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11 Spots to Eat Before a Stars or Mavs Game, an Updated Game Plan

Now that they have their checkbooks all sorted out, the boys are back in town and on Saturday night the Stars face off against the Edmonton Oilers. Or someone. I actually have no idea. When they traded Shane Churla, I bowed out gracefully (although he is still with the organization).

Regardless, we thought it was a good time to revisit our pregame meal options around the American Airlines Center. Victory Park has a handful of restaurants, a few of them good. We've also pulled a few from the perimeter, plus some new spots around downtown that are worth an excursion.

Ellen's Southern Kitchen in the West End. Where, you say? The W-E-S-T E-N-D. Yes, it's still there. Logistically, parking twice would make me crazy, but you can take public transit. What's that, you say? P-U-B ... OK. I'll stop with all the "jokes." The DART green and orange lines run to the West End every 30 minutes. Scott Reitz recently reviewed Ellen's and had some nice things to say about the chicken-fried steak. Here's a very handy guide to DART downtown.

Medina Oven and Wine Bar is a little gem at Victory Park. The small restaurant is owned by the same group that owns Baboush and Farnatchi, both of which are home to great Moroccan food. In addition to wood-fired pizzas, they have lamb, chicken, couscous; as well as some great dips and spreads -- smoked eggplant with garlic-saffron tomato confit and cilantro. The bar has some "sexy" cocktails, as well as wine.

New Places To Try If you're entertaining guests in from out of town and want to give them the full Dallas experience replete with sports at the AAC, then crack the whip and point your wagon toward Stampede 66, which is now Dallas' quintessential dining experience.

Chef Nico Sanchez opened a second location of Meso Maya near Klyde Warren Park, at 1611 McKinney Ave. The menu draws inspiration from native Mexican ingredients like maiz, cacao, chilies, squash and chayote. Don't let that scare you though. There's something for everyone, including a taco window in the courtyard, La Ventana.

Cook Hall is the new restaurant inside the W Hotel. Scott recently opined about it. The menu is a bit more "sports" friendly and not as fancy as its predecessor, but the prices aren't as fancy either. When pressed, Reitz said this would be his spot prior to an AAC event.

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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.

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