Always an Adventure, at Mi Terra!
Some may think it's a tourist trap, but I find it to be a guaranteed good time at Mi Tierra in San Antonio! Every time we have visited this festive restaurant, exploding with music, color and flavors we have a good time.
Over 10 Years Ago
I brought family to Mi Tierra's in 2000 and my mom was fairly giddy to meet a celebrity. She didn't know who he was, but she noticed him wandering the crowded dining rooms followed by cameras and autograph seekers. My mom was thrilled to pose for a photo.
In 2002, we returned with more family and absorbed more of the curious Mi Tierra vibe.
We were amused to find a colorful flute player in the bar, not far from a very large portrait of President Clinton... jogging. ???
Mom's Mystery Man?
On our return visit, we teased Mom about seeing her mystery man again. I brought the photo we had taken in 2000, so we could finally inquire about the popular stranger.
I can't remember his name but we learned he was a well-known Telemundo TV star. After Mom gathered a group of waiters to study the photograph with her, she was just as happy to pose with her 4 new friends as she had been with her TV star.
Last Weekend's Celebration
Last Saturday my husband and I joined our son and his girlfriend's family on a trip to San Antonio. This was their first visit to Texas, so we thought dinner at Mi Tierra would give them quite a festive taste of one of the many cultures that make up this state. We hadn't done our homework or we would have known there was a weekend celebration going on in the Market area for Mexican Independence Day. Outside the restaurant there were food vendors and musical stages, families with lawn chairs and lots of dancing! Inside Mi Tierra, it was business as usual. The restaurant never closes and the decorations never come down!
We didn't eat in this room, but I had to snap a photo of the fluttering silver décor, dripping from the ceiling and yes, those are Christmas trees surrounding the room.
Since they are open 24 hours here, I sure hope they give some of these lights a rest in the wee hours. I kind of like this photo because it captures a bit of the family atmosphere...a little laughing, smiling and a couple of siblings holding hands...or more likely...tugging playfully at each other.
You have to love a restaurant with a mural that makes the room seem twice as crowded as it is. (only a portion is showing in photo) Our wonderful waiter Delmar pointed out many of the famous faces on the wall, including Pete Cortez, the very man who opened the 3- table restaurant with his wife back in 1941.
In this photo I love the way the people seated at the table blend into the wall. Did they feel like they were being watched?
I've enjoyed the music of mariachis in many Mexican restaurants, but I've never enjoyed multiple groups of musicians at once. While our group of 3 performed, another group strummed and crooned across the room and yet another played in a nearby room.
The performers are not employed by the restaurant, so they're quite upfront about being paid. When we requested Maleguena, the man in the sun glasses let us know that would be a $6.00 song. The song requires pretty strong vocal chords to hold the long notes and they ended up earning much more than $6.00 from our table! Bravo!!
I was so busy enjoying the atmosphere, I hardly expected to be delighted by my food. You hardly expect good cuisine from a 24-hour restaurant that serves up to 500 people. But my Poblano Dinner was incredibly good. The pepper was stuffed with spicy beef and just the right amount of cheese. The enchilada, rice, beans and guacamole may look like one big blob of color in my photo, but the flavors and textures were delicious and distinct. Ole' for my meal!
No one had room for dessert. We left feeling pretty stuffed...that's part of the Mi Tierra experience. Stuffed from margaritas and chips and salsa and the meal. Even my brain felt stuffed from all the sights and sounds. There's no way you can absorb it all in one visit.
Next time, I'll have to ask more about the shrine behind our table. Delmar did confirm that the portrait was Selena, the famous singer who died too young. And I needed no help identifying the Virgin Mary. But I'm going to ask about the framed portraits on display. Are they members of the Cruz family, who still own the restaurant today? Or family members who have died. How could I have dined so close to this curious shrine with twinkly lights and a tiny skeleton and not have the full story!
Shame on me. Next time...
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.