Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Does Fort Worth ever cross your mind?

If you recognized George Strait as inspiration for my title of this post, well...you are even more special to me.  Thank you. 

Admittedly, I fall into the category of "you can take the girl outta Texas, but not Texas outta the girl".  I love Texas.  I love that Texas has its own cultures and identity.  Recently, a customer of mine, here in Australia, was planning a road trip across the southeast of the U.S.  She asked if I could give her some input about where to go and what to see in Texas.  I had to share some recommendations from one of my favorite Texas cities...Fort Worth.

The metropolitan area of Dallas/Fort Worth is somewhat massive.  "DFW" is the international airport that is quite efficient, clean, and easy to navigate.  I fly a direct flight Sydney to Dallas almost once a year for the last 7 years.  I've gotten to know this airport.  Internationally, Dallas seems to be the more "well known" city, but personally, I think Fort Worth is the city with all the charm. 


Fort Worth Stock Yards - You want to visit Texas, and you want to see working cowboys, well...look no further.  In the heart of the city is working stock yards, a cowboy AND cowgirl museum, and every Saturday night, you can attend a rodeo.  This district is full of shops, restaurants, and bars as well.
Photo source

I highly recommend the Stockyard Hotel in Fort Worth.  It's located in a heritage listed building, western-themed, kitsch (but not overly silly), great location, reasonable rates, and just lovely.  The hotel's location is in walking distance of the Fort Worth Stockyards, plus restaurants, shopping, and more. 

Speaking of shopping... If you ever thought you'd want to buy good cowboy boots, Fort Worth is your place.  You can find handmade pairs in almost any leather imaginable.  On one particular trip, I bought my young Aussie niece a pair.  I wished I'd bought myself the same pair in adult sizes.
My personal photos
When asked what I miss most about Texas, high on that list is the food!  So, let's talk food...

My #1 recommendation: The Reata.  The food is amazing with an authentic Texas cuisine flair.  Every time I'm visiting home, I stay with my girlfriend that lives in Fort Worth, and we always have dinner here.  Indoor dining or patio dining overlooking downtown Fort Worth, both are superb experiences.  I could eat here just for the jalapeño & cilantro soup plus wedge salad alone.  But, who am I kidding?  It's Texas.  We eat big in Texas. 
You also want to try tenderloin tamales to start plus Reata's chicken fried steak with black pepper gravy.  Or the rib eye.  Or bacon wrapped lamb.  You can't go wrong with any of these sides: jalapeño and cheese grits, bacon wrapped asparagus, bourbon creamed corn, jalapeño and bacon macaroni and cheese.  Oh...and save room for dessert.  They have Texas specialties homemade banana pudding, Texas pecan pie, a chocolate bread pudding tamale, and dessert tacos.
Tex Mex (the best food on the planet) can not be missed.  For fantastic fajitas and margaritas, visit Joe T. Garcia's, a Fort Worth institution.  There isn't much choice of the menu, but you don't need it.  What's there is excellent.
My personal photo
Other Tex Mex recommendations:  Mi Cocina at Sundance Square - if you've never had brisket tacos, introduce yourself to them here; and Cantina Laredo which is a little clean and upmarket compared to some Tex Mex dives that I enjoy, but it's still yummy goodness. 

Insider scoop:  Truly unique to Texas cuisine, if chile con queso is on the menu, then I order it.  The first thing that I want to do when I visit home is faceplant into a bowl of it. 
Photo source

Other food & drink recommendations:  Texas BBQ: Shady Oak Barbecue and Grill, Cousin's BBQ, or Riscky's; Fred's Texas Café (a burger & beer dive that also has live music at night) there's also a good restaurant in the Stockyards area called H3 for a relatively inexpensive (and good) steak and attached to the restaurant is Booger Red's Saloon.  Yes...that is the name.  There's another bar that I recommend as well: Filthy McNasty's.  Fort Worth is not shy of drinking establishments with fun names.
personal photos
Also, for another true Texas experience - Billy Bob's (the world's largest honky tonk).  Superb people watching!  If you like beer, try Shiner Bock or Lone Star...they are two Texas brewed beers.  You'll fit right in.  Billy Bob's has country dancing every night and hold special events like concerts and bull-riding.

Have a group?  Then you must book a night with the Cowtown Cycle Party.  A unique way to ride around Fort Worth and get a little exercise too.  Oh, and you can drink. 
personal photo - a birthday celebration for me!
Fort Worth also has a fantastic zoo, a beautiful performance hall, water gardens, a comedy club, Japanese botanic gardens and more.  All of these listed above, I've personally visited, eaten the food, and drank the drink.
Bass Performance Hall - my personal photo
If I haven't shared enough Fort Worth ideas, take a look at the city's website.  Or, you can venture over to Arlington (about a 20 minute drive) and visit Six Flags over Texas, catch a Texas Rangers baseball game at The Ballpark or a Dallas Cowboys game at AT&T Stadium...or venture a little further to Dallas for even more sites, food, and fun.

If there aren't enough recommendations here for you, Texans are typically extremely hospitable people.  Most often, they will be happy to recommend (and show off) what their city and state has to offer.  Do not hesitate to ask.

Have you ever visited Fort Worth?  Have I piqued your interest?

Linking up with the NEW Wanderful Wednesday ladies.  I'd just gotten my act together and started organizing some travel posts.  If you are a regular reader, you know that my blog features a little bit of everything! The Wanderlust Wednesday group is coming to an end, so when Isabel of The Sunny Side of This announced this new link-up, I thought "perfect timing!"  Plus, the hosts are ladies living all over the world.  I predict some super travel sites coming at us.

26 comments:

  1. No, I've never been to Ft. Worth. Maybe one day. Might be a nice winter getaway to help me escape the frigid winters we sometimes get in KY... I would so love to see another rodeo and see some bulls with those long ass horns (what I've always called "Boss Hog Car Horns" - remember from the Dukes of Hazard?). What amazes me about TX in general is how big it is. It's hard for me to comprehend sometimes. Have a good one, Erin!

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  2. My high school boyfriend was from the Dallas area and I had so much fun visiting and seeing Texas. I was a bit bummed when we went to Billy Bobs I was not 21 and I had a boyfriend as there was some seriously cute guys there!!!

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  3. LOVED Fort Worth! Some friends and I went on a roadtrip in TX (Dallas, Ft. Worth, Waco, San Antonio, Austin and Houston and it was (by far) my fave city!

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  4. First of all who doesn't love and recognize George Strait?!

    Tyson lived in Ft. Worth for a few years before we met. We've been talking about visiting for years. The last time we mentioned it I told him next years spring break would be a perfect time to go. I'll have to remember this post because I'll want to do fun local things while Tyson hangs out with his brother and friends.

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  5. I have never been to Texas but have always wanted to go. My friend use to live in Ft. Worth and absolutely loved it.

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  6. I'd have to have someone else there who knows where they are going to drive me around. My ONE experience at the DFW airport left me bitter for LIFE. Worst experience evvvarrrr. The roads were confusing, toll roads vs not toll roads were impossible, and returning our rental car made me want to shake a baby.

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  7. Alright that food looks stunning. Could you please explain what chile con queso is for me?! Ignorant Brit here. I've never been to the US at all, but am fixing that this year. Sadly I'm visiting neither Dallas nor Fort Worth, but they look marvellous. Maybe next year! How long is the flight from Sydney?

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  8. The only city I've ever been to in TX is San Antonio. My husband made the drive down to TX this past Nov. and ended up seeing a lot of the state. He also flew into DFW last Feb. and spent some time in Tyler, TX for work... but it really sounds like we might need to check out Fort Worth someday!

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    1. He was delivering some props to Tyler Junior College and came down for a few days to show them how they worked & check out the music program :)

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  9. AH so many good rec's! i mean i'm not gonna lie - i've been to dallas a few times and i was kinda underwhelmed but fort worth sounds like a winner! i love all the cowboy/true texas feel i see in these photos. i swear i'd never wear cowboy boots but looking in that store in photos i would prob walk away with a pretty pair! and GIVE me all the queso haha. faceplant you crack me up :)

    xoxo cheshire kat

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  10. I have been to Houston but not Dallas/Fort Worth. Sounds like I need to go! mmmmm TexMex!!!!

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  11. I've never been to Texas but if I ever go, I definitely want the whole package with cowboys and everything! The stockyards seem like the perfect place to experience that in an urban setting!

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    1. For many that aren't overly familiar with Texas, Houston and Dallas get a lot of attention because they are the biggest cities and have pop culture references. But, honestly, as a Texan, they aren't the cities I'd recommend for international visitors. Fort Worth would definitely be tops on my list.

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  12. And perfect timing it was ;) This is such an amazing post, Erin. You should definitely do more Texas posts!! My husband WILL love visiting Fort Worth, he is a cowboy through and through. He recently bought a cowboy hat in Mexico (they are not so popular here in Slovenia), and he NEVER takes it off. Dallas is often a connection for us too when going back to Mexico. We should definitely add it to our itineraries one day :) Thanks for the awesome post, and for linking up!

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  13. I'll always think that Houston is way better than Dallas, but I've heard nothing but awesome things about Fort Worth from everybody I know! It definitely seems like the more down to earth of the two cities and way more Texas! We have so many family members that live in the Dallas area that I feel like we never really get to explore while we're there. I really want to go to the Stockyards at some point in time though!

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  14. My aunt lives in Irving & my step daughter used to live in Galveston - so I was in Texas a bit. I always loved going there mainly for the Mexican food - THE BEST!!!

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  15. I love Fort Worth! I haven't spent a ton of time there, but this post makes me think a weekend visit to our friend who lives in downtown Fort Worth is in order. LOVE brisket tacos from Mi Cocina!

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  16. Wow, so many things! I've never been to Texas (unless 12hrs in Dallas counts, ha!) but love exploring through blog posts like this. Yay for Tex Mex, mmmmm. Thanks for joining us on Wanderful Wednesdays.

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  17. you have definitely sparked my interest! honestly, I think it's awesome when people are still totally in love with where they're from. I was born and raised in Wisconsin, and everywhere I go I tell people who awesome Wisconsin is, haha!

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    1. It was fun highlighting Fort Worth because it is definitely a place that I whole-heartedly recommend.

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  18. I have to admit that until now, no, Fort Worth has never crossed my mind. You're right, when I think of Texas, I think of Dallas or Austin. But Fort Worth looks like a lovely place to visit! Especially for those desert tacos!! What?! Could a better thing even exist! Thanks for sharing and putting Fort Worth on my radar! :D

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  19. i will admit that i have only been to the airport! lol but it is a fabulous airport, so much better than LAX (when flying to and from sydney). but you definitely sold me on this, i pinned it, one day i will go. so the dallas cowboys thing is close? KC is a cowboys fan but he says he has no desire to visit - i think if i planned a long weekend away and didn't go to the cowboys stadium or whatever, he'd be upset lol so i'll just ignore him.

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  20. I've been in the Dallas airport, but that's it. I don't consider that an "experience" in a city/state, though, so I'd say I've never actually been to Texas. Eric hasn't either. We had it on our list of possible places to go last year for our anniversary trip, but decided on New Mexico after discovering the awesome B&B we wound up staying at. (Plus we couldn't decide which city/cities to visit in Texas, and we didn't want to do THAT much driving so we didn't really want to hop cities every couple of days.) I'll definitely add Fort Worth to my "must see" list, though! :-)

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  21. I live in MN, but I've always said if I ever move away, it'd be to Texas or Tennessee. I really want to visit Billy Bob's!

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  22. It's nice when you find a direct flight! I hope to make it to fort worth one day soon,so I can give the places you recommend a try!

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