Best Tea Service 2022 | Tea at TASCHEN (The Joule) | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Cindy Ju Vaughn

Tea at TASCHEN, located in The Joule, is an experience and an event, with seatings at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The Joule even provides complimentary valet parking, and as a gift you get a TASCHEN art book to take home. Several varieties of teas are provided, including occasionally a Texas chile chai, along with a bevy of savory and sweet nibbles such as avocado toast, smoked salmon rillette, the de rigueur cucumber sandwich and sundry cakes, shortbreads, macarons and scones. Sign up for the newsletter to be informed when the next installment will take place.

Alison McLean

Odelay opened earlier this year, and diners are already coming to it in droves. Maybe they come for the Tex-Mex classics prepared with high-quality ingredients like Berkshire pork and Rosewood Ranch beef. Maybe they come for the atmosphere, with a lively bar stocked with plenty of tequila and a hacienda-style dining room that's vibrant and fun. Whatever the reason, Odelay proves that our love of cheese-soaked Tex-Mex knows no bounds.

Hank Vaughn

Thai restaurants are plentiful in Dallas and can seem pretty similar to one another, but Thai Spice shines in its consistency and customer service. The tom kha soup is spot on, and curry dishes such as the ocean curry are flavorful and presented well. The best offerings might be the Thai fried rice, which is offered with many protein choices as well as styles such as krapow, yellow curry or pineapple cashew, but we keep coming back to the delectable crab fried rice.

Angie Quebedeaux
Spicy fish soup

Even your most adventurous foodie friends might turn their nose up at the thought of eating "sour fish soup." If they do, they will be missing out. The "sour" comes from pickled mustard greens, and this rich, sour, oily, velvety and spicy dish is nothing short of spectacular. The broth is full of ribbons of pickled mustard greens, ginger, dried chiles and Szechuan peppercorns. Delicious fresh chunks of fish (flown in live each morning from a farm in Iowa) or beef rise to the top of the broth. To order, choose the flavor of the soup: classic, spicy or vine pepper numb. Next, choose the size (S, M, L) and your main ingredient: tilapia, largemouth bass, wagyu beef or a combination of tilapia and beef. Then pick the add-ons, which include options like tofu, potato slices, enoki mushrooms, lotus root, rice noodles, luncheon meat, bean curd sticks or chewy cellophane noodles. The bowl arrives with a side of rice and you spoon the soup on top of the rice and get ready for the party to start in your mouth.

Amanda Albee

From birria tacos to chicken burritos to beefy nachos, Nuno's seems to have all the staple Mexican foods you can think of, just without the meat and dairy. Nuno Arias Jr. opened his fully vegan Mexican grill after drawing inspiration from his parents' thriving vegan taco joint, El Palote Panadería. If you're not sure where to start, order the jackfruit nachos, a classic nachos dish topped with marinated and grilled jackfruit. Move on to the huitlacoche quesadillas or the Buffalo chicken crunchwrap for your main meal. End with the vegan sopapillas, flaky deep-fried cinnamon pastries drizzled in caramel sauce. While takeout is Nuno's primary business model, you can call ahead if you'd like your food served to you. The food here tastes just as good either way.

Taylor Adams

La Me is a cafe in northeast Dallas with authentic Vietnamese fare, coffee and ambiance that offers traditional dishes such as pho and bun bo hue but also some unique options. The star of their menu is mi quang, a bowl of turmeric yellow rice noodles that are loaded with shrimp, peanuts, herbs and a hard-boiled egg sliced in half. Another popular dish is the mi dac biet, their house special dried noodles served with the soup on the side and an assortment of protein. The make-your-own spring rolls are a fun dish served with shrimp patties, grilled shrimp, grilled pork, grilled meat paste and egg rolls. They give you the dried rice paper and a bowl of hot water to soften it, then you create your own combination with noodles and veggies.

Courtesy Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse

This place is an all-time lunch classic, perfect for bringing your family or meeting work colleagues. Located in downtown Dallas' West End, Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse has lunch options that hit on all cylinders. Its dining room boasts an upscale Texas ambience, but the menu's prices won't destroy your pocketbook. Y.O.'s burgers and sandwiches are as good as they come, and their salads are perfect for those who are watching their waistline but don't want to sacrifice on taste. Go big and select a top-tier cut of steak and cap it all off with a Texas-brewed beer for an afternoon treat. Thanks for making the workweek way better, Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse.

An enjoyable weekend morning activity is to stroll through rows of vendors in the heart of downtown and feast on delicious samples. This pastime turns perfect when you stumble across this heavenly Mediterranean shop and get to taste fresh hummus, baba ganoush, pita chips, tzatziki sauce, tabouleh and more. This stall is always a buzzing with customers at the market, so it shouldn't be hard to find.

Lauren Drewes Daniels

These giant stand-alone ice machines dispense large bags of ice lickety-split. You can use plastic if you don't have cash on you. And if you have only a $20 bill and you really need a bag of ice (and the card reader is down, which is apt to happen with outdoor machines), it gives change in dollar coins. We got a 1979 Susan B. Anthony along with 17 other coin dollars the other day. Who knew ice change could trigger a coin collecting hobby? Also, the machine plays Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby'' as it bags and dispenses your ice. Who knew getting ice could make you dance? Lastly — yeah, there's more — it's really good ice. The machines use carbon filtration and reverse osmosis, which is getting way over our heads, but, regardless, all the filtering renders a crunchier crunch and no weird flavor to mess up our margaritas.

Kathy Tran

You're driving along recapping the day in your head. You remember that you stuck to your high-fiber cereal and banana for breakfast, ate a sensible salad for lunch and plan on eating a nice grilled piece of salmon for dinner. You've earned a treat and not just any treat. You've earned the Sangraal of treats: a big hunk of delicious ice cream. If you're gonna treat yourself, don't cheapen it with some tawdry pile of tapioca and folic acid. Get some real ice cream at ice cream institution Tongue in Cheek. This beloved dessert vendor serves up generous scoops of dairy treats. Plain flavors such as vanilla and chocolate are delicately balanced and firm without being frozen solid as a brick. Unusual and daring flavors change regularly, like Hatch pepper butter pecan, Key lime pie and watermelon. The best part is you can get one without having to leave your car, and they never forget to give you enough napkins for the ride home.

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