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Friday, June 13, 2014

Oak Valley Vineyards

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS -- Last Sunday my wife and I had dinner for the first time at Oak Valley Vineyards (aka "The Vineyards"), a place at the northern edge of San Antonio that we have had our eye one and been planning on going to for about five years. Suffice it to say that we had a wonderful meal there, consisting of a nice chopped salad and then irreproachable and perfectly grilled ribeyes with wild mushroom sauce, very garlicky mashed potatoes, asparagus, and some especially good creamed spinach. We washed it all down with a couple glasses of Prosecco brut to start and then Seven Deadly Zinns red zinfandel with our meals. For desert we had a delicious sticky toffee pudding. 

Overall the menu and ambience of the Vineyards has a very elegantly rustic feel that I would classify as "provincial"  ("country" having a very different connotation in the United States in general and Texas in particular). Anyone looking for fine dining in a relaxed atmosphere in the San Antonio area could hardly do better. 

It bears mentioning that the Vineyards has a terrific wine list with lots of options, including a number from Texas Hill Country, but that it no longer produces its own wine, as had once been the case! This was a minor disappointment, but certainly not one that would keep us from going back to it (anymore than it would keep us from going to any restaurant that did not produce its own wine). 

An especially nice surprise was bumping into friend and local author Sharon Pinkston and her friend Jim, who we were pleased to discover are regulars at the Vineyards! Sharon and I bump into each other at the most unexpected times and places and it makes any excursion that much more enjoyable for me. 

During our visit to the Vineyards we also had the opportunity to chat with proprietor Beth Colley, who along with her husband Tim acquired the restaurant about a year-and-a-half ago. When I told her I was a writer working on a book about haunted places in and around San Antonio and Texas Hill Country, she mentioned that her establishment had caught the eye of a number of local ghosthunting groups and that they had detected various paranormal phenomena at it. As things stand now I will therefore be including an entry for the Vineyards in the "Additional Haunted Sites" of my Ghosthunting San Antonio, Austin, and Texas Hill Country and am looking into whether or not to devote an entire chapter to it. 

We ended our visit to the restaurant with a walk through its actual vineyards, a colorful and pleasant complement to an experience that has induced us to add Oak Valley Vineyards to the places we want to come back to.