You can buy bottled water, shot glasses and T-shirts at the very site of Texas’ most-memorable icon, The Alamo. You may have some magnets, belt buckles or coffee mugs urging you to Remember the Alamo in your home right now.
I just stayed at a lovely Hampton Inn and enjoyed a Texas-shaped waffle basically across the street from the shrine. It may seem a tad commercial around there, but I love how people, from all over the world, are lined up to get in the place every morning.
Of course you can get some great Mexican food and Margaritas on the famous Riverwalk, but if you go early, it’s a great place to watch San Antonio wake up. People jog along there. Balconies get swept and trash cans get emptied for another round of revelers.
I was feeling pretty great about pulling into town and nabbing the final parking place at Pico de Gallo right before the lunch crowd line got really long. I was bragging about fish tacos and flavorful whole pinto beans to a local who told me where he takes out-of-towners. La Gloria is one of the upscale eateries at the refurbished Pearl Beer brewery area. I told him I remember being there as a youth and a stuffed two-headed calf scared me pretty bad. But I also got to make one of those cool star key fobs that you can stamp your name around.
The place has changed, he told me. I loved it. The great part about dining alone is that you get seated very quickly, so La Gloria “street food” of a chicken mole sopa was at my table in a flash. A sopa is like a flat taco on a thick corn tortilla that has a little rim built up to hold the sauce. I’m a fan, and may have to go back for more, and one of their T-shirts that reads “I “heart” sopas,”
It was all so good I just about wanted to cry, which threw the wait staff for a loop. I think they made a game of sending someone new to my table every few minutes to ask how I was doing. I had a new, emotional response for each one of them.”
The local also suggested Mexican Manhattan, a family diner since 1958, just off the Riverwalk. It’s simple and unchanged and my cabrito was perfecto. The waitress said they were famous for the corn tortillas, which were brown, like parchment paper, with texture.
There I amused a family with small children, who kept looking back over their booth to watch the lady enjoying her food so much. The father saw me taking photos to make my absent husband jealous and he came over and offered to snap a photo of me with my food. Of course, I obliged.
If you’re going to bring home a souvenir of San Antonio, it’s likely to have boots or Our Lady of Guadalupe on it. This time, I’m thinking San Antonio’s residents will remember how much I enjoyed their city as much as I’ll remember my visit. And, as always, Remember the Alamo.