After months of brutal temperatures, San Antonio is finally starting to cool down. It's even chilly enough for us to consider pulling out our warmer clothes from storage, though we all know this cold snap won’t be around for long. No matter — the short autumn allows us to never take it for granted.
This November, make the most of the fleeting fall. Wrap yourself up in your favorite scarf (even if it's not quite cold enough to wear), drink a glass (or bottle) of red wine, and snuggle up with San Antonio’s best seasonal dishes.
Battalion — Pumpkin Ravioli
Sure, you’ve seen this dish on menus before, but we bet you haven’t had it quite like this. Sage, butter, and tons of parmesan are, of course, natural bedfellows of everyone’s favorite fall squash, but chef Stefan Bowers has an ace up his sleeve with the addition of amaretto. Drunk alone, the Italian almond liqueur can be a bit too sugary, but used here is gently amps up the natural flavor of pumpkin while still keeping the comforting pasta dish decidedly savory.
Bliss — Duck/ Foie Gras
Chef Mark Bliss is playing with a lot of different flavors with this one, but somehow it all works out. The dish starts with duck breast crusted in Szechuan peppercorns and five spice, then adds decadent foie gras, a butternut squash puree, Brussels sprouts, bacon, pomegranate, pumpkin seeds, Italian Lacinato kale, and a blueberry gastrique. All that tells you little about what this entree tastes like in the restaurant, so you’ll just have to make a reservation to see how Bliss pulls off this high wire act.
Chisme — Mezcal and Huitlacoche Ice Cream Cake
It may seem odd to recommend to recommend an ice cream cake (more of a sandwich) just as cooler weather hits, but hear us out. Chisme’s signature dessert may not warm you up, but the changing season is well represented in flavors like earthy huitlacoche, smoky mezcal, and creamy caramel. Plus the black shades of the dessert are goth AF, perfect for the longer fall nights ahead.
The Cookhouse — Blackened Sweet Potato Salad
Chef Pieter Sypesteyn’s New Orleans-inspired restaurant is rightfully praised for its inventive takes on Southern classics, and this take on picnic standard potato salad is no different. Here, blackened sweet potatoes sub for the usual spuds and smoked ham, feta, crisp apples, nutty faro, and arugula are thrown in for good measure. The whole thing is dressed in a vinaigrette of lemon and Steen’s cane syrup. You’re going to want this on your Thanksgiving table.
El Mirador — Atole Oatmeal
Nothing is better on a crisp autumn morning than a steaming bowl of oatmeal — except maybe a mug of spiced atole. So why not have them together? At El Mirador, the traditional masa-based drink mix with steel-cut oats for a breakfast dish that feels as comforting as a favorite sweater. Top it with a blend of pecans, raisins, pepitas, and piloncillo for an extra treat.
Signature — Pheasant
If you can swing it, sit by the roaring fire when you dine at chef Andrew Weissman’s sumptuously-decorated restaurant and cozy up with a roasted pheasant served with seasonal vegetables, wild mushrooms, and a pan jus. San Antonio may not get the dazzling foliage and crisp air that marks fall for those up north, but we dare say they have no more delicious signifier of the season as this one.
Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery — Chilled Roasted Beets
We had just about given up on beet dishes after every chef from here to Topeka decided that the red roots were the next big thing. But Southerleigh’s salad has us falling in love with them all over again. The use of criminally underrated thyme adds a woodsy depth to the sweetness of the beets, lifted further with a shot of bright goat cheese espuma for a dish that feels both new and familiar.