WHEN IN DALLAS...
Eat here, taste that... because hopefully I can inspire you to love this city as much as I do.
•••Taqueria La Ventana
Just so you know, La Ventana is—ONLY—outdoor seating; and although it's not a large space, don't let that deter you. The ambiance of this place gives off that Austin vibe, with it's eclectic décor and fast-paced music, and did I mention their delicious tacos? It's located near my home so my family and I are constantly visiting this little venue but even if you don't live close, if your looking for a casual, family-oriented, outdoor atmosphere, with inexpensive tacos and delicious sides, La Ventana is your go-to.
Side note: Their tacos are small so order at least 2—three—if you're really hungry (me always)... and let me tell you about their white rice. Oh my goodness, it's infused with lime and cilantro and at .75 a pint, it is truly the best thing 3 quarters will ever buy.
You cannot leave La Ventana without buying (at least) a half-dozen of their infamous Churros—ok maybe one churro will do but my family and I have yet to grasp that concept.
Piping hot and made to order, these deliciously, chocolate stuffed sticks—also known as: CHURROS CON CAJETA—will knock your socks off.
1611 McKinney Ave., Dallas, TX 75202 • taquerialaventana.com
•••GRUB BURGER BAR
Let me start by saying this: If Grub was a person, we'd be dating. When it comes to food, Dallas is a big ole' ball of greatness, but I'm stepping out on this one and calling Grub, one, if not the place where my favorite gourmet burgers live. I've tried most of their burger and they're all winners. When your meal is over, you leave full, content, and overjoyed. Giant burgers, craft beers, skinny fries, homemade milkshakes friendly staff and a beautiful atmosphere, among other things. My gosh—GO!!!
The Guacapotle Burger, because guacamole y'all. And if you're going to be bad, might as well do it right, add an order of their infamous cheese fries.
4925 Greenville Avenue, Dallas, TX 75206 • grubburgerbar.com
Saint Ann is one of those cute little hotspots that is so filled with confidence—it isn't quite that fancy yet somehow—you walk through their doors and that confidence exudes through your skin. I can't explain it, simply put, you just feel pretty being there. They have a live DJ on hand and if you get to experience this place on a beautiful Dallas day, get an outside table, and rejoice. Don't forget to make reservations, it's a popular hangout.
Southwest Benedict for brunch but if you do dinner or even lunch, you've got to try the Truffle Mac n' Cheese.
2501 N. Harwood Street, Dallas TX 75201 • saintanndallas.com
Oddfellows, at Bishop Arts District, is one of my families favorite prime eateries. It's one of those places we visit more often than not; we simply can't get enough of it. So trust me on this one, but make sure you get there early because "the wait" is the only thing you may not like.
Pork Belly Benedict. Fried Pickles. Short Rib Sandwich. Fried Chicken+Waffles. Chocolate Chip Pancakes. Powdered Sugar Beignets, and did I mention their homemade buttermilk biscuits? Oh my gosh, stop me now! And don't forget to order a french press for the table, it's a tradition for my family. Did you know they fresh squeeze their orange juice on the spot—NO JOKE—as you wait for your meal you can literally watch them squeeze oranges and/or grapefruits. Fresh and organic is what you get. My dad loved this place.
316 W 7th St, Dallas, TX 75208 • oddfellowsdallas.com
•••WEEKEND COFFEE at THE JOULE
The Joule, for those of you who don't know, is a spectacular and ever so exquisite Dallas hotel. And one of their amenities is a sweet, little cafe that sits inside this hotel. Weekend Coffee is the name and it's open to the public, not just Joule guests.
When I step up to the counter, they always ask "cappuccino?" Silly question, of course that's what I want. And do I really look like a cappuccino girl?
The coffee shop itself, is super cool, but you don't feel out of place; the hotel on the other hand—is—but together, they mesh well. Don't be judgmental, however, the staff is super friendly and anything but pretentious. They're skilled and friendly and I feel right at home in their beautiful space. It's the perfect place to work for a few hours, handout with family or chat with friends.
Cappuccino, and you have to request it in a mug because you're at the Joule for goodness sake. Breakfast Tacos, and get there early, they sell out. And (free) Valet. Speaking of valet, they're so sweet. Not only do they open my car door but they also open the entrance door leading to Weekend Coffee, inside the Joule... and it makes me feel like "I've arrived!"
1511 Commerce Street, Dallas, TX 75201 • ahhweekend.com
•••ELLEN'S SOUTHERN KITCHEN
I'm a southern girl so naturally, I love all-things southern, and food, well, that's no exception. Ellen's motto is "cook with soul" and that is what they do. Whether you're looking for a delicious hearty breakfast or a good ole' southern chicken fried steak... Ellen's is the place.
Mimosa's + Chicken Fried Steak. Here's the thing about Ellen's Chicken Fried Steak. Its crunchy skin is so thick and full of flavor that it literally falls of the steak and melts in your mouth. Some people don't like that; in fact, some folks say a good chicken fry's breading doesn't slide off its meat... but my gosh it's so delicious, who really cares what people say. One bite and you're not even thinking about how it's made, your only thoughts are why it has to end.
1790 N. Record Street, Dallas, Texas 75202 • ellenssouthernkitchen.com
H+R is one of my little, hidden treasures in the Design District. Not too many people know about this place because it sits inside a Christian church facility—which in itself made me love it. The atmosphere is small but this quaint little haus' is oh so very chic and very well decorated. Its cozy feel makes you want to stay all day, but here's why I love it—The STAFF! H+R's staff have got to be some of the nicest people I've ever encountered. I LOVE NICE PEOPLE and when they serve delicious coffee and free wifi... you had me at "God Bless You." ...shhhh, don't tell anyone, Hand+Rose is our lil' secret.
Straight Up, Drip Black; my gosh what an amazing smooth taste. Their capps and latte's are great too but when you have drip that is "that good", why bother with anything else.
1350 Manufacturing Street, Suite 111, Dallas, TX 75207 • handandrose.co
Mercat is that cute little cafe in Dallas that you would probably find down a street in Paris too—yes, it's that perfect. From their patio doors, that are kept wide open throughout the day to the sweet sounds of an atmosphere that is fresh, alive and most days, alive with live music playing next door. And their menu... equally delightful. Check out their beautiful Shishito Peppers, grilled to perfection with olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt. A staple I order each time I visit Mercat for dinner. Because you know what they say? We eat with our eyes first. Bon appétit.
As most of you know, weather in Texas is hit n' miss. As a native I, too, still don't get it sometimes but one thing we, Texans, do know is patio weather. Mercat for me is year-round but my favorite time of year is when I get to sit on their outdoor patio for brunch with a french press + their infamous patisserie basket filled with almond and chocolate croissants, banana walnut bread and other seasonal muffins and artisan pastries.
2501 N Harwood Street, Dallas, TX 75201 • mercatbistro.com
...is one of my favorite places for coffee. Simply walk in and you'll know why. It's as if a rustic home and an industrial warehouse married. Crazy huh? To think that a 'haus' could be so inviting. Its spacious layout—and I mean big—and wifi connection, alone, is enough to keep me. Did I mention their coffee?
Café con Leche + Sweet Dreams Are Made of Cheese which is a grilled-cheese sandwich with melted fontina, gouda, cheddar, and oaxaca cheese.
WHAT NOT TO GET•••
Toast. It's quite pricey and really not worth a slice of bread. I love this place for its coffee, so when I visit it's usually for a good cup, but I have ordered their toast and I must say, I left disappointed.