Around Cowtown

I am always amazed when I hear how much Fort Worth has grown since I was a child.  It bewilders me people come to Cowtown for vacation, but if you are ever out in about in the wild west of Dallas, here’s some of my Fort Worth.  I grew up in Fort Worth, loved it so much that I stayed here for college and the next ten years.  Over that time I’ve found some hidden gems and wandered this metroplex end to end. This is my list of short reviews on amazing spots in DFW. It may be a family outing, date night spot, or just somewhere cool I’ve stumbled upon. Take it for what it’s worth, my two cents. I would consider the * spots iconic Fort Worth.

Just Us

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Celebrating with a Dinner Date

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse

Old school charm. All of the class, taste, and finesse that you would expect from a grown-up’s steakhouse. The friendliness and brilliant customer service epitomizes Texas hospitality.

Grown Up Outing

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Firestone & Robertson Distillery

Mashd

 

Great Food for the Family or a Date

Food Truck Parks

Clear Fork Food Truck Park
Fort Worth Food Truck Park

Tim Love’s the Woodshed Smokehouse

Over the last year, the atmosphere here has changed somewhat from when it first opened. They cater to the TCU student/young working professionals in the area, and if dogs bother you while you eat…go elsewhere.

Family Outings

Fort Worth Zoo

Dallas Children’s Aquarium

Nostalgic for College

Torchy’s Tacos

Go any time and they will be buzzing. The line is worth the wait. Unique tacos, good breakfast, and seriously delicious queso.

Velvet Taco

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I seriously crave their food. So worth battling for barstools.

Yogi’s Café

You will catch the bike rider crowd on the weekends and college kids pretty much any time – good bagels, awesome French toast.

The Mellow Mushroom

Best crust ever.  Lots of beers on tap.  Don’t go in a rush.  Sit back and enjoy the hot cheesy goodness.

Café Brazil

Go get the crepes, you’ll be glad you did.

Blue Mesa Grill

Maybe not nostalgic for everyone’s colleges days, but I spent a lot of time here. Their happy hour bar & snacks are hard to beat and it was always a treat to meet a friend here for their brunch buffet.  Recently I stopped in for lunch with my little ones.  I was FLOORED by the extensive children’s menu – decent price, SO MANY side options and great variety of entrees.  SCORE!

Sandwiches, Burgers & Lunch Spots

The Lunchbox

I have eaten their chicken salad and fruit with poppy-seed dressing since I was a girl. What can I say, it’s engrained.

Galligaskin’s on Camp Bowie*

The oldest sub shop in Fort Worth, a hit with the high school lunch crowd, and always a welcomed stop by my kids.

Rodeo Goat

Sometimes packed, some times no parking…always so good. They have the BEST chili cheese fries. Period. Their unique take on burgers and caramel pretzel shake are good reason to keep coming back.

Treats

Bluebonnet Bakery*

Once upon a time on Old Camp Bowie in Fort Worth, a little girl fell in love with petit fours.

Sweet Sammie’s

This quaint TCU bred ice cream sandwich shop located in the West 7th complex. Seriously, what more do you need to know?

Curly’s Frozen Custard*

Just go. A fellow frog introduced me to this one, and I am grateful. My thighs, not so much.

Sugar Bee Sweets Bakery

Owned & operated by one of the sweetest girls I know, Sugar Bee is tucked in the Shoppes at Brownstone in Arlington, serving up whoopee pies, cupcakes, cake balls, pies, cookies…and very beautiful wedding cakes.

Worldly Cuisine

King Tut’s Egyptian

Greenwood’s German

Where else can you enjoy schnitzel made by a real life master chef?

Maybe you’re skimming and you will miss these Hidden Gems?

Magnolia Street in Downtown South. Eat your way down the street. Thank me later. You’re welcome.

These little restaurants are as eclectic as their owners. You usually have to show up before they open and wait. But, the food, coffee, and service are oh, so worth it.

Make a day of it, Revolver Brewing in Granbury, Texas…offering unique crafts and tours with live music most Saturdays, it’s no wonder this beer joint is expanding.

Don’t just take my word for it!

A Big Event or Out of Town Guests

To Eat:

Joe T. Garcia’s

Expect the wait that accompanies one of Cowtown’s biggest tourist’s spots. The margaritas will make the wait fly by…bring cash though – no cards here!

Cooper’s Pit BBQ

Texas de Brazil

To Stay:

Yep, all places I’ve actually stayed.  I am picky people! So, if they made the list, I was impressed.

Omni Fort Worth, downtown

Worthington Hotel by Marriott, downtown

Hyatt Place on Exchange, Stockyards

Hilton Hotel Fort Worth, downtown

Check ol’ FW out: http://www.zagat.com/b/dallas/10-places-worth-the-drive-to-fort-worth

Fort Worth has some iconic must see, do, and go to spots. It doesn’t matter if you are born & raised, on stay cation, or new in town…these places should be on your list.  What would make your list of Cowtown Classics?

The other night, we celebrated some old school diner food with twist.  Behold, the patty melt…

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Gather:
1# hamburger meat, divided into four portions
1# sliced mushrooms
1 sweet onion, sliced
And one icy Sam Adams Summer Ale for grilling in the 100+ heat (or it you’re me, a nice glass of iced tea)

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To make:
Season the meat with Penzey’s 4/S Special Seasoned Sea Salt & fresh ground pepper and form into patties.  Grill the patties through and top the hot patty with a nice melting cheese (we used pepper jack) . Then pile on the caramelized onions and mushrooms.  Half sandwich for easier chomping.

You could serve your ooey gooey melt with classic tater tots or try zucchini tots.  They were AMAZING!  Even the proclaimed squash haters gobbled them up.

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I think I will finish this diner meal off with a nice shake…
The Chocolate Milk Shake (or frozen hot chocolate)

 

What’s your favorite diner dish?

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On Unplugging

What if we traded TV in the evening for spending time with our spouse? What if we abandoned Facebook and Pinterest accounts and played with our kids? What if we sat down to dinner as families and had conversation and Grace? What if we just didn’t have all the video games, tablets, and computers, and had some board games, a garden, or building project? What if we went camping in a park, got out to experience nature, felt what it was like to be quiet and still, and look up and see stars?
What if every once in awhile we left some of the conveniences behind to figure out that we didn’t actually need them after all?

How would that change our perspective on our daily life and the “grind”?
We can either life intentionally or haphazardly. We can choose to be happy in the here and now, knowing of the promise of forever or we can choose to get caught in the here and now and miss out on the importance of the little things. Sometimes I know it is nice to unplug and be present in life.

Waiting

I went back to work.  I didn’t have time to write, but mainly, I didn’t really have anything to say.  I quit cooking as much because I was navigating a career change, going back to work, and just life.  I would think of things to jot in a journal from time to time, but life got busy and I never came back to them.  So now, after almost two years of the blog being silent, I think I may have something to write about again.

Sometimes I feel like I am waiting for something.  Waiting for that house that is perfect for entertaining, waiting for the kids to grow up a little more, waiting to get a better grip on the busyness, waiting for more money.  Always waiting.  Then somewhere over the past two years I realized something.  If I keep waiting, life will have happened and I will have missed out.  As my fortieth birthday is moving nearer than my thirtieth I am working to just — go with it.   I ran a marathon.  I lost my recipe box and simplified my meals.  I kept working, kept being busy, but found time to chase some of my own things.  I decided to find other moms with messy lives and make some friends.  Then when I wake up one day, I will not have missed anything.  Hopefully I will have a pocketful of really great stories.

One at a time

Divide it into 5Ks they say, make long runs into several shorter runs, do this…eat this…wear these…wow! The advice! Lots. Some from people who should give it, most from those who should not. I would consider myself in the should not category.  Even though I learn so much with each passing week.  I haven’t made it yet. But I will, with my approach: one mile at a time… A friend helps with the kids so I can get in a run here, my hubby sweetly supports on the sideline (or more impressive: ran with me to help me get past my 14 mile wall), a supportive text, a co-worker who listens to my millionth running makes me hungry rant…each week, one mile closer to the goal.

Where have you been?

My friends called this long weekend. We are coming to see you. I’m guessing they gave up on me calling to catch up.  1. Moms literally cannot carry on a phone conversation that makes any sense to the people on the other line. Sometimes we cannot even text correctly. Thank you autocorrect! 2. I’m not a phone talker. It’s genetic.  My dad’s side. 

I went back to work about a month ago, and the question I have been asked repeatedly is, how are things going?   Well things have taken back over my life. What it took three years to almost catch up on, three weeks have pushed me right back into old habits. Lesson planning, meetings, laundry, errands squeezed into slots of time no where near appropriately long enough, eating whatever my stomach can find including countless M&M’s, runs skipped, bedtimes rushed…did I mention the laundry? 

I took this weekend as a reset. I slept, I ran, I cooked ahead for the week, cleaned my house, and took time to read with my babies.  I caught up with friends and actually tasted a cup of coffee. I reminded myself of what happens when you burn a candle at both ends. Tomorrow, the struggle for balance will continue on, but hopefully with a healthier perspective. 

Where have you been lately?

Summer Break, Day 1

I did not have a huge organized list of things to do this summer, no bucket lists to prevent boredom, 101 things to make this summer the best.  All of the cleaning out and packing to move has me in a much more minimalist mood this year.  Or I’m just pooped and completely over Pinterest.  Whatever.

We headed out for the orthodontist this morning, so since we were all clean, dressed, and out of the house we decided to complete what I like to think of as the summer reading circuit.  I have at least one child who is extrinsically motivated, so these programs are wonderful!

  • local library – read aloud dates, parties, rewards for books read…FREE! Love it!  Mom’s Favorite for sure.
  • Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Triathlon – the kids complete a journal about their reading, return it to the store and get to choose a FREE featured book.  The journal is not bad…answer 3 out of 4 questions.  Thank you!!!
  • Half Price Books Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program – my children’s favorite = they read 300 minutes, they get a store credit.  HPB trips are a major motivator at my house.

We rewarded our stellar bookstore/library behavior with some lunch and play (thanks to the Chick-Fil-A calendar card) and headed home.  What a great start for a “rainstorm looming just to the west” kind of day.

If you have a favorite summer reading rewards program, please – leave it in the comments below! 

If you NEED a list

  • Take kids to eat at Chick-Fil-A.  Let them play in the play area.
  • join summer reading program
  • go on a library trip

P.S. I am totally in the wrong field.  I found my old retainers…for $100, the doctor will look at them and develop a plan.  I’m a mom.  I plan all the time.  No one has ever paid me $100 for my plan.  I do like teeth…just saying.

Cra-May…You know, the crazy month

Each year, May seems like a mad dash to the summer finish line. As temperatures heat up, it seems like every other day is a thunderstorm waiting game.  Swim lessons, end of year school events, spring sports wrapping up, and for some reason in our family, there are a lot of birthdays. We have decided to add to the May madness this year by putting our house on the market.

Everyone has been pitching in.  Our kitchen underwent a much-needed update, but that has left us without our main LIVING space for three weeks (instead of one).  We are far off routine, the kids have watched most of their toys being boxed up, and the dog thinks — well, I don’t know what he thinks, but I’m positive he’s confused.

I’m looking forward to renovations being completed, school being out for the summer and June taking a warm, lazy turn.  So, how does one lady keep her eye on the ball in the midst of choas at home?  Horse racing season of course!  Mother’s Day weekend brought refuge in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Weekend is almost here, and with any luck, I can have a We Sold Our House Belmont Stakes Party!