Dallas Morning News op-ed columnist Ruben Navarrette, back for his second straight "best of," was just warming up in 2002. This year, he truly hit his stride. For the first time in memory, the News has a columnist who: A) has better things to write about than his home life; B) gravitates to local controversies; C) does original reporting; D) is not an apologist for anyone, including members of the Hispanic community, where he appears to be quite well-sourced. Take, for instance, Navarrette's February 14 column, "Where are the defenders of framed immigrants?" In a single piece, Navarrette broke the news that Dallas police Chief Terrell Bolton successfully stopped the city's Hispanic leadership from criticizing the department for framing Mexican immigrants with fake drug charges. Navarrette pointed out that there were high-ranking Hispanic officers in the chain of command over the drug debacle, and their jobs were on the line. From there, eschewing matters of race and picking up on those of class, he asserted that "Mexican-Americans have convinced themselves that having more education, more money and more English proficiency than Mexican immigrants makes them superior." We've heard this before, but never in the News. Finally, he ended with an honest-to-goodness conclusion about the chief: "What confuses me is why this man is still drawing a paycheck." Nice work.

We've long contended that "television news" is an oxymoron. Yes, five nights a year a station reports something you haven't already read in a daily, weekly or monthly publication. But even the Rangers bullpen strikes out the side sometimes; that doesn't mean they're worth watching. No, our favorite people realize that television is about entertainment, not news, about pictures, not words. And we think the person who does the best job of maximizing television's potential good is Mattie Roberts, seen Mondays on TXCN from 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Mattie--c'mon, we know her, we can call her Mattie--promotes herself as "the swami of sparkle" and says her show is "a cocktail of fabulosity." Is it ever! Mattie gives you the day's take on fashion, beauty, food, fashion, culture, fashion and other topics worthy of your, and television's, time. Heck, pair her with John McCaa, and you've got yourself a show.
Art? Who needs art when you can look at planes? The American Airlines Aviation Museum is the kind of museum that is fun for everybody--even non-museum types. The museum has a variety of aviation-related displays from the airline's past. There is a flight simulator, a movie and even an old DC-3 for those who really want to see what the days of commercial flight were like before bargain fares and unsalted pretzels arrived to the masses packed into coach. It's a great place to take kids, too.

Veletta Lill's district is now sort of weird: After redistricting, it wound up cradling the Park Cities, taking in a lot of downtown, covering the part of East Dallas where all the refugees from the real Dallas live, then going way up north to the area around Lovers Lane and Greenville Avenue. Maybe for that reason, Lill winds up bringing a broad perspective to the council. For example, she's strong on historic preservation, but she's always ready to cut deals that will help develop downtown. Always well-spoken, she never shoots from the hip--she's like Laura Miller without the crazy.
Woodrow Wilson High School
One of those strange little cultural artifacts of East Dallas, the spring musical production at "Woodrow" is a generations-old tradition. Parents start putting their kids through dance, voice and acting lessons while the kids are still in grade school to win them a place in the Woodrow musical. The production standards are high: professional orchestra, backdrops from New York, extravagant costumes. But the main attraction is a chance to see kids who will go from here to Yale drama school, UCLA, USC--serious young talent, wonderful voices, great acting, mixed in with some...well, you know...high school stuff.

Best French Books About Dallas (the TV show)

Dallas Books!

Les Maitres de Dallas! Les Hommes de Dallas! Les Femmes de Dallas! Dallas! Tout Sur Dallas, avec plus de 50 photos. This site also offers an excellent stock of English books based on the very popular 1980s television series. This is your chance to sit around a nationally franchised coffee shop reading a book in French about a television series you never saw based on a totally bogus rendering of your town! The quintessential Dallas experience. And then check a map. Maybe you're not in Dallas anyway! Dallas: the city that isn't real. Be there.

La Duni Latin Cafe
Everything about La Duni is magnificent, from the tasteful décor to the incredible pork-loin-filled "slow-roasted lomo." But the attributes of La Duni are made more apparent after you've had several of their signature drinks, especially our fave, the margarinha. It's a combination margarita-mojito, made with Sauza Silver tequila, hand-crushed limes, sugar, Cointreau and crushed ice. And, yes, it's as refreshing as it sounds. Is your mouth feeling dry yet? Is it? Seriously, is it?

Pete's Dueling Piano Bar
Sound like a dorkfest? Fine, then call us dorks. Pete's is a surprisingly rollicking time: Four top-notch key-strokers attack two baby grands, taking requests and playing favorite tunes by request. Sure, it ain't the Cliburns, but it's a good time and something unique to do on a Friday night in Dallas. Nothing wrong with that.
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
Courtesy Dallas Arboretum
With more than 60 acres of incredibly landscaped park to choose from, the Dallas Arboretum can provide a great backdrop to a portrait for anything. The Arboretum has fountains and sculptures, and something is always blooming, so you can wander around until you find a good spot. Even in the heat of the summer, the Arboretum seems like a cool and calming place. Maybe they're growing poppies.

Adair's Saloon
Sidle up to the bar and order a Lone Star longneck. Then another. Then one for the pretty young thing next to you. Then a round for the people you just met. Fall off your barstool on your way to the restroom. Get lost coming back. Stand in front of the band while it rides herd over a sweet set of C&W, the kind your daddy told you about. Grab another longneck, which is sweating a little bit less than you are at this point. Ask that pretty young thing to dance. Fall down again and come up laughing. Keep doing this until you're out of money and out the door. Come back and do it again next week. That's what Adair's is like. And thank the Lord.

Best Of Dallas®

Best Of