A Blog Mainly About Food

If by "mainly" you mean "sometimes"

Saturday, November 27, 2004

San Antonio Fooding (and Drinking) Days 1 and 2

I landed in the San Antonio airport around noon on Friday. The weather was decidedly warm, which was an awesome change from ole DC. Setting up the booth was an uber-bitch, taking three of us a total of 5.5 hours. I was there first, and due to the extreme inconvenient way in which the booth was left for us, I had to move probably a few thousand pounds of books, one box at a time, around the display. Ugh.

Post setup, I was quite literally dying for a meal and a beverage. I took down a couple of margaritas at the hotel bar with Duffy before setting off for the Riverwalk. Bad idea. The Riverwalk on a Friday was quite literally mashed. We ended up eating at a place called La Paloma. Its next to Zuni Grill. If you are ever in San Antonio, do not eat here. I won't detail the meal except by saying that it sucked. Of course, we were both starving so it didn't matter too much. Afterwards, off to the Leaping Lizard, where I drank Shiner Bock. Thumbs up to Shiner Bock and to Elisa, the cute bartender at the LL who flirted with me all night.

Saturday was a busy booth day, but I did get a break to go eat lunch with Jeremy. We went to a place called Casa Rio, which is one of the older restaurants in SA. We had to wait a bit, but the meal was really satisfying. I had the huge combo plate--a hard taco, a guacamole salad, a tamale, a burrito, and nachos. It was a ton of food and I loved every minute of it. Note that I would not ever recommend this as high dining. Tex Mex is solid, stick to your ribs food. Excess pretension in the making of Tex Mex makes one a wanker like Bobby Flay. Meal, 7 out of 10, maybe a 7.5 because the service was great. Drink of choice with the meal was an Alamo Golden Ale. Thumbs down. Oh yeah, I forgot about breakfast on Saturday. I ate at the shitty little Hilton deli and had a chorizo and egg breakfast taco. It was, well, great. Hit the spot.

(side note: I think I use "hit the spot" a lot. I'm a fervent believer in the situational and ephemeral quality of tactile experiences. I don't believe in fallbacks, one-type-fits-all meals, drinks, or any situation really. What is great when it is raining and you are feeling like home is not what will be great when it is sunny and the Orioles have just beat the Yankees. This seems to be one of the cardinal qualities that differentiates foodies from eaters. An eater would be satisfied with the same droll BS meals all the time; a foodie examines every element surrounding the meal to find just the right fit. Okay, so maybe this is all idle ramblings and not particularly well expressed. But you get what I mean. I think of this as my "Bloody Mary" theory of meals. See previous post on San Antonio for context)

Dinner Saturday night was with Brian at a restaurant called Aldaco's, near the old train station in San Antonio. We were sent off there by the recommendation of the concierge. It was a good meal, but not amazing. We started with margaritas and then ordered a ceviche. Now I'm a sucker for a good ceviche--it is one of those wonderful culinary inventions I adore but have not had the pleasure of enjoying frequently. This ceviche was good. It was served on odd flat fried tortillas (not the tostada shell or massive margarita glass I'm used to) and was mostly smaller shrimp. It had healthy citrus kick with a good amount of avocado and cilantro. For entrees, Brian had a chile relleno (he gave it a solid 6) while I had pork in a chile sauce. I give the pork a 7. Service at the restaurant wasn't particularly good and the drinks were a little too weak for my taste. Overall rating, 6 out of 10.

Afterwards, we went back to the hotel bar. Then on to some receptions for free drink. I got trashed.

Still to recap: a lunch at a restaurant that was so not memorable that I don't remember it, dinner at Pesce, lunch at "Steers & Beers" (for serious), dinner at Boudros, various bar recaps, a biased and limited culinary overview of San Antonio, and the tale of the journey home.