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My Jag News

The Student News Site of Claudia Taylor Johnson High School

My Jag News

The Student News Site of Claudia Taylor Johnson High School

My Jag News

Off the beaten path

by Ivy McDaniel | contributing writer

My parents cringe at the limited wine list at Olive Garden, refuse to step into Alamo Cafe, and detest the mediocracy of Salt Grass Steak House. I know, my parents sound stuck up, but believe me, I would love to go somewhere without preserved cow’s blood soup or Ethiopian sponge bread on the menu for a change, but with both parents in the culinary business, my sister and I have been exposed to some of the oddest foods in San Antonio. Searching for the next “best thing” in the area, my dad usually escorts the family to small, uncomfortable places, in the middle of deserted strip malls or behind abandoned mattress stores; and even though we rarely go back to all of them, here are a couple of hole-in-the-wall places that we’ve become regulars at.

Traditional Mexican fare done up a whole new way at Bucanero's.

 

5.Bucenero’s- If the name doesn’t give it away, think Mexican Pirate food… yeah I  know. Located on the far south side of town, Bucenero’s  was formerly a taco truck in San Antonio. With an old van behind the restaurant, the place reminds you of a cheesy Pirates of the Caribbean set. Although the decor is… interesting to say the least, the food makes up for it. With lime juice cooked shrimp, diced seafood ceviche, and fish tacos,the place gives Mexican classics a twist. However you might need to know a little Spanish to order, so bring Google Translator.

4.Moroccan Bites- Ok, so in case you’re hesitant about trying Moroccan and don’t trust me, trust that one guy on food network. The one who yells everything and has fake bleached hair that resembles Hades, Guy Fieri. His name is basically plastered throughout the restaurant with framed pictures, wall signings, and autographed plates, even our waitress, before taking our order, told us everything he ordered. Food Network stuff aside, the place is covered in intricate pillows, jewel toned drapes, and Moroccan artifacts. The restaurant feels exactly like you’re stepping into Morocco. A traditional menu accompanies the atmosphere. Moroccan is all about savory and sweet combinations. The menu has traditional favorites such as hummus, pickled eggplant, lamb kabobs, and a variety of meat dishes that are accompanied by raisins, nuts, and powdered sugar. And if you want to stay up until one in the morning, go for the hot tea pot or Arabic coffee.

A small sample of all that Indian Oven has to offer.

3.Indian Oven- A more recognizable cuisine than Moroccan, Indian Oven, located in a deserted strip center on San Pedro, is the only place in San Antonio to go for the best Indian food, that even Slum-dog Millionaire would approve of. The ambience feels like you’re stepping into a Bollywood music video, and if you really want to bust out in character, they have traditional Indian garments and music for sale. The menu is extensive, but some of the highlights are Chicken and/or Fish Masala, Naan Bread, The Vegetarian Platter, Jasmine Basmati Rice, different Curries, and for desert, Mango Koffee (comparable to mochi ice cream). Our favorite two waiters are always there to greet us, and the music and the food bring us back.

2.Mamma Lee’s- A Sunday brunch tradition, Mamma Lee’s is a hands down favorite of  mine. Serving pure soul food, Mamma Lee’s feels like you’re stepping back to a simpler time. With live jazz, the place is teeming with a comfortable, jazz club feel. Even though I’m afraid of ordering the collard greens, the menu is super simple (one meat two sides),  and has dozens of combinations to try. Fried Catfish, Meatloaf, Fried Chicken, Roasted Chicken, Pork chops, Ham, Mac n’ Cheese, Mashed Potatoes, Gumbo, and Corn are just some of the favorites. And for desert, (oh my gosh, I’m drooling) the family owned restaurant makes a variety of cakes at their own home and brings them to the restaurant. Strawberry, coffee, chocolate, and red velvet are just a small portion of the cake selection available. And even though we usually get to go boxes, the food never makes it all the way home.

The second this sign comes into your view, you know you're in for a delicious meal.

1. A Dong- Don’t let the name scare you away. This Vietnamese restaurant on the north side is literally the best Asian food in San Antonio. Owned by a Vietnamese family the waiters have become familiar after our regular attendance. It’s become a Sunday night tradition, and even though I always get the same thing, #98, the menu is extremely extensive, so bring a pair of reading glasses. After getting over the shock of seeing my dad in my mother’s purple polka dot reading glasses, looking like Charles Nelson Riley, the waiters are extremely friendly, and very rarely get lost in translation. Some favorites of ours are the Vietnamese broccoli, which is a huge plate of bok choy soaked in a garlic soy sauce, the fried egg roll lettuce wraps, that I burn my tongue on every time, my favorite, the #98,  a charcoaled pork dish, and the Vietnamese Cafe. Please do not skip the Cafe. When France colonized Vietnam, they brought over French foods such as this super sweet slow roasted iced coffee. Like the tea at Moroccan Bites, this will keep you up, so I suggest drinking these whenever you have a World History AP test coming up.

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Off the beaten path