General stores may seem like a small-town, anachronistic artifact, long since wiped out by big-box competitors. But the centuries-old business model lives on in Houston’s Henderson & Kane General Store.
In operation since July 2018, the business is located inside a former 1930s general store building at the corner of the eponymous streets, Henderson and Kane, in the Old Sixth Ward neighborhood just northwest of downtown. The owners and operators are an extended family from both El Paso (Veronica Avila and Jesse Gallegos) and Houston (John Avila, Christian Avila, and Jennifer Hermier). On occasion, the store has hosted pop-up events featuring El Paso–influenced food. Think Chico’s Tacos–style flautas ahogadas; single-filling burritos held delectably in place by a slather of creamy refried beans; and green chile everything.
You can grab a quick but hearty meal here, with weekly specials that range from steak nights and barbecue to burgers and Taco Tuesday. The stocked goods also offer a taste of Texas in all its glory, including Cochinita & Co.’s salsa macha and tamales filled with house-made brisket and turkey mole, among other options. There are pierogies from Pierogi Queen out of League City, artisan cheeses, eggs from pasture-raised chickens, and more than a hundred other local items. While you shop, pay attention to the music: 1950s country, jazz, and bluegrass. These are the tunes that co-owner John Avila (Veronica’s husband) heard playing from the jukebox at his grandfather’s barbecue joint in Bryan.
—José R. Ralat, taco editor
Listen to Post Malone’s “Only Wanna Be With You” (Pokémon 25 Version)
This song is four minutes and one second long, which is conveniently the exact amount of time you can spend imagining the game of cosmic Mad Libs that led Grapevine native/rapper/Budweiser salesman/facial-tattoo enthusiast/pop star Post Malone to record a cover of Hootie & the Blowfish’s 1994 alt-rock hit “Only Wanna Be With You” as a tribute to the twenty-fifth anniversary of Pokémon. What a way to spend your morning commute from the bedroom to the bathroom to the kitchen to wherever you sit with your coffee before starting your day! The year 2021 is off to a heck of a start.
As cursed as the concept of Post Malone singing Hootie is, though, the song sounds great. Malone’s gently auto-tuned vocals come off as deeply sincere alongside a jangly folk guitar riff that absolutely holds up 27 years later, with synthesized bleep-bloops floating above the whole thing. The result is an airy, dreamy little pop tune that recalls both the golden era of coffeehouse rock and Malone’s most pervasive pop earworms. If you’re in the exact part of the Venn diagram that equally appreciates Hootie & the Blowfish’s seminal debut album Cracked Rear View and Malone’s “Sunflower,” you are in for one hell of a random treat. What does any of this have to do with Pokémon? Who knows! All I know is that, gosh help me, I’ve listened to Post Malone sing “Only Wanna Be With You” about a hundred times in the past week. Please don’t screenshot this and show it to me in a year.
—Dan Solomon, associate editor
Read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is a coming-of-age novel that tells the story of two Mexican American teenagers, Aristotle and Dante, living in El Paso in 1987. Like all good stories set in Texas, Aristotle and Dante involves a sweltering but transformative summer, an old pickup truck, and lots of love.
The book starts off as a simple narrative about friendship, but soon weaves in themes of family, identity, gender, sexuality, and expression, all in Sáenz’s poetic prose. The El Paso–based author also approaches the characters with an inherent patience and kindness: when he’s describing Aristotle and Dante’s bond, it’s hard not to fall in love with the ways that the young men teach each other strength as they transform into the people they’re destined to be.
I first read the book this past summer. Then, I reread it before school started back up in August. Now, I’m rereading it for a third time. If you’re in need of a hopeful, tender love story that might just lead you to “the secrets of the universe,” Aristotle and Dante is it.
—Aarohi Sheth, editorial intern
Listen to Black Puma’s Spotify Singles
The power of certain voices is undeniable—the kind of power that makes airwaves reverberate and shakes you to your core. One such voice belongs to Eric Burton of Austin-based band Black Pumas. Throw in Adrian Quesada’s sleek guitar stylings, a brass ensemble, and a choir to back the vocals, and you’ve got something special.
The duo recently released two new singles on Spotify: a live rendition of the Grammy-nominated “Colors,” and a soulful cover of Sixto Rodriguez’s “Sugar Man.” The bass line exudes an alluring mystique that supports Burton’s voice beautifully, while the keyboard—a satiating sprinkle of psychedelia—is the perfect garnish.
Today, “Colors” makes me feel human. Black Pumas’s music connects me to something greater than myself, my daily routine, or any mundane, dragging day. And for that, I am grateful. I suggest allowing yourself to get caught up in the eight-minute-and-fifty-second rapture of these two great songs.
—Gianni Zorrilla, assistant editor for operations