Tango Diva : Travel Stories for Women, by Women

Name: Brett Shaw

Age: 22

Hometown: La Canada, CA; San Antonio, TX

Occupation: Student/Intern

Status: Smitten

Diva Minds Want to Know…

1. Where do you like to flirt?

On a day to day basis, it would probably be my university’s (Trinity University) library, because I am there most of the time. Plus, it is easy to strike up a conversation with someone who is working on a project. You already have a first question made (what are you working on?) and from there it’s pretty easy because most people like being distracted from work at least for a little while. As far as bars that tend to cater to young people around my age, Bombay’s Bicycle Club, Howl at the Moon Piano Bar and Pat O’Briens are Trinity hot spots. I also love dancing so pretty much any club is a place I tend to flirt, although in this case when I say flirt I really mean dance, because conversation is usually pretty difficult with a heavy beat.

2. Where is your favorite table for two?

The best place for food in La Canada is without question Taylor’s Steakhouse. The ambiance is unparalleled with its dark wood and richly carpeted interior. I recommend the petite filet mignon with mashed potatoes, and a bottle of Syrah wine. In San Antonio the top of the list, for me, starts with Liberty Bar—its leaning exterior and dark wood interior give both kitsch and class value. The goat cheese appetizer is phenomenal. Along N. St. Mary’s you will find Candlelight Cafe. This place is absolutely wonderful. Although primarily a small little wine bar, if you get there before 10pm their kitchen is open. The atmosphere is great with mainly low lighting and candlelight—you can sit at a table or relax on couches and arm chairs.

3. Where should we stay when we visit?

To be absolutely honest I really don’t know. My family lives in La Canada so I always have a bed there. Plus La Canada isn’t really an area of tourism, it is more of a family town. I would say find a hotel in Pasadena. It’s close, and there are more places to explore. As far as San Antonio goes I have an apartment there. If you head downtown there are a number of nice hotels usually in the vicinity of the River Walk, which along with the Alamo are the two main tourist attractions San Antonio boasts.

4. What qualities do you find irresistible in a woman?

Intelligence, dancing ability and confidence/strength. There is definitely a mix of the physical and the mental. If I can hold a deep conversation with you, it makes me want to continue to be around you. When a woman dances well it is extremely sexy. If you have the confidence to get on the dance floor and show a little skill, I’m going to be attracted and want to dance with you. I can’t stress the last one enough. I see women as equals in all areas of life. Don’t be less than you are for any man’s sake. I do not find it attractive when a girl either acts weak, or actually depends on a man to give her a sense of self worth. Everyone has their weaknesses and as a relationship is built weaknesses will obviously come out from both parties, but I (or any man) shouldn’t be a woman’s singular strength. I want see/hear that you are good at the things you do, and have interests outside of me. If you don’t I’m going to be worried. Women who have the confidence and strength to not put up a false front and speak their mind blow me away.

5. Where can we find you on a free Sunday afternoon?

I actually get paid to be a section leader in a church choir, so Sunday mornings I am up singing. However, if I don’t have any assignments to complete on a Sunday I will usually sleep in and wake up slowly, maybe get a nice warm breakfast. Then I usually go for a run/workout, so there is a high probability that I will be at a gym or track. I’m pretty much a homebody on Sunday’s so other than a workout I will tend to hang out at home or with friends either reading, singing, writing or talking.

6. What do you love most about your hometown (besides our arrival)?

In La Canada the location, up against the mountains, is what I love most of all. I’m pretty outdoorsy and love to backpack and camp, so having national forests right up the highway is just fantastic. Growing up I spent a good deal of weekends trekking in fantastic weather with my friends. In San Antonio, it’s hard to say what I love the most. The people that I have met in the area are all really wonderful which is probably due to the fact that San Antonio tends to be more of a family city. The other thing I love about San Antonio are the prices. Coming from the Los Angeles area, I find that my dollar goes much further in Texas, and seeing as I’m on my own out here that is a really nice thing to have.

7. What should we bring when we visit? What should we leave with?

You might want to bring some sunscreen to both La Canada and San Antonio. Be ready for the heat, especially if you are in San Antonio during the summer. The humidity and temperature are intense. You should leave San Antonio filled with Mexican food, because it is fantastic and cheap. You should leave La Canada, if you ever visit, relaxed. That is how I always feel when I go home. The laid-back attitude of the residents, the pretty streets and its location lying in the foothills of a mountain range all make for a very calming experience.

8. What do we absolutely have to see while we’re there?

In San Antonio the one place I would tell a friend to visit would be the McNay Art Museum. It is such a beautiful building and their exhibits tend to focus on the 19th and 20th centuries, so if you like Impressionism and Post Impressionism it is fantastic. Plus the museum is surrounded by a large expanse of grass so it is a great place for a picnic.
In La Canada, I would tell you to head to the Norton Simon Museum and the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens which are actually in Pasadena. Both have some really wonderful exhibits, yet are smaller sized which means you won’t be overwhelmed and feel like you are rushing around to try and see everything.

9. Any areas of town we should avoid?

La Canada is pretty secluded, up against the San Gabriel Valley mountain range, outside of Los Angeles, and very safe; there really isn’t any place that needs to be avoided. In San Antonio if you go downtown or to the south side I would bring a friend, better yet two or three. It’s not that they are really unsafe, but you don’t want to invite trouble either. The east side isn’t the greatest of areas, but there isn’t much to do there so you probably wouldn’t head in that direction anyways.

10. Any local secrets you want to share?

You should check out the Descanso Gardens in La Canada—very pretty and very relaxing. If you like looking at wonderful homes, like I do, then you should take a drive into the Flintridge area of La Canada, especially down Berkshire Avenue. The homes are gorgeous in that area. In San Antonio you should take a trip out to the Hill Country. You can find wine tastings at small vineyards throughout the hill country area between San Antonio and Austin. You should also stop in Gruene; it’s a historical little town and they have a wonderful restaurant that overlooks the river called The Gristmill. Their food is unbelievable, and you can’t beat the rustic atmosphere and sunset view.

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