary destination.
“From notable restaurants to the Culinary Institute of America, there’s something to satiate every palate,” states the San Antonio vacation guide. Much of the city’s unforgettable landscape has grown along the banks of the River Walk where stone paths run aside the San Antonio River, connecting hotels, restaurants, shops and the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. The River Walk was recently expanded to link even more attractions including museums, Spanish colonial missions and the Pearl, a former brewery reborn into an eclectic mix of shops, restaurants and entertainment.
Keeping with the eclectic flair, last Saturday got off to a “hot and spicy start” when Darcy and I attended an early morning cooking demonstration by Corporate Chef Mark Patel. His Indian and German heritage fueled his passion for rich ethnic cuisines. As he and his wife travel, Chef Patel works to incorporate wonderful culinary experiences into his recipes. He demonstrated three wonderful Asian-inspired dishes featuring chicken and high oelic soybean oil. Hope you enjoy his recipe that we’re sharing today for Zingy Fried Chicken Steak with honey lemon dipping sauce!
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Zingy Fried Chicken Steak
Serves approximately 5-6 people
Hot & Spicy Marinade
¾ cup Italian dressing
½ cup hot pepper sauce (like Frank’s Red Hot)
¼ tsp of cayenne
2 pounds of boneless chicken thigh
Honey Lemon Dipping Sauce
½ cup butter
½ cup honey
½ cup whipping cream
2 tsp. vanilla
2 to 3 T fresh lemon juice
1. Mix marinade ingredients in a bowl.
2. Place boneless thigh meat in a Ziploc bag.
3. Pour marinade over meat and let set overnight (or for at least 4 to 6 hours)
To prepare the chicken:
1. Place 1 cup of all-purpose flour in a mixing bowl; add salt and pepper to taste.
2. Dredge marinated thighs in the flour mixture; shake off excess flour.
3. Slowly add chicken to high oleic oil and fry.
4. Cook until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees.
5. Place cooked chicken thighs on plate with paper towels and let rest for 3-5 minutes; then cut thighs into 5 or 6 slices.
6. Transfer thigh slices to serving plate; garnish with chopped cilantro (optional).
7. Serve with a side of Honey Lemon Dipping Sauce.
Directions for Sauce:
1. Melt butter, stir in honey and whipping cream.
2. Heat in pan and bring to simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Stir in vanilla.
4. Keep warm and stir in lemon juice right before serving.