Writer Bijan Stephen returned to his hometown of Tyler, Texas at the end of last year for a “road trip through the hipster coffee and craft beer drag of Tea Party county” in a long-form piece for Eater, called “Fear of the Future in Texas.”
In the piece Stephen looks at the changing political landscape of Texas through the lens of past experience, meetings with old friends, and food. He wanted to see what the state was like post-Trump, and how — if at all — the political leanings of people had changed.
From Tyler, Stephen set out on a 365-mile road trip broken into two legs: Tyler to Houston and Houston to Austin, moving from historically conservative territory to the famously liberal.
Stephen’s stop in Houston takes him through mid-level restaurants like Underbelly, expensive bars like Anvil, and greasy spoons like the Avalon Diner, which he describes as “a monument to the mysterious power of the perfectly tuned diner breakfast.” He intertwines food, culture and politics as he recounts “explaining race in America in front of the Picassos” at the Menil after breakfast at the Avalon.
Stephen’s article describes a state in unprecedented political flux, offsetting an uncertain future with the familiarities of good food and company.