Ocho — Oh So Beautiful!

Fellow blogger, Shannon Ahern, recently posted a wonderful article about the new Ocho Lounge at the Hotel Havana.

Based on her story, we just had to pay a visit. The scene is absolutely delightful. The architecture is its own form of entertainment and the views to the River Walk below are fantastic. With cooler weather, it will be a wonderful walk along the newer stretch of the San Antonio River Walk from The Pearl to Ocho for a scrumptious brunch.

Their menu is inspired by Cuban and Latin Cuisines. Our little group of foodies definitely voted top awards for their breakfast items. Our favs were:

The TOASTED JO’S BANANA BREAD with Chunky Peanut Butter, Sliced Banana and Honey. (I asked for the peanut butter on the side 🙂 ) The banana bread was toasted on a griddle and had honey spread on top. The recipe came from their other restaurant, Jo’s Coffee, on the Hotel San Jose property in Austin. Absolutely scrumptious, and…

The SWEET PLANTAIN GRIDDLE CAKES ($14) with Mexican Crema, Blueberries and Maple Syrup. We had to exceed our $10 limit on this item because it was soooo worth the mention! You’ll taste the flavor of the plantains in these griddle cakes and the Mexican crema is made in-house. Oh, how I love FRESH! To top them off, the blueberries are marinated in agave nectar.

Andy Erdmann, the Food and Beverage Manager of the Lounge, said you certainly don’t have to be a Hotel Havana guest to stop by their restaurant. All Ocho guests are special guests!

Be sure to read Shannon’s blog, at The Long Table,  for more details and a great interior picture. This is definitely a YES place for breakfast (especially for the sweet items) when you are ready for a leisurely treat. They are actually open long hours and their All-Day Menu is intriguing.

Ocho Lounge at The Havana Hotel – 1015 Navarro St., San Antonio

A Plate Heaped with Tasty Treasures

Our Quest for the Best Botana Platter Continues

Readers recently helped me realize  that Botana Platters are not universal menu items in Mexican food restaurants. In fact, if you haven’t eaten this fav cuisine in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, you probably don’t know what a “real” Botana Platter is.  These platters reign on the throne of my absolute favorite Mexican food of all time. Though it puzzles me why they’re only a regional item,  I’ll just go where the Botana Platters are!

This last weekend we took an unexpected trip to the Valley for a couple of days and made a point of going to another reader-recommended destination for great Botana’s. It’s called “Koko’s Uptown Cafe” and we were not disappointed. It was 10:50 in the morning and we were determined to wait out the breakfast menu to be sure we sampled their locally renowned Botana Platter.

In case you didn’t see the previous posting introducing our search for the ultimate Botana, the platter is by definition, a large plate of appetizers.  I usually count at least 10 different ingredients on each plate. Though many are consistently there (like a corn chip base, cheese, tomatoes and fajitas) the other ingredients vary like the weather.

With Koko’s version you can check out the layers of crispy corn tortillas, American cheese, chopped tomatoes and

Another View of Our Tasty Botana

onions. Top these with grilled bell peppers and onions and incredibly tender beef fajitas.  The toppings on this banana split of Mexican food? A crispy cheese quesadilla and a chicken flauta resting in a mound of quacamole.

This meal is $12.95 at Koko’s, so I thought I’d have to disallow it from our $10 price cap — until the plate was placed before me. Hellooooo! This Botana Platter for One could easily feed two. If someone’s worried about still being hungry, a shared Flan w/ Pecan Topping (Mexican dessert custard w/ caramel sauce) would likely satisfy the hungriest of diners.

BTW Breakfast Lovers — there are lots of choices of traditional Mexican breakfasts for $5 or less, too!

Gerardo Menchaca

The service from Arturo was TOP NOTCH. The restaurant was clean and comfortably crowded. Manager, Gerardo Menchaca, made sure we knew of their other restaurant in Piedras Negras, MX (which incidentally serves Botana Platters, too). I think we’ve discovered our first international listing! Stay tuned as we continue our Quest for the Best Botana Platters around!