Best in Dallas

All the things you thought Dallas didn't have

Crooked Tree Coffee House

Another Guest Blog from Bonnie!

This cozy coffeehouse will remind you of your favorite college hangout spot. Great coffee in a cute old house with lots of comfortable seating and little nooks to hide away in to study or work all afternoon. 95% of the clientele may be on laptops, but that means it’s nice and quiet so you can hear the very pleasant, relaxing background music while you hang out. They’ve got all kinds of coffee and tea, and a decent selection of pastries. It’s a little hard to find, because the signage isn’t great, but once you do, plan to stick around for a while. Bring a book (or a MacBook, if you want to fit in) and take some time to unwind. If you buy one of their cute reusable cups, you even get the drink in it for free!

From me: Check out the great old architecture and new colors. Fun place – thanks, Bon!

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July 8, 2011 Posted by | Creative, Edible, Uptown | , , | Leave a comment

Lockhart Smokehouse

Are you ready for some great barbecue? Check out Lockhart Smokehouse in Oak Cliff. They’ll start with a thoroughly blackened brisket, slice it with such ease that you can already tell how tender it will be, and serve it to you wrapped in paper. Ask for sauce and utensils and you’ll learn that this meat melts in your mouth with flavor that makes sauce unnecessary. The sides are terrific as well, and the guys behind the counter will help you choose with tempting descriptions. They obviously take pride in what they do, and it’s well-deserved. We didn’t even stay for the live music, but we understand the line’s out the door in the evenings. It’s at 400 W. Davis, right at Bishop Ave. in the Bishop Arts District.

July 2, 2011 Posted by | Bishop Arts District, Edible, Oak Cliff | , , | Leave a comment

Dallas Zoo

Well, hello!I’ve been slacking and now I’ve enlisted help! Note that my last entry referred to our Korean student. Well, returning to teenager-parenting slowed down my blogging regularity. But she’s in Korea for the summer, so back to the keyboard!

This post is a guest entry from my daughter Bonnie. I’m including some of the awesome pictures she and husband Chris took. Enjoy!

Which Zoo?

“Let’s go to the zoo!”

It’s summer, and time to think of things to do with the kids. The zoo sounds like fun, but it’s hot, and you’ve heard from everyone who knows anything that of COURSE the Fort Worth Zoo is the best. But who wants to drive out to Fort Worth in this heat?

I’ve got news for you – Dallas has taken up the zoo-experience gauntlet and is truly now the place to be. The Giants of the Savannah section that they’ve been advertising so heavily really is as impressive as it seems (and don’t miss feeding the giraffes!), with large, realistic habitats and lots of viewing areas. The older section is pretty great, too – it’s always been beautiful, and moving the elephants and lions has given the zoo some space to spread out.

The most important difference, though, between the Dallas and Fort Worth zoos, is air conditioning. The Dallas Zoo has several very comfortable (and non-commercial – you don’t have to buy lunch, or feel like you should, to sit) air-conditioned seating areas. They double as classrooms, so they may be occupied occasionally, but when they’re open they have great views of the areas they’re located in (one in the Giants of the Savannah exhibit and one overlooking the gorilla exhibit near the tunnel) and pleasant couches and chairs.

Next time you’re deciding which zoo to go to, and wanting to beat the heat, check out the Dallas Zoo. You won’t be disappointed.

Yes, this is Dallas!What is this anyway, and why are they always so comical?

June 27, 2011 Posted by | Downtown, Outdoors, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Noodles Ave.

Our Korean student took one look at her stone bowl and said with a smile, “My mom makes this…” After disappointment in the “Korean” dish at Pei Wei, she was pleasantly surprised and has eaten every bite every time we’ve gone. Noodles Ave. features mostly Thai food, with Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and other regional Asian items. A fairly new sushi bar adds some fun and variety to the menu. My personal favorite is the “Bento Box,” which features a soup course and a daily choice from the menu with rice, a few pieces of sushi, salad, and some dumplings for a chance to try a little of everything. Check out Noodles Ave. on the north side of Park just east of Midway in Plano. Pleasant, quiet, genuine food.

January 16, 2011 Posted by | Dallas Suburbs, Edible | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jimmy’s Italian Market

Jimmy'sHumbly billed as “Jimmy’s Food Store,” find a little bit of Italy right here in Dallas. As soon as you step in the door, the aromas begin to tell the story. This tiny grocery is dedicated to all things Italian, representing all the regions of the country. Take out sandwiches are served and they have a few tables, but don’t stop there. The shelves are lined with pastas, sauces, dressings, specialty home-style canned goods, and much more. The cheese and meat counters have waiting lines at all times. The freezer case is filled with unusual ice creams and cookie doughs and other items you can’t find anywhere else. Jimmy’s also has an extensive selection of wines, all from Italy, of course. Located right at the corner of Bryan and Fitzhugh in Dallas.

December 10, 2010 Posted by | Downtown, Edible | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

First Baptist Dallas

If they post the special channel 8 broadcast from last Saturday I will put up a link. First Baptist Church imploded 5 buildings yesterday to make way for a new facility that is very impressive in what it brings to downtown Dallas. You can see the implosion here, but the Belief is Building special gave some history and showed all the future plans for the church. With the new arts district additions and other plans for a more pedestrian downtown, downtown Dallas may finally become a quality destination. And this looks like it will be a fitting addition.

The implosion itself was fascinating to watch, but the special broadcast showed the vision for the new facilities due to open Easter Sunday, 2013. Could almost make me want to be a Baptist. Seriously. It’s about accessibility and community and quality and heritage. Their people have really stepped up. And the sunshine on the old original sanctuary and steeple after the dust cleared had to feel like a blessing from above.

Visiting cities like Paris, Vancouver, and Chicago in recent years made me realize that as a city, Dallas is still young. We have a ways to go, but a lot of things are happening in the midst of economic and other uncertainties that I find promising for the future.

October 31, 2010 Posted by | Downtown, Houses of Worship | , , | Leave a comment

Rosemeade Market & Greenhouse

I just discovered a new place for house and yard plants, farmers’ market produce, eggs and more, gourmet foods, and the kind of decor that gets you excited about the season. Rosemeade Market is a delightful place. Right now it’s all decked out for fall with pumpkins, gourds, cute fall yard art, peppers, and cool-weather bedding plants. They encourage you to photograph your kids among the fall vignettes. It won’t be there for long, but hurry over with the children to play in the hay-bale maze and paint pumpkins while you shop. The fall decor will soon make way for Christmas and I look forward to seeing how they decorate.  The produce looks good and they have great selections of organic and specialty foods like gluten-free products and local honey. The plants for indoor and out would look great with their wide selection of colorful Mexican pottery. Located on Rosemeade Parkway between Marsh and Midway.

Farm-fresh eggs

Mandevillea vines and pumpkins

 

Hay-bale maze for children

October 27, 2010 Posted by | Creative, Dallas Suburbs, Edible, Outdoors, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Healthy Me

This cafe had a slow start, but it’s turned into a nice place for a bite to eat. The first time I went, it was just a market for take-out and they held classes, and you felt like if you weren’t already a member of the club, you didn’t belong. So I didn’t go back for a while. But my daughter worked nearby and picked up lunches there as they expanded their menu and she loved the food. So I recently braved Healthy Me again and found the market has been converted to a charming cafe with great menu selections, comfortable booths, and fun local art on the walls. The food is healthy and actually tasty and satisfying; you can eat in or take it home or to the office carefully packed for later. I understand they even deliver school lunches to participating schools and would love to see a review of how that works. My mother and I split a salad and a sandwich and it was yummy. With takeout cases and some gift items, Healthy Me Cafe has evolved into a very friendly place! 240 N. Denton Tap Road in Coppell.

October 26, 2010 Posted by | Dallas Suburbs, Edible | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Froggy’s and Tadpole’s

Froggy’s 5 & 10 is a wonderful combination of nostalgia, creativity, and fun for young and old. They boast an exceptional assortment of creative toys, costumes, books, and gifts for “kids” of all ages. It looks like the variety stores I grew up with; walls lined with blister packs of toys and games on pegs and every inch of space filled with something colorful. Tadpoles has toys and more for the even younger set, with the best selection I’ve seen of books for kids. A great selection of cards and small gifts for grown-ups is also available; mugs, magnets, and more with nostalgia and humor. Froggy’s 5 & 10 and Tadpole’s are in adjoining spaces on Knox Street between Weir’s and Wild About Harry’s.

October 3, 2010 Posted by | Creative, Knox Henderson, Uptown | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Howdy, Folks!

It’s that time of year again – we’re just days away from opening day of the great State Fair of Texas. You know, I actually know people who have lived here a long time and have NEVER BEEN to the Fair. Something about crowds and a questionable part of town… Well, their loss. The fall has been Fair time in my family for my entire life. As a child, I remember well coming home with an upset tummy because my Dad would let me eat anything – corn dogs, cotton candy, ice cream bars and taffy – we found plenty even before the days of the fried food competition. Add a few “funhouse” type rides and maybe a roller coaster and it was all worth the uncomfortable ride home.

My personal favorite place at the Fair is the Creative Arts building. I won a ribbon there as a teenager for a hooked rug. I love seeing what people can do with a camera or a sewing machine or other sometimes unlikely media. And don’t miss the butter sculpture.

The Fair has really come a long way in the last few years with beautiful landscaping and wonderful displays of gardening. I understand there’s a new greenhouse display this year and I look forward to it.

Music, new cars, arts, working animals and clever animals and birds, daily parades – we can spend a day and honestly never even make it to the Midway rides. One ride that shouldn’t be missed, however, is the Texas Star. The largest Ferris Wheel in the Americas marks the skyline of the Fair. The lines are long and it’s a bit pricey, but worth the wait.

So take an evening or a weekend day and visit Big Tex. They’re putting him up tomorrow. He’s always reminded me of my late Uncle Norton, who was the real deal.

The Fair opens Friday and runs for 24 days. Tickets are $15 at the gate but look for discount tickets (at Kroger & McDonalds) and special discount days. Every school student in the state receives a free ticket – don’t let it get lost in a locker or backpack!

September 19, 2010 Posted by | Edible, Fair Park, Historic | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment