I recently spent a few days in Dallas for the Drink Local Wine conference and the Texas Sommelier’s conference. I rarely have the opportunity to visit this sprawling Texas metropolis so I made a point to try and get to know it a little better—through the restaurant scene, of course. I ate at some great places and some not-so-great places. But all in all, my little tour of eating my way through Dallas revealed a new found love for the Big D. I’ll include a few of my favorites in a series of posts beginning with a festive Happy Hour at Fearing’s…
I Rolled into the Big D about an hour earlier than I thought I would and killed time with a quick coffee to replenish my depleted energy after driving for 4 hours on I-35—and let me just say, that is the worst drive in Texas… ugly, boring, dangerous, and stressful.
I was meeting friends at Fearing’s at the Ritz for drinks and appetizers. Although we had dinner reservations for the Grape in the Greenville area, I wanted to at least catch the vibe at the Fearing’s Rattlesnake Bar—which consequently really is modeled after a rattlesnake with a moving tail at the end. Since I was early, I figured I’d at least try to secure a good spot in the bar for people watching. At 5:05 pm, this place was already hopping with executive types dressed in suits or at a minimum slacks with ties, the majority of which were men. (If this small cross section of people reflects the general population of this city, then what people say is right, Dallas is a VERY attractive city.)
The only available spot was amidst a collection of 2 couches and a couple of chairs, which already had one iPhone-browsing occupant nursing a vodka martini. He happened to look up just in time to notice me eyeing the ample seating space he was protecting. And, just as you’d expect a good Texas gentleman to do, he kindly offered for me to join him… and buy me a drink. Nice.
The Purple People Eater
Being the good Texas lady, I kindly accepted. But I’m afraid I chose rather poorly on the cocktail… They called it the Trinity River Project. A seemingly nice concoction of Hendricks Gin and Paula’s Texas Lemon, but I neglected to read the final ingredient in making my hasty order: Pagès Parfait Amour Crème de Violette… Note the “violette,” which means exactly what you think: purple. Yes, I ordered a purple drink, which arrived in a short martini glass as purple as grape Kool-Aid with a twist of lemon. And yes, it tasted as purple and sugary as it looked. Strike 1 against Fearing’s cocktail menu.
Looking back, I should have ordered the Fearing’s French Fizz, an intriguing mix of Grey Goose La Poire, St~Germain Elderflower Liqueur, and Champagne. But I had a long evening ahead of me and decided to just grin and bear it with my purple swill.
Turns out my Texas gentleman, Scott, was a commercial real estate broker who worked just down the street. He was waiting for a few coworkers for a rather regular post-work activity at the Rattlesnake. Lounging on the rather cushy leather sofas, I quickly ascertained the latest grim report on the Dallas commercial market and soon met his colleagues as they arrived. Within minutes it seemed we were all new-found BFF’s and it reminded me why I love being a Texan so much—we’re all such social, likable people. The evening turned into a rather jovial exchange, especially once my friends, Marcy and Jon, arrived to add to the party
Although I made a poor cocktail choice, I was very happy with our appetizer order. Chicken, poblano, and mango quesadillas with a lime cream dipping sauce, and Lobster Nachos with charred tomato salsa. That’s right, when the list of toppings for nachos includes lobster, you order it. And it was fantastic. Plump, buttery morsels of lobster perched on gooey, cheesy, bean-dippy tortilla chips. They were delicious.
Alas, the time came for us to part with our new-found friends. But cards were exchanged, as were promises to grab drinks whenever we were next in town—which may or most likely will not happen. (Why do we always feel compelled to do that?)