While I was in college, I lived off of McCullough Avenue on Rosewood, near Trinity University. I had some sort of gathering in my duplex, and an international student from China wanted directions. He had a map and said, “I see that you live off of Muck-a-lug.” Ever since then, every time I’m on McCullough, I think Muck-a-lug, which brings us to today’s post: fabulous places to shop and eat on and near Muck-a-lug and the Olmos Circle, where West Olmos joins East Olmos.
A previous post has extolled the terrific tacos at Panchito’s Mexican Restaurant, 4100 McCullough near the Hildebrand intersection, so I won’t repeat myself. However, if you haven’t been, what’s holding you back?! Panchito’s makes a great place to begin your Muck-a-lug adventure for either breakfast or lunch.
Just across from Panchito’s is Galeria Ortiz Contemporary, an art gallery of established and emerging artists. The photo to the left features the sculpture of Susan Budge, whose work may also be found on the Nature/Walking Trails in Brackenridge Park. Galeria Ortiz is a great place to while away some time and soak up some creative energy. Their hours are Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Across from Galeria Ortiz is Julian Gold, 4109 McCullough, where you will find wearable art like the Jean Paul Gaultier top pictured on the left, which could be yours for $595.
Julian Gold, “your source for absolute style,” also has an evening gown salon, a shoe boutique, a purse boutique, a lingerie boutique and a bridal boutique, not to mention jewelry, makeup and perfume.
The at-the-ready staff is on hand to help you transform yourself from head to toe. Check out their designer trunk show events that take place throughout the year. Julian Gold’s hours are Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
Bambino’s, “a luxury boutique for Mommy and Baby,” is at 4216 McCullough. Pregnant and nursing mothers will find all they need for themselves and their little ones in this beautiful shop. Or if you decide you’d rather shop from home, you may do that, too!
Bambino’s is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Pinky’s, at 4215 McCullough, is another clothing boutique for the fashion savvy. Here, you will find clothing, scarves, purses, shoes and jewelry. A Big Buddah bag was priced at $90, while a Johnny Was top was on sale for $119, down from $149.
Pinky’s also carries Halé Bob (top priced at $139) and Solettos, rollable emergency flats, for $20. I also found a pair of funky embroidered boots made in Morocco that were on sale. Unfortunately, they weren’t my size.
Pinky’s is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays. Their website isn’t up yet, so you may give their very pleasant staff a call for more details: (210) 805-0230.
After all of that shopping, it’s time for a break! The Bistro Bakery Cafe is located at 4300 McCullough on the Olmos Circle. The restaurant specializes in “authentic French pastries, gourmet light lunches, and tantalizing sandwiches.”
Lucille, the French owner, is the mother of Chef Damien Watel, who needed a bakery to supply his many San Antonio restaurants with fresh-baked bread and pastries. My leek quiche was yummy, and my friend enjoyed her Quiche Lorraine. Both came with a side dish of fresh fruit, which included raspberries…always a treat! Bistro Bakery is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays.
[Update: Painted Pony Outlet is now located at 5615 San Pedro, just south of Basse. Their new hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.] After you’ve fortified yourself, head over to the Painted Pony Outlet at 4335 McCullough. President/Owner Kathy Hoermann has been designing jackets that ship to boutiques across the United States for 20 years now. The amazing thing is that Hoermann manufactures the jackets right here in San Antonio, Texas. Her “uniquely USA” corporate headquarters are located at 435 Recoleta, where she has warehouse fabric sales on occasion. (Quilter alert!) At the outlet, I picked up a wonderful green-on-green geometric print jacket from a sale rack for $25! Most of the jackets sell for $68, which is at least half of what they cost in retail boutiques. The employee who helped me said that she bought 50 jackets the first year she worked there. I can totally understand why. Hoermann has a real flair, and you’re guaranteed compliments galore when you wear one of her designs.
Next to Painted Pony you’ll find Schnabel’s True Value Hardware at 4337 McCullough. The antithesis of Home Depot and/or Lowe’s, Schnabel’s is a neighborhood hardware store that carries just about everything, including garden gnomes. Paint sundries, plumbing supplies, lawn and garden, electrical supplies and home appliances are all on hand. Give Schnabel’s a call for more info: (210) 826-4412.
For guitar lovers, two shops await you along Muck-a-lug: Redbone at 4343 McCullough and Guitar Tex at 4330 McCullough. When I walked into Redbone, a guy was thrashing on an electric guitar. I made my way over to a soundproofed room full of classical guitars. At Guitar Tex, the atmosphere is very laid back. They’re into guitar sales and repairs. Check out both when you’re in the ‘hood.
[Update: According to the San Antonio Express-News, Ciao Lavanderia has closed. Sigh. However, Bistro Vatel, a French restaurant just a few doors down, is still going strong. I’ve been for lunch twice now, and it was divine.] For great Italian food, give Ciao Lavanderia at 226 E. Olmos Drive a try. They are open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, for lunch. They open for dinner at 5 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays. Why the name? Because the restaurant sits next to a cleaners.
When my husband and I ate at Ciao, we were very pleased with the quality of the food. Kudos to Executive Chef/Owner David Walker. Our salads were exceptional, and our pasta dishes were very tasty. Plus, the staff was just right…there when we needed them, but not too pushy. Ciao’s wine list is extensive, and Wine Director/Owner Marie Walker will help guide your selection. The couple we sat next to ate at Ciao several times per week because they like it so much. We could see why.
If you have some energy to spare, don’t forget the thrift/resale stores on West Olmos Drive that I wrote about in August. If not, call it a day, and rejoice in the good times you had along dear ol’ Muck-a-lug. ¡Viva San Antonio!