Monday, May 20, 2013

meat and meet weekend

I wanted to sleep this weekend, write some blog posts, play with my Influenster VoxBox... be a bum, basically. Apparently my husband had other plans. Actually, so did the universe as a few weird things happened that made our weekend even better than we could have planned.

I've mentioned before that Andrew loves barbecue. Texas Monthly released their list of 50 Best BBQ places in Texas the other day and we have been to three of the top four. My darling husband wanted to make it his mission to go to the fourth but knew that I had no desire to road trip for meat, so he had to bribe me. He texted me on Friday morning that we would be seeing Dave Matthews Band in Dallas the following night... but of course that wasn't the only thing he wanted to do.

We were on the road at 6:45 a.m. Saturday morning and headed to Austin. We needed to visit Franklin BBQ again as they were named the best BBQ in Texas and they have recently started offering beef ribs on their menu. We got there at 9:30 a.m. and the line was already really long. We made friends with the people in line with us and my husband became the de facto Texas BBQ encyclopedia for them. He was really in his element! The food was excellent, as always, but there were no beef ribs as Aaron Franklin, the owner, is the only one who makes those and he was at an event in Dallas for the weekend. Ever since I got a sample of their turkey in November, I have been dreaming of it, and it was definitely my favorite thing that we ordered.

Andrew in line (only took three hours) | Wall plaque of the owners commemorating their Franklin beer | Food (we shared it) | View of the Capitol from behind Franklin

We drove to Dallas (got stuck in tons of traffic) and got to our hotel, the Hyatt Reunion Tower, around 4:00. That gave us just enough time to freshen up and head to the concert venue. While we were in traffic, I started looking at #dmb on twitter and found Boyd Tinsley's twitter account. He has been the violinist for DMB forever. Apparently after each show he meets somewhere with the fans and has an informal meet and greet. We kept checking twitter just to see where it was going to be, and of all the places in the city, it was at our hotel. We had to go.

Reunion Tower at night - clearly I shouldn't have kept walking as I took this.

The concert was great. Our wedding song was "You & Me" and we played "Rapunzel" during our cocktail hour, and they played both of those songs. I am not a hardcore Dave fan but the songs I know, I love and I didn't brush up on Dave songs like I did before we saw them last year, so I was a little clueless during some of the set. But, we did get Crash, Crush, and What Would You Say so you really can't complain when you get three hits like that. They are such amazing musicians and if you ever have the opportunity to see them, they put on a great show. I have already decided that since we saw them in Houston in 2012 and Dallas in 2013, we need to see them in Austin or San Antonio next year... just because.

(If you follow me on twitter, you saw me rant about this already but - we were seated next to the riser for handicapped seating. There was a woman and her husband [who was in a wheelchair] there from West, Texas. She told everyone she could find who worked there that they were from West and Dave donated money to the community and she wanted to thank him and that they should be in the lower bowl, even though her husband has broken his legs in mosh pits three times before [while in his wheelchair] and told her husband that he should use his wheelchair to his advantage at all times. They didn't get moved and she kept trying to yell "thanks from West" during the entire concert when it got quiet. I wanted to punch her. Who does that??)

Our seats were in the front section and really good, especially for being purchased the day before the show! | Dave is in the top pic | Boyd is in the center right | Our view of the stage was really good, but not when captured via iPhone.

We got back to our hotel and sure enough, there was a tour bus with a line of people outside. About thirty minutes later, there was Boyd! He got to the first person in line and gave her a long embrace... I thought maybe she was a super fan and knew him somehow, but nope... he gave the next person a long hug... and the next. Male or female, everyone he hugged got a l-o-n-g hug - maybe 45 seconds? Then he would happily give autographs or pose for pictures. It is really awesome that everyone got the opportunity to talk to him, not just a signature and moved on, but if you remember this post, then you know that hugging isn't really my thing. I was really anxious about it, but once it was our turn, Andrew went first, and I just accepted that we would be hugging for a long time. What is he doing? Praying? Smelling you? Counting to a certain number? I couldn't figure it out. But, it was a very cool experience. How many other members of huge music acts go out and hug their fans until 2 a.m.? (That is how late the bus driver says they were out til in Houston; we could see the bus and fans from our hotel room and there was still a crowd when I went to bed at 1:30.)

Gathering outside the bus | Andrew and Boyd have a moment | Our pic with him (I was a sweaty mess!) | Feeling... awkward...

On Sunday, we went to try out the only place in the Texas Monthly Top 4 we hadn't had yet - a place called Pecan Lodge in the Dallas Farmer's Market. The Farmer's Market is really cool, by the way - five different pavilions selling all kinds of stuff, especially fresh produce. I wish Houston had something like that.

It opened at 11, so we got there a few minutes after 10 and were third in line. The pavilion it was in was completely enclosed and air conditioned, so it was like waiting in a large mall food court. The line started to grow as soon as we got there and Andrew said "Hey, there's Aaron Franklin." I thought it was just a guy who looked like him, but no, there was Aaron Franklin and his wife, getting in line like so many people do at his restaurant every day like normal people, not like the BBQ Royalty that they are (Aaron even judged a season of BBQ Pitmasters, which is probably the most boring show ever). He had been in town doing an event with Pecan Lodge so why he showed up and waited like everyone else was hard for me to understand, but I thought it was really cool of him to be so... normal. I told Andrew to go chat with him, but he didn't.

Now, onto the food - it was amazing. Pecan Lodge's brisket was better than what we had at Franklin the day before. Maybe Franklin was having an off day without Aaron there because their brisket has been better, but this weekend? Pecan Lodge wins. They had a special called "burnt ends" that was just that - the burnt ends of the brisket. I am so glad we ordered that as it was perfect. The ribs weren't that great, sausage was really good, and pulled pork was also good (though required sauce to be tasty - I didn't really care for it on its own). My favorite part, though, was the mac and cheese. Most BBQ places (and remember, I am becoming quite the expert) offer beans, coleslaw, and potato salad, all of which I hate. I was so excited that this place had mac and cheese that was supposed to be amazing. And it was. It comes sprinkled with bacon bits and has tiny green chiles inside. It's basically like a thick, melty cheese sauce that happens to have macaroni in it. It was so, so good and would be a reason to drive the four hours to Dallas again soon!

Our spread (don't worry, we took half of it home) | Close-Up | A note hanging by the cash register. It says "there is nothing here that is not worth the wait" and though I didn't love the ribs, everything else was so good that I think the note speaks the truth.

We were going to go to The JFK Museum and In and Out Burger, but our common sense of needing to get home and be responsible prevailed. Next time, though! I still kind of can't believe that my husband decided on a road trip to satisfy his BBQ wants, but we had such a fun weekend that I would gladly do it again!

So, how was your weekend? Has anyone in your life ever gone to something kind of extreme to get you on board with what they want to do? Ever share an awkwardly long hug with a kind-of celebrity?



3 comments:

  1. Yum yum yum! You are making me hungry for meat girl! haha
    Looks like a fun weekend in TX! So cool you got to do the meet and greet. :)

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  2. just found your blog...love it!
    -your newest follower-
    Char

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  3. I saw Dave Matthews Band waaaay back nearly 10 years ago. Whoa. Memories. Glad you had a good time - that lady sounds annoying btw. Dallas traffic stinks, boo. Cool that you got to meet the violinist too!

    Btw, neat that you got to 24 hour fitness too. We should meet up there sometime, would be fun to have an occasional gym buddy! What do you like to do while you're there?

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I like comments and read them all but I'm not great about responding to them, so please don't be offended. I would much rather visit your blog instead!