Albert Friedrich poured the first foamer at The Buckhorn Saloon in 1881. Early in his bartending days, Friedrich began accepting horns and antlers in exchange for whiskey and beer, leading to a unique collection now exhibited in The Buckhorn Museum. The historic tavern claims that Teddy Roosevelt once recruited Rough Riders from among its patrons, and it is also rumored as the place where Pancho Villa plotted the Mexican Revolution. An original handcrafted marble-and-cherry-wood back bar and other historic furnishings still reside in the saloon, where guests now swig locally brewed beers and challenge each other to taser duels. Visitors come face to face with the taxidermal heads and other artifacts from more than 520 species, including a 1,056-pound black marlin and a prehistoric irish-elk skull and antlers. The museum also lays claims to a preserved whitetail deer and the rattlesnake rattle artwork of Friedrich’s wife, which guests can show to their own pet snakes as a cautionary example of what happens to misbehaving reptiles.
Adjacent to The Buckhorn Museum, The Texas Ranger Museum houses Texas Ranger paraphernalia such as sawed-off shotguns, badges, and photographs. At Ranger Town, young whippersnappers delight in glimpses of life during turn-of-the-century San Antonio, as depicted by a re-created jail, smith, and telegraph office, as well as the Bonnie and Clyde exhibit, where a '34 Ford V8 Deluxe sits anxiously awaiting its next adventure. On their way out, visitors can drop in at a museum gift shop that traces its own origins to 1920, when it was a curios store.
Even the best chefs have to get their start somewhere, and that somewhere is often a burger joint. This is certainly true of five-time James Beard nominee Bruce Auden. The profile in the San Antonio Express-News traces his meteoric rise from flipping burgers at a cabana to apprenticing under Guy Petit to earning Food & Wine magazine's Best New Chef title in 1988. Since then, Auden has continued to hone his culinary innovation, first at his award-winning restaurant Biga and now at Auden's Kitchen.
Auden’s Kitchen retains a local focus and serves creatively redesigned comfort food. There's buttermilk fried chicken with lemon-pepper marinade, and burgers with dijon aioli and applewood bacon. Pizzas come with house-pulled mozzarella and the hot kiss of a wood-burning oven, which also prepares salmon and whole-roasted trout. In addition to these classics, the seasonal menu saves space for a number of more lavish entrees, such as duck confit blanketed with cherry-zinfandel barbecue sauce. Diners have more than 75 wines to choose from, as well as bar offerings such as martinis and imported beer.
The dining room’s laid-back decor invites guests to relax, rather than worry about whether they’re combing their hair with the right salad fork. Wine bottles and copper pots cluster on shelves lining the dining-room walls, and diners can see right into the kitchen over a stainless-steel countertop shaded by a bevy of frying pans.
A crackling fire warms guests perched at white-draped tables in the candlelit wine cellar. Upstairs, diners marvel at the picturesque views of the vineyard and rose garden filling the glass-enclosed patio's windows or deeply inhale the aroma of wildflowers drifting onto the vine-covered porch. It's against these intimate backdrops that servers at The Vineyards Restaurant deliver steak, seafood, and other upscale dishes to tables, which come aglow with candlelight as dusk falls.
The chefs work hard to make each bite as special as the surroundings. They age beef-tenderloin fillets for 45 days before plating them atop garlic-and-mushroom sauce and slowly marinate chicken in a spicy chipotle-garlic oil before nestling it in a bed of pasta covered in cilantro cream sauce.
With such food in such a setting, a regular night out at The Vineyards is one to remember, but a special occasion there is truly magical. For marriage proposals, anniversaries, and the reunions of long-lost pairs of socks, staffers lead guests down a candle-strewn path to a private table set for dessert among the vineyard's rows of grapevines. The Vineyards has held more than 500 weddings in its open-air pavilion, and its on-staff wedding coordinator and floral designer help plan picture-perfect ceremonies.
Visitors to Aspen's Brew might forget they're inside a coffee shop at all, as the family-owned cafe cultivates an ambiance of low-key comfort reminiscent of a classic, all-American living room. Guests can admire and purchase the unique artwork on the walls while lounging on the couch, kick back with the morning paper on an upholstered grandfather chair, or handwrite their emails at one of the wooden tables. As the morning sun gradually suffuses the cozy space with natural light, baristas rustle up six award-winning micro-roasted brews from Dillanos Coffee Roasters while the on-site bakers usher out scones, muffins, croissants, and cinnamon rolls. To add even more homeyness to the mix, they also serve up bagels, breakfast sandwiches, and squares of Grandma's coffee cake, a from-scratch pastry that comes from a secret recipe whispered between generations during games of Telephone at family reunions. In the afternoon, the kitchen staffers keep the hospitality coming with fresh, made-to-order sandwiches and paninis, as well as homemade soups, specialty coffee drinks, and desserts such as carrot cake and brownies.
The folks at Aspen's Brew also cater this down-home cafe fare for events, whether for morning meetings, lunch, or afternoon gatherings. To ensure these special occasions go off without a hitch, they deliver anywhere in the greater San Antonio area.
Jump to: Reviews | Big Australia
Gorge on gluten-free goodies with today's Groupon. For $10, you'll get $25 worth of breakfast, lunch, baked goods, and gourmet drinks at The Little Aussie Bakery & Café, a carby kingdom serving loaves that are rumored to make customers weep tears of joy and drool salivas of happiness.
A former registered nurse, Rita Sturzbecher mastered the art of preparing allergy-friendly eats to accommodate the specific dietary needs of her five children. With the aim of applying her talent to a larger scale, she opened the bakery with fellow nurse John Apostolovic, and now has quite a friendly staff to keep the place running. Stop in before five for yummy lunches, such as the soup of the day ($4.95 cup; $5.95 bowl), house salad ($7.95), or fresh-baked, aged-cheddar quiche with salad ($9.95). The Little Aussie also serves heartier entrees, including the big bloke sandwich ($7.95), with roast beef or chicken, meat gravy and melty baby swiss; or the vegetable lasagna with cilantro pesto ($9.95). Sip some triple- industrial-strength coffee ($1.89) alongside or cap off the meal with one of the bakery's decadent desserts.
On Sundays, look forward to a well-edited brunch menu, featuring gluten-free versions of such morning staples as waffles with berries and cream ($7.95 for single, $9.95 double), French toast ($7.95), or eggs Benedict ($9.95). On Fridays, you get a complimentary glass of wine when you order a pizza. The Little Aussie Bakery & Café is open Tuesday through Thursday, and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (add a dollar more to all food purchases other than pizza from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Fridays); and on Sunday for brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Yelpers and a single Yahoo! Local give The Little Aussie Bakery & Café a perfect five-star rating. Further, 94% of Urbanspooners recommend it:
- The breads are very good, the service is excellent, and the menu has something for everyone. The desserts are quite delicious. – Wayne Martinez, Urbanspoon
- Best gluten-free breads and sweets I've tasted! – Grace, Yahoo! Local
In 1977, Barbara Hunt decided to set aside a year of her life to explore the world and learn about its diverse food and flavor structures. So, she plucked a low-hanging 30,000-mile Pan Am travel voucher from the nearest voucher tree and did just that. One dietetics degree and a decade later, Boardwalk Bistro was born. Now, Barbara and two executive chefs focus their three collective minds on empty plates, envisioning authentic Old-World Mediterranean dishes prepared with contemporary style. Barbara shines as the bistro's sommelier while their collective concentration brings forth bouillabaisse (seafood stew), paella valencia (with rabbit, chicken, duck, and chorizo), spanish tapas that warm up stomachs the same way baseball players warm up for big games (by eating tapas), and plenty of other meaty and vegetarian plates. Boardwalk Bistro's antique-style furniture and colorful decor create an informal, Mediterranean ambiance perfect for enjoying a trio of raspberry, lemon, and mango sorbets, which chill palates more delicately than a midwinter game of open-mouthed freeze tag. The exposed-stone walls resound with live music and a tagine top standing in for a cowbell on Friday and Saturday evenings.