As some of you may or may not know, I am a foodie. Big time. Oftentimes I wake up and plan my day around my meals. Not kidding.
So with Alabama and Michigan fans coming to my fair city of Dallas this weekend, I wanted to give everyone a list of non-chain restaurants to eat around these parts.
Now Dallas, or as some call it, “the metroplex” when you group it with Fort Worth, is huge and depending on where you’re staying—Arlington, Las Colinas, Irving—these places may not be as close as if you were staying near the downton Dallas area, but here are my yummy suggestions.
To start your day…
Buzzbrews—Three locations: 4154 N Central Expy; 4334 Lemmon Avenue; 2801 Commerce Street—If you want pancakes, venture here. Huge, fluffy, decadent. Open 24 hours a day, this place has everything on the menu, so it’ll appeal to the whole family.
Nick & Sam’s Grill—2816 Fairmount Street—If you’re in the Uptown area Sunday morning and need some brunch to celebrate your team’s win or drown your sorrows in their loss, go here. I recommend the Breakfast BELT, which is scrambled eggs, black pepper bacon and guacamole atop a perfectly toasted English muffin. Their Captain Crunch French Toast has won awards in local magazines.
Café Brazil—Three locations: 611 N. Bishop Ave Ste #101; 3847 Cedar Springs Rd; 2880 West Berry Street (Fort Worth)—Voted “Best Coffee House,” “Best After Hours Hangout,” and “Best BLT” among other things. It’s a quaint restaurant that serves roasted coffees from around the world. The place is eclectic, relaxing and you can make your own omelet, build your own pancakes (with M&M’s!), or order the migas. They have a vast menu. I hear they make a mean grilled cheese, too.
Texas is best known for it’s Tex-Mex, right?
Agave Azul—1114 S. Elm Street, Ste 100 (Carrollton)—Homemade tortillas and a “Tequila Sanctuary.” Need I say more? Agave Azul serves over 200 pure 100% Blue Agave Tequilas and makes one of the best margaritas in town. I’m also a fan of their beef tenderloin tacos.
Mia’s—4322 Lemmon Ave.--My favorite Mexican restaurant in Dallas. Their hot sauce will make you cry—because it’s so delicious and also freaking spicy. I always order their chicken fajita tacos al carbon, but they’re known for their brisket tacos. Mia’s is also known as the place where Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson were spotted eating the day before Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys and named Johnson head coach, replacing Tom Landry.
Javier’s—4912 Cole Ave—Javier’s is a gourmet Mexican restaurant that strays away from the Tex-Mex concept. It’s a hot spot and place you’d bring a date you didn’t want to talk to because it’s so loud. However, the food is phenomenal. I recommend the Red Snapper a la Javier, but they have a ton of house specials and other traditional Mexican entrees.
Pizza, pasta and the like…
Coal Vines—404 Cedar Springs Road—A pizza and wine bar located right by the American Airlines Center (so yeah, it would be really convenient if Cowboys Stadium was located there, too). However, if you are staying near the downtown Dallas area, their family style pizzas are worth your time. They have yummy entrées, too, like fennel crusted salmon. Also the free fried zucchini chips they give you to start are addictive.
Campisi’s—5610 E. Mockingbird Lane—Also known as “The Egyptian,” and to have once upon a time been owned by a Mob family, Campisi’s has been Dallas’ go-to pizza place for over 60 years. You can build your own and throw black olives, salami, meatballs, pineapple, garlic—whatever you want—onto the rectangular-shaped thin crust pie. It’s family owned and one of the oldest restaurants in Texas.
If you’re feeling adventurous and have some time, go explore the Bishop Arts District.
Smoke—901 Fort Worth Ave.—The best way I can describe Smoke’s cuisine is upscale barbeque. Ingredients used are all homegrown, local and handmade and the mood is that of a Texan living room—in fact there is a little setup with sleek, yet homey furniture plopped right in the middle of the restaurant for patrons to relax while waiting for their table. To start, order the smoked sausage, which includes Pork Andouille, All Spiced Rabbit and Beef Paprika Fennel Seed. For dinner, order the Texas BBQ Coffee Cured Beef Brisket with Bread/Butter Pickles & Mustard Seed Potato Salad or the scallops. Both are to die for.
Tillman’s Roadhouse—324 West 7th Street—This place is rustic and Texan. After you stuff your face with the Trio of Fries (three kinds: parmesan black pepper kennebec, chili dusted purple Peruvian and smoked salt sweet potato with homemade dipping sauces) for an appetizer, the Shrimp N’ Grits for your entree, and finish off with the tableside S’Mores for dessert, which include homemade marshmallows in unique flavors such as coffee, mint and cotton candy, you’ll want to unbutton the top button of your jeans and kick your cowboy boots up on the table.
Chicken Scratch + The Foundry—2302 Pittman Street—For Alabama fans, here’s your Southern cooking meal of the weekend. Sit on picnic tables inside or out and dig into some fried or rotisserie chicken that’s so tender it melts in your mouth, homemade sides like mac n’ cheese and buttery, crumbly biscuits, and for the health conscious, try the quinoa and chunky vegetables plate. For dessert, order a cantaloupe or mango popsicle—it’s hot outside.
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