Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Monterey Garden

African Blue Basil
Have you been to The Monterey yet? Delicious gourmet food and craft beers. I love the place- it feels so hip. And the food. To die for. I am still dreaming about the pork belly I ate on my last visit. If you haven't been- go! It's an awesome place for a date night.

If you have been, you are saying to yourself, "Wait, I have never seen a veggie garden at the Monterey." Ah ha! We have reached our restaurant secret garden! The chef and owner are serious about fresh food. They have four raised beds in the back to keep the kitchen stocked in fresh herbs and produce. It doesn't get more local than that. So come take an exclusive sneak peak at The Monterey Garden with Yard to Table here.

Future Salad Greens


Baby Parsley and Kale

Four Raised Beds

Cabbage, Scarlet Globe Radishes, Helios Radishes, and Daikon Radishes
Sugar Snap Peas

Veggie Raised Bed

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

When Your Heart is Broken, Plant A Garden

I have nothing enlightening to share about the Newtown Tragedy. I want to DO something but there is nothing much to do. I feel overwhelmed with sadness. I also want to be near my daughter. So Monday we showed up at her school to plant the vegetable garden we have been too busy to plant. The kids took to it instantly. They were excited to tell me which vegetables are their favorites and how much they love eating vegetables. We planted two beds on the playground - one bed with peas and the other with radishes and spinach.

Now I am about to get all hippy-dippy on you here, but it has been said that a seed planted and tended by hand as opposed to planted by tools, will grow stronger because of the energy from your body. If it is true, then these little gardeners put a lot of love into those beds. I expect great things.

When I went back to pick up my munchkin that afternoon, one of my favorite little boys was sitting by the garden, just looking in. Since we had just planted the seeds earlier that day, the raised beds looked like a pile of dirt. So I asked him what he was looking at. He said, "I'm just watching the garden. Someday when I am watching the plants will grow." Gardens nourish us in so many ways.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Green Vegetarian: Alon

Garden by Yard to Table at Green Alon

Welcome to our third installment of local restaurant garden series! This time we are featuring Green Vegetarian Cuisine in the Alon with their garden by Yard to Table. For those that haven't been to the Alon yet, it is a fancy shopping center in North San Antonio. So this veggie garden is surrounded by sidewalks, parking lots and stores. Although, it is a somewhat unusual place for a veggie garden, I think beets and cabbage give a garden a lot more character than the ho-hum shrubbery I usual see in shopping centers. People passing by stop and do a double take when they see green beans growing in the sidewalk. An added bonus is that the garden does not freeze as early because the buildings offer wind protection and the cement holds unto heat. I love this surprising, pretty little garden. Hot tip for my gluten-free friends in the area: The HEB in the same shopping center has a giant gluten free section. Now onto the garden tour!


Purple "Green" Beans


Collards, Cabbage and Flowers

Sweet Peppers


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Green Vegetarian: The Downtown Garden

Part two of our local restaurant garden series features one of my favorite restaurants in town, Green Vegetarian Cuisine. I am not a vegetarian (see: eating backyard chickens) but I love their fresh delicious food. They are also one of the only Kosher restaurants in San Antonio. Green often wins the Express News Critics and Reader's Choice Awards as well as the San Antonio Current's Best Of Award across multiple categories.

When I worked across the way at University Hospital downtown, I would often pick up a light lunch from Green that wouldn't leave me with regrets. (see: Bill Millers...ugh) But it's not all rabbit food, they serve lots of delicious tex-mex and home style meals. We love this family run business! They currently have two locations, N. Flores and in the Alon.  Hot tip: There is a new location opening in 2013 in the Pearl Brewery! Yard to Table handles the gardens at all three locations. Since they are very different garden set-ups we are going to feature them all in our local restaurant garden series. Up first is the original, downtown location on N. Flores. Come take a tour with us!

Collard Greens

Baby Lettuce


Field of Greens


Baby Sugar Snap Peas
Wait- they have gluten free cupcakes now? No one alerted me to this! Banana Chocolate Cupcake
You'll notice from this series that I love vegetables and desserts. Both in equal parts.

"Vegetables are a must on a diet.  I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie."- Jim Davis

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Cove Garden

The Cove Garden by Yard to Table
The first restaurant featured in our local restaurant garden series is the world famous Cove. When we first moved to San Antonio, everyone kept telling us about The Cove. "You have to go to The Cove!" they said, "It's a laundromat, playground, bar, car wash, restaurant." I am all for novelty but I was like why would I ever eat at a car wash? Everyone kept leaving out the most important part- The Cove serves super delicious, local, organic food.
When we moved to San Antonio some 6 years ago, restaurants serving local, fresh food were incredibly rare. Fortunately, San Antonio is getting hip. We now have awesome farmers markets, lots of great restaurants, and tons of new gardeners.
Daily Yummies From the Garden
Personally, I think The Cove is still one of the best in town. You can get a gluten-free grass fed hamburger or the famous fish tacos. It is also a great meeting place for a large group of people because you order and pay upfront. Now that I have kids, I put a premium on this simple service because if one of my kids is having a meltdown (editor's note: obviously a hypothetical situation, my kids are perfect angels) we can bid a quick adieu and out the door we go. The Cove has a great outdoor area with a playground, a ping pong table and a basketball hoop for the kiddies and a bar with live music for the rest of us. It has been featured on The Food Network, in the New York Times and in Texas Monthly. It always comes out on top of local critic and reader picks.
The Cove Garden by Yard to Table
And what would a fresh, local restaurant be without a large, organic vegetable garden? Enter Yard to Table Gardens at The Cove! If you are here in town, go check it out in person! If not- take the tour here with me.

Herb Barrels

The Big Picture

Herbs and Chard

Basil Forest

Brassicas and Peppers
And I will leave you with my daughter enjoying some of their fresh organic vegetables ice cream.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sowing San Antonio: December

What can you plant in your Texas Winter Vegetable Garden? It is a lovely time to be outside in South and Central Texas. December is the time for fresh greens.

Right now, and straight through the rest of the month, you can plant: Lettuce, Spinach, Radishes, and all cool weather greens.

Since we haven't had our first frost this year, we are still getting lots of peppers and other traditional summer stuffs. Also- why is it still so hot? Although we love using the slip n slide in the dirtiest house in the world, we are ready to turn off the AC. Global warming- not a myth.