Last week, I traveled to San Antonio for the second time in my life. As some of you know, my first experience with San Antonio (January 2010) was a little lackluster, much of which was due to me being there for work and not having much time to explore (plus getting lost while driving!). But even after reading about SA online, nothing really stuck out about SA, save for the touristy Riverwalk and the Alamo.
Just when I thought there was little to nothing to do in San Antonio, I was happily surprised to receive a message from a Bistro Chic reader – we’ll call her my SA insider – about all the wonderful restaurants and bars in this great city. I was so grateful for my reader’s suggestions and couldn’t wait to share all of my new SA information with my fellow colleagues.
Our first night in SA, we went a little high brow on the Riverwalk, eating dinner at Las Canarias in the Omni. The food was definitely not your typical Riverwalk food, or so I’ve been told, and sitting on the upper patio made for great people watching. After dinner, we walked past several restaurants that my San Antonio insider suggested – like Zinc – which was hopping with people! I was very tempted to step in for a glass of vino, but with a 6 AM meeting, I opted to just head back to my room.
On our last night in SA, my colleagues headed to South Town to Azuca, another restaurant recommended by my SA insider. Even at 7:30PM, around sunset, the patio was not nearly as full as I imagined it should be on a beautiful warm night. I’m guessing because it was St. Patrick’s Day and most people were celebrating at Dirty Nellie’s down the street and not at an otherwise hip Latino/Caribbean restaurant. In spite of the low-key crowd, I was not disappointed. In fact, just the opposite. Compared to the Riverwalk, this restaurant, and whole area for that matter, seemed to be more of where the locals hung out, or at least those who are “in the know” about SA. The music was fantastic – a mix of Latin/Mexican classics – and the ambience on the patio is slightly sultry, making me forget that I was in a bustling city full of spring breaking families.
My older party-goers, who are quite hip for being over 40, wasted no time ordering the many flavors of mojitos. Really, there are so many to choose from, it is hard to decide. Therefore, you have a great excuse to have more than one – ok, maybe 3-4! Beware the Top Shelf mojito, it will seriously knock you off your seat! Aside from the rockin’ mojitos, the food was outstanding. I had the most amazing goat cheese salad and a lovely pork dish with mashed potatoes. Even if you order tapas style for your whole table, you will not go hungry in this place.
Time seemed to stand still in this little alcove as we laughed, chatted, and relaxed in our wonderful music-filled suroundings. After spending over 3 hours in our little patio corner, we reluctantly left our new favorite SA hideaway. But, before we stepped onto the street, I caught a glimpse of an older couple beginning to salsa dance on the patio under the starlit sky. They seemed to be in their own little world, engulfed by the sounds of the Gipsy Kings.
This is what I will remember most about San Antonio and one of the many reasons I hope to return one day.
Gracias SA Insider for all of your thoughtful suggestions!