The recent launch of the stunning Pearl Brewery complex along San Antonio’s River Walk, anchored by the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) plus the school’s strong focus on the local Latino gastronomic aesthetic have helped give this rich and tasty American food culture the legitimacy it deserves.
Not that it needs a fancy culinary school to lend it legitimacy. But since over 80% of the kitchen workers in the southern states are of Latino descent, this gives them the opportunity to helm kitchens as head chefs with culinary degrees in their back pockets while cooking their own food.
In addition to the Latino-infused CIA, gourmet shops and restaurants like La Gloria (street foods of Mexico), there’s a Saturday Farmers Market in this River Walk extension, which together illustrate how Latin American food has become an important part of the larger American culinary cannon.
When I was speaking at a conference in San Antonio (or as I like to call it, Shvitzy Antonio) earlier this week, I was taken aback by bursts of colour and music everywhere, the kind people and the great food. From our waiter at Luke (star chef John Besh’s first restaurant outside of New Orlean’s), who joked about putting roofies in our French “75” cocktails, to the amazing receptions held at the famed Mi Tierra, and then the closing night event where a smiling group of Brazilian dancers conga lined us from the manicured lawns out onto our waiting river boats, the sweltering heat added even more exotica to this small but proud American city, where the tacos are great, but the margaritas are even better.