Many of my childhood memories are in Dallas, Texas. My dad was raised there, most of my family lives there, and I spent most of my holidays there. From those memories, I remember bugs, extreme heat, lots of y’alls and humidity that you can cut with a knife. But I never really saw Dallas as a place that I would want to hang out in or visit. I want to go where the city is a buzz and the food is new and creative. And I honestly never thought of Dallas when I thought about those travel requirements. Until now! After traveling to Dallas for a quick 3 day trip, my viewpoint on Dallas has completely changed. It’s a city on the move, developing a place that you not only want to hang out in, but you may even want to live in. This NEW Dallas is ready to wow you with delicious food and show you how unique it really is.
For this quick trip to Dallas, I asked my friend Cassy if she wanted to come with and explore the city. We met up at the Joule hotel in downtown Dallas, which is 1920’s building that has been redone and is glowing with design and unique art. The hotel has an amazing pool that overlooks downtown and you can actually see it from the street. And it also has a big fitness center to keep you on track while you travel. I always love finding hotels with awesome gyms.
Both mornings, Cassy and I ordered room service! We placed our order on the door the night before and they brought breakfast at that exact time we asked. What I love is that their room service menu specifies which items are gluten free so you know exactly what you’re getting. And you can order a side of greens and it’s a HUGE amount, which is awesome especially while on vacation, when greens are usually lacking. I rarely leave greens behind on my plate but they give you so much that I could barely finish it. The breakfast was fresh and the coffee was smooth! And when we needed a little pick-me-up, we wandered into their Weekend coffee shop to get a seriously AMAZING almond milk latte. They also have two restaurants including CBD Provisions and Americano, plus they even have a spot where you can get afternoon tea. We didn’t check out any of those places while we were there, but so many people on my instagram mentioned those restaurants and how good they are. Until next time!
After checking into the Joule hotel, we headed out to Bishop Arts District to check out some of the shops and grab some dinner. We started our exploring off at Dude, Sweet Chocolate. This cute little store is what creative chocolate dreams are made of. What? You’ve never had a creative chocolate dream? YOU are the weirdo! Anywho, this adorable shop makes all sorts of fudge, truffles, toffee, chocolate covered nuts, and even a chocolate salami. And you can try everything before you buy it so you know exactly how much stuffing your face you will do that night. The more I wandered around Dallas, the more I noticed this chocolate EVERYWHERE I went. Even in our hotel room! Love seeing businesses supporting other businesses!
While hopped up on chocolate, we wandered into The Laughing Willow. This little boutique is inside a cute house and is filled with unique gifts and crafty ideas. They have all sorts of vintage and eclectic styles for any age and I seriously loved the style there. I tried on a few items and loved all of them BUT I seriously had absolutely no room of my suitcase so I had to pass. While we were there, we were able to meet the owners and they were seriously adorable – as cute as their store!
For dinner, we walked down the street to Lockhart Smokehouse. You can smell how delicious your food is going to be before you even walk in the door. And you definitely leave smelling like delicious food. When you walk into Lockhart Smokehouse, you go straight in line to order your food before you sit down. They have all the normal BBQ meat choices and a special for the day. That day it was burnt ends and the women in front of us in line were going CRAZY for the burnt ends. We ended up ordering ribs, brisket, and jalapeño sausage, then tried a little of their potato salad and coleslaw. Everything was awesome and I HIGHLY recommend getting the brisket and sausage and topping it with some of their spicy pickles. The only thing that I think is SO strange is that you can get a block of cheddar cheese with your order. That seems like the strangest side dish, but I saw a ton of people doing it. Is that something YOU are into? I think that sounds totally disgusting. Or am I the weird one?!
After a busy day of travel and stuffing our faces with chocolate and BBQ, we headed back to our hotel and went straight to the basement where the Midnight Rambler cocktail lounge lives. This speakeasy-type lounge has a huge menu of cocktails and even some bar bites, but the ambience is the best part. Our server was extremely helpful and listed off tons of cocktails that weren’t even on the menu. And he also answered every question we had. Reading cocktail ingredients is usually like trying to read a different language, but he wasn’t annoyed that we weren’t fluent in alcohol. He recommended that I tried their gin mojito. I’m not usually a fan of mojitos but I trusted his judgement and I’m so glad I did. This towering cocktail was so refreshing, not overly sweet, and definitely strong. I had one drink after a huge dinner and I still fell UP the stairs while heading back to our room. I wanted to have 5 more cocktails but settled with 1 since we were waking up the next morning for a workout…and since I OBVIOUSLY didn’t need another. The drinks were just so dang good!!
The next morning, we woke up early to eat a little breakfast before we headed to The Gym of Social Mechanics. This gym is located in Lower Greenville which is an area I’ve been to many times and I’m amazed how much it has changed every year I go back. More shops and restaurants keep popping up and the community continues to grow around it. And this gym is bringing the community together through their functional strength and conditioning program. Whenever I go to Texas, I always feel so welcomed. The communities there are just so damn nice! And this gym was no different. We felt so incredibly welcomed by the coach and every member. We did a workout that started off with heavy back squats then did a metcon of kettlebell swings and box jumps. Doing a workout at sea level is pretty much the best thing ever. Breathing is so fun! We don’t get to do that much in Colorado.
After an awesome workout, all we had to do was head right next door to HG Supply Co. for brunch. The owners of this restaurant also own the gym so they are obviously all about spreading the word of health through food and exercise. And they DO NOT disappoint at HG Supply Co. They have a huge menu with a giant list of delicious cocktails. So we tried their Double Under cocktail which is pretty much a beet margarita and it.was.awesome. I wanted 10 more of them. It was refreshing and had the perfect amount of every ingredient. Ever since I had that cocktail, I’ve been making beets every day. No joke. Now I totally want to make a beet margarita!
For brunch, I got the yellow curry topped with thinly sliced beef. The beef was so tender and the curry was bright with just a little bit of spice. If you’ve read any of my posts, you know that I’m OBSESSED with curry and this one was truly delicious! The rooftop wasn’t open quite yet that day but I heard it’s awesome and that they have sweet deals during happy hour. I’m honestly bummed I don’t live in Dallas simply because of this restaurant. It’s truly the best!
After lunch, we headed across the street to Bullzerk which is a local gift shop that specializes in custom Dallas tee shirts, apparel, accessories and decor. I personally wanted to get the dog farts candle, but I think my house is filled with enough Frenchie stench so I settled for matching tank top with Cassy instead!
After lunch and gifts, we obviously needed dessert. Isn’t that how all afternoons should be spent while on vacation? But I don’t waste my desserts on just any sweet out there. And luckily, we were introduced to Unrefined Bakery – a gluten free, soy free, all natural and organic bakery, offering a huge amount of different baked goods, including paleo ones! Once we walked in, I was instantly drawn to the cupcakes because they were HUGE. I rarely get cupcakes when I’m at a bakery because I feel like I can eat them in two bites. But not this cupcake! This cupcake probably was 10 bites and every bite was absolutely amazing! We also grabbed a chocolate chip cookie to split and it was divine! I seriously can’t wait to go back to Dallas (I’m actually going there in 2 weeks) and I’m hoping to go straight back to that bakery to enjoy another cupcake!
Our friend got the sugar cookie sprinkle sandwich and even though I didn’t try it, I HAD to snap a picture of it. I mean, COME ON WITH THIS BEAUTY!!
Once we were hopped up on sugar, we rushed back to our hotel to quickly change and get ready for a little photo shoot with Becca Kracht! When we booked this last minute trip to Dallas, I knew I wanted to do a photo shoot with Cassy since she recently started doing fashion photos, as well! And after reaching out on social media to see if anyone had any photographer recommendations, I checked out Becca Kracht and I’m so glad we found her (thank you to the reader who messaged me!!)! She was so much fun to work with and we got some great photos that I’ll be sharing with you guys on the blog next week!!
After taking photos in LOTS of wind, we ended our evening at MesoMaya! This mexican restaurant starts your meal off with AMAZING cocktails. One of my all time favorite cocktails is at a restaurant in Portland and this La Novela tasted super similar. So I was in heaven! This cocktail has passion fruit, tequila, and muddled serrano. To die. I wanted another one but the corn chips, fried brussels sprouts, and sweet plantains held me back…since I still had dinner to eat.
I mean…can you even with those sweet plantains?!
I ended up getting the carne asada and it was divine. I almost ate the entire steak simply because every bite kept calling my name for seconds, then thirds, then fourteenths. So bomb.
The next morning, we walked to the Dallas Farmers Market. This market is HUGE. It has restaurants, coffee shops, meat and seafood market, a food hall, wine shop…and that’s just inside. Outside you can shop local vendors and companies ranging from local fruits and vegetables, honey, artisan cheese, jams and jellies, and even clothing. And they also have an amazing array of flower and garden vendors. If I gardened…or lived in Dallas…I would TOTALLY get my flowers from this Farmers Market. Everything was so beautiful, bright and fresh!
Once Cassy and I dove into some coffee and deep chats, we headed out to brunch for our last meal in Dallas. We ended up going to Origin Kitchen & Bar for our last meal and I was happy to see both paleo and gluten free items on the menu. They use seasonal ingredients and you can honestly taste how fresh everything is! We just HAD to try their paleo pancake so we got a sampler platter as a starter! Aren’t pancakes just the best?
For my brunch, I decided to get the hash topped with extra veggies, no egg, and their local homemade chicken sausage. The sausage was simply awesome! It’s not common to get super flavorful ground chicken and theirs is seriously bomb.com! The hash is piled high with sweet potato, apples, dried cherries, bacon, and all sorts of other goodies! I had a hard time throwing in my napkin on this one because it was just so amazing! I think I need to make a hash like this for the blog! Loved it!
Dallas is changing, it’s growing, and it’s seriously evolving. I was so pleasantly surprised with all the paleo and gluten free options that were at every restaurant we tried. And seriously, the people are amazing in Texas. I always feel so welcomed when I go there, whether I’m just traveling or I’m stopping for book tour. And guess what? I’m going back in just 2 short weeks for a conference and now I know exactly where to eat! So pumped to creep back for another cupcake. Until then…I’ll be dreaming of one!
Quick Summary of Dallas Favorites:
- The Joule Hotel – great location, gym and room service
- The Gym of Social Mechanics – great gym with super friendly members and coaches
- Dallas Farmers Market – restaurants, shops, markets, flowers, and small businesses
- Bishop Arts District Shops
- Bullzerk – unique gifts and hilarious shirts
- Lockhart Smokehouse – bomb BBQ – brisket and jalapeño sausage was amazing
- Midnight Rambler – speak easy-type bar in the bottom of the Joule hotel w/ outstanding cocktails
- HG Supply Co – restaurant with a HUGE gluten free and paleo menu – get the Double Under cocktail
- Unrefined Bakery – gluten free & paleo bakery – get a cupcake, they are unreal!!!
- MesoMaya – texmex – get the plantains and the la novela cocktail or avocado margarita
- Origin Kitchen & Bar – menu filled with gluten free and paleo items – the sweet potato hash is awesome!
This trip was hosted by Visit Dallas, but all opinions are my own!