Restaurants & Bars 4

SA trip report

enhF94 | Oct 26, 2010 06:05 AM

In thanks to all who provided guidance for my trip to SA, a short trip report:

Blanco Café (St. Mary's). Ordered, for lunch, three tacos: Chilaquiles, Machacado a la Mexicana, and Asada a la Mexicana. The fillings were all heavily seasoned, which I tend to like, but I was glad I had my enormous glass of water to wash down the salt. Loved the soft and crispy tortilla bits in the chilaquiles taco, and liked the easy fruit flavors from the chiles as well. The Machacado was my favorite, and I'd never had it before - lots of egg but very beefy-tasting. The flour tortillas were also excellently salty fluffed up from the fry, and as I've never had a "puffy style," I had to ask my DC if it was the famous "puffy" (no, definitely not). She said it's a SA thing to butter your tortillas, but I couldn't do this without taking hers.

Biga on the Banks:
Though the bartender understandably didn't recognize my obscure drink order, he winged it and was happy to make a fairly well-mixed egg-white drink (lots of folks, at least from my home Boston, just don't shake egg white drinks enough so the drink separates after a few minutes, ew). At the bartender's suggestion I tried the "bibb and radicchio game packets," with venison and I-forget-what-else, but definitely no rabbit, ground and sauced like fancified sloppy joes. I found these sweet and not particularly gamy; plate came with three and I've been happy with two. Very tasty - I'm accustomed to folks showing off game by processing it as little as possible, so it's nice to see some ground game (ha) in Texas.
Moved on to the venison/quail main. The venison loin (the tiny end) was cooked perfectly, lots of red and a pleasure to see. The quail had been morphed into a bit of a caramel apple shape, with spice and fat, which I loved. And the brussels sprouts had been pulled into individual leaves, well salted and buttered, absolutely delicious without a hint of sulfur at all.

Riverwalk in general: it became instantly clear why nobody responded to my "breakfast or lunch in Riverwalk" post. I walked it for an hour and didn't find anyplace I wanted to go, so ended up at...

Rosario's: which I found very confusing. Loved the smoke (cascabel?) salsa and small bowl of chips I was given at the beginning, but didn't like my fish tacos - old fish, hastily assembled so some bites were all-avocado, other bites all-cheese. Also: no local beers, no labeled wines ("we have chardonnay and white zinfandel, cabernet and merlot") and no mezcal. I suppose everyone orders margaritas or Dos Equis?

Cielito Lindo: as suggested by saeyodoc, I tried the tampiqueña, but I skipped the beans. Loved (and couldn't finish) my 16-inch (!!) slab of skirt steak, cooked perfectly med-rare (until the darn sizzle platter led it to well-done as I ate, grr). Loved the mole poblano - serious chile flavor, sweet, with sesame seeds as a garnish. Wished for more crema and grilled veggies. And although the booze options were limited, I have a huge soft spot for jamaica (hibiscus tea, sweetened, with lime) and this rather sweet version hit the spot.

Infuriatingly, I got stuck out there for 90 minutes waiting for a cab back home, because "we don't get out there much." Guess this city fellow is too accustomed to having public transportation nearby.

Overall, I love SA's willingness to use salt, and I was surprised at how many sweet flavors I found in the food. My favorite dish was probably the Blanco chilaquiles taco - rich, fluffy, great texture. A little surprised at the lack of wines and local brews. I was uninterested in desserts throughout; not sure why.

Thanks for the tips, everyone.

Biga on the Banks
203 S. St. Mary's St., San Antonio, TX 78205

Blanco Cafe
5525 Blanco At Oblate Rd, San Antonio, TX 78201

Cielito Lindo Restaurant
31303 Fm 2920 Rd Ste A, Waller, TX 77484

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