You probably thought I forgot, but I didn’t. I am supposed to eat at a restaurant featured on either the Travel Channel or Food Network in each city that I visit. I can’t lie, I didn’t often accomplish this, but I did in San Antonio.
I ate at Beto’s on Broadway; it is a taqueria featured on Diner’s Drive-Ins and Dives. It is on a main street, but looks to be set apart from what is happening on the street. Where much of San Antonio looks new and shiny, Beto’s looks like it’s been there a while. I like restaurants that look lived in; it usually tells me the food is so good they don’t need to dress it up with fancy surroundings. I was excited before I even walked in the door.
So my experience didn’t start off great. I am really starting to think that I have bad table Karma because this happens to me all the time. I walk into a nearly empty restaurant, ask to be seated and am given the table that is closest to the bathroom/kitchen/bussing station/cash register/drink dispenser/etc. Not to break with tradition, I was seated close to the bathroom and right behind the screen “hiding” the soda machine, though the restaurant had only a few other patrons. I usually ask for another table, but that day I didn’t.
Guy (Fieri) had the empanadas, which just so happen to be one of my favorite things to eat at Mexican restaurants. Really, what’s there not to like, It usually contains all your favorite Latin flavors surrounded by a flaky crust? So I ordered the combo plate and tried two (along with a taco).
I had the: Chicken Poblano Empanada (Guy’s recommendation), “La Judy” Brazilena Empanada, and the Fish Taco.
It looked amazing and smelled awesome. I dug right in with the Empanadas. The crust was flaky, warm, light and all of the things you want in a first bite, but the filling was kind of flat. It was bland! I was shocked! Mexican food is always salty, its kind of the main appeal. Anyway, it’s no secret that I am a lover of salt (which I have cut back on in recent months), but I had to break my commitment not to add salt to my already seasoned meal. This woke it all up a bit, but it’s really hard to recover from a weak first impression. The chicken poblano empanada was the best of the three; the fish taco was my least favorite. I will come clean and say that I actually am not a huge fan of fish, but I once had such an incredible fish taco at a friends house that I keep ordering them trying to find one that even comes close. So I really can’t hold this against them. I ordered a lot of food, so the taco was likely not to get eaten anyway (I know, so wasteful; so shameful). The La Juda, was the biggest disappointment; as it is sausage based. I love breakfast meat, and think that it goes well with EVERYTHING. I couldn’t even taste the sausage, though I felt it’s familiar texture and saw it in the empanada. It got it’s required 2 bites (Andrew Zimmern rules) and was put off to the side. The only thing I finished was the chicken poblano empanada.
I walked away no longer hungry, but pretty disappointed in my experience. It is a rarity that I say this, but I would not go back (not that I have reason to believe that I will be in San Antonio again). I can only hope that anyone else walking in the footsteps of Guy Fieri will have a better eating experience than I.
But on a good note, this was probably the worst experience on my trip, and wasn’t even bad. Score!