Thanksgiving in Hill Country

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Despite the fact that my phone fell from a tall bed Wednesday night finally finishing it off along with most of my recent photos, as well as the fact that half of my visiting family (and I) were varying degrees of sick all throughout the weekend, Thanksgiving 2016 went by smoothly. The perfect weather lured us outside each day to hike, stargaze, and walk beneath trees of twinkling Christmas light-lit oaks.

By popular demand: the link to the recipe for the “Rosemary Corn Cake with a Honey and Brown Butter Buttercream” is further down, along with some of my own notes.

About a five-minute walk from my apartment on South Flores in San Antonio is the 1851 Guenther House. Known for brunch and being home to the Pioneer Brand baking mixes, I usually see a lot of people coming and going around noon when I walk by. Yet before this weekend, I had not visited myself.

Maybe it was the menu or maybe the clientele, but we ended up dubbing it “fancy Cracker Barrel” complete with outdoor heaters and afghans for the mild autumn chill. Unfortunately my pictures of the grounds along the river and replica gingerbread house in the museum were lost when my phone bit the dust later that evening.

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Keeping with the theme of outdoor fancy heated seating, we visited Hotel Emma at the Pearl while on a mission to get the sea salt dark chocolate ice cream from Lick that my sister had fallen in love with during her stay in the summer  (though it cost as much as the five paletas we bought at El Paraiso for lunch). We also took time to visit the Japanese grocery store, the Japanese tea gardens, Southwest School of Art (to keep with theme of places established in 1851), and the Denman Estate Park pictured above.

Did I point out all the aforementioned activities went down on same day? (along with seeing the lights of “Light the Way” at University of the Incarnate Word and dining for supper at wood-fired all local Il Forno just past Southtown).

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As such, arriving at the peaceful 1851 Opa’s Haus in Kingsbury, Texas was the perfect foil to a full day on the town.

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“The house was originally built by German immigrants who used ‘fachwerk’ (half timber) construction with which they were familiar in Germany. Some of these original walls have been exposed to show the structural beams held together with hand-whittled pegs instead of nails. Between the beams you can also see the handmade bricks.”

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We heard a range of creatures during our stay – the cows that live in the field beyond this bathroom window, an owl, yipping foxes and definitely probably a few ghosts.

We did find that most (all but one) of the windows did not have full curtain coverings, maybe the German way?

Less than twenty minutes to Landa Park in New Braunfels, it was easy to stop by the Comal Springs, once home to the Natives who called it “Conaqueyadesta, meaning “where the river has its source”, for a little hike post Thursday’s dinner/brunch.

Not pictured is the very old Founder’s Oak, a tree with its on webpage.

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Because we had our turkey dinner while watching “Christmas Vacation” at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin Thursday evening, even featuring Aunt Janet-style green bean casserole and pecan pie – Thursday morning was host to a lunch/brunch centered around ham and hashbrown casserole.

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You can find the recipe for dessert at The Bees’ Knees. The batter makes a three layers rather the two pictured, and personally would recommend halving that recipe. Furthermore, I found the buttercream to be a bit grittier than I prefer, but I did mix it by hand. Browning the butter is wonderful idea however, and brown butter could incorporated into any buttercream recipe I believe.

An #optoutside hike on Enchanted Rock and a drive through the Christmas-ready town of Fredericksburg to the soundtrack of live polka music in the square capped off our Friday in Hill Country. There were plenty of leftovers to be had at Opa’s Haus for the meals that day.

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Needless to say, I slept 15 hours straight Saturday night – almost as long as drive for my family returning to Arkansas.

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