San Antonio was an unexpected delight. Topside is an inviting and gracious historic town dotted with century-old buildings. And down the stately stairways a river idyll awaits.
Ahead of the trip, I dithered around the myriad hotel options. It was hard to choose. Luckily, I found what I think must be the jewel in San Antonio’s crown: The Mokara. Upon our arrival, we splurged on a river view upgrade. Magical!
From the welcoming cup of coconut horchata in the lobby to the graciously appointed room to the genuine hospitality received from every staff member, our stay was perfect.
We could have gazed out of our balcony window forever. But, of course, man does not live by bed alone. Where to eat?
Our first reservation was at Boudro’s. At first glance, its taco-shaped umbrellas lining the River Walk appeared unremarkable. But as we settled in and chatted with the couple next to us, we learned that this was their third meal at Boudro’s in four days. And when our server appeared with a cart to prepare guacamole for us table-side, we began to catch on. We live in California. We know our way around an avocado. But this was, by far, the best guacamole we’ve ever tasted!
And we’re not the only ones to think so. Boudro’s gets so many requests for their guacamole recipe that they’ve posted it on their web site:
Boudro’s Guacamole Recipe
Freshly prepared at your table with diced avocado, roasted tomato and serrano pepper, cilantro and fresh lime and orange juices. Serves two.
Juice of 1/4 of an orange
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 avocado seeded and scooped out of skin
2 tablespoons roasted and charred Roma tomatoes, diced
1 roasted Serrano pepper, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon medium dice red onions
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
coarse ground salt to taste (sea salt is better)
Squeeze juices into bowl. Add avocado and coarsely chop. Add onions, roasted tomato, serrano and cilantro fold into avocado mixture. Add salt (more is better). Result should be crudely chopped not mashed. That’s it, enjoy!
The guacamole was a hard act to follow, but their Texas Filet of Sirloin & Frites with Fire fries, fried jalapeños and plantains with chimichurri sauce was a revelation that made me want to stay deep in the heart of Texas forever.
One of the buildings in San Antonio brimming with history is the Menger Hotel. Among its storied guests was Teddy Roosevelt, who is said to have recruited his Rough Riders in the Menger Bar. According to the Legends of America web site:
“It was here, in the Menger Bar, that Roosevelt recruited hard-living cowboys fresh from the Chisholm Trail, to his detachment of Rough Riders. Reportedly, Teddy would sit at the bar and as the cowboys came in, he would jovially offer them a free drink (or several) as he worked his recruiting strategy upon the unsuspecting cowpoke. Many sobered up the next morning to find themselves on their way to basic military training at Fort Sam Houston before joining in the Spanish American War.”
If it was good enough for Teddy, it was good enough for us, so on our second evening, we went over to take a look. Designed in 1887 as a facsimile of London’s House of Lords Pub, the room is composed completely of mahogany:
We ordered a drink and toasted to Teddy after the bartender showed us the bullet holes in the paneling purportedly shot by Roosevelt during his recruitment efforts.
Then we made our way back to the River Walk to dine on the terrace at the elegant Las Canarias:
The view was sublime:
We ordered from the tasting menu. Starters were Corn Chowder for me and Shrimp Cocktail for the CE:
For my main course, I chose the Bacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin that was accompanied by a divine Farro Risotto, Collard Greens and Brandy Apple Compote:
I dared not taste dessert after all that, but the CE and his enviable metabolism enjoyed the Creme Brûlée:
All this fun and food and I haven’t even gotten to the reason we came to San Antonio. Next post: remembering The Alamo.