Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Things That Make You Go Yum - Dallas Edition

Wow!  Wait - I keep saying that.  But WOW!

Dallas was awesome!  Apparently it is impossible to fly from OKC to LA direct, so I found the city I wanted to stop in and spent a day.  I've got friends there from NY and new internet friends whom I'd never met.  Between them they are writers, singer-songwriters, editors, software programmers, film programmers and reviewers, festival organizers, foodies, vegetarians, oh just super-cool people.

My friend T picked me up from the airport and took me to my fabulous hotel.  Seriously, fabulous, and thanks to my friend - a gift!

T and I went back home where I finally met his sons.  Turns out, they got grown while i wasn't meeting them, and are just in that stage of not caring at all about their parents friends.  Ok.

We went en famille, minus T's wife, who was on the road touring with her music, to a Tex-Mex place.  T and I started with a margarita - they make em big and strong out there.  Then once we got seated, the endless tortilla chips and yet another version of fried avocado arrived.  I got my fave, chile rellenos, and eventually the boys got slightly interested in me, but I had to sass them first.

At the end of dinner, I heard the phrase, "Your money's no good here."  It wasn't the first time in my 24-hour whirlwind tour of Dallas that I'd hear it.  Texans are generous.  (And/or they have completely different currency than the rest of us.)

After that, I met up with @oldpoet for a drink.  I called him as we were leaving so we could find a place to meet up and said, "I'm facing the Whole Foods on [some street I forgot already]" and he said, "I'm in the parking lot there.  I pulled over to answer the phone."  So when that happened, I figured we were all on track.  T dropped me off, and Oldpoet and I found a spot to drink and talk movies for a few hours.  He reviews movies for Red Carpet Crash, as well as working with his wife, @crydecker on programming the Asian Film Festival Dallas.  They are kinda film pracitivist super heroes, really.

Next day, CryDecker came and got me for a day she'd planned top to toe.  Before my 10:30pm flight, we had a day of girl stuff, arty stuff, and food stuff planned.  We'd never met, but it felt like we'd known each other for a good long time.


Hot enough for you?
We started at the awe-inspiring King Spa.  What can I say?  Korean Spa Disneyland?  Kim Chi and screening room?

The women's area had about 6 or 7 pools - all hot - just a matter of how hot.  I got to admire CryDecker's new tattoo - let's just say I wish I'd thought of it first, and we talked some girl talk.

The massage area inside had these glass panels that separated it from the open space with the pools.  These panels were decorated with - I kid you not - Homer and Bart Simpson.  No idea.

The Pyramid Room - one of the rooms we baked in
After that, we put on our little pink uniforms and ventured out.

There were about 5 hot rooms with various properties.  We baked ourselves silly and then put on our face masks and sat in reclining chairs and watched other people watching football.  Soccer.  You know what I mean.

After that we had lunch, including eggs slow-baked in one of the oven rooms we were in earlier!  The rumour is that this bakes the cholesterol out of them (say what?).  We had to beg for Kim Chi, since the meals we ordered didn't come with it, but we got it.

So whole families come here.  And there is seriously a screening room that shows movies all day.  And it's 24 hours!  And it's CHEAP.

The menu.  No substitutions.
There's a kid's room, for dropping them off to play, they do karaoke, it's cavernous, and really, you never have to leave.

You don't need to make a reservation for treatments, you don't need to worry about anything while you're there, except that you've got your little uniform on when you're outside the women's area, and not on when you're inside of it.  They're pretty strict about that.

I think I want to live at King Spa.

But onward! CryDecker had more plans for me...


Spalding Gray Picture
Spalding Gray
We  stopped back at the hotel, got changed, signed books (well, I did), and then went off to meet Oldpoet at the newly refurbished Texas Theatre. 

Now the Texas Theatre is NOT in an arty part of town.  It's an old theatre that looks lovingly restored and where they play arthouse and revival house fare.  They have their work cut out for them in terms of bringing in audience, but they seem up to the task.

On a Saturday afternoon, we three were there to see Steven Soderbergh's documentary about the late Spalding Gray, And Everything is Going Fine.  Soderbergh worked with Gray on Gray's Anatomy and had now tackled the subject of Spalding Gray in a compilation of available footage.  The work is scarily honest at times, haunting, sometimes obvious, sometimes abstruse and frustrating - perhaps very much like it's subject.

The kind of talk therapy performance art that Gray did must be said to be some part of the lineage of spoken word.  As such, seeing this uber dose of Gray on film was both haranguing and enlightening.  However, for the sheer beauty of seeing a writer talk about writing and somehow unlocking their inner secrets of process, it was sublime.

David Lynch Organic Coffee, House Roast Whole Bean, 8-Ounce Canisters (Pack of 2)
David Lynch Coffee.  Go figure.

Not only is the Texas Theatre super cool -- they sell David Lynch coffee!  David Lynch Coffee?  David Lynch has coffee?  He does.

The blend they had going that day was "Inland Empire" - one of my favorites, movie-wise.

But wait...they weren't done with me yet....


Eggplant Pomodoro and Eggplant Parm
They whisked me off to the amazing and organic vegan Spiral Diner.  Normally, they like some meat, being Texan and all, but they also like a good food experience.  This was definitely going to be one.

The Spiral Diner is the kind of place I can accidentally spend an hour looking at the menu.  Being vegetarian, it's not often you have more than one or two items to choose from in a restaurant.  So suddenly having pages and pages of yummy things was almost excruciating.  I wish I could've taken leftovers on the plane or eaten two meals at once!

In the end I got the Eggplant Pomodoro Pasta, which was great.  We had lotsa nachos, too, and everyone's food was yummy.

After dinner, I was whisked away to the airport, where everything went fine...til I got back to LA....(to be continued?)...

Thanks to all my Dallas friends for showing me the real city and great hospitality.  Can't wait to come back!

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