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

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

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

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

Aunt Stelle’s

One more weekend and summer is officially over! Aunt Stelle’s Sno Cones will be open Labor Day weekend including Monday and then no more sno cones until until Summer ’11! I’ve meant to get there all summer and finally checked out this highly recommended spot today. It lived up to my expectations. It’s the ultimate sno cone stand. Located right in a residential neighborhood of Oak Cliff and shaded by a huge pecan tree, this decades-old institution had a steady stream of driving and pedestrian customers. Truly snowy ice and 29 flavors that they’ll mix as you like – great refreshment on a hot day. Open last Sunday in April through Labor Day, 2pm until exactly 9:00 Mondays through Thursdays. Located at 2002 W. Clarendon in Oak Cliff.

August 28, 2010 Posted by | Edible, Oak Cliff | , , | Leave a comment

The Long Summer

I’ve been a slacker this summer. I must admit that when the extreme heat hits, it’s a little less tempting to get out and maybe even a little harder to brag on Dallas. But when the “cold front” arrived yesterday and I realized that the State Fair is right around the corner, I started thinking of what to feature next. We also have a new house guest, an exchange student from Korea. Suddenly I’m seeing things through the eyes of a teenager who is new not just to Dallas, but to the country. Should give me some new perspectives!

Here’s where I need the help of my readers. Suggestions? Recommendations? I would love to check out the places that you find to be unique to this area, and to hear why. And I’d love to know what you think are the best places to show off to someone entirely new to the country and the area!

(P.S. Can’t they just call them “less-hot fronts”?)

August 25, 2010 Posted by | Bishop Arts District, Creative, Dallas Suburbs, Downtown, Edible, Fair Park, Historic, Houses of Worship, Knox Henderson, Lovers Lane, Outdoors | , , | 1 Comment

Love and War in Texas

It’s summertime and time to cover a kitschy tourist spot. While Love and War in Texas is definitely for tourists, locals will enjoy food like their Mom and grandmother used to make. The menu features six regions of Texas, from the Gulf Coast (seafood like Habanero Fish Tacos) to the West Texas Plains (all kinds of steaks) to the Border (brisket enchiladas and more). East Texas features catfish, chicken fried steak, and the Athens Original Hamburger (Athens claims to have originated the hamburger). The dessert list reads like a family reunion potluck with peach cobbler, pecan pie, and more. The food is Texas grown and the recipes are local as well. Texas beers and wines are served and, of course, Dublin Dr. Pepper. Live Texas music is scheduled, usually with a cover charge. Love and War currently has 2 locations, by Grapevine Mills Mall and on Plano Pkwy. just east of I-75. Another is coming soon in Arlington.

July 6, 2010 Posted by | Edible | , , , , , | Leave a comment