Don’t miss part one – link here: Weekend in San Antonio, Part One
Once we’d gotten everything sorted with our hotel for the weekend, it was time to have a little fun! That’s why we were in San Antonio, after all.
We started things out with a stroll down the Riverwalk from the hotel where we saw the colorful sign for “Ritas” restaurant and decided that seemed like a pretty good idea. There, we started out the weekend with margaritas the size of our heads and a little mariachi music to boot.
That evening, we headed over to Bliss for dinner, which was indeed rather blissful, though not perfect. The best course of the night was the starter, the chicken-fried oysters on biscuit sliders. The unctuous, briny oyster paired perfectly with the flaky chive biscuit, sweetness from the candied bacon, and creaminess from the brown butter hollandaise.
Unfortunately, the other dishes we tried (roasted bone marrow topped with a beef tartare, deconstructed kale caesar salad, and five spice crusted duck with seared foie gras) all suffered from under-seasoning. It was a pity, really. Everything needed to have world-class dishes were on the plate; the flavor combinations were right on. It all just needed to be cooked with a proper amount of salt.
After dinner, we ventured over to the Blue Star Arts Complex, a former brewery area that’s been turned into a mixed-use venture with galleries, bars, condos and more. There, we spent some time at the hidden gem called Bar 1919 and enjoyed some fantastic cocktails.
Bar 1919 is one of those hipster-y sounding places that doesn’t have a website, doesn’t have a sign, doesn’t even have their name on the door. But that’s where the hipster-y scene ends. Inside, you find a dark, intimate setting with a long wooden bar and people of all types. We each had a nice bourbon-based drink, then some scotch on the rocks before heading back to the hotel for the end of our first night in town.
Day two kicked off with a quick breakfast at the hotel (free because of my Hyatt Diamond status) before we ventured out to explore a little of the City. We headed over to the Tower of the Americas as well as the Institute for Texan Cultures, then walked back over to one of my Riverwalk favorites, Boudros, for lunch, including some tableside guacamole and prickly pear margaritas.
After lunch, the temperature was climbing, so we headed to the rooftop pool at the hotel to cool down and indulge in a couple more cocktails. The pool at the Hyatt Regency is not very large, nor very deep, but was ample for the intended purpose of cooling down on a hot day.
Next we got ready for dinner then headed out to the Pearl district to dine at Southerleigh, which had a unique industrial-warehouse-meets-Southern-hunting-cabin vibe. Here the focus was on the Galveston-style cuisine chef Jeff Balfour grew up with in South Texas. And it was pretty fantastic.
We started out with fried alligator bites, which were just ok, but followed those up with the real star: a macadamia nut crusted rack of lamb in tangy mustard sauce that was perfectly cooked and incredibly juicy. That was accompanied by a spicy crab mac and cheese that was a tad dry but still deliciously decadent. And we washed it all down with samplers of their house made beers. Put simply: this was a fantastic meal.
Afterwards, we wandered the Pearl for a bit, trying to find a place to have a drink. Unfortunately, with the Spurs game on, every place we visited was super-crowded, so we opted to just head back to the hotel for a drink the hotel lobby instead.
Finally, our last day, Sunday, we capped off the trip with one of my favorite brunches ever – the Champagne Brunch at Las Canarias. We received a table overlooking the river, and indulged on everything from Tex-Mex breakfast fare like chilaquiles to blue crab mashed potatoes and prime rib with horseradish sauce.
Bellies full and hearts content, we began the two hour drive back to Austin after this fantastic weekend. I only wish we’d had a few more days to explore! It felt like we’d only begun to scratch the surface of all the new and interesting places that have opened up in San Antonio over the past few years. But that’s ok – that just means we can start planning our return trip 🙂
Tell us in the comments where your favorite places in San Antonio are!