Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What's for lunch?

Looks healthy doesn't it?-Brick Street Cafe Greenville SC
No worries on being too healthy y'all-I had this for dessert!
One of my favorite questions when I travel is where should we eat? Followed by what's for lunch? Or dinner? or breakfast? I love them all.

Brisket sandwich...I wish I knew where I had it!
Ribs and sides-Rack Shack Burnsville MN 

I love trying new places to eat. I regret that there are only 5 meals in a day. Oh, 3 you say? Well yeah but when I'm on vacation I sometimes squeeze in second breakfast and elevensies, you know, like the hobbits? Never mind, let's just say I spend a fair amount of time eating and drinking or thinking about where to eat or drink next.

Barking Crab-Newport Rhode Island

Lobster BLT-Seriously, lobster AND bacon. Come on!

Perfect fish and chips

So nice we had it twice

Very crabby crab cakes
I've had great food in unassuming places and unassuming food in great places. You just never know.

I like to do research about the local food scene of anyplace I visit. Some resources I use are:

1. Food bloggers local to the area I plan to visit
2. Check out restaurants and reviews on a few online sites

And when I'm there:

1. Recommendations from locals
2. Just get out into the city and check things out

Ribs and chicken-Bob's Smoke Stack Ribs Elgin MN

Chicken and Ribs-Cap's Grille Minneapolis MN

I love cheeseburgers. Did I mention that? It may be nearing an obsession.

Bigfoot's Mother in Law-Copper River Grill Greenville SC This thing was HUGE!

My new favorite-Pimento Cheeseburger at the Northgate Soda Shop Greenville SC

Flameburger-Rice Street St. Paul MN
If you're in a very touristy area try to get a bit off of the beaten track if you can. That's where local recommendations can really pay off. Chances are there'll be at least a few local's places where the food is great and the prices are a better than in the main tourist areas.

Not that there's nothing wrong with a tourist oriented restaurant, I've been to plenty of them. I love the coffee and beignets at the Cafe du Monde. But when I'm in NOLA you can find me eating breakfast at the Clover Grill. Located at 900 Bourbon Street, this eclectic place has great breakfasts and burgers and is open 24 hours a day every day. If you're in New Orleans definitely stop by. Like the menu says "Eat well, feel swell"

Cafe du Monde-New Orleans Louisiana

Beignets and Chicory Coffee-Cafe du Monde

I had a really nice meal at The Lady and Sons in Savannah Georgia. There was a low country boil served too. Sadly it never got its photo op. It was pretty much a goner as soon as it hit the table. (It was dark in there and me without a flash. Tres desole.)

Fried Green Tomatoes-The Lady and Sons Savannah GA

Seafood dip and toast-The Lady and Sons Savannah GA

Lattice crusted chicken potpie-The Lady and Sons Savannah GA
Sometimes there's just no choice but to stop. Case in point:

There's aliens. How could we not stop?
Let's just say the food wasn't as interesting as the decor.
While there's no substitute for great food a wonderful place to eat it is nice too.

Half Shell Raw Bar-Historic Seaport Key West FL

Turtle Kraals Restaurant-Historic Seaport Key West FL

Roasted Chicken-Oktoberfest Grounds Munich Germany

Lunch option-Oktoberfest Grounds Munich Germany

Outdoor Cafes-Viktualienmarkt Munich Germany

Outdoor Cafe & stand-up beer tables-Viktualienmarkt Munich Germany

Sidewalk Cafe-Milan Italy
So now my secret is out, I love to eat. Whether you're on vacation or just out and about don't be afraid to branch out. Talk to the people you meet throughout the day. Ask the barista where she loves to have dinner or ask the cab driver where he heads for lunch. You may luck into an otherwise hidden gem.Happy dining!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

San Antonio, TX - A River Runs Through

There's no better way to pass the time than sitting outside on a sunny day sipping a cold beer and watching the world pass by. Add in historical and culturally significant sites and a lazy river and you have San Antonio, TX.

We've spent a lot of time in San Antonio. Being there is very relaxing and I get a sense of homecoming as soon as I land at the airport.

Whenever we're in San Antonio we stay on the River Walk. The San Antonio River Walk is a public park that is open 365 days a year. It's lined with restaurants, hotels and attractions.

There are many great places to stay. A few of my personal favorites are The Hotel Contessa, The Hyatt Regency River Walk and the The Omni La Mansion del Rio. All are great hotels with direct access to the River Walk and right in the heart of all that it has to offer.

San Antonio is famed for its many missions, the most famous of course being the Alamo. Four of the missions are located in San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. The Alamo is not part of the park and is located at a separate site. Visiting the Missions National Park and the Alamo are definite must do's. The history and architecture are amazing. Free guided tours, movies, and demonstrations are scheduled throughout the week.

A good way to see the city is to take a trolley tour. You can get a Hopper pass that allows you to use the trolley all day. You can get on and off at any of the scheduled tour locations. It's a great way to visit the various sites throughout the city.

Another option is to take a Segway tour. I haven't done this yet but it's on my list for my next visit. You can spend a couple of hours touring around some of the cities main attractions. The Segway tours even offer a ghost tour. Sounds like fun!

A few other must see sites are:

The Market Square - El Mercado. A three-block outdoor plaza lined with restaurants, shops and produce stands near San Antonio's city center, Market Square is the largest Mexican market in the U.S. El Mercado is home to Mi Tierra. A really fun Tex-Mex restaurant that is open 24 hours a day. The Market Square

La Vallita is a historic arts village in downtown San Antonio. It's one square block filled with artists, craftsman, restaurants and shops. A place to pick up a few gifts for friends and family. Or yourself. La Vallita is accessible from the River Walk. La Vallita

Take a walk through HemisFair Park. The park was built to host the 1968 World's Fair and is home to The Tower of the Americas. HemisFair Park

We can't talk about San Antonio without talking about the terrific food. San Antonio is home to the best Tex-Mex food and some of the best BBQ in the country. If brisket is your thing you're in for a real treat,Texans know how to smoke a brisket. Brisket sandwiches, brisket dinners, brisket tacos, try them all.
Another local treat is the puffy taco. Puffy, masa taco shells filled with all manner of taco fillings. They can be found on menus all over town.

Head on down to San Antonio for a visit. Grab a table at a restaurant by the river, order a local Shiner beer or an icy margarita, sit back and watch the parade of people and the river laze by. Grab a few tacos for dinner, listen as the sound of mariachis drift across the river, take a deep breath and relax, you can always go sight seeing tomorrow.