Monday, February 15, 2016

San Antonio Weekend!

We had another racecation - this time, in San Antonio!  We ran the Missions Marathon Half (and 10K) on Saturday.  I'll have my race recap up on Wednesday, but I wanted to do a quick (I had good intentions, but this turned out to be rather long) post of all the other stuff we did over the weekend.  San Antonio has a special place in my heart because it's where we lived when we first moved to Texas, back in 1992.  We were there for eight years before moving to College Station, and while we've found our groove in CS with our running group, I still think SA is a great town.  Of course, at this point I'd have to transplant my running buddies along with us if we ever moved back...but hey, it could work!  Wishful thinking?  Probably. 

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.

37 comments:

  1. San Antonio is really a very pretty city. I can totally see why you enjoyed it there so much.

    What a fun weekend this has been for you. And thank you for including the food photos, you know I love that :)

    And the flower LOL it definitely is giving you the finger. You "hang out" too much with Roz who would probably have seen this too :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, yes - Roz would love that flower "finger" picture!

      Delete
  2. I'm so glad you posted this separately from the race report. You know San Antonio is on my bucket list so this is just great fun to see! I'm book marking this post and ONE DAY I'm going there I tell ya!

    So, if winter is 82, what is summer like there?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's probably a good thing you haven't made it to SA yet, because it's changed so much over recent years, and for the better!

      Summer is in the 80s as well, only with a lot more humidity. And don't get me wrong, it gets cold in SA - last year it was sleeting during the race. But I think the difference is that we get shorter bursts of winter, with bits of spring thrown in...like this week, we're supposed to be in the 80s every day. I'm sure it'll cool down again, though.

      Delete
    2. ...summer can get to the 100 mark or higher. it's hot hot hot. San Antonio native here. I'm loving the current weather although I know it will come to an abrupt end sometime in April I presume. Definitely come to San Antone; it's a big city with a small town feel!
      ~Rusti
      http://texasgirlgettinfit.blogspot.com/

      Delete
  3. I've always wanted to visit San Antonio because of the river walk! I miss Texas! (oh I wanted to tell you that I was watching dateline (or 48 hours, one of those mystery shows) and the story happened to be about a murder that happened in College Station among college student. It happened back in 1999. I wondered if you remembered that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We weren't living in CS in '99, but I remember the trial. That was pretty gruesome...glad they caught the guy.

      Delete
  4. San Antonio looks like a great town to visit hopefully one day I'll be able too. Thanks for sharing your pictures with us. Looks like you had a great trip looking forward to your race report.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should definitely put SA on your list of places to visit - just don't go in the summer...you might as well get a break from the Florida humidity, right?

      Delete
  5. I visited San Antonio many years ago for a conference but it was in June and really hot!!

    Looks like you had a great trip.

    Can I be a virtual member of your group??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yeah, SA in June (and July, and August...and September) is quite warm. We moved there in September and that was the first time I ever sweated from the top of my head downward - and that was just going outside, not even exercising!

      Delete
  6. What a fun looking trip! SA never disappoints...I've made several trips there with my job over the last 19 years as one of our main offices is off of 1604 & Sonterra.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was fun! You and Jimmy should go next year! :)

      Delete
  7. Replies
    1. Me too. So glad we are making the effort to do them. :)

      Delete
  8. I am determined to get back to San Antonio one of these days! I've come close twice, with conferences that I planned to attend, and then had to cancel at the last minute. Anyway, your tour was fantastic, and I think showed me more of what to see than I might have discovered on my own.

    Loved everything in this report. I think two of my favorite things are the ferrari story, and the free coffee while you were waiting to be seated. What a nice thing to do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is so much to see and do than just the Riverwalk now! I hope you can get to SA soon.

      The free coffee was much appreciated. Additionally, we could have (but did not) purchased a massive (I mean MASSIVE) cinnamon roll or other pastry to eat beforehand, from the little bakery section of the restaurant, but we did not. Making better choices, right? ;)

      Delete
    2. Oh man. That is more than better choices. That is massive self-control :)

      Delete
  9. What a great weekend! Looking forward to the race recap, but now I really want huevos rancheros! I could eat that for breakfast every day and never get sick of it :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm telling you, this was some good food. SA is not that far from Austin...

      Delete
  10. Shelley I was semi-living in San Antonio in 1992 myself. 6 weeks of basic training at Lackland AFB, but we did have town pass once and I was one of the blue smurfs walking the river walk that summer.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow that sounds like an awesome weekend. I LOVE San Antonio's River Walk. It is so beautiful. Congrats on your race, I look forward to hearing about the recap.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, and yes - the Riverwalk is really special, isn't it?

      Delete
  12. I LOVE that pottery! It's gorgeous! That weekend sounds so fun, too, to have around the run. That is a cool town and the brewery sounds like my kind of place :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You could get your fill of pottery in SA, that's for sure! Plan a trip there, after Ireland!

      Delete
  13. San Antonio is so pretty! That pottery is amazing too I love the bright colors in it :) What a fun weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was hard to decide on which of the many appealing pottery pieces to buy - I am a color person, and they ALL looked so good!

      Delete
  14. I want to visit San Antonio SO badly! Someday! Thanks for sharing your pics!

    I love the Ferrari story :) How sweet!

    The pottery you picked out is gorgeous! Even though one piece is giving you the finger. LOL!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You would really enjoy SA - plan a trip!

      Delete
  15. What a pretty city! I just loved everything about this post! So much to see and I just loved the pottery! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just bought a more appropriately-sized plate holder last night for the one in the picture, and fell in love with my new pottery all over again. :)

      Delete
  16. As a San Antonio native I just have to say to those that are talking up my town: thank you! It's refreshing to hear so many nice things about the city I call home and love so much. To ya'll who've not had the chance to make? Please come see us. It truly is an amazing city. I usually describe San Antonio as a big city with a small town feel. There's lots to do and see here. Thank ya'll again for all the nice comments about my lovely city.
    ~Rusti
    http://texasgirlgettinfit.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are spot on with the big city/small town feel!

      Delete
  17. Another place to add to my 'must see' towns! :-) Looks like a great time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Plus lots of historical sites in SA, which I know you love to visit!

      Delete
  18. I love San Antonio! My brother lived there for about 10 years, and it was on the very short list of places to move when I finished college (as it's NOT 82 degrees in winter here, I still wonder why I picked Chicago). We rarely went downtown when I visited though, since he didn't want to be too "touristy," so it's fun to see all the places you visited! :)

    ReplyDelete

I love hearing from you and read each and every comment! Comments on older posts are moderated, so they won't show up right away - sorry to my real readers, but spammers love to hit old posts, so this is necessary.