Dallas, Texas is not all cowboy boots and yeehaw’s.
One of the most populous cities in the U.S. with one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the nation, Dallas is a hub of commerce and culture. In my three day-visit, I was impressed to find a thriving vegan scene and a widely celebrated Mexican tradition, alongside the iconic Lone Star State fanfare. From an odd trucker bar, to the quirky curio shops, I feasted my eyes — and stomach — on the many pleasures the city has to offer.
FRIDAY: Bishop Arts District, The Hipster Spot
Stepping foot off the plane, I noticed something oddly foreign to me — shoe shine shops were front and center of the airport, and men with brimmed hats and hide boots were lining up for a polish. But as my sister, Jessica (who my sister Katrina and I were there to visit) informed me, we were headed for the “hipster part of town” — the Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff.
We had lunch at Tribal, a trendy vegan cafe even my carnivourous sisters were willing to try. Jessica has lived in the lower Greenville area for the better part of a decade and had heard good things.
We were not disappointed. I ordered the Farmer’s Falafel bowl, which featured a bed of arugula and field greens topped with seasoned lentils and the most flavorful and moist falafel I’ve ever tasted. My sisters enjoyed their own power bowl variations, and we left feeling just the right kind of full.
Bishop Arts was once a row of warehouses. Now it’s a two-block neighborhood of bars, restaurants and shops.
Exploring the area, I noticed people had an odd sense of humor in these parts. I’m not sure if the “Ghost Will Seat You” sign on the patio of the OLDFELLOWS eatery was an an inside joke or a reference to the ghost towns of the Wild West.
Stopping by a retail store on W. 7th St. called Fete-ish, a canine owned-business, I realized that many of the district’s business owners share this odd sense of humor.
My second realization was that Fete-ish is more pet-friendly than child-friendly. They sell a variety of products for pets and pet lovers alike, as well as adult gifts like raunchy napkins and a variety of curios, including Frida Kahlo pillows and unique Christmas ornaments.
I was lucky to meet the proprietor, Zsa Zsa, a furry fellow whose profile was printed, Andy Warhol-style, over the shop.
SATURDAY: Something for Everyone, The Dallas Farmers Market
One of the weekend’s highlights was visiting the Dallas Farmers Market. Now I’ve been to my share, but this outdoor market was bigger and more vibrant than any I’ve seen before.
Seasonal crops were lined in rows in a cornocopia of locally grown gourds, giant pumpkins and leafy greens.
In the Boho Market, there were vendors selling hand-made jewelry and colorful knick-knacks.
And others displayed home decor.
And vintage cloth.
And snacks, and candles, and soap made from fresh lavender!
So many things to see, smell and taste!
Live music filled my ears as I strolled through the outdoor booths taking it all in.
The Indoor Market
In addition to the outdoor market, The Dallas Farmers Market includes a large indoor section featuring fresh meats, fish vendors and a variety of restaurants and bars.
We decided on pizza. It was uber cheesy and the thin crust dough was soft . They had a few unusual options, as well.
To wash it down, we tried local brews at the 2nd Tap. My sister went with a blonde ale — it was good as far as blondes go, but I prefer IPA’s. So I went with the Mosaic IPA, a local from Deep Ellum Brewing Co. It had a piney, citrusy aroma, smilar to Creature Comfort’s Tropicalia.
SUNDAY: The Truck Yard, For Dogs, Kids and Truckers Alike
The next day, we visited the Truck Yard in Lower Greenville for lunch. It has a gnarly aesthetic — as if it were an actual truck stop.
We visited the joint with my eight-month old niece, Olivia. She had a great time looking at the deconstructed bikes — the knuts and bolts of the place — as well as the numerous dogs allowed on the premisis.
On that particular Sunday, they were hosting a Chili-off, so we decided to just have a drink and eat elsewhere.
Cool Dallas Sh**t and Food for Thought
Before leaving, I bought a pair of Frida Kahlo socks. Everywhere we went, I’d noticed her face in shop windows, on pillows, and now, on socks. I figured she must be something of a local icon.
I also noticed that Day of the Dead imagery was practically omnipotent, where in Georgia, Hispanic traditions are more of a subculture, certainly less mainstream. It reminded me of the history of Texas and how it was born out of a fusion of cultures, politically, culturally and otherwise.
So, I bought the socks.
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