On our last night in San Antonio, the CIA invited us all to NAO their Latin Gastro Bar attached to the school and staffed in the kitchen and front of house by CIA students, which is an amazing statement to begin with.
It was a fun experience and we had a pretty decent menu to boot.
The Margarita won't win a prize, but it was darn good and we had four starte plates to begin with that simply overflowed and again we wanted to pack up the extra to go, but alas could not, as we did not live there:
Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese, Fennel, Apple & Toasted Pumpkin Seeds was one of the best arugula salads around just for its simplicity but also for the flavors. Empanadas were superb flaky crusty creations filled with Corn, Mushroom and a light yet creamy Salsa Blanca with a spicy Tomatillo Salsa and these disappeared pronto! Argentine Chorizo was nice with corn, tomato and onion but lacked imagination. the only bad dish all night was Provoleta which was an aged provolone melted in a cast iron pan with crostini and chimichurri that also oozed grease and was difficult to extract from the pan as well.
I ordered a bottle of the superb Emilia Coyan Red blend from Colchaga Valley Chile 2013 made of Carmenere, Syrah, Merlo, Cab, Mourvedre, Malbec and Petite Verdot that was rich, full bodied and organic to boot.
My main course was Duck Carnitas with greens, bulb onions and salsa cruda as well as tortillas to stuff the gorgeous confit leg into. We have eaten so many starters though we could barely finish our mains, even with sharing. the others were Hangar(spelled hanger on the menu) and Fresh Gulf Tilefish.
The desserts were a rich but tasty Almond Panna Cotta with Passion Fruit Curd, Charred Pineapple and Lime Zest, but the huge tube like churros were the winner with their spice chocolate dip and stewed plantains!
Off to the hotel bar with some classmates for a nightcap before we struggled out at 630am for the final day of boot camp!