Texas: A Cautionary Tale of Preconceived Notions

Downtown Ft. Worth as seen from the Amon Carter Museum in Ft. Worth's Cultural District (more on this awesome place later)

Arriving at 8am there are a few stark things my fever-soaked brain quickly took in about Texas.  It’s beautiful.  East and North Texas resemble something between Spain’s (and the American southwest’s) desolate semi-arid deserts, populated mostly by tumbleweed and olive bushes, and the rolling hilly grasslands of the plains.

When most casual observers think of Texas, they think Republicans, a party platform that declares American English the national language(PDF)*, and lots of Mexicans.  In my brief 8-day period there I can dispute none of these claims.  However, there are a few things I can add.  Yuppies.   Vegan-cowboys – in 12-gallon hats, I might add! – Air Force cadets eating in a vegan restaurant – a bustling downtown, and some of the worst sensory warfare I have ever experienced.  I am talking the biggest cock-tease of all.

A Miller Brewery that dwarfs Tampa’s Yuengling facility, cleverly located next to a massive factory-bakery.  Heading south from Ft. Worth you hit the Miller plant first, imagine your homebrew mash times a gagillion, then a mere 5 seconds later your overwhelmed by the smell of freshly baked bread.

Also, the water tastes like dirt.  Yeah, dirt.

I wasn’t fucking kidding, this shit is disgusting.  You may have heard my thoughts on Texas’ water before I visited.  Before I jump into my emotional tirade: San Marcos, Texas’ water wasn’t half-bad, also it’s located on natural springs that feed some sprawling and gorgeous rivers.  But Austin, Ft. Worth and everywhere in between is terrible, contaminated muck syrup.

It tastes like federally-regulated chlorinated and fluoridated water filtered through mud.  I’m not talking hippy spa-treatment organic lava ash mud.  I mean like, flood water that swept through a bovine feed lot and then was filtered through beach sand that had absorbed the distinct flavor of feet and beach sex.  It tastes like muddy, acrid, chlorinated deep-well water.  On days when I had more than one unfiltered glass of the stuff my throat was sore, my nose clogged and my voice raspy and rough.  Seriously, I thought I was getting sick from my inner ear to the back of my throat, I’m talking full blown ear-infection fever.

My first day in Texas ended at the Spiral Diner.  Let me restate myself.  I was in Ft. Worth, Texas.  The Spiral Diner is a 100% vegan restaurant.  Oh, here’s the menu.  Hate yourself and the squalid wasteland you inhabit, unadorned with the overwhelming grandeur of such a place – and in Texas!  Go ahead, look at the prices and their own description of why their food is so cheap.

Other than their insistence on agave nectar, outlined in rational terms on my blog already, it’s fucking awesome.  They have beers from the Ft. Worth based brewery Rahr & Sons located, like, three blocks away. Also, their “tap water” is put through an environmental filter that’s like the hydrogen bomb of water filters – all drinks are self-serve here so you can see and taste it in action.

Maybe it was the beer.  Maybe it was having been awake since 4:20 a.m. EST, hopping on a plane to Dallas/Ft. Worth, which is 1-hour behind us, and then working out for two hours to force myself to be able to nap, but they had the best vegan potato salad – who could even think of such a thing?  I had one bite of Alexandra’s and demanded one for myself and then proceeded to slather it on my tongue, insuring it passed through every cavity of my mouth like some desperate dromedary uncertain of when it’s wanderings through the wasteland would once again return it to a place of such uninhibited beauty. I almost wept.

The “sketti and meatballs” I had were fucking amazing.  I don’t even know what else to tell you about them.  It tasted like I was eating spaghetti and meatballs.  My brain did not go “Oh that’s fake meat, I can tell there isn’t a lot of fat/protein in there” – no.  For the first time since being a vegetarian, my brain just agreed with the menu – “Yes, that’s clearly Spaghetti and Meatballs, please sir may I have some more?”

If you’re ever within 50 miles of Spiral Diner, you are obligated to go there.

*No seriously, read the whole thing.

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2 Responses to Texas: A Cautionary Tale of Preconceived Notions

  1. Chris Gillis says:

    I’m genuinely interested in checking out that restaurant, although I don’t have any plans to go to Texas any time soon.

    I started to read the Republican platform document, and then realized it’s 25 pages and decided to finish it never. I did read a few pages though.

    Good work my friend!

  2. Pingback: The U.S. Gets its own Water Crisis « Obey This Journal, M.D.

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