03 June 2009
On the Riverwalk in San Antonio
I’m celebrating my anniversary in San Antonio this week. San Antonio is a beautiful city which is literally deep in the heart of Texas. It’s not the first time I’ve been here and I remember it fondly. I remember camping near San Antonio the spring I was pregnant with my first child. I’m sure I’ve been here a few times since then too. I think we brought the children to see the Alamo and the missions the second time we lived in Dallas.
Of course this visit is different. The children are grown and I am here with just my husband, who is attending a conference. I have the days to myself and no one's preferences to worry about aside from my own. Yesterday I was free to roam the Riverwalk taking photos and visiting art galleries.
The Riverwalk is both more and less than I remember. The shops and restaurants don’t seem as unique to me as they did twenty years ago. In fact now a number of the restaurants that line the river are chains. Still there are also fine restaurants dotted here and there and some traditional favorites. Fare ranges from Texas Barbecue and Mexican cuisine to Italian and Seafood restaurants.
Bars range from rowdy to jazzy, and margaritas, while the specialty of some restaurants that display large Margarita glasses with multiple straws, are prominently advertised all along the Riverwalk.
On our anniversary we ate at Boudro’s, a Texas bistro that serves regional cuisine and southwestern specialties. Our table was out beside the river and the atmosphere was busy and friendly. We sampled a number of items from the menu. Our favorites were the Gulf Coast Seacakes, made from blue crab meat with Jicama Slaw, a Tomato Salad with gorgonzola cheese and basil and a flavorful Gilled Portabello Tostado. For dessert we shared Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce and Creme Brulee. The staff was amazingly adaptable and kind and even treated us to champagne in honor of the occasion.
Evenings along the Riverwalk have a festive atmosphere but what I have found I enjoy even more is the quiet atmosphere of weekdays along the river. There are still plenty of tourists riding the boats along the water but the pace is more relaxed. I had a wonderful day walking beside the river with my camera.
Every few steps offered another lovely vista of the water, the exotic flowers in the garden spaces, the long necked water birds, the colorful umbrellas on the tables reflecting in the water, the café scenes, the stonework, the fountains, the arched footbridges. It has a unique and timeless quality, floating somewhere between reality and a Disneyesque vision of life. It offers an easy pace and an upbeat Tex-Mex ambiance that is friendly and welcoming.
When I decided to take a break to get a drink and a midday snack I stopped at The Original Mexican Restaurant and Bar. I sat at a table beside the river and ordered Iced Tea and one of my favorite Mexican specialties, Sopapillas.
The Iced Tea came in a huge glass, unsweetened and with lemon, just perfect for a Texas afternoon.
The Sopapillas came four on a plate, well coated in cinnamon sugar and with a bottle of honey to drizzle over the deep fried pastry pillows. Good Sopapillas are simple but a thing of beauty. They were crispy outside and a little chewy with a nice hollow space inside. They were good and I ate every last bite all by myself. They were the icing on a lovely afternoon.