One of the things I love most about San Antonio is that it’s a place where people value all kinds of food–Mexican food, yes, but not only that. There’s no end of great places to eat, from the gluten-free Little Aussie Bakery to the gluten-full Saweet Cupcakes, from Rosario’s (a terrific place to get a plate of fish tacos) to The Cove (where you can listen to live music while eating a beef or veggie burger on a gluten-free or regular bun.) As I’ve mentioned many times, I’m a big fan of supporting local businesses–especially those that buy their supplies locally as well.
So when there’s a festival of food going on in San Antonio–specifically, a festival of tamales featuring local food vendors–you know I’m going to be there. As you can see, I was not the only person with that idea.
The forecast for today was rain, rain, and more rain, but we woke this morning to overcast skies and intermittent drizzle. It seemed like the sort of weather we could brave for the sake of the local economy. And, okay, tamales. The Hubs, The Girl and I took a stroll through the Pearl Farmer’s Market before we headed over to the tamale festival, but the farmers had been at it since 9:00 this morning and were largely out of produce. Even they seemed ready to pack it up and head out for lunch. So we wandered through the breezeway of the Full Goods Building before too long, and there found ourselves in food heaven (along with about a bajillion other people.) Among the things we sampled:
The Rajas Con Crema–”slices in cream”–the slices being of poblano pepper–were so spicy that I was very grateful we’d also bought a Diet Coke. A bite of the sweet, creamy Tres Leches cupcake also helped to put out the fire.
Our selection process was pretty unscientific: we went for the booths with the shortest lines, figuring that even the least popular tacos and tamales in San Antonio are still going to be phenomenal. Unfortunately–or fortunately, depending on how you look at it–that strategy worked very well, and all the food we bought was so delicious that we gobbled it up before I had a chance to take pictures. Any time you get the chance to eat slow-roasted pork in San Antonio, I’m going to advise you to take advantage of that opportunity.
From there we headed over to the holiday mercado, where all the things I really wanted were either out of my price range (see the big pink chair) or very affordable, but hard to justify (see the Diego y Frieda wall clock).
After we’d browsed our way through the gift market, we decided to head back toward the food area for one last look around. The Girl wanted to buy a little something for her boyfriend, who’d been dutifully taking his SAT this morning rather than wandering the streets in search of food with us. The Hubs wasn’t up for braving the crowd in the food tent again, so he headed over to the Culinary Institute’s bakery booth to survey their wares.
The Girl bought two chocolate-dipped pretzel sticks (i.e., Chocolate Lollipops) from Ms. Chocolatier–one dark chocolate, for herself, and one milk chocolate, for The Boyfriend. I bought a bag of Mexican Chocolate Toffee which is, I just have to say, out of this world. It’s buttery, a tiny bit salty, covered in dark chocolate spiced with cinnamon, and sprinkled with crunchy almond slices. It does not get better than this, and I say that with some degree of authority.
By that time, we’d all had enough of the crowds and drove home sharing bites of the cranberry-orange scone that The Hubs had bought from the CIA bakery–soft and buttery, flecked with chewy dried cranberries and big pieces of orange zest.
And there you have San Antonio in a nutshell: a little bit of everything, all in one convenient location. When we moved here ten years ago, we arrived with the intention of staying only as long as it took for me or The Hubs to find a job somewhere else. We just couldn’t envision ourselves as Texans. Ten years later, I’m pretty sure we’ve never lived anywhere that we’ve loved more than this crazy city, and it’s hard to imagine ourselves living anywhere else.