02 November 2007

Deep in the Heart of Texas

The Girlfriend and I went on a road trip to Texas last weekend. We drove ten straight hours from Memphis to Houston. The following morning, we went to The Houston Museum of Natural Science in order to see the 3.2 million year old bones of the Australopithecus afarensis Lucy. While the majority of the exhibit focused on Ethiopian history and culture, the last portion was dedicated to Lucy. In a small glass case you get to see a partial skeleton the size of a seven year old child. It's a humbling experience.

Ed. note: in reference to the first comment on this post, I picked up a couple of awesome "I Love Lucy" refrigerator magnets in the gift shop. A perfect mix of history and kitsch, which is what fun weekend getaways are all about.

Then it was off to Dallas. The hotel offered a complimentary glass of wine to be delivered later, and I just checked off the box for the sparkler. I wasn't expecting much, maybe a dull Korbel that flattened en route from the bar. Much to my surprise, I received two 187 mL bottles of NV Chandon Brut Classic in an ice bucket. A bit of toast on the nose, with crisp Chardonnay flavors and just a touch of lemon.

No hotel cooking on this trip... Instead we had a lovely dinner at The Oceanaire. The lady enjoyed the pan-fried trout in brown butter, while I had goat cheese crusted corvina with beet risotto. Simply amazing. I enjoyed mine with a glass of a Sancerre from Mollet: nice hints of apple and pear, solid structure and balanced acidity.

At right, the Old Red Museum of Texas history in downtown Dallas.

The most interesting part of the meal had to be the oysters. Out of the dozen varieties on the menu I told the waiter to pick six for me. I had Beau Soleil, Blue Point, Hurricane, Indian Point, Malpaque, and Tatamagouche. I really loved the smaller ones, some of which had a buttery flavor (such as the Indian Point). The Beau Soleil had an incredible, fresh from the ocean saltiness. The largest was the Blue Point, though even it was dainty compared to the big mud rocks we get in Memphis.

The next morning we were off to Dealy Plaza to visit the site of the JFK assassination. The photo at left was taken looking across the road where the event occurred. (If you click for the larger version, you might get to see little white crosses painted in the road to denote where the shots impacted.) It was surprising to see how small the entire area was; the plaza is split by a pair of roads that lead to and from the interstate, and the infamous Book Depository is a rather nondescript seven-story building on the corner. All of this is on the west side of Downtown Dallas.

I can highly recommend the museum in the Book Depository building. The displays and artifacts are tasteful and comprehensive, filling up the sixth floor where Oswald was perched. For instance, one display includes a sample of every kind of camera that was present at the event, and a future exhibit about photography is planned for the top floor.

Afterwards we made an appearance at a wedding reception then it was back home. A short but fun-filled trip: 1200 miles, two major historical exhibits, one fabulous seafood dinner, and gorgeous weather all the way.

1 comment:

Grace said...

Benito,

Thank you so much for the "I love Lucy" magnet. That was a very welcomed surprise on the fridge. I assume it was for me since Paul isn't a collector.

That was very thoughtful and I LOVE it!

Thanks again!