Upstate Hits Dallas

Hey Y’all! I know, it’s a cliche way to start a blog about my recent trip to Texas, but after spending just 4 days in the Big D I have already caught myself using Y’all in regular conversation. In case you missed it on my Instagram, I was in Dallas for a few days during the end of October and I have to say, it was absolutely nothing like I had expected.

Dallas is a huge city, but it’s not hugely metropolitan. There are tall buildings, but not in the way that you might see them in New York or Chicago. There is public transportation, but you’re more likely to see people calling a Lyft than getting on the DART bus. There are people with big hair, big hats, and cowboy boots, but they don’t say “Howdy” as you might expect. In fact, almost every pre-conceived notion I had about Dallas was proved wrong. That is with only one exception, the food.

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The home of Tex-Mex did not disappoint when it came to the americanized Mexican food we all know and love. Tacos, guac, and margaritas were a staple on my trip, even indulging in a very expensive, but very cool and worth every penny, liquid nitrogen margarita from Beto and Son at Trinity Groves. Like every city, Dallas has unique neighborhoods, shopping centers, and streets, each with their own vibe and story to tell. On an early Sunday afternoon, Trinity Groves was full of restaurants serving up brunch to hungry patrons, myself included. With a ton of restaurant options, from fried chicken to sushi all lined up neatly in a row, we settled on Beto and Son.

The Sunday menu offered both a unique Mexican themed brunch menu alongside a selection of more traditional options. Self-proclaimed as “next generation” Mexican food, everything at Beto and Son had just a little twist. Tempted by the Mexican poutine brunch dish, I instead opted for a chicken fajita noodle bowl. So frequently seen at asian restaurants, I was curious to see what a Tex-Mex noodle bowl might entail. Turns out a piled high bowl of spicy noodles filled with grilled chicken, avocado, flavorful squashes, peppers, and onions, topped with queso fresco is surprisingly good.

Flash back to a few evenings prior and I was in a totally different Tex-Mex heaven. At Mi Cocina in Uptown Dallas we quickly found ourselves seated and diving into a big bowl of fresh and crispy tortilla chips. At the recommendation of our waitress we ordered the white queso skillet, filling up on salty chips and gooey cheese before the main course arrived. My tacos, loaded high with grilled steak, fresh pico, and spicy guacamole, disappeared from my plate almost as quickly as they had arrived.

Despite being in the home of Tex-Mex, and my claims that I could eat tacos for every meal, I realized that there was a lot more to try in Texas besides chips and guac. On a quest to discover what we thought was “the real Texas” we stopped at the Stock Yard in Fort Worth to watch a cattle drive. In an attempt to escape from the freezing Texas temps (it was 50 degrees) we popped into Riscky’s for lunch where I went the barbecue route, ordering a brisket sandwich and a side of fries. It was good, I’ll give them that. But we’ve got some pretty great barbecue here in Upstate New York that could definitely give Riscky’s a run for their money.

We spent most of our days exploring Dallas which meant visits to neighborhoods like the Bishop Arts District, Deep Ellum, and Lower Greenville. The Bishop Arts District was full of small shops and wall art, where I naturally had to take a cute picture with a donut. I didn’t eat in the Bishop Arts District, even though there was a very tempting pie shop. I did not leave empty handed though and settled for a 6-pack of the cranberry cider from Bishop Cider Co.  I did eat in Lower Greenville, and man was it good. At HG Sply, all the dishes use natural ingredients, following almost a paleo diet. I ordered a cheeseburger that was stuffed with kobe beef and topped with sharp white cheddar. It was even more delicious served alongside the rooftop sunset views of the Dallas Skyline.

In Deep Ellum I didn’t get to visit the brewery, but I did get to finally try rolled ice cream and I was very satisfied to cross that off my foodie bucket list. I watched as the team at Chills360 crushed Kit Kats and my coffee ice cream reached freezing temperatures. As they rolled it up and put it into my dish I was shocked to see how much ice cream it actually made. Picture perfect, topped with cocoa puffs and a piece of Kit Kat, it was almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

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There wasn’t a bad meal had in Dallas but the reigning champion of Dallas eats has to be without a doubt brunch at Breadwinners Cafe. There was a bit of a wait for a table, but plenty of room outside to stand and a vanilla cardamom latte to hold me over as the time passed. As always I was faced with the challenge of choosing to try something new or to stick with the same old brunch dish. Torn between eggs benedict and croque madame, I went with the latter. A choice I do not regret one bit. Essentially a grilled cheese, stuffed with ham and swiss cheese, topped with jalepeno gravy and a fried egg, I couldn’t eat it all, but boy did I want to.

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Dallas didn’t fit the stereotype I had created in my head. It’s a unique place, not comparable to any other city I have been to before. Large, spread out, and full of people from all over the world, the traditional Texas cowboy may be around, but Dallas is way more than that. It could’ve taken me weeks to try everything and explore everywhere in Dallas, but during my short trip I was able to cover a lot of ground. Where should I go to next? Any suggestions, let me know on Instagram!

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