Accents Fashion Accessories
If you're looking for a gift for your girlfriend and have no idea what she wants—or for that matter, what any woman wants—Accents is your store. Located in the West Village, the surprisingly affordable boutique sells an array of stylish jewelry that looks artsy but not too artsy, kind of like Scarlett Johansson. The necklaces, which start as low as $19, are striking, including handmade varieties with stones of different colors and shapes. Perhaps best of all, the salespeople can tell you what's in without sounding condescending, which in the boundaries of the haughty West Village ranks as the greatest coup of all.
Pitaya
One of Uptown's pitfalls is that it's easy to feel like a poorly dressed pauper amid the shiny happy people and high-priced merchandise. The great thing about Pitaya is that it looks just as nice as the surrounding stores but doesn't share their inflated prices. There are funky purses, necklaces and earrings and a decent selection of stylish basics that won't have you walking out with nauseating, nail-biting, after-purchase guilt. And while most of the tanks, skirts and T's are in bold, basic colors, there are also some uniquely patterned dresses that remind us of the world's favorite hip discount warehouse: H&M. Hmmm, with Pitaya so nearby, there's no excuse not to spend on trends.
We've been fans of the funky chic duds in Armhole for a long while. When they moved from Lakewood to Uptown we worried, "Oh, no! No more neighborhood friendly!" But we were mistaken. Since the shift in May 2006, the shop has developed an even better, laid-back, customer-friendly vibe. The boutique's casual seduction of our paycheck is sweetened by siblings Ryan and Matt Abbott's ability to remember our names and recommend must-haves, but the solid gold draw for us lies at the T-shirt bar. Armhole offers the fab-fitting American Apparel and Alternative Apparel tees, plus they're always getting new decals to select from. Choose from hair band logos or cursing cartoons, from Dia de los Muertos and glam graphics. They have it all to heat-press while you wait (custom designs are also available for pick up in a few days)...and many in sizes for doggy tees too. Bonus: Hip 'rents will dig the decals perfectly sized for the shop's selection of onesies and infant tees.
Garland Road Thrift
Smelly, cavernous and always too hot or too cold, depending on what'll make you most uncomfortable for the season, Garland Road Thrift is everything a real thrift store ought to be: Kind of a dump and full of great finds. Garland Road Thrift is where tony Lakewood folk and fed-up packrat grandmas get rid of their excess goodies. The prices are clutch-the-pearls low. We found a barely used alligator handbag for $10 and a mink stole for $20. Go through the racks for gems like a strapless velvet cocktail dress or pin-striped blazer. And do not miss the wall-to-wall housewares section, perfect for anyone seeking to complete their beer stein, gold-plated animal statue or hand-painted teacup collections. If it floats your boat or came over from the Old Country in one, it's probably for sale at Garland Road Thrift.
Throughout this Best of Dallas issue you'll no doubt find a dozen or so entries for NorthPark Center retailers, and why not, as the recent addition has turned the swell into the swellegant. But our kiddo has but two great loves in the new wing: Teavana, because he inexplicably loves him a hot MattéVana, and Puzzle Zoo, the California-based toy store with four locations, ours being the sole spot outside of the Golden State, lucky us. The place seems small, but it's packed with everything imaginable for the kid or the kid within: hundreds of Star Wars action figures and toys (some of which came from old Target and Wal-Mart racks, upping their rare factor), educational doodads for those more inclined toward the learnin', up-to-the-second movie tie-ins, PixelBlocks and puzzles, remote-controlled extravaganzas and penny-ante whatchamacallits your parents played with when they were kids. And the rich geek can walk back to the glass cases lining the back walls to gaze at the really expensive toys. Speaking of, how much is Dr. McCoy's tricorder again? Oh, that much.
Fiesta
A grocery store can be as much a status symbol as designer shoes. Manolo fans clip-clop to Central Market. Birkenstocks hike to Whole Foods. Sensible Nike wearers sprint to Tom Thumb with loyalty card in hand. But what about workboot people and flip-flop people and generic sneaker people? They shop Fiesta, where you'll find only a few Lean Cuisines but dozens of brands of tortillas, salsas and ethnic spices. The international foods aisle is well-stocked with imports. When's the last time you made a pan of spaetzle anyway? This store shows international flair and shopping here is a good show too. It's hopping at every hour of the day. On Saturdays and before holidays, Fiesta actually feels like a party.
The Whimsey Shoppe
Face it: Antique stores are just resale shops, offering stuff that has managed to outlive the abuse dished out by a series of households where real people ate, slept and kept up with the Joneses. In most antique stores or malls, merchandise is wide but not deep—in other words, a little bit from various eras, countries and styles. Specializing in antiques and collectibles from France, The Whimsey Shoppe gives shoppers a unique window into French history, culture and style (with a dollop of cheek) in two huge stores: 12,000 square feet on Henderson Avenue and 11,000 square feet on Oak Lawn Avenue. The owners, Suzie and Wendell Patterson, scour the French countryside, traveling more than 2,500 miles on each shopping trip, so you don't have to. (And really, who'd want to do all that French traveling, with the culture and fine food and wine and whatnot?) The Pattersons suck it up for you, God love 'em, coming home several times a year with containers of French antiques that range from rustic farm tables to beds that would be perfect in Marie Antoinette's boudoir. Then they send customers The Whimsey Report, a pamphlet of black-and-white drawings of unique items and an account of their adventures in antiquing through Normandy, Burgundy, Champagne and Provence that touches on politics, food and fashion. (Really, we don't envy them. Rubbing our noses in it? No, not at all.) Specialties include French farm tables, armoires and copper. It only takes a few pieces to make it appear as if you found them on your last trip to the Languedoc. Like you'd ever want to go there, what with Oklahoma so close.
East Lake Veterinary Hospital
If you refer to your pets as your "babies" and always make sure they get their dinner before scrounging up something for yourself, then chances are you know how hard it is to find a good veterinarian. We've seen them all: the unprepared recent graduate who keeps leaving the room to flip through medical journals; the good ol' country boy who's better suited to working on horses and cows; the overly cautious vet who can't take your pet's temperature for fear they'll feel a little discomfort...it's far too easy to end up at an office with one of those. But at East Lake, you can finally relax and leave your cat or pup in the capable hands of friendly experts in a comfortable, clean environment. And sure, there are cheaper places out there, but when it comes to our precious little fur-covered children, why settle for anything less than the best?

Best Video Store (Especially If You Want to Meet Jim Schutze)

Premiere Video

Premiere Video
That last part there's not really a tease: Mr. Dallas Observer is a regular customer, always in line with a copy of Chinatown, Deadline U.S.A. or All the President's Men—or A River Runs Through It, hawhawhaw. Because, see, Premiere has all those movies—and pretty much everything else ever released on home video, in this country or any other. They also stock every British TV series not yet on BBC America. Put it another way: Go to Premiere right now with a list of your 10 favorite movies, and if Premiere doesn't have, oh, eight of them in stock right now, Jim Schutze will give you his copy of Red Shoe Diaries Vol. 12.
Pandemonium
What really makes a good vintage clothing store is variety. Of price, style, era and finery. We want to peruse chiffon formals from the 1950s and rock tees from the 1970s. We want a lot to choose from but not so much that we can't push back the racks to see what's there. Pandemonium's retro fashionistas Leslie Daum and Debbie Cardenas stock their charming pink house on Henderson Avenue with gently used clothing and accessories they've painstakingly inspected and deemed worthy of new owners. Need a patent leather handbag or a pair of Jackie O sunglasses? A sequined ball gown? A vintage leather jacket? Pandemonium probably has them. And these ladies keep prices so reasonable, you can shop early and often every season. Daum and Cardenas also have their own Pandemonium line of separates made from recycled tees and other vintage fabrics. Check out the Our Lady of Guadalupe circle skirts and just pray they have your size.

Best Of Dallas®

Best Of