Back in June, I had the opportunity to travel to one of the neatest places in the country, Dallas, TX. I had not been here in over ten years and it has changed a lot in ten years.
I had not flown in about six months and not much has changed during that time either. Security is still the same, long lines. I read and hear about all of the horror stories about going through airport security, but I have not experienced them. I thought I was going to avoid the new backscatter machines, but had to go through one leaving Minneapolis. I had checked a website that supposedly told you where those machines were not deployed and they were wrong. On the way back from Dallas, I did manage to avoid the backscatter machine and went through the metal detector only because there was an issue with the backscatter machine. I flew American Airlines and it was a great experience in spite of a flight delay on the way back due to weather, but I have learned that when travelling, expect anything and everything to go wrong and when it doesn’t, you have had a good day. I arrived in Dallas on a warm sunny, Sunday afternoon and went to the Car Rental Facility to pick up my car from Hertz. I had signed up for text message notification from Hertz and when we landed, they texted me that I had a Ford Escape waiting for me. Figuring it was a mistake because the company does not allow us to rent anything above an intermediate car, I checked inside before going to the car to double-check. The clerk confirmed that the Ford Escape was correct and that I received an upgrade because it was my first rental under my Hertz Club Gold membership. The travel experience was okay, no major disasters. I enjoyed it and had a great time.
If you are ever in the DFW area, I would highly recommend the Doubletree Hotel in Farmers Branch, TX. The rooms are nice and the hotel is very clean and neat. The staff is very friendly and will address any issues that you may have during your stay.
I have a rule when I am traveling, that I will not eat at a restaurant that is located in my home city. I love trying new places. What I did before this trip was make a list of all the places that I wanted to try while I was in town and I did fairly well.
The first place that I ate at was the Sweet Tomatoes in Addison. Did you know that Addison, TX has more restaurants than most cities in the US? They have over 150 restaurants in 4 sq miles. I met a friend from High School who I hadn’t seen in over 20 years and it was good to see him and catch up with what is going on in our respective lives and families. I had been waiting to eat here for about six years. We do not have a location in MN, I keep telling them if they built one here that they would do well. I guess they don’t believe me. I also ate here with a work colleague on Wednesday (my last night in town).
BBQ is a TX staple so I went to a great BBQ place in Addison as well. On my list was Spring Creek BBQ. I had heard so much about this place in the intervening years between my visits that I was determined to visit when I was in town and I was not disappointed. I had a great meal, a turkey and brisket combination. They hand carve the meat right in front of you while you are in line (served cafeteria style) and then you are able to choose as many of the sides that you can fit on your plate. I had a great dinner and was so full I did not eat any dessert.. If you are in the area, you must try Spring Creek BBQ, you won’t be disappointed!
Being from CA, I also grew up enjoying Jack in the Box and I enjoyed their Breakfast Jack sandwiches. I think they are better than the Egg McMuffin, but that is merely my opinion. There was a Jack in the Box just a few blocks from my hotel, so I had to get a couple Breakfast Jacks one morning for breakfast and they were just as good as I remembered. The other mornings I ate breakfast at a great place that I discovered while exploring when I first arrived in town. The Corner Bakery and Cafe in Irving was the neatest place. Free Wi-Fi, relatively quiet and great food. I ate breakfast here the remainder of my days while in town. I told someone if I lived here, this would probably be my hangout! They serve one large bowl of oatmeal!
For a while on Twitter I had seen Albert Mohler recommend a Tex-Mex place in Dallas called El Fenix. I decided that I might want to try this place since it came with a high recommendation. The location I went to was in… Addison! right on restaurant row (Beltline Rd). I went on a Monday evening and it was not very busy. I always have to try soups, especially ones that sound good. This occasion was no exception. They had a chicken tortilla soup and I wanted to try it. They served it in a unique way. They brought a bowl out with all the chicken, tortillas, avocados and other things that are in the soup and then they had a small teapot with the broth and the server poured the broth over the mixture in the bowl. Different, yes, but very good!
Dinner was a treat as well. The chips and salsa they had were outstanding. I also tried some guacamole also. The chips that they serve are tostada chips and they are very unique. They are quite crunchy and have a great flavor. I would have purchased some chips to take back home, but I do not think they would have made the trip intact, but I found out that I can order them online!
Dallas is an unusual place because they also have another one of my CA favorites (drum roll please) In-N-Out Burger and again nearby my hotel (no, not in Addison this time!) Again another great meal, while I was eating, it brought back a lot of good memories of Southern CA.
One day for lunch, my colleagues from work took me to a local favorite in Carrollton called Babes Chicken Dinner House. This is the most unusual place I have ever been to in my life. The food is outstanding and there is a lot of it. You order a meat and then they bring the sides and serve it family style. The salad was unusual because it was salad with no croutons, or other additions, just salad and dressing and it was great. I love my croutons, but I was okay with not having them. This is definitely an experience.
You probably think that all I did was eat. I did eat like anyone else would, but the good thing was having the gym at the hotel to work out in the mornings which probably made me really hungry!
Overall, the Dallas area has a plethora of good restaurants, you will find the usual national chains, but experiment and try some local and regional favorites as well.
While exploring I went into a Kroger supermarker to pick up a few items to have at the hotel. I was amazed at how much cheaper things were in TX compared to MN. Also how much nicer the market was in general compared to our two anchor markets here: Cub Foods and Rainbow Foods, neither of which I like very much. I wish we had a Kroger here, to put the other two out of their misery!
I also went up to Plano one evening. I had been in Plano ten years ago while doing some training for a software product we were going to install at the non-profit that I worked for at the time. The area where we were has changed tremendously, lots of development and growth in the area in the last ten years. Funny thing, I almost went to work for the company that we had purchased the software from, but we were too far apart on salary and then the door opened for me to leave the non-profit and move to MN to attend seminary.
I did work while I was there, but not much to report on there…
What are some of the other things that I might have missed while I was in Dallas?
Thanks for your patience. I think sometimes I am my own worst enemy when it comes to writing. I make a list but the perfectionistic tendency comes out and then I delay posting when I know I should.
Pictures are all taken with my iPad2 and courtesy of Evernote Food App (a great app for organizing food pictures)