Saturday, May 5, 2012

Japanese Tea Garden...

It's not such a bad idea to go back from time to time to the scene of the crime, so to speak.  Okay, Eva may not like that set-up.
We should take time to enjoy the things we have and visit often the places that hold memories special to us.  Much better.  I'm only kidding of course and I have written on this topic before - about the Japanese Tea Garden located at Brackenridge Park in San Antonio - where 27 years ago I proposed to my wife and she accepted. 
 I'm so glad we did it at a place that would be around for some time.  Imagine if I had proposed to her at our favorite nightclub at the time, The Edge of Town.  That place is a medical clinic now.  Not very romantic.
 The story today is not so much a celebration of our anniversary; it was last week and we had a fun time.  Instead, it is to share a place that is beautiful, enjoyable and free, and to urge those of you who haven't been, or been in a while to get out there and take a nice walk through the gardens. San Antonio is full of touristy places - I'm pretty sure that SA is the biggest tourist attraction in the state of Texas, in fact.  Yet many locals complain that there is no place to go or nothing to do.  When you take the time at least once a year or even every other year to check out some of the same places that people who travel here are coming to see, you won't get burnt out, and you may be surprised to find that you are having a good time.
The Japanese Tea Garden started out as a quarry.  Back in the early 1900's, some guy grabbed a bunch of prisoners and decided to make the place look nice.  Later, the city would find a Japanese guy, Mr. Jingu, and offer to let him and his family live there if they would in turn do some Japanese gardening to make the place look even better.  Over time (and World War II) names changed, people left, yadda, yadda, and in the 2010's we are back to being called the Japanese Tea Gardens, and the place has been undergoing a facelift.  
In addition to beautiful plants and flowers and trees and such, the area contains lots of stone walkways and bridges and places to sit.  More importantly, brides come to have their pictures taken - I have no idea who the young lady is, but she was having her pictures taken the day we visited - because of the great picture spots throughout the gardens.
And of course, people come here to propose.  This is "our" bench, and it has been there for years and most likely will be for years more to come.
My mother-in-law recalls a time when there was a snack bar for people to get burgers and sodas and such, but that has been closed for a while.  More recently though, they have opened up a small restaurant called, appropriately, Jingu House Cafe.  We didn't dine in that day, but we did take a look inside and it seemed like a nice little place to get some Japanese cousine.  Perhaps another time.
Even if you don't have any intentions of proposing, taking wedding photos or eating lunch, the Japanese Tea Garden has free parking, no admission fee and the 30 to 40 minutes it takes to walk around the place is exercise we can all use. 


Anonymous said...

You didn't go to AUGIE'S BBQ right next door?? We want more food reviews!, lol

a small player in God's plan. said...

Awesome post Dave. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and loved that you added so many pics. If I'm ever in the neighborhood, I know where to go!

Dave said...

You didn't go to AUGIE'S BBQ right next door??

Of course we did. It would be a crime to be there and not eat at Augie's.

Sadly, we must have hit them on an off day which is very rare. The ribs were great, the potato salad was out of this world, but both Eva and I agreed that the brisket was just dry. Usually, you don't need their awesome sauce - the brisket stands alone as melt in your mouth delicious, but on that Saturday, no bueno.

I ended up taking it home and loading it up with barbecue sauce to take to work for lunch.

I still consider Augie's Barbed Wire to be the best BBQ in San Antonio, but everyone has an off day from time to time.

Anonymous said...

Nice, you were able to sneak in a food review in the comments. You are a dependable foodie, hehe.

I have not had the brisket there. On second thought, I don't think SA has ANY brisket worth eating. I haven't had Rudy's in a long time, so can't say for sure how they are doing in that aspect.