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August 14, 2012

San Antonio

{Travel links located at the bottom of the post}

One of my good friends has been living in Dallas for the last year, but is in the process of abandoning me to move to Virgina.  As a last hoorah, we decided to take a quick trip down to San Antonio for a weekend.  We both had never been before, but heard good things.

I am going to make a bold proclamation: San Antonio is the best city in Texas.  So great.  I loved the people, I loved the vibe.  It was the first place I visited in Texas that I think would be worth flying in from another state to take a vacation. 

We started off our trip about an hour of of Dallas, at the Czech Stop.

What is the Czech Stop you might ask?

Well, it is this little bakery at Exit 353 on I-35.  Upon exiting, you pull over to this Shell Station:

I know what you are thinking, a Shell Station? What's so great about a Shell Station?

But it is not the Shell Station, its the Czech Bakery inside the Shell Station...

My understanding is that it is a Texas staple, but this was my first experience.  The line for this bakery was out the door- which is impressive as it is quite literally in the middle of nowhere.  It was full of amazing food, including this chubby:

 Sausage, cheese, baked into a homemade roll.  So good. 

The drive down to San Antonio was pretty horrific.  I-35 was packed and it took us a good five hours, when it should have only taken us four.  We arrived at our hotel a little after noon and checked in.

We picked the Drury Hotel because it was right on the Riverwalk and had a free happy hour. We were on the eighteenth floor and had a decent view of the City:

After freshening up, we decided to head down to the Riverwalk for lunch.  Our hotel had an exit right on the Riverwalk at the bottom of the hotel, which worked out great.  I envisioned the Riverwalk to be more of river running through a city with some restaurants on it- but it was so much more then that.  First, I love how it is set below the city.  Second, it reminded me so much of Venice...but a Texas Venice.  So imagine Venice with cowboy boots and armadillos. 

My friend is basically a travel agent.  No seriously, you want to travel with her because she does her research and always knows the best spots.  We started off getting fresh guacamole and prickly pear margaritas at Boudros

You guys, I died.  I swear to God that if I lived in San Antonio I would go here every damn day.

Ugh! Posting this right now makes hungry.  It was so delicious. We also go the salmon bruchetta:

It is described as the following: House cured with tequila, roasted poblano, cream cheese, marinated cucumber, red onions, sun-dried tomatoes and capers.  it was pretty freaking awesome.

We then went on one of the Rio San Antonio River Cruises, which I know is very touristy but I highly suggest it because it was very informative and allowed you to see the whole Riverwalk. Plus, it was hot as hell (about 110 degrees), so sitting down while enjoying the sights was much more enjoyable then walking in the heat.

After the river cruise we walked around and enjoyed the shops and the scenery. 

 We then went back to the Drury for their happy hour, and you guys, this is why you must stay at the Drury.  They had a full buffet full of comfort foods including mac and cheese, potatoes, nachos, hotdogs, the works.  They also gave you THREE FREE DRINKS.  Do I need to repeat that? THREE FREE DRINKS: wine, beer, and mixed drinks.  Also, if you are really nice to your bartender, they give you doubles.  So basically I will never stay anywhere else, ever.

We then got dressed up to go to dinner.

We went to an Italian Restaurant called Zocca on the Riverwalk, and to be honest, I was extremely underwhelmed. I got the Lobster Ravioli and my friend got the Tagliatelle.  We agreed that all the food had one ingredient that just took over the taste of the dish so you couldn't enjoy it. If you have a suggestion for a better San Antonio dinner stop, perferably on the Riverwalk, please advise. 

The Riverwalk at night is a pretty beautiful place. I was impressed with how low key the vibe was. There are not a ton of bars, mostly restaurants, so it was more relaxing and less of a party scene.

The only complaint I had of the Drury was that getting down the hotel elevators at checkout was a disaster, it took almost twenty minutes, because all of the elevators were full.  We eventually told a full elevator to "suck it up and let us on," and it was a very uncomfortable 18 floor ride down.  The valet took another twenty minutes.  I had consumed a limited amount of coffee at this point, so people were lucky they didn't get stabbed.  

Before hitting the road, we went to brunch at Guenther House:

Guenther House is a beautiful old mansion that serves breakfast.  It must be really popular because it also had one hell of a wait.  Almost two hours.  Thankfully, they give you free coffee, which is a special house blend and very, very good.  We put our name on the list, downed a cup of coffee, and bounced over to check out the Alamo.

The Alamo underwhelmed me.  I think its because I am not from Texas, and because we didn't take the audio tour so I didn't fully understand its value.  Next time I'll put a little more effort into understanding its historical significance, but I was more worried about missing our brunch reservation.

For the record.  Brunch was amazing.  And I am glad we didn't wait two hours in the Texas heat. 

Overall, the trip was a great one.  I wish we had stayed longer but I am really excited to go back and explore more.  For those of you who have been to San Antonio before, what did I miss?

Travel Links
Czech Stop
Drury Hotel 
Rio San Antonio River Cruise
Guenther House
The Alamo



Jessica Renee said...

I'm so glad you had fun here! You pretty much went to all of my favorite places too! ;) Next time you visit, you'll have to let me know and I'll take you for even more good food! lol

tinkler said...



i am crying. because oh my god. i've missed those little buggers. i am filled with nostalgia. we used to go there all the time when i was in college.

i cant even read the rest of your post. i am just staring lovingly at the czech stop pictures.

because i dont think anyone realizes, you cant find these outside of texas. they dont exist! EAT AS MANY AS YOU CAN NOW BEFORE ITS TOO LATE.

(wikipedia tells me that kolaches are just the ones with sweet fillings, and the sausage filled ones are called something else. but whatever.)

Natalie said...

Czech Stop is amazing! We went there when I was pregnant. I devoured those kolaches!

Katie said...

Your trip looks awesome!! My friend just got back and said the same thing about the Alamo though, so I think it must be common!

That roll with the sausage and cheese? Sounds like heaven!!

Token Yankee said...

Sounds like a fun trip! I really didn't know much about San Antonio, but it seems like a great place to visit!

Jessica @ Acting Adult said...

I loved San Antonio when we lived there. The Riverwalk is so much fun! I want to spend a long weekend down there with my husband and really get the adult version, and maybe stay at that hotel! Sounds like you guys had a great weekend.

Jen said...

I'm from San Antonio and I think the deal with the Alamo is that we all have these huge expectations of what it will be like and it turns out to be this tiny little thing with the city built up all around it. It's probably better appreciated if you can do all of the missions. Brekenridge Park and the Japanese Tea Gardens aren't far from downtown and are pretty fun. King William area is the same. Good call on Boudro's. It's amazing! For Italian on the riverwalk- Paesano's is local and tough to beat. The Shrimp Paesano is what they're known for. County Line is fun BBQ. If you drive again around this time of year, take 281 and stop at the little peach stand near Blanco. They do homemade peach cobbler topped with homemade peach ice cream.


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