Avenging Dallas

Avenging Dallas

 

Almost 10 months ago, I charged a 30 hour blitzkrieg in Dallas and got to do almost everything. 

So when I found a $63 American Airlines flight for a 2 day trip to Dallas, I jumped at the chance to avenge what I had last missed: getting to dine at the top of Dallas’ iconic Reunion Tower, and visiting the Sixth Floor Museum.

 

 

Arriving into Dallas-Fort Worth airport at 6pm, I headed straight to the Reunion Tower for my 7pm reservation at Wolfgang Puck’s rotating restaurant Five-Sixty, named after the venue topping 560 feet above the ground.

 

The Reunion Tower

 

While the food there leaves a lot to be desired (with the exception of their fantastic dark chocolate soufflé), the views at night make up for it:

 

 

The next afternoon, I headed out to the Sixth Floor Museum: A famous, self-sufficient museum dedicated entirely to the JFK assassination; its sole exhibit is curated on 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building, which is the exact same spot where Lee Harvey Oswald staked out and killed our 35th President

Funnily and ironically/serendipitously/coincidentally enough, the last place I had just visited was Minsk (of Belarus), where Lee Harvey Oswald lived for 2 years when he renounced his American citizenship (and whose old apartment we would visit/monsoon just 2 months prior).

Photos are not allowed in the museum, but I was able to get in a few snaps of the exact spot where Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly staked out for his assassination:

 

The 7th floor displays a large mishmash of random montages and mosaics, but people really come here for the views over Dallas and the street where JFK is gunned down:

 

 

Afterwards, I headed to the famous “Grassy Knoll” aka, the field that looks over exact spot where JFK was shot, and where the famous Zapruder Film was taken.

 

 

Then with my flight leaving in an hour from Dallas Love Field, I stopped by for genuine Tex-Mex food at Mia’s Tex Mex Restaurant on the way back to the airport:

 

Mia's famous Brisket Tacos
Shrimp drenched in coconut sauce

 

For $63, I would say vengeance was served.

 

- At time of posting in Dallas, Texas, it was 15 °C - Humidity: 66% | Wind Speed: 6km/hr | Cloud Cover: cloudy

 

30 Hours In Dallas

30 Hours In Dallas

 

Continuing our trend of blitzkrieg day trips, I returned to the heartland of America with one day in Dallas, TX. There waiting for me, reliable and true, was Jenn Li of The Points In Between. She was continuing her sabbatical across America, and I was once again joining along for the ride.

Our challenge was to do Dallas in 30 hours. And Dallas was done.

After reuniting at the Dallas Fort-Worth airport and heading to downtown Dallas, we walked through empty streets eastwards to Deep Ellum, a residential and commercial neighborhood that became a historical entertainment district famous for the development of the local jazz scene. You can notice vestiges of its colorful past, with its storefronts and street art reminiscent of some NYC neighborhoods in Brooklyn and the East Village.

 

 

But the main draw that brought us to Deep Ellum was Uncle Uber’s Sammich Shop, famous for its “Sammiches”

 

As per Urban Dictionary:

A sammich is a type of sandwich. However, it is not just any kind of sandwich. Any old schmuck can throw lunch meat between two slices of bread and have a sandwich.
 

But no. A sammich is not just a sandwich, it is not just a meal. Sammich is a term reserved for only the holiest and mightiest of all sandwiches. A sammich is a true work of culinary art; a feast on a bun, if you will. A sammich is not made of the best ingredients; it is made of the *right* ingredients. It needs the right meats, and the right cheese(s), the right sauce, the right veggies, and the right kind of bread.

 

Taking footlong sub bread and throwing every kind of meat and cheese and everything else under the sun or in your kitchen pantry on it does not a sammich make. It is akin to an incohesive mishmosh of colors on an artist’s easel.

 

Sandwiches make a good snack, but sammiches are forever.

Amen.

 

Shaved Ribeye Steak Sammich

 

We then decided to check out Fort Worth (about an hour away from Dallas) to a specific place called Fort Worth Stock Yards, another historic district that was a center for the cattle and livestock industry in Texas. Today it has been remodeled and preserved as a popular tourist destination to resemble the old “cowtowns” of a bygone era.

From Dallas we considered the public transportation option via the regional rail and local buses, but it would have took us more than twice as long (2+ hours). So we pony’ed up an Uber, which took us there in 45 minutes and cost about $30-$40:

 

 

Around twice a day they’ll have a “show” where they lead the cattle down the main street. It can be pretty interesting to see, but don’t wait all day for it — it lasts about a few minutes before things continue on, business as usual.

 

 

The whole neighborhood takes about a good 1-2 hours to explore. Bring the kids as there are plenty of shows that reenact the days of the Old West.

 

 

Don’t leave without having a steak here. We had a ribeye at Cattlemen’s and it climbed the charts as one of the best cooked steaks I’ve had in recent memory.

 

Fort Worth Stockyards at night

 

After the steak we headed back to Dallas, took a nap, and proceeded for a late dinner at one of Dallas’ more famous fine dining restaurants, Abacus.

 

The venison
Salted Caramel Creme Brulee with...some kind of cake

 

Then thanks to our taxi driver for rescuing our night, we headed to a party at Dram, which actually happens to be one of the more popular nightlife spots in the city.

We woke up the next morning to walk around the Historic West End in Downtown Dallas, most famous for being the site where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. If you intend to visit the very popular Sixth Floor Museum (all about the JFK assassination), be prepared for a long wait especially on weekends.

Unfortunately we found to our dismay that the line stretched around the block to even ticket-holders, with a minimum of a 45 minute wait. Due to my shared love for lazy Sunday mornings and my impending flight, I vowed that if I were to ever return to Dallas we’d do the museum justice and come way earlier.

 

"The grassy knoll"
Dealey Plaza, the site of JFK's assassination
"The Sixth Floor" where Harvey Lee Oswald fired his rifle, now a museum

 

With my flight leaving back to NYC and Jenn’s bus leaving for Houston later that evening, we concluded our 30 hours in Dallas with brunch at Ellen’s Southern Kitchen:

 

Open Face Meatloaf Sandwich
Grits Benedict
Deep Fried Strawberry Shortcake

 

- At time of posting in Dallas, TX, it was 8 °C - Humidity: 45% | Wind Speed: 3km/hr | Cloud Cover: rainy

 

36 hours In Austin

36 hours In Austin

 

We found one of the most beautiful places in the United States, and it would’ve been a shame not to mention it in our latest Monsoon Diaries adventure.

The story begins a year ago when I found a photo gallery on coolhunter.net called “Amazing Places to Experience Around the Globe.” This site instantly became a favorite and I’ve been regularly using it as a “checklist” of sorts for my future trips. 

One of my favorite photos on their list has been the Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve: a beautiful natural grotto and swimming hole that was created thousands of years ago when a dome of a underground river collapsed from massive erosion. It’s now a nature preserve as well as an excuse for an easy daytrip. It’s also a public swimming pool in the summertime, as long as bacteria levels are low enough (ermm…). 

 

 

So when I was invited to speak at Southwestern University of Georgetown, TX this past week, I jumped at the chance to add this to my itinerary. Even though I had only 36 hours in the city, I figured it was meant to be.

The Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve is only a mere 1 hour drive away from the campus, let alone 45 minutes from Austin, Texas.  The best part is that not many people outside of Austin have heard of it, so if you ever find yourself in one of the great cities of the Lone Star state, don’t miss the opportunity to check this place out. On a good day you might have the whole place to yourself.

 

The Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve just got served

 

There’s only a $10 parking fee you have to pay in cash when you get there. The rest is an easy (but a little steep) 5 minute hike from the parking lot to the grotto.

 

Beginning of the trail. Take the left fork.

 

Signs are pretty obvious when you get there. And the trail really does only take 5 minutes; along the way we saw 80 year old couples and 4 year olds hiking up and down the trail without a problem.

 

 

You know you’re close when you see rock formations and a drawbridge to the grotto:

 

 

After crossing the bridge, take it all in. 

While other photos of the pool on Google would show the pool to be a crystal blue, a recent flooding caused the water to be a muddy brown when we visited. Unfortunate.

 

Definitely can't swim in this today

 

Unless you’re swimming, birdwatching, hiking the river trail (1 hour) or getting a tan, there’s really nothing else to do. If you’re here just to look, it only takes about 20-30 minutes to see everything in the pool and take your pictures. Make sure you don’t arrive too late; they close the pool everyday at 5:30pm.

So afterwards we headed back to Austin:

 

 

…and rewarded ourselves to some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had at Lucy’s:

 

 

Anyways, I’d like to extend a shout out to my new friends at Southwestern University for making this all possible by inviting me to speak at their campus. Thank you for being great hosts, great people, and I look forward to coming back soon!

 

- At time of posting in Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve, it was 23 °C - Humidity: 27% | Wind Speed: 7km/hr | Cloud Cover: n/a