Texas is vast, and the decisions are wide open when hunger strikes on those long hauls across the state. Sure, you could pull up to the nearest drive-thru window (again), but there’s nothing boldest or grandest about a bag of fast food—especially when exceptional mom-and-pop restaurants are dishing up affordable comfort a little farther down the line. Whether you’re hankering for a taste of home or the meal less traveled, sometimes you just need to get out of the car and into a diner booth.
You’ll find few bar owners as energetic and resourceful as Carolyn Wenglar, proprietor of Houston’s La Carafe and Warren’s Inn downtown.
On May 12 at Austin’s Fair Market, bartender Jen Keyser and her team at Geraldine’s, the bar/restaurant at Hotel Van Zandt in Austin, won the “Official Drink of Austin” contest with a concoction she calls “Far From the Tree.”
In the throes of a Texas summer, when midday temperatures often hover around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, we Texans are prone to note that “it’s so hot you could fry an egg on the sidewalk.” In truth, you can cook with the sun even when it’s cold outside.
In recent years, the town of San Saba—some 100 miles northwest of Austin—has reinvented itself as a tourist destination, complete with shops, restaurants, a B&B, pastoral scenery, and the award-winning Wedding Oak Winery, which opened in 2012 in a historic building downtown.
Lori Moffatt speaks with restaurateur Carmelo Mauro, whose Carmelo’s restaurant in the capital city dates to 1985, about his career path, life in Texas, and what inspired him to bring an accordionist into the fold.
“I spent a good part of my adolescence at the truck stop café, spending time with Tammy Wynette on the jukebox and gum-smacking waitresses, the fry cook in a floppy hat with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.”—Chef Stephan Pyles
After a couple of terrific meals at Laredo’s El Capataz, Lori Moffatt visits with chef and owner Roberto Gonzalez to learn about his influences, his challenges, why he left a renowned Manhattan restaurant to return to the border, and what he likes to do for fun when he’s not making culinary waves in his hometown city of Laredo.