His hands on the steering wheel of an off-road utility vehicle, Larry Barton bounces along a few of Indian Mountain Ranch’s trails looking for brown-striped piglets. This is his ranch, so the area—a mix of open grasslands, dense woods, and plenty of mud pits, midway between Fort Worth and Abilene—is familiar to him. But the piglets are tough to find.
There’s no sugar-coating it: it’s been a rough year for Texas wine. As I reported in September, late spring freezes wiped out grapes in the High Plains and the Hill Country, two of the dominant growing regions in the state. During harvest, winemakers knew the 2014 vintage would produce mixed results.
You could live next door to La Flor and likely never notice it. The tiny trailer sits in the corner of a nondescript Stop-N-Shop that has seen better days. But the unassuming exterior masks something heavenly: affordable, filling tacos served on freshly made corn tortillas. The meats are the focus—nopales and onions are as close as you’ll get to proper vegetables here—and rightfully so. Each protein-based variety we tasted impressed, but the simple pollo taco stood out.
Austin has developed a bit of a reputation for being obsessed with the breakfast taco.
You know what’s not the hippest thing in the world if you’re a Texas teen these days? Beef, apparently.
Whenever I make it out to Marfa—formerly known as a tiny West Texas ranching town—I marvel anew at the New Yorkers and Europeans and other hip non-Texans who alight on this cultural capital in well-dressed flocks. Someone has to feed all these worldly people, of course, and Maiya Keck, a 2013 James Beard semifinalist, has long been one of those someones.
It was with significant hesitation that I broke one of my cardinal rules—“Never order duck outside major cities”—at the Turtle, a “slow food” restaurant in Brownwood (population 19,000). But the fowl that chef Stephen “Bubba” Frank had in store for me, served pink atop polenta and flash-fried brussels sprouts, was a masterful balance of savory (pecan oil), sweet (honey and cinnamon), and duck-y (the fat crispy, the meat tender). Being wrong had never tasted so right.