As the old saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” When arriving in Fort Worth, the first thing I noticed was the Art Deco architecture; it was stunning. It was easy to extrapolate that Fort Worth enjoyed a boom during the 1940s, as a majority of the buildings and even warehouses displayed quintessential architectural elements from that period.
This ultra-clean city has a lot to offer, from tree-lined streets to amazing museums like The Kimbell, which at the time of my visit had a free exhibit that included Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, and Matisse. Exploring the city quickly reveals that it has a lot of history: there’s the site where John F. Kennedy gave an impromptu speech before he was assassinated in Dallas and the newly renovated Sundance Square — don’t be fooled by thinking this is one block. This “square” is 35 blocks, and includes many shops, restaurants, and an expansive outdoor community space where movies are shown during the summer.
When you say Texas, most people think BBQ and pig roasts, cowboy boots and hats. One of Texas’s most renowned chefs, Lou Lambert, has a great space in Fort Worth that he uses for private events and pig roasts in the Near Southside. Chef Lou put on one of the most beautiful pig roasts I’ve ever attended. The only thing that outshined the décor was the food. The glorious smell of the pig roasting, the buzz of servers delivering whiskey cocktails from a local distiller, and the live music by Fort Worth’s own Luke Wade, a contestant on The Voice last year, all came together to create a unique and delicious experience. Dining on expertly roasted pork, mac and cheese, and grilled asparagus was a great way to start my trip.
If you like breakfast, then you’ll be very happy with your options here. My first breakfast was at Brewed, a kitschy coffee house and restaurant that feels like your friend’s living room. I ordered the house-made scones; the rosemary, Asiago, and Canadian bacon scone was ethereal. The chilaquiles with serrano grits and veggie scramble were up next — the little bit of heat from the chilaquiles worked really well with the creamy grits. Brewed is well-known for biscuits and gravy, and although I was full, the temptation to order some was really strong.
With the cool, rainy weather, it seemed like a good idea to get a coffee drink. I chose Avoca, a local coffee roaster and coffee house. You can watch the owners at Avoca roast coffee on-site from the internal window. They sell their bagged coffee at their shop, so you can just grab your favorite roast and go. The baristas clearly take as much pride in making your coffee as the owners do in roasting it. My mocha was well-balanced and beautiful. It was so pretty I almost didn’t want to drink it, but the sweet smell of a light roast and chocolate beckoned me to take a sip.
Walking around a city can make you hungry, and it was time for lunch. A stop into The Little Red Wasp was just what I had in mind. As you walk into the restaurant, you’ll notice the large map on the wall that shows all of the local food suppliers they use. The menu at Little Red Wasp has a good variety of dishes to choose from, and since I came here to eat, I wasn’t ordering salad. I was in Texas and I felt obligated to try their BBQ chicken with mac and cheese, subbing out the Brussels sprouts for snap peas. The chicken was to die for. Seriously. Tender, juicy, and melt-in-your-mouth good. The sauce had a deep, rich reddish brown color with flavors to match and a tiny bit of heat. The mac and cheese was equally as good and perfectly al dente (who wants mushy noodles? No one!). I left very satisfied and actually glad that I ordered the lunch size; otherwise, I would have eaten twice as much.
One of the distilleries in Fort Worth is TreyMark Distillery, which produces a unique-tasting vodka. Yes, vodka is a neutral grain spirit and should be tasteless, but all vodka has some flavor, simply from the terroir and the products from which it’s made. TreyMark makes their vodka from black eyed peas and corn. The distillery is located in an old refurbished firehouse. The vodka has a clean flavor with a bit of a nutty taste. A little different for a vodka, but definitely a tasty one.