Eating Up San Antonio: La Gloria, The Monterey and The Esquire

Categories: On the Road

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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.

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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.

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"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.


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14 comments
Johncmata
Johncmata

Tables were switched out in late spring at are all wooden tops now over at the Monterey.

RebeRese
RebeRese

The man in the video is Mike Casey - local art patron and southtown godfather.  Late Tuesday I happened to swing by The Esquire for a night cap with friends and saw him on our way out.  They were celebrating his birthday.  That aside, The Esquire is a legendary place and it's rumored that JFK drank there the night before he died.

Rexster314
Rexster314

Whew!! I was worried. Back in the day (20 some odd) we drove from SA back to Houston after an afternoon of margaritas at La Fogata. Didn't remember leaving SA until we got to Flatonia and stopped in Grumpys (now closed)

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

That would be my boyfriend, who graciously stayed sober as a bishop so that I could enjoy San Antonio's bounty.

Rexster314
Rexster314

My only question is: After all the food and imbibing of spirits, who drove back to Houston at 1AM in the morning?

Debbie Weatherford
Debbie Weatherford

I am going to San Antonio this weekend and will take this article. Thanks. Can't wait to try some of the places you recommended.

lauren covington
lauren covington

hooray for this article! SA often gets overlooked.. people love to call it lame, but it really is so lovely and laid back. we look for any excuse to get out there!

Nicholas Dion
Nicholas Dion

The Monterey is amazing. San Antonio's version of Austin's Barley Swine. I wish Houston would catch up. And no, Hay Merchant is not close.

Terry Alexander
Terry Alexander

The Esquire is a cool place. They have one of the biggest Door Lords in San Antonio. Cool guy. I almost walked out on our drinking companions last time we visited when he asked for a Coors Light. TA

Dorothy N. Nelson
Dorothy N. Nelson

Hotel Havana. It's got an amazing patio and such a cool vibe...DemoforFrank.blogspot.com

Jalapeno
Jalapeno

I guess that break-up diet worked wonderfully!

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

No, but Dough and Gwendolyn are both on my to-try list for the next visit!

Tara
Tara

Dough is excellent. Gwendolyn is meh...I wouldn't go out of my way to go there. Other great places are Bliss (owned by Chef Mark Bliss) just across the parking lot from The Monterey, Il Sogno (owned by Chef Andrew Weissman) in the Pearl, Sustenio (Executive Chef David Gilbert) in the Elian Hotel way out by The Rim at 1604 & I-10, & Luke, a John Besh restaurant that has Chef Stephen McHugh at the helm.

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