Monday, December 20, 2010

First Full Day in SA and The Monterrey

Era and I made great time during our drive to Texas.  We left California on Thursday night at 8 PM (two hours behind schedule).  The dogs were whining like crazy for the first couple of hours.  I drove us all the way to Deming, NM and we were only an hour behind schedule.

By the time we left for Texas on Friday morning, we were right on schedule.  Friday night I spent inside watching Psych with my sister.  Correction: I fell asleep about 15 minutes in because I was exhausted.

Saturday was our first full day in San Antonio, and it was packed with things to do.  We woke up and went to the Farmers Market at the Pearl Brewery.  So much fun!  After we bought some things, we walked around the extended Riverwalk.  It's awesome on that side (no tourists).  It was a crisp morning so we stuck around to eat some food from a local cart.

Era resting on a bench, a gorgeous view of the Riverwalk, the entrance to The Grotto, and fish suspended over the Riverwalk
After our trip to the market, we visited my in-laws.  It was great to see them!  I love them so very much.  Mrs. C. was making us food and tortillas before we even sat down.  We talked for a bit and saw Era's sister, niece, and nephew.

Then, we headed to The Monterrey.  Our friend, Albert, is head chef over there.  When everything was still in the planning stages he was telling me how varied the menu is and that there was a good mix of vegan food.  The Monterrey is basically San Antonio's answer to a gastropub.  It's a truly gorgeous setup.  There's a back patio with tons of tables and a real comfortable vibe.  Just ignore the online menu because it changes all the time.  There is guaranteed to be something substantial and vegan/veganizable on the menu, though.

This was our first trip, and Albert treated us right.  First, he sent out the Housemade Pickles and French Fries.  When ordering the pickles, be sure to mention you are vegan and do not want the kimchi.  The fries come with anchovy mayo.  Simply ask for ketchup, but you totally won't need it!  They are coated in this DELICIOUS seasoning.  Some of the best fries I've ever had.

pickled radish, daikon, carrots, and shiitake and maitake mushrooms
seasoned to perfection and perfectly crispy outside with a tender inside
Next, he sent out the Smoked Root Vegetables and Celery Jam.  Seriously.  This was insanely good.  I was scared because I am always finicky around smoked veggies.  However, this was amazing!  It was smoked striped beets, sweet potatoes, rutabagas, and turnips.  So damn delicious!  I must make smoked striped beets sometime soon!  Gah.  The celery jam paired beautifully with this.  The pictures from this point on do not do the food justice. Trust me.  It was magic!

smoked root vegetables with celery jam
The final dish that he sent out, as we grabbed our bellies in full and happy delight, was Brussels Sprouts with Sweet Chili Sauce and Peanuts.  Whoa.  Best sprouts of all times!!!!  So tasty!  The peanuts were finely chopped and created this peanut sauce taste.  The Brussels sprouts were flash fried so they had a crispy outside and were the perfect vehicle for the sauce.  I wanted to live in this magical sprout land!  We started digging in before I realized we needed pics.

delightful!  splendid!  magical!  awesome!
We enjoyed our meal with a limited edition Dogfish Head Squall.  Tasty as hell!  This place is perfect.  Great atmosphere, fantastic food, and a wide range of beer and wine.  Plus, there's a wide range of pricing.  We're planning on heading back there with family and friends before we go back to California.

After the Monterrey, we went to Limelight because Era had a gig there.  My sister, brother-in-law, and brother showed up.  We danced the night away and got to burn off some food calories.  Haha.  It was a truly exciting and exhausting first full day home!


Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day said...

What great eats! I'm glad you had a good time...

Erin said...

Those brussels look amazing!