Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
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For the price, this can't be beat. A mere $3 will get you into the Plano city water park, and children six and under are admitted free. This park with slides, fountain-filled train rides, dumping buckets and a zero-depth entry ramp meets all the standards set by its more expensive private cousins. An indoor pool is also available at the same location with 50-meter swimming lanes. The hours at this place vary by season, so be sure to call in advance.
We can see the screenwriter (or producer, or director) making his pitch to the studio exec: "It's a movie theater, see, where we show nothing but art-house movies. Indies, the kids call 'em. Yeah, yeah, I know. It's a...whaddya call it?...a niche audience. Perfect. Narrowcasting, can ya dig? We'll give 'em L.I.E. and Bully and lots of other movies with bad language and teen sex. And the theater will be a glistening gem, unlike anything Dallas has ever seen. Eight screening rooms, all with stadium seating. And we'll put it near a DART station, a Virgin Megastore, an Urban Outfitters and a buncha other retail and restaurant joints that only Dallasites think of as 'exotica.' Only it's not just a movie theater, see, but a real restaurant where patrons can get grilled chicken sandwiches and prosciutto-wrapped figs and cappuccinos. And in the role of chef, we'll get...oh...Lisa Kelley. You mighta seen her at Parigi. Or maybe Meryl Streep, we'll see. Look, this is a sure-fire hit, man--solid box-office, like Mel and Danny in Lethal Weapon. It's the mismatched couple: movie theater and gourmet food! They'll eat it up."
The town of Coppell doesn't exactly come to mind when thinking about the Disneyland of outdoor play spaces. But nestled within the 148 acres of Andrew Brown Community Park East is a veritable imagination plantation that can soothe the hyperactive souls of children of all ages. At Kid Kountry, they can board a pirate ship or climb up a castle wall; they swing and slide their excess energy away as Mom and Dad stay cool--or at least cooler--under shade trees. During the summer months, the aquatics center is next door, and jogging trails and a small lake add to the bucolic setting. For the security-conscious (and who isn't these days), the playground provides a high fence to separate your li'l darlin' from the outside world. Which should make the outside world a safer place.
You know how you know a place is a favorite for kids? When it's a 30-minute ride to get there, and the munchkin goes insane with glee when you mention the possibility you could go there for lunch. The Purple Cow gets just such a reaction. This restaurant, styled after a 1950s soda fountain, is a favorite for parties because the kids can eat purple ice cream and get really loud, and parents can dull their frazzled nerves with spiked milk shakes. The standard American fare is passable for adults, but the kids love it. Earplugs aren't included.
On those rare occasions when a north wind blows, we know to pack up the kid and his toy airplane collection and race to DFW Airport's observation area, where he'll see jumbo jets--747s, A340s, 767s, L-1011s and DC-10s and the many smaller varieties--practically landing on top of him, and he'll watch the results of those tiny, precarious adjustments the pilot makes just a few feet from the end of the runway as he's coming in to land. (You'll also notice that it takes forever for those ancient 727s to get off the ground.) You probably didn't even know this "Founders Park" existed, with its panoramic view of the airport's east runways and piped-in control-tower chatter. But a few of us have found it, and it's perfectly suited for an outing with a plane-obsessed child (or adult). It's almost entirely fenced in, and it has picnic tables, litter-free grass and lookout binoculars (very blurry; we suggest you bring your own). Hey, and it's all free. To get there--DFW doesn't make it obvious--take the south entrance to the airport and follow the signs to the south shuttle parking area. Go past it and keep following the road until you reach an overpass. Turn left before the overpass, and you'll end up at the park. You can watch outside or in your car. It's best to come when there's a north wind, because the planes approach from the south and land right in front of you. Other times, you get a better view of the takeoff. (At press time, Founders Park had survived the new security measures at DFW and remained open.)

Get real. Unless you're 12-going-on-13, the only place that promises around-the-clock cool is a seat that faces the window unit. But for those who insist on getting out into the summer sun without baking, Arlington's newest water park is hard to beat. Think a day at the beach with a little Disneyland thrown in--or as one comedian put it, you can think of it as a ride on the enema express.

No other jazz joint touches Sambuca in terms of atmosphere (which is pretty much what a jazz club is all about) and talent (which is everything else). It's dark, moody, and subtly lit, as if a fire were flickering somewhere underneath the floor; stepping into Sambuca is like walking into an underground jazz club in Paris in the 1940s, we imagine. While the "jazz" in some places is from the school of Kenny G, the lineup at Sambuca is the closest Dallas can get to Harlem in the '50s. OK, so that might be a bit of an exaggeration. But in comparison with everywhere else, Sambuca deserves the highest praise possible.

We've given The Rock grief for years, but like it or not, it's as rock-and-roll as a bar can get without slipping into a pair of leather pants and a conch belt. (Find any video by The Cult, and you'll see what we're talking about.) The joint, dubbed by its owners "the rock 'n' roll palace of downtown Dallas," actually had to include "rock" in its name. Can you beat that? Actually, yes, but one look at the wait staff, tricked out in acid-washed jeans and feathered hair, and you'll have a few second thoughts. The bands that play there (ASKA, for one) are across-the-board bad, but maybe we're just jealous because they rock so hard. Nah, couldn't be. In all seriousness, if you want the rock, well, you want The Rock.

Chain-drive twin cams and fitments, fin area and piston cooling jets, crankcases, straight crank pins, bearing areas, reshaped combustion chambers, reworked exhaust, and intake ports and valves that optimize emissions efficiency and power output, single-fire ignition systems, glossy paint, and fast as hell. Pretty maids, all in a row. If these are a few of your favorite things, take a trip to Lower Greenville on any given Sunday. It's like bedlam when the bikers gun their hogs, so this is no place for the weak.

Best urban street-side patio dining

Thai Soon

Sitting on Thai Soon's patio, it's hard to believe that the traffic on Greenville is just a few feet away. It's really quiet. Well, it's more quiet than you'd expect when you're close enough to read the odometers on slow-moving cars. A lattice covered in vines and plants surrounds the patio, shading it from the sun. Flowers and other stretching plants are nestled into the walls with birds occasionally dropping by to snatch up rice and egg-roll crumbs. The stone benches and tables stay cool in the afternoon, but the curry, rice, and noodle dishes are served hot and fresh.

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