Uncategorized

Six Flags turns 56

I love Six Flags. I love amusement parks in general, but my love stems from Six Flags I’d say. As some of you may know, there’s a chance it could just be in my blood. My Grandfather, Angus Gilchrist Wynne Jr, opened the gates on Six Flags Over Texas on August 1st, 1961. A friend on Facebook William Joseph Gabriel shared:

“On this day in history in 1961, Texans head for the thrills at Six Flags. Amusement park lovers “head for the thrills” as Six Flags Over Texas, the first park in the Six Flags chain, opens. Located on 212 acres in Arlington, Texas, the park was the first to feature log flume and mine train rides and later, the first 360-degree looping roller coaster, modern parachute drop and man-made river rapids ride. The park also pioneered the concept of all-inclusive admission price; until then, separate entrance fees and individual ride tickets were the standard. During its opening year, a day at Six Flags cost $2.75 for an adult and $2.25 for a child. A hamburger sold for 50 cents and a soda set the buyer back a dime. The park, which took a year and $10 million to build, was the brainchild of Texas real estate developer and oilman Angus Wynne Jr., who viewed it as a short-term way to make a buck from some vacant land before turning it into an industrial complex. Wynne reportedly recouped his personal investment of $3.5 million within 18 months and changed his mind about the park’s temporary status. With 17.5 million visitors in its first 10 years, the park became the Lone Star State’s top for-profit tourist attraction. Today, average annual attendance at the park is over 3 million.

One of Six Flags’ unique aspects was that it wasn’t just a random collection of rides; it was developed around a theme: the history of Texas. The park’s name was a nod to the six flags that had flown over the state at various times–France, Spain, Mexico, the Confederacy, Texas and the United States. The park’s rides and attractions were grouped into six themed sections that represented the cultures of these governments and enabled visitors to experience everything from cowboy culture to Southern belles and pirates. Originally, the park was to be called Texas Under Six Flags, before it was decided that Texas should never be under anything. “

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Flags_Over_Texas

I can’t summarize the history any better than that, so I’ll just leave it there. It’s been amazing to watch it change over the years. It’s also fun for me to see the commitment to history, and see the juxtaposition of the new Gotham rides right next to mini mine train and the sombrero ride. I’m saddened that the Flashback is no longer there, and I certainly miss setting a penny on my knee and watching it float up as the Cliffhanger gave way beneath us.

Melissa and I bought season passes this year, and have had fun trips alone as well as with our friends Jeff and Alecia and their 2 and 4 year olds. Apparently there’s a parent swap rule they just learned about, for all you folks with kids too small to ride. Originally we planned out trips trying to find the slower days, but after this last visit I’m starting to think they are all slower days.

A few rides like Batman here had literally zero line, and were able to ride a couple times in a row. If you haven’t been in a while, I suggest you check it out. They shortened their hours recently, even shorter than they had posted they would be open a few weeks ago, so I’m afraid they aren’t doing well. For the record, my family is not longer involved in the company, so I don’t really know. However, if you like rides, I suggest you think about making a visit. The weather is cooling off, and during the fall they are only open on the weekends, but still have Fright Fest and other cool events like that coming up. Summer hours are over, but Mel and I were able to go after work, get there by 6:30pm and feel fulfilled leaving before the park closed at 10. If you have any cool old pictures of Six Flags or even fond memories, I’d love to hear about it. I definitely think that having a killer theme park within a half hours drive is a big part of why Dallas Kicks Ass.

Dallas Love · Restaurant Talk · Uncategorized

The best salads served at places you can get a little drunk. 

Dallas definitely Kicks Ass at eating out at restaurants. Hell, half of us will probably try to insist that we have the most restaurants per capita. As far as I can tell that’s comparable to the claims of the average wind speeds in Chicago (That Windy City thing is about politicians) I’m not here to confirm or deny that restaurant claim. I’m here to talk about the important stuff. Sometimes I want to eat a kick ass salad, but still at least have the opportunity get kinda tipsy. I’m going to focus on places that: a) are full service restaurants b) has a beer/wine or liquor license c) don’t typically hang their hat on their salad making abilities amd most importantly d) these salads have to be filling and keep you full. Anyone can make a salad, but it takes a special salad to keep you pleasantly full until the next meal time. 

1: Chicken Cobb at The Common Table

Common Table Fried Chicken Cobb

The Common Table is a great spot on Fairmount St off Cedar Springs in Uptown. They boast a top tier craft beer selection, and a deep whiskey shelf to match. Their Fried Chicken Cobb is so good they look at me funny when I order anything else. And I’m a fat guy. It’s got a blue cheese dressing, with just enough funk and it never comes overdressed. It has a nice lettuce blend, sundried tomatoes, hard boiled egg, that Gorgonzola dressing and fried chicken. If you’re trying to go lean, you can switch to grilled chicken and it’s still Kick Ass. 

2: Market Fish Salad at BrainDead Brewing

BrainDead Brewing Market Fish Salad

Two things I want to get out of the way. Number one. Yes, it’s a shitty picture. I was so excited to eat this thing again I just dove right in. Two, I also own BrainDead Brewing, so maybe I’m a little biased. But I didn’t click on this link, you did, so let’s get to the goods. I call this OG Market Fish Salad because Chef David went and took it away from the world for a little while. But it’s back. Jicama, roasted corn, and crispy tortilla strips make this salad a texture party. Radicchio, cotija cheese, and a lime vinaigrette are in there too. BrainDead Market Fish selections rotate with the catches and the freshness, but it’s always something good like Red Snapper or Golden Tile. BrainDead has house brewed beer, as well as guest taps from the locals and beyond, as well as wine and cider. 
3: Summer Salad at Hopdoddy add Tuna Patty. 

Hopdoddy Summer Salad

The Hopdoddy I’m judging off is the Preston Center location. Also, I specify Summer because it’s all about the watermelon, and other times of the year they put squash and stuff in it. I add the seared tuna patty from the tuna burger they have and that’s what makes it astounding. Other times of the year, I’ll order it too and it’s always good, but the watermelon and the the tuna sing like The Beach Boys. It just feels so right. Maybe the squash goes well a turkey patty. I’ll try that next time they deny me watermelon. If you’re not into the spicier greens like arugula, this one might not be for you. But it’s delicious. There are some white cheese crumbles and sunflower seeds, and a light vinaigrette, and you can still hang out with your friends that want to have a burger. And maybe they’ll even share their queso. 
4: St Pete’s Dancing Marlin

St Pete’s Tuna Salad

St Pete’s has been holding down Commerce for as long as I can remember and Pete himself still holds down the bar service on Monday nights. Clearly a fisherman, this place is adorned with sailfish and cool old funk that can’t be faked. Ask around, and while most will point you towards the tuna sandwich, others swear by the lasagna, and others the cheesfries. But we’re talking salads, and this one is great. My lady goes Tuna Caesar, but both are great and on Monday it comes with an extra side of friendly conversation. 
I’ve got a few Honorable mentions that stand out. Number one goes to Dot’s Hophouse. That Kale Caesar is a pretty killer side Salad. I haven’t added protein and usually eat it alongside their excellent burger, so I can’t really vouch for it on its own. Soon though. I hear people say adding shrimp is the way to go. I’ll find out soon. 

Meddlesome Moth killed it recently with their summer pea and tuna salad. But I’ve only had it once, so I’ll leave it down here. 

Also, I gotta give the BrainDead Drunken Steak a shout out too. I love that thing, it’s just I didn’t feel right giving Chef David two salads on this short list and I’m trying to stay somewhat impartial, but I’ll put it down here with an asterisk. 

Articles that I looked at while forming my opinion on Dallas’s claim to having the most restaurants per capita. 

http://ezinearticles.com/?Which-City-Really-Does-Have-The-Most-Restaurants-Per-Capita&id=367316

http://www.dallasobserver.com/restaurants/does-dallas-really-have-the-most-restaurants-per-capita-and-if-so-who-cares-7024833

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.yahoo.com/amphtml/finance/news/america-s-most-densely-packed-restaurant-city-may-surprise-you-175309043.html

Uncategorized

Sandwich Hag brings Banh Mi to the Cedars


Nestled in a small building in the Cedars at Corinth and Lamar, Sandwich Hag is bringing delicious Vietnamese flavors wrapped in French Baguette and has the best Banh Mi I can remember having in Dallas proper since Mot Hai Ba kicked the sandwich to the curb. Chef/Owner Reyna Duong’s smiling face calling out names for pick up orders through the window remind you that this is a small startup you are supporting. More and more these days the bigger places are drawing the biggest crowds, but sometimes, the best food and experiences are found off the beaten path. I found this one today. I expect this will be a couple times a month dining spot for this Deep Ellum working Cedars dweller. $9 sandwiches and $4.50 for my Chia Seed Tea (they have simpler and cheaper drink options, but I felt like ballin’) make for an approproayely priced treat. Yet another reminder that Dallas Kicks Ass.

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Leon Bridges B Day at It’ll Do and soft opening for City Hall at the Adolphus

Photo Cred 📸:  It’ll Do profile pic on FB compliments of Soul-O

Leon Bridges threw down his Birthday Party at It’ll Do Club last night, and DJ Sober  provided the dance music. While I’m not necessarily a “club” guy, It’ll Do is a divey disco that often has great acts roll through. James Murphy of LCD sound system DJ’d a night there while the band was on hiatus, and Soul Clap once dropped a hell of a set there that was very memorable. If you wanna dance the night away with chest vibrating bass and a light up dance floor without all the ego that usually comes with all that, It’ll Do is the place for you. It was a fun party and after midnight Leon broke out the guitar and sang a few songs for us. I’ll never forget the first time I got to see him perform. Lee Harveys had a fun night where all kinds of local musicians were rotating in and out. Roomsounds Guys, The Texas Gents, and Leon sang a couple songs. I knew that moment he was something special. His look, his sound, and even his humility. He’s just an all around cool dude. I couldn’t be happier for him and all his successes. More to come from him I’m sure. Last time I saw him perform prior to this was at the Granada for Neil Fest, where great local musicians from the last thirty years performed Neil Young covers. Big stars and up and comers alike. Leon dropped in for a surprise song with great acts like Norah Jones, Bozz Scaggs, The Flatlanders, Shaky Graves, Paul Cauthen and many more. I got to actually chill with Leon at Sundown next door and talk to the guy for over twenty minutes. Five minutes in I told him “I know you’re a busy man, so I’ll let you go.” He said “Are you kicking me out? I’m gonna go grab a drink and come back.” And he did! Super cool guy, always friendly seeming unchanged by his fame and success. I’m proud to have him represent Dallas (and Ft Worth) as a local musician that’s made it big. 

If you want to see a poor quality video of us singing happy Birthday to him and a him returning the favor by singing and playing “I’m Coming Home” along with a few others check it here.

And the rest here

The Observer too some good pics of the action too http://www.dallasobserver.com/slideshow/leon-bridges-celebrates-his-birthday-at-itll-do-9642114/69


The Adolphus Hotel added City Hall Bistro this week. It was a lovely dinner. Straight in the front doors and up to the right passed the lobby bar, a hip, not overly swanky, white subway tile clad restaurant greeted us with some friendly hostesses and later our attentive and welcoming server Caleb. We were seated at a long communal table but didn’t feel wedged in next to table mates as there was a seat between us on both sides of the table. I stuck with tea, but the wine list had some appealing entries that my girlfriend and best bud Alex of Regalis TX indulged in. The one that caught my eye most was a bottle semi-sparkling orange wine. I’ve been ordering “orange” wine any time I see it available. Not made from oranges, they are fermented from white grapes pressed skin on, and aged on the skins for at least a few days. Some I’ve seen as long as two weeks. It brings a satisfying tannic astringency to a white wine that is hazy from the prolonged skin contact hence the “hazy orange” appearance. Unfortunately wines by the bottle were unavailable since they aren’t really open to the public yet. I certainly plan on returning, and trying that semi-sparking offering and maybe something off the cocktail menu, and maybe someday a pint of BrainDead Brew. The wine list had some other interesting choices including geeek wines I was unfamiliar with, that my fellow diners enjoyed. Wine “by the glass” was served in a carafe with nearly two glasses in it. This place seems to really be offering a fair price  and good value across the board. 


While this menu clearly has a Mediterranean influence, I wouldn’t classify it as such. We started off with a charcuterie board with various well chosen offerings from Regalis TX, along with pickled ramp mostarda and house made chorizo. A great start to any meal. Then we went on to black truffle couscous, duck confit on Lebanese savory pan cake (kinda sweet potato Gua Bao-esque), shaved asparagus that brought more awesomeness than I was expecting, sardines, and eventually Valencian Paella. All we’re great. While the sardines didn’t really sing for me, we cleaned all the other plates. I would have liked the paella to be served a little hotter, and maybe with a second half of grilled lemon, as one didn’t quite give us the acid we wanted. The shrimp or prawns were cooked perfectly and served head on for the brain suckers out there of which I am one. Also, plenty of gently charred rice at the bottom of the pan was fun to share with the three of us. 

I am very happy to see the Downtown dining scene growing so fast. The Joule is crushing it, and the Adolphus is ready to re-enter the ring with this City Hall Bistro and the upcoming super high end French Room. I’m a firm believer that urban density is very important to Dallas earning its place along side the greatest cityies of the US and the world. We are very spread out her in North Texas. Why wouldn’t we be? We have plenty of space, however as a Dallas advocate I have to extol the virtues of urban density. It leads to increased walkabaility, a more vibrant downtown with more people on the streets supporting local retail, not just food and drink places. With uptown to the North, Greenville/Henderson district, to the North East, Deep Ellum to the East, maybe eventually Cedars to the south, and Trinity Groves to the West. Even Harwood District is starting to establish itself as independent of “Uptown”. Downtown still is the missing piece to this puzzle that can help unify the city I think. I’m cities like San Francisco or Denver or New York the idea of walking two miles (or public transport) doesn’t even make be blink. Here, it just doesn’t happen. Great food in great restaurants in great hotels Downtown makes me happy and optimistic of our direction as a city. 

All in all another great couple days. Tomorrow, Community Beer Company dinner at Uchi. Give em a call, might be a couple tickets left. Thanks again for your time, as always feedback is welcome. As well as suggested future topics. 
Cheers, Sam

Dallas Kicks Ass

Dallas Love

Dallas Kicks Ass

Dallas Kicks Ass. I love my city. I am proud to be born and raised here, and I work hard every day to make it a better place. One of the things I love most about it here, is unrecognized potential. Artists of all kinds make world class creations here, and will soon get the recognition they deserve. Artists in the recording studios, the brewhouses, the kitchens, the theaters, and the stage about to be recognized. Artist that use a brush, a pick, a knife, a microphone, a keyboard, a laptop, a camera, a pen, or a T square are about to be discovered. There’s culture, and history, and strong drinks, and creative food. The Audobon park systems, White Rock Lake, and various running and biking trails keep us connected to nature. Rumors of amazing developments on the Trinity River are swarming. Deep Ellum is blossiming and the Cedars are gaining momentum. I want to document the greatness that is Dallas. I want to challenge myself to rediscover places here I might not have been in a while, or even places I haven’t given a chance. I want to be a tourist in my own city and re-evaluate all my assumptions. This is my avenue to start from scratch and document the things that make this place special.

I took this picture because it spoke to me on a couple levels. Like any good art, I hope it is able to mean different things to different people. This flower, in a sea of asphalt, refuses to be told ‘No’. It dares to be awesome in a place that doesn’t really need it, or want it. As a Cedars dweller, and a Deep Ellum business owner at BrainDead Brewing and Bowls & Tacos I have a unique perspective of Dallas. I’m typically drawn to the food and the drink and the live music. That’s part of the reason I hang out AND invest my time in my businesses down there. If Downtown is the Brain of Dallas, then Deep Ellum is the heart. It pumps the warmth and the soul of this city. It has long been a haven for business owners with passion to find a place to make a little money while doing what they love. Great places like Adairs, Trees, All Good Cafe, Angry Dog, St Pete’s, Tiggers, Elm St Tattoo, Kettle Art, and even the original Twisted Root all have fought the good fight for over ten years, some of them twenty or more. They have seen life cycles of this neighborhood, and this city, come and go. They made way Cane Rosso, and Three Links, and The Free Man, who then paved the way for Pecan Lodge, Twilite Lounge, The Armoury, Brick and Bones, and even my BrainDead Brewing. I’ts hard to believe how much things have changed since Jeff and I signed our lease at 2625 Main St in fall of 2013. Pecan Lodge had signed the day before, and we had a feeling they would be good neighbors on the largely empty Main St.  I wish I had taken more time to sit down and make notes, but that’s why I am here doing what I am doing right now.

When I tell people that I fucking love Dallas, and they ask me “Why?” I want to have something to point to. I want to brag on the people doing great things in this city. I will likely start with my friends, but look forward to meeting some strangers along the way. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to share this couple minutes with me, let me know if you ever have any ideas of places or things you think I should go check out. While I am an advocate for this city, I definitely don’t know everything. I found I learned the most about beer when I started teaching it. It helped expose my weaknesses and push me harder to attempt to be a master of my craft. Maybe in thirty years I can can learn everything there is to know about Dallas, and why it kicks ass.

 

-Sam