This was our second visit to my oldest son’s new hometown of Oak Cliff, Texas. This time we decided to stay right around the corner and try out the latest trend (for us oldsters anyway!) Airbnb. As luck would have it, we found a “casita”, right within walking distance of the rapidly gentrifying Bishop Arts District. In the northern part of Oak Cliff, Bishop Arts is now home to over sixty restaurants, bars, galleries, coffee shops and galleries, along with a strong Mexican presence and influence. It’s unpretentious and lively and opportunities abound on its streets for long-time locals, newcomers, and tourists to experience Texas at its best.
The casita was amazing and we loved the whole concept of Airbnb, with its reasonably priced rooms, privacy, and friendly hosts. We had two local beers waiting for us in the mini-fridge when we arrived, a bookshelf reminiscent of my own shelf back home, and a spacious chicken coop with laying hens in the back yard. The only thing to be aware of with Airbnb is that hosts don’t provide breakfast as with a traditional B&B. There's coffee and tea but you’re on your own for the rest. However, Annelise had left us a list of recommended restaurants, many within walking distance, so we were fine.
Since you no longer get any type of food on the airplanes our first stop was at Lockhart Smoke House on Davis Street. You order a sampling of meats (smoked on Texas post oak) at a back counter and they come wrapped in white butcher paper with slices of white sandwich bread and a variety of toppings you can fill white paper cups with.
We got two types of brisket (amazingly tender and flavorful) and pork ribs, also delicious. On their website, Lockhart claims “No forks, no sauce needed” and I have to say it’s true. The meat stands on its own!
Later that night, after a leisurely, coffee-drinking afternoon at Wild Detective Bookstore, we went to Small, a neighborhood brewpub just a few doors down from the Texas Theater where Lee Harvey Oswald was captured by police after assassinating President John F. Kennedy. One of Small's owners, Joshua, was working behind the bar and let us sample the four beers they brewed on site (we liked the Watermelon Wheat and Black Pepper Pils). Hungry again, we ordered the Charcuterie Plate which arrived well-stocked with a wealth of meats (fresh and cured), pickles, mustard, jam, and artisan crackers. We left with a list of unique things to do once we left Dallas, provided by our handy brewmeister, a native Texan himself.
The next day, we journeyed out of Oak Cliff to visit the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. There we found a plethora of information and photographs about JFK’s presidency, cut tragically short by his assassination in Dallas, and the aftermath, including a fascinating section on the various conspiracy theories, many of which are still circulating to this day. The Museum took us several hours to browse through and gave us lots to talk about over dinner that night. Admission is a little pricey at $16.00/adult but I have to say it was worth it. There’s also an excellent bookstore with just about anything you might want to know about JFK and Jackie in particular, and the Sixties in general. The "grassy knoll" is definitely worth checking out too. Next stop Austin!