Author Archives: Ron Bechtol

Tracking Monica de la O’s Unique Path Through the Culinary Landscape

Tracking Monica de la O’s Unique Path Through the Culinary Landscape

“I like the kitchen, the noise, being bombarded by tickets … you’ve got to be a little crazy, it takes a certain kind of personality, but I can’t imagine doing anything else,” says Monica de la O of cooking, her chosen profession. It wasn’t her first choice, just FYI. We’re sitting outside of Southerleigh at

A Visit to Nick Spink’s Artisan Distillery & Drinks

When I arrive for our meeting, Nick Spink greets me with circular saw in hand — no, this is not a variation on the chainsaw theme. Spink is just in true-to-form, do-it-yourself mode making a portable bar for the private tasting room at his new enterprise, Artisan Distillery & Drinks — a “craft vodka lounge,”

Team Brigid: How Many Chefs Does It Take to…

No, we’re not talking lightbulbs here, but we are talking about harnessing the lightbulb-like creative moments of a quintet of talented chefs, all of whom now have a say in how the kitchen at Brigid/Francis Bogside (B/B) runs. The result could be chaotic, but, fortunately, a benign drill sergeant has emerged to fill the shoes

Hot ‘Hood: Lone Star

“I was looking for a place that was ‘cool’ and quiet and that still had some dust on it,” says chef Michael Sohocki of the location of Il Forno, his new pizza place between Nogalitos and South Flores. He had exploited “every square inch of space” at the Downtown location that houses his Restaurant Gwendolyn

Vegan Fare, Cocktails and Community at La Botánica

Recent random statistic: About six percent of the American public defines itself as vegan. Just guessing here, but that number is likely lower in San Antonio — which makes the local band of dedicated brethren and sistren small indeed. But the key word is not “small,” it’s “dedicated.” Unlike diet-du-jour types who briefly espouse, oh

Gentle Deceptions in Holiday Sparklers

Once you’ve spent your way through your holiday gift list (including, why not, a couple of things for yourself because you’re the only one who knows what you really want), there can be little left for other seasonal obligations — the bubblies you really should take to the festive events that fill your dance card,

Hot ‘Hood: Lavaca

I hate to be the one to break this to you, but it’s too late for Lavaca. I don’t mean this with doomsday references to a global-warming, tipping-point kind of scenario but rather in the you-shoulda-acted-sooner sense. Like Suzanne Martinez and Michael Berrier did nearly 30 years ago when they were still in student/student-teacher mode.

Hot ’hood: Westfort Alliance

Considering all the current focus on the Pearl and the excitement generated by the recently opened children’s DoSeum on that same thoroughfare, it would be easy to overlook the Westfort neighborhood. It’s the classic blink-and-you’ve-missed-it situation. But sandwiched between the two more glamorous poles—and despite a name that seems oddly generic, this small residential enclave