Where To Eat?
Recently, Don and I found ourselves strolling down San Antonio's River Walk... alone!
Every visit we've made in the past 17 years, has been with a small crowd, of family or friends. This time when the sun went down, we only had the 2 of us. It made the decision about where to eat, so easy! We decided to check out The Esquire. We've always been curious about this place.
A Little Scary?
The street view on Commerce looked a little eerie, more like a Gentleman's Club. The river entrance didn't attempt to lure tourists, either. It looked more like second story brothel, with a metal fire escape.
Longest Bar in Texas
But once inside, Don and I were both game. There was a definite saloon feel with the dim lighting and the 100-foot long bar.
Molded tin ceilings and plush wall paper, dark leather booths and tarnished mirrors! I was tempted to climb up on the bar and remove the flat screen TV. Then I could have imagined it was 1933 and the Tavern had just opened... the day after prohibition ended.
A Few Furry Friends
The stuffed beasts hanging from the wall and standing on the bar reminded me that this was quite the man's hang out in its time. There are stories of gangsters and prostitutes and lots of shady business. By the time the place closed down in 2008, things were pretty dilapidated. What a treat that the current owner rescued the place and reopened in 2011.
I have a feeling in the bright daylight, The Tavern might look a bit worn, but I liked the dark, weathered vibe. At least the crowd wasn't creepy. There was an eclectic, not so touristy mix.
Luckily Esquire's is not just a bar anymore. Our casual, yet knowledgable waiter brought us our vintage looking menus and a chilled bottle of water with sliced lemon. It was a treat to have good service and tasty food options, in this authentic old tavern. I'm sure the smell of cigars and stale booze is absorbed in the walls somewhere, but it was the food I smelled that night.
Salad and Chile Relleno
I was tempted by the fried corn on the cob, fried pickles, deviled eggs and boiled peanuts on the menu. But we ended up splitting a garden salad and Chile Relleno, made with yummy pulled pork and ancho chiles. That $6.00 salad was huge and delicious. It was the perfect amount with a couple cold beers.
I've been intrigued by restaurant bathrooms since childhood, when I was finally old enough to venture on my own. I used to love spotting anything unusual that I could report to my family back at the table. This wonderful "Ladies Room" at the Tavern was my favorite.
The frosted glass on the door, the wonderful walls with paneled wood and burgundy wallpaper... the tile with snake skin pattern and oh my... a stuffed otter right above the door! I returned to the table with a glowing report.
River Walk Dining
Funny, I'd forgotten that the Tavern was even on the river, until heading back to the hotel. For most out-of-towners, San Antonio is all about the Alamo and the River Walk. I'm a sucker for a margarita by the water, but it really was a treat to try something completely different... away from the usual tourist crowd!
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.