I don’t get to travel for work. Sometimes I can’t help but wish work required the occasional change in city. Maybe someday! Mr. PC had a conference in Dallas, Texas, and I took time off to make a long weekend out of it with him. We didn’t have a choice on dates (it was October), but I would definitely recommend going in the fall! The weather was warmer than Virginia and provided a nice break from the fall chill starting to creep in. But it wasn’t as blistering as Texas can get in the summer. Dallas in the fall allows for some unique experiences!
The Texas State Fair
The Texas State Fair runs for about 3 weeks at the beginning of each fall showcasing all things Texan. Having been around for well over 100 years, you know they do it right. I remember a few years ago hearing about fried butter from the fair on the news. Well. That was decided. I was going to the Texas State Fair.
We weren’t staying on that side of the city, so we took the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) to the fairgrounds. A day pass was pretty cheap at $5/person. From the green line getting off at the Fair Park or MLK Jr. stations will land you at the fairgrounds. General admission tickets are $18/person, which is more than we normally would pay for something like this. But we felt it was an experience we needed. Fried butter remember?
We walked around and looked at some exhibits. But we mostly ate. All of it was fried. I regret nothing. If you’re not into eating a ton of fried food there are other things to do here too. Everything came as small portions that gave us each a few bites.
From left to right: fried biscuits & gravy, fried butter, fried broccoli nuggets, & fried Philly steak rollups. Fried butter was like taking a shot of molten butter. I don’t regret it, but I also don’t need to do it again. Everything else was as delicious as you’d expect it to be. We also had a Fletcher’s Corny Dog and beer. It’s a good thing we walked a lot. I haven’t even told you about the Mexican food or the brisket yet.
Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Gardens
I like flowers and pretty spaces, but something like this normally wouldn’t be on my must do list with having to pay general admission. Can you tell I’m cheap? I just want more money for food and beer. But if you are in Dallas in the fall, the Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Gardens is a basic white girl’s heaven. There are pumpkins everywhere. And gourds. And mums.
This part of the arboretum was pretty busy, with lots of kids. If you are planning to take pictures I would go early and plan on being patient to get your shot. It was also too warm for me to be sporting cute fall boots like I had planned. I guess open toes are still part of fall attire in Texas.
The other areas of the gardens that haven’t had fall explode all over them are neat as well. We saw a couple getting their wedding photos done. (Congrats folks!) I’m sure their photos were gorgeous. Because the gardens sit along White Rock Lake, there are a few places along the edge where you can catch glimpses of Dallas’ city skyline. These shots weren’t nearly as awesome as mine were in Toronto but I was happy strolling along and taking in the sites.
Dallas Museum of Art
I love a good art museum. In Richmond I’m spoiled with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts which is a well curated, diverse, and free museum. I try and go a few times a year. Anyway the Dallas Museum of Art is of similar quality of VMFA. There’s a variety of collections and general admission is free. A good way to spend the hottest hours of the afternoon.
Eating & Drinking in Deep Ellum – All Within a 10 Minute Walk
Breweries are always on our list of things to do in a new city! We hit BrainDead Brewing for a flight to start our evening. I liked their hopped wheat beer the best. Just around the corner is Louie Louie’s Dueling Piano Bar. Their musicians really put on a show. Note to self: one fish bowl is plenty. You don’t need to split that second fish bowl. Especially if you had beers earlier in the day. Anyway, we sang along. We laughed. We drank a lot. It was quite the night.
On a different day we found ourselves meandering over to Deep Ellum Brewing after our stint at the fair. I loved the atmosphere of this place. Exposed brick as well as a combined indoor/outdoor space make for a relaxing spot to down some beer. Their Neat Bandito was pretty crushable. You can’t come to Texas and not have brisket. We had to wait to get into Pecan Lodge, and let me tell you it was completely worth it! The brisket melted into my tastebuds. I even liked the okra. Of course it was fried so I was bound to. The mac and cheese was smokey and full of bacon. Ok, so now that I’m ready to stuff my gullet, let me tell you about the Mexican food.
With 22 locations over the Dallas – Fort Worth area and a 100 year history, El Fenix knows how to do Mexican food. The Downtown restaurant was near where we were staying. I got enchiladas and they were so unbelievably good that we went back right before we went to the airport. Since then, eating Mexican food in Virginia hasn’t been nearly as good. We also got salsa to bring home.