Dear AGM Cape Cod:
You are staying at a magnificent hotel. Teddy Roosvelt and his Rough Riders had a drink there - for real. Their Sunday brunch is stupendous, and is the best in SA - take your camera because they won't believe you back home.
For once, I hope this gets through to those wonderful folks who don't live in San Antonio. Nobody who lives in this town eats at a restaurant on the River.
Next, when you are in Mexico, regardless of the city, you ask a cab driver for a restaurant recommendation. You don't need to do that in San Antonio.
I second blowhard's suggestion. The bottom line is that Mr. Weisman opens Sandbar whenever he feels like it, which ain't all that often. As the owner, I guess it is his privilege to do so.
However, I do not approve of a restaurant of this ilk obtaining a national ranking, which it has. Because, we all know that food critics are not biased. God bless chowhound!
For what it is worth, I judge the quality of any meal that I eat in terms of taste, freshness of ingredients, and balance.
Crumpet's in San Antonio has been around awhile catering to middle aged or older upper middle class customers, who want a nice meal that is not too pricey. They have their own bakery.
Francois, the chef/owner started out as a restaurant butcher. At lunch, he serves the best hamburger "meal" I have ever had.
First, he not only toasts the bun, he makes the bun. Second, he not only cooks the burger, he selects and grinds the beef. The french fries are made from scratch, daily. The tomatoes are fresh and tasty, and the lettuce is fresh iceberg. The mustard is dijon.
So, if you want a traditional hamburger, and not a trip to the moon - Crumpet's is the place. And, where else can you get a high quality burger with a house french pastry for dessert?
For the record, Chris Madrid and I graduated from high school together. He is very good to his customers. And, if you want a high-grease cholesterol sandwich for a meal, his is the place to go.
I would rather have a great hamburger.
Once again, if you want genuine Tex-Mex, San Antonio is not just the place, it is the only place.
As has been accurately pointed out, what you are talking about is a Gordita, which is Spanish for fat, bueno?
They are about the diameter of an small outstretched human hand. The filling possibilities are endless. Two is a meal.
A new place called Gordita Dona Tota (210) 375-8200 has opened up in north San Antonio. They are a well known chain out of Mexico. All they make are gorditas.
Like a dope, I just tried calling over there to see if they shipped out of town. Trust me, at this time of day, the line is out the door, and nobody is going to answer the phone.
The local newspaper recently did a feature on them, and the photograph of the people in line showed no one who weighed less than 200 pounds.
Most Tex-Mex restaurants in San Antonio have gorditas on their menu, and there are over 300 Tex-Mex places in SA. Good luck.
There is a state inspected Tex-Mex food factory/store here in San Antonio. It is called Rudy's Mexican Food Products.
They sell pretty much everything, especially in large quantities - tortillas, tamales, chicharrones, spices, etc.. Their 50 count flour tortillas are $4.00 a bag, and they ship anywhere.
San Antonio used to have an annual best factory made tamale contest, in both the machine made and handmade categories. However, they cancelled the contest because Rudy's kept winning every year. That should tell you something about the quality of their products.
Call at 8:30 AM CST, and ask for Rudy (210) 533-5436. Customer friendly, they are.
I think this will work, but it starts out a little weird.
First, a funky old guy with weird hair, named Al Einstein, came up with the notion that "a given reality exists within a given frame of reference."
That means that telling your child to eat green beans, for whatever reason, does not ring true, unless it is true in their immediate world.
Next, my fifty-four year old spouse, who can bake her behind off, hates green beans, and also broccoli. So, after many tries, I stumbled into a solution.
First, Wal-Mart sells a generic frozen okra. They also sell a generic frozen, as well as fresh. broccoli. There are many other types of green vegetables.
It is impossible for any person to detest the consumption of "anything that is green" vegetables. They have to like something. Or, better yet, as in my case, detest something else, even more.
So, I get some of the frozen okra, which, much to my surprise, does not have any of the normal sticky-guey consistency of fresh okra. Then, I mix it with some cooked rice, or orzo.
Next, I add a small quantity of roughly chopped canned or fresh peeled tomatoes, some Old Bay Seasoning for taste, and lo and behold, she scarfs it down.
It is simple. Vegetables, in their original or slightly enhanced state, not only taste good, they also furnish ten times the Vitamin B of a pill capsule, along with the high vegetable fiber we cholesterol conscious folks or yearning for.
So, for awhile, try not mixing a can of anything that says "Cream of ?" with any of your vegetable side dishes, and I promise you, your worries will eventually be over.
I stand corrected again. It is IH 10 East to Houston.
I stand corrected. The place for great Q, in Giddings, Texas, is City Meat Market (citymeatmarket.biz).
The place has been there for forty years. People would not be driving that distance, if it wasn't for a good reason.
Take IH 10 West going towards Houston. Once you pass Schulenberg, you will hit the junction of IH 10 and Highway 77. Take a left, and after fifteen minutes you will be in what passes for downtown Giddings. Then, take an immediate left at Austin Street, and you are there.
And, given that you may not get another chance, throw caution to the wind and order some of everything. Like I said before, you whole body will smell of barbeque when you leave.
Sorry for the mistake.
You have seen the Pace Picante sauce ad where the hook is "made in New York City!" Well, that is how this San Antonian feels about any other geographic location suggesting that they have a good Tex-Mex tamale.
For starters, no tamale made and sold at any restaurant in Texas is state inspected Second, I really don't understand about the masa content. If what you are saying is that you want a tamale that is not all masa and very little filling, then we are on the same page.
Rudy's Mexican Food Products (210) 533 - 5436, ships, next day or overnight, as little as a case (twelve dozen, dozen), to any where in the U.S. They are state inspected.
And, I have often made the comment that if I have a heart attack, and they have to perform immediate open heart massage, I want it done on Rudy's kitchen floor. It is far cleaner than your average hospital operating room. He steams his floor once a day, and his antique metal ceiling once a month. The state does not require him to do that.
They have machine-made (@$4.00 a dozen, or hand made (much larger) for a little over $8.00. Here comes the good part.
Rudy's has been & cheese, regular pork, jalapeno pork, beef, chicken, and their chicken jalapeno, which I will challenge any one to differ with, is the best hand-made state inspected tamale in the world.
My suggestion is to order a case of mixed samples, both machine-made and hand-made. They even make a cocktail size tamale for parties.
And, for all you wild game enthusiasts, if you have a mess of venison, wild boar, or buffalo, bring it in, and they will do a custom run for you.
What the hey. I told every one before to go to Henry's Puffy Tacos because they serve more tacos than any restaurant in San Antonio. Also, the mascot for the San Antonio Minor League baseball team just happens to be a person running around in a Puffy Taco costume.
So, I am going to teach the whole bunch of you how to make a puffy taco.
First, as Alton Brown suggests for deep frying turkeys, you get yourself a fire extinguisher. Next, you get the largest steel or iron cauldron available - the wider and deeper, the better.
Then it gets easy. You fill up the container with vegetable oil, at a safe level. Once the oil has come up to regular deep-frying temperature, you take a plain corn tortilla, and, using a very large shallow steel spoon (with a long handle), gently place (horizontally) the tortilla in the oil.
If it is the right temperature, it should puff up in a matter of seconds. Then, immediatley take the spoon and place it in the middle of the tortilla and press down until you have a taco shell shape. Hold it there for a few more seconds, and presto - you have a puffy taco.
In terms of fillings and garnishments, you have a much larger selection of choices than a regular taco, and your guests will think you went to cooking school to learn how to do it.
I called the restaurant (210) 662-6699, and they never heard of the other place. This is the only Korean BBQ place in San Antonio, and it is practically on Rittiman Road. And, if you get there late, good luck trying to find a place to park. They prefer cash, and the place is always jammed. Does that answer your question as to whether it is any good?
Another tip, do not eat at any restaurant on the San Antonio River. If your travel mates suggest the "Landing" for Dixieland Jazz, make them take you to "Luna," which is halfway between your hotel and the airpoirt, about one mile south of Loop 410. This, the year 2007 style, is the real deal in terms of live jazz.
And, it goes without saying, do not to eat at La Fogata, Mi Tierra, or Casa Rio.
The Korean BBQ place (Kiku Gardens) is in northeast San Antonio and the Wyndham is in northwest SA. Take IH 10 "East" (the highway the hotel is on) and go south to the Loop 410 interchange. (Do not take IH-10 "West"; that goes to El Paso.) Then go east on Loop 410 to the IH-35 interchange, and go south on IH-35 to Rittiman Road. It gets complicated, so call the Kiku Gardens ahead of time for more directions. And, you better get there early because every Korean Q freak in San Antonio will be there. (Overall driving time will be 25 minutes in good traffic.)
As far as overall Tex-Mex is concerned, Pico de Gallo will suffice just fine. Go on IH 10 East until you hit downtown and the road forks into a upper and lower deck. Take the upper deck and exit on the very first exit, which is Santa Rosa. At the second stoplight, take a right and you will run into the place. Order anyting you want, but I discovered that if you order the Rosemary Chicken Quarter, you get a bowl of borracho beans, a heapful of guacamole, and a stack of flour and corn tortillas. Then take a knife and fork, and make yourself about five or six chicken fajita tacos.
I can't stand it anymore. If you like drinking out of the toilet when you are so hung over that forming whole sentences is a major accomplishment, you will like Menudo. The plain version, which looks like light brown broth, tastes like dirty socks boiled in water. The fancy version has great root vegetables in it, which broaches the predicate that, if you are going make a great soup base, why would you want to put cow guts in it? Duh.
One more specialty that deserves major mention is Chicken Mole. Rita's on Bandera Road, near downtown, has it, along with a Caldo de Res (short ribs) that are first rate. The table tops are fifty-year-old formica, and the floors are linoleum. And, Rita is there to greet each table at lunch, so go early. There are many more restaurants that excel in these two dishes.
Sorry for the duplication .("Best Tex-Mex Recommendation").
To sumarize, there is no one place that serves excellent all around Tex-Mex, because everybody has their specialties.
For lunch on a cold and rainy day, go to Teka Molino on N. St. mary's street. Arthur runs the place and his aunt Josephine runs the cash register. Order the Teka Caldo soup or the Tortilla Soup.
Authentic "Mexican" soup for breakfast can be had, if you go early on Saturday to El Mirador on S. St. Mary's street. Every hung over lawyer and news reporter in town is there trying to detox their system.
For a life altering experience, go south of dowtown on Flores street to Rudy's Mexican Products. This is a tamale factory where they make the best state inspected chicken tamales in the world. If you go around 8:00 in the morning, you can get hot fresh handmade tamales wrapped in foil. Warning!! They are as addictive as heroin, and you are going to want to bring a case back with you on the plane, when you go back home.
For a Tex-Mex lunch experience, go the Malt House Restaurant and Drive-in, on Buena Vista street, and order one of the luncheon specials. They jack-up the price to $3.75, for a plate that you won't finish. You can also get fried chicken or fried fish, or the hamburger special with fries, and tea for $2.65. The clientele are poor latinos and fat cat politicians. And, of course, they make a killer malt shake.
The best fajitas are at Las Margaritas, if you don't mind sitting inside of a barrel with a hundred people, when you eat.
Henry's Puffy Tacos serves more tacos than any other restaurant in town, and for the record, we have over 300 Tex-Mex places in San Antonio.
For the best Q, everyone and their chihuahua goes to Kreuz Meat Market in Giddings, Texas. It is southeast of Austin, and closer than City Market in Luling. When you leave, you and your clothes will smell like barbeque. Also, Luling has as many oil wells as livestock, along with the smell that goes with it.
And, before I forget, when you eat at Casa Rio, you have to compete with the flies for your food.
When you go to La Fogata, you get very lousy service, high prices, and all the ambiance you want, along with a great margarita.
Mi Tierra's food stinks. They can't even make huevos rancheros, and do it right. However, they have a first rate mexican bakery, and they have the best bartender (Genaro) in San Antonio. I even invited the guy to my wedding reception.
Hey, my family has lived here for 276 years. From there I speak. The best Tex-Mex retaurant does not exist. There is one place that does a great combination plate. And, there is another that does great soup; another that does great tacos, etc. For a cold rainy day the Teka Caldo, or Tortilla Soup can be found at Teka Molino, which is five minutes from downtown. If you don't get there by 11:15, you will have to wait in line. The owner's aunt Josephine runs the cash register. The best breakfast soup is at El Mirador, made Mexico style. For a life altering experince, go south about five minutes and stop at Rudy's Tamale factory. If you get there by 8:00 they will sell you log-size hand made tamales hot, wrapped in foil, and ready to eat. For the best Q drove up to Kreuz Meat Market in Giddings Texas and you will leave with your whole body smelling like barbeque.