• Sunday , 18 February 2018

Eat and Drink Your Face Off in San Antonio, Texas While Exploring the City

Photos, story by Cassie Hepler

When the tourism board for Visit San Antonio, Texas invites you on a press trip, you go. Especially when it’s a culinary tour and the itinerary includes eating, exploring (hey, that sounds familiar), sleeping, wining and dining at some of the best spots that this massive city has to offer (its the 7th largest city in the U.S. while Philly is 5th).

The night before the scheduled 4 a.m. flight from Philly by Southwest (hint: never agree to early flights while having spotty reception in the Poconos the previous week), I was bouncing around from back to back events and packed at 8 p.m. the night before. I took a sleeping pill, passed out and we were on the road after some eggs (there’s always time for eggs) with plenty of time to spare. The connecting flight was a killer (from Orlando to Texas) but I refused to fly United (didn’t want to get beaten) or Frontier (didn’t want to get nickel and dimed to death) so layovers it was. Once I arrived, things immediately got better. Elegant Transportation picked me up in a town car and drove me to Hotel Valencia, right on the beloved RiverWalk. My room was not ready, which worked out well as my tired butt had bigger fish to fry as I had not packed any heels or cocktail dresses for various upcoming events. So off to the Shops at Rivercenter I went, located on the Riverwalk which is lined with charming footbridges and flagstone pathways that take you under a canopy of Cyprus trees.

We were also given a San Antonio “passport” to explore area sites and attractions that included the Briscoe Western Art Museum, La Villita, Spanish Governor’s Palace and the San Antonio Museum of Art – none of which I had time to explore sadly. After I scoured Macy’s, Express and any other cocktail dress conglomerate, I was all set and ready for that epic nap before dinner in that extremely comfortable luxury bed.

A corner room and super comfortable bed at Hotel Valencia.

That evening, we met in the lobby for a tour of Hotel Valencia Riverwalk with Stacy Seaborn, director of sales and marketing, who has that sweet Southern style and explained the hotel’s new $10 million renovation from April 2017. Hotel Valencia Riverwalk wast the first boutique hotel in San Antonio, Texas and has its own signature fragrance and candle scent available to purchase. Philadelphians might recognize its luxury detail like a Kimpton Hotel, however with a Texas flare. Warm, rustic woods, elegant ironwork, hand-crafted tiles and textiles that reflect the design sensibilities of Spanish Colonial style, along with the color palette and elegance of Modern Mediterranean design. Large leather chairs and couches, boots, spurs and animal skulls adorned the walls keeping to that spacious Texan theme.

A super refreshing cocktail to start our tour of Hotel Valencia with views of the Riverwalk.

The back fire pit area at Hotel Valencia, perfect with a glass of wine.

The balconies to the right at Hotel Valencia.

The balconies to the left at Hotel Valencia.

Looking straight up from the fire pit area at Hotel Valencia, mostly blue skies and chain hotels.

Soon we began dinner right off the main bar area at Dorregos, the only Argentinian-inspired restaurant in the city and named after the famed Plaza Dorrego in the historic San Telmo neighborhood of Buenos Aires. Executive Chef Anthony Mesa draws much of his inspiration from his travels in Argentina mixed with culinary influences from Spain, Italy, France and other cultures.

Our first meal in San Antonio, Texas was served tapas style.

Usually this penguin is pouring wine however here it serves water.

Always a fan of bubbles, this Argentinian Pascual Toso Brut did not disappoint.

Chef Anthony Mesa tells the table all about his curated menu at Dorrego’s.

Argentinian short rib empanadas were shared and enjoyed.

Mussels are always a delight to eat but a messy bunch at Dorrego’s with tomato sauce.

Always one to eat my greens, asparagus done just right is a delight at Dorrego’s.

A delicious hearts of palm salad medley.

One big meaty smoked rib ravioli is really all you need when having a multi-course meal at Dorrego’s.

Also a sucker for a tart French rose, this was a fan fave.

The best thing my eyes saw all day was this tray of meat at Dorrego’s and even the potato puree was heavenly.

44 Ranch Bone-In ribeye steak.

Akuashi steak sliced just right with perfect pink in the middle.

This TX Pig Tomahawk was my steak favorite, I could have eaten the whole thing myself.

An amazing red that paired well with that ridiculous steak that was as big as our heads.

Some interesting facts about the Argentinian Red Schooner.

An apple pie empanada hit the sweet spot at Dorrego’s. An excellent fine dining experience.

The next morning we met up for breakfast at Mi Tierra Café y Panaderia with some planned shopping time at Market Square that never happened due to our epic eating and exploring frenzy. A traditional Tex-Mex breakfast and visual feast of the eyes was awaiting us at this 24/7 bakery and family-owned Mexican restaurant decorated with hundreds of lights, piñatas, murals dedicated to famous Mexican Americans and Mexicans, and stained glass located in the historic Market Square (El Mercado).

The bakery in front of Mi Tierra Café y Panaderia.

The back dining room at Mi Tierra Café y Panaderia.

A homage to Selena Quintanilla at Mi Tierra Café y Panaderia.

The middle room at Mi Tierra Café y Panaderia.

A mural at Mi Tierra Café y Panaderia.

The rest of the mural at Mi Tierra Café y Panaderia.

I went with Mexican hot chocolate as I had tons of coffee at the hotel and it was just as delicious as it looks.

A protein packed breakfast always fuels me for the day and the homemade Mexican sausage really made this dish, Chorizo Mexicano Con Huevo.

My journalist friend from New Mexico opted for a greasy nacho plate after going out the night before.

Another journalist friend went all out with steak and eggs, all a nice mix in the flour tortillas.

Proud owner Michael Cortez poses before his family’s portrait who also has does a lot for the community.

This is the Mexican hangover soup, not my taste but it seemed to be enjoyed by everyone else.

A mariachi band roamed around, entertaining guests and keeping things lively at Mi Tierra Café y Panaderia.

The Christmas room at Mi Tierra Café y Panaderia due to the red and green colors.

Traditional Mexican attire is required of the wait staff like this lovely lady at Mi Tierra Café y Panaderia.

My favorite sweet treat which we all devoured after breakfast, candied oranges you can eat the whole thing it’s so moist and delicious.

Runners up for sweet treats at Mi Tierra Café y Panaderia.

Another runner up at Mi Tierra Café y Panaderia.

Anything with coconut goes into my mouth at Mi Tierra Café y Panaderia. We were sent home with a bag of goodies that later became a sugar junkie bag of sweet treats.

Next up was a trip to in the telltale Visit San Antonio white van to the Mission San Juan and its farm. We welcomed some walking, movement and fresh air, especially after all the eating in the last 24 hours. The four beautiful missions (Mission San José, Mission San Juan Capistrano, Mission Espada and Mission Concepción) that make up this National Historic Park were established in the 1700s by the Franciscan Order of the Catholic Church.  They feature a diversity of architectural styles that have been influenced by time, along with art from the Spanish colonial period.  These Spanish colonial missions, including the Alamo (which we visited later), recently gained global recognition as they received UNESCO World Heritage status.

Mission San Juan in the sunshine when it peaked out for us just for this tour.

Ruins at Mission San Juan.

It’s not what we’re used to, but this is prime land for agriculture regardless at Mission San Juan.

The irrigation canal at Mission San Juan.

Keeping the water flowing in the right direction and to the proper crops is key at Mission San Juan.

A field of corn ready to grow tall in the summer sun at Mission San Juan.

A couple of sunflowers sprout out in a random spot at Mission San Juan.

Poking around the stonework at Mission San Juan.

Looking out from the inside at Mission San Juan.

Mission San Juan up close.

The bell tower at Mission San Juan.

An epic view of Mission San Juan, still a working church.

Mother Mary at Mission San Juan.

A candle shrine at Mission San Juan.

The groundskeeper lives in this rustic home at Mission San Juan.

Mission San Juan is the only Spanish Colonial Demonstration Farm in the National Park Service and the only Spanish Colonial Demonstration farm in the United States that utilizes the original historic farmlands. The Mission San Juan farm provides a foundation for an emphasis on living history demonstrations in the park while preserving the Spanish Colonial landscape. We also got a feel for the Texas heat as the sun beat down on us but nothing that SPF 70 couldn’t handle. Soon we were back in the van in the air conditioning and off to go eat again!

The Pearl is a cool, hip and fun shopping area downtown with amazing restaurants, breweries and more to explore.

A 2016 and 2017 finalist for Best Chef Southwest by The James Beard Foundation Awards, Chef Steve McHugh’s restaurant, Cured, makes use of the purest regional ingredients, paired with organic methods and is built on a foundation of lovingly hand-crafted cured foods, from charcuterie to pickles.

The Cured building has a rustic interior with modern elements. When you walk inside, you are greeted by hanging meats in a very European style.

The restaurant’s renovated historical building, built in 1904 as Pearl’s Administration Building which included the president’s office, embodies the perfect blend of a contemporary and historical atmosphere.

We stopped by at Cured for some shared charcuterie. My favorite was the apple jalapeno pork rillettes in the jar, a perfect blend of all three ingredients with a subtle kick. We also enjoyed chicken liver mousse, smoked duck ham, polish sausage, bierwurst and jalapeno sausage.

Our amazing Motley Crew at Cured enjoying eating our faces off.

Chef at Cured, Steve McHugh, gives the thumbs up after telling us all about the space.

Of course we had to share some of the fabulous fashion, modeled by this lovely lady at Cured.

And because we hadn’t had enough to eat yet, we spent some time roaming around the shops at Pearl before we went almost across the street to eat at Botika. But first… an adorable puppy!

This French bulldog had my heart in the courtyard at the Pearl.

Some pretty sweet artwork was seen in San Antonio on the streets, in and on the shops.

In case you forgot where you were, these signs were prevalent as well as cowboy boots and cowboy hats.

Botika is a fusion restaurant and one of my favorites of the trip.

The interior of Botika.

A table setting at Botika.

The kitchen at Botika.

A traditional kimono at Botika.

The bar at Botika.

Led by executive Chef Geronimo Lopez, Botika’s menu features “Chifa” (Chinese-Peruvian) and “Nikkei” (Japanese-Peruvian) cuisines, as well as inventive takes on traditional dishes from across Asia and Latin America.

Yuca fries can feed the world at Botika.

Meat is a sweet treat at Botika as these ribs were falling off the bone.

Dumplings hit the spot and not greasy at all at Botika.

Trying some sake flights from clear to cloudy at Botika.

A medley of

These were the most delicious balls of seafood.

Sliced steak cooked to perfection and served cold.

A poke bowl that was out of this world at Botika.

Even though my stomach was about to explode, this sushi was so excellent I kept stuffing it in my face at Botika.

All natural sorbet at Botika with my favorite being the mango followed by the green tea.

Since our bellies were full, what better way than to fill the cracks than some education and tastings of San Antonio’s brewery heritage with first stop at Southerleigh restaurant and brewery.

Inside the beautiful building of Southerleigh.

The bar at Southerleigh.

The majestic height of the ceilings at Southerleigh.

There is also wine for sale at Southerleigh, it’s not all about the beer.

Look up and you can see the beer vats making some brew for you at Southerleigh.

Fresh baked pretzels always pair well with ice cold beer at Southerleigh.

Some of the funny, punny names at Southerleigh.

The original steps leading to the second story brewery at Southerleigh.

Brewer Les Locke caught with a rare smile on his face at Southerleigh.

Brewer Les Locke brought back brewing to Pearl at Southerleigh, which was originally Pearl’s Brewhouse, built in 1894 and a San Antonio landmark ever since. The building was designed by Chicago architect August Maritzen in the Second Empire style. Maritzen specialized in breweries, designing more than eighty in the US, Canada and South Africa.

We sampled our way through the beers at Southerleigh.

My favorite beer was the Lord Dark Helmet at Southerleigh even on a hot sunny day.

A pirate’s life of swords and emblem for the bourbon aged barrels at Southerleigh.

Because I am mostly German or just have a love of wheat beer, Alamo Beer Co. was one of my faves. You can tell this by the way I don’t want to leave… like ever. Alamo combines local craftsmanship and pride with high quality ingredients to produce an exquisite craft beer. The brewery’s flagship beer, Alamo Golden Ale, is a lighter style ale perfect for those just starting to taste craft beer.

The Alamo Beer Co. has a large indoor and outdoor space with picnic tables and cornhole featuring craft draft beer and live music.

Alamo is located in the middle of an industrial area and is sprawling.

Inside the Alamo beer company it is much like a German beer hall.

Bottle cap artwork and giving back never goes out of style at the Alamo.

Our tour guide fills a traditional German stein for a tour of the Alamo.

Inside the Alamo brewery.

There’s no air conditioning inside the Alamo brewery because it will effect the beer.

A filtering system inside the Alamo.

Just in case you wondered who they used to help brew beer at the Alamo.

The bottling system in the Alamo brewery.

The ever popular Alamo summer beer.

Notice how tall the counters and chairs are at the Alamo because president Eugene Simor is so tall!

They have a funny sense of humor on the tip jar at the Alamo.

Finally time for a flight at the Alamo beer company with each beer better than the last, even the light beer was delightful!


We had so much fun at the Alamo beer company that we almost missed the original! Just barely making it before closing time, they squeezed us in for a speedy tour. The Alamo, originally named Mission San Antonio de Valero, was established in 1718 as the city’s first mission. In March of 1836, the famous Alamo was the site where 189 Texian heroes including Jim Bowie, William B. Travis and David Crockett bravely battled General Santa Ana’s army of thousands.

Outside the famous Alamo.

Tourists rush to explore Mission San Antonio de Valero better known as The Alamo before closing.

Even the gift shop at The Alamo was quite picturesque.

A cactus helps guard the walls of The Alamo.

After a fun-filled afternoon of fun in and out of the sun, we headed back to our home base at Hotel Valencia for another well-needed power nap, shower and refreshments that only a full shower (or hot bath in my case) can offer. Before I knew it, I was getting ready in a white lace Calvin Klein dress with a zipper in the front only to have the zipper break moments before walking out the door. Luckily, I had hastily packed some long, flowing summer dresses and with heels, makeup and some jewelry on, I felt I was acceptable for poolside chic for our next event. A weekend-long affair for us, the Culinaria Festival Week kicked off with Bubbles & Pearls at La Cantera Resort & Spa.

Breathtaking views behind La Cantera Resort & Spa.

The interior lobby lounge at La Cantera Resort & Spa.

The interior lobby lounge at La Cantera Resort & Spa.

Quite an entrance at La Cantera Resort & Spa.

A very masculine bar at La Cantera Resort & Spa.

In case you needed some sweet treats at La Cantera Resort & Spa.

Another amazing view behind La Cantera Resort & Spa.

We were on our way to explore all the bubbles at La Cantera Resort & Spa.

The pool view at sunset at La Cantera Resort & Spa.

The pool view at sunset at La Cantera Resort & Spa.

The TV lounge area at La Cantera Resort & Spa.

With all things that sparkle and shine, the glossy sheen of pearls gives a natural essence of elegance. The flavors of oysters, shrimps, and scallops will be enhanced by champagne making the stars of the gulf anything but over looked. It was  a fabulous evening poolside with exceptional drinks (my precious bubbles) and tiny tastes of the delicacies of the gulf.

True to the name of the event, we immediately found bubbles of all kinds.

Some sweet, delicious liquor was also available to taste.

A sight for sore eyes is this Moet display at La Cantera Resort & Spa which I happily sipped… maybe a little too much and with only seafood and samples to keep my belly full, I paid the price the next day!

Those sunsets…

Getting in the groove from where the DJ was spinning some sweet tunes at La Cantera Resort & Spa.

We also stumbled upon some delicious sake at the Bubbles & Pearls event at La Cantera Resort & Spa.

After briefly speaking with Suzanne Taranto-Etheredge, CEO of Culinaria, about the amazing week-long food fest, we were off to view San Antonio-The Saga at San Antonio’s main plaza. It is a captivating 24-minute video art installation on the beautiful façade of San Fernando Cathedral, the oldest continuously functioning religious community in the state of Texas. Created by Xavier de Richemont, This visual artwork narrates the history of San Antonio and is beautifully choreographed with lights, music and projection. We all decided to walk back to Hotel Valencia as it was only a five minute walk because the boutique hotel is so centrally located. And from there it was lights out for me!

A bright and early morning for me the next day as I awoke and immediately thought I lost my cell phone the night before (of course I have the latest, most expensive Samsung). I poked around grumbling at the continental breakfast with lots of coffee, OJ from a machine that makes it right there in front of you like a gum ball machine, fresh fruit salad and a croissant. However my fellow journalists assured me I dropped it in the van and kind of gave up on finding it the night before which reassured me as well as their hugs (best media group ever, by the way).

And we were off to the River Boat tour of the River Walk as I envied everyone’s cell phone and social media posting (it was like I lost a limb). The boat picked us up at Hotel Valencia right down the steps to the Riverwalk.

All aboard the boat on the Riverwalk with the most animated tour guide ever who wants to be a voiceover artist.

Even my Nikon camera had to get used to the humidity on the Riverwalk.

We zipped by a lot of attractions on the boat ride on the Riverwalk because a storm was brewing.

Soon we entered this interesting concept where the water lifted you up to continue to drift through the Riverwalk.

Eventually we were dropped off at the Pearl next to Hotel Emma and I was happily reunited with my cell phone. All was well in the world again! We took a tour of the Pearl district and the breathtaking luxury Hotel Emma with Elizabeth Fauerso, chief marketing officer. I wished we were staying there immediately as it is quiet, tranquil and next to the Riverwalk ferries that can take you where you need to go on water, almost like Septa but with better views, no weirdos and much fresher air.

Inside the lounge area at Hotel Emma.

Inside the lounge area at Hotel Emma.

A gorgeous industrial archway at Hotel Emma.

The lounge at Hotel Emma.

A slight steampunk feel at Hotel Emma.

Into the back lounge at Hotel Emma.

Fantastic use of repurposing at Hotel Emma, a lounge with a button to call for drinks.

Winding staircases with a GOT table at Hotel Emma.

Even the light fixture was amazing at Hotel Emma.

The view in the back lounge at Hotel Emma.

View from the second floor at Hotel Emma.

View from the second floor at Hotel Emma.

Back to the beloved spaceship pod as I like to call it at Hotel Emma.

Get inside the spaceship pod and order some drinks by the press of a button.

The carefully curated boutique hotel compliments the Pearl. Originally home to the Pearl Brewery, today Pearl is a mixed-use space featuring retail, dining, picturesque green spaces and paseos, a riverside amphitheater and a third campus of the Culinary Institute of America.

Welcome to the Pearl, San Antonio’s mecca for entertainment.

A country band sings sweet Southern songs at The Pearl.

Our tour guide’s daughter was killing us all with cuteness with this dog at The Pearl as were other kids running around.

One of the many bird species at The Pearl. Their chirps were unusual to our ears.

Located along the banks of the San Antonio River on the grounds of the historic Pearl Brewery, the Pearl Farmers Market is the city’s trendy newest addition which has become an iconic culinary and cultural gathering place featuring cooking schools, apartments, chic shops, fantastic restaurants and much more.  Since Pearl is a producers-only farmers market you can be sure that all the goods found here are hand-planted, raised and harvested within 150 miles of San Antonio.

A farmer’s market delight at The Pearl.

As you can imagine, some of the best beef comes from Texas.

We were soon set free to roam around, exploring the space and met back at The Culinary Institute of America for a tour and savory tacos before lunch. This is where culinary masterpieces and great chefs are made with the culture and vibrancy of San Antonio adding a little spice to the cooking.

Maybe this studio space looks familiar on television at The Culinary Institute of America.

In addition to courses geared towards professional chefs, the CIA San Antonio campus also offers classes for food enthusiasts and budding foodies of all levels.

Some fresh produce getting ready to be cooked at Culinary Institute of America.

Programs range from one-day workshops all the way up to five-day CIA Culinary Boot Camps and help participants build skills, explore new culinary worlds, and have lots of fun.

Culinary Institute of America’s outdoor cooking stand were getting some tacos ready for us to devour.

Mouth watering and juicy, these were a delight with the best aqua fresco I’ve ever tasted.

Culinary Institute of America’s sit down restaurant Nao… like we want lunch now! At this point we were ravenous as I’m pretty sure we stretched our bellies the previous nights.

The wine racks at Nao.

The interior kitchen at Nao.

The best beet salad with burrata cheese seriously hit the spot at Nao with grilled avocado with citrus and basil.

Snagging some shots of our neighbor’s plate, the healthy avocado toast with egg and goat cheese.

Because tacos are always a good choice, the carne asada tacos (hanger steak with bacon).

The signature Nao burger, queso blanco with a spicy kick at Nao.

Our friend was obsessed with ceviche and enjoyed this light and refreshing bay scallop aguachile.

Super satisfied with my selection, the gulf fish with coconut milk broth was outstanding at Nao.

For dessert, some went with coconut panna cotta at Nao.

But I chose the churros because I knew when in Texas… and they were a hit, everyone had to have a sample and the best I’ve ever had at Nao.

Up next was more food! Just kidding, it was to actually move off our lazy, foodie bums and explore the Witte Museum, located on the banks of the San Antonio River in Brackenridge Park, it’s San Antonio’s premier museum promoting lifelong learning through innovative exhibitions, programs and collections in natural history, science and South Texan heritage. The New Witte is a catalyst for creating San Antonio as the City on a Rise, shaping the future of Texas. The $100 million New Witte project includes a facility expansion on the Witte campus as well as an additional 100,000 square feet in renovations.

Stunning visual displays of dinosaur bones at Witte Museum.

Always amazed by the T-Rex and his tiny arms at Witte Museum.

Dinosaur bones at Witte Museum.

What the sky was like millions of years ago at the interactive display at the Witte Museum.

Native living in Texas display at Witte Museum.

A burial tomb for Shamans at Witte Museum.

A Shaman’s tool kit at Witte Museum.

Donkeys were the pack animals in Texas at Witte Museum.

A stunning Native American headpiece at Witte Museum.

A Native American outfit at Witte Museum.

A bull that totally represents Texas at Witte Museum.

After our educational pit stop, we all climbed back in the van back to the hotel to take power naps (all but one of us did so and that Canadian went to a San Antonio Spurs game instead) and ship off to our final night adventure, the Grand Tasting Event. Dressed in our cocktail best, we were all suits and heels for the VIP access to the fanciest event of the Culinaria Festival Week events at La Cantera Resort & Spa.

We arrived and were immediately seated in the new concept of the VIP Chefs’ Tables – a limited-seating VIP Dining Experience within the Grand Tasting. It was like speed dating but speed eating with wine pairings.

Always loving fresh shrimp as an appetizer at the Grand Tasting.

Tasty meatballs at the Grand Tasting.

Chef Moore went with a day of the dead theme for his table at the Grand Tasting.

The cherries were the star of this dessert at the Grand Tasting.

Chef James Moore stops by to talk to our table at the Grand Tasting.

Brennan Vineyards was our wine pairing for the speedy dinner and tastes were all on point, especially the red with the spicy meatballs.

Chef Jason Dady insisted we take a photo together and I happily obliged the Iron Chef.

I’ve been to a million tastings so far (or so it seems) and it was refreshing to taste new to me flavors. The mouthwatering, jaw dropping gourmet event of the week left me full and happy and always trying to eat more.

Only found in Texas is this standout cactus based alcohol, I was in love.

The Omni hotels were also a standout with their iced ceviche bar with all the fresh ingredients and seafood you could want with plantain chips to scoop it up.

So many varieties of cuisines paired with equally varied beverage choices enamored even this veteran food lover. There was also live entertainment, music (I was dancing at one point on the small dance floor with my fellow movers and shakers), a silent auction, and all you can eat made it the best Saturday night. A lone few of our crew made it out for one last cocktail on the town however this gal was too pooped to party.

For our last morning and half day before our flights back to our collective homes, we were up bright and early for a taco crawl (which needs to happen in Philly btw… hint, hint). We met up with local former freelance food writer Edmund Tijerina who was full of food and history knowledge and led us to delicious lands of some of his favorite picks. First up was El Milagrito, a humble, family-run eatery supplying hearty Tex-Mex breakfast & lunch favorites since 1969 who is famous for their barbacoa, a form of cooking meat that originated in the Caribbean with the Taíno people, from which the term “barbecue” derives.

We decided to dine outdoors at El Milagrito and this insistent (and smart) cat was getting all the meats. We named him Taco. Here is meowing and demanding food.

Since we love our nachos in Philly, I tried the steak nachos for breakfast and what a wonderful taste at El Milagrito with the onions and refried beans.

The BBQ tacos were a hit and one of the most popular items to order at El Milagrito.

Because we weren’t quite uncomfortably stuffed yet, we left there and went further down the road to Los Barrios Mexican Restaurant, another family-style mainstay serving Mexican & Tex-Mex fare in a casual setting with a full bar and patio.


A painted portrait of Viola Barrios, the founder of Los Barrios Mexican Restaurant.

Some beef empanadas at Los Barrios Mexican Restaurant were very filling and fried.

A sample of the different nacho styles at Los Barrios Mexican Restaurant with sour cream and guac.

Known for their puffy tacos, this may be the best hangover cure since nachos at Los Barrios Mexican Restaurant.

After we thoroughly turned into little piggies, we went back to sluggishly check out and store our bags for yet one last adventure into the culinary world. We arrived at the casual outdoor festival, Burgers, BBQ & Beer back at La Cantera with full bellies however others came with an empty tank as any foodie knows is the proper way to start a food fest. I love BBQ and was wondering when we’d get to sample the Texas iconic food and somehow made room.

This was the most refreshing beer at Burgers, BBQ & Beer.

Making another appearance in the daylight, our wine fave Brennan Vineyards at Burgers, BBQ & Beer.

A little sample of BBQ and mac-n-cheese was spot on perfect at Burgers, BBQ & Beer.

Not really one to put an egg on a burger but my friends seemed to enjoy at Burgers, BBQ & Beer.

Some different views from the parking lot fest at Burgers, BBQ & Beer.

A country folk band played some tunes at Burgers, BBQ & Beer.

Putting those finishing touches on BBQ sliders at Burgers, BBQ & Beer.

A table full of the best ingredients at Burgers, BBQ & Beer.

All the meats at Burgers, BBQ & Beer.

A mobile wine truck with inside lounge is groovy at Burgers, BBQ & Beer.

So much meat at Burgers, BBQ & Beer!

The best burger I’ve ever had at Burgers, BBQ & Beer with pretzel bun and pork belly on top.

Prime Pig shows you how to make said best burger I ever had at Burgers, BBQ & Beer. Any takers?

Chilling inside the wine bus while the rain came down for a bit and our day ended at Burgers, BBQ & Beer.

Those juicy cuts of meat were delightful as some of San Antonio’s best chefs were manning the grills and ice cold beverages were flowing. We didn’t see many boots and cowboy hats, but it was certainly a Texas extravaganza. We sadly departed and were back at the hotel and some of us got right to work. Shortly thereafter, Elegant Transportation picked me up after a brief snafu and I was back to the airport waiting game, narrowly missing my connecting flight that got me back to Philly by midnight. With some Texas swag from the Alamo brewery, Visit San Antonio and Hotel Valencia, I can now relive some moments when I want. But I can assure you that Texas is now deep in my heart (and belly) regardless.

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