Jamie Wyeth at the San Antonio Museum of Art

From MFA.org the site of the Museum of Fine Art in Boston

From MFA.org the site of the Museum of Fine Art in Boston

TRAVEL THERE: WYETH NOT VISIT THE SAMA?

Sorry for the pun but I couldn’t resist! From The Pearl we crossed the Riverwalk’s Museum Reach and entered the San Antonio Museum of Art in its Lone Star Brewery digs. This is a museum I love, but so far in this multi-year journey I haven’t told you much about it, in spite of the fact that I have visited.

My Love Affair with the SAMA

I first visited many years ago when it was in a warehouse downtown.  I’ll confess I loved their installations in the old space.  They had less room, so they were very creative with their displays.  The old antiquities exhibit was one of my all time favorites.  The entire ancient world was represented in one room.  Many different pieces were suspended in the air  inside one large area. I would always lose count of time as I considered each piece and compared to the others nearby.  There was less to see, but I liked that I could take it all in during a fairly short visit – if I didn’t spend hours in the antiquities section.

Their new digs are so spacious that I have yet to make it through the modern art section.  I always start with the antiquities and European Art and before I get to the modern stuff I’ve worn myself out.  This, of course, is not the SAMA’s fault.  I feel a little guilty about always opting for the classics, but not guilty enough to do anything about it.

My Recent Visit

Tip of the hat to my Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) membership which got us free admission.  The guy manning the entry booth at the river didn’t know anything about the VIA trolleys, so they first thing we did was trot over to the “official” information booth.  They said the trolley had just been by, so we had almost an hour before they would be back again.  We discussed our options and chose the Jamie Wyeth exhibit.

When you say Wyeth to me, I immediately think of the patriarch of the Wyeth artists, N.C.,  an illustrator whose colorful plates graced classic tales like Treasure Island and Robinson Caruso, but he spawned a litter of artists, all of whom have created beautiful works.  The DMA once had a Wyeth retrospect exhibit featuring masterworks from the father and his talented offspring.  I knew Jamie for a famous portrait of JFK – not the official one, but this one.

I’ll have to say that much of Jamie’s art is a little odd and introspective for me.  Bloody seagulls are just not my thing.  I am, however, glad we had the chance to take in the exhibit before the trolley showed up.  I have, after all, been looking at the museum’s own collection for a long time.  Unfortunately, if Deb wants to see it, we’re going to have to go back another time (and you know how much we’d hate that!).

If you want to see Jamie’s work, you’ll need to go to Bentonville, AR and see it at the Crystal  Bridges Museum of American Art.  But Crystal Bridges is the last stop on the tour, so get there by October 10th.

Hopping the VIA

Back at the SAMA, not wanting to miss VIA’s once hourly trolley, we arrived at the stop early and enjoyed the break. When the trolley showed up, we climbed on and wanted to pay for a $4 all day ticket, but neither of us had singles and they don’t give change.  So our $4 tickets were $5 each.  Inconvenient, so don’t make our mistake.  However, we were ready for a lift.

Next stop in the San Antonio Stroll?  The San Antonio Botanical Gardens.  Come back next week and I’ll give you a tour.

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Stampede 66, Dallas TX

600px-US_66.svg

TRAVEL HERE: STAMPEDE 66 IN UPTOWN DALLAS

I’ve been holding out on you.  We visited this restaurant back in July and I’ve never gotten around to telling you about it.  Allow me to correct that error and tell you about Stampede 66.

You had me at Stephen Pyles

Even though I’m the one with the never-ending list of next-places-I-want-to-go, every once and awhile I like for my husband to do the dating thing.  You know the one where they ask you out to do something they’ve picked out.  Well, the evening at Stampede 66 was Bill’s idea and I want to give him all the credit.

He sent me an email asking for a date AND he picked out the restaurant.  I’d never heard of Stampede 66 at that point, but a quick peek at Google informed that he’d done pretty good, because it was a Stephen Pyles restaurant.  The western theme explained the Stampede.  The 66 part I’m still unsure of.  Is it a reference to Route 66, Phillips 66 gasoline or an address in Forney which comes up when you put Stampede 66 into some map programs?  Or perhaps something else too subtle for me to understand.

Cowboy Cuteness

This really is a theme restaurant.  The interior looks like the inside of a barn – a chic barn mind you, but a barn nonetheless.  They have wood plank floors, a rattlesnake metal sculpture and other cowboy-ish decor.  Their website urges patrons to wear Western apparel, but I saw more short-short jumpsuits than I did silver buckles on tooled leather belts.  The crowd was one part millenials, one part out-of-towners and one part uptowners.

One of my favorite features of the decor is a series of wooden squares hanging on one wall.  Each square has a really silly sounding word or phrase on it.  After a few moments of reading through the squares I realized they were all names of Texas towns.  I wonder how many of these millenials,  out-of-towners and uptowners actually get that.

Cowboy Delicious

The menu describes itself as Modern Texas Cuisine and they’ve got the Texas part down pat.  We’re talking quail, chorizo, meatloaf and chili.

My husband chose the Barbequed Brisket with Potato Salad, but it wasn’t the same stuff you get at Dickey’s.  He swears its the best brisket he’s ever had and that he will be going down there pretty frequently for another helping.  I tasted it and I have to agree it was pretty darned good.  The Potato Salad was orange, so that tells you its not what they had at the last family reunion – ketchup maybe?

I had the Shrimp & Grits and it was good, but I’ve decided I must not be a big fan of Shrimp & Grits.  I like Shrimp and I like Grits, but somehow, whenever I have them together it never tastes exactly like I think I want it to taste.  The next time Bill goes down there for some of their brisket, I’m trying something else.

So, do I think you should go to Stampede 66.  Well, of course!  But think twice before you wear you bandanna and Stetson – it’s not that kind of Cowboy.

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I’m a Gourmet Chef – Who Knew?

How about a little Crab Cobb Salad?

How about a little Crab Cobb Salad?

AT HOME IN HEATH: MY INNER CHEF HAS BLOSSOMED

Bill didn’t marry me for my cooking.  The only food I cooked for him before we got married was my signature spaghetti, which was pretty awesome, but he should have realized there was a problem when he had to teach me to make coffee.  During our first year of marriage we discovered the dishes I’d learned to make in my mother’s kitchen were not to Bill’s taste and his Egyptian dishes were out outside my skill set.  We did not have compatible cuisines.

Confessions of a Yo-Yo Dieter

I was single for a long time.  I’d grown up helping my mom out in the kitchen, but I’d never developed any food management skills of my own.  I ate a lot of fast food, loved frozen chicken pot pies and could make a meal out of a bowl of rice.

From time to time my poor eating habits would catch up with me and I’d fall back on the Scarsdale Diet.  It worked and the simple meals were easy to fix, but you were supposed to rotate the diet with “regular eating” and nothing about the way I ate was regular.  Once the weight was gone, I’d just go back to my bad habits until it was Scarsdale time again.

Then I Got Married

Poor Bill has had quite a ride with me.  Before I really got an opportunity to develop those menu planning/food preparation skills, Bill was already fed up with my efforts.  Not only was he tired of my less than restaurant-quality offerings, he was thoroughly disgusted with the number of things that went bad in my refrigerator.  We ate out, ate a lot of convenience foods and hobbled along for a few months until I had packed on the pounds again.

My best friend introduced me to a crazy 500-calorie-a-day medical diet and in desperation I joined.  Bill nearly had a heart attack when he found out what I spent, but it was non-refundable.  I saved most of my 500 calories for dinner time and we hobbled through meal time until I lost the weight – again.  And of course, eventually I gained it all back.

At some point near the ten year mark, Bill had lived with me through several phases of my yo-yo dieting and I was back on the porky side.  That’s when I discovered Jenny Craig – another diet that “worked.”  I was always great at losing weight when I set my mind to it, but then I’d always gain it back.  Bill liked that Jenny Craig worked, but he didn’t like the cost of meals he couldn’t even share with me.  This yo-yo thing was beginning to wear on us.

And Then There Was South Beach

Over the years Bill and I did discover some dishes we could cook that both of us would like.  We also ate out a lot, like everyone else this day and time.  We weren’t eating healthy, however, and Bill’s doctor introduced him to the South Beach Diet, because he had all the symptoms the diet had been developed for.  I wish I could tell you that I embraced this chance for us to eat together, but I was in the middle of my five year care-giving crisis and Bill was mostly on his own when it came to eating what the diet recommended.  I’ll have to give him creds.  He lost the weight and got all his numbers in the right place.  He about drove me to distraction talking about how wonderful the diet was though – and not just to me, but to anyone who would listen, as well as a few folks who didn’t.

I Finally Gave In

Bill is by far the most persistent person I have ever known.  Most of the time that’s a good thing, but from time to time, it’s not so good.  I finally gave up and tried South Beach.  He’d managed to be successful with it by embracing the rules and applying them to his eating, but I’m not so good with rules.  I knew I’d have to do the diet differently or it would be a waste of my time.

One November day in 2013 became Day One of Phase One.  I followed the diet religiously, faithfully producing every dish on the suggested menu.  Some dishes were a success.  Some were not.  I certainly wasn’t a pro at managing the refrigerator and pantry, but when Bill wanted to complain about a head of lettuce in the trash or wilted asparagus in the crisper, I’d remind him that this diet was his idea.  That seemed to do the trick.

I guess you’re not surprised that the diet worked.  I lost the weight and I was doing pretty good at maintaining it until THE HOUSE.  Those of you who follow my blog know the trauma we went through getting this Home in Heath built.  My diet went out the window and yep, all those pounds came back.

I Came Back

You know what, though.  I missed the Beach.  I’d learned to love frittatas.  I was craving all that spinach, tomatoes and salmon.  I also missed the pals I’d made on the South Beach Diet Chat Groups.  After Bill and I had been in the house for about six weeks, I pulled out my tattered copy of South Beach Diet and my notebook full of kitchen-tested SBD recipes.

This time things were different.  Somewhere along the line those kitchen managing skills I hadn’t possessed in the past had somehow developed.  I was becoming a champ in the kitchen.  I used the SBD book to get me started, but long before Phase 2 was over, I was planning my own menus and modifying recipes to better suit our tastes or to utilize what we had in the pantry instead of making yet another trip to the store.

Our New Paradigm

Shhhhhhh! Don’t tell Bill, but I’ve gotten to the point that I’d just as soon cook at home as go out to eat.  I like my cooking.  He likes my cooking.  I have fun trying new recipes.  I enjoy planning meals.  I even like grocery shopping.

Organizing the pantry, freezer and fridge is sort of like a game.  I’m even discovering that when we go out for a meal, it throws a kink in my food planning.  Not to mention the fact that more often than not, I like the way I cook things better than what I’m served.

I’m still working my way through the huge assortment of recipes South Beach Diet has online, because I want to keep the weight off this time, but I’m beginning to have an urge to crack open my recipe books.  Even though I was never much of a cook, I liked picking up cookbooks when I traveled.  I kept assuring myself that at some point in my life I would actually have time to cook.  Then I inherited all of my mom’s cookbooks.  My sister had no interest in them and I certainly wasn’t going to throw them away.  I’d need several lifetimes to use all the recipes I have in my kitchen, so I guess it’s just about time to get started.

I never dreamed that I was as good of a cook as I’ve turned out to be.  I still have my moments.  I forget to preheat the oven, chop up my other vegetables with my onions when I’m supposed saute the onions separately, substitute crunched crackers when I run out of bread crumbs in the middle of a recipe and that sort of thing, but I’m learning that none of it is the end of the world.  When in doubt, I just add some pepper and keep on cooking!

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The Riverwalk’s Museum Reach

NAO tacos at The Pearl Farmer's Market

Our Riverwalk destination: NAO tacos at The Pearl

TRAVEL THERE: ON THE MUSEUM REACH OF THE RIVERWALK

So, on a bright Saturday morning, we strolled from the Hotel Contessa to the point where the Riverwalk connects with Museum Reach. We took a flight of stairs to the River level and made a right.

Morning on the Museum Reach

To our surprise, we pretty much had the Museum Reach all to ourselves.  We saw a few bicyclists and joggers, but in a tourism city like San Antonio we were amazed more travelers weren’t enjoying the river. (Maybe the others went to the VIA Informatiaon Office and were on trolleys.)  Forget tourists, why aren’t the residents flocking to this lovely pedestrian thoroughfare.

It was cooler down by the river.  An occasional River Taxi offered to take us further, but we were minding our pennies.  By walking we were able to enjoy the lock and dam.  We saw the VFW post I’d read about, but I guess it was a little early for their libations.  Gardens graced each side of the river and there were a number of interesting art installations, including some sort of grotto.

Lunch at The Pearl Farmer’s Market

It wasn’t a hard walk, but we were certainly happy to arrive at The Pearl when we did.  There’s a big hotel under construction right by the Riverwalk, so we had to do some maneuvering to get past, but I’m sure it will be great when the hotel is finished.

First, stop was the NAO taco stand.  NAO, the Culinary Institute of America restaurant, is one of my very favorites in San Antonio, but it’s not open for lunch.  However, they do serve tacos from a stand at the Farmer’s Market.  My research indicated that we had plenty of time to get our tacos, but we were hungry, so we headed on over there.  We didn’t find it right off, but we should have known, it was the booth with the big, long line.

We grabbed a bit of the sidewalk and shuffled along with the slow moving line.  You might assume that tacos from a food booth would be fast food, but there was nothing fast about the service.   They were making some sort of beverage by hand and the aroma of cooking meat was amazing.  The folks in line were both patient and congenial.  We wished for some shade, but were otherwise happy to be there.

Then someone announced there were only a few orders of left.  Five to be exact.  There were more than five people in line ahead of us, so I was terrified we were going to miss this treat.  Thankfully, in one group ahead, only one person wanted tacos.  Everyone else was there for the beverage.  Then the pair immediately ahead of us got an order of tacos to share and some beverages.  WE WERE IN!  We ordered our tacos and white sangria, paid the rather hefty price and were given a ticket for our tacos.  We approached the grill and traded small pieces of paper for heaven.

We found a table on the plaza, but were still wishing for shade.  There was a sort of arbor, but the vines they are trying to grow on it haven’t made much headway. (Note to self: bring parasol next time.)  Then we bit into our tacos and sipped our sangria.  All other thoughts disappeared.  It was suddenly well worth the trek to have the delicious treats.  There were only one or two orders left when we picked up our tacos, so we were grateful to the Riverwalk gods for getting us there in time.

There was a Farmers Market going on and I had planned on checking it out, but our stroll along the Museum Reach had used up our shopping time.  We decided to head back to the San Antonio Museum of Art, which was right across the river and catch a trolley there.  We still didn’t know when it would arrive, but we had all of the SAMA to enjoy while we waited.

Don’t Miss Dessert!

Lick, San Antonio, TX

Go ahead and take a Lick

On the way back to the river we did make one detour – Lick!  This little shop offers what they call “honest ice cream”.  Everything is organic, vegan, non-GMO, etc. and some of it is even gluten-free.  They use honey instead of sugar.  I’m not that big of a fan of ice cream (which is a good thing or I’d have more weight challenges than I do), but they did have chocolate, which I love.  Deb on the other hand adores ice cream and she assured me this was equal to if not better on the ice cream scale as the NAO tacos were on the taco scale.  I’m sure you can trust her opinion.

Next up?  The SAMA!  Will we or won’t we connect with the trolley?  Come back next week and find out!

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Fatted Calf in Rockwall TX

Fatted Calf, Rockwall TX

Are you looking for a new place to eat?

TRAVEL HERE: DINNER AT THE ROCKWALL’S  FATTED CALF

After a year of building our home in Heath and several months of living in it, we’re finally getting around to visiting some of the restaurants in downtown Rockwall.  We’d visited The Londoner and Bin 303 much earlier in this process, but recently we made it to the Fatted Calf.

Diner or Dinner?

So, I’d heard several people rave about the Fatted Calf, but their descriptions made the place sound more like a diner than someplace to have dinner.  I had it mentally bookmarked in the brunch category.

Then we made a trek to downtown Rockwall on a Friday night.  We’d seen that all kinds of construction was going on around the square, but we’d never paid too much attention.  Having to negotiate it for parking made us actually look at what was going on.  I’ve got to tell you it’s a mess right now, but it looks as if it’s going to be pretty amazing when they get through.

Stepping around the construction mess, we first dropped by an outdoor venue where a duo were singing away about some woman’s headache.  It was probably worth more attention and we plan to find out how often they have this kind of thing, but we were hungry.

Our destination was actually Zenata’s, but when we got there it was WAY too loud.  We were looking for a quiet, perhaps even romantic, spot for dinner and we’d heard it was a Mediterranean restaurant.  It was a very loud pizza joint.  We sat for all of about 45 seconds and almost beat the hostess back to the door.

My next thought was Oscar Delta, a restaurant around the corner, which we pass by frequently, but we came up on the Fatted Calf first.  I didn’t think I was anymore interested in diner food than I was the noise at Zenata, but Bill convinced me to at least check out the menu.  The Fatted Calf is not a diner.

Table for Two

Folks in Rockwall must go somewhere else besides Rockwall on Friday nights.  Well that, or they’re over at The Harbor and the I-30 Restaurant Row.  There had been a nice crowd at Zenata’s but Fatted Calf was empty.  Maybe that’s because, like me, everyone thinks it is a diner.

Come to find out the Fatted Calf actually has a split personality.  According to our waitress, the restaurant opened as a diner, but added dinner later, which may or not have coincided with their relationship with the owner of Culpepper’s and The Oar House.  Apparently, the news hasn’t spread as far as it needs to or they would have had a few more tables filled.  There were several folks enjoying themselves at the bar, but up there where the food was served Bill and I were all alone.

My emotions were having a bit of a bouncy ride: Enjoying the improvements downtown and the musicians; Finding Zenata’s and then leaving; Thinking the Fatted Calf was a diner and being pleasantly surprised by the menu, but feeling apprehensive about all the empty seats.  Then the waitress mentioned Culpeppers and The Oar House, which the restaurant was associated with in some way.  Well, I loved the steak I had at Culpepper’s and the musicians who had been playing when I visited, but The Oar House experience had not been as good.  All this and I still had to figure out what I was going to eat.

Bill enjoyed his Perloo

Bill enjoyed his Perloo

What in the World is Perloo?

According to the menu, Low Country Perloo is “BASMATI RICE/SHRIMP/ROASTED CHICKEN/PEPPERS/SMOKED SAUSAGE/ SCALLION BUTTER.”  Bill decided to be brave and try it, in spite of the waitress’ less than enthusiastic recommendation, “It’s not my favorite, but people seem to like it.”  She was more excited about my choice, Ted’s Crab Cake.

When the plates arrived they both looked great, but Bill seemed to be crazier about his food than mine.  The crab cake was fine.  I have no complaints, but it wasn’t a standout entree for me.  In fact, what I liked best on the plate was the “CORN MAQUE CHOUX.”  It was about the most delicious corn I’d ever had in my life.  When I googled it I discovered it was pronounced Corn Mock Shoe and it’s a Cajun dish.  Call it what you will and I’ll just call it scrumptious.  Also on my dish was something that looked and tasted like mashed potatoes, but the menu claims is lobster bisque.  I think it was mashed potatoes.

So do I think you should go visit the Fatted Calf?  I’d say it would be a nice night out.  I’m planning to go for brunch someday, because the menu for that meal looks appealing, but since Sunday is our usual brunch day, I’m not sure how I’m going to work it in.  Come back next week and I’ll have some more recommendations for you.

 

 

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Strolling San Antonio TX

Briscoe Western Art Museum, San Antonio TX

This Briscoe Western Art Museum is housed in a wonderful old library building.

TRAVEL THERE: SAN ANTONIO STROLLING

Little did I know when I tagged this trip as the San Antonio Stroll how apt the title would be. I was thinking of wandering along the river from Margarita to Margarita, not hoofing it from downtown to The Pearl.  Well, that was before the VIA streetcars let me down.

Go Mobile Without Your Car

One of my favorite things about San Antonio is that you can forget about driving for a day or two, because they’ve got a great transit system.  I don’t know what the locals think of it, but the VIA Streetcars are great for tourists.  However there’s a pitfall.  I’ve been using the VIA Streetcars for decades and that was the pitfall.  I assumed I knew how things operated.

They have a route going around and around downtown – called the Red Circulator.  It comes by every ten minutes or so.  I have ridden that one to get an overall view of the area, but it used to cover more ground and there were several other trolley lines that hooked up with it.  There’s still something called the Primo – but that’s a bus.  I’m a tourist, so I want a trolley.  There’s Blue Circulator which looked like it could get me to the other places I wanted to go, but I was a little fuzzy on the time thing.

I pored over the new trolley schedule online, but couldn’t find a schedule that said, “Here are the times the Blue Circulator comes by its stops.”  Note to self:  Next time stop by the VIA Info Center and ask them!  It’s right on the Red Circulator route and it was steps away from my hotel.  Instead I decided to play it by ear.  Good thing I bought some comfortable walking shoes for the trip!

So, on day three of the San Antonio Stroll, we’d already strolled quite a bit.  Day one, shopping at the Round Rock Outlet Mall and walking from the RiverCenter to the Tower of the Americas and back.  Day Two, walking the McNay, the King William Walking Tour and the self-directed Riverwalk Margarita Tour.  With day three being primarily museums and gardens, I thought a little foot relief would be just the thing.

Briscoe Western Art Museum, San Antonio TX

The Briscoe

Breakfast and The Briscoe

We grabbed breakfast at Whataburger and discovered there was an egg shortage.  Not something I’d heard about anywhere else, but some poor fast-food clerk was having to apologize to everyone about it, so I didn’t think she needed my two cents worth also.  Therefore we ate some chicken biscuit thing with honey-butter.  Not just was the doctor ordered, but sustenance enough until the next meal.  As long as I had my Diet Dr. Pepper, I was good.

On to the Briscoe Western Art Museum.  I’ve already done a good job of describing the museum here, so no need to do that again – but it was one of those days.

First the eggs, then the museum entrance fee.  Last time, I breezed in with my Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) Reciprocal Privileges. The DMA website said I still had them, but the Briscoe had changed its affiliation.  To give the Briscoe its due, it did eventually comp my entry, but we had to pay for Deb’s ticket.  Not that it was exorbitant, it was the principle of the thing.  I’m not sure who to blame, but I’m not happy.

I enjoyed the museum the second time around, but what I liked best was that Deb discovered she likes Western Art.  As I’ve said, Deb will pretty much go wherever I want to, but sometimes she’s just going along to be along and that was the case with the Briscoe.  Inside she enjoyed the historical perspective of the third floor, but she was blown away by the art on the second floor.  Western art has a new fan.

Via the VIA?

After a quick stroll through the gift shop, where we’d have bought several things if money were no object, we headed to the trolley stop.  Well nothing was posted, because everything is on your phone – right?  Unless you don’t have the latest phone and you can’t get to the right page and even if you could you couldn’t see it in the bright sunlight. (mumbling complaints under my breath).  We stood there a few moments pretending a trolley was coming any minute, because I was convinced they came by every ten minutes.  Then a passerby dissuaded us from this illusion.

So we tried our handy-dandy doorman, because the bus stop was in front of the hotel.  He knew the trolley came by and where, but not when.  We went to the concierge and she was having the trouble I had, sans the sunlight.  There’s no webpage that says when the trolley comes by the Briscoe Museum stop.  (Are you listening VIA?)

Or You Can Walk

We decided to hoof it.  Both of us love to walk.  The heat was not oppressive, so we set off.  The walk was a little over a mile and a half, which took time, but not much effort.

We did connect with the trolley later in the day which allowed us to get much further than we would have gotten on our own four feet, but it wasn’t easy.  With no available schedules, we had to find someone who knew the drill to get on the trolley at a stop near The Pearl.  Then we’d quiz the bus driver when we got off about when the next trolley would be by.  The cost was cheap – but the hassle was high.  And speaking of hassle – a day ticket is $4, but you won’t get any change, so have some singles.

Yes, I could have avoided all this hassle (one hopes) by checking with the VIA Information Center, but we all know about hindsight – and I was reminded of the pitfalls of assuming you know what to expect in the future based on past performance.  In other words, “Don’t never assume nothing!!”

That’s right, don’t assume anything, but come back next week and we’ll have street tacos at The Pearl.

 

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Brunch at Crossroads Diner – Dallas TX

My new favorite app!

My new favorite app!

TRAVEL HERE:  APPS AND APPETITE AT CROSSROADS DINER IN DALLAS

Looking for a great place for brunch in Dallas?  Try Crossroads Diner!  On a recent Sunday we were headed to the Kimbell Art Museum to see the Botticelli to Braque exhibition.  You can read about that here, but on the way we stopped at Crossroads Diner for a delicious brunch.  You should go soon, too.

Me and My Talk Shows

Bill says I’m addicted to conservative talk radio.  I say he’s brainwashed by the liberal media.  I do listen to conservative radio, but I balance it with lots of mainstream reporting and the Facebook postings of my liberal friends.  I figure some spot in the middle of all those sources is the truth.

If I’m in the car on weekday mornings, I will tune into The Mark Davis Show.  He’s definitely Conservative, but he’s also mild-mannered – unlike some more famous conservative pundits.  For a while he was on WBAP, but he’s moved over to The Answer, where I also listen to Sean Hannity (another of the more pleasant forms of Conservatism). Anyway, that’s how I found out about Crossroads Diner, listening to the radio.

Timing Issues

I’ve been hearing about Crossroads Diner for a long time, but was having a hard time connecting with it.  The diner, located near the intersection of Central and Walnut Hill, is open from 7 AM- 2PM Tuesday through Sunday, but I’m rarely in that part of town at that time of day and even when I am, it’s a place I wanted to share with Bill, not make a solo trip to.

Also, the diner is right next door to Cedars, one of Bill’s favorite mezza grills.  So, even if we happened to be in the area come lunch time, Bill would always choose the Cedars over someplace I’d heard about on that radio station he hates.  So I knew if I was going to get Bill to the restaurant, it would need to be for breakfast, but the opportunity never presented itself – until Sunday.

Something Different 

Even though we’ve only been in Heath for a few months, we’ve already been creating some ruts.  A couple of Sundays ago, Bill wanted to crawl out of one of them and he let me know early enough in the day to get him to Crossroads Diner for brunch.

As I feared, plenty of other people know about Crossroads Diner and the front of the restaurant was covered up with folks waiting for a table.  We feared the worst, but we were assured our wait would be less than half an hour and then they wanted my phone number.  This was a new twist.  I wasn’t making a reservation they’d have to call me about.  I was right there in front of them.

They said they wanted the number because they were going to text me, but a test text to verify my number said it was powered by No Wait, so of course I had to check it out.  I’m not one of those people whose eyes are permanently affixed to my phone, but I love clever apps.  Way back when smartphones first came out and I was still using a flip phone I was inordinately jealous of folks whose phone could read those blocks of data on museum walls.  Red Laser was one of the first apps I downloaded.  I dig apps.

I downloaded the No Wait app and found out 23 parties were in line ahead of me.  That was discouraging.  I checked it a few minutes later and there was only 18.  Suddenly I loved the app.   We’ve all had that nagging worry the hostess has forgotten about us or we’ve been skipped over.  No more!!  BTW, Crossroads got us in well within the twenty minutes they promised and I loved being able to watch our progress on the app.

My guess is that this app is going to spread like wildfire.  No more starting out on the wrong foot when you’re eating out.  Imagine knowing how long the wait is going to be before you head to a restaurant.  Even better, imagine putting yourself in line and the restaurant being ready for you just about the time you arrive.  I’m sure there’s a downside to it, like people who put themselves in line and then don’t show up.  And then there are all the people that will figure out a way to mess it up for everyone else.  I hate those guys!

There’s another reason I like the app.  You know how you go to a restaurant and put yourself on the waiting list.  Then after a few minutes you decide the wait will be too long or you think of someplace else you’d rather be.  Well, I always hate going back to the hostess to confess we’re leaving, but I also don’t like to think of them calling, “Jane, party of two,” and having to repeat it while all the other patrons curse whoever it was that skipped out without notifying the hostess.  No Wait lets you get out of line with the just a click.  Brilliant!

So How Was the Food?

OK, I’m getting to that.  I just had to tell you about my new app.  The food was great.

The decor in the diner is pretty simple.  Nothing to write home about – except for the chandelier made out of industrial-sized whisks.  I thought that was pretty clever.  There’s an upstairs which I assume serves private parties.  Oh, and if you like outdoors the way I do, there’s a small patio outside with lots of seats.  Most of them were full during my visit, along with every other surface to sit on or lean against.

Bill had corn-beef hash which he loved and it came with pancakes.  Warning, asking for whole wheat will cost you a dollar.  What he was most crazy about though, was the coffee.  First and foremost, it was hot.  Bill has a real fetish for hot.  Our microwave gets a lot of business from him.  Restaurants never serve the coffee hot enough for him, so he was first blown away by the temperature and he insisted that I mention it in my blog.  Then he TASTED the coffee and he was overcome with joy – so much joy that he had to ask what kind of coffee it was and could he buy any.  The coffee is illy, BTW, and I’m guessing you’ll soon be able to get a cup at our house.

I had a frittata, something I love but can rarely get.  I’m not a fan of omelets, because all the stuff in them is basically raw.  With frittatas everything else is cooked before you throw in the egg and I like it that way.  I had the Greek Frittata and it was delicious.  Had I been cooking it, I would have crumbled the feta as opposed to throwing in cubes of the stuff.  It looked a little odd and I just think the whole texture thing would have been better with crumbles.  Then again, I’m funny about textures, so I probably don’t count.

So that’s it and I know I’ve gone on too long, but I had a lot about this visit that I wanted you to know.  come back next week and see what else I’ve been up to.

 

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Filed under DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Restaurants & Bars, Road Trips, TRAVEL