Spoiler alert: this list is mostly food-related.
Good morning! Here, have some sweet, doughy, sugar-coated bread with a pool of fruit in the middle. Oh, you want something more savory? Great, we'll just wrap this deliciousness over some sausage and cheese. Now you're all set for the best day of your life.
I don't understand why these bad boys don't exist everywhere. Kolaches should be the most ubiquitous food on the planet!
It's just...it's the best, okay? I had no idea I had it so good.
3. Whataburger ketchup
Whataburger is everything that is good about the fast food industry, which is very little, but still...shut up. I'll take a Whataburger Junior over a steak from a five star restaurant any day of the week. It's that good.
Texans will never take this kind of burgery goodness for granted, which is why I'm instead focusing on the ketchup. Whataburger's ketchup tastes like a potion crafted by some kind of witch scientist. It is the absolute perfect balance of flavors (tomatoey, salty, smokey a little?) that there must be some kind of dark magic behind it. Who cares? People of Texas, never forget how good this ketchup is. Never.
4. Cheap rent, food, and pretty much everything
I've obsessed over this fact in the past, but man, I had it cheap when I was living in Austin! Why didn't I use my wrap-around porch more often? Why didn't we roast s'mores in our fireplace? Why didn't I kiss my dishwasher every single morning?
But it's not just the rent that is cheap in Texas. Tacos, movie tickets, gas -- everything is infinitely more affordable. I'll never forget the first time I bought hair ties in New York City. I nearly wept in front of the Duane Reade clerk.
5. Breakfast tacos
This, my friends, is the Don Juan from Juan in a Million in Austin, Texas. I was introduced to it by my friends Michael and Emily. You are looking at a mountain of potato, egg, bacon, and cheese on top of warm, fresh tortillas. This is kind of like an avant garde example of a breakfast taco, but still, you get the idea. Eating tacos for breakfast is something I did throughout my entire childhood, and it never once occurred to me that people in other places don't think to wrap tortillas around their eggs and bacon.
But they don't. I've brought the concept up to some people up here in New York, and they look at me baffled. BAFFLED. Like I'M the insane one! It's become one of the most significant bummers of my life.
6. The Alamo Drafthouse (plus, all other Texas movie theaters)
Look, I know that the Alamo Drafthouse has non-Texan locations, but it is definitely a Texas institution, and you know it. If you don't know what the Drafthouse is, imagine eating a burger and splitting a pitcher of your favorite beer while watching either a newly released film, or better yet, an incredibly rare B movie from the 1970s in a movie theater where talking and cell-phone usage is discouraged and leg room is plentiful.
That's the Alamo Drafthouse. But seriously, all movie theaters in Texas can get it. Cheap and enormous just the way they should be.
7. Texas winters
This is me and my husband before we cut down our first ever Christmas tree in Elgin, Texas. Note that at this point in winter, we are wearing light jackets and smiles on our faces. Today, on November 12 in Brooklyn, I woke up to snow and had to ewok-it around town in my hooded puffy coat and boots. I never knew how anti-winter our Texas winters were when I was living through them.
8. The glorious hill country
I mean...come on.
9. Shiner Beer and Margaritas
Shiner has made it's way to New York (praise the Lord), but I've seen narry a Shiner Cheer this winter, and I'm starting to get worried. Ruby Redbird was here in the summer, and we all rejoiced, but please, Texas, be a friend and send us some Cheer beer.
Also, I'm going to say it...New Yorkers cannot make a decent margarita. I don't know what it is, but something is off. Give me a Texas margarita from Chuy's and some chips and salsa any day.
Man, Texas is so great.
This is one of my favorite pictures taken during one of the best summers of my life. Scenes like this are plentiful in Texas -- a place where people love their freedom so damn much that they just dance about it.
But there are wonderful people everywhere, some of the better ones of my life I've met right here in New York, but still, I have got to give it up for my fellow Texans and the many times they have made me smile.
I'm sure I'm missing something. What would you add to this list?