Monthly Archives: March 2012

Packing and Peace.

My organizational brain is in overdrive today.  Trying to figure out how to fit three months worth of clothing into these few bags is just as tricky as a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle, though I think it may just come down to sheer force.  I’m already thinking that packing the car with everything later this evening will be less of a struggle than packing each individual bag!

But amidst the craziness that is the apartment (and my mind) we took some time out this afternoon to visit the Japanese Tea Garden, near the San Antonio Zoo.  It really is a tranquil, beautiful little park, especially when there are less than a dozen other people sharing the space with you.

All the stonework is intricate and quite impressive.  The bridges and pathways gently meander through the ponds and gardens.  The Koi fish in the ponds are substantial, but not overwhelming (unlike the stinky feeding fish in practically every body of water at the Zoo!).

The large main canopy at the entrance provides an abundance of shade, and I am sure the unique space can be seen in all sorts of wedding, engagement, and graduation pictures!

The garden isn’t a huge space, and it doesn’t take all that much time to wander over the paths, but it was just the right size to get outside, enjoy the warm sun and fresh air, and find a few minutes of peace before jumping back into the land of Packing.

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Posted by on March 30, 2012 in Activities, Garden, Julie, San Antonio, Travel


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San Antonio Zoo – Two Thumbs Up!

Justin makes a new friend in the Butterfly exhibit!

Justin and I decided to check out the San Antonio Zoo this afternoon, and we’re so glad we did!  We were very impressed with the huge variety and sheer numbers of animals in the Zoo’s collection.  And while it was a very very large zoo (3rd largest in the country) it was laid out nicely and was very easy to meander through and see everything in a few hours.  We would highly recommend anyone visiting the San Antonio area to check out the zoo, and if you can get in during an off time, such as a the middle of the week, there aren’t quite so many strollers to navigate around.

An Okapi, the legs of a zebra, the body of a deer, and the head of a giraffe!

The elusive white rhino...

The zoo had multiple varieties of flamingos, all very active!

A small cuttlefish in the aquarium exhibit.

A very camouflaged chameleon. We called him Peeta from The Hunger Games.

There were hundreds of butterflies in the butterfly enclosure. It was crazy to see so many different varieties all just inches away!

Speaking of inches away...

Snow Cone time! Justin went with "Tiger's Blood".

And I choose pineapple.

A Lory. One thing that we were impressed by was how interactive many of the exhibits were. You could get so close to some of the animals and birds, and even feed some nectar or pellets.

A 4 year old Komodo Dragon.

Up close and personal with this Leaf-tail Gecko.

Another lizard giving Justin the stink-eye.

Quite the interesting colors on this bird!

Another close, interesting-looking bird.

There were hundreds of species of birds at the zoo. This zoo definitely had so much more than your typical lions, tigers, and apes. So many animals that we had never seen before!

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Posted by on March 28, 2012 in Activities, Julie, San Antonio, Travel


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A Maze of a Museum

Justin and I just returned from the San Antonio Museum of Art.  We were surprised at how massive it was, though the gallery rooms were quite small, connected by a maze of stairwells and hallways.

They do have an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts which was very interesting.  It really is astounding that anything still exists from 3000 B.C.  Buddy was duly impressed.

I liked this ginormous painting of toucans.  Though now I am craving a bowl of Fruit Loops. 🙂

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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Buddy, Julie, San Antonio, Travel


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This and That.

We’ll be home a week from now.  Excited to be home in a week, though it still seems far away.  Looking forward to seeing friends, celebrating Easter with family, and baking in my kitchen.  Definitely going to miss this relaxed pace, homemade tortillas, and sun in the winter.

Speaking of which, it has been HOT lately.  Over 80 every day it seems.  And because of (or in spite of?) the heat and sun, we’ve been going for multiple walks through the city and along the River Walk each day.  Soaking in as much Vitamin D as we possibly can, which seems quite literal as we come back soaked in sweat.  Pleasant, I know.

Speaking of pleasant, we ate lunch at Whataburger today.  We’ve been seeing Whataburger locations all over Texas as we’ve been driving around, and as there is one near the RiverWalk, we decided to give it a shot.

We enjoyed the burgers (and the fancy new Coke dispenser) and were surprised how large the sandwiches were – almost 5 inches in diameter!  The lettuce and tomatoes were super fresh and added a good crunch and flavor.  We both agreed that it wasn’t quite 5 Guys though.  The burger lacked that great char and crust that 5 Guys does so well, and the fries here were pretty standard fast food sticks, just shy of hot.

Other than that, we don’t really have too much to cram into our last week here.  Checking out the San Antonio  Museum of Art tomorrow (it is free on Tuesday evenings) and heading back to our favorite restaurant spots (Taco Taco and Mi Tierra).  And walking and sweating some more, we have that down pat!


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Hot Dogs on a Hot Day

We decided this morning to check out the Japanese Tea Gardens in the afternoon, but after driving around the packed parking lot and trying to navigate the traffic around the zoo, we opted for Plan B, driving up to Austin for a late lunch at Frank.

We had walked by Frank when we were in Austin for SXSW, and after reading a few articles about the place, I wanted to head back and try it.  What had particularly caught my eye in one of the articles was that they have a version of Canadian Waffle Fries Poutine, which might seem like all sorts of gross to some, but I thought it sounded all sorts of fantastic.

Justin ordered the Jackalope (a house made antelope, rabbit, and pork sausage covered with huckleberry compote, sriacha mayo, and cheddar cheese) while I choose the Carolina Pork It (a Vienna beef dog, stuffed with American Cheese and wrapped in bacon, then covered with green chili pimento cheese and coleslaw).  We added a small order of the Poutine fries and a Corn Cup (roasted corn with butter, chili mayonaise, lime juice, and cotija cheese) to round out the meal.  And it all rocked our faces off.  But the key is that once you pick up the hot dog, DO NOT put it back down.  These puppies are fully loaded with toppings and tend to be 6-Napkin messy.  And the poutine was everything I hoped for: crisp fries covered in melted gooey cheese and flavorful brown gravy.  Again, crazy messy, but very worth it!

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Posted by on March 24, 2012 in Food, Julie, Restaurant Reviews, Texas, Travel


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For reals?!

Justin and I took advantage of another beeeaaa-uuuu-ti-ful day by walking over to Market Square.  We had been eyeing up a potential gift to bring home and also wanted to have lunch at Mi Tierra.

Walking through the doors you first walk by the amazing craziness that is the bakery case.  It took us about .4 seconds to agree that we would be stopping back here after our meal.

And then we were lead into one of the dining areas, and I’m a bit amazed that our corneas didn’t explode.

The food, you ask?  Yea, it was phenomenal.  Rated right up there with Taco Taco in our opinion.  The tortillas were crazy fresh and well worth eating one all on its own.  But, although there is definitely a flavor difference, there isn’t much visual difference between one plate of enchiladas, rice, and beans from any other place, and truthfully, not all that pretty.  It is much more fun taking pictures of the roaming mariachis!

With a little room left in our tummies, we headed back over to the bakery case and made a few selections.

It was pretty much like Justin’s dream bakery – so many things completely covered in coconut!  I enjoyed a simple roll of sweet cinnamon dough, that reminded me a bit of a shortbread cookie.  I’m sure the few treats we brought home won’t last very long!


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Dough – worth the wait, and a second visit!

The first time we ate at Dough, Trav and Emily were visiting and Justin and Trav found it highly recommended on Yelp, or Urban Spoon, or some other food site.  We drove out, put our name on the list and got our buzzer, then hung out and chatted and played iphone games for over an hour until our table was ready.

Pork Love Pizza

But upon sampling our appetizers, some freshly baked flatbread and some speidini (cheese, wrapped with proscuitto, then roasted), we knew that this was a meal worth waiting for.  Justin and Travis decided to split a Pork Love pizza, topped with all sorts of proscuitto, ham, salami, etc, while Emily and I quickly agreed on sharing the classic Margherita pizza, topped simply with fresh mozzarella cheese and basil.

Margherita Pizza

Both were definite hits.  The crust has a great flavor, and a good bite and chew.  The 800+ degree wood-fired oven gives the pizza a great smoky dotted char, without going overboard.  The center of the pizza tends to be a bit limp, mainly because of the extra water in the fresh cheeses, but this certainly wasn’t a big negative – the fresh cheese makes such a huge flavor difference that we can happily forgive a very slightly soggy first bite.

Burrata Caprese

Justin and I returned for a second visit yesterday, and again, were not disappointed with the food at all.  We started with the Burrata Caprese appetizer, which was out-of-this-world delicious.  Served with warm flatbread, the ball of cheeses in the middle was composed of freshly made mozzarella surrounding the creamiest blend of  mascarpone and ricotta cheese, surrounded by heirloom tomatoes and drizzled with some delicious olive oil and balsamic vinegar.   So so so so good!

Polenta Cake

When we had dinner with Trav and Em, we also ordered dessert.  When we ordered the Polenta Cake, I expected to receive something dense, similar to a pound cake, but what arrived was so much taller, and so much lighter than that.  The Vanilla Bean sauce and strawberry coulis paired beautifully with the sweet corn flavor of the cake, and it didn’t take long for us to gobble it up!

While we love the good New York-style pizza of Polito’s at home, we will miss this great, more traditional style pizza from Dough!

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Posted by on March 22, 2012 in Julie, Restaurant Reviews, San Antonio, Travel


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