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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Lunch Report: Blake's Cafe...

I had this urge for catfish like you would not believe. After my visit to the Rib House the other day, I had a sneaking suspicion that I might need to make a quick return for the fish, but at the last minute, a friend mentioned Blake's Cafe off the FM 725 exit from IH-10 just West of Seguin in McQueeney.

Mind you, it was just after noon and I needed to get myself back into our jurisdiction by 3:30PM for the kick-off of the NFL Playoffs, Packers-Seahawks game, but we figured an hour from San Antonio to get there, an hour to eat and look around, and an hour back, and we'd be in like Flynn.

We have been to the Guadalupe River before, but just never in McQueeney. As soon as you pull off of IH-10 and head toward the small town, you can appreciate the wonderful landscape of the area.
I stopped to take pictures at several spots along the way. Loved the cows! As if I have some sort of ESPN or something, I had mentioned on our trip to Buc-ee's that the drive into San Antonio is pretty ugly. I suggested some buried Cadillacs. Here, they chose buried boats! And of course, like all places that are a place, McQueeney has a post office, and I snagged a picture.As soon as we pulled into town and saw Blake's, we were eager to get in and get started with the vittles. The interior is typical of the style I really like - an old barn or dance hall turned into a bar, and later, a restaurant. To top it off, old signs and collectibles attached to the walls and suitable for admiring as you wait for your food.

As we waited to be seated (several minutes as we requested non-smoking vice first available) we looked around and checked out the plates as they came out to other diners. The special of the day included some sort of smothered chicken and before I could allow the thought to leave my lips, my wife reminded me that I was here for the fish.
Once seated, we waited for several minutes so people could walk around and ignore us. But as I mentioned, I'm fond of the signs and memorabilia on the walls, so I really wasn't worried. When our waitress did come and take out drink order, I was concerned that she seemed less than enthusiastic about our participation in this afternoon's lunch service.Not to worry. Before too long, we were munching on a hot loaf of bread with butter and my wife was actively engaged in her salad. I'm sure the picture makes the bread look bigger than it really was, or at least, that's my story because it was so good that I'm pretty certain my wife only got one or two small morsels between bites of her salad, and I inhaled the remainder.

I don't mean to be a whiner, but for the size of the crowd, the wait for vittles seemed a bit long. there was no shortage of wait staff, hostess or manager, so I can only guess these was an issue in the kitchen. In fact, the people in a booth behind us were told that there was a glitch with the special and it would take a little longer. But it seemed like it got to them pretty quickly thereafter.

In our case, maybe we were just hungry but I started to look at my watch and wonder if I could make it home for the start of the game. Not to worry. As if they could sense me starting to take pictures of my watch, our plates arrived.
My wife is no catfish fan. She ordered up the shrimp and the onion rings. These onion rings look thin, but they were damn tasty and definitely worth ordering. Those are some good sized shrimp and they were good. (Yea, I had to taste them for the accuracy of this report). My wife was put off by the fact that lemon wasn't served with the shrimp (or the fish), but what can you do?

My preference is catfish in the form of fried nuggets, but I ordered the planks they had along with the onion rings and the green beans. The green beans were certainly suitable and in fairness, if I weren't such a green bean connoisseur, they could be the best green beans in the greater McQueeney area, but I had just been to the Rib House on Friday. I did eat them all, and enjoyed them.
The catfish was great! Not a single complaint and in fact, I have nothing but good things to say about it. It came served hot and the breading was awesome, cooked right and the tarter sauce that came with it in a little cup was creamy and tasty. The hush puppies were burnt, but I ate them. I had never placed butter on a hush puppy before, but I had used all the tarter sauce on the fish and the first two hush puppies. Try it sometime.I know this doesn't come across as a glowing report for Blake's Cafe but I am willing to believe that we just went on an off day. It was a spur of the moment thing and we placed a little too much emphasis on lunch whereas normally, the focus of our trips to places outside of San Antonio are the town itself. When we decide to eat, we find a place nearby and enjoy the surprise of it. In this case, we drove an hour to eat and were instead extremely happy about the town that surrounded the restaurant. I want to go back if only to take a few more pictures of the river and the incredible views nearby.

And we'll try Blake's again. I'll definitely have the onion rings.


Anonymous said...

If you like catfish and onion rings, you won't be disappointed if you dine at the Catfish Parlor in Clearspings on hiway 46 between Seguin and New Braunfels. Adios!

Checker said...

My name is Al. My wife, Christy, and I frequent Blake's two or three times a month since we live about 10 minutes from there in Converse. I believe that as you summarize you might have been there on an 'off' day since normally they are pretty attentive and get the grub to you pretty quick. The reason the wife and I go back time after time is because they consistently provide a flavorful meal, their salad dressings are homemade, and it is a pleasant ride down FM78. You did a great job with your review.

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I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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