The Tasting Panel magazine

Nov 09

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Page 76 of 92

76 / the tasting panel / november 2009 T exas cuisine doesn't typically conjure images of culinary perfection, unless you consider a 42 ounce Porterhouse a masterpiece. But now, the South Texas city of San Antonio is making an impact, crafting different and unique expressions of a region long believed to be little more than a glorified taco stand. Ernie Estrada, born in San Antonio, is the Chef de Cuisine at Westin's La Cantera Francesca's at Sunset. By utiliz- ing a broad palate of influences, Estrada creates culinary diversity. "The food is influenced by the cultures that still live here. German, French, Native Ameri- can, Mexican—even some Mayan influ- ence is flowing through our dishes," he notes. This range finds expression in a variety of dishes, such as Nilgai antelope or seasonal produce and shellfish and other seafood harvested from the Gulf of Mexico. "With this culinary explosion of ingredients and flavors, the experience is a literal melting pot of deliciousness," Estrada says. For Jason Dady, an inspired and ex- traordinarily focused chef, San Antonio has been a blessing. With experience at five restaurants under his belt, including the Lodge at Castle Hill, Bin 555 and the New Chefs in an Old Town Times have changed. San Antonio chefs are bucking the trends and creating new ones by Michael Cervin Jason Dady prepares a fennel-crusted lamb loin.

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