Best Place to Eat After Running/ Cycling White Rock Lake

Legal Grounds

Legal Grounds
Although a tad overpriced and almost always overcrowded, Legal Grounds is still an apt reward for a morning spent running and cycling around White Rock Lake. Located in the heart of Lakewood, Legal Grounds has long been a hotspot for athletic types, as witnessed by the veritable army of trim patrons clad in running/cycling shorts and tank tops. And while this is not always a good thing--gentlemen, if you have more hair on your shoulder than your head, scrap the muscle shirt--it does give the place a cozy, fun vibe on a Saturday morning. More important, the French toast, topped with a layer of fresh fruit, is appropriately decadent, not too dry or too buttery. The same could be said of Legal Grounds' fresh muffins, which are the best in town. Finally, the strong, flavorful coffee will wash away the sticky taste of the post-run Gatorade and keep you going if you're contemplating a second loop around the lake.
Scalini's Pizza & Pasta
If we were on death row we'd request Scalini's chocolate cappuccino pie as a last meal because it's so unbelievably delicious. In fact, it's so awesome that if given the chance between having a wild night with Scarlett Johansson and having a slice of this pie, we'd choose, oh come on, obviously Scarlett Johansson. But we'd still take her to Scalini's, order her the chocolate cappuccino pie for dessert. Gotta get lucky after that.
La Duni Latin Cafe
Appropriately located in the upscale Knox-Henderson neighborhood, La Duni does everything so well that singling it out for a drink seems akin to praising Jessica Alba for her ankles. So, dear God, don't just go to La Duni to order a mojito and then head across the street for a generic meal at Chuy's. Stay a while and enjoy any of La Duni's kick-ass Cuban and Mexican dishes, particularly the quesadillas de pescado, which include handmade corn tortillas stocked with sauted fresh fish and Latin cheese. And if you start it off with a mojito, fueled with just the right dosage of Bacardi Silver rum and ably mixed with sugar, mint and the juiciest of limes, you will start thinking of La Duni as your own personal Xanadu.
Manny's Uptown Restaurante
In September 2005, we gave the relatively new Manny's Uptown a so-so review. The menu, created by former Mia's chef Javier Hernandez, engendered lofty expectations for our critic, and he came away disappointed by the inconsistent dishes and the spotty service. Perhaps it took a few months to work out the kinks, but Manny's is on top of its game these days, offering an extensive array of Tex-Mex dishes that unlike others in its culinary genre don't swim in a murky sea of cheese and sour cream. Still, at Manny's, the food, while delicious, may not be the highlight of your experience. The fenced-in outdoor patio, haphazardly decorated and oddly lit, makes for a veritable dining playpen practically begging you to come with all your friends and stay all night. On any given Saturday, the place is jam-packed with a random assortment of patrons, from your typical blond-and-beautiful Uptown party set to the middle-aged couples looking to enjoy a rare night of frivolity.
Fat Daddy's Burger House
This Casa Linda joint has a loyal following. On Thursday nights you'll catch the biker crowd; they park their Harleys in the lot and catch up on gossip. They come for Fat Daddy's burgers, giant hand-formed beef patties with a bun that's not too thick and not too thin, accompanied by seasoned steak fries and a generous condiment bar for $5.99. The big surprise: Order the burger at Fat Daddy's, and you get two free beers. Seems the owner decided he'd come out ahead by giving beer away rather than paying for a liquor license to sell it. Decide you want a soft drink or tea? Gotta pay extra for that. It's actually cheaper to drink beer than a Coke. Fitting with the self-indulgence of eating a cheeseburger with fries, there's something decadent about that.
This Vietnamese-Chinese spot packs 'em in on Sundays for an endless parade of carts that offer a huge variety of dumplings and other dim sum treats. Steamed pork buns, barbecued ribs, shrimp rolls and small plates of ever-changing delicacies make Sunday brunch an adventure. Arc-En-Ciel serves dim sum daily until 3 p.m. but really draws people on Sundays. Especially in evidence are people from the local Asian community. Sometimes there's a bit of a language barrier with the waitstaff, but they are friendly and enthusiastic. If you're not crazy about one cart's offerings, another will be along in two minutes.
At the Garland Road location, multiple TVs blare Mexican shows so you know this place is authentic. Pollo Fiesta's specialty is pollo asado, chicken roasted on a giant spit. Rubbed down with Mexican spices and falling off the bone, it's a great alternative to the ubiquitous rotisserie chicken. The charro beans are great, filled with chunky onions and peppers. The arroz has peas, carrots and kernels of corn. With hefty chunks of avocado the tortilla soup is darn good for fast food.
During the day this Lakewood neighborhood spot serves up coffee and legal advice. At night it dishes Greek favorites such as spanakopita and moussaka. It's cozy and intimate and one of the few places serving Greek cuisine on this side of town. It focuses on the traditional: stuffed grape leaves, gyros, grilled lamb and chicken kebabs and pastitsio, with sweet endings like baklava. Word is that on the last Thursday of each month Neenah, the star of the local belly-dancing circuit, performs at 8 p.m. That's what we call a Greek restaurant.
Cheesecake Royale Bakery
Need a happy ending for a dinner party? Try the tiramisu at Cheesecake Royale. The layers of ladyfingers, mascarpone cheese, espresso, Kahlua and whipped cream topped with a layer of rich cocoa are heaven in a pan and will give the end of an Italian meal a flourish. No need to order in advance, but give yourself time to let it thaw enough for the ingredients to reach that lovely creamy texture. For 18 servings, it's a bargain at $25. Their three-layer desserts, especially the chocolate mousse, rum and Italian cream cakes, are other good choices. And of course the house special, cheesecake, comes in varieties such as amaretto, black forest, Key lime, raspberry, chocolate swirl and the sinful caramel fudge, and you can mix and match slices. Or just go for the most basic: New York Plain Colossal Cheesecake, tall and rich with hints of vanilla and lemon. Sometimes the simplest desserts are the best.
Aw Shucks
This is the sort of place where you roll up your sleeves, put your elbows on the table and get down and dirty with your crawfish or crab legs. There are no tablecloths here, or napkins for that matter. Instead, grab a roll of paper towels and get to work. Try the shrimp, boiled or fried. Dip 'em in butter, drench 'em in lemon juice or order 'em spicy. You can't go wrong. But if they're in season, order the crawfish. And when they're not, splurge on the summer platter for two. It's more crab legs, shrimp, potatoes, sausage and corn than you can eat, sprinkled with enough cayenne pepper to make your lips burn and your eyes water.

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