Best Dog Patio 2014 | Mi Cocina Lakewood | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

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.

Gonzalez's flour tortillas are not a lot of things. They aren't subtle, they aren't light in any way and they most definitely are not part of any diet you could possibly hope to lose weight on. What they are is amazing. As thick as a pancake, they render accoutrements like butter a mere afterthought. In fact, just so you can keep your focus on the rest of the Oak Cliff and Pleasant Grove institutions' outstanding Tex-Mex, you might be best served saving the tortillas for dessert.

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