Full of Beans

You failed to list a restaurant that is not in any way fancy but has the best Tex-Mex food: El Mercado on North Burnet Road in Austin is the place I mean [“Let’s Have Mex-Tex,” December 2010]. The tortilla chips are tasty, the service is excellent, and the food is reasonably priced. Maybe it’s not fancy enough for your reviewer, but that’s okay. It can be our little secret.
Ken Aten

Having enjoyed the barbecue, chicken-fried steak, and hamburger issues, I cannot tell you how disappointed I was in the Mexican food issue. The menu was too cosmopolitan for the average person, and I’ll bet most people couldn’t figure out what most of that stuff was even made from. Oh, well, maybe next time.
Tom Wolf
New Braunfels

Horse Sense

Brava, Sterry Butcher. “Gentling Cheatgrass” captured beautifully the nobility of this and indeed all wild things [December 2010]. More, please!
Jessie Makil

This is some of the best American storytelling I have read in a long time. Cheatgrass is glorious. My eyes filled with tears, and I could almost hear the thunder of hooves over the thunder in my heart. Almost.
Jimmy Campbell

Sterry Butcher’s article was a subtle but splendid portrayal of the mutual need of animals and people and the land that supports us. That story was an example of TEXAS MONTHLY at its finest.
B. C. Robison

What a good read and a good ride with a mustang. I wish I could have been in Fort Worth to see the Supreme Extreme Mustang Makeover competition. I hope to read more by Sterry Butcher soon and to see more photos from James H. Evans. Life would be perfect if I only knew how to ride and rope.
Peggy Mueller

Poetic Justice

Thank you, Oscar Casares, for writing such a simple, beautiful, and powerful story about the dreams and realities of Latinos, young and old, in South Texas [“Imaginary Friends,” December 2010]. In our modern world, we sometimes forget that only a generation ago Latinos occupied a very different place in the socioeconomic order of Texas, and it was only through the dedication and determination of people like Judge Reynaldo Garza, Willie Velasquez, and even Ramsey Muñiz that the current educational and economic opportunities for Latinos in Texas have become a reality.

Your father’s pride in his friendship with a Latino civil rights and legal pioneer and the judge’s appreciation of that relationship are reminders of where we were and how far we have come.
Bryan A. Lopez
San Antonio

Thanks for reminding all of us of the remarkable qualities of Judge Garza, both as a member of the federal judiciary and as an outstanding human being. He was the best.
Gus Schill Jr.

“Imaginary Friends” really brought back memories of growing up in Raymondville. My father, Alfredo Rendon Rodriguez, was editor and publisher of El Tiempo, a weekly newspaper that was the very first Spanish-English newspaper in the U.S. When I was a child, I remember well a tall man coming to my father’s printing shop, which was in the alley behind our house, on West Main Street. I remember this man sitting on an apple crate, because my dad did not have an extra chair. It was Reynaldo Garza. He came that day to ask my father to give him a letter of recommendation to be appointed federal district judge. The rest is history.

Thank you, TEXAS MONTHLY and Mr. Casares, for the memory jog.
C. X. Domino

Back Up Plan

It is common sense to face the screen, stage, or pulpit while stepping over feet, bags, et cetera [The Texanist, December 2010]. It helps to put your hands on the seat in front of you to steady and guide you. I don’t want anyone facing me and grabbing me if they trip or possibly using my knees or whatever to help themselves along. Also, it just seems natural to enter the row in the position you will assume (backside to the seat) and exit the same way. Adopting the “face-to-face” practice gives credence to a really backward, illogical way of thinking.
Brenda McAfee

Guitar Hero

Well, it’s about time, TEXAS MONTHLY! There are only a handful of Texas musicians who have sold more records than the mighty Pantera [Music, December 2010]. I had the honor and privilege to meet “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott (and Vinnie Paul) backstage at a Damageplan festival show. My friend was a promotions rep for their label and managed to sneak me backstage to meet one of my musical heroes. Dime was one of the most down-to-earth, genuine, humble celebrities I have ever met. Best (and foggiest, for that matter) two hours I have ever spent. Right before the band left for the tour bus to the next town, I shook Dime’s hand and said, “You are the reason I decided to play guitar when I was ten years old.” In true Dime fashion, he smiled and said humbly, “I’m sorry, dude.” One of a kind indeed.
John Wells

Country Strong

I don’t know why I feel betrayed every time I read a Paul Burka column where he calls Texas an urban state [Behind the Lines, December 2010]. I guess if you take a lot of our population and cram them into the cities where the houses are fifteen feet apart, then you have lots of room for the rest of us to spread out some.

Yes, Texas is growing. But just because the majority of the people population-wise live in cities doesn’t make it square miles—wise an urban state. If we voted blue, as you would like, then perhaps you might get away with your rants. We don’t and you won’t.
Bruce C. Allen