When I began planning a road trip within Texas, I would have never believed that I would leave feeling so enchanted. Dramamine in tow, expectations low, Benny and I boarded a connecting flight, Houston bound. We embarked on a journey, a 14 day trek through The Lone Star State.
I’m not sure what we expected, but what we discovered along the way viscerally surprised us both. Texas was warm, strange, charming, extreme. We set out to experience Texas the way Texans do, and by doing so became well acquainted with the area's most endearing qualities and quirks. We took in the subliminal catchiness of the music. We embraced the twangy melodies of rockabilly and the brassy guitar string scratches of folksy americana. We awkwardly two stepped around a vacant dance floor at a seedy honky tonk- unable to mimic the movements exactly, and instead moved more like two bar mitzvah goers attempting the cotton eyed joe. We tip toed through desert plains at high noon- so as not to commit the ultimate tourist fail of stepping on a rattlesnake disguised as a branch - and retreated back to shelter lightheaded and woozy from the punishing sun. We ate our weight in tacos at virtually every stop, and never grew tired of them. We met ardent artists in ghost towns- individuals of integrity who were unwavering in their commitment to their craft, and we listened wide eyed as they gushed about mundane intricacies with such passion that it actually seemed fascinating. We shacked up with a colony of moths that swarmed in plumes around our ceiling fan- one of the many curious, albeit distressing, natural phenomena of desert wildlife witnessed on our trip. We played pictionary in White Sands national park to recap favorite moments and review stand out memories.
I’ve written about the impact of travel on the creative process before. This trip proved to me once again that travel is the key to unlocking a trove of untapped creative potential. Travel forces you to open your eyes, see and appreciate the novel - no matter how uncomfortable, and activate on that experience by producing inspired work.
My favorite way to activate ideas inspired by travel is to cook. The recipe that I’m sharing in honor of this trip is inspired by a meal that I had at Chicon in Austin. Our meal was followed by a visit to a honky tonk that featured performances by local country and bluegrass musicians. And so this recipe is inspired by the experience. It’s a dish that reminds me of the oppressive Austin humidity, the nostalgic American music, the spirit of spring, the smell of beer and smokey bbq along East 6th Street.
- 1 cup of spring peas
- ½ cup of pepitas
- 5 spring
- chipotles in adobo
- ¼ cup of tomato sauce
- ½ cup of vegetable broth
- 2 tbs of honey
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
Cut the onion bulbs into quarters and roast them on high with olive oil salt, and pepper for 40 mins, until charred.
Place chipotles, tomato sauce, vegetable broth, honey, vinegar, and garlic in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, and cook out for 30 mins. When the sauce is cooked down, strain the liquid into a blender, and add 1 pepper and the garlic clove. Blend the sauce.
Boil and shock peas. Meanwhile sautee spring onion greens with olive oil and salt. When peas are ready toss them in the sautee pan and let them warm.
Assemble dish by placing broth at the bottom of the bowl, followed by the peas, pepitats, spring onion and cilantro. Top with cojita cheese and radishes. Enjoy!
T E X A S F I E L D G U I D E
Jacob’s Well // a 120 foot deep natural perennial karstic spring, about 45 mins from Austin, through Texas Hill country. A thrilling and refreshing dive on a warm humid day.
The White Horse // Live country music venue and sprawling honky-tonk with a taco truck outside. Great place to practice your two-step! Or just people watch…
Mohawk // Multilevel space with a bar, roofdeck & indoor/outdoor stages hosting local & touring acts. Main venue in Austin - great place to see large headliners and smaller indie bands.
Graffiti Park // Outdoor space that occupies the remains of an old building foundation, covered in graffiti. It’s a 3 story art park and is the largest in the nation. Very cool!
Josephine’s House // Go for brunch, get the almond and strawberry scone and huevos rancheros
Black’s BBQ // Go to the Lockhart location, fill up on sides! Mac and cheese, pecan pie, beans.
Vinaigrette // Get the la pepita salad
Veracruz // follow the truck, devour the migas taco
Launderette // get everything! Especially dessert
No Se // grab a kouign amann for breakfast
Manana // for fire coffee
Chinati foundation // contemporary outdoor art museum and sculpture field based upon the ideas of its founder, artist Donald Judd
Bike around marfa // rent biks from El Cosmico hotel and bike around the town’s flat plains
Prada Marfa // a permanently installed sculpture by artists Elmgreen and Dragset, situated 1.4 miles northwest of Valentine, Texas, just off U.S. Highway 90, and about 26 miles northwest of the city of Marfa
Robert Arber studio // Do not call him Bob! Nicest guy in Marfa - really passionate about his art and the artists he’s come to work with and know in Marfa
El cosmico // Outdoor glamping, with a retro flare, promoting free spirited frontierism and communal living. Stay in a teepee and ignore your inner prude and take an outdoor shower.
El Cosmico // best store for bohemian wares and boob mugs. Yes, I got one!
Moonlight Gemstones // best spot in town for local volcanic rocks, jewelry and rose quartz
Big Bend Holiday Hotel in Terlingua // remote, wilderness
Big Bend Stable // Horseback riding at sunset
Lost Mine trail
St Elena Canyon
Hoodoos Balancing Rocks
Starlight Theater // An offbeat eatery that offers standard tex mex eats & live music amid murals of the Wild Wild West.