Meddlesome Moth

"Captain" Keith Schlabs, the godfather of craft beer in Dallas, knows a thing about brews, as one can see from the hundreds of beers available at his Flying Saucer locations. It's here at the Meddlesome Moth, though, where he cashes in the connections he's made with breweries over the years. If it's a very rare, limited release, chances are the Moth will be the one bar in Dallas to get it. The well-curated everyday selection, weekly special tappings and blowout festivals make it a regular destination for the area's most dedicated beer lovers.

Windmill Lounge

The Windmill Lounge, located on the cusp of Maple Avenue and Denton Drive, is a tiny and unassuming dive bar that serves some of the best cocktails in town. There's no valet or swanky dress code here. In fact, the bar (perhaps most noticeable by the blue neon windmill perched on its roof) is practically hidden, and if you're not paying close enough attention you'll drive past its gravel entrance. Owners (and ex-spouses) Charlie Papaceno and Louise Owens alternate shifts at the bar, mixing up staples like the dirty martini, Prohibition-era drinks and off-menu concoctions named after the regulars who drink them. Papaceno, who grew up in southeast New York, is eager to show you how he does it, if you're willing to learn, and among his customers are bar maestros Michael Martensen (The Cedars Social) and Jason Kosmas (Marquee).

Tacos La Banqueta

Go into La Banqueta and do your best to ignore the short man running water through 15 feet of cow intestine in the sink behind the counter. Ignore the grubby floors, the narrow space and the sticky counter you'll have to eat at if you don't want to take your order to go. Walk right up to the register, and order the suaqueso and as many pastor tacos as you think you can handle. Add an ice cold Topo Chico and a modest tip. You won't eat all the tacos, though. You might not even be able to eat two of them once you get all of that delicious suaqueso in your belly. The mixture of melting, stringy cheese and crunchy bits of braised then griddled brisket is enough to lay a man out all on its own.

Mecca Restaurant

When The Mecca announced its most recent move to East Dallas from the west side of town on Harry Hines Boulevard, the announcement carried a bit of extra news. The diner that's as old as dirt would kick off dinner service for the first time since opening in 1938. Breakfast all day had been a favorite at the greasy spoon that served up eggs through lunch time, but the expansion into dinner service meant that well after sunset you could get two sunny-side up alongside a savory piece of steak beaten to a pulp, breaded and fried to a crisp. Have you ever dragged a hunk of chicken-fried steak that's already smothered in gravy through the glistening yolk of a perfectly fried egg? Have you ever done it after a long day of work? The Mecca's CFS will make all of those job hurts fade away, blanketed in a greasy sheen of gently peppered pan gravy.

Best Veggie Burger at a Non-Veggie Joint

The Meridian Room

The Meridian Room

At most non-veg eateries, a veggie burger is a sad, shrunken prospect, some freezer-burned Morningstar cast-off tossed unadorned onto a plate. A non-burger like that can darken the whole dining room. Not Meridian Room, though: If their veggie burger isn't made in-house, they're doing a damn good job fooling us into thinking otherwise. The patty somehow tastes juicy and like whole grains at the same time, and they'll cheerily pile that sucker with avocado, havarti and jalapeños on request. Pair it with their perfectly crispy sweet potato fries for a plate that'll make your meat-eating dining companions jealous.

Kalachandji's Palace & Restaurant
Beth Rankin

Kalachandji's, the beloved East Dallas Hare Krishna temple and eatery, finds its way onto our list year after year. We're boring, we know. But we'll never tire of sitting in their beautiful garden patio, eating dal and vegetable curry and drinking tamarind tea. And after a fire in another part of the building closed the kitchen for a few days, we're relieved to see the restaurant open and unscathed. No matter how busy the lunch hour, the atmosphere here is always as meditative and peaceful as a museum, and while the food's not fancy, it's healthy, fresh and plentiful. Try the homemade bread, and if at all possible save room for some vanilla-inflected rice pudding at the end (skip the halvah, which tastes exactly like halvah). Afterward, pay a visit to the dim, beautifully muraled sanctuary across the hallway, making sure to remove your shoes first. Om.

Good 2 Go Taco

Whether you prefer your slaw slathered on a taco or served alongside a burger, the folks behind Good 2 Go Taco and Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House have you covered. These slaws aren't the run-of-the-mill coleslaw typically served around Dallas, often too creamy or too vinegary. Feta slaw is served at Goodfriend, and the chefs (who work at both spots) combine red, white and Napa cabbage with radishes and carrots, and then mix that with a sundried tomato vinaigrette, as well as a generous portion of feta cheese. Good 2 Go Taco's "Afternoon Delight" menu (from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) boasts the Swine Bleu — a mouthwatering braised pork and blue-cheese slaw taco that tastes absolutely when-pigs-fly divine. The slaw is a similar concoction (both restaurants share a kitchen) but made with blue cheese.

Sushi Zushi

For the past few years Sushi Zushi has offered up one of our favorite happy hours in town. Offering the option of sitting at the bar or in the main dining room, from 5 to 7 p.m. the San Antonio-based chain serves a selection of appetizers, sushi rolls and "comfort foods" for less than $5, and drink specials that include cocktails for $5, 20-ounce Japanese beers for $4 or 10-ounce carafes of hot sake for $3. It's a great place to people watch at the bar solo, meet friends or even take a date on the cheap.

Herrera's Mexican Restaurant

Amelie Herrera opened the original Herrera's location in 1971, in the space that is now the Grapevine Bar. Since its beginning, Herrera's has expanded into several different locations around town (each is a little different since they're all individually owned), but it's the original location, now situated a block north from where it all began, that serves up the best caldo de pollo (chicken soup) in town. The soup comes served piping hot, heaping with fresh vegetables and tender pollo. Sure, you have to navigate through the bones, but it's worth it. The soup is a sure way to cure a cold, hangover or a simple a case of the blues. The catch, though, is that this delicious soup is only available on Fridays, and not for long, so make sure to get there early (especially during the chilly seasons) or it could be gone.

Sunrise Donuts

Sunrise Donuts knows how to brighten up a hungry person's morning. The tiny shop, located in a strip mall off Oak Lawn Avenue, is open seven days a week, from 5 a.m. until noon except for Sunday, when opening time is 6 a.m. The shop offers an abundance of delicious fried dough. There's something for every doughnut lover, from cinnamon-sugar twists and apple fritters to traditional sprinkle doughnuts and kolaches. In fact, the shop has some of the best kolaches in town. They come plain, with cheese or with cheese and jalapeños, and the friendly staff will gladly heat up the breakfast hotdogs for you.

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