Hot mess in Dallas
Father-and-son trip to Dallas proves everything's bigger in Texas
In this case, a hot mess is not the condition you left your last girlfriend or boyfriend in upon breakup.
It's the signature dish at Dallas' hottest barbecue joint.
Pecan Lodge's Hot Mess is the most tender and moist, low-and-slow-cooked brisket shredded atop a baked sweet potato.
It does, indeed, look a bit of a mess, but man, is it ever tasty.
In fact, all the Texas barbecue at Pecan Lodge is lip-smacking good, from the ribs and sausage to the chicken and sides of collard greens and mac'n'cheese.
The funky, cafeteria-style restaurant in Dallas' warehouse-turned-hipster Deep Ellum neighbourhood serves you only after you join the long line up and order from the limited menu.
And when that day's allotment of barbecue meat is gone, it's gone.
The no-nonsense formula constantly keeps Pecan Lodge ranked the best barbecue in Dallas.
My son, Alex, and I are visiting this North Texas metropolis for its triple-threat of cuisine – barbecue, Tex-Mex and steak – and back-to-back Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Mavericks games.
In fact, Dallas' good eating, professional sports, JFK history and everything's-bigger-in-Texas swagger is attracting more and more Canadian tourists.
Canucks are the second biggest international tourist market for Dallas, behind only Mexico, and Air Canada has responded with new flights.
Last year, the airline added non-stops to Dallas from both Vancouver and Montreal to supplement the Toronto-Dallas flights Air Canada has been operating for decades.
After jetting from Vancouver is how we find ourselves staying at the landmark Adolphus hotel downtown and then at the Cowboys' pre-game party outside 80,000-seat AT&T Stadium.
We watch the Cowboys Dancers and the Rhythm & Blue Drumline while sipping Miller Lite.
Inside, our cheap seats are in the nose-bleeds, but we don't care.
We get caught up in the excitement of NFL football, helping cheer America's team to a 29-23 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
After the game, we make a beeline for Mariano's Hacienda for Tex-Mex beef tacos and the frozen concoction that helps you hang on.
That's right, Mariano's invented the blended margarita machine in 1971.
More food and basketball is on the menu next day.
So, we make our way to Dakota's Steakhouse for perfectly-done filet mignons and grilled asparagus before the Dallas Mavericks and Orlando Magic tip off at the American Airlines Centre.
Our basketball tickets are as good as our football tickets were bad.
The seats are so close to the action I can snap pictures of Mavs star DeAndre Jordan both on the court and at the bench.
As an added bonus, the home team blows out the Magic 101-76.
We take to getting to and fro everywhere in either Ubers or on app-accessed stand-up Bird motorized scooters.
It's a blast zipping around the city on this unique mode of transportation.
It's how we get to the Sixth Floor Museum commemorating the spot in Dealey Plaza where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.
We also Bird to the Reunion Tower to take in the views of Dallas' impressive skyline.
The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum was a little too far out of town, so we Ubered there to sit behind the desk in the exact replica of the Oval Office.