Cattleack Barbeque
Chris Wolfgang

With so much focus placed on brisket in matters of Texas barbecue, it's easy to forget there are other cuts of meat that benefit from some time in a hot, smoky environment. A perfectly smoked sausage, for instance, is a thing of true beauty, especially when the links are expertly prepared. Cattleack Barbecue has excellent brisket for sure, but the links coming out of that kitchen are works of art. Plump and rarely collapsed or wrinkly, these sausages retain their fat and ooze with moisture when your teeth pop through the snappy wrapper.

CBD Provisions

A morning trip to CBD Provisions is worth it for the oatmeal alone. Each bowl is topped with nuts, drizzled with sorghum and finished with a dollop of crème fraiche. You'll never be able to go back to Quaker again, and all of the morning options here are good enough to make you want to open up your newspaper, blow off work and put in an extended breakfast session. The eggs are expertly cooked and the coarsely ground sausage is made in-house. There's also a baker toiling away: The biscuits, breads and other baked goods are on point.

The buns for the burgers are baked on-site daily and the meat is ground on-site several times more. If the burger component can be produced on-site, at Hopdoddy it probably is, and still the finished burgers somehow cost less than $7. No wonder there's a line out the door. Add in a good beer selection with plenty of local taps, and milkshakes with booze in them, and Hopdoddy is a perfect little paradise of vice. Lines are never fun, but know that this one moves fast — it's a constant churn of burger lovers seeking the ultimate in burger satisfaction.

Babe's Chicken Dinner House

The undisputed heavyweight champion of fried mountains of meat, Babe's has been serving plates of golden brown and delicious things in the Dallas area for decades. If you want a chicken-fried steak that is guaranteed never to disappoint, Babe's is your place if only because they plate up orders by the hundreds every day. That much practice has to have a positive effect, and here it's realized in a CFS that is crisp, just salty enough and never oily despite a lengthy baptism in bubbling fat.

Mr. Wok
Kathy Tran

You can drop by Mr. Wok without any notice and have a delicious Chinese food experience. Your stomach will be much better served, however, if you remember to call and make a reservation in advance — a move that grants access to more prized items on the menu. Call one day ahead to order Peking duck with skin so crisp it rivals kettle-cooked potato chips. And if you can firm up your dinner plans two days ahead, it's worth your time to order the beggars chicken. Wrapped up in dry, tough bread, the dish resembles a rugby ball more than dinner, but get a crack at what's inside that boule and you'll be forced to rethink the humble bird forever.

Murray Street Coffee Shop

Remember when a cup of coffee was just a cup of coffee, and a coffee shop was just a quaint, quirky place to get such a cup? Murray Street keeps things simple in an environment where tattooed, mustachioed coffee geeks obsess over the floral notes in a single-origin, organic, Costa Rican cup of java. Just want a coffee? This is where you come to get your pick-me-up, served by the nicest staff you could hope for. Want a mocha-spiced-latte with soy-whatever? Yeah, you can get that here too. And they won't even call you high maintenance for placing the order.

John's Cafe

Sure, the sign says cafe, but the burgers, gyros, shortstack pancakes and other breakfast plates scream diner all the way. John's has been plating up the classics for more than 40 years now, and the place has loads more character than the 24-hour chain diners that blanket the Dallas area. John's doesn't forget the little things: There are philodendrons hanging from the ceiling and fresh flowers on every table. Fresh flowers, plus two eggs over-easy with bacon and hash browns: Where else can you find that?

Do you have trouble getting out of bed on Saturday mornings? If you do, Luscher's Red Hots could be the greatest enhancement the Dallas culinary scene has experienced in ages. Before Luscher's, the only way to get the best hot dog in Dallas was to visit the White Rock Local Market on Saturday mornings. If you slept in past noon, you had to wait seven days for your next chance at an expertly crafted tube steak. At Luscher's Red Hots you can get a hot dog seven days a week. And if a dog doesn't pad out your square edges sufficiently, you can always follow it up with an Italian beef.

Mughlai

Indian restaurants lend themselves to communal dining. Bringing friends with you to places like Mughlai is the only way to sample a little of everything the kitchen has to offer. With a table of six or more, you can share several curries and rice dishes, and breads to soak them up with, at a table laid out like a banquet. Mughlai can help you take a simple ethnic dining experience and turn it into a grand event (that's still surprisingly affordable). Just remember to save room for some rice pudding and kulfi.

bbbop
Kathy Tran

Fried chicken doesn't have to be served at a picnic in the park with a side of potato salad and sweet tea. Sometimes fried chicken with a little more character is in order. Sometimes you want crispy fried chicken drizzled with a sweet, spicy glaze and served with pickled daikon and kimchi. And screw iced tea. Quench your thirst with a massive plastic bottle of Hite beer. If you want fried chicken that talks back while you eat it, head over to Bbbop and order some yard bird fried in a rice-flour batter. It's got a serious crunch.

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