Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Guenther House

One of my favorite things about vacation is going out for breakfast/brunch. It's a treat because we rarely make it out to breakfast/brunch when we're at home. One place I wanted to try while in San Antonio: Guenther House. It's an historic house, built by Carl Hilmar Guenther, who came to the United States from Germany. He settled in Texas and built a flour mill on the San Antonio River and then built this home for his family.
Today you can tour the home, hold an event here, dine at the restaurant, or shop for baking mixes/gifts in the store. The house is not accessible, but the outdoor patio area is. It was another really hot day, so I was a bit worried about being too hot, but the area is covered to shield you from the sun and there are lots of fans to move the air.
There wasn't a long line when we arrived on a Wednesday morning around 11 am, but it was busy so we had to wait 15-20 minutes for a table.
I had a pot of Earl Grey tea & SP had the Tea of the Day, a Blueberry Hibiscus iced tea that was a very vivid, beautiful color. And yummy.
SP got the Pancake of the Day Platter. The pancakes were pumpkin spice and he chose sausage. He said they were delicious pancakes.
I chose the Pioneer Pancake Platter - A short stack of two San Antonio River Mill Brand Sweet Cream pancakes with your choice of Applewood smoked bacon, pork sausage patties or chicken sausage links. Served with fresh seasonal fruit. I chose bacon. These were tasty pancakes, but I didn't receive any butter and some butter in addition to the syrup would have been nice. I'm not a big syrup person.

We got an order of Apple Strudel to take back to the hotel. I didn't take a photo of it, but it was really tasty apple strudel.

We both really liked our brunch at Guenther House. Despite the heat, it was pretty comfortable outside on the covered patio. It was definitely relaxing. Our server was terrific. I'd definitely go back next time we're in San Antonio.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Schilo's

Schilo's is the oldest restaurant in San Antonio. It started in the 1900's as a saloon in Beeville, TX.  moved to San Antonio in 1914, and started serving food in 1917. It also is SP's friend's favorite restaurant in San Antonio. They don't take reservations and are only open for dinner on Friday & Saturday. We didn't think we were going to have time to try Schilo's, but since our Friday in San Antonio was very windy, the roller coasters weren't running, so we didn't go to the park and instead spent the day wandering around, trying to stay warm, and stopping at Schilo's for dinner.
They are famous for their homemade root beer, so of course I had to try it. Root beer has always been my favorite soda.
You can try a root beer cocktail or order a root beer float but I opted for a mug of root beer with one free refill. It was really good root beer! I rarely if ever drink soda these days because I don't like carbonated beverages (or all the sugar or other not great for you ingredients). I thought it was very flavorful and it seemed less carbonated than most soda, which I appreciated. SP helped me drink it since he wanted to try it and ended up really liking it. We drank two mugs of root beer. He also had a beer.
SP started with Famous Split Pea Soup. He said it was delicious. I do not like split pea soup.
While he slurped soup, I munched on a Garden Salad, which was good.
SP chose the Sausage Platter (choice of one, two, or three sausages served with bread and a side of your choice). He chose Bratwurst and Cheddarwurst plus a side of sauerkraut. I didn't try the sausage (which he really liked) but I loved the brown bread. I think I ate all his brown bread.
I chose Schweineschnitzel (breaded and pan-fried pork-loin) and German Potato Salad for the side. The schnitzel was yummy. I wasn't a big fan of the potato salad, but that's because if it's not my family's German Potato Salad, well, that one is the best ever and nothing else can compare!

We both liked Schilo's. Super casual and fun, old-fashioned inside but I like that kind of charm. Tasty food, really good root beer. We'd go back next time we're in San Antonio.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Alta Via Brunch

Last Sunday we used my Big Burrito Birthday Coupon to go to brunch at Alta Via. It was out second time there. We really liked our pasta dinner on our first visit. Here's what we enjoyed at brunch:
Brunch Cocktails: Bloody Mary and Prosecco & Strawberry. I really enjoyed my strawberry "mimosa."
Cacio e Pepe Biscuits (charred scallion butter, peach jam). So good.
Waffle (orange marmellata, whipped mascarpone, maple syrup). Sweet & yummy.
I had Alta Via Breakfast (two eggs, crispy parmesan potatoes, leeks, toast. choice of: peppered bacon, housemade sausage, or grilled mushrooms). I got my eggs scrambled and chose the bacon. It was a lot of food! Tasty. Really good scrambled eggs. I took the potatoes home and ate them at dinner.
SP chose Mushrooms (smoked mozzarella, sunny side up eggs, pine nut-parsley pesto, crispy sage). He said it was delicious.
The same dessert I got last time: Hazelnut-Chocolate Torte (hazelnut-chocolate mousse, chocolate genoise, chocolate curls). So good.

I wanted breakfast food but they also offer several pasta dishes, and yes, they were really tempting, but I decided I could not order exactly what I ordered on our first visit. Like at the other Big Burrito restaurants, service is terrific. The food was yummy and we waddled out, our bellies full, ready to go home and watch the Steelers game.

Previous Visit:
July 2019

Friday, November 15, 2019

Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery

We met one of SP's coaster friends for dinner one night on vacation. We wanted to check out the Pearl District so we met up at Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery which is a place I've read about in my food magazines. Here's what we drank & ate:
Kellerleigh Bier (A Classic Example of an unfiltered German Hybrid. Bright Bread Forward, Hints of Citrus Zest) for him, my first ever Frosé (frozen rosé). I liked my drink but you have to drink it before it starts to melt and turn watery.
We started with Pimiento Cheese (Giardiniera, House Crostini). I liked the cheese a lot, the crostini were a little hard for me.
For his meal, SP chose Southerleigh's Famous Fried Snapper Throats (Crystal Aioli, Creole Mustard Remoulade). He really liked them. There was a lot there.
I opted for Iced Jumbo Gulf Shrimp, 6 pieces (Fresh Horseradish Cocktail Sauce, Comeback Sauce, Lemon). I was disappointed. I expected Jumbo Gulf Shrimp to be much more flavorful. Also, it looked to me like they could have been cleaned better. I spent some time digging out the "veins" I saw in several shrimp and that did not make me happy.
SP ordered two sides: Old Fashioned Corn Bread and Stewed Green Beans. He liked both but raved about the cornbread.
With my shrimp, I ordered Homemade Ricotta (Comfort Grown Tomatoes, Arugula, Toast). It was excellent and filling. I can't believe I'm going to say this, but there was almost too much cheese! Also, the was the other place that seemed heavy on the pepper. Much like the asparagus at Bella on Houston, the ricotta and greens were peppered a bit too much for my taste.

SP's friend had a beer and Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes. It looked yummy, and he said it was. I didn't take photos of his food. We all were too full for dessert.

Overall, we enjoyed our meal at Southerleigh. It's a casual and fun place. Our server was terrific. The food was yummy, I just wish my shrimp had been better cleaned and tasted better.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Thursday Thoughts

I know it's November in Pittsburgh and I remember snow on my birthday at times throughout the years but I still believe snow has no business falling before December. That being said, it was kind of pretty outside this past Tuesday. But I'm not ready for this cold weather.

My birthday was last Friday. We didn't do anything on Friday but on Saturday we had dinner at Poulet Bleu and on Sunday we had brunch at Alta Via. SP got me a Bethel Bakery cake, so that was yummy. Chocolate with raspberry filling.

What We're Eating:

  • Baked Chicken Breasts and Salad
  • Meatloaf and Salad
  • Dessert: Birthday Cake

What We're Watching:

  • For my birthday weekend, we binged Peaky Blinders Season 5. I really enjoyed it but it ended on a cliffhanger and I really want to know who betrayed Tommy! But I have to wait for Season 6 and who knows when that will be.
  • We watched most of the Steelers game. Why do they make it so stressful?! Why does it seem like they're trying to find a way to lose?!
  • We watched Great British Baking Show Holidays episodes. I kind of want to try the Leaf Bread (Laufabrauð). It's like a flatbread, made of a thin, waferlike dough and is a holiday tradition in Iceland. 
  • I watched The Favourite and thought it was excellent. Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz were terrific.

What I'm Reading:
The Deserter by Nelson DeMille. It was good, but the new lead male character seemed like a re-named, different government job version of John Corey.


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Poulet Bleu

Last weekend we celebrated my birthday with dinner at Poulet Bleu, one of our favorite restaurants.  i actually made the reservation back in September, I think, because we had wanted to try to enjoy the outdoor seating before the cold weather arrived, but the earliest Saturday reservation I could get was November 1, We already had plans, so I made a reservation for November 9 and told SP that it would be my birthday dinner. Here's what we enjoyed:
A french Sauvignon Blanc for me and a French 75 (French Gin / Lemon / Gomme Sparkling wine) for SP.

We ordered the French Onion Soup and they split it for us, which was very nice. I didn't take a photo. It was as cheesy and delicious as it usually is.
We shared Brussels Sprouts (brown butter, bacon jam) that were delicious.
As always SP had Trout Almondine (Laurel Hill trout, haricot vert, brown butter, almonds, capers).
Last time we were there I tried Scallops St Jacques and they were so darn good that I ordered them again this time. They are nestled in vermouth, cream, parmesan, espelette and there is bread to sop up the sauce.
We did not need the Aligot Potatoes but we wanted the Aligot Potatoes. So cheesy and buttery. So good.
Much as I like chocolate mousse and beignets, I cannot pass up the Grand Marnier Souffle, available only on Saturdays (and maybe Fridays, too? Or Sundays? Point is, it's not a daily dessert.). It was served with vanilla ice cream, cranberries, and creme anglaise. Yum!

Service is always terrific, the meal is always nicely paced, and the food is always yummy. I'm already looking forward to our next trip. The only thing I wish is for easier parking. Even with an early reservation, parking along Butler Street was filled, including the one handicapped spot in front of Poulet Bleu & Morcilla (one of our other favorite places; they're next to each other), and it's always tough for us because we need to be sure to find parking along a low curb for getting me in/out with the wheelchair. We ended up parking 2 blocks away and had a bit of a tough walk up to Butler because the side streets are a bit steep and have terrible, horrid, uneven sidewalks which makes them difficult with the wheelchair. Good thing it's worth the parking difficulties!

Previous Visits:
September 2018

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Fig Tree Restaurant

Our second dinner in San Antonio was at Fig Tree Restaurant which is on the Riverwalk. We ate inside so we entered off the road above the Riverwalk. It was accessible at this entrance (there was a small ledge/bump at the entrance). The outdoor tables are not accessible (from what we saw). It seemed like there were a few tiers with 1-2 tables as you descended the stairs from the restaurant to the Riverwalk.
We made a last minute reservation for 5:30 pm so we were one of the first diners of the evening. I ordered wine (rosé and SP ordered iced tea since he wasn't able to drink that night. Here's what we enjoyed:
Tomato and Burrata (Soft Cream-filled ball of Mozzarella, Vine Ripe Tomato, Basil Oil, Aged Balsamic Vinegar). Tomatoes. Burrata. Delicious.
Lobster Bisque - this was so good! SP almost didn't get to enjoy much of his soup because I liked it so much.
Really good bread. And yes, I forgot to take a photo before I started ripping into it.
Scottish Salmon (Miso Marinated, Wilted Spinach, White Bean Puree, Sunflower and Sesame Seeds Toasted in Morita Chili Oil). Even though our server suggested the Texas Redfish, since he'd just eaten that fish the night before, SP went for the salmon. He said it was delicious.
Crab Cake, Jumbo Lump Crab (Frisée Lettuce, Green Goddess Sauce). This is actually an appetizer, but due to garlic issues and self-imposed no beef/no fish, I went with this, minus the green goddess sauce. I'm glad I did because it was a delicious crab cake, just the right size for me, and not so heavy and filling like most of what we ate in Dallas. 
Tea for with dessert.
Dessert: Tiramisu. This was nice & light, too.

It was so nice to have a tasty meal and not leave feeling uncomfortably full. I need to be better about how/what I order instead of wanting all the foods. Not being able to take home leftovers helps control my ordering (usually).

We both liked Fig Tree a lot. Tasty food, wonderful service, relaxing, a nice view out the glass doors at the Riverwalk down below. We'd go back.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Bella on Houston

Our first dinner in San Antonio was at Bella on Houston. We didn't have reservations but we were seated right away on a Monday between 5:30-6 pm. There is a nice outdoor area but since it was hot, we opted to dine inside. We started with white wine and some bread with olive oil:
Here's what we ordered:
Appetizer: Fritto Misto (Fried Calamari, Shrimp, Artichoke Heart Quarters, Onion Petals & Lemon
Slices, Lemon Caper Butter Sauce). This was OK. We didn't eat the onion chunks. The artichokes were my favorite. I thought the squid was unchewable, way too tough. I had to spit out the piece I took. SP ate all the squid. He agreed it was tough but his teeth are chompier than mine so he didn't have the chewing issue I had (I even chew pudding and mashed potatoes, I need my food well-chewed!).
Next up, Salad (Mixed Greens, Radicchio, Cherry Tomatoes, Red Onions, Chopped Egg, Olives & Pepperoncini Peppers, Italian Dressing). We added prosciutto and asked them to leave off the onions. This was a yummy salad.
SP's meal: Red Fish A la Plancha (Texas Redfish Seared A la Plancha-Style, Sauce Livornese, Asparagus Coins, Capers, Black Olive Oil). Redfish is also known as red drum or channel bass and it was on a lot of menus in Texas. He said it was good.
I chose Diver Scallops (Atlantic Diver Scallops Seared A la Plancha-Style, Corn Pudding, Winter Harvest Succotash). Since there was garlic in the succotash, they substituted asparagus, which was fine with me since I like asparagus better. I thought this was just OK. The scallops were a little over cooked, they just weren't as melt in your mouth like as others I've eaten. There was a lot of black pepper on the asparagus, too much for me. This was the case at another place we ate. Perhaps in TX people like their food seasoned with a lot of black pepper? For me, this wasn't a dish I'd order again.
After dinner cappuccino, yum.
Dessert: Cannoli (Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse). This was one of the best cannoli we've ever had. I really liked the chocolate filling.If we hadn't been so full, we would have ordered another one.

Everyone at Bella on Houston was very friendly and accommodating. It was a nice, leisurely dinner. I may have not picked the best entree but I was trying to avoid too spicy, garlic (allergy), and fish plus we were avoiding beef because we'd already eaten more beef in 4 days than we normally do in a month. That did limit my options (my choice). I would go back if we are in San Antonio again but order different food - except for the cannoli. I'd order two of those.