Pam's Patio Kitchen is at the corner of Lockhill Selma and Wurzbach Parkway in San Antonio, tucked away in the corner of a small shopping center.
Joe and I had just waved goodbye to houseguests who had been here for 28 days and decided we deserved a nice evening out where we could linger over dinner without preparing it ourselves. Since it was a Saturday night, we decided to go over to Pam's Patio. What a treat that was! The first time we had dinner at Pam's, there were only three or four choices on the GF menu, but now there are at least fourteen entrées, plus starters, salads, and soups. Usually there is at least one gluten-free dessert on hand. All the GF choices are on a printed menu.
I ended up having a starter and salad. Each plate was as big as a platter and quite a visual feast to look at. The Guacamole Salad must have had a whole avocado, mashed with lime juice, fresh garlic, and chili arbol. Served with their divine homemade corn tortilla chips, it looked pretty as a flower, surrounded by sliced tomatoes and cups of three different salsas. It was a full meal.
Next came the Adriatic Sea Grilled Shrimp Salad, which had eight grilled shrimp on kebab sticks sitting on top of a large mixed greens and tomato salad, dressed with a lemon olive oil dressing, and topped by feta cheese and chopped purple onions. Everything was as fresh as could be.
Joe opted for Bistec Tacos, which were three corn tortillas filled with grilled Angus beef and green onion, served with grilled zucchini, Mexican rice, guacamole, and the three homemade salsas.
The greatest thing about the menu is that almost everything is gluten free or can be prepared gluten free. When we talked about options for the dishes that come served with pasta, David had an idea. He went back to the kitchen and consulted with Ryan, who agreed to prepare gluten-free Pad Thai noodles for me to be served with pesto sauce. They were delicious.
If you have been to Pam's Patio for lunch, you can be assured you will find some of the same choices, but you will recognize the same serendipity of the menu. There doesn't seem to be a "theme" to their menu, but you get the feeling that each dish is probably a family favorite. Some have a Mediterranean influence, some have a Latin flair, and there are also a few Asian wok options to choose from. Theoretically, you could eat here every night they are open and have something gluten free with different geographic flavors.
When Pam's Patio first opened, all three of their adult children were involved and working there. Their daughter Claire has taken her nursing degree and moved off to Chicago, but Alex and Ryan are there in the kitchen, developing their own style and opinions. When Pam and David take a night off, Val, Alex's wife, is another good source for GF options. She has been here since they opened.
Word seems to spread, because they now have gluten-free requests daily. Occasionally, Pam or David will tell some new diners about Alamo Celiac, and I will get a call from them. The most unusual referral came when I was in Virginia for the GIG Conference a few years ago. I sat down next to a nice woman, and we got acquainted as we waited for the seminar to begin. When I said I was from San Antonio she got all excited and asked me if I knew about Pam's Patio! It turns out that she and her husband visit here often because several of their grown children live in San Antonio, and they always go to Pam's when they are in town. She is the only celiac, but all her family members like to dine at Pam's Patio. It gave me such a thrill to be so far from home, but connected in this way. I hope you will go to Pam's for dinner soon. You might see us there too.
This review was written by Anne Barfield in August, 2007.