Dining in Dallas

What a nice weekend in Dallas celebrating my mom’s birthday a few weeks late.  We had the nicest time chilling out, watching football and eating out!

Friday night we went to Adelmo’s.  It is a long-time Italian restaurant in Dallas that used to be in a house in the Knox-Henderson area.  It recently relocated to Inwood Village.  The dinner and service were lovely.  While I can’t say the food was the best ever, it was an enjoyable, quiet evening.

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Saturday night we went to Fearings located in the Ritz-Carlton in uptown.  Dean Fearing himself came out to our table to say hello.  Fearings’ plates were absolutely mouth-watering good!  Almost all of us ordered the Lobster bisque which included a lobster pot sticker at the bottom of the bowl…delicious!

The entrees were fantastic as well.  Three of our party ordered the Arctic Char and raved about it.  My lamb chops, though not cooked to the medium temperature requested, had phenomenal flavor.  Phil, my god-father, ordered the scallops and king crab, and he found them to be quite satisfying.  We ordered a few shared desserts too.  I didn’t try my mom’s peanut butter crunch bar, but it looked remarkable!  I just drooled over it.

Fair warning, both restaurants provided amuse-bouche between the appetizer and main course as well as after dessert, so if you don’t have a big appetite, a three-course meal isn’t necessary.  Of course, it is fun to indulge on special occasions.  Fearings even served a bite-size, gratis tomato bisque prior to our appetizer which was tasty too.  If I’m being picky, for a fancy place, the service could have slightly improved, but it certainly didn’t damper the occasion.

With Dallas being a test market for restaurants, it’s tough to beat the food here.  If the eatery isn’t good, it goes out of business in a year and another fills its place.  The food scene is something!

The flowers in the lobby of the Ritz were another spectacular scene and made a perfect back drop for our pictures.  It was sort of fun to dress up.  I don’t do that often, nor do I really want to regularly, but once in a while it is probably good to put on a little make up.  Not to sound obnoxious, but I think we all looked good!

Sunday, when we weren’t watching the football games, I was training for my Olympic distance Triathlon.  I’m not sure why I decided to compete in a triathlon, but one benefit is weighing what I did in high school!  Anyway, when possible I prefer a soft surface path rather than pavement for running, so I searched out a nature preserve.

The Oak Cliff Nature Preserve was definitely the most unique nature preserve I’ve visited.  I suggest taking a picture of the map at the trailhead which shows all the colored loops as there are many intersecting trails (some less traveled) without signs.  Having said that, there are many signs pointing in the direction of the loops in an open space so you can at least find them, it just might be hard to find the parking lot on one’s first visit.

I had to run for 40 minutes or 4 miles today, so I planned to connect the white loop, to the blue loop, to the purple loop.  I didn’t take much time reviewing the map because the damp air coupled with 20-mile per hour winds made we want to find the cover of the trees quickly.  I probably should have focused a bit harder as I never did connect all three trails and sometimes ended up on the same portion of a trail twice.  But all that really mattered was getting in the mileage.

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After the big thunder storm last night, I thought the trails might be somewhat muddy, but they really weren’t too bad.  I only had to watch out for tree roots and slick limestone at times.  I expected to have to look out for mountain bikers as it seemed like the nature preserve catered to them.  The description of each loop discussed bike jumps and technical portions of the trail.  Most nature preserves I’ve been to don’t even allow bikes, so it seemed odd to me.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to dodge any cyclists, and for that matter, I only saw about six people on the 7+ miles of trails the preserve offered.  The preserve must attract mountain bikers at some point, however.  Many trees are decorated with bike reflectors and there is a pump station for tires.  There is a variety of “art” (for lack of a better word) on the trails as well.

Anyway, I can’t say it was the most beautiful place I’ve been, especially in the winter, but there were a few different types of berries growing, birds flitting around, and a bush with lavender colored leaves that I have never before seen. It was definitely a nicer way to get in my miles rather than weaving around runners and cyclists on the Katy Trail or at White Rock Lake.

The only thing that proved frustrating was to wonder which gadget I should believe.  My Fitbit claimed I ran just over five miles while MapMyHike calculated only 4 miles in 48 minutes!  As much as I’d like my Fitbit, which is set to automatically calculate the length of my stride, to be correct, I don’t think I averaged less than a 10-minute mile pace.  By the same token, I surely hope I ran better than a 12-minute mile!  I guess I’ll have to go to the track some-day soon.  All-in-all, it was a nice visit home, and it was nice to catch up with one of my best friends from my horse show days too.  ETB

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On and Off the Vegas Strip

Well I think most people would talk about gambling and clubbing after they visit Vegas.  I, on the otherhand, prefer the dining and shows in Vegas, though I think the food may be more expensive in Vegas than New York.

Ann, my tennis partner, and I traveled to Vegas to run the Rock’n Roll 10K.  Given neither of us had trained much at all, we were trying our hardest to rest up for the event on Sunday night, but the casinos are so big, we still managed to talk nearly 6 miles a day!  And that was with the help of a taxi and the monorail.

Aside from lounging poolside at Bellagio, we ate and went to see Carrot Top.  Our first meal of our trip came at lunchtime on Saturday.  We stopped at Morels French Steak House and Bistro on our way back from the expo at the convention center where we picked up our race packet.

Morels is located in the Venetian and has a lovely second story patio.  We thought it would be a great place for people watching and the menu was appealing.  I picked the mussels which came with fantastic fries and Ann opted for a shrimp salad with a side of fries.  The portions were enormous and we loaded up since we’d be burning countless calories tomorrow.

After a relaxing, yet somewhat cool afternoon at the Bellagio pool and a stroll through the atrium to admire the Thanksgiving decorations, we dressed up for dinner at Julian Serrano Tapas at the Aria.  We were a bit more discerning about dinner, and spent a short time researching restaurants on Yelp.  This one got high ratings and Spanish food sounded good to me, so we reserved a table.  Little did I know Julian Serrano is an award-winning chef who recently guided a team on the popular Top Chef TV show to victory.  Apparently he is going viral…but I wasn’t following the trend.

The restaurants in Vegas are giant!  We opted to sit at the bar to enjoy the atmosphere.  The service at Julian Serrano was impeccable.  The bartender could rattle off every detail of each dish on the extensive menu.  Our tapas were served extremely quickly.  We were shocked at the speed.  The cheese stuff peppers were excellent.  Ann loved the tuna cones so much we got a second order, and I loved the shrimp black rice.  The tenderloin was extremely tender as well.  The paella looked out of this world, but we had plans for Carrot Top later, and paella required planning (60 minute preparation).  While we probably had enough time, we chose to eat at a leisurely pace rather than wait and then rush.

Carrot Top plays at the Luxor, so after dinner, we headed south on the strip, but not before we admired the semi-circle of Lamborghini’s parked outside of the Aria.  According to the license plates, most of them seemed to be owned by “Gia Lai”.  For car enthusiasts, this was so cool!

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Carrot Top is a character.  He uses props for most of his act, and I have to say he had us in stitches!  I wish I could even remember even one of his jokes, but he talks SUPER fast, and many wouldn’t be appropriate for the content on this blog anyway!  From the Luxor, we took a taxi back to the Bellagio and called it a night.  We didn’t even gamble!  I brought $100 to waste on the slots, but I managed to save it.

Our eating continued the next day at Palio for breakfast.  The berries were outstanding and the pastries looked divine.  I mean the nutella pocket and almond croissant were huge.  I really wanted one, but behaved.

We ended up back at the Venetian around lunch time.  Ann wanted to do a little shopping at a favorite store.  We ended up at Il Fornaio (a chain) for a carbo-load.  Our pasta was quite tasty and our server was even more interesting.  She used to ride horses with the Canadian Olympic team and her husband was the chef at One-O-One, the best fish restaurant in London.  He has also been a chef for President Elect Trump and might have a chance to cook at the White House!

With lunch over, we prepared for our race.  We pinned our bib number to our running shirts and attached the tracker to our shoe.  We walked over to the monorail at the Flamingo which took us to the SLS, the last stop on the train and the start of the 10K.  I learned a lot about the public transportation at this time.  There is a tram that goes around the City Center and it is reachable while weaving through the Bellagio.  The monorail, however, is different an operates on the opposite side of the street.

The station at the Flamingo was packed.  We could hardly squeeze off the escalator.  45,000 runners were going in different directions.  Those running the 10K headed north to the start line, while those running the half and full marathon headed south.  It was a little confusing!

We reached the start line about 45 minutes before the 4pm start time and milled around the area on the clear sunny afternoon.  We began the race with a view of the Stratosphere.  I must say the roller coasters on the top of that building are terrifying!

One of the fun parts of this race, was the fact we left the Las Vegas strip and got to see other places.  We ran by the famous A Little White Chapel where Michael Jordan and Joan Collins were married.  We passed by more chapels as well as the famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop where the TV show Pawn Stars is filmed.

Soon we turned down the old Las Vegas Strip and eventually we ended up on the current Las Vegas Strip.  I’ve never run a race in the afternoon/evening.  They usually start at the crack of dawn.  This was fun to run by all the lights with the street closed to traffic!  We celebrated our finish with a beer before we treated ourselves to sushi at Yellowtail in Bellagio.

I ate here two years ago, and generally don’t return to the same places because I like to try different options, but this restaurant was so good, I wanted to return.  I hoped that the food was just as good and met my expectations.  It didn’t disappoint.  While they change the menu regularly, the tuna pizza always stays under the appetizers.  Yes, it sounds terrible, but two years ago the waitress recommended it to us when we wanted one last dish and we had wished we’d ordered it first as we might have gotten two!  This time we got it first, and I’m happy to say it was decadent.  So was my “protein” roll…solid sushi…no rice.  Perfect!

Not only is the food great at Yellowtail, so is the view.  We got to see the Bellagio fountain show every 15 minutes.  It was a perfect way to end a short weekend in Vegas.  ETB

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