after an obnoxious delay during our last layover of the flight (southwest: greyhound bus of the sky!), Chris & i landed in san antonio last night. the crew had just come back from their dinner, and we ended up chatting until 2-something on the patio, with a constant flux of people arriving and departing the conversation. the ease with which you pick up old jokes and social dynamics, like puzzle pieces locking back together is always so wonderful to experience.
during breakfast this morning, we picked right back up on that same chat. i was a little mean to the absent Chris (he wanted to sleep in until 15 minutes before they stopped serving breccy…and that’s exactly when i was able to get him out of bed), teasing him for his loud-ass designer ties (he calls them “festive”). i got a nice glare from him later, when a few people were shown these silken bits of explosive neon.
my fave restaurants are always the local places, the kind of stuff that you can find only where you find yourself at the time. 5-star or hole-in-the-wall, it matters not a bit, it’s all about the quality of food and the fact that the experience is generally unrepeatable. the same thing is just as true when i’m out of town as when i’m at home, and apparently, Chris feels in general the same way i do about it. his post-breakfast announcement was that we were in Texas, so he wanted to eat bbq. “i figure if we flew 1400-whatever miles down here, we won’t be eating at the applebees next door.” i cruised a bit around the web for recommendations, and he asked everyone from the hotel desk staff to the guy at the car rental place: the web told us to go with the smokehouse while the unanimous verbal info was to head to rudy’s. the clincher? a web review that said, “bill miller’s and rudy’s got nothing on this amazing stuff.” direct comparison, so we were sold.
oh, and that was apparently very much the right idea. the smokehouse is an extremely plain white brick-shaped wooden shack with a gravel drive, surrounded with an amazing mesquite smoke aroma. this same smoke permeates the entire dining area in a haze reminiscent of the cigarette fog in a really old dive bar (only delicious, of course). in an unusual display of oculo-gastric mismatch syndrome, Chris ordered several pounds of smoky meat, and i’m still not entirely sure what we’ll be doing with the leftovers while we’re hanging out at the wedding. we ended up with a quarter or half pound of most of the menu, except for the poultry, and overall it was pretty damn good. the lamb, which i’ve never had in a bbq joint, was utterly epic. brisket was of a perfect texture, and sauce was served on the side rather than smothering the food. comparatively, the ribs were merely really good. Chris gives it overall an A-, significant praise indeed from mr.food critic. we’re both still in meat-coma.
tomorrow, we’ll be in austin, which obviously necessitates a trip to magnolia, the original of course. mmmm, gingerbread and/or mango pancakes.
oh, yeah, and we’re having a good time with the peeps, too.