Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Everything's Bigger in Texas

Oh it’s ninety-some degrees outside today but that didn’t stop me from braving the elements on my afternoon walk. I mean, it’s no 109.

Yeah. 109 is now where my tolerance bar is set. I spent all last weekend in Texas visiting what could possibly be my favorite sisters ever. Oh and guess what, in Texas, the sun beats hot, ya’ll. Howdy.
Daus, Me, Kristie
I’m home now, and back to my blogging. I was a busy beaver in the dirty south or else I would have posted more. I’m just going to give you one big blow-by-blow and tomorrow I’ll update you on some of the recipes that I’ve been playing with!

I got in late on Wednesday after a horrible flight next to a drunk creepy guy on the plane. Not being dramatic; they really moved me!
Ready for take off, captain!
Thursday morning was a leisurely stroll that turned into a full blown work out it was so damn hot. I really looked like I just ran a marathon. It was bad, but I did make it to CVS where the local boy wanted to ask how the DC night life was... Ummm... I try to go to sleep before 10 most nights. Sorry buddy.

Daus raves about The Messie Kitchen to her co-workers, and apparently she's brought in some of my recipes before. What better way to kick off my trip than bake them goodies? I’ll post about that tomorrow.
Not yet frosted chocolate chip banana coffee cupcakes. That's a mouthful
Of course being in Texas I needed two things: barbecue and Tex-Mex. Knowing I’m a huge foodie, Kristie (the younger one) took off work early to meet me for lunch.
"This is SO YOU"
Red Hot & Blue was the joint of choice, and though everything looked great, I went for the pulled chicken platter with mashed taters, baked beans and a honey biscuit. I was sold on the biscuit and the Hoochie Coochie sauce, which I did not use, thank you very much. Yum. I love barbecue. Lahhhve it. And though it was only 3:00 in the afternoon, I warshed it down with a beer. Gig-em. (That's a shout out to all you A&M fans, even though I'm not one).
Sauce. I love SAUUUCEEE!!!
We wandered around NorthPark mall, which was incredible, and killed time waiting for big sis to get off of work. We tried on cute hats, rocked out to borderline techno songs, and marveled at some of the big time stores, mainly Godiva.

A couple of hours, a coffee, and many shops later, Daus got off of work, and gave me the grand tour of all things Dallas. She's a good tour guide. We traveled down some absolouely gorgeous streets with huge mansions and Daus can vouche that I oogled out the window and said outloud “I’d kill to see the kitchens in those houses.”

I stand by my statement. It's so true. I bet those babies are amazing.

We walked SMU which is a gorgeous little (rich) campus. Oh and we watched their soccer team practice and reminisced on how AWESOME we were. The good old days… WE ARE!!!

We ended the night with dinner on Lover’s Lane. It was so romantic. Daus took me to one of her favorite restaurants which I’m newly obsessed with. Cafe Express is a sort of instant gourmet restaurant that has pasta, salads, sandwiches and other entrees. Each thing was more enticing than the next.
Veggie Burger with Guac? Sold. Sweet Tato Fries? Um ok!
Because I’m a sucker for anything avocado, I really wanted to try a certain side order, and I wanted to kill you with excitement, I got the veggie burger topped with a spicy sauce and guacamole with sweet potato fries and a side salad. Oh-my-delicious. And it tasted fresh and healthy…my kind of place. They even have a toppings bar for your salad, which I obviously took advantage of. You can tell by that whomping garlic clove in there.
Look at that garlic clove, my God!
Daus got one of the salads but it looked awesome and big and perfect.
Happy with her pickles!!
Friday morning was another walk for me. My newest thing is aiming to get 10,000 steps a day because I can’t exercise…which is killing me. I wandered a park, watched some authentic Asian dancers groove and, oh yes, sweat my behind off again.

Friday was Daus’ day to get early and after a lunch I made at home on AWESOME Kroger tortillas (oops, had two) we set off for our day. We didn’t have tons of time to spare because we had a Happy Hour to catch, but in that short amount of time, we hit a Barnes and Nobles, like only we would.

After some quality gossip magazines, we headed over to Blue Mesa for sangria, margs and chips. Lots of chips. Regular and sweet potato. Sweet potato must be huge in Texas. Well, this dummy forgot to eat dinner. Apparently everyone else was going to the bar and ordering quesadillas but I was being too much of a social butterfly so I missed it. Whoops.

Needless to say, when we got home at 10:00, I was starving and resorted to a Lean Cuisine. I’m sure you want to read all about that, but I won’t post it. Sorry folks.

Saturday was probably my favorite day in Texas. We had a lazy morning before our afternoon at the movies. Being that it was a trio of gals (well, a quad because Daus’ friend was there) we saw Eat, Pray, Love. I really liked it but I really like all movies so no big surprise there. The food in the movie looked incredible. Well, the Italian food more so than the Indian, but that's just me. And no, that wasn’t even why Saturday was my favorite. After the movie, Daus took me to Whole Foods.

Yes, yes, we have Whole Foods in my hood, but this one was huge. And awesome. And when I was there my “healthy food” mode was triggered. I saw the protein bars and went nuts. Ten protein bars later and now I have an abundance. Hello impulse purchase!

We wandered the aisles and I sipped an iced coffee. Perfect hydration for the Texas heat. After Whole Foods we went for a walk in Highland Park, which is kind of like the McLean of Dallas, except even cuter. I loved all the houses and if I ever moved to Dallas, I'd probably live there. Oh wait, it's probably really expensive.
Just two bears doing Pilates!
I love this.
Someone's front/backyard
Super mature.
Oh and look what we found! Giant Teddy Bears. What? Yeah, don’t know, but it definitely was a fun diversion.

Check out these houses!

So we walked for about an hour and a half and afterwards, and took guesses at how many steps we took. Nerds. Yes. We were both tired and thirsy and when Daus informed me that no one does Diet Dr. Pepper like Texas, I thought, well, prove it. And she did.
Eat more Chikin!
Christina, this is for you. Yes,we went to Chik-Fil-A and got really good soda. I think the ice did me in. It’s the slushy kind. Soda connoisseurs can relate.
A seriously good DDP. (Diet Dr. Pepper, obviously)
Drumroll please. Dinner was on the horizon. The last time I was in Texas I had the absolute best Tex-Mex at this place La Hacienda. It’s this ranch-style restaurant that makes the bomb food. I lieteally have been craving it since 2007. Long wait, I know.
Best steak fajitas, EVER!!
You get the pleasure of seeing all of our entrees. Mine was a doozie. I got the fajita lites which was a generous portion of the usuals, like steak, onion and pepper, but also with the more non-conventional broccoli, cauliflower, squash and zucchini. It was served, obviously, with rice and beans, sour cream, cheese and guac. The steak there will blow your mind. It’s seriously some of the best I’ve had. Alex, you'd love it, pwomise.
Look at the puffy taco!!!
Mr. Daus got the spicy chicken verde which was a spicy chicken breast, green tomatillo sauce, cheese, sour cream, guac, rice, beans and a puffed taco. I loved the taco! So cute. And manly.
An authentic Tex-Mex American Dinner. Yum!
Mrs. Daus got the brisket sliders which were slow-roasted brisket served on yummy looking rolls with a pickle-y relist and barbecue sauce. It came with curly fries too.
Healthy AND Delicious!
Kristie and Daus both went healthy with the Chicken Light dish, which is an appetizing plate of chicken, rice, grilled veggies and a salad. It’s basically fajitas sans tortillas. Looked good to me!

If you’re in Texas, you should go there. I know I'm just a dumb yank but I certainly loved it, again and again. Oh, and they have the best salsa. Hands down.

Sadly, it was the last night in the lone star state. Happily, I had a fairly long Sunday ahead of me which consisted of the coolest thing ever.

CENTRAL MARKET. Ohmygoshiminlove. Seriously. The only person who gets as excited about grocery stores as I do is Daus, so it was perfect. She knew I was going to love it, and she was oh-so-right.

You walk in and are bombarded by people in the produce section getting nibbles of the fresh seasonal fruit that is featured. I almost tried a fig—almost.
Hello sir. I write for a food blog...
More exciting to me was the guacamole, obviously, which was being smashed right in front of my eyes. I was enamored at first, and then they let me try it. Then, I was obsessed. I raved about the guac for a good couple of minutes until my attention could be put elsewhere…the lady offering free hazelnut coffee. Um, amazing! I know you’re probably thinking I’m a lunatic but everything was so good.
Why oh why do I make this face?!?
Want to know the perfect snack alongside my coffee? The free samples of peanutbutter chocolate swirl spread on those puffed tortilla type things.
Hi, I'm Allie Daus and i love crispy sugar coated marshmallows.
And then we found Daus’ favorite… rice crispy treats of all variety. Sprinkled, doused in chocolate, topped with m&m candies, you name it.

Now, I love candy and coffee and peanut butter spread, but the main reason we went to Central Market is because I was craving a big salad for lunch. Not a wilty one with soggy veggies but a real, big, satisfying salad. The salad bar(s) took up a ton of room and had anything and everything you could imagine. I tried desperately not to put it all in my little plastic box. It adds up, you know.
Heavy Salad
My final creation had lettuce of course, topped with zucchini, squash, onion, stuffed grape leaf, feta, corn, pita, tofu (yeah, I went there), falafel (first time!), lima beans, chick peas, roasted chicken, seaweed (go sushi!), a chicken pot sticker and guacamole. All dressed in a basil pesto vinaigrette, which I’m dying to get a recipe for. Anyone have one?! Basically it was a "wreck" salad, and it was my favorite ever.
This picture doesn't do it justice.

It was a work of art presented via lunch.

We went home, rushed to get ready and that was that. Back to the airport where I enjoyed a latte and my last steps in the state where everything’s bigger (that’s true you know). We said our goodbyes and I stepped on my plane and back to DC I went. And here I am! I know you missed me. I missed you too, and like I said, I’ll try to get some of these recipes up and running.

Take care and YEE HAW!


Evan @swEEts said...

Glad you had a good time in Texas :) I have to say we do have some damn good food round these parts! but I do NOT like the heat.. ha

Kim (Liv Life) said...

Looks like you did indeed have a good trip! I have never been to Texas, and would gladly trade my 69º temps here in San Diego for some 100º days! Well... maybe just one day. So fun how you had your camera with you all over! You documented the trip so well and made it fun for all of us!

Anonymous said...

It seems like your trip was great. I love all the regional food pics, and I can't wait to see the recipe for those chocolate chip banana coffee cupcakes!

Rick said...

I must go to texas to get sweet potato fries! The food looks so good!

Just Food Snobs said...

Living in Fort Worth, TX I can assure everybody that it sure gets hot here and we have had so far about 24 above 100 degree days! Thanks for sharing your visit here in North Texas, lots of great places to eat and yes Central Market is a food lovers dream and sensory overload. Great pics of your food!

Anonymous said...

Looks like an awesome trip with lots of good food and company! Welcome back :)

Monet said...

Such cute girls...such appetizing food...and so much heat! I'm sweltering down here, and I am finding it hard to believe it has been over 100 degrees everyday since our arrival. Ahh! Thank goodness for good eats down here!

Unknown said...

looks like a great foodie trip!!

Unknown said...

Ya'll look like you're having a blast. The fajita looks amazing.

Cook with Madin said...

All the food looks great, especially the fajitas.