My most recent business trips have resulted in two, first time visits. Let's do the old fashioned run down between the two. I'm a bit rusty with this run down business, so be patient (and gentle) with me.
The cities in question: Dallas and Cincinnati.
Let's compare them by category in order of importance.
Dallas: Tried quite a few here, actually. There was a (512) Belgian Wheat (think it was called 'Wit' but not sure why) that was tasty. Also enjoyed their Belgian Strong that had a very high alcohol content. I would suggest staying away from their Double IPA unless you like bitterness and getting drunk very quickly. I think it had a nearly 10% alcohol content.
The highlight, though, was a beer called Thirsty Goat Amber. Delicious! Alas, only one pub carried it and I had to leave after only one night of discovery. Pity.
Cincinnati: Time for a confession: I never knew Cincinnati was on the border of Kentucky. Only thing separating them is a muddy looking river littered with barges. Technically my stay was in Covington, KY, directly across the river.
Still, when I visited two different local pubs, I was told that there were no local beers to be purchased. Uh...seriously, Ohio and Kentucky? Nothing??!! Not even some moonshine flavored piss out of some dude's basement? I have never been so disappointed in a city.
Major Advantage: Dallas.
Dallas: You'd think this would be a given, right? Dallas is known for it's barbecue and tex mex. And, yes, it is fucking fantastic. Most memorable was a visit to Bone Daddy's which is basically a Hooter's with good food. Attractive waitresses in skimpy outfits served me the best goddamn ribs I've ever had.
Bonus: I'm not a tattoo guy, but I did catch sight of the best tattoo I can remember. One of the (smoking hot) bartenders had Colt 45 pistols drawn on each hip. They were designed so it looked like she had the guns tucked into her waistband even if she were wearing a bikini. Well done, nameless Bone Daddy's bartender. Well done.
I also met an old friend for lunch at a small, Mexican place and was not disappointed. Wish I could remember the name of it, but it was a Spanish sounding name and I barely remember names in English.
Cincinnati: My hotel was directly across the street from Burger King, White Castle, McDonalds and Waffle House. So....yeah....
When I was at the office, however, the receptionist ordered me lunch from La Russa's or La Russo's or something that sounded like that and it was fantastic. A chicken parm like paninni that was out of this world.
OH! I had what's called a Bistro Burger back at the hotel. Basically a hamburger with a Russian Dressing - BBQ Sauce mixture on it. And bacon. Yeah, it was even better than it sounds. I devoured the thing without stopping to sip any beer. That's how good it was.
Slight Advantage: Dallas. But not by much. The Bistro Burger itself nearly upset the natural order.
Dallas: This wasn't even a contest. People in Dallas are super friendly by nature and I love the drawls. Plus, it had the built in advantage of owning one of my favorite people ever. Everyone seems to have a sunny disposition and are just 'tickled' to show you around the city. And the women are good looking. There's that.
Cincinnati: Not that people weren't friendly here, as well. There's just a guarded, self consciousness that hovers over every conversation I had with folks there. I noticed it especially when they discovered I was from Boston. Maybe they just think all Boston people are dicks.
I did, however, meet a taxi driver who was a caricature of every mid western hick stereotype. Long hair pulled back in a pony tail and tucked under a fedora, terrible teeth, fingerless leather gloves, talked like Huckleberry Hound. During our time together (he was basically my driver for the few days I was there) he casually dropped that he had spent 30 years in Los Angeles and had just moved back. When prodded for his time there he confessed that he spent more time travelling than living in Southern California since he was a musician for touring bands like...oh...I don't know...The Drifters..and Gladys Knight and the Pips...no name bands like that.
I asked for some fun stories, but he claimed not to have any. Said boredom and exhaustion were what he remembered. I didn't believe him.
Dallas: I'm not sure I ever made it to Downtown Dallas proper. I say not sure because Dallas is so fucking huge and sprawling I'm not even sure there IS a downtown. The Dallas I saw was covered in highways and strip malls and office buildings. There didn't seem to be an identity to Dallas or the surrounding areas. Unless overwhelmingly enormous is what they were striving for.
Cincinnati: I first caught glimpse of Cincinnati from across the river and thought 'Wow, that's a nice looking city'. And it is! Clean, updated buildings, a glowing ballpark perched on the edge of the river bank and, even better, it reminded me of Boston in that you could walk nearly the entire downtown if you wanted to.
Dallas: I rented a car (if you want to call it that) because I had to spend two nights in Frisco and two in Dallas. I had to prepay for the toll system on the Dallas freeways, but to this day I'm not sure how that system works. There is no transponder, no toll booths, no monitoring systems that I could see. Yet, every now and then I would see signs that told me the toll was $1.50 or .75 cents. How it collected the money remains a mystery.
I did like that the speed limit was 70 in most parts of Texas and would have liked it more if the rental could actually get up to 70 in less than 30 seconds and without having to stomp the gas pedal to the floor.
Cincinnati: I was informed by my taxi driver/world class musician that the bridge I travelled over every day was the one Obama pointed out when he had a press conference below it. Apparently the thing is ready to fall into the river but the, once again, politics is getting in the way of anything getting accomplished in our country. One side of the river is represented by a Democrat and the other by a Republican and they're both fighting over who will get credit for obtaining the money for a new bridge. As my driver said 'I don't care where the money comes from, just fix the stupid thing so we don't wind up driving into the river.'
There are pieces of plywood visible everywhere and the surrounding freeways are a jumble of half finished construction projects and closed lanes that end in a 50 foot drop. Safety is not their number one priority apparently.
On a sidenote, politicians, this bridge and the political bickering over it is EXACTLY why everyone is fed up with Washington. Nothing is getting accomplished. If I had my way, you'd all be thrown out on your asses and be forced to work a real job. Get your shit together and stop thinking about yourselves. You were elected to represent the people in your districts. Start looking out for them for once in your pathetic, useless lives.
And on that bitter note, time to break for the weekend.