Best Place to Improve One's Living Space 2001 | Home Concepts | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
After you sign your apartment lease, do not pass go and collect $200. Instead, point your large automobile toward Deep Ellum and cruise over to Home Concepts, the one-stop shopping location for futons, CD racks, couches, lights, computer desks and whatnot. The eclectic and large selection of merchandise is very affordable and not at all stodgy. Also good for decorating the college dorm room or (shudder) the condo.
Sure, you've got your young bucks, trying to get to the top of the courthouse food chain, winning trials and making names for themselves on the backs of baby prosecutors who are still cutting their teeth on DWI cases. But there is something reassuring about choosing George Milner to represent you. No one can evaluate a case as well as Milner; no one can analyze the collective passions and thought processes of a jury as well as Milner. What he lacks in flash and youth, he makes up for in finesse and wisdom. If you are in big trouble and you have big money, he is still the man in town to see.

This is the real thing. An original. In business for more than 100 years, Rudolph's looks like a meat market should--big and echoing--and has enough fine aged beef and sausage on hand to gag a tiger. In the long L-shaped counter are strip steaks and made-on-the-premises sausages that are wholesaled to barbecue joints across the state. The filet mignons--cut as thick as you want at $18 a pound--bring your backyard grilling up to four-star standards. The hot dogs and spicy sausages make you swear you'll start working on that diet next week.
There are lawyers you hire to negotiate your way out of a bad situation and lawyers you hire to fight your way out; Chris Weil definitely falls into the latter category. Within the legal community, some attorneys believe Weil only knows one speed: pit bull. But the truth is he is legally astute, a fine orator, and he mostly gets malicious when it is calculated to gain some advantage for his client. Small wonder the State Bar has hired him to represent the grievance committee in its disbarment suit against Catherine Shelton, accusing her of 19 counts of misconduct toward her former clients. Shelton is the lawyer suspected by Dallas prosecutors of being an accomplice in the murder of her former employee's husband. She has also been a suspect in at least one other murder and has a conviction for aggravated assault. The State Bar rightly figures that if there is anyone who won't be intimidated by the likes of Shelton, it's got to be Chris Weil.

When Converse announced it would no longer be manufacturing its Chuck Taylor All-Stars in the United States, we immediately began scouring the Internet for boxes of optical-whites size 13, lest we end up wearing inferior imports. Turns out we need only drive to this Academy location, off Forest and North Central Expressway, which stocks dozens of pairs for a mere $18--a real bargain, considering the versatile veteran of the athletic-shoe world is damned near extinct. The other Academy locations probably stock the shoe as well, but the Forest store--which carries a wealth of affordable athletic gear, from bikes and free weights to swimsuits to hiking boots--is loaded with Converse All-Stars in all sizes and colors. We picked up some blue high-tops and off-white low-tops, just so we'd never run out. And we're going back tomorrow to get some more.

Been wanting to say to-hell-with-it-all and hit the open road on your Harley? Not a good idea until you've had the Motorcycle Safety Foundation-approved course taught by certified instructors Andy and Doll Long. For $145 you get three hours of classroom instruction on a Thursday evening, then an all-day Saturday and Sunday session in the parking lot of a nearby high school football stadium. "We go from, 'This is what a cycle looks like,' to balance and swerving," says Mrs. Long. Bikes and helmets are furnished, and the classes are held on all weekends except during the Christmas to New Year's holidays. You've got to be at least 15 to enroll. The oldest student taught thus far was a 92-year-old who said he thought being a biker would help him get chicks. (OK, I made up the part about getting chicks.) According to statistics provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety's Motorcycle Bureau, the skill level the course provides is equal to three years of riding experience. And, if you think an advanced course might be a good idea after a few months, it will last nine hours and set you back another $65. Classes are generally booked up two months in advance, so be patient.

Danny Fulgencio
The next time an occasion arises, order a basket of plants and blooms from this shop. Neither you nor your recipient will be disappointed. The arrangements offer the most expressive, lasting value for the money.

If you're an organic gardener, Texas-style, a trip to Cedar Hill will be time well spent. Looking for that perfect Abelmoschus moschatus (silk flower) or Rudeckia Herbstsonne (with giant lush leaves like you won't believe)? This is the place. And, if it's a backyard water garden or pond you're wanting to fill with plants, the folks here will tell you whether their lilies or Horsetail or maybe even a little Cork Screw Rush is what you need. They've also got the basics, from cedar mulch to herbs and helpful landscape designing. Even gardening guru Howard Garrett sings this place's praises.
If you've got Scottish blood and find yourself in dire need of the lowland "tuxedo" of your native land, all you need to do is call Barbara and Charlene McGowan and schedule a visit to their in-home shop in Arlington. Their kilts, commissioned from a kilt-maker in Scotland, are the real deal and come with all the accessories--the sporran (leather purse) and the sgian dhu (the small dagger traditionally worn in the sock). The entire outfit can run as high as $1,000, but who's counting? In business since '91, the McGowans annually hold a July 1 bash to commemorate Scotland's repeal of the ban against kilts back in 1782, serving up food from the homeland and a contest to determine which kilt-wearer has shown up with the best knees.
We troll all over town for steals and like this place best because of the high quality of the resale items. The staff is pleasant, un-pushy. The atmosphere is clean. The prices are reasonable. Make sure to negotiate at the front desk, because they'll usually knock off 10 percent just because you had the nerve to barter.

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