Last week I was honored to once again join Norma's Cafe on their Texas Chicken Fried Steak Day tour. If you remember, I was asked to go last year and had a blast (see that post here). Basically, we rode around on a bus and stopped at different places to eat chicken fried steak all day. ALL DAY. Yes, all day. Have I said all day yet? Lol.
If you are a regular visitor of my blog, you know I LOVE Norma's Cafe. If you live in the DFW area (or come to visit), you must check out one of their five locations. This year proceeds from Texas Chicken Fried Steak Day at Norma's Cafe benefited the Dallas Stars Foundation (click here for more info on them).
Our day started early at the Norma's location in Frisco where we had our first chicken fried steak of the day along with other yummy breakfast entrees. After last year I learned to pace myself early, so I only had one piece of bacon and some eggs along with my chicken fried steak. From there we headed just down the road and made a stop at Dr Pepper Arena, which is the practice location of our hockey team, the Dallas Stars. We were given a private behind the scenes tour by former Stars great Bob Bassen. Although the arena is open to the public to watch the team practice on the ice, not just anyone gets to see the locker room, workout room, and video room. There was a member of the Dallas Stars Foundation on the tour and he said in the eight years he's worked for them, he's only been back there twice. It was very cool!
|In the workout room|
|Bob Bassen- super nice guy!|
We made three stops along the tour for chicken fried steak: Cartwright's Ranch House in Denton, Bono's Chophouse and Saloon in Decatur, and Ranchman's in Ponder.
Everyone has been asking for my reviews of the tour, so here you go. Not counting Norma's, the best chicken fried steak of the day was at Cartwright's. Hands down. It was so good. And I really liked the atmosphere there. It's located right across from the Denton County Courthouse. The square around the courthouse seems to have some nice shops, I should go back and check them out! Bono's Chophouse had the best sides, including homemade cream corn which was AMAZING. They have something called Armadillo Toes which is jalapenos stuffed with cheddar cheese and wrapped in bacon (they had me at wrapped in bacon). Delicious (and I'm not usually a fan of jalapenos). They also had the best bread pudding I have ever tasted. I was sad we only had a little sample of it. Ranchman's served us chicken fried steak tenders (which honestly was nice since it was towards the end of the day and I'm not sure I could have handled another whole chicken fried steak). Their tenders were very good. They also had cobbler, which I didn't try, but everyone else said it was great. I would recommend trying out any of those locations if you are nearby. Our day ended back at Norma's where they sent us home with chicken fried steak sliders (our FIFTH meal of the day). I didn't eat it that night though. I didn't eat anything until late in the day on Friday because I was so full. Lol.
|My chicken fried steak meals. Top (l-r) Bono's, Norma's. Bottom (l-r) Cartwright's, Norma's, Ranchman's (this is not my plate though, I only managed to eat two tenders). Lol.|
Ranchman's in Ponder is next door to the Ponder State Bank, which according to local legend, was once held up by Bonnie and Clyde. They tried to get into the safe by coming through the back of the vault. They got in but were unable to open the safe. There was a man named Bill who was inside renovating the bank. We just wanted pictures outside but he opened the door and said we could come and take a look inside if we wanted to. He was so nice. Evidently he was on an episode of American Pickers recently. He is working to restore the bank to how it looked when Bonnie and Clyde were there. Everything there is original (some of it has been in storage for many years). He even let us going inside the vault to see the safe. They are going to open it up as a tourist attraction at some point. I would like to go back once they are done to see it again.
Just like last year, I had so much fun on the tour. It's nice to meet new people and go new places. I had never been to Decatur or Ponder before, despite not living too far from them. It's also fun to try new places to eat. I'm so thankful for my friends at Norma's for inviting me along!
|Bill and Ed crack me up!|
|My tour group!|
|Along with dinner, Norma's sent us all home with a goodies bag. I also won a wireless waterproof speaker and free pie for three months as part of the bus tour raffle. :)|