Comfort Food and Politics Fuel One Writer’s 365-Mile Road Trip

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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 country” 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.

The 365-mile road trip was 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.” Through it all, he intertwines food, culture and politics.

As he tells us about “explaining race in America in front of the Picassos” at the Menil after breakfast at the Avalon, or the hazards of driving a small car in Texas, Stephen’s article describes a state in political flux.

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