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Confused about San Antonio

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I moved here a year ago and expected there to be good mexican and tex mex everywhere, but the good stuff must be hidden somewhere. A recurring answer I always get to Where are the good tacos? is to go to a place called Las Palapas. They are some of the worst tacos I've ever had. Everyone here also seems to love bean and cheese tacos. And when you order chorizo and egg you wind up getting chorizo colored eggs with no chorizo in sight. What makes it worse is that the people here seem to love the food so it most likely will never be fixed. Maybe it's because I'm from Houston and am used to good food but still c'mon. They also have this hilarious chain of drive thru BBQ called Bill Miller that is not unlike dog food. People recommend Bill Miller to me a lot. Please tell me that everyone is just playing a prank on the new guy.

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  1. Look through some of the posts here.
    Bill Miller is only ok for fried chicken, everything else is garbage IMO.
    Good BBQ at Two Bros.
    Try Taco Taco on Hildebrand and McCullough for tacos.
    I guess alot of people here don't know what good food is.

    -----
    Taco Taco Cafe
    145 E Hildebrand Ave, San Antonio, TX 78212

    1. I don't like Las Palapas either. Bill Miller's is just gross. I can't imagine anyone recommending it. I liked Tip Top Cafe but I didn't try their mexican dishes. Chester's has wonderful burgers. I'm going to get over to Lulu's one of these days. We just "pass through" SATX often so we don't get to explore much.

      http://www.tiptopcafe.com/

      -----
      Tip Top Cafe
      2814 Fredericksburg Rd, San Antonio, TX 78201

      1. Wait a minute...

        You're coming from Houston and you think San Antonio's BBQ is awful? I'd happily trade San Antonio's BBQ choices for Houston's. I haven't had a decent bite of brisket since I moved here.

        The worst barbecue in the entire world is Goode Co. It makes Bill Miller look like he just won the Royal. And frankly, any city that supports Goode Co. well enough to let it stay open doesn't deserve decent barbecue. So maybe that's why the BBQ Gods have denied any to Houston.

        You're much better off in San Antonio. If nothing else, Luling is just a hop, skip and pot of beans away from you.

        San Antonio is a large and diverse city. I'm sure if you just put your mind to it, you'll find plenty of good food. The only thing that I think San Antonio doesn't do as well as Houston is Asian/Vietnamese. As for Mexican, I'm not sure what you are searching for. "Mexican" means different things to different people, but if you're looking for the real thing, find a Mexican neighborhood where no tourist would ever go. San Antonio does host a lot of visitors and that affects the sorts of restaurants that cater to them.

        And just one more word of advice. I don't know how old you are, or how many times you've relocated to a new city, and I don't know how many such moves are in your future. But I'm 65 and I've moved over 40 different times. One thing I learned very early on is that when you get to a new city, you have two choices: You can dwell on what you left behind and whine and pout about that; or, you can get out there and discover what's new and wonderful to like in the new place.

        For example, if you think you can't find any good barbecue or Mexican food in San Antonio, you should try to find some in Fairbanks, Alaska.

        Which, of course, you cannot.

        So, in my case, I could have sat up there for three years whining and pouting.

        Or I could have filled up daily on fresh crab and salmon and halibut and reindeer dogs.

        Guess which one I thought was the better choice.

        Like the old song says, "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with."

        8 Replies
        1. re: Jaymes

          Good advice, Jaymes. Not just for SA, but life advice.

          There are two types of people, those who bloom and those who wilt where they're planted. The choice to bloom is always yours.

          (Also, anyone who says "at least I know what good food is" isn't likely to be steered to one's favorite places, IMO. No one wants to risk being just another jerk who doesn't know what "good food" is when you go at it that way.)

          1. re: shanagain

            Boy, you're right about not wanting to risk recommending something you like to somebody that says up front that "at least I know what good food is." I've tried that a time or two in my life and gotten a verbal smack upside the head for my trouble.

            And since we're talking about barbecue, I will say that since I moved to Houston, I've been severely disappointed in the brisket here. So (although I'm continuing to search) I've been concentrating on redirecting my barbecue fondness for brisket over to ribs, chicken, pulled pork, etc.

            And then once a month, driving over to Luling to bring back a whole brisket and some hot links for the freezer.

            Whatever works, right?

          2. re: Jaymes

            Your point about Alaska and mexican food makes no sense here. I'm in San Antonio. The food of choice here is Tex Mex and Mexican. That's what I'm looking for and it's not out of line to expect there to be good Tex Mex everywhere in what is probably considered the Tex Mex capitol. And if you honestly think Bill Miller is better than Goode Co. then I think you should move back to San Antonio. You'd love it here. You seem to share the same tastes in food. I'll save you some flour tortillas filled with beans and cheddar cheese.

            1. re: tacohands

              I believe Jaymes has a point. If you're expecting to find Tex-Mex and Mexican (a further explanation of what you mean would help here) you found in Houston, you'll be sorely disappointed. Perhaps you'll find a restaurant run by the owner of your favorite Houston TM/Mexican spot here with transplanted employees that share your views on every last dish you enjoyed in your native land, but that's clearly unlikely.

              As Jaymes suggested, embrace the opportunity to discover new food to love instead of expecting the city where you live now to give you what it can't simply because it's a different place.

              1. re: agoodbite

                I'm not sure what you mean about discovering new food. I haven't moved to Russia. Houston = Tacos , San Antonio = Tacos (Mathematical explanation) Do you mean just learn to accept an inferior version of Houston food? And look, I'm sorry that my original post was so negative it's just that asking locals gets you nowhere in this town.

                1. re: tacohands

                  I said nothing of finding new food. Just try to find something you like. You can't have the same tacos in San Antonio that you had in Houston. That's a simple matter of fact. All you need is a slight shift in your expectations. San Antonio might be a hard nut to crack, but it's yours for the taking.

                  1. re: agoodbite

                    "As Jaymes suggested, embrace the opportunity to discover new food."
                    "I said nothing of finding new food."
                    You crack me up. I did have some damn good tacos last night from a truck.

            2. re: Jaymes

              Far be it from me to argue with Jaymes, but there are gems in Houston. Virgie's has teh best ribs in Texas, in my experience, and some good brisket. I've had both very good and regretable at Goode Co.
              Jaymes is dead on re going to Luling. The City Market is truly, truly outstanding. You really can't do better overall in Texas. If you want barbecue, go there

              At Bill Miller, the potatoes are really, really good.

              And while the fish inAlaska is superb, reindeer dogs just a really bad idea.

              -----
              City Market
              633 E Davis St, Luling, TX 78648

            3. There are TONS of good local neighborhood Tex-Mex places all over SA. Go out early in the morning, and look at where the cars are. That's how you find the good Tex-Mex!

              1. Youre going to have to scout out the small neighborhood joints. I have no idea what part of town you're in. I have shared your frustration with Chorizo/egg tacos around here. Frankly, I usually make my own. My favorite breakfast places are Oblate cafe on NW military (near West Ave) for the chilaquiles and machacado and Taco Port on Ramsey for the carne guisada. For heaven's sake, stay OUT of Las Palapas and B Miller's!

                -----
                Taco Port Restaurant
                427 E Ramsey Rd, San Antonio, TX 78216

                3 Replies
                1. re: bbq ninja

                  I've eaten at Bill Miller's but haven't tried the Barbeque Station or Grady's yet.Bill Millers is close by,one in Universal City and one right here in Schertz.
                  It does in a pinch since I won't be able to get to luling or lockhart for bbq until i go on vacation.I did hear that Home of da Smoke out on USHWy 87 outside of the Adkins-Lone Oak area was good.Harmon's in Cibolo has good smoked catfish and baked potatoes loaded with brisket.They even do a steak night, the third Thursday of each month. Cibolo and Schertz are east of you.I like El Jalisco on FM 3009 right next to the Papa John's.In fact they are expanding the restaurant ,it's that popular.
                  haven't eaten at Texas Pride BBQ in ages,.They are out in the Adkins -St.Hedwig area and have a website.They have a biker night on Thursdays and a fish fry with live music on Friday nights. out in that same area is Aurora's Cafe.
                  They have good food or did.Again years since i have been out there.
                  Picante Grill and La Fonda on Main have some different dishs from the usual tex mex stuff around here. Another is La Calasa in Alamo Heights. These have websites.
                  Maybe you need to ask some of your hispanic co workers where they go to eat mexican food.There are places on the south and west sides you can go, but don't know of their names right now.You could check out Rolando's Super Tacos they have various locations in towm.
                  You can make your out chorizo and egg tacos. Go to H.E.B. and buy the San Manuel brand chorizo.it's pretty good,lots of meat. You can also make your own chorizo con papa(chorizo and potato)tacos as well.
                  Harmons has a website, but Aurora's does not, nor does El Jalisco.
                  Another place popular out here is Abel's Diner in Schertz.been there for years out on the I-35 Acess road.

                  -----
                  Picante Grill
                  3810 Broadway St, San Antonio, TX 78209

                  Super Taco
                  2200 US Highway 281, Marble Falls, TX 78654

                  El Jalisco
                  12555 Nacogdoches Rd, San Antonio, TX 78217

                  Abel's Diner
                  17605 Interstate 35 N Ste 1, Schertz, TX 78154

                  La Fonda
                  12006 Socorro Rd, San Elizario, TX 79849

                  1. re: HollyDolly

                    La Calesa is gone

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                    La Calesa
                    210 Florella Dr, Tornillo, TX 79853

                    1. re: bbq ninja

                      Is La Calesa gone? Never seemed to see anyone at it when i would drive by,which wasn't very often.

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                      La Calesa
                      210 Florella Dr, Tornillo, TX 79853

                2. I think things are getting better here but San Antonians seem to like big portions and small checks. It seems every chain in America has a post here. It might be that so few chefs have worked outside the city and remain provincial. Which is why Andrew Weissman, Bruce Auden, to name two excellent ones, are so good as they have learned their trade outside San Antonio in world class restaurants.

                  1. It's been awhile since she was active and she was mainly an Austin hound but MPH documented San Antonio like no one before or since.

                    http://www.chow.com/profile/10608?tag...

                    If you're dead serious about tacos then rear back and read through her archive. It's an incredible journey through the life of a dedicated Mexican food hound.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: scrumptiouschef

                      Thanks a lot. I'm dead serious about tacos. Tacos are the staff of life.

                    2. If you're near the churchill los palaps Taco Rey, Ruthie's, Las Chaladas are all good for breakfast tacos. El jarro de Arturo, Los Barrios, Hacienda Los Barrios, El Mirasol (my favorite place in the city), and La Fogata are all good to name a few. As for BBQ the city is truly a lightweight here in Texas, but, honestly, so is H-Town drive up to ATX and go to Salt Lick. Welcome to my city, thanks for ripping it.

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                      La Fogata
                      2427 Vance Jackson Rd, San Antonio, TX 78213

                      El Mirasol
                      13489 Blanco Rd, San Antonio, TX 78216

                      Taco Rey
                      11825 West Ave Ste 100, San Antonio, TX 78216

                      Salt Lick
                      3350 E Palm Valley Blvd, Round Rock, TX 78665

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: frostmo

                        hey,speaking of BBQ, i read in Sunday's Express News, that Gonzales Meat market and BBQ out in Gonzales,Tx,east of here is opening up a place on W.W.White road in San Antonio on the east side.The paper said they hope to be open by Fourth of July.

                        1. re: frostmo

                          Anytime. It's pretty basic. If you take a shot at something people feel the need to defend it and they give up their gold. Thanks for the gold.

                          1. re: tacohands

                            Interesting approach. I've found that folks are usually nice enough to "give up their gold" when you just ask nicely.

                            But hey, if being insulting and "taking a shot at something" works for you, stick with it.

                            1. re: Jaymes

                              I feel bad cause no one gave you good advice. San antonio has too many tex-mex restaurants its sick, when you've lived here your whole life. As for BBQ. The County Line is good, but the best places are on the eastside of town. Ok, now for tacos. Chachos, the biggest by far. Mama Margies are good too, but Tommy's has the best for breakfast, and NOT bean and chesse. I could list many more but that gives you a good start.

                              -----
                              County Line
                              111 W Crockett St Ste 104, San Antonio, TX 78205

                              1. re: momarsanantonio

                                Outside of San Antonio

                                http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Re...

                        2. First off, if you ask a bunch of co-workers where to eat you will get bad avice... Obviously they told you about fast food places and you know that isn't the best the city has to offer.

                          Secondly, Houston has some good food, but I think you'll be fine in San Antonio.

                          - If you haven't been to La Fogata, Paloma Blanca and Rosario's you should go there quickly. (If you don't like them, you'll have to explain where you eat in Houston so that we can know which way to steer you.)
                          - The city is not the best for BBQ, but you can't hate Rudy's, so make the best of it and take a few trips to Lockhardt, etc.
                          - Pizza should be eaten at Naples on NW Military, Miss Ellie's on Bitters at 281 or Florio's off Broadway.
                          - San Antonio Italian is weak, but there are a few spots big and small. (Il Sogno Osteria $$$, Paesano's $$, Miss Ellie's $)

                          You have to expect to ruffle some feathers with a post that insults San Antonio cuisine and you have only tried a few fast-food joints. Learn to take advice in a funloving way from other posters.

                          Post Back when you have tried some of the amazing places that San Antonio has to offer.
                          Happy Eating!
                          Luigi

                          -----
                          La Fogata
                          2427 Vance Jackson Rd, San Antonio, TX 78213

                          Paesanos Restaurant
                          555 E Basse Rd, San Antonio, TX 78209

                          1. "People recommend Bill Miller to me a lot."

                            you need to get new "people" seriously.
                            sa has its 'good' chorizo places, its 'bad' chorizo places and its 'chorizo-colored egg' places. in my business neck of the woods, there are four taquerias within a mile and a half. each off them offer strengths and deficiencies. i drive to the one which serves the best that i am in the mood for. and a two taco and tea breakfast for four bucks is a steal.
                            as for q. aplenty. two bros. augies. the (bob's) smokehouse. ...
                            really. get new people.

                            1. Hmmm... Just curious, if you are seeking good food anywhere in the country, why would you choose fast food chains? Here are two of my personal favorites: for TexMex try La Fogata, 2427 Vance Jackson Rd, for Mexican try Guajillo's, 1001 NW Loop 410 @ Blanco.

                              -----
                              La Fogata
                              2427 Vance Jackson Rd, San Antonio, TX 78213

                              1. anybody looking for any kind of food in San Antonio (or just about anywhere else) ought to check out a web site called Urbanspoon. Best bets are to check out the blog postings there.

                                1. Mexican in San Antonio-- and you can't find it>?

                                  Guajillos- Blanco/410
                                  La Fogata Vance jackson inside 410
                                  el Mirasol blanco between churchill estates/Bitters
                                  Taco Rey West just outside of Blanco rd (just went this week- flantaustic chicken flauta's and the brown sauce...
                                  Soluna Broadway south of 410 (sunset/broadway)

                                  Las Palapas at IH10/ boerne stage road (the blanco/churchill one is great for the chicken soup to go though!) -each las palapas has its own Character.. the churchill one is the relocated original - from where I think ruthies is now.. but the high school kids love that one!)
                                  (churchill special- 2 breakfast tacos and a drink for like $3)

                                  La Fogata, el mirasol and Soluna where all created by the same mexican food genius- and those and guajillos is the most authentic mexican-- (not tex-mex like you're probably looking for- which is found everywhere- but try alamo cafe)

                                  BBQ-- although i catch flack for saying it-- I still love the original Rudy's at IH10 and boerne stage road... but of course- you truley need to do a pilgramage to Luling and points north...

                                  -----
                                  La Fogata
                                  2427 Vance Jackson Rd, San Antonio, TX 78213

                                  Blanco Cafe
                                  5525 Blanco At Oblate Rd, San Antonio, TX 78201

                                  Taco Rey
                                  11825 West Ave Ste 100, San Antonio, TX 78216

                                  Soluna
                                  7959 Broadway St, San Antonio, TX 78209

                                  1. oh christmas...!

                                    I forgot 2 brothers on West between blanco and bitters...

                                    hands down the best bbq in san antonio...........

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: pernicious

                                      who in san antonio is serving up that real deal tacos de tripa y tacos de cabeza. im not talking about breakfast tacos

                                      1. re: AubWah

                                        Taco Rey-- i believe-- my wife noted the tripa on the board (but we didn't have any!)

                                        -----
                                        Taco Rey
                                        11825 West Ave Ste 100, San Antonio, TX 78216