Jeff took Friday off from work so we could make the three-hour drive in - Brian rode with us to the halfway point, where we dropped him off at a Starbucks so that Cary, who had been at a conference nearby could pick him up and then they went on to San Antonio together. Funny story: just as we were nearing the town, we saw a beautiful older-model Ferrari cruising slowly down the road - a rare sighting in our neck of the woods. When we pulled up to Starbucks, the Ferrari was parked, and an older gentleman was helping his wife out of the car. We complimented him on what was obviously his pride and joy, and he said that he only takes it out to drive his wife to Starbucks! Too cute.
After we left Brian, we drove to San Antonio and went straight to packet pickup, where we got our bibs and shirts, and then had a quick lunch. We were on our way to the hotel (Jeff travels a lot and we get to use his La Quinta points for free rooms, which makes doing these trips possible) when we passed by the Pearl Brewery, so we made a little detour. This former brewery has been transformed into a living, dining, and shopping area in recent years, and it's funky and fantastic! We parked and wandered around the area, and of course I visited a few of the shops. This place was really cool, and next visit, we'll have to make more time to spend there - and we'll definitely have to try one of the many restaurants, too. Here are some pictures of the area:
The fountain is made of old findings, but didn't have water in it because it's winter...as you can tell by what Jeff is wearing. East coast peeps, I'm sorry to tell you that it was 82 degrees on Friday!
Just a gigantic beer can on top of the building...
Artsy shot with the sun.
Once a stable, now a venue for weddings and events.
The newly-opened Hotel Emma, which used to be a brewhouse. We can't afford to stay there, but maybe we'll walk inside the lobby next time. Hey, looking is free, right?!
Eventually we ended up at our hotel, where they nicely upgraded us to a suite - it ain't fancy, but you can't beat free:
Nice view from our corner room - Tower of the Americas is on the right, off in the distance.
Just had to include this shot - there's a new HEB (grocery store) right across from the hotel. The design is quite charming and very different from any other HEB I've come across.
Julia and her husband Scott stayed at the same hotel as us, and we all walked together to the Riverwalk to meet the rest of our renegades for dinner. We had reservations at Paesanos, which was a good thing as it was PACKED. The food was good - I continued with my pre-race Tour of Lasagna - and our waiter even stopped to take our picture after seeing us have many selfie fails:
Brian, Jeff, me, Scott, Julia, Cary, and Cristy.
After our race the next morning, we drove to the Guenther House for a very late breakfast. You might think that all we do on our racecations is run and eat, and you might be right. Our mission is to eat good food, and we've been pretty successful! Cary, Brian, and Cristy ate here last year after the race and said the biscuits were amazing - as well they should be, considering this restaurant is home to the Pioneer flour mills founder. The wait was an hour and a half, which we expected, but the grounds were beautiful, the weather was perfect, and there was free coffee available, along with a gift shop to visit as well as a mini tour of the house. We mostly relaxed by the river as we waited for our buzzer to go off. The wait was worth it:
Biscuits, peppered sausage gravy, strawberry and peach jams, bacon and fruit - YES! I ate one biscuit, all of the bacon, started on the second biscuit but my stomach noped it out on that one, so I passed it on to Cristy, who ordered a vegetarian sandwich to start with...somehow she knew one of us would be giving her our leftovers, so she got the best of both worlds!
My lone shot of the restaurant...blogger fail on that one, as it's not like I didn't have PLENTY of time to take a few pictures during our wait. Runner's brain, what can I say? We ate outside, under the green arbor.
Once our bellies were full, we went back to our hotels and got cleaned up and also napped. None of us wanted to deal with a busy restaurant for dinner, so we decided to find some street food. Turns out, the Alamo Street Eat Bar was just over a half mile walk from our hotel, so we hoofed it on over. Good decision - there were several charming old food trucks and we all enjoyed our dinner:
Carne asada street tacos - they were on tiny corn tortillas, and not only were delicious, but the perfect amount...I wasn't exactly starving after that biscuit extravaganza earlier in the day.
Then, because we hadn't been on our feet enough (joke - I'd run a 10K while the others had run a half marathon), we set out for dessert. There was an ice cream place not too far from where we had dinner, but when we got there it was closed. So we walked to the Riverwalk again. We tried to go to Durty Nellys, which is a sing-a-long piano bar, but it was standing room only and super crowded, so we nixed that and eventually found Mr. Ice Cream. We all got a scoop and sat at the bar while we ate. Still on the hunt for some singing, we then walked to Howl at the Moon, but the cover charge plus another crowded SRO place got nixed. We decided to walk to the HEB and then go back to our hotel to play Cards Against Humanity, so off we went. I swear, we must have walked a good 4 miles that night! We got to HEB just as they were closing - I was shocked, as the HEBs around here are open 24 hours - so they wouldn't let us in to purchase any drinks. We managed to find some vending machines at the hotel; diet Coke and water bottles in hand, at last we settled down for a lively card game.
Our experience at waking up fairly early served us well the next day, because we went to the famous Mi Tierra restaurant for breakfast and actually got seated as soon as we walked in. That never happens! This restaurant is open 24 hours and is almost always busy...early Sunday mornings excepted, I guess. The decor is colorful and festive, but I didn't know there was a shark hanging behind me until I saw the picture below!
Julia and Cristy
Jeff, me, Cary...and a shark
Chips and guacamole for breakfast? Heck yes! Cary wanted this for dinner the previous night, but the food trucks didn't offer it. She shared, and it was yummy. Apparently it's never too early for guacamole (and queso, that happened as well).
I ordered huevos rancheros, which came with tortillas, so I assembled a breakfast taco and it was so good!
Once we finished breakfast (and stood in a long line for some Mexican pastries to take home - yes, the crowds had arrived by then), we all went shopping at Market Square, which is right across from the restaurant. I remember going there back when we lived in SA, but it's expanded quite a bit. I was interested in finding some pottery pieces to fill in the empty spots in my living room bookcase, and I succeeded:
Talavera pottery plate - I love the bright colors!
Hand-painted little pot...loved the bird on it, plus there's a flower on the knob.
A frog friend to go with my Grandmother's metal froggie. Paco greeted this guy with suspicion and actually "booped" it with his nose.
A Talavera soap dish for my kitchen sink.
I didn't notice until I got it home, but the flower is kind-of giving me the finger...ha!
We had a great time; it's fun to explore different cities, even the ones that I thought I knew! If you ever get the chance to go to San Antonio, I highly recommend everywhere we went on this trip.