Eating Texas

And you probably thought I ate like a madwoman in Tennessee – hah! That’s nothing!

So how do I come back from a vacation? By going on another one, of course!

I visited two dear friends from several years past in Waco and San Antonio. It was a trip that was very long past due, and a total blast. I miss them already. Anyone have any cheap plane tickets laying around?

Any way, enough of the sentimentalism, what did I eat??? Now there’s what you’re moderately interested in!

Now, thankfully my friends are as into eating as I am – otherwise it would have been one… interesting trip.

I started off my 8 hour flight(!!!) by getting off of the plane and being picked up by my girlfriend and her fiancé. He had to get back to work, so we were going to go to Whataburger for lunch.
Now, let me preface this by saying that the south has REALLY good fast food. Or maybe I’m a nostalgic fool, but WhatABurger has ridiculously ginormous burgers that are seriously filling, and milkshakes that I dream of. The fries aren’t bad either, and they even microwave well. It is SUCH a good place.

Anywho, we hopped in her car, and had to get gas. The car hadn’t been used in months and we could NOT find the thing to open the gas tank. It wasn’t just a pull open type deal. No, it needed some button or SOMETHING because it was not budging. We were sitting there in front of the gas pump for about 10 minutes before we gave up and got some southern pizza and wings. Which is to say they were nothing remotely close to what New Yorkers would be familiar with, but was totally used to for Texas pizza food. And, hey, when is anything fried ever bad?

So my quest for WhatABurger was still unfulfilled, but along came our other friend from San Antonio to pick us up! Yay!!! Thank you for picking us up out of Waco, which pretty much had nothing to do, and I was only there for about 3 hours, so you KNOW it’s bad. We drove another 3 hours down to San Antonio. Yay! San Antonio! We settled in his house and then went out to the River Walk.

The River Walk( is located in downtown San Antonio. It’s a man-made canal with tons of restaurants and bars located all around it in addition to the Rivercenter Mall and Hilton and Marriot Hotels. The River Walk also has no railing, so it’s a wonder no one really falls in. It’s a great place to walk around, but unfortunately the Rivercenter Mall has stopped free parking if you shop there, so you have to pay for parking anywhere you go. It SUCKS! You will never find a meter, so just pony up the $8 and go into a lot. Ah well.

We walked around for a while and I took a bazillion pictures. Let me tell you, it is SO awesome to be out there now that I’m over my I’m-too-cool-for-school attitude that I used to have when I lived there. The nightlife was really relaxed and fun. After walking for a while, though, we got thirsty.

So we hit up Pat O’Briens. It’s just above the River Walk and it’s famous for it’s New Orleans theme and hurricane drinks. It came in a hurricane glass!!! (If you couldn’t tell, I was excited about that). We ordered a few and drank them. I was excited for an icy drink, you know, the frozen margarita type ones. Well, this just came on crushed ice and was from a mix. It tasted like Kool-Aid. With lots of rum. But I was still pretty disappointed – they said on their website it was ‘award winning’. Who the hell judged it? Were they big Kool-Aid fans or something? But, it was only $6.50, so not a total loss. I’d probably pay double for the same thing up here. A shot or two of Bailey’s Caramel (and one tongue lashing from my girlfriend for introducing her to said nectar), which were $3 each(!) and we were off.

To WHATABURGER!!!!!!! Oh, that was SO awesome! I got a WhatAChicken, which is pretty much a fried chicken sandwich. I forgot to ask for the mayo off, but it was inoffensive. I still don’t get why people do like mayo though. I couldn’t even taste it in my sandwich even though there was a ton there, so I just don’t get the point of having it on sandwiches.

There is also a local place called Cheesy Jane’s located near the University of the Incarnate Word and Ft. Sam Houston. It’s a retro diner that served up burgers, fries, milkshakes and one or two salads.

Kidding, they sell more than one. Maybe four. But you go there for the burgers. And the fries.

My girlfriend and I split the Bean Burger($6), which is not a veggie burger, but a burger with refried beans, Fritos, salsa and cheese on it. It wasn’t bad, but I’m glad there were all the toppings there to spice it up. I remembered it as being different. It had a little je ne sais quoi, which I didn’t get this time around. Maybe it’s because I eat a lot less meat than I did when I lived there.

My guyfriend ordered the jalapeno burger, which was massive, and I’m guessing spicy.

We also got the chili cheese fries($4.50), which I had to push away since I ate, oh, HALF of them. They’re HUGE and really, really addictive. Hence, the pushing away. They also had tots, which are really popular and equally tasty.

We went to the Botanical Gardens afterwards to walk off the burgers and saw very pretty flowers, waterfalls and all sorts of flora.

Later that night we went out to Sultan’s a Mediterranean food and Hookah lounge. We got a bowl of rose shisha(a honeyed tobacco) and placed an order for a combo plate, gyro and chicken wrap plate. The combos were $8.99 and came with rice, side salad, hummus or baba ghanoush and a drink. The gyro was $4. They eventually brought out the hookah and gave us our own little mouthpieces – yay sanitation! Unfortunately we’re not really smokers and they put a crapton of coals on the top of it, so it was kind of burned the shisha. Eh, oh well.

We waited FOREVER for our food and drinks, which sucked because the place was hot and packed because the Spurs game was on.

The food finally came out, and it was really good! The combo plate had a lamb patty, spicy chicken, ‘regular’ chicken, but I thought for the price they could have tossed in some flatbread or something more, since it was kind of paltry. The chicken wrap was ok, but pretty bland for my tastes. It was good, but nothing spectacular. The gyro was tender and moist – a wonderful surprise after the chicken wrap. The hummus was amazing, though! They used a spicy paprika that really added a lot of flavor to it and a good portion of lemon and olive oil. I don’t know that I’d go there again, given the wait and all, but it wouldn’t have been bad if it weren’t busy. (Yea, that top picture is of the sampler platter, and the bottom is the wrap. I could NOT get the lighting right in these pictures, as I am cursed with wobbly camera hands as well – too bad Albany John couldn’t come and snap y’all some good pictures!)

The next day we went out for – SUSHI! They had never tried it before, and me being me, well, we had to get sushi. I heard about Godai as being a good choice – they won some local awards, and they looked authentic enough. We ordered 7 rolls, and I’m pretty sure I ate three or four of them. The only problem was that, aside from the 2 traditional rolls, these were way too big. I mean, sloppy, big. The ingredients were great, but really, Ichiban serves them smaller than this place, which really says a lot if you know Ichiban.

Anywho, rolls were(bottom left corner): Philly Roll, French Roll, Eel Roll, Tuna Roll, Hamachi Roll, Spicy Salmon Roll, (not pictured because I forgot) Spider Roll and Salmon Skin Roll.

The Philly roll ($6.50) was really good, but ‘too fishy’ for the sushi novices. Suckers – more for me!
They both liked the French roll ($6.75), which was a tempura shrimp with massago and ‘special sauce’ which I’m guessing was some kind of mayo. This was a bit easier to eat since it was a bit closer to ‘normal size’
The Eel roll ($6.75) was another hit – I tried to get a good balance of cooked and raw sushi to wean them on to it.
Tuna($6) is usually a good choice for sushi beginners as well, and my girlfriend really liked it. It’s a meaty sushi so it doesn’t get the usual ‘too fishy’ report.
The Hamachi roll ($6.50) was a touch fishy, so, it wasn’t the greatest.
Yet another hit was the spicy salmon – the spice covered up any ‘fishy’ flavor of the fatty salmon, but got a bit too spicy for me near the end. Phew!
The Spider Roll($9.95)was Great! My guyfriend really liked it but wussed out on eating the leg pieces. So I helped him out. So good. My girlfriend doesn’t like crab, so that left her out of the loop on that one.
The big letdown was the salmon skin($6.50). The roll was entirely too large and unwieldy, but worst of all was that it was soggy skin with salmon still on it. Bleh.
Since it was lunch, they also gave us miso soup and salad when we came it. Touché, Godai, touché, but I would have preferred the miso with the sushi.
We also had hot tea and lemonade, which were $2 each.

Godai also had the worst soy sauce I’ve ever had. It was light Kikkoman, and some off brand of regular soy. Ew. Ew. Ew. Ew. Ew. Just plain gross.

The interior was quite nice, though. It’s like a high-roofed Japanese teahouse with lots of woodsy touches. The sushi bar was against a far wall – rather unassuming, but beautifully decorated. I was also very pleased to see the sushi chef there at lunch too, with a Spurs hat on, natch(it’s a cult down there). All too often, it’s some trainee on lunch duty. I would go back again, since I think that the sushi still tasted very fresh without the soy sauce, with the exception of the Yellowtail.

For lunch the next day, we went out to Tomatillo’s, a Mexican joint, since I was eager to get my Mexican food before I left Texas. The funny thing is – I went there once years ago! Hah!
My girlfriend and I were VERY tempted to get an ‘award winning’ margarita (and they were frozen! Aww!) but decided not to.

Instead I ordered the Enchiladas Dos Colores, which were two spinach and veggie filled enchiladas covered in two sauces. One was a tomatillo verde sauce, and one was a red tomato sauce.
It also came with nachos with a neon yellow cheese on top and a bean soup that tasted worse than anything else I’ve ever eaten. Dear god, I know I ordered a vegetarian plate, but vegetarian doesn’t have to mean flavorless. The enchiladas were ok, but packed with green peppers (which I hate and picked out). I probably should have gotten something else, but I really didn’t feel like beef or chicken at the time. The salsa was really fresh, though and was a highlight of the meal for me – I thought it had a nice balance of spices.

We drove back to Waco later that day, and by then, it was time for dinner. Well, it was way past the hour normal people would eat dinner, so we got… WHATABURGER!!!

*happy dance*

I got the #1 (a burger) and subbed the soda for a vanilla milkshake.

Look at that shake. That’s a medium. Now bow to the glory that is WhatABurger.

I woke up the next morning realizing you shouldn’t eat a burger so late, and then eat the remaining 2/3rds of your friends gigantic burger RIGHT before going to sleep, because, honey, you are not going to be a happy camper at 4 am when you get up to catch your 6 am flight out. I didn’t even know food could give you a hangover.

I spent my 8 hours traveling back to Albany, New York by sleeping, reading and sleeping some more. I snacked on some sesame bran sticks at some point, then fell asleep again.

By the time I got back to Albany I was excited to see Albany John. We picked up a bottle of White Zin (come on – it IS refreshing, don’t give me that look!) and calamari from Mercato’s. Their calamari rocks so hard I can’t snap a picture quickly enough. It also comes with their outta this world red sauce, which can’t be beat.

I was out like a light by 8.

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