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.
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?
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
Pitmaster: Zach Davis, age 34 (since 2012)
Method: Oak; gas-fired smoker
Pro tip: Malbec pairs well with brisket.
Pitmaster: John Lewis, age 34
Method: Post oak; indirect-heat pit
Pro tip: There’s free beer Friday through Sunday.