A couple of weeks ago, Mom drove to Texas with her SUV loaded down with baby shower gifts and pantry goods from the garden. While she was in town, we drove to Dallas and toured the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the campus of Southern Methodist University and ate lunch at Afrah, a Lebanese restaurant recently featured on The Food Network.
I do not consider myself a political person and I stray away from conflict and controversy. It matters not to me if you’re a Republican, Democrat, or member of this or that organization. However, I believe the impact of September 11, 2001 affected all of us who experienced that tragic day in our nation’s history. Touring the #Bush43 Museum, I was most excited to see how 9/11 would be presented to visitors. I was not disappointed. I shed tears during the orientation film near the entrance of the museum and the tears flowed throughout the 9/11 exhibit. I was frustrated with the middle school students on a field trip until reality struck: they are 12-14 years old and were either not yet born or too young to remember that particular Tuesday morning. It was a humbling moment for sure.
Do you remember where you were when the news reports broke and President Bush (visiting an elementary school in Florida) was notified of the events happening in New York City?
Actual metal beams from the World Trade Center buildings
Mom and I eventually composed ourselves and continued our tour through the museum. The size is perfect — not too big, not too small — and the layout is free-flowing. There is even an exact replica of the Oval Office, decorated exactly as #Bush43 had it during his term. Mom liked the blue bonnet painting and Western sculpture while I preferred sitting behind the President’s Desk!
If you are in the Dallas area, and have a couple of hours available, I highly recommend visiting the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. It’s conveniently located on the campus of Southern Methodist University, north of downtown Dallas. If Mom and I did not already have plans for lunch, we would have eaten at Cafe 43, a full-service restaurant featuring local, seasonal products. Each dish is a classic Texas favorite inspired by Former First Lady Laura Bush.
AFRAH Restaurant in Richardson, Texas
Nicole with Joseph, Chef & Owner
A few miles north of Dallas, in Richardson, is Afrah, a Lebanese (Mediterranean) restaurant. I was actually in Kentucky when it was featured on The Food Network’s Guy’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Two brothers, Ayad and Youssef (he goes by Joseph) own this establishment. In the television segment, Joseph showed Guy Fieri how to stack marinate and stack Chicken Shawarma. This brought back delicious memories for me as I first tasted shawarma while visiting Jerusalem and touring the Holy Land. Afrah did not disappoint! They serve an extensive array of dishes on a lunch buffet, including salads, entrees, vegetables, and fresh hummus and pita bread. Even though shawarma is not served on the lunch buffet, beef and chicken shawarma are available if you ask. For a sweet finish, you must try their homemade gelato — I had mango (dairy-free!) and Mom enjoyed the traditional pistachio. She said it was awesome. This was Mom’s first experience with Lebanese food and she loved it — just like I knew she would! Before leaving, I introduced myself to Joseph and we stepped outside since the dining room was full of lunchtime patrons. I shared a bit of my trip to the Middle East and he told me about his last visit to Lebanon. He and his brother are opening a new restaurant in 2014 (adjacent to the current location), plus a bakery and Middle Eastern grocery store. Even though Richardson is located about an hour from my home, it’s definitely a place I will visit again. The shawarma and hummus are amazing, both worth the drive!!!
Keep the conversation going …
Have you visited a presidential museum or library?
What’s your favorite “exotic” cuisine?