Monday, August 22, 2016

DALLAS, TEXAS: THE "BIG D"

BY JANET STEINBERG

Part 1 of a series

Many decades ago, when I first visited Dallas, the “Big D” stood for drab, dull, dreary, Dallas.  It was a city where you had to go on business, or to change planes for a trip to Mexico.  It was certainly not a city where you would ever plan to go for a vacation.   Today, the “Big D” might stand for a different destination… dynamic by day and dazzling by night.  You can play cowboy or princess, art critic or gourmand…the choice is yours for the asking in Dallas, Texas. 

“BIG D” DAZZLES

Monday, August 8, 2016

SIX IN THE CITY: DINE IN & AROUND IRVING

BY JANET STEINBERG

Part 2 of a Series 

"The world was my oyster,” the late Oscar Wilde quipped, “but I used the wrong fork."  Well, on my recent visit to Irving, Texas there was no wrong fork.  From gourmet Tex-Mex to booze infused specialties; from sitting with ranchers to gawking at the Chanel-clad, botoxed ‘ladies who lunch’…I did it all as I dined in Irving, Texas.   And, every fork-full was delicious. 

It’s high noon in Texas.  Time for lunch! 

Let’s start with an Irving icon.  Nostalgia reigns supreme at Big State Fountain Grill, an old-fashioned diner that has been serving Irving since the 1950’s.  In the 1900’s Big State began as a haberdashery…”a men’s outfitter”….and was followed by a drug store.  Several owners and remodels later, it is now a bustling diner complete with red-upholstered chrome stools wrapped around a red and white soda fountain.  The menu includes favorites like the John Lennon Grilled Cheese, Ma’s Famous Grilled Bologna sandwich and the Marilyn Monroe Turkey and Swiss.  And of course, there’s always room for one of those Dang Good Burgers served with "housemade chips" and a Big State Milkshake.

BIG STATE’S ROLLER SKATING WAITRESS WELCOMES YOU TO THE DINER

Monday, July 25, 2016

IRVING, TEXAS: A HIDDEN GEM

BY JANET STEINBERG


Part 1 of a series

My version of the Texas Two-Step is a little different than the version you might expect to see on any dance floor in the Lone Star State.  For me, the stars in this western partner dance are two Texas cities that meld together as one.  Just 15-minutes apart, Irving and Dallas are so intertwined that part of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport lies inside the city limits of Irving. 

The Las Colinas flower clock is a landmark that takes its inspiration from those prevalent in some of Europe's magnificent gardens.  The clock welcomes visitors as they approach Las Colinas, Irving’s premier planned development community. The clock's flowers are changed every three months to ensure that the display retains the vibrant character for which it is famous. 

LAS COLINAS FLOWER CLOCK

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

THE BEST WEDDING TO WHICH I WAS NOT INVITED

BY JANET STEINBERG


NAMASTE!  I have been to India twice, and both times I returned home with many unforgettable experiences. 

In Agra, I hired an elephant named Lakshmi and his mahout (elephant driver) to give me an unforgettable 1.5-mile ride from my hotel to the Taj Mahal. Lakshmi stopped for veggies at her favorite food stands; elderly bystanders clasped their hands in the traditional namaste greeting; and children screamed with delight when they saw me sitting in a rickety howdah atop the lumbering pachyderm. 

That was a fun experience not to be forgotten. 

On the western bank of the Ganges, in the ancient city of Varanasi, I witnessed shrouded bodies being washed in the Ganges River in preparation for the riverbank cremations that are thought to liberate their souls from their bodies. 

That was a sobering experience not to be forgotten.

However, there was one Indian tradition I had missed.   I never had the pleasure of witnessing an Indian wedding.  That is until now.   Only this time I did not have to fly half way around the world for that memorable experience.  I merely had to be in the right place at the right time.  And, believe it or not, that right time and right place was 11 AM on a Saturday morning in the lobby of the Downtown Hilton Hotel in Columbus, Ohio.  I began to suspect something was about to happen when the first group of exquisitely dressed Indian women, wearing a maharani’s ransom in jewels, descended the spiral staircase into the hotel lobby.
INDIAN BEAUTIES DESCEND INTO THE HOTEL LOBBY   

Monday, June 27, 2016

COLUMBUS, OHIO: SIX IN THE CITY

Part 3 of a Series

BY JANET STEINBERG

The innovative Columbus culinary scene has come a long way since my first visit to Columbus many moons ago.  The creative chefs and entrepreneurial restaurateurs of  “C-Bus” offer an outstanding culinary experience from dawn through dusk.  Let me begin with breakfast and show you how I ate my way through a recent visit to Columbus.

1. KATALINA’S CAFÉ, a little café with lots of local goodness, is housed in a 100-year-old gas station that Katalina brought back from the brink. Known as the Dine Diva, Katalina slings “local homemade food with attitude –but no pretense”.  Her mantra is “Peace, Love & Pancake balls”.  It is said that people “line up for miles and enter with smiles” for her pancake balls (sales number over a million to date).  These little round balls from heaven can be filled with dulce de leche or jam. However, the all time favorite filling is Nutella.


NUTELLA FILLED PANCAKE BALLS