Around 5:30 on Friday morning, we left Lawton and headed 3 hours south to Fort Worth, Texas. Did you know it is the 16th largest city in the United States? Clay’s reserve unit is stationed at NAS JRB Fort Worth and the little guy and I decided to accompany him this time on one of his many trips to the Lone Star State. My exposure to the Dallas and Fort Worth area has been limited to the airport and the roads leading northwest to Lawton so I was looking forward to doing some exploring while Clay was busy with the Army. We couldn’t check into base lodging until later that afternoon so the little guy and I ventured to Target and an indoor mall – our options were limited in the rainy weather but I didn’t care, I was around real shopping!
We met Clay for lunch at Gloria’s Restaurant in Montgomery Center. Upon being seated, we learned the restaurant was a Texas chain, which disappointed us a bit (we try to avoid chains when traveling) but it was getting late and our stomachs were yelling “Feed me!” Thankfully we were given chips, salsa, and a whipped black bean dip right away. Since Gloria’s is advertised as a tex-mex restaurant with a salvadorian twist, I opted for the mini-salvadorian sampler called Nancy’s Favorite, which consisted of a tamale, pupusas, black beans and rice. Having never experienced salvadorian food before, I have nothing to compare it to but I will say that it was okay. Just okay. I did not like the dry spicy cabbage that was served on the side (I just wished it was kimchi), the tamale was bland, and the pupusas was not my style. However, I am glad I that I tried something new and veered from my typical mexican order of tostadas or chimichangas. The chicken fajitas Clay ordered were tasty but the winning dish of the meal went to Weston’s black bean and cheese nachos. I would order those again in a heartbeat. In fact, I ate the rest of his order while he was napping. Bad mommy. But so delicious.
After Clay finished up work, we checked into our room and relaxed a bit before grabbing some dinner. Weston fell asleep in his car seat during our search so we decided to find a counter-service place as opposed to a sit-down restaurant. We consulted Yelp and chose Woody Creek Bar-B-Que. The weather was quite volatile and Weston was not a happy camper at first, but our meal turned out to be really nice, all things considering. Clay and I each had a $1.50 can of Pabst Blue Ribbon (talk about classy…) and the three of us split a four-meat plate (ribs, pulled pork, chopped beef, and chicken breast) with fries and coleslaw. One thing we noticed about Texas barbecue (at least in Ft. Worth) is that the sauce is always provided in little cups on your plate rather than squirt bottles on the table. Ugh. I don’t know about you guys, but I much prefer bottles on the table – I like lots of finger-licking sauce! This barbecue was nothing earth shattering but it was better than average so we can’t complain.
On Saturday morning, the little guy and I checked out the planes on base while Clay was away. Weston is obsessed and couldn’t believe that so many fighter jets were available for him to touch. If only adults would approach things in life with such excitement.
We joined Clay and other members of his unit for lunch at Railhead Smokehouse, a BBQ restaurant in Willow Park. It’s Clay’s favorite place to eat when he is down in Fort Worth so he was excited to for Weston and I to sample the goodness. I chose a chopped brisket sandwich with coleslaw and potato salad (I took some fries from Clay’s plate). Everything was delicious and we agreed that Railhead Smokehouse is better than Woody Creak Barb-b-q.
On Saturday night we finally went to the place I was most looking forward to checking out…
Home to the Stockyards Championship Rodeo, the Stockyards District is a former livestock market that is now home to a number of attractions, restaurants, and shops. The famous boot company, ML Leddies, is located in the historical district, as well as the Stockyard Stables, an opry, cowboy saloons, and Tim Love’s Lonesome Dove restaurant. If we were sans little guy, Clay and I totally would have dropped the cash to experience a Texas staple but alas, the famed dining establishment wasn’t kid-friendly.
The drinking of microbrew beers on the street is highly encouraged. We chose a brew from Rahr & Sons Brewing Company, located in Fort Worth. Speaking of beer, did you know that this week (May 14 -20) is American Craft Beer Week?
This trip was Weston’s first experience with ballon animals. The clown (artist?) was a nice guy who worked only for tips. Weston stared in wonderment as he crafted a dog on a leash for our little guy. The man sitting next to us at dinner (more on that in a bit) informed us that the clown attends The Cowboy Church every Sunday and makes balloon animals for the children in the congregation. How awesome is that?
You can’t go to The Stockyards without riding a horse!
We ate dinner at The Cattlemen’s Steakhouse. Now the place looked as if it hadn’t been renovated since it opened in 1947 but when you’re in the business of selling steaks, I suppose it doesn’t matter too much. Clay and I both opted for the filet, which was melt-in-your-mouth crazy delicious (in case you were wondering, the little guy chose chicken fingers). The cook prepared the steaks over an open grill in the middle of the restaurant – just meat & fire. The steaks had no seasoning or butter that you typically find at Ruth Chris Steak House, Flemings Prime Steakhouse, and similar places. Clay had a loaded baked potato for his side and I had horseradish mashed potatoes as mine. Our meals also came with a house salad. It was an experience I’m glad we had but next time we’re at The Stockyards, we will try a different restaurant – there are many!
So there you have it – my recap of our quick weekend in Fort Worth, Texas. Being in a big city again cemented my position that country life isn’t for me. I love the hustle and bustle, the options, and excitement that metropolitan areas provide. I’m sure it goes without saying but I highly recommend Fort Worth to any travelers out there – you will not be disappointed!