2017 Favorites

bexar pub

2017 was great for the food and drink scene in San Antonio.  I had so much fun trying out new spots that opened this year as well as seeing my favorites continue to thrive.  One thing I can admit to- if I like it, I’ll come back again and again. Check out my list of favorite food and drink spots for 2017.

Top Restaurants

Periphery

Periphery is a hidden gem that shouldn’t be so hidden.  They have garnered some attention for their roasted chicken, which is amazing, but the rest of Chef Mark Weaver’s menu is pretty great too.  On top of that, they have a pretty kick-ass happy hour that includes $5 cocktails and wine by the glass.  I’m planning on doing a full review soon but in the meantime, put Periphery on your short list of spots to check out.

Periphery

Kings Highway Brew & Q

If I am asked for a BBQ recommendation, I will always respond with Kings Highway.  Hands down, this is my favorite BBQ restaurant in San Antonio.  Pitmaster Emo and his wife, Christi, serve up Tex Mex style BBQ with some of the best brisket to be found in the city.  I previously wrote about how much I love their food and nothing has changed.  Follow them on Facebook or give them a call before heading over for lunch or dinner because they frequently sell out- a sure sign of great food.

Fratellos

This is another restaurant that has been open for a while now that I have previously professed my love for their food which you can read here.  What can I say? Fratellos just consistently makes great food.  It’s the perfect spot for lunch or a simple dinner.  My favorites include the Lombardo (fried chicken sandwich with arugula, roasted tomatoes, and mozzarella) and the Bolognese.  Jonathan always opts for the La Griglia salad (grilled chicken over arugula and roasted veggies). They also have this amazing basil tres leches cake that you must try.

fratellos

Sichuan House

This is one of the few places that can get me to make a drive outside of 410.  Simply put, the food is amazing.  Everything we have tried is so flavorful and delicious.  Plus- you can BYOB for a $10 corking fee!  I recommend ordering the garlic spicy cold noodles, hot and sour soup, cucumbers, spicy and savory fried fish, and the pork belly.  Not sure what to order?  Just ask the staff who are always happy to recommend their best dishes.

Outlaw Kitchen

We have only been to Outlaw Kitchen twice since it has opened and were blown away each time by the meal we had. I now frequently stalk their Facebook page to see what is on their changing weekly menu so we can go back again soon. This super cute restaurant is an old renovated house in Alta Vista. Part restaurant, part house- the owner and chef live there as well. The house is surrounded by a patio and the chef’s garden. The last time we visited, we really enjoyed the seafood stew (pictured below) and finished off the meal with a piece of chocolate flour-less cake. So good!

Top Bars

La Roca Cantina

How do I love La Roca? Let me count the ways….

Want to drink great cocktails? Want to grab a quick beer? Looking for a spot to have a party? Want to hear a DJ on a Saturday night? Need a spot to watch the Spurs?  Then this is definitely where you need to be. We normally do the house party thing but this year, we’ll be ringing in 2018 with our friends at La Roca.  Full review coming soon!

The Pink Flamenco! #pinkdrank

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Juniper Tar

Two words: Martini Sucio.  It’s basically the best dirty martini ever.  The guys at Juniper Tar mix up this awesome martini and so many others.  Pick a cocktail from their menu or try something new from their huge liquor selection, either way you can’t go wrong.  I love hanging out in this old funky building.  Go and enjoy Juniper Tar now…I’m thinking when that new Frost tower opens, it won’t be on the quite side of Houston street anymore.

Juniper Tar

Brooklynite

We didn’t really go to Brooklynite all that much until this year when we re-discovered their happy hour, especially Whiskey Wednesday.  I prefer this spot during happy hour when it’s not as crowded and you can grab a spot at the bar.  I wrote about their specials earlier this year right before they celebrated their 5 year anniversary.  Congrats Brooklynite!

Bexar Pub

Guys, I really miss Folc.  I daydream about the pea toast.  I once tried to re-create it and it was no where near the original.  Thankfully, Chef Luis Colon and team opened Bexar Pub this year.  It doesn’t fully heal my Folc broken heart, but it does a great job of helping me to forget.  Bexar Pub is a great spot to grab drinks and yes, food!  You can get the famous Folc burger as well as fried chicken and nachos.  They have one of the best views of downtown from an expansive patio that is made for a happy hour watching the sun set.

Finally trying out @bexarpub_satx's new food menu!

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And that’s it- my favorite eat and drink spots of 2017.  I can’t wait to see what the new year brings for San Antonio. Goodbye 2017 and Cheers to 2018!

-CL

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Whiskey Wednesday!

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It’s Wednesday. It’s humpday.  That means we’re half way done, weekend warriors!

I have recently re-discovered the wonders of The Brooklynite, which is a great bar near downtown San Antonio, for it’s awesome happy hour specials. For all of my whiskey drinking friends, it is also the place to be on a Wednesday.

First up, happy hour.  Specials include cocktails for $6 (including old fashioned, moscow mule, brooklynite, fitzgerald, brown derby, and a rotating classic),  wells and 1&1’s for $5.  You can also get $3 Alamo beer or $4 Hopadillo IPA.  Happy hour specials are available from 4pm to 8pm, Monday through Saturday and 8pm to close on Sundays.

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Now on to the whiskey.  Full disclosure- I don’t drink whiskey but feel like it is my duty to share this information with all of you who do partake in a glass (or few).  All whiskies, bourbons, and scotches are 25% off ALL WEDNESDAY NIGHT LONG.  Perfect chance to try out something you haven’t had before, right?

Can’t make it out on Wednesday? No worries, BKSA has you covered the rest of the week.  Be sure to check out their specials on Cheap Ass Mondays for $5 select classic cocktails, $3 Alamo Golden Ale, and $2 Lone Star.  On Tuesdays, they throw the original Tiki Tuesday party in town.

The Brooklynite is also about to celebrate a milestone.  Be sure to head out and grab a drink on Friday, October 20th for their 5th anniversary.  I’m always up for celebrating local businesses and their continued success.

Cheers, y’all!

 

 

 

Bloody Mary, Michelada, Oh My!

Is it Friday yet? It’s a short work week for me which means it feels like the longest week ever. I’m already thinking about weekend plans for brunch and patio day drinking in San Antonio’s version of fall weather.

Something about the weekend is perfect for enjoying a Bloody Mary or Michelada.  On paper they sound terrible right? Tomato juice and vodka or beer? But throw in olive juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire, some garnish and we have a whole new ballgame. Lucky for me, my favorites are located within 3.7 miles of where I live (yes, I checked) so I’m never too far from enjoying greatness.

Here are my favorites. First up, Micheladas.

Chisme

When putting this list together, I found three different Instagram posts of mine about this Michelada. I really like it, y’all.  The house made mix is so delicious and they serve them in huge schooners. Plus, they are only $5 during happy hour where you can also get free chips and queso.  Win/Win!

chisme michi

Southerleigh

Normally, I have a very strict rule that Micheladas MUST be made with Mexican beer.  But for this beauty, I allow an exception.  I am a huge #supportlocal advocate so they get points for using their own brewed beer.  The mix is excellent and the garnish game is always on point. Hello shrimp!

southerleigh bm

And on to Bloody Marys….

Liberty Bar

There are so many things I love about Liberty Bar. I love the pink exterior of the building. I love those little brown cookies they serve you.  I love the pasta and omelette plates of the day. I love half-price bottles of wine on Mondays. But I reaaalllly love their Bloody Mary. Like most things at Liberty Bar, the mix is housemade and it is really good.  You can grab one half-off during Saturday brunch. Because that hangover isn’t going away on it’s own, right?

liberty bar bloody

Pig Pen/Smoke Shack

Garnish, garnish, garnish!  Guys, it’s a brisket garnish! Enough said.

smoke shack bloody

 

And for good measure, here’s a tribute to a couple of our fallen all-stars.

Behold Lüke’s picture (and drool) worthy Bloody Mary that was complimented by a beer chaser.  RIP Lüke.

Stay Golden’s Michelada used to be served with a chamoy stick as garnish.  I can’t wait for Still Golden to open up.

 

Let me know who makes your favorites around town.  Who’s thirsty now?

 

-CL

Do You Have Your Fiesta Wreath Yet?

We are officially one week away from the kick off of Fiesta 2017 and I am so excited!

If you take Fiesta serious like me and some of my other friends, you have probably had your own Fiesta wreath on your front door and papel picado hanging for a few weeks now.  If not, don’t worry-  there is still plenty of time to pick up your decorations to get ready for our city’s biggest party of the year.  Here are a few of my favorite places in town to shop for Fiesta decorations.

Fiesta on Main

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Fiesta on Main is the motherland for all things Fiesta.  As soon as you walk in, you’ll feel like Fiesta has exploded everywhere!  Not only can you find every possible type of decoration or items to make wreaths and hats, they also have so many options for dresses and shirts.  Room after room is filled from top to bottom with flowers, streamers, papel picado, ribbons, piñatas, confetti, and other trinkets.  Plan to spend some time at this store if you stop by!

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Find out more on their website or follow them on Facebook.

Amols

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The great thing about Amols’ is that you can find party decorations for any occasion so put it on your shopping list the next time you need to decorate.  But for Fiesta, they take it to a whole other level with an entire room dedicated to Fiesta decorations.  While Fiesta on Main is my favorite store, it seems like some things at Amols’ are less expensive and it also appears that they  have more options for papel picado and other banners.  The only downside to shopping here is the parking situation.  There’s a few spots right in front otherwise you’ll need to find a spot somewhere on the nearby streets.

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Check out everything Amols’ has to offer on their website or follow them on Facebook.

The Cascaron Store

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I’ve seen this tiny store on Austin Highway so many times but never stopped in until this year and what a shame because I’ve been missing out.  My favorite things about this store are the huge piñatas and wreaths they make.  The store owner, who I spoke with during my last stop there, said they make everything themselves.  Our little apartment wouldn’t do them justice so I cannot wait to get a new wreath for our house next year.  They also carry one of a kind Spurs papel picado!

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Stop by their store to see their huge assortment of decorated cascarones like Trump and Angry Birds seen above or visit their website to shop!

 

The Fiesta Store on Broadway

This is the official Fiesta store which means this is the place to get your Fiesta medals and many items decorated with the official Fiesta design.  While you can also find some different wreaths and papel picado, my first choice for those things is still either Fiesta on Main or Amols.  Also, real Fiesta maniacs know that this is also where you can buy event tickets and get information.  A beautiful new mural was just put up on the side of the building.  Be sure to stop by and check it out soon!

It's that time

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Be sure to keep an eye out for more Fiesta blog posts as we get closer and through out the 10 days.  You can also follow my Fiesta adventures on Instagram @bornandgraisedsa.

¡Viva Fiesta, y’all!

-C

 

 

Year of the Margarita: Top 5

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Someone must have known what they were doing when they decided National Margarita Day would be on February 22nd.  Normally, it’s cold outside in February so what better time to drink margaritas and dream about patio weather.  But we skipped winter in San Antonio this year and it’s expected to be warm, sunny and in the 80’s this week, which is the perfect patio drinking weather.

I’m on a quest to find the best margaritas this city has to offer this year.  I’ve already tasted quite a few and have learned a few things along the way.  In honor of National Margarita Day, I present my current top three favorites along with two margaritas from new spots to try out.

1st: Los Pepinos Vodka Margarita from The Fruteria

I know, I know.  It’s not traditional and it doesn’t even have tequila in it!  But, it’s so good, I just had to list it as my favorite margarita so far.  It is made with muddled cucumbers, Los Pepinos Infusion Vodka, fresh lime juice and rimmed with Tajin.  I don’t hesitate to tell anyone who asks that I’m not a huge fan of the food at the Johnny Hernandez restaurants.  The food can be hit or miss and sometimes service is lacking.  Also, they charge for chips and salsa which should be considered illegal in Texas.  But- you can always count on fresh juices and ingredients being used in all of their drinks and that pretty much guarantees a pretty tasty outcome.  In celebration of #nationalmargaritaday, you can pick up a margarita from any of his SA restaurants for $5!  That’s an excellent deal.

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2nd: Chispa Tradicional from Sol Luna

Rule number one when drinking chispas at Sol Luna: Watch out- they will catch up to you quick!  This version of a margarita is rumored to also include Everclear.  I have not been able to confirm that 100% but it would explain why they seem to be so potent.  Not only does it have a good kick to it, the chispa is made with fresh lime juice as well and a salted rim.  Sol Luna is one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in San Antonio and a chispa pairs well with any dish.  Grab a seat on their shady patio and enjoy!

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3rd:  Any margarita from Mi Tierra’s Mariachi Bar

I don’t care what the haters say- I love Mi Tierra and Mariachi Bar!  Some of it is nostalgia from eating there all of the time with my family growing up but come on, how can you not love a place that looks like Fiesta and Christmas 365 days a year 24/7???  Any margarita (or drink for that matter) from Mi Tierra makes the top 3 on my list mainly because they get the job done and the energy and people watching at Market Square is so fun.  There’s always something interesting happening down there.

It's time to Texas. #mariachi #mariachibar #meetthegowers

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New find #1:  Classic Margarita from Chisme

I’m such a fan of Chisme, which is the newest addition to the St. Mary’s strip.  Their food is excellent and I am super excited to finally try out their brunch menu this weekend.  I enjoyed the margarita here because it was simple- not too sweet and not too sour.  They have a fabulous outside bar and patio that is perfect for this weather.  Need another reason to love this place?  During happy hour, not only do you get free chips and salsa (as it should be) but it also comes with free queso!

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Love my medal? Get it in the SA Flavor store!

New find #2:  Margarita Clasico from El Mirador

So this one isn’t technically new, because El Mirador has been open since 1967.  But it was recently purchased by the same group that owns the Esquire downtown, renovated and re-opened.  I love how they kept the things that made this restaurant special and puro San Antonio while also bring a fresh new vibe to the place.  The classic margarita is great and easy to drink here.  It comes in a frozen version or on the rocks like I prefer.  What is really fun about this place is their expansive tequila and mezcal selection.  Take a seat at the bar, introduce yourself to the bartenders and ask for recommendations.  You won’t regret it.

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So that’s it for now….hope you guys enjoy these margaritas as much as I do.  Send me your favorites so I can add them to the list to try out and review.

Want to get your own #missmargarita Fiesta 2017 medal?  You can find out more about the medal and how to get one here.

And as always, don’t be that pendejo who drinks and drives.  Hit me up if you want a code to Uber or Lyft for free rides!

Happy National Margarita Day, y’all

CL

King’s Hwy BBQ

So, this morning I was all motivated to go workout because I was inspired by my new, very cute workout tank that says “Gordita” on the front (thanks mom!) and then we got caught up checking out a new house on the market, running a few errands, and returning/exchanging Christmas gifts.  The next thing I knew, it was lunch time and Jon and I were both starving.  Needless to say, this Gordita ended up at King’s Highway BBQ.  It felt like a perfect time to snap some pictures and tell you guys more about why this is our favorite BBQ place.  It’s definitely on my list  of spots that always get it right- consistently great food with amazing brisket.

img_0628Sausage, Sweet tea glazed spare ribs, and brisket.

We first met Pitmaster Emo years ago when we used to frequent Two Bro’s BBQ where he was the pit master responsible for turning out some of the best brisket we had ever had.  We used to take friends there all of the time and rave about how good the food was.  Then one day, we stopped seeing him there and didn’t know where he ended up.  Fast forward to 2015 and I found out via Facebook that he was opening a new BBQ place in the same building that formerly held Taps y Tapas in the 5 Points neighborhood.  Excited is an understatement- we were psyched!

I love everything about this restaurant – everything on their menu is fantastic.  But the brisket is the real standout.  It’s one of the best in the city.  Yes, I know about 2M and they are really good too, but Pit Master Emo’s brisket has been on point for YEARS.

img_2239-1Shredded chicken torta

My favorite go-to menu item is the shredded chicken torta.  For those of you who don’t know what a torta is- it’s basically a sandwich with different types of meat on a toasted bolillo (white bread roll).  KH’s version is made with your choice of meat and topped with lettuce, tomato, sour cream, onions, avocado, and tomatillo salsa. Seriously, so good.

King’s Highway makes BBQ like what a lot of us in San Antonio are used to having at home at our family BBQ’s.  It’s Tex-Mex style and it’s perfect.  For example, you can get it served with tortillas instead of bread.  Also the sides are Mexican rice, borracho beans, potato salad and coleslaw. When you visit, order a small order of each to try them all out.

Want tacos?  They have you covered on that too.  Their street tacos can be made with brisket, shredded chicken, pulled pork, carne guisada, and pork belly.  Yes, pork belly street tacos.  And yes, they are delicious.

 

 

img_2237-1Craft beer on tap but also Dos Equis and Michelob Ultra for the rest of us.

Pro-tip #1:  Kings Hwy always has 16oz tall boy Lone Star, Lone Star Light, and PBR’s for $2.00. All day, every day.

Pro-tip #2:  They sell out of food.  In my opinion, selling out is a sign of how great the food is.  So get there early or even call ahead to make sure there is still brisket left.  They will also often post on Facebook when they’ve sold out.  You don’t want to be like the sad guy who showed up after us today only to find out they had just sold out.  I’ve been that guy and it’s not fun.

Pro-tip#3:  You can find my “Gordita” tank and other gear on this website http://rungordorun.bigcartel.com/

Find out more about Kings Highway by checking out their website at http://www.kingshwybnq.com or by following them on Facebook.

-CL

Fratello’s

My friend Aaron (@210_Local on Instagram) recently had a great point about the restaurant scene here in San Antonio- everyone is so excited to try out every new place that opens up and we tend to forget about the spots that deliver consistently outstanding food and drinks.  I totally agree with him because these restaurants and bars deserve some credit since they are what makes our city’s food scene so special.  This blog post is the first of many that will give a shout out to places that are just always so freakin’ good.   Let’s start with Fratello’s.

Located on Broadway, south of Brackenridge Park, Fratello’s occupies the completely renovated old Bonanza building.  If you don’t know what a Bonanza is, you are:  A) under the age of 30, or  B) lucky.  Or was it a Sizzler?  Either way, the restaurant bears no resemblance of the cheap steak/buffet place that was once there.  And that’s a good thing.  They nail the casual Italian decor perfectly without being too cheeky.

For either lunch or dinner, everything on their menu is just so good.  I usually go for a sandwich or a pasta.  You can’t go wrong with the Pappardelle Bolognese or the spaghetti and meatballs.  Want extra meatballs?  You can ask for them in an order of 2 on the side.  The lasagna and chicken parmesan are two other classic comfort foods to enjoy here.  If a sandwich is more your speed, try out the meatball sandwich or the Lombardo, a breaded chicken sandwich with fontina cheese and roasted tomatoes.

fratellosPappardelle Bolognese (Pasta and meat sauce)

They even get the salads on their menu right.  Looking to try something lighter than what you would normally choose from an Italian menu but still hungry?  Try the La Griglia salad- topped with grilled chicken breast, roasted tomatoes and asparagus, this salad will fill you up.  This salad can also be ordered as a sandwich for a heartier option.

@donfoode gets it right with this picture of The Lombardo- served on fresh bread with homemade chips.

Finally, I need to make sure to mention that you cannot skip dessert.  Take a look at the dessert case when you walk in and you will understand what I mean right away.  On a recent visit, a light green slice of cake in the case caught my eye.  When it comes to desserts, I am a sucker for anything pistachio or lime related so I just assumed that it was one of the two.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was actually a Basil Tres Leches cake instead!  Basil Tres Leches?  Some times Tres Leches cake can be too soggy for my taste but this one was perfect- moist and a great fresh flavor that wasn’t too sweet.

Basil cake. DELICIOUS!

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@lizastro is correct- the Basil Tres Leches cake is DELICIOUS.

Pro-tip #1:  Fratellos’s is a great place to have a celebration dinner for a birthday or some other occasion.  Just call ahead of time to reserve tables and order food for your party to be served family style.

You can view their full menu on their website at http://www.fratellosdeli.com or find them on Facebook and Instagram for more pictures and special events.

-CL