Friday, May 25, 2012

Favorite Bites - Burgers, BBQ & Beer


the Pearl in San Antonio
The final event of Culinaria was possibly the most popular or at least the best expression of of San Antonio--an outdoor barbecue with a casual, fun and friendly vibe. The theme was burgers and there were several that broke the mold. I picked up some tips and ideas for places to visit on my next trip, as I did at the Grand Tasting (which you will find bolded), best of all it gave me another excuse to visit the Pearl.

The Pearl is the name of what was once a landmark brewery in San Antonio. The grounds which are set on the river, are now home to the latest campus of the Culinary Institute of America, shops, restaurants, bars and a thriving farmers market and small but lively amphitheater. A visit to San Antonio is not complete until you've been to the Pearl.

Esquire venison burger
First up, the venison burger with onions, cucumber and a pickled pepper. It was so rare and juicy. I'd want to check out The Esquire Tavern based on this burger alone.

Johnny Hernandez Asian style burger
Another top pick came from chef Johnny Hernandez who runs La Gloria, a Mexican street food restaurant at The Pearl. It was a pork belly and short rib burger, topped with house made kimchi and also featured cucumbers. Note to self, when tomatoes are out of season, try a cucumber slice instead. It was served on a steamed bun, a nod to it's Asian influence.

Arcade's chorizo burger

My last favorite burger was a very innovative one, and it came from Arcade, a restaurant that has not yet opened at the Pearl. It was a thin chorizo "burger" on a bun with spicy arugula and crumbled feta. A thin sausage patty is a great compromise when you can decide between a sausage or a burger!

black currant macaron from Bakery Lorraine
A black currant macaron with chocolate filling might have resembled a burger, but it was in fact the quintessential French Parisian style macaron. It was so light and with just the right amount of filling. This was no ordinary macaron but a truly outstanding one, the best I've had in a long time. Look for Bakery Lorraine goodies at the Quarry farmer's market.

My thanks to the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau for inviting me and hosting my trip.