Best Recurring Pop-Up 2017 | Katherine Clapner and Manny Rodriguez | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Beth Rankin

Every few weeks when their schedules allow, Dude, Sweet Chocolate's Katherine Clapner and Dallas food photographer Manny Rodriguez host a Sunday morning pastry and cortado pop-up at Rodriguez's stunning West Dallas photo studio. Every round gets better and better, with Clapner baking sweet and savory delicacies such as fig turnovers and Texas tomato-ricotta hand pies while Rodriguez serves both hot and cold takes on the Cuban cortado of his youth. Start your day at this pop-up in Rodriguez's sun-drenched studio, and you'll feel like you've hit the foodie lottery.

Beth Rankin

Joel Mendoza, former sous chef at Pujol in Mexico City, brings Mexico City-style tacos to local events and bars like Truck Yard with La Botana Taco Bar, a colorful food truck serving phenomenal tacos. Try Las Costras, gorgeous tacos on flour tortillas with flank steak, pork or chicken resting atop a beautiful bed of grilled cheese.

Readers' Pick: Easy Slider

Beth Rankin

With flavors such as roasted banana pudding, Thai tea and sweet corn-raspberry, Betty Ringer in Sylvan Thirty became our favorite new ice cream slinger this summer. The shop makes its ice cream from scratch in the French custard style — using only cream, egg yolks, sugar and milk — which creates a creamy, rich frozen treat that perfectly complements the fun flavors.

Readers' Pick: Steel City Pops

Kathy Tran

Some of the best cocktail programs in the city aren't found in dark bars — they're in restaurants. On Lower Greenville, Rapscallion is known for its adventurous cocktails just as much as its Southern fare, thanks in large part to beverage director Ravinder Singh. Rapscallion's weekly tiki night became so popular, Singh rebuilt the menu to focus largely on tiki-inspired drinks, putting Rapscallion at the forefront of the tiki movement that finally took hold in Dallas this year.

Readers' Pick: Gabe Sanchez, Black Swan Saloon

Can Turkyilmaz

Small brews a cadre of fun beers, including adventurous flavored sours and saisons, but it's a pilsner that really steals our heart. Small's Black Pepper Pils, available on draft at bars around Texas, is light and drinkable with an intriguing nose and a punch of subtly spicy but refreshing flavors from black pepper, orange peel and coriander. This flagship brew on Small Brewpub's roster is beautifully drinkable year-round.

Readers' Pick: Dallas Blonde, Deep Ellum Brewing Co.

Valerie Elise Thompson

Now five years old, Lakewood Brewing Co. continues to impress. From Lakewood Lager to its Goatman imperial India black lager, we rarely get bored with its year-round offerings, and the special releases only sweeten the deal. Lakewood is known for its seduction series, which takes its popular imperial milk stout the Temptress and gives it fun updates like French Quarter Temptress (vanilla, bourbon barrel-aged coffee beans, chicory) and Mole Temptress, made with vanilla, chiles, cacao and cinnamon. In an ever-crowded North Texas beer landscape, Lakewood has kept our attention.

Readers' Pick: Deep Ellum Brewing Co.

Beth Rankin

This Far North Dallas doughnut shop makes fun, quirky treats like funnel cake doughnuts, Nutella cronuts and a creme brulee doughnut with a perfectly crunchy exterior. There's tons of variety in these beautifully decorated treats, and we love the limited-time specials in flavors such as Ferrrero Rocher and s'mores.

Kathy Tran

With serious talent in the kitchen and chef-owner Matt McCallister's renewed focus on hyperlocal, hyperseasonal ingredients, FT33 has solidified its place as the most impressive fine dining destination in Dallas. Working closely with local farmers — along with growing and foraging many ingredients himself — McCallister has created a vibrant taste of Texas that evolves frequently, making every dinner a new experience. From the impeccable wine program to the seasonal desserts and an increasingly impressive cocktail menu, FT33 can do no wrong.

Chris Wolfgang

There's been no shortage of cheffy takes on spicy Nashville hot chicken, but to find the best in DFW, head to a no-frills spot in Lewisville. Owned by Nashville native Floyd Reed, Helen's serves juicy, crunchy fried chicken in four spice levels: plain, mild, hot and hella hot. When the staff warns you about the hella hot option, take heed: This chicken doesn't play.

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