Best Of :: Food & Drink
It sounds so basic, almost a little too girly, like something you'd find heavily sweetened in a martini glass. Take one sip of watermelon-infused vodka with club soda for added fizz, however, and you will never again snap-judge a drink by its fruit. It's only as sugary as it needs to be, which is hardly sweet at all, and with only enough watermelon pulp to let you know that yes, this is the fresh stuff, simple and perfect. Gabe Sanchez, bartender and proprietor, might very well be the city's most welcoming host, and plastic cups add to the place's relaxed neighborhood vibe, meaning you can sip your light pink drink the way it should be savored, in cut-off shorts and a comfortable T-shirt. Meander through the narrow bar area to a picnic table on the back patio and you'll feel like you're in a favorite neighbor's backyard. And you are, 'cause it's Gabe's.
Sure, their bright-ass paint job is obnoxious, but the barbacoa, picadillo and pastor tacos at Cool & Hot are freaking delicious. And if the fact that they offer their tacos for just over a buck each isn't enough for you, the menu also includes snow cones and ice cream. That's right: tacos and snow cones, y'all. Welcome to the intersection of awesome and hell yes. The atmosphere at Cool & Hot is exactly what you want when you're eating a street taco: It's a little trashy, a lot shaded. This place isn't slick or manufactured like so many of the taco spots in Dallas; it's just a great, unassuming little taco shack. Most days Cool & Hot is open 24 hours, so next time you have a late-night craving for tacos, skip that nasty Taco Bell Bueno and get yourself some Cool & Hot with a side of Pimp Juice or a scoop of Rocky Road.
Spiral Diner, the kick-ass vegan restaurant in Oak Cliff, has more than just delicious veggie-monster-friendly meals: They have Oogave natural soda on tap. Oogave offers a variety of yummy flavors, including mandarin Key lime, cola and ginger ale. But none compare to their watermelon cream soda. It's sweet, pink, no-high-fructose-corn-syrup, all agave-sweetened hippie happiness. Watermelon cream soda from Oogave is about the best thing that this planet has to offer, non-alcoholic bev-wise, and it's pretty expensive if you buy it at Whole Foods in a bottle. So, when you're getting your herbivore on at Spiral Diner and you have access to free refills of the stuff, take full advantage of that situation, friends. Order your veggies, pass on the regular water and roll up to that self-serve Oogave soda fountain ready to chug some delicious watermelon-flavored agave angel nectar. Mmm.
The only thing better than the spicy basil rice from Thai 2 Go (not to be confused with Thai2go in the Medical District) is the spicy basil rice from Thai 2 Go when it's delivered straight to your doorstep. If you're buying a new house anytime soon and you're not basing that purchase on whether or not the house is in Thai 2 Go's delivery area, you're doing it wrong. The delivery from Thai 2 Go is always on time or early; they always get your order exactly right; and did we mention that for a small fee, they're bringing you freaking delicious dinner that they made for you so you could spend your evening watching Flipping Out instead of cleaning your dirty kitchen? When the delivery guy from Thai 2 Go knocks on our door, we run screaming toward him like it's Thai Food Christmas. "Sweet! Potstickers!!! Thanks, Spicy Basil Santa!" You should probably hug him. Or at least give him a good tip.
Waiting for your food at the counter of Lockhart Smokehouse is like something straight from the beeftacular dreams of Travel Channel host Anthony Bourdain. You're waiting, watching the barbecue masters cut through the bark of a hunk of meat, and then they hand it over — a slice of wax paper heavy in the center with fat-shimmering meat. If you've ordered right, you've ordered the shoulder clod. The clod is a lean cut from the shoulder, but don't let that fool you: Lockhart's shoulder meat has got bigger, better flavor and texture and is the same price as the brisket at $7.50 per half pound. If you're scared by ordering something with "clod" in the title: Suck it up, watch an episode of No Reservations and head to Oak Cliff's best meatacular for a sample.
Under moonlight, these onion rings may look like crispy wristbands. They sure don't taste like wrist-wear. Order extra. Like, 14 baskets extra (hey, they're only $5.25 per order). Paired with their creamy chipotle aioli and a ridiculously cold beer, the gates of heaven approach faster than you could ask. This is one of those dishes you buy for an out-of-towner because you want to look cool. Every year, we here at the Dallas Observer yammer about eating Lee Harvey's burger on the beautiful porch, and forget to mention its crispy companion. Everything needs a sidekick. Dallas Police headquarters is right next to Lee Harvey's, you know. The onion rings — they're no different. They're Robin to Burger Batman, and they come with plenty of aioli sauce.