“Why are you going to PLANO?!”
I had to field this question a million times over by my Austin-enthusiast friends. Why head out to Plano, Texas when you had the opportunity to play at home?
Only 30 minutes from most major attractions in the Dallas area and consistently listed as one of the safest and best cities to live in by Forbes and Men’s/Women’s Health Magazine, this little city has much more than people realize.
I was able to take part in a Girls Getaway Weekend with Visit Plano – and in short, it rocked my face off. It is perfect for those looking for a weekend out with the girlies, or an awesome place to hold a bachelorette party. I know the Austin “curse” too well. You’re guaranteed to run into someone at your lowest point. Escaping to Plano is a great way to experience anonymity and party your lady parts (or man bits) off.
Here are a few things that I fell in love with and you should use as a guide while discovering Plano, Texas.
Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar: By far my favorite restaurant that we had the pleasure of eating at in Plano, this farm to fork establishment really took my breath away. With a very industrial look of exposed brick, don’t let this place fool you. They have power provided by solar paneling, an herb garden that they use for their recipes, and their veggie garden (found on property) has a rainwater irrigation system. It is even more impressive that all the menu items are sourced from Texas.
I had a starter of fried green tomatoes and deviled eggs that made me swoon with their delicate and delicious placement of salmon on top. But as a person who thrives on savory, the pork belly ramen took the cake (pun intended). The whole shebang was ended with their signature whiskey cake that made me wish I had the necessary taste buds to love sweet. It even took my anti-dessert self by surprise.
Mignon Restaurant: I had the best steak of my LIFE here. With a starter of crispy and light, fresh calamari, and apple smoked bacon wrapped quail, I should have known my main course was going to be rockin’. I am a meat snob. I live in Texas and know what a good cut of meat should be. You can imagine that my tummy is very hard to please when it comes to red meat. I ordered the Prime Rib Filet “Oscar” – a prime rib cooked medium rare (the only way!) with jumbo lump crab, white truffle hollandaise, grilled asparagus and chive whipped potatoes. It was probably the most tender steak I’ve ever come across and I still find myself daydreaming and drooling.
Seasons 52: How can you complain about a restaurant where every amazing entree is less than 470 calories? With a menu that changes with the seasons and the weeks, I can’t help but feel good about eating here. The ahi tuna I ordered was out of this world! The one thing that made this restaurant for me was the concept of mini indulgences. I hate ordering huge desserts when I just want something little. Cute little cups with individual servings sizes were presented in a tower – which made it look even more decadent.
Jasper’s: It says a lot about Chef Kent Rathbun when you can beat Bobby Flay on Iron Chef – and we weren’t disappointed with that showed up at the table. When the chef comes over and tells you what to eat, you BETTER EAT IT. My favorite appetizer of the night had to be the Maytag Blue Cheese Potato Chips, but it was hard to pick between the Gulf Crab Cakes and the Calamari. Kent Rathbun has also gotten the esteemed award of having one of the Top 3 Best Ribs in America by Bon Appetit Magazine. Oh boy were they delicious. NOMNOMNOM
The Cru Food & Wine Bar: Located in the Shops of Legacy area, this wine bar offers 30 wines by the glass. Another huge plus is that for a price of a glass of wine, you can get a flight. I really love that feature about this place.
Blue Martini: A rockin’ live band with a girl that rivals Rihanna – I kid you not. These guys really specialize in your boutique martini experience. I fell in love with dirty martinis here. While this place carries a posh ambience, the only thing that drives me nuts is the giant wall piece that blocks half the stage when you’re in the VIP area. Fix that by heading out to the dance floor.
Sambuca 360: Another great bar with a live band. What this place lacks in specialized cocktails it more than makes up for in a damn good time. The audience seemed to be dancing like there was no tomorrow and the VIP section has a much better view.
NYLO: Screw staying here – I want to LIVE here. Designed after New York lofts, this place is totally up my alley when it comes to style. Concrete floors, walls, exposed AC ducts, and a flair of Texas – YES PLEASE! Next time I’m going for one of the “lifestyle” suites complete with mini bar, lounging area, and massive patio overlooking the countryside. I felt like a rock star here. Head down to the hotel bar LOCL during your stay. They have a great list of cocktails in a posh environment. Between the orange billiard room and the glass antler chandeliers with orange lamp shades, I was happily clicking away with my camera.
The Marriott at Legacy Park Town Center: This upscale property is just a stones throw from The Shops at Legacy and quite a few of the restaurants and bars listed above. If you’re looking for a place to party and then stumble home, this is a fab location. With their soft blankets and comfortable bed, creature comforts like this made my late night partying possible.
Walk through downtown Plano: I have a small obsession with small Texas towns. This is the cutest and most quaint downtown I’ve seen in some time. With older brick buildings from the 1800s and boutique shops, it makes for a great stroll.
The Shops at Legacy: I spent too much money on a new dress here. From boutiques like Francesca’s Collections to Willa boutique, I had to keep my credit card in check. Not only did they actually have clothes in my size, but the variety of goods was just phenomenal. I’m going to have to go back one day when there is actually money in my bank.
The Woodhouse Day Spa: Don’t laugh but I had my first ever pedicure here. The pedicures come with a volcanic stone massage and mimosas/champagne/wine (that you bet I used to my advantage!). I’ve been converted.
The Drybar: Probably my favorite experience of the trip, this is one of the most innovative companies I’ve seen in a while (and we don’t have one in AUSTIN!). For $35 you get mimosas/champagne/wine and they wash and style your hair. I channeled my inner Marilyn Monroe and felt radiant after having them do my hair. A serious girlie MUST DO.
I came home exhausted, happy, and beaming after some much needed girlie time. While I do love my hubby, sometimes we just need to get away from each other. What better way than to head to Plano, Texas, a mere 3 ½ hour drive from Austin. It is cheaper than a plane ride to an exotic location, can offer you a chance to party at swanky clubs, and will help you gain *mumble mumble* pounds from the amazing food in the area.
But seriously, my pictures don’t lie. 😛
Disclosure: I was a guest of the Visit Plano CVB, however all opinions are my own. 😀