What I learned this week, October 26, 2012

13 Reasons You Should Start Biking To Work

The ponds at Huffhines.

My Commute Home from Work

Since I wrote this blog entry, the weather has cooled off a bit and now I’m able to ride both to and from work. I shoot for about two to three times a week. Now, though, it’s getting dark sooner and pretty soon it’ll be dark when I leave for work and dark when I come home. I have put lights on my bike but I’ll have to think hard about fighting rush hour traffic pre-dawn and post sunset.

Alice Munro is about to have a new book of short stories come out. I’ve always said I think she is the unquestioned master of the form. Her writing is beyond language.

You can read one of the stories, “To Reach Japan” – Here.

This clip is a few years old; I remember the good old days when this is the biggest problem we had to worry about.


Call Me Ishmael

My 6,128 Favorite Books

Joe Queenan on how a harmless juvenile pastime turned into a lifelong personality disorder.

TEXAS Tells UN Poll Watchers: Don’t Even Try It

Sheaffer Inlaid Nib

Sheaffer Inlaid Nib

Notes about Notes
Fountain Pens

A surprising number of very technical people have recently re-embraced the fountain pen for everyday writing. They’re drawn to fountain pens not from nostalgia or from a desire for expensive jewelry, but because they enjoy the way the pen feels in their hand — or the way their writing looks on the page.

Sheaffer Triumph Nib

Sheaffer Triumph Nib

Sheaffer Dolphin Nib

Sheaffer Dolphin Nib

It’s nice to see an Oak Cliff Restaurant, Smoke, get this sort of attention. Nice burger too.

Best Bacon Burgers in the US – Dallas – Smoke

 ONN’s Presidential Debate Gives Average Americans Totally Unsupervised Airtime

The Rise of the DFW Brew


One restaurant that everyone in Dallas has to eat at is Smoke in the Belmont Hotel. It has been the vanguard of the revitalization of Oak Cliff – about to come to fruition with the impending opening of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge (unfortunately I will be out of town for the grand opening festivities). The Bar at the Belmont is one of my favorite places and the restaurant next door is not far behind.

Smoke is an upscale Bar-B-Que sort of place – a very non-traditional Texas Bar-B-Que – no serving line where greasy slabs of meat are slopped onto your foam plate and you choose the green beans on the side (not that there is anything wrong with that). You do get the seductive smell from the smokehouse out back and the piles of wood are carefully displayed to make sure you know where the goodness is coming from.

Smoke works hard to serve selections of local, handmade, and artisanal ingredients. It is a popular and crowded restaurant. Usually I don’t like to wait very long for a table (I don’t do well with the packed, chatty crowd), but they enter your phone into an iPad and you can sneak next door to the Bar Belmont to enjoy the skyline while you wait. They’ll send you a text when your spot is ready.

The brunch menu was up when we ordered. It was all good. I had the eggs florentine – with smoked salmon and collard greens (instead of spinach). I know this sounds odd – but it was the greens that made the dish. The slightly wild and bitter flavor of the collard greens added a bit of texture.

I appreciate the effort and thought that the chefs at Smoke put into their menu and the risk they took a few years ago to move into an area that seemed to be forever moribund. Luckily, it looks like their foresight, courage, and hard work is paying off and will continue into the future.

The view of the Belmont from the porch at Smoke - Dallas skyline in the background.

The porch and entrance at Smoke

Eggs Florentine at Smoke

Dallas Art Deco Architecture

365 Things to do in Dallas – 266. Catch the View and a Drink at Bar Belmont

DAY 5 & 6 of Shepard Fairey (OBEY) in Dallas

Smoke for Brunch 2012

Brunch at Smoke

Smoke: The Best Brunch in Dallas

People’s Choice Breakfast: Smoke

Smoke (Oak Cliff, Dallas, Tx)

Smoke restaurant in Oak Cliff

Smoke: a down to earth kind of place