San Antonio Shines Bright

Horse and carriage outside The Alamo. I can't stop thinking about how sweet this horse is. Photo by M.C.

Horse and carriage outside The Alamo. I can’t stop thinking about how sweet this horse is. Photo by M.C.

Due to a writer’s conference I had the opportunity to discover San Antonio, Texas. I wasn’t sure what to expect from San Antonio other than the Riverwalk and The Alamo. Although it had been in the news regarding Mayor Julián Castro, who will be the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development of the United States. He’s been mayor for a while and he started young. You don’t see too many young people in the state of California in descent careers.

Asking for directions, I noticed there are a lot of young people in the city. Walking around, there is a military presence, there is an abundance of color from nature to clothes and culture abounds from a Mariachi band to old buildings.

From the airplane, large houses are seen surrounded by a green expanse. The Riverwalk has tons of colorful flowers in purples, oranges, yellows and pinks. Some are salvia, but much healthier and taller than what we see in California. From all the natural color, I can see how the food, clothes and décor are inspired by the environment.

The Riverwalk by the mall. Photo by M.C.

The Riverwalk by the mall. Photo by M.C.

The Riverwalk is a beautiful river with bridges and trees that create a canopy enjoyed by water taxi or walking. The mall is at one end that works well for air-conditioning if you need to cut through to another street. The river connects to many interesting places like La Villita, a historic arts village, but I didn’t have the chance to get that far.

Many women wear dresses in Texas because of the humidity and heat. What sets San Antonio women apart are their colorful dresses. I have never seen so many beautiful dresses with flowers, wide, horizontal stripes or ombré, all in bright colors.

The Alamo is one of the many highlights of the city. The long barracks have a bit of reading that house mementos of those who once fought or lived there. David Crockett’s locket of auburn hair hanging on a gold necklace is encased in there. There are explanations of how land was distributed to the Indian residents and how they lived and how others lived in the area. There were some who survived the attack. What I find interesting is that across the street from the entrance is City Hall, a hotel and a restaurant that are built on the edge of The Alamo. I wonder if it’s haunted over there?

There is definitely great food to be found in the city. Downtown San Antonio is easy to walk. Barriba Cantina is one of the places I found online. The eclectic entrance is decorated with spools hanging to create a divide with different colors of glass lanterns hanging behind it. A dish called Hippie Tacos are soft, orange corn tortillas filled with very spicy sautéed veggies. Coleslaw is on the side. Maybe a block away is Schilo’s Delicatessen, a place near Casa Rio. The delicatessen looks a century old. It’s website says it began in 1917. Walls are covered and booths made of a medium dark wood. It has a saloon vibe to it. They make the best homemade root beer and bring it in a cold glass. They give one free refill. The tuna sandwich is simple and satisfying. Both restaurants are steps away from the Riverwalk. A hostess from another restaurant guiding us to find the kind of food we wanted suggested we walk two miles to a Mexican restaurant. Ah, no thanks. The weather is not bad for 100 degrees, but I don’t want to walk two miles not knowing where I am going. I had asked where Barriba Cantina is and she acted like she didn’t know. It is right around the corner. She did say the food on the Riverwalk is bad. We learned the hard way.

San Antonio is so friendly; just don’t ask for directions. We ended up with a female taxi driver from San Antonio Taxi who told us all about things to do in the city on our way to our hotel. We called her again to return to the airport. On the way back we told her how bad the food is at Casa Rio on the Riverwalk. She was surprised because the food used to be good. She worked there for her first job years ago and had dated the owner. She said the ownership must have changed.

This is a great city to take photographs. From beautiful flowers to old buildings to a mariachi band walking to a Mexican restaurant you get an eye full. San Antonio is more than I expected and would definitely go again. And, now that the Spur’s hired Becky Hammon, first paid female basketball assistant coach, I love the city even more.