Category Archives: Weekend

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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Filed under Fort Worth, Restaurants, Shopping, Travel, TX, Weekend

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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Filed under Austin, Restaurants, Travel, Weekend

Because breakfast is the only time I can drink; best brunches in Dallas

Training for the Chicago Marathon 2010 has proved to be harder than I imagined. Running around 35 miles, 5 days a week doesn’t leave much time for drinking and nights out. My party days have become the sunday brunches, after my long run. It will start with white chardonnay and, if this is a good sunday, end in red wine by the Glass House pool where me and my neighbours traditionally barbecue. While the Dallas crowd prefer anyplace with dollar mimosas, I judge my breakfast by, hmmm higher standards. Fresh bread, good butter, perfect eggs, decent coffee. Shouldn’t be hard, no? Here we go to my favorite brunch/breakfast places in Dallas:

Dream Café
Almost hidden little gem full of Uptown folks on saturdays and sunday mornings. The healthy options are as interesting as the meat-eggs-potatoes-all-you-can-eat options. Gotta love the ricotta pancakes.
2800 Routh St, Ste 170
Dallas, TX 75201
Neighborhood: Uptown

Dream Cafe white omelette

Not so healthy options are very yummy at the Dream Cafe

The french bistro is full of Highland Park high heeled women and their younger daughters with boyfriends. You can dine al fresco and observe the movement on Katy Trail. Bread, butter, egg whites make me happy. The oven roasted leg chicken -if you’re more inclined to have lunch- makes me even happier. Decent steak tartare. The only semi-authentic french bistro of the city. We gotta support that.
3314 Knox St
Dallas, TX 75205
Neighborhood: Highland Park

All Good Café
Wow. This is really an Austin alike breakfast joint lost in the middle of the stores in Deep Ellum. Random people and families were here for breakfast on friday morning. Eggs, toast and tons of mexican plates like Dallas customers like it. For a good espresso, walk a block to Murray Coffee shop. It also has shows on the weekends at night.
2934 Main St
Dallas, TX 75226
(214) 742-5362

All Good Cafe - An Austin look & feel

All Good Cafe - empty but nice on a friday morning

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Filed under Brunch & Breakfast, Restaurants, Weekend

Nice little stores during a weekend shopping in Dallas

In the sunny days of August, I’d rather be a the pool the entire weekend. But, sometimes, you don’t have a choice and errands need to be done. A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. Prosciutto only at Jimmy’s, wine at Cork, cheese at Scardello, lychee at a thai grocery store. Believe it or not. Dallas, the city with more shopping malls in the US, is full of little guetto places to be explored. Forget about Whole Foods and Central Markets and dive in the hidden places of downtown.

Jimmy’s Food Store
What I love about Jimmy’s is that everything is messy and deliciously homy. Old style market where the owners get to know you if you’re a frequent customer and where fantastic prosciutto and parmesan cheese are sold for the half of the price than Whole Foods. Sometimes, they have burrata directly from Italy. Cheap wine selections and homemade tomato sauce are the other advantages.

Jimmy's Food Store - the best italian grocery in Dallas

Jimmy's is messy as we like it.

Thai Oriental Food Store
Came for lychee cans and fell in love with their asian charisma (quiet, dirty, messy). Doesn’t have the huge selection of other asian markets, but it’s close enough to Uptown for a quick fix.

Thai Food Store - little hidden gem

Thai Food Store - messy as we like it

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Filed under Groceries, Shopping, Weekend

Dallas: small little pleasures

Sunny side up eggs at Bread Winners on a saturday brunch after bike. Egg is the best thing in the world. Two eggs are the second best thing in the world.

Bread Winners Cafe
3301 McKinney Avenue, Dallas – (214) 754-4940

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Filed under Brunch, Restaurants, Weekend

And people say Dallas is boring

My weekends can’t fit all the activities I plan. And I don’t  even have enough time to tell you everything I’ve been doing. Here, in photos, some of my good experiences in the last 7 days.

An NBA Playoff game is exciting. And I love the fact that it’s so organized (compared to games in general in Brazil) and that you can drink wine. Ok, I know that beer suits better. But we’re the wine type of girl.

Tacos El Guero were the BEST tacos I’ve ever had outside of Mexico. And that’s not a small glory. Check it out!

I love the new. I love the old. I started my shopping spree last saturday by checking out the stuff that Alissa Gearing carefully selects for her Re-Finery bazaar. Every six weeks she spreads the word out and gets tons of girls avid for bargains on Jimmy Choo, Saks and other brands. Me and a Elizabeth & James little black dress was love at first sight! Love the colorful belt from below.

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36 hours in Dallas – weekend 1 of …

I just can’t get enough of Dallas during my weekends! Friday afternoon I’m always very excited about my plans. And they don’t even involve spending a whole afternoon at the beach like my friends and I used to do in South Beach. What a single girl like me can do on a weekend?

I don’t know a lot of people, so I often see myself really alone on a friday night and really not willing to go home. I also try to avoid a pick up bar where I would meet some jerks who think only because I am by myself, I a whore. So, this friday, I dressed nicely and went to Park, one of the best spots in the city for an informal dinner. Sat at the bar and had a glass of wine and meatballs as my starter. Thirty minutes later I have already engaged in a conversation with some interesting people. Well done.

7am – hmm, that wine wasn’t a good idea when I had to bike 40 miles in the morning with the BikeMart guys, was it? Every saturday morning, a bunch of men and some girls bike between 20 to 50 miles around Plano and Richardson. Cool to meet people and stay in shape. After my ride I always stop by Sprouts for some organics. Cheaper than Whole Foods.

1PM – A patio for lunch is always what I aim for. This time, Thomas Avenue Beverage Co followed by dessert at Villa-O, simply the best spot for a lazy afternoon. In front, the Sur La Table store deserves a visit. Always.

4 PM – Dallas always have some art fairs or bazzars happenning on the weekend. Check out D Magazine or Daily Candy. This weekend I had a blast at the Bishop Art District and had to control myself not to buy some expensive (but worth it) scarfs at an argentinian boutique. Tried to drink guarana at The Soda Gallery but they were sold out. The shop itself (photo below) is worth a visit. More than 200 of brand sodas from all over the world.

7PM – Magnolia movie theater has a special place in my heart. Around it, all the mainstream stores (Banana, Gap, Starbucks) and restaurants (Mi Cocina) and dozens of yogurt stores. Skip it and have the real deal at Paciugo italian ice cream.


7AM – As you can see above, I didn’t go out in my saturday night so I could run at the Katy Trail in the morning! After that, 1 hour swim with local triathletes at the DAM Masters Swimming program in the SMU University. This is as active as I can get.

12PM – my favorite brunch on a sunday morning is yet to be discovered. With some friends I made on friday night, went to BuzzBrews Kitchen.  I was not impressed, but only paid USD 15 for a huge mimosa and fresh egg whites omelette. Not bad.

2PM – The Nasher Sculpture Center is small, but I love the space. Have been going there to see art, walk in the garden’s, drink expensive macchiato at their modern cafeteria (photo below). Don’t try to sleep in their Ligne Roset grey sofa. Been there, done that. Security doesn’t like it.

4PM – How about Villa-o again for lazy afternoon? Yeahh, I a mayor now.

8PM – Could go for pizza at Campania, where you can bring your own wine and have really good shit. Chose to cook and end my weekend watching Saraband on Netflix. Ah, the single life…


Filed under Restaurants, Weekend