Best Seafood Dishes to Enjoy in the Winter

When you think of seafood, you probably imagine warm beaches with a coastal breeze. It seems like people living in San Antonio, Texas forget that seafood can be enjoyed anytime of the year – without having to take a trip to the beach! So when it’s cold out and you’re trying to decide which restaurant to dine at, don’t leave seafood last! Fish lives matter, too.

Here are our tip dishes at Costa Pacifica, Mexican style seafood in San Antonio, that will be sure to satisfy your taste buds in the colder months.

 

Clam ChowderOnly Available for a Limited Time!

Clam Chowder at Costa Pacifica in San Antonio

Once you try our clam chowder, you’ll be begging us to keep it on the menu forever! Served in a warm homemade bread bowl, people have called this limited time item the “best clam chowder” they’ve ever had. We don’t want to speak for everyone else, so we will let this dish speak for itself. Come try it out, and let us know your thoughts. Hurry up! It’ll be long gone before you know it.

Fish and Cheese Empanada

Fried foods never disappoint, and neither do empanadas! One of our personal favorites is the Fish and Cheese Empanada – it’s also one of Chef Chuy’s favorites. First, we start with our fish al pastor, which is marinated in a special achiote sauce for about 12 hours. When you bite into this, you can expect our flavorful fish and melted cheese to ooze into your mouth.

Of course, we are known for our presentation as well. So this dish is served on a bed of refried beans and drizzled with sour cream.

 

Tlalpeño Marisco Soup

Tlalpeño Marisco Soup

All of our soups are cooked to order, which ensures that you receive the highest quality and best tasting soup you ever had! We can promise it won’t be sitting in a warmer in our kitchen. Every ingredient will be patiently waiting for you.

We put our own spin on this traditional Mexican dish. You may have had tlalpeño soup with chicken, but of course we have to put our own flare into this authentic flavor. This is a warm seafood delight which is filled with all your favorites: shrimp, octopus, clam, fish, and squid. We mix these ingredients in a special broth avocado, panela cheese, and chipotle. Be warned, it comes with a spicy kick!

Shrimp Green Enchilada

Everyone in San Antonio knows that enchiladas never go out of season! Our Shrimp Green Enchiladas are a fan favorite, and unlike any green enchiladas you’ve ever had. Our green sauce is made from poblano peppers, but we promise that it isn’t too hot to handle. We stuff a homemade corn tortilla with sautéed shrimp, and top it off with our green sauce, melted cheese, and cilantro.

Costra Pacifica ShrimpCostra Pacifica Shrimp

Don’t let the name fool you. It’s not quite the name of our restaurant, but it is pretty close!

This one is perfect for all you cheese lovers. If you’ve never had a cheese taco, you haven’t had this dish! Our “tortilla” for this dish is made entirely out of cheese – yes, CHEESE.

We stuff this taco with beer battered shrimp and top it off with pico de gallo, cabbage, and chipotle alioli. Then, we lay it on a bed of homemade white rice. One bite will take you to cheese heaven!

 

Costa Pacifica Mexican Seafood Restaurant in San Antonio, TX

If we’re being honest, food can be enjoyed all year round! Has anyone ever turned down ice cream because it’s cold outside? Of course not. Our restaurant will transport you to the coastal beaches of Mexico in one bite. Come escape the cold at Costa Pacifica!

We’ve told you our winter favorites at Costa Pacifica! What are yours? We’d love to hear what you have to say! Visit our contact page and leave us your thoughts.

 

 

Painting Al Pastor Red

In central parts of Mexico, al pastor is a pretty common dish. In fact, it’s commonly ordered at Mexican restaurants around the city here in San Antonio, Texas. Al pastor is typically pork based and is marinated in a mixture of dried chilies, spices, and pineapple. Have you ever ordered Tacos al Pastor? If you have, you probably fell in love at first bite! But did you ever wonder where the redness of the meat came from? It came from the plant achiote!

About Achiote

You may know it as the lipstick plant, achiote, or Bixa Orellana. Nonetheless, most Mexicans know this plant as achiote, so we’ll stick to that term for now. For centuries, it was primarily used as a textile dye and as a natural food coloring originating from South America. The plant gets its color from their red capsules which contain tiny red or yellow seeds inside. The seeds themselves are called annatto. While annatto smells pleasant, sweet, and peppery, it tastes dry, mild, and earthy.

History of Achiote

According to famous legends, when the Spanish explored the Amazon Basin, they came across Yagua Indians or Nihamwo. The Yaguas territory stretched from Colombia to Brazil, and they were dressed in red palm fiber skirts (dyed with annatto) and were armed with blow guns as weapons. The Spanish thought these men were actually women since they were dressed in skirts. They decided to name the large river after Greek mythological Amazon women warriors… the Amazon River.
Back in the day, they not only used the coloring for textile dyes, but they also used it for body paint. They may have used the body paint for different purposes or reasons like to distinguish a level of importance or hierarchy, for ceremonies, etc.
The native people from the Amazon saw annatto much more resourceful than just for color. They were able to produce gum from the bark’s resin and made string from the plant’s fibers. The gum helped create a substance that would treat conjunctivitis, and the leaves from the plant helped treat dermatitis and hepatitis.
In the 1700’s, European explorers realized the huge importance of the plant and the plant began being exported. Soon, the plant was also being shipped to India and Southeast Asia. In Latin America, Europe, and the USA, annatto was primarily used as food coloring for cheese, butter, margarine, egg products, seasonings, and more. Now, you are probably more familiar with it being used to provide color and flavor beef or pork!

Al Pastor at Costa Pacifica

If you are looking for traditional Mexican food in the San Antonio or Stone Oak area, look no further than Costa Pacifica Mexican-Style Seafood. Offering more than just seafood, Costa Pacifica also specializes in various flares, like beef ribeye and oriental chicken. Be sure to order Tacos al Pastor or another one of our popular, traditional dishes. There’s something on the menu for everyone to enjoy! Next time you’re craving Mexican food, be sure to head on over to Costa Pacifica.

Get To Know Chef Chuy

If you’re a regular at Costa Pacifica, you are probably very familiar with our delicious food, but how well do you know the face behind your favorite dishes? Hint: The man is from Mexico. That’s right! Our Mexican food is as authentic and traditional as it gets. Keep on reading to learn all about Chef Chuy from Costa Pacifica.

Chef Chuy’s journey to the restaurant industry

Chuy is originally from Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico. He landed his first job at just 15 years old working in produce. He knew how to mix and blend various fruits to make fresh juices and smoothies. After this venture, he started making his way into the restaurant business.

Chuy started out as a dishwasher at a local restaurant, while he was going to college and studying architecture. He quickly started to work his way up the ladder. After 4 months as a dishwasher, they put him in the kitchen as a line cook. Then, he spent one year working as Sous Chef. When he was just 17 years old, he finally got promoted to Head Chef! Soon after, the Mexican government paid for Chuy to attend two years of cooking school to become an official chef.

When he was just 18, he was invited to be one of the youngest chefs to compete in a cook-off at the World Trade Center in Mexico. However, he didn’t win, but he gained great recognition! Today, he has competed in large cooking competitions with some of the top chefs across the world. Paul Bocuse was one of the largest mentors at the San Antonio culinary school (Culinary Institute of America), and Chuy would often be invited to compete at the international culinary competition of the Bocuse d'Or (Golden Bocuse) in Mexico. Unfortunately, Bocuse recently passed away this January.

Now, let’s get back on track… When Chuy was 19 years old, he was given the opportunity to move to Guadalajara and work as Head Chef at the owner’s other restaurant. He was also invited to many other cities to work as a chef and traveled to Tijuana, Los Cabos, Mexico City, and more!

When Chuy lived in Mexico City, he decided to attend one of the top culinary institutes, Ambrosia, but he eventually dropped out to pursue architecture once again. He went back to college to study architecture, but he didn’t last long. Once a month, the school would require him to stay all weekend long for a large project and would not allow him to leave campus. Chuy was still working as a Head Chef and had too many responsibilities to focus on school. Chuy would get called to come into work in the middle of class because the restaurant was overwhelmed and needed his help.

When Chuy was 21 years old, he returned to Mazatlán and got involved in several other cooking ventures. He started teaching culinary classes at Tecnológico de Monterrey – Mazatlán and became a judge for food competitions.

What brought him to America?

Chuy moved to Monterey when he was 24, continued teaching, and continued cooking for two other restaurants. One of the restaurants he worked for eventually brought him to Texas. The owner of the restaurant, Tommy, was Moris Saide's uncle! Moris and Tommy partnered together to create Costa Pacifica, Mexican-Style Seafood in San Antonio, TX. They wanted Chuy as their Executive Chef, and it took off from there! Chuy creates all the recipes and food presentations that guests experience. Now, Chuy has been living and working in San Antonio at Costa Pacifica for about 8 years.

How and when did you decide you wanted to be a chef?

Chef Chuy started cooking at home when he was 14 years old, but he never dreamed of becoming a chef. The opportunities came to him, and he fell in love with it! He dropped out of architecture school because he knew his future was going to be in the kitchen.

Have you always specialized in Seafood or Mexican food?

Chuy has opened 24 various types of restaurants throughout his career: Japanese, French, Mexican, Mediterranean, Thai Seafood, and Mexican Seafood. His highest level of expertise is in Mexican Seafood because of where he grew up. Mazatlán locals know how to cook the best seafood!

After spending all day in the kitchen, do you like to cook at home?

Chuy says he hardly eats at home because he’s never hungry after seeing food all day! His wife will have dinner ready for him by the time he gets home, but he won’t eat it until around 1 AM – around the time he begins to get hungry. Even though he hardly cooks at home, he often grills steak and other meat on the weekend for his family. Once a month, he will also barbecue for his family, but using the conventional oven! Now, that’s innovation.

Where do you find inspiration to create new dishes?

Chuy will use whatever he finds in the kitchen to whip up something new. He consistently chops up different

ingredients and mixes different sauces and spices to create new flavors. He works in reverse and will throw something together, and then taste it to figure out which combinations provoke the flavor. Once he finds the taste, he will try to match it to the best type of meat or fish.

Many of the dishes are also inspired by the patrons. People will

come to Chuy and describe something they tasted or something they are craving, and he will try to create it. For example, the Torre Lida and Sashi-Tommy were inspired by our guests!

What’s your favorite dish on the menu?

Chuy’s favorite dish is the Zarandeado Fillet. A steel net is used to cook the fish fillet on both sides, keeping it together. The term “zarandeado” is also from Mazatlán, meaning “to shake.” On the menu, you can also find more of Chef Chuy’s recommendations!

If there is one thing on the menu that everyone must try, what is it?

Chuy says if you have never been to Costa Pacifica before, you MUST try the Oriental Tostada or the Shrimp Aguachile on your first visit. The Oriental Tostada has been the #1 most ordered item on the menu since the restaurant first opened.  You can find a few other Asian influences throughout some of the dishes on the menu.

What is one thing many would be surprised to learn about you?

FUN FACT: Chuy was a feather weight boxer for 8 years with 45 wins, 2 losses, and 1 tie. You won’t want to pick a fight with him!

Taste Chef Chuy’s Inspired Dishes at Costa Pacifica

The Mexican Seafood at Costa Pacifica will make you feel like you crossed the Texas border…. and never want to come back to San Antonio! The dishes are out of this world: fresh, tasty, and full of mouthwatering flavor. With a new large menu, you will have even more options to choose from. Don’t worry, we were sure to mark each of Chef Chuy’s recommendations.

What would you like to see him whip up next? Feel free to ask! All you have to do is come on in and eat your heart out. Check out the full menu here!

America’s Avocado Drought

Don’t mess with Americans and our avocados – or better yet, don’t mess with Texans and their guacamole. We eat so many avocados that our per-capita avocado consumption jumped from 3.5 pounds in 2006 to 6.9 pounds in 2015.
Avocados are so popular because they are not just tasty, but also contains many health benefits. Avocados are high in healthy fats and contain 20 different vitamins and minerals. They have even more potassium than bananas! Numerous studies have shown that eating avocados can even improve heart disease risk factors like Total, LDL and HDL cholesterol, as well as blood triglycerides.

Avocados have become bacon’s equivalent here in America. You’ll find it on burgers, toast, salads, sushi, tacos (of course), and pretty much anything else. People even make fried avocado fries! You can’t get any more American than that.

America imports 82% of its avocados from Mexico, and 93% of Hass avocados sold in the U.S. are also from Mexico. Mexico’s climate allows them to grow year-round – which is something we can’t do here. According to the Hass Avocado Board in California, in 2000, Mexico was shipping 24 million pounds to the Unites States. By 2015, they were shipping 1.76 billion pounds of avocados! Even though they can produce large quantities, the demand is growing and so are the prices.

This year, we had a record-breaking surge in avocado prices. In April 2016, the average price for one avocado was 98 cents each. One year later, the average price is $1.26! The prices are expected to stay high through the summer.

A 22-pound box of Hass avocados from Michoacan, Mexico’s largest avocado producing state, costs 530 pesos ($27.89). While it is subject to seasonal swings, this price is more than double what it was last year and the highest in data in the past 19 years. If Michoacan decided, for whatever reason, to stop exporting, there is nowhere else in the world that could provide the quantity of avocados that U.S. markets are consuming!

As you would expect, restaurants are affected by this surge in prices. Subway stopped offering fresh avocados on their sandwiches. Chipotle, on the other hand, is known for their delicious guacamole. People complain about paying the extra $2, but that doesn’t stop them from adding it to their meals. Luckily, Chipotle has promise that they will keep the guacamole flowing and won’t inflate the price for the customers.

Not only are prices up, but there is also a shortage of avocados this year. Avocado trees are alternate-bearing crops. They might have large harvests one year and smaller harvests the next. In California, production is down 44% because of the heatwave. Production is also down in Peru because of severe flooding. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we might start allowing Colombia to import avocados to prevent future shortages.

Roland Fumasi, an analyst at Rabobank in Fresno, California, said that avocado consumption is increasing in China and in other parts of Europe. This increased demand pulls even more of the avocado crop from Mexico – which means there is even less available for consumers in the United States. China’s imports from Mexico have grown by about 250% each year!

Why are the prices so high?

After Donald Trump announced building a border wall, he claimed Mexico will pay for it. However, Mexico said they will not pay for it. Following that, Chief of staff Reince Priebus said that a 20% import tax was one idea in "a buffet of options" to pay for the border wall. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, “the 20 percent tax on annual Mexican imports would raise $10 billion a year and would easily pay for a border wall that is estimated to cost between $8 billion and $20 billion.” Unfortunately, as evidenced by spiking avocado prices, the cost of goods in America increase alongside the high import taxes.

This tax will affect more than just avocado prices. Mexico is the biggest exporter of fresh produce to the U.S. with about 70% of our vegetable imports and almost 40% of fruit imports. It doesn’t end there. We also import other products Americans love from Mexico, like beer and tequila! Higher import prices will result in more expensive goods for both consumers and businesses. You can expect to see this play out across San Antonio since Texans are incredibly unlikely to cut back on the guacamole and tequila!

For now, buyers are being urged to wait until the fall to purchase avocados. Hopefully, next season’s crop will be larger and there will be enough volume to push prices down.