It had been quite a bit since we were able to travel together and we were so excited about San Antonio. It has been dubbed “America’s most affordable foodie hotspot”… and we can see why. San Antonio is a major city in south-central Texas with a rich colonial heritage and is the most visited city in Texas. There are so many things to do including the famous Riverwalk, shopping, the Alamo, or checking out the Pearl. Like any new place we’re excited to explore, the first thing we’re curious about is the food. Whether you want Mexican food, BBQ, or something completely different- San Antonio has something for you.
We were immediately charmed by our hotel that sat right on the Riverwalk, Hotel Contessa. Rustic brick walls and vibrant pops of color invite San Antonio’s vibrant Spanish history into space, it was the perfect central location for our long weekend. They have a rooftop pool, spa, and excellent margaritas at Cork. Try the El Toro made with Milagro Reposado, Ancho Reyes liqueur, fresh lime juice, ginger beer and mint.
Wander down the riverwalk to find a lunch spot on the water or hop on a relaxing boat tour. The temps in November were surprisingly mild at 75-80 degrees and comfortable.
Further along the riverwalk, you’ll find a the La Villita historic arts village established in 1939. The neighborhood was adapted into a center for teaching regional arts and crafts and to serve as an artists market. Today, nearly 30 shops and galleries offer distinct handcrafted items by artists from San Antonio and surrounding areas. You’ll find paintings, folk art, textiles, sculptures, jewelry and more, all handmade by artists on location.
Head over to Southtown Arts District for dinner at Rosario’s. Southtown’s food scene has been causing a buzz, so check it out if you want a more locals vibe. Again, we found that addicting, deep red roasted salsa, full of black specs of roasted goodness and with an addicting heat. We ordered two favorites, Tacos Norteños, flour tortillas, thin layer of refried beans, Monterey Jack cheese, sliced avocado, choice of beef or chicken, folded over and toasted on a flat grill- and Tacos Callejeros grilled on the comal, and your choice of steak or herbaceous shredded chicken or carnitas (or one of each!) They come topped with bright cabbage lime slaw, diced avocado and queso fresco. We heard a rumor there’s a huge debate who’s tacos are better, Austin or San Antonio… we’re going to have to give it to San Antonio.
If you’re looking to explore a different neighborhood, check out the Pearl. Located just north of downtown San Antonio, the beautiful space features unique retail, dining, green space for a twice weekly Farmers market, a riverside amphitheater, and the third campus of The Culinary Institute of America.
It was a beautiful day and we walked all around the Pearl, there are numerous incredible restaurant choices so be sure to check them all out.
We found an outdoor seat at Supper, a restaurant attached to the gorgeous Hotel Emma. The hotel is definitely worth a walk through, it was once a 19th-century Brewhouse and houses a gourmet market and deli called Larder, a gorgeous bar, and library.
The variety of retail shops at Pearl was fun to explore. Grab a cold brew and a few unique macaroons (Earl Gray, Caramel Apple) at Bakery Lorraine, check out beautiful turquoise jewelry and handmade artisan goods at Leighelena, or grab a cone at Lick’s Honest Ice Cream.
We were quite taken with San Antonio, it makes for a perfect long weekend away. Not only because of the incredible food and warm temps in November, but the friendly, laid-back attitude of everyone we met. And that dark red roasted salsa is sure to haunt you, so check out our favorite salsa recipe below!
Roasted Tomato Salsa
1 to 2 fresh jalapeno chiles
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3-4 fresh in-season tomatoes or a large can of fire-roasted tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
In a small cast iron skillet or over a flame, roast the chiles, tomatoes and garlic until they are soft and browned. Cool then de-stem the chiles, peel the garlic. Add to a blender and pulse until chopped. Add the tomatoes along with their juice. Re-cover and pulse until you have a coarse puree. Stir in the cilantro and lime juice. Taste and season with salt to taste.
If you’re looking for more of a pico de gallo, check out our fresh chopped salsa recipe here.