Sometimes we bring the lightning, and sometimes the lightning comes to us. I’m thunderstruck to announce that today I start a new chapter in my newspaper career as restaurant critic and food writer for the San Antonio Express-News.
(PHOTOS AT TOP, clockwise from top left: The Italian trattoria Il Sogno at the Pearl in San Antonio. Steve McHugh’s charcuterie-centric Cured. Diego Galicia of Mixtli with a blue corn macaron from the Austin Food & Wine Festival.)
The lightning strike came when I told a group of newspaper features editors this summer that despite my website FedManWalking.com getting defunded in May, I wasn’t through writing about food, that I was looking at San Francisco, Atlanta and others.
“San Antonio is much closer.” It was Emily Spicer, the features editor for the Express-News. “Would you consider coming to San Antonio?” On the spot, I gave the only answer that made sense: “I do have a valid Texas driver’s license.”
So today, I’m driving 80 miles south to join the Taste team at the Express-News, which for six years in a row has been named the country’s best food section in its class by the Association of Food Journalists. Here are the job announcements from the San Antonio Express-News and the paper's restaurant critic, Edmund Tijerina, who's passing the critic's torch to me so he can concentrate on the other job he's been doing on top of that since April: Running the Taste section.
► From the Express-News: “Veteran food journalist Mike Sutter is joining the Taste team! He comes to us from his own restaurant review website, FedManWalking, and the Austin American-Statesman.”
► From Edmund Tijerina: ”Happy to announce that Mike Sutter is joining us on the Taste team. He's going to take over the restaurant reviewing duties and I'll shift to editing, planning and writing other stories. He starts Oct. 3 and is going to do great!”
(ABOVE: Tacos and menudo at Pete’s Tako House. Folc restaurant. Coffee IPA brewed at the Granary.)
San Antonio restaurants are in a sweet spot now, and I’m a kid in the candy store. My experience with its restaurants and chefs has made that clear. Charcuterie at Cured, a resuscitative dinner at Il Sogno, a recalibrating experience at Lüke, brisket butter at the Granary, the celebrity burger at Folc, handmade tortillas at Pete’s Tako House, half-remembered nights at Mi Tierra and festival encounters with Jason Dady, Diego Galicia, Rico Torres, Steve McHugh, John Russ and others.
As part of my dual citizenship agreement, I'll keep running Fed Man Walking. I started the Austin-centric food website in 2011, just after I accepted a buyout from the American-Statesman, where I worked for 25 years as a restaurant critic, art director and editor. I’ve told hundreds of Austin stories through its food, covering every barbecue joint for BBQ City Limits, ranking Austin’s 55 Best Restaurants and hitting 365 taquerias last year.
And let me say this about the Austin-San Antonio taco war: My only salvo from the trenches last year was that I wished I could do a San Antonio version of my 500 Tacos Project. Be careful what you wish for. Or better yet, get ready for war.
(ABOVE, from left: A burger and fries at Lüke on the Riverwalk. The dining room at the 24-hour cafe Mi Tierra. Chef Jason Dady’s restaurant group includes Tre Trattoria, the Bin, Two Bros. BBQ Market and more.)
(All photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)