Best Wine/Liquor Store 2012 | Sigel's Epicurean Market Deli | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

Don't let Spec's attempted takeover of the fine spirits world distract you from this gem in Addison. Aside from a great selection of booze, wine and whatever else you need to wet your whistle, the deli in the back has a great variety of cheeses, house-made duck pot pies and gourmet sandwiches. Irish lass and cheesemonger Theresa Magee rarely forgets a face and will help you with pairings or possibly even set you up with a full roast duck. Plus, Sigel's various tastings and events make exploring new liquors easier then a rummage through Grandma's liquor cabinet.

The Davek Solo, built with the patented "WindFibre" nine-rib frame, solid steel shaft, zinc alloy clip and genuine leather hand strap, protects you beneath a canopy 43 inches in diameter made of 190 thread-count micro-weave fabric, yet folds to an elegant 11.75 inches length at just more than a pound in weight. It is the North Texas urban man's ultimate weapon against our regional rainstorms that can seem like something out of the Bible. Who knows? Beneath a Davek Solo, you might make a safe dash to your car even after the hail starts, although obviously, when the hail gets to a certain size, you, your umbrella and your automobile are all toast anyway. At least when they find you, you'll have the remains of one very handsome umbrella clutched in your hand. At about $100, it's a small price for going out in style.

Let's agree, first off, that you're going to pay between five and 10 bucks for one pair of socks. That is the price spectrum within which anything is possible, probably anywhere on earth but especially at the two main Nordstrom locations at NorthPark Center and the Galleria. Just for instance: Our own favorite Nordstrom sock for men is the Calvin Klein "No Show" totally invisible sock, which comes in a three-pack selling anywhere between 12 and 20 bucks depending on sales and special pricing. It's completely invisible, for the man who wants to be a too-cool-for-school sockless loafer guy but doesn't want to have to throw his loafers away every three days because of sock-less foot-odor issues (enough said). Invisible socks sound a little too much to you like a Hans Christian Andersen fable? No, no, they're tiny little foot bikinis buried down so deep in your loafers nobody can see them. That's just one example of the wonderful world of socks at Nordstrom.

So the truth is there are lots and lots of good, honest, competent plumbers in Dallas who will get the job done and not take you to the cleaners. But then there's the other kind. So at least you can use Eric Chapman as a benchmark for what to look for. Chapman advertises that he is a "licensed master plumber." Is he? Google "Texas licensing system," and you will get to a page that lets you make a "public license search by name." He's there, fully accredited as a master plumber. His ad also tells you that he's insured — another good thing — and that he gives free estimates and doesn't charge travel time. You can talk to his company ahead of time on the phone, and they will tell you exactly how the charges will work. On top of all that, he's a great plumber and has good plumbers working for him.

Ever get the feeling plumbers have secret sources they can go to and get way better plumbing stuff than what we regular people are allowed to purchase at the big-box stores? It's true. The good news is that Teter's also makes a point of dealing with us mere retail schlubs as well as the professionals. The name is a little misleading: Teter's doesn't just sell faucets. To the pros, the name conveys that they only sell true plumbing parts, not heating and air conditioning fixtures, and they also sell mainly replacement parts, not new construction installations. Why is that important? Because it makes them specialists. First thing you notice when you go in, you have to wait in line like at the library. There's even a certain quiet tone about the place like it's the library. That's because behind the counter you have these highly trained people who do nothing but replacement plumbing parts. You show them your crusty whatever it is from your toilet. They hold it up to the light. They say, "Ah, that's a Kimble Glastite, late '20s or early '30s, I think." You never knew toilet parts could be this cool.

We've got a chicken now, have we? Had to get in on the chicken trend? And have we named our little chicken yet? Because once our chicken has a name, we can no longer go to the feed store for help when she gets sick. The feed store will tell us to cut our chicken's head off and get a new one, and we just can't be like that with little Doris the rumpless araucana now, can we? No, when poor rumpless little Doris gets wheezy, we need to take her to A&B Animal Clinic where Jim Ahumada had already developed a respected exotic bird practice long before city people ever got into chickens, which are, after all, birds. You knew that, right? Now he's the chicken vet par excellence, and we suspect it's not a bad little gig for him. We're not telling you he's going to be as cheap as the feed-store solution. But we went and gave little Doris a name, didn't we?

Sad to say, there's sort of a running chicken-and-egg debate among vets and people who deal with orphaned animals: Does animal rescue activity attract people who are already a little off or does the stress of doing it take normal people and make them that way? The grim reality is that you, the would-be adopter of a rescue animal, can plunge in with the best intentions and find yourself working with rescue people who need to be rescued worse than the animals. Straydog is a family-run rescue farm for dogs that has been in operation for almost 20 years. Somehow the extended Arnold family manages to treat more than 120 dogs in residence at any given time as if each were a family pet. If they don't have the right dog for you, they know somebody else who will — who's not all weird about it.

Watch out! Hannah Hargrove, the owner's daughter, is home on leave from college, and she's on a mission to turn this venerable treasure yard of architectural artifacts into a whole new 21st century antique salvage yard. We would say she's going to turn Orr-Reed upside down, but, of course, the charm of the place has always been that it looks like somebody already did that. In the not-too-distant future, Orr-Reed's stacks and stacks (and stacks) of rescued lumber and house parts will be shoppable online at For now, while she's doing the necessary inventory, Hargrove is turning part of the yard over to artists as studio space. A cool place to visit, a great place to sell or buy old house innards, Orr-Reed may also be the wave of the antique future.

So you want to plant some posies in the dirt. Well, may we ask something first? What dirt? Because it makes a big difference, especially in the city, especially in this city, where you can get dirt that's way too hard, like concrete, or dirt in which previous occupants have poisoned off all the creepy-crawlies you need to make your dirt hospitable for your posies. It never hurts to improve your dirt, and the best dirt-improver we know about is Minerals Plus, made by Soil Menders and recommended by organic guru Howard Garrett. It contains three kinds of paramagnetic volcanic rock. We have no idea what that is, but it sounds awesome. It also contains lava sand, granite sand, basalt, rock phosphate, humate and montmorillonite. If you don't have any montmorillonite in your soil, we don't even know how you can show yourself in public. Good stuff. Really. Your posies will thank you.

The art of using worm doo-doo pee-pee to make your garden grow is called vermiculture, and one of the nation's best outlets for both worms and their culture happens to be right here in our midst, at Texas Worm Ranch. Heather Rinaldi is the big ranch boss, ridin' around ropin' worms all day. A farm girl from Oklahoma, Rinaldi has mastered the breeding and shipping of red wrigglers, which are kind of the Black Angus of worms. Rinaldi feeds her worms only the finest horse-barn waste and fruit and vegetable scraps and beds them down at night on mattresses made of leaves, cardboard, newspaper and rotted straw. The resulting worm poop, when mixed with fresh molasses, is an absolutely irresistible elixir for all the kinds of bacteria and other tiny creepy-crawlies that can make a garden strong and brilliant without chemicals. Health note: Be sure not to store your worm wine mixed in with the wines you keep for your own consumption. It might not hurt you, but you'd have to kill yourself anyway.

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