Road Trip: Second Stop – San Antonio, TX
San Antonio is a very Latin city with a river running through the heart of it and a beautiful shaded riverwalk on either side of the river. While it was too hot for me to do the typical sightseeing things – like visit the Alamo – the pooch and I really enjoyed our walk and extended sit under the lovely ancient cypress trees along the Riverwalk in the early evening. I am staying at a motel just across from the Market Square, a little bit like Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles, but more spacious and less crowded – and with somewhat more upscale stores.
I’ve done a little research and have decided to drive the short distance up from there to dine at Ocho at the boutique Havana Hotel, situated at the north end of the Riverwalk. Walking in, my first thought was “How lovely.” It’s a beautiful respite in the heart of downtown San Antonio overlooking the river which is densely shaded by palms, flowering trees, the aforementioned cypress and banana trees. There are people walking the Riverwalk’s path below, and every once in a while, a water taxi chugs by. Although the cafe/bar is glass enclosed, little birds fly in to join the guests dining or just relaxing on this Sunday afternoon with a cocktail. I really do feel like I’m sitting in a courtyard in old Havana. It reminds me of the bar area in the Hotel Naçional in Havana, Cuba where I stayed a couple of years back. The only thing missing is the strolling musicians.
The menu is a blend of Mexican and Latin Caribbean cuisine. I order a Margarita and the Huitlacoche Quesadilla with Avocado and Poblano Salsa and the Havana Papas Bravas with Harissa Aioli, Roasted Poblano, Caramelized Onion and topped with sliced radishes and crumbled Queso Fresco. They are addictive. I scarf them up like a little piggy, and am sorry when they are gone.
I had planned to try out another restaurant I had found online for lunch on Monday, but it was closed (being Monday and all – not the best planning on my part), so I went back to Ocho for lunch that day, too. That evening, the pooch and I sat at a hotel outdoor dining area next to a spot I heard the river taxi guides call the marriage spot, because it’s so lovely that many couple choose to take their vows beneath the giant cypress there, and had a glass of wine and a cooling Bibb lettuce, grapefruit and avocado salad, while enjoying the cooler temps and slight breeze off the river. How did I not know about this lovely little city before, I asked myself.
The marriage spot, also good for just sitting and contemplating.