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Trip Report -Feb 22-23rd-FINAL

Hartford...
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Trip Report -Feb 22-23rd-FINAL

At 9 am we made the easy 15 minute walk to Market Square to have breakfast at Mi Tierra Café and Bakery. What a wonderful, colorful restaurant…and soooo big! I had the Chilaquiles (scrambled eggs with corn tortilla strips and topped with ranchero sauce) with the carne de res guizada (beef tips sautéed in tomatoes and peppers) and my husband had the breakfast tacos. They food and service was excellent. We even had a nice Mexican quartet entertaining us during the meal. Thank you to everyone on the board who suggested we go here! We wandered around the Mexican market for awhile then headed back.

We spent the day leisurely exploring the riverwalk –I swear we racked up many, many miles of wandering. We took in the “Alamo—the Price of Freedom” at the IMAX Theater. It was very well done and gave us a good understanding of what happened there so long ago.

At 3:00 we found a good spot to sit and wait for the show to begin, as it was time for “Mardi Gras on the Riverwalk”—6 or 7 barges-- highly decorated and filled with happy, colorful people and music paraded on down the river. We managed to accumulate quite the collection of colorful Mardi Gras beads. Such Fun!!

I had pre-ordered tickets for the Food and Wine Expo held at the Alamodome that started at 6. At $40 a ticket, I’m not sure we got our money’s worth, but it is an annual fundraiser for the local PBS station, so it was for a good cause. I’m glad we got there early—we spent about a ½ hour in line-- it gave us first dibs at the food and wine booths. By 7:30 or so, the lines at the food booths stretched for what seemed like miles and the wine booths were rapidly running out of wine. At that point we had all the finger food we could hold and the wine was all beginning to taste the same. We cut out early and headed back to the hotel to catch the rest of the Academy Awards on the 42” flat screen TV in our room.

Day six: 2/23

We got up bright and early to head down to the free internet room at the hotel to print out our boarding passes for our 7 am flight the next morning.

After a quick bite at the hotel, we walked over to Alamo plaza to catch a trolley tour to the missions. We ended up on the San Antonio trolley (red & green trolleys) $20 for the tour and hop on/hop off option for the day, rather than the Alamo Trolley (all red trolley) $27.95 including all day hop on/hop off. I’m not sure that we chose correctly, as our tour lacked a lot—I was hoping for more information—but then again, we had already explored so much of the city on our own—that there was nothing new other than the missions.

We got off at the San Jose mission and took the volunteer docent guided tour. She was a wonderfully, informative guide (I’m sorry to say I did not make note of her name). What a beautiful place— I took lots of wonderful photos.

We got back on the trolley, passed by the Mission Concepcion as there was some construction going on in it and we thought we would be bored waiting for the next trolley to pick up us. (Can you tell we don’t like a lot of ‘down” time??). We did get off at the next stop: Market Square as it was a perfect time for lunch at La Margarita. A couple of frozen margaritas, a taco salad for me and a fajita plate for my husband proved to be delicious choices.

We took the trolley back to Alamo Plaza, walked back to the hotel to drop off some souvenirs that we got at the market and to start packing for our early morning flight.

We had been wavering between having our ‘last-night-in-San-Antonio-dinner’ at either Biga on the Banks or Paesano’s. We thought Biga’s website just seemed “a little too full of itself” and we had gotten a coupon on the back of our riverboat cruise for Paesano’s—so that clinched it for us.

We got to Paesano’s at 6:30 and got a wonderful table right on the river. It was a lovely night—maybe too cool for the locals—but it sure felt nice to us.

:::::::allow me a little time to vent here—it was a small thing that unfortunately gave us a sour feeling about this place. Let me say that the food was very good—but our encounter with the manager was not—here’s what happened:

The coupon says:

“Free Dessert or Appetizer (in bold print)

Manager’s choice of the day-with purchase of any entrée”

(I took that to mean, they had a manager’s choice appetizer AND a manager’s choice dessert—we can to pick one or the other.)

We presented the coupon to our waiter. Our waiter began to describe the free dessert—some sort of ice cream ball. We told him we would rather have the appetizer as we really aren’t dessert people—we rarely order it. But he said, “oh it’s the manager’s discretion, and he offers a free dessert.”

A little miffed, we went ahead and ordered our meal: Seared tuna served with 3 sauces: garlic cream, balsamic, and a (way too overpowering) hot sauce, as an appetizer; Shrimp Paesano- shrimp in a lemon, butter sauce; Shells with spicy sausage, spinach, portabella mushrooms and goat cheese as our main meals. The food was perfectly cooked.

The manager finally showed up at our table at the end of the meal (the waiter had said he would send him over at the beginning of the meal). He (and if I can mention his name, Bill Tasto) came to the table with a very pompous attitude, mentioned something about how “he is unhappy with the way the riverboat cruises distributes(?) the coupons.” I’m of course, thinking, this is MY problem, how?

Anyway- he said that the coupon is to be interpreted that the MANAGER gets to choose whether you get a free appetizer or a free dessert. We really did not like his attitude—I mean, HELLO—we are dining at his restaurant and spending our hard earned money.

And I ask you, would it kill them to have an appetizer available for those that want that instead of dessert? I mean how hard would it be to have a serving of bruchetta or some other simple appetizer??:::::::::

Okay, enough of the vent. (Thank you for listening—I feel better now)

After dinner we tried once again (as we had every night) to get into Howl at the Moon....well tonight was our lucky night, or maybe we just got there early enough! We had a great time listening to the fellows at the dueling pianos. There was a great mix of ages at the club—it was such fun! On our way out, my dear husband treated me to a horse drawn carriage ride back to the hotel (well almost back to it—The driver brought us as close as she legally could to the Hyatt Place Riverwalk. It was a wonderfully romantic ending to a wonderful week in San Antonio.

(I’ll spare you the details of the next day- It started with a 4:30am wake-up call to catch a 5:30am taxi to the airport for a 7am flight---need I say more???? Back to reality :::::sigh::::::

Canada
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1. Re: Trip Report -Feb 22-23rd-FINAL

Thanks for your reports - my husband and I are going to San Antonio in May for our FIRST EVER (in 22+ years) trip without a child or 3!!!! - and you have given me some great ideas.

Sorry about the restaurant - I feel your pain (but I love dessert)

OO
San Antonio, Texas
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2. Re: Trip Report -Feb 22-23rd-FINAL

I would have interpreted it as you did, either or....and the barges provide the coupons? I would think the restaurant asks the barges to distribute the coupons which they have authorized, but whatever, you are right, that is so not your problem. Glad you posted the issue. Maybe someone should forward this to Paesanos....hmmmm

Really great report, GalViolet. You provide a lot of useful touring info for others hoping to come and really see the city...which you did...you REALLY saw it. All your planning surely paid off.

Texas
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3. Re: Trip Report -Feb 22-23rd-FINAL

I have enjoyed all the installments of your report. Thanks for posting it. I'm glad you had such a nice trip.

I agree with you about the coupon. What a bad attitude that manager had!

Czech Republic
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for San Antonio, Lubbock, Prague
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4. Re: Trip Report -Feb 22-23rd-FINAL

Gal, sorry to hear about your experience. I get irritated many times because the restaurants on the RW(and times at Market Sqaure) take the visiting customers for granted.

....

I hope it is okay, I copied your comments and sent them via the Paesano's website. I think they need to know! I am sure the coupon situation has occurred before...they should have had that ironed by now.

...

Glad you had a positive experience in SA.

Hartford...
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5. Re: Trip Report -Feb 22-23rd-FINAL

it's fine tejashombre for sending my comments along to their website, it just might help someone else. And for the record, I posted a review on the Trip Advisor as well.

To clear the coupon situation up: It was printed on the back of one of our 'Rio San Antonio Cruise' tickets. We had taken the tour twice (once at night and once during the day) and there were various coupons randomly printed on the back. I'm sure Paesanos paid to get included on the back..so they should not have any problem redeeming it. Besides it worked for them in our case, we were truly deciding between Biga on the Bank and Paesanos--the coupon swayed our decision. So Paesanos got our $100 that night.

In the whole scheme of things...it's not a big deal...but is was annoying....

Georgetown, Texas
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6. Re: Trip Report -Feb 22-23rd-FINAL

Good info about the Missions tour- always seems to be alot of interest in seeing the missions and this is a great "without a car" option.

San Antonio, Texas
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7. Re: Trip Report -Feb 22-23rd-FINAL

GalViolet thanks so much for a great TR, love the way you write with such great details & so much good info for others to use. It was a pleasure to read & enjoyed the adventure through your eyes, felt like I was along for the ride.

I totally agree with you on the Paesanos coupon, they know what's on the coupon so they should honor whats on their. I'm glad you let others know about it so they'll know what Paesanos is doing especially to the tourist which isn't right!!!!! I'm with you, I prefer the appetizer over desert most times.!!!!

Glad you had a great trip & the weather was good for you to enjoy what SA has to offer.

Thanks again for the delightful reading of a wonderful detail TR!!!!!!!

I'm glad you decided on SA for your DH 60th B-Day, sorry about the food not meeting your expectation at the Tower. Our steaks has always been excellent & just love the view of SA at sunset!!!!!!

Come Back Soon !!!!!!!

East Hampton, CT
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8. Re: Trip Report -Feb 22-23rd-FINAL

I am from CT also and will be going to Texas in 2 weeks and will be spending 2 days in San Antonio - thanks for all the tips!!

Hartford...
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9. Re: Trip Report -Feb 22-23rd-FINAL

From CT? You'll enjoy 'thawing' out there in Texas! If you have any questions about what we did and where we ate, I'd be glad to answer them for you. Have fun!

San Antonio, Texas
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10. Re: Trip Report -Feb 22-23rd-FINAL

I see you did eat at the Gristmill! isnt it great!? you really did the trip. i think you can come back any time and give your 2 cents to help out others wanting to know about SA and surrounding area. Looks like you pretty much experienced it all.

Did you go to Bandera for a dude ranch? Next time?