Texas Lifestyle Summer 2015

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Making Waves With


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Photo by LaPlaya Carmel


Photo by Red Earth


52 Photo by Robin Jerstad/San Antonio Scorpions


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Letter from the editor What is it about summer? The long days? Childhood memories of school being out? Whatever the reason, this issue is packed with ways for you to make your own waves as you scoop up summer fun. The talented and beautiful Angie Harmon knows all about making waves. Known most recently for her leading role in Rizzoli & Isles, we are thrilled to welcome this Highland Park native to the cover of Texas Lifestyle Magazine. If you’re in—or headed to—Houston this summer, look for a warm welcome at two of the region’s best waterparks: The Woodlands Resort and Wet ‘n’ Wild SplashTown, both recently upgraded. In Galveston, the tall ship Elissa will convince even the most confirmed landlubber to take to the waves. And in Austin, explore two of Lady Bird Lake’s waterside gems, the Waller Creek Boathouse and the south shore boardwalk. What to wear this season? Don’t miss our poolside fashion pages!


Julie Tereshchuk


Jason Feinberg

Marika Flatt

Edith Henry


Elaine Krackau


Daniel Ramirez

Ralph Arveson, Paul Bardagiy, Carlos Barron, Nancy Miller

Barton, Scott Campbell, Autumn Rhea Carpenter, Rita Cook, Samantha Cook, Fitz Crittle, Sara D’Spain, Sarah Davis, Sarah Doliver, Cynthia J. Drake, Susan and Julian Garcia Jr., Marsha Gibson, Per Ole Hagen, Hannah M. Hepfer, Matthew Hillier, Michelle Holland, Amy Beth Hopkins, Jody Horton, Linda Hughes, Kelsey James, Robin Jerstad, Paxton Kelly, Veronica Koltuniak, Mike Kordell, Bruce Malone, Kevin Marple, Steve Moakley, Cathy Murphy , Jessica Newman, Leah Fisher Nyfeler, Gabriel Phoenix, Jasmine Richardson, C. Kelly Roberts, Robert A. Rodriguez, Dominique Schreckling, Suzy Shaffer, Beth Shumate, Jennifer Simonson, Allison V. Smith, Kent Squires, Kelly Stevens, Bill Stipp, Charlie Terrell, Michelle Rose Vance, Guillaume de Vaudrey, Brandon Vernon, Terry Vine, Phil West, Sandy



Wilson, Thomas Winslow, Rick Yeatts ART & PRODUCTION WEB DESIGN

Sundaram Design

julie@texaslifestylemag.com SALES & MARKETING Shawn Lively, Mihira Chandrasoma, Lisa Garza

Spring corrections: Page 30: We regret not crediting the following talented individuals: Photographer: Peter Longno; Stylist/Editor: Edith Henry; Illustrator: Alexis Alvarez; Styling Assistant: Alli Rose Hansen; Assistant: Matthew Cameron Aldini; Makeup: Marge Gomez; Hair: Vanessa Resendez; Models: Lailani, The Dragonfly Agency; Rosie. Page 14: the Market at Dallas Farmers’ is now planned to open this fall.




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Lapping it Up Lakeside

Two downtown gems make Austin’s Lady Bird Lake the perfect spot this summer Words and photos by Sarah Doliver

In the heart of downtown Austin, overlooking Lady Bird Lake, Waller Creek Boathouse is a short walk from local hotels, bars, restaurants and hot spots like Rainey Street.

Austin Rowing Club and local boat owners house their craft at the architect-designed boathouse. Sit on the pier to watch morning rowers.

Grab some friends and a spot under an umbrella at ALTA’s, an outdoor café serving wine, craft beer, coffee and locally sourced fare.

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South Shore: The Boardwalk

Stroll, bike or run—your choice.

The 1.2 mile boardwalk, with its seven viewing areas, completes the hike and bike trail, part of Lady Bird Johnson’s vision to beautify Austin.

The I-35 pedestrian bridge offers easy access to the boardwalk. Walk east for the best views of downtown.

Song lyrics “belt it out” along the boardwalk’s railings. The City of Austin’s Art in Public Places commissioned Ken Little to create the 36 western-style belts that pay homage to Texas singers and songwriters.

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Arro Hits the Target By Mike Kordell

Photo by Mike Kordell

Until recently, I never considered myself a big fan of French food. The truth is, I simply hadn’t experienced good French cuisine. Enter Arro, the third restaurant in the expanding empire of Austin-based ELM Restaurant Group. The force behind such local favorites as 24 Diner and Easy Tiger, recently opened Italic, Irene’s (coming late summer 2015), and an expansion of Easy Tiger into North Austin, the ELM camp seems to have the recipe for success. In the two years since opening, Arro has established a solid footprint in the competitive landscape of Austin’s food scene. Andrew Curren, ELM’s Executive Chef and partner, heads up Arro’s kitchen alongside his wife, Mary Catherine, head pastry chef. Chef Drew’s menu is constantly changing – literally. New menus are printed daily and what you had yesterday might not be there today; it all depends on what’s available through the restaurant’s suppliers. Local is preferred but quality reigns supreme. All of Arro’s seafood, for example, is flown in daily from New York through a longtime friend of the chef, while much of the produce is sourced locally through some great Central Texas farms. Some dishes are quintessentially French: frog legs, salad Lyonnaise and duck confit, for example, while others are French more as a function of culinary approach and interpretation: French country-style chicken, frites and aioli (house-cut potatoes and lemon-garlic aioli), and beef tartare served with shallots, capers, anchovy and a quail egg.

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Photo by Veronica Koltuniak

My meal began with the chef ’s board: a selection of charcuterie, cheese, bread, and other delicious bits, all made in-house. Crispy pigs ears, braised pork rillettes, mimolette and strawberry preserves that taste like they were made to order. The second course – frog legs – was my true initiation into French cuisine. As clichéd as it sounds, the meat really does taste like chicken: very mildly flavored. Arro’s secret is in the preparation, executed perfectly with toasted almonds, olives, cherry tomatoes, bitter fennel and a brown butter reduction. The main course absolutely shone: filet au poivre. A pan-roasted filet crusted with peppercorns, served over pommes aligot and grilled broccolini, and topped with a sauce created from its own drippings. This was, hands down, one of the best steaks I’ve had the pleasure of eating. Mark Sayre, Arro’s general manager (and one of the nation’s top sommeliers) expertly paired the dish with a 2011 Syrah. Arro’s entire wine list is French – reds, whites, rosés, sparkling – and is curated by ELM’s Master Sommelier, Craig Collins. With a stellar menu, high quality ingredients, great preparation, and customer service that leaves little to be desired, Arro really hits the target. Bon appétit! 601 W 6TH ST | AUSTIN ARROAUSTIN.COM


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DALLAS By Rita Cook


Your summer begins like every summer should with a little sand, some good food and a lot of tasty beer to wash it all down, right? And, Dallas is the perfect place to do all three as the temperatures rise and good times beckon. Nothing brings a smile like the thought of fresh seafood on the beach with an ice cold, hand-crafted margarita or Mexican brew in hand. C’Viche chef and owner Randall Warder is offering just that at his ceviche and tequila bar on Lower Greenville where it’s a beachside vibe every day. That attitude begins with light airy colors. The weathered décor comes complete with distressed wood, concrete bar and floor, picnic tables outside, communal tables inside and good music. “I opened this restaurant to try something new in Dallas,” Warder says. “People want to eat healthy and they also want indulgence… at C’Viche we offer a bit of both.”

As for the perfect beverage to wash it down, you can expect a wide variety of tequila and mezcal, says Warder. “Tequila is awesome on its own, but also mixes extremely well into a wide variety of cocktails,” explains Warder. Mondays they offer fresh margaritas made with 100% blue agave tequila for just $3. For those in the mood for something besides ocean flavors, there’s the brisket suadero, chicken tinga and several quesadilla choices. Sides include the much-touted street-style corn alongside Texas-inspired additions including avocado fries and brisket poppers. 1922 GREENVILLE AVE | DALLAS CVICHEANDTEQUILA.COM

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Photo by Kevin Marple, courtesy of C’Viche

Ordering is a fun three-step process. First, there’s a choice of fish, scallop, tuna or shrimp offered either chopped or sashimi-style. Then, you get to choose one of four inventive taste combinations: from the Baja with a lime twist, to the flavors of the Islands, with coconut water, orange, pineapple and ginger. Your optional third step is to add this all to a bed of greens to create your personal signature salad.

In fact, the Lakewood brewers have the idea of chilling down to a science and make some of the best craft beer in the Big D. They produce internationally inspired, nationally recognized, locally crafted beer that is offered year-round. They also have seasonal and small-batch brews available. Zomer Pils, their Bavarian-style pilsner, is available May to July, when Punkel (a pumpkin pie dunkel) takes over August to October. The three-year-old brewing company began production and distribution of cans across the Metroplex back in April with Lakewood Lager, Rock Ryder and a new session IPA. Hopochondria is designed with a lower alcohol count for those true hops lovers. The Lakewood Brewing Company experience is as big as its reputation since the facility finished its expansion and now boasts 14,000 square feet. The new taproom now operates like a traditional bar during brewery hours. Tours are still available on Saturday and Sunday. 2302 EXECUTIVE DR | GARLAND LAKEWOODBREWING.COM

Photo by Beth Shumate

Of course, sometimes summer chilling’s not as much about the beach as it is about the beer. Lakewood Brewing Company (intriguingly located in Garland, not Lakewood) has that all figured out for you.

Local Yocal owner Matt Williams takes a Steak 101 class through the world of beef.

Photo by Beth Shumate

Photo Courtesy Lakewood Brewing


Students in Local Yocal’s Steak 101 class are always ready for a taste.

In the Big D, we just love grilling on those long Texas summer afternoons. But to really show you how it’s done right, step on over to McKinney’s Local Yocal. That’s where owner Matt Williams, who grew up on a ranch in Oklahoma, will introduce you to some of the best grass-fed beef out there in his Saturday “Steak 101” class. Priced at $50, Williams takes several hours to teach students how the inspector determines a beef choice, from select to prime. You’ll learn the difference between Angus and Wagyu, and what makes the best tasting beef and cuts. Local Yocal does all its own processing and you can take a look inside the butcher’s room before heading outside with Williams to throw a slab on the grill. All this while he explains the process and then offers bite-size pieces to whet your appetite. Local Yocal is not only a mom and pop meat market with soul, but it’s a one-stop shop where they offer grills for sale, placed temptingly among the pecan oil, eggs, teas and even steak seasoning. You can walk away with a meal and an afternoon that you won’t forget, tasty morsels still lingering in your mind and on your taste buds.

Photo Courtesy Lakewood Brewing


Texas Lifestyle Magazine 15


It’s Amore, and All About the Crust at

VIVO 53 By Rita Cook

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie... Foodies looking for the perfect pizza crust should pick up their (taste) buds and head to Vivo 53, located at The Tower in downtown Fort Worth.

Calling his restaurant the place to find a “great pizza crust,” owner Paul Daneshrad says the Vivo 53 name comes from the number of times he tried to find the right blend for the perfect crust. Thankfully for the rest of us, he finally found what he was looking for. “I can honestly say our dough is truly unique, which is why it took three master bakers over two states, two continents and four years to develop and perfect,” says Daneshrad. Daneshrad was determined it be crispy, but with a little softness and chew. It had to have a good structure and not get soggy. And it had to have its own well-balanced flavor, even without any toppings. “The exact rise and flakiness, crunch, soft buttery interior and rich taste” is how the determined restaurateur, who put himself through school waiting tables, summarizes the goal of his long journey.

Photo by Guillaume de Vaudrey

That third and final master baker in Oregon “nailed it,” says Daneshrad. “He is a savant with dough.”

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selection. The owner’s personal favorite is the Vivo truffle fettuccine (fettuccine truffle bolognese, white truffle oil).

End your visit to this Italian haven with Vivo 53’s not-to-be-missed classic: café affogato - white chocolate ice cream, hot espresso, whipped cream, crushed chocolate covered espresso beans and crumbled almond biscotti. Other decadent desserts also beckon, including the homemade ice cream sandwich (chocolate shortbread cookie and amaretto ice cream) or the dolce crema bruciata—which, at Vivo 53, translates to vanilla custard, a crackling sugar crust and fresh berries. Daneshrad says he decided to establish the first Vivo 53 in Fort Worth because of the city’s evolving food scene, which is increasingly becoming “more sophisticated. We thought that our artisan pizza, unique bakery dough and true Italian dishes would do great here.” His sites are set further afield for future expansion, however. With his business partner, Scott Gilkey, hailing from Seattle, Vivo 53 will head northwest for its second location, says Daneshrad. 525 TAYLOR ST | FORT WORTH VIVO53.COM

It seems only right then, that Vivo 53’s wood-fired pizza oven sits in all its glory in the center of the restaurant, encased in white tile. A sleek and stylishly honed metal bar gives diners front-row seating. The menu is what can only be described as a true abundance of delight. Consider the chicken liver bruschetta or try the cured meats and imported cheese

Photo byVivo 53


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Get Wet By Autumn Rhea Carpenter

‘n’ Wild This Summer

Experience a white water journey with plenty of twists and turns.

Certain traditions mark the beginning of summer such as backyard barbecues, lazy mornings, an increased mosquito population and errant ice pop sticks littering the back porch. But nothing ushers in the favored season more than a waterpark visit. This summer, make summer memories at Houston’s recently renovated 53-acre, two million gallon Wet ‘n’ Wild SplashTown. Waterparkers can purchase a one-day ticket ($34.99; $30.99 for guests under 48 inches) or an individual season pass ($69.99) depending on their dedication to fun. Music ranging from Toby Keith to Adam Levine fills the park, bouncing off the Caribbean-style atmosphere including its bright blue, green and pink walls. The diverse swimsuit choices don’t usually shock and dismay, while there will be a few unfortunate fashion decisions that make grandmother blush. As the gates open at 10 a.m., a wonderland of endless summer entertainment is unveiled. After the requisite debate about whether a child’s height has reached the desired number of 48 inches has occurred, ride decisions are made. The area’s largest waterpark offers several thrill rides, including a five-story whitewater family ride called The Big Kahuna and the double FlowRider, which invites guests to surf simulated waves at 35

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Catch a 35 mph simulated wave on the double FlowRider.

mph. The Zoom Flume, a 95-foot tandem semi-enclosed tube slide, gives visitors the perception that light flashes while they rush through the slippery ride. Guests stepping into the glass enclosure of the properly named Brain Drain are offered a 333-foot overview of the park right before the floor drops and a spinning world is revealed. If riding a tornado sounds fun, daring guests can willfully slide down a 132-foot tunnel and be spit out into a giant funnel amongst 5,000 gallons of water. There are more opportunities to get waterlogged in the wave pool and a lazy river. Younger visitors experience their own thrills at Wet ‘n’ Wild Jr. with an exclusive toddler-only play zone, a double body slide, a gushing spray tower and an activity pool with a waterfall, geysers and a rope swing. Attentive lifeguards clad in red swimsuits stand at attention at each ride. An emergency medical technician is always onsite, as well as police officers and security staff who roam the park.

Younger waterpark visitors find their own thrills underneath the three-story tree house and its 1,000-gallon bucket that soaks everyone below.

After the last tube has flipped backwards, adults can find respite with a tropical frozen drink underneath a private cabana. Kids enjoy a wide selection of sweets, including Dippin’ Dots, Icees and novelty ice cream. In addition to traditional water fun, Wet ‘n’ Wild SplashTown offers several summer events, including a Hispanic festival, dive-in movies in July, Boy Scout Day, Texas Fest, Deaf Awareness Day and Autism Awareness Day in August. 21300 INTERSTATE 45 N | SPRING WETNWILDSPLASHTOWN.COM

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Best Eats on Houston’s Streets, Trailer-Style

Words and photos by Paxton Kelly

The Waffle Bus The Waffle Bus doesn’t serve your basic Belgian breakfast waffle topped with blueberries and sprinkled powdered sugar. Instead, your choice of beef, chicken, salmon or various sweet eats are compressed between two crispy waffles drizzled in either sweet or spicy sauces, creating tasty sandwiches to be enjoyed at any time of the day. If you’re looking to add on a savory side, the chicken and waffle Fryders dipped in honey mustard are delectable. THEWAFFLEBUS.COM @THEWAFFLEBUS

The Golden Grill Proudly known as “Houston’s Original Grilled Cheese Truck,” The Golden Grill serves a variety of cheesy concoctions that any lover of grilled cheese sandwiches would scour the city to find. From their carnitas sandwich, made with layers of roasted pork and Monterrey cheese, sandwiched with pickles and apple jam, to hot cheesy tots topped with salty bacon bits: cheese heaven. GOLDENGRILLHTX.COM @GOLDENGRILLHTX

Koagie Hots Nothing screams Korean street cuisine better than Koagie Hots food truck. Specializing in cheesesteaks and hot dogs, Koagie Hots accentuates their specialty items with Korean influences like kimchi and Korean BBQ rib-eye. One dog that has everyone talking is the Avo Dog, covered in dollops of avocado, feta cheese, bacon and a layer of spicy mustard. KOAGIEHOTS.COM @KOAGIEHOTS

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Chocolate Wasted Ice Cream Bus Bernie’s Burger Bus If the creative school-themed menu doesn’t have you giving Bernie’s Burger Bus an A+, then a single bite into one of their handcrafted burgers will. The Principal, a classic burger covered in melted cheese with homemade condiments and fresh toppings, is a fan favorite. Throw in an “Elective” like a fried egg or tipsy onions for an extra kick; then add an “Extracurricular” like the truffle-laced hand-cut fries sprinkled with Parmesan and green onions.

Who wants to get chocolate wasted? If so, then the good people at the Chocolate Wasted Ice Cream Bus can help you out. Their creamy sweets and frozen treats are all artisan made with the highest quality of ingredients. Try the creamy spiced rice pudding popsicle or build your own giant ice cream cookie sandwich topped with Nutella and marshmallows. @CHOCOLAWASTED


Pi Pizza Truck You can always expect to try something new when you visit Pi Pizza Truck, because the menu rotates weekly through a list of over 90 gourmet pizza options. Try a more exotic pizza like the Arabian Nights, topped with bahar-spiced lamb, roasted pistachio mint pesto, feta, and tzatziki sauce. If you’re wanting simple, but flavorful, a slice of the Sopressata So Good topped with soppressata salami will hit the spot. @PIPIZZATRUCK

St John’s Fire

Eatsie Boys

The Gulf Coast isn’t the shortest of drives from the Bayou City, especially when you’re simply in the mood for some authentic Gulf seafood. No worries. St. John’s Fire brings Gulf Coast specialties to the Greater Houston area. The tantalizing smell from the Hot & Crunchy Chicken Sandwich, decked in Applewood bacon, brie and fig preserves on ciabatta bread, will have your mouth watering for days, but it’s the crawfish mac & cheese that will leave you desperate for more.

The Eatsie Boys are the talk of the town and that’s not solely due to the metallic gold coloring of their Intergalactic Food Truck. Serving up the best late night eats on the streets from Philly cheesesteaks with 8th Wonder beer cheese whiz to finger lickin’ good french fried potatoes. The Eatsie Boys pride themselves on their relationships with local businesses, like 8th Wonder Brewery. They are normally parked outside and have partnered with the brewers on a craft beer project.


EATSIEBOYS.COM @EATSIEBOYS Check truck websites or social media for location and menu updates.

Texas Lifestyle Magazine 21


The Woodlands Resort

By Samantha Cook

The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center has packed lots of family fun into the recent $75 million renovation.

Most Texas urban areas are full of concrete and high rises, which makes The Woodlands, 30 minutes north of Houston, a land apart from others. You may not have even realized that you’ve driven through The Woodlands because the tree-filled suburb discretely hides nearly every business and home. Finding The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center is what Google Maps was made for—because The Woodlands lies among 28,000 acres of forest preserve. Built several decades ago as a hub for big business (think oil and gas) conferences, The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center recently completed a $75 million renovation (guest rooms included), adding fun for the whole family in the way of the Forest Oasis Waterscape and Lazy River. The resort is nicely spread out to accommodate 18 holes of golf, a tennis center, ample dining options, comfortably appointed rooms and the mini water park. If you’re traveling with kids, ask for rooms that straddle the waterpark and golf course, which suits the kids and adults alike. Hours of fun can be had at two-story slides, the heated lagoon pool and lazy river, which features a wave pool mechanism and its own separate slide. Adults will relish the ample shade and the Cool Water Café poolside.

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If you’re there for an adults-only visit, enjoy a quiet dinner at Robard’s steakhouse in the main resort building and visit the spa and fitness center on the second floor. If you venture off the resort, you can discover— amid the trees—The Woodlands’ 194 miles of hike-and-bike trails and the 1,700 acre George Mitchell Nature Preserve.

The Woodlands resort offers a 30-foot tower equipped with a double-helix water slide, a waterfall and an underwater marine mural.

Southern Living named The Woodlands “One of America’s Best Shopping Destinations” because of The Woodlands Mall, which is near the burgeoning outdoor Market area along The Woodlands Waterway. This area is full of dining options from open-air patios to celebrity chef restaurants. Back at The Woodlands Resort, you’ll find your accommodations ultra comfortable and welcoming. You’ll be able to make plenty of your own waves, whether you choose to splash off the slides, play water basketball or sun on your tube in the lazy river. However you spend your time, you’ll find yourself loving one of America’s “Coolest Suburbs Worth a Visit,” as named by Travel + Leisure Magazine. 2301 N MILLBEND DRIVE | THE WOODLANDS WOODLANDSRESORT.COM VISITTHEWOODLANDS.COM

Enjoy a succulent cut off the bone in Porterhouse at Robard’s Steakhouse.


24 Hours at Hotel Havana

Photos by Allison V. Smith

By Hannah M. Hepfer

If Hotel Havana were a celebrity, it would be Johnny Depp: a bit mysterious while embodying a cardinal rule of cool — never try too hard to impress. Dim lighting, a mellow vibe, and a streamlined aesthetic that combines Mediterranean Revival design with pan-Latin accents meld into the allure of Hotel Havana. 4:00 p.m. Check-In Step inside the 27-room property situated at Museum Ranch, a quiet part of San Antonio’s River Walk. The building, originally constructed in 1914 by a grocer as a hotel for his buyers, changed ownership a handful of times before being listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. Hotelier Liz Lambert restored it in 2010, blending its Old World charm with present-day style. 5:00 p.m. Unpack There’s a room option for all budgets — from the modestly-priced studios at $115 (the first to sell out) — to the split-level 600-squarefoot penthouse suite at $535. (Add tax to both rates.) Each room is unique; every bed frame, lamp, desk and chair in the hotel is different. The Bastrop pine floors are strewn with Turkish, vintage and hemp rugs. The color scheme is warm — a chesterfield sofa in orange velvet is placed next to an antique red leather chair. A small Tivoli radio sits next to the bed and the 10-foot walls are punctuated with a single piece of vintage Cuban artwork.

6:00 p.m. Graze After unpacking, nibble from the mini-bar, sampling locally sourced noshes like spicy Borsellino and Marcona almonds. 7:00 p.m. Dine Enter Ocho, the hotel’s glass and steelenclosed restaurant perched over the River Walk. Large chandeliers hang along the length of the corridor-shaped space. One side is exposed brick, the other a glass wall overlooking the water. In warmer months, the glass opens up so that guests can dine al fresco and watch river parades drift by. Order the Havana Margarita, followed by the Havana Cubano, which is stuffed with achiote roasted pork shoulder and griddled ham. 9:00 p.m. Sway Soak in the tunes from Havana Hi-Fi — a weekly music program of rotating DJs — who spin psychedelic soul, funk and Afro-Latin sounds on the restaurant’s courtyard. 10:00 p.m. Imbibe Make your way to the second bar — a cavernously romantic, candle-lit den in the hotel’s basement. Sip a craft cocktail or choose from the extensive wine list curated from regions in France, Spain, and South America. Midnight: Doze Return to your room and drift off on feather pillows and a custom-made linen bedspread.

10:00 a.m. Awake Laze awhile and order room service — choices include sweet plantain griddle cakes and toasted bolillo with blackberry butter. Then ride off the indulgences with the hotel’s bike rental program — or maybe just settle in and book another night. 1015 NAVARRO ST | SAN ANTONIO HAVANASANANTONIO.COM

About Town Time your stay to see a performance at the new Tobin Center for Performing Arts — located a mere 500-feet away. The architectural stunner features the symphony, ballet, opera, comedy shows, and music for all tastes. Also nearby is Artpace — an 18,000 squarefoot artist’s residency and exhibition gallery. 445 N MAIN AVE | SAN ANTONIO ARTPACE.ORG 110 AUDITORIUM CIRCLE | SAN ANTONIO TOBINCENTER.ORG

Texas Lifestyle Magazine 23


A Tasty Taste of New Orleans in the Alamo City

Photo by Terry Vine

Photos by Besh Restaurant Group

By Sara D’Spain

If you’re looking for a little bit of the Big Easy in SA, then Lüke has all that jazz. Located on the River Walk, Lüke is a John Besh restaurant doing some pretty impressive things in the kitchen.

Adding to the unique dining experience, Lüke has teamed up with spectacular guest chefs from the John Besh Restaurant Group, having each visiting chef create a themed, multi-course meal.

At Lüke you’ll find the perfect mix of New Orleans and San Antonio. Flip-flops or heels, tuxes or guayabera, it’s all welcome here. And just like in NOLA, the coastal cuisine can’t be missed. Chef John Russ works with only the freshest ingredients, often adding masterful creations to the menu’s tried-and-true favorites.

Past visitors include Brian Landry of New Orleans’ Borgne, Diego Galicia of Mixtli in San Antonio, and Erick Loos of La Provence, located in Lacombe, Louisiana.

Guests sit in the open dining area overlooking the River Walk, or right along the water outside. Despite the gourmet menu, Lüke has an effortlessly cool vibe. Just like the Big Easy, it’s all about sitting back, appreciating some jazz music, and enjoying a spectacular meal. With Chef Russ, every dish has a story. He knows where every ingredient comes from and, as much as possible, he buys local - often from the Pearl Market just down the street. Texas favorites making an appearance on the menu are the country fried Bandera quail, Poteet strawberry parfait, and local beers from Alamo and Blue Star breweries. If he goes beyond Texas, there’s a reason. According to everyone at Lüke, no one does bacon like Allan Benton from Tennessee, and you owe it to yourself to try oysters from Maine, Massachusetts and New York to compare to our own Texas Gulf Coasters. Spoiler alert: everything is bigger in Texas. In addition to traditional Louisiana cuisine like the savory and spicy shrimp and grits, Chef Russ gives a nod to German heritage with dishes like Flammenkuchen (Alsatian onion torte, Benton’s bacon and Emmenthaler cheese). It’s fair to say that dining at Lüke is a more than a meal; it’s an event.

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This summer, Lüke hosts Chef Kelly Fields, executive pastry chef of Besh Restaurant Group, and Chef Todd Pulsinelli of Restaurant August. Tickets, around $100, are available online. 125 E HOUSTON ST | SAN ANTONIO LUKESANANTONIO.COM

TLM Recommends Starters: Blue Star Spire Stout and oysters on the half shell try some of each: Gulf Coast, Maine, New York and Massachusetts. Mains: Jumbo Louisiana shrimp and grits - spicy enough to need a Blue Star Texican to go with it! Sweets: Brendan’s bread pudding - you’ll want to order seconds of this dessert. And thirds.

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At the Crossroads: Cuero’s Chisholm Trail Museum By Nancy Miller Barton

Photos courtesy Paul Bardagiy The museum sits on a vibrant part of Cuero’s main drag.

Essential to the move north, the chuck wagon on display is made in part of authentic wagon pieces.

Pop quiz: Do you know what Fuzzy Guzzy, Pie Bitter or even a Dogie are?

You’ll learn life on the trail was tough. It took months to drive cattle north, the food became repetitive (buns and sow belly), and the weather harsh. A haircut became a luxury. But it worked for the people of Cuero.

Stop a spell at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Museum in Cuero and you’ll be well-versed on not only cowboy lingo, but the history of ranching and cattle drives that changed the Guadalupe River Valley after the Civil War. The Chisholm Trail Museum sits on the main drag in Cuero. Ask pretty much any Texan and they’ll say they’ve driven through the town of 6,800, likely on Highway 183 headed to the coast. It sits at a crossroads. Picture an Austin-Houston-San Antonio triangle. Cuero is essentially right in the middle, about a two-hour drive from each. And, it’s more than a pass-through. “It was a wild west town after the Civil War,” says museum volunteer Sue Sulsar. “There were lots of people with lots of cattle but not a cent.” When she says “wild west” she means “thieving and cattle rustling.” But they were also a resilient brood and saw a need. On April 1st 1866, the first cattle drive left from Cuero. There was a market for beef in the north and the town became a feeder on the Chisholm Trail. Exhibits show off cowboy boots, spurs, branding irons and other authentic tools of the trade. The chuck wagon exhibit is interactive.

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“Families here picked themselves up by their bootstraps and survived,” says volunteer Tempi McLeod. One hundred and fifty years later, Cuero residents still tug those bootstraps. The Chisholm Trail Museum exemplifies that can-do spirit. It was the brainchild of resident Robert Oliver that took dedication, donations and drive to get the museum doors opened about a year and a half ago. Estimate about an hour to tour the museum. Afterwards, consider lunch at Rosie’s Mexican Restaurant on Esplanade where you may rub elbows with today’s cowboys. (The livestock auction runs Fridays.) Then, saunter over to Wagner’s Hardware, which is as much about nails and rain boots as it is a fun and funky gift shop. The original pine floorboards from 1945 are still there. As for the pop quiz: a gambling game, a horse that forages in the camp kitchen, and an underfed calf. 202 N ESPLANADE | CUERO CHISHOLMTRAILMUSEUM.ORG


The Hill Country Science Mill Words and photos by Elaine Krackau

Legend has it that a young Lyndon B. Johnson snuck into the old flour mill at night to cause mischief. Now, those same walls are still filled with children’s laughter as families explore Johnson City’s newest gem, the Hill Country Science Mill. Built in 1880 as a steam grist mill and cotton gin, then converted to a flour mill and eventually into a feed mill, the silos that dot the intersection at Hwy 290 and Lady Bird Lane have been a landmark in Johnson City for more than a century, even enjoying a stint as a dining and entertainment venue. Resurrected by husband and wife Bob Elde and Bonnie Baskin, the site is now home to the Hill Country Science Mill, a science center that opened its doors on Valentine’s Day of this year. It’s no surprise that Elde, retired Dean of the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota, and Baskin, founder of two biotech companies, are passionate about bringing science education and opportunity to children. Elde says his wife “envisioned a new way to inspire young people to imagine themselves in careers in science and engineering – especially young women and those who may have no role models.” The couple has done a beautiful job of maintaining the integrity of the original structure. They’ve been able to preserve each stage of the evolution of the mill, from using reclaimed wood for the lobby flooring, to the original walls and limestone and the original silos. “These buildings were state-of-the-art in their time; we tried to honor those designs and materials,” says Elde.

As they arrive, each guest receives an “Avatar Passport” and, after custom designing their avatar, can scan the passport and check in at the tablets that accompany each exhibit. Exhibits include programmable robotic animals called Critter Bots, a digital periodic table through which you create animated compounds, a virtual human body for little doctors to explore and even Mindball, a brain wave experiment. Three of the six silos (14 feet in diameter and 40 feet high), house exhibits, with a fourth silo exhibit planned for later this year. There is a large toddler play area, a 3-D movie (free with admission) and, the highlight of the trip, an amazing bio lab featuring zebrafish, an important species as it’s a model organism for biomedical research on cancer, heart disease and neuroscience. Grab a snack at the attached Lady Bird Lane Café and visit the gift shop to round out the experience. A family trip to Hill Country Science Mill is absolutely worth the drive. “We believe it is important to lift up the incredible power of curiosity and creativity–traits embedded in the brain of every child,” says Elde. “These traits are not only the most important factors in scientific problem-solving, they are also the root of humankind’s art, music and expressive capacity.” 101 S LADY BIRD LANE | JOHNSON CITY SCIENCEMILL.ORG

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Texas-Born and Brewed: A Kombucha Round-Up By Hannah M. Hepfer

Kombucha – a fermented tea brewed with a culture of bacteria, yeast, sugar and fruit juice – has seen a meteoric rise in popularity. Its taste – sweet, sour, effervescent and vinegary all at once – can be polarizing, but enthusiasts claim that it boosts immunity, increases energy and aids digestion.

Kosmic Kombucha, Austin

Holy Kombucha, Fort Worth When Theresa Pham and Leo Bienati began brewing kombucha in 2011, they suspected they were on to something good. But, the distinct taste provoked mixed responses. However, the couple kept at it and their business was born. They began to sell at Central Market, BuzzBrews, Green Spot and others. The company now has nine staff and owns a commercial kitchen. Pham cites the use of social media by millennials as a major driver of sales. HOLYKOMBUCHA.COM

Live Soda, Austin Founder of Live Soda Trevor Ross had already produced two popular health food items — the Oatmega bar and the Perfect Fit Protein Cookie. But, mourning the loss of his sister motivated him to find additional ways to keep his family healthy. He thought if he could produce a beverage with the flavor of soda and the health benefits of kombucha, it would inspire his dad and others to give up their sugary soda habit. Ross launched Live Soda in 2013 – with flavors like Pure Doctor, Culture Cola, and Revive Rootbeer. He attributes his success in part to old-time nostalgia. “It’s a throwback to what soda originally was,” he says. LIVESODAKOMBUCHA.COM

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For Omar and Mina Rios, building strong relationships with local businesses has been central to the company’s plan. They partnered with Thai restaurant Sway to develop Sway Home Brew — ­ kombucha with lemongrass and coconut water to complement the restaurant’s entrees. They’ve also collaborated with JuiceLand, Farm to Market Grocery, People’s Pharmacy and others to develop exclusive flavors. Does the couple get tired of drinking kombucha? “We still drink it everyday,” says Omar. “Even our toddler loves it!” KOSMICKOMBUCHA.COM

Kickin’ Kombucha, Houston After breaking his leg in 2010, Jiu Jitsu trainer Robert Lopez needed a hobby to keep from going stir-crazy while he recovered at home. A big tea drinker and a former culinary school student, he began brewing kombucha in his kitchen. Coincidentally, a friend had also just started brewing. The two joined forces and their first 35 bottles sold out in minutes to family and friends. A local coffee shop agreed to carry it and soon after their tea got placed in Whole Foods. Each bottle has a blend of 13 teas and uses all fresh ingredients. The company makes sustainability a priority; they compost spent tea, run a bottle return program and strive to source everything locally. KICKINKOMBUCHA.COM


Ship Ahoy! By Julie Tereshchuk

Photo Courtesy Galveston Historical Foundation

Head over to Pier 21 at Galveston’s Texas Seaport Museum and drink in a rare sight: Elissa, a three-masted, iron-hulled sailing ship with over one-quarter of an acre of canvas in her 19 sails. Measuring 205 feet from her stern to the tip of her jib boom and over 99 feet at the main mast, Elissa is not a tall ship replica; nor is she a mere artifact from a bygone era. Rather, she is a true survivor. Built in 1877 in Aberdeen, Scotland, Elissa is a fully functional vessel that continues to sail annually during sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico. Her checkered past includes a 90-year commercial history and being rescued from a scrap yard in Piraeus Harbor, Greece. Today, thanks

to Galveston Historical Foundation and hundreds of dedicated volunteers who keep her seaworthy and train each year to sail her, Elissa and the art of 19th century square-rigged sailing are alive and well. Self-guided audio tours are available for visitors to learn more about the ship as they walk onboard and throughout the National Historic Landmark. Although her annual day-sail series is by invitation only, youth and adults can become part of the Elissa crew and learn how to sail this grand old lady of the sea. PIER 21, #8 | GALVESTON GALVESTONHISTORY.ORG

Texas Lifestyle Magazine 29


Find Your Wild on the Lone Star Hiking Trail

Photo from Wild courtesy Fox Searchlight

By Leah Fisher Nyfeler

Enchanted by the sweeping vistas in Reese Witherspoon’s movie, Wild? Waiting impatiently for Robert Redford’s adaptation of the travel classic, A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail, in which author Bill Bryson recounts his adventures with bears, blisters, and candy bars? If so, it may be that you’ve developed an itch for thru-hiking. Did you know that you can scratch that long-distance trail itch right here in Texas? That’s right—the state’s longest continuous footpath, the Lone Star Hiking Trail (LSHT), traverses a total of 128 miles (including loop trails), winding its way through Sam Houston National Forest just 50 miles outside of Houston, and covering three counties. Thru-hiking refers to a self-supported, continuous hike, from one

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trailhead to the other end. Neither Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, or Bryson were experienced hikers, nor did they actually cover the complete distance of their respective trails. Thru-hiking trails such as the PCT and AT are a huge, expensive, and time-consuming undertaking, so it makes sense to build skills and practice before attempting a thousand-mile journey. That’s where local resources come in handy. While the LSHT is handily accessed from most of the state, the true benefit lies in its most ardent fans, members of The Lone Star Hiking Trail Club (LSHTC). The LSHTC was formed specifically to “educate the public about location, use and needs of the hiking trails of Texas, with emphasis on the Lone Star Hiking Trail.” The club celebrated its 20th anniversary on June 6, 2015—National Trails Day. Members volunteer their time


to maintain and improve the trails, but where the club truly excels is in its invaluable guided hikes. Every second and fourth Saturday of the month, LSHTC members get out on the trail, hiking different sections with any who care to come along. These guided outings are free, though membership in the club is inexpensive and provides funds for a variety of beneficial projects, such as installing route signs and creating campsites—projects enacted and completed by club volunteers. For those new to being out on trails, the best way to acquire skills is through mentoring. Learning what kind of equipment—packs, shoes (remember the first scene of the movie?), camping gear, hiking poles—works best and just how to carry it can help avoid painful scenarios such as Strayed’s struggles with her 50-pound backpack, nicknamed “Monster.” Cathy Murphy, one of the original LSHTC board members and a current volunteer, has been hiking the trail since 1992. “This year, there has been an increasing number of thru-hikers,” Murphy said. “I believe this is due to the opening of 12 new designated campsites along the LSHT that can be used by hikers during hunting season.” She also feels that close proximity to and easy access from Houston has helped build traffic on the trail. Still, the LSHT is a relatively undiscovered hiking treasure, not frequently travelled. An avid trail runner, I have only found one person so far who has experience on the LSHT. Murphy recalled that, “On group hikes, it is always a treat to run into folks on the trail heading in the opposite directions. On our last hike in April in the Big Creek Scenic Area, we ran into a large group of birders who had come all the way from Washington State.” What’s a group hike like? “We generally have from 15 to 20 participants, a mix of members, experienced and new hikers, and folks just checking us out,” explained Murphy. “Hikes are at moderate pace and lead by a knowledgeable, experienced club member. We hike all sections of the trail over the course of a year.” In 2014, the club guided 962 hikers over 7,602 miles (an average of 7.9 miles per event) and covered the entire LSHT some 10 times. It can be easy for inexperienced hikers to run into trouble. Murphy said that the number one mistake made by new LSHT hikers is bringing insufficient water during hot months, April through September (she advises carrying at least two liters of water in a hydration pack). During warmer months, guided hikes are shorter, about 5 to 6 miles in length, while cooler weather excursions range from 6 to 8 miles. Though water is available along the trail, it’s important to know just where and when that potable water can be found.


Photo by Cathy Murphy, LSHTC

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MAKING WAVES MAKING WAVES Make your own waves this summer with statement necklaces, bright summer shades in the season’s hot color trends, cool fabrics and flowing silhouettes.


MICHELLE BIKINI TOP: GIANNI BINI, Dillard’s, Hill Country Galleria SWEATSHIRT: CALVIN KLEIN, Dillard’s, Hill Country Galleria LINEN PANT: CHELSEA & VIOLET, Dillard’s, Hill Country Galleria HAT: MAGID HATS, Runway Seven, Hill Country Galleria RING: BEEHIVE, Austin SHOES: GIANNI BINI, Dillard’s, Hill Country Galleria

AMY BETH FRINGE BIKINI TOP: GIANNI BINI, Dillard’s, Hill Country Galleria SKIRT: BUFFALO DAVID BITTON, Dillard’s, Hill Country Galleria RING: RUNWAY SEVEN, Hill Country Galleria NECKLACE: B. STELLAR, Poly and Grace, Hill Country Galleria SHOES: GIANNI BINI, Dillard’s, Hill Country Galleria

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MICHELLE JUMPSUIT: EVA VARRO, Young & Fabulous, Hill Country Galleria NECKLACE: ROCO, Poly and Grace, Hill Country Galleria SHOES: MODEL’S OWN AMY BETH ROMPER: RINGUET, Poly and Grace, Hill Country Galleria RING: Poly and Grace, Hill Country Galleria SHOES: JESSICA SIMPSON, Dillard’s, Hill Country Galleria CLUTCH: KATE LANDRY, Dillard’s, Hill Country Galleria EARRINGS: NATASHA, Dillard’s, Hill Country Galleria

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MICHELLE ROMPER: BLACK HALO, Poly and Grace, Hill Country Galleria SCARF: EILEEN FISHER, Dillard’s, Hill Country Galleria NECKLACE: K/LLER, Poly and Grace, Hill Country Galleria BRACELET: DILLARD’S, Hill Country Galleria HANDBAG: KATE LANDRY, Dillard’s, Hill Country Galleria AMY BETH TOP: NAKED ZEBRA, Beehive SKIRT: DO & BE, Beehive NECKLACES: Dillard’s, Hill Country Galleria SHOES: GIANNI BINI, Dillard’s, Hill Country Galleria BRACELET: Dillard’s, Hill Country Galleria

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MICHELLE DRESS: BCBG, Poly and Grace, Hill Country Galleria NECKLACE: CHAN LUU, Poly and Grace, Hill Country Galleria AMY BETH DRESS: KARINA GRIMALDI, Poly and Grace, Hill Country Galleria NECKLACE: JULIE VOS, Found, Austin BRACELET: MADE, Found, Austin

Texas Lifestyle Magazine 35





Ro r y

eil Patrick McN

Phtoto by Sarah Doliver on location at Dandy’s

Shaving. For most men, it’s a daily chore forced on them by the expectations of modern society. A vacation or even a long weekend is an excuse to happily skip the dreaded razor until the responsibilities of life return. I am one of those men. It’s my least favorite daily chore. I find it monotonous in every way. While pondering this lifelong commitment as I slapped on my shaving cream recently, I decided to review the process. Is it possible that I could learn to enjoy shaving? What if I made a decadent, relaxing ritual out of the process, instead of hurrying through my morning grooming routine? Could I have been doing it all wrong? Seeking some tips on getting the right shave using a blend of classic knowledge and modern technology, I knew just where to go. The experts at The Boardroom Salon for Men, an institution throughout the major metro areas of Texas, revered for its first-class service. Immediately, I booked the Traditional Hot Lather Shave, and a few hours later, I was in a private room with a warm towel prepping my skin for my first-ever straight razor shave. The service was life-changing, and the tips I learned at The Boardroom have altered how I face the day … figuratively and literally! My Top 5 Takeaways Hydrate facial hair: Having at least three minutes of steam prior to shaving reduces the force required to cut the hair by up to 70%. Always shave directly after showering, and keep the moisture level in the room high.

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Pre-shave oil: Use a skin care product before you shave? Absolutely. Pre-shave oil is the first step to a flawless shave. It softens the beard and prepares the skin for a close and comfortable shave without leaving behind an oily residue. Simply massage a few drops through your beard hair before applying shave cream. It’s especially wonderful when you are traveling and are unsure of water quality. Buy a badger hair shave brush: I was resistant to this one, but the return on investment is well worth the extra effort. Shaving brushes infuse your shaving cream with water, creating a richer lather than you could create with your fingers. It is the single biggest factor in a phenomenal shave. Added benefit: as you brush on lather, you gently exfoliate your skin which removes dry cells and gives your face a youthful softness. Cold rinse: Once you’ve eliminated every pesky hair, reward your face with a cold water rinse, which closes your pores and calms inflamed skin. The Boardroom uses a cold facial towel and eucalyptus essential oil – and the feeling is amazing. Alcohol-free aftershave: Alcohol can irritate and dry out the skin. Instead, opt for a product that soothes and hydrates the face. In cooler seasons, transition from an aftershave splash to a balm. Using an aftershave balm helps to ensure that the skin is well moisturized and protected from the uncomfortable feeling of dry, cold air against fresh-shaved skin. BOARDROOMSALON.COM


A Few of Our Favorite Things: Hues of Blue Handpicked by the Texas Lifestyle Magazine team


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1. Barbara Cobb Brim Bag |This Dallas-based company makes uber-stylish and personalized handbags and summer hats. Choose your own pattern, design and colors for a look that’s just you. | $160 | barbaracobb.com 2. Mermaid Beach Brella | You need shade on Texas beaches so choose one that has style! Make a statement in the sand with these hip and fun designs. | $195 | beachbrella.com 3. Sailor’s Blue Hammock | Get your R&R on with this comfy and stylish hammock–one of many beautiful choices. Developed over 60 years ago, this company provides fair trade opportunities to artisans around the world. | $165 | tenthousandvillages.com 4. Robies | These men’s lounge pants aren’t just for the house. They’re perfect for the beach during your summer vacay. | $86 | loungecounty.com 5. Maui Mango Surf Aloe Gel Lotion | You don’t have to go to Maui–just transport yourself there with BBW’s latest surf scent. You’ll feel like you’re riding a wave off the islands. | $14 | bathandbodyworks.com 6. Polaroid Cube | It’s the cutest little camera we’ve ever seen! Take it everywhere you go and be ready to snap that priceless pic. |$99 | polaroidcube.com

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8 11


12 7. Tumbleweed Texstyles Love Texas | Texans are proud and we want to show it in our clothes. We can’t get enough of the artsy Texas-themed t-shirts from two cool Dallas guys. | $25 | tumbleweedtexstyles.com 8. Turquoise Kristy Necklace | Beautiful products of peace, from their hands to yours. The mission behind their striking jewelry–help the less fortunate in Africa. Grab a gorgeous necklace and help others while you’re at it. | $35 | allacrossafrica.org 9. Gelpro® Elite™ Mat | We stand at the kitchen sink for hours, why not make it pleasant? This soft gel mat - from an Austin company - melts into your tired feet. | $119.95-$159.95 | gelpro.com 10. New Englander Rain Jacket | How many times have you gone on a summer trip and needed a rain jacket but they were all packed away? This lightweight rain jacket is perfect to carry-on for cooler climes. | $54 | charlesriverapparel.com 11. ullu’s Snap-On Ostrich iPhone Case | These days, a phone case is really a statement of style, which is why we love this unique and classy case. It’s perfect for business or play. | $50-$60 | ullushop.com 12. Always For Me Chic Prints Daphne Swimdress |Sometimes, it’s hard to find chic swimsuits in larger sizes so Always For Me is to the rescue with several adorable patterns to cover up what you want and show off the rest. | $89| alwaysforme.com

Texas Lifestyle Magazine 39

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Have Clubs, Will Travel By Robert A. Rodriguez

Photo courtesy of The Max A. Mandel Municipal Golf Course

Wanna get away? If it involves golf and your favorite foursome, then there are plenty of places in the Lone Star State suitable for just that. Golf excursions have become big business in Texas, as evidenced by the many lavish resorts in major cities and popular destinations. But golf clubs – especially those near population centers – are also attracting groups by building on-site lodging or partnering up with nearby hotels for stay-and-play options.

Lady Bird Johnson Golf Course It wasn’t that long ago that golf was far down the list of activities to do in Fredericksburg. That was until Lady Bird Johnson Golf Course got a major facelift in 2012, and now golf has become a star attraction. Situated next to the airport inside Lady Bird Johnson State Park, the layout is a solid test of golf that also will charm any and all linksters. Fredericksburg has plenty of lodging options from which to choose – hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, inns, guesthouses – and some offer stay-and-play packages with the golf course.

The Bandit Golf Club Located just east of New Braunfels, The Bandit sits near Lake McQueeney and the Guadalupe River. It boasts striking elevation changes, one of the best finishing holes in the area, and cozy lodges lining the 10th fairway just steps from the clubhouse. The Lodges at The Bandit offer spacious floorplans, worthy amenities and expansive balconies – a perfect sanctuary for relaxation. Yet, the lodges are only a short drive through town to reach water activities … if relaxation also involves an inner tube. BANDITGOLFCLUB.COM

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Photo courtesy of The Lady Bird Johnson Golf Course

Photo courtesy of The Bandit Golf Club



Max A. Mandel Municipal Golf Course Golf in Laredo is now thriving thanks to this Robert Trent Jones, Jr. design that hugs the Rio Grande River shore. Sprawled across 270 acres of rugged South Texas landscape, “The Max” has earned high acclaim from several publications since its 2012 opening. These accolades, plus an affordable rate, have attracted many from San Antonio and other locales to travel to Laredo with clubs in tow. And the sticker price lowers even more thanks to stay-and-play package partnerships with several Laredo hotels, including Embassy Suites and the historic La Posada. THEMAXLAREDO.COM

Photo courtesy of The Max A. Mandel Municipal Golf Course

Old American Golf Club/The Tribute Golf Club Designed by course architect Tripp Davis and British Open champion Justin Leonard, Old American pays homage to the golden age of golf course architecture, a time period when some of the best U.S. courses were built. It cozies up against Lake Lewisville and is next door to the Tribute Golf Club, which replicates the best holes from Scotland. Perched on the second floor of the Tribute clubhouse are spacious guest suites equipped with all the amenities of a bed and breakfast or inn. Guests can walk down the stairs to the Tribute pro shop and the first tee, or ride a golf cart down the road to Old American. OLDAMERICANGOLFCLUB.COM

Photo courtesy of The Old American Golf Club/The Tribute Golf Club

Pine Dunes Golf Club Once an unkempt nine-hole course, Pine Dunes Golf Club is now a nationally-ranked golf course that has attracted many Lone Star golfers to the quiet little town of Frankston. Designed by the late Jay Morrish, Pine Dunes boasts incredible shot values throughout and is often dubbed the “Pinehurst of Texas.” Because of its location and top-notch golf experience, Pine Dunes often hosts avid golfers who want to play another nine or 18 holes after their initial rounds. For those groups, 10 condominiums situated off the 18th hole sleep up to four, and offer two baths, a kitchen and satellite television. PINEDUNES.COM

Photo courtesy of The Pine Dunes Golf Club

Texas Lifestyle Magazine 43


Temple Ranch Pool Cabana|Duval County Edited by Julie Tereshchuk | Photos Courtesy Sanders Architecture, PLLC

Purchased in 1992, Temple Ranch is used as a hunting and outdoor recreation retreat for the Temple family and friends, but also serves as a host site for universities and nonprofit organizations. The family believes that the ranch’s land, water and wildlife are resources that they have been entrusted to steward, and that stewardship includes a responsibility to share these treasures with others.

View from the east. The cabana was designed to complement the existing ranch compound by sitting lightly on the western side of the pool. The narrow profile of the shade structure frames the view of the ranch landscape from the inner court and pool.

Observation deck on the roof, looking southeast. The ranch house in the distance is built on the site of the former Gray Mansion. Captain Edward Nixon Gray purchased and settled on the ranch land, then called El Rancho La Gloria, in 1868. His wife and 14 children lived in the two-story, 22-room home, with a lookout cupola on top. The observation deck at the cabana, the only second story occupied space on the ranch, serves to regain some of the views once had from the mansion’s cupola.

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The lounge area of the cabana, designed to allow the land to “flow through” from the inner courtyard to the landscape, is shaded by a structure that is a modern version of the traditional jacal structures seen in Mexico and the American Southwest. Cedar posts are held between the steel structure and spaced to allow a dappled light effect that changes throughout the day.


Pulling the curtains in the lounge area creates a soft glow.

Outdoor shower. The only enclosed spaces at the cabana are a changing room (beyond) and a bathroom. The doors to those are louvered and unscreened for airflow.

The corner of the building opens up to reveal the wet bar and towel shelf.

The seating at the bar area is outdoors but under cover – a great place to enjoy a drink and wait-out the occasional rainstorm.

Cantilevered stairs lead to the observation deck. The building is constructed of a wood mold brick that is made in the Mexican tradition. It has an imperfect, hand-made quality that invokes a certain timelessness.

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Photo by Red Earth



(Super) Hero

Texas Deserves

Angie Harmon By Daniel Ramirez


early every comic book superhero (or superheroine) has a common trait. Underneath the iconic, admired public figures that splash across periodical covers (in full color!) and wow the world at large wherever they go, a secret identity hides. These alter egos allow the high-flying and death-defying to preserve and protect some elements of their lives, whether they are treasured loved ones or defining personal histories. It makes the hero (or heroine) that much more human and accessible for fans and readers, and it makes for an amazing story every time. So when a model, actress, advocate and ambassador appears on the covers of countless magazines and graces screens both small and silver as a hard-nosed prosecutor, a secret agent and, most often, a daring detective from the Northeast, it prompts us to be curious just how good a story will be found when we look into the secret identity of Angie Harmon. It might surprise many who watch her portray a Boston native on the hit television show Rizzoli & Isles, or followed her time as a New York City prosecutor on Law & Order, that this particular superheroine’s story begins in the north part of our very own Lone Star State. Having grown up in the Highland Park district of Dallas, the fact that any might not know this about her comes as a surprise. “I do not know anyone that does not know I’m from Texas,” she laughingly proclaims. It is a constant source of pride for Harmon, and has been something she’s held dear since her career’s humble beginnings abroad. “I’ve always thought there’s something very special about being from Texas,” she explains. “I learned that when I was very young and I was modeling in Milan and Paris. There would be a group of girls together, and they would ask each of us where we were from, and people would always say, ‘I’m from America,’ or, ‘I’m from the United States.’ And I would always say, ‘I’m from Texas.’”

Regardless of where she is or how high her career has taken her, Harmon still manages to beam about her home state. “It’s always made me feel like I was from some place special,” she says. “I think every person has a loyalty and a fondness for where they’re from, but there’s something very special and true about the people in Texas. I don’t go for manipulation or game playing and I find that most people who were born and raised in Texas are the same. You are what your word is, and your word is important.” It is an honest and humble take on her state heritage, and one she still champions and recognizes, despite the influence an ever-evolving world can have. “I guess it’s now called ‘old fashioned’ to have these ethics and values, but I find it’s something Texans still have.” It is precisely these ethics and values that prompted Harmon to lend her good name to great causes. Two years ago, she was named an ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), championing the plight of underprivileged children worldwide. Her involvement with UNICEF helped turn her attention to still more places where people were marginalized and she has recently lent her name to the Red Earth jewelry label, wearing pieces and curating a collection that represent sustainable income in underresourced nations, desperate for a living wage. While working on a project that had Harmon directing in Nashville, a friend of hers introduced her to a local jewelry store. “He was showing me around town and he showed me this really incredible store that I thought was an art gallery,” Harmon explains. She was caught unaware by the quality of the craft. “That’s how cool and original and fantastic these pieces were,” she explains. “When I realized that this wasn’t some unattainable piece of art, that it was actually quite attainable for every woman and not only that, but was ethical and worldly-conscious, I thought, ‘Let’s do a collection together.’”

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Soon after, the Angie Harmon X Red Earth Collection was born. “It’s affordable for most people, and, because every piece is handmade, is one of a kind,” she explains. “I think that’s fantastic because I know when I’m out looking for things, it’s the rare piece, whether it is clothing or art or jewelry, that always draws me to it. In the end, I think all of us want to express ourselves in an original and singular way.” Though it may seem like a lot to add to the responsibility of an actress/ ambassador, Harmon takes it in stride. “Look at the creativity that comes out of this beautiful country and look at how talented they are,” she says. “Then look at the resources that they use to make such beautiful things in order to support their families. [Representing them] is kind of a no-brainer when you think about it.” Asked for the secret to her powers of balancing such a hectic life, she laughs heartily and explains that her balance isn’t always perfect. “Kyra Sedgwick gave me some really valuable advice,” Harmon says. “‘Keep your heart where your feet are.’ That’s been a difficult thing to try and master. I think I’ve got it down to about 75% now.” She elaborates, saying that means “being present where you are and enjoying that moment with the people that are around you.” And not, as she explains, “missing what could be a really great moment in your life, because you were either thinking about or too worried about something else, or wanting to be some place else.” Hers is the struggle of many women, a fact not lost on the incredible Harmon. “I think we naturally do that because we worry about our friends, our families, our kids, about the world around us,” she says. “Our minds are constantly occupied with either something that’s going on with ourselves, or with someone we care about or the world around us, so it’s difficult to step back, take a breath, and concentrate on where we are at that precise moment.” Finding breaths can prove difficult for any woman, let alone one who spends so long in the public eye. In the days since splitting with her husband, former NFL star Jason Sehorn, it would be natural to assume that balance is a good distance off. “Jason and I have split up,” she calmly states, when asked

Photo by Red Earth

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about the push and pull between work and life. “It’s very advantageous and helpful that he is a hands-on father,” Harmon adds, making it clear that her outlook and fight to find center are undaunted. Which brings us to an essential and crucial part of her being. Amid all of the public responsibilities and demands that she juggles, there is a more important and precious role. One far easier for the public to understand: the proud mother to three girls. And, while she may be celebrated for her time in the public eye and her power over film and television roles, her true giftedness may best reveal itself in how she balances all of her endeavors with being a loving and supportive parent. Harmon’s home and daughters are on the East Coast, but her hit show films in Hollywood, and a genuine vulnerability appears in her voice when she speaks of the miles between her work and her family, split between two coasts. “A lot of people don’t know this,” she confesses, “but I didn’t take Rizzoli knowing I would be on the other side of the country from my family for nine months a year. We were only going to shoot three months, and that was in the summer. We, as a family, were going to travel back to LA when the girls were out of school,” she says. “Mommy would work June, July, August and that would be it. That was the original deal, and a lot of people look at me and think, ‘how could you work on the other side of the country?’ That’s not how it started. I said ‘no’ many times.” The success of Rizzoli & Isles and its subsequent toll on Harmon’s schedule does help reveal yet another element in her secret identity – namely, the source of her power. She readily and gleefully admits, “It’s kind of impossible to do without help from above – and your family and friends and everybody else you know.” With the incredible origin story and secret identity now on display, it only seems right to ask the wonder woman what she might want to do with her next feat. “Any superhero,” she all but exclaims. “If I could play She-Hulk or Wonder Woman, that would be such a thrill, such an honor and so much fun,” Harmon says. “Most of the characters I’ve played in my career are the characters that fight for the less fortunate. ‘Fight for the victims, fight for the children,’ has kind of been my entire career. So, I think that would be the epitome of it all.” Indeed, the superhero role seems tailor-made for a woman who could already be called one, considering the amazing qualities and characteristics that Angie Harmon displays, in both her public persona and her ‘secret identity.’ Texas could hardly find a better superheroine to call its own.

Photo by James White Texas Lifestyle Magazine 51


A Rising Tide:

Soccer is Kicking in Texas By Phil West

FC Dallas forward David Texeira (right, in red) during the 2015 ATX Pro Challenge. Photo by Carlos Barron

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Texas had a role in what’s roundly recognized as the pivotal moment in American soccer’s rise in popularity: the 1994 World Cup, which brought the world’s best soccer players to Dallas for games in the Cotton Bowl, and laid foundations for MLS (Major League Soccer), the current top professional soccer league in the U.S. Fast forward, and today we’re in an era of unparalleled excitement over soccer from sea to shining sea. It’s bolstered by generations of youth players learning the game, and with two 45-minute halves and commercials only airing at halftime, it’s arguably more TV-audiencefriendly than more established commercial-interrupted sports like basketball, baseball and American football. Texas is decidedly in the mix of soccer’s popularity spike – its four largest metro areas are now represented by professional soccer teams, and other cities and regions are fielding teams in the nation’s ever-evolving hierarchy of leagues. Here’s a look at who’s bringing game to Texas.

FC Dallas History: Founded in 1995, FC Dallas was one of the original 10 teams in MLS. The team began as the Dallas Burn, but the league’s penchant for singular-noun nicknames was a relatively short-lived trend, and the team helped set a new trend – toward European-style team names – with its 2004 branding makeover. Where & When: With Frisco one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation in recent years, FC Dallas moved from the Cotton Bowl to Frisco’s Toyota Stadium in 2005. Tickets are priced as low as $14, and games are primarily held on Friday and Saturday nights from March through October. Playoffs run November through early December. Why Watch: According to team spokesman Jason Minnick, the team is about youth – namely, the development of young players in its academy. An MLS-record 13 players have been signed from its academy to its first-team squad, and the current roster includes Canadian forward Tesho Akindele, last year’s MLS Rookie of the Year, and Alex Zendejas, captain of the United States’ U17 national team. Don’t Miss: August 15: L.A. Galaxy (MLS defending champs) September 12: NYCFC (the league’s newest team) October 4: Houston (another episode of the ongoing in-state rivalry) FCDALLAS.COM

Houston Dynamo History: Like its I-45 counterparts, Houston’s team is also in MLS. When the San Jose Earthquakes were unable to secure a soccerspecific stadium following the 2005 season, the franchise was moved to Houston and rebranded as the Dynamo for the 2006 season. The Dynamo rewarded Houston immediately, winning back-to-back MLS Cups its first two years in its new home. Where & When: BBVA Compass Stadium – the nation’s only soccer-specific stadium in a city’s downtown – opened in 2012, and seats 22,000. The team typically plays home games on Saturday nights, with tickets starting at $25. According to team spokesperson Matt Pedersen, a burgeoning bar scene and lively tailgating culture around the stadium makes home games festive. Why Watch: The team has four players who appeared in the 2014 World Cup, including Americans Brad Davis and DaMarcus Beasley. Now, Mexican rising star Erick “Cubo” Torres is set to join the squad to add to the Dynamo’s firepower. Don’t Miss: September 23: Sporting Kansas City (could be a key matchup in the MLS playoff picture) October 18: Seattle Sounders (last year’s Western Conference finalist’s line-up includes the U.S. Men’s National Team captain Clint Dempsey, a Nacogdoches native) HOUSTONDYNAMO.COM

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San Antonio Scorpions History: Launched in 2010, the team joined the current version of the NASL – now a league independent from and considered just a rung below MLS – in 2012. The Scorpions operate under the banner of owner Gordon Hartman’s Soccer for a Cause, with net proceeds going to Morgan’s Wonderland, a fully-wheelchair-accessible theme park (free to visitors with physical or cognitive special needs) in northeast San Antonio. Where & When: Toyota Field, next door to Morgan’s Wonderland, is an 8,000-capacity stadium for now – but plans are afoot to expand the current stadium to 20,000 should San Antonio be awarded an MLS franchise. The season runs from April to November with most games on Saturday nights. Tickets start as low at $7 along the north goal line – where the three official supporters’ groups stand for the entire match, cheering the team on in English and Spanish.

MLS-level soccer, including forward Kris Trypak and defender Kalen Ryden, on loan from the Crew. Don’t Miss: USL includes a number of teams with strong MLS affiliations, and three of them will come to Austin in a packed August and September. August 1: Portland Timbers 2 August 15: LA Galaxy 2 September 5: Seattle Sounders 2 AUSTINAZTEX.COM

More Than the Four: Other Teams to Watch

Why Watch: Last November, before a record NASL crowd of nearly 8,000, the Scorpions won their first NASL Championship. They’ll be seeking to defend that trophy against the league’s 10 other teams with a roster that includes internationally-capped players from a number of CONCACAF squads.

The USL PDL, which the Aztex graduated from this year, still includes three Texas teams filled with players trying to break into the pro ranks – the Houston Dutch Lions (who play their home matches in Conroe), the Laredo Heat (who play at Texas A&M International) and the Midland/Odessa Sockers (who play at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland).

Don’t Miss: July 25: Minnesota United (the Scorpions’ biggest rivals)


August 22: Jacksonville Armada (time to avenge bitter early-season losses) September 22: Indy Eleven (another opportunity for revenge) October 24: New York Cosmos (the league’s best-known team) SASCORPIONS.COM

Austin Aztex History: The current iteration of the team was launched in 2011 and was part of the United Soccer League’s Professional Development League for its first three seasons. The Aztex made the jump to the pro ranks for the 2015 season, becoming part of the 24-team United Soccer League, and entering into a partnership with the Columbus Crew of the MLS. (Though the USL is considered the third tier of American soccer leagues, it has more direct connections to MLS than NASL does.) Where & When: Due to the Memorial Day floods that devastated House Park, the Aztex have moved to Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex in Northwest Austin for the rest of the 2015 season, though they are importing some downtown atmosphere (read: food trucks). Tickets start at $15 for Friday and Saturday matches, with additional discounts for blocks of six or more. Why Watch: Coached by Paul Dalglish – son of legendary Liverpool player and coach Kenny Dalglish – the team plays a fast, exciting brand of soccer. It’s bolstered by several players who have played

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Women’s professional soccer is also active in Houston. The Houston Dash – affiliated with the Dynamo – is part of the 10-team National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). The squad includes U.S. Women’s World Cup squad members Carli Lloyd, Megan Klingenberg and Morgan Brian, as well as Ireland international Stephanie Roche, the first woman ever nominated for FIFA’s Puskas Award for the best goal of the year. HOUSTONDYNAMO.COM/HOUSTONDASH

If you’re looking for soccer in the winter months in Texas, your best bet may be the Texas Premier Soccer League, a fledgling developmental league with teams in Galveston, Uvalde, Luling, Diboll and (coming this fall) Temple. TPSLSOCCER.COM

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Best Of

Austin Craft

BREWS By Jessica Newman

The award-winning Hops & Grain prides itself on being a frontrunner when it comes to sustainability. By 2016, the brewery plans for their 15-barrel system and taproom to be a zero waste destination. That’s why they serve you in a can, as aluminum is a recyclable material that produces less carbon emissions than glass. Employees get reimbursed the price of a gallon of gas a day for not driving to work, and owner and founder Josh Hare donates 1% of annual revenue to local environmental nonprofits. Beer-wise, “The One They Call Zoe” is a top-selling pale lager with notes of floral and citrus. A so-called coffee porter, the “Porter Culture” pours dark with chocolate and raisin flavors. Hops & Grain brews are available in stores and in the taproom, where small-batch experimental brews are also poured. Sip on This: 4,000 visitors/month | 1,550 gallons brewed daily | 4,500 cases packaged monthly 507 CALLES ST, # 101 | AUSTIN HOPSANDGRAIN.COM

Since opening WhichCraft Beer Store last year, Jody Reyes and his knowledgeable staff have lovingly curated Austin’s first bottle store, stacking the shelves with the finest craft beers around, organized by region and style. At one of their frequent free tastings, the beer-tender opens several bottles to get a sense of what customers like best. Take the opportunity to explore by trying a Meridian Hive mead from Austin or Revolver Brewing’s Blood & Honey, made with Texas honey and blood oranges. Or taste Dallas-based Community Brewing’s Mosaic IPA with citrus and floral flavors, or San Antonio’s Ranger Creek Bourbon, aged in oak barrels. Sip on This: Over 275 beer brands | 800+ beers| 18 Austin breweries represented Photos by Thomas Winslow

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Strange Land Brewery brews beers of the past with a modern flavor. Adam Blumenshein and Tim Klatt manage their own yeasts and love to experiment. They opened the 15-barrel brew system and 180-barrel fermenting capacity to the public early this year after tapping the Westlake location back in October 2014. Kegs are available across the state with bottles coming soon. In the tasting room, guests can savor a range of offerings from ginger beer – think kombucha – with a low alcohol content to a small batch reserve Dewi Sant Braggot-style beer at a hefty 13.5%. You’ll find more than a dozen of their flagship beers on tap in the tasting room. Sip on This: 5 to 10 brews at a time | A dozen grains | 4 different countries

Independence Brewing brews handcrafted beer sold in graphically eye-catching cans. The brewery is open for tours and drinking in the recently upgraded tasting room. Chief brewer Brannon Radicke is enthusiastic about their White Rabbit, a medium-bodied white ale with a slightly fruity, refreshing tang and a clean, zesty finish. The brewery’s Austin Amber (a top seller) and Convict Hill Oatmeal Stout (8+%) are also not to be missed. Seasonal offerings include “Oklahoma Suks,” available around the Texas-OU football game. Sip on This: $10 tours every first Saturday | 10,000 barrels brewed in 2014 | Doubling capacity next year 3913 TODD LN, #607 | AUSTIN INDEPENDENCEBREWING.COM


Banger’s, featured in our spring issue, has mastered the art of beer and sausage. In the mood for some good ‘ole Southern appetizers like boiled peanuts, fried pickles and maybe a Canadian appetizer of poutine? Follow that bellyful with a thirst-quenching beer from the tap. Recently, Banger’s had an Odell “tap takeover,” in which guests enjoyed the Odell Loose Leaf and the Odell Wolfpicker Pale Ale, in addition to a Sierra Nevada Brewing Company Nooner. Other favorites were the Green Flash Soul Style IPA and the Middleton Bobcat Red. You can’t go wrong pairing beer with delectable sausage plates like Bangers & Mash, Cajun Boudin Plate or Currywurst. Sip on This: 100+ beers | 30+ sausage selection | Free tattoos for all patrons 79 RAINEY ST | AUSTIN BANGERSAUSTIN.COM

Photo by Margaret Richards

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Photo by Margaret Richards

Photo by Bruce Malone

Photo by Brandon Vernon




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Your Double Date Golf Escape By Marika Flatt

La Playa, a luxurious 1905 mansion given as a gift to the wife of an artist, is now a seaside resort known as the “Grande Dame of Carmel.” Photo by La Playa Carmel

If you’re a golfer, you likely have Pebble Beach Golf Club on your bucket list, which makes Carmel-by-the-Sea a golfer’s paradise. Charmel, as I like to call it, is a popular destination for Texans because, well, who wouldn’t want to experience the charm of a place by the sea?

your silver Audi in a flash. When you land, simply open the app to your reservation and follow the four-step directions to your Silvercar.

And we’ve got the recipe for your ideal escape: grab your golf buddy (and spouse), sprinkle on a little beach R&R, dab on a little spot of spa, and give yourself a generous serving of time on the links.

La Playa Carmel is a quaint historic inn, built in 1905 and later restored, that sits a few blocks from Ocean Drive (the main drag in Carmel-by-the-Sea) and a few blocks from Carmel Beach. Its location is only beat by its view; windows look out over its lush and colorful courtyard and pool area, and beyond that, the stunning Pacific Ocean.

Don’t we all love to travel to discover new passions and exciting never-before-experienced bliss? Well, with its sun, surf, delectable food and spectacular views, charming Carmel really does have it all.

Getting There in Style Virgin America has a direct flight from Austin to San Francisco (the closest major airport) and easy flights from other Texas airports, too. Virgin is the hip kid on the airline block with their DJ-style music at check-in and on the plane before takeoff, pink and blue fluorescent lighting on the plane, flight attendants in back leather jackets and techno conveniences onboard. You’ll love the ease of flying direct, too. Austin-based Silvercar is also the new, hip kid, aiming to be the easiest, hassle-free option on the rental car block. They’re not available at all airports yet but—luckily for us—are available at SFO. They are designed to be the fastest, most technologically advanced way to secure a rental car. Using their free app, you can easily pick up

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A Room with a View

Guests enjoy complimentary breakfast every morning and light snacks during the day, a pool that is heated to 80 degrees, and can rent beach cruiser bikes to explore the coastline and the quaint town—which are highly recommended. While you’re at La Playa Carmel, relax by their pool, take advantage of the wine happy hour (5:30-6:30 p.m. everyday), walk everywhere because of its prime location and finish your evening off in the bar for a nightcap. LAPLAYAHOTEL.COM

Quail Lodge & Golf Club is another beautiful option for accommodations, views, dining and a round of golf. Nestled on 850 acres of lush fairways, oak-studded meadows and sparkling lakes, Quail Lodge & Golf Club is located just beyond the city of Carmel-


by-the-Sea on the spectacular Monterey Peninsula. In 2013, the lodge reopened after a $28 million renovation. The Robert Muir Graves-designed golf course provides a unique backdrop to the expansive villas, which feature comfortable beds, a sitting area and a large modern bathroom. Dining at Edgar’s, set in the clubhouse, you’ll taste fresh ingredients harvested from local organic farms that are hand-selected by Chef Kenneth Macdonald. Edgar’s is a casual restaurant with memorable food. Start off with one of their three signature flatbreads (such as the Carmel Valley with chicken and spinach), then move on to their gnocchi with green beans, local morels, and white wine shallot cream sauce, or a quinoa pasta mac & cheese for a gluten-free option. Your server will perfectly pair a local wine with your entrees and make sure you don’t leave without a tummy full of one of their delectable desserts. QUAILLODGE.COM

Foodie Fun

Enjoy a glass of wine with Edgar’s kale salad. Photo by Quail Lodge

California Market is a lunch restaurant near the cliffs of Big Sur with some of the most amazing views in the area. Located at The Hyatt Carmel Highlands, just off of Highway 1, you will find Pacific views (a pair of binoculars is on each table), delicious food, wonderful service and an impressive selection of wine, beer and cocktails. This is a superb place to kick off your trip, put you in a relaxed state and fill yourself with the likes of their specialty red pepper bisque or crab cake sandwich with a remoulade topping and a side salad, perfectly paired with a chardonnay. Their fish tacos are also delightful and pair nicely with one of their local beers. Finish off the meal with fresh cheesecake. Jacks Restaurant & Lounge in Monterey is a great reason to explore a little farther north.

All Quail Lodge guest rooms have complimentary Wi-Fi and an iPod docking station. Photo by Quail Lodge

Enjoy the natural scenery at Quail Lodge & Golf Club and disconnect from the world for a while. Photo by Quail Lodge/Scott Campbell

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Pebble Beach Golf Links’ par 5 18th hole. Photo by Pebble Beach

The restaurant is located within the Portola Hotel and with its dark paneling and nautical theme, it’s a throwback to coastal fishing. Despite the vintage feel, the restaurant impressed with an iPad on the table featuring their wine list and menu. Start with the risotto fritters or a fresh salad. The classic Monterey Bay sand dabs (a light, flaky fish) with mashed potatoes and green beans proved to be a scrumptious choice, paired with a Silvestri chardonnay from the Carmel Valley. Pebble Beach’s The Bench is a delightful spot for lunch, right on the water at the 18th hole. You don’t have to be playing golf at Pebble Beach or staying there to dine at The Bench. If you’re lucky to have sunny weather, you’ll want to dine on the patio and soak up the gorgeous surroundings and the history of the golf elite that have gone before in this mecca. Pebble Beach even has its own historian who can tell the tale of the almost 100-year old golfing paradise (they will celebrate their centennial in 2019). Now owned by five American men (who purchased it from a Japanese group back in 1999), “The Bench” marks where the deal was made. The four golf courses along the famed 17-mile drive that make up Pebble Beach see more visitors from Texas than any other state. Guests can stay at The Lodge, the Inn at Spanish Bay or the boutique 24-room Casa Palmero, which sits next to the five-star spa. There’s even an equestrian center at Pebble Beach! (Read more about golfing Pebble Beach in the sidebar.)

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The Bench at Pebble Beach gives guests each lunch a spectacular view overlooking the 18th hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Photo by Pebble Beach


Back to The Bench. Try their larger-than-life bread balloon, which deflates when it arrives. Then, get a taste of their creamy burrata and enjoy the California cobb salad, topped with grilled chicken or the pork belly sandwich. Again, here you’ll find great food, drinks, service and a golden view.

Finding Refuge The Refuge day spa experience is the ideal spot for the non-golfer to enjoy while the rest of their party is golfing. This unique haven, set amid trees in the Carmel Valley, is a quiet retreat which extols the health benefits of plunge pools. The prescription is a four-step process that you’re encouraged to repeat three to five times. You start with either the eucalyptus steam room or dry sauna, followed by a dip in a cool or cold plunge pool. Then you sit for 10 minutes either outside around the fire pits or inside a serenity lounge in a recliner, and finish off in a warm or hot tub. Cold, relax, hot. Repeat. This cycle both rejuvenates and relaxes the body. And, when you sign a waiver before you begin, you promise to be silent! The final score? Our double date golf adventure was full of memories that will last a lifetime. And, our friends have already made their reservation to return next year. If that’s not a testament to Carmel’s gravitational pull, I don’t know what is.

Experience of a Lifetime, Pebble Beach Golf Club By Pete Frank

Golf legends like Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Arnold Palmer have made history there. It’ll host yet another U.S. Open Golf Championship in 2019. Yet, the general public can play it, making Pebble Beach one the greatest public golf courses in the world. It takes some advance planning, but with a two-night reservation at one of the course’s luxury resorts, you can reserve a tee time with a caddie. Then, get ready for the golf experience of a lifetime. Pebble Beach has special meaning to all golfers, and it left this one wanting to play more often. I was inspired by the majestic beauty and sheer power of the massive cliffs and crashing ocean waves, the challenging bunkers, undulating terrain, and some of the toughest greens and holes in golf. It is hard to deny the butterflies and nerves as you hit your first shot directly in front of the pro shop. After a few holes, I was able to settle in. Throughout the day, my golf buddy and I agreed we felt more in touch with the mental element of the sport than ever before. Walking the course versus driving in a cart, having our caddie guide us on every putt and shot, feeling the ocean breeze and playing on the same sacred ground as the greatest golfers in the world, filled us with true happiness and excitement. The first three holes are all par 4s: the doglegs, many bunkers and unforgiving greens make you quickly tighten your game. The fifth, built in 1998 and designed by Jack Nicklaus, overlooks majestic Stillwater Cove, and is named for Samuel F.B. Morse who sold the land back in 1915. (A decision—in his defense—that he immediately regretted.) At the intimidating sixth hole, the fairway goes up a steep hill, then you’re on to the famous seventh. A par 3 surrounded by bunkers and crashing ocean waves, it’s a jaw-dropping experience. The eighth forces you to land your ball close to a huge cliff for your second shot but to not overshoot, challenging you with a narrow margin of error to land the green. The ninth, 10th and 11th holes are long par 4s that skirt the ocean cliffs. The 11th is famous for having the smallest green on the PGA tour while the 12th, 13th and 14th holes showcase the careful and thoughtful golf design of Jack Neville and Douglas Grant. The 17th par 3 that enabled Jack Nicklaus to win in 1972 and Tom Watson to win in 1982 provides two of the greatest golf shots in history. The 18th hole par 5 encourages golfers to drive the ball over the ocean to land in a narrow fairway with the infamous fairway tree, with another 250 yards to get to the green, which is protected with a bunker. If you have any kind of interest in golf: go play Pebble Beach. At least once. It’s an unforgettable experience. PEBBLEBEACH.COM

The Refuge is a quiet retreat and co-ed day spa. Photo by The Refuge

Texas Lifestyle Magazine 63


Romantic Getaway Emerald Coast on the

As wonderful as family vacations are for making some of our most treasured memories, sometimes it’s equally important just to get away with the one you love. If like many of us, those getaways are few and far between, what if your next trip was sans kids? Better yet, what if everyone at the resort was sans kids? If this sounds like a little R & R you can live with, then say hello to the idyllic Henderson Park Inn, a luxury boutique hotel in Destin, Florida on the Emerald Coast. Situated directly on the pristine white beaches of Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast, the sand is so blindingly white you have to see it to believe it. The water is shimmering with so many beautiful shades of green and blue, you’ll feel like you’ve arrived on a Caribbean island. The Inn truly boasts the best beach location in all of Destin as it’s situated next to 208 acres of beachside environmental preserve, the Henderson Beach State Park. Guests can lounge on the private beach on complimentary beach chairs with umbrellas, enjoy a picnic on the beach with a gourmet boxed lunch—served complimentary to the Inn’s guests—or bicycle along Destin’s popular Scenic Hwy. 98, with its quaint cottages and million dollar beach homes beside the beautiful emerald waters and crystal sands. It’s no secret why the Henderson Park Inn was named Florida’s Best Romantic Getaway and America’s Most Romantic Hotel. Close your eyes and take a moment to picture your idea of the ultimate sanctuary. Does an intimate room with luxury amenities come to mind? How about a charming terrace overlooking the white-sand

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beach of the Emerald Coast or sipping on a glass of wine as you cruise along the water at sunset. That’s the kind of bliss you’ll experience with a stay at the Henderson Park Inn. And remember… no one under 25 allowed! Each exquisitely decorated suite is distinctive from the other and features breathtaking gulf views, flat-screen TVs, and luxurious bedding. No detail is overlooked as, upon arrival, you’ll be greeted in your room with romantic music, a bottle of wine and two glasses, a vase of roses, as well as grapes and gourmet chocolates. As the only all-inclusive hotel in the region, the Inn has earned the reputation of being one of the most romantic getaways in the entire country—something you’ll notice by taking a glance at the guest book addresses upon your arrival. From California and Texas to Maine and even countries abroad, many find their way to this private paradise. If you’re looking for that perfect beach getaway, there are many resorts and hotels in Florida, but if you’re looking for a quiet, serene, adults only atmosphere for an enchanting romantic getaway, then you owe it to yourself, and your significant other, to put Henderson Park Inn on your short list…at the top. For more information or to book your getaway now: 888-836-1105 WWW.HENDERSONPARKINN.COM


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Discover one-of-a-kind cuisine, from Cajun, Creole and barbeque to country cooking and soul food. Get inspired by the local food experiences and enjoy our exciting 24-hour gaming action in ShreveportBossier: Louisiana’s Other Side.

Shrimp and Grits

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Texas-sized fun, all in one glorious place! Experience a vacation destination like no other. Lush, climate-controlled indoor gardens welcome little explorers no matter the weather, while unique seasonal events and celebrations mean adventure is always close at hand. Take a dip in Paradise Springs resort pool & lazy river and enjoy fireworks, junior chefs camps, live music, kid’s crafts and themed decor during our 12th annual SummerFest featuring The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Book Your Getaway Today!

GaylordTexan.com/Summerfest (817) 778-1000

A Perfect Pairing: Texas Wineries with B&Bs By Marika Flatt

It’s the perfect marriage and the path to the ideal Texas road trip: a B&B winery tour–for your sipping and sleeping pleasure. BedandBreakfast.com, whose parent company is Austin-based HomeAway, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. It is the most comprehensive site for inspiring, planning and booking bed-andbreakfast properties, throughout Texas and beyond. BedandBreakfast. com was one of the first online vacation planning sites around. They certainly have the history to credential their service. The site lists more than 11,000 properties worldwide, helping travelers find and book the ideal B&B or small inn through informative descriptions, photos, and more than 300,000 consumer reviews. You can even find top picks for various categories. In “Romantic Getaways,” you’ll find their list of top inns both domestically and internationally for you to escape to with your love. There are more than 350 Texas B&Bs listed on BedandBreakfast.com – from the Hill Country and Central Texas to the Gulf Coast, Piney Woods and South Texas Plains. We had fun exploring Rose Hill Manor near Fredericksburg and Meyer B&B in Comfort. Texas Fine Wine (TexasFineWine.com) is a group of four highly respected wineries recognized for making quality wines from Texas appellation vineyards, delivering excellent customer experiences and setting the highest standards in the Texas wine industry. Texas

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Fine Wine comprises Brennan Vineyards in Comanche, Bending Branch Winery in Comfort, Duchman Family Winery in Driftwood and Pedernales Cellars in Stonewall. Jeff Ogle, the general manager at Duchman Family Winery, explained the high bar set for wineries in the group: “Our goal isn’t to be a good Texas wine; it’s to be a world-class wine. The wines in the Texas Fine Wine group compete at an international level.” Here’s a sample itinerary for your weekend Texas wine tour:

Day 1

Drive to Comfort, visit Bending Branch Winery, stay at Meyer B&B. Bending Branch Winery is nestled in the Texas Hill Country near Comfort. Founders Robert W. Young and John Rivenburgh planted the first grapes on the estate in 2009. Its caliche soil, sloping hills and elevation of up to 1,630 feet create the perfect spot for Mediterranean and other European grape varietals to thrive. The 56-acre estate has 20 acres of 16 grape varietals, including malbec, sagrantino, souzão, tempranillo and vermentino, and is expanding. Their signature white and red grapes have been recognized for their intensity, and all Bending Branch wines are fermented in small bins to maximize the extraction of color and flavors.

Photo by Duchman Family Winery



The estate is organically farmed and sustainably operated, including harvesting rainwater and encouraging beneficial insects to complement the growing season. The winemakers have done vast amounts of research into their craft and continue to experiment with lesser-known grapes and growing methods. The result: award-winning wines. Their 2010 cabernet sauvignon from Newsom Vineyards won Double Gold in the 2013 San Francisco International Wine Competition, a first for a Texas cabernet. Bending Branch Winery has been named Best Texas Winery by the San Antonio Express-News and was chosen by San Antonio Magazine readers as a top winery. We tasted the following wines: a 2013 Comfortage and a Thinkers Blend (each $24/bottle) and a 2011 Bella Collina tannat, a 2010 Silvaspoons tannat and 2011 Old Vine petit sirah (each $40/bottle). You’ll surely find yourself going home with at least a few bottles. There are two tasting rooms, one at the estate and another at Branch on High in downtown Comfort. They are open Thursday to Sunday. Tastings include at least five wines and cost $10. The fee is waived with the purchase of two bottles. They offer a basic tour for $25 and a more in-depth extended tour with a cheese plate for $40. There are two wine clubs, Founders and Branch, which ship three times a year in March, October and December. Meyer B&B is a sprawling, German-style B&B that has expanded over the years after acquiring adjacent properties. Now encompassing about a dozen buildings right on Cypress Creek, the B&B has maintained the charm of a Hill Country inn with its peaceful surroundings and simple accommodations. You are treated to a full buffet-style breakfast in the morning and dine on china that you can imagine being used in the area’s historic homes. Amenities are simple but include free Wi-Fi, an outdoor pool, a hot tub in the back of the property and hammocks and swings along the creek. You’ll also enjoy being a mere block away from town.


Drive to Driftwood, tour Duchman Family Winery. Drive to Stonewall, visit Pedernales Cellars, overnight at Rose Hill Manor. Duchman Family Winery is an attractive Mediterranean-style winery located just down the road from The Salt Lick in Driftwood. Duchman is one of the producers really concerned about making wines that represent the best of Texas. For them, it’s about making quality over quantity. Duchman is the largest 100% Texas grape winery, with most of their grapes coming from the High Plains area of north Texas. Their Estate vermentino is the closest choice to a creamy chardonnay and that, with the Rosso, are crowd-pleasers from winemaker Dave Reilly. Their 2012 trebbiano white is also a standout. Pedernales Cellars features the team responsible for creating the Texas Fine Wine group. Owners Julie and Frederick Kuhlken saw the vision and the need to feature old-world tradition mixed with modern innovation when it comes to Texas wines. Their first grapes

Photo by Bending Branch Winery

Texas Lifestyle Magazine 67


Photo by 4.0 Cellars

were planted in 2006 on what’s called Gingerbread Hill. The Kuhlken’s 2013 Vino Blanco is a blend of their fruity and floral viognier and chenin blanc, and is a real treat, especially on a hot summer day. Their GSM, a blend of grenache, syrah and mourvedre, is sold at Whole Foods and Specs. Rose Hill Manor, which is right next to Pedernales Cellars, is just far enough outside of Fredericksburg to feel like you’re in the Hill Country. The center point is a two-story inn, which boasts a wrap-around porch. The plantation style home has four guest suites upstairs and features a library bar and restaurant downstairs. A delightful breakfast is included with your stay and dinner can be made by reservation. The dining really wows at this B&B and is reason enough to choose it. Rose Hill offers cottages, set apart from the main house, of varying sizes. The Sage Cottage is a two-bedroom/one bath with a full kitchen and dining area, plus a spacious living room. With free Wi-Fi and bedding fit for a queen, you’ll want to spend much more than one night.

Day 3

Visit 4.0 Cellars, drive home. 4.0 Cellars off Highway 290 (and not far from Pedernales Cellars)

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Photo by Pedernales Cellars

features wines from three vineyards, including Brennan Vineyards in Comanche. Treat yourself to their Texas Cheese & Wine Experience, which is a one-hour pairing of Brennan wines with all-natural Veldhuizen Farmstead cheeses. We were guided through the experience by wine educator Carl Hudson. The Brennan viognier (viognier is said to be the current princess of the Texas wine scene) is perfectly paired with the Texas Star cheese; the 4.0 Cellars Lily, a gold medal winner white blend, was the favorite, paired with the Greens Creek cheese; the Brennan Buffalo Roam (60% syrah, 40% mourvedre) pairs well with the Caraway Cheddar; the Brennan tempranillo pairs with the Paragon Reserve; and the Brennan Winemaker’s Choice, sold for $45 in the tasting room and for $118 at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, is paired with the Bosque Blue cheese. TEXASFINEWINE.COM ROSE-HILL.COM BEDANDBREAKFAST.COM BENDINGBRANCHWINERY.COM DUCHMANWINERY.COM PEDERNALESCELLARS.COM BRENNANVINEYARDS.COM FOURPOINTWINE.COM




































































Texas Lifestyle Magazine 69


The Quebe Sisters Band: Second Fiddle To None By Autumn Rhea Carpenter

Band practice is in session in the country. Photo by Bill Stipp

Tuning in to The Quebe (pronounced KWAY-bee) Sisters Band’s music conjures images of luxurious moments spent lounging on a wraparound porch, sipping fresh lemonade while twisting the radio knob to tune in to the trio’s expressive Texas swing music and three-part harmonies ranging from the 1940s to the ‘60s. The sisters’ fiddles transport their fans to a bygone era when music was the magic cure-all for all that ails. And while the Krum (a town northwest of Denton) natives wield the unique power of time travel in their fiddle bows, the three fiddle champions are in the early stages of their musical journeys. It began in 1998, when Hulda, Sophia and Grace then 7, 10 and 12, watched a fiddle competition at the North Texas State Fair in Denton. “The contest had a profound impact on us,” said Hulda Quebe Stipp. “I distinctly remember a girl my age playing a fiddle tune and being in awe of her ability.” After that contest, the siblings won state and national championships in their respective age groups consecutively until 2002. By 2003, the girls had produced their first album, Texas Fiddlers, with their bandmates guitarist Joey McKenzie and upright bass player Drew Phelps, creating a place where western swing met vintage country. Songs like Red River Valley and San Antonio Rose revive traditional Americana music for a new audience. In their aptly titled second album,

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Timeless, listeners hear The Quebe Sisters Band’s special brand of three-part harmony in songs like Shame on You and Roly Poly, by Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys. Sophia sings the lead and solo, Hulda sings high harmony and Grace sings the middle harmony parts. “We love singing together,” said Stipp. “Because we are family, our voices have a natural blend. It’s a fun challenge creating a sound where three voices sound like one large voice.” The sisters have shared the stage with many musical greats, including Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Ray Price, Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel and Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder and have played the Grand Ole Opry more than once. “Sharing dinner with a musician that you’ve looked up to for years and picking their brain about their process and life experience is so inspiring,” said Stipp. The trio’s most recent album, Every Which Way, keeps the listener engaged with infectious vocals and an upbeat tempo that reviewers claim “put the Andrews Sisters of the 1960s to shame.” How High the Moon and Green Light make it difficult not to tap a toe. “Our band draws people ages 5 to 85,” said Stipp. “Music is such a rewarding way to spend your time, so if we can inspire someone else, it definitely makes my day.” QUEBESISTERS.COM


Close Up with

Patricia Vonne By Jennifer Simonson

Sometimes, the only way to move forward is to look back. Long-time Austin musician Patricia Vonne recently released Viva Bandolera, her sixth album and her first all-Spanish song collection. Each previous album has had bilingual tracks, but this album is solely in the language of Vonne’s mother. Growing up in San Antonio in a close-knit family of 10 siblings, music and art were continuously encouraged at home. “My mom wanted to instill Spanish in us because in school she wasn’t allowed to speak it,” Vonne said. “The first thing she taught us was Spanish music.” The title of the album, Viva Bandolera, was taken from a song off Vonne’s first album. “It means female bandit and represents the independent spirit of women.” Vonne also used the Viva Bandolera message to help her pick up the pieces of life after a painful divorce. At 20, while living in New York City, she met her future husband, guitar player Robert LaRoche, who became her musical collaborator. They moved to Austin in 2001 to return to her Texas roots, continuing to make music together. But, along the way, LaRoche’s struggle with alcohol was too overwhelming for Vonne. Like many an artist before her, Vonne took solace in her work, co-writing Dark Mile with Doyle Bramhall. “It was so dark. I never thought there would be anything positive out of it, “ she said. “It was the darkest time of my life, but look where I am now.” Now, she is a deservedly award-winning artist, with half a dozen albums under her belt and several European tours. Her style of Latin rock, which she describes as Texas-influenced roots rock with South of the border flavor, is very popular in Germany and Switzerland. Between times, Vonne also works as a successful real estate agent. (And there’s good news about her ex, who has now been sober for three years.) She is very close with her family, especially her older brother, movie director Robert Rodriguez. The striking Vonne continues to take Flamenco dance classes, language classes, read, perform, and live what she calls the Bandolera lifestyle. “It is all about empowering yourself. I have heard that so often over the years, and now I get it. Viva Bandolera! PATRICIAVONNE.COM

Photo by Linda Hughes

Texas Lifestyle Magazine 71


Texas on the Table Celebrating the people behind Lone Star State cuisine By Elaine Krackau | Photos by Sandy Wilson

The sheer variety of regions in this great state makes Texas unique in the culinary world. From the mountain desert, to the High Plains, to the coastline and the Hill Country, Texas is host to a multitude of terroir, a French word used to describe ‘a taste of place’ or climates, soils and cultures particular to various areas.

Q&A with Terry Thompson-Anderson

Written by one of Texas’ leading cookbook authors, Terry ThompsonAnderson, Texas on the Table: People, Places, and Recipes Celebrating the Flavors of the Lone Star State is a celebration of each region and the food masters that make it so spectacular. It’s a compilation of 150 recipes, along with the stories of the ranchers, farmers, artisans, winemakers and chefs who are changing the way Texans cook and eat.

What’s your favorite recipe in the book? The recipes are all my “children,” even the ones from chefs which I tested and edited several times, but probably my favorite “go-to” recipe that I serve for both casual and formal occasions (and which can be prepared ahead of time and even frozen) would be the Creamy Shrimp ‘n’ Mac.

Nominated for a 2015 James Beard Award in the American Book category, Texas on the Table is a love story to those passionate about their food and wine craft and is full of beautiful, vivid photographs taken by the author’s sister, Sandy Wilson.

Did any of the many artisans, ranchers or farmers in the book have a story or journey that stuck with you? These are very hard-working people. Some started their endeavors with nest eggs, and/or inherited land. Others had no start-up money and had to purchase land and borrow money. Many of the younger farmers and ranchers have families to feed and struggle, but they are all dedicated to their stewardship of the land, to sustainability and to animal welfare in the case of the farmers and ranchers. We are fortunate to have these folks working to provide safe and delicious food and beverages for us to eat and drink.

From scalloped green tomatoes with Texas 1015 onions, using cheese from Veldhuizen Family Farm near Dublin in central Texas, to oysters Shrimphooley using local bivalves from Galveston Bay, recipes span appetizer to dessert and everything in between, even including recipes for wild game.

Do you have a favorite region of Texas based on terroir? For wine, it would be the Texas High Plains. For food, it’s tied between the Hill Country with its abundance of game and the coast with its bounty of wonderful, fresh seafood.

I am so grateful to all the farmers, ranchers, fishermen, cheesemakers, winemakers, fellow chefs and other artisan producers featured in this book. Without them, it would be just another book of recipes. UTEXASPRESS.COM

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Find these stories and more at texaslifestylemag.com


Hiking Lite

It’s vacation season, and while parents are gearing up for family road trips and Disney fun, summer travel isn’t just for families. A girls’ trip – vacationing with your closest gal pals – takes your typical “Girls’ Night Out” a few steps further. Christina Pesoli shares her advice on How to Travel with your Best Friends: And Stay Best Friends!

Has Leah Nyfeler’s article on hiking the Lone Star Trail inspired you to take your own trip? Then be sure to check out her online tips before you go. Photo by Matthew Hillier


Cine Las Americas

What is the much-discussed Paleo diet, and is so-called caveman food right for you? Find out, and learn more about this hot new lifestyle trend in our online magazine. Photo by David Reber

San Antonio-native Patricia Vonne won the Audience Award for Best Music Video at the Cine Las Americas International Film Festival 2015. Check out the animated short from the multi-talented musician, who clearly has movie-making in her blood, just like her big brother, Robert Rodriguez. Photo by Patricia Vonne

Landscapes of Texas

Up, Up & Away!

Frank Reaugh arrived in Texas by covered wagon in 1876 and went on to create a series of iconic paintings while riding with trail drivers at the height of Texas’ cattle roundups. His work ranged from the Texas Panhandle to Big Bend and beyond, and is on display at Austin’s Harry Ransom Center from August through November. Photo by Harry Ransom Center

Go behind the scenes and learn all about ballooning as Plano celebrates its annual festival. After 36 years, these folks know how to put on a soaring good time: fireworks, sky diving, a marathon and 5K. Oh, yes--and balloons! Photo by Fitz Crittle

Texas Lifestyle Magazine 73

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Luxe for Less: By Cynthia J. Drake

Insider Secrets to Getting Free Resort Upgrades If you’re a budget traveler like me, chances are you pride yourself on finding a great deal on a no-frills hotel room when you’re on vacation, while saving your splurges for things like great meals and memorable activities. Likewise, when you’re vacationing at a resort, you can still enjoy all the amenities of the resort while staying in a cheaper room — so why spend the big bucks for oceanview balconies and butler service? Ah, but those plush rooms are pretty lovely at resorts like Club Med, Sandals and Disney, to mention just a few. So here’s some good news: even budget travelers can luck out occasionally and score free upgrades, while paying a fraction of the price that big spenders do for their spacious suites. With a little luck and a lot of kindness, you just might score your dream digs. Here’s what has worked for me and many other travelers. Travel During the Low Season Upgrades are usually based on occupancy, so if you’re traveling during a low season (as opposed to a time when the resort is fully booked), you may have a better chance at an upgrade. “Low season” depends on the location where you’re traveling, but in the Caribbean, for example, it’s roughly mid-April through midDecember, just before the holidays. I received an upgrade without even asking for one at the all-inclusive Club Med Sandpiper Bay in Florida. The resort had just undergone major renovations, and luckily I was there just prior to the crowds. My two-room suite included complimentary bottled water, a stroller for my son and a relaxing balcony.

Don’t be a Jerk Friendliness goes a long way! Smile, be polite, inquire about possible upgrades, but never make demands while checking in. Some travelers even sweeten the request with a $20 bill. If you can do it in a non-aggressive way, it might work, though your mileage may vary — and you risk losing $20 in the attempt.

Celebrate! Are you traveling as part of a celebration or important event? Resorts tend to look favorably on guests who are celebrating special occasions. A former employee at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa says he used to go through comments on room reservations “with a yellow highlighter in hand,” zeroing in on guests celebrating birthdays, honeymoons, military deployments and other special occasions. If upgraded rooms are available, these guests are often the first treated to them. Make sure to indicate any celebrations while you are making your reservation, and politely bring it up as you are checking in. Receiving an upgrade can be a pleasant surprise. But don’t get too wrapped up in your quest for a bump if it doesn’t come to fruition. No matter where your cabin or room might be, relax and enjoy your trip — after all, that’s what your vacation is all about. Cynthia J. Drake is an Austin-based travel and finance freelance writer and the author of Budget Travel for the Genius (2015). CYNTHIADRAKE.COM

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