thrifting with babies & la gloria fails

On Sunday, Carson and I left Sisterdale and drove south toward San Antonio, where we had plans to meet up with Tawnya and her baby Cooper!  Tawnya and David (who unfortunately had to work today) were the closest friends I made in the year I lived in Richmond, VA after college..and though they'd been through Austin to visit a couple times since, I probably hadn't seen them in at least 2 and a half years... and now they have Cooper, who I couldn't wait to meet!!

Born in Richmond, raised in Texas.. yee haw!

We weighed out some choices to decide where to meet.  I know things are a lot more difficult with baby in tow, so I told Tawnya I'd come wherever was best for her.  Of all places, we decided to meet at Community Thrift!  (Carson declared it a destination if we were going anywhere near SA, for we have landed some amazing finds here...and Tawnya was a big-time thrifter at one point but has barely left the house since she and D moved to town with C, so she liked that idea too.) 

Not only is Cooper adorable, but he's such a good baby too...barely a peep from this guy!  (And check out the head of hair on him too!) 

After we aimlessly wandered the aisles and caught up with each other, some food was in order.  (I found a little floral vintage cap I was please with.. Caron was sorely disappointed in today's selections.)  We briefly considered braving the start of NIOSA, a festival held down by the Riverwalk to kick off Fiesta, but the thought of crowds and an already-shoddy downtown parking situation didn't jive very well with our grumbling tummies.  Instead, we headed to the Pearl Brewery, which sounded much more relaxing.

Once the home of the actual Pearl brewery, the complex now houses the CIA San Antonio campus, several retail shops, a Saturday farmer's market, an Aveda Institute, and several restaurants (including one run by CIA and set to open in May.. just wrote an article about it for Edible Austin actually).    One of my favorite stops is Melissa Guerra, an amazing culinary store. 

Though I've been wanting to check out Andrew Weissman's Sandbar and Il Sogno Osteria, I'd been to La Gloria before and it seemed perfect for our purposes: casual, sunny, and inexpensive.  I guess that's what everyone else was thinking too, because we were zapped with a 40 minute wait upon arrival. 

Good thing there's an outside bar though, right?

Wrong.  I will spare the excruciating details, but I waited longer for a drink than I have possibly ever waited.  And that is no exaggeration.  It was almost comical at a point!  I considered leaving multiple times but stuck it out and actually switched spots three times, but I was invisible to the bartenders no matter where I stood.  By the time I headed back with our drinks, we were being buzzed to come inside (no sunny seating for us because that would mean a longer wait).

40 minutes later, I emerged with one Victoria and one prickly pear margarita.

La Gloria claims to celebrate the street foods of Mexico.  Everything can be ordered a la carte, which I really like, and you can choose from more common tacos, tortas, and quesadillas or panuchos (sort of a gordita-taco hybrid), sopes, or tlayudas (they describe these as "Mexican pizzas"). I was a bit disappointed that tamales and elotes were nowhere to be found on the menu.  We started off with the queso, which comes as a queso fundido, not the junky American-ized liquid-cheese version (which I kind of, actually, prefer. ha!)  But even at that, I've had some pretty delectable queso fundido and this was not one of them.

It was clearly not that incredible, as you can see it started to cool off and congeal before we even got to the bottom

The other time I was here, I'd gotten a ceviche which was good, so I ordered one again.  They were out of the ceviche veracruzano, so I ordered the only other one with fish (all others had shrimp), the ceviche verde, which had tomatillos, green olives, avocado and lime juice.  I approved!

Thank goodness I got the ceviche!

Tawnya seemed content with her fish tacos, but Carson ordered one of the Mexican pizzas and said it was just plain not good-- bland and dry.  It didn't even look appetizing... I wish I'd taken a photo to show you, but I like to put pretty pictures up here :)  Just imagine a big corn tortilla with some beans spread on it, topped with shredded meat, and cheese.  Even the spreading and the sprinkling looked haphazard and  unevenly distributed across the tortilla.  I also got the cochinita pibil (slow roasted pork marinated in citrus juices, achiote and chiles) panchuno, which had a great juicy texture that was completely trumped by some heavy oversalting.

this panucho was heavy on the meat...AND the salt

Methinks Cooper had the tastiest meal of all: bright green baby food, homemade by Tawnya!

It was great to sit and chat more with Tawnya, but I must say we were disappointed with the food at La Gloria.  Not only do I typically expect the Mexican cuisine to be better in San Antonio, but most certainly when it's coming from a graduate of CIA Hyde Park!  The service also continued to be terrible-- I assume they were grossly understaffed, but our waiter was doing an awful job at smoothing things over.  (He was awkward, to say the least.) 

With all the other places there are to explore in San Antonio, I doubt I will be back for more than a cocktail at La Gloria (there were lots of other special drinks that looked inviting, including a margarita that came with a straw dipped in tamarind and chile)...and, even then, only if I had lots of time to spare.