“Every time we turned around you guys were eating something different!”
So we might have a bad rap for spending most of our time eating our way through a new city, but is there any better way to experience a local culture than through its food? We found out pretty quickly that Dallas matched our personality (and tastebuds) right from the start, so we figured we’d food-crawl through our Dallas trip recap with our top 5 eats while in town.
1. Pickled Fried Okra at Braindead Brewing
We almost made the trip over Christmas, but bailed when Paul wasn’t able to get the time off. So when we find ourselves in July, with a Hyatt suite upgrade up to use before the end of the year, and my birthday weekend as the perfect excuse to travel, we jumped at the chance to spend the weekend in Dallas and catch up with friends!
After our short flight, we landed at DAL and took Uber directly to the first place on our list for a Friday night: Braindead Brewing.
We found out pretty quick that Dallas is exactly our kind of town. Braindead was crowded for a Friday night, but not packed and the loud music was low enough to hold a conversation. They also didn’t care we still had our carry-ons, oops!
The only thing that we found super weird about Dallas is the lack of beer flights. In almost every beer-centric community that we’ve found (KC, Denver, Portland), the best part of a brewery is a beer flight and being able to sample 2-3 oz of each beer. Nope, not in Dallas. We were allowed to get ‘samples’ at a few of the places we asked at, but this constituted nothing more than a mouthwash sized swig of two different beers. Strange.
Regardless of the odd sample situation, we really weren’t all that impressed with Braindead’s actual brews. Tolerable, but really nothing that stood out. No matter though, they have a HUGE list of other local beers. And even if you aren’t coming here for the beer, the food is worth the trip in itself.
We ended up splitting the pickled fried okra, chips & salsa, and a pork belly bahn mi. All of these were worthy of ordering again. My ultimate favorite were the pickled fried okra, a really unique, tangy, menu item; and perfectly cooked! And of course, you can never go wrong with pork belly. The sandwich had a major kick though! Spicy!
2. Uncle Uber’s
Saturday morning our first stop was basically my whole reason for obsessing over Dallas in the first place: The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. Based on reviews, I bought tickets ahead of time for 10 am right when it opened. Well, surprise, surprise, we slept in and in my excitement I made Paul skip breakfast so that we could get there in time. Needless to say, by the time we got done, we were starving. We hadn’t really planned on where to eat ahead of time, so when our Uber driver ironically recommended Uncle Uber’s we just kinda jumped on it. It was a major win. The funky restaurant had quick service and my Bacon and Goat Cheese sandwich was made with super fresh avocados, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
Paul ordered the Shaved Ribeye Steak and it was the clear winner. We got a side order of fries as well and their unique special sauce had us basically licking it clean.
3. Deep Ellum
While Dallas hasn’t been able to figure out beer flights, they DO know how to do brewery tours. On Saturdays, the brewery is open from 12 – 3 and for $12 you get 3 beer tokens (for full sized beers), the beer tour, and a free pint glass. Win.
We obviously weren’t the only people who thought this was a genius idea because the brewery was slammed. We skipped the tour and found a (rare) seat inside and spent the time people-watching, playing Connect 4, and plotting the rest of our day.
Deep Ellum has a some great brews on tap (my favorite was the Easy Peasy). And the atmosphere of the brewery was incredibly fun, but the only readily seating is outside in the blazing sun, so arrive early!
4. Brisket at Pecan Lodge
After the brewery closed at 3, we knew our dinner plans weren’t until 7pm, so we decided to wander over to Pecan Lodge (whose Yelp reviews were insanely popular) and give it a try.
Dear. Sweet. Juicy. Lord.
While I’m typically not the biggest BBQ fan, living in KC the past 7 years has basically forced me to eat more meat in the past 7 years than the previous 21. I mean, I don’t hate it. I just like it an adequate amount. Or at least that’s what I THOUGHT. Turns out, my life has been a lie. I have not actually been eating BBQ, I have been eating second-rate slop my entire life (or BPL.. Before Pecan Lodge). I wouldn’t normally seek out BBQ, but the sheer number of reviews on Yelp made us second guess ourselves.
After our time at Deep Ellum, we had a few hours to kill, so we figured, why not? Let’s split something and just give it a try. A TRY. A TRY? HA. From talking to others, we stumbled into another dimension where there was no line. It was about 3:30 pm on a Saturday and we only had about 10 people in front of us. This didn’t give us much time to decide what we wanted, so we panicked and ordered a crap ton of food.
The 3 meat plate with beef ribs, brisket and sausage. Then an order of fried okra, collard greens, and mac and cheese.
For “giving it a try” we certainly went big and there were NO regrets. This was the BEST meal in a long long long long time. That brisket. THAT BRISKET! It is truly what dreams are made of. So moist. So juicy. So melty-in-your-mouth. I would sleep on a bed of this brisket. I would not give my last bite of brisket to my starving first-born (or Paul…). The beef ribs were also heavenly, but the brisket was my favorite (as you might have been able to tell).
The collard greens were pretty good too and the fried okra was a major win. But the mac and cheese was the CLEAR winner of the sides. SO creamy. Just cheesy goodness caked on every. single. noodle. It had a bit of a kick to it, but nothing this wimp couldn’t handle.
After our meal we basically just sat there in a state of shock and gluttony happiness. Did that really just happen? Can we get in line and get some more? Can we work here? How many briskets can I stuff in my mouth before they fire me? This is a REQUIRED stop while in Dallas. And a required stop during your time on Earth.
5. Bone Marrow shots at Meddlesome Moth
Later that night, we had plans to meet up with friends. Since Yelp clearly hadn’t steered us wrong with Pecan Lodge, I was pretty excited to give another highly rated restaurant, The Meddlesome Moth, a try as well.
The place was a little fancier than we expected and definitely crowded for a Saturday night. We ended up on the patio, but the area was shaded and had fans, so it wasn’t as intolerable as the Deep Ellum Brewing Patio. Make no mistakes though, Dallas is still DANG hot even closer to 8 pm.
Meddlesome Moth has a great menu of small plates that are meant to be shared. I love this style of dining and prefer to be able to try a million things versus one (unless it is Pecan Lodge Brisket). We ended up with a variety of things, but the best items were the Neuske Bacon on a stick with maple hollandaise and funnel cake (yes bacon with funnel cake), the Seared Ahi Tuna, and the Shrimp and Grits with jalapeno gravy.
Oh, and the Beef Bone Marrow.
We were a little nervous to order this and the waitress noticed. Being ever-so-helpful, she kindly let us know that sometimes people will use the bone as a shot luge once they finish eating. Well, crap. We can’t just say no to that. We ordered it.
The bone marrow itself wasn’t bad. It was really heavy on the pesto and capers, so while good, it was hard to judge what it really should have tasted like.
And yes, we took the shots. And no, pesto and capers do not exactly pair well with Fernet.
It was an awesome night.
Overall, Dallas ended up being the perfect weekend destination for us:
1. Cheap Flights
Even on a bad day, flights from KC to Dallas (Love Field) on Southwest are dirt cheap. In fact, I looked it up to see how much it would cost for me to fly there for dinner tonight last minute and I can take the 7:55 pm flight for $109. As always this was paired with our Southwest Companion Pass which enables me to fly free as long as Paul books a ticket (which he may not be willing to do in the future without the promise of at least one bite of brisket).
The second thing I always check when booking a new destination: Uber. Cheaper and way easier to use than a taxi, Uber is the way to go when traveling. Since Love Field is so close to the downtown area, we knew Uber would be the way to go over renting a car.
With our diamond status for 2015, Hyatt is usually no-brainer. We also had a suite-upgrade burning a hole in our pocket and limited days left to use it this year. With the Hyatt Regency Dallas being connected to the iconic Reunion Tower and it being a quick walk to The Sixth Floor Museum it was an easy choice and we were definitely left impressed.
We will be back to Dallas soon! Great food, great community, and I didn’t even get a chance to go up in the Reunion Tower!