San Antonio’s Culinaria Food Truck Competition 2013

by Andie Mitchell on May 17, 2013

Yesterday morning, not quite bright and much too early, I hopped a flight down to Texas for one reason and one reason only: food. A four-day-long culinary festival in San Antonio. I was invited by the San Antonio Conventions and Visitors Bureau on an all-expense paid trip to the lone star state to explore the festivities—to eat my way through them, actually—and then share my experience. I’m somewhere far, far beyond grateful to be here, preparing for all of the eating and exploring to come. The good news is that I toted my fancy camera with me and I packed my reserve stomach; the bad news is that I can’t share bites and sips with you, and for that, I’m sorry. I’ll do my best with extra-delicious words.

I should start by telling you a little about the festival. Now in its 14th year, Culinaria is a multi-day, multi-venue event that celebrates San Antonio’s diverse culinary scene and brings together the city’s hottest chefs, visiting celebrity chefs and winemakers from around the world. There are formal dinners at area restaurants, casual luncheons, food truck showdowns, tequila and Texas produce tastings, cooking classes, chocolate and champagne pairings, and more. All of it serves to highlight and explore the city’s Latin and European culinary and cultural roots.

I arrived in San Antonio early on Thursday afternoon, checked into my room at the gorgeous and trendy Hotel Havana (review to come!), and then used the few free hours I had before dinner to explore the surrounding area.

san antonio river walk

I strolled along the famous River Walk (the stretch of walkway along the San Antonio River), which my tour book described as a “crossroads of culture and commerce offering meandering pathways that connect hotel, museums, sidewalk cafes, theaters, and more.”

photo

 

san antonio river walk

 

san antonio river walk

 

san antonio river walk

san antonio river walk

By early evening, it was time for our group welcome reception at Hotel Havana’s Ocho

hotel havana ocho

 

hotel havana ocho

I just love the decor.

hotel havana ocho

 

 

hotel havana ocho

To sip: Blackberry sangria.

hotel havana ocho

To snack: (clockwise from the top) House cured and smoked salmon on a wheat berry toast point with harissa remoulade, ocho braised beef flatbread pizza, bacon-wrapped shrimp.

After the meet and greet, I headed to the city’s 2nd annual Food Truck Competition. And when I say I headed there, I mean—I raced to it. I downright adore a good food truck—and all street fare for that matter—so having a dozen of them congregated in one spot, ready and willing to feed me two of their unique dishes? You’re going to have to carry me home.

culinaria food truck competition

 

culinaria food truck competition

Khill BBQ Co.

khill bbq co food truck

 

khill bbq co pulled pork slider

 

khill bbq co pulled pork slider

Pulled pork slider with homemade (truck-made?) sweet pickles. This was, by far, my favorite dish of the night.

spice sea gourmet

Spice Sea Gourmet had Virginia crabcakes and gumbo.

bite street bistro

Bite Street Bistro

bite street bistro

 

mars mobile vermontster

Mars Mobile Kitchen: The Vermontster: grilled Angus ground beef topped with sautéed Crimini mushrooms and Vermont white cheddar cheese, served on Texas Toast with mustard, mayo, herbed field greens, tomato, red onion, and sweet and spicy pickles. They also served Korean Gochujang wings, which were baked chicken wings marinated in a Korean fermented red pepper paste, then fried to order and tossed in a sweet and spicy blue agave nectar Gochujang sauce.

mars mobile vermontster

 

mars mobile food truck

mars mobile chicken street tacos

Mars Mobile Kitchen’s Chicken Street Tacos: twice caramelized marinated chicken thighs, grilled then sautéed with garlic, red onion, and fire roasted jalapenos. Served on corn tortillas and topped with diced tomatoes, sour cream, and chopped cilantro.

food truck

 

cheesy jane's

Cheesy Jane’s offered cheeseburger sliders, tater tots, and malted milkshakes.

cheesy jane's tater tots

Oreo milkshake with whipped cream and cheesy tots.

wheelie gourmet gyros

Wheelie Gourmet was one of the one trucks to boast a vegetarian option as well as the Moroccan lamb gyro, pictured above.

where y'at food truck

Where Y’At put out a fried shrimp po’boy slider and spicy beer-butter corn on the cob.

where y'at food truck

They also had beignets.

san antonio

Here I am attempting to eat a gyro without massive spillage.

san antonio

Success.

crepe nation

Crepe Nation dished out both sweet and savory options. The savory was an Asian chicken with peanut sriracha slaw.

crepe nation

And the sweet option was filled with strawberries and banana, then drizzled with Nutella.

Other trucks that my limited stomach capacity would not allow me to try:

Dan’s Kona Ice

Singh’s Vietnamese

Sabor Colombiano

Dillon’s Famous Louisiana Hot Dogs

Say*She*Ate

 

Overall, a fun and delicious event with lots of unique offerings. Tickets are $10 to enter the lot where the food trucks are stationed, and then each truck charges for their menu items individually. Prices range from $2 to $10 and from what I gathered, servings are generous. I highly recommend going with a friend and sharing plates to allow you to try more of what’s available.

 

More to come!

 

Question: Have you been to San Antonio? Texas? Anything I do/see/eat while I’m here?

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather May 17, 2013 at 8:34 am

Welcome! I’m from San Antonio and live in a nearby town, and we certainly have some wonderful food here. If you have the time, I’d suggest heading to the Farmer’s Market at the Pearl Brewery on Saturday morning (open 9-1). It’s about 1.5 miles north of your hotel and you can walk the river walk to get there if you want. They’ve got plenty of tents from local bakeries and restaurants and you can have breakfast and coffee (I’d recommend the iced chocolate mint) while listening to a live band and people watching.

Those food truck finds look amazing! I’ll definitely have to keep the competition on my radar and head out the next year!

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Andie Mitchell May 17, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Thanks so much Heather! Yes, I’m headed to the Pearl Farmers Market tomorrow morning and I can’t wait. I’ll be on the lookout for that chocolate mint coffee you mentioned :)

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Arlene May 17, 2013 at 10:06 am

Does Hotel Havana have AC?

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Andie Mitchell May 17, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Hey Arlene,

Yep, they do. It’s blasting and it feels fantastic after being out all day in the heat!

Andie

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Rocio May 17, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Oh God how did you manage to try all that in one day? I want to believe it wasn’t all in one day haha

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Cinnamon Vogue May 17, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Andie, next time you go on one of these trips, let me know I will come too. :-) This looks so fabulous. Love the photos. I will take a Blackberry Sangria and a House cured and smoked salmon on a wheat berry toast to go. Send by UPS. Hurry!! :-) And get the recipes. You have got to do a video, at least a short clip, so we can enjoy the delights with you. Darn it, you made me hungry now.

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kimberly May 17, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Welcome to texas, Andie!! You should totally come up to dallas and cook for me lol. I adore your writing and the way you make every meal an adventure. Although I have never been overweight I have struggled with eating problems such as binge eating and your advice and mindful eating practices are truly inspirational. Enjoy your stay in Texas and thanks again!

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Andie Mitchell May 17, 2013 at 5:53 pm

Kimberly, thank you! Really kind of you to say

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tiffany May 17, 2013 at 6:43 pm

YES. as a dweller of dallas and lover of Andie’s blog as well, i second this.

but really, austin is the best city ever with amazing food- the best BBQ you’ll ever have, great sushi place (Uchi), and amazing burgers! it’s about 1.5 hr drive from SA. please let me know if you decide to go because i would love to give you recommendations as i am a big austin enthusiast!

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Kristin May 17, 2013 at 3:09 pm

OMG!! that food looks delicious!! I have never ate from a food truck before!!

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April Ozbilgin May 17, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Oh how I wish I was there! Looks like you are having a blast. Enjoy it for all of us who cannot be there!

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Serena May 17, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Try Roasario’s if you get a chance. Their ceviche and mole enchiladas are freakin awesome. Esquire has great drinks. Enjoy!

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Andie Mitchell May 17, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Ah I love enchiladas and mole so I’ll have to write that place down! Also always love a good cocktail spot. Thanks for the advice, Serena!

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Pam S May 18, 2013 at 3:00 am

Taco Cabana! The best homemade flour tortillas and their chicken fajita and bean and cheese tacos are awesome! I grew up in San Antonio and its my first stop every time I go back :)

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Cate May 18, 2013 at 8:53 am

I was in San Antonio a few weeks ago, and after being disappointed by the meals I had on the Riverwalk, I asked a local for advice. That led me to TRE Trattoria at the Fairmount Hotel, where I enjoyed some of their wonderfully prepared salmon – pan seared for a nice crust, but with a moist interior. The lemony ricotta bruschetta was also quite good. Glad that you are enjoying your culinary adventures. Thanks for sharing.

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teachermrw May 18, 2013 at 9:53 am

I’m a history geek, and a teacher. So,back in 1993, I visited the Alamo – it’s a National Historic Landmark, and a few missions. I did, however, visit the Riverwalk, and dined on enchiladas at a local Mexican eatery that dates back to the 1940s. :)

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llinden May 18, 2013 at 10:12 am

Go to Chuy’s! They originated in Austin, I believe, but there are a couple of Chuy’s in SA. You have to ask for the creamy jalepeno dip, and you definitely should. The Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (chicken enchiladas with hatch chili sauce) are spicy and wonderful! Have a great time. I lived there for a while, and I sure miss the food:)

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sandra May 18, 2013 at 10:54 am

Ahhh Andie you are in my hometown!! Let me tell you, San Antonio is a little slow on the uptake of great food but it’s getting there!!

For the most amazing burger for to La Tuna Grill! Downright the best burger in town! (Chris Madrids is good too but La Tuna is better, trust me on this!)

For the best margarita(not to sour not to sweet and always fresh!) go to El Jarro de Arturo! One of those bad boys with Patron Anejo and you are all set!

For awesome awesome awesome pizza go to Dough Pizzeria Napoletana! I had a fried egg on top of my pizza and it was A-MAZING!!

For the best chips and queso, Chuys is a given! Hands down!

For the best fajitas in the WORLD (And I mean that wholeheartedly) go to Lupe Tortilla! Get the beef not the chicken!

For traditional mexican pastries and food go to Mi Tierra downtown and La Margarita!( I’ll be honest, not the biggest fan of these two but they are classics and a must see!)

And finally, although many cities are now boasting Brazilian Steakhouses, I have to say our Chama Gaucha is by the far the best out there! (Ive been to many both in San Antonio and other cities). The food is to die for and the service is unbeatable!

Good luck and I hope you have the most amazing time! If you get a chance to go to Austin let me know! Went there for school and I know that Austin has some of the most amazing places to eat ever!!

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Christi May 18, 2013 at 11:40 am

Try Dough! Mmmmmmmm!

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annelies May 18, 2013 at 3:46 pm

I was in San Antonio in late March and liked it so much more than I remember from childhood in Texas. We ate at a place I think you would dig called The Fruteria- tostadas and juices and a delightful yogurt granola parfait bowl. Have fun checking out the Alamo!

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Lauren @ The Highlands Life May 18, 2013 at 5:55 pm

AHHHHHH. That all looks ridiculously amazing!

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Jennyfer May 19, 2013 at 2:55 am

You need, need, NEED to run, sprint, DASH your way over to Soluna and get the Chile en Nogada. It’s such a delicious, refreshing, and unique dish that’s a great representation of everything that’s great about our heritage!

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Kelly May 19, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Hey Andie,
Congratulations on losing and maintaining your weight! You look awesome. I’m also think it’s awesome you figured out there was an underlying issue to resolve before losing weight – I didn’t and that made it take so much longer – I always say ‘It took me 10 years to lose 10 pounds’ – but it’s true! As well, it’s amazing you have turned it all into a passion for cooking that takes you traveling, etc.! You have an awesome success story. I have a site: http://www.the10principles.com that shares the 10 things that helped me lose weight and keep it off for 15 years. Thank you for sharing your story and being motivating from every angle. :) Kelly & have fun in Texas!!!

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darcy May 19, 2013 at 4:31 pm

After working on such an extreme weight loss, do these events trigger you to want to eat more? How do you keep focused on your diet with such amazing food around? Keep up the good work!

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LC May 19, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Wow, can the decorators that did Ocho just come do my house? Gorgeous!

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Aubrey May 19, 2013 at 7:25 pm

I live in san antonio! The pearl is the best place to go for some amazing food- perhaps you were there Saturday morning for the farmers market? Il sognio and green vegetarian cuisine are two of my favorites. I wish I could meet you while you’re down here!

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Stephanie May 23, 2013 at 1:10 am

Andie,
I love the leather bracelets. Where are they from?
Steph

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Andie Mitchell May 23, 2013 at 8:58 am

Thanks! TJ Maxx!

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Sandra P May 29, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Andie,

I just wanted to say hello and i hope that you enjoyed your stay with us.It was a pleasure having you and the others in house and running into you at different places. We hope to have you back again in the near future. I enjoyed reading about your experience look like you had a great time.
!
Sandra

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