I have been traveling to San Antonio on and off over the last couple of years to visit with my now-ailing father, who lives near Fort Sam Houston to the northeast of town. I haven't had a lot of time to explore but here's what I've landed on -- to the point where I've had a couple of dozen meals at both. They may be known to locals but I've never seen either mentioned on this board.
Tex-Mex and barbeque: two things I can't get back home in Philadelphia.
Barbeque Station (410 access road near Wurzbach): Now I know that SAT is not celebrated for its barbeque. I wouldn't pretend to be an expert, haling from and living in the Northeast, but I did spend a couple of months in Austin some years back, and did the trail around there, so I'm not completely ignorant. This stuff seems pretty good to me. I've mostly stuck to the brisket (absolutely impossible to get in Philly) and the sausage, with two slices of white bread on paper with no sides (which I think are pretty forgettable here - that's not the point, of course). Had beef ribs the other day, something I haven't had in years. All moist. Same guys tending the pit for the last couple of years. That magical bbq aroma as you come in the door. The place seems pretty popular with the locals (unlike the only other bbq place that I've come across in the area -- Jamie D's, not nearly as good -- so I can't claim a discovery).
El Charro (Wurzbach near Rittiman): what seems to me really excellent Tex-Mex. I'm even less of an expert on this front, though during said months in Austin, when I wasn't eating bbq I was eating Mexican (my cholesterol level literally went up 80 points after three months on that diet -- bbq is great, but not something to live by). Homey, warm, welcoming place, with a group of young Mexican-American women running the front of the house. On my latest trip I had three meals there: enchiladas verdes (what's the secret -- up north enchiladas seem so heavy and obvious); menudo, with chewy tripe, epazote, onions, smoky dried chiles, barbacoa and al pastor tacos on the side; and two breakfast tacos on the way to the airport today, eggs with chorizo and then with beans. Little packaged cookies, nut clusters next to the register. The place seems to cater to anglos from Sam Houston but also local Mexican-Americans.
Since I haven't been able to venture further (like to the western part of town) I'm unsure of quality relative to other local offerings. What do other folks think, those of you lucky enough to sample these kinds of places in an unhurried way?
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