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08/18/2010

A Food Tour of The San Antonio Area

I'm always up for a good meal.

When Cody gifted me a weekend trip to San Antonio for my birthday, we spent a good amount of time researching some places to eat. Our research did not disappoint as eating, as usual, was one of the highlights of our trip.

Rio Rio Cantina on the Riverwalk

We stayed on the Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio and arrived late on Thursday night. We grabbed dinner at Rio Rio Cantina, a short 5 minute walk from our hotel. 

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The Riverwalk was hopping for a weeknight! Lots of good people watching and since we were seating right on the Riverwalk, we had a great view.

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The service and food wasn't spectacular (although we could have had just a bad waitress). We live in Texas so we have Tex-Mex food everywhere. Definitely not the best I've ever had, but I think the location made up for a lot of it.

And did I mention people watching? Definitely some interesting folks.

Silver K Cafe in Johnson City

After hitting the Alamo on Friday morning we headed out to Johnson City to check out LBJ's "Texas White House." We had seen the recommendation for the Silver K Cafe in Texas Highways magazine and we were not disappointed.

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The restaurant is located in the same place as the antique shop we bought our table at. Right in the heart of Johnson City, it offered home cooking with a certain elegance to it.

A good mix of people were there as well. Everyone from tourists (like ahem, us) to the Sheriff's department to business meetings and local retirees.

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We both got the prickly pear tea (not too different than regular tea, it just had a dash of flavor to it).

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At the last minute we ordered their Soup of the Day, broccoli and cheese. It was the best I've ever had, although I don't think I've ever had homemade. It makes a huge difference as it's not the plastic-taste stuff that you get at your average American chain restaurant.

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Cody ordered the Honey Pecan Fried Chicken and I opted for their special of the day, Watermelon Salad. 

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I had never in a million years thought to put watermelon on a salad. I would have liked it if the watermelon was a bit sweeter, but the combination of the red onion, cheese and salad dressing offered up just enough flavor.

The best part of the whole meal is pecan sauce that was on Cody's fried chicken. He gave me a little dollop and adding that to the salad REALLY made it good. 

The Dodging Duck Brewhaus & Restaurant in Boerne

Ah, does Google come in handy on road trips or what? We were headed back to San Antonio Friday night and were passing through some towns so I did a quick Google search on my iPhone for "best restaurant to eat in Boerne, TX" and the The Dodging Duck Brewhaus & Restaurant kept coming up in the search results. We exited off the interstate, drove through the cutest downtown area, and were sat immediately.

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Cody got one of their house beers (brewed right there at the restaurant) and we ordered fried green tomatoes for an appetizer. The sauce, creamy jalapeno cilantro lime, made the dish. I could have ate this as my meal.

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We opted to split the "Hill Country Sausage" four link plate (the Texas Hill Country, the area that we were in, is known for the early German settlements . . . there is a lot of German heritage in these small towns). We got one of each, including:

  • Knackwurst (veal and beef)
  • Bratwurst (spicy mix of veal and pork)
  • Jalapeno Cheese (beef and pork with jalapeno and cheddar cheese)
  • Country Style (German style pork and beef)

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Oh. My. Goodness. I would highly recommend this restaurant and this plate. They had more "regular" American type food, but a forkful of bratwurst, sauerkraut, cheddar cheese and their tangy raspberry sauce--all together--was amazing.

The Salt Lick in Driftwood

This place almost deserves its own post. Seriously. This is a really well known local BBQ joint that we saw on The Food Network a few times. We hit up Gurene, TX in the morning for some shopping and took the 45 minute drive over to The Salt Lick in Driftwood, TX for lunch. We had to wait 45 minutes, outside, but they did a good job of making it a comfortable wait by providing lemonade, popcorn and cooling fans (lemonade and popcorn for a small price, of course!).

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Driftwood is an unassuming town. Not a whole lot there but a handful of houses. The Salt Lick is definitely why people head out this way. I'd say there were at least 75 people waiting for seating.

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Once you get in you will see that it is a meat lovers paradise. I ordered the chopped beef sandwich thinking that it would be a small plate to tackle, and about fell out of my chair when my order came. The sandwich is twice as large as I would have expected it to be. There was no way I was going to get even close to finishing the thing.

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I also got a side of their potatoes and loved that it was not the classic mayonnaise-based potato salad found at most BBQ joints. It definitely tasted as though it had a more German flare to it, similar to the German Potato Salad I ate growing up. Really good stuff.

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On our way out we were able to get some good pictures of the cooking process.

Just stop for a second and imagine how it smelled . . .

Iron Cactus on the Riverwalk

Even though we were pretty darn full from The Salt Lick, we still needed dinner.

Back in San Antonio, right across the Riverwalk from our hotel, we tried the Iron Cactus to finish off our weekend. (Okay, we technically ate McDonald's on Sunday morning for breakfast but we won't count that as the last restaurant on our trip. Although you're hard pressed to find better hashbrowns.)

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The Iron Cactus has flowerbeds to block off the outside seating from the business of the Riverwalk. We initially thought this would be better, but we found that it was just too hot since we were getting no air movement. (Word to the wise on these 105 degree Texas days.) Don't worry, we survived.

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The food was amazing. We got table side guacamole, which we never order but we figured we'd eat like kings this one meal. Cody got the salmon and I got the Chipotle Pesto Lobster Ravioli. Both were delicious.

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Maybe the best part was the 2 minute walk from the restaurant to our hotel? Nice!

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