Ascension Coffee
Catherine Downes

When you walk into any Ascension Coffee, what you might first notice are the tall glass kyoto towers. It's what baristas use to make the shop's Japanese iced drip coffee called a doki doki. For 12 hours, water drips onto a bed of coffee grounds and through a ceramic filter, making for a smooth, crisp flavor. It's then infused with nitrogen and hits you like a ton of bricks. With this and an aussie bacon and egg roll (sunny-side up egg, bacon, aussie barbecue sauce and mayo on a brioche bun), you won't know whether to launch into your day or take a nap in your cubicle. If you're looking for a less self-destructive option, you'll be close to just as satisfied with anything else on the menu.

AllGood Cafe
Nick Rallo

In 2000, Deep Ellum music mogul Mike Snider had a restaurant shower. It's exactly what it sounds like. Instead of celebrating and gathering gifts for a new child, he was doing so for his new diner AllGood Cafe. Friends and family gifted furniture and knickknacks that are still at AllGood today. This funky little cafe with soul will help feed your own soul. If you're looking at their menu and don't know where to start, just go ahead and order the chicken club sandwich with crispy seasoned bacon and avocado and a side of their creamy mashed potatoes.

Parliament

Anytime it rains, it's happy hour at Parliament. "When it rains, we pour," they say. Nestled in the State Thomas Historical District, this Uptown spot is brought to us by Dallas' drink king Eddie "Lucky" Campbell. He described his vision for Parliament as a "progressive cocktail lounge" with a mad-scientist style of drink-making. Campbell and his staff have lived up to that vision ever since. If you haven't tried their Ramos gin fizz, do yourself a favor: Check the weather forecast, pray for rain and schedule a date at Parliament.

Best Sandwich Shop
Jeff Amador

Brown Bag Provisions wants to give you a break from your stressful daily routine. If even just for five minutes, you'll find peace chowing down on one of their sandwiches. And you can't go wrong with the "Cuban-ish." Slamming down one of these, which are stacked with porchetta, roast pork shoulder, Muenster cheese, pickles and a spread of whole grain mustard, is the closest to enlightenment you'll ever need. If that's not quite your style, Brown Bag Provisions sports other options for carnivores, pescitarians and vegans alike. Their fried cauliflower bahn mi with pickled mushrooms and red onion, cilantro, basil, mint and hoisin is a hefty delight.

Best Seafood Restaurant
Kathy Tran

Rising from the ashes of John Tesar's Spoon, another high-end seafood restaurant, acclaimed chef and restaurateur Nick Badovinus opened Montlake Cut in 2015. It's the place you want to go to for seafood flown fresh to Dallas. The best way to start an outing at Montlake Cut is with a set of East Coast oysters from the restaurant's "raw bar." By the time you're done with those, you'll likely be feeling like royalty, so order the king crab. Wash it down with a cocktail and a couple sides of crispy beef tacos. It'll leave you left with a level of happiness that won't be repeated till the next time you're back at Montlake Cut.

The Mint

Nikky Phinyawatana's Asian fusion restaurant Asian Mint has been serving Dallas mouthwatering Thai food since 2004. Phinyawatana strives to feed your soul with the perfect dish when you set foot in Asian Mint. The green curry, a mix of coconut milk, purple Japanese eggplant, bamboo shoot, Thai basil and red bell pepper, is just one of many perfect dishes you'll find at Asian Mint.

Move over, Whiteclaw, there's a new, far more delicious hard seltzer in town. Owned and produced by Denton's excellent Armadillo Brewing Co., Río Fresco is the perfect antidote to Texas' insane heat index. These bad boys are brewed with agave and come in four fantastic flavors: watermelon límon, pineapple mango, agave lime and blood orange hibiscus. Clean taste isn't the only thing that sets Río Fresco apart, though; on top of being gluten-free and vegan, they're just 100 calories.

Best Local Beer
Christopher Durbin

This stellar IPA from Community Beer Co. is hop to trot. Medical Grade Haze is dank as all get-out, but it doesn't have that uber-bitter aftertaste of a super-intense IPA. It boasts tropical and citrus flavors and goes down dangerously smoothly. Plus, its 7.7% ABV will have you feelin' fine in no time. Don't just take our word for it, though: With a score of 91, Medical Grade Haze earned an "outstanding" rating on the online beer hub Beer Advocate. Bust out a six-pack at your next outdoor hang so that your buds can sip on a brew they'll actually enjoy.

You know those local gems that are so great you can't stop telling everyone you know about 'em? Father and son-run Greek food truck Feta's is one of those places. When out on the town in Denton, catch them parked outside the ever-excellent Oak St. Drafthouse. Their signature feta fries are so memorable that you'll dream about them for days, and their mouth-watering classic gyros never cease to amaze with their bold, authentic flavors. Whether you pair your meal with a brew or swing by solely for the fantastic food, Feta's is the perfect pit-stop.

The Metropolitan Cafe

This quaint cafe in Downtown Dallas is a timeless classic. Famished 9 to 5-ers will find comfort in Metropolitan Cafe's down-home menu and nostalgia-laced ambience. Whether you're there to grab a quick cup of coffee or staying for a leisurely bite, Metropolitan has you covered. In-the-know diners gravitate toward the spot's decked-out paninis and breakfast croissants, and their decadent desserts and on-point specials never fail to please. On top of everything else, Metropolitan Cafe happens to have the perfect location: right next door to the Dallas Observer's headquarters. Thanks for always making our stomachs happy, neighbor.

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