Best Fetish Gear 2007 | Leather Masters | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Cat o' Nine Tails wearing out? Leather Masters has a nice crop of whips, gags, sleep sacks, "puppy tails" and other paraphernalia geared to the bondage and S&M experience. Straps, strops, caps, pants, vests—if you want it in leather, chances are good they have it. This shop also offers get-togethers for like-minded kinksters. Community service, hey, you can't beat that.
The husband-and-wife team of Luit and Jamie Huizenga specialize in European-style floral arrangements, meaning lush, colorful and presented in unique vases, luminaries and handmade pottery containers that go far beyond the containers offered by most florists. Jamie met Luit, a native of Holland, while both were budding floral designers and have been on the Dallas floral scene for several decades. They started Dr Delphinium Designs in 1989 and sold it after about a decade to run a ranch on Colorado's Cebolla River. They returned and started Cebolla, which also sells antiques, pottery, chocolates and candles. They had been back on the Dallas floral scene only a few years when Oprah dubbed Cebolla her favorite florist in Dallas. The Huizengas' signature designs contain blooms of wildly contrasting color palettes in a compact arrangement; there's nothing spare or minimalist here, unless you count their living orchid arrangements as minimalist.
Don't let its strip mall exterior fool you. For a small store, Boutique Pet Shop has a terrific selection of fish, including the common (tetras of several varieties) and the unusual (arowanas and bichirs). If you're simply looking to upgrade or downsize your fish collection, they always have a roomful of new and used tanks, even the large sizes that chain pet stores don't carry. Their display tanks (planted, coral, blood parrots and more) are inspiring, and kids of all ages will enjoy the indoor koi pond. And while you're stocking up for your finned friends, you can also get supplies for your two- and four-footed pets.
Remember Little Gus on Lower Greenville? Great little Greek café of yesteryear. Some of the same nice people who ran Gus' now are in the lawn and garden equipment business up by White Rock Lake just off Northwest Highway. Somehow there's something familiar about their set-up. Like the café, it's real modest on the outside with great service inside. You can't sink your teeth into a Little Gus burger anymore, but if the teeth on your chainsaw need fixing, this is the place.
Ignore the fancy spelling of "colour"—it's a British thing—and don't let the hoity-toity address scare you. What we like best about Richard Hayler is its perfect blend of poshness and professionalism minus the snootiness. This woman we know—definitely not our spouse, no way—swears that their prices match or beat other high-end salons, and their colorists expertly mix up just the right shades of 300 or so reds and blonds that she has carefully painted onto her hair every five weeks or so. (It's just coincidental that the missus has red hair. It's all natural! Swear it.)
Bad experiences, whether painful or unfriendly, can prevent those in need of dental care from keeping up with regular check-ups. Avoidance doesn't do a thing for your choppers. We suffered dental phobias for far too long before finding Dr. Blake Williamson. His good nature, gentle approach, positive reinforcement toward our lax flossing practices and his super-friendly support staff provide us with the best dentist office experience we've had in our history of tooth troubles. The most up-to-date technology means no aches afterward, and the How It's Made videos in the exam rooms are an entertaining distraction. Bonus: The office offers free tooth whitening for life, if you keep up with exams. Now that makes us smile.
Moms need sexy lingerie too, and this Lakewood boutique is the place to find some. The artfully arranged array of underwear made by Hanky Panky is surrounded by picture frames, candles, jewelry and cute T-shirts bearing sayings such as "Motherhood's not for sissies." Even if you're not a mom, this is a cute shop for gifts for all of the girlfriends, sisters, daughters and mothers you're constantly wondering how to please on birthdays, Valentine's and Christmas. Or just gift yourself with some sweet new undies that could invite a little hanky-panky (maybe spanky) back home.
We made the mistake once of giving this one to Home Depot, and man did we hear about that. You think Elliot's is just a hardware store? Listen, the fans of Widespread Panic (another group we've pissed off royally) aren't as noisy as Elliot's devoted shoppers, and we'll admit: They're right. If you want slightly cheaper hardware, sure, the big-box boys might be able to help you out, but God help you if you don't know exactly what you want and where to find it, because it's unlikely anyone else will. Not so at Elliot's. You say you need one of those thingies that screws onto one of those others thingies, and you can describe it, but just not very well. Someone at Elliot's not only knows what the hell you're talking about but will also take you to the aisle where it's located and help you find just the right size. We've made many, many trips to Home Depot, usually about half of them to return thingies we didn't mean to buy in the first place. At Elliot's, one trip gets it right.
Sprouts may not be as flashy as Central Market or as hippie-dippy as Whole Foods, but what they lack in pizzazz they more than make up for in price and convenience. Have you ever actually tried to shop at Whole Foods or Central Market at 7 p.m. on a weeknight? You'd be lucky to get out of there alive without being trampled by ravenous Uptowners. But at Sprouts you can pick up the same Kashi cereals, vegetarian chick'n patties and tofu cream cheeses, often for less money, and be out of there in no time. Their produce selection may not be as extensive as some of their hoity-toity competitors, but their fruits and vegetables are always fresh and cheap, and their meals-to-go and bulk departments aren't shabby either. And if you're running low on dough, check out their weekly ad at, where they let you in on all the best deals. Bartlett pears at 69 cents a pound?! Check and mate, Whole Foods.
Good fly fishing shops seem to have a hard time in Dallas. Could it have anything to do with a climate that's Trout Hell? Against the odds, TailWaters Fly Fishing has us hooked. This cool new store on the McKinney Avenue trolley line looks and feels like somebody plucked it out of Montana and dropped it here. A knowledgeable and friendly staff, good supply of flies, lots of angler tchotchkes, good range of rods, including ones by Dallas-based Temple Fork—this place has everything to help you forget where you really are. They'll also help you plan fly fishing trips and advise you where the big ones are biting. As a full-service fisherman's helper, they're very fly indeed.

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