Wednesday, September 9, 2009

San Antonio Weekend

Part of my Labor Day weekend was spent in San Antonio. It's a beautiful town, really, but kind of spread out. I can't imagine trying to manage it on the bus.

The man and I went down to see Esteban Jordan, a Tejano-style accordion player who we heard may be retiring. The show was good—really loud, but good. The crowd kept growing as the night went on, and I think that, either they absorbed some of the noise, or my ears just gave up because it seemed to get less loud over time.

Before the show, we checked out La Fonda on the recommendation of Kelly, one of the owners of The Inn at Craig Place, where we stayed in. It was just around the corner.

The Inn

The man totally won dinner. I got enchiladas rojas de queso, which were just OK. The sauce was bland, there was a very thin layer of cheese inside, and the tortillas had a dry, crumbly texture. His roasted poblano relleno was fantastic. Unlike most chiles rellenos, this one wasn't fried—it was roasted and stuffed with queso fresco and covered with a tasty poblano cream. Somehow my fork kept finding its way onto his plate, stealing bits of chile and sauce.

OK enchiladas excellent chile relleno (with an OK enchilada on the side)

We got the special dessert, crepas de higas, crepes with fresh figs, served with cajeta, cinnamon ice cream and fresh whipped cream. After ordering dessert, a huge downpour of rain forced everyone on the patio inside, which may be why it took a little extra long to get to us. The ice cream had melted, but was delicious as a sauce for the tender crepes.

Crepes with cajeta, figs and melted ice cream

When we returned to the Inn, we had fresh, warm cookies waiting for us. The next morning, we woke to an amazing breakfast. First came hot coffee and warm scones with butter and jam.

Coffee and scones. Aren't the little buttered-toast spreaders adorable?

A little while later, Gregg brought up a tray holding a breakfast feast—fresh fruit, eggs Wellington and a fresh strawberry tart. I normally don't have a big appetite in the morning, but I made sure I had some of everything.

The eggs were fantastic—perfectly cooked to a velvety custard-like texture and covered with a fresh Mornay sauce and sandwiched between two tender pieces of puff pastry. The sauce, spicy from mustard and nutty with Swiss cheese, was delicious.

Fluffy and tender eggs Wellington

The fruit cup, with melon, strawberries and grapes was refreshing and light with the rich eggs. And the strawberry tart was wonderful—how can fresh berries on top of sweet pastry cream and tender crust not be?

A three-course breakfast in our room

After perusing the shops at La Villita and spending some time on the Riverwalk, we headed to the Liberty Bar for a snack before heading back to Austin.

The bar is in a charmingly slanty building. The floors and walls, along with the large bars, are all old wood. For over 100 years old, I'd say the place is in pretty good shape.

The slanty wood floor runs through the bar

Along with a hibiscus-mint tea and grape juice mix, we got the pickled serranos with carrots and ginger and the goat cheese with chile morita and piloncillo.

Oh my god, was that goat cheese good. The cheese itself was infused with the smoky flavor of the chile, and the sauce, sweet, savory and spicy, was perfect. Not a drop was left.

Spicy-sweet goodness

And by the time we left, there was a line almost out the door. We'd timed it perfectly.

Even a few days later, I'm still thinking about that cheese dish. I want it again, and I'm determined to make it soon.

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