Texas Monthly December 2014 cover fine destination dining

Unless it’s one of the places featured in our December issue cover story. 

Holiday season is upon us, a time when we dream of comfort food of all stripes, goblets of eggnog, or better yet, a scenario when someone else does the cooking for us, and then turns down the bed after a blissful foot-rub. To that end, we compiled a list of ten far-flung travel destinations that specialize in fine dining in first-class style. And be warned: If you make the Wanderer travel a long ways and lay down a king’s ransom to stay at your hotel, your operation better be tight or she’ll call you right out. 

Switching gears, on November 4, when you exercised the privilege of casting a ballot (and if you didn’t, it better be because you voted early!), you may have noticed it was the first gubernatorial election in 12 years that Rick Perry, Texas’s longest-serving governor, wasn’t on the ticket. To help put his tenure in some perspective, I’ve never known another governor of our state in my adult life. For what is probably better context of what those fourteen years really mean, check out this nifty infographic. Speaking of those elections, due to the power of the Internet, the day after the votes were tallied, we released Editor-in-Chief Brian D. Sweany’s unsolicited—though excellent—advice to our governor-elect, Greg Abbott. (And also speaking of free advice you’ll wanna read, this guy dispenses the sage stuff each month.) Senior editor Erica Grieder also unleashed some political knowledge on our readers in the immediate aftermath of the elections, with an in-depth profile of Dan Patrick, our new lieutenant governor, the most powerful elected official in Texas. She also conducted an exit interview with the outgoing guy. 

If you’re not quite ready to look too far ahead into our political future, perhaps you can gaze backwards a bit longer. Learn more about the seventy-year-old murder case that still haunts Texarkana, or Buddy Holly’s famous glasses. Imagine a time when Austin was overrun by tramps, the precursor to hipsters. Or transport yourself back to 1949, when an all-but-forgotten teenager from Houston invented rock and roll. But don’t look back too long lest you fall victim to good-ol’-days syndrome, an affliction currently crippling Radioshack (I mean, c’mon guys, using Weird Al as your holiday spokesman? You can do better than that.)

But, wait, wait, let’s look back just a bit longer. At the year the magnificent Michael Hall has had. It has been a banner year for Mike. He alerted people to “The Greatest Music Producer You’ve Never Heard Of.” He gave a voice to Richard LaFuente, a man who served more than two decades in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He edited a powerful essay written by a man who watched the person who murdered his father be put to death. And before there was Serial, the number-one downloaded podcast in America, Mike wrote a five-part 25,000-word opus reported over the course of a year that’s already been optioned by some Hollywood types. He wrote a beautiful, award-deserving story about fiddling. And then he closes it all out this month with this gripping and powerful tale about Charles Moore, the reverend who set himself on fire in the parking lot of a Dollar General in Grand Saline last year. There’s a ton more Mike wrote this year (seriously, check his contributor page out), so drop him a line and let him know how much you appreciate his excellent journalism. Though he might not respond immediately because he’ll be too busy working. 

The rest of the December issue is fabulous too. Read it from beginning to end. And if you’re consuming it online, on your tablet, or on your phone, please don’t hesitate to email me with questions/comments/concerns.