Category Archives: Southtown/King William

A Feast Fit for King William

Last Friday night, after a solid Howl at the Moon happy hour where we maxed our credit cards and got kicked out of the bar, we hit the boulevard and headed down to First Friday in Southtown. The first stop, naturally, was the Blue Star Brewing Co. for some post-Howl grub. It was a great idea. So great, in fact, that everyone else in the city had the same idea. Meaning the wait was over an hour. After signing in with the hosts, perusing the subtly shocking exhibit by John Webb titled “Bodies of Work” (spoiler alert: bodies. Er, body parts. Private ones.) at the  Blue Star Contemporary Art Center, and buying sausage on a stick in the parking lot, the wait was STILL an hour. Person whose name was after mine in the queue: you’re welcome. I left.

A short stroll north on South Alamo led me to stumble upon something bright, shiny, extremely trendy, and brand spankin’ new: FEAST. Open just since September, Feast in King William by Chef Stefan Bowers offers small fancy plates and royally rad cocktails. Also – BIG NEWS – Sunday brunch at Feast is slated to begin THIS SUNDAY, folks. That means you could be one of the first to try it, AND, even better, you might see me there.

So, let’s talk food. On their dinner menu, noshables are descriptively categorized as Hot, Chilled, Grilled, Crispy, Melted, or Mains. Did I mention how trendy this place is? I’ll hit you with my thoughts on items from a couple of categories. If you have a hankerin’ for Hot (but not too weird), try out the Spice Barbacoa. Served on a long, skinny, and very chic rectangular plate, you’ll likely drip barbacoa juice on the table and look like a fool. So maybe ask for a small round plate. The very yummy barbacoa is complemented by a garlic yogurt and comes served in lettuce wraps. These are great to share with the table, but also work as an entrée if you split one or two other small plates. In the Crispy section, while the Fried Calamari wasn’t anything to write home about, it earned some points with me because there was not a tentacle in sight. (I love creatures of the sea, but I don’t necessarily want to see them on my plate looking almost the same as when they are still kickin’ it in the sea, you know what I mean?) The adult chicken fingers are good, but even better is the coriander cream that accompanies them. Moving on to Melted, the Stuffed Grape Leaves were QUITE tasty. Filled with goat cheese, they’re a far cry from your typical Greek dolma, but very flavorful and rich. I’ll definitely get these puppies again. Finally, let’s talk Jack Cheese Mac: a little bit creamy, a little bit crunchy, Feast has successfully made it cool for humans over the age of 6 to order mac and cheese.

The ambiance of Feast is (have I mentioned yet?) VERY HIP. And I’m not just talking minimalist-menu-with-one-and-two-digit-prices-and-no-decimals-hip; no, I mean the degree of hip that requires clear chairs, sparkly modern chandeliers, model-like waiters, oddly shaped plates, and thumping music fit for a club. Oh, and fiber optic hanging light balls outside. Yes, FIBER OPTIC! Food-wise, Feast would be a great place to go with a small group so you could sample lots of menu items. Vibe-wise, you should take (a) anyone who thinks they’re cool to prove to them that, no, they’re not, or (b) anyone whose car has a bumper sticker that says Keep San Antonio Lame.

Feast is for sure a needed and very unique addition to the ‘hood. As evidenced by my affinity for hot dogs and the fact that I accidentally wore Converse into Feast (oops?), I’m perhaps not quite as trendy as their target audience. But believe you me, as those Brussels sprouts on the menu that I have yet to try are my witness, I plan on faking it from time to time.

Photo cred to my dear friend, Ben H.

Feast on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Drinking, Eating, Southtown/King William

Lovin’ on El Monty

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today, in the site of the Tower of the Americas and the internets, to celebrate the holy matrimony of the constantly changing and the consistently delicious; the familiar and the unusual; the retrofunk vibe and the distinctly San Antonio feel. I present to you, kind people, The Monterey.

What can I say about The Monterey. I’ll start with this: it is currently my favorite restaurant in this city. Yeah. I’ll give you a moment to consider the gravity of that statement.

Right, so, The Monterey, conveniently located on South St. Mary’s, is a gastropub with indoor and outdoor seating, a constantly rotating (and totally rad) food menu, an expansive beer and wine selection, and an atmosphere that says, in the absolute best of ways, Come! Sit in my perfectly xeriscaped patio garden, drink this obscure beer, and have some pig head torchon! Or a grilled cheese? Or turnips and foie gras? Green curry shrimp and plantains? Fried BBQ chicken?! Now, let’s compare our interesting tattoos.

I’ll pause for some definitions.

  • Retrofunk: origin – me. Made it up. Definition – a hip and trendy yet comfortable atmosphere with eclectic and arguably retro décor, including but not limited to elements such as patio lights, bright colors, classic cars, unisex bathrooms (puzzling to newcomers.. it’s ok, use either one) and ironic/scary decorations.
  • Xeriscaping: Environmentally responsible landscaping that uses drought hardy and bodacious desert plants. Alternatively, growing a lawn on your roof or out of your chimney. (Not necessarily that last part.)
  • Turnips: Please don’t “turnip” your nose at me. Valentine, be mine!

The skinny on the food is that it’s all kind of unusual, if you couldn’t tell by the sound of their menu, but it is ALL tasty, tasty to the max. And if something sounds normal, be advised that the creative geniuses of El Monty’s kitchen have probably put a weird (BUT DELICIOUS) spin on it. You can always ask the well informed and friendly staff for a description of a menu item, or for a recommendation.

…OR YOU CAN ASK ME! I’ll tell you right now that anything with their crystal Hollandaise sauce is amazing, the expensive cheese omelette and French toast are ridiculous good, and  the corn with yogurt and grilled cheese sandwich both are fantastic. But my numero uno favorite thing I’ve tried here is….

The BRUSSELS SPROUTS. Seriously. Mind blowing. I didn’t even know that I like Brussels sprouts. I don’t think I would in any other situation. They’re not in season right now and consequently not on the menu, but I’m biding my time and hoping they come back soon. My only bad experience at The Monterey was the time I tried to look smarter than I actually am by ordering La Cigarrella Manzanilla Sherry. To be fair, this unfortunate situation was entirely my fault, as the kind server warned me that sherry is awful (in more legitimate words). I didn’t know a damn thing about sherry but obviously pretended that I did and ordered it. REGRET! AVOID! Unless, of course, you’re classier than me and enjoy drinking something that tastes like a dangerous household cleaner.

Anywho, follow them on Twitter, check them out on Facebook, and go see them in person. ASAP!

The Monterey on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Drinking, Eating, Southtown/King William

Feeling Friendly?

Hey, friends. Forgive me for being a little Southtown-centric lately, but there is just so much down here you need to know about! Today, we learn about the friendliest place in the 210: The Friendly Spot Ice House on South Alamo.

One of my favorite places to grab a beer, The Friendly Spot is absolutely every bit as friendly as its name suggets. This outdoor ice house offers over 180 beers (24 on tap), cider, wine, sangria, micheladas, AND things to nosh, including burgers, tamales, nachos, guac and chips and quesadillas. Think we hit all the food groups? No? Well, ok.  The Friendly Spot, open daily til midnight, is great for a group or a pair and has specials every night, notably Tecate Bucket Tuesdays, $2 Shiner Thursdays (a.k.a. tonight!), and Friendly Sunday Funday featuring $2 mimosas. On Wednesdays you can catch an outdoor movie, and weekend nights always draw a healthy crowd. Check out The Friendly Spot’s Facebook or Twitter (which are both updated frequently, kudos to you, T.F.S. staff!) for the daily specials and other exciting happenings.

Here’s something else pretty rad: The Friendly Spot short film competition. You can read about it on their website, but the gist of it is this: 8 minutes or less; focusing on friends, family, or community; and starring me (joking. But I do have a great narrator voice. I can even do some accents.).

Lastly, there’s no need to find a kid or dog sitter when you head to this Southtown hotspot. They’ll be fine on their own. JUST KIDDING – please don’t leave your children at home alone. Did we learn nothing from Macaulay Culkin? Anyway, bring those dependents along! That’s right, The Friendly Spot is ridiculously pet and kid friendly, with a playground for the little wigglies and bartenders who are happy to give you a cup of water for your furry friends.

You know what, I’m going to give you an assignment this week. I said that this place is dog friendly, but I’ve never seen anyone bring a cat (or any other animal, for that matter) to The Friendly Spot. Your goal: snap a photo of yourself or a friend (or a stranger, I don’t care) with their favorite non-canine / non-human companion at The Friendly Spot and tweet it to me (@Miriam210) or post it as a link in a comment. Godspeed.

(Again, all photos by yours truly with a little help from my BFF, Instagram.)

The Friendly Spot Ice House on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Drinking, Eating, Southtown/King William

Prosit, San Antonio!

Guten Tag and happy Friday, friends! It may be three months and thirty degrees away from Oktoberfest, but if you think that’s going to stop me from enjoying some bratwurst, butter noodles, and Spaten Premium Lager  on a Friday night, you are sadly mistaken. So, can one find such things in this city of breakfast tacos and micheladas?  I will answer your question with good news and bad news. First, the good news: yes, one CAN find the delicious, aforementioned German treats in San Antonio! Readers, please turn your attention to The Beethoven Männerchor Halle Und Garten, a full fledged Bier Garten in the King William District / Southtown that’s “over-flowing with German entertainment, good food, wine, and beer, and fun.” Well, that sounds great, doesn’t it? The other good news is that while you polish off more sauerkraut and spätzle than is sane to consume, you will likely find yourself enjoying the fine musical entertainment of a Gartenkonzert (translation: garden concert. Who knew!), which includes Maennerchor, Damenchor, Kinderchor, and Beethoven Concert Band performances. All the chors a human could ask for. The bad news is: nah, there’s no bad news. G-g-g-gotcha!

I paid $5 to enter and then shelled out a few bucks more for various food items (the bratwurst and butter noodles receive the highly esteemed rating of muy guten) and a pitcher (don’t worry, I shared with friends). And bring cash!! While there is an ATM at the Beethoven Männerchor Halle Und Garten, I say that fees are for CHUMPS.

You’ll need to check the calendar online before visiting to make sure that The Beethoven is open to the public on the night you plan to visit (every First Friday and most third Fridays seem to be open, with other public nights sprinkled throughout the month).  And if you’re still not convinced, you can check out their Facebook page to see pictures of happy, beautiful, people laughing and enjoying themselves.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a halle of a guten time, my recommendation is to get thee to the Beethoven. As they say in the motherland: prosit! Salud! Cheers! SEE YOU THERE.

(Check out this picture that Instagram and I took inside of The Beethoven. I did that for YOU. You’re welcome.)

Beethoven Maennerchor on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Drinking, Eating, Music, Southtown/King William

Salsa x Southtown

It’s summer in San Antonio, it’s a hundred percent humidity as I type, and I know what you need. Let me guess. Sangria? Mojitos? Pisco sours? Latino cuisine? Salsa dancing?? Yes. All of those things.

Because (a) we won’t feel temperatures less than a hundred and fifteen degrees until October, (b) we’re in a place where you hear Spanish as often as English, and (c) let’s get real, who WASN’T seduced by Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, today I offer you a locale for a little drinking, a little eating, and a little dancing. AZUCA, in Southtown. It’s where it’s at, folks!

While I’ve frequented Azuca most often for the drinking and dancing opportunities, the food I have ordered (or snatched from the poorly attended plates of friends) has been delicious. Salads and fish, especially. The sangria and the mojitos are great. My only disappointment came with the pisco sours, which (speaking with the authority that I appropriately claim after briefly living in Peru, a.k.a. the motherland and birthplace of this typically frothy and delectable temptation) I find offensive.

Maya Angelou once said, “Everything in the universe has rhythm. Everything dances.” Now, I am not usually one to disagree with Ms. Angelou, but the truth is that on rare (read: frequent) occasions, my rhythm is a little bit off kilter from most everything else in the universe. Does this affect my enjoyment of the salsa dancing at Azuca, you ask? Great news, NO. Here’s why. While the dancing skills of Azuca’s weekend night clientele may initially intimidate the uncoordinated (or gringa) onlooker, I have found that the friendly young guys and kindly older gentlemen who ask you to dance can lead in a way that allows nearly anyone to really feel the beat, break a sweat, and earn themselves that freshly muddled mojito.

If you’re still not sold, you can always take GROUP SALSA LESSONS with Chris Quickslow (gotta be his real name! It’s on his business card!) at Azuca on Saturday afternoons from 4 to 6. Which I have done. Beep beep HOLLA!

In conclusion: whether it’s for happy hour, a smokin’ date (not literally — Azuca doesn’t allow that crap inside!), or even a bachelorette party (it’s been done and it was GOOD), for Salsa by Southtown try out Azuca . Go there. Do it.

Azuca Nuevo Latino on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Dancing, Drinking, Eating, Southtown/King William