Penzey's Spices

Browsing Penzeys Spices' selection of more than 250 different herbs, spices, seasonings, sprinkles and blends from around the world is enough to make one's head spin. Especially while trying to choose between numerous different peppercorns, chili powders or cinnamon (they stock more than a half-dozen different varieties of each), but, luckily, as you sniff your way around the store, the knowledgeable employees are always ready with suggestions to help you spice up any recipe from tacos, burgers or curries to cakes, cookies or custards. But the best part about Penzeys is that if you don't have time to make a trip to the store, there's always the expedited shipping from the company's online catalog. Penzeys has sold its world-wide array of spices by mail order for more than 20 years now, opening its first storefront in '97. (The Dallas spot opened in 2005.) Our new favorite purchase is the new salt-free Arizona Dreaming, which is an all-purpose blend that lends a "South of the Border" flavor to any dish. Warning though, once you go Penzeys Spices, you never really go back.

Tiff's Treats
Tiff's Treats
Ricardo Avila's Mextopia
Mextopia
Bob's Steak and Chop House
Bob's Steak and Chop House
Enchilada's
Enchilada's
Quesa-D-Ya's
Quesa-D-Ya's
Bolsa

We could have given Bolsa tons of awards. Best flatbread. Best mussels. Best bartender. Best bartender with muscles. You get the picture. But it's really all those other bests that make it simply the best place to take a date because when you're on a date, you want the best of everything, right? After absorbing the ultra-cool ambiance created by the inspired renovation of a former auto garage, we recommend sitting at the bar for your meal, where "Lucky" the bartender's use of fresh fruit while making drinks is exhilarating to both observe and consume. Bolsa's food menu is all about freshness too, so it changes daily depending on what's available. Look, the best way to ensure that your after-dinner plans go smoothly is to eat someplace where you know the dinner will be a home run every time, and Bolsa's combination of food, drinks, atmosphere and service always clears the fence.

Best Thing That Sounds Disgusting But Is Actually Quite Tasty

Victor Tango's Roasted Bone Marrow

Victor Tangos

If you're in the mood for something out of the ordinary, Victor Tango's aims to please with a menu that includes surprisingly scrumptious roasted bone marrow. It tastes like the fat from a juicy rib-eye steak, which might not sound very appealing either, but trust us on this one, if there ever was a time to pull the trigger on the unconventional choice, this is it. Served with toasted brioche and onion confit—sweet caramelized onions seasoned with herbs and balsamic vinegar—three large bones are split down the middle, exposing gelatinous marrow. It's not for everyone, but for 10 bucks, you'd be hard-pressed to find something as adventurous and affordable.

Avila's Mexican Restaurant

When Avila's closed for several months following a nasty family spat that resulted in a dramatic court case and a new splinter restaurant across town (Ricardo Avila's Mextopia), we at the Dallas Observer openly wept. Whether it was the Number One Enchilada Special—seriously, these are the best cheese enchiladas in town—the Anna Maria Plate (one soft cheese taco, one cheese enchilada and one beef taco), the brisket tacos or the vegetarian-friendly black bean enchiladas, we all mourned our standing orders, remarking constantly that our other lunch destinations just didn't hold up. So when Avila's finally reopened their doors again, we were like little kids on Christmas morning, heading straight down the street to order our favorites and munch on some of the best chips and salsa in town. And since they took the downtime to remodel the interior, the bathroom's not even in the kitchen anymore. Though honestly, with Tex-Mex as good as this, we never seemed to mind.

Hattie's

Hattie's is one of Oak Cliff's best restaurants, with a clean, inviting interior and a menu full of delicious, upscale Southern comfort food. But it's their occasional brunch special, the chicken and waffles, that keeps us coming back. The giant buttermilk fried chicken breast dozing on the plate-sized Belgian waffle will bring tears to any true Southerner's eye, and the red chile-flecked maple syrup that accompanies it makes the experience even more decadent. So cancel all your Sunday afternoon plans, head on over to Hattie's and enjoy the inevitable five hour nap you will take as a result of this ultimate brunch dish.

Best Of Dallas®

Best Of