Nan and Deya Palmero love music and adore food. They travel the world exploring local culture through their camera lenses, but call San Antonio home. You can find Nan on Instagram at @nanpalmero and Deya is @holadeya.
Day One: Friday
A soaking drive with a sky-filling light show was no match for our Plano adventure. Our drive from San Antonio was dominated with lightning and thunder but it would prove to be no match for the fun we were about to have.
We drove straight to the delicious Mexican Sugar restaurant. Deya, a native of Mexico City and a foodie, is no stranger to authentic and delicious Mexican food. She was so excited to finally have some tasty food and spicy drinks. When we entered, she was already wowed by the atmosphere… and the luchador-masked longhorn hanging on the wall. Our waiter made sure we sat down at a table close to the kitchen so we could be close to all the action. He explained to us that they have over 140 tequilas and the hibiscus tortillas are made in-house daily. To get my taste buds going, I had a cold Peruvian beer and Deya had their machete drink made with serrano infused tequila, watermelon, cucumber, agave, lime and mint. I had the adobo marinated snapper fish tacos with avocado spread, kale, apple slaw, pickled onion, mojo vinaigrette, mayo cream, mango pico and cilantro, on warm hibiscus tortillas. Deya ordered the skirt steak (which was highly recommended by our waiter), with avocado, queso fresco, roasted tomatillo salsa, black bean-hominy & quinoa salad. Of course, Deya could not leave the restaurant without having fully loaded corn with queso fresco and mayo and one more machete drink.
Once we were stuffed, we enjoyed watching the waterworks at the fountain outside. The incredible power seemed to rocket water up a hundred feet. A true feat of strength that didn’t ever seem to land a drop on the magical electric blue “Lambo” sitting less than a hundred feet away. How is it that every time I visit the Shops at Legacy, I am always greeted by a Lamborghini? Stuffed and happy, we headed to the Hilton Granite Park hotel – home base for the weekend. This hotel was selected as the #1 Hilton in the country and #7 in the world. When you stay, you’ll understand why. The staff were some of the friendliest we’ve seen and wildly accommodating to boot.
Day Two: Saturday
The Hilton was so cozy that we didn’t want to leave, so we headed down for the tasty breakfast buffet. Everything you’d expect was there – perfectly scrambled eggs, mounds of bacon, loads of sausage, pancakes, waffles, you name it. Deya had waffles topped with a full pile of berries to start her day. We were going to need it, too, because it was going to be a busy day out in the sun. Deya made sure to get her favorite hat on for the adventure.
After we ate to our heart’s content…and maybe a little more, we strolled around the hotel to take it all in. You don’t get to be number one without some extras. The Hilton Granite Park showed us that it’s not just a spectacular staff and amazing rooms, but it’s also the design, the aesthetic and the feeling you get when you are there.
As awesome as the Hilton was, we simply could not just hang out there all day – adventures awaited, so we headed downtown. Deya really enjoyed the historical buildings and the new urban apartments built around the neighborhood. Our first stop was the inviting Fourteen Eighteen Coffeehouse. Sure, we had coffee for breakfast, but missing the brews at this local shop would have been tragic. Deya enjoyed her usual, a cortado. The fun surprise was that Fourteen Eighteen also offers their coffee with seltzer to help cleanse your palate – a very European touch. Caffeinated, we shot across the street to downtown Plano’s newest retailer, Shinola Detroit. The goods in there are all American-made by the same folks that brought you Fossil. The Americana feel in there runs throughout — handsomely crafted watches, bicycles and baseball gloves. Make sure to ask for a Shinola Cola when you visit and take a picture in front of the American flag. It was time for a few more sweets before lunch, so we bounced over to Dude, Sweet Chocolate where we checked out a cacao-phony (see what we did there?) of chocolate covered goodies such as chocolate mixes for drinks, apple moonpie chocolates and a sampling of the very peculiar (but still delicious!) chocolate salami called PDA. Now it was time for something savory – enter Lockhart Smokehouse.
Deya is known to have eyes bigger than her tummy, but she also likes to sample EVERYTHING. So, we got a little bit of a lot at Lockhart Barbeque which turned into multiple pounds of food. We spread out the food and shot a photo that was picked up by Culture Trip Texas. It seems that everyone loves Lockhart Smokehouse considering the 750 likes the photo received! Okay, NOW we were ready to party.
The Edge’s Edgefest
We jumped in the car and headed to 102.1 The Edge’s Edgefest 26, a day-long festival with amazing bands and two stages at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, a short drive from downtown Plano. We LOVE music festivals and Edgefest was at the top of our to-do list. The bands play for about 40 minutes on one stage, while the next band gets set up on a second stage. Concert goers can move back and forth quickly between stages and enjoy a full day of music from your favorite bands. VIP access adds an additional level of luxury to the seats around the stadium plus entry to the lounge with air conditioning, private bar and restaurant, and leather chairs. Our time there was a mix between relishing the air conditioning, enjoying tasty drinks and capturing front row photos of the fantastic bands including X Ambassadors, Silversun Pickups, Bastille, and a ton more. It’s an incredible show and value. We recognize that Edgefest comes but once a year, but don’t fret. Plano and the surrounding areas have fantastic live music opportunities all the time. We recommend checking out two apps that can keep you on top of your favorite bands’ tour dates – Bandsintown and Songkick. One thing to remember – take hearing protection, the concert is incredibly loud. Thankfully, we were able to pick up some extra earplugs at guest services.
Spending an afternoon in the sun listening to amazing music makes you work up an appetite. The great news is that Plano is full of restaurants to satisfy your hunger. After taking a power nap and freshening up, we went to Taverna Rossa, which cooks up flavorful artisan pizzas and has live music on the weekends. We started with a glass of malbec wine and shared a Texas caprese salad: fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, house-pickled pepper relish, garlic infused Texas olive oil, balsamic vinegar and basil. Then we ordered our custom made pizza with locally sourced ingredients. We went to bed with happy bellies and our energy spent from a fun-filled day.
Day Three: Sunday
After another delicious breakfast with our pals at the Hilton Granite Park, we took off to Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. This 200 acre park features trails, free wi-fi, areas to grill, creeks and beautiful trees. We toured around the park with people young and old. Our favorite spot was down by a small creek where our Big Wheel riding friend, Zack, was cruising through the creek with the encouragement of his dad, Scott. While all of us were down there, Jagger and his human, decided to also enjoy the creek. It was nothing short of perfection. Bidding farewell to all our new friends, we headed out for our final restaurant of the trip, Smoke. Smoke in Plano is the second location for this popular restaurant and looks exactly like the original. As soon as we stepped out of the car, we were intrigued by the delicious scent of meat roasting over fire. It was intoxicating. That day, the chef was preparing for a television crew from a national show to visit – we knew we were in the right spot. The chef was kind enough to chat with Deya about his passion for good food and his restaurant. After enjoying a brunch cocktail at the bar and admiring the door from the set of Cannonball Run II behind our bartender, we were quickly seated. We enjoyed a refreshing Rosemary’s Baby frozen cocktail that had grapefruit vodka, lemon, rosemary syrup, and aperol. I had the pulled whole hog bbq eggs benedict with goat cheese potato cakes and Deya had the smoked brisket cornbread hash with an egg and green chili rajas.
Our adventure together to Plano was nothing short of spectacular. Considering that we stayed at the best Hilton in the nation, enjoyed bands from all over the world in one stadium, ate exquisitely, tasted the truly local fare, all with hospitality along the way, it was second to none. Plano is simply fantastic and we encourage other couples who love to eat well and want a quick escape from their usual lives to consider this city that has so much to offer.
We are sad to inform you that SMOKE closed in 2017 and is no longer a part of the Plano foodie scene. We will always cherish those delicious flavors! Check out all of the other wonderful restaurants our great city has to offer your tastebuds.
Places we visited in Plano
Hilton Granite Park
Fourteen Eighteen Coffeehouse
Dude, Sweet Chocolate
102.1 The Edge Edgefest
Arbor Hills Nature Preserve
Nan and Deya were hosted by Visit Plano and created this itinerary in partnership with the Visit Plano team and its partners.