San Antonio Sabbatical

Foodie Tour: King William Culinary and Culture Walking Tour

Posted on: November 28, 2010

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Yesterday I did another foodie tour.  While the weather didn’t seem promising with early morning freezing temperatures, it did warm up to the latter 50s/early 60s by the afternoon for this outdoor activity.  This King William Culinary and Culture Walking Tour ($39 for adults; $35 for local residents) was offered by Historic Texas Tours, the company with whom I did the Flavors of San Antonio Foodie Tour and the San Antonio Mission Trail Tour.  Gracie, Alex’s daughter, led yesterday’s foodie tour which is described as a leisurely walking tour that combines cuisine, history, and art.

This King William Culinary and Culture Walking Tour began at 1:30 p.m. in the artsy Blue Star area of San Antonio.  There were 11 of us in all, including our tour guide, Gracie.  We walked around nearby as Gracie explained the important historical elements such as the area’s German heritage and architecture.  We passed by several beautiful and expensive homes and learned about their significance.  Gracie, like her father, is friendly and knowledgeable about the subject matter.  After about one-half hour of walking, the tour group made the first of four restaurant stops.

The Friendly Spot Ice House (formerly King Willie’s) was our first place for sampling foods.  It’s a cute kid-friendly snack place with a playground.  We were given thick tortilla chips with three dips — guacamole, salsa, and ceviche.  I don’t like raw meat or shellfish, so I didn’t try the ceviche, but the chips and other dips were really good.  We then got to try “street tacos” (soft taco shells filled with pork cubes and pickled purple onions).  These were okay, but I prefer hard shell tacos filled with ground beef.

Our next stop was Frosted Delights by Joyce, a bakery that has been open for only six weeks.  Each member of the group got to sample one of their mousse cupcakes and one of their many flavors of either coffee or tea.  I tried the “Pretty-N-Pink” Cupcake (strawberry cupcake with strawberry mousse icing) and Spring Jasmine Green Tea.  The cupcake was delicious; I especially liked the dark flakes of strawberry flavor that had been baked into the batter.  The mousse frosting was sweet, light, and creamy.  The tea was flavorful.

The third place we ate at was Casbeers At The Church, a restaurant located in a former Methodist church (which we went upstairs to see after eating).  Here we sampled enchiladas topped with chili (mine was cheeseless) and “buckshot balls” (breaded and deep-fried meatballs filled with cheese, jalopeno, and panko bread crumbs) with salsa ranch for dipping along with iced tea and water.  I was provided with a no-cheese buckshot ball.  I think this was the first time I had heard of or tried buckshot balls and I really liked them.  It’s an interesting and tasty combination of ingredients.

Our final restaurant stop was at the Blue Star Brewing Company Restaurant & Bar where we began the tour.  Here we sampled pecan pie and their homemade lemon soda (from pure cane sugar rather than corn syrup).  Both were good, but a bit sweet in my opinion.  On this King William Culinary and Culture Walking Tour, we sampled a variety of mostly snacks and desserts and got to see some of the local culture.  Although we passed by a few art galleries and boutiques, we didn’t stop inside.  Tour participants seem to have had a good time, and the tour ended around 5:00 p.m.

One place that I was hoping we would stop at is Rosario’s Mexican Café y Cantina, a popular restaurant that is highly recommended by San Antonio‘s locals.  Gracie mentioned that this food tour visits Rosario’s on Thursdays, but that Rosario’s can’t accommodate the tour group for samplings on Saturdays due to its high volume of customers then.  So, once the foodie tour had ended, I walked down to Rosario’s (located at the corner of S. Alamo and St. Mary’s) and ordered a take-out dinner to bring home.  I had Pollo con Mole (boneless chicken breast smothered in our delicious molé sauce and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds; served with rice & refried beans), Sopa de Pozole (lightly seasoned broth, diced pork, hominy and shredded cabbage, garnished with fresh onions, cilantro, oregano, crispy corn chips), and a virgin strawberry daiquiri.  The meal came with soft corn and flour tortillas.  Later that evening, I ate this meal and enjoyed both the tasty chicken dish and the savory soup.  The daiquiri was too watery and could have used more strawberry flavor.  But, overall, I was pleased.  The menu at Rosario’s has a wide selection of Mexican dishes and its diners rave about the wonderful food.  I’m glad I got to give it a try before leaving town.

Prior to the foodie tour, I started the day by meeting Elvia, my SEFLA Spanish teacher, for breakfast.  I drove to her house (she lives in the King William area where I would later be meeting the tour group) and arrived at 8:30 a.m.  As planned, we walked to the historical Guenther House which has a restaurant, museum, and store.  We ate a delicious breakfast in The Guenther House Restaurant.  (This was my first time there; Elvia had been there previously).  I had the special pioneer breakfast of two pancakes, two country sausage patties, and a fruit cup along with hot tea.  Elvia had an egg dish with fruit and coffee.  Both of us really enjoyed our meals.  The ambience was warm and welcoming and the place was decorated for the holidays — Christmas tree, colorful lights, large candy house, etc.  We walked through the adjoining museum and store; I took pictures and bought a few postcards and a decorative refrigerator magnet.  After The Guenther House, Elvia and I walked by the river and around the King William/Southtown area and visited art galleries and shops.  This was fun to do especially as the weather warmed up.  Elvia and I finished up around 1:00 p.m. then I headed over to the Blue Star area and browsed a bit before my foodie tour.  I really like this artsy part of town.  This was my third time here.  Previously, I came with Elvia for Mueritos Fest First Friday and with Donna Simon for a Studio Art Tour.

As you can see, I had an activity-filled “pig out” Saturday.  OMG!  Six restaurants in one day — that’s definitely a record for me (even though four of them were for samples only rather than for full meals).  It’s really true that San Antonio has lots of great food.  Come on over and see for yourself!

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