Southtown Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is split between two weekends at Beethoven Maenerchor. For the latter of the two, the crowd was not lacking. A ten minute walk from our apartment, the Halle and Garten boasts the German influenced architecture typical of King William Historic District but with a different vibe than many of its contemporary-themed Southtown neighbors.

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Upon seeing that we were younger than the vast majority of the crowd, the older German man selling us tickets (while simultaneously lamenting the weakness of American beer) suggested maybe we shouldn’t buy too many until deciding whether or not the polka music would be to our liking. Little did he know I could have started singing along with band playing that was playing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as he spoke (assuming that particular melody doesn’t have any other lyrics).

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Coming from the land of dry counties, it’s still somewhat of a culture shock to see the family-friendly icehouse culture of Central Texas. It’s not like Texas has even remotely a monopoly on this in either the US or worldwide, but there really is nothing like it in Arkansas. From nuns, to tat and pierced teens, to dirndl sporting omas, and Filipino software developers as well as little kids that were very fascinated by the locks on the porta-potties until the dads shut it down – a little bit of everyone was brought together for bratwurst and beer and Josh’s newfound love: leberkäse on rye with caramelized onions.

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The man preparing the sandwich chuckled when we ordered. Little did he know that leberkäse’s blend of corned beef and bacon in a sliced SPAM-like consistency is a Filipino’s dream come true.

As the name suggests, Beethoven Maennerchor was formed as a men’s choir or chorus in 1867. While Oktoberfest is one of their larger events, it’s only a part of the society’s activities.

Nearly 150 years later, many things remain the same. The Maennerchor meets at 8 o’clock to rehearse its songbook full of rotating music for any one of the dozens of performances throughout the year. Today, practice is held on Tuesday evenings. However, the same sentiment for friendship, music, and heritage that radiate from the club are the same as they were then. The main building features a large performance space, which is used for concerts as well as other activities. Adjacent to the house is the Garten, which is the site of our Gartenfests, first Fridays, Oktoberfest and Fiesta festivities. A neighboring building, the Kuest Haus, is currently being renovated for use as a museum.

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In the spirit of the choral tradition, there was an unexpected singing of the US national anthem mid-festivity. The beer, “hotdogs” and live version of the Star Spangled Banner created a very ballpark feel. I half expected (and wanted) someone to shout “play ball!” after the song ended, but I was left disappointed. Continue reading

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A Contrast of Frozen Desserts (with tapioca pearls)

I am slightly apprehensive in writing this post as it is inspired by something I wrote a while back, A Contrast of Coffee. Not that that wasn’t a successful little write-up. In fact one of the coffee shops I mentioned, Cafe Punta del Cielo reached out to me saying that I had really captured their vibe. And that’s a compliment, so what’s the problem? Well they are no longer in business. And since I want neither Snopioca, “the first Asian shaved snow in San Antonio”, nor Jollicup Bubble Tea and Desserts to get the same curse I am hesitant.

But not really. Curses are just a good seasonal theme in October.

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For boba tea in the Alamo City we are pretty loyal to the aptly named Boba Tea. It’s the nearest to our side of town and really the only place to get the Vietnamese bubble tea drink on the Southside. But one day we decided to branch out just to see if there was another hidden treasure in town.Jollicup Bubble Tea and Desserts became our random pick.

While the tea was good (lavender milk tea + assorted sizes of pearls) the best part was the Cracker Barrel style checkerboard set. Hands down. That said, the checkerboard sets at Cracker Barrel are also the best part of Cracker Barrel (and I love Cracker Barrel pancakes). Also, A+ plus for my phone still sitting where it fell into my seat when I came back for it 20 minutes after leaving.

While sipping seems to be classic way to the classic way to enjoy your Asian boba pearl filled frozen desserts in Modern America, Snopioca‘s Taiwanese shaved snow, is breaking stereotypes hard with the introduction of the spoon. The kind of spoon that changes color when cold for extra cool effect. Get it?

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Every time I visit the place is packed. That’s partly because I’ve gone during the weekends and grand opening, but it is worth the hype. In true San Antonio fashion, Snopioca knows its city well enough to include lucas and chamoy options to take your shaved dessert down a sweet, sour and spicy Mexican inspired path.

The takeaway: both are delicious and full of sugar and please don’t go out of business.