Best Place to Live Like Meghan Markle 2019 | British Emporium | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Kathy Tran
British Emporium

The British Emporium doesn't stock royal cottages or tabloid paparazzi, but everything else you need to feel like a Windsor can be found at this small grocery store-slash-gift shop that's packed with biscuits, teas, chocolates and quintessential British provisions like meat pies and Irn-Bru, some of which you can't get even in your supermarket's international aisle. Somehow there's still room for an array of mugs and teapots and piles of memorabilia (Doctor Who knickknacks, Downton Abbey coffee table books). Sign up for the email newsletter to find out about the store's occasional events catering to Who fans, expats and, of course, royal watchers.

This is the kind of shop that might be called (fondly, we promise) a hole in the wall, but while Nature's Gallery is short on square footage, it's got glitz aplenty in the form of rocks and minerals from around the world: polished and rough-cut stones, crystals, geodes and fossils fit for a collector's shelf or your Lucite end table. Everything's carefully labeled, and the owner, Donald, will happily advise newbies or talk shop — and trade specimens — with seasoned hobbyists. He does custom gem-cutting work too. Bring the kids; they'll love rummaging for treasure in the basket of free rocks by the door.

A comic book store this is not — and that's exactly what makes it accessible to the more mainstream nerd or TV junkie. If you love Stranger Things or F.R.I.E.N.D.S. or Harry Potter or Disney or anime or insert-your-fandom-here, BoxLunch can help you express your love via clever themed gifts — 0x000Amany of them exclusive — from graphic tees to dinnerware to a picture frame that looks just like the one surrounding the peephole in Monica's apartment. The goods aren't cheap, but for every $10 you spend, the local brick-and-mortars donate a meal to the North Texas Food Bank.

Nothing says boujie like nonchalantly declaring to your landlord: "I just acquired a smashing new fragrance with pleasant notes of rosemary and bubble gum for my very own enjoyment in the coming autumn months." If you can picture yourself saying that, then you should extract yourself from the iron clutches of the monstrous corporate fashion houses that rule our souls and enter instead the warm embrace of the niche fragrance world. No place is more suitable for the acquisition of such fragrances than The Scent Room. We confidently make such a claim because The Scent Room happens to be the only store of its kind in the Dallas area. The establishment, though open for only a few months, will impress even the most discerning of wrist-sniffers with its selection of fragrances from some of the world's less mainstream perfumeries, such as the Dutch Abel or the Italian Eau d'Italie; the quality of the advice from those who work there; and the whimsical busts of noses that riddle the room. A must-visit for any fragrance freak.

Kathy Tran

This thrift benefits Genesis Women's Shelter and Support, a safe haven for female victims of domestic violence. Don't be surprised if the Lamborghini ahead of you in the parking lot of the little shop off Lemmon Avenue pulls up to the drop-off area to unload a piece of antique furniture, a framed art print or a pile of designer clothes. There's a steady daily turnover of items for sale, ranging from jewelry to high-quality, gently worn clothes and accessories from affluent owners.

Got a grass stain from the weekend skirmish with your neighbor? A splash of red wine on your sequined debutante gown from a tipsy escort at the ball? Yellowed collars on your dress shirts from perspiring in the satanic heat of Texas? Soiled linen napkins from messy eaters at your bar mitzvah? How about a leather jacket from Italy that you want to keep supple for posterity — or a wool sweater that you don't want shrunk to the size of your kid brother? How about comforters and rugs that deserve special care, lest they turn out like trimmings for a doll house? With free pick-up and delivery or drive-through service, Dee & Hattie Specialty Cleaners in Park Cities can meet all these needs. Their hospitable and experienced staff mollify the anxious clothes horse or fastidious housekeeper with attention for detail.

Plenty of camera stores sell cameras and camera bags, filters and camera straps. Some carry digital and analog cameras, while a few more also sell backdrops, backdrop stands and other studio supplies. A few more shops stock shelves with film, photo paper, photo albums and essential darkroom supplies from safe lights to chemistry. Don's carries all of the above. But no other camera shop in town carries the assortment and variety of films as the father-son team at Don's Photo Equipment. For more than 20 years, Don and Todd Puckett have stocked new and used photographic equipment for professionals and hobbyists alike, and as the analog industry transitioned to digital, Don's has managed to keep firmly grounded and well-versed in both worlds. And Don's buys used photography gear from individuals and estates.

Man shall not live by buttermilk sourdough bread alone — nor fig & honey goat cheese, nor Alaskan halibut, nor Jazz apples, nor jalapeño cilantro hummus, nor grass-fed ribeye steaks, nor Saigon cinnamon ice cream, nor blood orange cider. Instead, he should live by all these things, and so much more — available at Central Market. At this Texan temple for foodies, the acolytes observe annual "festivals" to Hatch chiles and chocolate, travel with their "passports" to sample the culinary wonders of Argentina and France, or take a cooking class to celebrate squash. Hard-pressed to do the slow cooking of chef Alice Waters? Not to worry. The chef-prepared food will fool any dinner guest, whether lobster mac 'n' cheese or citrus peppercorn rotisserie chicken. Eat healthy, eat decadently, and, yes, eat affordably — if you are a smart shopper. Find out why Central Market was rated the nation's top supermarket by Consumer Reports.

Named after the Cebolla Creek in Southwestern Colorado, Cebolla Fine Flowers has shrunk the American West into vibrant arrangements. To enter the shop is to step into a visual and olfactory diorama that tells the story of life and growth. With flowers for every occasion, Cebolla distills into arrangements various reasons for buying flowers, including guilt, love and the yearly cycle of high school dances. (No doubt, the ancient distinction between fine flowers and grocery-store flowers arises on balmy nights of late April when youths swish beneath sturdy Dallas live oaks and magnolias.) Nonetheless, all the flowers in the world constitute a grim flower shop when the employees are sour. Years of dedication to the art and exemplary service to customers confirms Cebolla as an exceptional flower-buying experience that serves the eyes, the nose and the soul.

Best Place to Buy Tomatoes & Watermelons

Cox Farms

These tomatoes aren't necessarily pretty. They have little flaws, and they're not preternaturally red like those horrendous hydroponic specimens you find in grocery stores everywhere. But they're locally sourced, and they taste like ... tomatoes. Ripe tomatoes. With a tangy-sweet taste profile you might not have experienced since Grandma's backyard garden. Same with the watermelons. We have never purchased a bad watermelon at family-owned Cox Farms. They clearly taste-test their produce, and while they're a little more expensive than some places, we buy watermelons nowhere else. Need ripe avocados or mangoes? Cox Farms is also your place. It consistently offers great produce — without the pretentiousness and high prices of ... that other place. We especially love the original Duncanville location, because it has the feel of a small-town grocery store.

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