My night at Fireside Pies continued with a walk across the street to The Old Monk, another one of the popular places along Henderson Avenue. The Knox-Henderson neighborhood plays host to a strong night life, quality restaurants and bars, and very, very little parking.
At this point I’ll pause to explain something about Texas weather: its weird. although Dallas did reach the 70’s by midday, it was pretty cold at night. So cold that a few mornings there was frost on the ground. In fact, every day in Dallas so far I have used the entire gamut of car heating and cooling.
credit: Eat Dallas
I was relieved to see that the patios in Knox-Henderson have heaters. That sentence may make me sound like a Minnesotan gone soft, but what you have to realize is that outdoor seating is still the norm here despite the low temps. The Patio at the Old Monk was comfortable and inviting – a perfect place for a beer. I had the Franconia Wheat, a Hefeweizen from McKinney, Texas.
The beer has a distinct wheat and citrus aroma with a very hazy orange color. It is very broad and wet on the tongue with lots of citrus sweetness and a soft and mild character offered by the wheat. There is an element of savory flavor at the end, something a but earth and nutty and hard to define.
Franconia’s wheat is an excellent Hefeweizen. At first the clean, broad mouthfeel is shocking to the hop-attuned palate, but it is exactly what a hefe should be.
This was an excellent choice and I encourage you to try this beer if given the chance. I could have done without the fruit on the side of the glass, but that’s just me.
I was drinking with a local guy, Byron, who likes beer but isn’t a huge nerd about it, and I found that The Old Monk was a good place, with a beer list appropriate for all tastes. My second beer was Peticolas Velvet Hammer. Peticolas, located near downtown Dallas, is a brewery churning out consistent, year-round beers. As far as I can tell, Velvet Hammer is one of the most buzzed-about beers in the area and it is available on draft quite widely.
According to the brewery, “Velvet Hammer appears as a dark, ruby reddish-brown ale beneath a sheath of protective off-white foam. It is malt-forward with elements of caramel and the sweetness of light brown sugar, balanced nicely by a combination of floral hops and a noticeable alcohol bite.”
I don’t always enjoy reds, but this imperial red has a very robust malt backbone that allows the hops to sing out without being overwhelming.
We couldn’t leave the neighborhood without stopping by Velvet Taco, an edgy culinary gem a la Mexican food stand. According to Byron, it did not matter at all whether or not I was hungry (I wasn’t) – I had to try a taco. He weaved the place into conversation about 7 times, so I finally gave in.
The menu isn’t that of a typical taco joint at all – there is everything from falafel to potatoes to kimchee. Byron got the tater tots with an egg on top, his usual breakfast-style taco, and I tried a cuban one. Everything was amazing although I could only eat a few bites.
Little did I know, the place knows him by name, and I gotta say that if you’re going to become a regular somewhere in Dallas, Velvet Taco is an excellent way to go. They are open until 4am and have endless choices for not just taco lovers but those looking for nearly any cuisine, served as a taco.
Tourists and locals alike rave about Knox-Henderson. It is a pain to park there, so I recommend either forking it over for valet or planning to walk from a distance. The advantage in this neighborhood is that everything is walkable, grouped together, and generally yummy. Try some local brews in Knox-Henderson when you’re in Dallas, and no matter how full you think you are, there is still room for a taco.