Towards the end of our trip to San Antonio, my husband and I were becoming a little dissillusioned with the Riverwalk. Don’t get me wrong, it was positively beautiful! I could spend the entire day walking around down there and completely forget that there was an entire city up above. No, I’m talking about the restaurants.
After a few days of watching our money rapidly dwindle, we realized that a lot of those restaurants are targeting the tourists. The food doesn’t have to be that great and they can charge a lot of money because they are in a great location. While we were on one of the riverboat tours, I noticed what looked like a hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant set back from the hustle and bustle of the main drag. Literally it was a door built into a brick wall with a sign out front. After eating our share of Tex-Mex (some good – try Margarita’s. Some bad – stay away from Ritas on the River – blech!) some good old Italian food sounded wonderful! My husband went down to check out the menu. One of the owners just happened to be passing by and informed him that there would be jazz music that night (on other nights they also have belly dancing) and that we could bring our own bottle of wine.
The restaurant lived up to it’s hole-in-the-wall image. Once you walk through the door in the brick wall, you go up a flight of stairs to a very small, cramped dining room decorated with old posters and Christmas lights. Several small, round tables were crowded around the perimeter of the room and a small stage was set up in a corner where a lady was singing jazz music. We took a booth along the wall that faced the stage and got very cozy with our neighbors. A very personable little man came to the table to welcome us, give us our menus, and open our bottle of wine.
My husband and started with an antipasto for one. Let me tell you I am glad we didn’t order the one for two, because a few minutes later the little man came out with a plate piled high with grilled vegetables, meats, and cheeses. Ohh, it was divine! It featured grilled summer squash, zuchinni, vidalia onion wedges, tomatoes and asparagus with two different types of cheese. I can honestly say I have never had a vegetable dish where I literally wanted to pick up the plate and lick it. I thought, if I can recreate this at home, I might actually eat more vegetables!
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and sliced lengthwise, then in half
- 1 zuchinni, sliced about ¼ inch thick
- 1 small summer squash, sliced about ¼ inch thick
- ¾ cup sliced cremini mushrooms
- 4-6 asparagus spears, cut to 3-3 ½ inches long
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, rosemary, basil). You can also sub 2 tablespoons dried
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Thirty minutes prior to grilling, soak wooden skewers in water to prevent burning. Preheat grill.
- Combine vegetables in a large bowl or resealable plastic bag. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Combine olive oil and balsamic vinegar and pour over the vegetables. Add the chopped herbs. Toss vegetables with the oil, vinegar, herb mixture until thoroughly coated. Let vegetables marinate for at least 10 minutes, no more than 30.
- Thread vegetables onto skewers. Place over hot coals. Grill for nine minutes on each side, 18 minutes total, until vegetables are tender.