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Written by Texas Highways

Experience One of the Best Live Music Experiences in Texas at Houston’s Silver Slipper

In broad daylight, the Silver Slipper is hardly a looker. The compact building 4 miles northeast of downtown Houston is about as long and wide as an eight-lane bowling alley—“indistinct Minimal Traditional,” according to The Handbook of Texas. Three days a week, it’s a bar, short-order eatery, and neighborhood hangout.

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Silver Slipper

3717 Crane St. in Houston
Hosts live rhythm and blues Sat 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Doors open 8 p.m. $5 cover.
713-673-9004

A caprese wedge salad on a plate

When chef Denise Shavandy walks into the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, she often wonders if she’s dreaming. Before she found her way to cooking, Shavandy considered other career paths that might have landed her in a place like this. Fortuitously, her job as executive chef of Café Modern, the museum’s restaurant, involves crafting beautiful food next to some of the most important art anywhere, inside a building created by one of the world’s foremost design talents.

Pair savory smoked sausage with the sweet-tart intensity of sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and a hit of garlic and Parmesan in this 30-minute gnocchi dish that melds German and Italian flavors.

Opa's sausages on a platter

Walking into Opa’s Smoked Meats in Fredericksburg is a bit like stepping foot in your grandparents’ kitchen—especially if you call your grandparents oma and opa. Long shelves are curated with odds and ends like jars of red cabbage and bottles of vinegar, and beer steins sit next to faded drop horns, cast iron pans, and copies of The New German Cookbook. Every day, the staff sets out a large board of samples with cheese and meat, slices of sausage, and red bell peppers filled with zesty dips.

A sotol margarita rests on the bar

In 2016, graduate students Judson Kauffman, Brent Looby, and Ryan Campbell stood around in a college parking garage drinking Mexican sotol from the bottle before class. 

“Not half bad,” Kauffman remembers as the collective reaction. 

Illustration of downtown Brenham

There aren’t enough synonyms for “quaint” in describing Brenham, that rare landlocked town that feels like it should have a lighthouse. Arranged around an Art Deco courthouse which, built in 1939, is one of the newer buildings downtown, Brenham keeps history in its place.

Railroad with train crossing and paddleboarders in the Brazos River below

Despite its title, this story is not a parody of a famous novel with a similar name. It is about a love affair, however, one that endures between the people of Waco and their bridges. And this love story begins with a tortilla. 

Chet Garner standing in front of a Nocona Mural

I don’t go trippin’ to North Texas as much as I’d like to, so in the hopes of finding a new adventure I hopped on the highway and drove as far north as it would take me (without landing in Oklahoma). And what I found was Nocona, a fascinating town with a storied leatherworking tradition.

Illustration of Lawrence Wright at his dest with a typewriter and map of Texas

Lawrence Wright doesn’t do well with downtime. 

“I’m horrible, just horrible,” Wright says, lounging in his west Austin home. “I cannot stand not having something to do.” Along with restlessness comes a curiosity and commitment to deep-dive into dangerous and labyrinthine subjects like terrorist organizations, the Church of Scientology, and the Satanic underground. That exacting combination has earned the author and staff writer for The New Yorker a year for the ages.

The Rookery at High Island feature

The art aficionados at the opening of Frank X. Tolbert 2’s Texas Bird Project exhibition in Austin were clearly enamored with the artist’s prints, paintings, and drawings of the state’s winged and feathered beings. But the birdwatchers who came to meet the Houston artist were absolutely rapt.

Outside front of the Hotel Saint George.

He likes to sit and drink and think.” That’s what one of Donald Judd’s interns told me about the New York artist, pioneer, and patron saint of Marfa’s contemporary art scene. We were standing by the bonfire, bagpipe song rolling over the Chihuahuan Desert. It was late winter in ’93, the year before Judd passed away, and I was a guest at one of the bonfires Judd regularly hosted at his Marfa art compound, The Chinati Foundation. He’d flown bagpipers in from Scotland; the burly, jolly Scotsmen in full kilt made a surreal contrast against the wide skies and pale grasses of this West Texas landscape. Even more surreal for me is the memory of Judd telling me why he likes bagpipes: They are, he said, the music that least reminds him of human voices.

Clouds over the teepees at El Cosmico in Marfa

Arriving in Marfa, the high-desert ranching town with a lofty reputation as a mecca for modern art, first-time visitors sometimes find themselves wandering empty streets and wondering, “What’d I miss?” Those who come to love this creative outpost understand that it takes patience to get a feel for the town’s enigmatic allure. For three days each fall, however, the stylish counter-cultural side of Marfa is on full display at the Trans-Pecos Festival of Music + Love.

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