Attica Locke’s Empire

Attica Locke’s critically acclaimed 2009 debut novel, Black Water Rising, was set in her hometown of Houston and featured a down-on-his-luck lawyer protagonist named Jay Porter, who in many ways was inspired by her father, Gene Locke, the former city attorney of Houston. The sequel, Pleasantville, has just come out, though the final book in what she expects will be a trilogy will likely have to wait a while.

You Say Potato, I Say Batata

You can get in over your head fast at Oporto Fooding House. Everything on the jumbo-sized menu sounds so beguiling—and is so reasonably priced—that ordering too much is unavoidable. “Let’s see, we’ll have the charred carrots with root chips and goat cheese, please,” you tell your waiter. “And the blue-cheese-stuffed dates. Oh, and the risotto croquettes.” Then your friends pipe up, “Can we get the stuffed piquillo peppers?

Where to Be a Tourist

The Capitol, Austin

Everyone loves this building, even if they don’t love politics. Luckily for you, the Legislature meets in regular session for only 140 days every other year, leaving you plenty of time to explore without the crowds. Yes, the dome is fifteen feet higher than the U.S. Capitol’s, and yes, it is the largest state capitol complex in the country. What else would you expect?

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