Tex-Mex to the Max

Traveling to the iconic Kerrville Folk Festival in beautiful Texas Hill Country means long stretches of wildflower-lined highways and big Texas skies full of brilliant colors and awesome, violent displays of nature's power. Perhaps most significantly to us, it also means authentic Tex-Mex cuisine in grande portions. Our travel guide Roxanne picked us up in a recent model, Texas-sized, silver Chevrolet Suburban and wasted no time carting us to San Antonio's guacamole-topped jewel, Taco Haven. Here we found fifty or so happy locals getting down to serious chow time on classic flour tortilla tacos and cheese enchiladas buried under pillowy clouds of refried beans and topped with another gooey layer of molten yellow cheese. The plates came out too hot to touch, and it took a hand full of napkins to successfully move each plate to its proper owner. We cruised through a couple baskets of multi-colored corn chips and smooth burnt sienna colored salsa until our entrees reached a temperature safe for human consumption. The generous portions were perfectly smoky, salty, tangy, and refreshingly unrefined, and were accompanied by a whopping liter-sized sweet tea in a classic translucent red cup. Taco Haven really throws out the feedbag, providing enough smoky Tex-Mex taco goodness to satisfy even the most aggressive appetites. The key here is definitely about quantity, and a couple of us had to stretch out in the air-conditioned Surburban for a while before we were ready to visit the Alamo and do some western wear shopping. 

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After a little rest and some sight seeing, we cruised on down the road to Kerrville, following one of the most beautiful sunsets we have ever seen. We set up camp among a sea of vintage Airstream trailers and decorated school buses and headed out to check out some of the acts and meet up with our good friend, David Amram. The Kerrville Festival maintains a strong Texas identity in their programming. Bands routinely featured steel guitar and Texas two-step rhythms, and the craft booths displayed hand-tooled leather specialties and assorted Mexican-style jewelry. Concession stands offered a dazzling array of fresh and classic festival offerings, usually with a spicy twist. We found the best time to hit the stands to be just after the last band finishes their set, when we're primed with a couple local Texas beers and vendors are looking to liquidate their inventory for pennies on the dollar. Wyatt (see picture) had a friendly smile and healthy sunburn and invited us over to try one of his funnel cakes. While we waited for the crispy, powder sugar-covered cake to cool, he showed us this totally unique tattoo. It appears to be a marijuana leaf growing out of a palm tree with someone smoking the palm tree. Now that's spicy! The cake proved to be the perfect end to a perfect day, and we shared it with our new friend, Spring, who was in her eighth year as a Kerrville Festival attendee. Our hope is that in eight years we will be able to say the same thing. See you next time Kerrville!

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