Category Archives: Fort Worth

Intent

I was going to write separate posts about The Wari Exhibit at the Kimbell Museum and Ellerbe’s Fine Foods, both very enjoyable parts of my weekend, but  instead just a brief bit about both, then on to an observation I found interesting.

The Wari Exhibit at the Kimbell Museum is well-done both in content and presentation, the later more an artifact of the Kimbell’s incredible design considerations. The Wari were a Peruvian culture pre-dating the Incans. In fact, most speculate that the Incans derived a substantial portion of their customs from the Wari. The Wari did not have a written language nor a consistent symbology yet they recorded details using colored threads which were assembled in disturbingly elaborate patterns. Also, the textile based tunics they wove – by hand – look painted; a precise and detailed craftsmanship that boggles the mind, considering their reign was 600-900 AD. Alas, no photos were allowed so you’ll just have to see for yourself before the exhibit leaves 8 Sept.

After the Wari Exhibit there was a birthday dinner. Ellerbe’s Fine Food was the venue we selected for an in absentia birthday dinner for our friend, The Italian. Highly favourable ratings with some exceptions. Personally, I was a fan across the board – comfortable in-house atmosphere, decent prices, excellent service,   innovative and high-quality dishes without being complicated or pretentious.

Now, onto my observation. In the past month I’ve had numerous conversations about my intent for blogging. Most people don’t ask the simple question – Why? – they just make assumptions based on their perspective of the world. In one day I heard so many different perspectives on why I blog that it made me laugh out loud, mostly because they were all wrong. Absurdly so.

And now the weave in. At Ellerbe’s there were 6 people and I appreciated the group symmetry – 2 couples, 2 singles, 3 men, 3 women, 2 right-brain thinkers, 2 left-brain thinkers, 2 center-brain thinkers – the couples were both composed of one right and one left-brain thinker. Its unfair to lump cognitive abilities into left, right and center brain granularity, world being shades of gray and all, but its generally true. Left brain thinkers process objective information and make decisions on such, right brain thinkers process subjective information and make decisions on such. Center brain thinkers are more difficult to understand since they context switch between left and right brain modes or create hybrid models, whatever they think will work the best situationally.

I’m center brain and true to form, it was the other center-brain thinker at Ellerbe’s who pegged my blogging intent without much effort. Its a database, a resource, a place, given my rather frightening inability to imprint minutiae to long term memory, to recall details.

In other words, an objective mechanism to extract the subjective.

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Little Lilly Sushi

There are sushi bars and then there are sushi bars. Little Lilly is the later. Lilly’s is running under an old-school philosophy – fish, raw, on a plate speaks for itIMG_1313self. I’m on board with that philosophy. Some newer sushi places have stopped short of adding rhinestone tiaras and sparklers to sushi but they still smother rolls in sickly sweet mayo sauces and misguided presentation as marketing gimmicks to distract from lower quality ingredients.

Lilly’s came as a recommendation from the Marketing Goddess, a good friend and fellow foodie in Dallas. I’m normally on the giving end of restaurant recommendations but Marketing Goddess and I have similar tastes and expectations, so off I went.

Lilly is the owner’s daughter. And the Lilly Roll featured under house specialties is a vegetarian roll created for Lilly since she is allergic to all seafood. If you picked up on the personal touch in those two facts, get ready to feel it up close and in real-time when you take a seat.

Atmosphere
Minimalist but well-appointed decor. Small, 6 seats at the bar, 20 seats otherwise. No club music. The patrons seem to be the conservative, well-heeled variety, more concerned with quality than price. Lilly’s seems more the place for conversation, good friends and lingering.

Service
Great. Sushi chef was deeply knowledgeable about the offerings and very good at matching  personal tastes to whats on the menu. I’m not usually a fan of salmon nigiri but he highly recommended the wild New Zealand Salmon, claiming he had not tasted anything quite so fresh and flavourful in a long time. He was right.

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Food

All wins.

Litmus Test: For virgin sushi restaurants I have a litmus test of Yellowtail and Fresh Eel nigiri. If those don’t pass, I won’t order anything else and usually, I won’t return. Both passed with exceptional marks.

Salmon Nigiri: Chef mentioned the wild New Zealand salmon was some of the best he had tried. While I’m usually not a fan of salmon nigiri, I had to agree with him, it was stellar!

Hawaii Roll: Since chef was spot on with the salmon nigiri suggestion I asked him to pick out a IMG_1316roll, something offbeat, something I could not not find elsewhere. He proudly made me a Hawaii roll which is tuna & avocado on the in, escolar on the out, topped with a small amount of light sauce made from lime juice and sriracha. An odd taste combination on paper but the flavours were truly a fantastic experience; lime, like lemon,enhancing the fish, sriracha sneaking in and lingering after the fish flavours dissipated.

Price
Lilly is on the high side, however the quality is likewise high. Here, I believe you are getting what pay for. 3 nigiri (2pcs each), 1 roll – $38.

Lunch: 10 August 2013

Little Lilly Sushi | 6100 Camp Bowie | Fort Worth, TX 76116

Trinity Trail, Redux

Back in May I walked part of the Trinity Trail, from Benbrook to South of Fort Worth. While July isn’t really the best time to be trekking 20 miles in Texas, I really wanted to finish the trail for the experience of seeing “the whole thing”.  Aside from a few legs that go off toward the east side of Fort Worth and out west to the Naval Air Base, I’m done!

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From the Crystelle Waggoner Trailhead on University St. its a little more of a urban experience. Straightaway, I ran into a group of food trucks gathering at the river’s edge tucked between office parks and other restaurants. From there it was just a short jaunt to the Trinity Park Trailhead opposite the Botanic Gardens. Around Trinity Park there were a couple of places to cross over the river into downtown; that is if you’re good at hopscotch, the crossovers are stepping stones, not bridges. Railroad crossings, standing kayakers and views of downtown Fort Worth emerged.

From the Trinity Park Trailhead up to the Panther Island Trailhead, downtown Fort Worth came more into focus and actually at Panther Island was easy to hop off the trail and down to Sundance Square, which has been the entertainment nucleus of downtown Fort Worth for many years.

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Crossing the river north from Panther Island downtown Fort Worth started to fade away and more pastoral and river views took center. You’ll also find this part of the trail is not frequented by many people, save a few cyclists. When you cross over the river at Hogsett Trailhead, you might as well have a sitdown and enjoy the last view of downtown.

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Beyond Hogsett there was nothing to see except the trees and the river, which were nice but the novelty wore off abruptly for me. After a mile or so it became industrial and for a long stretch there was no shade. I went all the way round to Delga Trailhead  near I-35, which is anchored by the small and lonely Delga Park.  I do not recommend going this far. Beyond Delga it was looking sketchy and the noise from the freeways and factories was not pleasant.

My bottom line for Trinity Trail is I like. I would do it again but only from Art Cowsen to Hogsett Trailheads and I would shoot for April or November.  Pop off destinations would be at Trinity Park for the Botanic Gardens, Kimbell and Modern Art Museums and at Panther Island for Sundance Square.

Terra

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I was curious about the big explosion of mixed use real estate around the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. 30 or so blocks of it snuck in while I wasn’t looking and it’s growing still. I’ve always liked this area of Fort Worth with its density of parks, museums and crazy criss-cross streets, some still with the original bricks from a horse-based transport era gone by.

I walked the area opposite of the Modern Art Museum and stumbled across Terra, a pan middle eastern restaurant buried underneath a tumble of post modern apartments. Anytime is the right time for kebabs!

Atmosphere
The interior is soft mod and comfortable, it’s lively without the need to scream through a conversation. Casual, mixed crowd, good patio space, which is probably quite nice on a day that isn’t 103.

Food
Chicken Kebab. So, I forget that the crowd in Fort Worth likes volume which is the polar IMG_1216opposite to the crowd living in its younger sister, Dallas. I asked Server if it was a double order since the plate weighed 3 pounds. Server laughed a little at my surprised expression and said “Good luck and welcome to Fort Worth!”. The chicken was marinaded in saffron and cream then grilled; pleasantly charred on the out, juicy and flavorful on the in. The rice had a distinct flavor of chelo, the Persian saffron rice, but the long grain rice was mixed with a pan fried vermicelli giving it a more silky texture; perfect. Grilled vegetables were just that although did pick up a faint lemon and pepper taste on what was mostly yellow bells, zucchini, button mushrooms and carrots; good pairing with the rice and chicken.

I could barely finish a third of the kebab, so it made for nice snacks later.

Service
Friendly, informative and efficient, apparently with a good sense of humor.

Price
Prices are a little more than normal about $15-20 for the kebabs but factor in that its seriously enough for two people. Unless you live in Fort Worth.

IMG_1213If you are ever in the Fort Worth near the area hosting the Botanic Gardens, Modern Art Museum and The Kimbell, I would definitely hop over University Ave and take a meal break at Terra. Just remember to bring a friend so you can split one Fort Worth sized plate. Also, parking in this area is completely insane so I’d leave your car at the museum and just walk the few blocks; it will take less time and be more enjoyable.

Dinner: 11 July 2013

Terra | 2973 Crockett St | Fort Worth, TX 76107

Trinity Trail

Th-upI was looking for something to insert between bookended meetings in Fort Worth. I found it in the form of a trek on the Trinity Trail. Trinity Trail  | IOS App is a system of trails between Benbrook, a community south of Fort Worth, circling West then North the East of downtown Fort Worth before ending at Gateway Park. Its a 60+ mile return but I only had time for the 20 mile return from Benbrook | Art Cowsen Trailhead to University Drive | Crystelle Waggoner Trailhead.  This path I saw as three segments (1) Benbrook to Bellaire Blvd (2) Bellaire Blvd until Trinity Chapel (3) Along the river to University Dr.

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Quality

Excellent. In all parts of the trail there was a paved path, very wide and clearly marked. In most parts there was also a parallel dirt path which, along the river, was also very wide and clearly marked. The paved paths looked brand new!

Trail

Difficulty

None. There was no change in surface elevation, no natural obstacles, and very little hairpin or switchback turns. The only challenge will be accomplishing the distance you want in the time you want.

Services

There were portapotties and drinking fountains (both human and pet) every 2-3 miles. The trailhead in Benbrook had about 30 parking spaces, it was nowhere near full when I arrived, nor when I left. I noticed  no stores/kiosks/restaurants along the path I took, except at the end near University St. Park benches were about every quarter mile.

Scenery

The first segment from Benbrook was largely wooded, occasionally broken up with large patches of wildflowers, and pastoral scenes with horses and cows. There were a number of creeks with narrow bridges.

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The second segment along Bellaire Blvd. took me through an older, immaculately manicured neighborhood. All lovely but it was a neighborhood, so not interesting for me. This segment was the shortest and ended at the Trinity Chapel.

The third segment was the path along the river. It seemed better to be on the North (West) side of the river (there are trails on either side). This way I had the river view overlooking the large acreage estates, country clubs and golf courses on the South (East) side as scenery. Occasionally downtown Fort Worth stuck it head out above the treeline to remind me of my proximity to the city.

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Experience

The majority of people on this trail are cyclists. Not your my-doc-told-me-to-exercise-my-fat-ass variety, rather the ones with focus and intensity, which to me meant, seriously competitive cyclists. They were very aware of and courteous to pedestrians. The “bike left”, “passing left” vocal warnings were common and appreciated.

Along the first segment I was somewhat overwhelmed by the smell of roses and honeysuckles but this ebbed and flowed as the scenery changed from dense woods to pasture. The shade along this segment was welcomed in the afternoon sun.

“The trail” in the second segment was actually just walking along the bike path in the street. It was a wide path and the motorists were very aware of and courteous to pedestrians. This was a boring stretch but it was also the shortest.

The third segment was people dense and more prone to joggers, large groups traveling together and women with strollers. At the end, near University Dr, the smell of barbeque and coffee made itself present thanks to a number of eateries on the surface streets just above the trail.

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Overall a good 20 mile walk!  I’ll be back to walk another segment of the Trinity Trail sometime over the summer!