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Angie Harmon Brings Conan O'Brien a Mambo Taxi. Brisket Would Have Been Better.

Dear Conan,

I get it. If Angie Harmon told me to eat at Fuel City I'd sprint there and order 17 picadillo tacos on corn -- especially if she was wearing a low-cut blouse like the one she wore on your show. So, when Harmon, a Highland Park native who grew up eating M Crowd enchiladas, pointed you toward Mi Cocina and you gleefully squealed, I was empathetic. I was a bit moved myself. I actually checked their hours to see if they were open late and was sad that they were not.

And maybe you should visit Mi Cocina during your stay in Dallas. The restaurant that gave birth to the Mambo Taxi margarita has grown into an institution here, and tourists will pay homage to institutions because that's what tourist do. The cheesesteaks at Pat's and Gino's in Philadelphia, or the half smoke at Ben's Chili Bowl in Washington, are dishes you have to sample when you're in for a visit. Even if it's just for the photo opportunity.

But here's the thing: If Mi Cocina is all you celebrate while you're in Dallas, you'll be doing both this city and yourself a big disservice.

You'll find better Tex-Mex at Avila's or Pepe and Mito's but you should know that Dallas has actual Mexican food too. Why not visit Mesa in Oak Cliff, or if you're looking for something a little more casual, duck your head into Veracuz Café?

We've also got a new rank of pitmasters cooking up some of the state's absolute best barbecue. Pecan Lodge, Lockhart Smokehouse and The Slow Bone are redefining Dallas' barbecue scene and the outlook is very good. You haven't lived until you've gnawed the smoky, salty bark off a brisket cooked over smoldering wood in the traditional Texas style, not to mention your crew could probably have a lot of fun taunting people as they tirelessly wait hours for their food.

If you need any more motivation, when Jimmy Kimmel came to Texas he didn't go to Sonny Bryan's; He went to Franklin Barbecue. So, do you really want your time in Dallas to be defined by a photo of you holding a swirled pink and green frozen margarita?

Actually, you probably do. But after you've got an adequate buzz, if you explore our city a little deeper, Dallas will do you good.


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