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We'll Cotton to that

Written by | Published September 18, 2013

According to weather forecasts, cooler temperatures arrive in Central Texas this weekend. While it won't be quite sweater weather, these projected 80-degree days most definitely foreshadow fall and fall festival season in Texas. What are you waiting for?

SXSW Brings Home the Bacon

Written by | Published September 18, 2013

At a press conference on Wednesday, Sept. 18, Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell speaks about the phenomenal economic impact that 2013 SXSW Conference has had on the City of Austin. Kevin Johns of Austin's Economic Growth and Redevelopment Office shares enthusiasm over the numbers. Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell speaks about the phenomenal economic impact that 2013 SXSW Conference has had on the City of Austin. Kevin Johns of Austin's Economic Growth and Redevelopment Office shares enthusiasm over the numbers.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park in far West Texas is hoping to dry out after three days of heavy rain that caused flooding and prompted the park’s closure.

Texas Book Fest announces lineup of authors

Written by | Published September 11, 2013

The Texas Book Festival has announced the lineup of authors for this October's event, including several whose books are currently on the New York Times bestseller list.

A new exhibit opening at the Alamo today focuses on the Spanish mission system in Texas and the creation of the Alamo, including 16 original Spanish documents from the 1700s.

Put on your bibs and get ready to bite into this year’s winners of the State Fair of Texas’ Big Tex Choice Awards fried food contest for 2013.

On Monday, Sept. 2, eight of the 50-plus deep-fried dish entries made the final cut and will be among the food offerings at this year’s State Fair, Sept. 27-Oct. 20.

See related: Deep-fried Recipes ~ Refried Deep-Fried Blog

Cuban RollOf the eight standouts, the Deep Fried Cuban Roll –– slow-cooked pork shoulder, chopped ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and secret sauce is spread onto a slice of Swiss cheese, rolled up in pastry dough and deep-fried –– received Best Taste honors.

 

thanksgivingMost Creative nods went to the Fried Thanksgiving Dinner stuffing and diced roasted turkey rolled in a ball, dipped in southern cream corn and rolled in seasoned corn meal before being fried. It’s served with old-fashioned giblet brown gravy and orange cranberry sauce.

Other finalist deep-fried dishes include:

NutellaAwesome Deep Fried Nutella® – Cream cheese and Nutella® whipped together and spread over flaky Phyllo dough sheets, rolled up, and deep fried. Served with a drizzle of honey and shaved almonds.

 

kingranchFernie’s Deep Fried King Ranch Casserole –This stick-to-your-ribs Texas-shaped creation (complete with a proudly flying Texas flag) is melted cheese, salty, spicy, goodness that is dipped in a zesty southwestern egg wash and coated in panko bread crumbs.  Deep fried golden brown and crunchy on the outside; steamy and creamy on the inside! Served with a side of red, white, and blue tortilla chips and your choice of our homemade “salsafied” sour cream or cheesy queso.

 

milllionairGolden Fried Millionaire Pie – Sweetened, fluffy cream cheese filling is loaded with golden pineapple and Texas pecans then wrapped in a flaky pie crust and fried to a golden brown. Topped with whipped cream, toasted coconut, and candied pecans.

 

spinachSpinach Dip Bites – Creamy and delicious spinach artichoke dip bites are coated with crispy tortilla chips and flash-fried until golden brown. Bites are served with salsa for an additional kick.

  

meatloafSouthern Style Chicken-Fried Meatloaf – Homemade meatloaf slices are coated in an authentic Texas chicken-fried breading and deep fried golden brown. Served with garlic mashed potatoes, Texas cream gravy, and a ketchup/brown sugar glaze for dipping.

 

fireballTexas Fried Fireball – Pimento cheese, pickles, cayenne pepper, and bacon are rolled into a ball, dipped in buttermilk, covered with a jalapeno-infused batter and deep fried. Served with chipotle ranch for dipping.

Two Asian elephants born at Fort Worth Zoo

Written by | Published August 28, 2013

There's an elephant baby boom going on at the Fort Worth Zoo. Zoo officials are trumpeting the deliveries of two Asian elephants this summer, a boy and a girl, as a conservation success for the endangered species.

Newborn Asian elephant Bowie. Newborn Asian elephant Bowie.

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Davis Mountains State Park in West Texas will close for six months following Labor Day weekend to upgrade the park's utility system and add six new miles of trails.

The closure, which is scheduled for September 3 to March 1, will include the park's campgrounds, trails, and interpretive center. Indian Lodge, the park's hotel, and Black Bear Restaurant will remain open during the closure.

Refried Deep-Fried Blog

Written by | Published August 21, 2013

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I’m not sure I understand the competition to come up with the next best fried thing, and I’m not here to judge, but every year, when the State Fair of Texas (Sept. 27–Oct. 20) announces its list of fried food offerings, my ears perk up. I am excited to know what’s being tossed into the vat next.

Recipes:  Corn dogs, fried coke, funnel cakes and more. Try these fair faves at home.

Hot Chocolate

Written by | Published August 16, 2013

I know it sounds crazy to drink hot chocolate when the temperature is still regularly above 90 degrees. But on a recent trip to Houston, I couldn't resist the chocolate confection with chocolate made in-house from cocoa beans imported from Oaxaca at Hugo's, which serves its frothy cup with fresh, hot Mexican churros. Look for our story on Hugo's and its terrific hot chocolate in the Drink section of the December issue. Until then, do you know of any other spots in Texas that serve amazing hot chocolate?

Hot Chocolate at Hugo's, with ice cream and churros; Photo by Lori Moffatt Hot Chocolate at Hugo's, with ice cream and churros; Photo by Lori Moffatt

A visit to the Texas Masonic Grand Lodge in Waco

Written by | Published August 13, 2013

Lodge exteriorRight or wrong, the Freemasons are sometimes stereotyped as a closed group, characterized by secrecy and backroom power brokering. But when you come upon the massive Memorial Masonic Grand Lodge Temple in downtown Waco, it's hard to imagine the fraternal organization as a group of shrinking violets.

Tourism by Bus: A visit to San Antonio

Written by | Published August 6, 2013

When I got to thinking about the concept of sightseeing by bus in Texas, San Antonio was one of the first destinations that came to mind. Not only does San Antonio have a walkable downtown with a dense concentration of tourism sites, its intercity bus-line stops are conveniently located in the city center. Still, I wasn't sure whether it would be practical or enjoyable to take a sightseeing trip by bus and foot. So I decided to give it a shot, purchasing a round-trip ticket between Austin and San Antonio for a 10-hour daytrip.

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