Long Island, NY to Dallas, TX

Call me crazy... but I was so excited to drive halfway across the country this past week! I received a very nonchalant phone call from my aunt asking, "would you want to drive our dog [Penny] from Long Island to Dallas?" Having thought about it for a few moments, I asked my husband via text message if he would want to take the drive. As you could imagine, he said NO!

I explained in further detail that we would be driving my aunt & uncle's car, with their pup and once we arrived in Dallas, we would be staying in a 5 star resort for more than a few nights. Kevin quickly changed his mind and we started planning the trip. After we discussed with my lovely aunt Kelly, she quickly bought us plane tickets to fly us back home. When I say quickly, I mean instantly - I guess she did not want us changing our mind!

We started mapping out the trip, trying to figure out the best way to go since it was going to be 4th of July weekend - one of the busiest traveled weekends of the year! I had bought my husband Guy Fieri's book, Diners, Drive-In's and Dives, which was a perfect guide as to which way we should travel.

After about 4 hours, my excitement wore off and I dreaded the next 23.5 hours ahead! Penny, the golden doodle, slept the entire 11 hour car ride on day 1. We drove straight through to Kingsport, TN where we reached our dingy and dirty hotel. All we wanted to do was sleep, so we crashed for about 4 to 5 hours, then hit the road again. Along the way, we had a lot of unhealthy fast food as there are not many choices on the rest stops. This made us only grasp the moment for the meals we would have once we arrived at the resort.

On day 2 we drove through the very long state of Tennessee, where the clocks went back 1 hour. We continued through Arkansas which was a very flat and boring scenery for us. The exits were far and in between, with not many food choices again. I chose a food truck to have lunch at from our DDD book, but saw on their facebook page that they changed locations last minute. The new location was a bit too far out of the way for us, especially with the napping Penny in our back seat so we just kept going. The time came, and we finally arrived to the Four Seasons at Los Colinas in Dallas, Texas after 15 and a half hours. Those final minutes driving up to the hotel entrance gave us a feeling that we will never forget.

Now for the good part of our journey. Food; it is my passion to eat it, to cook it, to look at. I admire everything about flavors, textures and taste. I fill up with excitement when I read through a menu, and can't wait to take that first bite. The food at the Four Seasons is exquisite. The chef, Christof Syre, is a German gentleman with much talent. The Four Seasons is lucky to have him. Below are some of our experiences throughout the days spent at this beautiful resort. Mix in swimming at the many pools, playing golf, receiving a relaxing watermelon pedicure, and this was the life we had. All of this made that very long drive seem forgotten.

Served right to our private villa, or ordered at the sit down hotel restaurant, Cafe on the Green. Kevin and I enjoyed the room service, as we got to enjoy these fantastic breakfast' in our robes. Fluffy scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, grilled & seasoned tomatoes, with spicy breakfast potatoes. Every morning the hotel had a "juice of the day" - which my favorite was the Raspberry Orange. The side of berries was always fresh, and the hot chocolate some of the best I ever had. The homemade whipped cream may have contributed to that!

My husband, Kevin, grew up down in Florida. He is from the south and loves his biscuits and sausage gravy. When I spotted this dish on the menu in Cafe on the Green, Kevin's smile went from ear to ear. I never understood the idea of gravy in the morning, but to each his own! He also enjoyed another meal I have never tried, eggs benedict. These perfectly poached eggs sat on a hearty, meaty piece of Canadian bacon and a crisp English muffin. Of course you can see the bright and tasty (according to him) hollandaise sauce drizzled on top. It was nice to see my husband in heaven over this breakfast.

So when you are drinking by the pool, getting your tan on next to the Arizona diamondbacks MLB baseball team, it is hard to get some pictures of your lunch. The baseball team gents were so friendly, even had asked my husband to play volleyball with them. We sat with the Latino guys on the team (a few pitchers, the catcher) and they were playing some awesome jams! Then a vet who had lost his leg was sitting with us as well. The baseball guys had picked up his bill as a thank you to this man, which was so touching to witness.
For lunch, we tried the sriracha pulled pork poppers. These had a flavoring that I couldn't quite put my finger on. The meat was marinated in sriracha, can't go wrong there. It had pickled red onions and melted cheese throughout with sauteed bell peppers as well. This appetizer came with chips and a very well done homemade salsa.

Now for my favorite lunch of the trip. Unfortunately, we ventured off from the resort for this place. Using our DDD book, we picked out a burger joint in Dallas called Twisted Root Burger Co. Guy Fieri had two favorite burgers at this place, my husband and uncle Dirk had ordered one of them. The western: half pound burger with crispy fried onion rings, pickled jalapenos, bacon and melted pepper jack cheese. My uncle Dirk who happens to be a chef, was moaning during this meal! The boys loved it. I couldn't pass up the spicy goat - check it out here. The spicy goat had chipotle sauce drenched onto a hald pound juicy burger with a plop of Dallas famous goat cheese, and bacon. IT> WAS> TO> DIE> FOR! The homemade root beer was the perfect sweet sidekick! The most unique part about the Twisted Root is the way your order gets placed. Once your order is placed at the counter, they hand you a card with a famous name on it. To be called FIDDY CENT over the loud speaker was a pretty phenomenal feeling lol. I would visit TX again just to eat at this restaurant!

Where do I begin? Fourth of July...
Dinner#1: No better way to celebrate than at the Four Seasons Dallas. They set up such a fun party for America's 239th Birthday! We started out by the pool with many tropical drinks, and a DJ that was on point! After jamming out, we went back to our villa to get pretty for the evening. First was the buffet: wings, ribs, pasta, salads, and much more. Afterwards the dessert table was never ending with ice cream, pies, cake pops, cookies, and more. We then made our way to the driving range where the hotel set up a huge festival. The stage held a cover band that sang all the hit songs you can think of, while people danced and sang along with them. There was a beer garden, face painting, bounce houses, photobooths and laser tag.
Kevin and I sat with the GM, another manager and the executive chef. That alone was perfect in itself. Kevin and I enjoyed wonderful conversation and beautiful weather. I stuck with my vodka and cranberries while Kevin had some craft beer with the guys. After some drinks, we headed up to the GM's 6th floor balcony for the firework show. This was the most enjoyable firework show I've ever witnessed! It coincided with music which was an awesome touch. Even Penny enjoyed the fireworks and was not afraid of the big booms! We continued to celebrate with champagne and cigars.

Taking the champagne up to the room.

Enjoying one smoke and sipping on the good stuff - Vueve Cliquot.

Dinner #2. We got invited up to the GM's balcony once again to enjoy a delicious dinner with him. Kevin ordered southwestern shrimp that was so unbelievably tender, over creamy cheddar grits. The shrimp was spicy but not overkill to the other flavors in the dish. The chives gave it that little bit of texture needed. I ordered blackened salmon with steamed white rice and broccolini (yes, I tried to be a little bit on the healthier side which can be kind of boring)! My uncle Dirk ordered his fave - spaghetti and meat-a-balls (I always have to say it like that)! The bread was served with the best tasting butter, Plugra, which didn't help my healthy ways. We enjoyed this spectacular dinner over looking the pool and golf course.

Shrimp and cheddar grits.

Last but not least, dinner#3. My personal favorite of them all. It was called the 19th hole and was a "members only" restaurant located by the hotels sports club. The hubs and I started off with calamari. Now this was no regular calamari... forget the little circular pieces of squid. These were meaty strips fried in a crispy breading. The paired green aioli sauce was heaven sent, but the spicy one that joined was a bit too spicy for my liking. My hubs of course can handle the heat of anything (I mean, look at the spicy mamacita he married)!
After the appetizer, we were served this apple/pear flavored palate cleanser. Remember, we aren't used to these fancy little things, but to put it in children's terms, it was like an italian ice! Yes, it totally did it's job and got the fishy and spicy flavors out of our mouth.
Entree time! I have an obsession with risotto, so when it is on any menu, that is what I get. Tonight was roasted halibut over spinach parmesan risotto and a yellow tomato sauce. Are you drooling yet? The halibut could not be cooked any better than it was, and the tomato sauce was citrusy and tangy. The risotto was creamy but firm textured as it should be, and had sauteed spinach throughout.
Kev had the manly flat iron steak au poivre. He LOVES that peppery flavor on his steak. It was cooked medium rare (I'm proud of him for this as he used to only eat meat well done), and the peppercorn sauce was a perfect level for this guy! As we were both way too full for dessert, this dinner was up on the charts. One of the best.

I can definitely speak for us both and say we had the most amazing time together! Penny will be missed so much and we cannot wait to visit her again!

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