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Shopping Extravaganza

Another Lazy Afternoon at Watter’s Creek

TRAVEL HERE: WATTER’S CREEK AND THE ALLEN OUTLET MALL

Having safely escaped the Lavender Festival, Deb and I pursued a couple of our favorite pastimes, holiday or no holiday – dining and shopping.  Come along with us.

It Shouldn’t Have Been a Secret

I’d been keeping a secret from my bestie and didn’t even realize it.  Watter’s Creek is a favorite haunt of my husband’s.   The whole multi-purpose development is built around a charming open space.  A grassy hill slopes down to a creek.  Water fowl wander among gleeful children.  A sampling of beautiful people hang out on the patios of a handful of restaurants surrounding the park.  It’s a relaxing oasis from the hustle and bustle, with just enough hustle and bustle of its own to be entertaining.  Many a Sunday afternoon Bill and I make our way to Watter’s Creek for an early supper.  A quick perusal the pictures in my Facebook feed could verify that I’ve made several attempts to notify the world of this pleasant place to hang out.

There’s another reason I didn’t realize Deb was unaware of the charm of Watter’s Creek.  Countless times we’ve shopped the Allen Outlet Mall and then gone to Watter’s Creek and had lunch at Brio, usually on the patio.  I can’t begin to count the number of times Deb and I have lingered on that patio solving the world’s problems and venting over some of our more irritating challenges.  I could have sworn that at least one of those meals ended at DSW, checking out the clearance racks, but I guess not.

As we discussed where to have lunch, we tipped our hat to Brio, but Deb was in the mood for adventure.  When I told her there were other great restaurants in the same complex she gave me an accusing look.  I’d been holding out on her!  She thought the whole thing was an apartment complex with Brio and a Cheesecake Factory stuck next to the highway.  She navigated her car to Watter’s Creek and I directed her around the side of our usual hangout and into the main shopping area.  She immediately loved it.  We parked in one of the garages and headed to a restaurant I had mentioned.

As we strolled, I realized the restaurant ratio at Watter’s Creek was rising.  Bill and I had peeked in the window of the Village Burger Bar, but had never even seen Firewater Kitchen and Bar at the end of the row.  Deb and I turned a corner headed to what I thought was Savor, a tasting restaurant Bill and I had enjoyed on one of our visits – but Savor had become The Cellar.  It looked more barish than foodish, so I recommended we head around the corner to Bonnie Ruth’s Cafe.

A New Favorite is Found

At Bonnie Ruth we opted for the patio and almost immediately declared it our new favorite.  One of the reasons Deb and I are such fast friends is that we love the same things and one of the things we really love is al fresco dining.  If food is good inside a restaurant, it’s our opinion that it’s even better on the patio.  Hubby will join me al fresco – if the weather is perfect, the sun is at the right angle and he’s in the mood.  For Deb and I, there either has to be a snowstorm or pounding rain to deter us from choosing the patio.  Otherwise we’ll at least try to convince the hostess to let us sit out there.

I’m glad to finally have someone who loves Bonnie Ruth the way I do. I’ve tried to indoctrinate Bill, but he’s resisted me.  We’d visited the Frisco location several times and it just didn’t click with him.  I’ve suggested it several times at Watter’s Creek, but he’s always more interested in the restaurants that border on the park, so he can watch the beautiful people and the ducks.  So I sigh and follow him to another choice.

I even tried to get Mom to enjoy Bonnie Ruth’s back when we spent our Thursdays together.  As most of you know, she now spends all her days on a higher plane, but I still keep a catalog of restaurants to try out on her.  See, Mom loved to eat out, but had you been her chauffeur, as I was for many years, you wouldn’t think so.

Finding Restaurants for Ruth

Mom was perpetually on the look out for the perfect cafe.  It needed to have sandwiches, soups and salads – and there were extra points for quiche.  She didn’t want to stand in line to order.  They should have tablecloths and eschew serving food in paper or plastic.  Servers should be attentive and the price had to be right.  That’s a pretty tall order.

Most sandwich and soup places, like La Madeline, Panera and Corner Bakery, start with a line, have bare table tops and the service never adds up.  Then for some reason none of my other favorites, like Bonnie Ruth’s or Lavendou’s, passed her test.  Lunch time would roll around and I would start listing every spot I could think of, but she’d keep that I-don’t-think-so look on her face until I thought I’d expire from exasperation.  Then she’d happily settle for Cantina Laredo, Chili’s or some other place that didn’t match any of the criteria she’d spelled out for the perfect cafe.  She didn’t do al fresco at all.  I loved her, but not for the same reasons I love Deb!

The Yes Hook at Cabi’s

Back to Bonnie Ruth’s Patio

So there I sat on a lovely patio drinking a glass of wine with my bestie.  Heaven – short and simple.  The food was good.  I had a sandwich with poached pear and cheese on delicious bread.  Deb thought she was ordering a Chicken Pecan Salad sandwich, but she ended up with just the salad.  Both were delicious, but the poached pear number won the day.  I’d tell you the name of it, but it’s not on the menu on their website.  We topped it off with some insane chocolate cake drenched in praline sauce.  No calories there, right?

After dessert we hit a few stores.  One was DSW where I got four delightful pairs of shoes for about $60.  In case math is not your strong point, that’s an average of $15 each.  Bestie paid more than my total for one pair of shoes to work out in.  No wonder I don’t like to exercise.  Who wouldn’t rather have four pairs of shoes over one pair of sneakers!

Then we went on to our shopping mecca – Allen Outlet Mall.  Warning, there is all kinds of construction going on there, so your visit will be painful, but your pocketbook will be happy.  My two favorite stores are Cabi and White House/Black Market – and they didn’t disappoint this time either!  WH/BM offered up a pair of leather and suede jeans -originally $450 – that I got for $19.99.  There were a couple of pairs of leggings (suede fronts, stretch backs) that were originally $350 each – yep I got them for $19.99.  A pair of black capri’s and a black divided skirt wanted to come home with me for similar prices.  Cabi was having a 50% off sale that included clearance, so I dropped a few dimes there, too.  How can I resist buying size six trousers?

So, I went a little long today, but it was a fun day.  See you next week!

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

Bouncing Around North Texas

Zennias at DABS

TRAVEL HERE: THE METROPLEX AND POINTS BEYOND

Memorial Day Weekend is the official beginning of summer and I kicked off my summer with a vengeance.  I abandoned my computer and headed into the streets for some fun.  Come along with me.

Why Not Start Early!

My little sister, Susan, was having a birthday on the Friday before Memorial Day.  There are five years between us and we are very different, so our lives don’t naturally intersect.  However, that’s no reason to miss out on an opportunity to celebrate.  My mother turned every event into a celebration and while Christmas got top billing, birthdays played an important supporting role throughout the year, with cameo appearances by every other event to which she could attach a gift or meal.

Mom loved the Dallas Arboretum, almost as much as she loved creating celebrations, so it was only natural for Susan and I to make a visit there for her birthday lunch.  It was a perfect picture of what draws us together and how different we are.  We both wanted to make the visit.  We both ordered the salad trio with a glass of Pinot Grigio and we shared a piece of chocolate cake.  However, while Susan was happy to sit inside and benefit from the a/c, I was longingly gazing out towards the patio, wishing I was out there.   I would have also loved to spend a couple of hours wandering the gardens, but walking in the heat was not high on Susan’s list, especially when she was limping from a recent tumble.  So we stopped in at the gift shop and headed towards other adventures.

Susan’s hard to fit, so I dare not buy her any clothes without her being there.  To to find her birthday present, I took her to the Galleria and checked out the petite departments at Belk’s and Talbot’s.  A new handbag, a pair of shorts and two tops later, she was a happy birthday girl.

Bestie at the Festie

Lavender Ridge Farms

My bestie usually has dance lessons on Saturdays, so I have to find other ways to entertain myself.  However, her dance teachers (Yes, she has two and a personal trainer.  She’s very serious about it.) were out of town, so we were able to plan a play date.  Some of her office buddies were going to a Lavender Festival in Gainesville and I was invited along.  We were on the road shortly after 8 and made it to the festival by 9:30.  Good thing, because there was already a crowd.

Quaint is the word I would use for this festival.  While it was the event’s ninth year and wildly popular, it was overly quaint for me.  I think I would have loved visiting on a Saturday afternoon sans the festival, but the festival sort of gummed up the works in a higgledy piggledy sort of way.

The event was enriched by antiques, artisans and wine tastings, but the various booths seemed to have been set up without any discernible pattern.  Regular readers know I’m a little on the OCD side (OK a lot) but trying to figure out an orderly way to visit all the booths was beyond my keen.   There was a lavender garden, but forget pictures of Provence with lavender in bloom.  Deb admitted the lavender plant in her yard had a more spectacular look to it than the whole Lavender Ridge garden.

There was a gift shop, but it was so overwhelmed by festival goers you had to wait in line to enter and once in you saw the store by waiting in the line that snaked around between the displays.  There was a cafe, also overwhelmed by patrons.  The only place we found that wasn’t overwhelmed was a small zoo, but I can’t tell you what animals they had, because there were no signs.

By 10:30 AM we were festivaled out and weren’t quite ready for wine tasting, which was supposed to be the next stop on the tour.  We opted for the Half-Off Sale at the Cabi Outlet in Allen.  That’s when the higgledy piggledy really kicked in.  Deb dropped me off at the potty stop on the way in, so I hadn’t seen the parking lot.  Random is the only way I can describe their parking system.  They could have doubled their capacity (and this is about to become important) if they’d just been a little more organized in the way they parked cars.  As we picked our way through the resulting maze of higgledy piggledy cars, I realized there was a huge petting farm with sheep, goats and chickens that we had missed completely, because it was on the other side of the parking lot from everything else.

I’m telling you, visit this place any time except their festival.  We made our way out of the property and headed back to Dallas. Two roads fed into the entrance and there were cars lined up as far as we could see in both directions.  I can’t tell you how far back one of the lines went, but we had to drive past the other on our return and it was at least two miles long and more cars were arriving.  I’m thinking some of those people sat in line for hours and who knows if they ever made it to the entrance.

Come back next week and have more fun with us girls.

 

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Filed under ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Gardens, Road Trips, TRAVEL

Back From the Brink

More Egypt Every Wednesday

TRAVEL HERE:  YOUR LOCAL TRAVELER RETURNS

Jane!  Where Have You Been?

I know!  You’ve been wondering what happened to me.  Well, as always, that’s a long story, but I’m digging out from under it.  By now you’ve probably figured out my recent trip to Egypt is filling up my Wednesday posts – and that’s going to continue for a while.  What a rich experience it was!  A third world country from the balcony of five star hotels!  I’m blogging as fast as I can, but I’m already writing posts for September and I’m only two days into the trip!

Back at home, Travel Here disappeared some time in August with only a few exceptions since.  I didn’t quit having Dallas adventures.  I just didn’t have time to tell you about them.  Travel Bug Tales?  October was the last time the younger me had a chance to share her travel tid-bits.  (Hangs head in shame.) I’m guessing it will be a week or two before I’m able to kickstart my Friday blogs, but they’ll be back.

Fun at GHM

Unintentionally Immersive Global Experience

The truth is it took me almost a year to figure out that I can’t do everything.  I took a part-time volunteer position at Global Heart Ministries.  I should have known better, because I don’t do NO well.  I thought I might be able to blog a little bit for them and maybe help out with their volunteers.

Well, I did that and their newsletter and e-news and video shoots and special events and brochures and database – get the picture?  Truth is I overdid for them.  It’s a wonderful ministry and they desperately need all the help they can get, but after approaching a serious case of almost insanity, I had to realize I couldn’t single-handedly meet all their needs.  I had to take a deep breath and just say…well, I didn’t exactly say no.

I couldn’t go cold turkey on Central Asians after I fell in love with them.  I’m still blogging for GHM.  A video shoot and an Azerbaijani concert are just weeks away.  I’m trying to wrap my mind around Apple technology to take over some social media tasks, but I had to hand them back the rest, so I could have a life.  Maybe someone out there is looking for a volunteer opportunity.  I’ve got just the thing and you can start immediately!

To help me take a giant step backwards, I’m only scheduled in the GHM office for staff meetings and very specific assignments.  That means I’m sitting here at my desk in Heath a whole lot more and that makes me a whole lot happier.

Memorial Day Thoughts

So today is Memorial Day, honoring those who were killed protecting our country.  I’ve noticed folks are very deliberate  this year, about pointing out the killed-in-the-line-of-duty thing.  I’m glad.  Things have gotten very imprecise with all this political correctness, inclusiveness and entitlement stuff.  We need to be reminded of the sacrifices which have been made for us, allowing us to become so persnickety.

I hope you have a very special day and that you do take a moment to remember how privileged we are here in America.  The world is having one tragedy after another – some initiated by man and others by nature.  We’re not being very nice to each other, either.  It’s a rare day when one of my “friends” on social media doesn’t insult or irritate me with their political breast-beating.  While it would be nice if America did become great again, I’d be satisfied if we were just a little more tactful and sensitive towards one another.

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Filed under DESTINATIONS, International, TRAVEL, WRITING

Grateful for the Yawn Factor

Picture from aa.com

TRAVEL THERE: BLISSFULLY BORING FLIGHTS

I’m of the opinion that travel is more interesting if there are problems.  “Everything was perfect,” might make for a great vacation, but you could bore your friends to death with that kind of travelogue.  Lost luggage, crazy GPS instructions and rude hotel clerks make better copy.  Hopefully, I won’t put you to sleep today, but our travel to Egypt was without incident.  That all changed once we got to Cairo, but that’s for later.

I Flew on American and I Liked It

This may not be a newsworthy item for you, but it was for me.  I’ve sort of hated American for a long time.  For years, every travel horror story I lived through began with, “I was on an American flight…”  I carried that anti-American chip on my shoulder for a long time, but in recent years I noticed that other airlines were doing their part to be as awful as I thought American was.

Most recently that was Lufthansa.  I’d always counted them on my favorites list, but then I flew them to Frankfurt.  The plane rattled so much I thought it was made out of Tinker-Toys.  Bill claims the flight wasn’t that bad, but if I hadn’t been sitting next to him, I would think he must have been on another plane.  Bottom line, I could no longer say my worst flights were American.

My other problem with American had to do with Love Field and the Wright Amendment.  As a Dallasite, I love Southwest Airlines and Love Field.  The Wright Amendment tied the hands and feet of both, in favor of DFW, and I didn’t like it.  I also loved Legend Air, which was a Love Field underdog that I maintain was run out of business by American.  I’m always for the underdog.  I go out of my way to avoid Walmart.  I won’t buy anything on Amazon.  I hate most chain restaurants, too.

This American flight snuck up on me.  (Yes, I know snuck isn’t really a word, but I like it better than sneaked.)  I wasn’t the one to make the reservations and I thought we were flying British Airways.  It wasn’t until a few days before the flight, when I was researching baggage allowances, that I realized my British Airways flight was going to be on American.  By then it was too late to do anything about it and I knew Bill was tired of hearing American Airlines Hysteria.  I just lived with the revelation.

A Brand Spanking New 777

So we got to the airport, parked our car, rode the shuttle to the terminal and checked our luggage curbside.  It was easy.  It was a late-night flight, so the airport was pretty boring.  We had a nice chat with a lady in the L’Occitane En Provence store.  In fact, she sensed my concern and we actually prayed together.  Finally it was time to board.

Let me tell you, our plane was so new I think it just rolled off the assembly line.  Nothing rattled.  Everything was pristine.  There were bells and whistles I hadn’t even thought to wish for – and we were in economy.  Even the food was decent.  I watched a couple of movies.  I was even able to sleep!

So, American Airlines, I know you weren’t losing any sleep over my grudge against you, but I want you to know it’s over now.  I can easily say my best flight ever was on American.  Singapore Air still holds my best-food-on-an-airline award, but the shepherd’s pie on American’s return flight was pretty decent.  (BTW Sing Air, I liked your old paint job better.  This new one is boring.)

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Filed under Accommodations, DESTINATIONS, International, Road Trips, Shopping, TRAVEL, Travel Planning

What’s Doing at the Dallas Museum of Arts?

Cats & Cocktails at the DMA

TRAVEL HERE: ARTFUL DELIGHTS AT THE DMA

So I’ve been in the process of catching up on my adventures.  We’ve been to Gruene TX for a girl’s road trip, Birmingham AL for business and Fort Worth for Monet.  All this leaves me with yet another confession.  If you missed the Devine Felines at the DMA, mea culpa.  If you miss Mexico 1900-1950, then that’s going to be your fault.

A Busy Autumn Break

My autumn disappeared in a haze of responsibility.  Global Heart Ministries had a tea, a video shoot and a fundraiser.  I also went on that trip I haven’t been able to tell you about.  So they kept me pretty busy.  I sort of disappeared out of my life until the October 22 fundraiser happened.  After all that, I was just about ready for a life and I took on a project that I could do completely at home.  I needed a break.

That’s when the invitation to the opening of the Art and Nature exhibition came along.    Bill and I put the event on our calendar and zipped downtown to take a gander.  We spent a perfectly lovely evening at the museum.  The art focused on the Middle Ages and as such pretty much everything in the exhibit was related to the Catholic faith.  There were reliquaries, crosiers , crucifixes, stained glass, etc. etc. etc.  The workmanship was exquisite and we thoroughly loved the whole thing.

Perhaps our favorite thing was the Scavenger Hunt.  Yep – a scavenger hunt.  Now many museums and such offer scavenger hunts, but they are usually for kids and they’re offered in black and white on a piece of copy paper.  Nope, that wasn’t it at all.  Instead on beautiful slick paper in the richest colors possible, we were challenged to identify 14 various images, each of which were only a small part of a larger work.  Not only was it a lot of fun, but it inspired us to take a long, deep look at things we might have just glanced at and then walked away.

After the Scavenger Hunt we checked out the offerings at the refreshment table, but didn’t see much to our liking, so we headed home.  Here’s the good news.  It will be at the museum until the 19th of this month, so please hurry in to see it.

Shaken | Stirred | Styled

A Pleasant Sunday

But the exhibit about the Middle Ages wasn’t all that was happening at the DMA, so we made another visit.  Confession!  I know it had to happen after the opening of Art & Nature, but if I was forced to testify as to when, I would be in trouble.  We walked back through Art & Nature and then strolled down to Shaken| Stirred |Styled.  This is a small exhibition in a side gallery that would be easy to miss, so if you go between now and November 12th, please be sure to ask someone where it is.

The entire exhibit is a collection of bar ware from the 19th century and it’s cool – really cool.  There are punch bowls and martini glasses, but perhaps the most fun is cocktail shakers from the Prohibition Era.  

We also took a look at Divine Felines, which is now closed.  The collection of Egyptian cat mummies and other feline related items was interesting, but not compelling to us, so I don’t feel quite so bad about allowing you to miss it.

Since our goal was to kill the afternoon, we also strolled through the South American and American galleries, enjoying old favorites.  Since this is where Bill and I met, all the art seems like friends of the family.  Truly a wonderful way to spend an afternoon in Dallas.

Don’t Miss Mexico

One final note before I go.  A new exhibition just started at the museum, Mexico 1900-1950: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Jose Clemente Orozco and the Avant-Garde.  I am really sorry to report that once again Global Heart Ministries has interfered with my love of art.  Last week I had to miss the exhibition’s opening party to help with the video shoot we were filming.  I love GHM, but it’s tough when I have to make decisions like that.  The good thing is that the exhibit just opened and it will be here through July.  Even with my crazy schedule I should be able to make it.

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Filed under Attractions, Decorative Arts, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Museums, Road Trips, TRAVEL

Lakeside Baptist Church – My Other Family

Mom and I with Eddie Jo, one of Mom's dear Lakeside friends.

Mom and I with Eddie Jo, one of Mom’s dear Lakeside friends.

TRAVEL BUG TALES: KIN BY THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB

As I’ve chatted about beaches, I’ve also mentioned Mrs. Lide.  Mom and Mrs. Lide were besties.  I get that, because I have a bestie.  But having a bestie doesn’t short circuit the ability to have other very, very good friends.  My mom taught me that and I am grateful.  I feel sorry for people who are so wrapped up in one another there’s no room for the rest of the world – whether the other is a spouse, a best friend or a relative.  When we moved to Texas, Mom lost her close daily contact with Mrs. Lide, but it didn’t cripple her.  She just set about filling her life with other wonderful people.  No one ever replaced Mrs. Lide in her heart, but the fun she shared made for a great life. 

From the Archives!  The Caves had attended for 20 of these years and my sister is still there these 30 years later!

From the Archives! The Caves had attended for 20 of these years and my sister is still there 30 years later!

The Lakeside Connection

When we moved to Dallas, one of the first things Mom did was take us church shopping, but it was a short trip.  We visited the Baptist Church closest to us, but it didn’t pass the Ruth test.  Nothing wrong with it, beyond the fact that it wasn’t what Mom was looking for.  The next Sunday we ventured a little further down Garland Road to Lakeside Baptist Church.  Mom hitched her wagon to Lakeside and she was set for the rest of her life.

Back in those days, the Baptist Sunday Schools were divided up by age and marital status and there was no getting around it. Nowadays they call them Life Groups and the age/marital status rule is not so hard and fast.   Mom landed in a group of ladies called the Grace Class.  They did life together for decades.  They prayed for one another when there were problems and sickness.  A death brought out casseroles and potted plants. If one of my parents were in the hospital for an operation, the entire waiting room filled up with Lakesiders.  I can’t begin to tell you how much I loved those people or how much they loved me.

As a side note, my dad was a Sunday School Rebel.  The wives and the husbands of my parents’ classes would meet together for a general assembly each week, to sing a few hymns, make announcements and pray together.  Then they’d divide up into several smaller, sexually-segregated groups to study the lesson in their quarterly.  Dad’s biblical curiosity dug deeper than the quarterly, so when a Bible scholar started a survey class, open to both men and women, Dad defected.  Mom didn’t approve.  She called the Bible Survey Class members kooks and weirdos. To hear her tell it, you’d think Jesus Christ Himself had ordained the Baptist Adult Quarterly.

A peek at Mom's Sunday School Class

A peek at Mom’s Sunday School Class

The 42 Group

By some sort of natural selection,  several of the Lakeside couples started a group which played 42 together once a month.  This started as a simple game of dominoes with a few snacks, but it didn’t stay that way.  It quickly morphed into elaborate table decorations and a three-course meal before the dominoes came out.

My Dad, the Sunday School Rebel, didn’t approve of the ordeal which this simple monthly game of dominoes turned into.  Probably none of the men did, but the women were in their glory.  To them, the annual assignment of homes for the get-togethers was more important than the Paris Peace Talks.  Popular assignments were February and October, because Valentines and Autumn Leaves were easy party themes.  Ending up with December was a fate worse than death.  Being the December hostess meant you had to decide which restaurant would win the honor of hosting the Christmas gala and you had to be sure your Christmas decor bested the previous year’s display.

There were unspoken, elaborate rules attached to the monthly game and as my parents aged the rules evolved.  Choosing a replacement couple for someone who was unable to attend in a given month was a monumental task, carefully discussed during multiple phone conversations.  The ladies also discussed how put upon they were by the necessity of finding another couple.  Hadn’t they been having this game on the second Friday night of the month for a long time?  How could the missing couple dare to put everyone through this ordeal?

Then there was the first couple to quit for medical reasons.  I heard much discussion about whether that had been a decision of necessity or convenience.  Another milestone was the first death.  Should widows be allowed to continue and who would serve as partners?  Every season of life brought its own challenges to the 42 Group and finally an end.

Most comical to me was the ride sharing.  As these dear ones aged, some of them weren’t getting around so well.  To complicate matters, while the group had started out in a close knit geographical area, over the years some of the couples moved.  The result was a flurry of monthly phone calls about who was going to ride with whom – and more than a few discussions about why anyone would move out of East Dallas.

Memories of these dear ones bring me both laughter and tears.  It seems impossible, but I couldn’t find a single shot of the 42 Group among Mom’s photos.  There were plenty of her friends from that monthly domino game and I have so many memories, but no photos.  So, you’ll have to use your imagination.

Come back next week and we’ll go to Padre Island with one of the 42 couples.

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Saint Rocco’s New York Italian at Trinity Groves

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Margaret Hill Hunt Bridge sits between Downtown Dallas and Trinity Groves

TRAVEL HERE: MY NEW GO-TO ITALIAN PLACE

On a Sunday afternoon, after a museum visit, Bill and I spent about forty-five minutes driving around downtown Dallas.  We thought maybe in one of those places we used to hang out we’d find something new and exciting, but mostly we found construction sites for more multi-use developments.  It was far too hot to enjoy anything al fresco, but we were out of options for new and exciting, so we made our way to Trinity Groves.

Giving It Another Try

Bill and I have tried to have fun at Trinity Groves several times and have always been under-impressed, even though we see huge potential for the area it’s just not hopping 24/7 like we think it should be.  Perhaps on Friday or Saturday evening it fulfills it potential, but that’s when we’re usually in Heath enjoying a glass of wine on our patio.  There’s something about a great view out your back door that discourages fighting for parking spaces and tables on weekend evenings.  Still, we like being plugged into our city, so we venture out on Sundays and various weekdays.

On this particular Sunday afternoon it appeared we’d bombed out again.  Granted 5:30 is a little early for dinner and very late for lunch, but the whole Trinity Groves complex was empty of anything except a few employees standing inside restaurants polishing glasses and wrapping silverware.  Drinking and dining just weren’t happening.

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Delicious dining at Saint Rocco’s New York Italian

Saint Rocco’s

However, we were hungry and tired of being hungry.  Since a place called Saint Rocco’s had just opened for the day we strolled inside.  The hostess was very glad to see us and placed us in a seat where we could see the whole restaurant.  It was something to see.

The decor is black and white with touches of red.  Black and white tile floor, black table and chairs with white tablecloths.  A large bar separates the restaurant from the food prep area.  Shelves of large cans of tomatoes and other staples add a hint of color.  We liked it!

And Then There Was Food

The menu has all the usual Italian food choices, but don’t get discouraged.  As soon as they delivered the warm delicious bread to our table, we knew we’d wandered into the right place.  Even the olive oil they gave us to dip the bread in was special.  Then we washed the bread down with a little Moretti’s and life was good.

While we waited for our meal the manager came around to chat us up.  She was a darling thing with a charming accent and we immediately liked her.  Bill asked her what the difference was in Italian and New York Italian.  It was something I’d never thought about before.  Had you?

Our gracious host explained that when Italians came to the States, they couldn’t get the ingredients they used to make their family dishes at home, so they had to find replacements.  Italian family recipes made with American ingredients are collectively New York Italian and they are beloved far beyond the Big Apple.

Bill and I both chose classics.  He had the Eggplant Parmesan and I had the Alfredo.  He was glad he had plenty for two meals, but I wolfed mine down in one fell swoop.  I loved it and here’s what I loved, the sauce, which was delicious, was used with restraint.  Most Alfredo dishes are drowned in too much sauce.  In this dish I could taste everything and had a delightful sauce to compliment it all.  The pasta was perfect, the vegetables were perfect and the sauce was perfect – and they were all presented in perfect proportions.

Confession, the dessert experience was disappointing.  Apparently, there is a shortage of dessert menus, because when we asked for one the waitress slipped it out of an apron pocket.  We landed on a choice, but it was one they no longer offered.  Before we had time to reconsider the other choices, the waitress had slipped the menu back into her pocket.  We took it as a sign we were not meant to have dessert and asked for the check at the first opportunity.

We’ll Be Back

Dessert mishap aside, we’ll be returning.  The atmosphere is nice, the prices are reasonable and the food is out of this world.  The service was good enough and we loved the manager.  Maybe next time we visit we may finally have an al fresco experience in Trinity Groves to rave about.

 

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