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Created by award-winning Libationist at W Austin, Joyce Garrison, The Prestige rum cocktail is a compilation of rum, vermouth, velvet falernum, lime-juice, and pineapple juice. The simple and classic cocktail should be served in a chilled glass, and garnish with a lime peel.
History of the Texas Rangers Part II: A Force to be Reckoned With
During annexation and the Mexican War in 1846, the Texas Rangers earned global fame, and after admirable performance in the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma on May 8–9, 1846, they became an even greater force to be reckoned with, as the “eyes and ears” of Gen. Zachary Taylor. With the best of mounts, the best of arms, and familiar with their territories, the rangers forged the route through to Monterrey for the U.S. army, and in early in 1847, provided enough military information to assist the General in winning the battle of Buena Vista. And with the assistance of an American army under Gen. Winfield Scott making their way into the Valley of Mexico, the rangers figured prominently in U.S. victories over the next five months under the direction of Jack Hays and Samuel Walker. They proved so successful against Mexican guerrillas in ruthless warfare that the local populace called them “los diablos Tejanos.” By 1848, the term “Texas Ranger” had grown to be a common household term, synonymous with a great force.
Following the Mexican War, over the next 10 years, the Texas Rangers became a dormant force. With the U.S. assuming responsibility for protecting the frontier in Texas, the rangers were given no official function, nor were they enlisted by the state for service. Losing its famous captains and the vast contingent of its frontier defenders, it wasn’t until 1858 when John S. “Rip” Ford was appointed as senior captain that the rangers briefly returned to their fighting traditions. In the late spring of that year, they moved into the northern parts of Texas to fight a large band of Native Americans, killing the noted Comanche chief, Iron Jacket in the process. By March of 1859, they were assigned to the Brownsville area, where they fought alongside the U.S. Army, with only small success, against the “Red Robber of the Rio Grande,” Juan N. Cortina. Following this, however, for approximately 14 years, the rangers had little impact in Texas. With the pending Civil War in 1861, they individually joined the Confederates, and to protect its frontiers, the Lone Star State had to rely on a mixture of young boys, old men, or those that were rejected from Confederate conscription.
By 1874, however, Texas appeared to be overrun with lawlessness as well as mounting issues with Mexican bandits and Native American attacks to the west and south. The state democrats were now in power and the legislature authorized two unique military groups to meet their needs. The first was the Special Force of Rangers under Capt. Leander H. McNelly. The second was the Frontier Battalion under the direction of Major John B. Jones. Both proved equally effective in their duties, however, due to their efficiency, the Battalion proved no longer necessary post-1882. And as the requirement for frontier law enforcement waned in the face of the encroachment of civilization, so too did the prominence and prestige of the Texas Rangers. Although they occasionally intercepted Native American or Mexican marauders around the Rio Grande, dealt with cattle thieves in both the Panhandle and down around Big Bend, and protected blacks from white lynch mobs, by 1900 they had all but been relegated to being completely obsolete. In 1901, the legislature curtailed the Texas Rangers force to four companies with no more than 20 men apiece and one officer, and through the early 1900s, they had strong leadership but minimal effective duties.
Can’t get enough of the Texas Rangers’ history? Read Part I, Part III, and Part IV of this series.
Skipping meat for Fridays and you want a break from cheese pizza? Just in the mood for some fish fry? If your kids are not fans of fish, well join the club. I have mentioned here many times before, that in general, most of our family has traditionally avoided fish (with exception of shrimp with I can eat 2 pounds of that on my own).
Talenti serves its gelatos in simple, aesthetically-pleasing pints. It has a wide range of gluten-free ice creams that taste like the real thing. The only issue is that it's so creamy that it's nearly impossible to stop after just a few bites. Talenti can also be a touch expensive, but if you buy it on sale, it's not too bad.Abby Capella
Arctic Zero has taken the health craze to a whole new level by creating low-glycemic, low-fat and lactose-free ice cream with whey protein and fiber. With the exception of Cookie Dough Chip, Brownie Blast, and Snickerdoodle Dandy, its pints are all gluten-free.
My Emergency, My Choice.
Prestige Emergency Rooms supports My Emergency, My Choice, an initiative fighting for the rights of individuals to choose superior emergency care. According to a statement on their home page: “We are a group of concerned Texans, made up of patients, physicians, nurses, billing specialists, and health insurance holders – just like you – tired of… Read More »
We Tried the Cheapest Tequilas So You Don’t Have To
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Cinco de Mayo is first and foremost a day to celebrate Mexican independence. With the help of tequila shots and very strong margaritas, it’s also a day for Mexicans and non-Mexicans alike to free themselves from the weight of end-of-the-semester stresses.
Ok, it’s just another holiday that’s a really good excuse to get drunk.
Getting sufficiently drunk for Cinco de Drinko can be expensive on a college budget. So, we found the cheapest tequilas on the liquor store’s shelves and set out to find the best one to drink on a dime. We took shots of each with a variety of chasers, recorded it and ranked them from the best-worst to the worst-worst. Here’s our definitive ranking, just in time for your May 5th celebrations.
4. El Toro
Price: $10 for 750ml bottle*
Product Highlights: The only good thing about this is that it’s topped with a Barbie-sized sombrero that makes for a great pinky finger accessory. Don’t let the cute packaging fool you – this tequila is not as fun as its cap suggests. Highly recommend wearing trash bags (or at least having them on hand).
Recommended Chaser: Taco Bell’s Baja Blast Freeze
3. Pepe Lopez
Price: $13 for 750 ml bottle*
Product Highlights: Not for the faint of heart with its notes of acetone and rubbing alcohol. Strong enough to singe your digestive tract from the inside out.
Recommended Chasers: Dill pickles and Ortega Original Medium Taco Sauce
2. Jose Cuervo
Price: $18 for 750 ml bottle*
Product Highlights: Gets you drunk by just smelling it. Allegedly the best-selling tequila in the world, and also fun to drink to this song.
Recommended Chaser: The classic salt and lime. Or if you wanna be like ‘Yonce, no chaser needed.
Price: $5.49 on sale… we wonder why. Originally $11 for a 750 ml bottle*
Product Highlights: Least likely to induce your gag reflex, most likely to come in at #1 because of the decadent chasers we tried. See below.
Recommended Chasers: Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco and/or Chicken Quesalupa. Thanks again, Taco Bell.
There you have it, hombres – the best-worst tequilas money can buy. Check back in 20 years when we can afford to try the best-best tequilas! Until then, we’ll be sipping Montezuma or treating our livers to $4 airplane bottles of the fancy stuff. Whatever you drink this Cinco de Mayo, ¡sálud!
* Author’s note: Prices according to Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
A Day in the Life of Franklin Barbecue's Aaron Franklin, a BBQ genius
Long before most people have had their first cup of coffee, Aaron Franklin is on his third espresso. When you’re smoking the best BBQ in the country, your day starts very early. In order to get his impossibly tender brisket and ribs ready for the lunch rush, Franklin arrives at his no-frills restaurant, Franklin Barbecue, in East Austin, Texas, at 3:30 a.m. By ten o’clock a line composed of bleary-eyed college kids, office workers abusing their lunch “hour,” and BBQ geeks will form by 1:15 p.m. the dreaded sign will be posted: “Sorry, Sold Out! Come Back Soon.”
Franklin’s rise to the ranks of pit-master stardom is incredible considering the sanctity (and proximity) of the legendary spots and the loyalists who support them. Even more impressive, Franklin has done in a couple of years what took others decades to achieve. In December 2009, the then-31-year-old opened a food trailer in a vacant lot behind a friend’s coffee roastery. Weeks later, his barbecued meats (pulled pork, pork ribs, sausages, and stunning brisket—the pride of Texas-style barbecue) became the focus of camera-toting food bloggers and local media. Now this upstart joint, not even two years old, is mentioned in the same breath as BBQ stalwarts Kreuz Market and Smitty’s Market in nearby Lockhart. Some even think it has surpassed the greats. You can count me as a member of that club.
Some experts argue that attaining BBQ-genius status requires a degree of heredity. If that’s true, Franklin qualifies. His father owned a spot in Bryan, Texas. It was short-lived, but young Franklin was bitten by the bug. Several years after his dad’s place closed, Franklin’s wife, Stacy, who now helps run the restaurant, sent him to the hardware store to buy a grill. Except he didn’t come back with a grill he returned with an offset smoker. His first brisket was, by his admission, “awfully terrible.” But friends who came over for the couple’s backyard barbecues started to heap on the praise. His hobby became a profession, and by March of this year, Franklin had outgrown his tiny trailer’s kitchen and opened a bricks-and-mortar location with two commercial smokers. The crowds followed. Franklin’s explanation for his overnight success is almost antithetical. “Patience,” he says in his understated way—to which I’d add exacting sourcing and technique. First of all, he uses Meyer Angus beef, which is humanely raised in Montana without hormones or antibiotics. The fires in his pits are started using only post oak wood and butcher paper drenched in the tallow that covered the previous day’s brisket. Then, after seasoning the ribs with (of course) a secret spice mix and putting them in the smoker, Franklin grabs a lawn chair, checks his e-mail, and usually works on the New York Times crossword puzzle for an hour. Once the meat is done, he wraps it in foil or butcher paper and sets it aside for that day’s service.
His brisket requires even more TLC. Franklin swears he uses only salt and pepper to season it. Judging by the complex flavors of the finished product, I think he’s withholding a spice or two, but he promises it’s all about time and the temperature of the pits. Whereas most places smoke brisket for seven hours at a blazing 500°, Franklin cooks his for about 18 hours at 250° to 270°. It goes into the pits around 9:00 a.m. and won’t come off until about 3:00 a.m. the next day. The meat emerges with a pinkish smoke ring around the interior—the true sign of cared-for barbecue—that’s almost a half-inch thick.
Let it be known that before visiting Franklin Barbecue a few months back, I never considered Texas brisket real BBQ. I’m a Georgia native and, like most hardened BBQ regionalists, I was convinced that the best BBQ was what I’d grown up eating. For me, the “real stuff” meant pulled or chopped pork. It was only after I moved to New York City—yes, New York City—some 12 years ago and visited spots that dabbled in all styles that I realized BBQ could involve beef. (I know that sounds crazy, but I’m sure my Southern brethren understand.) Life’s too short to get caught up in the debate about what constitutes traditional, authentic BBQ and what does not. As a wise friend said, “If you’re talking about it, you’re not eating it.” Today, I’m more concerned with eating delicious smoked meat than with arguing about its origins. Great BBQ can be found all over the country, from Portland, Oregon, to Manhattan. It also just happens to be at Franklin Barbecue.
Cooper&rsquos Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que is honored to be the &lsquoBest Of The Best&rsquo in the barbecue business and home of the original World Famous &ldquoBig Chop.&rdquo The Wootan & Cooper Family has provided its World Famous Pit Barbecue to hundreds of thousands of hungry diners over the years at its family-owned and operated restaurant.
Austin, now you can get a taste of Texas Hill Country BBQ that restaurant reviewers have raved about! Come check out the first Austin location at 217 Congress Ave.
Celebrating the history of Congress Avenue in the early 20th century, Cooper&rsquos Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que brings great food, live music and local flare to downtown Austin.
Our building on Congress has an incredible history, and you won&rsquot believe how our renovation has brought this historic building to life. The 200 block of Congress has been the home to several pubs, saloons, cafes and restaurants over the years including the Bradshaw Saloon, Pearlhouse Saloon, Tradewinds Lounge, The Dew Drop, Avenue Cafe, Las Manitas and Copa Lounge. Across the street was home to the International and Great Northern Rail Road Depot, built in 1888. The upstairs space at 217 was once the Travis Hotel, rumored to have been a cat house!
Cooper&rsquos features a live music stage, a rooftop garden, and a beautiful oak-shaded back patio. We look forward to serving you. Cooper&rsquos Bar-B-Que&hellipIt&rsquos All About The Meat!
The Next UT President
The University of Texas presidential search appears to be focusing on the vice chancellor at the University of Oxford, Andrew Hamilton, according to a report in Saturday’s American-Statesman. I’m not surprised. I can think of two reasons why UT-Austin would want Hamilton as its next president. The most obvious is that UT would love to have the prestige of Oxford rub off on the campus after such a tough run with the regents and the media over the past few years. The other is that Hamilton is a chemist, the same academic discipline as former UT-Austin president Larry Faulkner.
I never thought that the regents would choose a president from one of the satellite campuses of UT (one of the remaining two candidates was David Daniel, president of UT-Dallas). The other candidate was a UT-Austin insider, executive vicepresident and provost Gregory Fenves. The selection of Hamilton, should it come to fruition, would bring to an end years of bickering among regents over the future of retiring UT-Austin president Bill Powers.
Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven preheat to 325°. Combine mushrooms, thyme sprigs, and garlic on a large rimmed baking sheet. Season generously with kosher salt and pepper drizzle with oil. Toss to coat mushrooms, then spread out in an even layer. (Make sure not to crowd the mushrooms on the baking sheet otherwise, they’ll steam instead of getting crispy.) Transfer to upper rack in oven and let mushrooms roast while you prepare polenta.
Bring 4½ cups water to a simmer in a large ovenproof saucepan over medium-high heat. Add butter and a generous pinch of kosher salt and whisk to melt butter. Gradually add polenta, whisking constantly. (Gradually incorporating the polenta into the water is key to preventing clumps.) Return mixture to a boil, immediately cover pot, and transfer to lower rack in oven. Bake polenta, shaking baking sheet with mushrooms occasionally, until polenta is tender, 25–30 minutes.
Remove polenta from oven. Crank up oven temperature as high as it will go (but don’t broil). Continue to cook mushrooms until crisp around the edges, 5–10 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, carefully uncover polenta and whisk vigorously, scraping bottom of pan, until polenta is smooth and thick. Gradually add 4 oz. Parmesan, whisking constantly until melted and incorporated taste and season with more kosher salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm over low heat while mushrooms finish roasting.
Remove mushrooms from oven drizzle with vinegar. Toss to coat let cool slightly.
Divide polenta among bowls and top with mushrooms, thyme leaves, sea salt, and more Parmesan.
How would you rate Oven Polenta with Roasted Mushrooms and Thyme?
Really tasty and easy to prepare. I’ll definitely make it again! The only deviation we made was that I just made polenta the normal way on the stove top because I didn’t have the right kind of lidded cookware to put in the oven. Definitely don’t skimp on the mushrooms, it looks like a lot, but then cooks down into only 2, MAYBE 3, servings.
Adapted this just a bit but it prolly didn’t need it too much. I treated this like a shrimp and grits adaptation. I made a cream sauce on side with a bit of thyme, pepper, parm, Kerry gold butter and cream. I had over salted the polenta (which was a perfect accident) so I left the cream sauce as is but it could use a pinch of salt. I also added a bit of parm to the polenta per recipe instruction. The mushrooms were perfect the way they were. Assembled as I would shrimp and grits-polenta, topped with mushrooms and drizzled cream sauce on top. This is a keeper in my book.
This is a keeper however the polenta required much more cooking than I planned. After time in the oven as directed it was not thick enough so 20 min on the stovetop did the trick. Instead of water I suggest chicken stock, once served mix in a splash of dry white wine , serve with fresh ciabatta =HEAVEN
The first pass on the recipe was good, but nothing special. We replaced the red wine vinegar with a 40 year-old balsamic, and used Gorgonzola in place of the Parmesan. As Porcini and Mugello mushrooms are in season for us, we used those, and found the dish vastly improved.
Thiss was good, and the advice to watch closely affter upping the temperature is good advice--just caught it. Some of the reviews are ridiculous "I didn't have mushrooms or polenta, but used spahgetti and clams--turned out great!"
Is there a reason that no information in the polenta with roasted mushrooms recipe about quantity of polenta and form. coarse, etc.?
Polenta is DELICIOUS but the upping the temp of the mushrooms at the end totally burnt them. BEWARE!
Loved this! Didn't have mushrooms but I did have beets and greens. Loved how easy this was--would definitely make again.
Yes this was good. Actually it was really good. I think it might be foolproof, but not 100% sure. I didn't have polenta and I just made it with couscous. I imagine its extremely delicious with the polenta and I am definitely looking forward to trying that. With couscous it was super quick. I did add some veggie stock and shallots to the couscous as I was making it. Cranked the mushies up a bit more in the oven-- maybe 400. Everything fell into place. Much wow.
This was so delicious! I will absolutely make this again :)
So delicious!! I had to add a little more water than called for. Highly endorse the cream/garlic addition. Personally felt it needed a little parsley and red wine vinegar at serving to brighten things up— super good.
ooooooohhh baby! This was phenomenal! Amazing way to cook polenta which I'll for sure do again. Bought a TON of mushrooms, and wasn't shy with the olive oil or thyme - in the spirit of quarantine cooking I had some odds and ends i threw in with the shrooms - lil butternut, a couple thinly sliced potatoes, a whole head of garlic (just left it whole) and some kale- all roasted together, it was killer. Don't skip the lil kiss of red wine vinegar, I think that really made it. Thanks BA!
This was a great method for cooking polenta. I only had salted butter on hand, but even after adding the salt, I didn't think it was too salty. I didn't have mushrooms on hand, so roasted garlic, kale, and sweet potato rounds with a mix of oregano and about-to-go-bad sage instead and it was quite good. I also used a mix of Parmesan, Romano, and smoked Gouda to amp up the flavor used 6oz. instead of 4.
I cut the mushrooms down from 1.5 lbs to 1 lb based on reviewers and that was a MISTAKE! 1 lb fit perfectly on a half sheet pan but I've they were done cooking, there was barely more than two servings worth. Next time I would do at least 1.5 lbs. Trust Claire, yɺll. I was a little skeptical when I took the polenta out of the oven and it was all such to the bottom of my dutch oven, but it turned into some of the creamiest polenta I've had! This recipe is amazingly delicious, I'll definitely make again!
Very good method for cooking polenta, and a pretty hands off/easy recipe for a gourmet meal. I’ll be using this method every time now. The polenta base didn’t have a ton of flavor on its own, so next time I would use stock instead of water. I added lemon juice and a touch of marmite (my secret ingredient for stock concentrate), and smoked cheese to amp it up. The mushrooms came out delicious. I only had 1/3 of what was called for, so added roasted cherry tomatoes and that acidity and brightness really rounded out the rich dish!