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Written by Lois Rodriguez

A cook eats braised beef noodle on his breakOn a sleepy Thursday afternoon just after the lunch rush, Let’s Noodle, a hand-pulled noodle shop in Houston’s Chinatown area, is quiet except for the slurping noises coming from the restaurant’s communal table. A man sits there hunched over a bowl of noodles, his concentration fully focused on the food in front of him.

03 KLEPPER SADDLE CLUB texas hellfire 01No television screens hang on the walls of The Saddle Club in Alpine. No loud music interrupts long and interesting conversations over classic cocktails and satisfying food. Alpine native Stephen Wood intentionally set out to create this calming, focused atmosphere when he opened the eclectic bar and restaurant in 2010.

BOYKINSPRINGS1When photographer Carolyn Tracy and I sign on to curate a guide to 100 of the best places to swim in the state, we know we are taking on a mighty task. Five months and 20,000 miles on the odometer later, we have hard proof. Start-ing out, we grapple with two questions: How do you organize the geography of a state as diverse as Texas? And how could two shy city-folk manage to cover so much ground in a single summer? We sit at Hard Luck Lounge in Austin, open maps and drop pins on the places we know we want to visit. For the rest, we use our common sense. We get on the road and follow the rivers.

Baby Elephant Joy 0004 6356After a two-year pregnancy, the Houston Zoo's 26-year-old Asian elephant Shanti gave birth to a 305-pound female at 8:27 p.m. on Wednesday, July 12. The calf, named Joy, began to nurse within three hours.

Diego Rivera JuchitMonday mornings can be difficult. To combat that first-day-of-the-week blues, we’ll give you something to anticipate with highlights of what’s upcoming and new in the world of Texas travel.

celisMonday mornings can be difficult. To combat that first-day-of-the-week blues, we’ll give you something to anticipate with highlights of what’s upcoming and new in the world of Texas travel.

Smoked BrisketIf traversing the Chisholm Trail has upped your hankering for beef, the Texas Beef Council is happy to sate your cravings. Their website, for "Beef Loving Texans," offers recipes, stories, cooking and shopping tips, as well as nutrition information to help you find your way.

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