Best frozen concoction that's not a margarita

Cuba Libre's Island Mojo

Cuba Libre
This will get your mojo working in no time flat. A luscious, not-too-sweet concoction of pineapple, coconut, and four kinds of Baccardi rums that makes you yearn for a beach and a turn at getting your groove back.

It seems the height of cruelty to pull the liver out of a duck, leaving the bird with nothing to filter its Scotch, but it sure tastes good once it's out. Voltaire's sauted Hudson Valley foie gras is a mean organ. It's scored with repeating diamond patterns across its surface, folded, and settled atop a cushion of light mashed potatoes. Around the plate is a large fan of green apple slices messed with currants bathed in a clean, mandarin emulsion. Unlike most ornithological livers found in Dallas, this one is firm with a rich, nutty flavor that unfolds in the mouth.

Best place to buy a vegan birthday cake

Cosmic Café,

Cosmic Café
Catherine Downes
The adjective "vegan" usually evokes visions of plates full of gray, squishy substances or tasteless products designed to resemble meat, not a big hunk of chocolate cake or a large, gooey brownie. But at Cosmic Caf, the yummy Indian-style meals can conclude with desserts sans dairy products. The cakes, which don't scrimp on the frosting, may also be bought whole and taken home to celebrate the birthday of your favorite herbivore. They go great with Cosmic's mango, coconut, and banana ice creams. Sorry, those are for non-vegans only.

India Palace Restaurant & Bar
Short of hopping a plane to India, you won't get a better gulab jamun--cake-like fried milk balls in scented syrup--than at India Palace Restaurant. They make it to the proper consistency and temperature to prevent the mushiness that often mars this Eastern standard. A refreshing dessert after a heavy meal.
The Purple Cow
Maybe this '50s soda fountain-diner-burger joint with a purple train chugging along the ceiling with a preening purple cow in a freight car is a little much for those of us who act 6 but aren't. Yet this place is clean and bright, the food is good, and kids love it. Plus, they'll spike your milkshake with hooch, so you'll love it too. Just be careful not to confuse your shake with the one the kids are slurping, or you'll never get them to come down off the train tracks.

Mis Cazuelas
Taryn Walker
The folks at Mis Cazuelas know all the hot and spicy stuff (in the right proportions) to make their salsa easily the best in the city. The key ingredient is the cilantro, which other restaurants around town skimp on (or omit entirely) in their salsas. At Mis Cazuelas, there's just the right blend of herbs, tomatoes, and peppers.

Salve's Tartufo is a double-chocolate gelato truffle with lively brandied cherries that spark its creamy heft out of cloy range. This tight little dessert will arouse any set of sweet teeth.

It's topped with diced tomato, cheese, and cream. It's smooth. It's creamy. It's got a little tang in there. Plus a little smoke. And the horns won't start for at least an hour.

Spiced and fried balls of ground chickpea paste sounds less than appetizing. But for the aficionados of this Middle Eastern treat, any traveling distance is worth it for a bite. At this family-operated restaurant tucked into a Richardson shopping mall, the $7.95 platters of falafel satisfy even the newcomers from the oldest part of the world.
Behold, a pouch of tiny mushroom magic (not that kind of magic).
Beth Rankin
Behold, a pouch of tiny mushroom magic (not that kind of magic).
There are a many things to love about this tiny room with an open kitchen and an ice pit where live lobsters twitch and quiver. First, there's the cozy bar with odd, sloped couches and great martinis made with sake. Then there's the chalkboard where all kinds of exotic specials are posted, depending on the catch of the day, which may be sea urchin wrapped in sheets of raw flounder or whole sardines scorched on the robata grill, or any number of swimmy things. Beer-guzzling things too. Tei Tei features Kobe beef, meat that comes from the rare wagyu cattle. Wagyu cattle spend their lives getting massaged with sake and fed a diet that includes copious amounts of beer. The more expensive cuts of meat come from wagyu, which are known for watching sports on big-screen TVs, belching, and telling lewd Holstein jokes.

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