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Brick-and-Mortar Dreams and Caribbean Plans for Solber Pupusas

Brick-and-Mortar Dreams and Caribbean Plans for Solber Pupusas

Solber Pupusas. The uninitiated ask, "What’s a pupusa?" Those who’ve experienced them usually answer, "a 45-minute wait that’s worth it." This traditional food from El Salvador consists of grilled corn masa patties that are hand-shaped and stuffed with cheese and meat (chicharron, chicken, fish, even pepperoni) and vegetable (pumpkin flower, beans, spinach, and zucchini). Winning the Vendy’s in 2011 was almost like New York City's food truck version of an Oscar for lifetime achievement — Solber Pupusas has been being served at the Red Hook Ball Fields for more than a decade. But that doesn't make what they do and cook any less delicious.

The couple behind the truck, Reina and Rafael Soler Bermudez launched their truck in 2008 after years as part of the Red Hook Ball Field food vendors in Brooklyn. They've developed a cult following over the years since (and accolades), and garnered a spot on The Daily Meal's 2012 list of 101 Best Food Trucks in America with a Twitter following that's barely worth noticing. How? Great food. And isn't that what it's all about?

In this interview Reina and Rafael Soler Bermudez talk about their inspiration, their brick-and-mortar dreams, and plans for upcoming Caribbean dish additions to the Solber Pupusas menu.

What was the inspiration for going into this business?
The inspiration began 12 years ago in the form of an opportunity to become part of the popular Red Hook food vendors. As a husband-and-wife team, we had a passion for good cooking and good recipes from our native countries — El Salvador and the Dominican Republic respectively.

What's the story behind the origin of your truck's name?
Solber is the composite of the first letters of our last names. Pupusas is the signature dish we serve, corn patties with various fillings. The whole name also represents the fusion of traditional Salvadoran cuisine with Caribbean infused flavors.

How did you come up with your truck's design? Is there a designer you'd like to give a shout-out to?
The logo is ours. The design of the truck is the inspiration of Valle Signs, a Long Island, N.Y.-based company.

What model truck do you have?
It's a Grumman truck. God knows the exact year, but it's definitely a product of the '80s!

What's your signature dish? Is it also your most popular dish?
Pupusas is our signature and most popular dish. The traditional food from El Salvador: corn patties with cheese and different fillings.

What's the inspiration for your cuisine and recipes?
We have a passion for the traditional food of El Salvador (where Reina is from) along with the fusion and flavors from Rafael's native Dominican Republic and Caribbean-style cooking.

What's the most challenging thing about running your food truck?
Keeping up with the maintenance of the truck and little things here and there that need fixing!

Would you ever go brick-and-mortar?
We haven't gone brick-and-mortar yet. But we would definitely like to!

What one piece of advice would you give someone looking to get into the food truck business?
Don't think long and hard or else you might end up giving up before starting. There's a lot of investment and sacrifice, but if you are convinced that your dish is going to be a hit down the line, it will most likely be a hit if you work hard enough!

Any new upcoming dishes planned that you can tell us about?
We will start featuring more Caribbean-inspired meals such as Rafael's Dominican steak — amazing if you like well-seasoned/well-done steak that packs lots of flavor!

Any new plans on the horizon you can share?
We plan to concentrate efforts on doing more catering now and expand from weekends and special events to seven day a week operation!

Lots of things happen when running a restaurant — that probably goes double on the road. What's one particularly outstanding moment you can share?
Just too many to mention. Every day is a battle, every moment a challenge, but at the end of the day, it feels good to come back home and savor the reward of a full day's work.

Arthur Bovino is The Daily Meal's executive editor. Follow Arthur on Twitter.


The absolute best food trucks in NYC

For a city as on-the-go as New York, it only makes sense that food trucks&mdashNYC&rsquos meals-on-wheels once slinging simple fare like burgers and hot dogs&mdashhave started rivaling Gotham&rsquos best brick-and-mortar restaurants. With pristine seafood, fresh-fried falafel and other sophisticated bites, most of their moderately priced plates are also our favorite cheap eats. Some roam the streets while others park it for good&mdashhere's where to find the best food trucks in NYC.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC


Where to Eat in Santa Fe

Dig into the chiles, Christmas sauce and refined flavors of the oldest capital city in North America.

Related To:

Photo By: Liz Devine Photography

Photo By: Laurie Allegretti

Savor Santa Fe

&ldquoRed, green or Christmas?&rdquo If a server asks you that question during your trip to New Mexico, don&rsquot worry: The question has more to do with Santa Fe than Santa. Dishes are slathered in red chile, green chile or a combination of the two. New Mexicans are as passionate about their food &mdash especially their chiles &mdash as they are about their unique history and culture, which give the Land of Enchantment a special charm. In Santa Fe, you can take in that history and culture while dining in classic adobe buildings, laid-back spots with dashes of hippie vibes, and places that honor the region&rsquos multiculturalism.

Breakfast: Cafe Pasqual's

Since 1979, Cafe Pasqual&rsquos has offered festive, Santa Fe-style feasting. In a room bright with colorful papel picado (tissue paper with intricate cut-out designs), vibrant murals and Mexican tile art, diners savor Mexican, New Mexican and global dishes, made with fresh and predominantly organic ingredients. Cafe Pasqual&rsquos, located a block southwest of the Santa Fe Plaza, is particularly lauded for its breakfast dishes, although the lunch and dinner menus are also worth a trip. On the breakfast menu (served until 3 p.m.), try the huevos motuleños or huevos barbacoa.

Burger: Santa Fe Bite

Perhaps the most-quintessential New Mexican food is green chile: The town of Hatch, in southern New Mexico, is known as the Chile Capital of the World. Each fall in New Mexico, the aroma of roasting green chile wafts through the air, whetting appetites for dishes to come. Santa Fe Bite &mdash a burgers-and-more joint with a retro Route 66 vibe &mdash has what could be the world&rsquos greatest green chile cheeseburgers, with Hatch chiles and 10 ounces of southern New Mexico beef. For a double dose of the good stuff, order the green chile-cheese home fries, too.

Chocolate: Kakawa Chocolate House

The chocolatiers at Kakawa Chocolate House aren&rsquot just confectioners. They&rsquore artists, anthropologists and historians. The elixir drinks they have perfected are based on recipes from a breadth of chocolate traditions, from Mayan and Aztec to 17th- and 18th-century European to contemporary selections with chai or Havana rum. The 1775 Marie Antoinette Elixir, for instance, represents the drinking chocolate of the Versailles court under Madame Déficit. Understanding the backdrop to the varied elixirs makes them all the more fascinating, but they particularly astonish with their evocative flavors and textures. After trying the Kakawa elixirs, you can take home chocolates and truffles made in-house.

Eclectic: Tune-Up Cafe

Low-key, laid-back Tune-Up Cafe is always great, but it&rsquos particularly satisfying after a hike or bike ride along one of Santa Fe&rsquos trails. The menus &mdash spanning breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch, dinner and dessert, along with beer and wine lists &mdash are eclectic, including breakfast burritos, a range of burgers (including lamb and buffalo) and cubanos. An El Salvadoran influence means excellent pupusas and banana-leaf-wrapped tamale dishes. No matter your craving, you&rsquoll walk &mdash or bike &mdash away happy.

New World: Sazón

&ldquoMexican food&rdquo often conjures cravings for enchiladas and tacos, but at Sazón, it means something else entirely. The small, focused menu includes exceptional dishes based on New-World Mexican cuisine. As Chef Fernando Olea describes, the cuisine at Sazón is &ldquogoing from the Aztec roots to nouvelle cuisine with flavors of Mexico.&rdquo Appetizers include huitlacoche, a corn fungus that was eaten by the Aztecs, and taquitos with grasshoppers (chapulines). The stars of the menu, however, are Olea&rsquos moles, a variety of which are presented nightly as specials. Sazón is also a mezcaleria and tequileria, with comprehensive lists of both spirits.

New Mexican: The Shed

The Shed is a Santa Fe dining institution. Follow the colorful sign announcing &ldquocreative cookery&rdquo &mdash just east of Santa Fe&rsquos historic plaza &mdash into a bustling, bright hub happy diners and great food. The menu offers a combination of New Mexican food (green chile stew and the carne adovada plate) and American fare (the Shedburger, for example, topped with pico de gallo). The Shed is best known for red chile enchiladas &mdash or really, any dish with red chile on top. Those craving &ldquoShed red&rdquo can purchase jars of it to enjoy at home.

African-Caribbean: Jambo Café

Jambo Café inspires such ardent fandom among locals that its popularity sometimes feels like the culinary equivalent of Beatlemania. Exaggerations aside, the restaurant serves phenomenal African-Caribbean dishes such as banana-leaf-wrapped mahi mahi and Lamu coconut pili pili shrimp Lamu is the island off the coast of Kenya where Chef-Owner Ahmed Obo first developed his culinary talents. When Jambo was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Guy joined the legions of fans, saying of the restaurant&rsquos slow-cooked African goat stew with roti, &ldquoIf that&rsquos the only dish you sold, I&rsquod come back every week.&rdquo

Fast New Mexican: El Parasol

Indian: Paper Dosa

Locavore: Radish & Rye

Radish & Rye has two core foci: farm-fresh cuisine and bourbon. With a mission to source as many ingredients locally as possible, Radish & Rye offers seasonal small plates of vegetables and meats or larger selections such as lamb T-bones or pan-fried trout. The restaurant also has an impressive bourbon list, with more than 100 American whiskeys and a selection of creative bourbon-based cocktails. The Abuelito, for instance, is poured into a carafe filled with pipe tobacco before being served, for an indelible smokiness.

Fine Dining: Geronimo

Ask a Santa Fean where to go for a nice night out, and most will have one recommendation. Geronimo rarely inspires descriptions that are anything less than superlative: most-elegant night out and most-captivating flavor combinations among others. Despite the exceptional experience, Geronimo isn't stuffy. The restaurant’s setting in a mid-18th-century house, with kiva fireplaces and adobe walls, makes it inviting and intimate. Menu highlights include the tellicherry-rubbed elk tenderloin, green-miso sea bass and mesquite-grilled Maine lobster tails.

Salad: Vinaigrette

Margaritas: Maria’s New Mexican Kitchen

Debates about the best margaritas in town can turn into Wild West&ndashstyle showdowns among New Mexicans. Many choose to wet their whistle at Maria&rsquos, where visitors can customize their margaritas with more than 100 tequila types. Maria&rsquos former co-owner Al Lucero wrote The Great Margarita Book, with a foreword by Robert Redford, one of many luminaries to have spent time at Maria&rsquos since its opening in 1950. The restaurant&rsquos substantial menu includes New Mexican staples such as blue corn enchiladas, homemade posole and sopaipillas, served either savory (for instance, stuffed with beef) or sweet (with honey on top).

Japanese: Izanami

Local Gastropub: Dr. Field Goods

Dr. Field Goods isn&rsquot just a farm-to-table gastropub &mdash it&rsquos a farm-to-butcher-shop-and-table gastropub. With its butchery and bakery just a few doors down, Dr. Field Goods provides diners with the freshest in food to accompany a robust beer menu. Meat is sourced locally and processed at the butcher shop, and bread is baked daily at the bakery. Produce also largely comes from local farms. The menu tends toward comfort food, including wood-fired pizzas, fish & chips, enchiladas, burgers or hearty sandwiches with names like the Bad A** BLT.

Dinner and Dance: El Farol

French Cafe and Patisserie: Clafoutis

Clafoutis, named after the French fruit dessert, serves breakfast, lunch and heaps of pastries in a quaint and joyous space operated by a French family. Savory options include omelets, salads and sandwiches the plentiful sweets are almost too beautiful to eat. For a perfect weekend brunch, try the croque madame and a bowl of cafe au lait, and pick up some pastries and a freshly baked baguette for the road.

French: Bouche Bistro

Bakery and Brunch: Chocolate Maven

Chocolate Maven makes for an oasis-in-the-desert feeling upon crossing its threshold: Little would you expect its warehouse-like exterior to house a delightful bakery and restaurant, with pies, cakes and cupcakes galore. Chocolate Maven is a particularly top spot for brunch with the family what kid &mdash of any age &mdash could resist green eggs and ham (with green chile sausage patties) or waffles with strawberries and chantilly cream? Among the bakery offerings, the chocolate-based and carrot cake cupcakes are irresistible.


Katerina’s Pupuseria in Cleveland

One of our favorite carb & filling combos is the Salvadorean pupusa, which just may be one of the ultimate comfort foods. Katerina’s Pupuseria (1409 Brookpark Rd., Cleveland, OH) is certainly located off the beaten path, and it seems to do double duty as a banquet hall and a bar. There is even a pool table, which was empty when we got there at 1 PM, probably a little before typical party time. The inside is very cute, filled with little seating coves, decorative blue and yellow tiles and Salvadorean trinkets.

Of course we had to order the pupusas (which were the bulk of the menu), our favorite little masa pockets filled with tasty fillings (including chicken, cheese, garlic, pork and zucchini). We each tried different pupusa varieties, L with her favorite loroco flowers and M with pork. The pupusas were only 2 dollars each and we found 2 apiece to be more than filling. The pupusas were tender and tasty and the fillings were generous. And of course who could forget the vinegary curtido slaw, necessary to give the pupusas a little kick.

This was also our first time trying Salvadorean horchata, which is different than the Mexican version, and is made from morro seeds, instead of rice. It reminded us a bit more of the nut-based Spanish horchata instead of the Mexican rice-based version. The pupusas and horchata were the perfect cheap lunch and had us remembering some of our favorite classic meals in Chicago. definitely make a stop at Katerina’s for pupusas, and maybe even a game of pool.

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Tony Gemignani's Toscano Brothers Bakery (With Dago Bagel!) Opens in North Beach

Tony Gemignani outside his new North Beach bakery, Toscano Brothers. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Dago Bagel at Toscano Brothers bakery. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

A selection of breads at Toscano Brothers. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

The classic interior of Toscano Brothers. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Our local obsessive of all things pizza and dough, Tony Gemignani, has branched out his field of floury expertise to include bagels, baguettes, and Italian breads at his recently opened North Beach bakery,

. I’ve been watching him on Facebook get his mixers and stone mill and oven moved in during the pandemic, and the upbeat mint exterior gives me vintage Vesuvio Bakery in New York vibes.

In this new space, he’s now making all the dough for his SF pizza places (Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, Slice House, and Capo’s), and has expanded his repertoire by bringing bagels and breads to the neighborhood. During a recent visit to check out the space, he said it was a shame there was no longer bread being made in North Beach, and he wanted to change that. He was originally going to do something in the former Italian-French bakery space, but when that didn’t pan out, he ended up converting this unique spot instead (it has a mezzanine level).

He has a close and ongoing relationship with Keith and Nicky Giusto of Central Milling in Petaluma (who provided him with their 40-year-old starter for this venture), and he also collaborates with his attorney, Adam Sachs, who is a fellow pizza dough whiz and has been working with Tony on the bagel R&D. Tony has been wanting to make bagels for a long while, and it was definitely something North Beach was lacking. What he didn’t know was a verbal altercation with a problematic neighbor would inspire the name of the bagel part of his business: Dago Bagel. It’s a derogatory term for Italians you thankfully don’t hear so much anymore, but after it was fired his way as an insult from a neighborhood crank, Tony decided to turn it around and own the slur. It’s certainly one way to deal with name-calling.

As for the bagels, they’re New York-style (they’re rolled and twisted by hand, and boiled in liquid malt in a kettle) and baked on custom-made, burlap-wrapped pine boards in his special Cuppone panettone deck oven imported from Italy (the first in the U.S.), which they are still fine-tuning—there are some issues with the steam injectors, but he’s still managing to bake some magic with it. The bagels are tight, with a chewy and crusty texture, and a deep golden bake. The Bay Area difference is the fantastic and freshly milled flour he’s using, giving these bagels that extra, quality touch—they are naturally leavened, with a little bit of rye.

They come in plain, Maldon salt, poppyseed, sesame, everything, and he even made blueberry for a minute (they’re $2.50-$2.75). You can order in-house schmears (including a delicious honey butter) and smoked salmon to go from the counter, plus toppings for customers to build their own bagel sandwiches. They sell out around lunchtime, so don’t lag (they’re currently doing 400 bagels a day).

As for the bread bakery, that falls under the Toscano Brothers name, offering chewy baguettes (instead of total roof-of-the-mouth scratchers), pagnotta (with cured black olives and rosemary Tony grows on the back patio), and the surprise creation: a sour cherry and chocolate sourdough batard that has a hint of Maldon salt—it’s the perfect afternoon snack, and you’ll want to warm this up for breakfast with some butter. (Tony is experimenting with some other ingredients, too.) All the breads are naturally leavened sourdough, and he’s using freshly milled flours from Central Milling Co. for his own sourdough mix, as well as doing some milling in-house, including a spelt flour he’s adding to the pagnotta.

You’ll also notice some pre-made panini stacked on the counter, simply made with salami, prosciutto, or mortadella, with provolone, and a drizzle of olive oil inside. This is the perfect panino: a few ingredients on fresh bread, what more do you need? It’s marvelous.

The next phase to the bakery will be Antonio’s Pastries—he’s working on what that lineup will be, so that’s something to look forward to. In the meantime, you can join the folks standing in line for their bread and bagels, and you can grab an espresso (featuring coffee from Caffe Trieste—he likes to keep things extremely local), and have your moment for a little banter or a hello with Tony, who really is a fixture in the neighborhood. It’s wonderful to see so many people who say hello, and he has a little backstory on everyone, whether they’re a well-known photographer or work at a neighborhood restaurant. I commend Tony for his appreciation and upholding of old-school values and what makes a good neighborhood, and that’s taking care of your community. Open Thu-Sun 8am-3pm (or until sold out). 728 Vallejo St. at Powell.


San Antonio Restaurant Listings

Bok Choy // The third joint from the minds behind Green brings Asian flavors to the Broadway corridor. From vegan ramen to pad thai to fried rice to fresh summer rolls and tofu — there’s a bit of the whole continent here. 5130 Broadway, (210) 437-2200, eatbokchoy.com.

Earth Burger // Try the original Earth Burger (veggie patty on a whole-wheat bun with lettuce, onions, pickles, tomatoes, mayo, mustard and secret sauce spread). Don’t skip the coconut soft serve. Multiple locations, eatearthburger.com.

Evergreen // With vegan pizzas winning over diners, this Stone Oak shop is gaining popularity beyond its confines. 523 Med Ct., (210) 437-1057.

Green Vegetarian Cuisine // With locations at The Pearl and Alon Market, folks have more ways to eat green. Entrées can instantly be made into vegan dishes with the substitution of vegan cheese for dairy cheese. Multiple locations, eatatgreen.com.

La Botanica // Helmed by chef Rebel Mariposa, this hopping restaurant/community center feeds your strongest vegan cravings with can’t-believe-it’s-vegan menu board. 2911 N. St. Mary’s St., (210) 716-0702, vivalabotanica.com.

Pharm Table // Ayurveda diet or not, diners will find plenty to nosh on in this vegetable-forward oasis by chef Elizabeth Johnson. Expect bountiful salads and worldly techniques. 106 Auditorium Circle, (210) 802-1860, pharmtable.com.

Powerhouse Bakery // Eating on plan doesn’t mean missing out on all of the goodies. The dietitian-led shop is 100 percent gluten free. 4902 Golden Quail, Suite 101, (210) 722-8464, powerhousebakery.com.

Señor Veggie // Southtown gets its share of greens from this joint that takes vegan fare from across the globe. Find hearty yet healthy dishes like the pupusas Norteñas, corn masa flatbreads topped with tempeh chorizo, black beans and more. 620 S. Presa St., (210) 228-0073, senorveggie.us.

Sweet Yams // The first restaurant to offer vegan options to the East Side — and, oh, how sweet and funky it is. Chef Gus brings organic southern food and juices. 218 N. Cherry St., (210) 229-9267.

Viva Vegeria // Viva Vegeria is still putting a plant-based spin on Tex-Mex. Go for the vegan nachos, mole poblano or raw stuffed avocados. 1422 Nogalitos St., (210) 465-9233, myvegeria.com.

Zedric’s // Sometimes you just want to leave the cooking to the pros. Let chef Zac Lutton and his staff-prepared meals (more than 80 at any given time) help you stick to your eating plan. Multiple locations, zedrics.com.

2M Smokehouse // A national barbecue darling with chingos of ganas. With a nod from Texas Monthly and seriously line-up-at-8 a.m.-brisket, sausage and sides, the future looks bright for this Southeast side joint. 2731 S. W. W. White Road, (210) 885-9352, 2msmokehouse.com.

Augie’s Barbed Wire Grill // Slow-roasted, never rushed, Augie’s packs on the meat by the pound at this little smoke shack. Take a peek at their beer garden for some brews with your ‘cue. Multiple locations, augiesbbq.com.

B & B Smokehouse // The Southside knows good ’cue. Since 1984, the juicy chicken, and sweet ribs have kept folks coming back for more inside their updated new location. 2627 Pleasanton Road, (210) 921-2745, bbsmokehouse.com.

The Barbecue Station // For more than 20 years, the crew has stood behind their promise for fresh, quality meats. Tender, succulent entrees dominate their menu as well as meats sold by the pound. 1610 NE Loop 410, (210) 824-9191, barbecuestation.com.

Big Bob’s Burgers // Founder Bob Riddle may not be with us any longer, but his award-winning burgers remain, as do the homemade fresh-cut fries and onion rings. 447 Hildebrand Ave., (210) 734-2627, bigbobsburgers.com.

The Big Bib BBQ // Located off Austin Highway, The Big Bib boasts the best brisket and baby back ribs in town. Their smoky, tangy sauce is irresistible, but don’t miss the amazing cobbler. 104 Lanark Drive, (210) 654-8400, thebigbib.com.

Blanco BBQ // Sandwiches and po’boys make the cut, so to speak, and most meats can be turned into a combo. Plus the space offers plenty of seating for groups of all sizes. 13259 Blanco Road, (210) 251-2602, blancobbq.com.

Bolner’s Meat Market // Great meats come from great butchers and the staff at this cafeteria-style butcher shop knows how to smoke some mean brisket. 2900 S. Flores St., (210) 533-5112, bolnersmeatmarket.com.

Burger Boy // Drive-thru burgers need not be limp and bland affairs. This local chain keeps those in the know happy with home-style burgers made to order, crinkle-cut fries and fresh milkshakes. Multiple locations, burgerboysa.com.

Chatman’s Chicken // Chicken done right is the main priority at this Southside joint. There are only two options for chicken, lemon-pepper and spicy, your fate lies in which flavor you pick. Load up on the sides with the creamy mac ‘n’ cheese or perhaps the corn fritters. 1747 S. W.W. White Road, (210) 359-0245.

Chris Madrid’s // Another favorite (what can we say, San Anto loves burgers), Chris Madrid’s has made plenty of half-pound Macho-sized tostada burgers since its launch in 1977. Though a fire put them out of commission in 2017, the restaurant currently operates from a food truck parked at 830 W. Hollywood Ave. until renovations are complete at 1900 Blanco Road, (210) 735-3552, chrismadrids.com.

Fattboy Burgers & Dogs // Autonomy to choose your destiny is nice. You can do just that at Fattboy with either your burger or dog, so go nuts. 2345 Vance Jackson Road, (210) 377-3288, fattboyburgers.com.

Fletcher’s Hamburgers // No frills, just delicious burgers with fresh ingredients. The chicken sandwich is worth your time, as is any of their creamy milkshakes. 312 Pearl Pkwy., Building 6, Suite 6107.

Hawx Burger Bar // We can’t decide what’s more impressive — the over-the-top burgers like the Norteño with grilled jalapeños and Oaxaca cheese, or the addictive Asiago truffle fries? There’s no need to decide. Multiple locations, hawxburgerbar.com.

Mr. & Mrs. G’s Home Cooking and Pastries // A classic meat-and-three establishment sits awaits on SA’s Southeast side. Go say hello! 2222 S. W.W. White Road, (210) 359-0002, facebook.com.

Papa’s Burgers // Robert Walker’s passion for great food and customer service have made Papa’s Burgers a West Side institution. This is casual dining done well — the business has been recognized by both locals and national publications as one of the best burgers in America. 709 West Old, W US Hwy 90, (210) 336-7743, papasburgerssatx.com.

Smoke Shack BBQ // Chris Conger, barbecue connoisseur, turned a sleepy spot across the Witte into barbecue church that was recently featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. 3714 Broadway, (210) 829-8448, smokeshacksa.com.

South BBQ & Kitchen // One expects smoky, tender brisket and ribs to be the stars at any Texas BBQ joint, but at South you’ll also find a number of standout sides. The housemade spicy pickles, coleslaw, German potato salad and creamed corn elote are enough to warrant repeat visits. 2011 Mission Rd, (210) 437-0070, southbbqkitchen.com.

TJ’s Hamburgers // The Southside’s crowning jewel in burger form. TJ’s is the spot for shakes and have-it-your-way burgers on the cheap for more than 40 years. Family-friendly and delicious, TJ’s Hamburgers has lasting power. 2323 W. Southcross Blvd., (210) 927-7331.

Two Bros. BBQ Market // The outside patio makes a great outing for family dinners while the inside has the rustic charm of a farmhouse outside of the Texas Hill Country at this Dady brother-created joint. 12656 West Ave., (210) 496-0222, twobrosbbqmarket.com.

Two Step Restaurant & Cantina // From the one-step burger to the “Texas-sized” two-step salad–everything on the menu is sure to put some pep in your step. Wash it all down with a frozen margarita and have yourself a serving of their whiskey custard cream. 9840 W. Loop 1604 N., (210) 688-2686, twosteprestaurant.com.

Wrigleyville Grill // Hot dogs, the Chi-Town way. If the buns don’t have poppy seeds, you’re in the wrong spot. It’s not Chicago, but it’s as close as you’ll get without leaving the city. 602 NW Loop 410, Suite 146, (210) 369-9833, wrigleyvillegrill.com.

Golden Wok // Sometimes you want tiny pockets of deliciousness in your mouth. Enter Golden Wok’s extensive dim sum menu, which helped propel it as Best Chinese in several of our Best of San Antonio readers polls. Visit the Wurzbach location on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. for a dim sum house feel. Multiple locations, goldenwoksa.com.

Kim Wah Chinese BBQ // Don’t be fooled by a long line of fan-drying ducks: You must order ahead. The duck is divine, wrapped in a puffy, dim-sum-like bun. Ask for the authentic Chinese menu for a dine-in delight. 7080 Bandera Road, (210) 520-2200, kimwah.com.

Kungfu Noodle // The noodles, available in both stretched and thick ribbons, are hand-pulled by a pair of Chinese transplants, hailing from the Anhui province. 6733 Bandera Road, (210) 451-5586.

Lucky Noodle // When compared to its predecessor off Bandera Road, Lucky Noodle features more than 1,500 square feet of seating and an open kitchen area — so you can watch the noodles being pulled and stretched. 8525 Blanco Road, (210) 267-9717.

Sichuan Garden // The OG Sichuan spot in SA is still going strong. Try the challenging sliced pig’s ear or duck tongues with jalapeño before retreating to the likes of the (also very good) stir-fried lamb with cumin. 2347 NW Military Hwy., (210) 525-8118.

Sichuan House // Sichuan House delivers regional favorites hailing from Sichuan, found in the southwest of China. Go for the handmade dumplings, smashed cucumber salad, tea-smoked duck, or eggplant. Remember to BYOB. 3505 Wurzbach Road, Suite 102, (210) 509-9999, facebook.com/sichuaneats.

Tang Street // This outpost serves unique northeastern Chinese fare, executed simply but exceptionally. Adventurous diners should look out for sauerkraut braised pork intestine and a cucumber needle mushroom dish. 16111 San Pedro Ave., (210) 490-1788, tangst.com.

Lily’s Philippine Restaurant // From whole-cooked fish to fragrant stews to chicken adobo to biko and cassava cake, Lily’s is your go-to for life on the island. 8210 Glider Ave., (210) 674-7007.

My ChockDee Oriental Market // Dive into fried pork belly, kare kare stew, longanisa or lumpia all found at this buffet. 115 E. Lindbergh Blvd., Universal City, (210) 566-2210.

Sari-Sari Filipino Restaurant // Likely one of the few spots in town to offer halo-halo, or Filipino shaved ice, Sari-Sari also offers an extensive list of soups, starters, entrees, all-day breakfast and baked goods. 5700 Wurzbach Road, (210) 647-7274, sari-sari-satx.com.

Susie’s Lumpia House // This buffet-style restaurant in the city’s far west side offers freshness and a rotating list of dishes. 8923 Culebra Road, Suite 106, (210) 616-4354, facebook.com/susieslumpiahouse.

Biryani Pot // Find food from Hyderabad, a former princely state on India’s Southeast coast. As the name suggests, rich and elegantly spiced rice dishes are the star. 9386 Huebner Road, Suite 109, (210) 561-8874, biriyanipotusa.com.

India Oven // Naan bread, vegetable pakoras, tandoori specialties, and a wide buffet have earned India Oven many longtime fans. 1031 Patricia St., (210) 366-1030, indiaoven.com.

India Palace // A fresh and varied buffet makes this Northern Indian restaurant a popular lunch or dinner spot. Saag paneer and channa masala are comforting and reliable. 8747 Fredericksburg Road, Suite 100, (210) 692-5262, indiapalacesatx.com.

Tarka Indian Kitchen // This Austin-based franchise is making Indian fare fast casual with a list of curries, kabobs and biryanis that still pack some heat. 427 N. Loop 1604 W., (210) 499-0982, tarkaindiankitchen.com.

Taste of India // This tiny hole-in-the-wall isn’t much to look at but the friendly service and flavorful lunchtime thalis offer a welcome break from other Indian eateries’ buffet tables. 5999 De Zavala, (210) 561-4409, tasteofindiasa.com.

Fujiya Japanese Garden // Servers in traditional attire, a long list of sushi rolls to choose from, and a collection of Japanese bites have made this a favorite in the city since 1972. 9030 Wurzbach Road, (210) 615-7553, fujiyajapanesegardens.com.

Godai Sushi Bar and Restaurant // Fusion sushi with a Western flair is the vibe at Godai. Classic sushi rolls, sashimi and yakisoba are all on the menu. Always take a look at the specials board. 11203 West Ave., (210) 348-6781, godaisushisa.com.

Kai Japanese & Asian Cuisine // Colorful plates with matching taste, this authentic Japanese restaurant serves affordable lunch specials and bento boxes. 2535 NW Loop 410, (210) 340-8888, kaisushisa.com.

Koi Kawa Japanese Restaurant // A bright dining space near the San Antonio River is the setting for creative sushi, tasty sashimi and warm katsu don. The specialty rolls include a surprising variety of veggie options. 4051 Broadway, (210) 805-8111.

Nama Ramen // If you are extra hungry or with a group, like I was during this visit, the okonomiyaki fries are a crowd favorite. Topped with kewpie mayo, okonomiyaki sauce and bonito furikake, they’re truly a must-have. 6565 Babcock Road, (210) 641-2888, namaramen.com.

Niki’s Tokyo Inn // Don’t let the outside fool you. Inside is masterful sushi, fresh and simple. Sit at the sushi bar and watch your order being delicately formed. Japanese-style seating is also available. 819 W. Hildebrand Ave., (210) 736-5471.

Osaka Japanese Steak & Sushi // The bright red sign begs a visit to the Broadway or Bandera location. Warm kitchen dinners vary in flavor and price for any diner and sashimi is served fresh. Multiple locations, osakasteaknsushi.com.

Rock San Thai + Sushi Bar // Rock San brings something different to the San Antonio sushi scene with “appethaizers,” Thai dishes and a very local USAA roll. 5238 DeZavala, Suite 124, (210) 561-0011, rocksansanantonio.com.

Sumo Steakhouse & Sushi Bar // Dinner and a show is done well here with a variety of dinner options, house butchered beef, a pleasing sushi menu at reasonable prices and stellar cocktails. 8342 I-10 W., (210) 541-8100, sumosanantonio.com.

Sushihana // Appetizers are as simple as edamame or as elegant as seared scallops, but sushi is the real standout here. Don’t forget to check out the sake list. 1810 NW Military Hwy., (210) 340-7808, sushihanasan.com.

Tenko Ramen // Quealy Watson flew the coop and opened up his own ramen shop inside the Bottling Department Food Hall. The karaage is a hit, as is the chicken katsu atop a bowl of tonkotsu. Slurp! 312 Pearl Pkwy., Building 6, tenkoramen.com.

Uni’ko Sushi // Uni’Ko is a modern Japanese restaurant betraying Mexican influences and featuring elaborate rolls and presentation. 17803 La Cantera Terrace, Suite 1101, (210) 239-6610, unikojapanesehouse.co.

Yellowfish Sushi // With three locations, SA has made it perfectly clear they love Japamex. Temaki rolls are tacos, and yes, you can enjoy a spicy sushirrito here. Multiple locations, yellowfishsushi.com.

Yummi Sushi // Nigiri, sashimi, and a list of special rolls like the Black Tiger, with shrimp tempura, cucumber, eel and spicy may keep diners happy. Multiple locations, yummisushisa.com.

Arirang Korean Restaurant // Get ready to try some Korean snacks, or pan chan, at this friendly late-night spot — there are at least 50 items on the bilingual menu and traditional soju, a rice-based distilled liquor, on offer. 2154 Austin Hwy, (210) 650-3845, arirang-san-antonio.com.

Ilsong Garden // This café introduced many San Antonians to Korean cuisine, and has been rewarded with the top spot in the Best Korean category of our annual Best of San Antonio readers poll for many years. 6905 Blanco Road, (210) 366-4508, ilsonggardensa.com.

Kim’s Galbi // Go interactive with Kiku Garden’s unique cook-it-yourself Korean BBQ experience. Start off with a platter of bulgogi and wang kalbi and let the good times roll. 4527 Goldfield, (210) 662-6699.

Bangkok 54 // Try the soft-shell crab with basil, and very capable favorites like yum talay and Massaman curry. 2515 Nacogdoches Road, (210) 822-5454, bangkok54restaurant.com.

Jasmin Thai // Begin your meal with spring or summer rolls, then move on to Jasmin’s specialties: green papaya salad with dried shrimp and a bowl of noodle soup. 4065 Medical Drive, (210) 615-6622, jasminthai.org.

Mon Thai Bistro and Sushi // Mon Thai offers sushi and Thai cuisine, including spicy drunken noodles and signature dishes like Devil’s Chicken and Angel Shrimp (get it?), but don’t overlook the sushi. 4901 Broadway, (210) 822-3253, monsthai.com.

Thai Esan // The Pad King or the Pad Thai are safe bets, but don’t be afraid to try Thai classics. 9820 Huebner Road, Suite 109, (210) 877-0888.

Thai Dee // This friendly, family-owned treasure serves up what we once described as “ridiculously good, huge dishes at rock-bottom prices.” BYOB. 5307 Blanco Road, (210) 342-3622, thaideesa.com.

Thai Chili // Curries, fish and noodle dishes in over 30 authentic varieties make this Thai spot with locations off Thousand Oaks and Stone Oak, is the ultimate in healthy pan-Asian cooking. Try the Phad Prik Khing, or Tod Mun Pla. Multiple locations, thaichili.net.

Tong’s Thai Restaurant // Tong’s Thai offers several vegetarian dishes, a critically acclaimed lemongrass curry, a large beer and wine selection, and a fun-and-funky ambiance. 1146 Austin Hwy., (210) 829-7345, tongsthai.com.

Yaya’s Thai Restaurant and Sushi Bar // The Thai pantheon stands out by virtue of its Panang curry with New York strip, the veggie-packed pad woon sen and fresh, well-seasoned apps like the lemongrass-packed fish cakes and the crisp, carefully fried spring rolls. Multiple locations, yayasthai.com.

4 Star Vietnamese and Chinese // Known for large portion sizes, 4 Star’s kitchen serves up heaping helpings of fragrant pho and lemon chicken. The restaurant isn’t afraid to cross borders, as evidenced by Chinese and Thai dishes — particularly the popular pad Thai option. Multiple locations, pho4star.com.

Berni Vietnamese // Service is speedy, and servings are massive at this spotless Vietnamese joint off Wurzbach that ends your meal with a warm bowl of taro tapioca. 8742 Wurzbach Road, (210) 485-5982.

French Sandwiches // Tucked away in the same shopping center that houses India Palace is French Sandwiches with its hearty, leafy French Vietnamese sandwiches and excellent soups and salads. Don’t miss the grilled pork sandwich or the French onion soup. 8448 Fredericksburg Road, (210) 692-7019.

Heavenly Pho // Big appetites should go for the No. 1 with beef noodle soup with eye round steak, brisket, rare flank, tendon, tripe and meatball. Settle in for a bit of cloud 9. 19178 Blanco Road, Suite 305, (210) 545-3553, heavenlypho.com.

Pho Cong Ly // Adventurers who dare rub lips with a little “soft tendon” in their bath of noodle soup (found under “fortifying combos” on the menu) will be rewarded with a tongue tingle worth remembering. 300 W. Bitters Road, (210) 499-5572.

Pho Ha Long // It seems that Pho Ha Long’s found a secret formula for keeping Alamo City slurpers happy. We’re particularly partial to the No. 10 with round eye steak, lean flank and chewy tendon. 6424 NW Loop 410, (210) 521-4507.

Pho Kim Long // Get the giggles out of the way before you head to Pho Kim Long. The joint carries pho favorites in massive bowls, vermicelli bun and Vietnamese sandwiches on soft bollilos. 4230 McCullough Ave., (210) 829-8021.

Singh’s Vietnamese // This St. Mary’s Strip newcomer is the brick-and-mortar incarnation of a popular food truck. Don’t let the stripped-down menu fool you, fresh seasonal ingredients and creative touches make Singh’s stand out. 2805 N St Mary’s, (210) 940-9662, facebook.com/SinghsVietnameseTrailer.

Viet Nam Restaurant // Albeit a name change in recent years, Viet Nam went back to the original moniker and continues to offer clay pots and banh xeo for the purist, and decadent spring rolls and richly accessorized pho for mainstream Asian dabblers. 3244 Broadway, (210) 822-7461.

Suck It The Restaurant // Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, and a dash of puro San Anto make up this Medical Center eatery that wows guests with fusion plates and over-the-top. 7220 Louis Pasteur Drive, Suite 125, (210) 560-2113, facebook.com/suckittherestaurant.

Viva Pho Vietnamese Cuisine and Teabo Lounge // In the way of pho, Viva presents 10 variations of the much-loved comfort food. Hearty portions of the civilly priced soups come with filet mignon, brisket, tendon, tripe, meatballs, flank steak, or eye round, plus a few combinations of these. 2114 NW Military Hwy., (210) 525-8388, vivapho.com.

The Art of Donut // This hip little shop on St. Mary’s St. specializes in truly over-the-top doughnuts, including seasonal variations and quirky combos like bacon-cinnamon toast crunch. 3428 N. St. Mary’s St., (210) 265-5423, artofdonut.com.

Bakery Lorraine // Chefs Anne Ng and Jeremy Mandrell keep expanding their empire, which now includes spots at the Pearl, the Medical Center, The Rim and inside the DoSeum. Known for their homemade French macarons, fruit tarts and croissants, Bakery Lorraine serves goodness with fresh ingredients and style. Multiple locations, bakerylorraine.com.

Bird Bakery // San Anto celebrity Elizabeth Chambers continues to bring decadent sweets to her bakery that brings rustic flair with small town charm to Broadway. 5912 Broadway, (210) 804-2473, birdbakery.com.

Brindles Awesome Ice Creams // Five words: waffle taco ice cream sundae. Load it up with any of the house-made flavors for a delectable treat. 11255 Huebner Road, (210) 641-5222. Broadway Daily Bread One whiff of this bakery and you’re hooked. Stop in for full-size and mini loaves, scones, muffins and more in this Alamo Heights fave. 5001 Broadway, (210) 822-1621, broadwaydailybread.net.

Bubble Waffle Bar // Hong Kong waffles have taken SA by storm, and at BWB, the combinations dip into savory territory. Order the fried chicken and waffles or waffle sandwiches stuffed with deli meats for yourself. 7755 Eckhert Road, (210) 425-9813, facebook.com/bubblewafflebar.

Brew’s Lee Tea // Freshly brewed teas and tapioca are just part of the charm behind this bubble tea shop that’s perfect for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, chill hang with friends or laidback date. 4009 Broadway, (210) 598-0068, brewsleetea.com.

C’est La Vie Bakery // Flaky croissants, spicy kolaches, and chocolaty macarons are just some of the reasons to check out this Castle Hills staple. 8055 West Ave., Suite 107, (210) 259-8359, cestlaviebakingco.com.

Chocollazo // With a second location opening next year in Hemifair, Chocollazo is definitely a hit with San Antonians who love chocolate in all shapes and forms. 4013 Broadway, (210) 776-3963, chocollazo.com.

Holy Pops // Who doesn’t like popsicles? Especially when they’re sprinkled with toppings ranging from chocolate to chamoy. 19141 Stone Oak Pkwy Ste 303, (210) 992-3029.

Kuma // More is more at this dessert shop that fills bubbly Hong Kong waffles with ice cream, mocha, Pocky, toppings and yes, even buñuelos. 6565 Babcock Road, Suite 17, (210) 641-2888, facebook.com/kuma.satx.

La Boulangerie // This family-owned French bakery is filled with Maitre Boulanger Guillaume Boulard’s expertly made flaky croissants, buttery brioche and an assortment of traditional pastries — all sufficient to satisfy anyone with a savory or sweet tooth. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better French bakery in San Antonio. 207 Broadway, (210) 639-3165, facebook.com/pg/laboulangeriesa.

Lily’s Cookies // Cookies with Chihuahuas, mermaids, dinosaurs–you name it, Lily’s can make it. Since 2002, Lily’s Cookies has been baking SA sweetness in all forms. 2716 McCullough Ave., (210) 832-0886, lilyscookies.com.

Paleteria San Antonio // Hemisfair’s Yanaguana Garden needed a little sweetness. The first shop to open in the area features 50-plus varieties of fruit and dairy-filled paletas. 510 S. Alamo St., Suite 104, (210) 954-6753, paleteriasanantonio.com.

SA Pops // It doesn’t stop at homemade popsicles here. Chef Andrew Gutierrez cranks out gelato, soft serve and other tasty creations in innovative flavors like prickly pear lemonade, cucumber, peach and corn. 3420 N. St. Mary’s St., (210) 736-2526.

Space Wrangler Sno Balls // Sno-Balls ­— a NOLA specialty made with fluffy shaved ice and colorful, sweet flavorings — have become one of San Antonio’s most beloved cool treats, thanks in large part to Space Wrangler’s mobile truck and inventive flavor combos like Dreamsicle, red velvet and key lime pie. 3303 Broadway, (210) 973-1560, facebook.com/spacewranglersb.

Snopioca // Taiwanese shaved ice hit SA last spring and it brought some friends. Stop in for several varieties of snow, bubble tea and smoothies. 6423 Babcock Road, Suite 104, (210) 455-8638, snopioca.com.

Steel City Pops // San Anto knows paletas, but this Birmingham-transplant is winning over fans with its chocolate-dipped, caramel-drizzled offerings. 812 S. Alamo St., (210) 963-6540, steelcitypops.com.

Biga on the Banks // Bruce Auden’s menu includes such Southwest-Continental dishes as chicken-fried oysters with squid-ink linguini and pancetta, and grilled Texas quail, all of which can be paired to appropriate wines by the glass from Biga’s ample list. 203 S. St. Mary’s St., (210) 225-0722, biga.com.

Bite // Bite’s interior, with its horseshoe-shaped marble counter, glossy orange accent wall, and aubergine swivel chairs, has a retro-modern look that’s only reinforced by Astorga-Watel’s husband Damien’s riffs on pop-art paintings. 1012 S. Presa St., (210) 532-2551, biterestaurantsa.com.

Bliss // Chef Mark Bliss (see what they did there?) opened his namesake dining room with evident attention to detail. From the elaborate charcuterie boards to the iconic chicken fried oysters and expert service, Bliss is is one of Southtown’s dining jewels. 926 S. Presa St., (210) 225-2547, foodisbliss.com.

Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden // A true Texas original, the menu includes small plates, individual main dishes and numerous items designed for sharing – all perfectly complemented by the extensive list of wines from around the world. 312 Pearl Pkwy., Building 3, (210) 354-4644, boilerhousesa.com.

Bourbon Street Seafood Kitchen // Creole and Cajun flavors meet a boozy happy hour filled with Bellinis and martinis. The Redland location is the most picturesque, but you can’t beat the appeal of the Riverwalk adjacent spot. Multiple locations, bourbonstreetseafoodkitchens.com.

Cappycino’s/Cappy’s // Both staples of Alamo Heights, both for a good reason. Though a fire threatened to shut down the beloved eateries a few years back, the staff used it as a reason to rebuild their kitchen. Cappycino’s packs in solid lunch options, and the adjacent Cappy’s lets you indulge in fine dining the SA-way with chicken and duck liver pâté, rack of lamb and PEI mussels. 5011 Broadway, (210) 828-9669, cappysrestaurant.com.

Clementine // Chefs John and Elise Russ are serving some of the most exciting food in San Antonio. The kitchen’s great work with seasonal vegetables and expert front-of-house service are turning this small restaurant a dining destination. 2195 NW Military Hwy, (210) 503-5121, clementine-sa.com.

The Cookhouse // Chef Pieter Sypesteyn keeps Tobin Hill happy with this Nawlins-inspired kitchen. From po’boys at lunch filled with blackened catfish and barbecue shrimp to dinner with pan-roasted trout, smoked duck breast and a redfish on the half shell, Cookhouse has wow diners since 2014. 720 E. Mistletoe Ave., (210) 320-8211, cookhouserestaurant.com.

Cured // Since 2013, Cured has helped cement the Pearl as a dining destination. The charcuterie is made in-house, produce is sourced from local farms and Cured’s dinner service means chef Steve McHugh and his staff can really stretch their legs with a collection of plates that earned them a James Beard nomination. 306 Pearl Pkwy., Suite 101, (210) 314-3929, curedatpearl.com.

Feast // A contemporary gem on the Southtown corridor, the Feast here is for all of the senses. The modern and glamorous décor sets the scene for cocktails and a fun twist on familiar classics, like lettuce-wrapped barbacoa, sought-after macaroni and cheese and goat cheese-stuffed grape leaves. 1024 S. Alamo St., (210) 354-1024, feastsa.com.

The Granary ’Cue & Brew // Sure, we could have listed this restaurant under barbecue, but that would be selling it short. With quality Texas ’cue served up for lunch and gastronomy-influenced dishes for dinner such as the 44 Farms beef clod with coffee quinoa crunch or grilled veal breast and crispy sweetbreads, The Granary is more dress up than down. 602 Avenue A, (210) 228-0124, thegranarysa.com.

Grayze on Grayson // Grayze keeps surprising us with new flavors and a solid list of vegetable-forward items. Don’t miss this patio come happy hour. 521 E. Grayson St., (210) 481-8776, grayzeongrayson.com.

Liberty Bar // The tilted building is but a faint memory. This salmon-tinged Southtown eatery is rich in history and locally sourced menu items, from the hefty bread and creative appetizers to the lightly charred quail in piquant green mole and Virginia Green’s chocolate cake. Stop by on Monday’s for half-off bottles of wine. 1111 S. Alamo St., (210) 227-1187, liberty-bar.com.

Max’s Wine Dive // MWD is keeping things fresh within its American comfort food-centered menu. Get there early for brunch when the chicken and waffles (and bubbles) are flowing. 340 E. Basse Road, Suite 101, (210) 444-9547, maxswinedive.com.

Meadow // Chef PJ Edwards and his wife Lindsey have elevated classic Southern cuisine using seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Head to the restaurant’s outdoor patio for fried chicken and collard greens, housemade cornbread and a cold, refreshing drink. 555 W. Bitters Road at The Alley, (210) 481-4214, meadowsanantonio.com.

Mixtli // Opened in 2013, Mixtli (or Nahuatl for cloud) ups the ante on multi-course dinners. Led by James Beard semifinalists Diego Galicia and Rico Torres, this progressive restaurant shares beautiful dishes, all telling the story of Mexico one region at a time, for 12 guests at a time, inside a renovated train boxcar. 5251 McCullough Ave., (210) 338-0746, restaurantmixtli.com.

Outlaw Kitchens // The husband-wife team running this restaurant inside a quaint stone cottage in Alta Vista serve up simple but well-executed fare that includes one vegetarian and one meat entre nightly. 2919 N Flores, (210) 300-4728, outlawkitchens.com.

Periphery // Led by Jason Dady alum Mark Weaver, Periphery packs big, bold flavors and fun techniques into a casual neighborhood eatery that keeps Monte Vista dwellers more than happy. 2512 N. Main Ave., (210) 966-0404, peripherysa.com.

Rebelle // Before Battalion, there was Rebelle. The restaurant focused on French techniques and flavors established by Feast inside a hotel setting. The seafood fare is an all-time favorite. Don’t miss their take on char-grilled Spanish octopus. 300 E. Travis St., (210) 352-3171, rebellesa.com.

Restaurant Gwendolyn // Old is new again. SA’s pristine locavore has added a la carte options to their prix-fixe offerings making it that much more accessible for diners to check out this award-winning fare. 152 E. Pecan, Suite 100, (210) 222-1849, restaurantgwendolyn.com.

Silo Elevated Cuisine // An elegant update on shrimp and grits and signature chicken-fried oysters are among the favored dishes at this restaurant and bar. The Dominion area is home to the latest iteration, Silo Terrace Oyster Bar and it’s as delicious as it sounds. Multiple locations, siloelevatedcuisine.com.

Signature // Start with the five-piece house-made charcuterie selection. Presented on an antique wooden paddle, it’s a marvel of composition and a textbook example of varying tastes and textures from salty to sweet and plush to rustic. 16401 La Cantera Pkwy., (210) 247-0176, lacanteraresort.com.

Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery // While house-brewed beer is part of this Pearl centerpiece’s selling point, the food is far more ambitious than typical pub grub. Expect fresh and deftly prepared seafood whether you’re dining inside the extravigantly refurbished interior or at the outdoor oyster bar. 136 E Grayson St #120, (210) 455-5701, southerleigh.com.

Supper // Hotel Emma’s resident restaurant is led by chef John Brand. The Midwesterner is packing in new American flavors from breakfast through dinner. A visit requires a taste of the cinnamon toast waffle topped with goat cheese, or a bite of the English muffin French toast. Lunch means vegetable-forward plates and sandwiches, while dinner continues that trend in resplendent fashion. 136 E. Grayson St., (210) 448-8351, supperatemma.com.

Chicago Bagel and Deli // Chicago Bagel and Deli takes pride in its product with fresh, never-frozen bagels that are made on site. Hot and cold sandwiches are paired with your choice of chip, potato salad, cole slaw or pasta salad. 10918 Wurzbach Road, (210) 691-2245, chicagobagelanddeli.com.

DeWese’s Tip Top Café // Stepping into this petite café will have you feeling like you’ve gone back to the times of poodle skirts and big hair. The fried chicken platter is as big as the Lone Star State. 2814 Fredericksburg Road, (210) 732-0191, facebook.com/tiptopcafesanantonio.

Dignowity Meats // The sandwiches are meaty and the options keep expanding at this mostly outdoor East Side joint. Try the pastrami, smoked bologna or The Pop, with smoked turkey, provolone, greens and a spicy habanero aioli and get there soon — Dignowity Meats was one of Guy Fieri’s stops during his last San Antonio visit. 1701 E. Houston St., (210) 598-8049, dignowitymeats.com.

Earl Abel’s // Since 1933, Earl’s has satisfied the appetites of SA locals with its vast menu of burgers, sandwiches, chicken and dumplings, fried chicken, steaks and more. Grab a slice of Chocolate Ice Box Pie or bread pudding — we won’t tell. 1639 Broadway, (210) 822-3358, earlabelssa.com.

Hearthstone Bakery Café // Panini, sandwiches, soups and salads make up the menu at this family-owned café. Cozy up to a warm coffee and enjoy their free wifi or stop by for a quick eat, Hearthstone will do all the work while you play. Multiple locations, hearthstonebakerycafe.com.

Herb & Pickle // Don’t be fooled by its simple name, Herb & Pickle’s menu is far from so. Specials have included smothered roasted pork, tacos al pastor, pollo asado and the El Bandito Burger. Multiple locations, herbnpickle.wixsite.com/herbandpickle.

Jim’s Restaurants // A San Antonio staple since 1947, this diner if your go-to for late-night fare to fuel a night out or study session. Multiple locations, jimsrestaurants.com.

Lulu’s Bakery & Café // Big-as-your-face cinnamon buns, plate-sized chicken fried steak and more at this traditional greasy spoon spot. 918 N. Main Ave., (210) 222-9422, lulusbakeryandcafe.com.

Magnolia Pancake Haus // Breakfast lovers can feast on a variety of pancake flavors, waffles, fresh eggs, perfectly browned hash and Canadian bacon. The joint is known to be one of Guy Fieri’s favorites and that guy knows a thing or two about food. Multiple locations, magnoliapancakehaus.com.

Mary Ann’s Pig Stand // A staple in Texas since the 1920s, Mary Ann’s Pig Stand has stood the test of time. This vintage diner is full of kitsch and worth a visit for their pies alone. 1508 Broadway, (210) 222-9923.

Max & Louie’s New York Diner // You don’t have to travel to the Big Apple to get that same big city diner feel. The new expanded dining room means more room for all to enjoy matzo ball soup, bagel and lox and overstuffed New York deli-style sandwiches. 226 W. Bitters Road, (210) 483-7600, maxandlouiesdiner.com.

Panchos & Gringos Deli // The Eastside joint is home to stick-to-your-gut American breakfast classics, but come lunchtime, you’ll want to order any of their loaded sandwiches. 900 Nolan St., (210) 227-6700.

Schilo’s // This delicatessen is the real deal. House-made sausages are great, but don’t miss the split pea soup and pumpernickel bread. 424 E. Commerce St., (210) 223-6692, schilos.com.

The Station Café // Fresh homemade buns Chocolate chip cookies as big as your face pizza? What more could you ask more? For a scrumptious sandwich try the pesto turkey while brave souls should aim for the turkey Chupacabra with its spicy Serrano sauce. 108 King William St., (210) 444-2200, thestationsa.com.

W.D. Deli // At W.D. Deli it’s all about serving love in a bun. Go for the roast beef, but stay for the spinach chicken salad and don’t forget to grab a cookie. W.D. Deli’s 11 different cookie choices or the raspberry pecan bars also make great additions to your meal. 3123 Broadway, (210) 828-2322, wddeli.com.

Zito’s Deli // Sometimes you just need a great sandwich. Let the staff at Zito’s — established in 1974 — take care of you with one of their massive Serious Sandwiches. Filled with salami, two types of ham, provolone, cheddar, black olives and LTO on fluffy homemade Italian flatbread, this sando means business. Multiple locations, zitosdeli.net.

Berbere Ethiopian Cuisine // Legit Ethiopian cuisine on wheels, with vegetarian options available made its way to SA. (210) 310-9264, berbereethiopian.com.

Chamoy City Limits // It doesn’t get much more puro than this, folks. Chamoy City Limits has made a name for itself by dishing up eye-poppingly colorful shaved ice in addition to scratch-made chili that honors our city’s Chili Queens legacy. (210) 744-0000, chamoycitylimits.com.

Chela’s Taco Truck // Delicious, vibrant, classic tacos. What more is there to say? Various locations, (210) 535-7340, chelas-tacos.com.

La Maceta Tapatios // These rolled taquitos are NOT flautas, but they are plenty delicious. Get your fix of tacos Tapatios and fresh Mexican street food like corn in a cup and tortas at this truck. Various locations, (210) 419-3845, facebook.com/lamaceta.52.

Palm Frites // This food truck proves that fries are more than just a side. In fact, they’re the main attraction at Palm Frites, where hand-cut fries are served up with an assortment of toppings, from chili and cheese to tomato and jalapeño. (210) 748-2335, facebook.com/palmfritessa.

The Frosty Frog // Cool off with a fresh mangonada or your choice of ice cream at this northwest side truck. 11619 Bandera Road, (210) 835-5978, facebook.com/thefrostyfrog.ceo.

WhatAKabob // WhatAKabob specializes in delicious, late-night Middle Eastern eats worthy of a visit to the St. Mary’s Strip. The menu features individual bites and plates such as beef shawarma, lamb tikka and gyros that will make your night. (210) 452-7529, whatakabob.business.site.

WingIt // Try various flavors of wings at this wing-centric food truck. Various locations, (210) 900-3097, orderwingit.com.

Yai’s Mobile Kitchen // You’ll find some of the city’s best tom yom noodles at Yai’s Mobile Kitchen, located just outside the Still Golden bar. Yai’s also offers bold, spicy dishes like Thai curry, fried chicken wings and spring rolls. 1900 Broadway, facebook.com/pages/category/Restaurant/Yais-Mobile-Kitchen-233973833899123/.

Azuca Nuevo Latino // After relocating two spaces over to its new digs, Azuca is still packing in crowds looking for a refreshing mojito, tostones with mojo and a dance floor to merengue the night away. 709 S. Alamo St., (210) 225-5550, azuca.net.

Beto’s Alt-Mex // Known for its empanadas and epicurean fare, Beto’s features a veggie taco that comes stuffed with well-seasoned squash and caramelized onions. It’s almost as good as the savory potato-and-spinach empanada. 8142 Broadway, (210) 930-9393, betosaltmex.com.

Botika // Nikkei and chifa cuisines were introduced to San Antonio inside this posh Pearl spot helmed by chef Geronimo Lopez. Lomo saltado, empanadas, ceviches and tiraditos all share a space on the menu, but make sure to save room for a few sips of sake. 303 Pearl Pkwy., Suite 111, (210) 670-7684.

Brasa Chicken Peruvian Rotisserie // With hearty sandwiches, and loaded entrees such as arroz chaufa de carne or especial, Peruvian-roasted birds could replace your H-E-B runs soon. 8523 Blanco Road, (210) 896-4719, brasachickentx.com.

Cocina El Jibarazo Latin Cuisine // It’s a trek, sure, but don’t skip the sandwiches from this beloved spot. Plates all come bearing yellow rice, salad, plantains and your choice of pernil, pollo a la plancha or chuletas. 1790 Austin Hwy., (210) 204-5908, jibarazo.com.

Ceviche de Waldito // Chef’s been slanging buffet-style Peruvian fare since 2010. Stop in for an inexpensive lunch of roasted chicken and tamales served by Waldito himself. 5526 Evers Road, (210) 681-8100.

Fonda Latina // Fonda Latina successfully captures the flavors of authentic Colombian cuisine, serving traditional dishes like bistek a caballo — steak with a fried egg on top — banana-leaf-wrapped tamales, and arepas con pollo and aji. 6714 San Pedro Ave., (210) 824-2544.

Luna Rosa Puerto Rican Grill // The understated locale focuses on its cuisine, combining Spanish tapas and Puerto Rican favorites. Start the night with a helping of patatas bravas, smothered in red spicy sauce and garlicky mayoketchup, the Luna Rosa house sauce and follow it with paella. 2603 SE Military Drive, Suite 106, (210) 314-3111, lunarosatapas.com.

Jamaica Jamaica // All entrees come with a generous serving of rice and peas, steamed cabbage, and plantains. The roast pork, several gray slabs doused in a thick mahogany sheet, pull apart as delicately as spiderwebs, and work with the rice and peas to create a balanced, dense-as-bone kind of bite. 2026 Austin Hwy., (210) 590-0515, facebook.com/jamaicajamaicacuisine1.

The Jerk Shack // This West Side open-air establishment specializes in “cheffed up” Caribbean classics. The herbs and subtle spice of the jerk chicken make this simple dish stand out as the star. 117 Matyear, (210) 776-7780, facebook.com/thejerkshacksatx.

La Marginal // The rice with pinto beans here is savory and on point in terms of flavor thanks to a decent sofrito with olives and ham. The buffet offering is affordable and workable, as long as you stick with the tender roast pork, pernil, and salty, sweet plantains. 2447 Nacogdoches Road, (210) 804-2242, lamarginalrestaurant.com.

Ocho // Pair your Hemingway Daiquiri with aspirational lunch and dinner fare, including the Havana Cubano torta with achiote-roasted pork shoulder, griddled ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and Dijon mustard, and savory papas bravas. Hotel Havana, 1015 Navarro St., (210) 222-2008, havanasanantonio.com.

Demo’s Greek Food // With locations off Blanco, the Vineyard and St. Mary’s, this 19-year-old, local fast-casual chain isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Go for the tender beef souvlaki, but stay for the charming décor and belly dancing. Multiple locations, demosgreekfood.com.

John the Greek // The flavors of Athens, which have been served in this Greek home-style eatery since 1988, make John The Greek so compelling. Avgolemono soup, gyros, souvlaki and mousaka. 16602 San Pedro Ave., (210) 403-0565, johnthegreek.com.

Mina and Dimi’s Greek House // Although the pita is perfectly soft and savory, the flavorful gyro can stand on its own, perhaps accompanied by flaky spanakopita or a tangy Greek salad. Sweeten the deal with homemade flaky baklava. Opa! 7159 Hwy. 90 W., (210) 674-3464, agreekhouse.com.

Papouli’s Greek Grill // The SA-based chain has four locations throughout the city, each dishing up traditional and contemporary cuisine made with fresh ingredients. Multiple locations, papoulis.com.

Ali’i Cove // The owners of Big Aloha Food Truck ditched their wheels for a brick-and-mortar outpost in Universal City that opened this past November. Stop in for their legendary Spam musubi, classic Hawaii dishes and ramen. 1210 Pat Booker Road, (210) 507-2042.

The Aloha Kitchen // The Aloha Kitchen does Hawaiian best when sticking to the basics – and basic does not mean simple. Lau lau and loco moco are attention grabbers. 1151 Harry Wurzbach, (210) 826-7426.

Azro Moroccan & Mediterranean Bistro // Azro engineer-turned-chef Khalid Said whips up Moroccan faves such as the vibrant and warm harira soup, a beautiful tabouli and seafood bastilla made of baked layers of thin pastry filled with salmon and shrimp inside this Castle Hills nook. 2211 NW Military, Suite 131, (210) 342-0011, azroafghancuisine.com.

Jerusalem Grill // Long skewers of lamb and chicken beckon, but try the Syrian-style kibbeh instead, with sides of both hummus and baba ghanoush. Multiple locations, jerusalemgrill.net. Mediterranean Turkish Grill Dolmas, hummus and fresh bread are signatures of this authentic Mediterranean grill. 8507 McCullough, Suite B13, (210) 399-1645, kmturkishgrill.com.

Moroccan Bites // Tucked away in a shopping center off Evers, Moroccan Bites is all about family and fresh ingredients. Skip the soups and go straight for the chicken or lamb tagine. 5714 Evers Road, (210) 706-9700, moroccanbitescuisine.com.

Pasha Mediterranean Grill // It’s hard not to fill up on the hot, fresh flatbread and zaatar spice mix, but you have to save room for Pasha’s delicious Mid-east fare. Standouts include the tender kabobs and the saffron-marinated Cornish hens. Multiple locations, gopasha.com.

Shisha’s Café // A hotspot for hookah-loving college students, Shisha has plenty to offer. Try the garlicky hummus, the giant falafel or the perfectly seasoned chicken shawarma sandwich wrapped in warm pita bread and filled with garlic sauce, pickles, lettuce and tomatoes. 5500 Babcock Road, Suite 101, (210) 694-4800.

Turquoise Grill // Open for lunch and dinner, Turquoise Grille is a welcome setting for a variety of Turkish foods–including excellent Doner kebab, mixed grill, chicken tava, baklava, rice pudding — with affordable prices. 3720 NW Loop 410, (210) 736-2887, turquoisegrill.com.

Kohinoor Restaurant & Grill // The spices and service are warm and intoxicating at this family-run restaurant that uses 100 percent Zabiha Halal meat. Although the menu is a list of possibilities, take a chance on the special of the day. 9425 Fredericksburg Road, (210) 314-8692, kohinoorsa.com.

Carmens de La Calle // Ever-eclectic Carmens serves up paella, ceviche, empanadas and sangria in a cozy setting with live flamenco and jazz performances. 320 N. Flores St., (210) 281-4349, carmensdelacalle.com.

Toro Kitchen + Bar // If you’re in the mood for paella, there’s two Toros to visit these days. The Stone Oak location now has a downtown sibling at St. Paul Square where the wine keeps flowing as do the tapas. Multiple locations, torokitchenandbar.com.

Aldino Cucina Italiana // The original “kids on the block” at the popular intersection of 1604 and Blanco, this premiere Italian restaurant, offers Tuscan tastes reminiscent of the countryside of northern Italy. 1203 N. Loop 1604 W., (210) 340-0000.

Barbaro // Barbaro is staying consistent with playful pies, technique-driven sides, and plain delicious desserts. Did we mention the extensive list of cocktails and quaint Monte Vista setting make this the perfect spot for late night ‘za? 2720 McCullough Ave., (210) 320-2261, barbarosanantonio.com.

Capparelli’s on Main // Smack dab in the center of Monte Vista, this charming neighborhood nook serves up traditional Italian fare with hearty pizzas and an unbeatable house salad. 2524 N. Main Ave., (210) 735-5757, capparellisonmain.com.

Fratello’s Deli // With two locations (Broadway and Plaza de Armas), Fratello’s is keeping bellies full and happy with fresh red-sauce fare, value-driven sandwiches like the Napoli stuffed with copocolla and ham, and house-made desserts. Multiple locations, fratellosdeli.com.

Julian’s Italian Pizzeria // Recent visits meant digging into the balanced lasagna, fluffy gnocchi and delicious Caesar salads. An awesome addition to Alamo Heights, this locally owned one-stop-shop for Italian has two locations. Multiple locations, julianspizzeria.com.

Luciano’s // From full restaurants at area malls to casual neighborhood pizzerias, Luciano’s scores points for giant pizzas at ridiculously cheap prices. Multiple locations, lucianorestaurants.com.

Luce Ristorante e Enoteca // Authentic Italian cuisine and wine is the passion of Neapolitan owner and chef Joe Buonincontri, who brings family recipes and tastes from his travels to Italy back to his wine-centric restaurant. 11255 Huebner Road, (210) 561-9700, lucesanantonio.com.

Nosh // With cheesy pastas, delicately topped flatbread pizzas, and cheeseboards, Silo’s sister (and adjacent) eatery can hold its own. Don’t forget about the awesome selection of craft beers. 1133 Austin Hwy., (210) 824-8686.

Paesanos // Joe Cosniac’s original Lincoln Heights heir serves the signature breaded, garlicky Shrimp Paesano, a meaty eggplant parmigiana, and if the devotees are to be believed, one of the best steaks in town. Multiple locations, paesanos.com.

Tre Trattoria // Jason Dady reimagined the old Tre and gave us rustic chic with plentiful Italian relocated to the San Antonio Museum of Art. Favorites remained true with authentic salumi, gnocchi and cast-iron griddled pizzas. 200 W. Jones St., Suite 501, (210) 805-0333, tretrattoria.com.

Tribeca 212 // It’s all about service and good ingredients at Tribeca 212, which serves burgers, pizza, pasta, steak, drinks and more. 4331 McCullough Ave., (210) 320-0698, tribeca212.com.

Big Lou’s Pizza // You’re not a true San Antonian unless you take seven of your closest friends to Big Lou’s and try to take down their 42-inch pies. 2048 S. W.W. White Road, (210) 337-0707, biglouspizza-satx.com.

Capo’s Pizza // Get your pizza fix prepared by one of San Antonio’s longtime pizza markers Rick Perno. 8522 Broadway, Suite 105, (210) 362-1901, capospizzasa.com.

Deco Pizzeria // Savory meatballs, wings and weekend lunch (and brunch!) specials expand the options just across the way from the Woodlawn Theater and now the Medical Center. Multiple locations, decopizza.com.

Florio’s Pizza // Italy? Fuhgeddaboudit — this is the real stuff, from New Jersey since 1980. The foldable pizza spread to Helotes in 2017 with a new location off Bandera. 7701 Broadway, (210) 805-8646.

Il Forno // Chef Michael Sohocki’s turn at Neapolitan-style pies is a hit with South Flores residents. The shop has a handmade pizza oven, a sprawling garden filled with fresh veggies for the kitchen to use and seasonal specials galore. 122 Nogalitos St., (210) 616-2198, ilfornosa.com.

Pizza Classics // Near Trinity U and the Strip, Pizza Classics has retained its late-night audience. The buy-one, get-one carry out deals make PC a value-friendly option. 3440 N. St. Mary’s St., (210) 225-3356, pizzaclassics.com.

Playland // Andrew Goodman and Stefan Bowers are trying their hand at sourdough pizza and it’s definitely worth a trip downtown. 400 E. Houston St., (210) 908-9362, playlandsa.com.

Ray’s Pizzaria // Check the daily lunch and dinner specials at this authentic New York-style pizzeria. Calzones, stromboli and Italian entrees like baked ziti, served with cheesy garlic bread, satisfy even the hungriest diner. Multiple locations, rayspizzaria.com.

Rome’s Pizza // Founded in 1986, now with several locations, Rome’s cozy atmosphere and gourmet Italian cuisine have satisfied two generations. Multiple locations, romespizza.com.

Sorrento Ristorante e Pizzeria // Since 2001, the Ciccone family has prepared tasty pizza, seafood and pasta out of their Alamo Heights Kitchen. 5146 Broadway, (210) 824-0055, sorrentopizzeria.com.

Tiu Steppi’s Osteria // Loop 1604 has two great options for Italian fare. Locally owned by the family behind Two Step, these Italian outposts deliver great pizzas, pastas and delectable desserts. Multiple locations, tiusteppis.com.

Ácenar // Rosario’s owner Lisa Wong paired vivid décor and haute Tex-Mex with romantic riverside seating and the bar’s dance floor sizzles on weekends. 146 E. Houston St., (210) 222-2362, acenar.com.

Alamo Café // The addition of Patio 81 to the San Pedro location means you can enjoy vats of queso and wash it down in a cool bar setting. Multiple locations, alamocafe.com.

Aldaco’s Mexican Cuisine // Blanca Aldaco took her zesty restaurant north to convert the Loopland masses with crema al cilantro and signature avocado margaritas. 20079 Stone Oak Pkwy., (210) 494-0561, aldacosrestaurants.com.

Blanco Café // This anchor of the homegrown chain serves massive Tex-Mex portions to happy weekend crowds. The just-right-greasy enchiladas are a fave of Current readers. Multiple locations, blancocafe.net.

Cascabel Mexican Patio // The tiny South St. Mary’s spot offers an intriguing alternative to taqueria fare, with recipes from southern. 1000 S. St. Mary’s St., (210) 212-6456.

Chacho’s // The Monster Kong Nachos are loaded with four different types of meat: chicken and beef fajitas, shredded chicken and picadillo. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Multiple locations, chachos.com.

El Milagrito // Their cheese enchiladas are titans of Tex-Mex, topped with good, chunky gravy that indicates Milagrito’s guisada is also a cut above. The breakfast menu merits a try, too. 521 E. Woodlawn Ave., (210) 737-8646, elmilagritocafe.com.

El Mirasol // Interiors that help you escape to Cancun, food that satiates that itch for something sabroso, and drinks that keep the convo flowing are in store at either the Alon or Blanco location. Multiple locations, elmirasolsa.com.

Garcia’s Mexican Food // You can’t call yourself a true San Antonian unless you’ve enjoyed a brisket and guacamole taco from Garcia’s. Helmed by the Garcia family since 1962, this tiny nook on Fredericksburg is a piece of heaven in a plump tortilla. 842 Fredericksburg Road, (210) 735-4525.

Guajillo’s // Billed as “SA’s only Mexico City kitchen,” the entrees here are healthier and less Tex than Mex by any standards. Try the calabaza con mole verde, a sauce made with pumpkin seeds, cilantro and Serrano peppers. 1001 NW Loop 410, (210) 344-4119, guajillos.com.

Jacala Mexican Restaurant // With a kitschy interior that screams Tex-Mex, Jacala has been a Westside fave since 1949. The great puffy tacos don’t hurt either. 606 West Ave., (210) 732-5222.

La Fonda on Main // Monte Vista residents still flock to this institution for both traditional and forward-thinking Mexican fare. The duck or fish tacos or mole enchiladas are deliciously dependable. 2415 Main Ave., (210) 733-0621, lafondaonmain.com.

La Fogata // There are several reasons to visit La Fogata: the arboreal wonderland of a patio, the tequila-laden margaritas, the friendly staff, the light starters, the hearty enchiladas … should we go on? 2427 Vance Jackson Road, (210) 340-1337, lafogata.com.

La Gloria // Still a favorite for tourists and locals hoping to taste a little of Mexico, chef Johnny Hernandez’s first restaurant scores points with its tacos de alambre and tortas. Enjoy a house margarita on the icehouse’s airy patio at The Pearl, Dominion or newly added AT&T Center. Multiple locations, lagloriaicehouse.com.

La Hacienda de los Barrios // A Barrios Family creation, there’s much to be said about La Hacienda’s food. Try the time-tested standbys such as the cabrito en salsa and the Cortadillo Zuazua style, a semi-stew of tenderloin. 18747 Redland, (210) 497-8000, lhdlb.com.

La Margarita Restaurant & Oyster Bar // Part of the Mi Tierra family of restaurants, La Margarita is billed as the first American restaurant to serve sizzling fajitas. 120 Produce Road, (210) 227-7140, lamargarita.com.

La Michoacana #5 // This location on North Flores boasts a carniceria, panaderia, fruteria and more. The taqueria may be the chain’s strong suit the tacos can be spectacular, especially creations like chicharrón en salsa verde and calabacita con puerco. 1224 N. Flores St., (210) 223-3802, lamichoacanameatmarket.com.

Lisa’s Mexican Restaurant // Lisa’s aced the basics with a hearty, rich pozole, a tasty lengua guisada and solid refrieds. Finish up with a cocktail at Bar Mosaico. 815 Bandera Road, (210) 433-2531, lisasmexican.com.

Los Barrios // One of San Antonio’s most beloved Mexican restaurants (yes, that is saying a lot), Los Barrios’ exhaustive menu includes items like “the world’s only gourmet sour nachos,” 16 different Mexican dinner plates. 4223 Blanco Road, (210) 732-6017, losbarrios1.com.

Mary Lou’s Café // Expect robust and fresh down-home dishes from this neighborhood joint. The enchiladas verdes and beans and rice are well above average, but ask for the salsa verde over the house dip. 4405 McCullough Ave., (210) 396-7909.

Mi Tierra Restaurant & Bakery // For those in the know, Mi Tierra is truly a wonder. The panaderia at the entrance alerts that this is the real deal. An institution since its 1941 founding, Mi Tierra is one of the few places still open 24/7, holidays included. 218 Produce Row, (210) 225-1262, mitierracafe.com.

Original Donut Shop // This Fredericksburg Road institution is known for good breakfast tacos and outstanding doughnuts —and now accepts credit cards! 3307 Fredericksburg Road, (210) 734-5661, facebook.com/theoriginaldonutshop.

Paloma Blanca Mexican Cuisine // A perennial favorite in our Best of San Antonio readers’ poll for enchiladas and guacamole, Paloma Blanca showcases hacienda-inspired architecture and interior Mexican eats for an elevated dining experience. 5800 Broadway, (210) 822-6151, palomablanca.net.

Palenque Grill // From the makers of Pollo Loco and Taco Palenque, Palenque Grill’s dishing up traditional dishes to the La Cantera set. Try the lengua and coastal creations inspired by the Pacific Mexican coast that are worth a try. 15900 La Cantera Pkwy., palenquegrill.com.

Patty’s Taco House Taco // fans make pilgrimages to Patty’s on a weekly basis for breakfast and lunch. The migas plate will keep you sated way past lunchtime. 2422 S. Hackberry St., (210) 534-3395.

Perico’s Mexican Cuisine // The hacienda-style chain has locations off Bandera and Sonterra, but you’ll find standard Tex-Mex at any stop. Make sure to wash it down with a Parrot Tail, a concoction of vodka, coconut rum, Triple Sec, Hypnotiq, cranberry juice and sour mix. Multiple locations, pericosgrill.com.

Ray’s Drive Inn // Puffy tacos and a certain San Antonio je ne sais quoi are the draws at this Westside establishment. Portions are large (bring the whole family), but remember to bring cash our critics recommend the brisket and guacamole puffy tacos. 822 SW 19th, (210) 432-7171, raysdriveinn.net.

Rosario’s Restaurant y Cantina // Lisa Wong’s other baby is a staple with the Castros and other power lunch-goers. The bright lights, big city cantina concept — aided by lots of concrete and a neon-lit faux palapa — and Tex-Mex add a certain buzzy feel to Southtown and the aesthetic reaches the northside location. Multiple locations, rosariossa.com.

Soluna // Home of the Chispa, this Alamo Heights restaurant comes alive on weekends. Pour over the entire menu and work your way through it with several visits. We won’t judge. 7959 Broadway, (210) 930-8070, solunasa.com.

Taco Haven // A Southtown staple for more than 30 years, the menu has expanded to include a few Tex-American dishes such as chicken-fried steak and burgers. Multiple locations, tacohaven.info.

Taco Taco // A plethora of choices here but the best thing to order is, of course, the namesake: tacos of all kinds, served on piping hot, homemade corn or flour tortillas. 145 E. Hildebrand Ave., (210) 822-9533, tacotacosa.com.

Tacos y Burritos Metro Basilica 2 // Taco truck fare inspired more by DF than SA. Branch out to less familiar menu items like mulita (meat and cheese sandwiched between two thick masa tortillas), lengua and tripas, or stick with tried-and-true chicken quesadillas and asada tacos. 7627 Culebra Road, Suite 105, (210) 680-1412.

Taqueria Datapoint // The food hasn’t lost its late-night street charms at this taco-truck-turned-restaurants. Current readers say you must try the gorditas, and our critics recommend the mini asada taquitos and chicken torta. Multiple locations, (210) 615-3644.

Taqueria El Chilaquil // Our secret late-night spot, we come here for al pastor and carnitas mini tacos and giant schooners of Dos Equis after evenings out downtown. 1821 W. Commerce St., (210) 226-5410.

Taqueria Los Arcos // Homey and authentic Mex-Texican fare, Los Arcos scores with especially good sopes and outstanding tortas, at prices low enough to treat your entire work crew. 13777 Nacogdoches Road, Suite. 103, (210) 599-1822.

Taqueria Vallarta // Seafood is far from the emphasis at the Broadway location carnes asadas and fajitas abound. 8234 Broadway 78209, (210) 829-0180.

Taquitos West Ave. // With choice of cabeza, lengua, suadero, carnitas and trompo (only on weekends), Taquitos has built a legion of followers that keep spreading the word. The Nacogdoches spot also features a panaderia next door. Multiple locations, facebook.com/TaquitosWestAvenue1.

Teka Molino // The puffy tacos are a must, but don’t sleep on the guacamole cups and bean rolls. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Teka has been serving San Antonio for more than 60 years. Multiple locations, tekamolino.com.

Tito’s Restaurant // The art-lined walls are the perfect background for a variety of breakfast options and an express lunch for those who work in the King William area. 955 S. Alamo St., (210) 212-8226, titosrestaurant.com.

Vida Mia // Don’t miss out on breakfast of chilaquiles like the Piporro with machacado and red salsa or Cantinflas with chorizo and green salsa, at Stone Oak and Huebner or Bulverde Road. Multiple locations, vidamiacuisine.com.

Viola’s Ventanas // The third effort from the Barrios family pays tribute to mother Viola, who started the Los Barrios legend in 1979. 9660 Westover Hills, (210) 684-9660, violasventanas.com.

Viva Villa // The legacy of Mi Tierra is in safe hands as chef Cariño Cortez and staff share interior Mexican fare as prepared with local flair. 905 Dolorosa St., (210) 987-8482, vivavillatacos.com.

1919 // Expertly made cocktails, a speakeasy setting and monthly spirit tastings complete with bites are found at this Blue Star Art Complex nook. 1420 S. Alamo St., Suite 001, (210) 227-1420, facebook.com/1919sa.

Bar America // This Southtown favorite is serving up bar snacks these days. Their happy hour specials vary by day and are perfect for those on a budget. 723 S. Alamo St., (210) 223-1285, baramericasatx.com.

Big Hops // Offering a long list of local beer on tap at any of their three locations, including Bitters, Huebner and the Hays Street Bridge, Big Hops is a must-stop for craft beer lovers. Multiple locations, bighops.com.

Blue Box // Tasty cocktails meet a great happy hour. Come game time, the staff sets you up with free snacks made by some of the city’s best chefs. 312 Pearl Pkwy., (210) 227-2583.

The Broadway 5050 // San Antonio’s original, swanky good times bar has been an Alamo Heights favorite since opening its doors in 1927. 5050 Broadway, (210) 826-0069, broadway5050.com.

Burleson Yard Beer Garden // This pet and kid-friendly bar near the Hays Street Bridge is a traditional beer garden with indoor and outdoor seating. Pick from their long list of beers or opt for wine or liquor, and grab snacks at one of the food trucks. 430 Austin St., (210) 354-3001, facebook.com/burlesonyard.

Cellar Mixology // Toro Kitchen + Bar’s downtown outpost brought with it a lower-level cocktail bar with classics and new twists on your faves. 1142 E. Commerce St., (210) 592-1075, cellarmixology.com.

Cherrity Bar // Philanthropic tipples can be found at this massive bar that also holds a ramen bar! Every month, three charities are picked as recipients of nearly all of the bar’s proceeds so drink up! 302 Montana St., (210) 598-0496, facebook.com/cherritybar.

Con Safos Cocina & Bar // A West Side cantina in the heart of downtown with a polished modern twist is what you’ll find inside Con Safos Cantina & Bar, the home of San Antonio’s pan dulce burger. 607 Hemisfair Blvd., (210) 514-5006, consafos-sa.com.

Copa Wine Bar // Voted best wine bar in 2014’s Current Best Of readers poll, Copa is worth a trip to the city’s North Side with their wine and tapas. 19141 Stone Oak Pkwy., (210) 495-2672, thecopawinebar.com.

Cullum’s Attagirl // Just off the N. St. Mary’s strip, Attagirl’s ever-evolving list of craft beers alongside their famous chicken wings, fried bologna pimento sandwiches and more. 726 E. Mistletoe Ave., (210) 437-4263, facebook.com/cullumsattagirl.

The Dakota East Side Ice House // Chill vibes meet casual comfort food vibes at this former grocery store-turned-neighborhood-bar. 433 S. Hackberry St., (210) 375-6009, thedakotasa.com.

Dorcol Distilling + Brewing Co. // You’ll find Kinsman rakia (an unaged apricot brandy) and a sizeable lineup of expertly made beers to quench your thirst. 1902 S. Flores St., (210) 229-0607, dorcolspirits.com.

The Esquire Tavern // A San Antonio original, Esquire Tavern serves up crafted cocktails, wine and craft beers alongside some serious eats like their signature bison burger and charcuterie at Downstairs. 155 E. Commerce St., (210) 222-2521, esquiretavern-sa.com.

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium // Back before San Antonio turned into a craft town (well, we’re working on it), there was the Saucer. Excellent for pups on patios, great sandwiches, expert service and, yes, hundreds of beers to choose from, the Saucer isn’t going anywhere any time soon. 11255 Huebner Road, Suite 212, (210) 696-5080, beerknurd.com.

Francis Bogside // This Southtown fave made a serious comeback in 2017 with an all-new stage, and more bar space! 803 S. St. Mary’s St., (210) 988-3093.

Freetail Brewing // Beers on tap change regularly and food comes by way of fantastic brick oven pizzas. 4035 N. Loop 1604 W., Suite 105, (210) 625-6000, freetailbrewing.com.

Lion & Rose British Restaurant Pub // Don’t let its Rim location confuse you, this puro pub is great for grabbing a pint, watching a football game (or soccer, to most of y’all) and chowing down on a full English breakfast at brunch, fish and chips or Scotch eggs. 17627 La Cantera Pkwy., (210) 798-5466, thelionandrose.com.

El Luchador // The lucha-libre themed bar off Roosevelt has a cantina vibe with a bar, dance floor, lounge area and patio. 622 Roosevelt, (210) 272-0016, facebook.com/luchadorbarsa.

Haunt // Sleek and spooky, this Downtown joint makes it easy to get in a happy hour before dinner at sister restaurant Rebelle. Hold your séance here while sipping on cocktails inspired by the specters that haunt the St. Anthony Hotel. 300 E. Travis St., (210) 227-4392, facebook.com/hauntsa.

High Street Wine Co. // Wine lovers of all levels will enjoy a visit (or two or three, we’re not judging) to this Pearl-based wine bar. The only thing better than the selection of reds, whites, rosés and bubbles? High Streets awe-inspiring charcuterie boards. 302 Pearl Pkwy., Suite 104, (210) 908-9144, highstreetwine.com.

Hoppy Monk // This Northside bar features over 50 beers on tap, as well as delicious cuisine and cocktails made from fresh ingredients and local products. Stop in for mezcal! 1010 N Loop 1604 E., (210) 545-3330, thehoppymonk.com/sanantonio.

Knockout // The newest addition to the Main Strip includes daily inexpensive happy hours and is split into two rooms for variety. Grab a slice from their attached Pup’s Pizza as early as 11am or late night. 1420 N. Main Ave., (210) 227-7678, knockoutsa.com.

The Modernist // Olaf Harmel and Gerry Shirley are taking bespoke cocktails to another level with this post-modernist drinker that features a small tiki trailer slinging boozy faves on weekends. 516 E. Grayson St., (210) 446-8699, facebook.com/themodernistsa.

Lowcountry // There’s a whole lot to love about this bar that blends country vibes with Southern charm inside a historic home. Bar snacks include lovely pickles and boiled peanuts. Grab a cold one and enjoy live music on the back patio. 318 Martinez St., (210) 560-2224, lowcountrysa.com.

Luther’s Cafe // After relocating a few times, Luther’s remains a staple on the Main strip. Stop in early or late and select from their varied menu of food and drinks inside or on the patio. Stay for karaoke on Friday or dinner and a show on Saturdays. 1503 N. Main Ave., (210) 223-7727, lutherscafe.com.

Oak Hills Tavern // This Medical Center dive bar features 14 taps of local and Texas beers, bar games like pool and darts, and a varied menu with pizza, tacos, burgers and more. 7920 Fredericksburg Road, (210) 614-8855, facebook.com/oakhillstavern.

Paramour // Perfect for all your selfies and party pics, Paramour elevated the bar scene literally. As Downtown’s first rooftop bar, the sprawling location brings in tourists and locals alike for classic cocktails and cheeky house concoctions. 109 9th St., Suite 400, (210) 307-8740, paramourbar.com.

The Pigpen // The neighborhood bar features wine, beer on draft or in cans and bottles, and specialty drinks like the brisket bloody mary and frozen Moscow mule. Feeling hungry? Pair your drink with some nachos or a grilled cheese. 106 Pershing Ave., (210) 267-9136, thepigpensa.com.

The Roost // Sometimes we wish we lived at 1221 Broadway so we too could have a downstairs bar/community space. Alas, we don’t. But that doesn’t stop us from going for all the local and regional craft beer we can get our hands and growlers on. 1221 Broadway, Suite 116, theroostsa.com.

The Squeezebox // With the Sulla Strada Pizza truck on the patio and a puro vibe that combines Tejano, cumbias, and dance hits, there’s something for everyone at this popular joint. 2806 N. St. Mary’s St., (210) 314-8845, facebook.com/thesqueezebox.

Southtown Wine and Tapas // It’s hard not to like the homey feel of this neighborhood wine bar. Bites range from bacon-wrapped dates drizzled with New York maple syrup to a fideo of the day. 1702 S Presa St, (210) 462-1157, southtowntapas.com.

Still Golden Social House // Back from its brief hiatus after being torn down, Still Golden is back with more swag, cocktails and more. 1900 Broadway, (210) 616-2212, stillgoldensa.com.

TBA // This St. Mary’s Strip secret serves up handcrafted drinks and tasty bites. A serious happy hour packs inexpensive house cocktails, beers, grilled cheese and charcuterie. 2801 N. St. Mary’s St., (210) 320-1753, tbasatx.com.

Zinc Bistro & Wine Bar // The prickly pear margaritas aren’t just ’gram-worthy, they’re strong and delicious. Pair them with the Crack Burger, or peruse the wine selection — your call. 207 N. Presa St., (210) 224-2900, zincwine.com.

210 Ceviche // The place to watch futbol while noshing on seafood and drinking a cold one, 210 Ceviche offers a refuge from the heat. Try a ceviche sampler to start. Stick with the satisfying cooked dishes such as the Arroz 210 with seafood bits or the sautéed salmon. 9502 IH-10, Suite 101, (210) 593-9300, 210ceviche.com.

Camaron Pelado Seafood Grill // What Camaron Pelado lacks in atmosphere is made up for in coastal dishes that warrant praise. Classic ceviche, mounds of shrimp and a piled-high tostada all at fair prices make for a superb lunch or dinner. Don’t miss the seafood caldos with shrimp, oyster, crab and octopus. 2918 W. Commerce St., (210) 434-6700, camaronpeladotogo.com.

Costa Pacifica // Known for innovative, fresh dishes, one-of-a-kind specialty Drinks and ambiance reminiscent of the Pacific Coast of Mexico, Costa Pacifica is all about freshness. Visit for the fish “al pastor” costras, tuna capaccio or the whole red snapper. Multiple locations, costapacificausa.com.

Eddie V’s Prime Seafood // Immediately upon opening in 2008, Wildfish became the go-to destination for seafood in North San Antonio. Featuring dishes such as North Atlantic lemon sole and crispy cashew calamari, Wildfish added fresh ideas to the seafood market. It may not be the new thing anymore, but it’s still a fresh catch. 1834 N. Loop 1604 W., (210) 493-1600, eddiev.com.

Hula Poke // Various locations of this poke salad spot have earned it a special place in the heart of San Antonians looking to try something new and fresh. Visit them off I-10 and DeZavala, San Pedro and near 1604 and Bandera. Multiple locations, facebook.com/hulapokesa.

Koi Fin Poke // Ramen, poke salads and sushirritos are all in store at this UTSA-adjacent spot that offers 10 percent off on Tuesday and Wednesdays with student ID! 7211 Green Glen Drive, Suite 102, (210) 451-0050.

Laguna Madre Seafood Company // Bill Miller’s isn’t all chicken and brisket. The San Anto fave also deals — deliciously — in fish. Fried plates include choice of shrimp, fried cods, catfish or oysters. Multiple locations, lagunamadreseafood.com.

Las Islas Marias // A colorful Sinaloan seafood restaurant specializing in shrimp in several guises with winners such as the empanadas de camaron, ceviche ejecutivo, camarones zarandeados, charola de mejillones and camarones aguachiles en salsa roja. 522 SW Military, (210) 922-7777.

Mariscos El Bucanero // Mariscos may be in the name, but first-rate Mexican dishes — from the asada plate, chile rellenos and enchiladas — are on the menu as well. Of course, seafood lovers may also enjoy the molcajete de ceviche, camarones a la diabla or the fried fish. And don’t forget to try the fried shrimp. Many consider it the best in town. Multiple locations, bucanerosanantonio.com.

Mariscos El Marinero // Familiar, yes, but still tasty. Order the tostada known as the Torre Imperial for an awe-inspiring stack of seafood that perfectly layers several ceviches, chopped scallops, octopus and peel-and-eat shrimp, and yep, red onion into a colorful tower. 1819 McCullough Ave., (210) 465-9178.

Neptune’s Seafood House // Neighborhood seafood comes affordable, friendly and delectable at Neptune’s. Crispy fried okra, catfish po’boys and family dinner under $20 are all aboard this seafood boat. Fried specialties include a fried frog leg plate. 1922 Goliad, (210) 337-7294.

Poke Central // Billed as sushi in a bowl, this poke shop opened on the city’s northside feeding Looplanders fresh creations and savory soups. 1130 N. Loop 1604 W. Suite 101, (210) 479-7653, facebook.com/pokecentralsa.

Poke Planet // Opened by the folks behind Copa Wine Bar, Poke Planet has helped poke fans in the Medical Center area get their fix of this Hawaii-based dish. 7302 Louis Pasteur Drive, Suite 103, (210) 627-6060, pokeplanetsa.com.

Rudy’s Seafood // For over 40 years, Rudy’s Seafood has drawn in Southside residents for large platters of fried fish served the Rudy’s way with fries, lemon bread and a serrano pepper. Also on the menu: grilled fish tacos, fried mushrooms, burgers and sweet potato fries. 4122 S. Flores St., (210) 532-1315, rudysseafood.com.

Sea Island Shrimp House // After celebrating 50 years as San Antonio’s go-to Lenten spot, Sea Island is still cranking out hits. It’s not Port A, but it’ll do especially when you order the “world famous” charbroiled shrimp plate, of fifteen lightly breaded, skewered and citrusy shrimp arrived alongside your choice of sides. Multiple locations, shrimphouse.com.

Smashin’ Crab // You know it’s going to be a fun time when the server drapes a bib across your chest. Seafood boils are available drenched in different sauces but our favorite is the tangy Trinity! Multiple locations, smashincrab.com.

Shuck Shack // Consider Jason Dady your boat captain on this seafaring adventure. Try the fish and chips, which can’t be missed — the batter is crisp and dreamy and consistently so. The shrimp roll employs an alluring mixture of brown butter, sofrito and horseradish aioli to delectable results. Or just throw back a few oyster shooters? Not into deliciously briny bivalves? Stick with piña coladas, rosé and tasty hushpups and let the kiddos take up residence on the playground. 520 E. Grayson St., (210) 236-7422, shuckshack.com.

Tiago’s Cabo Grille // Inspired by the flavors of Cabo San Lucas, the food here is light, fresh and flavorful. A spin on the traditional Mexican, this coastal cuisine includes such fare as fire-grilled skewers and street vendor-style tacos. Daily lunch specials and signature drinks, like the San Lucas Breeze, put Tiago’s a notch above the rest. Multiple locations, tiagoscabogrille.com.

Barn Door // A San Antonio institution, the Historic Barn Door offers down-home fare with Texas hospitality. Steaks can be ordered blackened, rolled in black peppercorn or smothered in jalapeños. 8400 N. New Braunfels Ave., (210) 824-0116, thebarndoorrestaurant.com.

Chama Gaucha // Locally headquartered, this Brazilian steakhouse has outposts in Atlanta, Chicago and Houston. Head here for big celebrations and make sure to bring your appetite. Choose from 12 meats — bacon-wrapped filet, anyone? — and more than 30 salad bar items. 18318 Sonterra Pl., (210) 564-9400, chamagaucha.com.

Galpao Gaucho // Stone Oak holds a delicious secret: a locally owned Brazilian steakhouse with an extensive wine selection, happy hour, and all the meats your heart desires. It’s laid-back and great for date night. 2318 N. Loop 1604 W., (210) 497-2500.

Josephine Street Café // Since 1979, Josephine’s has always been a downtown gem with its signature steak and whiskey offerings. Stop by Josephine’s for a 16-ounce Texas t-bone and feel enriched in a downtown tradition. 400 E. Josephine St., (210) 224-6169, josephinestcafe.com.

J-Prime Steakhouse // Texans love steaks. They also love charcuterie boards, badass brunch buffets complete with made-to-order omelets and a meat carving station, and excellent happy hours, and you can find them all at J-Prime. 1401 N. Loop 1604 W., (210) 764-1604, jprimesteakhouse.com.

Kirby’s Steakhouse // This Dallas-based specialty steakhouse originated in 1954 and is known for its aged Midwestern prime beef. The San Antonio location has been a local favorite since opening its doors in 2007. 123 Loop 1604 NE, (210) 404-2221, kirbyssteakhouse.com.

Little Red Barn // This little red chophouse isn’t so little and its iconic red building is visible from the highway. For over 50 years, Little Red Barn has catered to hungry SA diners in a folksy dining hall. Don’t mind the faux-pistol-clad servers, it’s just part of the aesthetic. 1902 S. Hackberry St., (210) 532-4235, lrbsteakhouse.com.

Little Rhein Steakhouse // With a wide wine list and rustic charm, Little Rhein impresses in the historic Bombach house from 1847. The dining experience is elevated with a River Walk patio making it ideal for a romantic, dimly lit dinner. 231 S. Alamo St., (210) 225-2111, littlerheinsteakhouse.com.

Myron’s Prime Steak House // Steaks take center stage but also memorable is the jalapeño mac and cheese, stuffed tomatoes and bread pudding with Maker’s Mark sauce. Be sure to check out the extensive wine list. 10003 NW Military, Suite 2101, (210) 493-3031, myronsprime.com.

Tejas Rodeo Company // Eat in cowboy fashion with a wooden dining room, country dancing and Go Texan top sirloin in the Hill Country. Now under new management — chef Johnny Hernandez and his True Flavors company — the menu retains favorites like KC Steaks but new menu items celebrate Texas cuisine. March through November you can still catch professional rodeo on Saturday nights. 401 Obst Road, Bulverde, tejasrodeo.com.

Texas de Brazil // Influenced by the flavors Porto Alegre, Brazil, Texas de Brazil takes the cuisine of Brazil and combines the hospitality of Texas for a meal unique to this churrascaria. Brazilian sausages, picanha, prosciutto and leg of loin are reliable staples. Hit the salad bar for a lighter choice. 313 E. Houston St., (210) 299-1600, texasdebrazil.com.

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Dessert Crème Brûlée (Vanilla Bean Custard with Caramel Top)

We set the table with symbols of France the Eiffel tower and a rooster, their national animal, (even though Napoleon had concern that it was not a strong enough symbol for France.) It is the main ingredient in one of France’s famous dishes made using an aged rooster, called Coq au Vin. For additional décor, we placed the national flower, the Iris and used a café chalkboard sign to represent the quaintness of the many open air cafés. Then we put on some French music, Edith Piaf, “La Vie en Rose,” to set the mood.

We began with a glass of champagne and toasted “Sante A la Votre” pronounced sahn-tay/ ah la vo-tre which means, Bottoms up or Cheers in French. We then served the amazing escargot (aka, snails.) I know many may be squeamish about eating a snail but really you have no idea what you are missing. If you just imagine you are eating a mushroom, you can get past the thought of it and then, it is pure heaven. It was served in the traditional way with just a garlic and herb, butter sauce and a French baguette, impossible to beat!

Next was the famous, French onion soup. This can be served along with a baguette as a meal by itself. We enjoyed small portions of this rich, cheesy, onion soup. The top has “croutes” which are toasted baguette covered with a combination of melted cheeses. It was superb. The rich, beef based broth pairs beautifully with any good French red wine.

For the main course I chose Sole Meuniere, a pan fried, Dover sole that was served with glazed carrots, fresh from the garden. The sole meuniere was the first true French meal Julia Child had when she arrived in Rouen France, and while eating it, she had an epiphany. This was the meal that changed Julia and the whole world for that matter. This is what she had to say about that meal:
“Rouen is famous for its duck dishes, but after consulting the waiter, Paul, had decided to order sole meuniere. It arrived whole: a large, flat Dover sole that was perfectly browned in a sputtering butter sauce with a sprinkling of chopped parsley on top. The waiter carefully placed the platter in front of us, stepped back and said, “Bon Appétit!”
“I closed my eyes and inhaled the rising perfume. Then I lifted a forkful of fish to my mouth, took a bite, and chewed slowly. The flesh of the sole was delicate, with a light but distinct taste of the ocean that blended marvelously with the browned butter. I chewed slowly and swallowed. It was a morsel of perfection.”
She later said “That lunch in Rouen….. It was the most exciting meal of my life.”

We concur Julia, the fish was out of this world. It is a testament to simple recipes and oh yes, sputtering, browned butter! The carrots were sweet and savory and added the perfect visual contrast on the plate, next to the sole.

A Salade Nicoise was also served. The salad gets its name from the olives, a small black olive that comes from the region of Nice. This salad is beautiful to behold with its colorful blend of ingredients: tuna, eggs, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, potato and green beans along with the simple dressing made from olive oil, lemon and shallots. It was lovely.

Plateau de fromage was up next. It is a cheese plate served on an artist’s palate to represent the French Impressionism era. Over 1000 different types of cheese are made in France, the most traditional being the blue/green veined, Roquefort. Ripening takes place in natural caves dating all the way back to the 17th Century. I was thrilled to find some real, imported French cheeses to enjoy. I picked out four a Roquefort, camembert, brie and a triple cream brie made with wild mushrooms. These were served with a French baguette of course, some honey and a variety of jams. Cheese plates are often times served as a dessert or as an appetizer and are also wonderfully complemented with fresh fruit, such as apple, pear and grapes.

Last but certainly not least, was dessert. There were many choices for this course crepes, croissants, e’clairs, macarons, soufflés, tarts and the list goes on and on. But this choice was an easy one for me, Crème Brulee, my all-time favorite dessert. The top of the brulee was gently caramelized to a sweet and crunchy crust using a cooking torch. Not a bite was left uneaten. Paired with dessert was a fine, French cognac, with which my guests raised their glasses and said, “Merci beaucoup” meaning, thank you very much.

After dinner we headed outside to work off some calories with a friendly game of Petanque, the sport that perhaps is closest to French hearts. Similar to lawn bowling or bocce ball, the French version is played on a dirt surface, with metallic balls. As an aside, one wonders how the French stay so thin eating this rich and delicious cuisine of theirs. Well, besides playing Petanque, you will see people in France walking at a very quick pace, almost everywhere they go. So “Bon Appétit” indeed!

To be honest I am a little sad to leave this country. Part of me wants to further explore every region and specialty France has to offer, perhaps a new project when I am finished with the rest of the world.

Until then,
Au Revoir France!
Warmest regards,
Darlene


Getting Around Berkeley on Your Bike

The East Bay lends itself well to modes of transportation other than driving. Here is a guide to the whys and hows of biking in the East Bay, and Berkeley in particular.

Driving in the East Bay is an activity that can range from merely aggravating to nearly futile. Among other things, there are the ever-present threats of traffic jams, lack of parking, and having to share the road with aggressive, over-caffeinated drivers, which push the act of driving ever closer to a Hobbesian state of nature: nasty, brutish, and (with luck, mercifully) short. Nowhere more so than in Berkeley are the problems with driving in the East Bay apparent. For example, unless you have a Nobel Prize ( and thereby a prime reserved space on the UC Berkeley campus) the only reliable thing about finding a parking spot is futility. And then, of course, there are the numerous one-way or dead-end streets throughout the town.

So why not save yourself the trouble? After all, bike riding is fun! Your movement is the product of your own pedaling, not simply from stepping on the gas. Bikes can go places cars cannot (such as straight across campus), and have no fuel costs. Parking is as simple as finding an open space on a rack. Moreover, the Berkeley’s Office of Transportation website claims that “Berkeley ranks as the safest place with a population over 60,000 in California for biking and walking.”

First, you’re required to obtain a California bicycle license to ride in Berkeley (free for UC students, $8 otherwise) However, I have never seen a rider cited for not having a license. After that, and the purchase of a good lock, you’re free to go wherever you wish.

If you don’t yet have a bicycle, or if your bike breaks down, Berkeley has no shortage of bike shops. For example, the Missing Link Bicycle Co-op (1988 Shattuck Ave.) sells new bikes and gear. At their Annex across the street (1961 Shattuck Ave.), the co-op sells used bikes and repair services.

Unfortunately, the paths of bike lanes through the streets of Berkeley often meander erratically. It is sometimes hard to go from point A to point B following only the designated bike lanes. You should, however, try to follow the bike lanes as much as possible, if only to avoid the stress that comes with riding in a busy street while cars whip past.

A useful website to help a rider plan a course along bike lanes is http://bicycling.511.org. ( a government-sponsored one-stop-shop for transportation-related information e.g. traffic and bike lanes.) The site includes a Google Maps-style zoom-able street map of the entire Bay Area annotated to show the three types of bike paths: streets that have bike paths on them streets with little traffic, but no bike path, deemed safe for riders and dedicated pedestrian/biking paths. The site also has printable maps with the same information.

As should perhaps be obvious, you should be particularly aware of road-safety precautions when on a bike. The roads of Berkeley, particularly when narrow, can be dangerous for the unwary rider.

Another useful site is BicycleSafety.com. The website’s main page—titled “How to Not Get Hit by Cars”—lists 10 different types of collisions and how to avoid them. The types of collisions range from the “Red Light of Death” to the “Wrong-Way Wallop,” and are presented along with practical advice like “Don’t ride against traffic.” Also good to keep in mind: bicyclists must obey the same road rules that govern cars.

Once you have arrived at your destination, you must make sure to securely lock your bike to a bicycle rack. Unlocked or improperly locked bikes do get stolen, particularly when left outside overnight. Theft should not be a constant concern. Hopefully you will enjoy years of bicycling in Berkeley.


Da Ciro’s Focaccia Robiola

When Ciro Verdi first slathered creamy robiola cheese inside a split-and-dimpled flatbread at Pino Luongo’s Le Madri three decades ago, he created a sensation, pizzalike but with the best organoleptic qualities of a toasted bagel with shmear. It became the specialty of the house at his eponymous Da Ciro, but after that restaurant succumbed last year, both the chef and his focaccia reemerged in Hudson Square at Luongo’s new Coco Pazzeria. There are other versions around town, all inspired by Verdi, but none better than the original.


The Pig & The Rose

Don't you hate it when you have an iced drink and the sugar doesn't dissolve in it like it does in a hot drink? That is where simple syrup comes in! Simple syrup is another term for sugar water, because that's what it really is: sugar and water. Making this is really easy too.

Smorgasburg | A Brooklyn Flea Food Market

I was first introduced to Smorgasburg (between North 6th and North 7th St., at the East River, from 10am to 5pm) about a month ago by the Boyfriend. It was a trek to get there because it wasn't particularly near any train station. Smorgasburg is located at a gravel lot on the Williamsburg water front. It is full of food vendors in booths, scattered tables with chairs, and the Manhattan skyline as the background. The food vendors here aren't the cheap halal stands, but more unique and gourmet, and can be seen by the prices as well. There is also a newly renovated park and water taxi outside the market. You can escape the city and relax on the clean lawn with a picnic made up of foods from the market.

** Smorgasburg is part of the Brooklyn Flea but they are not at the same location. Smorgasburg is all food vendors meanwhile Brooklyn Flea encompasses everything (clothing, utensils, everything else). I have yet to visit the Flea but I will soon!



Now onto the exciting part: The Food . The first time the Boyfriend and I went, we were modest and didn't go crazy over the food.





I like the Sidney more because it is not as fatty and monotonous as the Wangding's pork belly. Sidney has more texture from the peanuts and mango, the crunch and nutty flavor, and it is more fresh. Obviously, since it has mangoes and cucumbers versus cooked pork belly. But mmm, pork belly is so good.

For the second visit, I had a voucher that I bought from GILT New York (think Groupon but fancier).

The Lobster Roll: Maine Style from The Red Hook Lobster Pound. Don't get me wrong but I like the Red Hook Lobster Pound. The first time we went to the brick and mortar, we got the Shrimp Roll and it was GREAT. Maybe its the price that is throwing me off. This is only half the roll but the full roll is not much bigger. And it is $16. $16!! for a small lobster roll. For that price, I could get a whole lobster elsewhere.

Biscuit with Honey Butter from King's Crumb. They are famous for their biscuits and fried chicken (including a sign across their booth stating so). The biscuit is pretty big and fluffed up. The honey butter is sweet and it tastes good, but anything with butter (and bacon) tastes better. Together it makes a savory snack. The Boyfriend thinks there is orange zest in it because of the orange flakes in the butter.



This is from Landhaus and it is DELICIOUS. Do you see the giant slab of bacon? Every BLT should include one. They ran out of the Lamb Burger by the time I got there, but this was an excellent substitute. The bread is toasted and crunchy and the bacon, oh the bacon. One of the best BLT's I've ever had and I recommend this to everyone, except vegetarians. The two creators behind this sandwich has an interesting history too.



The Roasted Chicken Sandwich from I8NY. We were contemplating between Porchetta and I8NY, and I think we made the correct decision. The salsa verde on this is amazing. The chicken is not dry but moist and juicy and the pickled green tomatoes helped with the acidity.



Fish Tacos from Chonchos Fish Tacos. At first they told us we had to wait 20 minutes so we walked around and went back to the stand. We ordered the fish taco so we had a variety for today: lobster, pork, biscuit, chicken, and fish. I mean, it was okay for a fish taco. Nothing that blew my mind and it needed a bit more sauce.



For our 'dessert' (because this isn't our only one!) we had the Stumptown Coffee [with cream + sugar] Popsicle from People's Pops. If you ever tried People's Pops, they do not go cheap on the ingredients. The Boyfriend is a huge fan of Stumptown's coffee so we got this flavor. The top is not dark because of lighting or the camera but because it is the coffee grounds. Crunchy little bits of delicious coffee.

The stand's top is a popsicle stick, how cool! I wish I could try all the flavors. They all sound so interesting, especially the Watermelon + Basil!



Dough. One of the stands you have to visit, regardless if you like doughnuts or not. They are fresh, fluffy, and made locally in Brooklyn. They are not heavy, not stale, or overly sweet like the popular commercialized donuts from Dunkin Donuts. They sold out of doughnuts twice already and were waiting for their third batch of doughnuts. The line for this could get ridiculously long.

If I was bigger or faster I would carry that cart of doughnuts and run away to an island.

Left to Right: Earl Grey Chocolate, Blood Orange, Cafe au Lait

Earl Grey Chocolate is the first one I ever had and I absolutely love it. The Blood Orange and Cafe au Lait were 'snacks' we bought during our second visit. The chocolate and blood orange one are their popular flavors and sell out fast and I can see why. There are just hints of the flavors so it doesn't overpower. Cafe au Lait has a slight coffee flavor and the crunchy bits on top are so good. I eat these doughnuts as fast as I can once I get my hands on them so I don't know if they'll go stale the next day or not, but why would you wait until the next day to eat them?? They are only $2 each, too! And they are HUGE. I think these doughnuts are much better than the cupcake trend.



On a hot summer day, nothing quenches thirst like a slush from Kelvins Natural Slush Co. It is all natural and extremely refreshing. I fell in love with the slush since our first encounter at the Flea Market in Hell's Kitchen. Since this isn't the truck, it only has limited flavors and this is the Arnold Palmer + Pink Guava. One day I will try it all. Probably before winter.

The Grapefruit Honey Jalapeno is a soda from BK Soda Works. I was surprised but I actually like it. The grapefruit is not that sour or acidic and was made sweeter by the honey. The jalapeno adds a kick to the drink and on my tongue but wasn't too crazy. The Lime-Aid and Green Tea +Mint was from random stands which I don't remember. A lot of the stands sell drinks or bottled water along with their food.

If you don't have plans for the weekend, you should consider making a visit to the Smorgasburg because there is something for everyone. Plus, who doesn't like good food? Just be prepared for the lines. The market is also within walking distance to the Brooklyn Brewery but that's saved for another post. This is the height of the hipster, food truck, waiting in line, pop-ups, organic, local, gourmet meets accessibility phenomenon and Smorgasburg is a perfect example of it.


Watch the video: Brick + Mortar - Bangs Audio (December 2021).