Another outstanding meal at Saveurs 209…

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Yesterday, I was really bored and wanted to go out to dinner.  I thought about all the new dresses in my closet and how badly I needed a new Facebook profile picture.  I usually replace my profile photos when I put on makeup and look presentable.  Bill came to my office and asked if I’d be okay with burgers for dinner.  I blurted out, “I want to go out!”

Bill looked a little chagrined.  I think he was thinking about the cost of a nice meal and the fact that he’d pulled the ground beef out and didn’t want it to turn.  Bill asked where I wanted to go out and I said I wanted to go downtown… perhaps to Saveurs 209.  I saw Bill cringe as he considered the traffic involved with going downtown.  Then I said, “I want to put on a dress.”

Bill and me, dressed to the nines…

Bill relented and made reservations.  I got all pretty.  We went downtown and much to my delight, when we stepped into the restaurant, were immediately recognized!  The last time we went to Saveurs 209 was for Thanksgiving!  I told our host, Sylvain, that we’d been meaning to get back to their restaurant.

We were seated and proceeded to enjoy a wonderful authentic French meal for the third time in San Antonio.  Here are some photos from our delightful dinner!

Bill peruses the menu…

I had a glass of champagne– Piper Heidsieck, to be exact.  Bill ordered a very nice chenin blanc to go with our seafood heavy meal. The wine had a strong mineral taste, kind of like a chablis.  It was a good choice.  We enjoyed very fresh baguette bread with equally fresh butter…  

A velvety smooth chilled gazpacho amuse– avocado, green pepper, green onion, cucumber and, I would swear lime, though I didn’t hear that mentioned in the list of ingredients.   It was very refreshing!

My asparagus salad.  It was served with Parmesan cheese and San Daniele Proscuitto.  I love how this salad looks, but it also tasted very good.  The asparagus was firm and flavorful and the Parmesan and prosciutto added a delicately salty flavor.

Bill was eyeing a fish soup, but I talked him into the Comte cheese soufflé, which came with a small salad with walnuts and vinaigrette.  I would have ordered this myself, but cheese is kind of a hit or miss thing with me.  Very strong cheeses are a turn off.  I’m happy to report that this starter was delicious… not too strong and very comforting.  I would order it if it’s available during our next visit (but I bet it won’t be– they change the menus frequently!)

For dinner, I had lobster with green peas, tomatoes and mint pesto.  The lobster was very generously portioned and delicious…  It was garnished delicately with roe.  The mint and peas complemented the lobster very well.  I’m not a huge fan of tomatoes, but the two included with this dish were flavorful and succulent.  They also added a dramatic dash of color to the dish, making it look like a work of art.

Bill had halibut with asparagus and roe…  I tasted the halibut, which seemed delicately poached.  It was tender and moist, cooked to perfection.

Dessert!  Bill ordered for me while I was in the restroom and I ended up with a dreaded lava cake…  Actually, it was a nice dessert, served warm with vanilla ice cream.  I have nothing against lava cake, except that everyone is doing that now!  I was hoping for a chocolate biscuit with raspberry ganache and chocolate chips.  Oh well… I didn’t refuse the dessert!  Bill had a very interesting streusel with strawberries and pistachios.  

 

Bill and I finished with a round of espresso.  We basked in the afterglow of a delightful meal.  Afterwards, we chatted a bit with Sylvain, telling him how much we love Europe and that we hope to be there next week.  Where exactly we’ll end up is still “up in the air”, but there’s a good chance we could go to France.  If we do, this meal will make an excellent kick off to our vacation.  In all, our meal cost just under $200.  It was definitely worth every penny.  Bill tipped 20%, which brought our total to about $240.

I also told Sylvain that if Bill doesn’t get a job soon, I might have to approach him for a job waiting tables!  I was half kidding.  His eyebrows raised when I told him about my experiences working at The Trellis, restaurant that for over 30 years, was owned by Marcel Desaulniers, a French American chef who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.  I told him how stressful it was to work in that place, because we learned how to serve food properly.  It took me a long while to get it right, but I finally did… and now, thanks to Marcel, I appreciate good food and good service.  And thanks to Europe, I appreciate the fantastic unhurried experience one can have at Saveurs 209.  If we can’t live in Europe anymore, we can at least enjoy European people.

I think Saveurs 209 is probably the only authentic French restaurant in the San Antonio area.  It is also the only “nice” restaurant Bill and I have visited three times.  And if we don’t move out of the area, we’ll definitely be back.  If you are inclined to dine on French cuisine and you happen to be in San Antonio, I highly recommend Saveurs 209.

Back to America…

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Our flight from Rota was pretty awesome.  It was very smooth and I was able to sleep for a good part of it, despite lying on the floor and being a bit cold.  We landed at Whiteman Air Force Base at about 9:00 in the morning.  It was absolutely FRIGID there.  The temperature was about one degree and the wind was blowing like crazy.  We were on the plane as the load masters removed the chains and cables from the helicopters, so it was cold as hell.  An airman came on the plane to clear us through customs.  It was a very laid back interview and the guy who did it was quite cool (in a good way).

A bus was waiting to take us to “base ops”, which is a very small lounge with TVs and couches.  Someone in charge at the base explained to us that there was no support for Space A people and taxis were not allowed on the base, so we might have to walk to the front gate, which is not close to base ops.  It was also freezing!

Fortunately, the guy who drove the bus was available to give us a lift to the visitor’s center by the gate.  Bill and I and the Seabee called Enterprise and they picked us up, not realizing that there were three of us going instead of two.  For some reason, the sales agent from Enterprise had a driver, so we all had to squeeze into the car for the twelve mile ride to Warrensburg, Missouri.  We got our rental cars and said our goodbyes.  The Seabee was planning to drive to Virginia, while Bill and I planned to get a commercial flight out of Kansas City, Missouri.

I had booked us a room at the Embassy Suites at the airport because after some cursory research, it was clear that trying to get home on Friday would cost significantly more and wear us out.  As it was, we were already pretty tired and needed to sleep.

Bill started the 90 minute drive and we stopped in Independence, Missouri for a bite to eat at a place called The Corner Cafe.  The parking lot was absolutely full of cars and it was barely 11:00am.  I figured that was a sign the food was going to be good.  I had never heard of this place, but it’s obviously a chain in Missouri.  We walked into the place and it kind of made me think it was what you’d get if a Perkins and a Cracker Barrel mated.  The menu was full of comfort food and there were a lot of pies.  The clientele appeared to consist of a lot of people with walkers, blue hair, and oxygen support.

 

Lunch!

We bought this to go and ended up eating it for dinner.

The food was indeed quite good.  We were hungry and I was ready for something comforting.  I had fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and some surprisingly good green beans.  The meal also came with a roll.  Bill had a sandwich and fries.  Walking into the restroom, I could hear the 50s era rock and roll playing.  I took note of the toilet and realized that this was the kind of place that served food that led to taking a big dump.  I saw evidence of that…  ’nuff said.

I had to take a photo of this huge American flag on our way to Kansas City.

Bill after we checked in at about 1:00pm.

A folksy note left for hotel guests…

One thing I noticed about Missouri is that everybody seems really down home and “folksy”.  Another thing I noticed is that obesity is a significant issue there.  I mean, I am by no means thin, but I was feeling almost petite in The Corner Cafe, the hotel, and even at the airport.  I saw a lot of people using canes, walkers, and oxygen, too.

Anyway, when we got to our hotel room, I took a shower and started watching college gymnastics.  Bill went to bed.  I joined him about an hour later and promptly fell asleep.  The bed in our room was surprisingly and delightfully comfortable.  We slept through the manager’s reception and didn’t feel like going out for dinner, so we ate the pie we got to go at The Corner Cafe.  Then we went back to bed and slept until about 5:00 Saturday morning.

Bill was fretting a bit about what he was going to do with the rental car.  It turned out it wasn’t an issue.  We ran into another guy, obviously military, who told us he works in Hawaii.  We found the rental car facility and got the shuttle to the terminal driven by a kindly older gentleman named John who was very chipper, especially for the time of day it was.

We went to get our boarding passes and drop our luggage.  Since Bill is active duty military, he can check two bags for free on Delta.  So we checked in and it turned out our flight was so packed that we were assigned seats at the gate.  The agent who helped us then said that only Bill was entitled to get free bags.  Bill said he knew, but since he’s allowed two bags, he claimed mine as his.  I’m not sure why this was an issue for the agent.  I mean, in his shoes, wouldn’t she do the same thing?  Who wants to pay $30 a bag?  She let it go and then asked us to take the shoulder straps off the bags.

Our bags dropped, we headed toward security, where I noted that I had been pre-selected for “pre-check”.  That meant I wouldn’t have to remove my shoes or jacket, nor did I have to pull out my electronics for security, as long as I made it through the metal detector.  Well, I was wearing two jackets because it was so goddamn cold outside.  I took one off and left the other one on.  It had a metal zipper, so I set off the metal detector.  So then a member of the security force came over to escort me to get my hands swabbed.

I initially thought these people were TSA, but it turns out the Kansas City airport is one of the few airports that doesn’t have official TSA people on the payroll.  Instead, they have a private security force that follows the same procedures as TSA does.  Anyway, the young woman who was to swab my hands came over and asked me to go with her.  I reached for my stuff and she said that she had to carry it.  I still had my passport and boarding pass in my hands and set it down while she prepared to test my hands for nitrates.  Her machine wasn’t working, so another security person had to do the test.  I went to grab my passport and boarding pass and she said she had to take them.  We went to another testing site and the guy swabbed my hands.  Naturally, I came up clean.  The experience made me think it would have been much easier to just go through the regular screening.

We ended up getting seated in the exit row at the ass of the plane.  A very sunny flight attendant confirmed we were willing and able to help the crew if we should crash.  The flight was basically very pleasant, until we were about to land.  I had left my purse on the floor for the entire flight because I couldn’t hear the announcements very well where we were sitting.  It turns out that if you sit in the exit row, you have to put all your stuff in the overhead bin.  A different flight attendant came over and asked me if she could put my purse in the bin.  I said, “If you must.”

I really wasn’t bitchy about it.  My voice was matter-of-fact.  I know they have their rules.  However, the damn purse was on the floor for the entire flight and no one said anything and I honestly didn’t hear them say that it had to be in the bin.  I had put it under my seat when we ascended.  So then the flight attendant said in a preachy voice (as if talking to a child), “I must because you are sitting in the exit row!” Fine.  The explanation wasn’t necessary, really, and I could have done without the holier than thou tone.

The other flight attendant who had been so nice made an impression on me.  I actually went to Delta’s Web site and sent a note complimenting her.  I had made a note of her name and wrote that I hoped they’d let her know that a passenger had appreciated her very pleasant personality.  Maybe random praise will help her get a promotion.

We were supposed to have a two hour layover in Atlanta.  Bill and I decided to have lunch at the Sweetwater Tavern.  Sweetwater is a craft beer made in the Atlanta area.  We used to drink it a lot when we lived near Atlanta.  The waitress ended up chatting with Bill about home brewing, which Bill started doing in earnest when we lived in Georgia.  We gave her some tips and it turned out the guy sitting near us was also a home brewer.  It was kind of neat being around all the beer geeks.

We left the tavern with a few minutes to go before we were supposed to board our flight.  It looked like we were going to get home early.  But then, just after Bill called the kennel to let them know, we got word that the plane we were supposed to board had a maintenance issue.  Once again, we were going to be delayed.

So then Bill struck up a conversation with a guy who turned out to be a lawyer in San Antonio.  Bill is taking a computer law class, so they had something to chat about.  I sat there and played with my phone.

Naturally, the plane was packed.  It was a very obnoxious flight and we were in the second to the last row, so there was a parade of people passing to go to the bathroom.  Some Army guy reclined in my lap and there were conversations so loud I could hear them through my noise canceling headphones.  That flight could not have ended soon enough.  And then, once it did, it took awhile to get our bags.  Mine came out quickly, but Bill’s took much longer.

When we got to the parking lot, we couldn’t find the damn car…  And then the road we needed to get on to get to Camp Bow Wow was under construction, forcing us to take a detour.  But we did finally get there and the boys were delighted to see us!  I even filmed our reunion.  There wasn’t any barking or howling, but there was a lot of kissing, tail wagging, and genuine happiness at being sprung from the joint.

Arran welcomes Bill home.

It always takes me days to get everything back to normal after a trip.  However, I always learn a lot when we travel.  This trip was no exception.  I think my next post will be about all the new things I know, now that I’ve gone to Spain and Portugal!

Belgian food at La Frite in San Antonio!

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I love Beligum.  I went there for the first time in September 2008, when Bill sent me a pissy email after a particularly bad month at work.  The email read, “I think we should go see Mannekin Pis over Labor Day weekend.”  We went to Belgium by train and had a blast!

We had quite the drunken long weekend, traipsing from Brussels to Bruges and back…

When we lived in Germany, we visited Belgium a couple more times.  It’s really my kind of place.  Exquisite beer, excellent frites, chocolate, and smutty humor makes me want to go back again and again.  Unfortunately, San Antonio is not near Belgium…  or is it?

A few weeks ago, I found a review for a Belgian restaurant in the Southtown area of San Antonio called La Frite.  Remembering how much I love Belgium and its fantastic beers, I vowed that we would pay this place a visit.  Yesterday, I asked Bill if he was ready for some frites.  He said yes.  So we made a reservation for 6:30pm.

As it turned out, parking around La Frite is much more simple than we realized.  But we drove around looking for a legal place to park for about fifteen minutes before I finally went into the restaurant to ask. Apparently, on a Saturday night, it’s okay to park at the United Way, which is located next door.  I don’t know what one does at lunch time, but La Frite only offers lunch Tuesday through Friday (11:30-1:30).  Dinner is offered Tuesday through Friday (6:00-10:00).  On Saturdays (6:00-10:00), they only offer dinner and they are closed on Sundays and Mondays.  Dress is casual.

We were a little late for our reservation, which I strongly recommend making for a Saturday night visit.  It was getting busy as we were seated and by the time we left at about 8:30, it was positively packed!  The restaurant does have a small bar area, but it doesn’t look like there are many places to sit there and, in fact, there’s nowhere to congregate if you have to wait for a table.

This is also not the place to go for a romantic evening, though the interior of the obviously historic restaurant is very charming.  At one point during our meal, I commented to Bill that the noise level in the dining room reminded me of a school cafeteria!  There was a table full of teachers sitting next to us who seemed to be having a great time.  They seemed to represent teachers from elementary school to university.

The front of the restaurant…

Beer menu!

Bill started with a Kwak, while I tried the seasonal beer… a Wolf Christmas Ale.  These two brews packed quite an alcoholic wallop!  The Wolf was especially potent at about 9 percent alcohol by volume.  

 

We opted to skip starters because I knew I would want another beer and I had heard La Frite’s portions were large.  I went with the batter fried lobster tail, served with frites and seasonal vegetables that included carrots, zucchini, and broccoli.  This was a very nice dish at $26, but what I really enjoyed were the dipping sauces.  There was ketchup, of course, and what tasted like a cucumber dill sauce for the frites.  The lobster came with a lemon beurre sauce that really made it great!  We ate bread and butter as we waited for the entrees.  Click the link if you want to read about why Kwak is usually served in a special glass with a stand.

 
 

I had already eaten some of this lobster when this photo was taken.  The first one I took before I started eating  was blurry.

Bill had a hangar steak, which was really good.  It was very tender and flavorful.  He also had frites and veggies.  

I enjoyed a Kwak while we waited for dessert.

Bill enjoyed a lemon tart.  All desserts are $7 and they had several to choose from.

I had chocolate mousse.  It was just the right amount.

 

Cool bistro mural on the wall…

That painting reminded me of anchovies… or sperm.

 

The menu had quite a few tempting options.  I might have chosen the duck breast with berry glace over the lobster or maybe the fruits de mer, which was served with puff pastry and a creamy white wine sauce.  There is also a prix fixe menu that was attractive last night.  It includes three courses for $39.  I might have gone for that except none of the three appetizers really appealed to me and I really wanted to try the lobster tail.  The waiter did say we could order parts of the prix fixe menu too.  Several unique entree options were available, though, that were specials for last night.

At one point, a group of festive bikers passed on their bikes, all lit up with Christmas lights!

We left the restaurant nicely satisfied and with a bill under $100 before tip.  I would definitely go back again, though next time, I might brave the moules (mussels) instead!

French food on Thanksgiving in San Antonio…

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So, for our anniversary this year, we visited Saveurs 209, a fairly new French restaurant in San Antonio.  We enjoyed the food so much that we decided to visit again for Thanksgiving dinner.  My mother-in-law went with us for our 7:00 reservation last night.  We were the only ones there until the tail end of our meal, when a lone couple showed up.

I got all dolled up again…  I was high on cava and the fumes of my freshly colored hair…

 

My mother-in-law, Parker…  She and I started with a glass of Piper Hiesedeck champagne…

Bill peruses the menu… He chose a lovely Gigondas to pair with our Thanksgiving dinner.

A little amuse… chicken, shrimp, and cheese… I think.  It was hot and delicious.

Bill opted for the “Thanksgiving menu”, which was a corn and parmesan soup with a poached egg, turkey stuffed with mushrooms and fois gras, and a pecan and pear tart.  I also had the corn soup, though I had a filet mignon for dinner instead of turkey…

Parker had the same mushroom tart Bill had last time.  I don’t eat mushrooms, but they both said this was a delicious starter.  

Just before we began eating our main courses, a man walked into the restaurant and boldly noted that French people don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.  He started talked about “just getting out of the hole”, implying that he’d been at war or something.  One look at him told us he was no military guy.  Indeed, he appeared to be looking for a handout.  My guess is the hole he got out of was jail.  I will admit his performance was kind of impressive.  That kind of thing happens to Bill and me a lot when we go out.  The French owner very charmingly but firmly invited the interloper to leave.  I’d say that experience ranks right up there with the one we had in downtown San Antonio in July, when a bum dropped the n bomb on poor Bill…

My filet was perfectly cooked to medium and served with root vegetables and a celery puree.  This was a very interesting surprise for me.  At first, I thought one of the vegetables was potato, but it turned out to be rutabaga.  It was quite tasty.  I also enjoyed the celery puree, which reminded me of mashed potatoes but had a lot less fat and salt in it.

Bill’s turkey.  He said it was delicious.  Again, I don’t eat mushrooms or fois gras… Bill liked the way they did the turkey so much that he asked how it was prepared.  It was very moist.

Parker enjoyed the same sea scallop dish I had last time… 

For dessert, I had a strawberry tart with what tasted like strawberry sorbet.  This was really nice– not too heavy and I could finish it somewhat easily.  

Bill’s pecan and pear tart.

Parker had the hazelnut, coffee, and chocolate dacquois…

 

We finished with a round of espresso.  Service, once again, was casual yet impeccable as we were tended to by Sylvie and Sylvain, the married couple who, along with their daughter, the chef, own the restaurant.  It was a perfectly delightful meal!  We have no leftovers or clean up to do.  I hope to visit again soon!

 

Max’s Wine Dive…

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Yesterday, Bill and I decided to go to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.  Both of those stores happen to be near each other and a place called Max’s Wine Dive.  This small Texas chain pairs casual food with wine.  We had heard about it from one of Bill’s friends and since we were hungry, we decided to stop in for a bite to eat.

As it turned out, they were having a wine tasting paired with Thanksgiving themed “snacks”.  For $35 each, we could have all we wanted to eat or drink… granted, we were tasting wines, so the samples were small.  Come to think of it, so were the food pickings.  There were small plates with turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and gravy stacked into piles, a brussels sprouts casserole of some kind, and pumpkin pie.  I didn’t eat that much, but I did enjoy the wines and chatting with the very friendly wait staff offering tastes of an impressive variety of wines.  A guitar player and singer was jamming in the corner.  He was doing some good covers of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Supertramp tunes.

Bill and I didn’t take any wine home from Max’s Wine Dive because we thought they were a bit overpriced, even with a case discount.  But it was a fun way to spend a cloudy afternoon.  I’d go back.

Wonderful French food in San Antonio!

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Today is our 11th wedding anniversary; so Bill and I decided to go out to dinner.  We did the same thing last year on our anniversary.  Of course, last year, we were in Glasgow, Scotland!  This year, we are in San Antonio.

As is his custom, Bill had me find an appropriate restaurant.  First, I went to OpenTable.com, which is where I usually go when I want to find a good place to eat.  But none of the restaurants I was finding were really thrilling me.  Frustrated, I soon found myself on TripAdvisor.com, where I stumbled across a review for a relatively new French restaurant in downtown San Antonio called Saveurs 209.  The reviews I read were very compelling.  I looked up their Web site, which is currently offline.  Fortunately, Saveurs 209 is on Facebook.  I liked their page and Bill called for reservations, since they have no need for OpenTable.  It turns out this little French place, owned and run by French people, is an intimate venue.

We arrived at the restaurant at 7:00pm, just in time for our reservation.  

Bill was happy to be there.  He had just chosen a lovely Bordeaux to go with our meals.  The wine list at Saveurs 209 is exclusively French.  We did not notice liquor on offer, though there’s plenty of good wine and beer.

Saveurs 209’s menu is brief, with just a few starters and entrees to choose from.  I did not see much of anything on offer for vegetarians or vegans.  I saw no salads to speak of, either.  However, of the few selections on offer for each course, I had no trouble finding things I liked well enough to try.  I can be reluctant to eat things outside of my comfort zone, but I found two out of four starters I’d be comfortable trying and three out of five or six entrees that looked very appealing.

A tasty amuse of phyllo pastry with chicken, green onions, and red onions was offered just before the delightful bread.  

Bread seems to come out non-stop at Saveurs 209.  It was crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and served with insanely delicious butter (I am a freak for good butter).

Bill opted for a mushroom tart, which came on phyllo pastry.  He said the mushrooms were meaty and not earthy at all.  I do not eat mushrooms, so I don’t know.  I had the butternut squash soup served with hazelnut mousse and a quail’s egg.  The tiny, delicate, quail’s egg was *perfectly* soft boiled.  The soup came in a small pitcher, which one of the owners, dressed in a stylish wrap dress, poured into the set up.  Very classy and very delicious!

I had seared scallops for my entree.  It came with fantastic mashed potatoes, which were very well pureed and no doubt loaded with bad things.  But wow, they were so scrumptious.  The sea scallops were perfectly prepared– done just enough to be cooked but not at all dried out or rubbery– and topped with gremolata, an herb condiment.  The scallops were atop a poultry jus and three were plenty.

Bill had halibut with cannellini beans and a clam ragout and citrus emulsion.  The fish was covered in froth and tasted heavenly.  This was one of the dishes I had my eye on before I decided on the scallops.

We really enjoyed this red wine.  I told the waiter I wanted to snap a photo of this Bordeaux because we might want to buy some locally if we can find it.  He told us if we couldn’t get it, we could buy it for $20 a bottle from the restaurant (quite a break from their wine list price).  Later, he told us how to find it in San Antonio.

For dessert, I had a sinful chocolate soufflé served with orange sorbet.  It took about 15 minutes to make and was worth the wait.  Bill had a dacquoise with hazelnut cream, coffee and chocolate layers, and a side of coffee ice cream.  Bill could finish his dessert, but I cried “Uncle” about halfway through mine.  I noticed the lady near us had ordered the soufflé and also had to quit.  You could easily split this dessert and since it costs $12, that might be the smart thing to do.  Other options included a cheese plate and fruit inspired creations.

Bill and I enjoyed a nice round of espresso while we reflected on the delightful meal.  Our bill was about $181 before tip.  Service was excellent and there were only a few couples in the place, though a couple of folks stopped in to inquire.  Saveurs 209 seems to be relying on word of mouth to get themselves on the map.  Bill and I really enjoyed the low key atmosphere and lack of a huge crowd.

Saveurs 209 is run by a French couple and their daughter, who is a wonderful chef.  I read several accounts of the creative way she creates food.  Indeed, she was there tonight, in all her French chef glory, wearing the tall French chef’s hat and everything.  We could see her work from the small dining room.  Each item that came from the kitchen was exquisitely prepared, but what I loved about the experience was how European it was.  No one rushed us.  No one dropped the check as we were halfway through dessert.  Service was excellent and very professional, yet friendly and personable.  It was very civilized and, yes, reminded me very much of one of the bistros Bill and I enjoyed in Paris back when we visited in May 2009.

One thing to know is that parking near the restaurant is either on the street or in a public lot.  There is no valet parking.  But we thought it was well worth the $7 we spent on parking and the short walk, which helped us digest a splendid meal.  Also, portion sizes are not huge at Saveurs 209.  Personally, I found that refreshing.  We didn’t leave hungry, but we also didn’t leave feeling stuffed.  Prospective diners should be aware that they won’t be given a trough of food to eat that will last several meals at home.  The only leftovers we had were my chocolate soufflé, which we didn’t attempt to take with us.

We liked Saveurs 209 so much that we made reservations to return for Thanksgiving dinner.  They will be offering their regular menu and special Thanksgiving inspired options.  Lunch will be offered from 11:00 until 2:00, while dinner is from 6:00 until 9:30.  I can hardly wait to see what this charming French family does with the traditional dishes served on our very American holiday.  And when I inquired about Thanksgiving, they were delighted to know that we would be joining them!

Here’s is a link to another review written by a San Antonio based blogger.

I got all dolled up…

Mexican…

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I needed to get out of the house this afternoon, so I asked Bill if he’d like to go downtown and have some Mexican food at our favorite downtown Mexican restaurant.  This was our third time at this place, right on the Riverwalk, and once again it didn’t disappoint.  The first time we went to this restaurant, it was 2007 and my first time in San Antonio.  We went there for dinner and sat out on the terrace.  Then in July, we went back and chatted with the bartender, who served us again today.

There was a game in downtown San Antonio today, so that backed up traffic.  We had a heck of a time finding parking.  Once we did, we walked around the Riverwalk to the restaurant.

I had a couple of these… they were very potent and refreshing.

Bill had tostadas with chili while I had the quesadilla appetizer.  It was huge and we both had leftovers.  Then we had tres leches cake for dessert…

 

I was really enjoying our late lunch here.  The bartender is very personable and a great host.  The food is good.  And they were playing great 80s music.  It was like being in high school again with lots of New Wave and progressive songs from my teen days.  Better yet, the price is right.  We ate for about $15 each, including booze.  They have free parking, though we didn’t take advantage of it during this visit.

The weather today was kind of cool and overcast, but the Riverwalk was crowded and teeming with tourists.  It was nice to get out, though.  I think we’ll have to go back to our Mexican place again soon.

Turkish food!

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Last night, Bill and I met a couple of friends at Mediterranean Turkish Grill.  We happened to spot the restaurant’s location on Sunday, when we went to The Cheesecake Factory.  The Mediterranean Turkish Grill is in a strip mall right next to North Star Mall in San Antonio.  Our friends had eaten there before and had a Groupon, so we met them there.  We each brought bottles of wine, since the restaurant has no liquor license.  In Texas, you can bring your own wine to places that don’t serve alcohol.

I was kind of excited about the prospect of Turkish food, since I spent two years living in Armenia and while I was there, had the chance to go to Turkey for a couple of weeks.  Turkey is one of the neatest places to visit, even though I went with a female friend and we both got harassed a lot.  What can I say?  We were young, female, and from the West, and some of the men thought we were whores.  Aside from that, we had a great time.  It was a trip in which we really roughed it.

So we went into the restaurant and it looked like a quaint, unassuming place with plain tables and modest Turkish decor and Turkish pop played from the kitchen.  A very handsome young man, obviously a member of the family who owned the place, handed us menus.  There was lots of lamb, beef, and chicken on the menu.  No pork, obviously!  They brought out wonderful, fresh, hot bread, which we garnished with flavored oil… it tasted like garlic.

We ordered hummus and eggplant salad.  The waiter also brought out babaganoush, which is an eggplant dip.

I went vegetarian with falafel…  The falafel was very good and I had plenty leftover for today.

Bill had lamb kebab…

Our friends both had the same dish… which I can’t remember the name of just now.  They’d had it before and said it was outstanding.

I think we’ll be back. This place had a lot of character and charm and the food was very good.  I like to support restaurants that aren’t a part of chains.

The restaurant was pretty quiet last night.  There were only a couple of other parties in the place when we were in there.  One party appeared to be from Turkey.  I heard them speaking Turkish.

It was fun seeing our friends again.  I need more nights like last night to help me get into the Texas lifestyle.  Our friends had also seen the Book of Mormon Musical at the Majestic Theatre before we went and they loved it as much as we did.

Dog Park!

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We took the dogs to the nearest dog park in Universal City, Texas.  They had a great time and I made a film…

I made a musical track to help cover up all the wind noise…

Tonight, we met mother-in-law at the Cheesecake Factory at North Star Mall and had a nice dinner and cheesecake…  Drove home with the top down and am now sitting here with some wine…

Bill is taking tomorrow and Tuesday off so we can become Texas drivers once and for all.

A trip to Chester’s Hamburger Company…

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One of these days, we WILL go on another real trip.  For now, I have to be content with getting to know Texas, a state with which I previously had no experience.  I had been reading the San Antonio Burger Blog, which had a post on Chester’s Hamburger Company.  This chain restaurant is apparently a local favorite here in San Antonio.  Indeed, there’s a big sign out in front of the Universal City location that announces their burgers as the best in the state and in town…  Seems to me that if the burgers are the best in the state, that would automatically make them the best in town. Oddly, Chester’s doesn’t seem to have a Web site.  Their signage is pretty dated looking.  I see it and it sort of screams 1980s to me… but for me, that’s not a bad thing.  I love the 80s.

Right next door is a McDonald’s, complete with huge golden arches.

The inside is pretty much like all the other burger joints… lots of license plates, beer signs, and other bits of Americana.  The inside of this restaurant was also decorated for Halloween.  I liked the lighting, because it wasn’t very bright.  Large flatscreen TVs were on the walls showing football while rock music from the 60s played on the sound system.

Bill’s BIG iced tea.

There was a very impressive beer selection, including Belgian and German brews.  We were impressed because they were reasonably priced, though we chose to go non alcoholic on this trip.  Wine is also available.

The queue line was kind of full at one point…

Supposedly the shakes and malts are delicious… I think it would have been more than I could handle.

Another shot of the beer cooler.

Order up!  Bill got fries while I got onion rings.  I don’t usually get onion rings, but had heard Chester’s fries were “limp and greasy”.  They kind of were, but I don’t mind that so much.  The onion rings were sweet and crunchy.  We had leftovers.

Bill and I both got cheeseburgers.  The poppy seed buns are unique and tasty.  Prices are reasonable.  A regular cheeseburger costs $5.49 while a double costs $7.29.  We both got singles and they were plenty for us.

A shot of the inside…  It was very tasty.  Don’t know that it was the best I’ve ever had, but it was definitely good and hit the spot.  I would go back again.  Chester’s also has chili and a fish and chips basket.  The lady sitting nearest to me had chili.  It smelled good.  You can get it on your burger as well.

Another shot of that silly sign…

 

All in all, I think our visit to Chester’s Hamburger Company was a success.  It was a nice little outing on a beautiful Sunday.  Now, it’s time for beer.