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  • 2 months Recipe: Instant Pot Peach or Fig Jam Texasmonthly
    Jam is not terribly difficult to make. Although it’s easy to overthink the process, just keep in mind that jam essentially has one goal: to preserve fruit at the height of its season so that you can slather it on bread or biscuits or whatever you like, whenever you like. You do this by cooking the fruit down with sugar until thickened so that what remains is the pure flavor of the fruit. A pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice serve to give that flavor a little boost. That’s all you need. Now, if you search for ... more
  • 2 months Find a Taste of the Tropics at This East Texas Taqueria Texasmonthly
    C Rojo’s Taqueria sits on a hill near Tyler State Park. With blue sheet-metal walls, the restaurant’s unremarkable exterior belies the vibrant dishes served inside. Here, you can find tacos that incorporate mangoes and coconut, served alongside brightly hued pineapple and watermelon aguas frescas. Chef-owner Rogelio Tellez, who hails from a town near Toluca in central Mexico, calls his food “Chamex.” The word is a portmanteau honoring his background and that of his wife, Carrie, who’s from the Northern Mariana Islands, near Guam; she has Indigenous Chamorro heritage. In practice, “Chamex” means notching up the tropical elements of C Rojo’s ... more
  • 2 months The True Story of the Legendary Sam’s Bar-B-Que Texasmonthly
    Autographed headshots of celebrities, Polaroids of customers, and other photos and posters overlap one another to paper the walls inside Sam’s Bar-B-Que, in East Austin. Most are curled at the corners from age. In a room behind the counter is a massive brick pit that also looks like it’s from another era. Along with the sagging sign outside the front door, secured to the building by a trio of chains, it all looks as if Sam’s has held fast to this corner of East Twelfth and Poquito Streets forever, but most of what you see was built (or rebuilt) after ... more
  • 2 months Why on Earth Is Jim Crane Doing Interviews Right Now? Texasmonthly
    On Friday, Houston Astros owner Jim Crane decided to give a long, rambling, lunchtime interview to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. Over a meal of salmon, Crane aired his grievances with the reputation his team acquired over the past ten months. Specifically, the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal resulted in an asterisk forever being applied to the team’s 2017 World Series win, and a bizarre locker room outburst directed at a group of female reporters led to the ousting of one of the team’s rising young executives, even as management screamed “fake news.” Crane, of course, had the option of saying nothing. Back ... more
  • 2 months Charley Crockett Wrote Songs About Hard Times in America. Then 2020 Happened. Texasmonthly
    Certain details tend to get repeated over and over about Charley Crockett’s life: that the musician is a descendent of Davy, the complicated frontiersman; that he began his musical education in a Los Fresnos trailer park and advanced it while staying with an uncle in the French Quarter of New Orleans and busking; that he signed an ill-fated deal during his days performing on a subway platform; and that he grew very resourceful while subsisting outside the system and, at times, on the wrong side of the law. His life is a seemingly inexhaustible source of human interest material. What ... more
  • 2 months Hollywood, Texas: Matthew McConaughey All Writes, All Writes, All Writes a Book Texasmonthly
    In recent weeks, we’ve missed Matthew McConaughey like the desert misses a rain of confusing aphorisms. But it seems there’s been a good explanation for his relative silence: The actor was saving all the good stuff for his first book, Greenlights, a memoir cum philosophical treatise cum 2 a.m. conversation in hardcover form, arriving October 21 via Random House. Offering just a hit of what to expect from his self-described “love letter to life,” McConaughey to his social media this video, in which he shows off the pensive, sepia portrait on its cover, then unfurls a monologue filled with the ... more
  • 2 months This Houston Artist Paints Nostalgic Watercolors for Homesick Texans Texasmonthly
    Every July, Jim Koehn used to pack his silver Jeep Liberty with three duffle bags—one each for himself and his two daughters—along with hiking gear and a cooler with drinks and snacks. Koehn ran an events business in Houston, and in midsummer things died down, making it the perfect time for a great American road trip. He’d empty out a coffee can of cash that he’d carefully socked away over the course of the year, counting it to see how many days they could afford to spend on the road. With gas, meals, hotel rooms, and national park entry fees ... more
  • 2 months TM Happy Hour: A Classic Gin Cocktail Texasmonthly
    Often referred to as Austin’s father of craft cocktails, Bill Norris has been slinging clever concoctions to slake the thirst of his customers for nearly two decades. As the beverage director for Alamo Drafthouse and its more than forty locations, he has also developed numerous associated bar concepts, including Austin’s award-winning Midnight Cowboy. Norris is the latest bartender to participate in Texas Monthly‘s summertime video series, TM Happy Hour, with new installments from some of the state’s best bartenders every Friday through mid-August. With Texas bars closed right now in the fight against COVID-19, we are also promoting each mixologist’s ... more
  • 2 months Texas Chefs: If Bill Doesn’t Pass, Many Restaurants Will Close for Good Texasmonthly
    It might not be well-known to the public, but the devastated restaurant industry is clinging to what those in the business say is their last best hope for surviving the pandemic: the $120 billion RESTAURANTS Act, a bipartisan federal grant program that was introduced in Congress in mid-June. In Texas, two well-known chefs and restaurateurs are doing what they can—in between trying to save their own businesses—by calling lawmakers and getting support for the measure. Taking the lead is Austin chef Kevin Fink, whose four restaurants include Emmer & Rye and Hestia. “A lot of restaurants are just holding on ... more
  • 2 months On Texas Time: David Ramirez, a Prolific and Heartrending Austin Musician Texasmonthly
    Singer-songwriter David Ramirez was born in 1983—just days after Hurricane Alicia descended upon Houston. For most of his life, he’s viewed this coincidence as a bad omen. But on his newly released album, My Love Is a Hurricane, the musician focused on what it means to rebuild in the aftermath of devastation. “With everything that gets destroyed, oppression breeds resilience,” he says. “And with destruction comes new life and rebirth.” Hard-earned lessons stemming from struggle and heartbreak have long informed Ramirez’s music. On 2017’s We Aren’t Going Anywhere, the prolific songwriter—who was raised in Houston and is now based in ... more
  • 2 months Congressman Gohmert Has Had a Louie of a Week Texasmonthly
    God love Louie Gohmert, the terror of Tyler, the cantankerous congressman from East Texas: he’s got himself into trouble again. No, we’re not talking about the fight last weekend, when a group of his supporters apparently beat up the campaign manager of his Democratic opponent. (They say they were provoked.) After weeks of defiantly refusing to wear a mask in Washington, D.C., he has the coronavirus. This is, as the marketers say, quite “on brand.” We’re talking about the guy who recently said the Germans had invented a “mist” that kills the virus; nominated Newt Gingrich to be the speaker ... more
  • 2 months Expert Advice: How to Create the Perfect Texas Staycation Texasmonthly
    Since the start of the pandemic, the Texas Monthly team has worked hard to make the most of all the extra time at home. We’ve read, watched, and listened to everything on our How to Hunker Down Like a Texan and What to Read Now lists. We’ve cooked up recipes from some of our favorite Texas restaurants and recently began shaking up cocktails alongside some of the state’s best bartenders in our new TM Happy Hour series. And we’ve been sharing these ideas plus tips for backyard adventures like gardening, chicken-keeping, and more in our Staying In With TM newsletter.  ... more
  • 2 months Taco News Roundup: Ghost Kitchens and Birthday Taco Platters Texasmonthly
    Delivery app DoorDash asked customers which foods they most miss eating in restaurants, and Mexican was the number one pick. Dishes expected to trend upward during the second half of 2020 are queso blanco, shrimp tacos, and, oddly, oatmeal. Legendary Vera’s Backyard Bar-B-Q in Brownsville was featured on an episode of the Texas Bucket List. The six-minute show gives viewers a step-by-step look at how barbacoa is prepared. Ghost kitchens, which offer takeout and delivery only, are on the rise nationally during the pandemic. In Houston, chef Tim Love has opened one such operation, Burritos, Fajitas & ’Ritas, out of ... more
  • 2 months Austin Police Just Revealed Who Shot Levi Ayala. One Online Sleuth Had Already Figured it Out. Texasmonthly
    By the time Brendan Walsh reached the top of the downtown Austin parking garage near the Texas Capitol, the blazing June sun was beating down and his short sleeve button-up shirt was covered in sweat. He took in the sweeping view, analyzing the overlapping arrangement of buildings, trees, and power lines before comparing the panorama before him with a screenshot from a video he’d saved on his phone. Over the past few hours, he’d done the same at several other locations, without much success. This time seemed different. “This could be the spot,” he told me, pointing to a grassy ... more
  • 2 months The Red Rocket Hot Dogs at La Barbecue Are Out of This World Texasmonthly
    When LeAnn Mueller, owner of La Barbecue in Austin, was growing up in Taylor, she would go shopping with her family at Taylor Meat Company. “They would always give the kids a whole wiener to eat while they were waiting for your mom and dad to do the ordering, and it was always cold,” she says. She has fond memories of those hot dogs and their bright red hue, so when she and Ali Clem, her wife and business partner, were developing a recipe for house-made hot dogs, they knew the wieners had to taste good cold and had to ... more
  • 2 months The Podcast ‘Heavy Medals’ Examines How the Karolyis Built a Texas Gymnastics Powerhouse Texasmonthly
    “When he heads for his ranch on a rural highway north of Houston, in his four-wheel drive with Merle Haggard on the dashboard cassette deck and a day’s collection of bugs on the windshield, well, you would swear you were riding with a born Texan,” ABC’s Bob Brown says, narrating a video of Bela Karolyi driving his truck, tapping along to country music coming out of the speakers. “When Bela Karolyi defected to the West, he defected to the West.”  This mid-eighties ABC News segment soundbite was produced just five years after Karolyi—the famed coach of Nadia Comaneci, the first ... more
  • 2 months How Tesla Was Lured to Austin Texasmonthly
    Amid a frog-drowning on Sunday, several dozen members of the Austin Tesla Club gathered jubilantly in a parking lot in East Austin. Masked fans cheered as a middle-aged man flashed the Bevo with one hand and fired a flamethrower with the other. The crowd was there to celebrate the deal between Travis County and the electric car manufacturer, inked late last week, to build a $1.1 billion, two-thousand-acre factory, named Giga Texas, in the tiny municipality of Del Valle, near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. The proposed Tesla plant, which will produce Cybertrucks and Model Y SUVs, is expected to be a ... more
  • 2 months Tex-Mexplainer: Huitlacoche Is Misunderstood, But It Should Be Prized Texasmonthly
    Mexican food brims with delicacies. A few examples are cow’s eye, chapulines (roasted grasshoppers), and escamoles (ant larvae). Too often these are dismissed as “exotic” or as “novelties” by those, including food writers, who aren’t familiar with the components. This does nothing but marginalize traditional ingredients and further reinforce stereotypes, making it difficult for restaurants, importers, and diners to increase their knowledge, expand their palates, and perhaps gain a new favorite snack (chapulines tossed in a bag with Valentina hot sauce are a delightful, crunchy treat). One of these underappreciated, misunderstood delicacies of Mexico is huitlacoche. As Regino Rojas, owner ... more
  • 2 months Thirty Years Ago, UT Student Athletes Fought for Racial Justice Texasmonthly
    Last month, Shuronda Robinson was scrolling through the news when she came across an article discussing Texas Longhorn football players’ June 4 march from Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium to the Texas Capitol. The team was protesting in response to the killing of George Floyd, and dozens of players, coaches, and support staff were there together. Robinson couldn’t believe it. She logged on to Facebook and tracked down an old friend from college, Shola Lynch. A former All-American UT track star, Lynch is now a Peabody Award–winning documentarian. Robinson clicked on her profile to write a message. “Shola,” Robinson wrote. ... more
  • 2 months This San Antonio Bakery Will Ship Pastries to Your Door—Wherever You Live in Texas Texasmonthly
    Most of the boxes that show up on my porch are surprise packages containing home-related items my wife purchases for her remodeling projects. (Sorry, Alma.) I buy books and taco-culture tchotchkes. Sometimes, food is nestled in those boxes. As was the case one day, when a box from San Antonio’s La Panadería was resting behind one of my porch columns. That package was stuffed with a cooled red bakery box bearing the bakery’s logo—a person riding a bike with a basket of pastries on his head—and reheating instructions. Inside was treasure: a dozen individually wrapped, sugar-dusted empanadas. The flaky, fruit ... more
  • 2 months Texas’s Oldest Lesbian Bar Faces Its Latest Challenge: Surviving the Pandemic Texasmonthly
    On a Thursday night in December, well before the coronavirus pandemic had reached the United States, two to three hundred women were gathered at Sue Ellen’s, a remnant of Dallas’s once-bustling lesbian nightlife. As one regular put it, “Chick Happy Hour” is a roving monthly congregation of the city’s lesbian socialites who gather the first week of every month, each time at a different bar. On this particular night, patrons passed from room to room in the two-story bar, flirting with one another as they made their way to the downstairs counter, sometimes ordering two drinks at a time. The ... more
  • 2 months The Rio Grande Valley Is Texas’s Coronavirus Hot Spot Texasmonthly
    The Rio Grande Valley stretches along more than a hundred and twenty miles of deep South Texas. It encompasses cities from South Padre Island to Rio Grande City, and includes McAllen, Brownsville, and Harlingen—not to mention Reynosa and Matamoros, on the Mexican side of the border. Yet despite being home to more than 1.3 million Texans, it’s an often-overlooked part of the state.  Part of the problem is geography: The region is a long drive from San Antonio, the closest large Texas city, and it’s not on the way to any other part of Texas. Many Texans seem to barely ... more
  • 2 months TM Happy Hour: How to Make the Texas Margarita Texasmonthly
    Every Friday this summer, some of the state’s best bartenders are showing us how to make an inspired cocktail at home in our drinks series, TM Happy Hour. With Texas bars closed right now in the fight against the novel coronavirus, Texas Monthly is putting the spotlight on a different bartender each week, as well as their charity of choice. This week, we’re featuring Danny Caffall, lead bartender at the historic Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, in Dallas. He pointed us to Rosewood Raise, a relief fund launched by the Rosewood Hotel Group, which owns the Mansion on Turtle Creek. The ... more
  • 2 months Texas Monthly Recommends: Larry McMurtry’s ‘Texasville’ Texasmonthly
    Early in the pandemic, I finished Larry McMurtry’s much-lauded The Last Picture Show, a longtime item on my literary bucket list. Though I found the book enjoyable, I was weary of its constant and central lustfulness. Local boy makes it with the football coach’s wife and the prettiest girl in town, and has good chances with that girl’s mother? I felt like I was being dropped into a young man’s fantasy. I much prefer Texasville, the novel’s sequel. Texasville picks up in the 1980s, the starry-eyed idyll of the 1950s small-town long gone. An oil bust is rocking the town ... more
  • 2 months Hollywood, Texas: Vanilla Ice to Stop, Collaborate on Movie About His Dallas Years Texasmonthly
    The Texas roots of rapper Vanilla Ice are often overlooked, if not willfully ignored—no more so than by Vanilla himself. The man born Robert Van Winkle grew up here, in the milquetoast Dallas ’burbs of Carrollton, although if one were to read his (mostly ghostwritten) 1991 autobiography, Ice by Ice—or any of the interviews that surrounded the meteoric rise of “Ice Ice Baby”—you’d come away with the repeatedly flogged misconception that he spent his youth running wild on the rough-and-tumble streets of Miami, where legend has it the gunshots ring out like bells. He does devote some of Ice by ... more
  • 2 months Is Texas Ready for a Joint Like Complete Beef Barbecue? Texasmonthly
    Last year, I bought a whole beef carcass for the first time. I was helping with a barbecue event where the main attraction was the full steer cooked over wood in a pit built with concrete blocks. The price quoted from Cameron’s 44 Farms—known for its quality Angus cattle—for the entire steer was $4.25 per pound. At the time that was more than what most pitmasters were paying for Prime grade brisket, but a lot less than tenderloin. The steer arrived in eight large pieces, stacked onto a wooden pallet and surrounded by cardboard. We cooked those large pieces, what ... more
  • 2 months How One Texas Ballet Company Is Surviving the Pandemic Texasmonthly
    Every weekday at 10 a.m., Carolyn Judson logs on to Zoom for ballet class. In the dining area of her Fort Worth home, she rolls out her Mother’s Day gift and “prized possession”—a roughly three-by-five-foot piece of vinyl that keeps her from slipping on the hardwood floor. A shower handle affixed to her granite countertop acts as a makeshift barre, and when she does the smallest of jumps, a yoga mat squishes beneath her feet to absorb the impact.  As the coronavirus pandemic drags on, Judson’s barebones setup has grown increasingly sophisticated, but it’s still frustrating. She and her fellow ... more
  • 2 months How Alvin Ailey’s ‘Revelations’ Has Helped Me Find My Way Back to Texas Texasmonthly
    One warm spring day in the late nineties, I walked hand in hand with my father as he led our family—my mom, my three siblings, and me—into Houston’s Jones Hall for an Alvin Ailey performance. At eight years old, I was more excited to be wearing my new theater dress for all of Houston to see than I was for the show itself. But that excitement quickly evolved into wonder. I don’t recall the name of the performance we saw, but I distinctly remember feeling admiration and reverence for what the dancers were doing in front of me. Before that ... more
  • 2 months With Students Returning to Campuses This Fall, Contact Tracing Is Key Texasmonthly
    Last month, the Texas A&M University Health Science Center and the Brazos Valley Health District announced plans to team up to form COVID Investigation Operations Center. At its core, it’s a contact tracing operation: a team that will grow to 60 employees, set to include contact tracers, case investigators, and epidemiologists. It will confirm positive COVID-19 cases, notify others that they may have been exposed, and provide access to resources for testing. Dr. Rebecca Fischer, an assistant professor at A&M’s School of Public Health, has been working out of the COVID Investigation Operations Center and says that at top of ... more
  • 2 months This Dallas Restaurant Makes the Best Double-decker Taco in Texas Texasmonthly
    Jimmy Contreras is unabashed in his love of Taco Bell’s Double Decker Taco. Since 1995, the chain has been selling a hard-shell beef taco wrapped in a soft tortilla, with a layer of refried beans in between—and the contrasting textures always hit the spot. “I’ve always loved that taco,” says Contreras, a McAllen native and the operating partner of Taco y Vino in Dallas’s Bishop Arts District. “It was something that as a kid … I’d go to Taco Bell and it was my standard.” Later on, it sustained him through long shifts at work. “Every Mexican restaurant I worked ... more
  • 2 months Why Black Bears Are Returning to Texas Texasmonthly
    There was recently a video circulating on Twitter that can only be described as shockingly cute.  Made viral by the Austin-based science communicator Joe Hanson, the clip shows two black bear cubs wrestling on the patio of the Chisos Mountains Lodge at Big Bend National Park, teetering like toddlers covered in fur. The camera pans to reveal their mother, staring into the distance with what looks like an apathetic glare. And as if that wasn’t enough, the camera captures a third cub sitting in a bucket.  It’s the exact formula of stupid-cuteness that’s ripe for internet virality at any time. ... more
  • 2 months BBQ News Roundup: Meat-Cutting Robots and 3D-Printed Steak Texasmonthly
    Sylvia Lovegren went in search of real American barbecue for American Heritage magazine and determined that Texas barbecue is not “traditional.” Moreover, she claims that “the predominance of the Texas style threatens the existence of traditional barbecue.” Poppycock. John and Brandi Berry, owners of Berry Best BBQ, left their tiny Watauga space to relocate the barbecue joint to a larger venue in North Richland Hills. Texas Highways has an update on Snow’s BBQ, which has been closed (but still shipping barbecue) since March 21. “I’ve been fortunate enough to keep everybody on the payroll,” says owner Kerry Bexley. In the ... more
  • 2 months Nearly Two Thirds of Texans Say That COVID-19 Is “Out of Control” Texasmonthly
    You could be forgiven for assuming that masks and the government’s response to COVID-19 are deeply divisive culture-war issues on which Americans—especially in a historically red state like Texas—are starkly and irrevocably split. That’s largely the discourse that one sees on social media and in media coverage. But things aren’t quite so simple, or depressing. A new poll of Texas released on Wednesday shows that by overwhelming majorities, Texans approve of mask requirements, believe that the closing of bars has slowed the spread of the coronavirus, and are deeply concerned about containing a disease that they’ve increasingly seen affect their ... more
  • 2 months Where to Go Swimming Now in Texas Texasmonthly
    As the dog days of the sweltering Texas summertime set in, our beaches, lakes, rivers, creeks, swimming holes, and swimming pools are popular destinations for refreshing dips. But closures and reopenings and reclosures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have made it difficult to keep track of the status of the spots at which we seek relief. To stay up to date on where it’s okay to “come on in, the water’s fine” and where it’s not across the state, we’ll be keeping an eye on some of the most popular spots and making updates every Thursday. For the most ... more
  • 2 months Tyler State Park Is the Ideal Escape for These Times (or Anytime) Texasmonthly
    Does lugging your weary psyche into a deep, dark wood sound pretty good right about now? Do you long to just sit and think beneath the sheltering branches of impossibly tall trees? The occasional foray into nature is a tonic in the best of times, but lately it feels downright critical. “When a wild landscape is lit with birds and ribboned with animal presence, it tells us that all manner of living things are well, and it draws us inexplicably into a shared happiness,” writes British author and nature activist Jay Griffiths. No, our wild places aren’t immune to modern-day ... more
  • 2 months Tyler State Park: Where to Sleep and Eat Texasmonthly
    On the first night of our visit to Tyler State Park, my traveling buddy, Emily ,and I stayed in one of its aptly named “limited service” cabins. “It’s cute on the outside,” said Emily as we stepped into the concrete-floored room outfitted with a queen bed, a mini-fridge, a microwave, a broom, and a table whose twenty coats of varnish, plus humidity, meant anything placed atop it would remain stuck there forever. After a long night of listening to the incessant drone of the AC unit, we were delighted to escape the shelter of four solid walls for a non-climate-controlled ... more
  • 2 months Why Alyssa Edwards Is Forever a Texan Texasmonthly
    On a lawn at the Retreat at Balcones Springs, a summer camp–themed Hill Country event space, a group of guests dressed in gowns, cowboy hats, and other regalia were eating barbecue at red gingham–covered picnic tables while tunes by Willie Nelson and Lefty Frizzell played over the speakers. It was spring 2019 and the guests had come for the inaugural Camp TAZO, a three-day adult camp hosted by TAZO Tea Company, which had invited participants from all over the country to come together to “brew the unexpected.” Even some of the barbecue sauce was TAZO-infused. Sauntering among the attendees was ... more
  • 2 months After the Protests: Four Perspectives on the State’s Criminal Justice System Texasmonthly
    The killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers in May and the worldwide protests that followed have amplified long-standing questions about violent and biased policing and the larger criminal justice system, including the imprisonment of those convicted of relatively minor crimes. In Texas, Black Lives Matter marches have been held in towns as disparate as Vidor and Alpine, Amarillo and Brownsville. In the big cities, the protests added urgency to local crises of confidence in law enforcement. Symptoms of the wider problem differed from place to place. Protesters in Austin chanted the name of Mike Ramos, an unarmed man ... more
  • 2 months No Store Did More: How H-E-B Became a Model of Emergency Preparedness Texasmonthly
    Back on February 2, the first coronavirus death outside China was reported in the Philippines. That same day, Donald Trump appeared on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News to say that the United States had “pretty much shut it down coming in from China.” And in San Antonio, Justen Noakes, the director of emergency preparedness for H-E-B, dusted off a pandemic response plan the supermarket chain had developed more than a decade earlier. Noakes and a handful of the company’s department heads met at H-E-B’s downtown headquarters. Sitting around a conference table, the group ran a simulation, war-gaming a dire ... more
  • 2 months From the Editor, August 2020: “The Annas in Our Engine Room” Texasmonthly
    In this space, I often introduce a writer, editor, or designer responsible for a particular story in the current issue or fill you in on some exciting new hires we’ve made. This month, I’d like to tell you about two of our MVPs behind the scenes. Anna Walsh, our managing editor, is the staffer most responsible for ensuring that our journalism makes its way out of our laptops and into the magazine that you’re holding. She directs a planning and logistical process that begins months ahead of each issue’s print deadline and cajoles us (me included) to make sure everything ... more
  • 2 months August 2020: Roar of the Crowd Texasmonthly
    Miracle on Ice I enjoyed the June 2020 issue, particularly Christopher Hooks’s article, “Going for Broke.” But it misses an important point. The contention that an oil-and-gas cushion, rather than responsible governance, created the “Texas Miracle” may be partly true. But the miracle is a relative thing. It looks miraculous only in comparison to states that have embraced the progressive model of high taxes and even higher spending. Whatever economic hole the COVID-19 shutdown leaves behind in Texas, the ones in those states will be far deeper. Their only hope may be what Hooks hints at for Texas in his ... more
  • 2 months Two Great New Barbecue Joints Refuse to Be Knocked Out Texasmonthly
    After months of planning and setbacks, Brandon Hurtado, known for his barbecue pop-ups, finally opened his first brick-and-mortar location in Arlington’s new Urban Union neighborhood earlier this year. On February 22, about two hundred diners lined up outside Hurtado Barbecue to try his monster beef ribs, tender brisket, and soulful smoked beef-cheek barbacoa. Just three weeks later, though, he posted a photo on social media of the empty restaurant, closed because of the pandemic. Fifteen miles away, in Fort Worth, another new joint, Goldee’s Barbecue, was also open for only a few weeks before the statewide shutdown went into effect March 19. ... more
  • 2 months Holly Thaggard: San Antonio Will Always Be Home to Supergoop Texasmonthly
    When former grade-school teacher and professional harpist Holly Thaggard, now 48, launched a line of sunscreen thirteen years ago in San Antonio, sun protection was considered the “sleepy category” of the skin-care world, an afterthought in an industry focused on wrinkle-reducing creams and fountain-of-youth serums. After a friend in her late twenties was diagnosed with melanoma, Thaggard was determined to help fight skin cancer. She set out to change sunscreen’s reputation by giving hers a playful name, Supergoop!; by developing products that weren’t heavy or greasy; and by excluding oxybenzone, a common but controversial chemical that may have negative effects ... more
  • 2 months A Four-Day, 65-Mile Walk Along the Texas Coast Texasmonthly
    I wasn’t born on the Texas coast, but as the old saying goes, I got there as fast as I could. I come from Temple originally, landlocked deep in the state’s interior. We didn’t lack for watery recreation in Central Texas, where there are plentiful creeks, rivers, and lakes, all of which we regularly availed ourselves of. But there was, of course, neither a sandy beach nor a Gulf of Mexico in sight. That seashoreless existence came to an end when I was about four years old. In 1970, my dad, a hardworking Temple attorney active in civic affairs who ... more
  • 2 months On ‘Gaslighter’ the Chicks Are a Little Less Country—and Unflinching as Ever Texasmonthly
    Gaslighter, the new album from the Chicks, seems to be so ruthlessly honest about the end of Natalie Maines and (now ex-husband) Adrian Pasdar’s marriage that it might as well have been entitled F**k you, Adrian. The Chicks (Maines, and sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer) never explicitly name Pasdar in the lyrics, but the titular gaslighter is described as an unsuccessful actor with a thing for boats, and the internet has collectively decided that Pasdar is the guy.  The Chicks do not pull punches here; the ex in question is selfish, insecure, disloyal, dishonest, and fairly pathetic. It’s not ... more
  • 2 months Texas Kids Got COVID-19 at Summer Camp. Is School Next? Texasmonthly
    The souvenirs of summer camp are usually sunburns, scrapes and, if you’re really unlucky, a stomach bug or strep throat. This summer, Stacy Kosub’s daughter, Emerson, came home with COVID-19. On Saturday, June 28, Kosub dropped off her fourteen-year-old daughter for a two-week session at Timbers, Pine Cove’s overnight camp for eighth- and ninth-graders in Tyler. Across its campuses, the Christian camp hosts more than 40,000 campers per year on a rotating basis, with more than 200 at Timbers any given week. Kosub’s brother had decided to have his kids sit out camp this year because of the pandemic and ... more
  • 2 months “This Is Exactly What’s Wrong With Austin”: A White Band’s Digitally Altered Photo of an Iconic Black-Owned BBQ Joint Infuriates Locals Texasmonthly
    Brian Mays, the friendly owner of Sam’s BBQ, is used to people showing up at his legendary East Austin restaurant to snap photos. Inside, the restaurant is an Austin time capsule: the walls are plastered with yellowing photographs of long-gone locals, Texas politicians, and famous musicians, many of them looking decidedly well fed. The building’s exterior, with a Martin Luther King Jr. mural and trademark motto—“you don’t need no teeth to eat my beef”—is a common sight on local Instagram accounts. So it wasn’t surprising, Mays said, when a group of musicians, the Grammy-nominated country music band Midland, asked to ... more
  • 2 months With Her New Book, a Texas Author Wants You to Take Boy Bands Seriously Texasmonthly
    Behind any chart-topping boy band—whether it’s New Kids on the Block, One Direction, or recent K-pop powerhouse BTS—lies a devoted fan base vital to its success. Texan author Maria Sherman, who was born in Fort Worth and raised in San Antonio, is a “superfan” of boy bands herself. After years of covering pop culture for the likes of Billboard and Rolling Stone, the music journalist and senior writer for Jezebel, now based in New York City, set out to write a book taking a serious look at boy bands through several lenses, including race, gender, and sexuality. The definitive guide ... more
  • 2 months The Texas GOP Held Its Convention on Zoom—and It Was a Comic Disaster  Texasmonthly
    Any lingering doubts that this year’s Texas Republican convention would be a goat rodeo of galactic proportions surely dissipated around 10 p.m. on July 13, when Walter West, a member of the party’s executive committee, swung a bottle of Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey toward his webcam and, by extension, at James Dickey, the party’s much put-upon chairman.“Don’t drink the Kool-Aid,” West warned colleagues as he waved the open bottle. But despite his protestations, it was West who had drunk the proverbial Kool-Aid, and so had the Texas GOP. The only thing left to do was to watch the bodies fall. ... more
  • 2 months “Hi, How Are You” Is the Exact Message a Face Mask Should Send Texasmonthly
    Somehow, four months into the global pandemic that has warped American society in every conceivable way, we are still debating one of the simplest parts of infectious disease control: whether or not people should wear masks. This isn’t really a complicated issue—scientists have known for generations that masks prevent the spread of disease, which is why medical professionals wear them—but masks, like everything else, have become a culture war. And the tenor of this part of our ongoing struggle to agree on nothing has fallen along curious lines that butt up against some deep-seated issues in our society. Men, who ... more
  • 2 months The Success of BeatKing’s Hit ‘Then Leave’ Is a Moment for Texas Rap Texasmonthly
    BeatKing doesn’t just rap; he commands the room. On many of his tracks, the Houston rapper-producer urges fans, in his gravelly baritone, to “throw that ass!” It’s a directive that his listeners have heeded with glee for more than a decade across the dance floors of Texas clubs and beyond. His music thrives in the nightlife: one of his most popular songs, the instant confidence booster “Crush,” was released in 2009, and it’s still often played in clubs across the state. Since then, the self-proclaimed “Club God” has been cranking out hit after hit that encourages maximum dance participation, with attitude—“Hammer,” “BDA,” “Bussibak,” ... more
  • 2 months Paul Qui and the Problem With Redemption Narratives Texasmonthly
    I’ve had a running list of questions for Paul Qui for four years now. In 2016, the celebrity chef was one of the most famous people in Austin. The Top Chef winner and James Beard Award recipient’s wildly successful eateries included East Side King, Thai Kun, the fine-dining spot Qui, and a new restaurant in Miami. Accolades poured in from the likes of Bon Appétit, GQ, Esquire, and Food & Wine. Then, just two weeks after the opening of his highly anticipated Austin restaurant, Otoko, that March, he was arrested after police were called to the apartment he shared with ... more
  • 2 months Hollywood, Texas: Local Good Dog Wishbone Gets His Own Movie Texasmonthly
    The daytime TV mainstay Wishbone is now being readied for the big screen. The PBS series about a talking, bibliophile dog who imagined himself as various famous literary characters—which was on the air from 1995 to 1997—will be adapted into a new family film at Universal, with Peter Farrelly producing. Wishbone, of course, is a local star: Episodes were filmed in and around Allen, Plano, and Grapevine, while the show was set in the fictional town of Oakdale, Texas. Meanwhile, the Jack Russell terrier who played him, Soccer, lived right here on a Plano ranch—although he’s not listed as a ... more
  • 2 months The Texanist: What’s the Strangest Thing You’ve Eaten in Texas? Texasmonthly
    Q: As a Texan (currently deployed overseas with the Texas Army National Guard), I have eaten my fair share of strange things. I’ve come to love deep-fried tripas and smoked machitos (heart, liver, and kidneys of kid goat stuffed in goat intestine and smoked on the pit). I have also eaten rattlesnake, armadillo tail with gravy, alligator gar, Rocky Mountain oysters, and mollejas (sweetbreads) cooked on the grill. And because my family enters the World Championship BBQ Goat Cook-off, in Brady, every year, I have also eaten my share of barbecued goat. My question: what is the strangest thing you ... more
  • 2 months I’ve Spent Years Protecting My Students. When Classes Resume, Who Will Protect Me? Texasmonthly
    Being a teacher has a way of making you think you can outlast anything. For the last fourteen years, I have stretched my check enough to barely cover my own home and still found a way to buy extra card stock, maxi pads, and incentive candy for my middle school classroom here in Houston. I have watched as students formed a line outside of my door to cry or talk or just hang out with me. Some have even called me “mom” by mistake. I have not flinched at the long hours, the two-hour round-trip commute, the papers I have ... more
  • 2 months Greg Abbott’s Penchant for the Path of Least Resistance Has Led Texas to the Brink of Disaster Texasmonthly
    In the thirty years between 1984, when Greg Abbott graduated from law school, and 2014, when he became governor of Texas, he held three jobs: attorney, judge, and attorney general. He speaks with a lawyer’s tongue and thinks with a lawyer’s mind. His 2016 book, Broken but Unbowed, demonstrates just how important the law is to his personal and political identity. The book is framed, at the start, around the tragic 1984 accident that left Abbott partially paralyzed. But he then briskly moves on to the real subject: his legal career and his theories about the U.S. Constitution.  By the ... more
  • 3 months Protected: On the Road to The City Different Texasmonthly
    This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below: Password:View Original PostThe post Protected: On the Road to The City Different appeared first on Texas Monthly. ... more
  • 3 months Greg Abbott Invites You to Figure Out What His Coronavirus Executive Orders Allow Texasmonthly
    In happier times, the governorship of Texas was regarded as a “weak” office compared to its counterparts in other states. But as the COVID-19 crisis draws on, and on, and the Legislature remains out of session, Governor Greg Abbott has come to exercise a kind of unitary power over life in Texas. He has begun to resemble not so much a governor as a Dungeon Master, leading the state through a role-playing game of his own devising. And on Wednesday, Abbott had some hearty congratulations to offer the judge of Bexar County: Nelson Wolff, you’ve solved my riddle! The riddle ... more
  • 3 months Could Voting by Mail in November Become an Act of Civil Disobedience? Texasmonthly
    Unless the U.S. Supreme Court rules that Texans fearful of COVID-19 have the right to cast a ballot by mail, many voters in Texas will face a tough choice in the presidential election. They can risk exposure to the coronavirus by voting in person. Or they can commit an act of civil disobedience and face possible jail time by voting by mail. Under current state law, Texans are eligible to vote by mail for only four reasons: you are 65 years or older; you are out of your home county during early voting and on Election Day; you are in ... more
  • 3 months Celebrating Juneteenth in 2020 Is an Act of Resistance Texasmonthly
    For Black Texans, 2020 has been a year like no other. Faced with a pandemic that devastated our communities, followed by repeated deaths at the hands of police, we are exhausted. I just earned my master’s degree, and though I should be celebrating the prospect of new opportunities, the world feels increasingly daunting. The supposed freedom promised to Black Americans 155 years ago seems increasingly distant. And yet, with Juneteenth near—a holiday that commemorates the date when the final slaves in the United States were notified of their freedom—many of us are determined not only to celebrate, but to use ... more
  • 3 months A Civil Rights March in Lockhart Was Peaceful, but Counterprotesters Threatened Violence Texasmonthly
    When residents of Lockhart, a small town about thirty miles southeast of Austin, discussed holding a civil rights march, Ray Chandler, a deputy constable in surrounding Caldwell County, took to Facebook to post a self-professed “rant.” The one-time Austin police officer and a past executive of the Texas Police Association began with a disclaimer that he believed citizens had a right to protest peacefully. Then, over the course of four paragraphs, he wrote that if his family or property were threatened, he would retaliate. “I will defend myself, my family and my properties,” he wrote, “with a much greater force ... more
  • 3 months A Mom’s Wrenching Discussions With Her Kids About Police Brutality, the Coronavirus Texasmonthly
    I am not in the habit of lying to my children. When my daughter was four, I told her that Santa Claus wasn’t real. Neither was the tooth fairy. She responded: “Then who is gonna give me my money?” She has always been able to decipher the important things and has always had an eye for truth. As a future Black woman, this is both her great blessing and her burden. I have applauded her curiosity, praised her artistic nature, and tried to shield her from the things mothers should. In short, I tried to be a good mother.   So ... more
  • 3 months Where to Find Great Birria de Res in Texas Texasmonthly
    Birria—like its cousin, barbacoa—is a preparation, not an ingredient. Both are (or least used to be) traditionally prepared in an earthen oven, and the main component can be any meat or other food that can withstand the cooking process. In the Mexican state of Jalisco, where birria originated, that usually means goat or lamb (chivo and borrego, respectively). With birria de res, tortillas are brushed, dipped, or washed in the dish’s consommé before being finished on a flattop griddle, giving the tacos a pop of reddish orange that distinguishes them from other styles. When cheese is added, they take on ... more
  • 3 months Remembering William S. Sessions (1930–2020), the San Antonian Who Ran the FBI During the Branch Davidian Standoff   Texasmonthly
    William Steele Sessions, who died June 12 in San Antonio at age ninety, is probably best known for two of the low points in his long career as an attorney, federal judge, and head of the FBI: the infamous Ruby Ridge shootout in Idaho in 1992 and the tragic Branch Davidian standoff in Waco the next year. Although he was not directly involved, both law enforcement debacles occurred during his six-year tenure as FBI director. Just as interesting for his fellow Texans, though, is his more successful involvement in two other high-profile cases.   As the U.S. attorney for the ... more
  • 3 months The Damning History Behind UT’s ‘The Eyes of Texas’ Song Texasmonthly
    On June 4, after one of their first in-person practices since the coronavirus outbreak, the Texas Longhorns football team lined up outside Darrell K Royal—Texas Memorial Stadium and began to march toward downtown Austin. They were joining thousands of others across the world protesting the killing of George Floyd; when they reached the Texas Capitol, players, coaches, and support staff knelt in silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time Floyd was pinned to the ground with a policeman’s knee on his neck. Then head coach Tom Herman addressed his players: “You’re a minority football player at ... more
  • 3 months Under the “Noveller” Moniker, a UT Alum Conjures Anxious and Hopeful Guitar Symphonies Texasmonthly
    Some eleven weeks into quarantine in her East Los Angeles home, the musician Sarah Lipstate decided to do some rooting around in the corners of her house. Among other things, she found her grandfather’s Pentax MG camera that had been tucked away in a kitchen cabinet for three years. Lipstate discovered a half roll of unused film still wedged in the old machine, which she had inherited after his passing, and no idea of what was in it. “I just love the whole mystery of it,” she says via Zoom.  When Lipstate got the film developed, she solved the caper: ... more
  • 3 months Under the “Noveller” Moniker, a UT Alum Conjures Anxious and Hopeful Guitar Symphonies In Isolation Texasmonthly
    Some eleven weeks into quarantine in her East Los Angeles home, the musician Sarah Lipstate decided to do some rooting around in the corners of her house. Among other things, she found her grandfather’s Pentax MG camera that had been tucked away in a kitchen cabinet for three years. Lipstate discovered a half roll of unused film still wedged in the old machine, which she had inherited after his passing, and no idea of what was in it. “I just love the whole mystery of it,” she says via Zoom.  When Lipstate got the film developed, she solved the caper: ... more
  • 3 months Is Houston a Prophetic City? Or a Pathetic City? Texasmonthly
    One of the side effects of living in a city that runs on oil and gas is that time feels cyclical. Instead of progressing from the past to the future, life in Houston has historically alternated between boom and bust. It’s as if the city runs on some Mayan calendar that repeats itself over and over as—according to one controversial interpretation—it counts down to the apocalypse. Stephen Klineberg’s new book Prophetic City: Houston on the Cusp of a Changing America (Avid Reader Press) breaks that wheel. The longtime Rice University sociologist has crafted a linear narrative—a march of demographic trends ... more
  • 3 months Behold the Drumstick Taco Texasmonthly
    I’m not afraid of a bone-in protein in a tortilla. One of my favorite tacos contains a pork chop and is served with a steak knife—and no eating instructions. The bone imparts a challenge and flavor. The same is true for That Taco Dude’s drumstick taco: a smoky, mesquite-grilled, seasoning-speckled chicken leg wrapped in a corn tortilla. The five-year-old Arlington catering operation’s most popular item was something of a fluke, says pitmaster-taquero Norberto “Beto” Granado. He and his small team–which includes his wife, Melinda Granado—had served drumsticks before, always with white bread. That is, until the week of a local ... more
  • 3 months A Parent’s Problematic Pandemic Bequest Texasmonthly
    My mom passed away on May 4. It wasn’t COVID-19. Complications of complications from the cancer that she was cured of nearly ten years earlier compounded in her body until she just needed to rest. She died in the hospital, and my sister and I weren’t even allowed in the building. Over the past few years she had given away or discarded most of her belongings. She left a house full of furniture with my ex-stepfather. Four years ago, when she left Texas for her native New Mexico, she tossed out mountains of old papers and clothes that no longer ... more
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