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Texas Monthly

Texas Monthly March 2020

Texas Monthly has been the authority on the Texas scene since 1973, covering music, arts, travel, restaurants and events with its insightful recommendations. Above all, Texas Monthly provides its readers with a magazine of the highest editorial quality, a standard that has earned it 10 National Magazine Awards, the industry’s most coveted prize.

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2 min.
father and son

John Quincy Adams is widely—and perhaps apocryphally—quoted as saying, “I am a warrior so that my son may be a merchant so that his son may be a poet.” It’s a noble sentiment, but what if one of your parents is already a distinguished writer? In the case of Peter Holley, our new Houston bureau chief, you become a fine storyteller in your own right. An Austin native and seventh-generation Texan, Peter joined Texas Monthly at the end of December to cover our state’s most important city, as well as business and entrepreneurship statewide. He has since published engaging stories on our website about everything from the self-driving trucks that are rolling into Texas to data that indicate Houston’s cost of living may now rival that of New York City. For the…

3 min.
roar of the crowd

Beto Bummer Although I’m not a Texan, I was so inspired by Beto [O’Rourke]! I guess I still am; he made me better. It’s unfortunate that the Texas Monthly editors chose to bash him [“The Bum Steer Awards,” January 2020] rather than see the positive difference his campaign made in people’s lives. MOLLY L. BONNINGTON, SAGINAW, MICHIGAN So when did [Beto O’Rourke] abandon Texas? When he was—and still is—helping other candidates? When he returned to El Paso after the shooting? … If it is because he did not run for Senate, why aren’t you giving [Julián] Castro the same treatment? ANGELA NELSON, VIA FACEBOOK Kind Regards I admit I was skeptical when I started reading your first collection of “The Best Things in Texas” [January 2020]. But the more I read your list of good things,…

9 min.
eyes on the skies

I can’t believe I’m sleeping out here tonight,” Emily says, as we walk three quarters of a mile down a lonely park road in the dark, our headlamps no match for the impenetrable forest on either side. It’s the same forest we’d found so enchanting just a few hours earlier, when we’d set off on this very road to pitch our tent in a peaceful, blessedly unoccupied campground. The warm sun was then taking its leave from a sky swathed in pale blue and dusty pink, and an enthusiastic group of green jays and chachalacas was extending a loud and lusty welcome. Now it’s close to ten o’clock. We have just returned from nearby McAllen after an inadvisably hearty Mexican meal ordered from an imperfectly translated menu (for Emily, “Smoked…

1 min.
what to see, eat, and do

If you have now become obsessed with winged creatures, the National Butterfly Center is right down the road. Wander among patches of Gregg’s mistflower and seaside heliotrope as you look for a few of the 239 species that have been spotted there, then take the wandering “road” to what the center calls the “Back 70,” where you can see a beautiful stretch of the Rio Grande. About five miles east of Bentsen is La Lomita Chapel (1), a tiny sanctuary rich in history, its altar brightened with flickering veladoras and colorful silk flowers. If you head south from there on FM 494, toward Granjeno, you’ll come upon two of my favorite discoveries, El Vaquero’s Hangout, in the shadow of the Anzalduas International Bridge, and Cabrera’s (2) (a.k.a. the Junk Yard…

6 min.
get ready to be charmed in cibolo

This place better be good,” I muttered to myself as yet another passing eighteen-wheeler rattled the windows of our car. Several friends and I were on our way to dinner, and I was feeling guilty that I had insisted we go to a restaurant in the little town of Cibolo, 25 miles northeast of San Antonio, about a forty-minute drive from the Alamo City on freaking Interstate 35. What was I thinking? Yes, Kindling Texas Kitchen made a lot of sense for my purposes. It had just hired a new head chef, Efren Sandoval, a 36-year-old veteran of the San Francisco restaurant scene who was born in Michoacán. It also had a slightly bizarre backstory, especially for a place named Kindling: the night it opened, a small fire started in…

1 min.
puff daddy

Restaurant: Maria’s Cafe Location: 1105 Nogalitos, San Antonio Taco: Puff-chilada After more than thirty years, Maria’s Cafe is a poorly kept secret that still caters to locals. It’s the kind of place whose customers might complain that a review like this one is “ruining it” for them. Inside the Mexican restaurant, you’ll find Coca-Cola memorabilia, kitschy knickknacks, and a breakfast and lunch menu spread over poster boards, chalkboards, and pieces of paper hung up on whatever space is available. Among the offerings are “super tacos,” tricked-out versions of classic favorites. Consider them the hot rods of tacos, invented by restless cooks and longtime diners. “We have a lot of creations from people who come and like different stuff,” says owner Maria Beza, adding, “My customers can be crazy.” Beza’s daughter, Leslie, is the…