I was blessed to travel earlier this month to Dallas, Texas with my girlfriend Sally Krabill and our friends Jessica and Matt Krazit. Sally and Jess were attending the eClinical Works National Conference. This week covers some of the restaurants we visited. Next week includes sightseeing and wineries on the trip.

The Dallas area has plenty of creative food options with Texas-sized portions both pleasing to the palate and visually appealing.

After our plane touched down at Dallas Love Field, it didn't take long to find delicious sports bar eats, a great local breakfast joint and a fine-dining restaurant with an 8-course meal.

Arriving early evening at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in the Dallas suburb of Grapevine, my first meal was at the Texan Station Sports Bar.

Just a short stroll from the elevators at the large Gaylord facility, convenience was the initial thought, but it ended up being a whole lot more.

The Frito Pie, a popular Southwestern dish, was the choice to start things off.

The pie consisted of Texas chili, Frito scoops, poblano queso, serrano cream, pico de gallo and scallions. The serving was generous for Sally and I, but left room for dessert.

We decided on Fried Apple Pie. Fire-roasted apples in a cinnamon sugar pie crust. To top it off the pie came with smoked bourbon caramel dipping sauce.

Next up was a breakfast, and Old West Cafe was the choice, just a short drive from the Gaylord. The restaurant features a Wild West theme and described as a "fun place to take visitors from out of town."

I enjoy breakfast places and selecting one everybody else likes as well so we are all in on the food fun.

Jess and Matt joined us and it did not disappoint.

I selected The Conestoga, which included two Texas-sized vanilla latte pancakes topped with a sweet maple-coffee glaze and powdered sugar. Two pieces of crispy bacon and a pair of over-easy eggs rounded out the meal. Other popular items on the menu included French toast and several Mexican-style breakfasts.

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Our fine-dining experience was at Abacus, a trendy restaurant in the Uptown section of Dallas close to downtown.

A restaurant of contemporary global cuisine it has been awarded four diamonds in AAA, a USA Today Top 10, is in the Fine Dining Hall of Fame and earned the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence..

Sally and I decided on an eight-course "tasting," which included sushi, cheese and dessert flights, along with smaller portions of entrees.

Sushi is one of my favorites, so we started with a salmon, tuna and avocado mix that used Sriracha spiced tuna.

The main courses included Citrus Glazed Scottish Salmon and Espresso Molasses Soaked Cervena Venison.

The cheese flight featured four cheeses: Red Leicester from the United Kingdom, Brazo Valley from Texas, Sleeping Beauty from Oregon and Espresso Bellavitano from Wisconsin.

The evening at Abacus concluded with sorbet and chocolate for dessert.

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