Texas

Picture of san_antonio This was our second trip to San Antonio (see 1999) and we were only in town for 2 or 3 days so we skipped a lot of the attractions we'd visited on the previous trip. This time we stayed downtown on the Riverwalk which has actually expanded considerably in the past nine years.
Picture of alamo_bowl The main reason for the trip - a rare post-season appearance for Northwestern in the Alamo Bowl. Unfortunately, they managed to just pull out a loss in the nick of time. As Northwestern fans though, we're accustomed to this and at least it was a good game, plus the Missouri fans were generally fun to hang out with too.
Picture of riverwalk We spent a bit of time on the Riverwalk as we were overlooking it and a goodly percentage of downtown's restaurants can be found down on the river. One thing we wanted to do a little different on this trip though was to stop at some of the outlying restaurants.
Picture of tamales_rubens We actually visited several but if you're in San Antonio and you're looking for one-stop shopping (more or less), it's hard to beat the confusing six-way intersection at Roland and Rigsby on the southeast side of town. On one corner is Ruben's Tamales. This is basically a minimal convenience store that no one seems to come into unless they want tamales. You order them by the dozen, or half-dozen (this is a key point. If you ask for just '4', you're getting 48 tamales). They come with a variety of fillings. If you're stopping by to eat them in the car (like we were) you might want to bring a lot of napkins - or maybe just a change of clothes.
Picture of smokehouse After finishing a couple tamales we headed across the street to the Smokehouse because it was very crowded and smelled fantastic. They have a varied menu as long as you're in the market for meat. Being Texas we felt we had to go with the beef brisket which comes with onions and pickles. After a visit to these two establishments we didn't really have to eat again that day.
Picture of houston_skyline Having spent New Year's Eve of 1999-2000 in San Antonio, we thought we should try a different city this time around so we headed east to Houston. This is our skyline picture of Houston taken from the inner beltway. If not careful, one can easily spend several hours orbiting Houston on the inner beltway so you'll have plenty of chances to take this picture.
Picture of newyearseve We spent New Year's Eve at the Flying Saucer, our favorite mini-chain of brewpubs in the south (yeah, we actually do have different favorite mini-chains of brewpubs in other parts of the country). Downstairs was pretty crowded, a lot of alcohol was consumed, there were balloons and party favors, so all in all a pretty good time.
Picture of icerink We spent two days in downtown Houston which is more than enough time to learn that downtown Houston is completely and utterly dead during non-business hours. There are almost no open restaurants. We had heard there was ice-skating near the convention center though so we wandered over one evening. We ended up skipping it as this is the highest density of people per square foot of ice we've ever seen.
Picture of dallas Next stop was Dallas. We didn't actually spend much time in Dallas as we stayed in between Dallas and Fort Worth. So really we actually just drove through Dallas long enough to get stuck in traffic and take this token picture of the Reunion Tower. In movies, the Reunion Tower is constantly being struck by meteors, aliens, space junk, etc. Nothing so exciting happened in the twenty minutes it took us to creep past it.
Picture of fort_worth We did visit Fort Worth. Although it was at night and we really didn't manage to take any decent pictures of it. This is the stockyard district a little north of downtown. The main things to do here are watch a rodeo, eat large quantities of steak and wear cowboy boots.

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