Dallas, Texas for a Fourth of July Sushi tour
By Lionel D. Alford, Jr., Ph.D. “Dr. Alf”
We departed on 4 July from Wichita Col James Jabara airport (AAO) for Dallas McKinney airport (TKI). We flew on Tammy Lamb, Beechcraft Baron 58 N17979, TH-832. Tammy Lamb is an excellently equipped Beech Baron that is a part 135 aircraft used for charter operations. It’s like flying a mini-airliner.
We arrived at AAO and were able to drive our car out to the aircraft on the secure ramp. A suitcase, snacks, flight materials went right into the aircraft from the car. With a walk around and a little more air in the tires, we were ready to fly.
We took off at 0900 in beautiful, but hot conditions on an IFR clearance for Dallas. The weather was perfect and the skies were smooth at our 11,000 foot cruising altitude. Air Traffic Control (ATC) didn’t make us fly the entire GREGS6 arrival, but sent us direct to TKI where we requested a visual approach. We had a VFR shadow (a VFR aircraft on a parallel course) on the way in and ATC directed us with vectors for separation. The tower controller was busy with morning traffic, but fit us in without any other delay. We ended up on final for a perfect Baron landing at a slightly cooler Dallas, Texas.
We had informed the FBO about fifteen minutes out from landing, and they were ready for us with our rental car. A new Santa Fe drove up beside the aircraft. Since we asked for a compact, that was a pretty nice upgrade. We transferred our stuff while the ground crew bedded the aircraft down. In minutes we were ready to make our first reservation at 1200.
The first stop was Kona Grill. Kona Grill is a Polynesian restaurant that also serves sushi. We knew the weekend would be great when Saki-bombs from the menu provided two 22 ounce Kirin beers and two hot sakis. The sushi was excellent and the environment was pleasant. After lunch, we drove to make our reservations at the Ritz-Carlton. The Ritz is one of the nicest hotels in Dallas. Our room was in a quiet corner with a great view of most of downtown. We sat out at the pool and drank jalapeno Margaritas until time to dress for dinner.
Dinner was Fearings. Fearings is rated as one of the best restaurants in Dallas and some report in the entire state of Texas. We had reservations at 1900. Let’s just say, you won’t have a Fearings experience in Wichita—that’s one of the reasons for flying in a Baron to Dallas for the weekend. Fearings is like visiting to a high end restaurant in New York City. The wine list was very good and the menu was excellent. We had buffalo and antelope for the entrée (my description is significantly abbreviated here). I should say, we had exceptional buffalo and antelope for the entrée that was prepared in a very tasty and unique way. The appetizers were likewise excellent. I had a very different lobster bisque and the birthday-girl had a southwestern style foie gras. For dessert, we tried the Banana Pudding with Beignets. The Beignets were supposed to be based on those from Café du Monde. Since I had just been to Café du Monde, I’ll say they were close (if not better). The server surprised us by bringing piece of anniversary cake and birthday cake—a plethora of pleasantness.
In the morning, the Sushi tour was supposed to start in earnest with lunch at the number two best place in Dallas. It was a bomb because the place was closed for lunch (even though I called a couple of weeks before and another couple came looking for lunch there too). We did a search and found a little jewel of a hole in the wall called Oishii. This was a great place—low cost, saki-bombs, great sushi and shashimi. The real test was the evening for dinner at Sushi-saki. Sushi-saki is supposed to be the best sushi restaurant in Dallas. It was crowded, didn’t have saki-bombs, but the sushi was great. Nothing special, just atmosphere and great sushi. We were happy with our sushi tour.
On Sunday morning, we headed back to the airport to take the Baron home to Wichita. McKinney Air Center, the FBO at TKI had the aircraft ready to go. It was fueled and the windows were clean. Their line crews seem always cheerful. We hauled our few bags out and I checked out the plane. McKinney tower gave us the usual IFR clearance TEX2.ZEMMA. The tower worked us into the busy Sunday traffic for takeoff on runway 18. ATC put us in a long left turn back over the field and almost direct to AAO. After a few miles and we had climbed to 8,000 feet, ATC sent us direct to Jabara. The air was like glass at 8,000 feet and the weather was clear.
When we arrived near Wichita, ATC gave us pilot’s discretion to 6,000 then down to 3,000 feet. We came in over the top of Beech Field and canceled to enter a right downwind for runway 18 at AAO. The landing was a fine Baron two pointer with aero-braking. We were back in time for lunch.
A Baron is a great machine for business and pleasure—a three day weekend and a Baron means the ability to travel in comfort without the hassles of the TSA, airliners (flying buses), or lost luggage. It also means a great sushi tour.