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.

Yumi to Go

Normally it takes 45 minutes, the guy on the phone told us, but we can get it there in 25. Pretty damn bold to make such a promise, especially considering the NYC gridlock that can build up on Lemmon and Oak Lawn. Yet the driver—piling over curbs, cutting through yards, running down children...Well, we don't know how he managed shaving five minutes off the promised time. Now that's service. And for home delivery, the food's not bad, either.

Garden Cafe

Just behind Munger Park in East Dallas' Junius Heights Historic District, fresh herbs and vegetables are served, which might not sound all that unusual until we elaborate on "fresh." At the Garden Café, fresh means it came straight from the beautiful garden in back. In addition to its unique atmosphere, the café occasionally doubles as a hotspot for book signings, photography shows and poetry readings. Owner Dale Wootton has everything covered, including plenty of available parking, seating in back to enjoy the garden and a menu featuring favorites such as meatloaf, chicken-fried steak, catfish and homemade desserts. Want a chance to see a future meal grow? Head over to the Garden Café for an experience you'll tell your friends about.

Brandon and Susan Pollard have bee hives in places you might never suspect—the roof of Bolsa, the trendy Oak Cliff eatery, for example, or maybe in your next-door neighbor's back yard. Their bees are marching out across the city, relentlessly, like a Japanese horror movie only not horrible. In fact, the honey their hives produce is wonderful, flavored by local flowers, trees and shrubs, good for local allergies and absolutely free of the chemicals, antibiotics and toxins found in too many imported, commercially produced honeys. Visit them at the Yellow Shed on Saturday or Sunday. They're also very interesting on the whole topic of urban farming and local food. Buy some honey, chat them up.

Tiff's Treats

Ah, the power of a warm, fresh-from-the-oven cookie. It has the ability to comfort, satisfy, inspire...and provide a sugar-boost when it's about 3 p.m. and all signs read: "We're Not Gonna Make It Until 5. Population: Everyone in the office." But the little cookie delivery company that could is here to help. Once rising to meet the needs of midnight oil-burning UT Austin students out of an overused home oven, Tiff's Treats has become a dual-city treat titan with pro gear and seriously craveable recipes. Place an order online, set the time for delivery (if you're in the deliverable areas) and wait for that magic box with the blue ribbon to arrive. Inside, the snickerdoodles, chocolate chip, peanut butter cookies or whichever flavor you pick (they all hark back to Grandmother's masterful creations) will still be warm and oh-so ooey-gooey. Suddenly, the rest of the day will instantly seem less harrowing. And yes, milk is also available.

There's only one man who serves up a Chicago-style dog with a side of big Texas personality in downtown Dallas. And that's Vincent Navarro, better known as Uncle Vinny, who can be found at his cart parked somewhere along Main Street, looking out at the world through yellow-tinted shades. Vinny and his sister run the business, Sidewalk City Dogs, out of a warehouse suite in Garland. However, you'll find them vending in downtown. Ask the vendor for the Uncle Vinny special, and he'll take care of you, loading your dog with neon green relish, all the condiments and fresh tomatoes and lettuce. Find a wall to lean on and enjoy your $3 dog.

As it says on the label, "It's gun barrel hot," which translates to darn tasty for those who enjoy a little spice in their lives. This locally jarred goodness can be found at Whole Foods and other area grocers, so you don't have to spend a lot of dough at fancy Mexican restaurants to get your hot 'n' spicy fix. Whether for dumping on a plate of enchiladas or a bag of Tostitos, keeping some in the fridge is a must for any junkie. So head out and grab some Gun Barrel Hot Sauce, but make sure to have a drink handy because it couldn't have stuck around for 20 years if it didn't have some kick.

Roti Grill

This is a slightly different spin on traditional Indian food—it's order-up-front as opposed to the more formal sit-down-and-be-served atmosphere, and there's no buffet. Yet for a reasonably-priced Indian meal that's delicious and served in a modern dining room, you can't beat it. They have fantastic lunch combos complete with dessert, delicious chicken tikka masala and navrattan korma (garden veggies with nuts and raisins in a cream sauce), and excellent mango lassis. And in case you're super hungry or just a huge fan of the food, you can opt for the Texas-sized portion of any entrée.

Villa-O

It's not like we have some kind of Little Italy around these parts, from whose neighborhood confines an indigenous Italian restaurant might spring up. So we have to take our Italian food as we do much of our ethnic fares, one restaurant at a time. This time, we bestow the honor of Best Italian Food on Villo-O, a trendy, Travis Walk venue where everything is made from scratch and at a good price point. The "O" in Villa-O stands for three things: organic, original and oddly enough, oceanic, which comports with the yacht-like feel of the place, all dolled up nicely in rich mahoganies and the blue and white décor of an Italian seaside cafe. You'll quickly forget the seafaring scheme, recalling instead a great patio for imbibing and the great food. You'll remember the brick oven pizza—light, not overly cheesy and, well, original; the fried calamari and the mussels marinara, both cooked to near perfection and, well, organic; and the variety of sauces—among them, Wagyu beef Bolognese, puttanesca, vodka tomato—that flow through the many pasta dishes, nothing heavy, nothing overdone, just a delicate balance of flavor that is downright oceanic.

Best Of Dallas®

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