Best Allergy-Friendly Carbs 2014 | Unrefined Bakery | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

Unrefined Bakery goes beyond gluten-free. Customers can get nut-free, dairy-free, soy-free, grain-free. They are incredibly accommodating to just about any allergy, and the food is surprisingly delicious. In addition to the typical small baked goods that one finds in gluten-free bakeries — cupcakes, cookies, muffins — customers can order their daily carb fill with several different sweet and sandwich loaf varieties, granolas, crusts, buns and rolls. The two owners and founders are a mother-daughter team who themselves have food allergies. As a result, the facility is dedicated to avoiding cross-contamination. If you're getting married, Unrefined Bakery also offers wedding cake selections, or any other special occasion cake for that matter. Prices are not too outlandish for a specialty bakery.

The name has to be sarcastic. Supposedly it's named for pastrami-topped foodstuffs in Southern California, but it's hard to imagine this monument of meat having many takers in the land of fish tacos and juice cleanses. Ten Bells Tavern's burgers are already plenty big (and delicious) without the addition of smoked cheddar, Swiss, a mound of pastrami and an entire hot link. But the add-ons make this $14 burger (with fries) over-the-top in terms of messiness, unhealthiness and tastiness. And you can feel good about eating it, because it's going to help you put your cardiologist's kids through college. The cholesterol and sodium are in a race to see which one has you clutching your left shoulder first.

Mughlai's curries are impossibly rich, the creamiest, most decadent motherfuckers this side of the Atlantic. However, there is something about their curries and the richness of them that makes it physically impossible to eat them in the quantities you want to do so. Do not do this. If you eat more than one curry, you will enter some kind of fugue state in which you will actually need someone to drive you home, and then you will sleep for four hours or more, no matter what time of day or night it is. This has been independently confirmed by other people. It's the most delicious mini-death imaginable.

The cake ball is far from the loftiest of dessert foods. Typically they are little more than globules of sugary flour. But Isabelly's cake balls are refined, closer in consistency and quality to decadent chocolate truffles than to cake. A box of them works quite nicely as a gift to one's significant other. Isabelly's gets extra points for opening in downtown Richardson and not being a hookah bar.

It's a hard balance to hit in most of the inner city: How do you find a patio restaurant that will have lots of dogs and not too many children? Nothing against children. It's just that dogs are better drinking companions, maybe because most dogs have heard the word "no" once or twice before in their lives. Mi Cocina Lakewood gets it just right, with lots of space, serious shade, many big fans blowing and margaritas that show up magically and so cold your fingers freeze to them. Reservations are a good idea on busy nights, but the wait usually isn't too terrible.


For some reason the onion rings genie is always on the move, dwelling for a while at one particular burger joint or full-menu restaurant that is home to wonderfully fresh fried onion rings — still crisp and juicy at the center with a paper-thin coating of flakes. Then suddenly the onion ring genie flies off from there, leaving behind a dreary wake of sad, vulcanized, vaguely onion-like fry-somethings useful only as patch material for small roof repairs. For however long it lasts, the onion ring genie is currently residing at Stackhouse, a cozy burger joint with a good beer selection across Gaston from Big Baylor. It's a hangout for the medical people, so, if you have a sensitive stomach don't examine their clothing too closely before you eat. Or, if it's too late, ask the people behind the bar to sprinkle some blue cheese crumbles on those rings. Sometimes that helps.

Lauren Dewes Daniels

During the season — about eight weeks from June first through the end of July — Jimmy's is not the only place in Dallas where you can buy J.T. Lemley's dirt-grown tomatoes from Canton, but it's definitely the one place you can count on, and there's a reason for that. The proprietors of this wonderful little Italian specialty food store know exactly when the Lemley truck rolls into the Farmers Market downtown — we're sorry, we cannot divulge that information — and you can bet somebody from Jimmy's will be there at the head of the line. Yeah, there's a line of people waiting — grocers, cooks, foodies, tomato-heads — when the Lemley truck rolls in. If you're at the wrong end of the line, you might not get any tomatoes. Given the high standard set by Lemley's in season, Jimmy's does a pretty good job finding the next best thing the rest of the year. But those eight golden weeks in summer, man — for a tomato-head, that's the wave, and Jimmy's is the place to catch it.

The word bakery usually evokes pallets of hamburger buns and the occasional baguettes — the sort of white bread baked goods we eat thoughtlessly every day. This is not so at Cuban International Bakery, where sweet smells of caramel and fruit permeate the storefront filled with Cuban coffee sippers. It should be impossible to make pastry this flaky, but there it is, glistening before you until your fork descends and everything explodes into a million butter shards. Those in the mood for savory are in luck, too. There's a Cuban sandwich on the menu that's house-made top to bottom, and it's very, very good.

Deep Ellum's Glazed Donut Works combines the best of both doughnut worlds. They push the limits with sometimes-weird but always-delicious creations like the Donut Grilled Cheese with Bacon and doughnut ice cream sandwiches stuffed with shop-made ice cream — both of which are only available at the shop's weekend late-night window, but they also do traditional staples better than any shop in town. The fritters — be they pineapple rum, peach schnapps or bananas Foster, depending on the day — are reason enough to drag yourself out of bed on Saturday morning. Post show or post-post show, one can't do much better than Glazed.

The cronut arrived in Texas to a yawn. By the time it got here we were all cronutted (it's a word) out, tired of hearing of lines outside bakeries in other cities, and already moving on to other ill-advised baking fusions. This French-Korean bakery's take on the pastry deserves a line of hungry eaters, though, because they just went ahead and stuffed the thing with cream, and then topped it with more cream. It is now completely inedible, but in the best possible way, meaning there is no way you can eat the thing and not distribute parts of it in a half-mile radius around you.

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