Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mini-vacation Cont.

Toby and I made it home last night from Houston. I’m sorry that I did not post anymore while I was out and about, but it was just not a priority - Having fun was. My last post was after we had arrived in San Antonio, and eaten dinner on the Riverwalk at Rita’s. The margaritas at Rita’s were excellent, but the dinner was near inedible. Maybe they thought that if you drank enough margaritas, you wouldn’t notice how terrible the food was. It was a big disappointment and caused us to decide not to eat on the river again, since it seems to be such a tourist trap. Don’t get me wrong; I love the Riverwalk, and I’m sure there are places that are very good, but if you want good authentic Mexican food, Rita’s was not it.

The rest of our mini-vacation was much fun and full of discoveries. My first discovery Sunday morning was that my stylin’ new sandals were great for kicking around Duncan, but they were no bueno for traipsing all over San Antonio. Since I did not have my fashion expert with me (Jesse) to tell me what a dork I was, I put on my tennis shoes with my capris and was comfy, but not cool. Our first stop of the morning was Mi Terrias for the best coffee and Mexican breakfast ever. I love that place. It was festive and fun, and I was like a kid in a candy store. Actually they have a bakery that is most wonderful, but we stuffed ourselves on traditional Mexican food like barbacoa and chorizo and eggs with papas, etc.After breakfast, we moved on to the Mercado or what is called Market Square. Although we bought lots of typical tourist stuff, like a guayabera shirt for Toby, a festive dress for Jesse, a colorful purse for me, vanilla for Sara, we also bought some items like colorful Mexican dishes and a sink for my new house. I’ll mention now that before we left SA, we also went to a tile store to look at Mexican tile for our house. Boy, do I love all the bright colors. We eventually made it back to the hotel with all our purchases – looking much like tourist. This is another restaurant in the Market Square, La Margarita. We did not eat there, but it is such a great building.

Our second discovery turned out to be a totally different area of SA for me. I took Toby down to the King William Historic District to show him the beautiful homes. We walked the neighborhood and took some photos. In this same area, Toby said there was suppose to be an artist community with galleries and such called the Blue Star Arts Center. We found the right place, but the galleries were closed on Sunday. The only places open were a bicycle shop and a microbrewery, which seems to cater to bicyclists. Toby was in hog heaven. We sat out on the deck and tried the different beers and watched the cyclists on the River trail. My beer was a pale ale, while Toby drank some sort of IPA. It was probably one of the best parts of the whole trip.

We moved on down to the La Villita, which was another big disappointment – most of the shops were closed on Sunday. Since we had such a big breakfast and had skipped lunch, we decided on a fancy steakhouse for supper. It was very plush and nice and a great steak, but a bit pricey. I could have bought a whole calf for what one steak cost. Still, it was a great experience. We ate the whole thang, ‘cause that is what you do when you pay an exorbitant amount of money for your meal. Then we walked it off on the River before heading back to the hotel. I’ll mention here that we stayed in the Holiday Inn Express Market Square, which was supposed to be a four star hotel. It was very nice, and it had a shuttle to the Riverwalk and Mercado (although the mercado was within two blocks). It made it very handy, but I had to laugh at something my friend Farah says – Priceline and Hotwire are great, but then you have two-star people staying in a five-star hotel.

Monday we ate breakfast and bought some bakery items at Mi Tierras before driving on to Houston. There was not much to discover between Houston and SA. While in Houston, we did some rather normal shopping and had a rather normal meal. Toby went to his meeting on Tuesday morning, and we headed home after lunch.

Our last big discovery was in the little town of West, Texas, on I-35 north of Waco. Toby had been there before and highly recommended we stop. If you are ever driving on I-35, be sure and stop at the Czech Stop. Apparently the area was settled by Czechs and you can get some great sausage, breads, cheeses, and bakery items at this fairly famous roadside store. We had sausage in homemade bread and a maple twist. We also bought some jalapeno beer bread, which was just pretty good.

Although I knew this, it still feels like a new discovery - Texas is a big state with lots of interesting cultural sites. It sure feels good to be home.


Staci said...

I have never been down in that area, but I hope to get there one of these days. My nephew has moved to Houston so now I have a reason to go, I think!

Buck said...

San Antonio is such a GREAT town!

Random thoughts...

If I (a) actually bought lottery tickets and (b) won I'd (c) have a house in the historic district. And a maid. Or two, one being an Upstairs Maid. Plus a gardener. Those homes are just beautiful.

The River Walk is good for burgers and such. And not much else, from my experience, which is the same as yours. Even the margs vary wildly in quality. I know a bit about THAT.

The architecture at the brewery left a lil bit to be desired and brings new meaning to the "I'm only here for the beer" thang. And... a freakin' VESPA with a sidecar? That's just WRONG. But there's everything right about microbreweries. I'll go out of my way to visit them.

re: sandals/tennies/capris. My Dad always said it's hard to be cool and smart at the same time.

Great pics! Makes me wanna pack up and GO...

Bag Blog said...

I had to post the pic of the Vespa/side-car knowing you would notice it. It was the first thing I noticed when we pulled up. Yep, the place was basically an old warehouse - kind of cool. The beer was excellent and the waiter very entertaining.

Houston is not so exciting, but the Austin and San Antonio are great places to visit.

Jo Castillo said...

Awwww, sounds like a great trip. Makes me hungry to read about it. And....thirsty, too.

Hope your rain is gone for a while. We will be in OKC for the tournament that starts Wednesday! Can't wait. Hook 'em Horns. Heh, heh.

Bag Blog said...

Jo, we may see you there if we can get away one evening.

AirmanMom said...

I've been to San Antonio twice...when both my sons graduated from Lackland AFB. Riverwalk is fun, however we went to a hockey game on the other side of town...a bit scary!
Glad you had a blast!

joyce said...

thanks for the good info on the Riverwalk. Amber was wanting to take James there, so I will alert her to this post so she will know about the tourist subpar food.