2234 Irving Blvd, Dallas
Time from DFW Airport: 20-30 minutes
Slow Bone has Dallas’ best meal served on a cafeteria tray. Inhibitions and pretentiousness are not welcome at Jack Perkins’ barbecue spot. Leave them on the plane. Smoky, vinegary sauces pop. Creamy, blackout-good sides, like cauliflower gratin and mustard greens, are miraculously as good as the meats. Do not forget to order the fried chicken — it will ruin you on future fried chicken. Take note: Slow Bone is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It's a bit further than other options near DFW, but good Texas barbecue is well worth the drive.
Bachman Lake Tacos
3311 W. Northwest Hwy Dallas
Time from DFW Airport: 22 minutes
Bachman Lake Tacos is a taqueria in the heart of a Chevron. I’d a ditch my car on the side of the road if it meant a bite of their blistering trompo, red as a sunset, at this gas station. Stacked layers of pork spin around a vertical grill for hours until the meat sears and crisps. When you order a taco, the cooks saw off a section and toss it on the griddle, releasing a smoky hiss. It’s piled onto tortillas quickly after, doubled-up on a styrofoam plate, hot as anything. It won’t take long until you admit these tacos are spectacular, and then you’re back on the road.
Babe’s Chicken Dinner
1006 West Main Street, Carrollton
Time from DFW Airport: 20 minutes
It’s going to be OK; you’re at Babe’s. Nothing bad will happen to you here. The chicken-fried steak will be the size of an screen door, and there will be gravy and green beans. The crackle of a fork going into a chicken-fried steak at Babe’s should be the official sound of Texas. Armies of foodies tremble at the mere sight of this restaurant, and no hunger goes un-rewarded. Get extra biscuits or a homemade pie.
2851 Esters Road, Irving
Time from DFW Airport: 12 minutes
Like the cold beer, there’s nothing quite like a eye-opening spicy dish after a long flight. It clears the brush from your head. At Kasbah Grill, there’s comfort and relaxation in roasted, warm flavors. Same goes for the soothing Moroccan Mint Tea, a drink that receives repeated raves on Yelp. Lamb tagine, on the bone, is hearty and tender. Comfort is everything.
Cuban Dulceria International Bakery
2662 N Josey Ln #228, Carrollton
Time from DFW Airport: 20-25 minutes
The Cuban is one of the world's great sandwiches, and Carrollton’s Dulceria serves a stupendous one. The bread, baked in-house with with real lard, is impossibly cloud-light. A breeze during a storm holds more weight than this bread. A pop of a double-espresso and this simple Cuban — made with roasted and shredded pork, smoky and tender ham, a swipe of yellow mustard and thin pickles — will focus your mind like a laser blast. It’s good. Really good. It's enough to make you ditch your flight and stay in Dallas permanently.