One90 Smoked Meats, but not salmon. Still good, though.
Nick Rallo
One90 Smoked Meats, but not salmon. Still good, though.

Some here in this Lone Star State might say mere fish isn't worthy of a starring role, but they should probably visit Lake Highland's hot spot One90 Smoked Meats. See, many equate smoked salmon with lox — which is cold-smoked — and that's delicious, but One90's hot-smoking approach makes for a perfectly flaky and flavorful bite that's never too dry. Salmon-doubters should start with lunch at the counter, ordering the salmon tacos (or a salad if carbs are on the no-list). Sound crazy for a barbecue joint lauded on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives"? It's not. The salmon is loaded on a warm corn tortilla with red cabbage and a spicy tartar. The correct order is two or more — never just one. When leaving, the newly converted should grab a bag of farm-raised salmon and a container of the most addictive salmon dip.

Samantha Rush
Kathy Tran
Samantha Rush

Samantha Rush has been serving sweets in DFW for more than 10 years at Rush Patisserie. She specializes in French pastries, so it's the perfect spot to get your fix for macarons, tarts and croissants. If that isn't enough, Rush is now doubling her load after taking over Trailercakes. Both businesses are operating out of her boutique space in Oak Cliff.

Resident Taqueria
Kathy Tran

Since 2015, Amy and Andrew Savoie's Resident Taqueria has prepared some of the most beloved handhelds, and their fans (or residents, as they call them) aren't quiet about it. The small space offers grab-and-go tacos for breakfast starting at 7 a.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. Saturdays, but it would be a mistake not to grab a café-chata to go with. Resident pairs Noble Coyote Nitro Cold Brew on tap with horchata for a frothy boost of caffeine. But while the breakfast dash is a tasty one at Resident, the real treat is snagging a seat at the bar while you wait and watching the culinary choreography of Chef Andrew and team as they create house-made flour tortillas and signature tacos (pecan-smoked chicken, slow-cooked mushroom, braised beef short rib, chorizo, fish tempura and more) as well as weekly specials that offer even more veggie- and seafood-centric options. Resident's Family Taco Meal is a Tuesday by-the-pound, to-go treat for four, six or eight, and they'll even offer curbside service for those with kiddos in the car.

Slow Bone
Nick Rallo
Slow Bone

Barbecue fans will admit, it is — and yet it isn't — always about the meat. Good thing Slow Bone has their brisket, sausage and turkey down. For those who want a well-rounded experience at any barbecue joint, it comes down to the sides. Take, for instance, Slow Bone's Frito pie, which can totally be considered a side for the incredibly hungry. It's piled with brisket chili and cheddar, and chef Jeffery Hobbs recommends topping it with a quarter-pound of fatty brisket and a pickled jalapeño. Do it. He's right. For the more traditional, the star of the side show is the pea salad, made better than Grandma's. Peas, cheddar, pimento, eggs and house-made sweet-and-sour pickles and pickled onion, and a few other things that make it Slow Bone's own, are combined to make peas with a punch. Eat it on the meats or save it for last. Or just get a container to go for midnight snack time. Slow Bone's pintos and greens (mustard and turnip, as it should be) are can't-miss (though not safe for vegetarians; all others are meat-free), and the roasted squash and sweet potato praline will send you back to the best part of childhood.

You'll see kids in here, but really it's the kids at heart who will most appreciate Blooms' selection of sodas (from Nehi to Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer to bacon- and pickle-flavored varieties), vintage candy, magnets with quotes from "Seinfeld" and other bygone TV shows, old-school tin lunchboxes, and gag gifts and practical jokes ranging from the clever to the downright juvenile. Need a quick costume? Grab a rubber mask that fits over your whole head and walk out the store as a pug or unicorn. (If you're a fizz fiend, ask about the soda rewards program so you can walk out with the occasional free drink too.)

Café Brazil

Parenting is a constant balancing act. And the scales don't seem to tip in our favor often enough. Never is this more evident than at dinnertime. Between ongoing negotiations over how many bites of green beans to eat before the kids can leave the table and what exactly constitutes a bite, giving up and outsourcing dinner is an option we can all get behind. Enter Cafe Brazil. The Dallas mainstay is primarily known for its flavor-rich, quasi-Brazilian menu options and a coffee selection that never disappoints. But battle-weary parents and children are likely to find common ground with Cafe Brazil's free dinner for kids under 12 with the purchase of an adult entrée, Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. You'll be in and out just in time for bedtime negotiations to begin.

Africa is an expansive, breathtakingly beautiful and diverse continent, and it has a wealth of natural resources to boot. Distilling the majesty of the land where the human race got its start down to "Best African Food" seems a little blasphemous, even when it comes to food — OK, especially when it comes to food. Nonetheless, Dallas isn't exactly teeming with dining options from the Motherland. That's why we consider ourselves blessed to have a taste of East Africa in Addis Ababa Ethiopian Restaurant. Wat, injera, lamb, lentils and greens are only a few of the traditional Ethiopian dishes that are served daily, and until very late on most days. And of course, some of the best coffee in the world is found in Ethiopia — and lucky for us, at Addis Ababa in Richardson too.

Texas De Brazil Grill House

If you are somebody who just can't give in to the inclination to become a gluten-free, trailer-dwelling vegan who happens to be allergic to pistachios, cedar dust, and aluminum, the Brazilian-style churrascaria (that's Portuguese for "meat haven") Texas de Brazil exists to satisfy your every craving. Just sit down, and servers in baggy pants carrying massive slabs of various meats will flock to your table, asking you questions like "picanha medium well?" and "three or four sausages?" Eat until you're full, and also take advantage of their diverse salad bar — the best of the area churrascarias, which gives Texas de Brazil the nod over its competitors. And if you go home feeling hungry, you've done something wrong.

Local Press & Brew
Beth Rankin
Local Press & Brew

This category gets stiffer competition every year, but it's hard to beat Local Press' coconut nitro cold brew. At $6.50, this is a pricy caffeine jolt, but in the middle of an endless Texas summer, it's well worth it. Smooth cold brew gets a dose of creaminess from the nitrogen, then a touch of sweetness and even more creaminess from Local Press' Nut Party, a juice made from coconut meat and water blended into a delectable beverage that's equally as good on its own.

Communion Cooperative
Beth Rankin
Communion Cooperative

One of DFW's most innovative coffee shops isn't in Dallas proper — it's in Richardson. This former auto garage is now Communion Cooperative, a coffee shop, cafe, cocktail bar, event space and co-working hub, and this place has great energy. During the hot summer months, don't miss the cold-brew coffee slushie or the lightly caffeinated take on the Arnold Palmer, the Cascara Palmer.

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