LINKS TO TEXAS

LINKS TO TEXAS

19th Annual Texas Independence Day Dinner Honors Hall of Fame Golfers Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite

 

By Rob Giardinelli       Photography by Chris Caselli and Thao Nguyen

THE SETTING: A picture-perfect spring evening at the Four Seasons Austin was the recent setting for the 19th annual Texas Independence Day Dinner. The Texas State History Museum Foundation’s event featured philanthropists, VIPs, and sports enthusiasts from around the state. All were on hand to honor two Texas-bred sports legends, Hall of Fame golfers Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite, for a celebratory evening of fun that will always be remembered.

 

THE STYLE: The black-tie crowd featured a mix of dapper tuxedos and vibrant ball gowns, many of which featured bright colors reflective of the season…and the celebratory nature in the air. With pandemic protocol in place, the tee time of fun began as guests arrived for a photo commemorating the evening against the floral backdrop of the Texas Lone Star. Revelers then enjoyed the terrace for a lively cocktail hour where fans were able to congratulate the honorees while others reacquainted with friends.

 

The action then moved to the venue’s main ballroom where a delicious multi-course meal awaited them for the main program, or as we like to call it, the back nine. A highlight of the program was provided by legendary sportscaster Verne Lundquist, who introduced a touching video tribute, which brought smiles and happy tears to the adoring audience. The festivities were capped off with words from the two honorees, the perfect conclusion to what could be described as nothing less than a hall of fame evening reflective of its honorees.

 

THE PURPOSE: The event, chaired by Karl Rove, with Jan Bullock serving as honorary chair, raised over $800,000 for the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum’s educational programs and special projects. Since the event’s founding in 1999, the Texas State History Museum has raised over $32 million dollars for educational programs at the Bullock. Since its opening in 2001, the Museum has welcomed over 10 million visitors to experience award-winning exhibitions, media experiences, and educational programming, including 1.7 million school-aged children.

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MONACO? MARVELOUS

MONACO? MARVELOUS

The South of France is always a favorite for visiting Texans. Especially, Monaco. Join our intrepid traveler Gordon Kendall as he jets to the French Riviera and reports on why the French and Texans love having a quality-filled vacation there.

If it has not been a year of travel, it has been a year of dreams…of travel. Where has your imagination, if not your passport, taken you? For some, the adventurous out-of-doors lures, while others seek to rediscover personal favorite haunts. Then, there are those who want to splurge. In recounting recent trips of pre-pandemic times, one delightful but too brief day trip to Monaco and the international luxury hub of Monte Carlo should inspire those sybarites. Yachts? Yes. High fashion? Of course. All the man-made luxury available set against a backdrop of incredibly natural scenic beauty. A sudden, impromptu glimpse of a genuine prince certainly wasn’t a detraction from the excitement. 

 

SOUTHERN EXPOSURE

Visitors to this famed Principality arrive as best they can: yacht tenders streak in and around Port Hercule, depositing the nautically endowed, and the heliport and helipads atop many a building welcome those who descend from the skies. Many a luxury car, often sporting custom colors and trims, huddle at hotel front doors like elegant dogs waiting for their owners to take them out for perambulations. Or, you can take the train and enjoy the breathtaking scenery it affords, as you travel, from either Menton or Villefranche-sur-Mer depending on your direction. On a clear, bright (if a bit hot) summer day, whether you look to the hills or along the stunning coast, it would be difficult to imagine a more beautiful setting.

 

Our own journey into Monaco that day began in a manner appropriate for a venue known for gambling. From our starting location lay the Italian attraction of Cinq Terre with Monaco in the opposite direction. As gambling has for so long determined Monaco’s fate, a coin toss, not a hand of Baccarat, settled Monte Carlo as our choice, and we set out from the station at Ventimiglia.

 

Our guide, an affable Brit named Paul Thompson, who makes it his business to squire visitors through this remarkable place, met us at Monaco’s modernist train station, and we were soon walking the sundrenched Quai Albert along the Grand Prix course. If ever there was a place with stories to tell, it would be Monaco. There are many recounts of famous cars, drivers, and races for car buffs, and related tours focused on those aspects of the place can be had. Of course, for movie fans, there are walking tours of the many locations used in films, such as Hitchcock’s 1955 classic, To Catch a Thief, and, to cover both cars and films in one go, Frankenheimer’s 1966 equally classic Grand Prix. What would tours of these kinds be without a bit of gossip? Our guide shared tib-bits about the apartments looming above us, all with price tags that would make those who spell money in any language with a “B” think twice. Interesting though were, our guide’s recount of the tiny country’s history, heroics of various car drivers, and its astronomical costs, still we slipped away in thought. How to describe a place about which you have always heard but are now actually there? For it was easy to see there were two faces to the Monaco we then encountered.

 

First, Monaco’s breathtakingly scenic side, a dramatic coastline outlined with beautiful cliffs and gardens, the majestic port laden with yachts of surreal proportions and designs, like creatures from name your Sci-Fi film waiting to return to their aquatic galaxies. Turn the other direction, however. There, towards the hills above where there are…buildings…and more buildings. Like so many boxes from Lawrence Graff, all stacked together, hurriedly, on top of each other, some seeming to tumble onto others. Each, precious and expensive, perhaps beautiful in its own way. How to know with each visually on top of the other? This chock-a-block image stood, in contrast, to the vista just a head turn away. Our guide had the answer to clear from our minds what he called these contrasting Legoland visions. Visit a palace. Specifically, “Le Palais Princier,” to see the changing of the guards at noon. Rediscover, in other words, that unique magic surrounding Monaco, no matter which way you look.

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A REGAL FIT

At the palace, in a throng a few minutes later, we stood, waiting, to watch as centuries of ceremony would be carried out for another day in front of the palace gates. Our experienced guide, however, sensed unfamiliar activity. The guards, as he put it, “are up to something.” Barricades suddenly appeared, lines of white-suited men formed, and around the corner appeared a phalanx. “Oh, good! We’ll maybe get to see Prince Albert,” he exclaimed. Then, in a brief flash, the princely coach out of the group went past.  With a quick nod of his head, one man in back turned and acknowledged the crowd as the processional streaked by and through suddenly opened palace gates. Were he mounted on a white steed, such a princely image would have made the scene most fairy-tale-like, indeed. All of us, however, standing in the Monaco noon sun, envied the air-conditioned practicality of this modern-day prince: a white Lexus 460 sedan.

 

The palace secured for another day, we set off inside on a tour of its for-your-eyes-not-cameras-only treasures. Since the group of us were not privy to invitations to the apartments we had passed earlier, the ornate palace of gilt and silk would be the closest we would come to experiencing similar ambiances. That said, who could not think the palace a perfect setting for such a style icon as whom we know as Grace Kelly, but was Princess Consort of Monaco, or, simply, Grace de Monaco?

 

One story of the fabled palace and its inhabitants is from fine art photographer Gray Hawn. She photographed Princess Grace’s last portrait before her untimely death in 1982. “Of course, Princess Grace was gracious and lovely and definitely a princess. Prince Rainier was funny and intelligent,” shares Hawn. “As a photographer, I’ve always had a dreamy love affair with France, and especially at the thought of photographing Princess Grace. The first time I went to Monaco, I stayed on the French Riviera, and when my room overlooked the Mediterranean Sea, with all of its lavish yachts, how could I not be in love with such a beautiful sight?”

 

Another Texan, Houstonian philanthropist Lynn Wyatt, has many fond memories about the south of France, especially since Princess Grace was a close friend. “I was there every summer for a long time, and I always enjoyed entertaining guests who would come visit,” she says. “Nancy Reagan invited me the first time. Then, I got a villa–I didn’t want to buy since home to me is Texas. I was fortunate to have met so many fabulous people while there–they stayed with me, and I stayed with them. How lucky I was to be able to do those things. Of course, Oscar would be there between his business in Houston and the Middle East.” In fact, so popular was Lynn Wyatt that her annual birthday parties, during the high summer season, became a legendary and coveted invitation.

BRAND IDENTITY

Onward, we knew lunch was in order. Over Monaco’s own beer…a full-tasting malty brew with perhaps a hint of rose, we contemplated what lay ahead. Our bank balances prevented a full-on assault of the gaming tables, but visiting the casinos, at least their lobbies were gratis, as was wandering past the shops. Those shops. All your favorite brands present and accounted for, and a few that even give the most ardent fashion followers pause. As to their offerings? Fur coats in July to wear on chilly yacht evenings? A parure of diamonds in time for this evening? That handbag? Your credit card, please, and it was a business to do your shopping pleasure in this luxury-laden metropolis.

 

We sought another respite… from the sun in the lobby of The Fairmont Monte Carlo, complete with a frothy cocktail. More stores awaited our examination. Venetian shoes scattered with crystals in every style imaginable lured those ladies so interested in Rene Caovilla. The sartorial delights of Stefano Ricci promised to transform any man into being mistaken for an Italian count or, perhaps just as well, extremely rich. Across the way, another place caught our eye. “Pawn Shop” would be too lowly a description. No matter such comparisons, how could such a place not attract with its outrageous display of still shiny yet slightly faded luxuries? What we saw there, the once riches of others were now their costly cast-offs. Thus, they were all the more intriguing, n’est-ce pas? Their mystique being their own stories, indeed, as much as any image conjured by their brand. But what might these tales be? Were the many hubcap-sized gold Rolexes sold to pay off that one unlucky poker hand? The (very) many more Hermes Birkin bags deaccessioned in order to cover unexpected “expenses”? Or, were their former owners simply bored and burdened by yet another purse in their closets? The shopkeeper would just shrug if asked, so we didn’t.  Such stories may never be known, perhaps for the best. Isn’t it fun to wonder how the coveted become the commoditized in such a place as Monaco?

 

Had we stayed for dinner, of course, Le Louis XV, Alain Ducasse’s many Michelin starred outposts in the Hotel de Paris would be a draw. We heard from one lucky source that even the breadbasket with accompanying pots of hand-made butter was exquisite. Other intelligence revealed Marcel Ravin’s Blue Bay (with merely one Michelin star) at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort is a wonderful choice for fine dining in an atmosphere slightly more contemporary and much less ornate than Chez Ducasse. We look forward to our next visit, or, perhaps, the one you will take there, to inform us better.

 

Our time running out, we made it past the beach to the cement steps near the Grimaldi Forum. Walking back to the station, we watched the bathers diving into the sapphire waters, truly sans souci. Back on the train to Italy, the brochure of the current exhibit, Histoire d’ Une Rencontre, which we saw at the palace, again intrigued us. As this was our first trip to Monaco, so, too, was the show about the first time then-Grace Kelly met always-Prince Renier III May 6, 1955.  From that “first date,” complete with meeting not only the Prince but also his pet tiger, came forth the engagement leading to her becoming the iconic Princess Grace of Monaco.

 

Upon reflection, something more came about from that meeting, did it not? Monaco’s image emerged and remains as being the place for dreams like never before and forever and eternal. Anything at all. A place where it’s possible to make your own dreams come true. Then at the altar for Princess Grace, or now at the gaming tables, for us all.  Show the world from the palace throne room or the yacht deck your own dreams did come true. Even icons have dreams, and in Monaco, those dreams remain for us all, and unlike almost everything else, there: no charge.    

 

Show the world from the palace throne room or the yacht deck that your own dreams did come true. Even icons have dreams, and in Monaco, those dreams remain for us all, and unlike almost everything else, there: no charge.

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SEEKING PARADISE

SEEKING PARADISE

If you genuinely want to get away from it all, French Polynesia might just be the most perfect destination on the planet. Sunny, remote, and quite glamorous, you’ll see why these famous islands surrounding Tahiti beckon for a Jet-Set trip of a lifetime, according to our intrepid globe-hopper, Lance Avery Morgan.

UNUSUALLY UTOPIAN

If this isn’t paradise, then paradise really may not exist after all. Welcome to the land in which James Michener wrote Tales of the South Pacific and subject for the captivating images painted by Gauguin and Matisse that shocked the world. Yes, French Polynesia is an extraordinary land…a mythical place with mythical inhabitants that offers what some might consider a once-in-a-lifetime experience south of the equator.

 

Think of French Polynesia as the Hawaii of the 1950s before statehood–unspoiled, underdeveloped, and well, just a little untamed. With exotic island names like Bora Bora, Manihi, Tikehau, Moreea, and many more, each experience can be distinctive and always five-star. You encounter an authentic experience here, which is the islands’ specialty. Maybe that’s why the rich and famous love to escape their red carpet lives if just for a couple of weeks, to arrive at a sense of tranquility in such a secluded paradise.  

 

The region’s laissez-faire attitude, topped with a chic French accent, creates a unique and spectacular environment to satisfy any desire. Want to curl up in the lap of luxury and eat fresh fruit with a side of Poisson cru (raw fish marinated in fresh coconut milk)? That’s easily arranged. Enjoy endless spa treatments? That can happen. Think you’re up for an athletic vacation where you can snorkel, dive, kayak, surf, and do just about any other water sport? This is the place. Need some downtime away from your electronic device and spreadsheets to complete that unfinished screenplay, polish off that Great American Novel, or just paint watercolor masterpieces? Come here to do it and recharge your creative batteries. Think of it as, well, nature’s Botox. 

 

JUST ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE

Once you land, relaxation sets in immediately. And getting there is a snap. Hop on a plane to Los Angeles, and then the easy part is flying directly from Los Angeles to Papeete, the capital of Tahiti, the cornerstone of what is known as French Polynesia. Air Tahiti Nui gets you there in a quick eight hours–just a little more than what it takes to get to Honolulu (I learned this when my direct flight was canceled at the last minute and I hopped on another that took me to Honolulu first). You’ll feel rested upon arrival in the evening thanks to the airline’s luxurious amenities. There are even plenty of non-stop flights from Manhattan. Since you arrive at night, you can stay at the Sheraton Hotel Tahiti or Radisson Plaza Resort Tahiti before moving on to one of the luxurious resort islands the next day. Visitors usually don’t dawdle in Papette since it is reputed to have a high crime rate. Once at your resort destination, you’ll be greeted with a fresh lei of fragrant Tiare (similar to a gardenia), a custom that’s implemented on every island you visit. And paradise will beckon you from every swaying palm.

 

To know the islands, you first have to be acquainted with their land and people. The extensive island chain of French Polynesia is home to only 250,000 inhabitants, 70% of which live in Tahiti. There are about 120 islands and atolls that comprise the area, much more than Hawaii’s eight islands, lending a feeling of tremendously remote tranquility when you get there. It’s hardly Gilligan’s Island, or even, Lost for that matter.

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Polynesia has a dynamic and diverse culture. They are people who seek adventure. Because they are survivors avidly concerned with the environment, they love to have a good time and make visitors feel welcome. Although the French are not usually known for their over-friendliness, as many who have been to Paris will recount, they are known for creating an environment that’s above reproach. That is what they’ve done here since it became a French protectorate in 1842 before becoming an overseas territory in 1946.

 

Le Bora Bora is the ultimate Jet-Set lagoon destination. Over-water, thatched bungalows are the most common accommodations on the islands. From land, as you walk to the middle of the lagoon to your rooms at the Pearl Beach Resort as I did, you’ll see the marine life at your feet. Literally. Inside your teak wood suite of plush linens and original islander artist renderings, you’ll encounter what I call a Tahitian television: a glass floor coffee table where you can see all the exotic marine life swimming beneath you. These built-on-stilts suites are the perfect way to end either a sport-filled or relaxing day. Either way, you will know and quickly get used to the fact that you’re in paradise.

 

EXPERIENTIAL PLEASURE

The sporting life on the islands is mainly inspired by the turquoise blue water and entices you to embrace your inner Indiana Jones. A French Polynesian devotee told me, “I was snorkeling one day and swam right by a blacktip reef shark. Within five feet. What an experience. There are so many water sports to encounter in this tropical paradise.”

 

Want to go snorkeling? I hopped down the steps of my over-water bungalow and swam over to a coral nursery where I found fish of every imaginable color and size. Need to catch your own meal? Do as I did and go deep-sea fishing on a small craft to catch a grouper, then have a picnic on a remote motu with a group of both friends and islanders. Ready for dessert? There’s a coconut tree right over there. It’s the kind where I learned to climb to obtain fresh coconut: all you do is shuck it with your teeth, or simply crack it open with a sharp object to taste its nectar. Anything seems possible in the South Pacific, even for the most ardent city dweller.

 

It’s said the blue water is so rich in coloration that it’s not duplicated in any other part of the world. Even from an airplane window, it stunningly beckons each visitor. The fact that it is pristinely clear is a given. The fact that it’s home to some of the best coral reefs in the world is an added bonus. If you want to experience the best diving the world has to offer, this is the ocean for it. Marine life is healthy, abundant, and well protected. Take a champagne sunset boat cruise to find out about the sea and its inhabitants. Michael Chopard, the boat’s captain, told me, “This area is a gift from God. I’ve lived here since the 1970s, and to me, the lagoons are the most special. I fell in love with all of this the moment I landed back then.”

 

Part of that specialness is the pearls found dotting both tourists and natives. The pearl farms that cultivate those precious balls of marine perfection are sprinkled among the islands. Elizabeth Schneider, a Tahitian pearl expert, revealed, “About one in 10,000 pearls are naturally perfect, so most are cultured, like this one I’m holding. Even cultured pearls of high quality take about five years to create. We created one that was a jawbreaker size valued at over $20,000.”

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So, pearls are big business, especially the black ones that are actually shades of charcoal grey.  If you are a diver and want to try your luck at obtaining perfect pearls, dive in. It can be done. Diving is serious business and has an amazing following here. The Pearl is the only luxury hotel chain for dive enthusiasts of all levels, to marry quality resorts with professionally run PADI dive centers at six of their resorts. My goal of diving for black pearls, which could be made into cufflinks and a stud set, was achieved, so anything is truly possible.

 

UNPARALLELED LUXE

The island’s guests appreciate the unique combination of being able to play at Robinson Crusoe with water and beach activities yet enjoy all the creature comforts of a luxury resort. Dining at Le Bora Bora is memorable for its subtle mix of the best of French and Polynesian cuisine, often accompanied by exciting Tahitian dance entertainment. Three restaurants at the resort satisfy any appetite: Miki Miki, Otemanu, and Poerava. Miki Miki is a quick dash from the pool or beach for a delicious lunch or a light dinner later in the day. Poerava serves gourmet cuisine in a romantic and cozy setting.  Situated at the highest elevation point at the resort, breakfast is usually served as a buffet, and dinner offers peaceful views of the lagoon and Mount Otemanou, where, every Monday, is a live Polynesian show. In fact, I was that guy they pulled on stage to learn the native Polynesian dance in front of the entire dining audience. Bongo drums and all. It was worth it because the cuisine on the islands is unmatched. I danced for my supper. Most of the food is shipped in since vegetation is rare on the islands due to space and logistics. Yet, the fish is fresh and often local. Fresh papaya juice and the best hot chocolate outside of Paris is de riguer for breakfast. A light salad for lunch is the perfect energizer in between sports activities or sunning. The vegetables, the fruit, and even the beef seemed to taste better on the islands.

 

Want to be pampered? There’s an island secret called monoi, a liquid blend of the essences of hundreds of flowers, oil, and indigenous coconuts  used in most spa treatments. The resorts offer a range of traditional Polynesian and other massage techniques and treatments using the purest natural oils and essences. During treatments, you’ll be ensconced by a new line of Manea Spa products made exclusively for the Pearl resorts in Tahiti. A formula that retains the intrinsic natural properties of flowers and plants. The Bora Bora, Tikehau, and Manihi Pearl Beach Resorts (all a Member of Leading Small Hotels of the World) and the Four Seasons Bora Bora offer treatments, scrubs, and massages to soothe both the soul and the senses. And all are traveled between by either boat or a quick plane ride. A favorite of honeymooners, you’ll see the resorts loaded with lovers. That’s the island way.

 

Islander folklore has that the French Polynesians honor dreams that occur here. They feel that dreams are planted and fed and not tossed away. They think dreams and love never die in Tahiti. Upon departure, I am given my last strand of shells around my neck, signifying the hope of safe travels and a beckon to return. The shells and trip symbolize the holiday of a lifetime, and I make a silent promise to myself to return one day…with much more sunscreen.

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MEET ME AT THE CADILLAC

MEET ME AT THE CADILLAC

The famed Cadillac Bar in Nuevo Laredo holds special memories in the hearts of so many Texans. A destination of its era, the nostalgia for the fabled Mexican bar and restaurant lives on, according to our Texas pop culture chronicler, Lori Duran.

AN EASY WALK

I can still remember stepping into the venerable Cadillac Bar. The spacious interior was both casual and refined. Everywhere I looked, besuited waiters were attending to every table. The food coming out of the kitchen looked heavenly. And the enthusiasm of the clientele was palpable. We had driven from Corpus Christi to Laredo, parked our car at the shopping mall on the border, and simply walked across the international bridge into Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. It was an easy walk and I have such fond memories to this day.

 

Wanda Garner Cash, the granddaughter of the original owners, also shares her insight, from her new book, Pancho Villa’s Saddle at the Cadillac Bar: Recipes & Memories. “The Cadillac was a special place that served exotic food and cocktails in a comfortable atmosphere,” says Cash. “It was unlike anything else. Prohibition in the U.S. had brought about the creation of this legendary watering hole. Maybe we thought it would last forever. Unfortunately, Mexico was not altogether business-friendly. And the Cadillac weathered storms and changed hands by the time it finally closed 11 years ago.”

 

It all started with Mayo Bessan, an ambitious bartender and waiter in New Orleans. Bessan worked at several establishments, including Henry Ramos’s renowned Imperial Cabinet. In 1920, Bessan’s career was halted with Prohibition in the U.S. And just a couple of years later, he left his honeymoon early to travel to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, to seek opportunities for life and livelihood. The city appealed to him since business was booming on both sides of the border. Bessan and his wife eagerly moved there, and he took his southern Louisiana recipes with him.

The 1920s brought prosperity to Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, especially as Prohibition hung over the landscape and attracted visitors south of the border to wet their whistles. Laredo, then known as the Queen City of the Rio Grande, was a major port of entry for goods coming into the U.S. Bessan saw this as an opportunity. In 1926, he opened a genteel drinking hole and restaurant in Nuevo Laredo, titling it with the rich-sounding name, Cadillac Bar, formerly known as Cabello Blanco (White Horse). Bessan hoped the elevated name would lure respectable Texans inside. Did it ever. Instantly. The customers came, all dressed to the nines, by bus, car, train, and airplane. Bessan infused the menu with Creole flavors and lured his buddies from south Louisiana to be the cooks. The Louisiana friends also organized a gambling operation in the backroom since it was legal in Mexico.  

NICE COCKTAILS

The establishment offered nice cocktails, as they were touted then, which would become an understatement with its future reputation. Meanwhile, the kitchen offered seafood and delicious sauces, and things went well as the social headquarters among the sprawling, arid landscape of South Texas into Mexico. Business was profitable, even during the lean depression years in the U.S., which was then followed by an economic downturn in Mexico. But, Americans would pay for good food and drinks despite the tough times. For more than half a century, Bessan’s restaurant attracted notables, politicians, and ranchers as well as plenty of tourists who would come to shop and eat in Nuevo Laredo and stay at the gracious La Posada hotel in Laredo.

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The Cadillacs famed drink, the Ramos Gin Fizz, was a frothy concoction that Bessan learned to make in New Orleans and taught his bartenders to replicate. The notoriously labor-intensive drink requires a plethora of shaking, but it was worth the effort because it quickly became a customer favorite. In 1949, the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans contested Bessan’s use of the Ramos Gin Fizz title because the Roosevelt’s owners had trademarked it in 1935. So, the Cadillac changed the name to New Orleans Fizz, but everyone knew its pedigree. The food menu included Louisiana specialties such as shrimp gumbo, grilled quail, frog legs, and turtle soup. It also featured TexMex favorites such as guacamole and enchiladas and plenty of mouth-watering frosty margaritas when a gin drink wouldn’t do. With the respected bar and cuisine, linen tablecloths, and impeccable service, the Cadillac was a popular destination along the border.

The Cadillac had a broad following, from Texas Jet-Setters to shoppers lured by the silver jewelry and pottery. Beyond the city on nearby leases, hunters were beckoned by dove, deer, and quail. “It was my father, Epitacio R. Resendez III (1928-1991), who used to call The Cadillac Bar his office and would actually give out their phone number 2-00-15 as his own,” says San Antonio and Laredo resident, Epitacio R. Resendez IV. “He would always be at the corner of the long bar to be close to the phone, since most calls were for him anyway.” Even though the Cadillac bar was a celebrity in its own right, in 1952, Marlon Brando and Anthony Quinn visited when they were filming Viva Zapata! about the legendary Mexican revolutionary of the region, Emiliano Zapata.

ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS

Perhaps it was the atmosphere and Mexican folklore that so many loved. Regular patrons had their usual waiters, whom they knew on a first-name basis. Outfitted in white jackets and black bowties, servers made sure that drinks were already arriving at the patron’s table by the time they sat down. Now that’s service. The atmosphere was enhanced by the décor. The Cadillac kept a saddle on display that once belonged to Pancho Villa, which survived a devasting flood in 1954 that affected much of the region.

 

Natural disasters aside, Mayo Bessan died in 1969, and his son-in-law Porter Garner continued the Cadillac for the next ten years. In 1979, Garner turned it over to the employees as he had grown tired of dealing with the Mexican government and the unions. Reportedly crooked bureaucrats demanded multiple payments to renew their license, and annual taxes were based on the single best weekend each year, and everything was taxed. The Garners took their family treasures, including Pancho Villa’s saddle, and left. The South Texas-based Longoria family, Ramon Salido Longoria, bought the Cadillac in 1980.

In 1991, reportedly, a Longoria family feud split the establishment effectively in two. One of them renamed the original site as the El Dorado. While another Longoria, with his partners, took the Cadillac Bar name and moved it to a new location. In the 2000s, business started slipping as violence broke out among the drug cartels in the area. Within a few years, the violence escalated, and tourism slowed tremendously in the vibrant border town. The New York Times had once called the Cadillac “The best run and most delightful watering hole” on the U.S. and Mexico border. But by the early 2000s, the drinks were still being poured even though the throngs of visitors slowed to a slow stream. The El Dorado struggled until 2010 when it closed. In the end, the famed institution had few customers brave enough to visit. The same cartel violence also claimed some of Nuevo Laredo’s beloved shopping sites.

The legendary establishment is gone, as are those carefree trips across the border. But the Cadillac food, drinks, and reputation created a powerful lure that inspired others in the tourist-dependent area. In 1977, George Jackson and partners opened their version of the Cadillac in Houston. By 2016, Houstonian Tilman Fertitta owned four Cadillac Bar locations in Las Vegas, Houston, Kemah, and Lake Charles. There were also separately owned Cadillac Bars in San Antonio and San Francisco. These outposts had similarities with the original, but they could never match it. The original, as in most cases, is usually the best.

Recently, there has been a revived interest in the Ramos Gin Fizz, thanks to the robust craft cocktail trend in Texas. The recipe for this infamous concoction as well as other favorite dishes from The Cadillac Bar can be found in Cash’s book,  Pancho Villas Saddle at the Cadillac: Recipes & Memories, which is available at bookstores such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

THE RAMOS GIN FIZZ

Ingredients

1 oz. dry gin

juice from one lemon

1 tsp. powdered sugar

1 egg white

3 oz. whipping cream

6 drops orange flavoring

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in blender.

Serve over crushed ice in tall glass.

Serves one. Enjoy responsibly.

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EASY DOES IT

EASY DOES IT

This warm-weather season requires a simplified beauty routine filled with inspiration, hopeful energy,  and bold makeup elements, yet low-effort and impactful with looks that last all day with a light touch, according to our resident beauty expert, Ana Bribiesca Hoff.

AUGUSTINE BADER

FRENCH FLAIR

Your new favorite, light summer scent that will leave a lasting impression? This limited-edition Art Deco-inspired Cartier Les Necessaries a Parfum will have others enraptured by your scent.

$850. At Cartier.com.

ON-THE-GLOW

The Wander Beauty On-The-Glow Blush and Illuminator freshens up cheeks, lips, and even lids by adding gorgeous color with hydrating blush for a pretty monochromatic look.

$42. At Sephora.com.

STILA
golden hour

GOLDEN HOUR

Gilded golden eyes that beautifully complement sun-kissed skin and a beachy glow are synonyms for this warm weather season. Achieve them both with the Nudestick Magnetic Nude Glimmer Highlighter.

$28. At Sephora.com.

NATURALLY DEWY

RMS Beauty’s Mini Living Luminizer Highlighter Glow Quad is a travel-ready, summer-must-have palette for natural dewy looks and a subtle, luminous finish.

$25. At SaksFifthAvenue.com.

GUERLIAN EYE
KOSAS EYESHADOW

SOFT FOCUS

Don’t forget to pack a lip and cheek tint in your makeup bag for an incredibly easy and natural look in one simple step. Dab Milk Makeup’s Glow Oil Lip + Cheek onto your lips and cheeks where you naturally get flushed for a soft pop of color.

$15. At Sephora.com.  

PROTECTED & PRETTY

Try Sisley-Paris Super Soin Solaire Teinte Tinted Sunscreen Cream SPF 30, a water-resistant silky and non-greasy cream that blends effortlessly and helps preserve the skin’s photo-aging with a combination of UVA and UVB mineral filters.

$180. At Nordstrom.com.

CHRISTIAN LABOUTIN
URBAN DECAY

PLAYFUL POUTS

We suggest Yves Saint Laurent Tatouage Couture Velvet Cream Matte Liquid Lipstick in Coral Symbol for a dose of color that is breathable and lightweight. Eat, drink, and kiss to your heart’s content, with no reapplication needed.

$38. At Neiman Marcus.com.  

EASY ON THE EYES

Adding an intense color to your eyes is an easy, yet chic way to brighten your face without wearing too much makeup. Try Gucci Stylo Contour des Yeux Khol Eyeliner Pencil in Celeste.

$36. At Nordstrom.com.

GIVENCHY
URBAN DECAY

CLEANSING COOL

Ideal for on-the-go, Tarte’s frxxxtion stick 3-in-1 is a travel-friendly, twist-up 3-in-1 facial cleansing stick that thoroughly cleans skin to reveal smooth, glowing skin.

$22. At Sephora.com.

LET’S GET AWAY FROM IT ALL

LET’S GET AWAY FROM IT ALL

With vacation destinations beginning to open their doors again, we’re longing to get away from it all and spend a joyous summer rejuvenating in the sunshine. Our style chronicler, Eleanora Morrison, of Eleanora.co, shares looks inspired by La Dolce Vita—the sweet life of summer travels and a return to our former jet-setting ways.

ALL THAT GLITTERS

For all of the days spent lounging in the sunshine, why notsparkle while being protectedfrom those rays? This Gucci straw hat will shimmer away as you drift to sea.

$550. At Net-A-Porter.com.

DOG DAYS OF SUMMER

How much is that doggie in the window? Shopping with this tote while out on the town will be sure to catch some paw-sitive attention.

$299. At NeimanMarcus.com.

110 IN THE SHADE

No summer outfit is complete without the final touch of the essential seasonal accessory: the sunnies. These Krewe shades are a perfect complement to any al-fresco ensemble.

$275. At NeimanMarcus.com

PRETTY IN PINK

Splish, splash, these pups love a Beverly Hills bath. Why not acquire a seasonally appropriate print or pool accessory that makes every day a vacay?

Starting at $299. At GrayMalin.com.

SUN & SAND

When it comes to sun protection, San Antonio-based company Supergoop is a fan favorite. This summer, they’ve collaborated with photographer Gray Malin to bring extra style to your skincare routine with the Supergoop x Gray Malin collection.

$75. At Supergoop.com.

TOO DARN HOT

For the warmest of days, whether at home or away, nothing beats the heat like a flowy kaftan. Inspired by classic silhouettes, the ERDEM Antibes dress is the essence of holiday style.

$895. At Erdem.com.

FROM FARM TO MARKET

For mornings at the summer farmer’s market, this Patou tote is perfect to gather ingredients for the evening’s dinner—served al fresco with a view of the water, of course.

$358. At Patou.com.

GLIDING THE GLAM

Nothing says summer glamour like a silk cover-up robe, perfect for gliding around the pool as you sip your refreshing beverage of choice. This Camilla number will have you feeling timelessly fabulous.

$849. At NeimanMarcus.com.

FROM THE VINE

Flirty in floral: this sweetheart swimsuit by Tory Burch is sure to turn heads at your next vacation destination.

$258. At NeimanMarcus.com.

CRISS-CROSS APPLESAUCE

These Prada sandals are perfect for a day spent wandering between the water and wherever else you find yourself exploring.

$775. At NeimanMarcus.com.

YOU KNOW THE DRILL

The espadrille that is. These Saint Laurent canvas espadrilles can take you from a morning beach bike ride to a sunset happy hour and everywhere in between.

$395. At NeimanMarcus.com.

IN BLOOM

A vacation wardrobe wouldn’t be complete without easy-to-slip-on shorts. Look no further than this romantic Zimmermann pair. Their blooming pattern will billow in the breeze as you take in all of the exciting sights.

$375. At Net-A-Porter.com