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This article was first published March 9, 2021, on the original 'Lavaca & Friends' website. It is one of several articles from that site that we have preserved and moved to the 'LNF Weekly' archive.


Restaurant Azuca and chef-owner Rene Fernández have been fixtures on South Alamo Street for years, drawing patrons to Chef Rene’s ‘nuevo Latino’ cuisine.

Born and raised in Mexico, Chef Rene honed his skills in top restaurants across the Americas, including restaurants in Houston, Brazil, Aruba, Cancun, Acapulco, Guatemala, and Puerto Rico, before landing here in Lavaca in 2002.

He’s now preparing to open a second neighborhood spot — Hola! — in the former Dreamweaver florist space, just up the block from Azuca. Hola! will be a tapas restaurant with a wine and beer bar and lots of outdoor seating.

Azuca restaurant, Chef Rene, and mixing cornbread batter

We asked Chef Rene to share a favorite recipe that readers could make at home, and he gave us the recipe for Azuca’s signature corn bread.


½ pound butter

1 ¼ cup sugar

4 eggs

¾ cup flour

1 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

10 oz sour cream

10 oz frozen corn kernels, roasted

8 oz red bell pepper, roasted and diced (about 1 large pepper)


Preheat oven to 350°F.

In an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar for 5 minutes at low speed. 

Add eggs slowly. Add flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Mix for 2 minutes until everything is well incorporated. 

Add sour cream and mix for another 2 minutes on medium speed. 

Add corn kernels and red bell pepper.

Spray muffin pan or cornbread molds with pan-release spray. Pour ⅓ cup into each mold. Bake for 40 - 50 minutes.

Makes 1 ½ dozen standard-size muffins.

Jane Gennarelli is co-editor of LNF Weekly. She also edits the Lavaca & Friends weekly arts and entertainment newsletter.

Chef Rene's Cornbread Recipe

Preserved from the old L&F website

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Chef John Philpot's Spam Fried Rice Recipe

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