Best Of :: Shopping & Services
So, are you a grazer or a hunter? Would you rather meet a best-selling author or save some money? Too tired at night to read for pleasure and want books on tape? These are the questions that make the pick for Best Bookstore a crapshoot. If you're the kind who likes to browse blindly and hope to stumble across an interesting book, and you want to save money, you have last year's Best Bookstore, Half Price Books. Truth be told, we're really the shallow sort who loves the latest best seller and freshest celeb mags, so it's really down to Borders or Barnes & Noble, and the nod goes to the Borders in West Village. Why? It's Uptown, which is next door to Downtown, where we really would like to see a new bookstore thrive. We also dig the tucked-away feel upstairs, the reasonable selection of books on CD (more please) and the fact that there are actual homes, restaurants, shops, bars and a movie theater in close walking distance. You know, sort of what we want in the heart of the city. Just sayin'.
Dogs are like toddlers except when you go on vacation. It's not nice to leave the baby at the kennel, but if you know the right place, it's OK to leave the pooch there. And when you have multiple dogs with varying needs—a senior golden retriever that must pee every two hours, a spaniel that won't poop while on a leash and a mutt who's a four-legged shredding machine—finding a versatile kennel is a must. Toothacres, in business since 1967, has almost 400 runs in different sizes and styles, and most include both indoor and outdoor access (important for the weak-bladdered pups). There are even available "fun run" areas that include splash pools and outdoor toys. The staff is also obliging regarding feeding (they offer Science Diet and Bil-Jac foods, or you can bring your own), plus medication and treats. Prices are comparable to other area kennels, though they also offer more pricey furnished "suites" for the truly spoiled.
Washer eating socks? Dryer spewing tepid air? Ice machine stop making cubes? If a home appliance—anything from a toaster to central air-conditioning units—goes kerflooey, the folks at Adam the Answer Man are ready to help. They'll walk you through diagnosing the problem so you don't waste money on the wrong part. They'll tell you what parts you'll need and usually have them in stock. They also have consumer-friendly hours. Most appliance parts stores keep banker's hours and sell to the trade, but Adam the Answer Man is open after 5 p.m. and on Saturday. They'll even tell you what tools you need. Now if only marriage counseling were this easy.
There are other prosthetics stores in Dallas, but none have been around as long as Hedgecock, and there's a reason for that. From its beginning in 1910, the locally owned company has made its focus patients, not profits. They know what it's like to have to shop for a new foot or leg or arm. Several members of the staff have prosthetics themselves, so they understand the physical and psychological difficulties that go with losing a limb, and they will take the time to get things just right. Way to step up.
Dried squid, roasted green peas, spicy eel...right in the middle of the mind-numbing conformity of a northern Dallas suburb stands this delightful ethnic market where most everything is unexpected and exotic. The store, the size of your average Tom Thumb, is divided into sections: Korean, Chinese, Japanese. There's a butcher shop stocked with chicken feet, gizzards and pork tongues; an ice cream aisle where you can sample the mochi rolls (ice cream wrapped in rice); and a drink aisle that includes a soda with real grapes in it. Give your taste buds a trip to the Far East once in a while.
Sure, this chain store's in a mall located way up on LBJ, which means we have to pack a lunch and hire a sherpa for the long journey to sample its wares. But Steve & Barry's has Starburys, dawg (they are, in fact, the exclusive seller of the Starbury brand). If you don't know what that means, hip yourself to the revolution: In September of last year, New York Knick Stephon Marbury, who'd grown tired of watching poor inner-city kids spend way too much on expensive sneakers, decided to start his own clothing company and sell sneakers for the righteous price of $14.98. He even wears them in NBA games. And though they're not the prettiest shoes in the world—the word "fugly" comes to mind—they certainly serve their purpose, and more important, they serve it for a price we can all get behind. For example, the last time we went to Steve & Barry's, we walked out with a pair of basketball shorts, a stylish T-shirt and a fresh pair of Starbury II's (in Phoenix Suns colors, unfortunately), all for less than $40 (!). Just remember—your hang time could suffer from all the change left in your pocket.