Nine Dallas Dates That Will Woo Anyone

Walking into Shake Rag Music Store is like walking into a music nerd's estate sale.
Walking into Shake Rag Music Store is like walking into a music nerd's estate sale. Hannah Ridings

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Sarah Schumacher
For the bargain hunter
Start with a cup of joe from Cultivar Coffee (1155 Peavy Road), a roaster opened in 2009 by two young former White Rock Coffee baristas. Eight years later, Cultivar is the most tenured roaster in town and still has what it takes to be the best: an outstanding product with unparalleled consistency.

When you're good and caffeinated, head out for a late morning or afternoon of treasure hunting. Your first stop is Garland Road Thrift (10030 Garland Road). This East Dallas thrift haven is equal parts dingy and charming with less-than-cheap additions to any movie, Hawaiian T-shirt or tacky holiday glassware collection available.

If you don't find a keepsake at Garland Thrift, you're sure to find one at Lucky Dog Books (1152 N. Buckner Blvd., Suite 105),  in nearby Casa Linda Plaza. Its collection of rare and unique used books, such as zines, comic books, graphic novels, trade paperbacks, cookbooks, biographies, novels and nonfiction long-form stories are what make this place special. Even more special is its running selection of free books and other various media.

Sara Kerens
For the exhibitionist
On a Thursday or Saturday, meet for a late dinner at retro-chic Nova in Oak Cliff (1417 W. Davis St.), and order  two of the best BLT's in Dallas. The components that make this sandwich shine include toast that is sturdy without being tough, a generous slather of ranchy mayo and an entire Okja's worth of applewood-scented, thick-cut bacon that's cooked just right — a little crisp, a little chewy. Spring for a fried egg to push this BLT into full-on sandwich orgasm territory.

Afterward, head to Barbara's Pavilion (325 Centre St.) to partake in karaoke night. Barb's is technically a gay bar, but the only universal descriptors for its karaoke clientele are laid back and supportive. The song choices tend to be pretty inoffensive here (think Adele, Fleetwood Mac, the Beatles). Your ears might bleed a bit, as they should at any karaoke night, but it won't be due to a cover of Papa Roach.

Paul Riddell at Texas Triffid Ranch - NICHOLAS BOSTICK
Paul Riddell at Texas Triffid Ranch
Nicholas Bostick
For the eccentric
Make an appointment to visit Dallas' own Little Shop of Horrors, the Texas Triffid Ranch, at its new location (405 Business Parkway, Richardson). Paul Riddell's gallery is full of custom-built terrariums of carnivorous and exotic plants to observe and, in some cases, buy.

Once you're thoroughly spooked, grab a bite at Dallas' best Mediterranean restaurant, Bilad (850 S. Greenville Ave., Richardson), an outstanding Iraqi-owned bakery and grocery. Order a falafel or shawarma sandwich with veggies and pickles on samooon, a pillowy Iraqi bread with pinches of dough at the end, made onsite and available to take home. Finish with baklava, the best we've found anywhere near Dallas.

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Observer Staff Writers