Wednesday, June 8, 2011

San Antonio

Brandon and I got out of town for a few days last week and headed to San Antonio for a little R&R. I had intended to recap our vacation here, but I'm afraid my "vacation recap" is going to read more like a "restaurant review". It's funny what Brandon and I, as busy parents of four small children choose to do when we go on vacation for a few days. We sleep in, watch mindless reality TV from our bed in the mornings, eat at sit-down restaurants, and see movies. Riveting stuff.

We decided on Monday last week that San Antonio would be our destination of choice, so Brandon started looking up yummy places to eat, starting with the Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives list. So on our way into San Antonio, we stopped at Texas Pride BBQ.

We drove 6 miles off the highway to find this gem in the middle of nowhere. The food was to die for, and the atmosphere was unapogetically low-maintenance. Food was served on wax paper in a plastic crate, and it was bus-it-yourself tables when you were finished. And we decided after dessert that the place needed to be renamed "Texas Pride Pecan Cobbler" because oh my word. The Pecan Cobbler was slap-yo-momma good. (You have to use phrasing like "oh my word" and "slap yo momma" when describing Texas BBQ or Pecan-themed desserts. It's just the way it is.)

We arrived at the Marriott on the Riverwark to discover that they are very proud of their parking garage to the tune of $33 per night. Seriously?? But they partially made up for it by being right across the street from a $4 per person movie theater, which we frequented two days in a row, and were recognized by every staff person we encountered. (Hey, weren't you just here yesterday? Yes, yes we were. We're on vacation sans children and we can DO WHATEVER WE WANT, even see movies IN A THEATER two days in a row. We walk on the wild side, yes we do.)

We topped off The Best Wednesday Ever with a little Mexican food at La Fonda on Main. The restaurant is in a little area with a bunch of big, pretty old houses that one sometimes finds in older parts of town. The food was delish, and the yummy frozen beverages were flavored with "cactus pear", which apparently is hot pink in color and tastes yummy and sweet. If that's up your alley, and I was on vacation sans kids (have I mentioned that), so it was ABSOLUTELY UP MY ALLEY.

Thursday morning I crawled out of bed at a leisurely 9:30am and we headed to El Mercado (spanish for "The Market") on Market Square to pick up a couple of souvenirs for the kids. We found cute Mexican dresses for the girls, and wrestling masks with attached capes for the boys. But of course. Nothing screams Latin culture to me like professional wrestling attire. Dane has already worn his mask/cape combo with his tighty-whities and christened himself "Captain Underpants". My kids are so weird.

We lunched at Mi Tierra at Market Square, where I reignited my love for the chicken taco and drank a real coke with lunch. Livin' it up, I tell you.

After we finished shopping and going to the movies, we hit the riverwalk. Apparently they don't let you into San Antonio unless you vow to visit the Riverwalk. Due to the 99 degree heat, we decided the Riverwalk was best explored via boat, and spent the next 35 minutes listening to a lovely tour guide tell us about the architecture of the Hyatt hotel and picking a dinner restaurant based on how cute their outdoor umbrellas were. We disembarked from the boat, and headed for what turned out to be a completely unremarkable hamburger place on the river, who happened to have very cute Texas-state flag pattern outdoor umbrellas. We topped dinner off with sweets from a little ice cream place, where we spent every quarter in our pockets doing this:

Yes, we ate A LOT in San Antonio, and are making up for it this week by only eating grilled chicken salads.

Friday we hopped in the car and headed up to New Braunfels to walk around a few shops that didn't necessarily carry sombreros and tortilla warmers. We shopped a bit in the little town of Gruene, Texas (pronounced "green", not "groon"), poking our heads into antique shops, general stores, and sampling tastes of homemade salsa and various flavors of jams. It was in one of these little shops where we picked up this item of ingenuity:
Is it underwear? Is it a cap? Why must it distinguish itself as one or the other? (Side note: I understand that Brandon wore the undercap around the office today. God bless his coworkers.)

And sandwiched in between the marbles and candy sticks at the Gruene General Store we found these gems:

Are we the only people in the world who can walk around little cute-sy shops filled with homemade jams and specialty scented candles in a little small town and walk away with adhesive mustaches and an Undercap? Me thinks so. Just another reason why I love my husband.

After we had worked up a little appetite with all of our shopping, we headed across the street for yes, more Mexican food and my second round of chicken tacos for the week. Brandon had fish tacos which he declared "would have been the best fish tacos I have ever eaten if it wasn't covered in mayonnaise sauce". My husband has a disdain for mayonnaise or any mayonnaise-based sauce. I'm not sure if this stems from a traumatic event from his childhood or not. So if you're in Gruene, Texas and craving fish tacos, just have them 86 the mayonnaise sauce.

Because he loves me very much, Brandon drove me up the road to San Marcos so I could pop into a store or two just real quick. You guys. I had no idea. My outlet mall experience these last several years has been sadly limited to the little strip in Conroe of dying stores and empty parking lots. So imagine my shock when I pulled up to this alternate universe of discount savings. The place is HUGE. True to my word, I went in three stores only, two of which I was so fast that Brandon just waited in the car for me. I am nothing if not an efficient shopper. I did, however, vow to someday return to this Mecca of Outlet Mall shopping someday with a couple of girlfriends and a sizable budget in tow.

When we got back to San Antonio we unpacked our goodies and watched fluffy shows on TLC until we were hungry, and then headed out to dinner. For the record, from now on, Brandon picks all of our restaurants when we're traveling. He did not go wrong. We ended up in a non-descript strip mall at a little pizza place called Dough Pizzeria Napoletana. It. Was. Amazing. The place was packed, with enough people waiting that they had a separate outdoor waiting area, filled with tables, a bar, and with its' own wait staff offering limited appetizer menu and wine selection to those of us waiting for a table. Ever since our New York trip a few years ago, I've become quite the sucker for thin crusted pizza with fresh mozzarella and meat that didn't come presliced. Brandon and I embarrassed ourselves by ordering too much food, then embarrassed ourselves further by finishing all of it. Dessert did not disappoint, in the form of a Nutella panini. Yes, you read that right. Turns out, nothing follows delicious pizza better than a grilled Nutella panini covered in powdered sugar.

The next morning, we rolled ourselves out of bed to go back home, kiss our babies, and rescue MoMo, who graciously spent the better part of a week with all four kids. Thank you, MoMo!

And if you're ever thinking to yourself, "I really want to go to San Antonio and instead of seeing the Alamo and visiting Sea World, I'd rather just eat at restaurants and see movies the whole time", then you know who to call. :)


Katee said...

Should you find yourself in this neck of the woods again, there's a restaurant in Gruene called The Gristmill that's AWESOME.

Megan said...

Sounds like a PERFECT vacay to me!! And I love prickly pear drinks AND we have those mustaches and they never get old to me!