Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Texas meats versus Colorado eats

Posted by on Tue, Jan 3, 2012 at 10:59 AM

Ceviche at Mariscos El Bucanero.

Like most people, any time I travel I'm eager to compare the stuff I can get back home with the goods floating out there in the great blue yonder. This trip, the blue yonder was visiting family in San Antonio, Texas, so I figured barbecue, Mexican and seafood were the orders of the day.

A bunch of restaurants later, and the scarfing of no few homemade tamales and, all told, I'll tell ya Colorado Springs: In a lot of culinary areas, you shine as bright, if not brighter, than the Lone Star State.

Beer is actually one of the spots where we've definitely got them over a barrel, so it was nice that the sour I tried from Freetail Brewing Company at the Great American Beer Festival was just as puckery in-house. A Christmas ale from Blue Star Brewing Company was also decent, but nothing compared to the stuff coming out of South Tejon Street.

There was a lot of buzz over a seafood spot called Mariscos El Bucanero, a standout for sure whose ceviche happily proved that the closer to the water you're getting the fish out of, the better the fish. (Also, that limes and shrimp are soulmates.)

Then we did a few "best ofs." We found what Bon Appetit (and Rachael Ray and Guy Fieri, apparently) call the best tacos in the country at Taco Taco Café and found the tortillas killer — like the ones at La Casita Mexican Grill, but a little bigger — but the meat often dry and lacking topping.

Later, we tried what we heard were the best ribs in San Antonio, at the Rusty Bucket. And I'll tell you, they're good — fatty and peppery with a crunchy layer of bark over the top — but mostly they reminded me of the killer stacks that come from Firehouse Southern Style BBQ, which won our rib-off last year.

Then there was more barbecue and more Mexican — our tamales are definitely thicker, spicier and infinitely more crave-able — and all the usual good stuff, and many delicious things were downed. It just goes to reinforce the common idea, I guess, that there's good food everywhere. Just don't forget you're surrounded by it here, too.

Ribs from the Rusty Bucket.

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