04 Jan How Every Angeleno Should Explore Dallas
Dallas, otherwise known as “The Big D,” is one of the largest cities in America, which is why this nearly 386 square mile metropolis feels like several small cities in one. You will, quite literally, always find something to do here. And while it’s ample in physical size, the city is also rich in history and culture. It’s a hub for the super affluent, a playground for those who like to indulge in everything from food to experiences to material goods, with some of the best restaurants, hotels and shopping at your disposal. Dallas is also, as is particularly important to note as President-Elect Donald Trump prepares to take office, a city with vast political history: it is where John F. Kennedy was assassinated; the home of George W. Bush, former Texas Governor and 43rd President of the United States; as well as the home of the Ross Perot Museum of Nature and Science, named as such after billionaire and former presidential candidate Ross Perot. Here, we’ve compiled a comprehensive travel guide that best befits one of the largest cities in the nation…
BEST INNOVATIVE DINING: FLORA STREET CAFÉ
Stephan Pyles Flora Street Café is the newest concept in Downtown Dallas’ Arts District. The entire restaurant is designed as a work of art, from the decor to the fare to the libations menu. Sophisticated dishes combining Texas ingredients and modern techniques as well as a beverage program featuring a curated tea and coffee program, global, U.S. and Texas wine selections and handcrafted cocktails come together to pay homage to the culinary arts and fine arts. This James Beard-winning chef’s eatery (he is, in fact, the first chef ever to earn the prestigious James Beard Best Chef Award) is completely unique. It abides by the concept that food is theater, which is clear from the very moment you turn onto Flora Street, where a jeweled proscenium beckons. Ensconced above the dining room is a stunning installation of 15 deconstructed, blown glass, ghost chandeliers suspended at varying levels that act as a beacon. The light fixtures were created by LASVIT in the shape of a series of classic chandeliers from famous opera houses around the world entitled Neverending Glory Collection. Upon entry, guests are welcomed by a living room-style lounge with charcoal leather sofa and textured herringbone upholstered side chairs and coffee and lounge tables with metallic and wood accents. A canopy of backlit amber alabaster panels suspend over the exhibition kitchen and the theatrics of cooking and serving where the element of fire are always visible. The kitchen, encased in grey and white marble, features bar seating for eight. The focal point of the dining room is a 25” X 10” abstract, jewel toned, silk, 3D tapestry designed by fiber artist Tim Harding to replicate dramatic, stage curtains.As a prelude to the evening, the bar features a custom, floor-to-ceiling, mirrored étagère behind the leather-paneled walnut bar is filled with colorful jars of red chili peppers and bright yellow lemons. A focal point of the restaurant is the Shy Light from Studio Drift in Amsterdam—a piece of performance art and kinetic sculpture made almost entirely of silk that illuminates in pulsating fashion as it descends and retracts in 10 minute cycles sporadically during service. It is the first and only one of its kind in the United States. American artist, Tim Harding, using primarily silk, was commissioned to create a piece for the eatery as well.
So, the restaurant is beautiful. But then, so is the food. Nosh on fare like winter golden squash soup, lobster tamale pie, Berkshire pork belly with persimmon; house-aged duck breast and jamon pumpkin mole while sipping on handcrafted cocktails named for music, dance and arts terms and tremendous contributors and pioneers in a multitude of artistic disciplines with bitters, liqueurs, and syrups that are made in-house. Desserts like fleur de sel chocolate mousse with goat’s milk ice cream and kettle corn and peanut butter Bavarian cherry sorbet with lime curd and caramel tuile are courtesy of Ricardo “Ricchi” Sanchez, the former Executive Pastry Chef at Nobu Las Vegas. Make sure to also try the house-made bread and corn masa, which is also made in-house.