If you think that deleted e-mail or trashed Word document is going to hide your tracks, think again. This small start-up can recover just about anything from any computer, becoming a quiet Dallas success story in less than two years. Their computer forensics techniques have drawn the attention of government agencies, large corporations and even civilians in tracking down the questionable computer activities of disgruntled employees, industry competitors and cheatin' spouses. Why the success? After founders Rafael Gorgal and David Cowen contributed to the popular Hacking Exposed series book Computer Forensics, the calls for help began. Hackers, beware!
Please, before you go spending 40 bucks at PetSmart on a marabou-cuffed jumper for your otherwise hip and dignified canine, get in the car and get your shih-tzu to Armhole. The boutique, recently relocated to the Mondrian Building in Uptown, features spunky, punky and modern clothing (for humans). The shop is beloved for its T-shirt press for which there are binders and binders of iron-ons (ranging from vintage TV show logos to ironic sayings) and fine-fitting American Apparel tees. But most important, and more on topic, the shop stocks dog tees as well, ready for proud pet parents to customize. Try a hot pink kiss print on the rump of a gray jersey for a ladies' pug, or a striped tie on a black shirt for a post-punk pit. Perhaps your teenage bitch totally needs a Degrassi tee to show her fictional school spirit. Whatever the message, Armhole has it collared.
Right next door to City Vet, this shop carries lots of specialty items for dogs and cats, from embroidered pet placemats to beds in hip, contemporary fabrics, to natural, good-for-'em treats and grooming supplies. We also love their selection of Ezy Dog products--especially the neoprene-lined collars and bungee cord leashes. And when you finally figure out that the grocery-store brand isn't doing the trick, City Pet Supply has a multitude of premium dog and cat foods. You'll find Science Diet and Nutro, along with more esoteric lines such as Wysong, California Natural and Merrick's (a Texas-based company). To take your dog to the next level, check out the raw frozen foods from FarMore and Nature's Variety. City Pet Supply is also one of the only pet stores in the area to carry food mixes--dehydrated grains, veggies, fruits and herbs that you rehydrate and combine with fresh meat and oils--by Sojourner Farms, Dr. Harvey's and The Honest Kitchen. Not sure what to pick? Consult Sadie, the store dog--she's probably tried them all.
There are normal dogs and then there are pocket-sized canines that thrive on bonbons and never having to walk anywhere. We've lived with a mastiff, a German shepherd mix and a particularly feisty basset hound, and our pooches have never worn rhinestones, drunk bottled water or been named after a fairy. But if we did have a tiny yapper, we would outfit him or her in splendor at Dog Specialties. With items such as crown-shaped food bowls and crystal-studded collar tags, there's something for every pampered prince and spoiled bitch. The store also carries dog-themed items for humans to enjoy.
Dallas North Aquarium wasn't going to let a little disaster put them out of business. Though a fire devastated their sales floor and fish room on May 4, they never closed the store, selling supplies out of the back during rebuilding. We visited just days before the fire, so we could tell that when they reopened in July, the store was better than ever. Beautiful saltwater, freshwater and planted display aquaria greet you near the front door, and the store offers pretty much any aquarium supply you could ever want--including great bargains on used equipment and a full complement of respected brands such as Eheim, Hikari and Oceanic. Is your fire eel desperate for frozen bloodworms? On the hunt for a bunch of ludwigia repens? Have no idea what live rock is? Your quest will inevitably lead you here.
Fish Gallery
Sure, PetSmart and Petco have goldfish. They have African cichlids. They might even have an oddball or two--a dojo loach or a black ghost knife. But once you step into the Fish Gallery, you won't think of buying fish anywhere else again. The store (recently expanded) is filled with tanks of amazing freshwater fish that you'll never see at a pet emporium--Senegal bichirs, roseline sharks, baseball-sized orandas and the hard-to-find Siamese algae eater. Their cichlid selection is likewise astounding. We don't have space to list the Malawi and Tanganyikan beauties they have on display. If you have dreams of being the next Takashi Amano, they have aquatic plants, or if you like spending hundreds of dollars on demanding, finicky fish, their saltwater selection's decent too. And the Aquarium Environments side of the store will help you pick out or custom-design the aquarium you've always wanted. C'mon, go for a custom 450-gallon. What are credit cards for anyway?
There comes a time in a hipster's life when decisions have to be made. The costume party is in two hours, and a decade must be decided upon. Will you wear '80s chic or '60s mod? These are the hard questions, especially when time is of the essence. Whatever your quandary, the Counter Culture store in Deep Ellum is guaranteed to have what you need at a reasonable price. The staff is always available to help with a wayward zipper (or four, depending on your outfit), and the store's small enough that they can easily point you in the right direction for your thrift clothing needs. Avail yourself of the scarf bin, too, but remember: Avoid the Mockingbird Station location like last year's asymmetrical bangs. There, you'll pay twice the price for similar vintage gear.
In The Graduate, Mr. McGuire says it best: "I want to say one word to you. Just one wordAre you listening?...Plastics." He wasn't talking about jewelry, but it still applies. Especially when it comes to Adventures in Synthetics. Using plastics, as well as other uncommon materials such as foam and styrene, Dallas jewelry designer Mary Ann Atkinson creates unique pieces of jewelry that dance on the line between space-age and whimsical but never flirt with tacky. The clear bracelet coils are bold but unsuspecting on the wrist, and their simple, colorful, graphic embellishments are vital and special--no two are alike. The graceful pieces are, without a doubt, wearable art, and their packaging is just as thoughtfully designed to serve as a flattering frame.
If you need regular massages to make your life and limbs loose again but don't want to work a second job to pay for it, the students at the Texas Massage Institute can give you a rubdown on the cheap. For only $30 an hour--nearly a third of the normal rate--students at TMI will give you the TLC you need. If you pulled a muscle, have serious back pain or any other recurring problem, we recommend that you see an experienced massage therapist. But for runners and cyclists who need someone to work out the everyday aches and pains that go with the sport, TMI is your Costco.
A few years ago an earnest but out-of-it Dallas publication of the local city monthly magazine variety, trying to break into the "Best of" field (fat chance!), described the monthly Buchanan Markets show at Fair Park as the city's best "flea market." Oh, no, no, no. Flea market it is not. Buchanan's, held toward the end of every month, except during the State Fair, is a glorious bazaar where the discerning eye may discover true treasure. And maybe some junk. But not very much junk. No, this is a true antiques show--the best in Dallas. Check for dates at buchananmarkets.com. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday (when it's being held); 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday. Three bucks a head for adults, kids under 12 free. Free parking and shuttle available.

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