Boudro’s on the Riverwalk

6 03 2008

I wish I had gotten the jump on San Antonio’s Express News review of Boudro’s, but sometimes life gets too busy and things go by the wayside. However, I have pictures! Here’s my two cents on a recent visit.

Boudro‚Äôs prime ribWhereas the writer of that article did not mind being shoehorned into her table, that is the first thing I noticed when my wife and I met my parents and my aunt and uncle at Boudro’s this past weekend. I expected this upscale restaurant to be crowded (this is on San Antonio’s Riverwalk, after all), but I’ve never seen a more worthy attempt at cramming tables and chairs into such tight spots. The small table couldn’t hold all of our dishes at once, the guacamole cart just would not fit between my uncle’s chair and our neighbor, and I think I actually rubbed hair with the person sitting behind me several times. Yes, it was also loud, but you sit so close to your tablemates that it doesn’t really matter.

My first impression was not good, and neither was my second. Read the rest of this entry »





Cappyccino’s: casual, upscale, fun bar & bistro

6 03 2008

Cappy’s restaurant was opened in 1977 by Cappy and Suzy Lawton as one of the first establishments intended to revitalize the Alamo Heights area of San Antonio. Alamo Heights is an older, more affluent neighborhood that is a beautiful place to live and work. In 1996, the Lawton’s opened Cappyccino’s (“Little Cappy’s”) as an adjunct and complement to the popular and successful first restaurant. Its just across the patio from Cappy’s and offers quick and light fare. It is probably one of just a handful of full bars in San Antonio that is completely smoke-free and is a great informal place to meet for lunch, as is evidenced by the mix of casually attired as well as business-suited clientele.

The restaurant bills itself as a bistro, and its menu of burgers, salads, pizzas, and sandwiches fits the bill. Read the rest of this entry »





San Antonio Menu site

16 02 2008

There’s a new feature on this site: San Antonio Restaurant Menus. Use this guide to San Antonio’s best (or worst) restaurants and their menus by clicking on the link here, or choosing the San Antonio Menu page/tab above. I’ve organized it by Cuisine Category to make things as easy as possible to find. If you don’t find what you are looking for, leave a comment and I will add the menu if it is available.

Like any major city, San Antonio’s restaurants serve a diverse range of cuisines:

  • Alamo City Classics (the mainstays and staples everyone knows about)
  • American & Regional
  • Barbeque (BBQ)
  • Breakfast
  • Burgers
  • Continental & European
  • Cajun & Creole
  • Chinese
  • Coffee & Tea Houses
  • French
  • German
  • Home Cooking
  • Ice Cream
  • Indian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Latin
  • Mexican
  • Middle Eastern
  • Pizza
  • Pub Grub
  • Steak
  • Seafood
  • Tapas
  • TexMex
  • Thai
  • Vietnamese
  • Many Value Restaurants

You name it, its here. Thanks for looking.





Picture menus: sin or savvy?

1 02 2008

Many restauranteurs would probably argue that pictures on a menu are just an outright abomination to the profession (Gordon Ramsey, for one). You don’t see any upscale restaurants with pictures on their menu, just a detailed description of the dish. To be sure, pictures on menus are reminiscent of fast food joints.

I’ll take the combo #2, super-sized.” No description needed, the picture says it all.

mmphogclakm zpechtorflam” is the reply from the speaker (that means “pull up” in drive-thru speak).

Is it a sin to have pictures on a menu? Any one of us can probably recall off the top of our head at least five restaurants we’ve been to with pictures on the menu (let’s see: Chili’s, Denny’s, Red Robin…hmm, all franchises – interesting). Do these restaurants know something that other restauranteurs don’t? I would venture to say that restaurants actually sell more of the pictured items, but I haven’t seen any data on this. Let me tell you what I think. Read the rest of this entry »





Will Starbucks get its soul back?

31 01 2008

starbucksA couple of days ago an article came through on the AP wire regarding a memo issued by Starbucks Chariman Howard Schultz. This memo, delivered to Starbucks top executives about a year ago bemoaned the “watering down of the Starbucks experience. He complained that the company’s unbridled growth had sapped the soul out of the company. In this memo he pointed to the fact that many people find the stores “sterile” and “cookie cutter.”

How often do you see or hear about someone in a position such as Schulz’s being so candid about the company they run? Admitting there is a problem is the first step towards recovery, and Schultz hit the problem right on the head. As Starbucks saturates the market, the funky and cozy coffee houses (remember when they were called that?) have gone by the wayside. People are driven by convenience and efficiency, and its so much easier to pull up to the Starbucks drive-thru to pick up the morning java than to stop at a favorite coffee house and drink inside out of a ceramic cup. The original intent and philosophy behind the coffee house has waned, and in some areas, disappeared. In fact, after Starbucks switched to the fully automated machines, the pungent coffee aroma that used to permeate the air almost completely disappeared as well. Likewise, the craft of “pulling” a great cup of coffee or espresso is non-existent.

Here in San Antonio, I can only think of one coffee house that has retained this eclectic charm and that also serves good coffee. I only know about it because I stumbled upon it. On the other hand, Starbucks has become so ubiquitous through their marketing that even cartoons mimic and parody their logo.

However, hope may be in sight. Schultz is taking steps to bring the soul back to the stores. Different ideas have been tossed around to accomplish this, (like firing the CEO) but their success remains to be seen. I will be waiting in anticipation as I sip an espresso made from my Jura Capresso at home.





Shisha Cafe – Persian “pub grub” without the “pub”

28 01 2008

I decided to check out the Shisha Cafe this weekend because I was in the mood for something different and inexpensive. After looking through the local paper’s top dining picks for Middle Eastern fare, Shisha Cafe fit the bill and was close to where I work. The cafe occupies a small spot at the end of a strip center and has indoor and outdoor seating. Despite its name, however, I am inclined to report that this place is more of a lounge or parlor rather than a cafe, and I will have to respectfully disagree with the Express News’ assessment that the fare is worth investigating.

“Shisha” is the Arabic term for what many know and refer to as a “hooka” pipe. And as the name implies, the focus of the cafe is indeed smoking (“oh, and by the way, we serve food”). Evidence of this fact became more apparent as my family took a seat inside on plastic patio furniture and torn rattan tables. Thank goodness the music is kept at an acceptable level because I can only take so much of watching overly-produced Persian music videos featuring Western looking people singing in Guiness record-breaking tone and voice modulations. Popular American board games await on a shelf at the front counter for patrons to pass their time until the place closes at 4am. Rather than visiting a restaurant, the large bong (oops, I mean water pipe) assortment made it seem like I had entered a reincarnation of a “Magic Habits” head shop sans rock music, glow in the dark posters, and age limit warning signs.

My first disappointment is with Read the rest of this entry »





Frida’s Mexican and Latin Cuisine [CLOSED]

28 01 2008

frida kahloIf you are familiar at all with Mexican art, then you might guess that Frida’s is inspired by the art and love story of Frida Kahlo. A quote attributed to Frida says “I paint self portraits because I am the person the I know best.” If the restaurant is based on Frida’s inspiration for her art, then the menu says everything about the chef. It has been a long time since I have visited a new restaurant and really enjoyed the food, mainly because most restaurants lack innovation and render out the same standard fare that everyone else in town produces. I applaud Frida’s for taking traditional Mexican and Latin dishes and making them unique and original.

The restaurant is located in the midst of a highly populated residential area in North San Antonio. One of the owners, Cathy, told us during our visit that they decided to stay away from the commercial explosion happening along the Loop 1604 corridor on the North because they wanted to promote themselves as a “neighborhood” restaurant. I will make an effort here to get the word out that Frida’s is a place that locals and visitors alike should make the trip for.

The interior of the restaurant is attractive, with table linens, comfortable seating, earth-toned hues, hand blown light pendants, and a rotating display of local artists’ works. My wife and I went during a slow period and the waitstaff was attentive and friendly. We were there for lunch and were really just looking for a light meal, so we didn’t eat much. But the quality of the food and the interesting menu will bring me back again for sure. Read the rest of this entry »