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Salsa Tacos Texas Travel

A Saturday in San Antonio

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.

Image courtesy of Pearl

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.

Fried green tomatoes, pimento spread, Oaxacan pepper jam
Smoked salmon sandwich on rye toast with havarti dill and capers
French omelette with herbed chicken

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.

Pearl map courtesy of Hotel Emma

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.





Mexican Tacos

Green chile and cotija chips

Green chile chips - Tiny Global Kitchen

We missed Cinco de Mayo traveling back from Europe. Not that it really matters, because I could eat tacos every day. We landed in Chicago and I had about 24 hours before my flight back to Seattle, so we decided on one of our favorite places, El Milagro in Pilsen for lunch. Their tacos are not for the light eater. I only usually can eat one because they’re stuffed with your meat of choice, rice (yes, inside the taco), beans, shredded cabbage and their spicy salsa. Delicious. But they have something else that I accidentally ordered, that I cannot live with out when we visit.

My first time at El Milagro, I was really hungry, so I saw they had a side of chips and salsa. Yes please! The woman behind the corner asked me if I wanted cheese on them. Huh? I said ok, not entirely sure I understood her correctly. Then, it arrived. Warm, freshly made tortilla chips with a warm green chile salsa and Cotija cheese on top. I took a bite and the crunchy, salty, warm chips and green chile, combined with the cold cheese… I told J it was truly, one of the best things I’d ever eaten. I asked the staff working what kind of chiles they were and they said “green.” Hmm. I would guess using Hatch could come close, and I’ll be trying to replicate these soon.

Austin Food trucks Hot dogs Korean Mexican Tacos Travel

I love you Austin, but I need a salad

Yep, we did sushi in Texas. But it was a jalapeño and cilantro roll!

I’ve always loved Austin for it’s being so different from other parts of Texas. The food trucks, the friendly people, and all the music venues. J and I were excited to venture down once again for SXSW. We walked all over the city, checking out bands for my day job, meeting with industry friends… and eating. Tex Mex and fusion dishes like Chi’Lantro Bulgogi tacos, Mexican sushi rolls with crunchy jalapeño and cilantro, smoked pork tacos, Frank’s hot dogs with BBQ sauce and burgers too big to admit you consumed. I think there was a poblano caesar in there, but it was underwhelming, probably because it was trying to be a salad. At the end of the week, we had blisters from walking from one side of the city to the other, but reinvigorated hearing great music. Ok, I won’t lie, we enjoyed ditching our normally clean diet for some Frito pie. But we were happy to be headed home… I love you Austin, but I need a salad.