Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader Ally Traylor on Pre-Game Meals and Favorite Dallas Restaurants
Occasionally we identify interesting local folks who are as obsessed with food and restaurants as we are, and share some of their thoughts on Dallas' dining scene and food in general. This is one of those occasions.
What food reminds you of your childhood?
Soft pretzels! I'm originally from St. Louis, and THE place for the best soft pretzels is Gus' Pretzels. As a child, I could never get enough of Gus', so now, even as an adult, every time I eat a soft pretzel I fondly remember my childhood obsession, and naturally compare it to my favorite, Gus' Pretzels.
What are some of your favorite restaurants in Dallas?
I totally can't pick just ONE! It would only be right for me to narrow down my list of favorites by category:
Burgers -- Twisted Root
Brunch -- La Duni
Tex-Mex Restaurant -- MIA'S (Made famous because it was Tom Landry's favorite restaurant!)
Italian -- Campisi's
Favorite Restaurant Atmosphere -- Nick & Sam's Grill
Pizza -- Cane Rosso
Steak -- Del Frisco's
What food is your favorite guilty indulgence?
Tex Mex! I LOVE brisket tacos with chips and queso, fresh pico -- I can never get enough. Throw in a margarita and I'm in heaven.
In your travels, what are some of the best (or most memorable) meals you've had?
Throughout my five-season career as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, I've been given the opportunity to travel across the world to South Korea on USO tours, to China and Japan while on an American Airlines One World Alliance Ambassadors Tour, and have been to Mexico and the Bahamas several times for our annual swimsuit calendar project.
As my teammates can attest, I'm a "picky eater," but while in China I felt adventurous and explored several different traditional Chinese foods. My least favorite was the jellyfish, but my absolute favorite was the Peking duck skin, wrapped inside a thin, almost crepe-like casing. It was amazing! I ate so many of them that I definitely was not up for much dancing after the meal.
Another fond memory involving international cuisine involves our trip to Japan. We had the opportunity to be tourists for a day and walk around Narita, learning about the local culture. While walking and shopping, we came across a street vendor that happened to be selling food. Hungry, as we cheerleaders always are, we decided to order a few items and be spontaneous. Feeling adventurous, I decided to try the dried, teriyaki minnow ... my face was priceless! Though it wasn't on my bucket list, and isn't on any to-do list for the future, it was definitely a fun, funny and memorable experience.
What food or beverage items do you always keep stocked in your fridge at home?
Beverages -- Bottled water, Dr Pepper, fat-free milk and orange juice are always fully stocked.
Fruit -- I always have apples and green grapes.
Vegetables -- Cucumbers and baby carrots
Junk Food -- Those little pre-made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! They are great for when I'm on the go and don't feel like being healthy.
Favorite late-night snack?
Popcorn ... ALL flavors!
Do you have a favorite hole-in-the-wall or off-the-beaten-path restaurant in Dallas?
Alligator Café in Dallas! It has the best authentic Cajun food in the city: shrimp po-boys, crawfish etouffee, jambalaya and yes, even real GATOR. Yum!
What kind of restaurants would you like to see more of in Dallas?
Great BBQ! I've lived in Dallas for about five years and I have yet to find a truly amazing BBQ restaurant. Any suggestions?
What is an essential MUST HAVE dish at your Thanksgiving dinner?
My mom's sweet potato pie. Wow! I think I could eat an entire meal of just that pie. It's amazing and I crave it all year long.
Games are a major workout for you. What is you pregame meal or drink that helps you stay energized and hydrated?
After five seasons as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, I've figured out that I am definitely a creature of habit on game day. Some would even say that I'm superstitious when it comes to my pregame meal.
Chocolate chip pancakes or apple pancakes (no syrup)
Turkey bacon (two slices)
One full cup of coffee with French vanilla creamer
As far as what I eat just before a game, it really depends on what our catering service at Cowboys Stadium has for our buffet line. Contrary to popular belief, we actually DO eat, and on game day, we eat a lot! Every game day we have several different options for our pregame meal -- healthy options and tasty treats. The best part of game day is that we always eat our meals together as a team in our locker room, laughing, relaxing and having fun before we dance for four straight hours.
For a noon game, we typically arrive at the stadium around 6:30 a.m., so we will have a full breakfast spread complete with eggs, bacon, breakfast sandwiches, Danishes, coffee, juices, fruit and more. If it is an afternoon or evening game, we have items like grilled chicken, steamed veggies, BBQ, chicken fingers, fajitas, etc. Needless to say, our favorite meal and game is the Thanksgiving game. We have a traditional Thanksgiving feast complete with all the fixin's: turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pies and casseroles galore!
Again, a creature of habit or superstition, during halftime I always stop by our fully stocked fridge and drink one Dr Pepper and one Gatorade. ... Weird, I know!