PaperCity Magazine

May 2014 - Houston

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 48 of 71

grapefruit, house-made grenadine, Bénédictine liqueur and cured citrus bitters. Just pour me into bed afterwards! To shake it up after dinner, walk south down the river to VFW Post 76. The oldest VFW post in Texas, this Federal-style mansion on the River Walk serves beer and hosts outdoor concerts. The public is welcome, and it's a blast. Sunday mornings are one my favorite times to share San Antonio with friends. The city developed from a string of Spanish missions, the most famous being the Alamo. But my favorite is Mission San José. Founded in 1720, it was beauti- fully restored in the 1930s. In the former granary, a diorama recreates mission life with tiny figures and a narration reel that's charmingly out of date. An elegantly simple church here still holds regular services; at 12:30 pm, a special mass starts with a mariachi band and choir. This incredibly authentic experience always puts a smile on my face. Sunday afternoons in San Antonio were made for Tex- Mex. I love Mi Tierra Café y Panaderia for both the food and the Christmas tree room, Then there's Los Barrios, which has evolved over time, swallowing up a still recognizable for- mer Dairy Queen with its low brick wall and booths. I love the Cortadillo Zuazua Style (beef tenderloin casserole). Then there's Soluna, which serves wonderful Calabacita con Carne de Puerco (zuc- chini with pork) in the Alamo Heights neighborhood, where we first opened Sloan/Hall 20 years ago Wait! I forgot to mention Sloan/Hall. Oh, well. I'll remember that — and the Alamo — next time … THE LIST Artpace, 445 N. Main Ave., 210.22.4900, Barbaro, 2720 McCullough Ave., 210.320.2261, Bliss, 926 S. Presa St., 210.225.2547, CIA, 312 Pearl Parkway, 210.554.6400, Cured, 306 Pearl Parkway, 210.314.3929, Hotel Havana, 1015 Navarro St., 210.222.2008, Linda Pace Foundation, 111 Camp St., Los Barrios, 4223 Blanco Road, 210.732.6017, McNay Art Museum, 6000 N. New Brunfels, 210.824.5368, Mi Tierra Café y Panaderia, 218 Produce Row, 210.225.1262, The Monterrey, 1127 S. St. Mary's St. 210.745.2581, NAO, 312 Pearl Parkway, 210.554.6484, Ocho, 1015 Navarro St., 210.222.2008, havanasanantonio. com/ocho.shtml Pearl Brewery, 200 E. Grayson, 210.212.7260, Sloan/Hall, 5424 Broadway St., 210.828.7738, Soluna, 7959 Broadway St., 210.930.8070, Tito's Restaurant, 955 S. Alamo St., 210.212.8226, VFW Post 76, 10 Tenth St., 210.223.4581, vfwpost76 3-DAY LAYOVER It's been almost 20 years since Marcus Sloan and I packed up our lives, changed our career paths and moved to San Antonio to open our first Sloan/Hall. Known by outsiders mostly as the home of the Alamo (with more than one place to get a good margarita), this city of a million-plus souls holds so much more — so many secrets, from the simple to the elegant. Let's get started. Originally built as a boarding house, the Hotel Havana is now the creation of hospitality icon Liz Lambert (San Jose and Saint Cecilia in Austin and El Cosmico in Marfa). With only 27 rooms, the Havana is dark and intimate. The quiet guest rooms maintain a boarding- house feel but with heavenly beds and Smeg refrigerators as mini bars stocked with snacks, juices and sophisticated adult beverages including my go-to, Patrón. I love having an early- evening drink at the hotel restau- rant Ocho. The dining room was originally a greenhouse and still captures the natural changing light as night falls, all with a tran- quil view of the famous River Walk. And the margaritas (along with the rest of the cock- tail list) are badass. After cocktails, head south of downtown to the King William neighborhood, which is known for its bohemian vibe and unique mix of bars and restaurants. Hands down, I worship at the feet of chef Mark Bliss and his namesake restaurant Bliss. Housed in a vintage gas station, the eatery maintains the gritty patina of its roots while churning out culinary masterpieces from its pristine glass-encased kitchen. Mark's menu is an adventure in itself. I love reading it from top to bottom, and I don't even cook. (My fridge is filled with booze and dog food. But, I digress …) Each combination of flesh, green and starch is thoughtful, unique and worthy of note. Ingredients are local, and flavors are grounded in the traditional cooking of South Texas. At the top of just about everyone's list of favorites are his oyster sliders, which are fried Gulf oysters with candied bacon served on the most perfectly baked buttermilk chive biscuits you can imagine. The THE CONSUMMATE SA TRANSPLANT, SHANNON HALL — HALF OF THE CHIC MERCHANT DUO SLOAN/HALL, WITH STORES IN BOTH SAN ANTONIO AND HOUSTON — PLOTS A THREE-DAY TOUR OF COOL. SANANTONIO experience of the meal leaves you, well, in bliss. One of the greatest pleasures here is, of course, the San Antonio River Walk. A 1930s WPA-era project, the River Walk has lured visitors for decades (my parents honeymooned here) with its restaurants and bars. In recent years, it has expanded, developing north past the San Antonio Museum of Art and the redeveloped Pearl Brewery. My favorite time on the river is my morning run, before tourists rise. Starting downtown, I make my way north on the river, passing the new Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, the museum and onward to the Pearl and back. With the exception of a few like-minded souls, it's just me and the ducks, the egrets and, surprisingly, one particular owl that hangs out on a low branch over the water, hoping to catch his morning meal. The pathway is sprinkled with public art. My favorite is a sound sculpture by San Francisco-based Bill Fontana, housed beneath the Jones Avenue bridge, which amplifies the chirps, buzzes, croaks and whirls of the river's animal kingdom. After all that early calorie burning, breakfast tacos are a requi- site late Saturday morning reward. For me, none are better than those at Tito's Restaurant on South Saint Mary's. The Spartan dining room looks straight out of an early Mike Nichols movie. My favorite taco is the Niles, named after an all-around good guy in town. Take the perfect homemade corn tortilla and fill it with refried beans, thick meaty bacon and slices of avocado. Yum! Next, an afternoon of culture. San Antonio is incredibly rich in artistic history, and no place better embodies this than the Linda Pace Foundation. Linda, a dear friend who passed away in 2007, created the foundation to house and exhibit her vast collection of contemporary art. The foundation and Artpace, which she founded in 1993, both exhibit and promote the development of contemporary art by collaboration with local, national and international artists. Artpace has one of the most respected visiting artist residencies in the world. For a Saturday night of strolling, eating and drinking, you can't beat the Pearl Brewery just north of downtown. The core of this adaptive reuse project is the original 1883 Pearl Brewery building with its gorgeous Victorian flourishes. At its heart are incredible culinary offerings, most notably The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), which opened its third location (after New York and Napa Valley) here in 2008. The school and its teaching res- taurant NAO have turned the Pearl into a foodie hub, with an amazing number of restaurants on site. I must give a nod to Cured and its creator, chef Steven McHugh. Housed in the brewery's restored administration building, Cured's menu thoughtfully reinterprets southern cooking. Don't let ham hock verrine or fried chicken livers scare you. This is a fantastic food adventure. To wash it down, I suggest The Blink of an Eye: rye, Mission San José McNay Art Museum Pearl Brewery Tito's Restaurant Ocho at Hotel Havana Ocho Hotel Havana Rooftop at Bliss Bliss San Antonio River Walk Christmas Room at Mi Tierra Café y Panaderia NAO

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of PaperCity Magazine - May 2014 - Houston