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Category Archives: El Paso

Fin De Semana! 7-10-15

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I’m a finalist to represent El Paso on the Texas Taco Council. Super excited.

Speaking of El Paso, we had a UFO sighting.

On the heels (pun intended) of his talk about Mexico, Donald Trump gets an invitation to learn more about the border.

What I’m Listening To

The new Turnpike Troubadours song, which is a sneak preview of the self-titled album they’ve got coming in September. Find it here. I like the Troubadours because they’ve got an accessible, catchy, and essentially good-natured take on country. This song is no different and I’m really hoping this next album blows up and makes them huge(r). Listen here.

What I’m Drinking

A guest brought a bottle of this to our 4th of July cookout. I don’t normally like IPAs but damned if this one wasn’t smooth and not so hoppy it burned all your taste buds off. I guess they’re only for the 4th, so they might be hard to come by. Since the crisp, clear freshness of the beer is what made it so drinkable, it might be worth waiting until next 4th to pick up a new one. I know I’ll be keeping an eye out.


Fin De Semana 4-10-15

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An examination of the racial politics in the most iconic of Texas movies, Giant.

A quick Spanish primer for anyone headed to Texas.

Opening day down at the local ballpark.

What I’m Listening To

I’ve Got Standards-Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen

A surprisingly traditional and bouncy rejoinder to Nashville from two of the slickest (I mean that in a good way) guys in Texas Music. Good to know that no matter what, these two can fill a dance floor with two steppers and get a few licks in while they’re at it.

What I’m Drinking

In my own, personal version of opening day, the first Tecate of the spring has been cracked. It felt so good on my lips.


Fin De Semana! 2-13-15

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Digging up the past at one of Texas’ oldest missions.

Texans and their tie to the land.

Most of us saw this coming. That, is those of us who don’t hold office.

Remembering Waylon Jennings, who passed away on this day.

What I’m Listening To This Week:

J.D. McPherson-Let The Good Times Roll-McPherson makes straight-up, unabashed old-fashioned rock-n-roll like no one else. Taking a more R&B based tack than rockabilly, he breathes new life into one of America’s most vital art forms. Part of this is in the way he approaches what has traditionally been considered a hide-bound genre. Using modern production techniques that owe more to RZA than Sam Phillips, his songs are sneaky. They’re full of little modern ticks that ear doesn’t quite pick up, making everything sound fresh. It isn’t until you listen closely that you realize these aren’t straight up recreations of 50’s rock, but crafty homages. This is a long, fancy way of saying I love this record and I can’t stop listening to it.

What I’m Drinking This Week

Tecate, because it’s in the high 60’s and sunny out right now. We’ve got another cold front moving in, so better drink up and enjoy the sunlight while I can, right?

Fin De Semana 10-10-14

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Some cool crowdfunding type stuff. My pal Zach, best known as Rushmore Beekeepers, is on Patreon, where you can commission songs. So is Rodney Hayden who we’ll be talking about in a bit. As broken and dysfunctional as the record industry has become, it seems inevitable folks would find a way to just cut out the labels all together. I’m not sure how the future is going to shake out but I really like this model and think it’s a lot better, basically subscribing to an artist, than waiting for the industry to come up with something close but crappier.

Looks like someone forgot to pay their bribe. Lest we forget, the DEA likes their cut of that action too.

Nick Offerman narrating a western? Count me in!

What I’m Listening To

Rodney Hayden-Cowboy Songs

It’s fall and the weather is perfect for sitting around a mesquite campfire out in the desert. What could be a better soundtrack than the mesquite smoked voice of Rodney Hayden singing a pack of traditional cowboy ballads? Rodney’s got a great voice and a way with these old songs that just fits. He’s also bringing western folk music into the 21st Century by making it widely available in lots of new and innovative ways, like pay-what-want albums and the afore mentioned Patreon account. I was raised on Ian Tyson and Don Edwards records so I’ve got a real soft spot for cowboy folk and this certainly scratches the itch with aplomb.

What I’m Drinking

Santa Fe Brewing Company Java Stout

Coffee and Beer are two of my three favorite beverages. (Bourbon being the third. Combining all three might make my typing a little sloppy.) This combines the two flavors really well, with good, dark hints of coffee and chocolate along with the malty taste of stout. Good and rich and perfect for cooler weather or after dinner in lieu of desert. My neighborhood joint has it on tap, but don’t let that stop you from picking up a very nicely designed sixer.

Fin De Semana! 9-26-14

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Here’s a little common sense calm down article about ISIS on the border.

For readers of a certain age: live action role-playing the Oregon Trail. (Well, maybe just playing some summer camp games with an Oregon Trail theme. I was lucky enough to see this as a kid.

Rattle: A cool new music magazine from some talented folks I know on twitter.

It’s Tom Lea month in El Paso. He’s been a big inspiration to me over the years, and I’m glad we celebrate him every year.

And finally, a brief account of Dennis Hopper’s legendary stint in Taos.

What I’m Listening To:

Sam Outlaw

Sam Outlaw’s songs are catchy, and his videos are great. What more can you ask really? He’s got a great ear for a melody and his songs are as country as you can get. I’ve had these songs stuck in my brain for days and now you will too. You’re welcome. (Also, check out this video set in the high desert of California. This is the same bit of landscape you’ve seen in a billion westerns and even part of Red Dead Redemption.)

What I’m Drinking

Now that it’s officially fall and the temperature has dropped to absolutely, perfectly pleasant outside, I’ve turned to finishing off a bottle of Basil Hayden’s I had left over from the winter. It’s light, slightly sweet and low proof i.e.: good for sipping in the waning light on a night when you just want a little bit of whiskey but you also want to be bright-eyed and bushy tailed for work the next day. This is a great starter bourbon, but if you’re a seasoned drinker, it might leave you feeling a little let down.



Fin De Semana! 9-12-14

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A brewery in Indiana gets around a stupid and very specific law by following it to the letter.

Much further West, the hunt for Sasquatch continues, even as hunters question why they’re chasing something everyone says is a myth.

An old article that got passed back around recently. Ralph Lauren’s ranch in Colorado. Say what you want about the man and his clothes, this is pretty similar to what Buffalo Bill Cody’s ranch would look like if he were alive today.

There’s been a lot of unsubstantiated, untrustworthy rumors that ISIS is in Juarez planning an attack on the U.S. Hysteria runs rampant in certain parts of the internet. Ft. Bliss, however, is on high alert. A gruesome murder  in El Paso was rumored to be related to terrorism but looks to be just senseless crime instead. My two cents: if ISIS is in Juarez (and remember, Juarez was supposedly full of Al Qaeda once, and Communists before that) they’re there for business and not to cause trouble in the U.S. An attack on the border would tighten drug smuggling corridors into the U.S. and put a huge dent in profits for the cartels. Put simply, it would be too bad for business.

What I’m Listening To

The Imperial Rooster

Imagine a marching band and an old time band broke down in the high desert of New Mexico and somehow, Tom Waits got involved. There’s polkas about butts and wage slave rebellions and pig forks. It’s all catchy and fun and settles into that sorta rootsy, greasy groove Ray Wylie Hubbard is always laying down. That’s the Imperial Rooster. Straight outta Espanola, New Mexico and fresh from Muddy Roots, The Imperial Rooster plays fun, surreal roots music like no one else. I have to say, they’re also some of the nicest and most fun folks I’ve ever interviewed. All the songs are pay what you want on their bandcamp page. But leave a little somethin’ for them will ya? I bet they’d appreciate the beer money.

What I’m Drinking

Sleepytime Tea because for some reason, I can’t sleep lately. Man, I’m the worst.

Fin De Semana! 6-27-14

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A teen on the Navajo Reservation (one of the most drop dead gorgeous places on earth) has invented an oven that runs off the one thing New Mexico has a TON of: the sun. Meanwhile, the wildfire sweeping the reservation is mostly contained for now.

Wildfires are a huge problem every summer out here in the west. This week leading up to Independence Day is always a good time to go over some basic fire prevention tips.  

On that note, a little trivia; only one person in the history of the U.S. has ever been successfully prosecuted by the Feds for starting a wildfire. His name: Johnny Cash.

Finally, something near and dear to me: regional burrito styles. Of course, the Juarense/El Paso style burrito is my favorite. It’s also allegedly the original burrito from which all other burritos sprung.

What I’m Listening To

This week I’m listening to Western FM, which is an internet radio station started up by Rodney Hayden as a home of sorts for his great podcast. It focuses on cowboy music and poetry without ever getting too cute or faux-folksy (fauxlksy?)  What it really sounds like is riding shotgun in my Dad’s truck. Who doesn’t like that? The iPhone app is free, although it hasn’t “officially” launched yet.

What I’m Drinking


I stashed away a couple of  these from the last Shiner Family Reunion 12 pack I bought. The fruit of the prickly pear, a tuna in Spanish, has a sweet, medicinal taste, almost like cough syrup. It’s brewed in lager style beer that is corn sweet (like High Life or any other American beer made with corn) but not overbearingly so. Surprisingly, it works by balancing out all the sweet syrupy flavors with some hoppiness. I thought it would be a train wreck or an amusing novelty at best but I actually enjoyed drinking this more than, say…Ruby Redbird, which is made with Grapefruit. I’m biased towards liking this because I’m a fan of all things prickly pear, but if you can find one of these, it’s worth trying.

Fin De Semana! 5-30-14

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The History Channel is making a mini-series about the founding of Texas. I’m curious to see how it works out, but so far they haven’t cast a Juan Seguin, which makes me wonder if he’s even in it. Hopefully they’ll resist the urge to have Bill Paxton as Sam Houston survey the smoldering ruins of The Alamo and sadly mutter “Game Over, Man…Game Over.”

The alarming billboards that appeared in El Paso were the work of an activist, something noted by my friend Zach; he noticed a similarity between the El Paso billboards and some billboards that Occupy had vandalized in Las Vegas.

This is a pretty good article about one of my favorite movies, a western about westerns. It’s riotously entertaining.

A few weeks ago, I talked about making San Patricios with Topo Chico. Here’s another drink that uses that wonderful bubbly water. I’m not much for clear liquors so I’ll probably just stick to pouring Jameson in mine.

What I’m Listening To

Larry Hooper writes songs. He also writes funny tweets. I think he’s pretty good at both of these things. I especially like listening to him in the summer, on my porch, where folky songs sound best. I’ve been listening to him a lot lately to get pumped up for his upcoming ep. In the meantime, I’m going to buy a coozie from him

What I’m Drinking

San Patricios, like the recidivist tippler I am.

Fin De Semana! 5-23-14

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Maybe we’re all being too hard on Garth Brooks. Todd Snider thinks so. After reading his story about him, maybe you’ll agree. There have certainly been an increasing number of open letters to Garth in the last couple of years. Like it or not, there’s a lot of hope wrapped up in him and what his return might mean.

An interesting wrinkle in the ongoing drug wars in Juarez- Billboards in El Paso are now referencing the struggle right across the river.

I’m sure there’s something to the upcoming whiskeypocalypse, but when smaller distillers are the ones telling you to hoard bourbon, I find it a little suspect. I only say this because I can still get limes for my tacos.

What I’m Listening To:

Juan Cirerol. I have no idea how I was so late to the game on this guy. Juan does his thing so well it looks easy and makes you wonder why someone wasn’t doing it before. His mix of norteño and American folk is genius. Mixing the plonky guitar rhythms of the two neighboring countries into Cirerol has found a style that simultaneously feels new and familiar to sing his songs of druggy misadventure. Even without speaking Spanish his playful smartassedness comes through his delivery, finding a satisfying middle ground between Chalino Sanchez and Bob Dylan.

What I’m Drinking

I’m not one for clear liquors or sweet drinks. Imagine my surprise when my wife made mojitos with a bottle of the nice rum my in-laws brought from their home in  Puerto Rico. I’m sure it breaks all the rules, but she combines a 1/4 cup of simple syrup that she’s chilled in the fridge, then muddles exactly 11 mint leaves (she’s very serious about this number) with a pinch of sugar in the glass. Then she adds the simple syrup, fills the glass with ice, adds a 1/4 cup of white rum and the juice of one lime, stirs and tops it off with club soda. Like I said, this is the opposite of what I’d normally drink and I loved it. It’s great in the 90 degree evenings we’ve been having.

Fin De Semana! 5-17-14

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The sexism in bro country is a sword that cuts both ways. To continue the martial metaphor, yet another person takes up arms against it. For what it’s worth, I think the demographic it panders to has a pretty short attention span and oughta tire of it pretty soon. Whether I’m right, or if something worse takes it’s place remains to be seen.

Chipotle, a fast food place I will never, ever eat at because I can get better Mexican food cheaper pretty much anywhere where I live, has asked writers to contribute pieces to put on it’s packaging. Oddly enough, none are Latino. To be fair, most of the passages about food I’ve read by Latino authors are written so well, they’d over shadow anything a fast food place could throw together. (Plus, I think they know better than to ask Dagoberto Gilb what he thinks of their burritos.)

Finally, a happy piece about eating enchiladas in El Paso. L&J Cafe remains one of my favorite places to eat in El Paso.

What I’m Drinking This Week

Shiner White Wing. It’s a White Beer. Orange peel, coriander, the whole bit. I drank one with some barbecue a couple of nights ago. Tangy barbecue sauce + smoky sausage + sweet beer. It was pretty good. I don’t know what else to tell you. It’s hot out and white beers are refreshing in the summer.


I had the pleasure of catching Yuma Wray & Miss Shevaughn last night. They’re great live and just really, really nice folks. Here’s their video.