Food Truck Throw Down This Weekend

Food Truck Foodies unite!  It’s a “Food Truck Throw Down” this Friday through Sunday in San Antonio  (July 29th – 31st) at  Boardwalk on Bulverde (preferred haunt of the Rickshaw Stop)!   All food is affordable and the entertainment won’t stop. We hear that 28 food trucks from all over the state will be there with cuisines as varied as the towns in Texas.

Here are a few of the regular food trucks at Boardwalk on Bulverde.

K-Hill BBQ

Rickshaw Stop

KC’s Cones

Watch for the Duk Truck (random rotating cuisine), Guilty Pleasures (comfort food) and Tapa Tapa (small plates, but especially fresh fruit with pop rocks) along with many others.

If you fall in love with Boardwalk on Bulverde, return for “family-friendly fun,” on Kid’s Movie Night each Thursday this summer. Friday and Saturday evenings include a DJ who brings the kids in on the musical fun, too.

To Boardwalk on Bulverde

(click on map for full view)

*We recommend: 1) Evenings in the summer month, and 2) Sample a little of everything!

 

Can’t Stop Thinking About the Pakistani Food Truck

Rickshaw Stop Food Truck

When we received an invitation to stop by Rickshaw Stop — a local Pakistani street food truck — we went ready to meander through their entire menu. As it turns out, the menu was short and uncomplicated. The food was fresh and delicious!

We pulled into the Boardwalk on Bulverde (regular haunt of the Rickshaw Stop), and realized this visit was going to be an adventure. Food trucks were circled around a picnic area like pioneer wagons for the night. Kids were playing on the gym equipment while folks were ordering up their favorites from the trucks  serving their specialties.

Sameer and Meagan Siddiqui

Owners, Sameer and Meagan Siddiqui, made us feel especially welcome with their friendly descriptions of the menu items. Sameer’s mother, aunt and uncle are all key players in this family venture, too. The family’s journey, which began in India and Pakistan, ended in San Antonio via New York.

Chicken and Beef Kebabs

Our little band of foodies ordered up everything on the menu and shared around the picnic table. The Kebabs (not Kabobs), look somewhat like a Mexican taco, but the flavors are very different. Wrapped in a Paratha (Pakistani tortilla?), the beef or chicken Kebabs were packed with flavor — especially after we sampled the various freshly made sauces on top. Our favorite Kebab? The chicken with Tamarind sauce. Mmmm. Loved those Parathas, too.

Next came the Samosas. These crusty little pillows of flavor are inexpensive and fun to eat — smaller and lighter than the Indian versions we’ve eaten in the past. And dare I tell you? They’re obviously deep fried (uh oh), but the pastry shell is hand made and the fillings are great. Again, the three sauces were generously applied at will. All three Samosas (beef, chicken and vegetarian) were a hit with me, but then, I did use the word “fried” in my description didn’t I?

Samosas (chicken, beef and vegetarian)

What’s Kheer? Think rice pudding, made with rice milk, sugar, cardamom and rose water. These tasty little cups of unavoidable goodness are topped off with crunchy chips of almonds and pistachios. Speaking of desserts, we weren’t allowed to leave without sampling the one non-Pakistani item on the menu… Mom Siddiqui’s own recipe for Baklava. This version has much less honey, but plenty of flaky pastry. Sameer confesses his frequent addiction to crumbled Baklava stirred inside a bowl of Kheer. Ooooh,  Yum + Yum = YUM!

Baklava

This place is “family-friendly,” too, with a Kid’s Movie Night on Thursday. Friday and Saturday evenings include a DJ who brings the kids in on the musical fun. Be sure to check the Rickshaw Stop website for their various hours of operation (usually just three evenings and Saturdays) and more details about their menu items.

In the end, I knew this place was a hit when, just five hours later, I was thinking about when I could return.

Our Recommendations: The Chicken Kebabs with Tamarind Sauce, all of the Samosas, the Baklava and Kheer. Also, go in the evening during cooler hours if  the summer sun is glaring.

Happy Rickshaw Guests

There’s a Delicious “Kick” to Their Tortilla Soup

Another Tortilla Soup Blog? Here’s what we figure. If our readers/followers/fans keep telling us about their favorite Tortilla Soup dining spots, we’ll compile the biggest Tortilla Soup directory in the country. ¡Vamos! (You can see our up-to-date photo album on Facebook.)

So, here’s the latest. Another reader, Margaret Fisher, recommended Sweet Temptations in McAllen, Tx as the best spot anywhere for Tortilla Soup. Her comment was, “I know it’s not in S.A., but when in the Valley, you’ve got to try Sweet Temptations…both the ‘tortilla’ and the ‘green chile’ are the best!”

Sweet Temptations Tortilla Soup

We recently chatted with owner, Marty Lipscomb. Marty and his wife, J.P., make their Tortilla Soup fresh every day. Though they make several fresh soups each week, this is their guests’ favorite.

Did we use the word “meatless” yet? This version has no chicken (yay, vegetarians!) with whole field tomatoes, zuccini, seasonings, cheddar and their own in-house white corn tortilla chips. (Now that makes me wonder what else they’re making with the whole tortillas!?) You’ll find Rotel tomatoes in the base with a few other secret ingredients. The only dairy is the cheddar on top. This favorite soup is made fresh daily and, oh, we must tell you the spicy “kick” is there, but it’s slight and just right.

What else can you enjoy at Sweet Temptations? Chicken Cordon Bleu, hand breaded Chicken Fried Steak and Shrimp, wonderful salads w/ house made dressings, a variety of other freshly made soups, and on and on.

These folks are open for breakfast and lunch only, so be sure to call ahead for their hours of operation. Here’s the link to their website once again.

Prosciutto, Kalamata Olives, Peppadew Peppers and More…

Whole Foods Pizza with Artichoke Hearts, Spinach, Tomatoes and Kalamata Olives

Our Quest for the Best sometimes takes us to unexpected places. Recently, I was wandering around Whole Foods in San Antonio. My mission was  to buy organic cotton balls. Cotton balls have nothing to do with food, but let me just say, those SOFT little white things would make the crustiest person feel pampered.

A Terrific Thursday Deal

Getting back to food. My meanderings took me to the huge cheese department, which naturally made me think of pizza. The next thing I knew I was staring at their hot pizza case and thinking about letting Whole Foods prepare our dinner for the evening. That’s when I noticed their sign about the Thursday $10 special.

Fast as a locomotive, I assessed the size of their 16″ pizzas, added up the six enormous pieces, and concluded at least 3 people could enjoy an incredible pizza for only $10 on Thursdays. My brilliant math mind calculated roughly $3.33/person, which left extra money for a trip to their unforgettable fresh salad bar.

Prosciutto, Oven Roasted Tomatoes, Pesto and more

No matter what ingredients you choose, I guarantee you will LOVE this stuff. Though each bite is robust with flavor, each ingredient is delicately distinguishable. All ingredients are found on their store shelves and the wheat pizza dough is made from scratch with organic  flour.

I usually recommend a favorite of whatever I sample at the restaurants we visit. However, I have to say that choosing a favorite here is pretty challenging. Previously, the “Grilled Vegetable” pizza (fresh grilled zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, onions, bell peppers and four cheeses) was my fav. Last night’s samples crumpled my clarity and now I can’t decide which ingredients I prefer. I know for sure the peppadew peppers on the pizza pictured here were especially memorable. Whole Foods provides a menu of pizza choices, but I usually buy with my eyes and order up what looks good in the hot case.

Peppadew Peppers and Pesto

Take-out isn’t necessary. If you haven’t made a trip to Whole Foods, they actually have a Cafe where you can very casually “dine”.

So, have a seat. Close your eyes. Imagine you’re in a really cool pizza joint, and think about the flavors as you munch on your hot, healthy piece-a-pizza pie.

Going it alone? Try two pieces for $5 any day! Vegan available, too.

Vegans Rejoice – Mexican Food for Everyone!

La Fiesta Patio Cafe

We love to tell the stories of American entrepreneurs – particularly restaurant owners. Today’s story is of a business woman with a great idea and the ability to carry it through, hold fast to her concept and earn a reputation in the city for quality Mexican food.

Patricia Diaz and her family opened La Fiesta Patio Café in 1974 on the Austin Highway in San Antonio. Their traditional Mexican food was good as it was, but Patricia’s inspiration to prepare the food with good health in mind, took her offerings to a different level.

After working with new recipes, she exchanged peanut oil for lard, whole grain brown rice for white rice and mashed beans for refried beans. Those changes led the way to numerous others. This café’s guests could enjoy vegetarian enchiladas with sides like fresh fruit and garden salads. They even swapped privately grown organic alfalfa sprouts for lettuce on their chalupas compuestas!

La Fiesta Patio Cafe became so popular that when the family relocated the restaurant to Universal City, many of Patricia’s customers faithfully followed her and her unique cuisine.

This is a place you’ve just gotta try. One bite and you know there’s no sacrifice for quality and flavor at this special spot. My personal favorites are the light and crunchy chicken puffy tacos and the “what’s-in-this-soup!?” tortilla soup. The puffy tacos don’t taste heavy at all (because of the peanut oil?). I took

Tortilla Soup and Puffy Taco

one bite of the soup and had that wow moment while I tried to discern what all of the delicious ingredients were.

It’s hard to stop talking about this place, but I’ll see what else I can squeeze into this one paragraph: fresh tres leches cake (swimming in the sweet milky sauce), fantastic frozen margaritas (made with specially imported agave wine) and a friendly staff who make your visit a pleasure.

Tres Leches Cake and Flan

Stop by and say “hello.” Patricia no longer does the cooking, but you’ll see her there, watching over the operation carefully to see that their presentation and quality are maintained.

Twin Sisters Bakery Cafes

When I walked into Twin Sisters for the first time, I knew it was a place I’d like to come back to. Both the Downtown and Sunset Ridge locations have a cool but cozy feel to them and though the menus are very similar there are some big differences, too.

Anyone who’s been in the restaurant business for almost 30 years like they have, has figured out what brings clients in the door — a cool location and fresh good food to start. The service is friendly and the staff is sharp, too. I could hardly take my pictures around the bustling servers, rushing to take care of their customers.

And why not? Everything’s so fresh and unique I was ready to

Corn Cake Special (Downtown)

try a little of everything myself! For example, check out this Corn Cake Special (downtown location on Wednesdays only). I’m determined to get downtown on a Wednesday soon!

The Sunset Ridge location has terrific food, too, and the cheesy pizza got my attention; and, ooohh the cakes and muffins!

The Twins started their first Twin Sisters Bakery &  Cafe on Olmos Drive in 1981. The location was so tiny it only accommodated 2 parking spaces. Before long they had as many as 30 customers at a time and it became clear that it was time to move. Since they relocated to  Sunset Ridge in Alamo Heights their booming business has never slowed down.

Though the Twins (Patricia and Priscilla) eventually took separate business paths, two of the sisters in the family are still running the businesses.  Pat Stein and Carol Pearcy are dedicated to serving consistently good quality, healthy products. They especially take pride in being honest about what their food really is, too. That should be a simple task considering the clearly natural and fresh ingredients they use.

Carol seems to be the adventurous one. She loves trying new items, so be sure to ask about the off menu specials. Since May is National Strawberry Month they’ve served strawberry soup, strawberry chicken salad, and even freshly baked strawberry tarts. They even have a variety of beverages each day, including a wide selection of wines, to enhance your favorite entree. You won’t be disappointed when you visit either of the Twin Sisters Bakery Cafes. Lots of hard work and solid experience make both good choices for your dining dollars.

Final FIESTA Fun!

We’re sad to say that FIESTA 2010 is almost over, but there’s still plenty of time to enjoy a long list of events.  Here are our top picks:

FridayBattle of Flowers Parade with an early dinner afterward at Green Vegetarian Cuisine . We’re not even vegetarians and we love this place! Their terrific Portabella Burger and Onion Rings are well worth the visit.

Saturday – Begin your day with a big bowl of oatmeal (with all the toppings) or a Meditterranean omelette at  Twin Sisters Bakery & Cafe on New Braunfels St. Afterward, these are our top picks for a very full day:

Sunday – After church services, or sleeping in, your final FIESTA day begins with a leisurely brunch at the Lighthouse Cafe in Olmos Park. Their famous coffee and Eggs Benedict are wonderful (everything here is wonderful). Nearby, The San Antonio Symphonic Band Concert will be featuring music about the great rivers of the world, including the San Antonio River Walk.

With the minimal (or no) entry fees at most of these events, and the ability to purchase good food at affordable prices with our $5Dining Restaurants, you may even complete your FIESTA weekend with money left in your pocket!