The Big D

This post is for my friend Kim. Kim and I met when we both worked at a Mom & Pop video store in high school. Actually, we probably knew each other before that from girls camp and church stuff, but my real memories of her start at The Video Store. Making special batches of movie theater popcorn with more salt and “butter” on it than God ever intended. (Yeah, that’s right, “butter” is in quotes for a reason. It was yellow and it tasted like butter but when you dig it out of a 5-gallon can with an ice cream scoop, you start to question.) Eating way too many Grandma’s Sugar cookies than a single liver should have to handle. Eating spicy fries with copious amounts of fry sauce from Sconecutter at 12:00 AM. (OK, seriously Kim, it’s a miracle that we don’t weigh like 500 pounds. No?) Turning up our favorite movies really loud and fast forwarding them to THE BEST KISSING SCENES OF ALL TIME (Winner: Some Kind of Wonderful.) Having bunches of friends over at The Video Store and staying late and watching movies on the big screen in the back. One time we got caught trying to sneak into her Mom and Dad’s house after curfew and her Dad opened up the front door and TOTALLY yelled at us. It was simultaneously frightening and hilarious all at the same time.

Kim is lovely inside and out. She is smart and creative. She has gorgeous, well-rounded children. I moved away and then she moved away but she has always made it a point to stay in touch. She has, and has always had, the most perfect hair color. She and Piero are the only two people in the world that love a Chai Tea Latte as much as I do. I wanted them to meet at my wedding, but alas, she was in Dallas looking for houses because her fabulous husband just got a big promotion and they had one weekend to find a place to live. Sniff!

Which brings me to the real point of this post: DALLAS!! The Big D!! Oh, how I love Dallas. If I could transplant all of the people in my life to Dallas and move back there I totally would. It’s a city that is built around eating, shopping and entertainment. In other words, it’s totally a city for me. The first words out of someone’s mouth when they hear Dallas usually go something like this: “Ugh, Dallas is UGLY. And FLAT.” This statement usually comes from someone whose only experience with Dallas is flying in for a business meeting and staying at an airport hotel. I personally think Dallas is a beautiful place. Soft green rolling hills. Wide sweeping meadows. Warm weather. The prairie. Beautiful skies that can go from blue to purple to black in a matter of minutes. It’s gorgeous.

If you are going to visit Dallas or going to live in Dallas, here are my favorite favorite places, in order of their appearance in my mind:

Sonny Bryan’s BBQ (Go to the original location if you can. They stop serving when they run out of meat – which is totally random based on the day.)

Rudy’s BBQ (Notice how there is a gas station, but no one is getting gas. Also, you will soon learn the difference between ‘grilling’ and ‘BBQ.’)

    The Shops at Legacy
    (We lived in Frisco, so this was our nearest shopping/dining area, but many of these places have locations in different parts of town – in Park Cities/McKinney Ave./West Village, Etc. Also note that people in Dallas get WAY more dressed up for an afternoon/night out than you may be used to.) 

    • Village Burger Bar (The burgers here ARE good, but I never managed to move past the Baby Blue salad, which is TO DIE FOR.)
    • Potbelly Sandwiches (Love the veggie sandwich here)
    • Jasper’s (Do not pass go, do not collect $200, have some blue cheese potato chips to start and then get the Ribs. Oh.My.God.)
    • Cafe Express (We probably ate here 12 times a week. Alright, that’s probably an exaggeration, but not much. The chicken salad sandwich was my favorite.)
    • Fireside Pies (The first time we went there we had the Fireside Cheese Salad and the Triple Roni Pizza and I never looked back. It’s pretty much the perfect meal.)
    • Taco Diner (Sometimes I think that if I was on death row my last meal would be a burger, but come to think of it, Taco Diner would be up there. Share the brisket tacos and then order the Los Cabos salad. There is nothing like it at any other Mexican restaurant you’ve ever been to.)

    Oh, and the Angelika Theater at Legacy and The Magnolia Theater in West Village are THE BEST places to see art/indy films.

    SAM MOON. YOU MUST GO HERE. DO NOT BRING CHILDREN. DO NOT BRING HUSBAND. (Because, well, they’ll just hold you back.)

    Highland Park Village
    Awesome, Awesome shopping. For some reason, this is the location of my favorite Anthropologie store. It looks like Who’s Who Burgers is closed, but they had the BEST veggie burger ever. Oh well, there’s still Ralph Lauren and Rugby and Tory Burch. Houston’s is nearby (warm lime chicken salad anyone??). Also, don’t miss Sprinkles Cupcakes.

    More Shopping:
    Northpark Mall
    Galleria Mall Dallas
    West Village
    Premium Outlets
    I type these four links as if each location isn’t full of tons and tons and tons of great shops and yummy places to eat. There’s really just too much to talk about. Also, West Village is home to my very favorite Starbucks of all time.

    And if you’re looking for just a FABULOUS OVER THE TOP experience – go to the W Hotel. Get some treatments at Bliss Spa. Then have dinner at Craft. Craft at the W in Dallas still currently holds a place in my heart as serving two of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life and still currently holds as the coolest restaurant decor I’ve ever seen. It’s just one of my favorite favorite places. Maybe it’s because I have a mad crush on Tom Colicchio. I don’t know.

    There are also endless steakhouses to be explored. Just make sure to order the creamed corn. It’s not what you remember from childhood. Or maybe it is, except when you were a child you didn’t appreciate it.

    And yes, totally check out the Sixth Floor Museum. The Dallas Museum of Art also hosts great traveling exhibits.

    Oh, and then there are Major League Baseball, Basketball, Football and Soccer games.

    And concerts.

    Also, take note of how many “donut” shops are around. Seriously, they’re EVERYWHERE. Now that I’m watching Breaking Bad I’m sure they’re all fronts for laundering drug money. Who knows, maybe Dallas is also the donut capital of the universe and I totally missed out when I lived there?

    Whew! I’m sure that I’m forgetting something fabulous. But this should give you a good start.

    — Nat

    P.S. Everyone is Texas is REALLY friendly, until they get behind the wheel of a car.

    P.P.S. The U-Turn lane off of the tollway is the most genius concept ever designed for roadways. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it. And then for the rest of your life you’ll wonder why this hasn’t caught on everywhere.

    P.P.P.S. If it is going to hail, get your car under cover. For reals.

    2 responses to The Big D

    1. I love this post. Yes i stalk your blog on a regular basis. And I DO love and laugh at pretty much every post, but i love this post cause its about my sister Kim and i just know how much she will love it. I know she wasn’t quite excited to move from Iowa. I know now she’ll love dallas even more… It made me really excited for kim, but even more excited for upcoming trips. Thanks Natalie for letting me “stalk” your blog.

    2. Kim

      Thank you friend. As I visit places in Dallas I will think of you; better yet come down and you can show me around! Thanks also for the beautiful compliments…I have wonderful memories of our friendship, thank you for always being there. It is silly to say, but time can pass and when we see each other again we always pick up right where we left. Love ya….see you in the big D soon!

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