Dallas for the Weekend

dallas

In mid-May, my family went down to Dallas, Texas for my nephew’s first birthday and baptism. My sister-in-law’s family is from there and so we decided to have all the festivities there in one weekend. I had never been to Dallas before or anywhere in the South and of course I’m always down to explore someplace new. Here’s what happened.

airport sunrise

Getting up early for flights is not my favorite thing to do but thankfully I was rewarded with this beautiful view while waiting to board my flight.

cathedral guadalupe dallas
Guadalupe Cathedral in downtown Dallas

A few hours after my parents and I landed and settled into our hotel in the downtown area, we went to my nephew’s baptism at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe. It was a beautiful church and we had the place to ourselves for the ceremony. I was the proud godmother.

Afterwards, we all went out to dinner to nearby Meso Maya for amazing Mexican food. There is Mexican food and then there is Mexican food and you can really tell when you’re eating the good stuff when the corn tortillas are so fresh and thin and just perfect!

margarita
A margarita to start of course
guacamole and chips
Plus some guac and chips
brisket tacos
I ordered the brisket tacos with black beans and rice because when in Texas, right?

The next day was my nephew’s first birthday! We spent all day at my sister-in-law’s family home helping to set up and to enjoy the festivities. My sister-in-law loves to go all out planning parties and she just genuinely enjoys crafts plus in her Mexican culture, the first birthday is kind of a big deal. So this party was a real hoe down as you can see.

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party accessories
Mandatory mustaches and badges

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petting zoo
There was even a petting zoo, pony rides included!

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turtles
I think my nephews loved the turtles the best
baby pigs
My favorites were the baby pigs
baby pig
Oinkers!

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birthday pinata
No party is complete without the pinata that the wee little ones can’t hit
carnitas tacos
More yummy tacos for the birthday lunch

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If you want to hire my sister-in-law to plan your next event just let me know! Seriously.

On Sunday, my family had some time to recuperate from the birthday party and explore Dallas a little bit. My first order of business was a hearty Southern breakfast. My parents and my brother and I went to Ellen’s Southern Kitchen which was in walking distance of our hotel. Their website’s motto is “Grits Rule” and a dish of grits was exactly what I wanted to try. I had to look this up but grits are a traditional Southern breakfast dish that is made up of grains of corn that are cooked into a porridge-like or oatmeal-like consistency and they are commonly cooked with cheese and I can attest they are delightfully cheesy.

southern grits
I ordered the grits benedict which was two poached eggs on top of a bowl of cheesy grits with bacon, tomatoes, and spinach. I couldn’t eat the whole thing but I sure wanted to.
eggs benedict
And my Mom ordered the regular Eggs Benedict which also looked tasty but I was too full from my grits to take some bites from her dish

Satisfied from breakfast, my Mom and I went off on our own while my brothers and my Dad went to the Texas Rangers game. A couple blocks down from the restaurant was The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.

Texas School Book Depository
The Dallas County Administration Building, formerly the Texas School Book Depository

The museum is in the building that was once the Texas School Book Depository building and it is suggested that the gunshots fired from this floor were the ones that assassinated President Kennedy on that infamous November day in 1963.

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My mom and I paid for the audio tour and I thought the money was well worth it. The tour guides you along each section of the museum which in total gives you an overview of the time period and what was going on before and during President Kennedy’s term and then dives into the day of his assassination and the days afterward that involved the investigation and all of its evidence and hypotheses. There was so much to take in and of course it was a little depressing but it is such a significant spot in downtown Dallas and a significant moment in our history that I didn’t want to miss it. My brother had seen it already on a separate visit to Dallas and he wished he could go with my Mom and I again.

Commerce St. Dallas
Overlooking Commerce St., the exact spot where Kennedy was shot in his car

Commerce St. Dallas

In the afternoon, my Mom and I wanted to do some shopping and decided to walk from the museum to the West Village shopping center. I blame Google maps because what I thought was just a 20 minute walk ended up to be an hour-long walk. So yeah, we should have taken a cab. By the time we got to the shopping center, we were exhausted and it was humid too so of course the first thing we did was reward ourselves with some gelato.

Paciugo gelato

Thank God for Paciugo Gelato. We cooled down with our gelato and water bottles before hitting some of the shops nearby. There were also a lot of restaurants and a movie theater too. We hadn’t seen a lot on our long trek to the shopping center, I guess because it was Sunday, but West Village was pretty busy. And yes, we took a cab back all the way to our hotel where we rested for a couple hours before going to dinner.

Along with visiting the Sixth Floor Museum, eating some good Texas BBQ was at the top of my to-do list in Dallas. My family went to the Lockhart Smokehouse in Dallas’ Bishop Arts district. My sister-in-law said the neighborhood is becoming more and more gentrified with shops and restaurants popping up all over the place. We strolled around the streets with my nephews while my brothers stood in line to order our food. When they came back to the table with our wrapped-up meat, we were ready to tear in and feast!

lockhart smokehouse
Brisket
Lockshart Smokehouse
Spicy and regular sausage
Lockhart Smokehouse
With some ribs thrown in there too

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We didn’t just have meat but also sides of mac and cheese, coleslaw, and beans. My nephews were so cute and ate everything and they were totally cool with the no plates rule. Just napkins, knives, and forks and that’s it. Everything hit the spot and no doubt that I would be trying every BBQ joint in the area if I had more time.

The next morning, my parents and I went to Weekend, an artisan coffee shop in the hotel Joule in the downtown area. The coffee shop shares the lobby with a Taschen bookstore and a couple other shops filled with stationery, beauty products, decor, and other gifts.

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weekend coffee dallas
Breakfast burrito for me
weekend coffee dallas
Banana chocolate chip pecan bread for Mom

We still had a few hours to kill before we needed to go to the airport for our flight home. Unfortunately, the Nasher Sculpture Garden was closed on that Monday, my parents were not interested in going to the Botanical Garden, and a drive through Deep Ellum revealed empty streets and closed shops. I was let down about Deep Ellum especially because I had heard there were a lot of good things to see but it looked like a ghost town to me. Was I in the wrong part or was it quiet just because it was a Monday morning?

I did a quick Internet search and found that the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum was actually really close to Dallas Love Field airport so off we went!

George Bush Museum

This was my second presidential library and museum. We only had an hour or so to walk through it so I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked but it is a beautiful building and the museum is definitely thorough, chronicling his life before his eight years in office and everything that happened during his term.

My parents and I didn’t want to be late to the airport anyway because our departure time to San Francisco was around the same as my nephews’ flight home too.  We got to hang out with them before they boarded. Dudes love their airplanes! I’m so grateful I had a weekend away to explore a little bit of Dallas and the trip was even better with these two handsome guys in tow.

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