I remembered two things about San Antonio – Market Square and the Riverwalk and couldn’t wait to revisit them. I stayed on the Riverwalk at the Omni de la Mansion. It was a great hotel and a fantastic location! There are restaurants on the Riverwalk level and it’s a beautiful old hotel. There’s also quite a few places within walking distance like a bakery, restaurants and a CVS.
But – besides work – I was there for the FOOD!!!!
I got there early just so I could hang out and enjoy the city. First I jumped on the red double decker bus and did the city tour. It starts at the Alamo – which is a must-see on any trip to San Antonio. I had done the tour on my previous visit so I just did the obligatory pic this time.
I went up top on the double decker which was fun because I got great views of everything all while learning about the history of the city. My interest was also peaked when we drove by the Pearl district – I heard this is “the” place to be right now! Noted!
But I truly had two things on my mind at this point: TACOS AND CHURROS – CHURROS AND TACOS!!!! So I jumped off the bus at Market Square and ran to the nearest taco stand! They have a couple of highly recommended restaurants but I just hit the taco stand – and with good reason. I asked for the al pastor tacos ($6 I think) and was served with this plate of deliciousness. Four mini tacos with al pastor, cilantro, onion and limes – then with a little cup of beans in the middle. These were DELICIOUS! It was so fun to just have authentic tacos in my belly so quickly. I just stood along side the foot traffic in the square and chowed down!
Market Square is so much fun! There are restaurants, beer drinking, cocktails slinging and lots of shopping! If you haven’t been – it’s a must stop!
As I was walking through – I came across a street corn “truck”! (Here’s a recipe for a Street Corn salad that I made.) Cornhub gives you a cup of corn ($5) and then you can add all the toppings you can. They’ve got butter, mayo, cheeses, seasonings and even hot cheetos flakes.
The street corn was fun to try – I pretty much felt like the corn was frozen corn that they microwaved rather than fresh – but all in all it was fun and not too expensive.
Now – after tacos and corn – I only needed one thing: CHURROS!! If you’ve never had a churro – you are missing out. They’re basically long, crispy donuts. You can get them filled or with a dipping sauce but I like them on their own. They’re fried and then rolled in sugar. I got four of them for $5 and shared with a street vendor who was chatting me up. If you’re not in TX but you have a Taco Johns near you – you can get them there – and trust me – THEY ARE WORTH THE VISIT – yes – even to a fast food Mexican place. I love them so much.
I did have a work even that I was in town for – it was held at Freetail Brewing and they were great! The bartenders were super nice and helped me set up my space. They also introduced me to Topo Chico sparkling water. I’ve been trying to find a fizzy alternative to soda and loved it!
I decided to have one “fancy” dinner – and it had to be in the Pearl district. That is the cool neighborhood – it’s connected to the Riverwalk and has about a dozen of the HIPPEST restaurants and a ton of little shops as well. I labored over the decision of which place to go and landed on Il Sogno Osteria with Chef Andrew Weissman.
It’s a small, yet fancy, Italian restaurant. I mean – they brought this plate of fruit slices around to put in my water – that’s serious stuff! It was too pretty to not take a photo of. You definitely need reservations – luckily since I was alone – I was able to snag one the day before. (I also went right when they opened.)
Also – noteworthy – I Uber’d everywhere and it was definitely reasonable. Between the tour bus (which I could walk to from my hotel) and the Uber – I had no need for car on this visit.
I loved that they had 5 seats at the kitchen window which had me sitting across from the veg/dessert soux chef and bonding with him throughout my dinner. I am completely and utterly fascinated with watching chefs in action and this did not disappoint. If you love that and are going alone or in a pair – ask to sit at the kitchen window! It’s so much fun! I also bonded with the front of house manager – and he gave me the goods on all the drama.
The Front of house manager asked if this was my first visit and I explained I was there for work and also a food blogger – so they were super chatty the rest of the night with me – which was so much fun.
The Chef sent out a cheese plate for me – which was super fun to get (Thanks Chef). I really have no idea what any of it was but I killed it! They have a pizza oven there which they make their bread in – it’s super thin and crunchy and they pull it right out of the oven, season it and serve it up!
In addition, I had ordered the Burrata con Pomodorini ($14) because of my fond memory of Burrata from the Belterra Park steakhouse (I think the Cinci one was a little better). Burrata is a mozzarella cheese that is sort of filled with a combination of stracciatella and cream. This was good but maybe could have used a little salt and a little sauce. I definitely enjoyed it mainly because it’s something you just don’t come by very often.
For my entree – I had so many choices – which basically cripples me – I can’t figure out what to order and I just labor over the decision. The server mentioned that they had Lobster Agnolotti on special which was basically a lobster ravioli with a butter/cream sauce. He said lobster – I said SOLD! They only had enough for about four people – so I thought I better snag it up.
I wish wish wish I could remember more about the sauce – I want to say saffron but I can’t remember. Obviously dill and lots of butter – you could literally taste the butter in the sauce. It was a very thick sauce and such a vibrant color. All in all – fresh pasta is just a complete treat.
I topped it off with Tiramiso ($9) which was prepared by my chef buddy that I sat across from all night. This was a LOT of dessert and honestly would be great for sharing. It was decadent and very good – I sort of ate around it so by the time I got to the middle – I was tiramisu’d out.
Why Should You Go? Well – eating at the kitchen window was by far one of the most fun dining experiences I have ever had. If you’ve ever watched Hells Kitchen – you have to try it. I loved figuring out the meat guy vs. the pasta guy, watching the front of house guy at the pass – I just feel Top Chef’y saying those words! I enjoyed my dinner for sure – but really the service and staff was what made the experience. If I had sat at a table – I wouldn’t have had near the fun. I’m so glad I visited Il Sogno and would highly recommend that experience to any foodies visiting or in San Antonio.