Looking for a laundromat in San Antonio? How about a car wash? Need a quick organic bite to eat? Well have I found the place for you.
It's called The Cove. At worst, it's San Antonio's answer to the clarion call for business diversification. Conversely, it's the hippest place to eat in the Deco District (that's right, San Antonio has a Deco District, as in art deco, as in don't get excited, it's just a street with a grocery store that belongs on Nick at Night). In one convenient and crazy place you can clean your clothes, wash your car, and eat a sustainable, organic, and locally grown meal (SOL food, as they call it). What'd you expect, chili dogs and Hostess Snacks?
Finding myself alone last Friday night (Anne's in my hometown visiting the people I grew up with. How's that for weird?), I did what any lonely married guy would do: I looked up places Guy Fieri's taken his show and visited the closest one.
When I arrived, the parking lot was packed and the line was out the door. I didn't check the washing machines out and at a glance the car wash seemed just alright, so I knew the crowd must have been there for the food. As I waited, I scanned the menu and read about their philosophy (the SOL philosophy), and knew that this was my kinda place. What can I say, I'm a sucker for sustainable, organic, and locally grown things. Example: as Anne can attest, I am picky to a fault about the softness of our toilet paper and will only acquiesce to something stiffer than 12-ply (ok, does that even exist?) if it is made from something recycled or sustainable. I await the day I can buy locally grown, organic Charmin Ultra, but something tells me that day will never come. And until it does (or doesn't), I'll continue fighting the mental battle I face when I go down the toilet paper aisle.
Okay, back to The Cove.
So I'm waiting in line, and everyone starts raving about the fish tacos. But this isn't just your average raving. People are breaking social norms and telling people they don't know (like me, the lonely married guy) that not only did they order the fish tacos but that I needed to order them as well. The fish taco chatter was weird but I decided to give it a go and try 'em out. I mean, how could that many people be wrong? (I don't want to get political, but this would be a great place to insert a picture of any number of politicians. Instead, I give you a picture of the tacos.)
Shortly after ordering, the tacos came, I ate, and I hate to say it but the tacos were mediocre at best. I don't know what the kind patrons of The Cove are using as their standard for fish tacos, but in my opinion they were no better than (or in other words they were worse than) Wahoo's or even Rubio's fish tacos. Don't get me wrong, they weren't all that bad--it's just that they weren't all that good either. I mean, I ate them in their entirety (not that that's ever an indication of quality, thank you McDonald's Dollar Menu). I would have finished the baby spinach salad they came with, too, if it weren't for the bee that wouldn't leave me alone. 50 people sitting at picnic tables and the bee chooses me. I had visions of Anne coming home to a swollen husband à la Bear Grylls in Man vs. Wild.
I am happy to report, however, that after my romantic dinner for one I escaped The Cove bee sting free, wishing all the while that I had done what I always wish I had done after I eat at a new restaurant: that I had ordered what Google, San Antonio Magazine, and Guy Fieri had told me to order and not what everyone in line was ordering. I always do this thing where I order the most exotic thing on the menu (or what the waiter doesn't explicitly recommend--elk and cow tongue to name a couple of mealtime mistakes). Had I followed Fieri's recommendation instead of the weird lady in line's idea of a good meal I could have left with a stomach full of organic Texas beef and no run-of-the-mill fish tacos.
On the bright side, the taco incident gives me a reason to go back. I mean, I didn't hate the tacos and I really want to try the burgers. Knowing me, though, I'll go back and get distracted by some new item on the menu or whatever the guests are raving about that day and end up not getting a burger, hating what I order, blogging about what I hated, and vowing to return to get that burger. I really only see this benefiting The Cove.
But as the French say: C'est la vie...
...and as I emphatically add: especially my vie.