Sam's Favorite Things: Dallas
Just in time for D Magazine's annual "Best of Dallas" list,
I'm sharing just a few of my favorite places to go when I'm home
A common misconception about me: Dallas is not my hometown.
After I graduated high school in Florida and moved out to Berkeley, my family moved to their current home just north of the metroplex in Allen. I've never really lived in Dallas besides the occasional summer or long weekend. Although I can't see myself ever moving there, Dallas and its surrounding areas are a lot of fun and I always enjoy coming back to visit.
Sharing a list of some of my favorite spots, old and new. In addition to the obvious Dallas favorites like Katy Trail Ice House and Nick and Sam's, I try to check out different areas and try new places each time I come into town. I have my friends and family to thank for showing me most of these!
My house backs up to Twin Creeks Golf Course, which residents can also walk or bike as a trail. My advice- head to the clubhouse, grab a bucket of golf balls, and head to the driving range.
Another range I like: Frisco Gun Club. This indoor shooting range is extremely nice- it's big, it's new, and a very pleasant and luxurious experience. I usually try to make a reservation because, especially around the holidays, it fills up fast for non-members. If you're looking for a true Texan experience, the Frisco Gun Club is not to be missed.
While I much prefer my mom's cooking, I can't leave home without a Torchy's Taco. Either the deep-fried mushroom or deep-fried avocado taco is a slam dunk with me.
McKinney, a sweet, small town recently named one of the happiest places in America, is picturesque and historic in all the right ways. From the old homes with the wrap-around porches to the old courthouse in the center of the town square, McKinney makes for the loveliest place to pass an afternoon. During the summer, you can't miss the farmer's market on Saturday mornings and the day after Thanksgiving, you have to make it here for the Christmas Tree Lighting Festival. Naturally, there are petting zoos at both events.
We buy all of our meats, eggs, and milk from Local Yokel, a butcher that sources from ethical producers nearby. I rarely miss a trip to Patina Green for antiquing and a hearty soup and sandwich, nor a quick stop at Groovy Coop to comb through 25-cent records. Other favorites: Spoons Restaurant, Emporium Pies, Barrons Estate Jewelers, Loco Cowpoke Salsa Shop.
Deep Ellum: Deep Ellum is an up-and-coming area of Dallas that's still rough around the edges- think of it as a smaller, safer SOMA. It's edgy, artsy, chock full of bars and other hipster necessities like tattoo parlors and coffee/kombucha spots. It's the kind of place where you should have bought that beautiful, old exposed brick storefront years ago because the rent has gone way up.
Take a stroll down Main Street starting at Braindead Brewing, which backs up into a stunning close-up view of the Dallas skyline. They're constantly brewing new beers and running promotions to keep you coming back for more. Pick a spot outside near the giant Jenga, order a few beers to sample, and kick back. Next stops: Jade & Clover, Pecan Lodge, Glazed Donut Works.
Lower Greenville: Far from up-and-coming, Lower Greenville/Knox-Henderson neighborhoods have been popular and fun for years. HG Supply Co is my favorite place for a few key reasons: incredible rooftop with a view, Ginger Kombucha Moscow Mules, cold-pressed juices, and healthy veg-friendly dishes on the menu.
Truck Yard has to be one of the coolest, most unique bars I've ever been to. This mostly-outdoor venue looks the part with eclectic patio furniture, old truck beds turned into picnic tables, a converted air stream serving drinks, live music, and a treehouse with a small bar shaking up cocktails. Food trucks can pull into the Truck Yard and they frequently change, so you can have your brisket sandwich along with your cold beer. It's like drinking in your favorite redneck neighbor's backyard but so, so much better. Next stops: Dude, Sweet Chocolate, Steel City Pops, Gemma Restaurant.