Tea Garden, Taco Taco & Wooden Nickels

Posted by on October 25, 2012

We had a really nice day today!

We started out by visiting the Japanese Tea Garden.  What a gorgeous place!  Once a rock quarry, the parks commissioner back in 1918ish envisioned a garden and made it happen.  A local Japanese-American artist was commissioned to transform the quarry.  He and his family lived and worked at the garden and had a small restaurant that they served lunch & tea.  They lived there for about 14 years (raising 8 children) before being evicted due to anti-Japanese sentiment during WWII.  The name was then changed to the Chinese Sunken Garden and a Chinese-American family was brought on to take care of the place.  In 1984, the original name was re-instated and the garden fell in disrepair for several years.  In the mid 2000’s the garden went under renovation and it is now the beautiful place it was once envisioned to be!  All of the rock making up the walkways, bridges, pagoda etc was taken from the quarry. We’d highly recommend a stop here if you’re in San Antonio!

View from the pagoda

Lots of HUGE koi swimming around in the ponds

The pagoda


You can see part of the quarry on the left and the waterfall on the right

After strolling through the gardens we headed to the Taco Taco Cafe for lunch.  Guy Fieri from Diners, Drive-ins & Dives recommended it!  😉  Michael chose the Taco Taco special (2 cheese enchiladas, rice, beans & chicken fajitas) & I had chicken fajitas, rice & a puffy beef taco.  Our opinion?  It was good…but nothing special.  The puffy taco was pretty greasy.  I don’t mind some grease…but when it’s dripping off the bottom and I need to use my napkin to squeeze out the excess…it’s too much.

Taco Taco Cafe

Chicken fajitas

Puffy Taco

Cheese enchiladas & chicken fajitas

After lunch we continued our sight-seeing for the day by stopping at the Old Time Wooden Nickel Company.  They have a small museum, the World’s largest Wooden Nickel and we learned the history of the wooden nickel.  The first wooden nickels were introduced in 1931 in Washington state when the local bank failed and created a shortage of money.  The wooden money was used until the shortage was over.  Wooden nickels are used more for promotional reasons these days but they are alive and well…the Old Time Wooden Nickel Company produces about 8,000,000 every year!  We were each given a wooden nickel to remember our visit.  Another very cool and interesting place!

The World’s Largest Wooden Nickel

Some of the memorabilia in the museum

Lotsa wooden nickels!

One of the gates that we use to enter & exit Ft. Sam Houston borders the Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery.   I am in awe each and every time we pass by…there are so many graves in such perfect rows.  Today I decided to look it up and found that as of 2008 there were nearly 121,000 graves here, the oldest dating back to 1926 with several notable military burials, one being the name sake for Randolph Air Force Base, Captain William Randolph.

The final resting place for so many heros



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