Everyday Food Blog

delicious Mexican food and lovely company in San Antonio

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While on vacation is Texas last month, a couple of us had the opportunity to swing by Culinaria, a food festival that spans 4 days and showcases the top cooking talent that San Antonio has to offer. Of the few events we attended, Johnny Hernandez's barbacoa brunch was definitely the highlight for us. It was held at his private residence in the trendy "SoFlo" neighborhood, Casa Hernan. The barbacoa was roasted to perfection by Chef Johnny himself in pits he dug in his backyard. The process took all night, but the result was the most tender flavorful pork and beef that we'd had in a long time. He was also serving two types of chicken tamales, one Verracruz style, and one Oaxaca-style, along with chilaquiles, refried black beans, and warm tortillas.

While Chef Hernandez owns the popular La Gloria Ice House (which brings Mexican street food to eager San Antonio diners), he's also a Culinary Institute of America mentor, a recipient of numerous awards. It was truly a pleasure to visit with Chef Johnny and be able to sample his cuisine.

All photos by Holly Henderson

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There were two kinds of barbacoa served, pork and beef. Chef Johnny had dug the holes a couple of days before in his backyard, and attended to the slow-roasting meat all night long. Traditionally, beef barbacoa is made from the cow's head, and pork is a suckling pig.

1 There were two kinds of barbacoa served, pork and beef. Chef Johnny had dug the holes a couple of days before in his backyard, and attended to the slow-roasting meat all night long. Traditionally, beef barbacoa is made from the cow's head, and pork is a suckling pig.

The fire pit in full action the night before. Photo by Johnny Hernandez

2 The fire pit in full action the night before. Photo by Johnny Hernandez

Chef Johnny tending to the pork.

3 Chef Johnny tending to the pork.

All of the art is hand-selected by Johnny himself. He regularly travels to Mexico and has formed relationships with the artisans who who produce the beautiful pieces showcased in his home and restaurants.

4 All of the art is hand-selected by Johnny himself. He regularly travels to Mexico and has formed relationships with the artisans who who produce the beautiful pieces showcased in his home and restaurants.

Chef Johnny tending to his beef barbacoa and savory chicken tamales.

5 Chef Johnny tending to his beef barbacoa and savory chicken tamales.

Chilaquiles with chicken, salsa verde, crema, and cotija cheese.

6 Chilaquiles with chicken, salsa verde, crema, and cotija cheese.

The entry way leading to the dining room.

7 The entry way leading to the dining room.

The very large foyer which, again, furnished and decorated with items from Johnny's travels in Mexico.

8 The very large foyer which, again, furnished and decorated with items from Johnny's travels in Mexico.

A sampler plate from the brunch: Pork in the upper left, beef in the middle, chicken tamale peeking in on the right, refried black beans, and a rich broth for dipping the meat.

9 A sampler plate from the brunch: Pork in the upper left, beef in the middle, chicken tamale peeking in on the right, refried black beans, and a rich broth for dipping the meat.

Chicken tamales wrapped in banana leaves.

10 Chicken tamales wrapped in banana leaves.

Comments (4)

  • avatar

    Refried beans are on nearly every menu in Mexican food restaurants. However, I've never seen anything but pinto beans refried. Some do serve black beans, but highly unusual to fry them. Also to label them "refried" is not quite right. They have been cooked by boiling and then fried.

  • avatar

    approved

  • avatar

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