Does Leppert have a political future?

May 13, 2012 By Paul Burka

The race to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison in the United States Senate has not produced any stars. Some national conservative publications ballyhooed Ted Cruz, but ultimately his boomlet was a ripple, not a wave. The only candidate who advanced himself politically (other than Dewhurst, the likely winner) is Tom Leppert.

Cooks Who Draw Inspiration from Their Mothers

May 13, 2012 By Layne Lynch

Numerous Texas chefs credit their profound talents to years of hard work in culinary school, rigorous training alongside great chefs, or hours of sweat equity in restaurant kitchens. Great cooking, however, is not a subject that can be summed up in the span of a few short years in the kitchen; lessons usually begin…

Dewhurst poll: winnable without a runoff

May 10, 2012 By Paul Burka

The Texas Conservatives Fund PAC, an independent expenditure group, polled in the Senate race recently. May 1-7, 800 Republican primary voters, MOE +/- 3.5%. Here were the results: Dewhurst 57% Cruz 16% Leppert 12% James 4% Undecided 11% Positive/Negative Cruz 30/22 Leppert 30/7 James 25/18 The Indiana Senate race is…

Ellise Pierce: Cowgirl Chef

May 10, 2012 By Layne Lynch

In 2007, Ellise Pierce packed up her life in Texas and moved across the world to join her boyfriend in Paris. The idea seemed romantic: a talented freelance writer living in Paris writing by day and cooking Texas-inspired cuisine for her sweet boyfriend by night. Things didn’t pan out.


May 9, 2012 By Paul Burka

A source tells me that UT president Bill Powers may be in danger of losing his job as a result of his opposition to Governor Perry’s insistence on a tuition freeze. After the Perry-appointed regents approved the freeze, Powers expressed strong opposition to the decision, stating, “I am…

Conservative Republicans of Texas poll shows Dewhurst with a big lead

May 8, 2012 By Paul Burka

I wouldn’t put too much stock in this poll, which was commissioned by Conservative Republicans of Texas, a group headed by a prominent social conservative Dr. Steven Hotze. The Dewhurst camp’s fingerprints are all over it. The Houston Chronicle points out that the polling firm (Dresner, Wickers,…

Patrick v. Carona

May 7, 2012 By Paul Burka

I was stunned to read the e-mail exchange between Dan Patrick and John Carona in the Quorum Report’s “Daily Buzz” section, in which Patrick accuses Carona of spreading “rumors and untruths” about him and his wife and the state of their marriage. In a later e-mail, Patrick writes, “I can…

Economist/YouGov poll: “It takes one not to know one”

May 5, 2012 By Paul Burka

The poll’s findings: 41% of conservatives do not regard Romney as a conservative; only 5% regard him as very conservative 43% of liberals do not regard Obama as a liberal; only 8% of liberals regard him as very liberal These findings suggest that both candidates may face an enthusiasm…

Cinco De Mayo Cocktails

May 4, 2012 By Layne Lynch

Tomorrow is the day to put on your finest over-sized derby hats and sombreros and sit in front of the television sipping homemade cocktails for Cinco De Mayo and Derby Day. We’ve put together a list of two cocktail recipes to make at home for the occassion. Texas Heat…

Larry McGuire on Fresa’s, getting sick of food, and a new oyster bar

May 1, 2012 By Layne Lynch

It's hard not to eat at a Larry McGuire project these days – even if it's by accident. The chef-turned-entrepreneur has his hand in a number of Austin's most popular restaurants, including Perla's, Lamberts, Elizabeth Street Café, and, most recently, Fresa's Chicken al Carbon. The young restauranteur sat down with TEXAS MONTHLY to talk about his upcoming projects (including Jeffrey's), his day-to-day life, and why he sometimes just wants fish and rice. What is your day-to-day life like right now? You've taken on so many projects recently. That's kind of a big thing for us right now is figuring out what kind of company we're going to be. I'm still figuring out what my days are really. Do you go from restaurant to restaurant? Yeah. I don't really have a big plan or a big vision of what we want to do. It's almost been real-estate driven. We've had these opportunities to take spaces, and we're always kicking around a concept. When we did Lamberts, we hadn't seen anyone doing barbecue in a new way. People were starting to get into sausage making and charcuterie. We were toying with that and we had both been cooking fine dining, so that's how Lamberts started. After being so meat-centric, that kind of led us to wanting to do a lighter restaurant like Perla's, and we've always been into Asian food, so that's how Elizabeth Street got started. Fresa's is almost like a P-Terry's concept. People say, "You guys borrow so much stuff," and I'm like, "Of course we do." We travel. We eat out. We see what people are doing, and we try to figure out what we need or are missing in Austin. At the end of the day, we're consumers. We wanted to make good handmade food that's fast and convenient when we came up with Fresa's. We don't have this big plan or vision of what we want this company to be. I'm still figuring out what I want to do. I don't really even consider myself a chef that much. I come from a food background, but I'm much more of an entrepreneur now. I was going to ask you about that. How much time do you spend in the kitchen now? At Lamberts, I probably spent a year and a half in the kitchen. I kept a line-cooking shift until we started Perla's. I gave up my Wednesday grill shift. I enjoy line cooking a lot though. I miss that aspect, but at each of these places we're trying to hire neat people. Each restaurant has its own team now. There isn't a whole lot of bouncing around anymore.

Burkablog on break

May 1, 2012 By Paul Burka

I will be on vacation this week and will not be posting while I’m on the road. I will see you back here next week.

Baking tips from Milk Bar’s and Momofuku’s Christina Tosi

May 1, 2012 By Layne Lynch

This weekend at the Austin Food & Wine Festival Christina Tosi of Momofuku and Milk Bar gave attendees a taste of her famous Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies from her book Momofuku Milk Bar. But she also graciously shared some baking tips, including Milk Bar's ten-minute creaming process, milk powder, and why too much butter is never a bad thing. -- "I like to use whole milk. I was raised on skim milk, but whole milk is the best. We get the milk we use at Milk Bar from a local organic dairy farmer." -- "I'm a big proponent of tasting and seasoning to your liking. At Milk Bar when we make big, big bowls of cereal to make our cereal milk, we usually season the milk with a little light brown sugar. The light brown sugar helps season the milk so [well] that it could go in so many different types of cereal... I like to put a pinch of salt in my cereal milk because it helps sharpen the flavor. I'm a big fan of salt in desserts, not to necessarily make it salty and sweet, but just to bring out the flavor and sharpness of the dessert." -- "We use milk powder in our ice cream. I sort of jokingly refer to it as the MSG for pastry chefs because it has this great ability when you put it in baked goods to really give a great depth of flavor."

Build a Better Margarita and They Will Come

Apr 30, 2012 By Patricia Sharpe

Sangrita, tequila, and flavored salts From Jim's session (but they're another story) [caption id="attachment_501703" align="alignleft" width="680"]<img class="size-full wp-image-501703" src="http://www.texasmonthly.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/0515_TEX.jpg" alt="texanist clothing" width="680" height="965" /> Do I need to update my jeans style?[/caption] <strong><span class="dropcap">Q:</span> I have always been “wear and let wear” when it comes…

In Review: The Austin Food & Wine Festival

Apr 30, 2012 By Layne Lynch

For months, a great deal of hype and anticipation surrounded this weekend’s Austin Food & Wine Festival, and yet even before the festival commenced, extensive criticism began plaguing it. Many critics from around Texas and Austin bemoaned the rather pricey tickets: $850 is a pretty penny to have to pay…

Pew: Immigration from Mexico falls to zero–or even less

Apr 27, 2012 By Paul Burka

A report by the Pew Hispanic Center finds that the huge wave of immigration from Mexico not only seems to have come to an end but is also reversing itself. This is a remarkable development, one that would have seemed unthinkable even five years ago. Illegal immigrants are…

The Trib Insider predictions

Apr 26, 2012 By Paul Burka

I’m going to poach off the Trib predictions. —Wentworth vs. Jones/Campbell From the beginning I have been certain that Wentworth would win this race. What’s more, I think it’s important that he do so. TLR is getting too big for its britches. The danger for Wentworth is a runoff…

Public Policy Polling: Dewhurst 38, Cruz 26

Apr 25, 2012 By Paul Burka

My general rule about polls is to accept that polling organizations, including PPP, are good at what they do and they seldom get it wrong. That said, I think they got it wrong. I don’t think this is a twelve-point race. I haven’t seen anything, in the debates…

Public Policy Polling (TX): Romney leads Gingrich, Paul,

Apr 25, 2012 By Paul Burka

Public Policy Polling published its latest survey of Texas politics on Tuesday. Here are the numbers: Texas primay Romney 50% Gingrich 43% Paul 14% Hispanic Voters Obama 56% Romney 34% Young Voters Obama  57% Romney 35% Tea Party voters Romney 44% Gingrich 38% Evangelical voters Romney 40% Gingrich 45%…

Straus plays defense

Apr 24, 2012 By Paul Burka

In addition to his own race for reelection to the House, Straus must fend off challenges to his committee chairs. Eleven chairs face primary opponents, including several who head top-tier committees (Appropriations, Ways & Means, and State Affairs). Conventional wisdom holds that Eissler, Pitts, Hamilton, Hopson, and Truitt have tough…

“Why don’t the state’s business leaders stand up to Perry?”

Apr 23, 2012 By Paul Burka

This was the headline of Patricia Kilday Hart’s strong column in the Houston Chronicle last week. It asks a good question. Her focus is on the Greater Houston Partnership. I asked a similar question a couple of years ago–why isn’t the business community more involved in state government?–and…

Former A&M president, distinguished alumnus, assail regents

Apr 23, 2012 By Paul Burka

Writing in The Eagle, the newspaper for Bryan-College Station, president emeritus Ray Bowen and distinguished alumnus John Hagler charge that A&M regents have “failed the university.” The article appeared on April 21, San Jacinto Day, the most important date on the Aggie calendar. This is the day on…

Chefs on the Austin Food & Wine Festival

Apr 23, 2012 By Layne Lynch

We asked some of the chefs attending the Austin Food & Wine Festival what they are most looking forward to this weekend and here is what they had to say… “I am looking most forward to interacting with some of the…

“Who ran the worst campaign?”

Apr 21, 2012 By Paul Burka

Politicalwire.com has an online poll that asks the question, “Which Republican candidate ran the worst campaign?” The editors write: This isn’t an easy question: Of the Republican presidential candidates, who ran the worst campaign? Explain your answer in the comments. Who ran the worst campaign?…

Specter of Ron Paul invasion haunts Texas Republicans

Apr 20, 2012 By Paul Burka

This email was circulated by a longtime Republican activist: If you are in Travis County proper, we desperately need you to come the the Republican county convention  this Saturday because all hell is breaking loose with the street scum the RP people are recruiting to help them overturn the…

Perry backs Dewhurst for Senate

Apr 20, 2012 By Paul Burka

This ought to end any speculation about whether there is a real contest for Hutchison’s Senate seat. Now there is no race, though there never really had been one from the beginning. Dewhurst was a cinch to win. Too much money, too much name I.D, too insignificant opposition. He was…

The liberals are coming! The liberals are coming!

Apr 19, 2012 By Paul Burka

This following email was sent by Denise McNamara, the former Republican National Committeewoman for Texas: Fellow Conservatives: Our conservative GOP platform is under attack! Under the guise of “simplifying” the RPT platform, liberal activists are organizing in an attempt to gut our conservative planks. It’s time to rally the…

Perry pledge puts lawmakers on the spot

Apr 19, 2012 By Paul Burka

The governor’s support of new fiscal restrictions on state government has one clear effect: undercutting what conservatives achieved in the 82nd Legislature. Perry is essentially saying, “They didn’t do enough, and I will do what they should have done.” In a single stroke, he denies lawmakers credit for the most…

A kinder, gentler political climate? Update: ALEC surrenders

Apr 17, 2012 By Paul Burka

Last week (4/14) I wrote an article, based on several developments that had occurred in recent days, raising the possibility that our overheated politics might be making a turn to the mild side. I mentioned the backlash against Rush Limbaugh for his attack on Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke;…

Dewhurst on the Perry pledge

Apr 17, 2012 By Paul Burka

This is his official statement: “Governor Perry and I have worked closely over the last nine years to limit the size of government and balance the budget without raising taxes on Texas taxpayers.  The budget objectives proposed by Governor Perry will reinforce the fiscally conservative principles that Republicans lawmakers have…

Straus won’t sign Perry pledge

Apr 16, 2012 By Paul Burka

Straus’s statement on the Perry pledge: “Speaker Straus not only agrees with the principles outlined in Governor Perry’s compact but also has delivered results on them, leading the House to balanced, no-new taxes budgets, preserving a strong Rainy Day fund and being one of the only legislators ever to lead…

Grover Norquist Perry

Apr 16, 2012 By Paul Burka

The Texas Tribune had a story yesterday by Ross Ramsey about Perry’s fight to stay relevant (my characterization, not Ramsey’s). From the Trib: On Monday, he will unveil a financial pledge and challenge candidates in Texas to sign on, agreeing to oppose new taxes and tax increases,…

A kinder, gentler political climate?

Apr 14, 2012 By Paul Burka

Is something happening out there? Has a subtle shift occurred in political discourse? Dallas talk radio host Mark Davis is off the air, writes the Star-Telegram‘s Bud Kennedy.  Apparently, WBAP, the station on which he has appeared for the past eighteen years, has been bought by Cumulus Media. Redstate.com is…

Senate hopefuls battle to stalemate in Belo debate

Apr 13, 2012 By Paul Burka

The debate was contentious from the start. The moderator immediately brought up the text message Ted Cruz sent to Craig James a couple of days before the debate, suggesting that James ask Dewhurst why he had chosen to skip 32 candidate forums. James had responded that Cruz was trying to…

Former Lt. Governor Ratliff endorses Lookadoo

Apr 12, 2012 By Paul Burka

Mary Lookadoo, the school superintendent in Mineola, was a late entrant into the race against incumbent Bryan Hughes. Ratliff”s endorsement reads, in part: “I don’t often get involved in campaigns. I was happy to serve my area and my state in the Texas Senate, but have taken a step back…

Tiff’s Treats finally makes it to Houston

Apr 12, 2012 By Layne Lynch

Baking is a courting ritual. For years, boyfriends and girlfriends have crafted homemade cookies, Betty Crocker cakes, and candy confections in the hopes of wooing the object of their desire. In fact, it is this very gesture that lead to the creation of Tiff’s Treats, a…