Soul Sister: Brenda Buenviaje of Brenda's French Soul Food in San Francisco

February 27, 2013

Video by R.J. Lozada. Photos by Andria Lo.

Say hi to Brenda and sample some of her delicious jambalaya at the Hyphen Hoedown this Saturday, March 2, celebrating the release of Issue 26: The South.

Bring a little of the Big Easy into your kitchen with Brenda's Sweet Watermelon Tea:

Photo by Libby Truesdell.

Brenda’s Sweet Watermelon Tea

Growing up in the Deep South, sweet tea was the only tea. When I was dreaming up ideas for my first restaurant far, far from the South I came up this concoction in the hopes of updating an age-old idea while still conveying the sense of place where that idea was born.

For one gallon:

5 black tea bags (we use good ol’ Lipton)

Gallon water

3/4 C sugar

3 c watermelon puree, (peeled, seeded watermelon, pureed in a blender)

2 zprigs of Thai basil lightly mashed and bruised to release its aromatics

Lots of ice

Tiny watermelon wedges for garnish

Bring water to a simmer. Remove from heat then add tea bags and sugar. Stir. Let cool completely then add watermelon puree and basil. Pour over ice and garnish. Best served on a porch somewhere in 100-degree weather.

For more Southern-inspired recipes from Chef Brenda, visit her blog at



Multimedia Editor

R.J. Lozada is an
award-winning multimedia journalist and filmmaker who also produces
and hosts APEX Express, a weekly radio magazine show that focuses on
art, culture, and politics in the Asian Pacific Islander communities.
Lozada is also currently Director of Photography for the documentary Breathin’: The Eddy Zheng Story.



Crowded but worth the wait. Wanted to try everything. Very Southern, very French Quarter.