RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The James Beard Awards recognizes talent in the culinary arts, among a few other categories, and this year two local establishments were announced as semifinalists.

Las Ramblas at Market Square in Brownsville is nominated in the Outstanding Bar category.

“To get that acknowledgment from the James Beard Foundation is just, it’s a dream come true to be perfectly honest. To become a semifinalist is a dream come true,” said Las Ramblas partner, Michael Limas.

Limas and his brother, Fabian Limas, established the bar in 2019 after being inspired by a trip to Spain.

“We had been toying with the idea of opening a cocktail bar and we just decided to do a Spanish-themed cocktail bar,” Michael Limas said.

The brothers alongside their Junior Partner and Beverage Director, Chris Galicia, offer over 40 cocktails in their unique establishment.

“We’re unique. If you notice, this is more of an intimate place. We have no TVs. We want to make sure that if you come here, it’s because you’re going to enjoy yourself, enjoy a great cocktail, and enjoy conversations with your friends or your significant other,” Fabian Limas said.

In Mission, Ana Liz Pulido, the chef, and owner of Ana Liz Taqueria is a semifinalist in the Best Chef in Texas category.

“People were sending me messages and I was like, oh no way. That’s how I learned about it but I can’t believe it,” Pulido said.

Pulido said she established the business in 2021 after attending culinary school in San Antonio.

She is now offering some local favorites on her menu.

“The star is the “Vampiro” It’s a tostada with guacamole, cheese, and the meat of your choice, my preference is fajita, and salsa,” Pulido said.

The restaurant serves more than just tacos, but she said what makes her business stand out are the tortillas.

The tortillas are made from scratch, as she uses a nixtamalization process.

That process allows her to make the “masa” to make the tortillas used in her restaurant.

“It’s organic, it doesn’t have GMOs. It’s just calcium, water, and corn,” she said.

Although the process is labor intensive, she said it makes her food unique.

Both the Limas brothers and Pulido agree that winning the 2023 James Beard Awards would be an honor but they are just as honored to be nominated.

According to the James Beard Awards website, winners are scheduled to be announced on March 29 and an awards ceremony will be held in Chicago next June.