The Feast of Stephan

Writing a trendy menu is a piece of cake. You start with some charcuterie and cheeses (be sure to include Point Reyes blue), add a kale salad with pine nuts and currants, and toss in some line-caught salmon with saffron aioli. Finish with chocolate panna cotta and salted caramel in a canning jar and—bam!—you’ve got it. A far harder job is creating a bill of fare that hasn’t been done before. Yet that is exactly what Stephan Pyles has pulled off at his latest restaurant, San Salvaje. Dubious?

Calabacitas

Rarely does the humble squash inspire desperation and subterfuge. But that’s exactly what happens around this time of year, when Texas is darn near overrun with the alarmingly prolific, highly perishable Cucurbita pepo.

Laredo Gin Fizz

Flowerwater, which is commonly used in Moroccan and French cooking, can be obtained from specialty markets. This drink is refreshingly tart. If a sweeter drink is preferred, increase the amount of sugar.

1 tablespoon orange flowerwater
½ cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
½ cup superfine sugar
¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¾ cup (4 jiggers) gin
4 egg whites
½ cup heavy cream
2 cups crushed ice
4 orange slices, for garnish (optional)

Avocado Soup with Mexican Marigold Pico de Gallo

It's recommended you use the Hass avocado – that’s the one with the pebbly skin that’s almost black in color. The Fuerte is the other common type you’ll see. This soup should be made only a few hours before service, because the avocado will begin to oxidize. The soup will still taste good the next day, but will have khaki color tones.

Texas Wine of the Month: Perissos Vineyard and Winery Aglianico, 2012

This is a wine for aficionados who like a balance of bold fruit and firm tannin. Grown and made on a beautiful little vineyard near Marble Falls, this estate wine from Perissos Vineyard and Winery is a testament to what some of Texas’ smaller producers are achieving with passion and a lot of hard work.   

The Wine:
Perissos Vineyard and Winery Aglianico, 2012

Puffy Tacos

When I was a kid, a visit to San Antonio’s North Star Mall meant one thing, and it wasn’t shopping. Sure, there were the obligatory hours I spent trailing my mom and my aunt through its cool halls, wholly enchanted by the splashing fountains, less so by the dress department at Joske’s. But that was a mostly tolerable prelude to lunchtime, when we’d load up in the Suburban and lumber two tenths of a mile down San Pedro to Teka Molino.

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