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Archive for the ‘San Antonio’ Category

Some Serious Burger Innovation

In Burgers, San Antonio on January 21, 2012 at 3:30 am

1624 E. Commerce -- Within Walking Distance of Downtown!

As I’ve said somewhere to someone, San Antonio has some of the best burger joints around. Little did I know that some serious innovation has been taking place on the east side of San Antonio at Fatty’s Burgers. Locally owned and operated, Fatty’s owner Mark, recently started serving some “outside the box” burgers. I’ve been excited about eating a burger before, but I’ve never had fun eating one until I went and tried out the ice cream burger. That’s right, an ice cream burger!

I’ve tried two of their five new releases. Below I’ve reviewed the ice cream burger and the pancake burger. The other three new ones are the breakfast burger (served with an egg), the BBQ burger (served with sliced brisket), and the chocolate chip cookie burger.

The Ice Cream Burger

Some, if not many, will be suspicious of just how good (or bad) an ice cream burger might taste. Well, I think it tastes pretty dang good and others seems to agree. Fatty’s burgers are already great, but when you add delicious ice cream (either vanilla or strawberry) to an already delicious burger, then well, get ready for a fun experience. Along with the burger, go ahead and order their award-winning, beer-battered onion rings.

Beans That Actually Taste Good

Oh, and while your waiting, be sure and enjoy a cup of their complementary pinto beans. I normally don’t think much of pinto beans, but if beans tasted like Fatty’s most of the time, then I’d be a bean connoisseur. Just sayin’.

The Pancake Burger

On another visit, I ordered the pancake burger. Just look at that burger! Bread, pancake, meat, cheese, and syrup. That’s it. I had to ditch the bun half way through because, as good as it is, it’s like eating a burger with double the bread. The pancake was really good and so was the burger. It’s ideal for brunch and it will fill you up quickly.

Can you believe what you’ve just seen? I’m still really excited about these outside the box burgers and I’d recommend anyone reading this post to at least go and order the ice cream burger. Have some fun and say hi to Barbara, Fatty’s hostess. You’ll love her hospitality and kindness and she’ll take good care of you.

If you can’t bring yourself to order the ice cream or pancake burger, check out the menu below and take your pick. Bby the way, take a look at Fatty’s website by clicking here and check out how their building looked before it was renovated and became a fine, east side establishment. Let’s support this locally owned and operated restaurant and spread the word about this great place!

Fatty’s hours: Mon – Wed 11am – 6pm; Thurs – Sat 11am – 8pm; closed for church on Sunday.

These Are Your Burger Options, Plus More!

Next post…my favorite coffee shop in the Alamo City!

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La Tuna is Spanish for…The Tuna

In American, Burgers, San Antonio on January 14, 2012 at 2:49 am

Sandwiched between the Blue Star Arts Complex and the new Cevallos Lofts, while at the same time floating on a sea of bottle caps, La Tuna Grill serves up some tasty dishes in beloved Southtown. With two buildings on its property, one for drinking and one for eating, La Tuna offers one more great place to enjoy within walking distance of downtown San Antonio.

Like I said, La Tuna Grill is made-up of two separate buildings. The smaller building on the corner is where you can go to have drinks.  You can drink inside or drink on the small patio which has a pool of bottle caps next to it. Bottle caps are everywhere, but next to the bar it’s like walking on sand .

Don't believe me? Here's a snapshot of the bottle caps.

You’ll need to go to the larger building in the back if you want to eat or buy some art. La Tuna doesn’t offer a whole lot of inside seating, but they make-up for it with lots of seating outside on the porch and several picnic tables.

So far, my dish of choice at La Tuna is their Blackened Fish Tacos. Blackened cod is served on corn tortillas with shredded cabbage, onions and cilantro. The tacos are topped with green chile cream sauce and are served with nopalito salad, which is excellent if you like nopales (nopal cactus). It’s even healthy! This dish costs $8.59. If you like fish tacos and haven’t tried La Tuna’s, please make a visit and try them out!

Blackened Fish Tacos

After the fish tacos, my next favorite dish is chicken tortilla soup. It was the soup of the day when I went. Served with corn chips, this soup is sooooo delicious and I’d say very hard to beat. It’s hearty and full of flavor. Grab one while it’s still cold outside. Other soups are available and a cup is $3.59 while a bowl is $4.99.

Chicken, Tortilla Soup

Surprisingly, La Tuna has some really good wings. I hate it when I order wings that come with very little wing sauce. You won’t have that problem here. They are drenched in a zesty, spicy house sauce. The wings are $7.99 and I’m sure you’ll have a few bucks worth of wing sauce all over your face by the time your done with them. Ask for extra napkins at the start. Don’t order them if you’re on a date.

La Tuna Wings

Finally, La Tuna’s website says, “Rumor has it that this is the BEST burger in town.” While I’ve never heard this rumor, I’d say it’s not the best, but it’s not bad either. Even though it comes with a 1/2 pound Black Angus patty, the patty itself could use some more flavor. The cheddar and jack cheese is nice, but what dominates is the soft, yet lightly toasted, sweet bun. The Cheesy burger is $8.29 and is served with your choice of a house salad, wedge fries, or nopalito salad.

Half-Pound, Cheesy Burger

Take note of La Tuna’s hours. They are open from 11:00 – 2:30 for lunch, 5:00 – 9:30 for dinner, and they are closed on Sunday. They say it’s “loco” at La Tuna on First Friday, but I’d deal with any amount of loco if that means enjoying their amazing, fish tacos and nopalito salad.

View of La Tuna's Restaurant

The place to drink. It even has a fire pit to keep you warm!

Next post…ice cream cheeseburger!

A Bakery That Offers More Than Just Food

In American, San Antonio on December 3, 2011 at 10:44 pm

Since 1992, San Antonians and visitors alike have come to love Joseph’s Storehouse: Restaurant & Bakery. While the food is delicious, this isn’t why I’m, as Ken Blanchard would say, a “raving fan”. I’m a fan because of its story, values, approach, and because of the customer care and service of owner, Patrick McCurdy.

I love the fact that everything they serve is make fresh daily without “chemicals, preservatives, additives, and other unnatural ingredients”.  I also appreciate Joseph’s counter-cultural mentality, especially here in Texas, that bigger is not always better. For Patrick, the owner, he wants Joseph’s to be better, not bigger. I respect that. Finally, it’s always great to see Patrick welcoming customers with a smile as if he’s welcoming you to the table in his own home. I really value locally owned establishments, but when you add all this, then you make me a raving fan!

You can read more about Joseph’s history and values by clicking here.

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

Last time I went to Joseph’s Storehouse, I ordered the Chicken Spaghetti Casserole (pic above), which was covered by a layer of melted cheese before I mixed it all up. If you’re in the mood for a casserole, this one should hit the spot. It’s creamy, but not too creamy, with the perfect amount of chicken and spaghetti. Other great options include: chicken pot pie, lasagna, king ranch chicken, meatloaf, a few quiche options and various sandwiches.

Fresh Spinach Salad

A fresh spinach salad is served with the Chicken Spaghetti Casserole. This salad is so good. It comes with fresh strawberries, toasted almonds, and homemade poppy-seed dressing.

Homemade yeast rolls are hot, delicious, and complementary!

Help yourself to some homemade yeast rolls with any meal!

Good Luck Making a Selection! (pic borrowed from Joseph's Storehouse)

As good as the meals are at Joseph’s, what gets your attention immediately upon entering are the mouth-watering desserts. The only problem is you’ll have a hard time deciding between cookies, muffins, danishes, pies, tea breads, kolaches, and cakes. My two favorites are the chocolate cake and carrot cake. For $5.50 you can get a large, deep slice of fresh, delicious cake.

Chocolate Fudge and Pecan Muffins

If you decide to try out Joseph’s Storehouse, both the bakery and the restaurant are open Monday – Saturday. The bakery is open from 6:0o am – 6:30 pm and the restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch from 6:30 am – 3:oo pm. Don’t show up on Sunday because the restaurant and bakery are closed unless you want to join the Bethlehem Church for worship. You can find information about the church on the bakery’s website or you can check out this article I found. Just click here to read it.

Nosh.0

In American, Beer, San Antonio on November 23, 2011 at 4:37 am

Back in June, Jen Rames, a local San Antonio blogger, wrote a great review about Nosh. Ever since reading her post I had the urge to stop by Nosh to nibble on a light, informal meal. And once again, Groupon was the deciding factor that got me there. While I try to avoid duplicating reviews, I just want to add to Jen’s review since I made some different selections. Click here to read about her Nosh experience.

The Fantastic Beer Selection

First of all, props to Nosh for offering an impressive beer selection. I just sat and admired the variety of quality beers over the course of my meal. However, since I always drink beer, I decided to branch out and try some of their other adult beverages. Since it was still kind of warm outside, I began with one of Nosh’s novelty drinks, the backporch lemonade. The lemonade is made from fresh lemon, cranberry juice, ginger syrup and citrus vodka. This small, $4 drink was tasty, refreshing and very sweet.

The Backporch Lemonade

As I sipped on the backporch lemonade, I studied the menu and ended up ordering the Slider Sampler, which comes with one beef, one pork, and one crab slider. Three sliders cost $12 and for $2 extra you get a side of fries. To my surprise, my favorite was the crab followed by the pork and then the beef. The crab wasn’t too crabby, yet had good flavor. The pork was surprisingly good and I don’t eat that much pork. The beef had an interesting flavor, but was a bit too dry for my taste. The bun, which was soft, yet crisp and sweet, really was delicious. The fries were okay. The garlic flavor helped.

Sadly, I was too full to order a few fried mini-twinkies with raspberry dipping sauce. This was the $5 dessert special. I’m sure I missed out.

Slider Combo

For some reason, and this may sound weird, but the pork slider went really well with the mixed berry mojito. This nosh infused cocktail is made with strawberry, raspberry, blackberry infused rum, amaretto, pineapple juice, simple syrup, muddled mint leaves and a splash of sprite. As you might can imagine, considering it includes simple syrup and amaretto, it also was really sweet, but it also had a good balance of berry flavor. However, for $8 I think I’d rather have a couple of beers, but that’s just me. The drink was really good. A little more alcohol and I would have said both drinks were great instead of really good.

The Mixed Berry Mojito

In the end, I agree with Jen, Nosh is great place and I’m sure I’ll be returning as well. My only problem with Nosh is its location. It should be in Southtown! Again, check out Jen’s post for more pics and other delicious dishes she enjoyed. She’ll also tell you about Nosh’s happy hour! If you decide to go, don’t go on Sunday or Monday. It’s closed.

Saloon Turned Delicatessen. Thanks Prohibition.

In German, San Antonio on November 16, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Schilo’s Delicatessen (pronounced SHE-LOWS) is a German deli located in downtown San Antonio and is really a must visit for any resident or visitor to San Antonio. The deli’s website boasts Schilo’s as “one of the oldest continually operated restaurant in the State of Texas”. While its location has moved some over the years, its history began in 1917 and has been German-run from its beginning. The rich, German heritage in San Antonio can be seen in the beautiful, King William neighborhood, former breweries, and restaurants like Schilo’s. Ever since Prohibition brought about the change of Schilo’s Saloon to Schilo’s Delicatessen, delicious meals have been prepared by this historical restaurant. Enough history, let’s focus on some dishes.

Mama Schilo's Famous Split Pea Soup w/ Bratwurst & Homemade Root Beer

If you were to ask me what food I dislike most, I’d say peas. Peas are number one on my list of things that disgust me. That’s why I was so surprised to find Mama Schilo’s Famous Split Pea Soup to be so delicious. The bratwurst and rye bread with butter were a bonus, but the pea soup was fine all by itself. I may have liked it so much because it didn’t have an overwhelming pea taste. It’s difficult to describe the taste but I give it two thumbs up! If you don’t like bratwurst, you can also order it with a frank. It costs $3.05 for a bowl and $4.75 if you add a bratwurst or a frank.

One of Schilo's Favorites, The Reuben

The Reuben is one of Schilo’s most popular items. It comes with corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese on grilled rye bread. I wouldn’t have minded a little more corned beef, but really the beef and sauerkraut were well proportioned. It was delicious and I recommend it. Since I ordered the soup, I didn’t ask for a side even though there were many from which to choose. Some of the side options include hot or cold German potato salad, sauerkraut, red cabbage, cottage cheese, green beans, fruit cup, cole slaw, deviled egg, etc. Side orders cost $1.65 per serving.

Inside Schilo's Delicatessen

In the above picture of the Split Pea Soup is a glass of Schilo’s Famous Root Beer. Served from the barrel below, this beverage is well worth any hype one might give it. It has a delicious taste close to Barq’s, only Schilo’s seems to be significantly less carbonated. It comes with one free refill. It really is good and I’m wanting one right now as I write this review.

If you don’t like root beer, you can always order a domestic or imported beer on tap. Some imported draft beers examples include Paulaner, Pilsner Urquell, Spaten, and Warsteiner.

Schilo’s Delicatessen is open for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Food is great. Service is great. You shouldn’t be disappointed.

You Gotta Try Schilo's Famous Root Beer

Frank’s Hog Stand: A Love Story

In American, Burgers, Hot Dogs, San Antonio on November 1, 2011 at 2:23 am

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve driven by Frank’s Hog Stand and wanted to stop, but never did. Gladly, once again, Groupon gave me the push I needed to give it a try. What I appreciate most about Frank’s Hog Stand is Frank. I love the fact that he grew up in the neighborhood, loved the “Pig Stand” (which is what it was called before it closed down due to Urban Renewal of the late 60s), and would later return to revitalize a place he loved. Even though his family was forced to move out of the neighborhood years ago, Frank was quick to purchase the property after several years and renamed it, Frank’s Hog Stand.

Rusty Nuts

My wife and I started our lunch by sharing some Rusty Nuts (loaded tater tots with chili and cheese). Healthy, no. Delicious, oh yes! As we devoured these rusty nuts, we said we’d come here just to enjoyed these loaded tater tots. The crispy tots were perfect with just the right amount of chili and cheese.

The Dirty Frank

I ain’t afraid of no chili, so I ordered The Dirty Frank (Hot Dog with Chili) and large-cut, french fries. It was really good. I like that it came in an unexpecting way. The dog is sliced in half and is served on a hoagie bun. I didn’t think I could finish it after the Rusty Nuts, but I did. 🙂

Burger Good, Onion Rings Better

My wife went with the burger and onion rings. The burger was okay considering it didn’t have cheese (I don’t believe in burgers without cheese). The onion rings were great…just the way I like them. I prefer onion rings that have just enough batter that the ring is flimsy and the batter can easily fall off.

The Ben Milkshake

At the end of our meal, we said in the words of Frank himself, “It’s time for a shake!” Frank’s shakes are served with Blue Bell Ice Cream. I ordered The Ben (chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream mixed together). It was a good, traditional Blue Bell Ice Cream shake. Frank’s Hog Stand is just one more great place to eat in Southtown.

Three Words: Caldo de Res

In Mexican/Tex-Mex, San Antonio on October 1, 2011 at 3:14 am

Olivia’s Mexican Restaurant, located just south-east of downtown at 801 Vanderbilt Street, is small, very small. I’m sure the average visitor, maybe even the average local, will pass by Olivia’s without even noticing it. Even if it’s noticed, I’d guess it would be brushed off as something insignificant. As my regular readers already know, these are the places I often come to consider special.

My first taste from Olivia’s came from a friend bringing to church some of their fine breakfast tacos. On Sunday mornings when we bring tacos, Olivia’s has become our go-to restaurant. It’s in our immediate community, it’s family-run, and it’s really good.

In addition to breakfast tacos, Olivia’s makes some tasty lunch dishes.

Very seldom do I order gorditas. However, as a little appetizer, I decided to try out a chicken gordita. Gorditas are by definition a deep-fried pocket of cornmeal dough usually filled with picadillo (beef), chicken, or bean and cheese. As you can see in the picture above, the chicken gordita came with a little lettuce, tomato, and cheese. There was just enough toppings to complement the moist, shredded chicken inside. It was the perfect start before an extremely delightful food experience. Three words: caldo de res. Oh my goodness, it was so good.

Recommended by one of the cooks, this dish was so enjoyable I could barely wait to share it with all my readers. Caldo de res, which is a Mexican beef soup, is filled with all kinds of vegetables like corn, cabbage, carrots, celery, and zucchini. Along with all the various vegetables is the thinly sliced shanks and beef still attached to the bone. The meat and vegetables together bath in a delicious and flavorful broth.

This medium portion costs only $4.99!

I’m so glad I was introduced to caldo de res. I’m just sad it took so long for me to discover it. I can’t wait for the weather to one day turn cold, because I’m going to enjoy eating and sharing this dish with friends and family who come to visit during the holidays.

If you decide to give Olivia’s a shot, just know it’s closed on Mondays and usually opens at 6:00am and closes at 2:30pm.

Gonzales Food Mart: BBQ & Sausage — Come and Eat It

In American, Barbeque, San Antonio on September 23, 2011 at 1:16 pm

How is it possible that a single street can have so many delicious, diverse restaurants? South WW White Rd is home to Chatman’s Chicken, Big Lou’s Pizza, Mr & Mrs. G’s, and one delicious, barbecue restaurant…Gonzales Food Mart, among others. I’m not sure how I’ve failed to come across this barbecue place before since it’s basically in my own backyard. It was a new friend that informed me about it; it was the way she spoke about their barbecue that made me check it out immediately.

Apparently, it’s already well-known throughout Texas. There was even a brief write-up about it several years back in the San Antonio Express News (click here to read it). While it may originate from Gonzales, Texas, we have our very own right here in San Antonio. Located at 2530 South WW White Rd, not to far south from I-10, is where you’ll find this top-notch, Texas-style barbecue.

As you can see below, on my first trip I decided to go with my go-to order, the two meat combo. For me, any judgement must come from a taste of brisket (lean is always an option, but I always request the marble cut!) and sausage. The brisket was really impressive. I don’t think I could have asked for anything better. The barbecue sauce, which is in a bottle on every table, is really good even though I prefer a little kick to it. The 99.9% beef sausage is excellent and you even get two of them! As sides I ordered the cheezy potatoes and pinto beans. The pinto beans were typical, but the cheezy potatoes were cooked perfectly and bathed in a cheese sauce that had just the right flavor and consistency.

2 Meat Combo: Brisket and Sausage

For dessert, I took a risk. The two options included peach cobbler and strawberry cobbler. I’d never tried strawberry, so that’s what I chose. It was good. A little too sweet for my taste but tasty none the less. Or maybe I was just too full.

Strawberry Cobbler

Here’s a look at their menu. All the dishes are affordable, especially considering the quality of the meat. I ended up paying a little under $12 for a two meat combo, strawberry cobbler, and a fountain drink. I couldn’t even eat it all.

It you find yourself at County Line BBQ, shame on you. Be good to yourself and go to Gonzales Food Mart. The meat will completely satisfy you. Does anything else besides the meat really matter?

Local Dish & Vacation!

In San Antonio on August 3, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Let’s say you’re visiting a city with which you are completely unfamiliar. Do you randomly try your luck at possibly finding somewhere good to eat or do you make the all-wise decision of finding out where locals dine? In general, locals know what restaurants are the best and which ones are both a waste of time and money. Unfortunately, finding out where the locals eat can be a time-consuming and daunting task. Too bad there’s not an app that makes it easy for you to hear from local bloggers in various cities. Oh wait, there is one! It’s called The Local Dish App.

Click to Download

Local Dish App, created by the food blog extraordinaire and app developer An Average Joe in San Antonio, released this easy to use interface just last month. Just pick a city and various local bloggers are in the palm of your hand in seconds. Click on the image above for more information about this app and also to download it. Believe it or not, my humble blog is even featured on this app. Thanks Average Joe in San Antonio for the opportunity to contribute!

By the way, pretty soon I’ll be going on vacation. I’ll be escaping the 100-degree San Antonio weather by spending some time in 60-degree San Francisco and 80-degree Napa Valley. I’m really looking forward to discovering some delicious cuisine (probably by using The Local Dish App) while drinking some great West Coast beers. I’ll probably drink some wine, as well. Okay, make that a lot of wine. 🙂

Please feel free to offer any recommendations by commenting on this post.


Food For The Soul

In San Antonio, Soul Food on July 25, 2011 at 10:50 pm

As much as I love mexican food and burgers, I often need a break from these staples of mine. So, in order to reset my tastebuds, I turn to some good ol’ home cookin’ or soul food. Merriam-Webster defines soul food as “food traditionally eaten by southern black Americans.” The first known use of this term goes back to 1964 back when “soul brother”, “soul sister”, and “soul music” were common. I’m even old enough to remember the television show the “Soul Train,” but I digress.

I’ve yet to explore the world of soul food in San Antonio, but I can tell you Mr. & Mrs. G’s on the south-east side of San Antonio is worth a visit. A busy lunch crowd of various ethnicities is what you can expect on any given day except Sunday when they are closed.

Located at 222 South W W White Road, Just South of Rigsby Ave.

Mr. & Mrs. G’s cafeteria-style restaurant is a small establishment, but big in flavor and friendliness. One exception, which I think makes it even more interesting is Yong, an Asian woman who usually makes your plate for you. I find her amusing because her demeanor reminds me of the “soup nazi” from Seinfeld.

The good thing about a cafeteria-style restaurant is there are lots of options. The bad thing about it is it has lots of options. I wasn’t in the mood for fried chicken (which I hear is very good), meatloaf, ham hocks (really want to try this sometime!), barbecue ribs, or fried fish even though it all looked great! Instead, I ordered the smothered steak with mashed potatoes and gravy, collard greens, squash, and yams all for about $10. I thought it was funny how unsweet tea wasn’t even an option as a beverage.

Oh So Good

What blew me away was for sure the smothered steak. It was thick, tender, and the gravy was full of flavor. Adding some Louisiana hot sauce to the greens was perfect and the mashed potatoes and gravy were great. The yams were interesting. The dominating flavor tasted like nutmeg or something like it. I had a hard time fully enjoying the yams because it was so overbearing. Overall, Mr. & Mrs. G’s is fantastic and popular for a reason.