Always looking for the next best thing, our editors Lesa Rossick in Austin, Cynthia Smoot in Dallas, Jennifer Roosth in Houston, and Eleanora Morrison in San Antonio share their stellar statewide recommendations that are must-dines during the warm weather months.



Like a familiar lifetime friend where you are always welcome, to many La Traviata is exactly that and still serves the best Italian food west of Rome. Run by owner-chef Marion Gillcrist, this fan favorite has served seasonally fresh cuisine in the heart of downtown for nearly two decades. The must-haves are the Chicken Parmesan, homemade ravioli, and salmon dishes, which all reign supreme as classic Italian dishes.



Menu favorites include crema de elote, roasted duck relleno and specialty margaritas keep El Alma firmly planted in the spotlight of the best Mexican fare in Texas. Featuring a multi-level design, including a rooftop deck with dramatic skyline views, El Alma offers lunch and dinner seven days a week along with a daily happy hour and weekend brunch.



The former union hall on the edge of Zilker Park recently had new life breathed into it as a boutique hotel and chic eatery. The place-to-be is Carpenter’s Hall restaurant that serves up Texas comfort food like no other. Schnitzel, pastas and burgers round out the fare in the large open interior space, as well as private dining outside, too.




HERO by HG SPLY CO has recently opened an impressive 25,000 square foot open-air restaurant just steps away from American Airlines Center. The main dining room offers two full-service bars with an open-air facade. At the opposite end of the building is a massive indoor/outdoor bar area dubbed, The Meantime, with impressive 24-foot screen for game watching, concerts, private events and presentations. HERO also houses its 800 square-foot Arcade with classic gaming that can be tailored for events, a pool table and more.


 Photography courtesy of Shannon Faulk


Merchant House offers a new American and globally inspired menu taking on a combination of shared items and entrees to create a fully social dining experience. You can expect an array of delicious, scratch cocktails and a full complement of locally brewed beers and cocktails on tap. Merchant House also offers weekend brunch with a focus on fun, social food and drinks for the whole table. The upstairs bar offers stunning views of downtown with a sexy, intimate lounge atmosphere.



Truluck’s has added 10 new cocktails to celebrate the summer season. From fruity concoctions to mellow libations, there’s something to tantalize the taste buds of everyone. Available in the Stone Crab Lounge and on the dinner menu served in the upstairs dining room, Truluck’s uses the best possible ingredients and techniques to ensure that every drink served is an experience. Plus, Truluck’s has one of the best happy hours in town, offering half-price cocktails, featured wines, and selected appetizers in the Stone Crab Lounge.




Named for the California county known for its support of the slow food movement and sustainable farming, Mendocino Farms has selected its first location outside of California in Rice Village. The restaurant will feature a unique gathering place where foodies and families alike can come together over chef-driven sandwiches and soulful salads served with white tablecloth hospitality. The seasonally rotating menu features fine dining quality ingredients at an approachable price point and champions deserving local farms and food artisans. Opening late summer 2019 and additional locations on the horizon are: Uptown Park, Heights, and Downtown.



Postino was born in a historic 1940s-era Arizona post office in 2001 and has since been dedicated to giving customers a hyper-localized experience within each community it becomes a part of. The brand is built on Postino’s foundation of revitalizing historically relevant buildings that are integral to the neighborhoods that surround each location. This August, Postino will open its second Houston location in Montrose, formerly home to the Montrose Mining Company, bringing the area a new classic neighborhood outpost.


Photography by Becca Wright


Recently opened in the heart of the River Oaks District, Ouzo Bay offers contemporary Mediterranean cuisine with a seafood-focused menu. In addition to a wide selection of freshly-caught whole fish and signature dishes of Mediterranean, Greek-inspired favorites that are paired with the acclaimed sommelier’s elevated beverage program available at Ouzo Bay’s full-service bar, lounge, or at one of the many tables in the bright, nautical space. 




On the hunt for a magical venue for your next special event? Look no further than Southtown’s Ivy Hall, a cluster of stylish indoor-outdoor spaces managed by best of San Antonio caterer Tim the Girl. From brand photoshoots, to birthday parties, to weddings and more, Ivy Hall is an urban botanical oasis with a freshly funky old-meets-new feel that is sure to provide a standout backdrop that fits your needs.



A dining experience built around America’s favorite food–burgers–infused with Mexico’s interior flare, Burgerteca transforms the experience of casual dining in a creative and fun environment conceptualized by San Antonio chef Johnny Hernandez. With indigenous Mexican ingredients, distinct styles and regional iconic and celebratory dishes, Burgerteca celebrates Mexico’s culture of its sweet and savory colorful day-to-day life.



Boasting a branding revamp and showcasing exciting summer menu additions, San Antonio’s treasured neighborhood bar since 1973, Bombay Bicycle Club now offers Sunday brunch, craft cocktails, and community events. The place where everybody knows your name, Bombay Bicycle Club is a refreshingly nostalgic feel-good spot to add to your frequent favorites list.




Since we all attend so many weddings, that means there are numerous social situations that are unique. Join our very own Ms. Modern Manners Sharon Schweitzer, J.D. as she helps us navigate the nuances for this special time in your life when you are in the spotlight.

Dear Ms. Modern Manners,

We’ve decided not to invite kids to the wedding, but my fiancé’s mother really wants us to invite her grandchildren. Can we bend the rule or is that playing favorites?   

         Plays By The Rules

Dear Rule Requester,

Deciding whether to invite children is one of the most difficult guest list questions. Once a decision is made, it’s best to stick with it. Graciously coordinate with both families. Respectfully state that although this is your wedding, you plan to honor what is important to both families during the wedding. Summon up your best diplomacy skills, compromise and remember, you can’t please everyone all of the time. Your fiancé’s mother and her grandchildren will be your new family and you may want to respect their wishes. Consider the following to avoid playing favorites:

Due to space limitations, we are hosting an adults-only wedding. The only children attending are immediate family or our wedding party. If anyone needs help with making arrangements for childcare, please let us know and we will do our best to assist.


Dear Ms. Modern Manners,

My family has set our wedding budget based on our initial guest list, but now my future mother-in-law wants to invite 30 more people. What should we do?

Best Guest List

Dear Guest Handler,

Marriage is about bringing two people together to create a new family. Creating and encouraging open communication with both sides of the family early in the engagement and wedding planning will set the stage for excellent communication during your marriage. Discuss the invitation, location, catering and budget; are there certain people from each family that must be invited? What does your fiancé think? If finances are an issue, will your fiancé’s family contribute? Having an awareness of family customs and showing parental respect goes a long way, especially when this family will become your new extended family.


Dear Ms. Modern Manners,

Recently, we had a falling out with a friendly couple during our engagement. Can we dis-invite them?

Friend Indeed


Dear Friendly Persuasion, 

Etiquette experts agree that this must never occur. However, life happens. Friendships dissolve, crimes are committed, and indiscretions are discovered. Predicaments the bride and groom cannot fathom surface that can cause anguish on both sides. Yes, it’s true that it’s your wedding and you can invite anyone you wish. However, inviting someone and then rescinding that invitation requires contemplation and diplomacy.


If you have the fortitude to rescind a wedding invitation, then you have the courage to do so in person or by phone. Sending an informal text, email, or instant message is insensitive. Words on a screen cannot convey the compassion necessary to deliver the message. When it’s an indiscretion or something criminal, it’s difficult and there are two sides to a story. Yes, there are times when a person can be asked not to attend a wedding as the best solution.


Dear Ms. Modern Manners,

We don’t want guests to take pictures during the ceremony. How do we stop them from doing it without confiscating their phones?

Social Media-Free

Dear Social Studies,

While there are several steps that can be taken to reduce photos, no one can guarantee that Aunt Gertrude won’t snap a photo for your grandmother. So, consider the following steps to reduce the paparazzi in your circle:

1.     Host an electronics free wedding

2.     Post an announcement on your wedding website

  1. Include a note with the written invitation
  2. Decide against a wedding #hashtag
  3. Print a notice in the program
  4. Post a sign in your style similar to the following:

Welcome to our unplugged wedding. We invite you to be fully present during our ceremony. Please turn off all gadgets and enjoy the ceremony with us.



The best plays, musical performances and exhibits in Texas are being enjoyed by record number crowds, according to our cultural adventurers Claire-Lise Greve and Lance Avery Morgan who share our favorite recommendations from across the state in this issue.  



The new exhibit at the Bullock Texas State History Museum, WWI America, presents the stories of a divisive and transformational America told through original artifacts, images, voices, music, hands-on exploration, and multimedia presentations to capture the era that changed the world. Thru August 11.


Photo courtesy of the Bullock Texas State History Museum


From four-time Tony Award® winner, screenwriter Terrence McNally is Immortal Longings. In his newest show, the tempestuous relationship between the flamboyant impresario, Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev  and  Vaslav Nijinsky, the sensational superstar of his troupe is explored in Les Ballets Russes at ZACH Theatre. Recommended for ages 17+ and up due to language and mature situations. Through July 14.


Photo courtesy of ZACH Theatre


Jeffrey Gibson: This is the Day features over 50 remarkable pieces including everything from beaded wall hangings to paintings to ceramics and even garments. This Blanton Museum exhibition features a brand new video, I Was Here. that was commissioned  specifically for the show, Opening July 14.





The Dior: From Paris To The World exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art features designs from every creative director from Dior over the 70 year history of the fashion house. It showcases nearly 200 haute couture dresses as well as accessories, original sketches, and other rare archival materials. The cathedral-like installation room of gowns is a must-see. Through September 1.


Photo courtesy of the Dallas Museum of Art


Monet: The Late Years, the new exhibit at The Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth portrays the evolution of Monet’s painting style from 1913 until his death in 1926. It features many paintings that are being shown in the United States for the first time ever. Through September 15.


Photo courtesy of the Kimbell Art Museum


Coming to Fair Park, Hello Dolly, presented by Dallas Summer Musicals, is the story of a socialite turned matchmaker who tries to assist her latest clients in finding love. This great show for the whole family is classic Broadway and features Broadway great and native Texan, Betty Buckley in the title role. Through July 17.


Photo courtesy of Dallas Summer Musicals



Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston  is an exhibition showcasing over 200 photographs from various fashion photographers. It highlights  how their work shaped the industry into the cultural force it is today. Through September 22.



Dressed, 1981 by Helmut Newton. Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston


Aladdin, adapted from the Academy Award®-winning animated Disney film and centuries-old folktales including One Thousand and One Nights, is brought to fresh theatrical life in this bold new musical. Aladdin’s journey sweeps audiences into an exotic world of daring adventure, classic comedy and timeless romance brought to the stage by Broadway At The Hobby.



Photo by Deen van Meer


Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 and see how the miracle of space happened when all eyes were on the moon in July, 1969. We recommend the NASA Tram Tours featuring Historic Mission Control at NASA Johnson Space Center.




Photo courtesy of NASA





The Swinging Sixties are alive and kicking as the McNay Art Museum presents two innovative and inclusive exhibitions—Andy Warhol: Portraits and Transamerica/n: Gender, Identity, Appearance Today..  The Warhol show features over 120 paintings, prints, photographs, films, and videos that captures New York from the 1960s through the 1980s. The Transamerica/n: Gender, Identity, Appearance Today exhibit is the country’s first broad survey of contemporary artwork from across North America to explore the construction of identity through gender and outward appearance. Through September 15



Andy Warhol, Valentino, 1974. Acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen. The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. 1998.


The colorful Men of Steel, Women of Wonder exhibit at the San Antonio Museum of Art analyzes the world’s response to superheroes like Superman and Wonder Woman…ranging from their creation in the Great Depression to their modern portrayals in film. Through September 1.



Photo courtesy of the San Antonio Museum of Art


Into A New West: Contemporary Works From The Booth Museum at the Briscoe Museum of Art includes modern art from the 1960s in a way that challenges our conventions of what represents western art, as well as art from the present day. Through September 1.



Photo courtesy of the Briscoe Museum of Art



There is a correct response for every social situation. Most of us get it right most of the time. However, when we don’t our Ms. Modern Manners Sharon Schweitzer, JD, is on board to give us a hand up in potentially awkward matters.

Dear Ms. Modern Manners,

I‘m a tall female with short, cropped hair. In fact, I saw it on the streets of Paris and had to have the chic look. I’m frequently welcomed to shops or restaurants with a loud “Hello, sir.” Once they realize their faux pas, they stumble awkwardly apologizing and backtracking. This mislabeling is hurtful for those who are transgender or gender-nonconforming. How do I graciously respond?

 Inquiring Mind

Dear Mindfully Inquiring,

Like all things, etiquette evolves with the times. What was appropriate historically may not work as smoothly today. The clerk was more than likely intending respect with their greeting, and it will create a more gracious atmosphere if you give them the benefit of the doubt. Keep in mind that military and Southerners will say sir and ma’am out of habit. If a clerk is unsure about an appropriate greeting, they can leave off the gender tag and say “Good morning” or “Good afternoon.”

The next time this mislabeling occurs, respond with a genuine smile and a warm tone, “Please consider dropping the ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’ from your friendly greeting. It hurts when you get it wrong.” Sales associates will be more cautious or try to break the habit.

Dear Ms. Modern Manners,

I have been encouraged to improve my professional protocol since I am losing accounts and the respect of my colleagues because of oversharing on social media and being a jerk. However, I’ve no motivation to do so. It seems overwhelming. Where do I start?

                                                                                                                                      Social Media Boor

Dear Feeling Boorish,

Motivation is the key to achieving our professional and personal goals, succeeding in our careers, and improving ourselves as lifelong works in progress. It can come from anywhere…from our personal relationships, to a desire to overcome adverse circumstances and achieve success. Whatever its source, motivation can make the difference between reaching our dreams, and watching them pass us by.

In order to remain a driving force in our lives, motivation must be maintained as a source of inspiration and resilience. To keep motivation high, it’s important to remind yourself why you began your professional or personal journey in the first place. Are you seeking a promotion that would allow you to exercise your creative abilities? Whatever your reason, here are four easy tips for maintaining motivation and achieving your ambitions:

  1. Write down your end goal and why you want to achieve it, note the date at the top of the page, and re-read your response often. Think of this as a promise every day that you’re making to yourself as a conduit towards fulfilling that commitment.
  2. Keep a source of inspiration somewhere you can see it each day. Make your phone screen a picture of your dream vacation destination, keep a family photo nearby, or tape your dream university’s brochure above your desk. Visualizing your goals will remind you why you’re working so hard and encourage you to stay the course.
  3. Success is a marathon, not a sprint. Instead of setting a long-term goal that may take years to accomplish, come up with a timeline of benchmarks that break down your goal into more feasible steps. When you reach an important milestone, celebrate your achievement; then look forward to the next step in attaining your goal.

Finally, consider finding a coach or mentor with experience in your field who can advise you on how to reach your goal. Set up weekly meetings to decide where you need to improve, and what successes you’ve achieved so far. Not only is a coach or mentor a great source of insight, but they will ask all the right questions and hold you accountable to them.



The best plays, musical performances and exhibits in Texas are being enjoyed by record number crowds, according to our cultural adventurer Rob Giardinelli, who shares our favorite recommendations from across the state. 



Austin Opera presents a classic work by iconic Italian Composer Giacomo Puccini, La Bohème, the epic story of young bohemians who struggle to find love and make their dreams come true in the Paris Latin Quarter circa 1840. Through May 5. At


The Tony Award winning and family friendly play by Roald Dahl, Matilda the Musical, is an empowering story about a young girl with telekinesis who overcomes obstacles and takes things into her own hands. April 3 – May 12. At


Off the Rails: The Rise and Fall of Austin’s Street Cars takes a look at how the street car era (1875 through 1940) impacted life in Austin and how it influenced the city’s residential development. Through May 26. At

IMAGE: Congress Avenue and 6th Street, 1913 C02001 Chalberg Collection of Prints and Negatives



World-renowned artist Sheila Hicks, whose vibrant works have graced such iconic spaces as Versailles and the Highline In New York City, comes to Texas with new, textile installations. May 11 – August 18. At


IMAGE: Image from 2018 Shelia Hicks Migdalor Magasin III Jaffa Exhibit in Tel Aviv. Photo courtesy of Nasher Sculpture Center.


Beautiful: The Carole King Musical chronicles the life of one of the world’s most beloved and influential songwriters of the second half of the twentieth century. Hearing the timeless tunes of this legend has created over the last six decades will have you singing too. June 18 – June 23 at the Winspear Opera House. At


David Park: A Retrospective, is the first museum in exhibition in more than 30 years of one of the influential artists of post WW II Abstract Expressionism. Known as the father of San Francisco figurative art, Park’s works from his Cubist-inspired paintings in 1930s through his figurative paintings of the 1950s are featured. June 2 – September 8, The Modern Museum. At

IMAGE: David Park, Four Men. Photo Courtesy Of The Modern Museum



50 master works from one of the world’s most influential artists of all time, Vincent van Gogh: His Life in Art features works throughout his life from his early years in the Netherlands to his landscapes in Saint-Rémy and Auvers. March 10 through June 27. At


Stonewall 50 commemorates the 50th anniversary of the June 1969 Stonewall Riots that became a seminal moment in LGBTQ right movement. The exhibit features works on a broad range of topics including transgender issues and intergenerational dialogue on the path to equality. Through July 29. At

IMAGE: Photo courtesy of Contemporary Arts Museum Houston


The Phoenix is an opera based on the incredible life of Venetian priest and poet Lorenzo Da Ponte, who after getting kicked out of Venice due to scandal, meets Wolfgang Amadeus Motzart and becomes a top librettist. Through May 10. At



America on Stage celebrates stage designers of the most substantial theatrical productions of 20th and 21st centuries. Drawn from the Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts it includes works ranging from Rogers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma to Lin Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights. Through June 30. At

IMAGE: Douglas Schmidt, Scene design for Grease, 1972. Collage on board with acrylic, ink, and varnish. Collection of the McNay Art Museum, Gift of Robert L. B. Tobin


Cinderella is the ultimate children’s classic with an underdog to root for, a wicked step-mother, a prince, a fairy god-mother and most importantly, a happily-ever-after ending that never gets old for kids and kids at heart. May 16 and May 17. At

IMAGE: The Arrival by Xiang Zhang


The Grammy and Tony Award- winning musical, Once is the musical adaptation of the 2007 film by John Carney. It’s the story of an Irish musician and Czech immigrant who grow close in Dublin due to their mutual love music. May 16 – June 9. At

IMAGE: Photo courtesy of The Public Theatre of San Antonio



Always looking for the next best thing, our editors Lesa Rossick in Austin, Cynthia Smoot in Dallas, Jennifer Roosth in Houston, and Eleanora Morrison in San Antonio share their stellar statewide recommendations that are must-visits during the warm weather.



Alongside Arlo Grey and Alfred’s coffee shop inside the Line Hotel, is the new, chic rooftop bar, P6. Small plates, cocktails and a variety of musical and cultural events can be enjoyed overlooking gorgeous views of Town Lake. Plus, private bookings are available. At


TLV is the newest addition to The Fareground, taking over the previous Easy Tiger space. A food truck, Hummus Among Us, turned brick and mortar serves Israeli street food ranging from Turkish breakfast to homemade falafel pitas. At


Restaurateur Chef Jason Dady from San Antonio has taken over the old Fado Pub space with Chispas, a casual taco eatery. DuMon’s Down Low, a new speakeasy bar right below the restaurant, is also offering  bites from Chispas. At



Perched on the 19th floor of the historic Statler hotel, Waterproof boasts stunning panoramic views of surrounding downtown Dallas. As the moon rises over the city, swimsuits are exchanged for cocktail attire, the doors are open to the public and the party continues. You can take advantage of a new membership program that includes an expedited entrance for the member plus a guest, priority cabana and table reservations, 15% off bottle service and invitations to member-only events. At


Restaurant veteran and owner, Austin Rodgers (Offsite Kitchen, Neighborhood Services, Town Hearth) set out to create a restaurant that feels like a classic neighborhood favorite that’s been around for years. That’s the Alamo Club. Its shotgun space offers dining tables in a cozy area, a community high top table and bar serving unpretentious cocktails by seasoned pros. At


With popular locations in Phoenix and Los Angeles, The Henry offers new American eats with executive chef, Imsub Lee, leading the kitchen. The Dallas menu is centric to the city with dishes range from short rib potstickers to a spicy fried chicken sandwich and grilled portobella tacos. A  full-service coffee bar, two full-service bars, a private dining room, as well as ample seating throughout its interior and exterior spaces. At



Bisou brings an unparalleled combination of continental cuisine and curated entertainment to River Oaks District. With a robust beverage program featuring classic cocktails, an extensive wine list, and champagne magnums served up in a sleek contemporary interior, it’s in fine company for the modern French fare that’s taking the city by storm. At


The new kid at an old favorite in the Four Seasons Hotel, Bayou & Bottle, is quickly becoming the ultimate see and be scene place. The bourbon bar and restaurant offers over 160 types of bourbon and whiskey. Want your own bourbon locker? That’s available, too. Plus, a Top Golf Swing Suite is only steps away. At


Brought to you by the same folks who created BCN and named for the Spanish capital of Madrid, MAD offers modern and traditional tapas and paellas which strongly label Spanish cuisine around the world. It’s raising that experience to a level of quality and excellence beyond compare…while conveniently located in the River Oaks District. At



Mixing it up from a boutique-sized eatery in Olmos Park, the revolutionary chefs behind Mixli utilize indigenous Mexican ingredients and pre-Hispanic techniques to create the perfect balance of old and true, with new and innovative. With a mission to support as many local ranchers, farmers, and artisans as possible, the young team is making a name for San Antonio across the country. At


A mid-century themed cocktail bar located within walking distance to the Historic Pearl, The Modernist’s menu, music, and décor will have you singing and swinging right into the 1960s. A favorite neighborhood haunt, the cocktails and the atmosphere have kept this hot spot at the top of locals’ lists. Doll up in your caftan, don your Don Draper skinny tie, and sashay over.


Step into Savor, The Culinary Institute of America restaurant tucked in a cozy corner at The Historic Pearl, and experience a meal inspired by ingredients and techniques from around the world. Each dinner is a learning experience, crafted and served by students of the CIA, making for a truly unique and memorable meal. At