"We ask that gentlemen remove their covers," an older man said to me upon entering. "This is holy ground."
I removed my Angels hat but I couldn't help but let out a little laugh. Holy ground? The rest of the exhibits were pretty much along those lines: this is the most important place in the history of the country and possibly the world, but whatever you do, don't take any pictures. The gift shop, on the other hand, was impressively stocked and staffed, selling ten dollar bottles of barbecue sauce and souvenir coins. (And, of course, you can buy lots of pictures there of the things you weren't allowed to photograph yourself.) The priorities are clear. We were there a total of 20 minutes, then walked down to the Riverwalk and took a boat ride, which was much more fun and informative.
After that we were quite hungry. There were the usual assortment of chain restaurants, none of which I was willing to visit: Hard Rock, Joe's Crab Shack, Hooter's, Rainforest Cafe, and probably some others I am forgetting. I'm not particulary opposed to chain restaurants, but I was certainly not in the mood to eat at one on the banks of the Riverwalk. There was a restaurant called "The Original Mexican Restaurant" that I refused to visit on the grounds that the name was dishonest. We decided to just take a stroll and see what caught our eye.
We had stopped at a restaurant called Boudro's - looking at reviews now, it seems to be the best-reviewed restaurant on the Riverwalk - and a pulled pork sandwich with black pepper sauce caught my eye. But the host told me it would be a while before we could have an outside table. I wanted to eat immediately and I wanted to eat outside, so we kept walking.
At Republic of Texas, there were several outdoor tables available. Yes, the fact that it was the only restaurant out of a dozen we'd passed with available tables should have been a warning, but I wasn't thinking clearly. I needed a cold drink.
I wish we had waited the extra time to eat at Boudro's, but I'm still glad we bypassed all of the chain retaurants on the Riverwalk. (I can take the subway for 20 minutes and eat at any of those in Times Square.) Republic of Texas was far from a good restaurant, but other than that terrible salsa, it wasn't really bad. The service was good and it was certainly an enjoyable location in which to eat.
And the best part: you have now read about my two least favorite meals of the trip. We got them both out of the way in the first 48 hours.