SX Aside: Dallas & Ft. Worth

Dallas made the cut for our 2015 Rock 'n' Roll half marathon streak. I'd been through both D-Town and Ft. Worth for work but had never truly spent time in either city. We scored an adorable Airbnb in the budding hipster Lower Greenville neighborhood in East Dallas. We were just blocks from the active stretch of restaurants and bars along Greenville.

Good Records, just down the street, took me back to middle school, when I perused alternative CDs at Amoeba Music on Haight Street for hours.

I had a few hours to kill before my partners in crime arrived in Dallas, so, before even getting to the house, I dined at our host-recommended HG Sply. OMG. I prefer cooking at home to eating out any day, but this place absolutely blew me away. I had no idea I was walking into a Paleo-inspired restaurant, so this was perfect. H (hunted) G (gathered) specialize in quality meats and vegetables cooked only in olive oil. We returned twice over the weekend.

Order of biz no. 1: go to the original Neiman, also home to the retailer's corporate offices. Fawn over Christian Siriano's masterpiece on display.

Order of biz no. 2: explore Deep Ellum, Dallas's hip arts & entertainment center just southwest of Lower Greenville.

I'm a sucker for shops with a mission and fell in LOVE with the Akola Project. With a domestic home base in Dallas, Brittany Merrill Underwood's organization trains Ugandan women to make gorgeous crafts that are sold in over 300 boutiques in the States. 100% of Akola's revenue is reinvested in training, employment and other projects directly benefiting Uganda.

Just next door you'll find self-proclaimed "general store with a new flair" Life of Riley, chock-full of beautifully-displayed candles, lotions and home decor.

We fueled up with the famous patties from Twisted Root Burger Co., which was Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Really great burgers, and don't miss out on the sweet potato chips.

One of my personal highlights was the Bishop Arts District southwest across the Trinity River. Dallas's most independent neighborhood claims more than 60 independent boutiques, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and art galleries. We heard about chocolatier Dude, Sweet's "crack in a box" chocolate bark and immediately got our chocolate tasting on. The cacao specialty shop has two other locations in Dallas and, fortunately, ships directly to your home.

Bishop Arts' other winner was Society, a fine-smelling boutique filled with candles and sprinkled sporadically with jewelry and home decor items. Budget 45 minutes to smell all the candle options spanning both those made locally and brought in from afar.

While a 50-minute car ride away, a visit to the Fort Worth Stockyards was non-negotiable. While Dallas is a proper, cosmopolitan city, Ft. Worth gave us the proper taste of the Lone Star State we needed to round out the weekend.

I'd slated this trip to get a black pair of Lucchese boots, and western gear establishment Luskey's was my target for the task. Sherwin was a huge help and even quickly swapped a heel pad in my older boots that had been swimming around the shoe for months.

I think I cook a mean steak, and the filet at H3 Ranch gave me a run for my money. My plate was clean. We also popped into Maverick Fine Western Wear for some gift shopping, where you're served wine or beer while you peruse!

Clockwise from top left: miscellaneous structure just west of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge; yellow, ivory tortoise turquoise with snowflake obsidian bear necklace and bracelet set from The Jersey Lilly Silver & Stone; vanilla/cinnamon-infused Old Fashioned cocktails from HG Sply Co.; Deep Ellum Brewing Company's very own IPA, also at HG (told ya we became obsessed with this place :) )

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Stay. If we hadn't Airbnb-ed it, we would have been at the Rosewood Crescent Hotel in Uptown Dallas. For this time period, rates through AmEx Fine Hotels & Resorts started at $200 nightly.

Shop. Dallas: Akoya, Life of Riley, Dude, Sweet for that sweet tooth. Ft. Worth: Luskey's, Maverick Fine Western Wear, Jersey Lilly Silver & Stone.

Savor. Dallas: HG Sply Co. for Paleo deliciousness, Twisted Root for burgers, Clark Food & Wine Co. for incredible meats, Steel City Pops for a little post-meal sweetness. Ft. Worth: H3 Ranch for a killer steak, Love Shack for a burger.