The Grape
Beth Rankin

The bloody mary is a powerful elixir. One glass of this vodka-toting liquid salad can render a hangover cured and change an entire afternoon. Even a bad bloody mary can be restorative if you're desperate enough, and a good one can be a thing of true beauty. Add a miniature charcuterie board impaled on a bamboo skewer and the drink is almost powerful enough to undo the bad decisions you made the evening before. The Grape's bloody mary — garnished with a hunk of cheese, an olive and a piece of salami — rights wrongs like a superhero. That it's served in proximity to a burger the size of a Labrador's head only makes it better.

Meddlesome Moth

One look at the run of taps jutting out from the nickel-covered back-splash, and you'll know that Meddlesome Moth is a serious beer contender. There's even more beer available by the bottle on the menu you'll find at the bar. The local breweries you see at every other craft bar are represented, but the obscure beers bottled in far-off lands make Meddlesome Moth a standout beer-drinking establishment. If you're looking for a special release, tapping events are commonplace here, and the stunning patio makes the Moth a place you'll want to drink year-round.

Since opening in late 2011, Peticolas Brewing Co. has been producing some of Dallas' most recognizable beers. Good luck trying to find a local beer nerd who hasn't imbibed a few hundred Velvet Hammers, and Golden Opportunity may be this city's most drinkable beer. Maintaining a style that holds balance in the highest regard, Peticolas produces beers that sip easily and will sometimes set you on your ass. Fold in a series of special releases with festive tapping events, and Dallas' best maker of beers is obvious.

This robust IPA is hoppy in a big way, but a hefty dose of malt helps keep things light, while a rich amber color and white, fluffy head make for an attractive glass of beer. Community's Mosaic IPA is bitter and brash, but it's also somehow smooth; the drinking experience won't bore you and an ABV of 8.6 percent will keep you on your toes. If you're a fan of American lagers commonly served from a can, Mosaic might be a little much for you, but if you're a true hophead you may have found your perfect beer.

La Huasteca Tacos y Tortas is a popular spot among locals in its East Dallas neighborhood. The best deal is the torta, a Mexican sandwich. Just $5 delivers a meaty torta on light, fluffy bread, accompanied by a huge pile of french fries. Request a side of orange sauce for a sweet and spicy chipotle flavor to dip the fries in. The tortas come out slightly different each time, depending on who is making them. Sometimes they're flavored with more mayonnaise, other times they're heavy with black bean spread or avocado. But the meat remains consistent. There's always a lot of it, enough to make half of a torta a sorta filling dinner.

Knox Street Pub

It's the little things that make a plate. All over Dallas, wings are served up under-fried, timidly sauced and paired with terrible garnishes. It's enough to make you want to stick with the bar nuts. At Knox Street Pub, the wings come out with a satisfying crispness, and they're sauced with pure Frank's Red Hot, straight out of the bottle for a fiery punch. Even the garnishes are solid, with chunky blue cheese, celery that's crisp and vibrant and whole baby carrots with a satisfying crunch. There's enough veg on this plate that you could trick yourself into believing it's healthy. Don't.

Rudolph's Meat Market

A lot has changed on Elm Street over the past year. The sidewalks are wider, parking your car is a little easier and from landscaping to paint everything has had a serious facelift. Through it all, Rudolph's hasn't changed a bit, which is a very good thing. The butcher shop has been selling paper-wrapped steaks, sausages and other cuts of meat for more than a century, and anyone who has shopped here hopes things stay just as they are for as long as they can. A trip to Rudolph's is a trip back in time — a time when the guy behind the counter could tell you how to roast the top round you just purchased, and your meat was raised sensibly.

JD's Chippery
Alex Scott

Cookies are so good, most people don't notice much difference between a fresh cookie; one that's a little old, moist and dry; and a commercial cookie with a chemical aftertaste. But cookies baked with care from scratch taste better, and family-owned JD's Chippery carefully bake theirs in small batches at their quaint shop in Snider Plaza. They excel in the classic chocolate chip, a little crunchy on the outside and soft and melty on the inside.

Think of Whole Foods grocery store as a city unto itself, where the salad bar functions as the "downtown." It's where the natives hunt and gather for the quick pick-up of ready-made meals. Get there early, however, for the healthiest option on the to-go table, the popular raw kale and avocado (with purple onion) salad. It contains no meat, no salad dressing —nothing cooked. How do you make a salad without dressing taste good? By smothering the chopped kale and crisp onion with creamy, squished-up fresh avocado. It's pitched to people on the stringent "raw food" diet, but for anyone's menu, it's a light, refreshing, healthy bowl o' green.

In most cases, the idea of doughnut as sandwich roll is overwhelming. It's a gimmick, trotted out by the likes of minor league baseball teams trying to kill you with a full-size Krispy Kreme double cheeseburger. Easy Slider, with a little help from Deep Ellum's Glazed Donut Works, takes advantage of its staple's diminutive size to make a sweet, savory concoction of beef, cheese, bacon, pickled jalapeños and doughnut that falls deliciously short of being a gut bomb. It's available from 1 to 4 p.m. the first Sunday of the month, when the Easy Slider truck can be found at the Doublewide in Deep Ellum.

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