Hailed by the San Antonio Current as being ?far too good to remain a local secret? thanks to a menu featuring ?some of the best New Orleans food this side of the French Quarter,? Mike's in the Village delights palates with the culinary traditions of Louisiana. New Orleans native Chef Michael Romano painstakingly transformed the space?a one-time bowling alley?into ?an attractive, low-key restaurant? whose charm is bolstered by ?tasteful decor [that] includes regional paintings by Buzz Heye?, an ?inviting bar,? and a ?welcoming patio? that doubles as a no-fly zone for sun-obscuring clouds. Within the restaurant?s bustling kitchen, Chef Michael and his team can be found deploying traditional recipes to forge zing-infused dishes such as crawfish ?touff?e and chicken and sausage gumbo.
Although they both hail from the Mediterranean, pizza and falafel don't often appear on the same menu. Diners at Rome's Pizza, however, might be prompted to wonder why?it turns out it's quite possible for one kitchen to carry both dishes off nicely. In a 2004 review, the Current's Alejandro P?rez praised the pesto pizza's "light, crispy crust and full-bodied flavor" and the falafel sandwich's "hot, crisp patties."
This juxtaposition isn't the only surprise on the extensive menu. Sure, you can get red sauce and pepperoni atop your pie, but Rome's specializes in white pizzas slicked with olive oil, herbs, and smoked garlic. Strombolis and calzones fold in on themselves to make for a hearty meal or a high-powered alternative to a water balloon, and sandwiches and pasta display the same love of big portions and off-the-beaten-path ingredients. On the Mediterranean side of the menu, there are also staples such as dolmas, hummus, and gyros.
The San Antonio Botanical Garden, which rests on 38 acres, not only dazzles visitors with bright sunflowers and roses, aquatic plants, and a glass display case filled with orchids, but it also teaches them about the local and world flora with informative exhibits. Four large, formal beds showcase seasonally rotating displays, and the Texas Native Trail features representative species from Hill Country, East Texas Piney Woods, and South Texas. Encompassing a wider array of biomes, the Lucile Halsell Conservatory boasts collections of tropical fruits and desert cacti housed within glass buildings that surround the sunken tropical lagoon.
Aside from these exhibits, the botanical garden also hosts summer-camp sessions, school-group programs, and classes for adults as well as children. These programs include lectures and hands-on lessons that discuss local plants and which garden insects are helpful and which are harmful.
Since 1993, the guffaws emanating from the Rivercenter Comedy Club have been sending ripples coursing through the waters by the River Walk. Located on the third level of the Rivercenter Mall, the recently renovated club keeps its calendar stuffed with nightly showcases by nationally recognized headliners and up-and-coming local jokesters. Past years have seen the likes of Carlos Mencia, Drew Carey, Jeff Dunham, and Chris Rock on the Showroom stage. Nightly shows at 8:30 p.m. and late shows on weekends increase the odds of catching the next rising star. All comedy shows require a two-item minimum, which can be used toward appetizers, entrees, and specialty cocktails from the club’s menu. The club will validate three hours of free parking at either of Rivercenter Mall's garages or heliports.
The low-hanging branches of southern live oak trees stretch out over the house and pavilion areas at Don Strange Ranch, dappling parties, weddings, and corporate team gatherings with splashes of sunlight. Since 1952, the 125-acre longhorn ranch in the Texas Hill Country has hosted myriad events, including scenes from the PBS music documentary series Live from the Artists Den and the wedding of country music stars Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton.
More than just a picturesque backdrop, the ranch?s rugged natural surroundings host outdoor activities such as ropes courses and kayak trips down the Guadalupe River. And the friendly staffers who man 350- to 400-foot ziplines work to ease guests out of their comfort zones, like a mother bird pushing her young out of the nest for their first extreme base-jumping lesson.
Turquoise Turkish Grill takes its name from an old French belief that the precious stone originated in Turkey. Though the aquamarine mineral is absent from the dining room, authentic Turkish cuisine is plentiful. Chefs stuff grape leaves with pine nuts, grill marinated lamb on vertical rotisseries or paper-towel holders, and spike nearly every dish with spices such as cumin, paprika, and mint. Guests can enjoy these creations in the dining room or the party room, which Turquoise Turkish Grill makes available for private events.