Tuesday, October 28, 2014

we did dallas

A few months ago, pre-Ebola scare, Andrew and I bought tickets to see the New York Giants play in Dallas. He was born and raised a Giants fan and I've learned to love them in the almost nine years we've been together. Since it's a four hour drive, we decided to make a little weekend of it.

We got to Dallas and stopped for lunch at Off-Site Kitchen. It's a small place with counter service and a large patio. The 48-hour smoked brisket was highly recommended, so Andrew got that (it was freaking fantastic) and I got the bacon chile cheeseburger with special sauce. Also good, and great prices. Small place with no frills that I would recommend if you were ever in the area.

Repost from Instagram

We checked into our hotel then went to the JFK Museum. I went in high school but didn't remember much, and Andrew had never been. He is really into JFK and all of the different theories about the assassination, so I thought he would like it. Tickets are $16 each and everyone gets a headset to go up to the 6th floor of the book depository where Lee Harvey Oswald (allegedly) shot JFK from. There aren't too many artifacts to see at the museum, and you get a lot of information overload between the headset and all of the info presented on the panels. It's an interesting historical account of the facts of the day and looking out the window and seeing the X painted on the road where the fatal shot hit the President is a unique experience. I think it would be better on a weekday, or if you had a lot of time to listen to the headset and read all the panels - a Saturday afternoon was just too crowded. But we got the gist of it, and also walked out to the grassy knoll and saw where Zapruder stood for his famous film.

Next to the grassy knoll. The spot you can see on the road is an X which marks the spot JFK's car was at when the fatal shot hit.

The next stop on our tourist's trip to Dallas was the Dallas Arboretum. I admit that basicness took over and I had to go see its awesome pumpkin village in person. Can you blame me? The pumpkins were the main attraction, but there were lots of paths and flowers and plants. It was a beautiful space.

So so many pretty spots. Photos don't do it justice.

After that, we wanted to check out Half Price Books' flagship store since it was nearby. It was huge and very impressive, but unfortunately, everyone must look there for record bargains because we didn't find anything amazing.

So lately, and I know this is a shock, but I have been food-ed out. I just wasn't in the mood to get dressed up and eat a big meal on this trip. Andrew found a place that had won awards in Dallas magazines for being great for coffee and dessert, so we decided to go there. We followed the GPS and couldn't find it, so I turned to Yelp and realized... it was inside a mall. Now, think about it... how many great restaurants have you dined at inside a mall? But a plan was a plan and I wanted to stick to it, so we went in the mall, found the restaurant, and even though there were several empty tables, we were told we had to wait fifteen minutes. A table still wasn't ready, so we left.

Deep Ellum is an up-and-coming part of Dallas. It had some highly rated casual restaurants so Andrew suggested we go there since I didn't want anything fancy. Sometimes in life, especially when we are together, it seems that the simplest tasks are made exceedingly difficult. Finding parking in Deep Ellum was one of those things. After 20 minutes of driving around, we gave up and headed to another location of the first restaurant we tried.

The restaurant is called La Duni, and to put it simply, it kind of sucked. The service was bad, food was "eh," and the dessert that had been touted as award-winning and the best of Dallas was overpriced and nothing special. At least my mojito was good. We stopped at the hotel bar on our way back to the room and if we're snapchat friends, then you saw that I took a glass of wine to bed with me to watch Jeopardy. Party animals.

The next morning, we went to Ascension for coffee which was good, but again, more expensive than I'm used to (and I spend money on food all the time!). We made our way back to Deep Ellum to get in line for barbecue at Pecan Lodge. When we visited last year, I fell in love with their mac and cheese, so I was pretty excited for a return trip. We got there at 9:30 fully expecting a line (common at top Texas BBQ places) and there was none... the next person didn't arrive until 10:10. We were joined by many more in line by the time the doors opened at 11 (including lots of Giants fans!) and were the first people to order. I wasn't excited about the meat at all and the mac and cheese was better in my memory. I don't know if it was the fact that they changed location or my expectations were too high, but this wasn't my favorite Texas barbecue spot. But, the decor was really cute...

If I ever post a house tour post, you'll see why I loved the decor so much!

After a necessary stop at Eatzi's, a deli-cafe that closed its Houston location years ago, we headed to Cowboys Stadium. Parking vouchers started at $35 online which I thought was insane. I googled a little and came across ParkWhiz. I had never heard of it, but I found parking the same distance as the $35 parking for... $8. I figured it was worth the $8 gamble, so I bought it. You guys, ParkWhiz is legit and it's awesome. Businesses that are close to attractions basically make their parking spaces open to people for a fee. We parked at a law office that was about a mile away. It had an attendant when we arrived (other places had someone the whole time) and we just stuck our pass on the dashboard and that was it. So easy and I love saving money. (Not sponsored, but I needed y'all to know about that site!).

 There was a weird reflective thing kind of like the Bean in Chicago... we're somewhere on the left.

Our seats were awesome | the glasses were awesome (and free) but I sent them to Andrew's coworker since they had an awful Cowboys star on the side | Hi, Eli! (#10) | We could see the small screen and it was plenty big. The large screen was unreal.

Anyway, so after being offered a jello shot for being a Giants fan by a stranger (Andrew wouldn't let me take it... he thought it was roofied), we made it to Jerry World. It was awesome. An open air plaza with dancers and drumlines. A Rascal Flatts concert. Guy Fieri was even there. Those last two aren't my thing, but it was cool that they were offered. Our seats were in the end zone, which was cool, but I really wanted a glimpse of the massive screens almost as long as the field. Unfortunately, you needed tickets to get to that part of the stadium. There were a good amount of Giants fan there, though, so while we did get booed a few times, we had a few allies, too. The lines for the ladies' room was totally manageable, but the line for the men's room was insane, like a herd slowly being allowed into the room. I've never seen that before. The stupid "We dem Boys" song that they play all the time is catchy and I hate that I think so. The cheerleaders never stop moving - it's super impressive. The Giants lost and we were sad, and then we Andrew had to drive four hours home. It was a fun weekend but I've been feeling behind ever since. Also, Houston is still better than Dallas.


  1. You had me at 48 hour brisket. We need to be snapchat friends! The last vacay we went on, I drank wine and ate pringles in bed while watching Breaking Bad - I ooze class :)

  2. Your search for food day sounds like many instances with us. Then we usually start arguing and it's not fun anymore, haha. Hope you still had a bit of fun! I got to sneak in a trip to Houston this weekend, that was nice! :) Ate at Ruggles Green for the first time too! Yummm!

  3. Sounds like a fun trip! Bummer that some of the places you tried were less than stellar (and is there anything more annoying than trying to find someplace, finding it after too many frustrations then being let down by the service only to leave with nothing? It happens to us way too often). And I'm sorry. If a place advertises awesome dessert and it's less than amazing, I'd be one pretty pissed off Joey

  4. The JFK museum sounds so interesting, I'd love to take a week day visit there.

    I would have went basic at the pumpkin village too because there is nothing basic about that kind of art.

    Looking for restaurants in places you don't live can be tricky even with a plan.

    I'm sorry the Giants lost but it's awesome you had a good time. If I still lived in a big city I would be all over ParkWhiz!

  5. We both had busy weekends!

    D and I seriously need to take a trip to Texas and just to eat with you and Andrew. ;) Y'all are our kind of food people.

    The JFK museum is right up my ally. Love the pumpkins! Sorry the Giants lost, but it still looked like fun.

  6. 48 hour brisket? Yes please.

    Sorry you are fooded out/had blah experiences this trip. Curious - how expensive is Ascension coffee? And is the coffee magic?

    I would like the JFK museum just to skim through...I'm not a spend all day at those type of places person.

    The arboretum looks awesome. I'm glad you were basic and went to see the pumpkins because those pictures rock! Thanks for sharing.

    Did you cut your hair? I can't tell if it's how it's laying or if it's shorter.

    Nice to see you!

  7. We ate a Pecan Lodge when we visited Dallas in September and I thought it was SO good. But, I'm totally book marking this for places for next time we go.

  8. I've always wanted to go to an NFL game, looks so fun! My dad would love that museum. The food pics (as usually) are making me hungry, haha. Sounds like you really made the trip worthwhile!

  9. I have to add that last time (I think) we stayed in a hotel was during hockey playoffs and even though we were in Florida on vacay, our team was playing and we didn't want to miss. So we ordered Greek food to bring back to our room and ate off the ironing board while sitting on our bed, watching the TV, and drank wine from their lovely paper cups. Woo! hahaha.

  10. Your whole food excursion stressed me out. The game & the arboretum look fun though!

  11. This looks so fun and the food has me DROOLING

  12. The brisket sounds amazing but so does that burger. Sorry the road to food was a long one and that it wasn't that great. I think the museum would be interesting but I wouldn't want to spend too long there either.

  13. This Dallas weekend looks like a blast. I do hate when simple things become hard, it happens to the best of us, I seriously can't wait to try that ParkWhiz app though!

    I'll just bookmark this post and refer to it when I go to Dallas next :)

  14. That brisket sandwich looks amazing!! I hate when we end up scrambling to find a spot to eat and then it is disappointing. Sounds like you guys had a good trip (despite the Giants loss).

  15. Houston will always be better than Dallas, and I'm glad so many people realize this :) :)

    I will agree though that the arboretum is amazing! I went to a wedding there when I was in college and it was stunning. I've never seen the pumpkin village though! That looks amazing!

  16. That stinks that you didn't have the best food experiences on this trip. I love how you ended with Houston is better than Dallas. Glad I am visiting the better of the two in a few weeks!

  17. Visiting the JFK Museum and seeing all the pumpkins at the Dallas Arboretum looks like fun! I don't know why the term "basic" drives me crazy. Can't I just like fall, boots, and Starbucks and not be labeled?! Anywho... I'm glad you had a lot of fun moments and I'm sorry some things didn't work out quite as planned!


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