Monday, 22 October 2012

Dallas - 21st October 2012

Funny old start to the day. We went out to the car to drive to our Uptown Dallas Food and Cultural Walking Tour that I had prebooked to find that someone had tried to break in and had slashed the soft top. Oh dear. We went back to the hotel and security came out and took some pictures. The car park is massive, and it was really full when we got back last night so had parked quite a way from the hotel building. There is a secure fence all the way round – but obviously not secure enough. Thought it better to get a cab to join the tour, instead of leaving it somewhere else public where another person could have a go!

We started the tour about fifteen minutes away from the Renaissance at 11.15am in the West Village Shopping District of Dallas at a restaurant called Baboush – a mix of Moroccan and Lebanese. We had three dips – a tomato, a hummus and an eggplant – to go with the hot pitta bread to start. It was really tasty – and as we hadn’t had breakfast it went down well. There were a total of ten people on the tour – mostly American apart from us and a couple of Mexican girls that we were watching with interest from the window trying to park their car and hitting the one behind several times. They got out, and never even looked to see if there was any damage then walked over to join us in the restaurant. We then had a meat dish in another sort of bread – can’t pronounce the name. It was lovely.

We then left there, and crossed the road to get on the trolley. This is a free service that has a limited route. They found the tracks under the road twenty or so years ago, and decided to start the trolley route again. There are four cars in use – all originals that have been restored. The one we rode came from Melbourne in Australia. We got off a couple of stops later, and walked into the oldest district of Dallas called State Thomas. This has been deemed a historic area where the old houses are preserved – old as in a couple of hundred years at the most. Most of Dallas’ history doesn’t go back more than one hundred years. We went into a bed & breakfast to have a quick look at the rooms (can’t quite work out why) and then went on to the next food stop called the Red Mango, which specialises in speciality frozen yoghurts. We had taster cups of the Red Velvet, Pomegranite, Nutty Potion and Peanut Butter – all natural and really, really good.
We then walked past the McKinney Avenue Tavern – the place it is rumoured that Jack Ruby drank at the night before he shot Lee Harvey Oswald. We are struggling for places of interest I think! Dallas is not a good walking city – I had read this before, and struggled to find any walking tours at all. It is a city that you definitely need to have a car, as everywhere is on main roads with no sidewalks. But, Vanessa the Tour Guide had a large red “Stop” sign that she boldly held up in the middle of the road whenever we needed to cross!
We moved to the next restaurant, the Ketchup Burger Bar. Well, I am certainly trying things here that I would not normally have. We were served with deep fried pickles (yuk) and two sorts of fries, one with white truffle parmesan cheese coating. These then had to be dipped in the four ketchups that are famously made here. For someone that never has ketchup, it was really nice. The spicy one was delicious – not a bit like Heinz tomato ketchup that I was expecting.
Onwards now to the TexMex, Primos. This was really popular – it was heaving. There was a Dallas Cowboys football match on live – that might have had something to do with it! We had nachos with a dip, then a plate of various texmex dishes that were superb. This is a really good way of trying new food that you wouldn’t really order. The jalapeno pepper was a bit hot, but the rest was lovely, with a gorgeous cheese dip that was poured all over it. And it came with one of their famous Marguerita’s! We left with the Cowboys in the lead – unfortunately it was an away game in the Carolinas otherwise I would have loved to have tickets.
We then made our way to the area where we started, and finished with a “dessert to go” from a really, really busy restaurant called Breadwinners CafĂ©. It was either a strawberry or chocolate cake ball – sounds awful but was absolutely delicious. This restaurant is famous for its desserts – and the rest is probably not bad considering how many people were sitting down to eat. This concluded the tour, and we got a taxi back to the hotel to collect our poor car and take back to the Hertz office. This will sort out how good the insurance is!
The journey back to the airport was a little over twenty minutes, very easy with the Satnav. Paul did comment that his petrol usage was better than the guy who rented it before – it had gone up from thirteen miles per gallon to fourteen. Good job we only had it for a couple of days. We pulled up, and the attendant looked at us with an open mouth. “Oh my” he said. Quite! We had to go and fill in an Accident Form – they only have the one form, irrelevant if it was an accident or not. That filled in, we were given the keys to new car and off we went. Seemed too easy!
We went to bay 177, and Paul smiled when he saw a lovely blue mustang with a white badger stripe all the way down the middle. Let’s hope we bring this one back in good order! We drove back to the hotel, and I think I know which one he prefers. No lorries overtook us this time!
We then had a couple of hours before we had to get ready for the Madonna Concert. An ideal opportunity to use the roof terrace and pool – it was now 91 degrees – a beautiful day. It soon went, and we left the hotel at just after 7pm for the short journey to the American Airlines Centre where the concert was being held – we had heard nothing to the contrary so far! We got a taxi, thought it better than trying to find somewhere to park. We collected the tickets at the “Will Call” desk, bought a horrendously priced $30 programme, and took our seats. Really good seats – and the stadium was amazing. It was supposed to start at 8pm, and around 8.30pm a chap called Benny Benassi came on and played records. No idea who he was – Paul thought we had gone to Ibiza! Most around us seemed to know him – I did google him and he is a famous Italian DJ that has a net worth of about 14 million dollars. Hmm. Not too bad then.
He was on for about an hour, and then we had another hour of nothing. I was beginning to think the laryngitis had set in again and we weren’t going to see anything. By this time it was after 10.30pm and I was ready for bed! Then she came on – and what a show. She was on for two hours – and it went like a shot. She put some of the youngsters to shame with her energy and enthusiasm, and the pure spectacle of the whole thing. Apart from a couple of very tall young people right in front of me the view was great. I got some good shots – even though the woman’s hand in front featured in a good many of them! She was also very political – making several comments on voting for President Obama. This in deep George Bush country. Didn’t seem to make much difference – everyone loved it. I think this ranks as the best live show I have seen – and Paul enjoyed it too. Good job, as it was his birthday present!

We left with the thousands of other people, and walked part way back to the hotel before we found a taxi. We arrived back and went to back at nearly 2am – surprised I was still awake, but was still buzzing. What a spectacular night!

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