Eating Stuff in Texas (And Other Adventures)

I recently took a trip to Dallas, Texas and I ate so many delicious things! I’m not a food blogger, but this trip inspired me to indulge this one time in sharing some food pics and stories. If you don’t like food (who are you?), then stop reading now.

Over the past four years, I’ve traveled to Texas several times, usually to Austin. This was my first trip to Dallas! I was visiting my college BFF and was super excited to go on an adventure of noms with her.

On my first night in Dallas, we kicked things off with tacos. Tacos are something I really miss in Rochester. While we do have one taco truck, it’s just not the same as tacos in Texas. So much more variety and flavor down there! My reunion with Texas tacos was at an interesting joint called Velvet Taco. It’s a pretty small chain with locations in just a handful of cities. The big thing with Velvet Taco is how unique and creative they get with their creations. For example, I tried a bahn mi taco while I was there, and a cuban! Both were pretty tasty, but totally out there. My friend and I also split some delicious elote. I hadn’t had it before, but I found it comparable to creamed corn, with a bit more kick.

Up next? With hardly a break for our stomachs, we were off to Milk & Cream! This place was a novelty for a Rochesterian like me. Milk & Cream specializes in hella delectable buns. Yes, you heard me. Buns. Pretty similar to a doughnut, actually. I went with the non-glazed option (just to avoid an overly sweet concoction) and chose coffee ice cream with chocolate chips (you can select one topping). They roll it all together (similar to Cold Stone), then you get to bite into a heavenly, fluffy warm bun full of cold, creamy ice cream. Perfection. I would definitely advocate for brining one of these to Rochester (hey, we’ve got plenty of froyo. We could swap one out. Just sayin’).

Our stomachs rested til morning and then we were off to the next foodie adventure! Armoury D. E. in a neighborhood called Deep Ellum! I absolutely loved exploring this neighborhood- it felt like it had far more personality than any other part of Dallas. Apparently the neighborhood was originally known as Deep Elm; it was one of the first areas in the city where African Americans lived. They pronounced Elm more like “Ell-um,” and it stuck.

I’m not much of a bruncher, but this was a brunch for the ages. I went out on a limb and tried a drink they called “Shimmy Ya,” which involved bourbon, beer, cookie crisp, and an egg. Surprisingly good (though quite strong!). Being the big eaters we are, my friend and I split some Count Chocula French toast prior to our entrees. You could say we’re hardcore. The French toast came with nutella and marshmallow to spread on it (and fruit, so you could pretend it was healthy). The restaurant had Hungarian roots, so I tried the Hungarian crepes and my friend had the hash. Both were phenomenal. My crepe had incredibly fresh veggies in it, so I was thrilled. Dana (about time she has a name in this post) loved the hash. I’d say our favorite part was the potatoes that were served with both of our meals- they were seasoned and cooked perfectly. All in all, the brunch was outstanding.

We got a little touristy in the afternoon. We paid for CityPass ($45) which got us into four major Dallas attractions (worth it!). Saturday afternoon we hit up the Reunion Tower and the Dallas Arboretum. The Reunion Tower is attached to a hotel; you ride an elevator up and get stellar views of the city. Also, a kitschy photo of your party above the Dallas skyline. The Arboretum was lovely! Crawling with children and at least three separate weddings, but lovely.

Beer was also a necessary component of this day. We visited a fantastic brewery called Peticola’s. $10 got you in the door, plus a pint glass, 3 drinks, and a brewery tour. Not too shabby! They’re a small operation, so they only open twice a month for two hours each time. If I were a Dallas resident, I’d be there every chance I got! They had a great food truck outside, Jenga, foosball, air hockey, a handful of other games, and really friendly staff and interesting patrons. Plus, the beer was super tasty! My favorite was called “Great Scot!”, and they also made a yummy kolsch.

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Kolsch (& souvenir pint glass)

After such a yummy brunch and A+ beer, we had to go easy for dinner…so of course, burgers, shakes, and truffle fries were just about the only option. I had my first Hopdoddy experience! Dana had raved about it to me, so I was pretty psyched. There was an overwhelming array of delicious-sounding burgers on the menu. I went with one that included goat cheese and pesto, and I was not disappointed.

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Look at that glory

I really appreciated how fresh my burger was at Hopdoddy! You could tell the meat was really high quality, and the lettuce and tomato did not seem like they had been sitting in a freezer/fridge for awhile before use. Plus, the goat cheese was hella good. The truffle fries were even better than I was expecting! We shared a nutella pretzel shake, and that was on point too.

We took it a little easy the following day. We spent the morning at the Dallas Zoo, where Dana works! I got a super extensive tour and got to see lots of adorable animals. Dana was an awesome guide since she had tons of insider knowledge.

From there, we headed over to Klyde Warren Park, built over a highway and located in the middle of downtown Dallas. It was a lovely oasis in the heart of the city! Tree-lined walkways, tons of food trucks, board games and sports equipment for rent, and books to borrow- what more could a citizen ask for? It did make me think about Parcel 5 and the #ThisIsNotAPark movement a lil bit…

I really enjoyed spending time there on a beautiful fall (well, Texas’s version of fall) day! First, we got a brisket grilled cheese from Ruthies (yes, it was as good as it sounds). Afterwards, we downloaded a cool app called Kwest and went exploring in downtown Dallas! We answered questions about our surroundings, checked out sculptures, wandered through cool museums, and I caught tons of pokémon along the way. A win-win! The kwest returned us to the park, where we promptly cooled off with amazing popsicles from Steel City Pops. Mine was pumpkin and was an abundance of creamy goodness. Dana had butter pecan and loved it. Yet another foodie win!

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Nomming the day away!

Fast forward a bit to dinner that night: Torchy’s. Hell yes! Visit their Instagram if you want to experience strong and sudden urges to move to Texas for tacos. I visited Torchy’s frequently in the years I was traveling to Austin often, and developed an affinity for the fried avocado taco. So naturally, I had to have it!

I would rave about a play called Constellations that we saw at the Dallas Theatre Center, but I did promise this would be a food blog. Sidenote: if you have the chance, GO SEE CONSTELLATIONS. You won’t regret it for a single second. Life, time, choice, fate, mortality. It’s #deep.

Monday was TEXAS STATE FAIR DAY. And let me tell you, the Texas State Fair is a BIG DEAL. Allow me to show you a visual of just a few of the things we ate that day:

My poor, poor body. So many fried foods. I don’t know how I’m still standing here today. Each year, they host the Big Tex Choice Awards, where eight unique items are selected as best tasting, most creative, etc. We managed to sample four of the eight in ONE DAY. Foods we ate not pictured in the above photo include: injectable BBQ balls, pulled pork mash, and chili-smothered nachos.

We saw a lot of things that day: a pig race, a museum exhibit on Taylor Swift’s outfits through the ages, marines playing patriotic music, gigantic stuffed Squirtles, the Terminator’s head made out of cans, soap made out of beer, teenagers spooning (I do mean cuddling) hogs (literal hogs), and the infamous Big Tex statue. Quite a day! I’ll cross it off my bucket list. If you manage to make it to the State Fair of Texas, I’d highly recommend the chicken pot pie pocket with mac and cheese dip. I’m biased, since chicken pot pie is one of my favorite foods, but it was a beautiful pairing. The funnel cake ale with powdered sugar rim also exceeded my expectations- it was a great beer, not too sweet, and the powdered sugar really added something special to it! And, fried jello? Surprisingly good!

Sadly, my last day in Dallas arrived. I wasn’t about to take it easy on my stomach. The morning consisted of delicious and filling breakfast tacos from Tacodeli (seriously, Rochester, we need one) and a visit to the famous Pecan Lodge. We had to wait outside in a line to be able to get in and order our lunch, but it was worth the wait! I tried the brisket, pulled pork, and mac and cheese. Dana and I discussed the mac and cheese at length because something is just not right about it. And by just not right, I mean, we could not understand how it could possibly be so good. Her coworkers brainstormed and concluded that it must be cooked with bacon grease. The meat was flavorful, tender, and juicy too. I’ve never seen brisket fall apart so easily! And the portions? Huge! Yay Texas! Stomach stuffed, I nearly died. Then I got on a plane and flew home to Rochester.

In between all the eating, we saw a lot of cool street art (who knew?! Good on you, Dallas!), caught up, discussed our jobs, boys, and the future, and watched a ton of Crazy Ex Girlfriend, aka my new favorite show! I’m lucky to have Dana as a friend (and, of course, am delighted that she lives in a city full of so much awesome food). I’ll leave you with a few photos of street art in case your eyes are tired of #foodporn.

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One thought on “Eating Stuff in Texas (And Other Adventures)

  1. Pingback: 7 Things I’m Psyched about in 2017 | rocgirlbigworld

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