Best Place to Give Pez a Chance 2002 | Froggies 5 & 10 | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

Pez is no longer just that cheap toy with the stale candy you buy to keep the kids quiet in the supermarket. There are TV-show-character Pez, stuffed-animal Pez, automobile Pez, holiday Pez, mini-Pez and more. And at Froggie's, you can fill your Pez habit with Pez T-shirts, Pez magnets and Pez buttons, including a line of items sporting the phrase, "You're not famous until they put your head on a Pez dispenser." There's even a personal collection of Pez dispensers behind the counter.

Actually, "Best Pan-sexual Erotica (leather and gadgets)" would be a more accurate label for Shades of Grey, a fetishist's dream of a store even though it sacrifices snazzy décor in favor of clutter--the better to stock more stuff to titillate you with, my dear. Find racks and racks of sexy leather clothes--some vinyl, too--for men and women. The selection is the best, and custom leatherwork is available also. The store staff is friendly and more knowledgeable than we are about fetish-oriented apparati. We didn't realize, for example, that you could buy a gizmo that hooks to your shower head for full colonic cleansing and that cleanliness might not be your sole motivation. Shades of Grey has a good variety of body jewelry and is proud of its multisexual orientation. There's a small satellite store inside the Dallas Eagle, our city's highly regarded men's leather fetish bar off Inwood Road.

Clothes confound us. We be husky, and it is not easy to find nice clothes that make a husky man look good, unless you pay ridiculous prices. Then a friend told us about Todd Shevlin, who, since 1995, has owned, in a gentle fashion, the fashion store known as Gently Owned Men's Consignery, in Far North Dallas. (He recently opened a second store in Oak Lawn.) We arrived in flip-flops and a Green Lantern T-shirt and left in a $500 pair of slacks that cost us $99. Then we realized why the rich always look so nice. (Fabric that makes our huge ass disappear is magic, and magic pants are worth every cent.) Gentle owner Shevlin says he offers "the finest in men's resale...all our stuff is less than 2 years old, and it's in great, excellent or mint condition." GOMC sells and buys everything but underwear and socks; it even carries new inventory at 30 to 50 percent off retail. They carry everything from Armani to Hugo Boss. (We nabbed a new-inventory, Italian-made suit for about $400.) If you want to sell your slick duds, all consignment contracts are 90-day deals; the sale is split 50-50. You can use your profits to buy some nice threads from Todd. See how that works?

Western Warehouse has everything you'd expect: boots, hats, belts and belt buckles, jeans, boots, those collarless shirts Garth Brooks favored for a while and the loud, starched-stiff shirts loved by Brooks and Dunn. But it also has tiny Wranglers for mini-cowboys and cowgirls, tank tops and slogan tees for teen rodeo queens, Western-style tuxedo jackets and those polyester pants the indie-rock boys wear with their Converses. Not to mention the racks and racks of jeans and one of the largest selections of Levis, with stacks of styles and colors in dozens of sizes. The store--a warehouse in stature not just name--suits more styles than Billy Bob's casual. Even we found a shirt (with piping and pearl snaps, no less), which was about as likely as LeAnn Rimes recording an album to outsell Blue.

OK, so it's more than "health food," but then that just shouldn't count against it. Our weekend ritual now consists of: Wake up at 8:30 (a.m., that is), throw on some shorts (our own, someone else's, whatever), get into the car and get to Central Market before the doors part at 9, thus allowing in the millions (OK, dozens) who line up to take control of the 50,000-square-foot store before it's overrun with the heathens. We'll admit it: We're foodies, though we so loathe the term (don't even know what it means, actually); we're addicts, freaks, junkies for what the H-E-B folks are pushing. We'll spend an hour that turns into two, an afternoon that turns into a weekend in this place, and still we'll never uncover all it has to offer; we return for what we need, never stopping to ponder there are millions of items we don't need but merely crave (say, the tub of roasted garlic cloves for sale in the to-go area; man, our breath stinks this weekend). Some suggestions: the fresh Southwestern tortillas just off the grill, the black-pepper-marinated olives, the smoked cheddar cheeses, the French hams in the deli area, the Russian rye breads, the prosciutto-and-pepper baguette, the Australian beer, the star fruit, the dried peppers that sell for $50 a pound (all you need is but a few cents' worth), the champagne grapes, the live oysters and clams, the breakfast sausage, the...mmmmmmm, sausage. For once, an ad campaign lives up to its claims: Tom Thumb and Whole Foods are grocery stores; this is heaven, paradise, nirvana. And did we mention the cooking classes, the guest chefs (Naked and otherwise), the tours, the private meeting rooms, the On the Run fun that makes Eatzi's look like, well, Marty's? No? We meant to, but our mouths were stuffed with blue crab claws and tapenade; sorry 'bout that.

If you can't afford that summer getaway you've been dreaming about and are weary of grilling chicken and burgers, plan something different after a visit to a grocery that takes you to another world. You can shop for everything from pork ears to chicken feet, pickled cabbage to duck eggs. The seafood selection is remarkable (tilapia, milkfish, China grouper and squid). Might want to take home some Wei-Chaun dumplings for the right appetizer and plan to spend time looking over the wide variety of exotic spices (ever try dried lily flower?) and teas. Talk about fun shopping. They're open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

If you want to buy garden tools that will last, Smith & Hawken has what you need. Of course, you'll need to bring a lot of money, but the investment will provide perennial returns. The Uptown store carries everything a gardener needs, from hand rakes and soil scoops to bulb planters and precision weeders. Forget what you planted last spring? No problem. Smith & Hawken also sells zinc plant markers, among other hard-to-find accessories. When you're done toiling in the fields, nothing relaxes quite like the store's wide selection of fine teak chairs and chaises.

Best Place to Pretend You're Martha Stewart on a Budget

Garden Ridge

With the holidays quickly approaching (by which we mean our birthday), you might wanna stop by the Ridge--the self-proclaimed "home décor and craft marketplace," which just sends a tingle up the spines of men everywhere--to load up on immortal wreaths and other flowers made of silk and synthetic material. From pottery to potpourri, from party goods to pictures and posters (for frames and, yes, you sad souls without family photos to fill them), from candles to curtains, this chain store has generous amounts of decently priced crap to make any dorm room or any mansion feel like Martha Stewart went hog-wild while blindfolded. And we mean that as a compliment: When we're not tricking up our house with the latest Todd Oldham trinket from Target, we're at Garden Ridge, wondering how we spent $124 on candles that smell like roses and feet.

Even drunk, we would never ever belt out a rendition of Tom Jones' "Delilah" in public. (What we do in the privacy of our own shower is none of your business.) But it's nice to know that if we wanted to (and to be honest, we sorta do), we could thrill--or induce vomiting among--the lovely birds in an audience. All we would need is a stop at this Valley View mall shop, which sells and rents karaoke machines, mixing boards and microphones, along with the largest selection of karaoke-ready songs in Texas--somewhere between 70,000 and 100,000 titles. They even provide DJs and setups for parties, wedding receptions and, we suppose, really rockin' wakes. If you think that karaoke died sometime about the era of the first Bush administration, check out the store's Web site at to see the huge variety of equipment available. Someone, somewhere is into this, so there may yet be hope for our lounge-act dreams.

Rumor has it our couch came from the set of Good Morning, Texas, and, yeah, it took awhile to get those Sams stains out; someone really should Scotchguard that dude. But, nonetheless, it was one hell of a bargain--something like $300, when it would have cost us $1,000, more or less (more, likely). And we picked it, and the rest of our house's furnishings, up at the Gabberts outlet on Furniture Row near LBJ Freeway and Midway Road. This place is a mecca for high-quality merch at low, low prices--leather couches at pennies on the dollar (OK, quarters on the dollar, but whatever), recliners so cheap you can rest a little easier, armoires you can afford without knocking over an armored car. Some of this stuff deserves to be dirt cheap--some looks as though it came from the Bradys' house in 1971--but even then, better retro "kitsch" than au courant broke, we say. Nice selection of rugs, too, as well as other stuff with which to stuff your house. Or apartment. Or trailer home. Or underpass.

Best Of Dallas®

Best Of