A Bug's Life: Sucking Brains In Deep Ellum

This city looks a little different under the gaze of a lazy Sunday. Gone are the razzle dazzle details of a typical Dallas weekend and, if you're lucky, you get to see the Big D for who she really is. Platform heels tossed to the side, that little black dress traded for the ease of a sundress and the leisurely promise of a sunny afternoon.

It's crawfish season and the weekend's bug boils are the perfect excuse to sit at a table with a stranger and bond over the sucking down of brains. I started my day at Black Swan, where pots and pots of boiling critters made their way to my table, beautifully dressed with potatoes, sausage, garlic and sweet corn. Gabe Sanchez concocted the most perfect gin-lemonade seemingly on the spot and so began my surrender to any plans of productivity.

I traded tips with two videographers as to how to get the most tail from the bug. Lamar hadn't eaten crawfish until he moved to Dallas from the East coast two years ago. As we broke shells, he admitted he didn't come to love Dallas until recently, and it was because of days like this, where you could be tucked in the back of a bar with no sign, where the chef won't accept tips for the endless amount of treats he dumps on your table all afternoon. I knew what he meant; Dallas can make you work to get past the shiny exterior, but the rewards were out in full force in Ellum on Sunday.

Around the corner at Adair's, there was plenty to celebrate, namely 49 years of being one of the best honky-tonk dives in town. The crawfish was being served up by the basketful and beers by the bucket as folks crowded the outdoor tent for performances from Boys Named Sue, The King Bucks and more. Boys Named Sue brought their usual brand of country, but not without sharing their own version of 69 Boyz's "Let Me Ride That Donkey." The two-steppers didn't seem to mind.

If in their 49 years of serving up cold beer and Texas treats, you haven't been twirled around the Adair's dance floor, you may want to get to there. You won't even need to take a partner - an older gentleman who knows his way around the floor seems to always be on deck when the fiddles start.

Spring fever is starting to wane, but the crawfish boils aren't the only way I can tell summer is at our heels. That collective agreement, where adults pretend we have a summer vacation, is just beginning. The rooftop parties and late night swims and sundresses, they all whisper of summer's potential.

It can't all be exclusive shindigs and soft openings, Dallas. Sometimes you have to slow down, get back to your roots and drink a Lone Star.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Deb Doing Dallas
Contact: Deb Doing Dallas