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    San Antonio, Texas
  1. As a follow up - I ate at the Ocean Star on Saturday. In truth, I wasn't impressed. I ordered the "Flash Fried Rainbow Trout" after tiring of trying to find something that looked like a real Pacific Rim/Fusion dish. It was ok. The fish was a little mushy, the mashed potatoes (yeah - that's Pacific Rim fusion - mashed potatoes!) didn't taste like much and the asparagus was cooked too much for my liking, but it wasn't bad. There was a hair in the tempura batter on one of the pieces of fish. My wife had grilled lemon pepper shrimp skewers on saffron rice, which, again, was ok. Not great, but not bad. Everything needed salt - and there was none on the table. No soy sauce or any kind of condiments for that matter except for the sugar packets for our iced tea. I was looking forward to some Asian influenced seafood - but got nicely presented original recipes that needed a little work to be really good. Nothing was flat out bad, but nothing was "Wow!" good. The service was pretty good though. Our waiter wasn't the most experienced, but he was attentive, as was the manager. Here's a full review from Ron Bechtol. I think he's trying a little to make the review good - comments like: In short, if I were with some people that wanted to go there, I'd go again, but I wouldn't be the one to suggest it.
  2. If you want a Chambers range, I know where a couple are here in San Antonio that are for sale. They'd need a little restoration (or a lot) but they're mostly complete. I have to look up the name, but it's an architectural salvage place on Cherry st. in SA. Very cool place if you ever get the chance to stick your head in. There are/were some fantastic houses in San Antonio that are now living on in their salvaged bits - doors, entry ways, windows, floors, stairways, cielings, etc. Even old ranges. Look around where you live, and you might find just such a place! If you like the look, but also like the lessons learned in stove design since those vintage stoves were made, you can check out Elmira Stove Works. bob
  3. Reggiano's is a very good place. I've eaten there. Another one that I forgot about is Caparelli's on Main St (just up from La Fonda at 2524 N Main). Nice food. Florios is my favorite pizza. My parents are from the NYC area (Red Bank, NJ, really), so that's the kind of pie I always knew to be the good stuff. They're the real deal. I love that pizza. They even pass the "does the plain cheese pie taste good" test.
  4. The Liberty Bar isn't too far from Trinity, and Ciao Lavanderia, which is a really good little Italian restaurant, is just up the road a few minutes. I don't know a lot about brunch though - sorry. Just the "Champagne Brunch" kind of things at restaurants like Las Canarias (French regional food - not Mexican - which I think hovers in the >$35/person range, but it's very good). If you feel the need for a very good milk shake, go to the Olmos Pharmacy on McCullough (I think it's at the corner of McCullough and Hildebrand, which will put it just a few blocks West from Trinity). Nice place. Turn right on McCullough, then right at the traffic circle, and you're at Ciao. Nice little burger joint? Take Hildebrand east to Broadway, then turn right (South). Cheesy Janes is right across from the big SBC building. Good burgers, dogs, and shakes. For even older style diner type food, go to the Pig Stand (especially on a Friday night - they have hot rods!). It is the oldest drive in restaurant in the US (something like 87 years old?). I just ate there this past week end. For the real San Antonio burger experience, you have to go to Chris Madrid's though - eat the nacho burger (or is it called the bean burger...). Great stuff! Have fun!
  5. They just opened, but I know the chef is formerly of the Fig Tree, and Las Canarias - two of the best places in San Antonio. The owners have nice places (Formossa Garden), so it should be good. I haven't had a chance to eat there yet, but it's on the list. They're just off 410 at Broadway, I think. (outside the loop)
  6. My favorite here is Ciao Lavanderia. It's chef/owner is the same guy who has Bistro Vatel - in fact, it's practically next door. It's off the Olmos Circle - turn off the East spur, or right if you're heading north on McCullough. Great food, very cheap (most entres are either $6 or $9, with a few specials coming in at $12). We eat there pretty often - and I'm very picky. My mom is Italian, so I'm a little spoiled. :)
  7. I think the best chicken sandwich I ever had was in Harare, Zimbabwe in a Nando's Chicken place. Maybe it was the steady diet of ox tail and sadsa, or the still fading culinary shock that is chibuku, but that was the perfect sandwich. Moist chicken breast, spicy with peri-peri sauce, lovely Portugese roll. I think they have them in Toronto, and you can buy the peri-peri sauce in Barbeques Galore. see Nandos I guess it's a South African chain. Good stuff.
  8. bobdavis

    Pickles in tuna salad

    Good God, Dean, what a fabulous idea! Is it Southern, or a product of your ever-nimble brain? If you've ever been to Primanti Bros. in Pittsburgh, PA, you'll have seen this. Inch thick slices of bread, the meat of your choice, fried egg(s) if you want it, cheese, cole slaw and french fries. All together in one sandwich. It's amazing. Maybe you have to have had your first one at 2:15 after last call, but they are awesome. :)
  9. San Antonio - enchliadas They're everywhere here, filled with pret' near anything as far as I can tell. Puffy Tacos are also (as slkinsey pointed out) a specialty here.
  10. Fast food in SA? If you're looking for burgers, it's got to be Chris Madrid's. Giant, cheese covered bean burgers - get the Macho if you're hungry. I love that place. You order, wait for them to call your number and then get the food. Ask the concierge at your hotel how to get there or just take a cab - they know. I like Whataburger and Taco Cabana, but can understand why some might not. There's a newly opened Chipotle's near the Alamo Quary (north of downtown) that I haven't tried. There's Sushi Zushi downtown on Market St at St. Mary's - same building as Biga - that you can go to (hey - order and eat at the counter, right?). Rudy's BBQ is out IH-10 about 30 min or so, but certainly worth the drive. There's a thread about San Antonio food here - Clicky - that you might go through. It's not all fast food, but there is a lot of very good stuff in there.
  11. I love Earls! That place is such a hoot. Completely American - it has become very dear to San Antonio. Much in the same way that Hipps Bubble Room was. It's an institution that we cherish. Chicken fried steak, fried chicken and pies - that's what it's all about. That and bee-hive wearing waitresses. Another place to look for simple American fare is the 410 Diner. It's on Broadway at 410 (just a couple miles out of downtown - say 20 min drive). Simple, real food. Don't leave without trying the Sonora Casserole - it's my favorite thing they have. We also won't leave without the four berry cobbler with blue bell ice cream on it. Yummy. Mi Tierra and La Margarita have pretty good food - better than one might expect from touristy area of town. I still like El Mirasol better (in South Town/ King William), but never turn down someone looking to eat there. Give that a try next time. Biga is very good. I really like the game they have - very rare venison and little game packets are great.
  12. Dolores del Rio is a very funky place, and the food is pretty good - or can be. The service, IME, is seriously hit or miss. I won't go to lunch there for fear that it'll take too long. It's on the south bank of the River Walk off Commerce St. at the north end of the River Walk proper. Between St. Mary's and Soledad. My favorite Italian restaurant in SA is a little outside of town in Olmos Park. It's called Ciao Lavanderia - it used to be a laundrymat. Very nice food - simply done. They have a $6, $9 and $12 menu. Mostly, the $12 menu are the specials and the 6 and 9 are the standards (portion size being a determing factor in some of the 6 and 9 price). It's run by the same guy who owns Bistro Vatel (he's apparently related to the historical Vatel). Try it next time you're in town - a cheap cab ride if you're downtown.
  13. The San Antonio Express News More or Less Gourmet Chef Bruce Auden from Biga gets recipe in Cooks Illustrated book. Food and Recipes Two new upscale restaurants try to reel in San Antonians (Disclaimer - I work for the company that owns the Watermark Hotel & Spa and Pesca on the River)
  14. Same with me - to a point. I cut myself on the first Japanese style knife I got (a Henkels Santoku) - no bolster, so my finger managed to slide under the butt just a little. Not a bad one though. Within a month of getting my first "big" knife - a 10" chef's - I was in the hospital getting the little finger on my left hand stiched up. I had a nice clean cut running completely across my finger right at the first joint. That hurt. The new Shun 10" has been relatively good to me - just one little nick to remind me how sharp it is. Oh, and my ceramic knife is where it's been for the last 18 months - in its box. Its useless for me now. Blunt, chipped and otherwise dangerous. I take care of my knives too.
  15. I have never held a Ryusen, but I have a 10" Shun chef's knife - and love it. I use it all the time, rarely picking up one of the others I have (unless the nature of what I'm doing really calls for something different). The handle is wonderful. I love how it feels in my hand. If you keep it - you'll be happy. (edit - I see you're keeping it - you'll love it)
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