Wednesday January 16 Through Sunday January 20, 2019
The government shutdown had been going on long enough that essential Federal workers were beginning stay home from work. Fearing that Tampa TSA workers wouldn’t show up to work Wednesday, we got up early and on the road to drive from Sarasota where we were staying to the Tampa airport. Arriving at the airport just before 11:00, we dropped off our rental car, then headed for the Southwest Airlines ticket counter. Baggage for our flight, scheduled to leave at 3:00, could not be checked in earlier than four hours before the scheduled departure time.
There was no line for TSA Precheck. The relief was liberating. Breezing through security, we checked the monitors for our gate. Next, we scouted the terminal for decent sit-down restaurants to help kill the three hours before we needed to appear at our gate.
My bowl of black bean soup was marvelous. Yuca fries sounded interesting so we tried them. While they weren’t breaded, they weren’t fries like regular potato based french fries. They do taste good, especially salted with ketchup. At the time, I thought the waitress was just mispronouncing yucca (yuck-uh) as she was saying yuca (you-kah). Surprise! The waitress was saying it correctly. Different plant, both edible.
The San Antonio flight was uneventful except for the crackers served with drinks. Ritz is making flight crackers for Southwest Airlines. These don’t taste like Original Nabisco Ritz Crackers. These do provide an amusing diversion from peanuts and pretzels.
The flight landed on time. Baggage came quickly and the car was found in long term parking where we left it two weeks before. Airport parking sure has gotten expensive over the past 20 years.
After dinner at Luby’s, we hurried off toward our RV storage facility to plug in the rig and turn on the refrigerator. Once that was done, it was time to go back to the airport area to check into a hotel.
Thursday morning was a slow start. The hotel provided breakfast was the usual scrambled eggs, bacon and potatoes. Opening the curtains, a newly opened dog kennel could be seen. PetSuites workers were walking dogs in the side yard space.
After checking out, we drove north to our kennel to pick up the little darlings. We stopped off at RV storage to get the camper before heading on to the San Antonio KOA. We ended up in the same campsite we have had for the last three or four times we have been there. This is beginning to feel like home?
Thursday night we went to Krause’s Biergarten & Cafe with friends. This downtown New Braunfels German themed restaurant is quite the place, even on a school night. The Biergarten, shown above was packed and lively when we arrived. We didn’t feel like fighting our way through the crowd to claim non-existent table space so crossed into the more sedate cafe dining room where we were given a nice quiet table.
I got the Traditional Sausage Plate. It came with two bratwurst, saurkraut, German coleslaw, home fries and mustard. Excellent spicy bratwurst. The mustard wasn’t just ground mustard seeds. There were some other spices in it. Tasty.
On the way into Krause’s, one couldn’t get up to the bar. On the way out, there was room at the bar and in the biergarten. This would be a good place for me to bring out-of-towners who want an authentic German Texas food experience.
Friday morning, I took the car to the dealer for an oil change. We still haven’t completely decided to sell our 2010 Ford Explorer before we go to Alaska this summer or keep it. It is low mileage (70,000 miles) and still runs well enough to make round trips to St. Louis. Would save wear and tear on the Jeep and truck.
Friday afternoon the dogs were bored. We walked to the edge of the KOA where Salado Creek Greenway Trail runs uphill/downhill along the creek. The Willow Springs Golf Course is the next property downstream from the KOA. Walking past the golf course, I found a relatively new shiny golf ball on the creek side of a 20 foot tall fence. It’s mine now! I was thinking the little dogs would find a little ball interesting and chewy.
The last time I walked further than the golf course (San Antonio KOA 50th Anniversary blog post), I turned around at the East Commerce Street Bridge. This time, the dogs and I walked past East Commerce Street all the way to Interstate 10. Then we turned around. As I realized that I had actually reached I-10, I thought about how odd it would be to walk all the way from I-35 down to I-10. I had never occurred to me that the Interstates were so close to each other – walking distance.
We got our hair done on Saturday.
Sunday around lunch, we took the RV to storage and the dogs to the kennel. Then we met up with a friend and her two teens at Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse for a late lunch.
Food is served and charged for differently in Brazilian Steakhouses than other ordinary restaurants. After patrons sit down, a waiter will approach the table to ask if the patrons have been to this restaurant before. I hadn’t but everyone else at the table had at least been to a Brazilian Steakhouse before. My interpretation of what the waiter told us is there are there are two menu plans:
- Extended salad bar plus meat ($48.50)
- Extended salad bar without meat ( something less than $48.50)
Furthermore, if patrons want meat to be delivered, they turn their medallion green side up. When patrons are not ready for meat, they turn their medallion red side up. Of course I found this confusing. Green is for vegetarian and red is for beef, not green go, red stop.
I learned the following by observation. The medallions are placed on the table to the right of the dinner plate. Meat carvers are continuously circling the tables looking for green medallions. The carvers carry the meat on large skewers. They stop and offer a cut of meat. If the patron says yes, the carver slices the meat parallel to the skewer. Each carver carries a different cut of meat. The different cuts have slight variations in taste and texture. The meat is excellent and the variety allowed me to savor each cut even more.
The extended salad bar was more extensive and fresher than typical restaurant salad bars. “Extended” means there is more than just salad fixings on the salad bar. For example, I saw bread and light pasta dishes.
Dinner did not include desert or drinks. I had key lime pie. It was just OK. I should have gotten the either the Creme Brule or Chocolate Mousse. The others at my table were very pleased with their deserts.
Still full from our late lunch, we didn’t eat dinner that evening. Instead, after checking into our hotel, we went to bed early. We had an early flight to catch in the morning. Going to Detroit Michigan.
Hope to see you on the road ahead!