Bad news, Little Monsters: You’re not going to be able to crash down onto a parking lot on 5th Street in Austin to catch Lady Gaga perform a free show from within the confines of a 56-foot-tall Doritos vending machine.
Bryce Gilmore’s fabled trailer (which was shuttered a year after he opened Barley Swine) is back. Version 2.0 occupies swanky new digs, with an open kitchen surrounded by a reclaimed-wood bar, to keep things casual. Mix-and-match plates and platters hold predictably delicious dishes (roasted-fennel-and-turnip salad in a metal bowl, pickled shrimp on coarse-ground grits in a canning jar). Cow’s tongue, simultaneously tender and crispy, was brightened by arcs of beets.
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.