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Texas Monthly

Texas Monthly April 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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3 min.
the hunger to know

Texas Monthly contributing editor Robert Draper recalls that when his older brother was killed in a motorcycle crash in 1979, his first impulse, after comforting his family, was to learn everything he could about the tragedy. Robert visited the scene, spoke with investigators and witnesses, and studied the police accident report. I had a similar response when my youngest son was killed six years ago, also in a traffic accident. Like Robert, I wasn’t looking for anyone to blame or punish. I just wanted to know the full story, and learning it helped me achieve a measure of peace. That hunger to know exactly what happened—before, during, and after a tragedy—isn’t confined to journalists; it’s common among all witnesses and families of victims. Robert’s cover story in this issue grew out…

7 min.
roar of the crowd

“TEXAS MONTHLY NEEDS TO GIVE ITSELF THE BUM STEER AWARD FOR ITS ONE-SIDED ARTICLE TRYING TO SLAM TIM CROWLEY.” Small Town, Big Support We read the recent article about Tim Crowley [“A Battle for the Soul of Marfa,” February 2020], part of the “Small Towns, Big Money” package, with dismay. We are frankly appalled at what can only be called yellow journalism, a nod toward objectivity with an insidious underlying tone meant to negatively influence the reader’s opinion of Crowley. Having worked with Crowley for almost a decade through our positions at Texas Tech University, we can assure readers that your depiction of him bears no resemblance to the man we know. Tim earned his degree in theater from Texas Tech, and each summer he lets us use his theater and accommodations. Going…

4 min.
room, board, and more

From new construction to renovations of historic properties, Austin’s hotel scene is thriving. The long-awaited Hotel ZaZa opened downtown in September, and two stylish sister properties—the Otis and the AChotels—opened near the University of Texas in February. In late spring, the highly anticipated Hotel Magdalena, from Bunkhouse Group (Hotel San José, El Cosmico), will be ready for guests in the South Congress area. The hotel boom not only gives travelers to the capital more lodging choices, it also brings new restaurant and bar options to lucky locals. Here are three more hotels that are a win-win for Austinites and visitors alike. 1. AUSTIN PROPER HOTEL & RESIDENCES If you feel the gaze of someone (or something) as you approach the Austin Proper Hotel, in downtown’s Second Street District, it’s most likely the…

5 min.
your filthy pit is not “seasoned”

Several years back, I stood next to a steel smoker outside a small barbecue joint and watched the pitmaster retrieve the meats I’d just ordered. As he opened a smoking cabinet to fetch the sausage, I noticed that the inside of the door was coated with a thick layer of black grease. It was the sort of hardened ooze I picture when imagining tar pits that surround fossilized dinosaur remains. When I commented on the sludge, the pitmaster smiled with pride. “That’s seasoning,” he said, before handing me a tray of memorably bad barbecue. ¶ “Seasoning” is a term that gets thrown around in barbecue conversations as often as “falling off the bone.” But it doesn’t mean the same thing for everyone. Sometimes, “seasoned” is shorthand for saying that a…

1 min.
how to clean your smoker

The interior of any well-used smoker is going to gather some grease and soot. That charred, craggy surface shouldn’t be treated as an asset but rather as a potential fire hazard that could also taint the flavor of your barbecue. Early in his career, Aaron Franklin was once chastised by a barbecue joint owner for slamming a smoker door. Too much black stuff was falling onto the meat. “Well, why don’t you clean it?” Franklin wondered. Now that Franklin has a few smokers of his own, he demands a strict cleaning regimen at Franklin Barbecue. The restaurant is closed on Mondays, so after the last smokers are emptied on Sunday, the staff cleans them. The grates are removed and set aside to be rinsed with a hose (throughout the week, the…

5 min.
playing with fire

HESTIA 607 W. Third, Austin 512-333-0737 D Tue–Sun. $$$ Opened December 7, 2019 The first thing you see are the logs, a twelve-foot-tall bank of them stacked snugly in a recess by the host stand. If this were a barbecue joint, nobody would think twice. But Hestia is not a smokehouse. It is Austin’s restaurant of the moment, a sleek venue amid the forest of skyscrapers that is rendering the west side of downtown unrecognizable. The restaurant’s design is edgy and modern, with rough concrete beams and exposed ductwork lending the necessary note of industrial chic. In the 84-seat dining area, booths of chocolate-brown leather face floor-to-ceiling plate-glass windows framing views of massive buildings and winsome little trees. More to the point, Hestia is the domain of two of the city’s…