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Roar of the Crowd

Readers respond to the August 2016 issue.

By September 2016Comments

Three cheers for Spring’s Simone Biles, who at press time had won two gold medals at the Rio Olympics, one for the women’s team all-around and one for the individual all-around. Her electric performances gave us Texans an extra flurry of state (and national) pride—and, not coincidentally, sent another wave of fans to texasmonthly.com to pore over “Gold Rush,” our recent profile of the homegrown gymnast. Notes of congratulations—and awe—soon lit up our Facebook page too: “She is an amazing young woman with a terrific story,” wrote Eugenia Blomstrom. Sheryl Albury added, “So proud of her! She makes Texas proud!” We couldn’t agree more—or have said it better ourselves. 

And now, a sampling of feedback from our readers:

Hamburger Helpers

What space alien judged your fifty hamburgers [“The 50 Greatest Burgers in Texas”]?

Your number one must be a Yankee burger, or an egg sandwich. An egg on a hamburger? And seared pork belly??

And number two? Gruyère and shallot confit? Sweet pickles and foie gras or pork belly??? And then three: poblano peppers, feta, Gouda, and avocado???? And four: pimento cheese????? And five: sliced ribeye and bell peppers??????

What happened to just a Texas burger? Toasted bun. Eighty-twenty beef patty. Lettuce, tomato, onions, and, maybe, pickle slices (never sweet). Cheese (if a cheeseburger).

I’ve been eating Texas hamburgers since I can remember. Have never seen such a Yankee/European mess as your top five.
Carl Wyrick, Big Spring

I fully understand the complexity of actually finding the fifty best hamburgers in Texas. Obviously, it is easier to scour several large cities for such than the entire state of Texas. However, as someone who has done the same thing, only because I was hungry, I can tell you that overlooking mom-and-pop hole-in-the-wall cafes in small towns is akin to looking into a clear West Texas night sky and not finding the Milky Way. And once the taste buds have savored such a treasure as Aunt Rose’s Diner, you will be even more pleased when paying the proprietor upon leaving and receiving change back from a $10 bill.
Bob Hance, Wichita Falls

I received your latest issue and hoped beyond hope that the best-burgers list might include some of the finest veggie burgers in our state. Many of the establishments you’ve highlighted have gone to significant lengths to include homemade, wholly unique, and insanely delicious vegetarian options on their menus, and it would just be right to include some mention of these options for myself and the thousands (if not millions) of my fellow vegetarian Texans to enjoy as we traverse our great state in search of the best burgers, just like our omnivorous comrades. In Dallas, it’s worth mentioning the veggie burgers at Goodfriend Beer Garden & Burger House, Sundown at Granada, and Liberty Burger—all phenomenal.
Will Evans, Dallas

Whata Whataburger

What a hack piece [“How Good Is Whataburger, Anyway?”]. Now that I have read this article, I’m highly suspicious of your choice for the number one burger in the state. Pink on your tiny patty?! Take your happy self to Freddy’s if you want it crispy. Not worth the calories?! Seriously? If you’re worried about the calories, then you shouldn’t have been involved in this taste test.
Chris Frank, via Facebook

I would assume that this test was done at 2 a.m. after the participants had been swilling Lone Star all night.
Pete Klein, via Facebook

I joined the Peace Corps in October 2014, and the hardest part has been no Whataburger. I dream about it. All my friends, even the non-Texans, know the first thing I’ll eat when I get home.
Sheri Alexander, via Facebook

Love me some Whataburger! I travel two and a half hours one way just to get a Whataburger.
Bill Johnston, via Facebook

This means you have six staff members who were not raised on Whataburger, which means they weren’t raised here or were raised by traitors.
Lea Ann Sapp Day, via Facebook

Texan through and through, but I cannot stand these burgers. Sorry!
Holli Ford, via Facebook

Just moved to Texas, and I have to say, Whataburger does not live up to the hype. Try Culver’s if you want to see what a real burger should taste like.
RA Ruplinger, via Facebook

All hail Whataburger!
Lisa Beam, via Facebook

LOL. There are five places within five miles that are better.
Terry Garberding, via Facebook

Is Hillary Clinton running this test?
Huff Nick, via Facebook

Whataburger isn’t just about taste, or cuisine. It’s about tradition. Everybody in Texas, from all walks of life, has Whataburger in common, I’ve found. It just reminds you of home. That will always win.
Rachel Lee Chatterton, via Facebook

The Amazing Space

The scattering of technical errors aside, this was a really great piece [“Countdown to Liftoff”]. I appreciate the chance to see the area through the eyes of a well-spoken native, to feel the sense of potential and what it means to the people who live there. I wish Brownsville well.

I will tell you, Mr. Martinez, I have rarely thought about Brownsville, either good or ill, so your writing provides an important context to the work now taking place at Boca Chica Beach. As for potential negative impacts, they certainly exist. But remember, too, that Kennedy Space Center, out there beyond the horizon from Boca Chica, was built in a similarly fragile area. The wildlife sanctuary that now surrounds the launchpads and buildings is very much alive and teeming with life. Coexistence is possible.
Todd Austin, via texasmonthly.com

Writes of Passage

As I read the August piece [The Texanist], I actually started crying. It is rough enough to know we will never again be blessed by Jack Unruh’s illustrations, but I was certain you were saying goodbye too. I read the final paragraph with great relief.

I am delighted you will be spreading your wings, but understand this, young man: The Texanist is never, ever, ever allowed to retire. Not ever!

Don’t scare us like that! We love you.
Martha Berry, Rowlett

Your change to the Texanist is everything that is wrong with the world today. Change it back or cancel my subscription.
Bronco Broussard, Austin 

Editors’ note:  Last month, a story about the fiftieth anniversary of the Charles Whitman shooting on the University of Texas at Austin campus incorrectly stated the time at which the shooting began and the manner in which Whitman killed his wife and mother. We regret the errors.

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