We just got back (okay, almost a month ago!) from a week in San Antonio and Boerne. Chowhound is always so invaluable to us when we travel, so I wanted to share our experiences with everyone else!
My husband (we'll call him A) and I are from Toronto, and don't have much experience with barbecue in general, Texas barbecue specifically, or southern food as a whole, so bear that in mind when reading the reviews. My goal was to try as much local or different food as possible.
Day 1 - San Antonio
Got in late. We were staying down by the Riverwalk, so decided to go down and check out this feature of San Antonio that everyone talks about. I'd heard that if you wanted to eat on the Riverwalk, that there was nothing worth writing home about, so we just chose the nearest restaurant with a nice looking patio. (It was late, and we were worried places would start closing.) We ended up at the County Line. We were not impressed. I had a mixed barbeque plate and A had the brisket. I tasted the sauce, and it was familiar - it tasted *exactly* like McDonalds! Also - the menu only has giant margaritas on it... but they will give you a single person size if you ask!
Day 2 - San Antonio
Got up late. Didn't have breakfast. For lunch we went to Mi Tierra in the Mexican market. This place is crazy bright with colourful Christmas lights and Christmas decor! I had the tortilla soup, and A had the taco plate. He loved his taco, but didn't like any of the sides that came with - rice, salad etc. My soup was tasty - heavy on the tortillas, and very gooey with cheese. I have no idea if it's supposed to be like that or not. It was a little gooey for my tastes, but I enjoyed it. I don't know if I would go back, though. We didn't try any of the baked goods, and I think maybe we should have.
We went to the First Friday celebrations (do this if you're in San Antonio on the first Friday of the month!) and planned to eat at Rosario's. However, the wait was 1.5 hours when we got there, so we decided to go elsewhere. We ended up (very late again!) at Luke near the Riverwalk. A had a burger, and I had the fish amandine. (I can't remember now what the fish was...) A loves a good burger, but also has strong opinions on them. High or low end doesn't matter - but he's picky. This one he really enjoyed. My fish was really good as well, as were A's fries. ;) The restaurant itself is also gorgeous! I highly recommend Luke.
Day 3 - San Antonio and San Marco
I wanted to find breakfast tacos, and I also wanted to go to the Pearl farmer's market. We went to the market, but the vendor with the breakfast tacos was all sold out. The coffee vendor there made the best coffee I've had in a *very* long time. We ended up sharing something whose name I can't remember - sort of a steamed sweet bun filled with cheese, sausage and jalapenos. It was very tasty, but part of me thinks it would have been better without the sausage!
We stayed in the neighbourhood and had lunch at La Gloria, on the same complex. Now this was delicious!!! I had Tacos Bistec Especial, and A had Quesadillas Gringa. We also had chips with guacamole, because the place was packed and she said that our orders might take a while. They came really quickly, though! We also both had agua fresca - a strawberry flavour. It was tasty, but a little too sweet for me. I would come back here again and again. Such simple food, but with amazing flavours.
We ended up in San Marco later in the day, and tried to go to a barbecue place I read about, but it was closed when we got there. We ended up at the Cracker Barrel. I figured if we were going to get stuck at a chain restaurant, it would be one I'd never been to before, that served local food. I don't remember what A had, but I ordered the chicken with dumplings, because I've always heard of it, but never tried it. It came with three vegetables, and I chose turnip greens, fried okra and mac and cheese (a vegetable??!!) I was SO surprised at how much I enjoyed the chicken and dumplings! It wasn't at all what I was expecting, and the predominant flavour was salt, but it was so good! (In my world, dumplings usually are a thin wheat or rice wrapper filled with meat, and bought in Chinatown. Or matzah balls. This was totally different!) The sides weren't anything to write home about, but it was good for a chain restaurant. I'm still in shock as to how much I enjoyed this meal. I'll definitely go back!
Day 4 - Boerne
We headed up to Boerne. Here we stayed with people and didn't eat out for *every* meal. There was also no "fine dining" with the crowd we were with. We were late getting there, and had breakfast at Starbucks, and picked up an unremarkable refrigerated sandwich from a coffee shop in Boerne. I won't mention them, as I'm sure their sit-down meals are better. We were just in a rush.
Dinner that night we went to Rudy's Barbecue. Soooo much better than the County Line! A and I shared brisket, turkey, and chopped barbecue. We were both in agreement that we liked the chopped best. The turkey was pretty good, too. A says that the Rudy's chopped barbecue was the best barbecue he's had anywhere. I have to say, though... I think I like some other styles of barbecue better than Texas barbecue.. [ducks] Our host had been there the night before, and said the brisket was better that night - he'd gotten it straight from the pit. This one had been sitting longer. On his recommendation, we also got the creamed corn, which I'd never had. It was much more cream than corn! But very tasty!!
Day 5 - Boerne
No breakfast again. Lunch was at Boo Dawg's Backyard Barbecue. The teenager who recommended it called it "Heaven on a plate." She wasn't wrong. I had fish tacos and the salad bar. The salad bar was well stocked with a variety of toppings, and I was happy to have vegetables after all the heavy things we'd been eating. The fish tacos were also very tasty. A had the ribs (the lunch special that day) and had really good things to say about them as well.
Day 6 - Boerne
Dinner - Went back to Boo Dawg's, since everyone in our group really liked it there. This time A had the burger (surprise!) and I had the chicken fried steak - another thing I'd heard about but never tried - with sauteed rapini on the side (which seemed remarkably fancy for a place like this!) We were both really happy with our meals again. A loved his burger, and I really enjoyed my chicken fried steak. It wasn't what I expected, though. I expected it to be one piece of meat, but it was more like a chicken fried thin burger. I'm also glad I got the gravy on the side - it was a little gloopy and scary looking (though I suppose the chicken and dumplings was gloopy and scary looking too, and I loved that!) The rapini was a little oilier than I would have preferred (swimming is a good description.) Next time I would do the salad bar again.
Sonic: Our group seemed to be obsessed with drinks from Sonic, so I finally got one. They're slushies where the ice is slightly larger than usual. Worth trying if you like slushies!
Day 7 - San Antonio
Departure day. Continuing the search for breakfast tacos, which I'd never managed to get, we went to Taco Taco, but got there just a little too late for breakfast. :( I had a steak taco and a regular beef taco, and A had two beef tacos. Nothing to write home about, and certainly no La Gloria!
So that was our trip! Came home, and A asked me to cook vegetarian for a while....
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