Making Dallas Even Better
A couple of weeks ago, after reading that the taxpayer-funded Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau apparently wanted to lend us the letter “D” from their “DALLAS” logo to replace the City of Dallas’ existing letter “D” logo, I got to thinking once again about the outsized influence the DCVB wields over municipal affairs.
Late last year, after Philip Jones, the DCVB’s president, tossed out a plan to have taxpayers pay for a $300 million addition to the convention center, I took a look into the finances and found that it lost $37 million per year before debt service and $54 million after interest expense — amounts that were virtually identical to its losses prior to the opening of the half-billion-dollar city-owned Omni Convention Center Hotel in 2010 (one of the primary justifications for building the hotel was that it would drive more business to the convention center and stop its losses). Some of the most interesting observations, however, came from reader comments to my post. Former city council member and the executive director of the Dallas Arts District, Veletta Lill, made the following observations:Full Story
Travel blogger Kari Haugeto writes today on the Huffington Post site about her recent family trip to Dallas. She’s complimentary of our city’s friendliness, skyline, decorative sidewalks, and walkability. (Yes, really: “Dallas is a walking city.”)
Granted, her trip was confined almost exclusively to downtown, aside from a jaunt out to the Texas Horse Park. Which also explains why she devotes a good amount of attention to our local fascination with the Pegasus, including the nightmarish photo illustration that her family composed (seen above).
You know, the Convention and Visitors Bureau’s campaign of setting up giant “B”s and “G”s for folks to pose for photos with is pretty well played out. I suggest they begin building giant, demon-eyed winged horses to stand beneath as the creatures glower down menacingly.Full Story
Kapalua Wine and Food Festival celebrates its place as the oldest of its kind in the country (yep, even older than Aspen). The festival started as an opportunity to showcase high quality wines paired with local cuisine, and to help bring awareness to the local produce and products of Hawaii.Full Story
Stuff, a news and entertainment website in New Zealand, offers its readers tips for visiting Texas:
All the stereotypes you associate with Texas are typically accurate: cowboy hats, cowboy boots, conservative, Republican, meat lovers – with one exception, Austin. In sharp contrast to the rest of the state, this city boasts one of the fastest-growing populations in the United States, many of whom are more “alternate” in their habits and include a stack of vegetarians.
Do they mean “alternative”? And how many vegetarians constitutes a stack?
Then there’s this:
Texans rarely walk anywhere. Neither do they all drive “pick-ups” or utes (Austin, in fact, has a lot of Smart cars). It’s rare to see someone taking a stroll, and they will insist you don’t either.
Yep, they nailed us.
If we weren’t lucky enough to reside in the Big D, and were planning a visit to our fair city this weekend, here are a few places we would very much like to rest my head.Full Story
I’ve visited a lake house once or twice in my day and I’ve experienced the ranch life, but I can honestly say that I’ve never witnessed anything quite like 505 Ranch Club.
Truth be told, the D Home editors took a trip out to this luxurious oasis just a couple of years ago, when they visited this gorgeous, sleek modern home for the May/June 2013 issue (enjoy the architectural eye candy here), but seeing as that was before my D Home time, I decided to take a (virtual) visit to 505 Ranch myself.Full Story
Staycations rock. You get all the perks of staying somewhere new and exciting without a crowded car ride or a trip through airport security. Since you know the city, the allure of the staycation rests heavily on your accomodations, so make it a place you want to be. It’s summertime, so the best hotel pools are […]Full Story
A guy I know who does “internet stuff” (liberal arts major’s understanding of his job) had to explain to me what Product Hunt is. Here’s what he said: “Product Hunt is still pretty insider, but what appears here is seen by a very hardcore tech crowd. It’s usually a good indicator of what you’ll see in mainstream tech news over the next 48 hours.” For his industry, he told me, it’s kind of like being on Oprah (if that were still a show).
The guy in question is Matt Sommer (full disclosure: I play poker with Matt, and one of his partners, Stephen Edmondson, used to work at D Magazine). Matt’s new thing is called Space Agent. Think of it like AdWords for folks who list properties on Airbnb. Let’s say you’ve got a condo in Dallas that you list with the rental service. Don’t just wait around for people to see your pad on Airbnb. Space Agent will find people on Facebook talking about visiting Dallas and then place an ad for your pad on their timeline. Sweet, right?
The funny thing is, on the list of Product Hunt’s cool stuff, another Dallas company is currently destroying Space Agent. That company is Foot Cardigan, the monthly sock club. As Matt said, “Disrupting the sock industry is a huge idea. Hard to compete.”Full Story
Dallas Has a Major Pothole Problem. It’s no shocker that all the rain did not help matters, either. Crews were out on Monday temporarily repairing damaged streets, but some drivers are saying their commutes have as much as doubled from the hazardous roads. Drier weather will allow road repair workers to more permanently fix the gaping issue.
Dallas’ FBI Office Has A New Boss. And he has a pretty serious résumé. Before being named special agent in charge of the FBI’s Dallas Division, Thomas Class Sr. was section chief of the High Value Detainee Interrogation Group with the Bureau’s National Security Branch in Washington, D.C. He was a police officer and detective in St. Petersburg, Florida prior to joining the FBI.
New Alehouse To Open In Exposition Park. Taking the place of the recently-closed Amsterdam Bar, Eight Bells Alehouse is prepping to open by the end of May. The owners of Brit-inspired pub Ten Bells Tavern in Bishop Arts are behind the project, noting they’ve wanted to open a second location for a while. Noble Coyote Coffee Roasters and Expo Bar and Grill will also set up shop in Exposition Park in the coming months.
Texas Foster Care System May Double Training Requirements. The new stipulation might be 35 hours of training, a number more than two times what many foster families go through now. Republican Rep. Cindy Burkett proposed the bill at a hearing in Austin Monday afternoon to tighten up the system’s screening process, but critics are concerned it will make recruiting foster homes an even tougher job. Recommended companion reading: this MotherJones story about a child who died in privatized foster care in Rockdale, Texas in 2013.Full Story
D Magazine and Celebrity Cruise Line have teamed up with Dallas chefs Matt McCallister and John Tesar along with TJ’s Fish Market expert Jon Alexis to a culinary adventure through one of the most majestic areas of Alaska. Join us for a reception on Monday, March 9, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM and meet our chefs and listen to the Celebrity’s naturalist Brent Nixon.Full Story
Sharing the food from my city with Muslims near a beach in Dubai was a powerful experience.Full Story
In Alto Adige, you’ll find massive sloping terraces of vines that soar thousands of feet into the sky, with conditions influenced by the Dolomite Mountains leading into the Italian and Swiss Alps. Maintaining vines that typically shouldn’t exist at elevations so high is laborious, but worth it for the wines the region produces.Full Story
A couple of weeks ago, I took a look at the financials of the Dallas Convention Center, prompted by Philip Jones’ announcement that he planned to borrow a quarter billion dollars in public money to expand the facility. To summarize, I discovered:
Today, I’m taking a look at the financial performance of the convention center hotel itself.Full Story
On August 14, sixty adventurous sailors boarded the Celebrity Solstice in Seattle and headed north to explore Alaska’s Inside Passage. Our trip was photographed by Elizabeth Lave. Live vicariously through her gorgeous photos. Then make plans to join us next year as we sail to a now-secret location.Full Story
Click here to see more photos from Our Favorite End of Summer Instagrams from Stylish Dallas Jet Setters.Full Story
Hawaii is more than just a place to relax, play a little golf, and get a tan.Full Story
Mark your calendars for these not-to-miss wine events.Full Story
There was an interesting story on Poynter last week about how the Morning News covers golf. Faced with a shrinking travel budget, the paper didn’t send golf writer Bill Nichols to the Masters. Well, we know what happened there. Jordan Spieth happened. So the paper sucked it up and sent Nichols to cover the U.S. Open. The Poynter story posed an interesting question:
Will the Morning News staff the British Open at St. Andrews if Spieth wins the U.S. Open? The answer should be yes given the hype for him going into that tournament. However, the expense of sending a reporter for a week in Scotland could make the U.S. Open trip seem like small change.
I can confirm that the paper will send Nichols to the British Open. My source? Our own Nancy Nichols, who happens to be one of Bill’s sisters and who is right now teaching Bill how to get his passport expedited.Full Story
Matt Post, a Woodrow Wilson High School and Dallas Tex-Mex restaurant graduate, opens Javelina in New York. Apparently his Tex-Mex is driving New Yorkers loco.Full Story
We wine lovers in Dallas appreciate a good glass, and are often willing to travel to get it. If you are in the mood to enjoy a good glass or two, either at home or away, here are a few ideas that are sure to put you in the mood to taste.Full Story
Ted Cruz Is Officially Running For President. After majorly spoiler alert-ing this announcement on every single news organization and social media platform known to man, including Yahoo Groups, Sen. Ted Cruz will make the actual announcement today, though not from Texas. He’ll do it from Liberty University in Virginia. He’s the first GOP candidate to jump in.
Yoga Does Not Work For Everyone. As Nancy Duarte evidently found when she misplaced her zen and tried to burn down Sunstone Yoga on Mockingbird Lane Saturday night. The studio suffered minimal damage. Per the Morning News, “a witness, Phineas Bennett-Lovari, said the woman was lighting matches and pieces of paper and throwing them into the air, yelling, ‘I’m going to burn this [expletive] down. I don’t care if I go to jail.'” Duarte was arrested and charged with arson.
Arlington Might Get An MGM Grand Hotel. The city would not confirm, but sources told the Star-Telegram that a “convention-class” hotel with at least 750 rooms was in the works for a site near Globe Life Park.
Uptown Definitely Getting A Dream Hotel. Dallas is one a few cities with Dream Hotels in the works, as the boutique brand is adding six new properties. It will be on McKinney Ave. near Bowen Street. The plans were delayed while developers worked with residents to address parking and noise concerns.Full Story
They’re back. From canvas to straw and with the occasional pom-pom, totes are all around us. But not all totes are created equal, so before you head to the beach with the same old bag from last year, be sure to check out these shops around town to pick up your new favorite spring break accessory.Full Story
All aboard for seven glorious days and nights on the Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Cruise Lines’ modern luxury ship geared toward the gourmand. Join Dallas chefs Matt McCallister and John Tesar along with TJ’s Fish Market expert Jon Alexis for a culinary adventure through one of the most majestic areas of Alaska. Get your details here.Full Story
By now, I suspect many of you have had a chance to see the result of the $500 million Love Field Modernization Program, which is a less irritating way to say it has been transformed into a [rhymes with “burled grass”] airport. The remodel was finished this fall, around the time the Wright Amendment went away and Southwest Airlines was finally able to fly nonstop to cities farther away than Lubbock. There is a new 20-gate terminal, new restaurants and shops, a new baggage claim area with new and more carousels, and a new passenger pickup area.
All of the upgrades inside the airport are pretty solid. I would say it seems like it takes longer to get bags off the plane and into the airport. But since I never check bags, I consider any wait at all to be interminable, so I’m probably a bad judge. On the plus side, having a place to grab a pre-flight drink that is not a terrible fake Irish pub called McJimmylegs or whatever automatically elevates any airport.
It is the part of the Love Field Modernization Program outside the airport — the new passenger pickup area — that is an absolute catastrophe.Full Story
Former Dallas Mayor and former U.S. Trade Ambassador Ron Kirk is now a senior advisor to Texas Central Railway, the private company that hopes to bring high speed rail to Texas. The news comes via a statement Kirk posted on the company’s website:
I have seen just about all of the high-speed rail systems throughout Europe and Asia, and the competitive part of me feels that if the rest of the world can do this, why can’t we right here in the United States? This along with the practical attraction to having an alternative transportation mode between two of the fastest growing economic zones in the country sparked my interest and compelled me to join the Texas Central Railway team.
LONDON — I’m working from London all week — and if you think I haven’t been assaulting people with that Paul Rudd quote from the above clip, why do we even pretend to know each other? — so I took in the big football match yesterday.Full Story