All the cheese to your heart's content
Maybe it's a factor of my age, or that these are better-presented, but these missions were much more interesting than the California missions I was dragged to as a child. A few of them were pure and simple ruins, but a few others were beautifully preserved (one, thanks to the WPA and the Depression). In fact, there was a wedding at the best-looking one - San Juan - that had what I would swear on my life to be two brides. I checked and there was only one woman in a white dress and veil up front, which means that a guest was wearing the same thing as the bride. How embarrassing.
Another thing that struck me was that the mission churches - which are all still active - don't have crucified Jesuses up front. I was raised Catholic and have traipsed through my share of Catholic churches here and abroad, and they almost always have a Christ on the cross somewhere in the church (just in case you forget why you're there, I guess). But none of these had it; at best, they had a sad-looking Jesus sitting, fully-clothed, with a crown of thorns. The San Jose mission in fact had what looked to be a friar in the front and center position above the altar.
Anyways. Afterwards, The Texan and I went out for a fab-u-lous dinner at a fancy restaurant on the Riverwalk (Las Canarias at La Mansión del Rio Hotel). It was down at the far end of the Riverwalk, so there weren't that many tourists. What they did have was a strolling classical guitarist who seemed to specialize in singing "Happy Birthday" to trapped guests. The Texan kept threatening the whole time to tip off the waitstaff that it was my birthday so that I'd have to sit through a rendition of it. He, however, did not, as he wanted to live to see his next birthday. Las Canarias has a menu option where you can sample five cheeses picked out by their wine and cheese steward. We took it and immediately regretted not getting the option where you try ALL their cheeses. Next time...