Best Bicycle Equipment 2003 | Plano Cycling & Fitness | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Not only does Plano Cycling & Fitness have the brands--Felt, Trek, Specialized, Cannondale--it's equipped with a knowledgeable staff dedicated to a perfect marriage between body and spoked wheel. Plus the service staff is trained and certified to work on all makes and models, not just the ones the shop hawks. And Plano Cycling supports the sport, sponsoring the Plano Athletic Cycling Club as well as various races and events throughout North Texas.

Most doctors rush through the obligatory two-minute head-nodding, note-scribbling, no-eye-contact exam before turning patients over to a nurse practitioner for treatment. And then they berate you for the few little things that bring meaning and substance to an otherwise miserable existence. You know, drinking, smoking, sexual escapades and big hunks of nearly raw red meat. Well, Dr. Lyla Blake-Gumbs won't let you off the hook for life-threatening habits either. She does, however, spend time with each patient, listening to their stories, making eye contact, asking questions and the like. It's the kind of thing that makes other doctors look ineffective, and if her unique approach to health-care delivery ever reaches the American Medical Association, they'll likely send goons out to lean on her a little, help her see the error of her ways. Until then, she's the closest thing in the Dallas area to a good old-fashioned country doctor.

Retro sportswear is what the fashionable are sporting these days, but it can be expensive keeping up with what NBA lottery picks and bling-blinging rappers are wearing. Not everyone can drop a few hundred on a 1970s-era Dr. J replica jersey. If you've got a spare $20, however, you can jump on the bandwagon, thanks to Classic Sports Logos, the 3-year-old brainchild of SMU alum Chris Anderson. Through its Web site, the local company sells T-shirts bearing the logos of defunct teams from defunct leagues (American Basketball Association, United States Football League, World Team Tennis and more), each one sweeter than the next. Just browsing the site, we salivated over at least a dozen tees, so maybe you'll end up breaking the bank anyway. Consider yourself warned and possibly better-dressed.

Your house is going to hell and you can't even find your handbasket, whatever that is. The gate to the fence won't close, the garbage disposal won't dispose of anything and your back bedroom could use a serious coat of paint. George Miller is without doubt the guy for you. He is a pest-exterminating, ceiling-fan-installing, door-jamb-adjusting, light-fixture-replacing, house-paint-applying, gizmo/gadget-fixing jack-of-all-trades. A kind-hearted soul, he will attempt to fit you into his busy schedule if he possibly can. If you must be at work when he is scheduled to arrive, rest assured you will be able to trust him with your home and your possessions. If only you felt the same way about the cable guy.

For three years, we were this close to buying patio furniture from Target; the stuff was cheap but not cheap-looking, good enough. But not quite good enough: We stalled long enough to wind up at Sunnyland, which we heard was expensive but worth the price--and not so exorbitant if you scoured the discounted section hidden away in the back, where prices are slashed like tires in a bad neighborhood. The selection is pretty impressive, and so are the prices; these guys are proud of their patio furniture. We almost walked out and cursed ourselves for not shopping at Target after all, which has since ditched the furniture for its back-to-school section, till we stumbled across the oddball stuff kept on the side--the cedar swings and gliders, say, and the other handmade wooden products that look more at home on a rancher's front porch than a suburban back porch. Our salesman added it up, and after giving us 15 percent off (not an irregular custom here), we realized we could deck out our deck at a not-unreasonable price and make it look a little different from the usual four-chairs-and-a-table--more Giant than Queer Eye for the Straight Guy in the end, but we're still giddy as schoolboys.

The workers behind the counter don't throw the fish around, and you can't see any blue water, except in snapshots on the wall, but the tidy little market has an excellent selection and outstanding customer service. While grocery-store fish-counter personnel always seem to say everything is fresh and never frozen and then recommend the stiff trout with milk-covered eyes, the workers at TJ's educate you on how to tell if fish is fresh and offer good recommendations. The goods are flown in daily. The Maine lobster was as tasty as the owner promised, and the store's smoked salmon could go up against any found in an American Indian gift shop in the Pacific Northwest.

Rent generally is not the happiest check to leave our tight wallets, but there is one leasing company that makes us glad each month. Since their signs have been cropping up more and more in Dallas neighborhoods, rental units owned by the family business have seen improvements in façades, tenants and amenities. Maintenance calls are returned almost immediately (which, in our experience, is unheard of), and the owners themselves follow up on the work. Shady characters are few and far between in the complexes, and the single girl can reside in a Turner property feeling as safe as one can near Lower Greenville and the like.

Best Place to Get Antique Prints and Cool Old Maps

Beaux Arts

Cool is hardly good enough to describe the 16th- to 19th-century antiquarian prints and rare maps you will find at Beaux Arts. The prints are of botanicals, natural history and architecture and can really class the place up (more so than the college posters). The gallery sells huge maps of Texas and elsewhere from the 18th and 19th centuries. Some of the maps show old borders and railroad routes. They will also frame the prints. Prices vary widely, but some prints are surprisingly affordable.

Cotton Island offers enough glitz, goof and glam to make up for the ferocious Snider Plaza parking. It's a fun store, and at first glance, one might think it's all too young and flirty. The boutique is young and flirty, but it also offers a great selection of wardrobe staples such as Michael Stars shells, Mavi jeans and Baked Beads earrings. It's one of those places where customers should try on before they write off the look as too immature. Some of the pieces (mesh tops by Just in Time, for instance) look fantastic coupled with a power suit and heels, and a vintage-wash denim skirt could replace that suit skirt and liven up a sales meeting without going too Carrie Bradshaw. The shop also offers dorm-room décor, an expanse of seasonal shoes (brands such as Rocket Dog, Puma and more) and some seriously fabulous gaudy-chic jewelry. Moms: Take your daughters--and we want to see both of you in the dressing room.
Face it: You've been addicted to customizing every corner of your life ever since you installed aftermarket neon tire valve cap lights on your Olds Delta 88. Now you can customize your own body fluids, too, with body lotions, bath oils, massage creams, bath sprays and shower gels--among other toiletry oozes and goops--tailor-made to your specifications. Choose from more than 100 fragrances and virtually any color your eyes can detect--even neon green to match those spinning tire cap lights.

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