road trip: experience in the far southwest: dallas.

hello nenes, yes, i realize we were still in honolulu the last time i stepped into this blog properly, but time goes by faster than all of us care for it to go :( i will get back to honolulu posts soon, but i promised lovely maria from franklin avenue that i would blog about a summer road trip through texas, ahead of her own holidays....


i love a good road trip, don't you? it has been far too long since i've had more than just a mini-jaunt throughout california or to vegas; i was itching to get on the road again, and the destination was more about not exactly where i wanted to go, as to where i haven't been. i can't tell you why i decided to go to texas--in the middle of summer--but to texas i went, and beyond. 

originally my friend, chris, and i were going to drive from LA to LA--los angeles to louisiana--but time restraints meant we had to cut out the los angeles to texas part and take a miss on marfa tx (which, actually, i have always wanted to see), and instead we harvested some mileage points and scored seats on an oddly narrow but quite comfy commuter plane to dallas.

Sodium snacking on my way to the Southwest

we somehow nabbed first class seats, which sounds a lot more glamoo than reality, but afforded us a precious two extra inches of seating. it doesn't sound like much, but it was utterly comfortable, and a lovely little perk to start our trip. not so lovely was the complimentary sodium-laden snack box (pictured above), but i was happy enough that i didn't have to shell out six bucks for it. i think chris ate most of mine. or did something with it.

Fruit cup frippery

a little forewarning: i had arrived in los angeles a little over 24 hours prior to this segment of the trip, and we were only in dallas for a little over 24 hours, NOT LONG. and, i forgot to take photos. o_O
i forgot to take photos. not completely, but a lot less than the rest of the trip. so, you don't get to see photos of the very lovely teresa gubbins, who so very kindly acted as my guide and dinner companion for the evening i was there, nor do you get to see the fantastic meal we had. however, my brain kicked in the next morning as did my shutter finger. 

Smoke restaurant Dallas

but yeah, i had a great meal with great company at smoke, at the belmont hotel, in the oak cliff neighbourhood of dallas.  the hotel is a renovated 1940s motel set on a hillside, with amazing views of the dallas skyline, very eclectic and cozy. i wish i had time to poke around but it really looks like someplace i would enjoy. smoke features southern cuisine, lots of in-house smoked meats and texas-style (i'm guessing) barbecue, but with modern sensibilities--not so heavy, lots of fresh herbs and produce, not-so-traditional pairings. i had the grilled quail with chickpeas, turnip greens, bbq chiles, mint and parsley salad, which was lightly smoky, lightly spicy, super juicy and perfectly accented by the greeny and slightly sharp salad. the quail was massive. it might've actually have been two, but by this point i was sort of seriously out of it and needed to pass out. so after a quick sightseeing trip back to my hotel, i inadvertently bypassed the nightly milk and cookies buffet (! WHAT.) and passed out.

the next morning, the hotel provided us with a serviceable breakfast buffet on the mezzanine level. we were staying at the magnolia hotel in downtown dallas, which is apparently conveniently located to a bunch of stuff which we didn't see because we hit the road shortly after breakfast. there was a mary kay convention going on, which was kind of seriously amazing, but i'm not going to get into it, because it was...well, let's just say i got a glimpse into another world i didn't know existed, and if i start, i could easily fall into that rabbit hole. even though i didn't really explore the hotel, i'd definitely consider staying there again. the rooms were clean, fairly large, and the lobby was nice enough but what would bring me back is the fact the front desk staff was really great, very much the epitome of southern hospitality.

Magnolia Hotel Lobby Dallas

although the breakfast buffet was okay, the coffee was not, so after checkout we wandered over to pho colonial, a vietnamese "diner" near the hotel for some iced coffees. i'm not sure what the food is like, but i like the interior:

Pho Colonial Dallas

Pho Colonial Dallas

the coffee was good--strong, sweet, lots of ice, which was welcome as it was already 90˚F at nine in the morning (ugh). on the way out of downtown, we passed by the infamous book depository, and um, this:

Just guess what this is. #Dallas #crassyknoll

really, now.

we drove around for more sightseeing, and on the way out of town, we stopped back in the oak cliff neighbourhood at bolsa mercado, a market/café, for a little lunch. 

Bolsa Mercado counter

Bolsa Market

Bolsa mercado plants

even though we had driven around a lot of dallas, i hadn't enough time to form a cohesive picture of the city, and certainly didn't feel like i was in a southern state. i wanted to feel like i was more in the south and less of a city so i indulged in something i consider to be inherently southern,  pimiento cheese: 

Texas pimiento cheese sandwich and apple, cucumber, celery, mint juice

it was rich and creamy, flecked with roasted red pepper, and just sharp and salty enough. of course it was on white bread, which was soft and pliable. i washed down half of it with an apple, cucumber, celery, mint juice. chris, who had never had pimiento cheese before, ate the other half. and was instantly a fan. 

unfortunately, that was kind of it for dallas. i didn't get to see much, but what i saw was enough for me to want to return. hasta la vista, dallas, we'll be back. 


901 fort worth ave
dallas tx 75208

1401 commerce st  
dallas tx 75202

1623 main street, suite 102
dallas tx 75201

bolsa mercado
634 w davis st
dallas tx 75208


Man....that grassy knoll sign seems to border on somewhat bad taste to me.

hey kirk! yeah. we've been calling it the crassy knoll :-|