Well, well, well....
What do we have here? Football crazy New Orleaneans woke up from their purple psychosis last Sunday and noticed that Tulane had a legit QB under center. And what's that? Come Again? Hokie Gajan ate his words also?
I'm sorry, but could you repeat that please? I couldn't hear you the first time: What's this about Hokie Gajan saying he was wrong about talking out his mouth? Blabbering like a fool that Griff wasn't NFL material? In his oh so very esteemed opinion?
Makes me hold out hope that Tammy Nunez might one day apologize for being recorded off camera making fun and laughing that John Curtis could beat Tulane.
But for real y'all, I felt like I needed to give the wheel a spin and buy a vowel after Griff's touchdown to Tanner. How D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S was that?! Did you catch yourself wondering if the Big Lee Towing guy sat on his hands or if he actually cheered for that touchdown?
If you'd like to rewatch this nationally televised moment of brilliance by a Tulane Product, click on this link here.
...So now back to my final order of business this pre-season: San Antonio <-- where Tom Benson threatened to move the Saints to during Katrina. And oh yes, the home of the Roadrunners whom Tulane must play in our final season in Ex-Cusa.
The Alamadome where the Roadrunners play.
With all this talk about the Saints, fools who flap their jaws, and San Antonio - I was reminded of this article by Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express titled "Stealing Saints Would've Been a Crime" wherein he apologizes on behalf of those egregious looters called the City of San Antonio who attempted to steal our NFL Team after Katrina.
San Antonio, despite this lapse of judgment, is actually a very important landmark in the history of the independence of Texas. Did you know that leading up to the attack on the Alamo, William B. Travis had sent him off some letters up his chain of command asking for reinforcements and supplies? Not unlike how the "Lunatic Fringe" at Tulane have been reminding TPTB that we have a D1 program here that needed serious paying attention to. Unfortunately Travis only received another 100 men even though there were facing thousands of Mexicans as was told to make do. (Sound familiar Tulane fans??) The Texan and American men lead by Travis were promptly decimated in a very lopsided attack on the Alamo. Outrage ensued and so the Texians regrouped, rallied and fought back in San Jacinto and kicked the Mexicans out of Texas. Except that now we eat their food and import them as cheap labor all these years later.
If you can follow my thoughts, and put aside the political economy of US-Mexico geo-socio relations: Tulane rounding out our final year in Ex-CUSA by playing in San Antonio is kind of ironic and interesting in a Playbook/Toledo Extension kind of way.
Another interesting connection between San Antonio and Tulane is that Coach Johnson was Larry Coker's wide receivers coach at Miami. The current UTSA head coach, Larry Coker, was head coach at Miami. Here's to hoping that the student (CJ) has become the master. Because honestly, the last thing I need is to lose like a fool to a someone straight out of division2 in this lamest of lame schedules in the history of American College Football. We are better than this schedule gives us credit for.
So to put together my review, I was able to go in house for consulting. Coach Hullabaloo lived in San Antonio for many years. And one of my sorority sisters who lived in San Antonio was very helpful as well. Below is where they would suggest we spend pre- and post-game in San Antonio.
Getting to San Antonio
There are no direct flights to San Antonio from New Orleans. You can take Southwest for two hops, connecting either through Houston Hobby or Dallas Lovefield. It's about a 4-5 hours traveling. There's also American Airlines with a connection through Dallas DFW. The costs for either are about $300 each way.
Driving is a straight shot across I-10 west for 544 miles. You can break up the trip in two by pitstopping in Houston for dinner and a layover. Or you can kamikaze straight through for 8-9 hours and want to just die because this is the most boring stretch of highway in the history of the world.
Another fun option, which Coach Hullabaloo and I enjoy very much, is railgating on Amtrak. The cost is $75 pp each way. The train leaves downtown New Orleans at 9am and arrives in San Antonio at midnite. And the train station is literally one step from the Alamodome. The food on the train is awful, so pack your own lunches. But you can sit in comfortable seats and work in peace all day, read a book, watch a movie on your laptop and you don't have to stare at endless highway for 8 or 9 hours.
Staying in San Antonio
I could not get over how reasonable the rack rates were at San Antonio hotels, as well as how many options there are close to touristy stuff. as well as just the sheer number of choices in the San Antonio area with easy access to the stadium even if you decide to stay a few miles out. If you choose to stay out towards SeaWorld and Six Flags (about 10 miles to the Alamodome), you can find rates for under $100 per night at decent national flagged properties.
Below are the properties that I would check out. Just note that most of the places near the Riverwalk and downtown will charge additional for parking. There seem to be plenty of parking garages to park on your own, and the majority of hotels offered valet parking services as well.
The Hotel Valencia looks to be a gorgeous and Texas-inspired boutique-style hotel in the thick of the touristy area. Rates are $165 with tripleA or $199 a night. And lucky you: the Valencia also offers a "Shoot and Shop" birthday package for those ladies who enjoy a round at the gun club followed by an afternoon hitting the stores. Nice.
Grand Hyatt San Antonio is a full service convention property that is a convenient half a mile from the Alamodome, close to touristy areas and is also situated on the Riverwalk. Rates are $150 per nite.
TownePlace Suites Downtown San Antonio is a limited service property that appears to be clean, comfortable, safe and in a convenient location to touristy areas in the Riverwalk area and is 1 mile from the Alamodome. The rooms at this hotel also have a kitchenette to store and prepare your pre-game beverages and to refrigerate/reheat your take out boxes from eating out, etc. Rates were $145 per night.
I kind of got the ebbie geebies reading online reviews of petty crime and room burglaries on tourists, even in otherwise safe-looking hotels. It goes without saying that those of us from New Orleans know how to take precautions to keep ourselves safe: Never wander alone at dark in an unfamiliar area. Do not experiment with short cuts. Take a cab door to door. Walk in groups. Do not keep more on your person than what you need for that particular outing (leave any unnecessary credit cards, jewelry or cash at home). Pack all of your belongings, especially electronics, back into your suit cases everyday with TSA/travel locks while you are out of your room. Double check your door before leaving to make sure it has locked completely.
My sorority sister insists on shopping at La Cantera, which looks to be a basic Texas mall with a regular Neimans and all of the stores that you are used to seeing at malls.
Another friend also raves about the outlets of San Marcos which has clearance center for Neimans, Salvatore Ferragamo, Tory Burch, Kate Spade and other yummy stores.
I might check out Beach Hill Marketplace, which is a thrift/flea shop that is supposed to offer hours of poking around and great finds. And hopefully a man chair for Coach Hullabaloo to park himself and fondle his Iphone so that I may wander the aisles in peace. And if he behaves I might go check out the other antique thrift shops on Hildebrand Avenue.
Melissa Guerra Kitchen Market is supposed to be a great place to find regionally inspired kitchen and entertaining stuff. of which I always need more of.
BBQ and Tex-Mex
A few years ago for my birthday I shanghai'd Coach Hullabaloo into taking me on a nostalgic tour to sample the ultimate BBQ, TexMex and Texas peach cobbler joints situated between Austin and Houston. We ate BBQ until we could no longer stand it and I also bought these Tulane boots for the equivalent price of a small country. I think Coach Hullabaloo is sufficiently recovered from our meat and corn chip overdose so that we may adventure again in the San Antonio area.
It was quite overwhelming sifting through hundreds of restaurants and reviews to settle on my list. (I will happily assume all blame if these suggestions turn out awful)
Tex-Mex - I settled on Tito's restaurant, El Mirasol or Soluna (sister restaurants), and El Mirador. These seem to be authentic Tex-Mex menus, good execution and all have great reviews by users and bloggers. Tito's also offers breakfast (yummy). El Mirasol seem to be a more high falutin fancy restaurant.
My BBQ selections were The Smoke Shack which was started by Mississippi natives, so you know it has to be good. The Barbecue Station which is a side of the road former filling station kind of a joint and The Big Bib BBQ which is also a greasy spoon BBQ joint. All of them portend to serve excellent Texas brisket, finger lickin' sauce and pork ribs. With all of the usual trimmings that BBQ places should have: slaw, tater salad, etc. etc.
In the same genre of Southern and regional cooking which I love so, I was so excited to stumble upon Max's Wine Dive. I have underlined and highlighted this Texas-style comfort food brasserie in my list as a place I need to check out. Pulled pork stuffed peppers, oyster nachos, and "haute" dogs for Coach Hullabaloo. Their scrolling words on their website are hilarious: "Fried chicken and champagne? Why the Hell Not?" lmao. But seriously, they claim to have award-winning fried chicken and that's all I really need to know about that. My kind of place.
And lastly, when you need a break and want something normal: The Gunther House for breakfast. The Gunther House is a lovely 1920's mansion home that now serves breakfast and lunch and is also available as an event venue. It has a beautiful wood paneled ballroom used as the main dining room and lovely outdoor dining porch as well.
Tailgating at UTSA
The Alamodome is located off exit 140b on Interstate 37. From interstate 35, you can take interstate 37 south and then take exit 140b toward Durango Boulevard (east). From Interstate 10, you'll take exit 574 north to interstate 37 and then take exit 140b toward Durango Bouleavard (east).
Tailgating is allowed in Alamodome parking lots B and C. Although you might have to park in another lot and then walk to B and C as those lots only offer premium patron parking.
Seating at the Alamodome
Visitors and The marching band will be seated in section 138.
Lagniappe info for the moms: The visiting locker room is located through the southeast loading dock entrance.
Ok, Tulane fans. I have so enjoyed scouting out our upcoming road trip games. Now the moment we've been waiting for 9 months is two days away: Tailgate and pre-game before our season opener against an FCS school... Hoo-ray! Meet you at the dome!