Category Archives: Travel

10 Days in Jequitinhonha – Taking the kids to the pool

I know. This blog is about my life in Dallas. But nothing more strange than my life in Dallas than comparing it with my life in Jequitinhonha, where I came for the Holidays. As I write this post I’m being a nanny for my little cousins. I was supposed to take them all to their first swimming class but the teacher only comes on Tuesday and thrusdays. Today is wed. Instead I took them to my hotel pool, a mediocre rounded pool that was more than enough for an hour of intense activity for the children. For the first time I felt how it is to take care of children. YOU REALLY HAVE TO WATCH TEM! I thought I could read a book or browse the internet. Hahahahaha in the first 5 minutes one of them fell, the other drank a gallon of pool water. I want them to remember this as a good vacation, as it was for me when I was a kid and my older cousins would take me on motorcycles or for a ride in their cars. Btw, I discovered something about me: I don’t like to correct the kids and tell them what to do. They were so afraid of everything that having such a permissive “aunt” must have been a glory.


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A day in Fort Worth – my way

Fort Worth is so close to Dallas, yet so far. I love to go there have a lunch at The Cafe Modern in the Museum of Modern Art. The view of the pool with its steel sculpture is just a setting you can’t get in Dallas. But, the visitors are much more interested in the cow town traditions, since Fort Worth still embraces its Western heritage and traditional architecture and design. A perfect day, Alexal way:

10AM – Start on the Design District
The best museums in Dallas are in.. Fort Worth. Start by the Kimbell Art Museum, where you can find modern pieces but also antiquities from all over the world. Just across the street, the Museum of Modern Art Fort Worth is composed of five pavilions of concrete and glass set on 11 naturally landscaped acres, including a 1.5 acre reflecting pond. Beautiful. Beaufitul. The Modern maintains one of the foremost collections -3,000 works- of postwar art in the central US. Oil money, I suppose.

Me and a friend Tatiana Foresta, after a visit at the Forth Worth Art Museum followed by Mint drinks

1PM – Time for lunch
Fort Worth best spot for lunch is still at the museum. The Cafe at the Modern Art serves salads, appetizers and delicious hamburgers in a all glass window restaurant. So civilized you forget you’re in Texas. Sorry. Another spot, less modern and much more cozier is Lili’s Bistro, at Magnolia Avenue. The street has become one the most gourmet neighborhoods of the city in recent years. For just 12 bucks you can choose between chicken, tabouli, wedge salads and many other options. Just too bad that on my recent visit the pita breads were cold and stale. For a patio lunch, locals head to Joe’s T Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant where margaritas and lines are famous. Ribs? Railhead BBQ is your spot.

Lili's Bistro, at Magnolia Avenue, is an easy choice for an informal lunch.

Supposedly the best ribs in town, Railhead BBQ is packed on the weekends

4PM – La dolce far niente
La siesta. Ah, how nice it would be if the famous Sundance Square, in downtown, had a beautiful coffee shop for an afternoon expresso coffee. Not the case. Make yourself comfortable at the Starbucks on Houston’s street and look at those who swing by: college students doing assignments, a couple of homeless here and there and girls on cowboy boots. Tons of them. A good stretch is also to take a walk till the Milan Gallery, where there’s always some good exhibit.

Quiet view from the downtown Starbucks

Girls drive the strip in downtown Fort Worth - cowboy boots are a must have.

7PM – Oh! Dinner time
There’s no other place you should be dining tonight but Ellerbe Fine Foods, on Magnolia Avenue. Great ambience with candle light. Check. Organic, fresh and comfort food. Check. On a recent visit I had the best stuffed quail of my life. And I’m an avid quail eater. Hands down to the bread and attentive service. Just one negative point: they’re not in Dallas!

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Alexal quick guide to Austin

When I moved to Dallas, Allen Olivo (a marketing executive from my previous job) told me: oh, Dallas! I hope you travel a lot to Austin. It took me 6 months to follow his advice only to discover I’m a democrat, yes. But my taste is certainly republican. After 3 days in the hippiest texan city, I didn’t have any fancy dinners even when I tried.

Dallas fashionable habitants love Congress Avenue for the bars and stores

But there’s no other place in Texas like Austin. Residents are all smart, white people who came here to go to college -or as a teacher-, live a hippie life or work in one of the many technology companies. Google, Dell, IBM and Ebay all have offices here. And where there are hippies/intellectuals and artists, proliferates veganism, fantastic juice places and outstanding taco joints. Here’s a quick guide to the city basics:

Hotel San Jose, Saint Cecilia or Motel Austin
Here is where the trendy people stay or at least have a drink at the patio if the hotel was fully booked. If you wanna splurge, Austin Saint Cecilia, from the same group, is a good choice. Hipster on a budget? Go to Austin Motel where comfortable, yet simple rooms, begin at USD 100.

Hotel San Jose is your best bet.

In Austin, like the austian. Here, vegan, juice spots and taquerías rule. But, new spots are trying to serve upscale cuisine. Ones with more successes than others.

Lambert’s Downtown Barbeque
Best cocktail in a long time, best hamburger in a long time. And, we didn’t even have a table at the restaurant. All eaten in the bar with immense pleasure. Hands down.

Lamberts has an old style and sleek look

A drink, a hamburger, a good bar. Lambert's Barbecue do not disappoint

401 W 2nd St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 494-1500

La Condesa
Just across the street from Lambert’s, La Condesa invites for a late lunch or informal dinner with your friends. Probably, one of the most well decorated restaurants in the entire city.

La Condesa's menu infuses classic Mexico City cantina fare with regional specialties and street food favorites

La Condesa won the People's Choice Award for best restaurant at the AIA Los Angeles Restaurant Design Awards

400 W 2nd St
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 499-0300

Probably, my most overrated dinner in Austin. They change the menu everyday, they only use organic and they’re well intentioned. But, when it comes to delivering all those promises, I was frustrated. First, our waiter was rude, then they didn’t have the pasta of the day at 8PM! Being the most expensive dinner of the trip didn’t help it either: USD 150 for 2.
1014 N Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78703
(512) 482-8868

There’s nothing not to love about a well designed restaurant full of beautiful people. Uchi is not trying to be perfect but doesn’t fail to deliver good japanese cuisine to an upscale clientele. Loved the foie gras (!!) sushi, a real surprise.

Uchi: well done sushis, like the foie gras one, attract an upscale clientele

801 S Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 916-4808

Tacos, juices & others
Daily Juice
Thin, white and tall servers prepare strange combinations of organic fruits with milk and whey protein in small take out spots. B-e-s-t peanut butter + banana smoothie of my life. After that, you won’t go to Jamba juice ever again.

Juice spots that look a lot like Hawaii deliver healthy options

1625 Barton Springs Rd
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 480-9501

The city is full of good taquerías and I only had time to visit one. Famous for their breakfast tacos, I loved to sit below the trees and the amicable servers. A keeper.

Tacodeli - a winner between the breakfast tacos

At Tacodeli local triatletes and late brunch friends come to hang out below the trees eating eggs and spinach tacos

Explore more taquerías than me checking the most rated ones on Yelp.

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