Wednesday, November 16, 2005

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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Earl Says It Ain't So

Yesterday a local TV station said that Earl Abel's was being sold to make way for a 25-story condominium tower. This morning the story broke above the fold in the city's only daily newspaper.

Groans ran north and south along Broadway, east and west down Hildebrand. We're talking a cultural -- if not necessarily culinary -- institution here.

When I moved to San Antonio in 1972, there might have been another eatery open 24 hours, but if so it was probably an Interstate truck stop on the outskirts of town. If you wanted grub after midnight, Earl's was where you went. It was also where the town's more colorful characters adjourned to after the bars and theaters closed down, colorful being 1972 code for the city's gay and transvestite community.

During the daytime Earl catered largely to the elderly; it wasn't unusual for my waitress to be older than my mother. But you'd get a cross section of citizenry, too, although it probably wouldn't be a first-date choice unless you were financially strapped, which I routinely was in those days. It was this smorgasboard of San Antonio freaks and norms that institutionalized the joint.

Architecturally speaking, I dare James Lileks to drive by without stopping for pictures.

Finally, I shouldn't leave the impression that Earl's isn't worth actually eating at if you're ever down south. Its take-out fried chicken is legendary and has anchored many a picnic blanket at nearby Brackenridge Park. In a word, Earl's menu is as American as apple pie. Chicken fried steak, liver and onions, turkey and dressing, meat loaf, fried catfish and your sides of mashed potatoes, green beans, corn or fried okra capped with butter and hot rolls.

In fact, some fried chicken would be good tonight. Just in case the denials of Earl's demise turn out to be only temporarily delayed.

Friday, November 11, 2005

White Shaman Rock Shelter

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White Shaman Detail

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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Potato Chips at 5000 Feet

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