Bradley Sutherland, Senior Manager, Business Development, Air Canada (left); Pitmaster Platter in the middle; and Dee Dee Potette, Director of Regional Communications, Visit San Antonio (right)
Bradley Sutherland, Senior Manager, Business Development, Air Canada (left); Pitmaster Platter in the middle; and Dee Dee Potette, Director of Regional Communications, Visit San Antonio (right)

“Texas is a state of mind” wrote American author John Steinbeck. And if a media update luncheon hosted by Travel Texas at Carbon Eatery in Toronto was anything to go by, it’s also a state of hospitality, adventure, culture and food. Oh my, such food.

As we munched on Pitmaster Platters (smoked pork ribs, turkey breast and beef brisket, fried chicken and cheddar jalapeño sausage), we were entertained and educated by a team of top Texas hospitality ambassadors. Hosts included reps from Houston, Fort Worth, Lubbock, San Antonio.

Air Canada was also there, to highlight lift from Canadian gateways to key Texas destinations. It shared that it’s now operating a whopping 126 flights weekly to the Lone Star State from YVR, YYZ and YUL. At the height of the pandemic, it was one.

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Open Jaw also learned that Houston is a tapestry of cultures, being the most diverse city in America. Just 3 hours away by air from YYZ, it’s ideal for a quick getaway, with 18 museums in the walkable Museum District and a Theater District for live theatre, music and ballet fans, and the ultra-chic Blossom Hotel.

San Antonio is famed for its Spanish colonial influence and the charms of the river walk, pedestrian-only paths along each side of the San Antonio River, dotted with restos, bars, live music venues, food trucks and some of the best people-watching in the state.

Lubbock, in the state’s northwest corner, is a “small big city” and worth a visit for its huge ties to the wild west as well as the Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences. And robust wine centre: Texas is the #5 state for wine production in the U.S., and 90% of the grapes come from Lubbock.

Speaking of liquid refreshment, the local drink is the Chilton, a tart and flavourful summer cocktail that was served at the event and proved a big hit with attendees. Check out the recipe here!

And to find out more about the big, bold state of Texas, visit traveltexas.com.

Martha Chapman

Columnist

An OJ columnist since 2006, Martha is responsible for the Biting Questions series as well as special seasonal series. She can often be seen On The Town covering industry events. Known to all in the biz, Martha has worked her entire career in travel, beginning as a teenaged hotel receptionist in Bermuda.

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