Saturday, June 11, 2011

Texas Girls Part V- The Last Stand at the Alamo

Our first weekend was pretty wall to wall gogo with late nights and early mornings, from Brooke's birthday party to clubbin' it up at the Church and random lunch meetups and afternoon coffee get togethers with friends. Monday we all recovered, and then we headed out for sushi with a big group. I think this picture sums up the day after pretty well...
Love Arielle's face here. I felt that way on this inside, but I'm really good at turning on suck it up smile

Tuesday was more laid back visiting, spending an afternoon on my Dad's back porch drinking coffee and continuing to catch up. We hit the hay early-ish (midnight for me, about 2 a.m. for Arielle) because Wednesday morning we were heading out early to go to Austin for lunch, and then continue on to San Antonio. I have an embarrassing confession to make. I'm a Texas girl, born and raised with the exception of a year in California in the 2nd grade... and I had never seen the Alamo. Or the Riverwalk. I went to San Antonio with a boyfriend when I was 18, but we didn't do any sightseeing, just went straight to his sister's dorms at Our Lady of the Lake. So, yeah, I knew that San Antonio had to be on my "to-do" list during the trip.
Wednesday morning we headed out early, and I made a mercy stop at Denny's. Y'see, Arielle runs a great blog called Foodie Asshole, and she was on a mission to take part in their "Baconalia" promotion. Basically, it was Denny's regular craptastically opposite of delicious food, but they added bacon to it so it was supposed to be special. Do yourself a favor, and pop over to Arielle's review of the experience. It was so bad, she cried a tear.

I just judged, harshly. I think I was also annoyed because we were eating Denny's next to a dumpster at a convenience store off of I-35 in rush hour traffic. We started at the convenience store across the street, but had to leave after we attracted a pack of men who stood at our bumper and stared while we attempted to eat our "food".

Eventually, we both just gave up and trashed the whole lot. Good riddance.

We hit the road towards Austin right as the traffic was clearing up. A short three and a half hours or so later, we were in Pflugerville, having lunch with Mel and her husband Josh. We couldn't stay long, though, because Austin traffic is notorious and we still had an hour and a half to get to San Antonio before rush hour. We were staying with my childhood friend, Sarah, who was also going to show us around town.
 After hanging out at Sarah's house and showering off the result of having no air conditioner in Texas, we headed downtown to a tapas style restaurant Sarah recommended, the Liberty Bar, a restaurant in a restored convent. First of all, I just need to say that I had such terribly negative assumptions about San Antonio. I didn't realize it was a real city, more so even than Dallas. It has a bustling downtown, people were walking and biking, dogs were out with their owners, children toddled on sidewalks in front of their parents during an evening trip around the neighborhood- it was quite charming, really. And this place was incredible. If you're ever in San Antonio, please try it out. You won't be disappointed.
The object of Arielle's affection? Geranium cream. Yes, that's right. It was phenomenal, as was the rest of the food.
 We conned the waiter into taking a group pic. Also, note Arielle's lack of chair in the reflection. That is a skillful photo squat. After picture time we meandered back through downtown checking out where we'd be going the next morning. We all agreed that an early bed time was preferable to going out, so it was back to Sarah's and promptly to sleep on the trusty air mattress.

The next morning Sarah took us to a local bakery called Broadway Daily Bread Bakery- Arielle's review can be found here. They had a huge cutting board filled with samples, and we unabashedly helped  ourselves to a little bit of everything before carb loading our final choices.

 This is my food review of the place. A picture is worth a thousand words, right?
Golly, thank goodness for these instructions, or else I'd NEVER know how to shove money in a slot.
 After breakfast, we sadly parted ways with Sarah. She had a lot to get done before heading back to work, and Arielle and I needed to cram a lot of sightseeing into our afternoon so that we could head back to Austin that night. We headed downtown, found super cheap parking, and set off to revel in our home state's rich and glorious history. Remarkably, the weather was cool and sunny. Perfect for wandering around an unfamiliar downtown.
Putting a female face on history

 So, the Alamo was kind of...ok, I don't want to say "not impressive". It's not that. I'll say... unassuming. I guess I just had this idea in my mind of it being a bit bigger. It was a lot smaller than I thought it would be, and it was also crazy how it's just chillin' in the middle of downtown. It's interesting how the town just crept up around it. Funny story- when I told my Granny I was a bit underwhelmed with the Alamo in person, she said that she had the same experience. After years of living in Texas, apparently she told my late Pop Pop that she was going to finally see the Alamo. They booked an expensive hotel room with an Alamo view. She excitedly planned the trip, they drove down, checked in, and she pulled open the curtains. Silence. Then- "Well, I guess I can finally say I've seen the f***ing Alamo!". Don't worry, they did a real tour and all, despite her initial reaction, haha.
 It's also interesting that this is called the "Museum". It's a gift shop, ya'll. Straight effin' up. Gift shop. However, this was the perfect opportunity to pick up some post cards to send to the lil' nuggets in my life. I snagged a wooden postcard and sent it to three of my favorite kiddos. How rad is a wooden postcard? I would have loved to get something like that as a kid.
 After the Alamo and various downtown wanderings, we moseyed to the Riverwalk. Again, where did my negative expectations come from?! Can I be frank? I assumed the Alamo would be in the middle of a crappy "downtown" consisting of one strip of chain restaurants and tourist shops, with a piddly little dirty river running on the other side. Instead I experienced something that had a distinctly Californian feel to it. The Riverwalk is gorgeous. It was tree lined and breezy, perfectly landscaped, and covered in flowers and cute local restaurants and bars.

 We ended up eating at a place called Boudro's, because my friends had recommended the guac. Apparently, this guac is in one of those "1,000 blah blah blah to blah blah blah before you die" books.
Good, but don't sweat if if you do die before getting a chance to eat it
 After lunch, we rambled back down the Riverwalk, loaded up on Gatorade- aka our internal air conditioners- and once more we were in the car.
 Once more, we were a little punch drunk..
and we played around with the scorpion sucker souvenir I picked up at the Alamo in the museum that was not a museum at all. I was so overtaken with the sheer ridiculousness of the ingredients list- "Watermelon flavor, red number something, Scorpion, something or another, etc."- that I bought it without thinking about the fact thata I'm a vegetarian and thus bugs are off the menu. Anyway. We made it back to Austin safe and sound, which is where Arielle and I took leave of one another. She was off to spend the night at her friend's house, and I was staying with Mel for a girl's night. We would meet up one last time the next night, which would also be my first time going out on 6th Street. Again, this is a shame! How did I not go out on 6th street until I was 28 years old?! But that's a blog post for another time.


  1. Aww, you didn't go to the missions south of town?

    The Alamo was a total downer for me, I expected it to be bigger, less of a tourist trap and not smack down in the middle of the city.

    The Missions (especially the first two, furthest away from the city) were a lot more like what I thought the Alamo would be. Far less people, left more to the times and actually still in use. They proved to be a lot more interesting than the Alamo, if you ask me.

    The Riverwalk didn't do anything for me, waaaay too touristy, a bit *too* landscaped for my taste and those damn boats just ruined everything. The parts of the river outside the "tourist loop" was better though. :)

  2. We tried to go because I had heard so many good things, but the signage was pretty terrible and we ended up at a park and an elementary school two different times. By that point we were on a bit of a time crunch, so we just hit up the Alamo/Riverwalk. But, it was super laid back and not packed, probably because we were there in late April so we missed the tourist spots.

    Plus, we did a lot of rambling around downtown, and driving around aimlessly as we were lost. It was also nice that our friend took us out the night before so we were in the non-touristy side of downtown. Still, I could definitely have spent more time there. I think a return trip has to happen! :)

  3. I love the riverwalk, the Alamo is OK... very small, usually you can find me at Pat O Bryan's accross the street drinking a hurricane :)