Tart Bakery

Each cupcake is a sugared jewel that's so beautiful it's almost a shame to take a bite. Until you do. And then you quickly have no problem gobbling down the rest. Try the vanilla stuffed cupcake with Key lime filling for $3.25 each (or a non-stuffed cupcake for $2.50). The 9-inch red velvet cake for $43 feeds 12 to 15 friends and makes a gorgeous display at the table after dinner. The two locations of this dessert shop and paper boutique are owned by two adorable sisters, chef Kristen Rahal and graphic designer Stephanie Weibring, who opened the first candy land in 2004.

Five Sixty By Wolfgang Puck

When Wolfgang Puck came to Dallas, he did so in a big way—erect, throbbing with passion and...OK, he put Five-Sixty in Reunion Tower and we can't resist the phallic commentary. Whatever you think about celebrity chefs overseeing from a distance, this rotating restaurant is impressive. Sleek, modern décor? Check. Attention-grabbing view? Check. Spacious bathrooms of glazed tile? Um, no. There's hardly room in the tower for amenities other than a cool bar and solid kitchen staff serving dishes to match the glitter. The menu changes from time to time, but imagine suckling pig with a crispy skin and crackling citrus-sweet sauce. Or arctic char, impressive under a veneer of skin as light as a feather. Even cutesy items like General Tso's quail will leave you mesmerized.

Suze Restaurant

Some people won't touch the stuff. Cruelty to feathered things, they say. Fine—let them eat liver and the rest of us can dine luxuriously on the earthy, meaty, buttery delicacy that is foie gras. Or should be, anyway. Too often, kitchens push it too far, putting more effort into the sides and dressing than the liver itself. Or they fail to treat it with the care it deserves. But chefs Gilbert Garza and Jeffery Hobbs are old hands at this sort of thing. The last time we tried their foie gras, our friends couldn't stop talking about it. In fact, they called the next day to continue the conversation. It's that good.

The Grape
Beth Rankin

When you really think about it, any one of chef-owner Brian Luscher's dishes could be up for an award. Hell, Texas Monthly awarded him best burger, and that was for the entire state. So why do we focus on his french fries? Because he's one of the few chefs in the city who bothers to do them right, that's why—taking the time to blanch them, letting the batch sit, sometimes overnight, before dumping them back in the fryer. This creates that crisp, golden shell and fluffy inside that we dream about...when we dream about fries, that is. And it just adds to the experience when you chomp on those things with a bottle of wine in The Grape's country French dining room.

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Chef-owners Jose and Norma Vasconcelos grew up in Mexico but trained for culinary careers in France. In fact, both ended up working for Michelin star restaurants in surrender-monkey country before heading for the swagger of Dallas. In an often overlooked storefront on Henderson, they've brought birth and training together in a fusion of French and Mexican traditions. That means poblano stuffed with duck confit, mixed greens with tortilla strips or their spectacular escargot on a bed of pureed tomatillos. Because Mexican cuisine was influenced by both Spanish and French techniques, the idea works. The intricate French and native Mexican flavors blend together into something, well, let's just say you wish someone had thought of this sooner. Fantastic stuff.

Angry Dog

Please don't get mad, Angry Dog, if we call you a greasy spoon. We mean that in the best possible way. Oh, sure, we haven't stopped by as much as we used to—about three times a week—since the Observer's office moved away from downtown, but we still love you and your chili-smothered Angry Dogs, your hamburgers that taste like beef, not bun, your spicy fries and your club sandwiches that make us want to join whatever club created them. And did we mention your wide selection of draft and bottled beers? Oh, yes, we still feel the love. And so does our gallbladder.

State & Allen Lounge

You know what our problem is? We can't make a decision when it comes to ordering food. We'd like some of this, some of that and a bite of what you're having, thanks. We want that salad, but could we please have a couple of dressings? Indecision is the bane of our servers' existence. And yet, at State & Allen Lounge, they feel us. Like, they really feel us. The Silver Bowl, or "The Original" as it's noted on the menu, is a hearty salad that looks rather modest at first glance. But its bowl holds magic within: romaine, bacon pieces, red grape halves, mandarin oranges, tiny diced red bell peppers, savory marinated chicken with a little kick, and—get this—two dressings. Two! A tart balsamic vinaigrette and a creamy Caesar that are drizzled separately but come together in perfect harmony. There's enough fruit and veg we feel like we're diet-right, and enough meat we can grunt a bit and protein up. Plus, since State & Allen is all up on the green scene, we can get that silver bowl in a corn-derivative biodegradable to-go container if we need lunch on the fly. Or, if we can't decide, we might eat half there, half back at the office.

Walk in, turn right toward the bakery, go to the cooler against the wall where they have prepared foods in plastic tubs. Look for the green Deli Fresh Salsa made with tomatillos, cilantro, salt, onion and garlic. This sauce is so spot-on Mexican authentic that it has caused some diligent homemade salsa cooks to stop making their own. Why bother? For $1.50 you can get three-quarters of a pound of delicious fresh green salsa, and you don't have to slice up any of those pesky little tomatillos yourself.

I Heart Yogurt

Maybe you haven't noticed, but there's been a fro-yo explosion going on around town. No, it's not some '80s frozen yogurt redo of your dad's TCYB—it's something a hell of a lot tastier, and it's good for you too. It's kinda California, kinda New York and plenty delish. We had a hard time choosing, what with devotees dedicated to Yogurtland and Natsumi and Yogilicious and Orange Cup—all tasty probiotic treats (assuming you're into eating live active cultures). But we're putting our money on I Heart Yogurt, with its 16 flavors (love the peanut butter and the Irish cream) and its 24 toppings (fresh bananas and blueberries are great), which can be mixed, matched, hand-designed and self-served at 22 calories a yogurt ounce. The possibilities are limitless. Some people even call it lunch.

Wingfield's Breakfast & Burger

Sure, it's five miles from downtown, and, no, it's not fast food. But, man, is it worth it. A Wingfield's hamburger is one giant and extremely juicy fistful of beef on a big fluffy bun with fresh makings and that hot, right-off-the-grill taste with just a touch of singe—not frozen patties from Sam's and relish out of a can. The place itself, a few blocks south of Illinois Avenue, is postage-stamp small with a skimpy parking lot out front, so at busy times you may have to park half a block away and walk. The etiquette is to squeeze in the door, place your order, squeeze back out the door and wait 15 minutes or more. Then squeeze back in and check. They don't come get you. This is one you need to go get for yourself.

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