Texas

Sipping tips from the Texas High Plains AVA

Sipping tips from the Texas High Plains AVA

Here's hoping that Texas wines get a boost from the recent nomination of Kim McPherson for a James Beard award in the “Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Producer “ category. He's the proprietor and winemaker at McPherson Cellars in Lubbock, one of the wineries finally putting the Texas High Plains AVA (American Viticultural Area) on winelovers' maps. Few Texas wines actually leave the state, and even fewer from the wineries around Lubbock. Yet the Texas High Plains AVA grows about 85 percent of Texas wine grapes. (Many producers in the better-known Texas Hill Country around Fredericksburg buy their grapes from Lubbock.) Although the region is more southerly than many wine-growing areas, the elevation of 3,000–4,000 feet makes all the difference. A wide daily temperature swing...Read More
Eat like a cowboy at Lubbock’s National Cowboy Symposium

Eat like a cowboy at Lubbock’s National Cowboy Symposium

To cut to the chase, "eating like a cowboy" means chicken-fried steak. It's practically the national dish of Texas. The state legislature even proclaimed October 26 as Texas Chicken-Fried Steak Day. I live in Massachusetts, where we claim, if somewhat dubiously, that we're the birthplace of America. We're very big on guys in buckle hats and long stockings, not to mention tea-dumping Sons of Liberty and midnight horsemen warning about Redcoats. Lubbock bases its identity on an equally powerful mythology. The city of a quarter million people claims ranch life and cowboy culture as its principal roots. Why not? It's the biggest place in the giant mesa known as Llano Estacado, or “Staked Plains,” that covers northwest Texas and a big piece of eastern New...Read More
Barbecue good enough for a Texas Tech tailgate

Barbecue good enough for a Texas Tech tailgate

I went to Lubbock, Texas, last fall for Buddy Holly's birthday (September 7) in his home town. I stayed a while to eat and drink, and the next batch of posts will hit a few of the highlights of this truly friendly West Texas city and center of the Texas High Plains American Viticultural Area. And since it was West Texas, the logical place to begin is a magnificent barbecue joint. Evie Mae's Pit Barbecue is ironic in a good way. The meats here are outsized and deeply … meaty. As a Texas pal once said, it's the kind of barbecue that puts hair on your chest. (She meant that figuratively, of course.) It's smoky and just fatty enough and so full of itself that...Read More