It was the day after Jordan Spieth’s triumphant win at the British Open, and we were traversing the back nine-thousand feet near Topgolf, the recently opened Fort Worth driving range that plays like a bowling alley, when I realized that we were as lost in the rough (construction) surrounding the venue as Spieth was during the fourth round’s 13th hole.
But much like the outstanding golfer and Dallas native, my caddie (I mean, daddy of my kids) and I figured out a way to win.
By win, I mean eat as much fried food as humanly possible — because Topgolf is about more than golf, especially where your stomach is concerned — while watching various members of our party shank and whiff poor balls into the nearest version of oblivion.
Did I mention I’d never swung a golf club?
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It’s a good thing I’m familiar with calories because they are in abundance on the menu. But how best to navigate the veritable edible bunkers? Here are the top five things we tried:
1. Frose ($7): May I suggest a glass of Frose — frozen rosé — to set the mood for your afternoon or evening full of golfing foibles? (Apologies to any skilled ball strikers among us.)
A large block of frozen Charles & Charles rosí mixed with raspberries and strawberries drifts — and then melts — in a wineglass of Bollicini prosecco. Dry, sweet and bubbly, it was ideal for the 90-degree-plus early-evening heat.
Under the misting fans, I sipped away, increasingly, blissfully unaware of how the drink would affect my game.
2. Bacon Mac ‘N Cheese Spring Rolls ($9.50): While Topgolf is near Haltom City, known for its excellent Vietnamese food, the spring rolls here are not of the same rice-paper ilk. No, that would be stranger than if Spieth were to hit a ball during a tournament from behind some equipment trucks on the driving range, so these logs are swathed in a crispy fried exterior — what better way to insulate the creamy, green chile-cheesy noodles and bits of bacon? With an exceedingly crunchy crust, the insides were piping hot, and perfectly paired with the accompanying cool ranch dressing.
3. Mushi ($10): This is kind of like what would happen if you took a Chipotle burrito and cut it into slices, then topped it with an avocado and Sriracha hot sauce. There’s a difference in taste, however, because the ingredients here are amplified — the cilantro rice is sticky, the chicken is bathed in a spicy dry rub, the beans are “drunk” and the tortilla is jalapeño flavored — and the result is a three-bite-plus savory wonder. The chunky chicken mixes with the cheddar cheese, and the layers of tortilla add just the right bit of texture to keep it all together.
4. Chicken and waffle sliders ($9.50): Pieces of unwieldy fried-chicken tenders go outside the bounds of two housemade mini-Belgian waffles, but this entree is hardly, as they say in golf, provisional. It’s a must-order due to the chicken’s excellent batter and the irresistible one-two punch of the jalapeño gravy and maple syrup. Salty, crunchy, sweet and rich, the sliders were immediately cut in half so the four of us could each enjoy a couple of bites.
5. Injectable doughnut holes ($11): While the name may sound weirdly clinical, it best captures the action required to get these balls in the air. An extremely generous portion of two dozen doughnut holes, fried in a thick, almost beignetlike, State Fair-esque batter, is served with your choice of two sauces. We went with chocolate and Bavarian cream, which were inside two separate rubber syringes. After uncapping the syringe (no small feat), we went to work injecting each ball with the fillings. The cream was outstanding — thick and custardy — while the chocolate was less cohesive and made for more than a few misfires, which is exactly how I would describe my golf effort that night. It’s a good thing the food is so top-notch at Topgolf.