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San Antonio, TX


JLK
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The only place I know of there?

Philly's Phamous

I suspect I'll be heading to SA in December.  Anyone have suggestions?

How do you feel about chains? :lol: Eat away from the RiverWalk if you can help it.

The Pappas Chain restaurants - Pappadeaux (Cajun), Pappasitos (Mexican) and Pappas Steakhouses - are consistently good eats. I try to hit a Pappadeaux whenever possible!

Any kind of Mexican food is going to be outstanding. Chuy's is a favorite of mine from the Austin days, but there are some yummy hole in the wall places throughout downtown (just ask around).

If you find yourself with a craving in the middle of the night - Taco Cabana has amazing tortillas and queso or you could do a drive by at Whataburger (In-N-Out burgers, please).

And I've never met anyone who isn't a fan of Luby's cafeteria. Yes, I did just suggest a blue-hair fantasy...I stand by the LuAnne Platter! :P

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On the Riverwalk, I really enjoyed Boudro's, where they make their own guacamole tableside, with a squirt of orange as well as lime. I loved the flavor, my S.O. didn't, so take that for what it's worth.

I second Chuy's. And stay away from County Line, it's great in Austin but subpar in San Antonio, from what I've tried in both places. Outside town there's a delicious Mexican place... La Paloma, I think?

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I also like Boudro's on the Riverwalk. Great prickly pear margaritas which are really hard to find in the Southwest-at least done correctly. I also second any of the Pappas Bros. restaurants. Pappasito's is very similar to Rio Grande Cafe, but somewhat better. Wildly popular, as is Pappadeux. Pappadeux is not great Creole or Cajun but very good for what it does.

Arguably the best beef bbq in Texas (which for most means the world) is only an hour or so out of San Antonio in Luling at the Luling City Market. Either google this or look at one of the many lengthy threads of eG about TX bbq. This place is THE standard which most agree on. Rudy's has the "experience" and ambience out near Six Flags Fiesta Texas but most of the Q is far behind what can be found in Hill Country or about halfway between San Antonio and Austin. Over the years I've eaten at most of the bbq joints/groceries/roadhouses/farms (Salt Lick) mentioned in books or on boards. Yet today, when I have the time, I'll drive the two + hours roundtrip to Luling and return to the City Market. This link is from Roadfood's website: http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.as...D=583&RefID=583 Excellent photos and note the total agreement that it is worth a 100 mile pilgramage, Roadfood's highest compliment!

Arguably La Fogata is San Antonio's best Tex Mex; it's a different type of experience than Pappasito's. : http://www.lafogata.com/ It's about a fifteen minute drive from the Riverwalk in the direction of northwest S.A.

Edited by Joe H
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The only place I remember from our SA trip five years ago is Rosario's...Mexican/ spanish cuisine with fantastic salsa and ceviche. We waited an hour to eat there on a Friday night, and then came back for lunch at the tail end of the trip.

I was not a fan of San Antonio in general...I found the Riverwalk to be incredibly touristy. It was certainly festive and attractive, way too commercial and totally NOT my speed.

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Arguably the best beef bbq in Texas (which for most means the world) is only an hour or so out of San Antonio in Luling at the Luling City Market. 

Hell yes! I totally agree, Joe. My folks and I will drive multitudes of miles out of our way for a quick fix of City Market. Now if they'd only open for Sunday lunch...

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JLK - Did you end up anywhere interesting? I'm heading down for a 5-day trip (Fri-Wed) and will be staying near the Market Square, but 'conferencing' at the Convention Center.

I would love to make the trip to Luling - that is THE best damn brisket anywhere - but I will be carless :)

I've been to Boudro's and gone the Chuy/Pappasitos/Pappadeaux route many times before. And Taco Cabana IS great for those cravings - do they serve margaritas, or was that just Two Pesos?

Anyway, they're all good standbys but I would love to try some of those hole-in-the-wall places - any specific suggestions?

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I love San Antonio and have had the privilege of visiting both for social and business purposes. Here is a quick list of tried and true places:

1) The RiverWalk isn't all bad. One night we stumbled onto the patio of a newly opened restaurant in a newly opened luxury hotel where we had the best oysters we had ever had... Turns out the Watermark is an amazing hotel and the restaurant top notch, even if it is on the Riverwalk

2) Browns for cheese enchiledas but that is it. It is a totally local place in a commercial district that many locals don't know about:

Brown's Mexican Food

2405 S. Hackberry (78210)

(210) 533-8174

3) A total tourist trap, the Mi Tierra restaurants are really a must do once. Only once, the food is okay but the atmosphere is amazingly fun if you are with a group. Also, they have really nice outdoor seating at one of the restaurants:

Mi Tierra Cafe y Panaderia

218 Produce Row (78207)

(210) 225-1262

www.mitierracafe.com

4) Los Barrios is an awesome family run Tex-Mex place that really is a locals place, for generations!

Los Barrios

4223 Blanco Rd., San Antonio, TX, USA

Phone: 210-732-6017

5) There is a restaurant in Alamo Heights or one of the suburbs which is amazing Tex-Mex. I can't recall the name. :-(

Okay, I am drooling now. Must stop this post. Have a great trip!

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Arguably the best beef bbq in Texas (which for most means the world) ...
Joe I have to respectfully disagree with this, I have yet to be impressed by Texas BBQ (no I have not been to yet been to Luling City Market) and have found that what I have had to be much overrated. To make matters worse, I have always been forced to listen to Texans lecturing me on how they know the best BBQ or chili in the world because they are from Texas, as if just being from a place automatically makes one an expert.

As for La Fogata, I found it to be rather run of the mill, and nothing I would go out of my way for. The one exception is the Queso Flameado which was heavenly. I did have a decent steak at Little Rhein along the River Walk.

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It may come down to one's opinion of brisket vs. pork. I've had the Skylight Inn, Archibald's, Sweatman's, Bozo's, Bryant's, Fresh Air and a whole bunch of other pork bbq's along with most every Texas place that has a rep including Smitty's and Black's in Lockhart (even Kreuz under the old owners), Cooper's in Llano, Louie Mueller, Clark's Outpost, Sonny Bryan's on Inwood, etc. (All of these as part of annual 8,000 mile driving trips including criss crossing TX each year.) The old Kreuz had the best ambience with Cooper's a close second. But I really, really like the City Market in Luling. About fifteen years ago I went there for lunch and Ruth's Chris for dinner in Dallas that night. City Market was better. Much better.

But that's me.

I go back there in about three weeks.

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It may come down to one's opinion of brisket vs. pork. 
I do think that it is a Pork vs. Beef issue, I just can’t get my taste buds around barbequed beef. I know that there is quite a bit of pork smoked in eastern Texas but I have found that it pales compared to what comes from the Carolinas and North Georgia. As for atmosphere the only atmosphere I care about when it comes to barbeque is what is on the plate or bun in front of me, extra credit if they sell beer, even crappy beer is a welcome treat when it comes to most barbeque joints.

That reminds me how do you define the difference between a Restaurant/Joint/Dive:

Restaurant: Matching furniture, taped music, printed menus. Accepts credit cards. Member of the chamber of commerce.

Joint: Screened door, jukebox, beer, chalkboard menu. The cook is nicknamed Bubba. Cash only.

Dive: Torn screened door, tattoos, beer, whiskey, flies. No menu. The cook's real name is Bubba, and she has a prison record. You don't tell your mama you go there.

Personally, I tend to enjoy the Joints and Dives.

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I actually think atmosphere plays a part in evaluating the taste, at least for me. At Pete Adkins Skylight Inn (I think the overall best of all the pork places in America) it is the non stop chunk chunk chunk of a man with two cleavers endlessly chopping whole hog q (at the risk of Carpal tunnel syndrome); at Dreamland in Tuscalossa it is the pit IN THE ROOM with the Q and when the pitman opens the door the smoke wafts over the low ceilinged room, flavoring the air with eue de pit (while, for others, like smog on a bad day in L. A.); at Sonny Bryan's these funky school desks and a cement floor with wood stained smoky black from 50+ years of smoking meats; at the Luling City Market (and a few other places) it is a separate room that is partitioned off for the pit where the pitman must inhale more smoke than any chainsmoker. I can't leave there without feeling that someone is literally giving his life for his Q. Clark's Outpost in Tioga, TX has blond wood that, I swear, is mahogany! And Guy and Mae's in Williamsburg, KS has a barmaid who has a smoker's cough to rival what I once had-and she's never smoked a cigarette in her life.

My last few comments really note one of the reasons why "real" Q is almost impossible to find anymore: very few are willing to do what is necessary to produce the authentic taste, the smoky bite that real bbq has. When one does do this, often, it seems that they are giving more than any customer could ever reasonably ask of them. It is also a reason why so few health deprtments no allow the kind of pits that produce this special type of flavor and meltingly tender, fall apart texture. It is more than just waking at midnight to stoke a pit; it is a way of life and, for some, giving of their health for a taste and flavor and perfume of the pit that is increasingly more difficult to find. For many the sacrifices are not worth it; but for those who do find these "special" places and the people who staff them, whether they are pork or beef or ribs, they are indeed special and to be savored and remembered.

They have become seemingly, sometimes almost literally, a dying breed.

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A few thoughts and links to places I visited in San Antonio (most of them mentioned already).

Mi Tierra is touristy, and I tend to disagree with the signs touting it as "San Antonio's Favorite Mexican Restaurant". It has a huge and interesting selection at the bakery located in the center of the building. The 'mercado caldo' - tortilla soup - sounded good but I opted for a "Special Mexican Dinner" - Cheese Enchilada, Crispy Beef Taco, Tamal, Guacamole, Chile con Queso, Spanish Rice and Refried Beans - too much food, none of it great. The tamal wasn't bad, but I found the beans pretty bland, and the rest of it average. It's a nice place to sit outside and the wait usually isn't too long, even when it's very busy.

As mentioned by others, Boudro's has the best damn guacamole anywhere. Juice of 1/4 orange and 1/2 lime, one ripe avocado, a dash of sea salt, spoonful of chopped red onions, and the house-grilled tomatoes and serrano peppers. Prepared tableside in a molcajete. Though they say it's for 2...well, I had no problem finishing it all by myself :) . I also enjoyed the beef and mushroom quesadilla. I arrived just after 3pm, when they make the jump from lunch to dinner menu, which means a pretty big jump in price. As far as places on the Riverwalk, this is probably my favorite, and one of the few where I didn't feel like I was treated as a second-class citizen when I was dining alone.

Mexican Manhattan was a lifesaver on a busy, Fiesta-time Saturday night with a 2- and 5-year old needing to eat and get to bed. They are away from the really busy part of the Riverwalk and have outdoor seating, along with a quite large, diner-esque, inside space. The food was cheap, portions were huge, and we were seated immediately. A nice little local, family-owned place to know about. We feasted for under $40 with 2 margaritas and too much food!

Away from the Riverwalk, I was very happy I wandered over to Rosario's. Located in the King William District (which is worth a visit - beautiful old homes, reminiscent of Key West or New Orleans, and a funky arts scene), Rosario's is a bustling, noisy place. The food was quite good, the service a little sketchy and slow. They had a very flavorful tortilla soup (much better than the one I tried the day before at Carlos and Charlie's offshoot Guadalajara Grill), and a decent chicken chipotle quesadilla. I ordered queso flameado with mushrooms and chorizo - it took two tries to get the right toppings. The first time it was just chorizo with some might crispy jalapeno strips. This was a very different queso than what you'd get around here. The cheese was very thick and stringy - the tortillas it's served with came in handy for tearing off hunks of it. I didn't make it here, but just down the street from Rosario's is Tito's, which looked like a lot of fun, a small Mexican place, they had a jam session of sorts (looked like bluegrass from the assortment of instruments) going on in the bar, and tables of happy-looking couples and families eating in the restaurant.

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And Taco Cabana IS great for those cravings - do they serve margaritas, or was that just Two Pesos? 

Taco Cabana has really gone downhill is the last several years. A good local (family-owned) chain of taco restaurants is Las Palapas, but most of them are closed on Sundays for family and worship.

Hmm, now I'm thinking about breakfast tacos with a Big Red soda.

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Thanks for the suggestions.

I ended up going to Little Rhein Steakhouse the first night because colleagues wanted to go there. Ick! Overpriced and underseasoned. And I'm the type of person who never has to use the salt shaker when I go out to eat. This place also has the dubious distinction of having the worst creme brulee I've ever tasted in my life. I think it was crisco mixed with cream. There seemed to be no sugar or eggs in it. Things got better after the first night though.

Breakfast was at the bakery of Mi Tierra. I recommend the pumpkin empanada. Lunch at Boudro's was good, though service was slow. The guacamole was great. They use a smoky chipotle blend and orange juice along with all the other typical guacamole ingredients. The black and white soup there was excellent. One half black bean the other half white cheddar. Dinner was at Acenar- a semi-upscale nuevo latino/tex mex kinda place. Lots of great dishes here, including a lettuce wrap and a crab salad, a friend had the crab tacos and said they were great. She's from houston so I imagine she knows her tex mex.

Lunch the next day was at Casa Rio, definitely a tourist trap but it was nice to have a margarita along the river and enjoy the gorgeous weather.

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I have yet to be impressed by Texas BBQ (no I have not been to yet been to Luling City Market)
Was at the Luling City Market in Nov. The sausage was unbelievable. The brisket and ribs were excellent. No plates, no utensils, just BBQ by the pound on deli paper. A 'must go' if you're in that area.

Will be heading to San Antonio in Mar for business. Curious about Biga on the Banks. Icon, tourist trap or what?

Other options recommended elsewhere but also not mentioned here: The Lodge, Silo, Sandbar, Paloma Blanco, Liberty Bar. Anyone been to any of those?

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Well....this isn't going to be helpful. I have been to San Antonio or Austin approximately ten or eleven times in the last 15+ years. Every time (repeat, EVERY time) I have driven back to Luling, TX. Austin really does have a number of other options but San Antonio...well, that's another matter. Other than Boudro's I just haven't found a place to rave about or even to return to.

OK, Chester's makes good hamburgers.

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Liberty Bar is one of my favorites and a request whenever I go home (parents are in SA). Its definitely worth a visit. They have a bean salad that I can't seem to recreate no matter how many times I've tried.

Alamo Cafe, which has some mighty tasty tortillas (not very good mexican food) and a very large, greasy chicken fried steak. I usually pick up flour tortillas from Alamo Cafe or HEB market before returning to VA.

In SA, its usually the mom and pop hole in the walls south of town that are worth visiting. Those you'll have to ask when your down there. River walk has gotten much better over the yrs, but its become a tourist trap instead of the sketchiness I remember in the early 80s. Now I'm craving a tamale.

As an alternative to Tex-Mex and BBQ, there is a pretty strong Czech and German community around SA and up to New Braunsfels. Its worth exploring the bakeries for some fantastic finds. I remember hitting some great German restaurants when I was visiting from college.

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Other options recommended elsewhere but also not mentioned here: The Lodge, Silo, Sandbar, Paloma Blanco, Liberty Bar. Anyone been to any of those?
We went to Silo 1604 over the Christmas holidays with some friends. They had an early bird, three course special, with very limited selections for $22. The three of us that did the early bird all had the pork tenderloin ("the only thing worth eating off that menu", said the waiter). It was thick, juicy, and very flavorful. Their specialty is the chicken fried oysters. I'm not usually a fan of oysters, but they're battered and deep fried, served with a creamy sauce (not quite the chicken fried steak gravy), I have to say they were pretty good. I'd go back and try things off the regular menu, but honestly, some of those items seem pretty pricey by San Antonio standards ($30 duck breast, for example).

Oh, and I too love the Liberty Bar. Great food, great atmosphere, and great prices.

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Visiting friends in Rockport, TX and driving through San Antonio tomorrow en route to rodeo in San Angelo. We have a reservation for lunch at The Lodge, so I'll report back on how it goes. Hope to stop at Liberty Bar on the way back on Sunday. It's sunny and 75 here - fabulous! :mellow:

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Last Thursday, we stopped with some friends for lunch at The Lodge in San Antonio. The restaurant is in an historic house that was the "castle" in what's now the Castle Hills neighborhood. The dining spaces are in various rooms throughout the house which has been maintained pretty much in its original configuration.

Everything about our lunch was outstanding - the food, the service and the setting. They offer an incredible lunch deal from a set menu - 2 courses for $12 or 3 courses for $16. And any bottle of wine from their excellent list is %25 off. There are also a number of wines offered by the glass. Among our party of 4 we tried 2 first courses - a lovely roasted pepper soup garnished with some herbed ricotta and (maybe) basil oil, and risotto with bits of roasted baby eggplant, arugula, other vegetables and cheese - pecorino Romano, I think. Both delicious! Three of us had one of their signature dishes for mains - "Grilled Texas Bobwhite Quail with Point Reyes Blue Cheese "Farrotto," Butter Baked Apple and Grilled Pear Salsa." The quail is mostly boned, so it's easy to eat, and the combination of flavors and textures was just wonderful. For dessert we tried another signature dish - "Soufflé" Inspired Chocolate Nutella Cake with Hazelnut Ganache and Berries, and something else that was buttery and caramelly. Guess what? Both were great!

I can't imagine how they are able to offer food of this quality at this price. The dinner menu is quite a bit more expensive, but still good value, considering the lovely setting and exceptional food. If you find yourself in San Antonio, seek this place out. http://www.thelodgerestaurant.com/

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Just to clear up some potential confusion about the Luling City Market for anyone reading this, it is NOT this place in Houston that essentially stole the name. You want to go to the 'City Market' in Luling, TX.
I've heard of the place in Houston but have never been to it; I've long felt that it was just an effort to capitalize on the fame of the original in Luling. In truth there are a number of places in that area that have acquired a reputation and not all live up to them. Specifically, the Salt Lick in Driftwood has incredible ambience but second rate Q and only decent sides. Outside of Austin the County Line "on the hill" has really good ribs and good sides but, overall, doesn't compare to, say, the City Market in Luling. There's nothing in Austin or Houston that approaches the City Market-Nothing! Part of the flavor and texture of what's put on the plate there is also the ambience. You're eating a taste from another era with the brisket coming from a pit that only a handful of places replicate today. In fact when you walk into the room that the Q is bbq'd in you won't believe that ANY human being is willing to tolerate the amount of smoke that the pit spews out. My guess is that the pit boss has a serious smoker's cough and may never have smoked a cigarette in his life. Because of this the City Market will probably not be the same-if it's even around-in another ten years...
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I just got back from a few weeks of training in San Antonio and got to catch up on my barbecue and Tex-Mex deficit. I managed to complete the trifecta of hitting City Market in Luling, Smitty's in Lockhart, and Louie Mueller's in Taylor all in one day. Compared brisket, pork ribs, and sausage at all three. Smitty's clearly won the brisket category with City Market eking out ahead for the ribs and sausage. Unfortunately Louie Mueller's, my personal favorite, had a poor showing after hyping it up to my travelling companions. It still wins for ambience though and could easily take any of the barbecue in this area.

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Last night a friend and I had a meal at Bin 555, a wine bar accessible only by car up Hwy 281. The restaurant is hidden in the back of a funky little shopping center called Artisans Alley. Their wine list was a little daunting, but the prices were quite reasonable. In fact, they have a section of 55 wines for $55 (which we ordered off of, but somehow, our wine turned out to be $35 on the bill).

The food is a mixture of mostly Spanish and Italian influences, served tapas style. We started off with the serrano ham dates with blue cheese crumbles, then ate an order of naan with a large quantity of garlic butter. The dates were delicious, but I kind of regret the naan. It was good, but it tasted like regular garlic bread, and I would have preferred to have had another tapa. Then our asparagus milenese style came, which of course meant that there was a fried egg (organic) sitting right on top of the asparagus. Curiously, it worked. My friend and I then split the pork belly with blueberry compote. I was skeptical of the blueberry, but I found it to be savory rather than sweet, and my friend who had never had pork belly before was quite impressed. We also ordered a spicy gnocchi dish with bell peppers. I thought the actual gnocchi was good, but the addition of the bell peppers was probably not the best combination.

One of my cousins was working in the kitchen (he just graduated from the CIA), and he thought that the paella was excellent, but we were too stuffed to order more food. Well, except for dessert. Fried banana fritters with a peanut butter mousse were delicious, as was the french press coffee.

Apparently in San Antonio, you are allowed to take open bottles of wine from restaurants home with you, and that was definitely necessary. All in all, our meal came out to about $90, wine included. Very casual atmosphere, and it was pretty wide open on a Monday night. They also have this patio that I'm sure is packed on gorgeous spring nights. Our server was new and a little on the young side (he really wanted us to get the hot wings...claimed they were better than Hooters), but still friendly and mostly helpful. Would definitely return.

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Heading to SA over Labor Day weekend--it'll be my first trip, but my BF spent some time there when he was in the Air Force, and he really loves the area. He is DYING to go to Mi Tierra, since it was one of his old favorites, but otherwise he's letting me take the lead on the restaurant search.

I know we'll find plenty of good Tex-Mex, and probably some BBQ, but can anyone recommend a fine dining experience? I don't want to jinx anything, but there might be a ring appearing on my finger over this trip, and I thought it might be nice to celebrate somewhere a little fancier.

Thanks for the feedback!

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Heading to SA over Labor Day weekend--it'll be my first trip, but my BF spent some time there when he was in the Air Force, and he really loves the area. He is DYING to go to Mi Tierra, since it was one of his old favorites, but otherwise he's letting me take the lead on the restaurant search.

I know we'll find plenty of good Tex-Mex, and probably some BBQ, but can anyone recommend a fine dining experience? I don't want to jinx anything, but there might be a ring appearing on my finger over this trip, and I thought it might be nice to celebrate somewhere a little fancier.

Thanks for the feedback!

Went to only a couple of fine dining places while there a couple of months ago (stuck with BBQ and Tex-Mex joints mostly).

The lunch deal at the Lodge was pretty insane (see MMM's post above). The food was good, and you simply can't beat $16 for three courses. Worth checking out what looks to be an equally good deal for dinner too.

Biga on the Banks seems to have racked up a lot of Beard Awards and high Zagat scores, but to me it was disappointing and overpriced.

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Well, we didn't go to San Antonio over Labor Day weekend as planned (I contracted a super-virus and ended up in the hospital), but we managed to reschedule our trip for Veterans Day weekend and had an awesome time.

Day one of the trip consisted of trying the local fast food (our schedules were all wonky). I had never experienced Whataburger, and I really enjoyed it--it was fresh, tasty, cooked when ordered, and topped with, basically, whatever I wanted. The bun was particularly noteworthy, as far as fast food goes. I've never had In 'N Out, but I thought that Whataburger definitely beat Five Guys and Zesto (which are the best fast food burger options we have in ATL). The fries were hot and crispy, too--hit the spot after a long flight. That night, after a LOT of beer and billiards, we grabbed some late eats at Taco Cabana. We actually have a Taco Cabana in ATL (I think it's the only one east of the Mississippi River), but the quality was much better in San Antonio. Tortillas were hot and soft, and I love love LOVE their pico de gallo. Spicy, with lots of cilantro. Yum.

Day two involved breakfast at Mi Tierra, which I thought was good but not great. The OJ was the highlight of the meal--it was really and truly freshly squeezed. We had our one fine-dining experience that night--dinner at Citrus, which is in the Hotel Valencia Riverwalk. Overall, it was very good, but I'll write a separate post on that one since there's a lot to talk about.

On day three, we went to the Guenther House for breakfast. Home of the founding family of the Pioneer Flour Mills, it was a lovely setting with surprisingly good food. The biscuits were the fluffiest, lightest, biggest ones I've ever seen--and the sawmill gravy was a superb version. Pancakes were also light and fluffy, though I guess I should have expected that from a flour mill. They also had this great house blend coffee, with hints of pecan and hazelnut--great way to start the morning. That night, we headed out to Rudy's for BBQ. It may have been the best I've ever had (which is not to say it's the best in SA, but it was superlative to my palatte). Brisket was smoky and tender, potato salad was creamy and vinegary, and creamed corn was sweet and not mushy at all. I found it hilarious that it was attached to a gas station. It was nice to see everything being sliced/chopped in front of us, instead of wasting away in tubs.

Overall, a yummy trip--now, back to shrinking my tummy!

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For our one "nice" San Antonio dinner, I made reservations at Citrus, a fine-dining restaurant in the oh-so-chic Hotel Valencia Riverwalk. The decor is very minimalist, but there are strategically placed bursts of color to keep the atmosphere vibrant. I found the wine to be reasonably priced, particularly compared to some of the ridiculous markup percentages I’ve noted lately in Atlanta. Our server went over the day’s selections, which could be arranged into a three- or four-course tasting menu (or ordered a la carte). We opted for the four-course menu ($68; the three-course menu was $55) in order to taste something from each of the groupings.

For our first course, I ordered the thin-sliced kampachi with micro-mesclan and scallion ponzu sauce. The fish was incredibly fresh and flavorful, and the ponzu was deliciously salty, though I think it overpowered the dish toward the bottom of the bowl (where it was pooling a bit). Jason opted for the crab cake with toasted pumpkin seeds, sliced avocado, and micro-greens. I believe his exact words were, “You could feed a third-world country with just the crab in this crab cake.” It was, indeed, full of meat and very light on the breading; there was also a delicious hollandaise sauce that gave it even more richness.

I decided on the highly-recommended (by the server and the bartender) lobster lollipops for my second course. The HUGE pieces of lobster tail meat were fried in tempura batter, skewered, and served with a honey aioli saice. And yes, they were every bit as delicious as they sound–tender, sweet, crunchy, and ridiculously decadent. Jason had antelope, which was seared, sliced, and served with a very tasty berry sauce.

For my main course, I chose the long-cooked strawberry grouper, which was served with aromatic rice and green curry shrimp. The grouper was tasty, but it was a bit overcooked for my liking. The rice, on the other hand, was undercooked. However, the shrimp that came with the dish were enormous and perfectly cooked, and the green curry sauce was absolutely killer. Jason ordered the barbecue spiced duck breast with sweet potato-sausage hash and bourbon duck jus, and it was delicious. The meat was perfectly cooked, and the spices were lively enough to be interesting but not so heavy as to overpower the fowl.

For dessert, we tried the local blueberries with sour cream and the cinnamon croissant bread pudding with bourbon glaze. The former was simple and elegant, and certainly contained the plumpest blueberries that I’ve ever seen. The latter came with some amazing homemade vanilla ice cream, but I found the bread pudding itself to be a little dry. It was covered in candied pecans, though, which provided a lovely sweet crunch.

Service was attentive and knowledgeable, though our waiter did spend a lot of time explaining menu components like “wagyu,” “coulis,” and “cipollini.” Even Jason, who loves to eat but isn’t nearly the nerd that I am, felt like he was being tutored in “Food 101″ (though neither of us felt like we were being condescended at all). I guess that’s what happens when you try haute cuisine in San Antonio instead of San Francisco. All in all, though, Citrus was an extremely pleasant and delicious dining experience, and one I’d recommend to anyone looking for fine food in the area.

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I had never experienced Whataburger, and I really enjoyed it--it was fresh, tasty, cooked when ordered, and topped with, basically, whatever I wanted. The bun was particularly noteworthy, as far as fast food goes. I've never had In 'N Out, but I thought that Whataburger definitely beat Five Guys and Zesto (which are the best fast food burger options we have in ATL).
I would agree that Whataburger beats Five Guys hands down. I had a Whataburger twice recently, and I love that they will toast your bun for you. It may not be the best burger in San Antonio, but its probably the best fast-food burger.

San Antonio's expansion continues to the north, and if you are ever in San Antonio and happen to have access to a car, I would recommend trying some of the new finer-dining restaurants in the Stone Oak area, off Loop 1604 . We had the opportunity last week to try Roaring Fork. Although the name is kind of dumb, this is one of several restaurants owned by the Eddie V.'s Restaurant Inc. group, based out of Arizona (http://www.eddiev.com/). The food at Roaring Fork seemed to be Tex-Mex in inspiration, with grilling the primary focus.

We started with the appetizer special, a quartered avocado covered in panko and fried. It was served with crab meat and romoulade, and was quite good. For my entree, I had the pork carnitas, which were very good, but unfortunately, they served them with really awful flour tortillas. I know this wasn't a Mexican restaurant, but in San Antonio, a bad tortilla just doesn't fly, so I asked our server for some corn tortillas instead, which were marginally better, but not great. My husband ordered the duck special, medium rare, and even though it came out closer to medium well, he said that the duck was so moist and flavorful that he didn't mind. Our other companion ordered one of the house specialties, the roasted and smoked long bone beef rib, served in a Dr Pepper sauce. It was comically large--kind of reminded me of something that Fred Flintstone would order--but it was really good as well.

Dessert was a banana pudding, and it really hit the spot. Overall, I would say the food is really good to excellent. The setting was stylish, and the bar was prominently featured in the middle of the room. It looked like a fun place to hang out. Not too bad for a chain restaurant.

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Anybody been to San Antonio recently? Looking for a decent place for dinner on/near the Riverwalk/Alamo area.

I haven't been there yet, but the new Liberty Bar is supposed to be great, according to Texas Monthly magazine. Its on the south side of Downtown, but not on the riverwalk. For a fancy dinner, try Biga on the Banks.

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I haven't been to San Antonio in a few years, and while It's not the dining mecca that Austin is, it has always had its share of quality steaks and quality Mexican. Those are usually the two main food groupings I will seek out when I'm in San Antonio, and there aren't too many disappointments.

Sentimentally speaking, I always eat at Mi Tierra when I'm there. My parents ate there in the 1940s when my father was stationed nearby, and I ate there in the 1970s when I was stationed at Lackland. And I've eaten there every time I've been back. A good night of drinking should begin and end with a hearty bowl of menudo, and theirs may be the best in town.

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I'll second the Rosario's recommendation from further up the chain of replies. It's in an area I think is called SouthTown, about a 10 minute walk from the Riverwalk. The Concierge said the restaurant had been around for about 30 years. Had Parrilla di Tripe (think Tripe Fajita's) which were very good. Also enjoyed the Salsa (smoky with a nice kick). The place is very popular with visitors and locals, so it's pretty crowded and you'll likely have to wait for a table.

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Our most recent visit to San Antonio culminated in a visit to The Esquire Tavern along the riverwalk. This is a place that has existed since the end of Prohibition, and has the honor of having the longest wooden bar in Texas (79 feet). This place was a dive before it was fully remodeled earlier this year (seriously, my sister's boyfriend got offered cocaine in the bathroom several years back), but now it focuses on classic cocktails. The food here is supposed to be pretty good too, but we were just coming from dinner at Biga on the Banks. I had a cocktail called "Only the Besh," which had bourbon, grapefruit & lemon juices, honey syrup, allspice, egg white, and homemade ginger beer. It was a fun bar to hang out at for a weekday, and my cocktail was refreshing.

We also visited the Shiner Brewery, located about an hour and a half east of San Antonio. They give you four free mini glasses of beer (probably about 5 oz each). And they offer tours of the brewery during the week. The place was swamped on Wednesday, probably due to the Alamo Bowl being held on Thursday. They had about six different beers on tap: Shiner Bock, Shiner Blonde, Shiner Blonde Light, Shiner 102 (a double wheat), Shiner Dunkelweizen (a winter ale), and Shiner Bohemian (black lager). I'm not a dark beer person, so I tried the Blonde and the 102, and they were both fantastic. My husband and I both agreed that they served the beer too cold, but I can see how that could be refreshing on a hot summer day.

On a side note, we also had some Shiner Smokehaus, which had been sitting in my dad's fridge for a few months. Its a pale ale smoked with mesquite. Stay away.

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I just came back from San Antonio after 5 days of meetings. I ate at Biga on the Banks- where I had an antelope and quail dish that the server raved about. I had to send back the quail- it was overcooked and tasteless and I didn't care for the antelope at all. I was with a large group and most of the others liked their food- particularly a lamb dish. A habanero jerk scallop appetizer was a little heavy on the spice but well prepared. Also ate at Mi Tierra, which has a really cheesy atmosphere and our whole group found the food pretty mediocre. They do have a large bakery with interesting selections. (loved the candied pumpkin). I also organized a large group dinner at Boudro's on the Riverfront, which I liked very much- we were at an offsite location that was beautiful. My favorite meal was at Rosario's, which at first glance looked like a chain Mexican restaurant that could be in any city. I was surprised by the depth of flavors in the food- had fish tacos and tortilla soup. I sent a group to Silos Elevated Cusine- although I didn't go with them- and they raved about the food.

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Just a few quick thoughts on my trip there this past weekend:

Rudy's Country Store and BAR-B-Q - When in town for the Fernandez family reunion, Thursday later afternoon/evening always involves the original location of Rudy's, just north of San Antonio. It's good barbecue, if not great, but I always enjoy it. The brisket is solid, as are the sausages, and you should just skip over the turkey entirely, there's no point.

Mi Tierra Cafe Y Panaderia - Fine, but disappointing. The enchiladas verde were actually very good, but I don't think anybody else was terribly pleased with their orders. The tamales were particularly disappointing, although the sauce was good. This would not be the best sit down Mexican restaurant in DC, or even in my neighborhood. They must be doing something right, however, as it's absolutely enormous, and it was packed for lunch on a Friday.

Taqueria Aguas Caliente - We were attempting to follow up on my cousin's directions to get good Mexican food. We ended up here, which is probably not the place he recommended. It was fine. Solid tacos, if not spectacular. Also my first experience with the puffy taco. I enjoyed it, although I have no frame of reference, and have no idea if that's even what they're supposed to be like. It's a total dive. I wouldn't seek it out, and hesitated to even put it on here, but did so for the sake of completeness.

Two Bros. BBQ Market - This was the best non-home cooked food we ate all weekend. It made the Texas Monthly list, which is why we even swung by, but it was quite delicious. It also had the added benefit of being about five minutes from the airport, which suited our needs yesterday even better. The brisket was fine, although not close to the best I've ever had. The cherry-glazed baby back ribs, however, were absolutely dynamite. They disappeared from our table in about thirty seconds flat. The sausage was also solid, and the cole slaw was fantastic. They also had these great spicy pickles available. Good beer selection. I quite enjoyed it, and I'd return.

The Esquire Tavern - Really cool bar. It's old, and feels like it, and has a great atmosphere. They've also got great bartenders who really know how to execute the very interesting drinks on their menu. I wish we hadn't needed to drive back to the hotel, or else we would have spent another hour or two here. Strongly recommend it. Also, I'm not sure if it was a coincidence or not, but every other place on the River Walk seemed packed on a Friday night, and the Esquire Tavern, while busy, wasn't even close to crowded, which made it even more enjoyable for those of us who were there.

Rebecca Creek Distillery - It's a fine distillery tour. They're currently blending Indiana whiskey with some of their stuff, and it's a totally decent product. Can't really strongly recommend either their whiskey or the tour, but I wouldn't say no to either outright.

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