Biga On The Banks

PORTIONS EARN PERMANENT PLACEMENT
FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS

In the dining industry it is important to keep a finger on the pulse of every customer. One way to do this is to go online and read what is written on social sites like Yelp, Urban Spoon and Open Table (to name a few).

Though most of the posts are positive, it is sometimes hard to sift through the countless opinions that offer us an indication of what needs improvement and what the public hopes will continue.

This last summer we noticed bloggers applauding an addition to our weekend menu. On Fridays and Saturdays, diners were given the option to order most of their favorite entrees in two different sizes…the regular portion and a smaller version at about the price.

We thought with summer heat people would appreciate some portion control to keep their clothes fitting the way they’re supposed to. The truth is that people are liking more than the portion control aspect of smaller plates. The smaller prices also make our guests smile too.

Whether you’re watching you waistline or your spending, these smaller plates will be at your beck and call every Friday and Saturday until December 18th.

PARKING’S A BREEZE FOR BIGAMIGOS

BigAmigos is a rewards program. When you sign up as a BigAmigo you will be eligible for discounts and special offers that are announced in this quarterly newsletter.

This fall BigAmigos ‘rake in’ free parking.

BigAmigos will enjoy FREE VALET until November 20th of 2010.

Present your BigAmigo card to our valet and they will park one car per BigAmigo card.

Valet provided by Ace Parking.

Not a BigAmigo? No problemo. Sign up to be a BigAmigo and once you receive your card we will extend you similar privileges. Sign up at biga.com or in person at the restaurant.

CHEF JOHN BESH’S LÃœKE A WELCOME
ADDITION TO THE RIVER CITY

Louisiana super chef John Besh enjoys remarkable success in his home state with his many restaurants like La Provence, August and Besh Steak. With all his culinary success, it is no surprise that branching out to other states is in the cards for this James Beard Award winner.

Lüke, a kind of cross between a German Brasserie and beer hall, with an upscale look and a casual price point will soon open its doors in the center of downtown at the new Embassy Suites hotel (125 East Houston St.).

So, why San Antonio for Besh’s first restaurant outside of Louisiana? Besh says that with the German influences and casual, family friendly atmosphere San Antonio has to offer that Lüke will be a great fit. We agree.

An official menu isn’t quite ready but Besh promises that, though this is the second Lüke to open, San Antonio can expect a menu representative of central Texas.

That’s where Chef Steven McHugh comes in. Long time right hand man to John Besh, McHugh has relocated from New Orleans to take charge of the kitchen and has tirelessly been researching local ingredients to be incorporated into the new menu. Front of house will be under the watchful eye of General Manager Victor Cervantes, who has earned his stripes as F & B director of the Hilton Palacio del Rio for many years.

Look for John Besh’s upcoming series on TLC called “Inedible to Incredible.” More information about Chef John Besh

CTRC TURNS $50 DONATION INTO BIG TIME SAVINGS

The Cancer Center Council (CCC) will be looking for a little support from San Antonio shoppers. The Partners Shopping Card is a great way give and get back at the same time. For a fifty dollar contribution to the CCC shoppers are given a 20% discount at hundreds of participating stores, restaurants and salons between the dates of October 22th and October 31st.

The much needed donation will benefit The Cancer Therapy & Research Center at The UT Health Science Center of San Antonio, a non profit corporation committed to conquer cancer through research, prevention and treatment.

So if you are one of those shoppers accustomed to high scale shops and boutiques but the recent economy dictates you shop at discount stores that you wouldn’t normally step into without dark sunglasses and wig, its time to ditch the disguise and shop to your hearts content. Just keep in mind, this discount program is only available for a limited time, so it may be necessary to buy a better pair of dark glasses (your disguise needs an update!).

Click HERE to buy your Partner’s Shopping Card online or more information

WINE & CHEESE

Cheese

Chef Martin Stembera has always been sweet on cheese. It just so happens his most recent addition to our cheese list is sweet all on its own. Ewephoria Gouda is imported from North Holland and made from pasteurized sheep’s milk. Hard, dry and the caramel colored on the outside, sweet butterscotch flavors on the inside make this cheese a fantastic substitute for dessert. Try this Gouda with a big red wine or if you prefer whites, pair it with something dry and full bodied.

Great cheese doesn’t have to be imported. If you have love for cheese you will want to visit http://www.humblehousefoods.com and learn how to get your hands on great cheeses made here in the Alamo city by Luis Morales and fiancée Marsha Millegan.

Wine

Wine Director, Bobby Gonsalves works exhaustively to make our list as interesting as possible. Sure, this requires a lot of research. Sometimes tasting dozens wines in one sitting. Of course, Bobby’s job isn’t just about filling his own glass. Here is what he is hoping you will consider pouring into your glass the next time at Biga The 2005 Eugenio Bocchino Borolo “Lu” is 100% Nebbiolo grown in La Morra (in the Piedmont region of Italy), an area known to produce a softer wine that is fruity and lush with velvety tannins. Bobby says that the Borolo “Lu” is ready to drink and can pair with an array of dishes including spicy meat dishes and the Ewephoria Gouda. For more information on Eugenio Bocchino.

AN AVOCADO’S WORK IS NEVER DONE

his summer the avocado was working hard for all of us. This cool, green fruit helped bring down our core body temperature a few degrees making the summer heat almost bearable. Now that fall is upon us we hope that the hottest days are behind us. How many times are we going to learn that lesson? This is Texas. Heat waves can strike at any minute! Here are a couple of recipes you can rely on when your autumn days feel more like the dog days of summer.

[Chilled California Avocado Soup with Orange Shrimp Pico de Gallo]
[Avocado Mousse Dessert]

THANKFUL FOR BIGA’S THANKSGIVING

Thanksgiving dinner has never been an easy task. There are days of preparation spent slicing, dicing and shopping. Coordinating: who is or is not attending dinner, so there will be enough plates and seats at the table. Fielding questions like “Who gets to sit at the big table?” and “Who has been demoted to the kids’ table?”. Not to mention the countless allergies and dislikes sending family members into debates that never end like “I’m allergic to nuts” vs. “we can’t have Thanksgiving without chestnut stuffing.” And just when everything is finally on the table you discover 5 of your guests have gone on a preemptive beer run so they won’t have to leave during the football game later.

Clearly, you’re more thankful to have family around when you don’t feel you are doing all the work. Do you wonder how you and your family could enjoy a hassle free Thanksgiving together?

Haven’t you figured it out by now? Join the rest of us who have. Be thankful for Biga’s Thanksgiving Day Dinner. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Thanksgiving where the drama is in the food, not your house?

We’ll be doing a brunch-style Thanksgiving that will have traditional offerings like turkey with cranberry sauce and cornbread stuffing as well as Bruce’s more contemporary take on Thanksgiving turkey. Have more on your mind than turkey? So do we. Other entrees will include veal cheeks, redfish, prime rib and some kids’ choices too. Surely we don’t have to remind you to save room for dessert. Lilla and Amy will be working on Thanksgiving pies, cakes, cookies, fruit crumble, chocolate éclairs and will be sure to include the kids in on the fun with a table sized to give them access to their very own sweets.

Thanksgiving Brunch, November 25th, 11am-8pm. $50 adults and $25 for kids under 12. Reservations are a good idea. (210)225-0722

FOODY NEWS

Auden’s Kitchen Changes: Monday “Boos” Heard, “Booze” Soon Served

BOOS

THIS LAST SUMMER A DECISION WAS MADE RATHER RASHLY. WE THOUGHT NO ONE WOULD NOTICE IF AUDEN’S KITCHEN CLOSED ON MONDAYS. WELL, IT WAS NOTICED. IN FACT IT WAS SO NOTICED THAT THERE WAS QUITE A BACK LASH. IT SEEMS THAT WHEN A CRAVING FOR THE BEST FRIED CHICKEN IN TOWN OCCURS, WAITING UNTIL THE NEXT DAY IS NOT AN OPTION. WORRIED THAT ONE MORE MONDAY CLOSED WOULD PROMPT SOME KIND OF VIGIL WITH PILES OF FLOWERS AND PEOPLE HOLDING BACK TEARS WITH LIT CANDLE IN HAND, WE HAVE GIVEN IN TO YOUR DEMANDS AND NOW PROUDLY SERVE LUNCH AND DINNER 7 DAYS A WEEK. WE KNOW IT IS TOO MUCH TO ASK OUR LOYAL DINERS FOR FORGET, WE JUST HOPE THIS BAD DECISION WILL BE FORGIVEN. WE KNOW IT WILL BE HARD.

BOOZE

NOW THAT MONDAYS ARE NO LONGER AN ISSUE AT THE KITCHEN, THERE IS ONE MORE IMPROVEMENT WE ARE EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE. WE HAVE APPLIED FOR A MIXED BEVERAGE LICENSE. OF COURSE, THE APPLICATION DOES TAKE SOME TIME TO KICK-IN, OUR ESTIMATE IS THAT WE WILL BE SHAKING MARTINIS AND POURING SCOTCH (AND MORE) BY LATE NOVEMBER. WE WILL KEEP YOU UP TO DATE ON FACEBOOK WHEN LIQUOR WILL APPEAR ALONG SIDE THE WINE, BEER AND SAKE THAT IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE.

Don’t Blame the Mailman

If you have been waiting by your mailbox for Chef Martin Stembera’s post card from his recent trip to Peru, you can give up. While, at first, he pretended to be miffed that no one has received his correspondence, he finally admitted all the waiting was in vain. Apparently, he was having way too much fun to sit down and let us know that he wasn’t somewhere injured, in a ditch breathing his last breath all alone. Selfish! Lucky for us, this guilt trip worked! He decided to send all of our readers a picture of his Peruvian adventures. It was the least he could do after all the worrying we went through.

Martin originally stopped to ask this child’s mother if she knew where he could get a pair of blue boots. He knew the kid’s footwear matched his back pack perfectly and if he had his own pair he could start a new trend “Machu Picchu chic” in the Alamo city. Sadly, the woman ‘acted’ as if she didn’t understand and his search for blue boots continues.

San Antonio Express

If you missed the San Antonio Express on Labor Day weekend, here is your chance to see Bruce’s shining face in a full page photo where he and other locals enlighten us on what single tool helps them labor less at work.

Debra Auden Announces More Artisan Bread Baking Classes

Rustic breads are more than tasty, they’re also fun to make. Don’t know the first thing about baking bread? Well, here’s the help you need. Debra Auden has added October 16th & 30th to her bread class roster. Featuring Italian Peasant Bread, Debra will walk you through the mixing, shaping and baking your own loaf. These classes are held in Wimberley and last for 3 hours. The $55 cost includes refreshments and you keep the bread you bake. For more information contact Debra at debra@audenfamily.com, be sure to include “bread class” in the subject line.

Arts & Eats 2010

Blue Star’s Arts & Eats has a long tradition of bringing local artists and culinary artists together to support contemporary art and art education. While years’ past Arts & Eats were huge events, the 2010 fundraiser will be the second year the event will have it’s more stream lined approach featuring live music, silent auctions and some of San Antonio’s elite chefs like our own Bruce Auden. Arts & Eats takes place at the Blue Star Contemporary Arts Center on November 17th. To purchase tickets or for more information Click HERE .

Pearl Farmers’ Market Still Going Strong

Be sure to visit Lilla as she sells Biga breads and pastries at the Pearl Brewery Farmers Market every Saturday starting at 9am. Not only will you have your pick of the freshest produce available but cooking demonstrations by your favorite San Antonio chefs will have you cooking your favorite dishes at home.

The Big Green Egg Cowboy Cook Off

Our own (honorary cowboy) Bruce Auden joined other Texas chefs like Jason Dady, Lou Lambert and bull rider Ryan McConnell (pictured with Bruce) this last summer to work their backyard cooking magic while using the Big Green Egg smoker/cooker at the AT&T center.
The Big Green Egg is a durable clay cooker, an improved version of the ancient Japanese “kamado” cooker and is perfect for anything from burgers to a juicy Thanksgiving turkey whether you are a professional chef or just hungry.
The Big Green Egg can be seen in person and/or purchased at Sunset Ace Hardware in Alamo Heights To learn more about the Big Green Egg cooker (or to brush up on all the egg puns you will ever need) Click HERE.

Fitch’s Pomegranate Will Serve Modern Twists on Old Favorites

Great friend of Biga, Chef Nancy Fitch is working hard to open her newest restaurant “The Pomegranate” in Artisan’s Alley at 555 Bitters Road. Serving lunch 11am-2pm, The Pomegranate will feature some of Nancy’s favorite dishes with fresh, contemporary twists. The menu is to include paninis, quiche, soups and a number of salads like a grilled tuna nicoise salad. Sunday brunch will be served and afternoon tea will be a welcomed break for Artisan’s Alley shoppers daily 2-4pm where guests will not be able to ignore the countless house made pies, cakes and pastries. Nancy will be dividing her time between The Pomegranate and The Peach, her first restaurant located in Boerne, Texas. Look to the Artisan’s Alley website for more information Click HERE.

Fall Art Festival Presents The Casasola Archives

Texas Commission of the Arts, SA Arts and Curator Pablo Ortiz Monasterio with other sponsors have adorned the walls of the International Center (down the hall from Biga) with photographs of pivotal moments in Mexican history. These dramatic images will be displayed until November 21st. The photographs in the Casasola Archives are a document of the crude realities of the revolutionary war and other political and social events before, during and after the Mexican Revolution; a civil war that shook Mexico for nearly two decades. Agustin Victor Casasola (1874-1938) is considered one of the first documentary photographers of Latin Amarica.

Go HERE for more information about the Fall Art Festivals of San Antonio.

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