LEON VALLEY -- Chef Eduardo Ramos remembers his first meal in America. He had a BLT and a slice of apple pie.
Trying to recapture the taste became a task. Over the years, Ramos would build up the skills to open his own restaurant where he serves a sandwich with bacon on it.
"Honestly, I started as a dishwasher in New York City and I start working my way up," he said.
Ramos' sandwich with bacon is the "Hangover" sandwich: Fried eggs, bacon, tomato, chipotle aioli with spicy salsa and homemade chips.
The native of Mexico moved to the states with his wife Ruth who is also his partner. They own the Leon Valley Cafe at 6526 Bandera Rd.
"I love to have interaction with the customers and that's the reason we decided to make this so small," he said. "So when you come in you feel home."
The 46-year-old said he and his wife took the treasures they learned from their descendants and combined it with what they learned on the job. Frankly, he said sometimes they worked for free to learn about food and presentation.
"I believe you cook the way you feel," Ramos said.
Ramos said he worked in the kitchen at the successful Mariposa at Neiman Marcus when it opened. Nearly two years ago, he decided it was time to do his own thing. Ruth said their first week in business was a test of faith.
"We were outside looking for customers,"' she said.
Ramos wondered what would happen to all the American contemporary cuisine they bought. The two decided to sow a deeper seed in the Leon Valley community.
They prepared food for the Leon Valley Fire Department. Ruth said the next day LVFD came to the Leon Valley Cafe. The city workers were instrumental in getting the eatery off the ground.
"I never dream to have a place like this," he said. "I was thinking like big restaurant---fancy and things like that.”
The cafe seats 16 people which means there is a small wait sometimes. For the business owners, it's a pleasure to get fresh and swanky dishes to their customers for under $20.
Neighborhood Eats wanted some of these fancy and affordable vittles. The samples started with the Sriracha wings. Que Rico! They are lite and non-greasy wings with seasonings demanding a dip in Ranch dressing.
The Cuban sandwich with chipotle sauce for a slightly San Antonio edge was delicious. It's served with a yummy homemade salsa and the house chip.
The chef won us over the roasted salmon atop of farro, spinach, and tomatoes cooked in wine sauce. Que Rico!!!
Ruth is the dessert maven in this partnership. It shows in her untraditional bestselling pecan pie and sensational version of apple pie. Our dessert fork and spoon are still dancing.
The Leon Valley Cafe boasts a good menu. Don't mention this, but I hear they will even do filet mignon on a sandwich too. That's just among us eaters.
That's this week's Neighborhood Eats. If you have a suggestion for Marvin send him an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), tweet (@Mhurstkens5) or post it on the KENS 5 Facebook page.
(© 2016 KENS)