May 30, 2007

fill er up

Continuing with the food theme of the past few posts... I have a new favorite place in Dallas. When I got into town last week, my friend Myron told me he had found a new place he had to take me: Fuel City! Yup, really. Fuel City is in an industrial area in the shadow of downtown near the Trinity River levees, and its a giant gas station/convenience mart kinda place. But the best part of Fuel City is their tacos - named the Best Tacos in Texas by Texas Monthly magazine. Yup, not kidding. And neither are they! These may have been the best tacos I ever had. Construction workers on break mix with businessmen and tourists around a window ordering from five varieties of freshly made little tacos on either flour or corn tortillas. Also nearby was something Myron nor I had ever seen before. A lady at a food cart was making corn cups. I had no idea what they were, but they seemed to be going like hotcakes. I had to have one. I watched as she filled the cup halfway full with creamed corn, squirted in a glob of what looked like sour cream and some sort of red spicy sauce, threw in a heap of queso fresco, filled the rest of the cup up with corn, added another glob of white sauce and red sauce, added another glob of melted butter, and finished it off with more queso fresco. Just the process had me enthralled. I felt like a kid with his first sno-cone. There's nowhere to eat really (though they do have a swimming pool with fountains and lawn chairs around it - at a fuel mart - how can you not love that?). We opted instead to park and eat in the car watching the longhorns and burros graze by the levee and oil wells that live in the grassy area surrounding the mart. I'm not making this up. Myron chuckled at my glee. "I knew you'd like this place." Boy was he right.

May 29, 2007

another fry day

Monday gave us a pretty relaxed trip back to Dallas from Oklahoma City. After about an hour on the road, we came upon our most anticipated stop of the trip - the Original Fried Pies place near Turner Falls! and this time, they were open. Not only open, but packed! The secret clearly is out. What seems like a family of all ages man their posts kneading dough, creating the shapes and fillings to match the orders, and dumping em in the fryer to a flaky golden brown. Having a long line allowed Myron and I time to think through our orders this year so we didn't have a "I should have gotten that" moment. He went for one of Chicken and Vegetables, and an Apricot/Coconut mixed (they allow you to mix available flavors). I went for a Comfort Food one (polish sausage, cheese, potatoes), and a mix of Blackberry and Vanilla. yum. Our mixed ones may have been a little too 'just out of the fryer', not only were they hot, we apparently just couldn't bear to wait long enough to help them form and they fell apart in our hands as we tried to eat them. As if it mattered. It tasted every bit as good. Not a complaint came from either of us, just laughter.

Today while waiting for my plane back to LA, I got a call from an old friend Jeff. Jeff was a friend in Dallas I hadn't talked to for years - even before I moved from Dallas. We ran into each other in Oklahoma City Saturday night and the gap evaporated. He asked if they had Apricot fried pies. When he was a kid, he would go fishing and his Grandmother would always make him apricot fried pies using the apricot trees in her yard, he said. I have a feeling those were probably better than the ones we bought, but I bet these are damn close.

May 28, 2007

new beginnings

Sunday, Myron and I went to one of our favorite spots that was a tradition we began on our trips here with our friend Tres. Tres found a great little drive-in called Del Rancho that made these ridiculously huge chicken-fried steak sandwiches. We always ate inside, which was just as fun because you ordered with a tableside telephone and then they'd bring your order out to your table. When Myron and I pulled up this year, our faces fell. It was closed. We sat in silence for a little bit, looked in the windows, and tried to figure out what to do. We knew this was the original Del Rancho and weren't sure if others were open or where they were. Determined to still have our Del Rancho experience, we decided to call directory assistance and ended up finding another location. As we drove away, I finally said what we had both been thinking: after losing Tres last month, it seemed almost appropriate. We found our destination and were thrilled to find it completely different in layout and style, but equally as old and original and kitschy. On top of the usual huge sandwiches, we discovered a new menu item we hadn't noticed before: corn nuggets. Our waitress explained they were sweet cream of corn deep fried in nuggets and added "they're goooood" in a way that was clearly genuine and not salesmanship. We had to have em. They didn't disappoint! It was a great way to continue our tradition, yet do so in a new way since it wouldn't be the same without Tres with us. A Google search later brought up nine Del Rancho locations around Oklahoma City. We don't know how many are still open and which are old original ones and which are newer, but we may just have to start finding out next year. If you find yourself in Oklahoma City, be sure not to miss Del Rancho!

May 27, 2007

bulls and balls

Slices from Saturday... a fun day at the rodeo with lots of old friends around, I even won a raffle without even knowing the prize was a little bucket of swag and beer! After the rodeo Myron and I headed to our tradition of "dinner" at the baseball park downtown in "Bricktown". We caught the tail of one game and the beginning of another at the Big XII Championship. Don't know who won, but it was more about just being there.

May 26, 2007

road trip

We had to leave Dallas later than we would have liked, but the trip was faster and easier than we expected given leaving that late. Unfortunately we arrived at the Fried Pie shop after they had already closed. Sigh. We'll try again on the way back on Monday. We settled for barbecue and then headed out to the bar to catch up with lots of old friends who were here for the rodeo. Life could be a lot worse.

May 25, 2007

stormy daze

It turns out I timed my trip pretty perfectly. The typical severe weather for Dallas that was supposed to come through on Wednesday ended up coming through yesterday. From living in LA where we rarely if ever have thunder and lightning, I have to admit I kind of enjoy the storms that I miss from when I lived here. I was out with my friend Kevin playing in his monster truck (you think my truck is big, his is twice the size). He let me drive it around some just at about the time that the skies opened up, so we ended up just waiting out a hailstorm in the giant truck. Luckily it was pea-sized hail, not the softball sized hail that destroyed my truck when I lived here. It was kinda fun in a simple pleasures kinda way. Other than that, I've actually been fairly busy with work, so being inside during rainy days isn't such a bad thing. We head off on our roadtrip this afternoon. Fried Pies, here we come!

May 23, 2007

travellin man

I'm back in Dallas at my friend Myron's for our annual Memorial Day Oklahoma City Rodeo Road trip. wheeeeeee. Stay tuned for a few days of cultural and culinary experiences! (and beer.)

May 22, 2007

randomly fun

More pics from the festival in Long Beach. Thats my friend Heith trying to rope a... well... piece of metal. And his ribbon for, well, missing! I also found the sign that said "food" in the middle of nowhere to be amusing for some reason. Go figure.

May 21, 2007

hangin out

Big parade and big festival in Long Beach yesterday. But the real festivals seem to be on the balconies! It was a very fun day. Thanks to my friend Pat for being the chauffer and getting us home safe. More pics tomorrow.

May 19, 2007


a few random slivers from around Venice...