Salmon Patties

Growing up one of my favorite meals that my mother made were her homemade salmon patties. There was just something about them that I couldn’t get enough of. Maybe it was the crunchy outer texture or just the overall flavor. Over the years I have never really attempted to make them myself more than a couple of times and when I did I would try and follow her recipe exactly but they never came out the same. So when I got the craving the other day I made the decision to try and come up with my own version of this classic recipe that I so love. Here is what I came up with.

Ingredients:

Canned Salmon (two 14oz cans)

Corn tortilla chips (Crushed into about 3/4 of a cup of little crumbs)

Jalapeno  (2 seeds removed and finely chopped)

1 medium white onion (finely ch0pped)

red pepper flakes (1 tablespoon)

garlic powder (1 tablespoon)

cajun seasoning (1 tablespoon)

black pepper (1 tablespoon)

salt (1 teaspoon)

2 eggs

olive oil (for cooking)

Mixing the ingredients

First you will want to open both cans of salmon and drain them (leaving a little extra water for mixing) and add them to a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and mix everything together well.

Cooking

This is where it gets a little tricky. Since this is kind of a dry mixture you will need to pat out the patties as you cook them and not before hand. So heat up about a 1/4″ of olive oil to medium high heat in a large pan. Pat out and press firmly together the patties and place them in the hot oil and cook to golden brown on either side.  One large pan should fit about 4 patties with room for turning. Be careful, if you flip too early they may break. This is a little more on the healthy side for this recipe. If you wanted to make them stick together a little more you can add about half a cup of Helmanns mayonnaise. This gives them a little better consistency to work with but also adds the calories so I will leave it up to you.

These are great on their own or served with mashed potatoes and gravy. All and all a nice little treat for any seafood lover out there.
Enjoy

Thanks for reading

JMW

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Auden’s Kitchen

Great

Pretty Good

OK

No Thanks ***

Every now and then you hear about a place that is supposed to be a good place to eat so you decide to go try it out, but when you do you think to yourself (or if you are like me out loud) “what were they thinking”? This is the feeling I got when I tried Auden’s Kitchen in San Antonio off of East Sonterra BLVD.

When you walk in the door it has an odd feeling right off the bat. Is it a pub? Is it a bistro? Is it an eatery? Is it a wine bar? Its kind of all over the place. Behind the front desk was a black board with the daily specials written in chalk like  lot of kitschy little places do but just passed that were shelves full of wine bottles like a wine bar and to the right was a little lounge area with leather couches and a TV. The front dining room was laid out with a decent amount of space between the tables and had an open feel to it while the back dinning room seemed to be delegated for prep work in the down hours because one of the waiters was ripping paper for table coverings almost the entire time I was there.

When it comes to food Auden’s kitchen has a wide variety on the menu and some really nice sounding dishes. Unfortunately if you go in on a Sunday the menu is cut down to a handful of selections for brunch only which I found a little disappointing. After looking through what they did have available I decided on the Fish and Chips, since the menu is an Americanized English pub style food I thought that this would be a great choice. My dining partner for that day went with the selection on the menu labeled simply as Burger.

When the food arrived it was hand delivered by one of the Chef’s who had the overall personality of a lump of wet clay and did not even look at us when setting the food down and waking away. That being said both dishes looked pretty good. The fries had a good texture and were seasoned nicely. The fish had a decent flavor but I was disappointed to see that the three little pieces they put on the plate were all about 75% batter and 25% fish.  I would have thought if they were going to be so selective on the size of the fish they would have at least tossed a couple more on the plate instead of trying to hide it in an enormous amount of batter.
I did try the burger and it was pretty good and made me wish I had put more thought into my choice.

I don’t usually focus on the condiments but have to say something about the “House Made Catsup” at Auden’s. This is something that they make sure to point out on the menu and seem to be proud of.  For starters go ahead and be prepared to ask for regular ketchup unless you like dipping your fries in something that tastes like a combination of apple sauce and cinnamon with a little tomato sauce mixed. I did not find it pleasing at all and it actually took a bit to get the awful taste out of my mouth before I could try to enjoy the rest of my meal. This is one of those cases where the person that came up with this concoction is obviously out of touch with their customer base.

I hate writing bad reviews almost as much as I hate the bad experience that leads to them but sometimes it is just unavoidable. So with all that being said I can assure you I will not be making a return trip to Auden’s any time in the future. The food is OK but the price you pay for what you actually get is not worth the trip.

Thanks for reading,

JMW

Clear Springs Restaurant

Great

Pretty Good ***

OK

No Thanks

I have not done a review in a bit so here we go.

I heard about this little seafood place called Clear Springs Restaurant from a friend on Facebook and immediately went online to check out the menu. Well on the home page was this picture of a giant stack of home-made onion rings, so that made me decide to go and try it all by itself. For those of you that read my blog you know I am a sucker for a good onion ring. I checked to see where they were located and was happy to see that there are several locations and one was not to far from me out 1604 near the Stone Oak area in a little place called Afton Oaks. There is also one in the New Braunfels area but this one was closer to me and I was feeling a little to lazy to do any extra driving (it was Sunday after all).

When you walk in the door you can tell that these people are all about their fish. The inside is a neat mix of fishing cabin and antique store. They have old antique toys, fishing polls, and mounted fish scattered around the rafters and old west movie and TV posters hanging on the walls. The floors, tables and chairs are all wood to give it that rustic feel and it is a relatively spacious place inside.

The menu of course has many seafood items from catfish to fried oysters but also has a few steak selections for the non fish eaters of the world. To start out I of course ordered the onion rings to sample. The waitress was nice enough to suggest a small order so I wouldn’t fill up on them, but to my surprise a small order was huge. I have had some great onion rings in my time and I would count these among them. I would have to rank them in the top five best onion rings I have ever tried. The breading was flaky and crunchy and the onions themselves were easy to bite through and melted in your mouth. They were perfectly seasoned and to be honest I probably could have made a meal off just them but I did come here for fish after all so I placed my order for the main course. I ordered a 3 combo platter where you can choose between several different entree’s. I chose catfish, fried oysters, and fried crawfish.  The platter also came with borracho beans, hush puppies, french fries and cole slaw which to my surprise actually tasted like cole slaw and not that typical bland cabbage with a little vinegar tossed on it that you usually find in Texas. This was creamy and actually pretty tasty. The fries were your standard french fries, nothing special but not bad overall. I guess after those onion rings I would have a hard time judging anyone’s fries. The beans were good and tasted like every other borracho bean you can get in San Antonio, so nothing special. I cant really comment on the hush puppies as my dining companion stole those from me but they looked good. When it came to the three entrees I tried the crawfish first. While I have had better these were pretty good. My only complaint was that they were a tad on the chewy side but it is pretty hard to avoid that. Next I moved on to the oysters and was pleasantly surprised. The breading was crunchy and the oysters were flavorful and melted in your mouth. Now on to the main event, the catfish. Being a southern boy from Florida I have to tell you that I am kind of a fried catfish snob. I have had it cooked many different ways and even cook it myself so it is hard to impress me with catfish. Well I will say that this catfish is pretty good. It has a nice flavor and is seasoned good. It also has a crunchy breading while leaving the fish nice a flaky on the inside. I would not say it is the best I have ever had but it was far from the worst too. I would rate it around a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10 and would definitely go back again. Overall it was a pretty good meal but the onion rings are the clear winner this round. If nothing else I recommend going just to try them.


So if you are in the mood for good seafood in a down home type of settings this is the place to go.

Thanks for reading

JMW

Fish Tacos

If you live on either coast and like seafood then you have probably at least once tried a fish taco. They have even started popping up in some of the larger chain restaurants over the last few years and seem to be growing in popularity all over. For the most part every one is prepared the same way with only a few subtle changes made. Some may be fried fillets of fish while others are grilled and almost all have some sort of slaw and a creamy sauce on top and are served on either a corn or flour tortilla. While I enjoy these very much I also like to come up with new ideas and new ways to to look at classic food items, so I set forth and came up with my own unique take on the fish taco. Here is what you need.

 

Ingredients

Two or three large tilapia fillets

1 medium white onion (chopped into medium sized pieces)

2 large jalapeno peppers (seeded and chopped into medium size pieces)

1 large poblano pepper (seeded and chopped into medium size pieces)

1 clove garlic (finely chopped)

1 lime

½ tablespoon course sea salt

½ tablespoon black pepper

2 tablespoons chilli powder

olive oil

½ cup Cilantro (finely chopped)

Corn or flour tortillas

 

In a large non stick skillet heat about 4 tablespoons of olive oil on medium high heat and add onions, garlic and peppers. You will want to cook the onions, garlic and peppers until they start to caramelize. The secret is to get them just to the point of getting the dark crisp edges and then reduce the heat to medium. With a spatula move them to the edges of the pan and add two more tablespoons of olive oil. Now place the tilapia fillets in the pan and let them seer on one side for several minutes. Salt and pepper the filets as they cook. When the fillets have turned white a little over half way through turn them over and repeat on the other side. Salt and pepper the other side. If a filet starts to fall apart do not worry as you will be breaking them up in a few minutes anyway. Once you have seared both sides use your spatula and start breaking up the filets into smaller pieces and mix with the peppers and onions. Now add the cilantro and chili powder and mix throughout the pan. Once everything has started taking on the color of the chili powder remove the pan from the heat and squeeze in the lime juice. Give the mixture one final stir to get the lime flavor spread around.

 

If you are using flour tortillas you will want to take a hand full and heat them in the microwave for about 20 seconds before serving. If you are using corn tortillas you can heat another skillet and heat the corn tortillas in a single layer (both sides until they start to loosen up).

 

Now you are ready to assemble. Just take a big scoop of your taco mixture and place it in the center of the tortilla and fold it over. You can add some fat free cheddar or some pico or salsa if you like but to be honest it doesn’t need it. Every now and then I will add a few dashes of hot sauce such as Cholula or Tapatio to spice it up but these tacos really stand on their own.

 

As always,

Thanks for reading

JMW

Islamorada Fish Company

Great ***
Pretty Good
OK
No Thanks

I know a lot of people are not crazy about seafood or will only eat certain types of fish that don’t have that “fishy” taste to it, thankfully I am not one of those. I love all types of seafood and chances are if it has ever lived in or near the water I have eaten it. On my latest adventure I decided to give the Islamorada Fish Company a try. For those of you that have never heard of it, this is the restaurant attached to the Bass Pro Shops. I am not sure how this place has flown under my radar so long but I am glad that a friend of mine pointed me in their direction.
This location is set up sort of like a fishing lodge on the inside with dark wood everywhere and stuffed sea life hanging from the ceilings. They also have a giant fish tank on one of the walls and a huge fire pit in the middle of the dining area. The dining room is huge and the tables are spaced far enough apart so that you do not feel crowded. There is also a nice outside dining area with a large waterfall to give it that nice ambiance.
While you are waiting on your food they bring you a small loaf of bread with whipped butter. The bread was fresh and hot and it is baked with a sugar coating on top. I wasn’t sure I would care for it that way but one bite proved that wrong. It will melt in your mouth and make you look forward to the next bite. It is a wonderful way to start a meal.

Originally being from Florida I had to start out this adventure with an appetizer fit for a former resident of the panhandle state, so I went with the fried alligator (or gator as we call it in Fl). Now gator is one of those things that if done right can be an incredible treat but if done wrong can be a tough chewy nightmare. Luckily in this case it was cooked to perfection. The outside had a nice breading that was crisp and crunchy while the inside melted in your mouth. It was so good in fact that it influenced my main meal choice.

My main dish is called the Sportsman’s Platter and includes a hefty sample of Fried Shrimp, Fried Catfish and yes, you guessed it alligator. It also comes with a very tasty Cole slaw, and french fries or onion rings. If you have read any of my other reviews you have probably figured out that I chose the onion rings. You also get three sauces for dipping, a nice creamy tartar sauce, cocktail sauce and another sauce that I have yet to identify that is so good you will not need the other two. It is green for starters and I am pretty sure is sour cream based. It is a nice compliment to all of the different tastes on the plate. The shrimp were pretty typical of any seafood restaurant out there. Nice big breaded shrimp that were pretty tasty but nothing you can’t get anywhere else. The onion rings were no doubt frozen but were pretty high quality frozen onion rings that had a nice flavor but nothing spectacular. The Cole slaw however is much better than most restaurant Cole slaw especially the restaurants in San Antonio who think Cole slaw is nothing more than shredded cabbage doused in vinegar. This Cole slaw was very creamy the way it is supposed to be which is a very nice change. I don’t really need to go over the gator again because I covered that above but will move on to the catfish. I grew up eating fried catfish and think that I have a pretty good view of how it should taste and what is good and what is not so good. Well this my friends is some great catfish. It has a light breading and is fried crisp on the outside and is tender and flaky on the inside. They use a corn meal breading that compliments the fish perfectly and makes that nice crunchy coating. Overall this was one of the most satisfying meals I have had at any restaurant in a while. I would highly recommend giving it a try and if you have someone in your group that is not a fan of seafood you can take them anyway as Islamorada Fish Company has plenty of non seafood choices too.
You can guarantee that I will be back for more.

Thanks for reading,
JMW

Paesanos

Great ***

Pretty Good

OK

No Thanks

Every now and then it is nice to dress a little nicer and go out for a nice meal in a more upscale restaurant than your everyday type of place. So I traded in my standard cargo shorts and T shirt for long pants and Polo shirt, jumped in my truck and headed out 1604 toward I-10 on the North West side of San Antonio to Paesanos Italian restaurant.  Paesanos has several locations around town but this one just happens to be the closest to me. When you walk in to Paesanos the staff makes you feel at home and like you are welcomed guests. Everyone is friendly, professional and eager to serve you.  The main dining room is large with a high ceiling and the tables are a nice distance from each other and not crowded together which is a big plus for me. I hate going to a nice restaurant and feel like I am sharing a table with other guests because the tables are so close together.

Before ordering you are brought bread and spiced oil like a lot of nicer Italian restaurants do but they also go a little farther and bring you a very delicious hummus.  I am usually not a big fan of hummus but this one is a little different than most. It has a nice garlicky flavor with a very smooth texture that is a great compliment to the Italian bread.

I started out with the house salad which is different than my usual pick. I almost always start with a Caesar salad whenever I am out but the house salad came highly recommended and was a nice start to the meal, although I was a little surprised when they brought it out because it is much larger than most salads that you get at other restaurants. I would have to say that it is probably twice the size of most salads that you would get elsewhere.  The salad has fresh Romaine lettuce and is dressed with a very tasty house dressing.  It is very creamy with a hint of Italian dressing but is thicker with a slight spice to it. It is not quite Caesar and not quite Italian but lies somewhere in between with a unique flavor that I highly recommend trying.

For my main course I chose the daily special that they were running at the time which was a Southern style Red Snapper Filet Sautéed with Artichokes and mushrooms in a white wine and caper sauce sitting on a bed of pasta. This is kind of an odd choice for me too because I rarely eat fish outside of my own home.  This is not because I don’t like fish; it is actually one of my favorite things to eat. This is because I am never happy with the way anyone else besides me prepares it. I usually find most fish prepared at a restaurant bland or over drenched in lemon.  Well I can say that neither of those was true with this dish. Everything was perfectly cooked and perfectly seasoned. This was a nice size snapper filet that was lightly breaded and cooked to a golden brown but was still tender and flaky on the inside. While the fish, sauce and pasta were all great the biggest surprise on the plate was the artichoke. I have never tasted artichoke like this before. It had a buttery creamy taste to it that had a slight hint of a sour note at the same time and almost melted in your mouth when you bit into it.  Even though I loved the fish and pasta, I believe I could have eaten just a plate of artichoke covered in the white wine sauce.  It was that good.

Paesanos has a nice selection of desserts too but after the meal I had there was no way there would be room for dessert. I will have to remember that on my next trip because they have some very nice sounding treats such as New York Cheesecake, Tiramisu and Warm apple torte with caramel.

This was my first visit to Paesanos but I can say with all certainty that it will not be my last. The overall experience was great with exceptional service, incredible food and an overall nice feel to the restaurant itself. This would be the perfect place for a nice romantic dinner or even a family celebration. If you are looking for great Italian food then Paesanos is without a doubt the way to go.

Thanks for reading,

JMW