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Romney to announce veep choice Saturday

Aug 11, 2012 By Paul Burka

Paul Ryan seems to be the favorite, judging from the latest news stories. It makes sense to me because (1) Romney has still not persuaded Republicans of his conservative bona fides, and (2) Ryan is the darling of the GOP base. If chosen, he will energize the convention, as Palin…

Texas Grabs Seven Spots on Bon Appétit List

Aug 8, 2012 By Patricia Sharpe

Talk about coincidences. I was eating lunch at Elizabeth Street Café, in Austin, one of my favorite new restaurants (great Vietnamese-style fried rice with crispy oysters today, and amazing avocado ice cream. . . but I digress). When I got back to my desk, there was an email from…

Scott Roberts details The Salt Lick Cookbook

Aug 6, 2012 By Layne Lynch

You can’t talk about great Texas barbecue without mentioning Driftwood’s most famous barbecue joint of all time – The Salt Lick Bar-B-Que. Through the years this Central Texas haunt has gained both fame and popularity for its delicious barbecue meats – well known for their preparation…

What is Dewhurst’s future?

Aug 6, 2012 By Paul Burka

It looks pretty bleak to me. He can run for reelection in 2014, but there is no assurance that he would win. The last sitting lieutenant governor to try to move up was Ben Barnes in 1972, and he finished third in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Dewhurst’s brand has been…

Can Castro’s keynote speech energize Texas Hispanics?

Aug 6, 2012 By Paul Burka

Appearing in the San Antonio Express-News, columnist Rick Casey brought up the subject of Castro’s speech and what it could mean to Texas Democrats. Casey recounted that President Obama, in a recent fundraising visit to San Antonio, told supporters about the millions of dollars that would be spent on TV…

Noble Pig Wins Southwest Division of ‘Best Sandwich in America’

Aug 3, 2012 By Layne Lynch

Noble Pig‘s owners John Bates and Brandon Martinez can give themselves a pat on the back; apparently, they make the best sandwich in the Southwest. Photo taken by Marshall Wright On Wednesday, Adam Richman’s Travel Channel show “Best Sandwich in America” featured the Austin…

Abbott’s tweet about the runoff

Aug 2, 2012 By Paul Burka

            Well, I’ll be sure to cover it in 2112. What constitutes a shift? Republicans have been successful in getting Latinos to switch parties. Lozano is in the position of a tennis player trying to consolidate a break of serve. Until you win the…

Voters made good choices

Aug 1, 2012 By Paul Burka

Veasy over Garcia. Gallego over Rodriguez. Lozano over Wilson. The right candidate won these races. The Gallego-Canseco general election race will draw national attention. Villabla’s defeat of Bill Keffer was huge too. An Hispanic Republican beat a conservative anglo Republican on his own , without Rick Perry or TLR coming…

Election Night V — The post-mortem

Jul 31, 2012 By Paul Burka

Going through the comments, I see claims that this was a great night for conservatives. Not to be contrary, but I don’t agree, at least not fully. Yes, Cruz won in a very impressive fashion, and so did Donna Campbell, but several conservatives fell by the wayside: Bill Keffer. Jim…

Election Night Part IV — legislative races

Jul 31, 2012 By Paul Burka

Cruz’s lead has now expanded to 13 points at 10:51. The rout that I predicted in an earlier post has come to pass More legislative races: HD-11: Chuck Hopson appears headed for defeat. All boxes are in. Hopson needed a big vote in Rusk County and he didn’t get it.

Election Night Part III — Odds and ends

Jul 31, 2012 By Paul Burka

Taking a look at other statewide races, congressional races, and legislative races: I regret to report that in the Democratic primary, Pete Gallego lost his race against Ciro Rodriguez. Craddick defeats Chisum (Railroad Commision) Smitherman defeats Parker (Railroad Commission) Randy Weber defeats Felicia Harris (CD 14) — the old Ron…

Election Night — Part II: AP calls the race for Cruz

Jul 31, 2012 By Paul Burka

Slowly but inexorably, Cruz is widening his lead. It’s up to 8 points now statewide. Looking at House races: BONNEN-SITTON Bonnen is “sitton” pretty: Bonnen 57.0% Sitton 42.9% JIM LANDTROOP-KEN KING Landtroop is winning. He’s hard to beat. CRUZ WINS URBAN/SUBURBAN TEXAS Look at these numbers: Collin County:…

Election Night 2012 — Part I

Jul 31, 2012 By Paul Burka

I’ll be reporting on the runoffs tonight. Dewhurst vs. Cruz is the most important race, of course, but there also are a number of runoffs for legislative seats. UPDATE: Aaron Pena just tweeted (per the Trib) Cruz 65%, Dewhurst 35% in Hidalgo Co. early returns. Cruz grabbed a 5-point lead…

Paul Qui finally announces future restaurant plans in Austin

Jul 31, 2012 By Layne Lynch

The day has come! Paul Qui has announced that he will stay in Austin to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant on South Lamar. Breathe a sigh of relief, Austin! According to Serious Eats NY, “[the] restaurant will have two separate spaces that share a single…

Senate race looks like a rout for Cruz

Jul 31, 2012 By Paul Burka

I had a conversation with a source in the Cruz camp, who spoke on background. Their latest poll, with which the source was familiar, was taken on Sunday night, and showed Cruz with a double-digit lead and everything trending in Cruz’s direction. The Cruz campaign polled only people who had…

PPP: Cruz +10

Jul 30, 2012 By Paul Burka

The race has been moving in this direction for months now. Nothing Dewhurst has tried has changed the dynamics of the race at all. If anything, the millions Dewhurst has spent on TV have hurt his own campaign. The China ad and the Kids for Cash scandal ad…

Senate race could be definitive

Jul 27, 2012 By Paul Burka

The Senate race between David Dewhurst and Ted Cruz is shaping up to be the most important race in many years, going back to the Bush-Richards governor’s race of 1994. That race settled that Texas had become a Republican state and would remain one going into the future. The Dewhurst-Cruz…

Combs endorses Dewhurst

Jul 26, 2012 By Paul Burka

Short take: Late. to. the. party. Having already taken a hard right turn, she tries to move back to the middle. By the time she decides which office to run for, she’s going to be dizzy from all the twists and turns she has taken.

High SA turnout could boost Wentworth

Jul 25, 2012 By Paul Burka

An unanticipated surge of early voting in Bexar County could benefit hometown state Senate candidate Jeff Wentworth in the high-profile race for state Senate district 25. On Monday, the first day of early voting, 4,705 voters cast ballots in the Republican primary, a rate of 540 votes per…

The last debate is now history [see UPDATE, below]

Jul 23, 2012 By Paul Burka

Dewhurst gave his best performance of the campaign, but it may not matter.  He still has a tendency to be stiff and wooden. It’s almost painful to watch him struggle to achieve fluency. Cruz has a big edge as a speaker; he reeled off points, “One…two…three…four.” It was good debating…

David Guerrero talks Peruvian cuisine, overcoming brain cancer, and Houston diners

Jul 23, 2012 By Layne Lynch

A few weeks ago, Pat Sharpe – Texas Monthly’s food editor – helped judge the Woodlands Grand Rendezvous Tasting and Chef’s Showcase in which David Guerrero, former executive chef of Samba Grille in Houston, ended up winning for his flavor-packed Peruvian beef hearts dish. Recently, the Ecuadorian-born chef shared his remarkable story…

It’s Very Easy Being Green (Just Use Edamame)

Jul 19, 2012 By Patricia Sharpe

I love it when restaurants send you easy summer recipes out of the blue (or  in this case, out of the green). Shinjuku Station is a hobbit hole of a Japanese restaurant in Fort Worth—yes, yes, I’m mixing cultures, but you know what I mean; it’s small and…

Politico: In Austin, Obama predicts Texas will be a swing state

Jul 19, 2012 By Paul Burka

From Politco 7/18: When Barack Obama asserted Tuesday that Texas will be a swing state “soon,” he was echoing the belief, commonly held among Democrats, that the state’s changing demographics make the transition from red to blue inevitable. Howard Dean was so confident of it that in…

Betting against Perry

Jul 19, 2012 By Paul Burka

I came across this article yesterday in the daily Kaiser Health News: Texas Gov. Rick Perry says he rejects the “Obamacare power grab” and will block measures expanding health insurance to millions in his state. The country’s second-biggest health insurer is betting he won’t succeed. The same…

Bowery, An Upscale Hot Dog Restaurant, Opens in Dallas Today

Jul 18, 2012 By Layne Lynch

Attention Dallas foodies: Bowery – an upscale hot dog restaurant on McKinney Avenue – is opening its doors to the public today. The restaurant’s menu includes a host of American classics, such as an upscale Korn Dog and a spicy Chili Kicker, with a number of global renditions…

Dewhurst, Cruz spar to a draw; Leppert endorses Dewhurst

Jul 17, 2012 By Paul Burka

I was not able to live-blog the debate, as I had intended to do, but I did take extensive notes during the Q&A, and the responses appear below: HEALTH CARE The first question was about Medicaid expansion: Texas hospitals say no Medicaid expansion mean that more people will be showing…

The last Senate debate

Jul 17, 2012 By Paul Burka

I’ll be liveblogging the debate tonight. It will be televised on the Belo stations in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin.

Politico: Cruz leads Senate race

Jul 12, 2012 By Paul Burka

From Politico: The Republican pollster that signaled Dick Lugar’s demise and Deb Fischer’s late surge is now flagging an upset in the making in the Texas Senate race. Tea party favorite Ted Cruz is leading Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst 47 percent to 38 percent in the GOP…

Want to Cook and Chat with Paul Qui?

Jul 12, 2012 By Layne Lynch

There has been a lot of buzz surrounding former Uchiko chef Paul Qui these past few weeks regarding what’s next for the recent Top Chef victor. Qui officially announced he will reveal all the details of his next endeavor in a few weeks during a dinner…

Keys to the Senate runoff

Jul 9, 2012 By Paul Burka

Cruz’s strength in the primary was the suburbs. He won Collin, Denton, and Montgomery counties and fought Dewhurst to a draw in Fort Bend. Dewhurst underperformed in the cities and the suburbs but swamped Cruz in rural Texas. Collin County: Cruz 35.45% Dewhurst 30.65% Denton County: Cruz 34.73% Dewhurst 31.42%…

Michael Rypka of Torchy’s Tacos talks Expansion and Secret Menu

Jun 29, 2012 By Layne Lynch

Torchy’s Tacos is quickly making the rounds in Texas. The taco madness all began at a small trailer in Austin. That little trailer helped sprout several brick-and-mortar locations. Over time, Torchy’s grew and is now exploding onto the Dallas and Houston culinary scenes. The taco establishment seems to be opening a new location every…

Court upholds Affordable Care Act

Jun 28, 2012 By Paul Burka

Chief Justice Roberts casts the deciding vote. The individual mandate is constitutional because it is a tax, but without compulsion to pay. Virtually the entire act is upheld, except for certain provisions regarding Medicaid. From ScotusBlog: The Affordable Care Act, including its individual mandate that virtually all…

Parind Vora talks new Restaurant Jezebel and Moving Forward

Jun 27, 2012 By Layne Lynch

In 2010, Restaurant Jezebel – one of Austin’s most popular upscale restaurants – unexpectedly caught fire. The timing couldn’t have been worse for the beloved restaurant. Along with a small handful of other Austin eateries, Jezebel had been gaining tremendous media attention for its elegantly…

Women’s Health Program: Money isn’t the problem

Jun 25, 2012 By Paul Burka

A recent story in the Houston Chronicle, by Peggy Fikac, explains how the women’s health program will be funded. According to the story: The state plans to use funds from a Medicaid fraud crackdown and services deemed unnecessary, plus a hiring freeze on administrative positions in health and human…

Blue Bell Introduces Newest Flavor: Summer Strawberry Pie

Jun 25, 2012 By Layne Lynch

Cushioned in the middle of Brenham, Texas, amongst the rolling hills of bluebonnets stands a deliciously creative corporation named Blue Bell Creameries. For over one-hundred years, Blue Bell has been a force behind some of the most beloved ice creams on the market today,…

Who won the Senate debate?

Jun 25, 2012 By Paul Burka

The debate was hosted by KERA in Dallas. Shelley Kofler of the host station, Peggy Fikac of the Express-News and the Chronicle, Ross Ramsey of the Tribune, and Crystal Ayala from Univision were the panelists. The following summary is from notes I took during the debate. It is my best…

Dewhurst for president! Or is it Perry for senate?

Jun 22, 2012 By Paul Burka

Every idea that comes out of the Dewhurst campaign these days is a Rick Perry retread. Dewhurst has been reduced to reciting Perry’s lines. The latest effort to make Dewhurst sound like he is saying something new is a variation on Perry’s “take a sledgehammer to the ways of Washington”…

UT/Trib Poll: Insiders and Outsiders

Jun 21, 2012 By Paul Burka

I was particularly interested in Jim Henson’s article in the Tribune earlier this week. As most readers know, Henson is the guru behind the UT/Texas Tribune poll. It addresses one of the mysteries of our times, which is why Texas voters seem to have very little interest in…

Food Network’s Chopped Heading to Austin for Casting

Jun 21, 2012 By Layne Lynch

Reality television got a gourmet taste of Austin cuisine when Paul Qui won Top Chef Texas, and now it wants more. The Food Network show Chopped  is coming to Austin in July to cast for upcoming episodes of the popular James Beard Award winning show. We talked with Beth…

Dewhurst’s “PAC-man” Web video

Jun 21, 2012 By Paul Burka

It’s entertaining — a PAC-man figure goes through a maze gobbling up campaign contributions to annoying music — but I don’t think it is particularly effective. We live in the post-Citizens United age, and it’s not exactly a secret that politics is awash in cash. It’s been a long time…

Cruz control

Jun 20, 2012 By Paul Burka

The Dewhurst campaign has found some new ammunition it may be able to use against Ted Cruz. It involves a U.S. Supreme Court case in 2008 in which Justice Anthony Kennedy did not know the law. Neither, so it appears, did  Cruz. A week earlier, in the case of Kennedy…