Friday, April 11, 2014

The Weekend Gourmet Hits the Road...Dallas Roadtrip Part I

One of the best parts about living in the middle of Texas is that we can enjoy weekend getaways no matter which direction we drive! Case in point is our recent weekend in Dallas, which is a short 4.5-hour drive from San Antonio. All it takes is a tank of gas, some road munchies, and a few good tunes on the iPod...and we're guaranteed to have a fabulous road trip! We make the trip to Dallas at least twice a year, and we never seem to run out of fun things to do...or delicious food to eat. This trip was no exception! We left on a Saturday afternoon and came back the following Monday. It was a busy, fun trip...and I can't wait to share our experience with all of you. Although the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is huge, we tend to concentrate our visits near the bustling area in and around Downtown Dallas. This time, we stayed at the Omni Dallas...and we loved it! It location was so convenient for all the fun shenanigans we had planned. We're big fans of Omni hotels, and we especially enjoyed this property.

Our room was spacious and featured floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Downtown Dallas. The decor was tasteful and soothing, and it featured a ton of great amenities. We enjoyed convenient in-room WiFi, an MP3 player...and even a flat-screen TV embedded in the bathroom mirror. Our stay was during the Sochi Olympics, so I was able to watch figure skating while I got ready to go out for the evening. It was a nice touch that I really liked! Before we knew it, it was time to head out for the evening.
I had given Michael tickets to see Sting and Paul Simon in concert for his present last Christmas, so we planned our Dallas weekend trip around the show. We had never been to an event at the American Airlines Center, and we were quite impressed. The area around the arena is very fan-friendly, offering lots of fun restaurants and abundant parking. We even discovered that the arena offers a fabulous pre-show dinner buffet at The Chef's Table at The Audi Club. This is a great concept -- arrive an hour or so before your show, enjoy a great meal, then walk directly to your seats and enjoy the show! We met Chef Mark Mabry, who showed us to the Audi Club and explained the concept. We were blown away by the variety of food offered on the buffet, as well as the artful presentation and quality of the food served. The buffet included both hot and cold stations offering everything from carved meat to an elaborate cheese and fruit display. Add in a tropical cocktail, and our evening was off to a fantastic start!
We sampled the cheeses, fresh seasonal fruit, a crisp veggie platter, soups and salads, pasta, and dessert. Everything we sampled was expertly prepared and flavorful. As this picture shows, we weren't the only ones who took advantage of this pre-show feast...lots of our fellow Sting and Paul Simon fans were enjoying themselves as much as we were! We ended our meal on a sweet note, enjoying a dish of comforting, warm bread pudding topped with a warm cream anglaise sauce. It was about 30 minutes before showtime, so we headed out to buy t-shirts and find our seats. For the convenience, price, and quality of food, you really can't beat this pre-show buffet at The Chef's Table at American Airlines Center's Audi Club. 

Photo provided by American Airlines Center
We had an absolutely fantastic time at the show! We're longtime fans of Sting and have been fortunate enough to see him in concert -- both solo and with The Police -- on numerous occasions. However, we had never seen Paul Simon live despite being big fans of him as well. To see these two musical legends perform together on the same stage as part of the Paul Simon & Sting Live On Stage Together tour was such a special treat! They performed songs together, and they also had solo sets with their respective bands. They even played each other's songs during their solo sets. It was a musical evening we won't soon forget. Although the entire show was truly wonderful, one standout highlight for us was to see Sting and Paul Simon perform Bridge Over Troubled Water together during the encore. Sting sung the Art Garfunkel part and brought down the house! It was beautiful to hear the two of them harmonize on this classic Simon & Garfunkel song.

After the show, we made the short drive back to the Omni Dallas...stopping to snap some pictures of the hotel's unique colorful nighttime exterior. The outside changes color every few seconds thanks to more than a million LED lights. The patterns are controlled by computer, and it's great fun to watch the patterns and colors change. We made it back to our room and immediately climbed into the comfy king-size bed in our room. We slept great and woke up the next morning feeling refreshed and ready to hit the road. We had lunch reservations for Del Frisco's Grille in nearby Uptown Dallas. We dropped our car with the valet and headed inside to enjoy the restaurant's upscale casual food. This is just the kind of restaurant that we like: great food served in a relaxed environment! Del Frisco's Grille delivered on both fronts.

We started our meal with two shared appetizers. Michael picked the creative Cheesesteak Egg Rolls, and I selected the Jumbo Lump Crabcake appetizer. Both of our selections were absolutely delicious! The egg rolls were filled with classic cheesesteak ingredients, fried crisp, and served cut in half. They were served with Sweet & Spicy Chili Sauce and Honey Mustard drizzled on top. The crabcake was moist, well seasoned, and bursting with huge pieces of lump crab. It was served with a flavorful sauce on the side.
For our entrees, we both opted for beef since their parent restaurant Del Frisco's is a highly regarded steakhouse. Michael opted for the Prime Sliced Steak, while I tried the hearty Steakhouse Salad. Michael's steak was served with Parmesan Frites, Fresh Tomato-Basil Salsa, and Balsamic Reduction. He said it was perfectly cooked and delicious. My salad had all sorts of great ingredients, including: deviled egg, crunchy cress, avocado, bacon, parmesan, blue cheese, and a tangy lemon-horseradish dressing. I absolutely loved all of the flavors and textures going on in this salad. It's one of the best salads I've ever tasted, and I want to try to recreate it in my kitchen!!
We ended our meal with two shared desserts: a decadent Coconut Cream Pie and Nutella Bread Pudding. These desserts are made onsite and were insanely delicious. The coconut cream pie was topped with shaved white chocolate, and it was bursting with coconut flavor. Michael and I dueled with forks for the last bite. I'm a huge Nutella fan, and this dessert didn't disappoint. It was served with coffee ice cream and caramel sauce. The coffee ice cream perfectly accentuated the deep chocolate flavor of the bread pudding. 
From appetizers to desserts, we were very impressed with Del Frisco's Grille. They have nearly a dozen locations in major metropolitan areas throughout the United States, including four locations in Texas. For fabulous food served in a relaxed, yet upscale environment, they simply can't be beat. I look forward to my next visit for sure! Be sure to come back later this weekend for Part II of our Dallas road trip...featuring our stay at the Rosewood Crescent Court Hotel, appetizers and dinner at the Mexican food duo of El Fenix and Meso Maya, and a fantastic weekend brunch at Smoke.

Disclosure: The Dallas Omni provided us with a complimentary stay to facilitate inclusion in this article. American Airlines Center provided our pre-show buffets, and Del Frisco's Grille hosted our lunch. All opinions expressed are my own, and -- unless noted -- all photographs are copyrighted by Michael K. Garcia. They may not be copied or otherwise used without prior permission.

1 comment:

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