Storyteller; seeker of food and travel encounters

Texas is in my blood, with good reason: I’m a sixth-generation Texan who grew up roaming the state on family vacations. After working as a sportswriter and news hound, I began writing for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s award-winning travel section, covering Texas and the world. Journeys from Terlingua to Thailand, Rockport to Reykjavik, and Nacogdoches to New Zealand have provided endless adventures and stories to share.

My first travel book, Texas: Off the Beaten Path, is now in its 11th edition! I’ve also penned travel books called Quick Escapes from Dallas/Fort Worth, Food Lovers’ Guide to Dallas/Fort Worth, and Texas Landmark Cafes (see BOOKS).

When I began traveling near and far, I also served as the Star-Telegram’s dining critic for about 20 years. And because I’m mad about cooking, too, I penned a recipe column at the newspaper — all of which led to my work as a cookbook author. See BOOKS to read more about The Texas Cowboy Kitchen; Cooking the Cowboy Way; Big Ranch, Big City Cookbook; and The Texas Tailgate Cookbook.

Today, I focus much of my attention on compelling things to do and tempting things to eat in small towns and big cities all over Texas, in neighboring Louisiana and New Mexico, and in lands far beyond. Currently, I’m a contributing editor for Texas Highways magazine, and each month I pen stories on things to eat and places to experience near and far for 360 West Magazine, a lifestyle monthly in Fort Worth. My stories appear also in Texas Monthly, Texas Journey and The Dallas Morning News. My recipe development led to the series called Kitchen Comfort, conceived during the coronavirus pandemic in Spring 2020.

When not on the road, I’m in the kitchen in my Fort Worth home, which I share with my husband, professional studio artist, avid gardener, and passionate chef Marshall K. Harris.


Favorite food: Tomatoes, fresh from the vine

A close second: Anything made with fresh lemons

Never will I eat: Marshmallows

Yes, I like: Rattlesnake, grasshoppers, calf fries, and all the offal

Best kitchen tool: Any of my cast iron skillets

Another favorite kitchen tool: A great chef’s knife

Cooking idols: Paul Prudhomme, Austin Leslie, Alice Waters, Laurie Williamson

Revered food writers: Anthony Bourdain, Julia Child, Gabrielle Hamilton, Sam Sifton

Trusted travel experts: Rick Steves, the entire New York Times travel staff

Must-read travel authors: Tim Cahill, Bill Bryson, Mark Twain, Frances Mayes 

Beloved food cities: Houston, New Orleans, New York, Paris

Dreamy wine destinations: California’s Central Coast, New Zealand, Italy

Texas getaway go-tos: Rancho Loma, Coleman; Perini Ranch Guest Quarters, Buffalo Gap; Inn on Lake Granbury, Granbury

A few favorite hotels: Alisal Ranch, Solvang, CA; Dunbrody Country House Hotel, Wexford, Ireland; The Southern Hotel, Covington, LA

Always in my suitcase: travel candle, refillable water bottle, extra moisturizer