San Antonio Sabbatical

Meetup Recap and Food

Posted on: September 12, 2010

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As I mentioned in my last post, I’m trying to get to know my new city and its people.  I attended two Meetup groups this week.

On Thursday, September 9th, the San Antonio Spanish Language Meetup Group gathered at 6:30 p.m. at La Taza Coffee House.  Only five members showed up so the group was smaller than expected (12 individuals had RSVP’d “Yes”).  In addition to myself, one other new member attended.  We snacked as we talked; I had a mango soda and a slice of pound cake.  The conversation covered an assortment of topics including our jobs, movies, popular culture, and travel.  The organizer (Ricardo), a native Spanish-speaker, did a good job of keeping the conversation moving along.  It pleased me greatly to understand most of what was being said.  My statements were few, but with more time I should become more comfortable speaking Spanish.  I enjoyed this Spanish Language Meetup and the casual and relaxed atmosphere of La Taza Coffee House.  When the meeting ended after 1½ hours, I chatted a bit (in English) with a couple of the other members and with the shop owner, Judy.  I told her that I’m taking psychology courses taught in Spanish at OLLU.  She said that she received her masters degree in social work from OLLU.  She decided to open a coffee house while continuing to do some hospice social work on the side.

Yesterday — Saturday, September 11th — the San Antonio Book Lovers Meetup Group gathered at 2:00 p.m. at Rise Bakery for its monthly “Book Swap and Gab” session.  Sixteen of us attended.  I was the only new member.  We snacked as we talked; I had an iced tea and a chocolate chip cookie (and took home a biscotti which I ate for breakfast this morning with my cereal).  Members went around the table taking turns discussing the books they brought and lending them to others to read.  I didn’t bring any books to give away (I was told in advance that this would be okay), but after I introduced myself I did talk about a couple of recent books I had read.  To make the conversation more interesting, the organizer (Dena) asked members to list three books they would want to have with them if marooned on a deserted island.  Tough question.  My three books were: (1) a survival guide (I’m a practical person), (2) a writing book (I’m a writer and would have plenty of time to write on the island), and (3) a novel such as a mystery by Sue Grafton or one of Jodi Picoult‘s books.  I enjoyed this Book Lovers Meetup and the casual and relaxed atmosphere of Rise Bakery.  When the meeting ended after 1½ hours, I continued talking for another 1½ hours with the British woman seated next to me.  We had a nice discussion about family, travel, classes, culture, and politics.  We had differing views on some issues but I appreciated hearing her perspective since it comes from her years of living in several countries overseas.  She also mentioned that she belongs to the Newcomers of San Antonio, a non-profit social organization that plans many fun activities for area newcomers.  I had found this group online a couple of weeks ago and it sounds interesting.  I’ll have to check it out.

After the Book Lovers Meetup, I went to Mesón restaurant since it’s located in the same small shopping plaza where the Meetup was held.  Mesón focuses on European dining.  According to their menu, they were voted “BEST OF San Antonio 2009” and received “A” grades for food, ambiance, and value from the San Antonio Express-News.  This is a fancy restaurant with expensive meals (e.g., meat entrees start at $15.00 and go up to $45.00).  I ordered a carry out dinner.  The Grilled Chicken with Herb Butter came with pasta (fettuccine) and fresh vegetables (a mix of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots).  Rolls were also included.  I ate part of the meal for dinner last night and had the remaining leftovers for lunch today.  The food was tasty and well-prepared.  The ambiance was warm, the decor was attractive, and the service was very good.  Mesón is a place I would gladly go to again.

I want to explore more of the San Antonio food scene.  There are so many good restaurants here.  When my sister and I visited San Antonio in July, we had a delicious meal at a Mexican restaurant, La Fonda.  Hopefully I’ll get a chance to go back for another meal there before I leave the area.  I’m looking forward to eating a variety of foods at several of the city’s highly recommended restaurants.  ¡Buen Provecho!




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