I was strictly a sneakers and sandals kind of kid when my Grandpa E.J. took my brother and I shopping for our first pair of cowboy boots. In town at the same time as Denver’s annual stock show and rodeo, he insisted we have the right footwear before he spent the day teaching us about the different breeds of cattle and horses. The perfect pair of boots should not only fit well, he told us, but also feel just right. So, when I found a pair with the slightest amount of pink stitching, he agreed those were the ones, and he didn’t flinch when my brother selected a pair he felt would match his swim trunks—his preferred item of clothing whenever wearing his boots as a preschooler.
With our boots on the next day, we headed to Denver where my grandfather spent hours walking us through the stock show pens before finding us seats at the rodeo to watch bull riders, barrel racers and calf ropers. He told us of our mom’s barrel racing days as part of her 4-H club and of the Charolais cattle he raised on the side while working as a banker in Blue Hill, Nebraska.
I’ll admit I never picked up his passion for the stock show and rodeo (and only partly because it turns out that I’m allergic to horses), but I still make a point to attend a rodeo most years, if only for the nostalgia of it. Looking through Ashton Rodgers’ beautiful photos of the Tejas Rodeo Co. in Bulverde (page 44) brought back all of my best memories of the rodeo with my grandpa, from admiring the mounted drill team rider who carries the American flag to cheering for the kids who hold on to their sheep for dear life during the mutton bustin’ event. Whether you grew up attending, or you’re new to the event, the Tejas Rodeo Co. and its small-town atmosphere provide the perfect diversion on a summer Saturday night.
My other favorite diversion? Dinner out. Our trusted food writer, Edmund Tijerina, rounds up the 30 best restaurants in San Antonio right now in this issue. Tijerina brings more than a decade of food writing experience plus time as a restaurateur to his selections, which were made along with our editorial staff and work to recognize those eateries that continue to rise to the top, despite the unprecedented challenges of the last 18 months. The top 30 include some San Antonio institutions, like Bruce Auden’s Biga on the Banks, plus more casual options (see The Jerk Shack and 2M Smokehouse) and five newcomers to the dining scene, including Best Quality Daughter and Brasserie Mon Chou Chou. When people ask me which San Antonio restaurants they should try, I always lean on Tijerina’s stories to guide me in answering, and this feature is the perfect place to start if you’re looking for suggestions. I’ve already used it to compile my list of new places to try and of old favorites it’s time I return to. Take a look beginning on page 28 and start making reservations.
Dine With Us
This month’s cover feature is coming to life through two intimate dinners at the Briscoe Western Art Museum, Aug. 13-14. Head to sanantoniomag.com/bestrestaurants to reserve a seat and enjoy a multi-course meal prepared by chefs from some of the city’s best restaurants.
P. Terry’s joined the crowded San Antonio burger scene last month, which left us wondering: whose fast-food burger is best? I conducted a highly unscientific survey and ordered a basic burger, fries and chocolate shake from P. Terry’s, Burger Boy and Whataburger. The results are outlined on page 58 (spoiler alert: each place has its merits), but I’d love to hear which burger you most crave. Cast your vote this month at sanantoniomag.com/burgerbattle.
Coming Up Next Month
Made in San Antonio: Meet 10 local makers who craft everything from leather wallets to whimsical dolls and made-to-order jeans.