February 2009 Issue

On the Cover

The Thrilla in Vanilla

The looming clash between Republican gubernatorial candidates Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison may not be as fearsome as the storied Ali-Frazier bout, but it’s the heavyweight showdown every Texas political junkie has been waiting for.


Where to Eat Now 2009

How perfect is this: The best new restaurant to open during the Year of Financial Meltdown is located in the lobby of an old Houston bank. What better place to invest your money than in the soul-nourishing flavor combos of chef Michael Kramer’s beautifully composed plates?


An Isolated Incident

After his son died of a drug overdose in his fraternity house at SMU, Tom Stiles began asking questions that campus authorities preferred not to answer. Two years later, he is still learning the truth about what happened—and why.

A Buddy Holly memorial on an isolated, snow-covered field.

The Night the Music Died

Fifty years ago, a plane carrying Buddy Holly crashed in a remote Iowa cornfield. This month, hundreds of fans will gather at the ballroom where he played his final show to sing, dance, and mourn the greatest rock star ever to come out of Texas.


Sarah Bird


Eating high on the hog when you’re low on the totem pole.


Dean Fearing

“Here’s the thing: I was born and raised in eastern Kentucky. I wasn’t born in downtown Paris. What do I love? I love Southern food. I love soul food. I love barbecue. I learned about food in dives. ”

Book Review

Sum: Forty Tales From the Afterlives

In the twenty-first century, when the American consumer can choose from among hundreds of flat-screen TVs, David Eagleman’s pocket-size work of philosofiction, Sum: Forty Tales From the Afterlives, is nothing if not culturally consistent: With both a childlike sense of wonder and a trenchant flair for irony, the

Book Review

Cutting for Stone

In a sense, Marion Stone, the narrator of Abraham Verghese’s sparkling first novel, Cutting for Stone, is a dramatically enhanced doppelgänger of his creator. Like Verghese, he is born in Ethiopia to Indian parents, becomes a physician, and relocates to America (Verghese moved in the eighties to Tennessee,

Artist Interview

Gurf Morlix

The acclaimed Austin guitarist and producer (Blaze Foley, Lucinda Williams, Slaid Cleaves, Ray Wylie Hubbard) is also fast becoming known—on the basis of his 2007 album, Diamonds to Dust (Blue Corn), and this month’s LAST EXIT TO HAPPYLAND (Rootball)—as a songwriter.You spent eleven years playing with and producing for Lucinda

Author Interview

Pratap Chatterjee

In light of the American military’s increasing dependence on corporate entities, Halliburton’s Army: How a Well-Connected Texas Oil Company Revolutionized the Way America Makes War questions our government’s ability to oversee massively profitable armed forces contracts. The author, who lives in Oakland, California, is the managing editor of the investigative

Two stepping diagram with boots.

How to Two-step

Watching couples coast around at the honky-tonk may intimidate the double-left-footed, but heck, if a cowboy can dance, how tough is it, really? “Two-stepping is just walking to a beat,” says Austin-based Rowdy DuFrene, a two-time United Country Western Dance Council World Champion. “While many variations exist, the true

Judith Bailey, Hospice Nurse

Bailey, who has been a nurse since 1991, grew up in Liberty. She has worked at Hospice Austin for fourteen years and spends each week visiting with patients like Irma Lagunas.I became a nurse after a friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was in New Orleans at

The Horse's Mouth


NAME: Gaylord Armstrong | AGE: 69 | HOMETOWN: Austin | QUALIFICATIONS: Senior partner at McGinnis, Lochridge & Kilgore / Has been a lobbyist for forty years / Clients include Exxon Mobil, the Texas Film Industry Group, GE Capital Corporation, and the Wholesale Beer Distributors of Texas• I started lobbying totally

Music Review

Changing Horses

Hearing Ben Kweller cite Garth Brooks as a childhood influence may not be welcome news to his fans, who have already followed the young songwriter through one abrupt stylistic shift. His Greenville grunge band, Radish, was as well-known for being at the center of a Nirvana-fueled major-label bidding war

Music Review

The Tiffany Transcriptions

Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys took the fiddle-country-cawing influences of Wills’s Kosse youth and infused them with the popular music of the time—swing—for a combination that would inspire generations. Despite the band’s numerous albums over the years, it’s The Tiffany Transcriptions (Collectors’ Choice), a loose set of

Music Review

The Truth According to Ruthie Foster

It took a few tries, but Ruthie Foster’s 2007 The Phenomenal Ruthie Foster was a stone- soul triumph for the Austin singer, with an unprecedented laser focus on her strengths. To a large degree, The Truth According to Ruthie Foster (Blue Corn) follows suit. Working at Memphis’s famed


Downsizing Houston

If the crash that followed the boom hasn’t exactly been our fault, the result has been that same sad sense that maybe we’ll never have fun again.


Seared Diver Scallops

. . . With Wild Mushrooms and Rutabaga Purée.Recipe from Oloroso, San Antonio.6 slices prosciutto, sliced as thin as possible 8 ounces wild mushrooms, such as chanterelles, hedgehogs, or trumpets 4 to 5 baby purple kohlrabi, stems and leaves removed 1 medium rutabaga 2 bay leaves 1 sprig marjoram 4


Seared Sea Scallops

. . . With Spinach-Speck Salad, Brown Butter, and Pine Nut Crema.Recipe from Bolla, Dallas1/4 cup brown butter 12 sea scallops 2 cups spinach salad 1 cup red-wine vinaigrette (warm) 1 cup pine nut cremaSeared Sea Scallops1 tablespoon olive oil 1 teaspoon butter 12 scallops, dry packed, U10, muscle removed


Spiced Coconut Butternut Squash Soup

1 tablespoon red curry paste 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock 1 1/2 cups coconut milk 1 large red chile, seeded and finely sliced cilantro for garnishIn a large saucepan over medium heat, add the curry paste and cook for 1 minute.


Gingered Butternut Squash Soup

3 large butternut squash 1 cup chopped white onions 3/4 cup honey 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom 3 tablespoons ground ginger 4 1/2 cups water, heated coarse salt and freshly ground white pepperPeel, halve, and seed the squash, dicing into 1/4-inch pieces. Combine


Miniature Lobster Corn Dog

Recipe from Charlie Palmer at the Joule, DallasCorn Dog Batter3 cups cornmeal 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 egg 1 1/2 cups buttermilk 1 1/4 cups waterCombine dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Combine the


Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza

Recipe from Dough Pizzeria Napoletana, San AntonioPizza Dough1 cup Caputo OO Pizzeria Flour or blend 50/50 King Arthur Bread and all-purpose 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon filtered water 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 3/4 teaspoon dry active yeast (fresh yeast cake is preferable but hard to find, follow package conversions if

Web Exclusive

Cole Case

Timothy Cole finally gets his day in court, but doesn′t live to see his name cleared of a crime he didn′t commit.

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Music Man

So Raising Sand, the collaborative album between Robert Plant and Alison Kraus, produced by Fort Worth native T Bone Burnett, cleaned house with five trophies at Sunday night’s Grammys. Was anyone besides me not surprised? I guess it could have been a disaster, with all the egos involved, but anything

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How a high-profile member of Austin′s radical progressive community became an FBI informant.

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A Friendship Hundredaire

I’m closing in on 100 “friends” on Facebook. That benchmark forces me to confront a terrible truth. I don’t really have 100 friends.

She Got Gamed?

On January 13, the girls’ basketball team for the Covenant School of Dallas, an elite private Christian school in upscale North Dallas, demolished its opponents from the Dallas Academy, a lesser known East Dallas school that focuses on students who face a variety of learning problems.

Valentines and Vines

BECKER VINEYARDS464 Becker Farms Road Stonewall 830-644-2681 http://www.beckervineyards.comValentine’s Dinner Chefs At Large of Fredericksburg will create a tantalizing menu, and wines will be paired with each course. Prepayment and reservations required. Dress attire is business. February 14: 6:30 p.m. Price: $85 per person Merlot & Chocolate

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Gurf Morlix

The acclaimed Austin guitarist and producer (Blaze Foley, Lucinda Williams, Slaid Cleaves, Ray Wylie Hubbard) is also fast becoming known—on the basis of his 2007 album, Diamonds to Dust (Blue Corn), and this month’s Last Exit to Happyland (Rootball)—as a songwriter.So how are things going?I haven’t had a day

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Pratap Chatterjee

An extended interview with the author of Halliburton’s Army: How a Well-Connected Texas Oil Company Revolutionized the Way America Makes War.


Editor's Letter

Subscription Accomplished

On Tuesday of the week that this issue arrives on the newsstand, President George W. Bush will rise from his bed on the second floor of the White House for the last time. According to custom, he will receive President-elect Barack Obama for coffee sometime later that morning. The

Roar of the Crowd

Cafe Klatch

Before Mark Seliger talks to me about photography [Reporter, Texas Monthly Talks, December 2008], he needs to study the terrific cover of the December issue.Dick MitchellAustinYou failed to mention the best hidden cafe and beer joint in Texas: the Back Door Cafe, in Roosevelt [“The 40 Best Small-Town

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