Saturday, August 30, 2008

Riding the M Line

We had to drop Cathy and Wayne at Dallas Love Field today--they had been staying with us while looking for a new home in Dallas--so while we we're in the area, I decided it would be a great day to take Aiden for a trolley ride on the historic M Line.

For those not in the know, the M Line trolley is free, runs seven days a week, and runs a continuous loop down McKinney Avenue, through Uptown, the West Village, and the Arts District. The trolley is one of the original street cars that ran in Dallas in the 1930's. There are 6 different cars you can ride on, with 2 or 3 in service on any given day, and a full loop takes about 45 minutes. You can get on and off at any of the designated stops on the route (which are basically at every corner on McKinney--look for the brown or burgundy signs), or you can just flag it down as it passes--the drivers are great to pick people up wherever. You'll have to put up with a hokey sales pitch for souvenir pins or thimbles and a few corny jokes, but the drivers will usually let kids blow the whistle or help "drive" during the ride. It is a great way to see Uptown and the Arts District--you can park free in the West Village garage, hop on, ride to the Dallas Museum of Art or just to one of the many galleries or restaurants in Uptown.

Aiden loved the trolley ride. He got to step on the pedal that sounded the whistle, and the driver was great to chat with Aiden and involve him in the ride. We got on in the West Village and rode the full loop. When we got off, we went to Grimaldi's Pizzeria for dinner, an authentic New York-style pizzeria that makes their pizza in a coal-fired pizza oven. A very family-friendly place, they brought Aiden a pizza pan and a hunk of pizza dough to use like play dough, keeping him occupied and happy while Brad and I debated what kind of pizza to get.

If you are a pizza purist, then this is definitely the place for you. You pick the size of pie you want, the sauce you want, and then can add ingredients from there, with each separate ingredient costing between $2 and $5. The sauce is amazing and just the right amount, the crust is thin and amazingly crisp, but not tough, and they use REAL fresh, Italian mozzarella cheese, not the Americanized junk that most places use. The pizzas are topped with fresh basil, and all of the ingredients we tried were high-quality and fabulous. After much debate, Brad and I decided to order two different personal sized pies. At 12" each, there was plenty of food for Brad, Aiden and I, and even a slice to take home. Brad got a traditional pie with pepperoni, sausage and ham. I got a pesto pie with grilled chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, and mushrooms. Both were fabulous, albeit expensive--by the time we got through adding all of our ingredients, my pizza was $23 and Brad's was $17! Add a Greek salad for us to share, drinks, and a cannoli (YUM) for us to take home, and dinner was over 60 bucks before tip! We could have done it cheaper, had we ordered one big pizza instead of two small ones, but our desire to try out a couple of different things won out.

Even though the price is a bit steep, it was worth it--Brad and I agree it was some of the best pizza we've had in a long, long time. Service was exceptional, Aiden was happy and entertained, and the atmosphere was great, so although it won't be a regular haunt, we'll definitely be back! And considering the great free entertainment we'd had before, $75 bucks or so wasn't too bad for an entire afternoon's outing and a meal.

If you want to check out the M Line, click here to see pics and the website.

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