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|
Lunch is taken to the next level at The Zodiac, the elegant restaurant on the 6th floor of the original Neiman Marcus Downtown Dallas. The restaurant was the brainstorm of founder Stanley Marcus who conceived the restaurant for out of town shoppers who would spend the entire day in the store. Guests are welcomed with a complimentary demitasse cup of chicken broth and Neiman’s traditional signature popover and strawberry butter. This venerable dining destination, which has been serving fine cuisine for over 50 years, features an exquisite, classic menu selection of seasonal entrée selections.
SIGNATURE POPOVER AND DEMITASSE CUP OF CHICKEN BROTH
Ding-dong…ring the bell. It’s time for Dinner!
LAW, the new signature restaurant that opened in 2016 in the Four Seasons, features bold Texas fare that uses ingredients sourced directly from Texas farms, fisheries and ranches. The name LAW stands for Land, Air and Water. LAW offers a robust menu that includes fresh poultry, meats, and fish. At LAW, I lived my dream dinner of only appetizers...lots of Gulf Oysters and Fried Green Tomatoes accompanied by grapefruit and avocado guajillo vinaigrette.
|DREAM DINNER OF OYSTERS…AND MORE OYSTERS|
Via Real, a stone’s throw from th e Four Seasons, is a gourmet Mexican Restaurant, featuring Southwestern & Tex-Mex dishes, plus a wide tequila selection. In Via Real’s Santa Fe-inspired digs, I experienced the unique taste of Southwestern Cuisine. Fran Mathers, the ebullient owner whom I watched “float like a butterfly” from table to table, says that she serves Mexican cuisine with Santa Fe style. The Pork Chile Relleno and Spinach Enchiladas are best washed down with a Via Rita, Fran’s favorite Margarita. The Via Rita is made with Don Julio Reposado, Cointreau, Grand Marnier, and freshly squeezed lime juice. One of those will do you just fine. But whatever you choose to eat or drink, save room for the Tres Leches Cake laced with Raspberry Marmalade.
TEX-MEX STYLE AND FOOD AT VIA REAL
“Farm to Fork” is the motto of The Ranch at Las Colinas. With its roots reaching deep into Texas soil, The Ranch is a true taste of Texas. Both the menu (Texas Gulf seafood and Texas Kobe beef), and the live Music on the Porch (from Amarillo to Austin), are influenced by Texas. The Ranch claims to be one of the few places on earth where a hard-working ranch hand and a high-powered businessman could dine together and both feel comfortable. Their saying is “Be yourself and you’ll fit right in.” For an after dinner treat, you can book a helicopter that will whisk you off to see a skyline view of the city.
|THERE IS NO WRONG FORK AT THE RANCH AT LAS COLINAS|
Cool River is a warm and woodsy café where the steaks are heavenly, the music is live, and you can still smoke a cigar (in a separate smoking room) if you so desire. If you want a booze-y dinner, you might start with an Absolut Peppar Shrimp cocktail; continue on to a Jim Beam Rib-Eye, a Six Pac Mac & Cheese, and finish up with a Makers Mark Pecan Bread Pudding. However, if by now you had enough booze and want to go ‘on the wagon’ for dessert, try the mile-high chocolate cake...five layers with toasted coconut.
|MILE-HIGH 5-LAYER CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH TOASTED COCONUT|
JANET STEINBERG is an award-winning Travel Writer/Editor and International Travel Consultant with THE TRAVEL AUTHORITY in Mariemont, Ohio