Late this summer, I was invited on a blogger press trip to visit several cities in Texas. Truthfully, I had no idea where Irving, Grapevine, and Frisco were geographically located; I just wanted to go to Texas! Learning that the city of Irving was a suburb of Dallas was a major shocker, but a nice surprise. In fact, the city’s metropolitan vibe left me believing at once that I was going to like it here. Hello Irving, Texas.
Everything really is bigger and better in Texas. From the food portion sizes to the incredible marrying of flavors and fresh ingredients, Irving has it going on. Check out the decadent dining I enjoyed on my two day getaway. I will give you fair warning, do not keep reading if you are the least big hungry!
Via Reál -4200 N MacArthur Blvd, #100, Irving, Texas
For gourmet Mexican food with decor that parallels a fine dining establishment, Via Reál is top notch in everything they do, since 1985. It took me almost 15 minutes to decide what to have because the menu is huge and everything sounded wonderful. The five of us bloggers ordered a little bit of everything for starters. The Avocado Fresco, Ceviche (chilled shrimp and bay scallops), Fajita Nachos, and Stuffed Jalapeños were our favorites. They all paired nicely with our premium, frozen, peach Margaritas.
We had a wide variety of items for dinner, including Spinach Enchiladas (tomatillo sauce, black beans, and Mexican corn), Camarones (jumbo shrimp, potatoes, and asparagus in a Diabla sauce), and Pan Bronzed Grouper (served with Poblano rice, pineapple lime chutney, and spinach). Via Reál’s speciality dinner items include Tex-Mex, Southwest, and Vegetarian/Low Carb options. My meal was the Special of the Day: Pecan crusted Seabass with Cilantro Mashed Potatoes and pineapple sauce. They actually stuffed the potatoes into the quartered pineapple; fancy! All of our dinners were paired with fresh, delicious vegetables.
Too full for dessert? Never! Via Reál spoiled us with trays of tantalizing sweet treats to share. The Twin Chocolate Mousse with an Oreo cookie crust was my favorite. Via Reál has specialty coffee drinks that you may want to pair with your sweet treat.
Try Via Reál’s Sunday Brunch Buffet, available from 11AM to 2PM. The breakfast and lunch stations serve Waffles, French Toast, Egg Burritos, Chilaquiles, Omelets made to order, Enchiladas, Fajitas, and Fruit, just to name few items. Your meal even comes with Unlimited Mimosas!
Big State Fountain Grill -100 E Irving Blvd, Irving, Texas
Sometimes, nothing is better than a good burger and fries. The Big State Fountain Grill, a nostalgic classic diner, serves just that. Their mouthwatering burgers (perfectly wrapped in wax paper to catch all of the yummy juices) with fries or crispy onion rings are sure to please. Salads are also available, should you not be a burger fan. Be sure to try Big State Fountain Grill’s Texas style chili (meaning no beans). Though it was a bit hard to eat chili from a mug, it was still full of bold flavor and very filling.
Top your Big State Fountain Grill meal off with a soda fountain classic malt or milkshake. My friend Erin Bender asked what the difference was between the two and the answer is that a malt contains malt powder (such as Ovaltine) to give it a different flavor. The Big State Fountain Grill serves some awesome shakes and we even got to keep the shaker cup with the extra (soda fountain folks will understand my excitement).
If shakes do not tickle your fancy, take a look at the incredible layered cakes they have to choose around the soda fountain in display cases. Homemade pies such as Berry Cream, Cherry, Lemon Meringue, and Drunken Pecan are also available. Not sold yet? How about a cupcake, cookie, or bread pudding? Dessert options are plentiful at this eatery.
Be sure to check out Big State Fountain Grill’s kitschy gift shop and play oldie’s music on the retro jukebox.
The Ranch at Las Colinas- 857 W John Carpenter Fwy, Irving, Texas
I knew that The Ranch was an iconic Texas eatery with an impressive menu and concept, long before I knew that it was in Irving. It has a fabulous reputation. The Ranch is a huge establishment that can easily seat 600 people. Although the decor is elegant and the staff is both professional and knowledgable, the wine menu and cellar are in a class of their own. Live music on the Porch and happy hour specials (Mon-Sat 4-7PM) bring crowds filling the outdoor patio and cigar bar, while more intimate dinners take place in the main restaurant. Many regulars take advantage of the 1/2 price wine discount on Saturday.
Priding themselves on Farm to Fork local cuisine, The Ranch offers dining perfection with their hand-cut succulent Texas Kobe Beef and wide variety of dinner options. Appetizers we tried that were noteworthy were the Fried Green Tomatoes (with Green Goddess sauce), Mini Elk Tacos, and Texas Lump Crab Dip served with grilled flatbread. Of course every meal at The Ranch should include the Queso Blanco and corn chips. It paired nicely with our Cadillac Margaritas and Texas Teas.
Narrowing down your order is hard work…
Before ordering our dinner selections, The Ranch’s General Manager came to our table to explain a bit about the menu. Though I had my sites set on something totally different, after hearing his descriptions, I knew I had to try the Texas Akaushi Strip Steak. It was perfectly flavored, with no sauce or compound butters required. My mouth watered all the while eating it! My friends had The Ranch’s Smoked Prime Rib, Grilled Chipotle Meatloaf, Cornmeal Crusted Catfish Fillets, and the Smoked Fried Chicken. They were all very impressed and happy with their choices. We enjoyed trying a bite of everyone’s meal.
The Ranch insisted that we sample their raved about desserts: Pecan Pie, Chocolate Layer Cake, S’more Pie, and Cheesecake Creme Brûlée. My favorite was the crescent shaped Fried Pies, changing flavors nightly. Ours were Carrot Cake and came with a side of caramel sauce for dipping. Oh my goodness, they were exquisite! Fried pies in Texas are all the rage and on most menus.
FYI: You can take a local helicopter ride with advance booking from The Ranch’s parking lot. We took advantage of this and flew over the Globe Life Park (Texas Rangers), Six Flags, AT&T Stadium (Dallas Cowboys), and watched a fabulous sunset via the Downtown Dallas City Skyline tour. I loved my first helicopter ride!
Law at the Four Seasons -4150 N MacArthur Blvd, Irving, Texas
When my Texas itinerary included brunch, I had big expectations. Seeing that it was at the Four Seasons, a luxury hotel who does special events like Sunday Brunch perfectly, meant I would be in for a big treat. Our group enjoyed Law’s Sunday Brunch, featuring bottomless Mimosas or Champagne and more food than you can imagine.
Law’s swanky atmosphere made us all feel pampered while enjoying the dynamic brunch offering. The decor of the restaurant was stunning and the service, impeccable. Food stations were meticulously created to dazzle the customer; it was almost too pretty to eat. I saw a different food offering everywhere I looked, paired in a smart way and spread out to keep crowds from forming.
Traditional breakfast dishes include bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, roasted potatoes, and Eggs Benedict. A carving station featured beef and ham. I appreciated Law’s separate charcuterie station, bursting with choice meats, olives, cheeses, and marinated veggies. Fresh seafood lined an entire wall in chafing dishes and on beautiful platters. It offered smoked salmon, shrimp, and crab legs, just to name a few.
Healthier options could be found on the salad bar, which was beside the sushi and sashimi station. A huge bread display provided guests with 10 types to choose from and a Tomato-Basil soup station. Law even set up mini buffet stations just for the children.
Law’s magnificent dessert display took up an entire room! I have never seen so many fabulous dessert options, many in individual serving dishes for a bite size offering. I enjoyed the pound cake, macarons, pies, bread pudding, cookies, tarts, and Smore’s parfaits. Four Seasons, you have totally outdone yourself here! The price tag is a splurge, but well worth it.
Irving is Definitely Worth a Visit and Nibble
If you travel to Texas, be sure to visit Irving, located only minutes from Dallas. It goes without saying that Irving is a fabulous culinary destination. Every meal that we had was stellar. You can almost taste the deliciousness in the photos. What would have been your favorite restaurant or food item?
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