April 3, 2014

San Antonio Book Festival

This Saturday, Alamo City plays host to the second annual San Antonio Book Festival at Central Library ("the big Enchilada") and the Southwest School of Art. Little something for everyone happening downtown, but a couple events stand out, for me at least… 

The Prophets of Smoked Meat, a convo w/ Daniel Vaughn, Texas Monthly's first ever barbecue editor. You'd be right to ask about now… "no-shit?-that-was-actually-an-option?" Apparently so, and Mr Vaughn will take us through it one moist brisket at a time. 

Then a little later in the afternoon is the Literary Death Match at the Empire Theatre. I really have no idea what to expect here but there will be booze and the space is great and we've been promised nothing short of a "lore-making night of high-minded calamity that will change our lives." All that, for ten bucks? I mean, it ain't a gig licking salt and pepper rub off my fingers, but I'll take what I can get.  

March 8, 2014

Marfa Draw

It's been hard settling on the words to define the Marfa trip we took in January. Though it came about by pure happenstance (sat luckily in the winning seat at the right Board meeting), in many ways it was transformative. Making our pilgrimage west, with the right people and the right playlist. Steve Earle's Galway Girl stands out as the song that played just as we crossed over the Pecos River and headed into hours of that forever Texas sky.  

Years ago we spent a water-logged July 4th weekend at the Gage Hotel in Marathon, and so it was that we'd pitstop here for a cocktail before pressing on. Having never been farther than this point it'd be virgin territory for me here on in. So we came into town after sunset and settled into the house on the far end of San Antonio street. 

What Marfa quickly disabuses you of is the notion that you're doing anything unique. That is, outside the fact that you made it there in the first place. It attracts and seems to embrace all comers, whether the sixth generation rancher or the tourist from who-knows-where in red cowboy boots. 

Starting with dinner at at Maiya's and a next day tour at the Chinati Foundation, you start to see a lot of the same faces. I mean, our Friday night waitress was our Saturday morning tour guide. Just one of the charms  of small town life, where as familiarity increases, you get more smiles, then more conversation, then more background, then more common ground and that's where one connects. With the people, with the place. 

Fact is, everyone had made the same trip from different points, and converged here, in this town, for whatever reason, either to live and work, to pass through, to admire and let its allure envelop you. The connection with this place is what will take us back...

February 9, 2014

One Square Mile: Texas

A good look at just a few of the 268,820 square miles in Texas (watch all episodes here)...

This season, OSMTX features nine square miles from across the Lone Star State. These square miles were nominated by PBS viewers and showcase the diversity and spirit of modern day Texas.

January 23, 2014

Introducing: Wrong Side

If you've been reading this here long enough, then you've seen the fits and starts with which my brother and I've been working on our project, Wrong Side. To those of you who know what I'm talking about, then God Bless you you're to be studied admired; we count you as friends, and we are grateful. So please, as friends, indulge us this explanation… 

A couple summers back we were at Caroline Matthews’ southtown factory – Dos Carolinas – getting measured for guayaberas, when we noticed heaps of cast-off fabric scraps… linen and cotton, seersucker, gingham, plaid… all destined for the garbage. Being the optimists that we are, we asked to rummage through to see what might be salvageable in order to give those scraps another life.

That second life came by way of a collaboration of sorts, where we’ve taken this fabric and repurposed it into pocket squares and cocktail napkins. Everything is hand-cut in San Antonio (by yours truly) and sewn in Austin (by WhiteStar Manufacturing).

This is our first collaboration and there will be more to come. But we started with this shirt maker and these manufacturers because they represent well the fabric of our community… the local makers and artisans who inspire us.

So, stop by the site, let us know what you think, subscribe, follow, and for heaven's sake buy something ya beautiful bastards.   

January 7, 2014

Show Me - Marfa

Getting out to Marfa is an event. Truly one of those can't-get-there-from-here sorts of places. Three hours from El Paso. Three hours from Midland. You're better off just driving, at least from where I sit… seven hours away in San Antonio. At that distance the road trip is as much a part of the adventure as the destination. And such a beautiful journey it is, through south and west Texas over terrain not typically seen in the more regularly driven parts. Thing is though, after all that getting-there you'll want to be certain to do things right
We're heading out next week and, knowing just enough to know whom to ask, I sought advice from a friend at Bunkhouse, unequivocal Texas tastemakers and owners of, among other great spaces, El Cosmico in Marfa. Her thoughts, ever so slightly modified...
… I would for sure say to eat at Future Shark and also Grilled Cheese Parlor. I'd also recommend that you check out marfalist.org - this is the community chat board but they often post things going on there (note: I've spend some time on this site. It's like a diner for the Internet). There's a great new Marfa app that has events as well as gossip, which I love. Other than that, of course you should do the Chinati tours if you haven't done those. And get a drink at The Lost Horse. Ty the owner looks like a dead ringer for a young Sam Elliott/Marlboro Man.
So we got that down. Any other ideas, send 'em my way. I'll have plenty of time to read during those seven hours along Hwy 90. 

photo credit: The Collective Qtrly.

December 17, 2013

Iron is Easy

It's the time of year when I don't even bother taking the cast iron skillet off the stove. There's always more chili to make, queso to cook, steaks to fry. Sometime I'll let the drippings sit a day (or two). Quick fill of water, stove on hot, scrape out what's left and you're ready for the next round of… whatever. 

December 12, 2013


Jazz Icons (via - and full set on - Trinity University / KRTU)