The Austin Chronicle

Day Trips

Join chef Johnny Hernandez for a taste of old Mexico and brunch at his San Antonio home

By Gerald E. McLeod, May 30, 2014, Columns

Chef Johnny Hernandez has a vision and passion for bringing Mexican food to San Antonio. The award-winning chef takes food lovers back to the delicious roots of the food we love.

The son of a South Texas restaurateur, chef Johnny graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in New York. After service in kitchens around the Southwest, he returned to his familial homeland to rediscover the vast array of foods from Mexico.

"So much of [San Antonio's] culture is tied to our food, especially the Mexican and Spanish backgrounds," he says.

In San Antonio, foodies can taste chef Johnny's passion for good food at La Gloria, overlooking the river near the Pearl Brewery, El Machito at the Quarry Market on the north side, and Frutería on the south side near downtown. Each showcases a different style of Mexican cooking.

If you really want to experience chef Johnny at his most creative, attend a Sunday brunch at Casa Hernán. At least once a month, from his outdoor kitchen, the chef puts together a buffet featuring a region of Mexico. Limited to around 100 lucky guests, the meal runs around $40 and is an extraordinary culinary experience. "I'm inviting everyone into my home," he says.

To find out when the next "Domingos at Casa Hernan" will be, call 210/226-3670, follow "Johnny P. Hernandez" on Facebook, or send an email to asking to be added to the guest list.

1,191st in a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.

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