Bonus 7 Things: San Antonio & Austin

Seeing as we will soon be heading off again, because… well… that’s just what we do, we decided we should probably take a drive to San Antonio to see a few things we wanted to see there while we’re a short drive away. Since that drive took us right through Austin, we thought we’d pop off there for barbecue, because when you’ve got American South in your family line, you’ve got barbecue running through your veins. Along with sweet tea, butter, gravy, Jesus and The Blues. Though, some of those things may skip a generation. I’ll leave it to your imagination which two skipped mine.

Anyway, in keeping with the theme, here’s seven things – six in San Antonio and one in Austin.

The San Antonio River Walk

This was remarkably designed. Quite beautiful to walk along, and looping through much of downtown. The lamest part was the section of the Walk where all the restaurants and shops were, because that’s where everyone was congregating. Once you got away from everyone, it was a lovely, peaceful stroll.

The San Antonio Zoo

Come on, you knew we had to do it. And it only took a couple of hours. We got lucky with the weather yesterday morning. It was overcast and warm. Nothing like the temps on Tuesday when we got in, yesterday afternoon when we left the zoo, or at 7 a.m. this morning when we rolled out of San Antonio, which was way too early for it to be so effin’ humid.

Anyway, the zoo was old, but nice. The exhibits were dated, but there was lots of space for the animals and they looked well tended and happy, which does a good zoo make.

Japanese Tea Garden

Right by the zoo, we just happened past this old building with a smokestack by the side of the road. And I love an old building. We stopped on the way from the zoo to the restaurant toward which we were headed, and it was so wonderful that we did. Because the building was the frontage for the Japanese Tea Garden, which set higher on the hill off the road. And San Antonio’s Japanese Tea Garden is a revelation. Once upon a time, the space where the Tea Garden sits was a quarry and the cool building out front was a factory for Portland Cement. Then, when the quarrying and production were done, they turned the space into something beautiful. How nice this country could be if we made more of a habit of this.

Cielito Lindo

After the zoo and walking through the tea garden, it was time to eat. We were in search of some of the best Mexican in town, since our attempt at San Antonio Mexican the night we arrived was a total bust. So, based on Chowhound, we drove twenty minutes out of the way to this restaurant to get “real Mexican”. It didn’t disappoint. Then, we returned to our hotel, ate the bread pudding on the restaurant menu – which they served completely wrong with dried apricots on top (WTF?) and half-cooked – and it did disappoint. If Texas don’t want me to mess with it, it shouldn’t mess with bread pudding.

The Alamo

Yeah, yeah, history and all that. I’m an 80s baby. I spent the entire time thinking ‘I am standing where Pee-wee Herman once stood’ and dying to ask when we got to see the basement.


Because you can’t eat enough on vacation, as the scorching afternoon at The Alamo died down, our thoughts, of course, turned to what we were gonna eat next. And because we were in San Antonio, we finally decided on the nearby German deli. Of course. Because nothing makes more sense than eating German-American staples in South-Central Texas. Am I right? But it all worked out. In fact, the place not only had a cool interior, but served up a damn fine Reuben, sans Thousand Island, as the taste gods intended, potato pancakes that were a true taste sensation, wicked spicy applesauce and a good cup of split pea soup. Plus, Shawna got homemade root beer, which made her face smile.

Franklin Barbecue

Read about it. Had to let my senses experience it. Got up at 6:30 a.m. just to gnaw on it. It was worth it. And I like to think that, since my dad’s side is the side with those Southern roots and he regularly took us to BBQ places on vacations, he’ll be proud when I tell him of our dedication to consuming tasty barbecue. Shawna’s dad, who is on the perpetual quest for the best barbecue in the area in which they live, will also probably shed a tear.

So, there you go. Seven things and two revelations – one unknown and one not so unknown.

Revelation 1 – San Antonio is my favorite city in Texas. By a landslide.

Revelation 2 – I eat a lot on vacations, even short ones. A lot.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.