It’s not often you meet a food soulmate. This past June, after following BarbacoApparel and one third of their creative team Richard Diaz on Instagram for several months now, I asked Diaz to meet for concha burgers at The Old Main Assoc. off Main Avenue.
One snag — the San Antonio native currently works in Dallas, but you wouldn’t guess it from his SA-filled posts. When we were finally able to meet, Diaz, his partner Adrian Paredez and I ran into snag numero dos: Old Main serves a limited menu on weekends until 5, which didn’t work for our 2 p.m. meetup.
Still, we sipped on rosé and noshed on fried mole chicken while catching up on BarbacoApparel, which expanded its reach across the state last fall when Whole Earth Provision Co. began carrying the popular shirts that succinctly describe the Latino/a experience in the Alamo City. Where else are you going to get a box of fideo or a diagram of where menudo and carnitas come from on a T-shirt?
But Diaz and BarbacoApparel partners Matt Contreras and Nydia Huiza aren’t stopping at food. There’s plans for more apparel that’ll focus on pop culture including scenes from La Bamba
with Esai Morales bellowing “Ritchieeee,”
or lucha libre interpretations of da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man
or hoops-donning chola-fied kitties
. And it probably won’t be long before you find a BarbacoApparel truck or storefront — the team is working on ways to move into more apparel (taco socks, anyone?) and housewares.
In the meantime, Diaz is currently helming content creation for the brand’s blog
where popular posts usually revolve around comida, because cuisine is still BarbacoApparel’s flour tortilla and butter.
The short and sweet survey that asked folks what their favorite breakfast taco is, a list of where to buy paletas in San Antonio, and a few recipes including fish tacos and a concha breakfast sandwich created by H-E-B were all some of the blog’s heavy-hitters.
“H-E-B is from South Texas, so it's OK for them to play into this new trend and cater to their audience,” he said.
The trend, Diaz alludes to, is San Antonio’s latest obsession with concha burgers — from Old Main’s concha burger to the upcoming Con Safos’ pan dulce burger. Though Old Main is no longer serving the burger (new chef means new menu), and you’ll have to wait until this fall to enjoy the pan dulce burger at Hemisfair when Con Safos opens, there’s really not much stopping anyone from making their own sandwich.
“For some older folks, that's a new thing,” Diaz said. “They never thought to mix sweet and savory in a sandwich.”
Diaz’s take on the breakfast sandwich
following the grocery chain’s recipe inspired me to try my hand at other breakfast sandos sans mustard (which belongs nowhere near breakfast).
Like breakfast tacos, the variations are endless. Play around with the style of egg you make (fried works well), cheese (Oaxaca and panela are my favorite for the sandwiches, but that’s not stopping you from going with asadero), spreads (guacamole, refried beans, strawberry jam, Ricos?!) and meats (chorizo, ham, barbacoa). The hardest choice you’ll have to make? What color of concha to use.
Bacon makes everything better.
H-E-B’s Concha Breakfast Sandwich
Makes 6 sandwiches
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more as needed
6 large eggs
2 tablespoons H E B yellow mustard
6 concha buns, cut in half horizontally
1 cup bacon guacamole
1 package of H E B natural fully cooked uncured bacon, heat according to package instructions
6 slices of H E B natural sliced pepper jack cheese
In a non stick frying pan add butter and allow to melt. Meanwhile crack eggs into separate ramekins (so egg shells do not get into the pan).
Once butter is foaming in pan add 2 to 3 eggs at a time. Cook 4 to 6 minutes or until tops of whites are set but yolks are still slightly runny. Remove from pan to cool and cook additional eggs.
Build breakfast sandwich by spreading mustard on cut sides of buns. Then layer guacamole on bottom of each bun followed by bacon, cheese, and egg. Serve warm. Optional step, bake 5 to 6 minutes to slightly melt everything if desired.
Moons Over Mis Conchis
Makes 1 sandwich
1 concha, cut in half horizontally
Splash of milk
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
2 slices ham
2 slices queso panela
3 avocado slices
Refried black beans, optional
Heat concha on griddle until slightly browned and set aside.
Whisk eggs and milk together with salt and pepper. Scramble eggs over low heat until they reach desired consistency. Build sandwich by layering eggs, cheese, avocado and black beans, if using (use them, I didn’t and they would totally work).