December 2003 Issue

On the Cover

Alamo Heights

So much is at stake that we almost—almost—believe the release date of Disney's epic-to-be was delayed from Christmas Day to April for the reasons the studio claims. But given the way historical movies usually turn out, can you blame us for smirking?


Billy Joe Shaver.

The Ballad of Billy Joe Shaver

If the Corsicana native is the best songwriter in Texas, perhaps it's because he knows his material. Hardscrabble upbringing. Sinful behavior. Redemption. Personal tragedy. Profound sorrow. And, finally, more redemption.



The town's name will forever be synonymous with one of the worst hate crimes in American history. But the story doesn't end there.



The Infirmation Age

Many Texans are woefully unprepared for what has become our fastest-growing health care problem: taking care of Mom and Dad.


The Accidental City

A new anthology of articles about Houston from the journal of the Rice Design Alliance is a sweeping historical overview, a civic memoir, and a municipal self-help guide.



Dream for Sale

Who wants to own a West Texas town? At least two eBay bidders have offered the asking price—but it could still be yours.


Burning Pear

HOT TOPIC When you hear the name the Burning Pear, I challenge you not to think of British funnymen Peter Cook and Dudley Moore’s classic skit about a restaurant called the Frog and Peach (“There’s only two . . . dishes, really,” Cook says to Moore. “There’s frog à


SHOW ME THE COOKIES! I love cookies. They’re a quick, compact treat, perfect for anyone under constant deadline pressure. While reflecting on the subject of cookies recently, I realized that I don’t make them nearly as often as I want to eat them. Instead I rely on the kindness and


BOWS TO HOLLEY Mark Holley confesses that interviews make him nervous. But the 44-year-old executive chef of Pesce, a seafood restaurant in Houston, is going to have to get used to the attention, especially if the accolades keep rolling in: My Table, the Bayou City’s foodie magazine, recently named

Texas Tidbits

Texas Tidbits

I went to the Alamo when I was a young girl but didn't really remember much about it. A recent trip to San Antonio changed all that, and boy, was I surprised by all the things I learned.

Happy Trails

Happy Trails

In the little town of Praha, southeast of Austin, there are a couple of houses, a cemetery, and one of the most beautiful painted churches in Texas.

Texas History 101

Texas History 101

Juan Seguin may not be as familiar as Sam Houston or William Travis, but his impact on Texas was just as important.


Orange Lace Cookies With Chocolate Topping

1 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 cup sugar 1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats 1/4 cup heavy cream 1/4 cup corn syrup 1 cup unsalted butter, melted 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 1 tablespoon orange extract 8 ounces bittersweet chocolateSift together first 3 ingredients and set aside. Preheat oven


Lemon-and-Orange Zest Citrus Cookie

1/3 pound unsalted butter 8 teaspoons sugar 1 teaspoon minced lemon zest 1 teaspoon minced orange zest 1 teaspoon Grand Marnier liqueur 1 cup all-purpose flour pinch of saltPlace butter and sugar in an automatic mixer and beat on slow for 2 minutes. (Or mix with a hand-held mixer for


Fancy Almond Shortbread Cookies

Cookies10 ounces butter 3 ounces almond paste 1 1/2 cups sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk 3 tablespoons milk 2 teaspoons vanilla 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract 3 cups cake flour 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flourIn a mixer cream butter, almond paste, sugar, and salt. Set

Web Exclusive

The Critic

Writer-at-large Don Graham discusses this month's cover story, "Alamo Heights."

Web Exclusive

On Film

Photographer Dan Winters talks about being on the set of the Disney movie The Alamo.


Beef Tenderloin With Hollandaise Diablo

Makes 8 to 10 servingsIt’s hard to believe that a dish that tastes this good and looks so impressive is the easiest thing in the world to make. To make sure you cook it precisely to the right temperature, you’ll need a meat thermometer. Keep in mind that the smaller




YOU DON’T KNOW DIDDLEY Seventy-four-year-old Bo Diddley, whose innovative rhythms have inspired generations of rockers, will be performing December 27 at Gilley’s in Dallas.What are you doing these days?I’m working. Doing my good old clean rock and roll. I’m putting together this song now with one of my granddaughters called



HALLELUJAH It’s too easy to limit your holiday music selection to whatever tune is blaring over the sound system at the mall or another “everyone-join-in” performance of Messiah. We challenge you to expand your repertoire. Excellent Texas choirs affiliated with the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses present music celebrating



‘TIS THE SEASON Don your gay apparel and fa-la-la-la-la your way to Dallas December 4-7 for a long weekend sure to make you jolly. On Thursday evening the Dallas Mavericks (yes, good things come in big packages too) take on the superstar-studded Los Angeles Lakers at the American Airlines Center.



DON’T STOP BELIEVING Usually everyone is so busy trying to avoid the crowds during the holidays that we forget to sit back and enjoy the season. This time around, we invite you to embrace the clichés—see the lights, drink eggnog, listen to “Jingle Bells” over and over again. And one

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