Christmastime for me means spending time with family, eating lots of good food, relaxing, contemplating Christmas pop culture, and carrying on traditions. This year, Jon and I repeated a tradition from last year, by driving to Fort Worth to pick up my sister Emily for the holidays. It's a nice excuse to get away right before Christmas and not feel like there are a million things that need to get accomplished the weekend prior. Also, it's just plain fun!
Jon and I both took the day off on Friday, and we arrived in Fort Worth that afternoon. We met up with Emily (who had just come straight from the school where she works, decked out in the world's most fabulous bedazzled Christmas vest), for a late lunch at Pho District, a Vietnamese restaurant that serves INCREDIBLE food.
^ You probably didn't know something that cute existed. Now you know.
And lunch was SO amazing at this restaurant that I'm going to do a whole separate post on the experience! It earned it. So more on that later, folks!
That night, Jon and I joined Emily and her boyfriend Danny in downtown Fort Worth for dinner at an Italian restaurant called Vivo 53.
We started off with the fried brussels sprouts and the burrata. The brussels sprouts were crispy and airy, and were made unique and enjoyable with the addition of salty capers. The burrata was soft, mild, and absolutely lovely when spread on some toasted crostini, and topped with olives and roasted vine tomatoes.
For my main dish, I ordered the restaurant's roasted mushroom pizza. I did like it, though I found the mushrooms to be a bit overwhelming. If they had been sliced instead of whole, I think it would have come together better. The caramelized onions and oozy taleggio were awesome though, and the dough was wonderfully golden and crispy.
The next morning we raided our hotel's A+ continental breakfast.
For lunch, we met up with Danny's awesome parents, Susie and Steve, at Fort Worth's Woodshed Smokehouse. This barbecue restaurant is enormous and has a lively giant patio, which we were able to sit on while enjoying the cool, sunny weather.
For our first round of food, we split the crispy potatoes, which were served with smoked garlic aioli and barbecue sauce. The crispy potatoes were - as the name implies - incredibly crispy and flaky. These were by no stretch healthy potatoes and were not pretending to be. They were hearty, slightly greasy, salty, and sinfully delicious when dipped in the creamy garlic aioli. Awesome!
As a vegetarian, when I go to barbecue restaurants, I sometimes find myself grasping at straws - Not so with Woodshed! For my main course of food I had crispy brussels sprouts (yes again, 'tis the season) and slow smoked cauliflower. The brussels sprouts were crunchy and tangy, having been marinated in a fermented lime vinaigrette. The cauliflower had a wonderful smokey flavor and swirled beautifully in a creamy, lemony, cheesy mornay. Not a bad meal, if I do say so myself!
That night, Emily and Danny hosted a tacky Christmas sweater at their apartment.
This marked the first time I had played beer pong in probably 10 years (ignore the fact that I filled my solo cups up with water, because I'm the #LifeOfTheParty). Regardless, even though Jon and I were the oldest folks there by an average age gap of about 8 years, I am happy to report that old ≠ lame. He and I hung in there until the bitter end! (2 am, to be exact. Which I don't think I'd seen in probably 15 years). We also played a "fun" game by Jelly Belly called Bean Boozled, which is really only fun if you get the good flavors and not things like barf and rotten eggs (Jon got those).
Before leaving Fort Worth the next day, Jon, Emily, Danny, and I fueled up with some tasty food at Fixture.
We started off with the restaurant's Texas beet fries. Served with a spicy, delicious aoili and pepita chili mix, these hearty beets were unique, flavorful, and insanely good!
For my main course, I ordered the veggie sandwich, which was loaded with raw carrots, radishes, cucumber, tomatoes, an herb vinaigrette, hummus, and cilantro pesto. Served on wheat bread, this healthy meal was fresh, filling, and just what I needed after my indulgent weekend!
Every time I go to Fort Worth, I have a fantastic couple of days. It's a really neat town, with countless fun and unique restaurants and food options. No doubt I'll be back again soon!