Webb Report: Put a few El Arroyo signs under the tree this year


The most popular comedian on Fifth Street is now a published author, just in time for Christmas. That’s right, the El Arroyo sign has its own book.

The Tex-Mex restaurant’s famous marquee sign, which displays black letters that tell a new joke to passing motorists each day, is featured in “El Arroyo’s Big Book of Signs Volume One.” There are 158 photos of the sign inside the hardback, available for purchase on the restaurant’s website in single copies and in 10- and 20-book gift sets.

“We post a different sign every day and have made a book of some of our favorite signs to spread some smiles,” the book’s description reads.

Though El Arroyo keeps its joke-writing process under wraps, representatives for the restaurant said the signs featured in the book were “generally picked based on how hard we were laughing reading.”

The sign has riffed on everything from the 2016 presidential election to Beyoncé. We got a sneak peek from the restaurant of a few of the signs in the book. Some highlights:

  • “Margaritas cuz no great stories start with salad”
  • “Last queso stop before a bunch of yoga studios”
  • “If a vegan does Crossfit, which do they talk about first”
  • “The worst part of parallel parking is the witnesses”
  • “My soulmate is out there somewhere, pushing a pull door”

If roadside one-liners aren’t your thing, there’s another Texas eatery with some new merch that might find its way to your Christmas list …

What? A tumbler

If you weren’t sure what to gift the Whataburger lover in your life this holiday season, Yeti might have an idea.

The cooler company has teamed with the Texas burger chain to develop an officially branded tumbler that looks just like Whataburger’s famed orange-and-white Styrofoam cups.

If you’ll recall, stainless steel Whataburger tumblers are not novel. The burger chain released a version of the drink container last year around this time, priced at $42.99. But, according to Whataburger’s website, “while fans were thrilled, the feedback was the tumblers would be even better if they were officially YETI-branded.”

— Amanda O’Donnell, American-Statesman staff

Love is not dead

It’s easy to spend hours flipping through the shelves at Waterloo Records, trying to score a deal on some vintage vinyl or discover something entirely new.

One Austin couple spent so much time at Waterloo, they figured they may as well get married there. Grayson Niven and Angelica Collins tied the knot recently in the store, according to the store’s Facebook page.

“A WATERLOO Records wedding this morning. Grayson and Angelica. They said they spend so much time at WATERLOO they should get married here. Best wishes to the lovely couple with good taste,” a Facebook post from the record store read.

After a commenter joked that the happy couple should have received a 10-percent-off coupon as a gift, Niven responded that they received a free record signed by all the employees in the store.

Niven wrote on his personal Facebook page that the wedding was likely a surprise to most of their friends and family, but they’ll be renewing their vows on March 3 — they just couldn’t wait until then to “begin our together forever.”

— Katey Psencik, American-Statesman staff

UPDATE: Love is dead

All your exes might live in Texas, but if you’re looking for the next one here, he or she might be hard to find, according to a recent study by Wallethub. On the other hand, if you left your heart in San Francisco, you might want to go back. And perhaps the devil went down to Georgia looking for more than lost souls and fiddle contests.

Don’t get us wrong; Austin is still the best in Texas on the credit and financial advice website’s “2017’s Best & Worst Cities for Singles,” but No. 26 overall — and a far piece behind No.1 San Francisco and No. 2 Atlanta.

Cities were ranked on results in three categories: “Economics” and “Dating Opportunities,” where Austin did poorly, and “Fun & Recreation,” where Austin did well.

Despite faring poorly in economics, major metropolitan areas dominated the top of the list. Los Angeles, Denver and San Diego round out the top 5.

But further down, it gets a little weird. Columbus, Ohio, (it must be the soccer team) and Fargo, N.D., rank ahead of Austin at 22 and 23, respectively. And Lincoln, Neb., at No. 32, ranks just ahead of the next Texas city on the list, Houston. Dallas is at No. 52, just behind West Valley City, Utah.

Toward the bottom of the list, Amarillo (No. 160) is comparable to Juneau, Ala., (No. 161) and poor Brownsville is second-to-last at No. 181, just ahead of South Burlington, Vt. In a secondary listing, Brownsville is noted for “Fewest Online-Dating Opportunities.”

— Dave Thomas, American-Statesman staff

Sharp stuff

Perhaps lost in the hoopla of House Bill 1935, allowing the legal carry of Bowie knives, swords and even spears in Texas, was HCR 27.

The concurrent resolution established the little town of Spurger as the “Knife Capital of Texas,” at least for the next 10 years.

Why Spurger? Because one knife store there — Texas Knives and Collectibles — draws visitors from across Texas and the nation, looking for the latest and the rarest.

Texas Knives and Collectibles focuses on pocket knives, particularly the Case brand. A recent Beaumont Enterprise story shared the history of the store 45 miles north of Beaumont.

According to the Enterprise, Marvin Mott in 1992 moved his focus from a gas station he had operated since 1980 to a “hardware and feed store with a few knives for sale. In 1998, he got more serious about knives. His business has since grown into the largest retail display of Case knives in the country.”

But Mott’s store doesn’t just carry 3,000-plus knives. He also commissions his own. Texas Knives and Collectibles has a series of trapper pocket knives, including some with handles made out of brick from demolished landmarks.

According to the Enterprise, “the bricks are crushed and mixed with the acrylic used in the knives’ handles.”

Notable among them is “Beaumont Pig Stand #41 Trapper.” The handle include remnants of Beaumont’s famed “Pig Stand” restaurant, which was torn down last year after standing empty for a decade.

— Dave Thomas, American-Statesman staff

Oh, deer

November is both a good and bad month for deer. It kicks off the start of mating season but also happens to be the start of deer hunting season and the month with the most deer-related crashes, according to State Farm.

If you find yourself driving the winding and many, many roads of Texas this month, keep these tips in mind for a safe trip:

  • Buckle up! Not only is it the law in Texas, but it’ll make sure you’re safe in the event that you do encounter a deer on the road.
  • Deer are more likely to be active between the hours of 5 to 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. to midnight. Be extra alert if you’re driving during these times.
  • If driving through a deer-crossing zone at night, use your brights. Bright lights will increase your visibility and better your chances of spotting any deer before impact.
  • Decrease your speed when driving through a deer-crossing zone and be ready to brake if you spot any deer on the roadside.
  • Deer travel in packs. If you spot one, rest assured there are more nearby.

In short, don’t get antsy, but watch for antlers.

— Amanda O’Donnell, American-Statesman staff



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Austin360

How a small-town pitmaster turned a dying cuisine into the stuff of celebrity
How a small-town pitmaster turned a dying cuisine into the stuff of celebrity

The pit room at Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ feels like a sauna without the steam. An open furnace on the back wall blazes with split logs of red oak and hickory, slowly burning down into coals, which the staff will shovel into five custom-made smokers.  There's no thermometer in the building, which squats behind the airy, sun-dappled restaurant...
Paying top dollar for scraps of meat — and bones
Paying top dollar for scraps of meat — and bones

The other night, I grilled a flank steak. It weighed a little less than two pounds. It cost 20 bucks. The meat was delicious, thank you. I marinated it for eight hours in a balsamic vinaigrette and served it on flour tortillas with grilled onions and red peppers. But … but … it cost more than 20 bucks. For flank steak. Flank steak, as...
Adorable Dallas-area 7-year-old shares her favorite kid-friendly popsicle recipes
Adorable Dallas-area 7-year-old shares her favorite kid-friendly popsicle recipes

Ellington Young, 7, of Cedar Hill, Texas, loves to help out in the kitchen, making ice pops, pizza and even homemade apple dumplings. For summer, ice pops are her go-to treat. Here she shows us how to make a few recipes and gives other kids tips on how to get started in the kitchen. Fill ice pop container with lemon-lime soda and add about 10 gummy...
Old recipes, new format: Spain puts historic dishes on video
Old recipes, new format: Spain puts historic dishes on video

When Spanish conquerors brought home a tomato from the Americas in the 16th century, its red color caused a sensation at the royal court. But because of its resemblance to a poisonous fruit found around the Mediterranean, the tomato was long used only as a table decoration. Not until 1755 did it appear in a savory sauce recipe in a Spanish pastry cookbook...
A simple treatment for stunning scallops
A simple treatment for stunning scallops

Sea scallops, with their beautiful fan-shaped shells, are prized among the luxury seafoods, along with lobsters and crabs. As with many such things, the simplest preparations are usually the best: My go-to approach with scallops is to pan-sear or grill them, which concentrates their flavor and gives them a crisp exterior. Though very fresh scallops...
More Stories