San Antonio Eats and Drinks
The San Antonio River Walk
I was warned by several to avoid eating on the River Walk in San Antonio. It makes total sense. I warn people coming to Nashville to avoid dining on 2nd Avenue. For the most part, it’s touristy, filled with chains and mediocre food.
But when I found myself tired and hungry, after hours of travel and setting up a trade show booth, and the River Walk was literally right outside the door of my hotel, I couldn’t help myself. Sure, there were other highly recommended restaurants within a 20 minute walk or a 15 minute cab ride, but I wasn’t up for giving it any extra effort.
So off to the River Walk I went.
Prickly Pear Margarita at Boudro’s
And I am so glad I did!
My late afternoon lunch at Boudro’s Texas Bistro was perfect. In fact, it was the best meal I had during my short stay in San Antonio. The service, the view, the food – all were awesome.
I kicked things off with the Prickly Pear Margarita. I’m not typically much of a day drinker, but I haven’t had a margarita in over a year. It was time. How did I go so long? Man, that drink was good.
Guacamole for Two at Boudro’s
Do you guys remember that I used to hate guacamole? Somehow, pregnancy changed that. During my first trimester I craved guacamole like it was going out of style.
As I read through the “Guacamole for Two” description on the menu, I knew that I would be ordering it, even though there was only one of me. Freshly prepared table side with avocado, roasted tomato and serrano pepper, cilantro, fresh lime juice and orange juice, this guac was out-of-this-world. I could have easily devoured every last bite of it, but my entree showed up before I had a chance to.
But that was okay because my entree was INSANE. Insane, as in, so good I practically licked the plate.
Boudro’s Empanada Langosta
The Empanada Langosta was pan-seared lobster tail on pepper jack cheese and spinach empanada, with avocado, crème fraiche and red pepper chipotle beurre blanc. Absolutely, incredibly delicious. Oh my gosh, I want that plate in front of me again!
421 E. Commerce
San Antonio, TX 78205
Mexican Martini at V Bar
The next night, on the recommendation of one of my readers and my husband, who visited San Antonio a couple of years ago, I made my way to the V Bar in the Hotel Valencia.
Made up of Espolon Blanco Tequila, Cointreau Orange Liqueur, fresh lime juice, agave, and served up with a touch of olive juice, the Mexican Martini may just be the best discovery of my trip.
Though I’d never heard of it before, with a little research I found that the Mexican Martini originated in Austin at a place called Cedar Door, and has informally become Austin’s signature drink. Originally just a margarita served in a martini glass with olives on a spear, over time it has changed a bit. Many bartenders now make it a “dirty margarita” by adding a dash of olive brine.
I’m happy for this evolution, because I think that olive juice is exactly why I loved it so much. In fact, when I recreate them at home, mine will be an extra dirty margarita!
V Bar at Hotel Valencia
150 East Houston Street
San Antonio, TX 78205
After a couple of Mexican Martinis, we needed to get some food in our bodies, and Lüke, recommended to me by many, just so happened to be right across the street from the Hotel Valencia. John Besh’s first restaurant outside of his home state of Louisiana, the cuisine is an interesting mix of Cajun-French-German.
We started with several appetizers, my favorites being the Crispy Shrimp with Chilies and Small Herbs Salad and the Buttermilk Fried Quail with Honey and Arugula.
Lüke’s Roast Oysters On The Half Shell, Crawfish, Spring Onion Crust
The Oysters were quite good as well, especially for someone that doesn’t like oysters. And I’m not talking about me.
One of my dining companions visibly cringed at the thought of eating an oyster, but we finally convinced her that she would not even know she was eating one with this preparation. Roasted, with a thick layer of breadcrumbs and cheese, this oyster became the one and only oyster she’s ever enjoyed!
When it came time to order entrees, I was torn between the Pan Roast Diver Scallops, Baked Jalapeño Cheese Grits, and Blood Orange Vinaigrette and the Parmesan Crusted Sea Bass, Cauliflower, Crab, and Tomatoes.
This was one of those times when I didn’t win the entree ordering competition. (okay, there really wasn’t a competition, but I always think of it that way. Don’t you get so jealous when someone at your table orders a dish that is sooo much better than yours?)
I went with the scallops & grits. Don’t get me wrong, they were really good, they just didn’t blow me away.
Parmesan Crusted Sea Bass at Lüke
But what did blow me away was this Parmesan Crusted Sea Bass my dining companion ordered. Thankfully she allowed me a couple of bites. Unfortunately for me, she loved her entree as much as I did, so even with a little begging she wasn’t willing to trade me ;-)
Lüke San Antonio
125 East Houston Street
San Antonio, TX 78205
Before I left San Antonio I had to eat a puffy taco, because apparently that is something you’re supposed to do in San Antonio. Can’t say that I loved it. Wasn’t bad, just wasn’t something I thought was that great either. It’s a little too “puffy” for my taste, but hey, to each his own!
To understand what a Puffy tacos is, you can read this Serious Eats story.