Best Salad That's Actually Healthy 2015 | Whole Foods' Raw Kale and Avocado Salad | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

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.

Lauren Drewes Daniels

Cold Beer Co.'s pimento cheese bears no resemblance to the neon orange stuff your grandmother used to keep a tub of in the fridge. It's a decadent combination of Gouda, cheddar, mayo and just a hint of jalapeño. Topped with bacon and spread between two pieces of sourdough, it makes a sandwich you'll tell your grandkids about.

Norma's Cafe

Two biscuits smothered in gravy, three scrambled eggs, hash browns and melted cheddar cheese topped with sausage, bacon, jalapeños and tomatoes. That's Norma's Ol' Number 7. A giant, dense, gooey mess that will take care of the physical ramifications of whatever horrible things you drank last night. It won't help with your paleo diet, but it sure does help heal a hangover.

Kathy Tran

For all that Dallas' dining scene does well, late-night food service is not a strong point. Beyond the usual pancake joints and freeway greasy spoons, there isn't much to pick from for eats after last call. When Zalat opened this spring, that changed. Five nights a week — Wednesday through Sunday — the New York- style pizza joint will serve you a pie as late as 4 a.m. The pizza, especially the creative and delicious Reuben, is way better than it should be for an after-midnight nosh. Worth staying out late for.

Fort Worth's top contender for the North Texas burger throne proved itself in 2015 as its second outpost took up residence in the Dallas Design District. The Rodeo Goat features a burger named after our mayor — the Irish whiskey cheddar- and candied bacon-topped "Mike Rawlings" — and brought the Fort Worth original's Goat Balls along for good measure. Ignore the rude name, the goat cheese-stuffed beignets are little wads of cheesy goodness. Every bite of the half-chorizo Chaca Oaxaca burger is an adventure into spicy meat happiness.

Aaron Barker's burgeoning Dallas institution, Carnival Barkers, is in a state of flux. The ice cream master lost his lease on his space at the Truck Yard this year, but opened his first stand-alone joint near the Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff. It's a good thing, too, as even the slightest doubt about the availability of Barker's most delicious creation, the Rice Krispies treats ice-cream sandwich, featuring vanilla ice cream jammed between two Rice Krispies squares, would've been utterly snap, crackle and no.

Weekend brunches at Ellen's are worth the one-hour wait for the perfect scrambled eggs and hash browns, but many would put up with longer queues if all Ellen's served was pancakes. They're less sweet than the flapjacks served at most joints, almost savory, and loaded with tangy buttermilk. A big stack dripping with syrup is a fine reward for waiting your turn.

When a restaurant devotes a whole section of its menu to the gooey Canadian delicacy poutine, you know they start with good french fries. The Blind Butcher's executive chef Oliver Sitrin has created intriguing varieties of poutine. A new shrimp poutine just joined the menu, lighter than the duck poutine with added foie gras hugging the cheese curds. There's even a vegetarian mushroom poutine. The rest of the menu here, including hand-cranked sausages and pastrami egg rolls, may distract, but the poutines have a gravitational pull.

Many people aren't aware of Dallas' strong Ethiopian community. About a dozen East African restaurants, many around the intersection of Forest Lane and Greenville Avenue, are delicious proof that it exists. Each restaurant offers a slightly different ambience — some with white tablecloths, flowers on the tables and contemporary art on the walls — but we prefer the humbler vibe at La Libela. Don't mind the blaring TV or the large group that often dominates the small room. It's probably the family of Genet Mulugeta, the owner, and she'll treat you like you're part of it. Plus, her food's out of sight (try the veggie combo). Each excursion to La Libela is like a positive party-crashing experience.

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