Will the Dallas Stars be Ready in 2014-15?

October 22nd, 2014

Welcome cooler weather, and welcome back hockey season. And with the dawn of the 2014-15 NHL season at hand, the Dallas Stars are no longer expecting to just play a rebuilding seaon. This year, they plan to do some damage. Are they ready?

Well, yes, actually, they are. The Stars, in fact, should be a playoff contender and there’s no reason to think they couldn’t go far. Last season was a lot better than anyone expected, and the young team ‒‒ captained by 25-year-old Jamie Benn ‒‒ is more confident and experienced. Their play t the end of last season was better than their play at the beginning, and the Stars’ playoff run did a lot more damage to the Anaheim Ducks than anyone thought.

This year, the Stars are taking their experience in the season and the playoffs and wrapping it up in a series of players who are entering their prime years. This could be a devastating combo come April, when the hunt for the Stanley Cup kicks into overdrive.

What the Stars have this year is a powerful power play squad and an all-around, blue-collar team unafraid to get dirty and play hard. There’s also newcomers like Anders Lindback, who will be the backup to ace goalie Kari Lehtonen, and the much-anticipated Cody Eakin and Brenden Dillon, who recently signed onto the Dallas bench and are likely to add some needed speed and muscle.

Also hopeful this year, is the return of forward Rich Peverley, whose on-bench collapse last year sidelined him while doctors tried to mend his irregular heartbeat. Though not cleared for play yet, Peverley is working out with the team and could see some action some time this year.

Either way, the Stars are loaded for bear and ready for the ice this season. And there’s no doubt that this year’s club actually could give Big D a reason to cheer on a championship contender.

The Five Best (and Sometimes Oddest) Sandwiches in DFW

October 17th, 2014

 

Everybody loves a good sandwich. But for the adventurous out there, take heart ‒‒ DFW has no shortage of oddball gems that go great between two slices of bread (or some other form of exquisite pastry). But just don’t take our word for it. Consider what the folks at the Dallas Observer consider among the best sandwiches in town.

1. Challah French Toast Sandwich at the Coffee House Cafe

It might have a redundant name, but the Coffee House Café’ offers an epic breakfast sandwich that makes up for the traffic you must endure to get to this fine Frankford Road eatery. The challah French toast sandwich is a breakfast all its own ‒‒cheddar cheese, bacon, and one egg, over-easy that comes with a side of fried potatoes.

 

2. The Doc Brown at the  Pecan Lodge

Main Street, where Downtown meets Deep Ellum, offers the best sandwich you can’t always get. Served in limited edition and only occasionally, the Doc brown is a brisket sandwich on a sesame seed bun served up by the folks at Pecan Lodge. Smokey and mesquite-infused, this Wagyu brisket delight is a match for any appetite and may be the best $11 you get to spend when it makes an appearance.

 

 

3. The Rueben at Coppell Deli

Step just outside Dallas and find this disarmingly delicious version of the classic Rueben sandwich ‒‒corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing on lightly toasted rye. The Coppell Deli is somewhat easy to spot, as it’s a small, unassuming, classical-looking deli joint amid Coppell’s high-end homes. But don’t let the humble digs fool you. This is a Rueben you can’t get in many places outside New York. And it’s a lot less of a hassle to get it here.

 

 

4. The Prosciutto Panini at CavalliThe Prosciutto Panini at Cavalli

Irving may not be where you first think of for great Italian food, but drop into Cavalli and indulge in a sandwich so Italian, you’ll almost wish you were on a gondola. This concoction of prosciutto, basil, tomatoes, “fresh” mozzarella, and olive oil is served on pizza dough and is as good as it sounds.

 

 

Pulled Pork5. The Whole Hog at Smoke

This sandwich of pulled pork, mustard vinegar sauce, blue cheese , and cole slaw may be the best handheld lunch in Oak Cliff. Made Carolina-style and intoxicatingly smoky (what else would you expect from a place called Smoke?), you’ll gun this down faster than you want to. Try it with a side of hominy for a serious down-home treat, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Got a better sandwich? Tell us where to find it. We’d love to know.

New Homebuilding: Dallas Is Revitalizing

October 14th, 2014

It’s no overstatement to say that Dallas has blossomed in the past few years. New business, new residents, new commercial buildings, and new roadway projects have turned Dallas into a major growth hub.

The snag, however, lies in housing growth, particularly in the area surrounding the Trinity River. This is where the Trinity River Corridor Project is making this mighty greenway into a major recreation area. But it’s also where, especially south of the river, middle-income families aren’t staying around because there’s not enough good housing there.

Recently, the Dallas Morning news reported on this idea, saying that as more families leave the area, more tax dollars go with them. And as neighborhoods south of the Trinity get more vacant, there seems to be less motivation to build up new neighborhoods that can attract a stable base of residents.

The fact is, in order for Dallas to reach its potential, it needs some new housing in areas like that south of the Trinity. In other areas, such as West Dallas and North Oak Cliff, single-family development is setting the stage for revitalization. As the Morning News reported, an Austin-based developer plans to build 60 homes on a five-acre site near the Belmont Hotel, making it the first new home development proposed in West Dallas in years. The News calls the development “a potential game-changer for an area in which developers already have begun to build hundreds of rental apartment units.”

Nearby, the old 25-acre industrial tract on Singleton Boulevard near Sylvan Avenue is gearing up for hundreds of new apartments and some retail and single-family homes. Likewise, plans to build homes on the 22-acre site in North Oak Cliff at Colorado Boulevard and Fort Worth Avenue (where the Colorado Place apartments once stood) are turning North Oak Cliff and West Dallas into some of the hottest redevelopment property in Dallas.  And the effects can be huge ‒‒ new homes means new businesses, new amenities, and new neighborhoods that bustle with vibrancy.

Keep an eye on this end of town, big things are happening there.

A Look at the Trinity River Project

October 13th, 2014

For all the hopes and plans, the Trinity River Corridor Project is about to be a reality. A big reality. After all, the Trinity River Corridor Project is a monumental public works and economic development project. This will be no mere park, the TRCP will incorporate recreation, environmental restoration, economic development, and major transportation components along the riverfront that will open up new travel and destinations in and around Dallas.

A main component will be the river ecosystem, which has been troubled by drought. Planners are working to build and restore an ecosystem that balances wildlife and habitat amid the trails, parks, lakes, the Great Trinity Forest (the largest urban bottomland forest in the world, and the Trinity Audubon Center.

The TRCP will also feature an equestrian center, “signature” bridges, and new urban development, such as waterfront  residential and commercial space, where people can live, shop, dine, visit, and enjoy what is expected to be abundant nightlife.

This 20-mile, 10,000-acre project will stretch from Web Chapel in the north to I-20 and is expected to be open to the public by 2017. When it’s open, the area will boast diverse sports and recreation (including what should be a world-class golf course, vast woodlands, boardwalks, and birdwatching outposts.

The preservation of the wilderness amid the urban location is a major must for the developers. And recreation along the river, even beyond the TRCP will open up once Dallas gets back to using the waterway, which can take visitors from the Santa Fe Trail to the Gulf of Mexico.

Preserving the wilderness within the city limits of Dallas, with possibly the largest urban bottomland hardwood forest in America, is part of the Trinity River Corridor Project’s environmental and recreational charter. The boundaries of the forest extend from the Santa Fe Trestle Trail near Corinth Street and Riverfront Boulevard within view of downtown Dallas, to just past IH-20, an eleven-mile stretch of land that basically follows the Trinity River. Once the river leaves the forest, its course continues for another 450 miles down to the Gulf of Mexico.

Progress since the TRCP was first greenlighted in 1998 has not been without its share of troubles. A proposed toll road (approved by voters) has earned a lot of scorn and plans to engineer roadways through the project area are considered not cost-effective. But once complete, the TRCP could reinvigorate a long-neglected area of DFW that has a lot of great history and is closely tied to the development of Dallas. Whatever happens, we’ll know sooner than later.

Flying to DFW? Take the DART Downtown

October 9th, 2014

 

Getting to DFW is the easy part. Getting around in the traffic can be … well, let’s just say it’s not something you’ll look back on fondly in your old age.

But there’s good news ‒‒ if you or a loved one or friend is travelling to Dallas-Fort Worth, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, or DART, has now opened its Orange Line extension. At long last, travelers to the third-busiest airport in the country can finally hop on one of the best light rail systems around and take it straight to Downtown Dallas. The Orange line from Terminal A at DFW International Airport takes visitors straight into the heart of Dallas’ arts, culture, nightlife, and events.

The new DART link connects visitors to the most popular venues and areas of Dallas, including the Arts District, the city’s business and commerce hub, and Fair Park. And for those looking to hop a train to the city’s other great venues, such as American Airlines Arena, DART offers many connections to the best of Big D.

By the way, if you don’t land at Terminal A, it’s not a problem. DART’s Terminal Link takes passengers from one terminal to the next at the airport.

The introduction of the Orange Line is the latest step from DART to boost the light rail system. Over the past few years, DART has made it easier to buy mobile tickets with the GoPass app and increased its service to Dallas’ other airport, Love Field. Over the next few years, you’ll also see a lot more upgrades in the DART system. The carrier plans to roll out enhanced pedestrian and recreation areas, including parks, a new trolley system, and access to the much-anticipated Trinity River Corridor Project. This 10,000-acre greenway will include a major new golf course and is expected to be ready for its grand unveiling in 2017.

Fortunately, you won’t have to wait that long in traffic to get from the airport to Downtown Dallas now that the Orange Line is open.

Visit the 2014 Texas State Fair

October 3rd, 2014

What would Dallas be … Actually, what would Texas be without the Texas State Fair? So big that it takes almost a month to accomplish!

Well, now that it’s October, you can take a trip to Fair Park to see Big Tex and take in the scope of the fair that boasts everything from rides and food to demos and crafts. The 2014 Texas State Fair runs until October 19 and is open Sundays through Thursdays until then. General admission is $17. Kids under 4 feet tall and seniors over 60 years old can get in for $13. Kids under age 3 can get in for free, as can seniors on Thursdays (October 9 & 16).

There’s never a shortage of things to do at the fair. Drop in to catch the Guacamole Demonstrations at the Cutco Celebrity Chef Kitchen, where a dazzling display of knife skills leads to awesome guacamole that you get to sample (and you’ll want to). Demos are at 11:30 a.m.daily, except for Thursday and Sundays. You can also see the Milking Demo in the Food and Fiber Building, and learn about how milk gets from the farm to your fridge. There are five daily demos where you can learn about the different types of cows, milk production, and actually see a dairy cow being milked.

Rather see some impressive artwork? Check out the chalk art in the Children’s Boardwalk, where artist Juan Miguel Aguirre is working on some incredible 3-D chalk art over by the Lagoon. From a rollercoaster to Big Tex himself, you won’t believe what he is doing with chalk. Or you could visit the Truck Zone, where automakers have built a city outside the Automobile Building to showcase the latest trucks. There are loads of activities to go along with the hot wheels ‒‒ bull riding, concerts, fun and games. It’s not just about the sweet rides.

Or, if you want a quieter pursuit, take a picture on the new Pontoon Bridge, spanning the Lagoon. The fair built the new bridge to provide better access to the construction exhibit and the Kids’ Boardwalk. It is a perfect place to snap a picture of the Texas Star, or a killer selfie.

In other words, there’s always something to do, and you can spend all day doing it at the Texas State Fair. Just make sure you don’t wait until November to drive out, because Big Tex waves adios for the year on the 19th.

Fort Worth’s 5 Tallest Skyscrapers

September 8th, 2014

While the Forth Worth skyline may not scrape the Olympian heights of Chicago, New York, or even Dallas, the downtown houses some mighty architecture looming over the city. Fort Worth’s post-modernist architecture, actually, is quite the complement to the city’s simple, clean, unpretentious image.

 

1. Wells Fargo Tower/Omni Fort Worth Hotel

Fort Worth has a tie for fifth place on its tallest buildings list. Wells Fargo Tower and the Omni both reach 447 feet. Wells has 33 floors and was completed in 1982. For a year, it was the city’s highest peak, until Burnett Plaza was completed. The Omni, completed in 2009, is the tallest building built in Fort Worth this century.

 

2. Fort Worth Tower

Before the Wells Fargo Tower took the prize away from it, the Fort Worth Tower was the city’s tallest structure. In 2000, a tornado nearly ruined this fine old building. It was saved from the chopping block by an effort to convert it to a residential building ‒‒ now the tallest such building in the city. It now is Fort Worth’s fourth-tallest building, at 488 feet.

 

3. Carter and Burgess Plaza

Known more by its address than proper name, 777 Main Street, the plaza building stands where the city’s famed Aviation Building stood from 1930 to 1978. The building has had many monikers over the years, including Continental Plaza and UPR Plaza. But it’s always stood 525 feet tall.

 

4. D.R. Horton Tower

The D.R. Horton Tower misses being the tallest building in Fort Worth by a mere 20 feet. At 547 feet, this 38-floor giant is the taller of the two towers in the City Center Towers Complex.

5. Burnett Plaza

Since its completion in 1983, Burnett Plaza has ruled the skies of Fort Worth’s downtown. It’s 40 floors soar to 567 feet and stands on the former site of the Medical Arts Building. The plaza also features the 50-foot “Man With a Briefcase” sculpture by Jonathan Borofsky ‒‒ an aluminum sculpture with the cutout of a businessman in the center.

Free Dallas – Fort Worth & North Texas Museums | Free Family Fun

September 2nd, 2014

 

One of the great things about the DFW Metroplex is just how much culture you get. The arts are big and bold here (this is Texas, after all), and in many of the finest museums, it’s actually free.

Dallas Museum of Art

 

Formerly paid-entry, the DMA now offers free admission to some of the finest art in the Southwest. With permanent and regularly changing exhibitions, you can see everything from early American to pop; from classical to post-modern.

Crow Collection of Asian Art

 

Just across the street from the DMA, at the base of the Trammell-Crow Center downtown, is the Crow Collection of Asian Art. This two-floor museum, with some outdoor art and gardens to boot, is rich in Oriental and South Asian art, artifacts, sculptures, and cultural relics.

Museum of Geometric and MADI Art

 

Over in Uptown, at 3109 Carlisle Street, is the MADI, a museum and gallery of unique geometric art for the modern eye. The MADI is open every day except Monday.

Amon Carter Museum

 

Amon Carter Museum

The granddaddy of American Art in North Texas is Fort Worth’s Amon Carter Museum. Though special exhibits almost always come with an entry fee, admission to the Amon Carter’s permanent collection is always free and many temporary collections are free as well. The museum also sponsors family days with crafts, storytime, lectures, talks, and tours, all free.

Kimbell Art Museum

 

Not far from the Amon Carter, in the Fort Worth Cultural District, is the Kimbell. Admission to the permanent collection is free, though there is usually a fee to view temporary collections. Tuesdays offer half-price admission to the temporary exhibits.

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

 

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth features art in all forms, in all media, created after World War II. It’s permanent collection includes pieces by legends like Picasso and Warhol. While the Modern charges a fee most days, Wednesdays and the first Sunday of every month are free.

Sid Richardson Museum

 

If you want to see some great Western art, head to Fort Worth’s Sundance Square area and see the Sid Richardson Museum. This museum is always free and features works by such Western-themed masters as Charles M. Russell and Frederic Remington.

Dallas’ 5 Tallest Skyscrapers

August 29th, 2014

 

Ah, the Dallas skyline. One of the most recognizable skylines in the country, if for no other reason than Reunion Tower and the giant ball of light thereon.

But did you know that Reunion Tower is actually not the tallest building in the city? It’s not even in the top five. Which buildings overshadow Big D’s most notable architectural landmark?

1. Fountain Place

Arguably the most beautiful skyscraper in town, Fountain Place is Dallas’ fifth-tallest building, and the 106th-tallest in the United States. This is the slivery-blue skyscraper that twists like a glimmering, 62-story ice cream cone. It measures 720 feet tall and features a dazzling, walk-through falling-water garden at its base.

 

2. JPMorganChase Tower

At 738 feet and 55 floors, this tower of financial power is the fourth-tallest building in Dallas. It also is the 91st-tallest in the United States. Built in 1987, this building is known for its curved glass top and a seven-story hole in the top-center that gives it its more common nickname: The Keyhole Building.

 

3. Comerica Bank Tower

Originally known as Momentum Place, the tower was built as the new headquarters of MCorp Bank in 1987. The building stands 787 feet (60 floors) tall and is the 52nd-tallest in the country. It also is a main hub in the Dallas Pedestrian Network and features retail spaces underground.

 

4. Renaissance Tower

Renaissance Tower, at 886 feet, is the runner-up for Dallas’ tallest building. It is the 25th-tallest in the U.S. and 143rd-tallest in the world. Originally constructed in 1974 to a height of 710 feet, this building would actually be the city’s fifth-tallest skyscraper if not for the addition of rooftop spires added in 1987, bringing it’s bottom-to-top measurement just shy of the city’s tallest.

 

5. Bank of America Tower

The tallest structure in the city, Bank of America Tower has loomed over all other buildings in town since 1985. It is the third-tallest building in Texas, 22nd-tallest in the U.S., and 123rd-tallest in the world. It measures 921 feet and 72 stories.

Our Dallas Cowboys ‒‒ Will They Be As Hot As Our Real Estate Market?

August 27th, 2014

 

All right, so there’s not been that much to cheer about at Cowboys Stadium these last few (or several) years. And yes, we all know about the dysfunctional management, the questionable calls, the trades of promising players (so long, DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher).

But does that mean the 2014-15 season will be another bleak chapter in a once-proud history? Not absolutely. Maybe the ‘boys won’t boom like Dallas’s real estate market (seriously, it’s on fire right now), but there’s plenty to look forward to this coming season.

For one thing, Dallas hasn’t, at least, gotten worse. Last year’s second-place, 8-8 finish would be a welcome record for a lot of teams (namely our fellow Texans down in Houston), even if it’s old news for Cowboy fans. And the Cowboys went 5-1 against their division rivals, which counts for a lot, as the East heats up. For another thing, despite the losses of DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher, the Cowboys picked up Henry Melton, rookie phenom Zack Martin, and DeMarcus Lawrence.

Dallas also picked up former Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who managed the seemingly impossible task of turning the worst team in NFL history into a near-contender. Dallas, after all, will need a major offense (especially to compensate for the porous defense), and even if the defense doesn’t look much improved, the offense could surprise.Jason Witten

Whether the team itself will burn as brightly as the city’s condo and housing market, the scrutiny on head coach Jason Garrett, in his last season under contract, will be sizzling. Cowboys owner George Steinbrenner ‒‒ I mean, uh, Jerry Jones ‒‒ would love to see Garrett rebuild the franchise into an above-.500 winner, but let’s be real, another 8-8 year won’t likely spell a renewal for Coach Garrett.

The important thing to consider is that while the Cowboys might not offer a ton of reasons for believing in improvement this year, the rest of the NFC is going through some shakeups as well. If the Philadelphia Eagles get the sophomore jinx under their new head coach, Chip Kelly, and the ‘skins and Giants stay humble, it’s not a bad bet that Dallas could actually win the division.

Hey, dare to dream, right?