Two hours before go time at the World Championship BBQ Goat Cook-off, in Brady, a fellow judge and I are surveying the cooking rigs. The smell of lighter fluid hangs heavy in the air as we walk past the booth of one contestant, where a nearly raw half carcass is roasting on a spit. “I hope we don’t get that one at our table,” my colleague whispers to me, despairing of the possibility of tasting gas fumes when he bites into his lunch.
The Sabbath is coming to a close in Bowie County, and in the glow of a lavender late-summer Sunday evening, Pastor Dave Seifert, of Wake Village’s Twin Cities’ Baptist Temple, is watching his flock depart. Almost twenty years ago, Seifert came to this county in the northeast corner of the state to get away from the rest of the world. But the world’s evils have followed him here, and now they’re nipping at the heels of the faithful.
It’s hard out there for a quail. Or at least it has been for the past few years. Our bobwhites and blues have been under attack from a confluence of harmful forces that seem designed to quell quail reproduction, among them drought, pesticides, and, worst of all, diminishing habitat. And let’s not leave out the parasitic eye worm recently discovered by researchers at Texas Tech, a nematode whose disgusting habits I’ll save for a non-food-related column.
Before the dog days of summer run their course in Texas—which is probably not any time soon—this month’s Texas wine pick is a perfect patio sipper designed to evoke sentimental memories of taking a dip in your favorite Texas swim spot. Whether it’s a spring-fed river, a lanquid lake, a quite strip of coastal beach, or simply your backyard pool, this refreshing white wine is a perfect way to bid a fond farewell to summer.
When Qui opened last year, it did so to a seemingly endless amount of hype. One year in, the bar at Qui is at the top of its game, having won the 2014 Official Drink of Austin competition (presented by the Austin Food and Wine Alliance and yours truly) with a boozed-up tepache, a fermented-pineapple beverage popular in Mexico.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step—unless it’s on a Greyhound bus.
It was the winter of 2012, and 34-year-old Michael Fojtasek had some time between jobs. He and his partner, Grae Nonas, 28, also a chef, badly wanted to open a restaurant in Austin, their adopted home. Fojtasek had grown up in Dallas in a family with Southern roots, and his enthusiasm had rubbed off on Nonas, who is from New England.
Just when we think we’ve seen every bit of clothing, every knick-knack, every tchotchke that can possibly be splashed in burnt orange and adorned with the Longhorn logo, someone comes up with an original idea to showcase some pride for the University of Texas. Case in point: the “Hook ‘em donut,” a deep-fried dough ball shaped into the famous hook ‘em hand sign before being coated with an orange, sugary glaze.
The pastry is Pisey Seng’s pride and joy. Seng—or Angel, as she prefers to be called—co-owns Donut Tacos Palace, a small bakery tucked away in a strip mall in Southwest Austin. It may not be as palatial as its name suggests, but Donut Tacos Palace has developed a bit of a cult following. Seng moved from Boston, where she worked as a nail technician after immigrating to the United States from Cambodia, to Austin, in 2006. “One day my brother-in-law says come to Texas. They do good on the donut shop,” she said in English, her second, self-taught language. Seng and husband, Marc, took the advice, moved to Austin, and bought a little shop called the Donut Palace within the year. (They later revamped the store and its menu, and re-named it Donut Tacos Palace.)
People in agriculture know their business is at the mercy of Mother Nature. And she was not particularly kind to the Texas wine industry in 2013. A late spring freeze last year left grape growers across the state harvesting less than a quarter of the average crop numbers they ship to winemakers, and the 2013 vintage suffered as a result.