In 1985, when the novelist and playwright James Magnuson first accepted a job teaching creative writing at the University of Texas at Austin, he harbored a fair amount of skepticism toward the academic world. In the past, he had taken what he called “an outsider’s pride” in being able to support himself as a writer without having to teach. He wondered too if both the teachers and the students in creative writing programs were prone to taking themselves too seriously.
Menger Bar, Menger Hotel, San Antonio
If anyone deserves a drink, it’s the traveler. Which is why the hotel bar is such an important amenity. It’s the place where, weary from her journey, a wandering soul marks the end of her drive/flight/walk from the office and toasts her impending vacation/sabbatical/happy hour. At a hotel bar anything can happen. You might wind up in conversation with someone you don’t know, someone from another town, another state, another world.
One of those magical Central Texas nights found us at long tables under the giant oaks at Eden East, a restaurant located at Springdale Farm, an Austin treasure that hosts events and sells homegrown produce and eggs on Wednesday and Saturday mornings.
Arro, a French restaurant in downtown Austin, opened in July with executive chef/partner Drew Curren and pastry chef Mary Catherine Curren, his wife, at the helm. Texas Monthly food editor Patricia Sharpe recently spoke with Drew Curren about why he chose to try this cuisine in Austin, his influences, and his love of frog legs.
Patricia Sharpe: Why a French restaurant?
Bridget Dunlap's chic bistro is still going strong, its urbane metal and glass box incongruously situated at the end of an industrial side street in East Austin. Get a running start with one of the inventive cocktails, like a Siamese caipirinha spiced up with Thai chiles (the happy hour is quite generous, running from 3 to 7), then move on to the more-complex-than-it-looks menu.
Hey. I’m heading to Austin at the end of July and—having worked at Philadelphia magazine for a few years—I figured reaching out to you would be the best way to figure out what to do.
A few college friends and I will be visiting a buddy and his wife for a long weekend (most of us get in Thursday morning). Is there a cultural/historical/enriching event/museum/experience that we shouldn’t miss?
Note: We’ll be staying in South Congress and, considering that we’re millennials, antiquing feels fiscally irresponsible/unappealing. Also, I wouldn’t hate it if you recommended a hip date spot that won’t feel like a total cliché.
Jeez. I know that’s a lot. Sorry for the lack of brevity.
A Fan From Philly
Sign us up for artisan charcuterie served inside this simple, airy warehouse space, especially when it starts with the rich, slightly gamy goat salami sliced in tiny rounds. This brick-and-mortar location of a homegrown business, which started with a stall at the Hope Farmers Market, now has a retail butcher shop with counter seating and a coffee bar.