Deep in Dallas

Earlier this year, a few of my closest friends and I saddled up our carry-ons and headed south to Dallas, Texas for a long weekend. Our itinerary wasn’t fully-prepared but we had a few events in mind. The main one being Wrestlemania at Jerry’s House. But that wasn’t until Sunday…

When we first arrived Thursday evening, Jeff’s sister, Kimber snatched us up from the airport and whisked us over to The Rustic to enjoy a few beverages in their big backyard. The Texas air was warm but not overpowering enough to drive us out of the open air. The live music had finished for the night, but we didn’t mind. Country music was flowing from the speakers, and catching up with Kimber made the conversation flow as well. Afterwards, it was off to Velvet Taco for some late-night snacks. The tacos were amazing, but the real standout was the ‘Crisp Tots & Local Egg’ for a side. Needless to say, our weekend immersion into Dallas was off to a great start.

Friday was a day spent exploring the city and seeing where our feet and intuition took us.  We took our first stroll through Dealey Plaza and the Grassy Knoll. We scheduled our actual tour of the Texas School Book Depository for the next morning since the line to get into the tour of the historic tragedy was out the door.

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From Dallas’ West End, we travelled to the Deep Ellum district for lunch and whatever else this exciting and eclectic  neighborhood had to offer. We found tasty eats and libations at Uncle Uber’s Sammich Shop.

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Back out on the streets, we stumbled upon the Deep Ellum Arts Festival that didn’t disappoint. The combination of local artisans, jewelry makers, and musicians with a beautiful Spring day in Dallas was the recipe for a perfect afternoon drinking in the local culture.

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When our thirst for the arts was quenched, our thirst for beer took over and we wandered off to Deep Ellum Brewing Company, where their love for Beer and Dallas, runs deep. As a blonde, currently in Dallas, their ‘Dallas Blonde’ American Blonde Ale was my first choice. Refreshing, smooth, and full of all sorts of citrusy and floral  notes, this beer went down smooth. A few of my other favorites that I sampled from this hometown brewery were the Deep Ellum IPA, the Deep Ellum Pale Ale, and the Oak Cliff Coffee Ale. Their newly remodeled beer garden was a perfect place to gather with friends and enjoy their epic playlist, an assortment of games, and their assortment of beers.

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While in Texas, or anywhere in the south for that matter, country music, line dancing, and bull riding are commonplace. We got to experience all of those during out trip to the Fort Worth Stockyards. We got our fill of BBQ from Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que, and galloped off to Billy Bob’s Texas Honky Tonk. This place truly encapsulates Southern hospitality and showmanship. We watched local riders try to dominate their bulls, and contrary to what I’ve witnessed in the past, it wasn’t the mechanical kind. Once that show ended, it was on to the next one, as Jerrod Niemann was unexpectedly (to us) about to take the stage. We couldn’t have asked for a better night in the Stockyards.

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With all that said, we still had 2.5 days left in this amazing city. Saturday was packed full of activities, our first was the Dealey Plaza and the Texas School Book Depository tour. This step back in time was especially moving for me as my American History teacher from high school spent an inordinate amount of time on this particular chapter in history. He had his own personal interest as he had spent previous years spent studying and trying to discern exactly what happened on that infamous day. We were assigned specific roles and were tasked with recreating the case trying Lee Harvey Oswald with the murder. Revisiting all of the intricate details of JFK’s presidency, that particular day, and the days that followed were captivating and emotional. Towards the end of the tour, there was an exhibit reviewing other American tragedies, which brought forth emotions and memories of those events, especially the one we all lived through over a decade ago in September.

Following the tour, we took a trip to watch the Texas Rangers spring training game at their stadium in Arlington.

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After an afternoon full of baseball,  we headed off to happy hour and dinner at the best place for it, Happiest Hour. This trendy spot was packed to the brim with the beautiful and the rich, which was on full display in the valet parking lot out front. With a Lambo and a Maserati in attendance, it was clear that this is a venue frequented by Dallas’ elite. It’s not surprising since their food and drinks were savory and satisfying.

Sunday. Jerry’s House. Wrestlemania. As I said that day and in the days that followed, I am not even slightly embarrassed to admit that I enjoyed it. Cheap tickets, people watching, and the spectacle the WWE puts on were worth dedicating a day to it. Growing up with four older brothers, I am no stranger to the world of professional wrestling, so I knew a few of the performers that came to wrestle, as well as made an appearance that night. Not to mention, Snoop Dogg and Shaq were in attendance, and we got to see Stone Cold guzzle (and spill) beer all over the ring. I truly underestimated the amount of support and viewership this industry still commanded before experiencing it firsthand on the world’s biggest stage. It was an extremely memorable experience, one that I won’t soon forget. Not just because I got to relive my childhood memories of my brothers recreating the matches of the Undertaker, Sting, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold, the Giant, and others, but it was really entertaining.

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It was quite a trip, clearly full great food, good beer, and exciting memories. A few other stops we made along the way that are worth a look are…

  • Whisk – A great way to start the day with tasty crepes and coffee drinks!

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  • Pioneer Plaza – To see the Cattle Drive statues, of course!
  • Dealey Plaza ‘X’ – Probably the most dangerous street in the US, and not just because of it’s history, but because of the tourists running in the street to snap a picture.
  • RJ Mexican Cuisine – Delicious food and fruity drinks! Plus plenty of seating on an outdoor patio in the Historic West End district.

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With so much more to see and do, this city is full of culture, history, great food and beer, and excitement. I am looking forward to an opportunity to return and explore it more.

That’s Dallas.

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