Eating Up San Antonio: La Gloria, The Monterey and The Esquire
Less accessible -- albeit in a very good way -- was the food at our next destination, where we met up with Rouse and fellow Houstonian (and occasional food photographer for the Press) Paul Sedillo. Both men promised that no food trip to San Antonio would be complete without visiting The Monterey, and they weren't wrong.
Located inside a converted Sunglo gas station in the equally hip King William neighborhood, The Monterey was called "what already may be the most important restaurant in the city" by San Antonio Express-News food critic Edmund Tijerina when it first opened in late 2010.
It's hard to disagree with Tijerina when you step inside the low-slung, mid-century-influenced dining room and are immediately confronted with a laid-back vibe that contrasts sharply with the serious menu and craft beer list.
"What off-menu beers do you have?" Sedillo asked The Monterey's chipper owner, who immediately sent out a waitress with four large-format bottles and an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the stuff she was carrying.
Between the group of us, we ended up with some beautiful gems that night: a Real Ale 15th Anniversary Imperial Stout, a Green Flash Rayon Vert and my favorite, a Lagunitas Lucky 13.alt that was bright and punchy with grapefruit and hops.
That was to say nothing of the food, which the kitchen sent out for free (the owners are friends with Sedillo and Rouse, it should be noted): roasted cauliflower in a yellow curry with fresh pops of green grape and basil; fried okra in a light, tempura-like batter; slices of foie gras on toast points with a blackberry jam that -- like the torchon -- was made in-house.
And although it was nearly 10 p.m. when we finished at The Monterery, we weren't done for the night, not by a long shot.