While other states -- those with a longer history of wet counties -- may pop the champagne at midnight, we Texans do something different. We observe the sacred "eat black eyed peas for good luck" tradition, and ignoring it is close to sacrilege. The spirit of Ann Richards will come and get you. To avoid that fate, here are some spots around town where you are guaranteed black eyed peas at midnight, or failing that, black eyed peas for breakfast.
How is it that I am just now discovering Texas Chili Parlor? It seems to be a little Lockhart bar that somehow got dropped into downtown Austin, which is precisely why it's so charming. Black eyed peas here on New Year's Day are a tradition for many, and having sampled them myself, I can tell you that they are hot, soupy, and just salty enough.
At exactly the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, Dixie the Bartender hauls out homemade black eyed peas and cornbread for patrons to enjoy. This is where I spent New Year's last year, and Dixie's peas may indeed be magical -- 2012 was pretty darn great for me.
Chef Hoover, the towering presence behind Hoover's Cooking, may just be one of my favorite stories: A graduate of the big-as-your-plate chicken fried steak school, he branched off recently into a garden-based food trailer called "Soular Food" that sits just blocks away from his original east side eatery. There you can find light beet and greens-laden wraps and salads, but at Hoover's, you'll find all of your soul favorites: shrimp n' grits, catfish po'boys, black eyed peas. In other words: ideal hangover medicine.
Oh, how we mourned when TC's closed! TC's was that clapboard blues shack on the east side, where a bar maid named Baby Girl was always ready with a cheap beer and a bright smile. But now, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Sahara Lounge has taken its place -- and there's a big New Year's party a-brewin'. The new Sahara Lounge is like TC's in a lively African fever dream, and rumor is, there's a buffet going all night long on New Year's.