Best Ice Cream Shop 2019 | Milk & Cream | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

When a bowl of old-fashioned vanilla feels too — well, vanilla — there's Milk & Cream. Since opening on Greenville Avenue three years ago, the California-based sweet shop has introduced sugar-hungry Dallasites to the delicacy that is a milky bun. As delicious as it is Instagrammable, Milk & Cream's milky bun is essentially a next-level ice cream sandwich. The bun, which is best described as an oversize doughnut, is warmed, filled with a scoop of ice cream and topped with your choice of candy or cereal. The result is a decadent concoction that becomes even more delicious as the ice cream melts.

courtesy Botolino

Botolino Gelato Artignale is home to scratch-made gelato with an emphasis on using natural, raw ingredients. Owner Carlo Gattini grew up in Tuscany and learned to make gelato from his grandmother, who owned a gelato shop. Unlike most ice cream shops, Botolino does not keep its product in glass display cases; it is stored in silver containers called pozzetti, or "little wells." The pozzetti keep the gelato at a stable temperature and away from light. Botolino's flavors include mango, berries and lavender, hazelnut, white coffee and crema, which is made with Madagascar bourbon-vanilla beans. All of the sorbettos are dairy-free.

This New York-inspired restaurant is bringing the heat when it comes to burgers, but their shakes are just as popular and delicious. Choose from the handshakes, with flavors like vanilla bean, strawberry, chocolate or Nutella. Feeling adventurous? Try a megashake, which boasts flavors such as cookies and cream and candy crush, dressed to the nines. The sweeter the better.

Beth Rankin

Pecan Lodge is nationally known for its barbecue, and rightfully so. But one of their best-kept secrets is their Southern fried chicken. With the perfect blend of crispy and juicy, Pecan Lodge is serving up hand-battered greatness that — much like their brisket — is well worth the wait.

Kathy Tran

Here's how our logic worked when we made this choice: The best breakfast in Texas is a breakfast taco, and the best breakfast tacos in Dallas come from Tia Dora's Bakery. Served on big, fluffy flour tortillas made from scratch, these tacos feature consistently strong fillings; opt for eggs and chorizo, maybe, but don't miss the machacado. It doesn't hurt that they're among the biggest breakfast tacos in town, either. You'll want seven or eight, but you only need two, especially since Tia Dora's also has shelf after shelf of pan dulce just begging to come with you in a to-go bag.

Beth Rankin

The only thing better than a small, dense rock is a larger, thinner one with more eggs in it. Fresh crêpes are immeasurably better than Grandma's pancakes from a box, and Whisk Crêpes at Sylvan Thirty makes the best crêpes in town. In the cozy faux-provincial restaurant, Whisk's French impersonators crank out crêpes in many varieties, savory and sweet. You could order sweet and pretend it's OK to eat dessert at 2 p.m. — perhaps with butter and strawberries, even chocolate syrup — or try savory with chicken, mozzarella and pesto. Either way, it's up to you to build your crêpe from their expansive list of ingredients, and in just a few minutes, a hot, neatly folded treat will find itself at your table and in your mouth.

Kathy Tran

Like craft beers, craft burgers aren't exactly in short supply. This is precisely why Off-Site Kitchen's classic quarter-pound creations deserve a moment in the spotlight, now, more than ever. A burger haven with the charm of an old-school greasy spoon, Off-Site turns out burgers made with Angus chuck that's ground in-house and cooked to juicy perfection. Standard toppings include flat-top onion, lettuce, tomato and pickle on a brioche bun. But for those who just can't help themselves, there are "funky-fresh" options, such as Peanut Butter & Bacon and Teriyaki & Pineapple.

Caffeine addiction is for the nocturnal college student and the harried professional. Or the jilted lover, if you take jazz singer Sarah Vaughan's words: "My nerves have gone to pieces. My hair is turning gray. All I do is drink black coffee since my man's gone away." With its two locations in Deep Ellum and Highland Park, San Antonio-imported Merit Coffee washes away its "third wave" competitors, delivering superior java for whomever craves it. Represented by a train conductor's presentation lantern, it illuminates a way forward in Dallas. By directly sourcing beans from farmers and roasting them to perfection, Merit serves up memorable espresso like "La Falda" from Colombia, with tasting notes of red apple, marshmallow and cocoa powder, or filter coffee like "Larcho Torka" from Ethiopia, with tasting notes of lemongrass, star fruit and raspberry.

Scott Reitz

There are those of you who are satisfied with knowing the best coffee shop in town, and we suppose that's fine, but why be basic when you can be not basic? "Third wave" refers to a developing interest in viewing coffee like fine wine or cheese, where specific flavors are labeled through tasting notes and greater effort is put into brewing the perfect cup. Houndstooth Coffee at Sylvan Thirty, our favorite of three Dallas locations, impresses with its excellent coffee, superb service and pleasant setting, where four gleaming white "seraphim" rule the counter, waiting to prepare your flawless pour-over, and the friendly tatted baristas chirp cordially with customers. There's copious seating inside, and even a dog-friendly patio. Real Texans won't choose to miss out on a trip to Houndstooth, even if all you're willing to try is a (great) vanilla latte.

Matt Peterson at Plano's Matador Meat and Wine is everything you would expect of a butcher: ruddy complexion, stocky build, crushing handshake. His old-school butcher image is underlined by his goal of offering high-quality meats at a retail level. All of his dry-aged, Angus-certified USDA Prime steaks come from a small, family-owned packing house in Nebraska that processes cattle from no farther than 150 miles away. For next-level tenderness, he sources wagyu cuts from Snake River Farms. Free-range chickens that are never supplemented with preservatives come from a private farmer an hour outside of Dallas. Berkshire pork? He has that, too, along with housemade sausages in natural casings that are free of curing salts.

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