Friday, June 10, 2016

Flitting around Fort Worth

Fort Worth Botanic Garden Center and Conservatory
In the early part of the spring, when we had a break from the nearly daily rain that has fallen in North Texas this year, Dave and I decided that we wanted to see the newly re-opened Conservatory at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. This 110 acre garden located is in a pretty part of the city, near the Trinity River, the Fort Worth Zoo, and the Will Rogers Complex. The oldest botanic garden in Texas, it was established in 1934 and has about 2,500 species of native and exotic plants in its 22 specialty gardens. The Conservatory houses the ‘tropical plants’ that can’t stand the vagaries of Texas weather.

Application was made to the National Register of Historic Places and can be viewed online. It is an interesting, if extensive document, in that it gives the history and physical structure of
Red veined bracts
all the small gardens within the Botanic Garden. I actually downloaded this document and have read much of it for background for this blog. The Garden was entered into the National Register on January 29, 2009. The rose garden, constructed in 1933, is cited as ‘one of four excellent examples of the classic period of the municipal rose garden, an era from 1927 to 1937’. Its formal style was influenced by Italian and French formal gardens of the 16th through the 18th centuries. The other historic parts of the garden are the Rock Springs area, the vistas and adjacent woods, the horseshoe and the original Garden Center building and greenhouse. Construction of the public rose garden and other parts of the garden was unusual because approximately 750 artisans and laborers were hired through relief programs of Herbert Hoover's administration and Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. Construction was expected to take years. With the Reconstruction Finance Corp. labor force, the garden was finished in nine months. The Botanic Garden is a great place to wander around in a fairly natural setting – they have omitted the poison ivy and undergrowth of a completely natural Texas woodland. We’re looking forward to going back to visit the Japanese Garden and to see some of the other smaller gardens.

There are plenty of things to see and do in Fort Worth, as well as lots of places to grab a snack! For information about my rating system, see Reading the Reviews.

What we did:

Four carrots
Fort Worth Botanic Garden (3220 Botanic Garden Boulevard, Fort Worth, Texas, 817-392-
White flowering plant
5510) is open daily. An admission fee is charged for the Conservatory and Japanese Garden; the other gardens are free. There is plenty of free parking.

What we ate:
Three and one-half carrots
The Gardens Restaurant (3220 Rock Springs Road, Fort Worth, TX 76107, 817-731 – 2547) is a pretty little place with seating both indoors and out. The day we were there, it was full outside but seating was available inside. They were also hosting a luncheon of some 
Left T to B: Gardens menu, Reuben sandwich
Right: Apricot chicken sandwicn 
sort in one of the private rooms. This made service horribly slow; apparently there were only two waitresses. It was also irritating to see the chef sitting at a table next to us talking at length with a colleague when the servers were so obviously rushed off their feet; adding insult to injury was another person who seemed to be drifting around aimlessly, neither cleaning tables nor taking orders. We were finally told by the hostess that even she had been called in to help with seating, since they had not expected such a rush. We were still irritated by the time our food arrived, which made it difficult to enjoy the meal. Why didn’t we walk out? I had heard good things about the food and really wanted to taste it. Dave had the Classic Reuben; it came with corned beef, melted Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island dressing on rye bread. I had Apricot Chicken Salad on Toasted Ciabatta; this was homemade apricot chicken salad, with mixed field greens and tomatoes. The sandwiches were very good, as were the fries. The food almost made up for the long wait. We both enjoyed our lunches and would go back, again. Prices were reasonable.

The City of Fort Worth has sprawled in all directions, having a rather lace-like quality to its
Fort Worth skyline
eastern boundary. Although you may believe that you are in Keller, Watauga, Haslet, Saginaw or some other small town, you’re actually in Fort Worth. And that’s why this entry is included in this blog: we were in Fort Worth and didn’t know it.

Four carrots, but only for the food!
Tom + Chee (#137, 8901 Tehama Ridge Pkwy, Fort Worth, TX 76177, 817-847-7635) is all the things I don’t like in an eatery. The menu is on the wall, you order at the counter, you 
Top L to R: Menu, Crunchy BBQ sandwich
Bottom L to R: Drink, Build Your Own sandwich
have to seat yourself, it’s loud, and it’s a chain. So why did I actively go looking for this place to introduce it to Dave? Because the food is very good. You can Build Your Own Grilled Cheese sandwich (or half sandwich) and that’s just what I did. Mine was gouda and goat cheese on wheatberry bread with sautéed mushrooms and basil pesto. The bread was buttery and toasty, the cheeses nicely melted, there were plenty of mushrooms, and the pesto was just the tang it all needed. I asked for a fork to scoop up the melted cheese and mushrooms that dripped out. The half-sandwich is plenty, but you can also get tomato soup and/or dessert. Dave had the BBQ + Bacon Crunchy Grilled Cheese. It had barbecue potato chips, bacon, and American cheese on white bread. We both got soft drinks and were able to refill them a couple of times before we left. We spent about $15. This group prepares amazingly good sandwiches. Happily, you can order online and pick up in the store – I wish it was closer to my house!

Spores on the underside of a leaf

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