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The Highland Dallas hotel in Dallas, TX
The Highland Dallas hotel in Dallas, TX

Have I mentioned lately that I’m a lucky bitch? Well, perhaps I haven’t satisfied my mentions quota for 2014, then. Since the year is winding down, let’s go ahead and toss another one on the pile. I am one lucky bitch. This time, it’s because the lovely people at Curio, a collection by Hilton, gave me the opportunity to stay the night at the very first hotel to be anointed with their name. That hotel, formerly known to Dallasites as the Palomar, is now called The Highland Dallas, Curio Collection by Hilton. Stay, or rather take a free Steakcation at The Highland Dallas? Yes, yes I will steakcate, thank you very much.

In case this happens to be your first visit to my cushy little chopping block on the Interweb, welcome! Here’s a bit about me. I have a thing for food, fine dining, more specifically. I thoroughly enjoy bossing people around when it comes to ordering, and I have a knack for telling people where to eat and where to avoid. It’s kind of become my thing. Another thing to know about me is that a year and two months ago, nearly to the day, I brought two identical twin food babies into this delicious world. So, my life is roughly 50% food and 375% twin-mom-craziness. And yes, I did in fact add up that math correctly. Don’t sass me.

So yadda, yadda, yadda, mama could use a night off. Fourteen months in and my Food Bastard and I had yet to steal away in the night even once! We’ve left town, sure, but damn it if those little beauties didn’t always tag along. So when the opportunity presented itself to staycate at the very nearby Highland, I jumped (quite literally, I might add) at the chance. I found a couple of willing (READ: naive) friends to stay the night, promising them an easy, morning-only list of baby tasks, and off we ran went.

Here’s what Curio has to say about The Highland Dallas, Curio Collection by Hilton:
“Originally opened in the 1960s as the nine-story “Hilton Inn,” the hotel at Central Expressway and Mockingbird Lane was known to host lively pianists at the penthouse hot spot called Harper’s Corner, and for its “tiki room” – a former Trader Vic’s Polynesian bar-restaurant.”

Top: the open kitchen at Knife Below: the bar at Knife
Top: the open kitchen at Knife
Below: the bar at Knife

Fun facts! It’s a Hilton that was originally a Hilton! Well would you look at that.

Anyway, I have some of my own musings about the place. I’ll lay them out below, thusly:

CURIO
Curios by definition are lovely, special trinkets or objets people collect, often to display, perhaps in a cabinet, even in something one might refer to as a curio cabinet, if you will. Thus, the Curio Collection is a spot-on name for the set of hotels Hilton Worldwide has acquired, beginning with the Highland Dallas. Unique gems in cities all over the world, these hotels are ones you can count on for a fabulous stay. They’ve certainly snagged my attention.

Center: the meat locker at Knife Top L: The Magic burger Top R: steak au Poivre Bottom L: yellowtail Bottom R: steak tartare
Center: the meat locker at Knife; Top L: The Magic burger; Top R: steak au Poivre; Bottom L: yellowtail; Bottom R: steak tartare

CURIOUS
The menu at Knife has an array of eyebrow-raising delicacies and exotic meats, a combination of old and new, raw and char. There’s plenty to satisfy the weary traveler, the culinarily curious, or …y’know, your dad. Unfortunately for us, the storied, $80-per-inch, 240-day aged ribeye had completely sold out the night before. But we were able to sample items from all over the menu: steak tartare topped with a quail egg in the style of “21,” creamed spinach, roasted Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, The Magic burger, plenty of tasty frites, and an 18-ounce steak au Poivre, served rare with a lot of charred crust from a finish in a cast iron skillet. But my favorite bite of the night? The yellowtail with Texas ruby grapefruit, avocado, Murray River salt, sriracha, and Ligurian olive oil. We finished with a parade of three desserts from pastry chef David Collier: stout chocolate, banana pudding and salted caramel. Knife’s concept of modern classic steakhouse really shines from start to finish. It’s truly a great experience and my favorite thing about it is that you can spend $15 or $500 and leave happy. Seriously.

CURT
As in, short and rude. But despite what you may have heard in the news, there was zero trace of any four-letter words during our stay, ladies and gents. There was also no trace of Tesar, however (he happened to be in LA that night). While there’s no denying it: Chef John Tesar’s salty reputation carries a bit of the curt, honestly, his cooking speaks volumes louder. And this time, you might find it’s you who’s using those four-letter words, in a good way, of course. Pardon your French!

A herd of calves welcomed us to our room, along with a note from the hotel's general manager, a plush king bed and a view of SMU. Oh, and no twin #foodbabies.
A herd of calves welcomed us to our room, along with a note from the hotel’s general manager, a plush king bed and a view of SMU. Oh, and no twin #foodbabies.

CURTEOUS
The staff at The Highland, from valet to front desk to barman to hostess to server, were on point and down-to-earth. They weren’t too present but they certainly weren’t absent. The hotel felt nothing like a corporate, massive, stodgy hotel. Which is, I imagine, what they’re going for. And because lots of folks have asked, it’s very much like Palomar was, and there’s a reason for that. The team that renovated the building prior to the opening of The Palomar did a fabulous job turning it into a gorgeous, Dallas-y gem of a boutique hotel, which is why it was so attractive to the Curio people, I must assume. Thus, it didn’t need much to turn it into The Highland Dallas. They replaced the beds, made a few tweaks and voila!

CURE
As in, “for what ails you.” If the cocktails don’t do it (and I strongly recommend starting the evening off with the signature Curio and finishing with their spin on a White Russian), there’s always the steak. And if that doesn’t float your boat, why the hell are you reading my blog?? Joking! Kind of. But also, there’s the very, very relaxing Exhale spa. They specialize in AHHHH. With yoga, pilates and whatnot, you can certainly sweat, but you can also relax in the manner I prefer, with massage, facials, acupuncture and scrubs. Next time…

Once again, a huge THANK YOU to the folks at Curio for having me and my Food Bastard husband at The Highland Dallas and Knife last week. Our Steakcation was lovely, 15 hours of childless, tipsy, meat-laden bliss spent a cushy three miles from home in the city that we love. If you want to steakcate like we did, book a room and make a reservation. If foodbitch recommends it, you won’t regret it.

BONUS!

These same lovely Curio people are giving away dinner for six at Knife on New Year’s Eve (up to $750 dining credit). As you can see they’re quite generous. The giveaway is for Dallas-area peeps only, really, so your odds are looking pretty good. Better enter soon though; the contest ends on December 28.

Follow along as The Curio Collection acquires more gems like The Highland Dallas. Follow @CurioCollection on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

CURTSY.

NOTE: This Steakcation (hotel stay + meal at Knife) was completely paid for by Hilton Worldwide. They approached me and offered me the stay and meal in exchange for a blog post and some social love, which I happily obliged. I authored the post, they did not. I wrote it honestly and without bias. Besides, my meat coma had worn off by the time I authored this post. Approximate total value of comped Steakcation: $500. 

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