Monday, May 23, 2011

Take her to Dallas.

Sweep your sweetheart off her feet and head for the Dallas Arts District. Over the past 30 years, the city has relocated existing art facilities and built new ones along a sweeping path in the northeast corner of the downtown district. Today you can visit a museum, hear a symphony, enjoy the ballet and dine sumptuously while relaxing at a nearby hotel. Here are suggestions for where you can stay, play and enjoy the area.

Share your artistic interests. Take her to the Dallas Museum of Art for an afternoon of intellectual sharing. The Asian Art Collection (on permanent display) features items ranging from Gandharan Buddhist works from the second century through elaborate sculptures from India’s Mughal Dynasty through the 19th century. Be sure to check out Art of the American Indians: The Thaw Collection (through September 4th) celebrating the continuing vitality of Native American Art.
Dallas Museum of Art * 1717 North Harwood * (214) 922-1200 *

Does she love dance? You have to check out the Dallas Black Dance Theater. The energy, intensity and power exhibited by the dancers will take your breath away. On the calendar this week: the Spring Celebration, a five day performance spree and grand finale showcasing the best of the theater’s dance this year. Performances are held at the Wyly Theatre, the world’s only vertical theater, an innovative space that well captures the spirit and motion of the crew.
Dallas Black Dance Theatre at the Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre * 2400 Flora Street * (214) 871-2376 *

Is music her thing? Catch performances at the new Winspear Opera House, a state of the art performance space in the middle of a new 10 acre art park. If she’s a fan of 80s hair bands, take her to see Rock of Ages (May 17-29), a musical featuring the music of REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Styx, Night Ranger and Journey. Or kick back and enjoy one of Broadway’s biggest hits, Billy Elliott the Musical (June 8-July 3), on the stage.
Winspear Opera House * 2403 Flora #500 * (214) 443-0143 *

More music is right next door.
The Meyerson Symphony Center has been named one of the top musical performance halls in the world. Stroll down Memory Lane with hits from Irving Berlin to Richard Rogers with Marvin Hamlisch (May 27-28) or celebrate the life and music of Cole Porter with the Turtle Creek Chorale (June 23-26) in this beautiful facility.
Meyerson Symphony Center * 2301 Flora * (214) 670-3600 *

Dine and walk. The Dallas Arts District is growing new restaurants all the time. A couple of standouts that’d make a great place to enjoy a fantastic dinner right before the show:

Jorge’s Tex-Mex Café. Jorge’s family has been doing the Tex-Mex thing since 1957; the Arts District café opened in 2008. Often filled with show goers and art fanatics, the comfortable space at One Arts Plaza offers indoor or outdoor dining on favorites such as Lala’s Brisket Tacos, West Tex-Mex Ribs, incredible Veggie Enchiladas, Pork Shanks and a delightfully light Ceviche of Mahi Mahi and avocado. The queso is a peppery salute to good cheese -- have yours with the ground beef.
Jorge’s Tex-Mex Café * 1722 Routh St., Suite 122 * (214) 720-2211 *

Stephan Pyle’s. If you really want to impress the one you love best, take her for dinner at one of the swankiest restaurants in Dallas. Under custom lights and décor and groovy downtempo and European beats, enjoy New Millenium Southwest Cuisine. Every meal is a work of art. You’d be hard-pressed to find another place that serves Pulled Spit-Roasted Suckling Pig with Apples, Cardamom, and Mint or a whole fish baked and then roasted with vanilla and fennel. The Tamale Tart with Roast Garlic Custard and Jumbo Lump Crabmeat is so good you’ll get teary-eyed. Reservations highly recommended.
Stephan Pyle’s * 1807 Ross Avenue, Suite 200 * (214) 580-7000 *

Stay close. When I am in the area I like the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. It’s the largest hotel in the state of Texas, which means it has some things you won’t find at smaller hotels. The rooms are spacious and spread out over three towers. There are facilities for getting online and working out, and some rather decent dining options to boot. Kick back and relax on one of the hotel’s custom beds or go relax in a cabana after a soak in a rooftop pool.

If your sweetheart is more interested in you than art, you’re in the right place. Choose in-room dining or get your shoes on and head down to The Kitchen Table. This American favorites restaurant serves up some of the most amazing macaroni and cheese you’ll find in the state, along with Coffee Rubbed Short Ribs, Chicken Fried Pot Roast and Blackened Shrimp on Grits.

If you’re up later than usual and want to share some fun, hang out in Draft Media Sports Lounge. Not just for sports fans, the space includes interactive video game options, pool tables and two karaoke lounges. The fare embraces pub favorites such as pizza on flatbread, slider burgers and the largest pile of nachos you’ve ever consumed.

Other dining options include breakfast pastries, coffee and such at Peet’s and afternoon sweets and cool treats at Chill.
Sheraton Dallas Hotel * 400 North Olive Street * (214) 922-8000 *

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