Saturday we made a road trip into San Antonio to gather supplies. Okay, by truck it is only a twenty minute or so drive, but if it was 1914 and we really had to hitch a team of mules to a covered wagon and make the trip to Bolner's at the corner of South Flores and Mitchell, it would have been a much longer haul from Natalia, though still worth it.
What the original family members probably didn't have to worry about in 1914 when the market was first opened was taggers. When I explained to a nice lady there that we had actually been to Bolner's before but hadn't gone in because the place seemed to be boarded up, she told me how the family had restored the beautiful building but each time taggers would vandalize the place with spray paint (an all too common problem in many areas of San Antonio), they would power wash the filth off, but in doing so, damage the delicate exterior. As a result, wood siding covers most of the lower portion of the building so it can be easily painted over when tagged. Sad.
Inside is an entirely different world. As soon as we walked in the door and saw the family pictures, the cases of meats and spices, the small dining area and the smell of good food, the visual of the drab exterior was all but forgotten. This is the exact atmosphere we like when looking for a new place to eat - a place where more than just your taste buds are stimulated.
I always see the Fiesta brand spices when we shop at HEB, but had no idea that the brand was created by the Bolner family. What would be awesome is if they were to bottle the barbecue sauce and sell that at HEB!
So onto the food. If you didn't make the drive to just grab some thick t-bones and some pecan brittle, you'll be happy to know that they serve up burgers, smoked chicken, brisket, ribs, sausage and a full selection of sides.
We both went for the two meat platter and selected chicken and brisket. In the top picture, my plate included green beans and some sort of sauteed mushroom concoction that was wonderful. Eva had broccoli with cheese and the mac & cheese and our server threw in a few little potatoes so we could try them. Good stuff.
We did make a tactical error in having them place the sauce directly on top of the meat. Make no mistake, the sauce is outstanding (in fact, we purchased a container to go) but it would have made it a lot easier if we could have dipped it instead. No worries though, both the chicken and brisket were delicious. Next time, I may have to try the ribs and sausage.
Sides: The green beans were excellent, not over seasoned but certainly flavorful. We were told by a friend that the cream corn was to die for, but it was not being served during our visit. Instead, I had the order of mushrooms in some sort of cream sauce. You either like them or you don't and I loved them. Eva's mac & cheese was very good, but like mushrooms must be eaten while hot. After a while, the cheese hardens, so get to work on it right away. This is not some boxed side order, but real mac and real cheese. The broccoli and cheese was much the same way using real cheese versus some Velveeta situation. If you are going to be healthy and eat broccoli, this is the way you want it. The little potatoes would make a great choice if you are trying to skip the cheese.
Our only complaint was with the hard rolls served with the food. They were hard. The birds in our back yard enjoyed them though.
Once done eating we strolled around the small shop and looked at the beautiful cuts of meat and the prepared meats in the refrigerated cases. They had all sorts of meal ideas - stuffed tenderloin and such that would help out in making a fancy meal. But Eva really liked the Tur-Duc-Ken.
It has been a while since we experienced both an interesting setting along with some outstanding barbecue vittles. Get down to Bolner's and you'll understand why we think it's a Tasty Treat!