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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2008-04-01

Sports Shooter Destination: San Antonio: Home Of the Men's Final Four … And Good EATING
By William Luther, San Antonio Express-News

Photo by Brad Mangin

Photo by Brad Mangin

Luling City Market in Luling, Texas is worth the drive from San Antonio.
Howdy from San Antonio! Here's a little primer for everybody heading down to San Antonio for the Final Four.

Let's start with the Alamodome… Parking is really bad around the dome. The dome sits just across I-37/US-281 from downtown so the highway messes-up traffic and parking. If you don't have a parking pass take a taxi. Many people walk from the downtown hotels and I have done it myself. But with lots of gear it can be a bit of a trek.

The lighting has been updated since the Women's Final Four was last here, so I can't give you an exact measurement other than to say it should be much better than what some of you may remember from past Alamo Bowl games.

The media entrance for the dome is on the south end of the building at the loading dock. Because traffic can get really bad downtown for dome events, I would recommend arriving early. SAPD sets up traffic control during dome events and you'll often find yourself forced into going with the flow even if it's the wrong way. Just be prepared.

Now for the good stuff… Food!

Stay away from the Riverwalk! Let me repeat this…Stay away from the Riverwalk! It will be packed and lines for restaurants will be ridiculous. With that said, the Riverwalk will be the happening place. Like most tourist areas, the restaurants are OK but most of them are over-priced for what you get. One consistently good place on the Riverwalk is Boudros (http://www.boudros.com). Another good place is Acenar, (http://www.acenar.com). These two restaurants should fit into most peoples' budgets if you don't drink too many Margaritas.

Just south of downtown is Southtown and the King William historic district. A number of small and independent restaurants are in this area. Southtown has a website with a dining page, http://www.southtown.net/dining/index.html, that lists all the restaurants. I would recommend El Mirador, (http://www.elmiradorrestaurant.com/) and Rosario's Mexican Café Y Cantina, (http://www.rosariossa.com) for lunch or dinner. For lunch, Madhatters Tea House and Café, (http://www.madhatterstea.com), is a great sandwich place.

For a collection of chain restaurants like PF Changs, J Alexander, and Joe's Crab Shack, head to the Quarry Market shopping center, (http://www.quarrymarket.com). You'll see this shopping center on your left as you drive from the airport to downtown.

Breakfast in San Antonio is all about breakfast tacos. There are about a billion places in San Antonio to get a breakfast taco but two come to mind. Near downtown, again in the Southtown area, is Taco Haven, (http://www.tacohaven.info) And north of downtown about 15 minutes is Taco Taco Café, (http://www.tacotacosa.com). Taco Taco is a hole-in-the-wall place with a big reputation, so be prepared to wait if you go Sunday morning.

Photo by Brad Mangin

Photo by Brad Mangin

The food at Luling City Market in Luling, Texas is to die for.
To go with the billion breakfast taco places there are about a million different ways to have your taco prepared, from basic bean and cheese too much fancier concoctions. Personally, my favorite tacos are Chiliquiles, which are scrambled eggs mixed with some onions, peppers, tomatoes, and - believe it or not - corn chips. It may sound weird but they are great. Get 'em with cheese.

For the health conscience, my fellow Express-News staff photographer Lisa Krantz loves Green, a vegetarian restaurant just north of downtown. They can be found at http://www.greensanantonio.com.

While San Antonio is not know for its late-night dining, if you're in search of a place after the game the only place that really comes to mind is Mi Tierra Mexican food, (http://www.mitierracafe.com/default.html) it's more touristy than local, but it is open all the time and is pretty famous even if it's mostly average food. On the good side they have lots of tables and are used to large groups.

And for those of you who are not health conscience and will have some free time on the bye day, I'd recommend making a trip out of town to Luling to get some great barbeque at City Market (http://www.texasbbqtrail.com/luling.php). It's about an hour out of town, but well worth the trip. Check out this past Sports Shooter article about the Texas Barbeque Trail, (http://www.sportsshooter.com/news/1225) for some more information.

And finally, let me plug fellow Express-News staff photographer Mark Sobhani's side business. He and his wife own a coffee shop on the north side of San Antonio called Wildfire Coffee Roasters, (http://wildfirecoffee.com/). It's a great shop - they even roast their own beans! So don't send your extra file pictures from your hotel room Sunday morning. Drop by Mark's place, get a bagel and a cup of coffee and send from there using the free WiFi.

I hope this helps everyone coming to San Antonio for the Final Four a little bit. If you have more questions feel free to contact me through my member page, http://www.sportsshooter.com/williamluther

See you in San Antonio!


(William Luther is a staff photographer for the San Antonio Express-News. You can see Luther's member page here: http://www.sportsshooter.com/williamluther)

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