It’s time to leave the state again and so I get myself a hearty last meal here in Nashville this morning. I hit up Arnold’s, an old grungy canteen style diner on the outskirts of the industrial Gulch.The line outside starts at 10.30am and the place is only open until 2:45pm Mondays through Fridays so it must be good. Inside, Arnold’s serves a set menu of home cooked meats and greens and you line up school cafeteria style and point out your choices. Having never eaten meat and three for breakfast, I wait excitedly.
I score myself roast beef, black eyed beans, collard greens, a tomato salad, sweet roll AND a slice of pecan pie. The guy ringing up my order (like, less than a tenner for all that!!) is enamoured by Hapless Brit, and once I take my seat at the long dining tables he brings me a hefty sized slice of peach pie saying ‘here you go England, this is the best darn peach pie in the whole of the USA!’ and it kind of is.
In fact, every bit of the meal is delicious but with the huge helpings, I barely do it justice.
Food coma rapidly approaching, I waddle like an oompa loompa back to collect my luggage and make it to the airport.
A storm is a blowin’ in as we board, and I’m pretty anxious for the first hour of the flight, where even the flight attendants have to remain seated due to us blowing haphazardly across the sky (just hopefully in the direction of Texas). Finally, we land in Dallas and the bad weather has passed.
I exit the Airport and take the orange line train, which is more like an overground/metro running through the streets at times. I pass Lake Carolyn and lots of impressive office buildings and new build housing. we tootle past The University of Dallas, and past the Texas Southwestern Medical Centre School, where plenty of students hop on in their scrubs. My stop is City Place/Uptown Station and I plonk out from the underground stop onto pleasantly leafy urban streets.
It’s very quiet and very chic and a trolley car runs down the street which is lined with cute little places to eat and drink; tables out on the sidewalk. It’s brown bricked buildings and upmarket clothing stores remind me of a cross between New York and Maryland and I’m slightly bewildered as this really wasn’t what I was expecting at all (no saloons or tumbleweeds in sight!).
I grab a coffee on McKinney Avenue and wait for my host to collect me. Given my last foray into airbnb landed me on the back of a motorbike zooming across the state lines, I’m hopeful that having someone to point me in the right direction here in Dallas will mean I have an equally adventurous time.
My host arrives and we head to the apartment which is lovely. I ditch my things and we head out of Uptown to explore the Arts District.
We go to Lockhart Smoke House where you order your meat by the pound, it gets cut in front of you and wrapped in paper for you to eat at tables; and no one even cards you when you buy a beer. It’s darn good and plenty busy for a mid week evening.
I’ve cumulatively consumed my own body weight in dead cow by now, so an after dinner stroll is in order. the quaint boutiques and art gallery spaces conjure up memories of Dulwich, Manchester and for some reason, Byron Bay.
It’s a really neat little district and I have have to remind myself I really don’t have any more space for coveted purchases, and there’s certainly no way in hell i’ll get a piece of art in, as my suitcase was made by Roxy, not Mary friggin’ Poppins.
The evening gets a little muggy so we head back, our drive giving me a brief tour of the city.
Mulling over my initial impressions of Dallas, and it’s completely not what I expected at all, rather than the scene of a 1950’s western movie, it is infact a lively, modern, cosmopolitan city.
Pondering on this, I decide that, despite my surprise, I’m still looking forward to seeing what happens here over the next few days; even if it looks like sadly none of it will now involve gunfights or cowboys-but a girl can still dream.