Urbano Cafe
The regular menu is always wonderful at this Old East Dallas nook, but it's the blackboard that really surprises and delights: mussels with white wine, garlic, basil, chorizo and marinara; tempura crab cakes with avocado/pepper salad and citrus vinaigrette; beef tenderloin with blue cheese and Parmesan polenta; poached egg and tomato Hollandaise. The owners and chef make sure you'll never come into their place and fail to find something new and wonderful to try. But call well ahead. This tiny place, split between two rooms two doors apart on the street, has become very popular. No wonder.
Dude, Sweet Chocolate
When The End comes, some of us figure we might be greeting a large, reddish, hoofed fellow carrying a ledger marked "accounts payable." In that moment, we hope we're carrying lots of Dude, Sweet's artisan chocolates, fudges and marshmallows. Is it possible to corrupt the ultimate corrupter? If anything can, it would be Dude, Sweet Chocolate's "Break Up Potion," with Breckenridge bourbon, agave syrup, Valrohna cocoa and Venezuelan dark chocolate sauce. When it looks like the jig is finally up on Earth, our plan is to lay in a stock of these $30 bottles of sweet syrupy sin. Facing the ultimate damnation — eternity bunking with the former contestants of The Bachelor — would we swap for better accommodations? Hmm. Tough call. This potion is just that good.
The Meridian Room
Screw the Wheaties. The real breakfast of champions, especially on a lazy Sunday, is a good Bloody Mary. It should be strong without being overpowering, spicy without making your eyes water, and, above all, there should be some stuff keeping your alcohol company in that glass: olives, pickles, celery, whatever, as long as there's a little bite of sourness and crunch to pingpong off the spicy red of the drink. Meridian Room isn't afraid to garnish their version with all the goodies. When it's Sunday afternoon, we're pleasantly buzzed, and our total vegetable intake for the day so far is what's in our liquor, we know we're at Meridian.
Yogurtland
Yeah, we understand that the health value of frozen yogurt is somewhat diluted when you ladle 12 Oreos, a Heath bar, some mochi and a half pound of gummy bears on there, OK? But the motto of this franchise is "You rule." Meaning we call the shots, so we're just gonna scoop some more cookies on here, and maybe a shot or two of rainbow sprinkles, then mosey over to the fruit side of the bar and add some blueberries for color, and you can just keep your judgment to yourself. Besides an awesome candy, fruit and cookie selection to top your froyo, they also get a thumbs-up for the inventiveness of the yogurt flavors themselves: Try fan favorite red velvet cupcake, pitch-perfect New York cheesecake or a delicious, creamy rendition of green tea, which we're pretty sure is still, like, totally good for you, even with an entire Snickers on top.
Pearl Cup Coffee
Most times, a cup of coffee opens your eyelids just enough to get you in the car and pointed toward the office. But sometimes, like at The Pearl Cup, the coffee sings. Their secret-recipe signature lattes are the stuff of legend, especially the "silky micro-foam." (We don't know exactly what that is either, but damned if it doesn't taste amazing). The espresso is always velvet smooth, freshly made and strong without tasting burnt or bitter. If coffee snobbery's not your thing, come anyway for the breakfast paninis with Nutella and marshmallow fluff. The parking situation at the shop nearest us sucks, but we'll happily brave it for another shot of that sweet, sweet espresso.
Double Wide
Matt Nager
Yoo-hoo with a stiff slug of vanilla vodka and some coffee liqueur in it sounds like a recipe for disaster, and it is, in the best way. Frozen to the slushy, satisfying consistency of a milkshake and deliciously chocolaty, it's easy to drink one (or five) of these things without noticing how deceptively strong they are. Better still, a Yoohoo Yeehaw lets you relive the best part of your lunch box while still enjoying one of the only perks of being a grown-up.
Sfuzzi's
Don't worry, these eggs aren't green, but they do pack a mean punch. Served on small rounds of fresh bread and topped with what appears to be egg salad but will make you want to smack your dining companion in glee, these equally crunchy and mushy little treats are the most decadent and perhaps fanciest comfort food imaginable. It's as though they fit into an enclave of your stomach the way you wedge into your favorite corner of your couch. With bits of crab and avocado to add texture and body to the spicy egg mixture, the whole assembly is simply perfect — the ideal finger-food pacer amidst happy hour drinks. And it's no coincidence the dish is a Sfuzzi creation: It's as dainty as the restaurant's female patrons and as aggressive as the men.
Black Swan Saloon
It sounds so basic, almost a little too girly, like something you'd find heavily sweetened in a martini glass. Take one sip of watermelon-infused vodka with club soda for added fizz, however, and you will never again snap-judge a drink by its fruit. It's only as sugary as it needs to be, which is hardly sweet at all, and with only enough watermelon pulp to let you know that yes, this is the fresh stuff, simple and perfect. Gabe Sanchez, bartender and proprietor, might very well be the city's most welcoming host, and plastic cups add to the place's relaxed neighborhood vibe, meaning you can sip your light pink drink the way it should be savored, in cut-off shorts and a comfortable T-shirt. Meander through the narrow bar area to a picnic table on the back patio and you'll feel like you're in a favorite neighbor's backyard. And you are, 'cause it's Gabe's.
Café Brazil
Hunger that stems from drunken debauchery shouldn't be treated any differently than hunger that stems from your body's nutritional needs. Cafe Brazil understands this — understands you, your needs — and prepares eggs accordingly, perfectly runny but not undercooked, even at 4 a.m. While other unintended bad decisions often occur between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., eating hockey-puck yolks does not have to be one of them. "Not Just Another Eggs Benedict" is just that thanks to spicy cream sauce that mixes with the yolks in such a way that it preemptively cures hangovers by what must be a proprietary chemical combination. Hell, it's so good, it might even cure the common cold.
Ali Baba Mediterrian Grill
Taryn Walker
For the amount you spend on two Starbucks Frappuccinos — about 10 bucks — you can gorge yourself on a buffet lunch of truly delicious Mediterranean food: a crispy falafel here, a charred lamb kabob there, a perfectly juicy cube of chicken breast, pita liberally coated in zaatar spices — anything you can think to drag through mountainous globs of hummus, babaganoush and tzatziki sauce. Half of your plate will inevitably hold a divine mush of condiments for the protein of your choosing. Eat grape leaves with a fork to submerge them completely in a pool of yogurt sauce. Make a mess of a sandwich with pita, hummus and fresh tabbouleh. Whatever, it's delicious. Bring someone who won't judge you, and dive in.

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