5 of the Best Pizza Places in DFW

November 11th, 2014

DFW might not be world-famous for pizza, but there are indeed some world-class choices here. Next time you get a hankerin’ for pizza that’s above and beyond the norm, check out these fine examples of Italian bliss.

Campisi’s

In Dallas, if there’s one definitively Texas institution for pizza, it’s Campisi’s. It’s been around since the 40s and trust us, you’ve never seen so many oblong (yet somehow not misshapen) pizzas in one place in your life. Now with nine Dallas-area locations, Campisi’s is a good bet for a great slice (or 4).

 

 

 

Cavalli Pizzeria Napoletana

If you’ve ever heard anyone refer to New York-style pizza, they mean the one with the thin, foldable Napolitano crust. Surprisingly, no one in DFW could get one until 2008, when Cavalli rolled into Irving and brought Napolitano pizza with it. They also have a shop in McKinney, and it’s just as Italian.

 

 

 

Zoli’s NY Pizza Tavern 

Speaking of Napolitano pizza, Zoli’s in Oak Cliff brings the delicious combo of rich, red tomato sauce and gooey mozzarella cheese to one of Dallas’ up-and-coming trendy neighborhoods. If your tastes run a little more southern (southern Italian, that is), try one of Zoli’s awesome Sicilian pies.

 

Fireside Pies

A decadent twist on the New York-style pizza is to make the crust puffier and the cheese and tomato sauce hedonistically divine. Dare we say the crust at Fireside Pies, the Henderson Avenue mainstay for pizza lovers, is actually voluptuous? Yeah. We dare say.

 

 

Grimaldi’s, Various locations in DFW

Chain restaurants seldom get the notice they deserve when they’re good. But Grimaldi’s corners the market on what real New York pizza tastes like. Not what New York-style pizza tastes like, what actual New York pizza tastes like. The company filters local water so that its chemical composition matches that of the water in New York (which actually is considered the among cleanest and best-tasting in the country), so that the crust comes out exactly right. If you’re from the East Coast, taste this little slice of home, it doesn’t get any more authentic (or delicious) than this.

DFW Top 10 Best Hotels for a Staycation

November 10th, 2014

When you live in an area like DFW, there’s a lot more reason to stay put when it’s time to take a few days off. DFW offers a ton of great things to do on  a staycation, and plenty of great spots to stay. Before you book your next trip out of town, consider booking a staycation at one of these top-notch hotels.

 

The Joule

The Joule in Downtown Dallas is a fab boutique hotel that draws pretty much every celebrity who passes through DFW. Indulge in the gym, the yoga classes, the world-class coffee, and the top-tier service. You’re in the right hotel if you see the giant eyeball sculpture across the street.

The One Boutique Hotel at Spa Castle

Need to relax? Stay at The One, where the in-house Spa Castle offers detox rooms, swim-up bars, full-body massages, and a host of other indulgences. Because what’s vacation without some indulgence, right?

 

 

 

 

 

Great Wolf Lodge

Need to bring the kids? Great Wolf Lodge has you covered. While the kids (and you, let’s be honest) get to play in the best waterpark in town, you get to quaff some of the tastiest cocktails around. There’s lots to do and lots to not do at Great Wolf.

The Sanford House

If you’re looking for quiet and small amid the action, check out the  Sanford House, a tiny bed and breakfast right in the middle of Arlington’s legendary tourist attractions. Get your indulgence on at Sanford House’s full-service spa before hurtling through the air at nearby Six Flags.

Warwick Melrose 

If you’re in the mood for a great hotel with a four-star restaurant, you must visit the Warwick in Oak Lawn. This posh stay will give you little reason to go outside, between the Landmark restaurant and the in-house Library Bar (which is sensational for several reasons This hotel is also quite pet friendly ‒‒ they even have biscuits for your four-legged companions.

Belmont Hotel

Belmont Hotel 

Want a staycation in North Oak Cliff? Ty the Belmont, which probably is the best-kept secret in the Metroplex. With a lot full of Texas plates, this wonderful boutique hotel is tailor made for those who want to get away without going away.

 

 

 

 

Stoneleigh Hotel & Spa

Also in Fort Worth is the Stoneleigh, the recently (and sumptuously) renovated throwback to the opulent 1920s style of Atr Deco. Simple and elegant, the Stonleigh houses the top-notch Bolla restaurant and a great location among Fort Worth’s many cultural treasures.

 

 

 

 

Hotel Palomar 

The exterior of the Palomar may fool you from the street. But walk inside this exquisite Dallas hotel, across from Moickingbird Station, and be prepared for a great surprise. Close to the DART and all things fun downtown, The Palomar also offers wonderful indulgences including gourmet food and in-house spa services.

 

 

 

 

Aloft 

The Aloft, near the Dallas Convention Center, is the epitome of trendy renovation downtown. Cool, chic, retro, and innovative all at once, you can relax amid the first-floor amenities like the pool, fitness room, and bar while you forget your worries. It’s also great for kids because its on Young street, close to venues like the Dallas Zoo and Pioneer place.

 

 

 

 

Hotel ZaZa

Want the apex of luxury staycations in DFW? Dallas’ Hotel ZaZa is simply the crown jewel. From service to amenities to an intoxicatingly energetic vibe close to Downtown and Uptown, there is simply no better place to indulge your staycation than this upscale gem.

Top 5 Fort Worth Area Patios for Cool Fall Dining

November 4th, 2014

 

Now that the summer heat has (mercifully) cooled into tolerable fall weather, dining outdoors is the thing to do. And Fort Worth has no shortage of cool outdoor patios suited for a good nosh, a nice brew, or a great sandwich.

Bird Café

Downtown, on East 4th Street, the Bird Café is a split-level restaurant with more 2,300 square feet of patio space that looks out over  the recently renovated Sundance Square Plaza. It’s the perfect spot for  cool views and delicious, sharable plates that include everything from Prince Edward Island mussels to potpies. And most of the menu is built from foods from local farmers and growers.

 

Chimy’sChimy’s

In Fort Worth’s West 7th neighborhood is Chimy’s, which, we know, kinda seems like a fast food joint. It’s not. It’s fast, yes, and it’s inexpensive. But the chance to sit on the spacious patio and enjoy some ace Tex-Mex with a cold beer or what may be the best margaritas in town will quickly make you forget you’re in a diner. Make sure to try the “Chimy” Changa while you’re there.

 

Ellerbe Fine FoodsEllerbe Fine Foods

Ellerbe, on West Magnolia Avenue, is big into local and seasonal ingredients for its innovative farm-to-fork cuisine. Inside, the place is somehow cozy and airy t the same time. It’s also equal parts elegance and  minimalist. The patio, of course, is all sorts of elegant that offers an ideal seat for everything from a business lunch to fine dining with fine wines and gourmet food.

 

 Flying SaucerFlying Saucer

With more than 100 beers on tap, you’d be hard-pressed to not find one that goes just perfectly with the sandwich you’ll get here ‒‒ because, trust us, you’ll want a sandwich. There’s, of course, more to Flying Saucer than beer and sandwiches. This hip downtown pub has excellent sharables and live music and a patio space that makes it a happening spot in the heart of Fort Worth.

Joe T. Garcia’sJoe T. Garcia’s

No visit to the Stockyards neighborhood should end without dropping by Joe T. Garcia’s. Justifiably famous for their margaritas and awesome Tex-Mex, this staple of the Stockyards combines old-school recipes with one of the most scenic outdoor garden eating areas in DFW. If you want Tex-Mex in a hacienda-style setting, don’t miss this place.

Top 5 Dallas Area Patios for Cool Fall Dining

October 28th, 2014

 

Halleluiah, the summer heat is over in Dallas and it’s high time to step back out into the fresh air. But don’t think you have to step back indoors to enjoy a fine meal. Check out some of these excellent patio dining spots in the Dallas area.

 Katy Trail Ice House 

On the Katy Trail, haven to runners, walkers, and cyclists from Downtown to North Dallas, is the Ice House, an Uptown hotspot whose back deck offers beautiful year-round views of the trail and its tree-lined splendor. With a massive selection of beers on tap (they have more than 50 taps) and a huge outdoor seating area, the Ice House is tailor-made for good times, groups, and a relaxed party vibe. It’s also dog-friendly and, by the way, has dynamite food.

 

 Belly & Trumpet

On McKinney Avenue, one block from West Village, this wraparound patio restaurant is always a good time. Less a party space than the Ice House, B&T is finely suited to a great glass of wine to go with delicious, sharable small plates that always seem just right.

 

Boxwood Tap + Grill

The Boxwood, on Thomas Avenue, took over the old TABC space and kept the latter’s famous and beloved patio. And that’s a yay if ever there was. The tree is still in the middle of the patio, the selection of craft beers on tap is still great (if limited to 10) and the food is still excellent.

 

Cane Rosso White Rock

Dallas may not be the world’s first choice for Pizza shops, but where it’s good it’s really good, and at Cane Rosso’s second location, in White Rock, it’s really good with a great outdoor vibe. Family-friendly, comfortable, and spacious, the patio features an awesome fire-and-water display amid the arbors of White Rock. It’s also a great spot for unique and tasty wine cocktails.

 

Le BilboquetLe Bilboquet

Extra points if you can pronounce the name, this little French sidewalk spot has the rare (for Dallas) street-patio eatery feel of Western Europe. Located in the Knox-Henderson neighborhood, Le Bilboquet reprises the roast chicken and other dishes from the original Le Bilboquet in New York, with real French owners making sure the food and wine are as authentic as you can get.

Will the Dallas Stars be Ready in 2014-15?

October 22nd, 2014

Welcome cooler weather, and welcome back hockey season. And with the dawn of the 2014-15 NHL season at hand, the Dallas Stars are no longer expecting to just play a rebuilding seaon. This year, they plan to do some damage. Are they ready?

Well, yes, actually, they are. The Stars, in fact, should be a playoff contender and there’s no reason to think they couldn’t go far. Last season was a lot better than anyone expected, and the young team ‒‒ captained by 25-year-old Jamie Benn ‒‒ is more confident and experienced. Their play t the end of last season was better than their play at the beginning, and the Stars’ playoff run did a lot more damage to the Anaheim Ducks than anyone thought.

This year, the Stars are taking their experience in the season and the playoffs and wrapping it up in a series of players who are entering their prime years. This could be a devastating combo come April, when the hunt for the Stanley Cup kicks into overdrive.

What the Stars have this year is a powerful power play squad and an all-around, blue-collar team unafraid to get dirty and play hard. There’s also newcomers like Anders Lindback, who will be the backup to ace goalie Kari Lehtonen, and the much-anticipated Cody Eakin and Brenden Dillon, who recently signed onto the Dallas bench and are likely to add some needed speed and muscle.

Also hopeful this year, is the return of forward Rich Peverley, whose on-bench collapse last year sidelined him while doctors tried to mend his irregular heartbeat. Though not cleared for play yet, Peverley is working out with the team and could see some action some time this year.

Either way, the Stars are loaded for bear and ready for the ice this season. And there’s no doubt that this year’s club actually could give Big D a reason to cheer on a championship contender.

The Five Best (and Sometimes Oddest) Sandwiches in DFW

October 17th, 2014

 

Everybody loves a good sandwich. But for the adventurous out there, take heart ‒‒ DFW has no shortage of oddball gems that go great between two slices of bread (or some other form of exquisite pastry). But just don’t take our word for it. Consider what the folks at the Dallas Observer consider among the best sandwiches in town.

1. Challah French Toast Sandwich at the Coffee House Cafe

It might have a redundant name, but the Coffee House Café’ offers an epic breakfast sandwich that makes up for the traffic you must endure to get to this fine Frankford Road eatery. The challah French toast sandwich is a breakfast all its own ‒‒cheddar cheese, bacon, and one egg, over-easy that comes with a side of fried potatoes.

 

2. The Doc Brown at the  Pecan Lodge

Main Street, where Downtown meets Deep Ellum, offers the best sandwich you can’t always get. Served in limited edition and only occasionally, the Doc brown is a brisket sandwich on a sesame seed bun served up by the folks at Pecan Lodge. Smokey and mesquite-infused, this Wagyu brisket delight is a match for any appetite and may be the best $11 you get to spend when it makes an appearance.

 

 

3. The Rueben at Coppell Deli

Step just outside Dallas and find this disarmingly delicious version of the classic Rueben sandwich ‒‒corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing on lightly toasted rye. The Coppell Deli is somewhat easy to spot, as it’s a small, unassuming, classical-looking deli joint amid Coppell’s high-end homes. But don’t let the humble digs fool you. This is a Rueben you can’t get in many places outside New York. And it’s a lot less of a hassle to get it here.

 

 

4. The Prosciutto Panini at CavalliThe Prosciutto Panini at Cavalli

Irving may not be where you first think of for great Italian food, but drop into Cavalli and indulge in a sandwich so Italian, you’ll almost wish you were on a gondola. This concoction of prosciutto, basil, tomatoes, “fresh” mozzarella, and olive oil is served on pizza dough and is as good as it sounds.

 

 

Pulled Pork5. The Whole Hog at Smoke

This sandwich of pulled pork, mustard vinegar sauce, blue cheese , and cole slaw may be the best handheld lunch in Oak Cliff. Made Carolina-style and intoxicatingly smoky (what else would you expect from a place called Smoke?), you’ll gun this down faster than you want to. Try it with a side of hominy for a serious down-home treat, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Got a better sandwich? Tell us where to find it. We’d love to know.

New Homebuilding: Dallas Is Revitalizing

October 14th, 2014

It’s no overstatement to say that Dallas has blossomed in the past few years. New business, new residents, new commercial buildings, and new roadway projects have turned Dallas into a major growth hub.

The snag, however, lies in housing growth, particularly in the area surrounding the Trinity River. This is where the Trinity River Corridor Project is making this mighty greenway into a major recreation area. But it’s also where, especially south of the river, middle-income families aren’t staying around because there’s not enough good housing there.

Recently, the Dallas Morning news reported on this idea, saying that as more families leave the area, more tax dollars go with them. And as neighborhoods south of the Trinity get more vacant, there seems to be less motivation to build up new neighborhoods that can attract a stable base of residents.

The fact is, in order for Dallas to reach its potential, it needs some new housing in areas like that south of the Trinity. In other areas, such as West Dallas and North Oak Cliff, single-family development is setting the stage for revitalization. As the Morning News reported, an Austin-based developer plans to build 60 homes on a five-acre site near the Belmont Hotel, making it the first new home development proposed in West Dallas in years. The News calls the development “a potential game-changer for an area in which developers already have begun to build hundreds of rental apartment units.”

Nearby, the old 25-acre industrial tract on Singleton Boulevard near Sylvan Avenue is gearing up for hundreds of new apartments and some retail and single-family homes. Likewise, plans to build homes on the 22-acre site in North Oak Cliff at Colorado Boulevard and Fort Worth Avenue (where the Colorado Place apartments once stood) are turning North Oak Cliff and West Dallas into some of the hottest redevelopment property in Dallas.  And the effects can be huge ‒‒ new homes means new businesses, new amenities, and new neighborhoods that bustle with vibrancy.

Keep an eye on this end of town, big things are happening there.

A Look at the Trinity River Project

October 13th, 2014

For all the hopes and plans, the Trinity River Corridor Project is about to be a reality. A big reality. After all, the Trinity River Corridor Project is a monumental public works and economic development project. This will be no mere park, the TRCP will incorporate recreation, environmental restoration, economic development, and major transportation components along the riverfront that will open up new travel and destinations in and around Dallas.

A main component will be the river ecosystem, which has been troubled by drought. Planners are working to build and restore an ecosystem that balances wildlife and habitat amid the trails, parks, lakes, the Great Trinity Forest (the largest urban bottomland forest in the world, and the Trinity Audubon Center.

The TRCP will also feature an equestrian center, “signature” bridges, and new urban development, such as waterfront  residential and commercial space, where people can live, shop, dine, visit, and enjoy what is expected to be abundant nightlife.

This 20-mile, 10,000-acre project will stretch from Web Chapel in the north to I-20 and is expected to be open to the public by 2017. When it’s open, the area will boast diverse sports and recreation (including what should be a world-class golf course, vast woodlands, boardwalks, and birdwatching outposts.

The preservation of the wilderness amid the urban location is a major must for the developers. And recreation along the river, even beyond the TRCP will open up once Dallas gets back to using the waterway, which can take visitors from the Santa Fe Trail to the Gulf of Mexico.

Preserving the wilderness within the city limits of Dallas, with possibly the largest urban bottomland hardwood forest in America, is part of the Trinity River Corridor Project’s environmental and recreational charter. The boundaries of the forest extend from the Santa Fe Trestle Trail near Corinth Street and Riverfront Boulevard within view of downtown Dallas, to just past IH-20, an eleven-mile stretch of land that basically follows the Trinity River. Once the river leaves the forest, its course continues for another 450 miles down to the Gulf of Mexico.

Progress since the TRCP was first greenlighted in 1998 has not been without its share of troubles. A proposed toll road (approved by voters) has earned a lot of scorn and plans to engineer roadways through the project area are considered not cost-effective. But once complete, the TRCP could reinvigorate a long-neglected area of DFW that has a lot of great history and is closely tied to the development of Dallas. Whatever happens, we’ll know sooner than later.

Flying to DFW? Take the DART Downtown

October 9th, 2014

 

Getting to DFW is the easy part. Getting around in the traffic can be … well, let’s just say it’s not something you’ll look back on fondly in your old age.

But there’s good news ‒‒ if you or a loved one or friend is travelling to Dallas-Fort Worth, Dallas Area Rapid Transit, or DART, has now opened its Orange Line extension. At long last, travelers to the third-busiest airport in the country can finally hop on one of the best light rail systems around and take it straight to Downtown Dallas. The Orange line from Terminal A at DFW International Airport takes visitors straight into the heart of Dallas’ arts, culture, nightlife, and events.

The new DART link connects visitors to the most popular venues and areas of Dallas, including the Arts District, the city’s business and commerce hub, and Fair Park. And for those looking to hop a train to the city’s other great venues, such as American Airlines Arena, DART offers many connections to the best of Big D.

By the way, if you don’t land at Terminal A, it’s not a problem. DART’s Terminal Link takes passengers from one terminal to the next at the airport.

The introduction of the Orange Line is the latest step from DART to boost the light rail system. Over the past few years, DART has made it easier to buy mobile tickets with the GoPass app and increased its service to Dallas’ other airport, Love Field. Over the next few years, you’ll also see a lot more upgrades in the DART system. The carrier plans to roll out enhanced pedestrian and recreation areas, including parks, a new trolley system, and access to the much-anticipated Trinity River Corridor Project. This 10,000-acre greenway will include a major new golf course and is expected to be ready for its grand unveiling in 2017.

Fortunately, you won’t have to wait that long in traffic to get from the airport to Downtown Dallas now that the Orange Line is open.

Visit the 2014 Texas State Fair

October 3rd, 2014

What would Dallas be … Actually, what would Texas be without the Texas State Fair? So big that it takes almost a month to accomplish!

Well, now that it’s October, you can take a trip to Fair Park to see Big Tex and take in the scope of the fair that boasts everything from rides and food to demos and crafts. The 2014 Texas State Fair runs until October 19 and is open Sundays through Thursdays until then. General admission is $17. Kids under 4 feet tall and seniors over 60 years old can get in for $13. Kids under age 3 can get in for free, as can seniors on Thursdays (October 9 & 16).

There’s never a shortage of things to do at the fair. Drop in to catch the Guacamole Demonstrations at the Cutco Celebrity Chef Kitchen, where a dazzling display of knife skills leads to awesome guacamole that you get to sample (and you’ll want to). Demos are at 11:30 a.m.daily, except for Thursday and Sundays. You can also see the Milking Demo in the Food and Fiber Building, and learn about how milk gets from the farm to your fridge. There are five daily demos where you can learn about the different types of cows, milk production, and actually see a dairy cow being milked.

Rather see some impressive artwork? Check out the chalk art in the Children’s Boardwalk, where artist Juan Miguel Aguirre is working on some incredible 3-D chalk art over by the Lagoon. From a rollercoaster to Big Tex himself, you won’t believe what he is doing with chalk. Or you could visit the Truck Zone, where automakers have built a city outside the Automobile Building to showcase the latest trucks. There are loads of activities to go along with the hot wheels ‒‒ bull riding, concerts, fun and games. It’s not just about the sweet rides.

Or, if you want a quieter pursuit, take a picture on the new Pontoon Bridge, spanning the Lagoon. The fair built the new bridge to provide better access to the construction exhibit and the Kids’ Boardwalk. It is a perfect place to snap a picture of the Texas Star, or a killer selfie.

In other words, there’s always something to do, and you can spend all day doing it at the Texas State Fair. Just make sure you don’t wait until November to drive out, because Big Tex waves adios for the year on the 19th.