Saturday morning, we check out of the four-star hotel to head for Austin via Lockhart. After a detour to the Alamo to purchase a t-shirt & hat for John, we depart for Lockhart, Texas-home of Kreuz Barbeque. Kreuz has been in the bbq business since 1900, in this building since 1999.
Inside signs warn (or brag depending on your perspective) “No sauce, No forks” and other mention no salads and no credit. They don’t mention no sweet tea, but they ain’t got any. The sausage is, for lack of a better phrase, granular and spicy. Not really something that I would recommend. John orders pulled meat with his ribs and brisket. The pull meat was very dry and spicy. John loves his order, I’m not impressed. He would live in Lockhart if given the opportunity. At some point, Scrivener’s Tomb will have a review of the establishments where we ate bbq.
Later, we check into the hotel and go to Stubbs, my choice. The place feels like Athens. John even comments that he keeps expecting that someone he knows will walk in and say hi. The food is good and the sauce is pretty good, too. I ordered the pulled pork sandwich and enjoyed it. The meat was alittle dry but tasty. The piece d’resistance-banana pudding. Amazing! (Not to mention an actual green salad with homemade bleu cheese dressing.)
Following dinner we walked around the area of Stubbs and drove to Waterloo Record store. The store had more vinyl in one room than I have seen since the ’80s. (excluding the personal collections of a couple of friends). I tired of searching for music on a medium which I have to access to play. We sought provisions at Whole Foods. I was in shock. The store was like a Kroger in the northern suburbs of Atlanta WITHOUT the preservatives.
After driving by the Congress Street Bridge, home to the largest urban bat colony, we decided that we would try Sunday night, just too many people and too dark.
So, Friday, we travel to the Market that used to be a farmer’s market but now sells Mexican kitshe. The variety is interesting. I decline to buy a piggy bank for any number of small children because I’m not sure how the parents would react.
Following the old Farmer’s market, we seek out Boerne (Pronounced-Birney) and the Riverside Market-a/k/a the old filling station with great bbq. While we apparently speak too fast and John’s order doesn’t materialize quite the way he ordered it. Perhaps we speak too fast…The sausage and sauce were splendid. The best BBQ I’ve eaten in Texas, so far. While we tell the proprietor how we found the place, another man in line says that when he travels to the area from California he ALWAYS eats at this place. The establishment looks like an old Shell station, white building with a red and yellow awning. A sign on the side of the building declares BBQ and sausage.
We take a short driving tour of Boerne. The citizens take pride in their town. None of the buildings look abandoned. It is a cute little town. We should stop and explore, but I want to float the River in downtown San Antonio.
The river cruise is not all it’s cracked up to be. We paid $7.75 for what was mostly an ad for certain businesses and skipped others. Although there was a nice history and explanation for the origins and rejuvenation of the riverwalk. I’d suggest an morning or evening tour. The afternoon was sweltering.
While we waited for the tour to start we shared dessert at the Iron Cactus. Black Label Kuluha Brownie ala mode. It was divine.
After the cruise, John departed for his show. I sought out food on the Riverwalk, without success. The mall billed on the river tour as “the nicest in San Antonio” did not meet my expectations. Later, a local indicated that in fact it was NOT the nicest mall. Overcrowded and rife with smelly, greasy food, I opted for the path of least resistance (and most expense) a pizza from the hotel’s “private dining.” It was good pizza, but not compared with what I paid for it.
On Wednesday, we left Atlanta via the WORLD’S busiest airport. Ok, maybe just the US’s busiest, but the population of the airport seemed to exceed the per capita space designated for capacity. AirTran was on time and we arrived at San Antonio Airport, thankfully not the busiest airport on time.
Through Hotwire, we ACTUALLY scored a four star hotel at a really great price. La Mansion del Rio is beautiful and on the Riverwalk. In lieu of valet parking at $28 per day, we opted for the public parking across the street, $7.50 day. Below is the evening view from our hotel room.
We ate dinner on the Riverwalk at Countyline BBQ. John ordered a sampler plate, and I sampled. The meat was pretty good but covered with sauce. I found it difficult to taste the actual meat due to the heavy taste of the sauce. Their sweet tea passed muster (they understand how to make the tea but not enough sugar.) The half loaf of bread was good. If you’re stuck on the Riverwalk and need a place to eat, Countyline would be fine. But if you’re hunting great BBQ, you might investigate other options.
On Wednesday night, John reviewed the BBQ research and rediscovered Rudy’s Country Store and BBQ, billed as “The Worst BAR-B-Q in Texas.” We traveled on Thursday to Leon Springs for lunch. John will have to review the food. The sausage was pretty good, not too spicy. The peach cobbler was cold. I’m not a fan of cinnamon in my cobbler, apparently they are. I sampled the brisket and ribs that John ordered. The brisket, described as “moist”, tasted like “fat” to me. The best part of the visit was an encounter with a local who tipped us off about several other places.
She mentioned a filling station in Boerne (pronounced-Birney) that produces BBQ that she travels from the other side of San Antonio to get. Also, she mentioned Salt Lick in Driftwood for BBQ. Of other interest she mentioned that the Gristmill in Gruene along with the Dance Hall are a must see.
After lunch, we explored the Alamo Plaza and its variety of fare. From Ripley’s to Guinness Book of World Records to Tousand’s Wax Museum, tourist traps a plenty. Junk stores selling everything from mexican blankets to UT merchandise. The high point of the pre-Alamo visit was the Menger Hotel: amazing architecture. Also, the Menger is haunted, but we didn’t experience any ghosts.
The Alamo is an amazing place to visit. The battle fought by true freedom fighters to defend this position must have been brutal. The “shrine” is small. Even though the guidebook warned about the size, perhaps it’s not real until you experience it yourself. The Long Barrack Museum is packed with historical information about the history of Texas and the Alamo. The museum displays weapons owned by James Bowie and David Crockett (as he is known at the Alamo). Of interest, the museum contains a snuff box given to Sam Houston by Santa Anna with an elaborate detailed engraving inside the box.
For dinner, a change of pace, Italian. Delores del Rio on the Riverwalk was wonderful. Greeted like regulars, permits to sample wine (no wine list) with helpful suggestions and a laid back pace, Delores’ food is wonderful. The environment was accentuated by the live jazz playing at an appropriate level. Everything about this meal was comfortable and inviting. Magnificent!
After dinner, we traveled back to the Alamo to obtain photos of the shrine without those pesky tourists. Success. We reviewed the cenotaph, an enormous carved memorial to those who lost their lives at the Alamo.