Native Texans are a proud lot, but they would be the first to admit that the state has long been shaped by newcomers. In fact, the story of Texas is the story of migration. The Plains Indians poured in to follow the buffalo. Cabeza de Vaca, who washed ashore on Galveston Island in 1528, was in pursuit of land. The Spanish later rode north from what is now Mexico, and the Anglos headed west from the United States. Sam Houston showed up after he beat a congressman in Washington, D.C., with a cane; George H. W.
In the hierarchy of cocktails, the humble highball does not rank highly. Such minimalist constructions don’t even warrant menu space at many modern bars, having lost real estate to their more complex mixological counterparts. But though they may not be glamorous, these spirited concoctions are the first that bartenders learn how to make and usually the first to pass the lips of novice drinkers.
Get there early,” warned my friend Pam. “We had to wait for an hour!” So three companions and I arrived promptly at six o’clock on a Saturday. “The wait could be an hour,” said the host, looking harried as more and more people jammed themselves into the small waiting area. The weather in Austin was cold and wet, and the crowd was in no mood to linger outside, even in the pools of warmth provided by heat lamps.
Last October, as Leila Melendez navigated her way through El Paso International Airport, she stopped and noted how heavy her suitcase was and began to laugh. She laughed because inside her luggage, alongside toiletries and changes of clothes, were items that would have baffled anyone who wasn’t from El Paso: twenty pounds of chorizo, asadero cheese, and tortillas from Barron’s Superette, in El Paso’s Mission Valley neighborhood.
Louisiana may have a lock on boiled crawfish, but Houston happens to be home to a variation on that bayou tradition that makes people go cray: Viet-Cajun crawfish, a love child of two Gulf Coast communities whose penchant for highly seasoned aquatic creatures is just one of many things they have in common (fishing culture, rice farming, the French connection).
If you want to meet the godfather of craft brewing in Texas, head to Houston. That’s where you’ll find Brock Wagner, the mild-mannered, straight-talking owner of Saint Arnold’s, which he proudly proclaims to be the oldest craft-brewery in the state. Wagner first came to Houston from Cincinnati, Ohio, to attend Rice University, and, while still in school, joined the local ranks of amateur brewers.