The view from Sky Blossom
Lauren Drewes Daniels
The view from Sky Blossom

Look for signs on the sidewalk of Elm Street and take the elevator to the sixth floor. Situated in the heart of downtown, this new spot is an ornament perched atop the Dallas skyline. The outdoor patio at this Vietnamese bistro and bar looks straight across to the rooftop glass-encased turquoise pool at The Joule hotel. There's something fascinating about a pool floating on the side of a building. Sky Blossom's small bites menu and margaritas flights are great for happy hour. Enjoy great views of the city while people-watching; airplane flyovers or a storm rolling past miles away are bonus features.

Ghost kitchens were having a moment before the pandemic, but during it, the turbo-booster button was activated. Some ghost kitchens, were all schtick, but Furlough Brothers is a fantastic example of what a ghost kitchen can and should be. As the name implies, Sam Kaiser and chef Mike Youssef were furloughed after the pandemic hit. Instead of taking on the huge upfront costs of a brick-and-mortar, they rented kitchen space from Commerce Fork Food Co. and are making from-scratch upscale sandwiches — the Furlough OG is a Philly cheesesteak complete with Amoroso bread — for pickup or delivery only.

Best Snow Cone
Lauren Drewes Daniels

The snow cones at SNO at the Dallas Farmers Market are all pretty spectacular, but when it comes to the mangonada and chamoy movement, their Chamoyada can't be beat. Eating one is an event. Freshly shaved snow is drenched in natural mango syrup (two layers; one applied halfway through so the bottom isn't just plain ol' ice), a sprinkling of Tajin, fresh mango cubes, chamoy, fresh-squeezed lime, then a spicy burnt-red Tamarindo straw stabbed through it all. Pull your hair back and roll your sleeves up for this beautiful mess.

Heim Barbecue

Just outside of Love Field, Heim BBQ offers one last chance to get excellent brisket or bacon burnt ends before leaving town; or on the flip side, a succulent smoky welcome home. Jet-setting or not, head over to the hearth of Heim BBQ on Tuesdays where they have hand-battered, dipped and fried corn dogs with 44 Farms meat for just $2 each. They also have $2 domestic beer. Why, you may ask, would one not get brisket? We're not saying you shouldn't. We're just saying you should also get beer and corn dogs at 1982 prices.

Pogo's Liquors Inc

From first-rate customer service to an amazing selection of local and far-off booze, Pogo's is what every liquor store should aspire to be. Just follow their Facebook page to earn a merit badge in sommelier studies. They'll have you opining about chalky soils and "a mineral spine" in no time. They offer such interesting background on their new finds or most recent shipments that it can often sway your weekend plans, for either good or bad (likely good). And while they have fine wine, craft beer and liquor from around the globe, they also keep things local.

Bonton Farms

There's no shortage of great breakfast spots in Dallas, but there's no other place quite like Bonton Farms in South Dallas, a working farm with fresh eggs, local honey and produce plucked right out of the earth and taken straight to the kitchen. Bonton provides healthy, nutritious staples in a food desert while also creating jobs for their community. Aside from that wholesome mission, breakfast at the café is spectacular. Their sweet potato hash is made with smoked sausage, red pepper gravy and eggs. The from-scratch buttermilk biscuits topped with house sausage or bacon gravy and a farm-fresh egg make breakfast worth getting up for.

Best Kouign Amann
Taylor Adams

The kouign amann is a love letter from the northwestern tip of France. This flaky French viennoiserie is imbued with a nefarious amount of butter, sugar and a touch of salt. There are other kouign amanns around town, but Bisous Bisous' is unique because unlike others it is rolled like a cinnamon roll — how chef Andrea Mayer discovered them in a street cart in France — as opposed to a four-corners method. Unroll the pastry instead of biting straight into it (that's too harsh for this delicate food anyway) and see how each ring offers something a little unique.

Best Corn Dog
Taylor Adams

Dallas is decidedly a corn dog town. And outside of the annual Texas State Fair, the best place to snag one is at CornDog With No Name, where they aren't mimicking fair food but elevating it. While they have a classic corn dog, they also offer a spicy version with jalapeño and cheddar-infused pork sausage. The brunch corn dog is a breakfast sausage dipped in funnel cake batter with bacon and maple syrup. They even have a plant-based corn dog and Best Maid dill pickle corn dog. The best part is you can get a cocktail to go with from their full bar. Be sure to save room for the flaming funnel cakes.

Best Sushi
Alison McLean

Dallasites are used to top-quality sushi thanks to restaurants like Tei Tei Robata and Tei-An. But that same level of care and attention to quality hasn't always extended to spots in the suburbs. Enter Ebesu, which just celebrated its second birthday in downtown Plano. Run by restaurateurs whose other businesses are inside Japan and designed by a Japanese restaurant architect, Ebesu has a first-class menu of sushi, sashimi and generous rice bowls overflowing with fresh seafood. (One rice bowl topped with ikura, or salmon roe, is served while another employee bangs on a little drum.) Oh, and the best red-meat sushi roll in the area is Ebesu's Super-Long Niku!, which lives up to its exclamation point by being very long indeed and very delicious.

Neighborhood Services

A good cocktail is worth the splurge and at Neighborhood Services the classic daiquiri will run you about $11 before tip. But considering how delicious and refreshing it is, this is a steal. With a fairly simple combination of ingredients — a base of El Dorado 3-year cask-aged rum and a blend of cane syrup and lime — the classic daiquiri delivers on flavor. From the first waft of rum, you'll feel transported to the islands, which, after almost two years into a pandemic, is a much-needed feeling.

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