I've made a temporary move north...way, way north--like almost Canada. And while I'm always keen for an adventure, there are some very serious things missing from my life on this adventure, and no, it’s not just sunshine in the Spring. I'm counting this as the second part of my "Dallas' Best Kept Secrets" series. Yes, there are some repeats, and yes, some of the places I'm going to talk about are not really "secrets" anymore. But…my article, my rules!
So I’m going to dive right into this reminiscing fun…in no particular order, here are some of the things I miss:
Uptown Popcorn-I've never been a huge fan of popcorn. It worked during a movie, but that was the extent of my love for it. That is, until I found this little gem! My favorite is the Paul and Hannah Caramel Blend; it's the stuff dreams are made of. They have anything your heart could possibly desire in the way of popcorn confections, not the least of which is the seasonal Pumpkin Spice Blend that is usually available beginning in the fall.
Sissy's Southern Kitchen-If you're on a diet, don't even bother reading this. Sissy's has the best fried chicken I think I've ever had in my life! I don't know what Lisa Garza does to these drums and thighs, but oh my gosh--to die for! Her mac and cheese is also absolutely amazing and pairs nicely with the deviled eggs and crab cakes...oh, and let's not forget the Texas Fish and Chips--crunchy, deep fried goodness! This is such a great spot to take out of town guests who want a taste of all that "comfort food" has to offer…also a great place to top off a rough week.
The Cedars Social-After a long day of work, I really miss being able to go into Cedars Social and just say I want a cocktail with whatever booze I'm feeling that day. Their mixologists are the best, most creative I've ever experienced! And then there's the food...I've never ordered anything that I didn't love, but some of my absolute favorites include the shrimp and grits, grilled 4-cheese truffle sandwich, truffle mac and cheese, and just about everything on their weekend brunch menu.
King Spa and Sauna-Alone or with a very close girlfriend, this retreat is so wonderfully tucked away, you'll forget you're in Dallas...your day pass is good for 24 hours and gets you access to all of the steam rooms and baths. Some of my favorite rooms include the Base Rock Room, The Ice Room, and the Oxygen Room. Whether it was a stressful day or my body was just telling me it needed some rejuvenation, King Spa always did the trick...don't forget to check out the cafe too!
The Revolving Door-I hate shopping. It makes me skin crawl and is almost always a guaranteed way to send me from zero to cranky in no time flat. The Revolving Door was the most atypical shopping experience a person could ever have. It's relaxing and inviting, and often times, the location of some pretty spectacular events. There's something for every woman, no matter what shape or size. I was the biggest fashion skeptic until Abi Ferrin and this place came into my life…what’s even better—shopping with Abi helps support the Freedom Project—the philanthropic arm of Abi Ferrin Inc. that works to help rescue and rehabilitate victims of human trafficking.
Company Cafe-Where do I even start...this place just makes me happy. Their gluten free menu is like nothing I've ever had before, and I love that they use locally grown produce. Everything that comes out of their kitchen is always fresh and so tasty. Their jalapeno and bacon infused chicken and waffles are out of this world, and the chicken fried steak with jalapeno, maple gravy has turned me from not liking the stuff at all to craving it all the time! I'm also usually a purist when it comes to establishments with multiple locations (I tend to always like the original), but their second location on Katy Trail has one of the best patios in town! If I could have anything in the world right now, it would be a Deep Bowl with buffalo, mushrooms, jalapenos, and their homemade salsa—mmmmmm.
Time Out Tavern-I've shared in a few different posts that I have an affinity for dive bars...well this is one of my very favorites. One of my best friends from childhood lives in Dallas, and we both had very hectic work schedules. We would pretend like there was going to be a discussion about where we were going to meet up on the coveted days that we actually got to see each other, but we ALWAYS ended up at the TOT! Cheap drinks and great people watching...what more could a girl ask for?!
Ashard Richley-Back to being a tomboy with potential for being a “girly girl,” Ashley Burghardt’s creative approach to bags has transformed me from refusing to carry a purse, to being completely impatient for what Ashard Richley will create next--Her summer line just came out, and I can’t wait to get my new pieces!
Off the Bone-I still maintain that these are the best ribs in the world! No, I haven't tried all of the ribs in the world, but I've never had a rib from this south Dallas gem that didn't, yes, fall right off the bone! It melts in your mouth, and the smoked pecan bar-b-q sauce just brings the whole experience together. They have some other yummy things on the menu too, but trust me, you’ll want to start with the ribs.
Lee Harvey's-Another dive bar favorite...the picnic tables, the fire pits, the Lone Star beer, the great live music, and wonderful bar food turned this into one of my favorite places to frequent with friends, clients, and all of my out of town guests! It's completely laid back, and no one stares you down for not getting dolled up, no matter what night of the week it is…AND dogs are welcome on Sundays!
Piermarini Boutique-I've always had the hardest time finding jeans that fit me correctly and comfortably, but not anymore! Another location for the not so typical Dallas shopping experience is this fabulous little find in Snyder Plaza. With the latest and most unique men's and women's fashion (including amazing jeans), this boutique is an absolute favorite.
The Andrew Ormsby Complex-One of the great fortunes in my life has been a lovely friendship with world-famous chef, Andrew Ormsby. Just before I moved, I was lucky enough to see the finished product of Andrew's brain-child, which I endearingly call the "Andrew Ormsby Complex." It is a collection of unique venues and experiences all wrapped into one, convenient area. Three Sheets (formerly known as Tucker's) is a great bar with a beautiful patio and TVs on site to watch the big game. Ku De Ta is the secret “Aqua Lounge and Restaurant Oasis” tucked right behind Three Sheets. One step into this local getaway, and you’ll feel more like you’re in South Beach than Dallas. This is an AMAZING event venue as well…AND Andrew Ormsby Catering is the way to go whether it’s an elegant cocktail event or fancy seated dinner!
SouthSide on Lamar-There are so many wonderful things about this building and the people that inhabit it I’m afraid I might not do it justice…but I’ll try. Living, working, being in this building is a testament to the genius of Jack Matthews. The rooftop includes the best view of downtown Dallas that I think you can find. There are also grills and such a beautiful swimming pool. It is a wonderful and entirely convenient escape! On the 7th floor of SouthSide on Lamar is Tsada Yoga. Before Chinook got ahold of me, I wasn’t such a big fan of Yoga, but his approach and energy quickly converted me into an addict! Last, but certainly not least, is Opening Bell Coffee House. The owner of this laid back and eclectic establishment is Pascale Hall--her charm, wit, and absolute brilliance carries right into the charm, wit, and brilliance of her business. Whether you’re looking for a place to have a meeting, get some work done, have a glass of wine, hear some great live music, or just get your caffeine fix, Opening Bell is the way to go!
Cosmo's Bar and Lounge-What can I say…another great dive bar! This place is such a hodgepodge of lights and posters and craziness. None of it makes sense, and it is completely off the wall, but some of my favorite girls’ nights memories happened at Cosmo’s…and don’t forget to give the vintage but still-working Ms. Packman table a whirl!
Ben and Skin on ESPN-As I was doing research to make sure that everything I miss about Dallas is still there, and my heart just broke! Ben and Skin are no more, and I can’t help but think this is the biggest mistake ever!
Ritz Spa/Ritz Bar-Anyone who has read any of my previous reviews knows that I am more of a dive bar, laid back, jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. But every now and then, duty calls for something more upscale. Any time I had to step it up, I always picked the Ritz lounge. Aside from the beautiful ambiance, the bartenders and wait staff are great at what they do. For an afternoon meeting over tea or business over cocktails, this bar is an impressive pick. Two more treats in the same building that shouldn’t be forgotten are Fearing’s Restaurant with head chef, Dean Fearing and the award-winning Ritz spa. Both will not disappoint. Fearing’s seasonal selections are always amazing, and my favorite time of year is when they bring in their State Fair-inspired specials to the menu. On the spa side, give their eucalyptus steam room and seasonal facials a try after a long week. Between the friendly staff and signature treatments, you’ll forget you ever had a care in the world.
Cosmic Café-This vegetarian hippie haven was our favorite go-to after a fantastic Tsada Yoga class. Their fresh squeezed juices were the perfect topper to that “I just did something so good for myself” feeling. Am I a vegetarian? No. In fact, I love a big fat steak about as much as anything. But every now and then, it’s nice to give your body a little break—among my favorites were the Herban Renewal, Veggie Quesadilla, and the oh so wonderful Portabella Trance. Even if you think you can’t temporarily switch to being an herbivore, trust me, this Cosmic will change your mind.
Kale Naturals-I’ve tried so many different face wash products, and they’ve typically left my face uncomfortably dry or feeling not clean at all. That is, until I discovered Kale Naturals. This local owned and made in the USA face wash is the perfect combination of natural ingredients and magic…okay maybe not magic, but whatever is in there works perfectly…and did I mention that it’s made right here in the USA?!
Alyssa Epperson/Mary Kay-Sometimes you meet people who are just so sweet and so great at what they do, you never want to let them go! Alyssa is one of those people, and I still haven’t let her go. After an unfortunate mishap with a previous consultant, Alyssa saved the day! She can take one look at you, ask a few questions, and know exactly what you need. And if you’re ready to try something new but aren’t quite sure where to start, Alyssa to the rescue! Mary Kay is such a wonderful brand; it’s not surprising they have amazing consultants like Alyssa!
Fuel City Tacos-I will never forget the first time I tried these gas station tacos. I had heard for months that these were the best street tacos I would ever find. Of course, I was skeptical, but holy wow—those tacos are absolutely amazing…and I miss them!
Dr. Yu-I know that this is going to sound like an exaggeration, but Dr. Yu changed my life. I won’t go into all of the details of how messed up my back was, but I will tell you that there was a very good chance that I wouldn’t be able to run again because it was that bad. My dear friend recommended Dr. Yu to me after almost two weeks of debilitating migraines. Dr. Yu is not your average chiropractor. She is kind, caring, and gentle, and understands that one size fits all doesn’t always work. She is brilliant in chronic cases and just as spectacular for body maintenance, which I believe we all need.
Solstice Salon-I’ve always been a simple girl and never needed anything fancy. I got my haircuts at a cosmetology school since I was in high school, until Marisa. My friend gave me a gift certificate to Solstice, and that’s all it took—one time, and I was hooked. Marisa is a genius when it comes to hair, and she is also quite possibly the best listener on the planet—oh yes, and they sell Aveda hair products. My favorite thing to do was let Marisa do whatever she wanted with my hair. If you’re the more adventurous type, you should give that approach a try!