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Houston + San Antonio on the cheap for NYC gal

r
raina1up Aug 14, 2007 04:02 PM

Hello! I'm visiting my just graduated from college cousin in Houston, we're also going to San Antonio for the weekend, but wanted to know what the TX Chowhounders thought are MUST TRIES that are on the cheap. What's a good value but tasty (under $20 per person). While I'm excited about BBQ, I'd also like some lighter non-meat options as well, if that's even possible in TX!

I'm looking for regional cuisine and exotic dishes are welcome– I'll try anything! I hear there is good Chinese + Vietnamese, but coming from NYC we have that here- unless there are specialty places that I have to try. Thought I saw a vietnamese place in houston on food network that specialized in crawdads!? Does anyone know anything about this? Again, i'm open to oddities, and quirky exotic foods, local favorites.

Thank you!
xoxo Raina

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    erichd RE: raina1up Aug 14, 2007 10:48 PM

    Well, Welcome to Texas!

    Crawfish are fairly easy to find in any cuisine here in Houston, or anywhere this part of the Gulf Coast. I'm not familiar with the Vietnamese restaurant in question, though.

    Great sites for Houston restaurants: http://www.b4-u-eat.com/
    http://www.quoz.com/

    In San Antonio, Mexican (Authentic Mexican) is a MUST. Meaning, you'll want to get away from the river walk for eats... that are cheap and good.

    Head west down Commerce Street to Tacos Martinez (open 6 am till 2pm) - (210) 436-1729, 5034 W Commerce St

    For adventure, try Tripas (cow intestine), Cabrito (young goat), Barbacoa (cow head), or just select some things from the cafeteria-style line.

    Later, you can stay close to town for Piedras Negras de Noche- 1312 Laredo Street, 210-227-7777

    Try the Queso Flameado, Huarache, and dinner versions of Tripas and Cabrito.

    Or, for more ambience, drive a little south to Taqueria Mexico - 7167 Somerset Rd, (210) 922-1306

    Friday nights (7pm - 9pm) they have a fantastic mariachi band (Primarily female) and later, very charming three-man conjunto bands that play at your table for $2/song.

    Don't leave before you've tried one of their Micheladas (with Tecate).

    For vegetarian/vegan eats, check out the new Green (http://www.greensanantonio.com/) - closed on Saturdays, closed early (7pm) on Friday.

    HAVE FUN and enjoy your stay!

    3 Replies
    1. re: erichd
      donnaaries RE: erichd Aug 15, 2007 05:29 AM

      I'm not sure if this is what was featured on the Food Network but is certainly unique: Vietnamese-Cajun fusion crawfish at HK Food Street inside the food court at the Hong Kong Mall complex (Bellaire just outside of the Beltway 8). Not sure if you'll find that kind of Vietnamese in NYC :)

      Also, one of my favorite bargain spots in Houston is Niko Niko's for Greek in the Montrose area close to downtown. You will be stuffed beyond full for under $10/person with much deliciousness.

      Lots of Mexican places to try in Houston just like in San Antonio. I would recommend trying a Mexican seafood place in Houston because I think there are more of these than in San Antonio. Search the boards and I'm sure you'll find lots of recs for this category.

      1. re: donnaaries
        h
        HollyDolly RE: donnaaries Aug 15, 2007 09:23 AM

        You might want to try Aldelante on Brees and North New Braufels.They have mexican food,but it is lighter and they also have vegeterian dishes as well.
        There is a vegeterian place downtown,but i can't recall the name.I think it is on South Flores.You might want to go mysanantonio.com,and sacurrent.com
        Both sites have restaurant reviews.There are cheap places here as well as expensive ones.Hope you have a good time here.
        They had an article in the paper that 15 of the Dallas Cowboys ate at Mr.and Mrs.G's Cafeteria and Bakery at222 South W.W.White Road,also known as Loop13.They specialize in home cooking.Pork chops,fried chicken greens,etc.
        Has gotten good reviews in the past.
        There is Tomatillo's on Broadway near the Witte Muesum and the Botanical garden is on Funston,close by.I don't know if they have finished redoing the restrauntant in the old carriage house on the botanical grounds or not.Check out the San Antonio Botanical Garden website.They maybe finished by now.

        1. re: donnaaries
          h
          HollyDolly RE: donnaaries Aug 15, 2007 09:25 AM

          Oh forgot,there is also La Fiesta Patio Cafe in Universal City on Pat Booker Road which has mexican food and is on the lighter side.There is a Thai place on Pat Booker Road in Live Oak,up the road aways that has gotten good reviews,haven't tried them yet.Just can't recall the places name.

      2. l
        luniz RE: raina1up Aug 15, 2007 02:08 PM

        I don't know of any cajun places in Houston but I'd look for one and get crawfish (probably...it's a bit late in the year for them). In San Antonio, I guess I'd probably eat at Lisa's (Mexican Restaurant).

        1. Jayro RE: raina1up Aug 15, 2007 03:20 PM

          Hi, I'll suggest some places in Houston. Hope you enjoy your visit!

          Want something different? Try La Sani Restaurant, 9621 Bissonnet. It's Pakistani food.Try the Bhunna Goast (curried-stewed mutton), Chops Tandoori (red-tandoori goat), Chicken Methi, Biriyani Rice, fried onion clusters for appetizers…cannot remember what those are called on the menu, but they are excellent. Never had a bad experience there. I Have been 4 times. Mango lassi Shakes are good too!

          LaSani serves a lot of food. You could easily fill up for under $20 per person - you could have a feast!

          Also, try Pico's Mex-Mex at 5941 Bellaire for some awesome chicken mole enchiladas. Nachos George is good too. Try the original Ninfa's on Navigation St. Go on a week night if you can. Parking will be easier.

          Tampico's (Mexican Seafood) on Airline has an excellent grilled snapper ( i think that's the dish... it's a huge grilled whole fish). However, you'd need more than two people to finish it all.

          For some lighter food (salads and sandwiches), try The Hobbit Cafe, 2243 Richmond Ave between Kirby and Greenbriar. Also try Ruggles Cafe & Bakery, 2365 Rice Blvd in the Rice Village area. Barnaby's at 602 Fairview St. or Baba Yega Restaurant, 2607 Grant St .Houston. Both Barnaby's and Baba Yega are located in the Montrose area.

          p.s. Ruggles Cafe, 2365 Rice Blvd , has a white-chocolate bread pudding dessert. Bread pudding is popular down here in the south. Sometimes the Empire Cafe on Westheimer has some classic southern cakes( Red Velvet cake & Humming Bird cake)

          1. m
            Mr Zero RE: raina1up Aug 16, 2007 11:28 AM

            For Vietnamese in S.A. ( San Antonio) on the cheap I recommend
            -Pho Ha Long off LOOP 410
            - Big Kahuna off Ashby inside the loop near San Pedro Springs park (Inner City)

            Mexican/Tex-Mex/Latin:
            -Azuca (Not on the cheap, but good) - Downtown
            -Cascabel's Mexican Patio on S. St. Mary's near downtown. (Authentic Mexican from Mexico City region)
            -Guajillos on Blanco anf 410 (Cheap and good, not fancy)
            -Cha-Cha's ( Good food and great margarita's, moderate priced)
            La Fogata also has great margarita's
            There's a site called www.SAeats.com that might help you out.
            Best wishes on your trip.

            1. j
              jetlag RE: raina1up Aug 16, 2007 11:47 AM

              Cafe Montrose on lower Westheimer, close to town, has excellent Belgian food. Try the mussles and pommes frites.

              1. w
                wendileigh RE: raina1up Aug 17, 2007 06:33 AM

                On the NE side of San Antonio you should try Bangkok Cusine at Pat Booker and 1604. THe best Thai food in town. The spring rolls kick butt. The lunch specials during the week are good and the soups are very yummy.

                1. v
                  Velvettt RE: raina1up Aug 18, 2007 07:47 AM

                  If you're talking regional cuisine in San Antonio, there's only one: TexMex. This is the home of the original Chili Queens who fed the cowboys. Where other cities have coffee shops on every corner, SA has a taqueria on every corner. There are far too many to list! Try Paloma Blanca on Broadway in Alamo Heights, or Casa Rio if you absolutely MUST eat at the Riverwalk (not recommended), Picante Grill across from the Witte Museum on Broadway has been voted "Best Enchiladas" for umpteen years.

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