Monday, February 02, 2009

What's with Dallas?

This blog is an answer to Amanda, who is struggling with the Dallas culture like so many of us are.

I know how you feel. Dallas is a strange city. There isn't really much to do with the exception of shopping and eating. We seem to have more than our share of chains and "cookie cutter" stores and shops. Everyone is content to shop at the Gap and eat at McDonalds 3 times week. It's not good.

Have hope. There is a struggling underground of people who want real culture like you and I do. This is why we live in East Dallas. Our neighborhood is almost exclusively older homes and there are so many trees and lots of little funky restaurants. I recommend you spend a day getting lost in East Dallas.

Places and things that make me feel like I'm not in Dallas anymore:

The Dairyette: It's a drive up burger/soda joint that only takes cash. Very quaint with good malts. Right down the street from my house. They often have vintage car shows. 9785 Ferguson Rd

Dr. Sketchy's Anti Art School: "Dr. Sketchy's is what happens when Cabaret meets Art School" You buy at ticket, show up with your drawing supplies and they supply a model. It's like a little party.

CD Source: Looking for a wide variety of Jazz and music that isn't top 40? Cd Source is a used record store that has a treasure trove of goodies. They're not he fanciest place and sometimes it smells funny but you're sure to find something you like. It's the closest thing to Cheapo records (my fav in Austin) that we have. 5500 Greenville Ave Ste 201

Genroku: Sushi in Chinatown. This place has great sushi at a good price and also makes killer chinese food. Not your usual sushi joint. Good beer selection and tasty miso soup. Some people may laugh at our little Chinatown in Richardson when you compare it to any other Chinatown but it's all we've got and it has a few gems worth seeking out. Stop by the new and improved Asian market or go across the way for Dim Sum on weekends. 400 N Greenville Ave

Bishop Arts: You may have already discovered it, but in case you haven't.... It's a small part of Oak Cliff that has a great selection of restaurants and shopping in a historic setting. Stop and eat at Veracruz. It's MesoAmerican, Mayan, Huasteco and Aztec Cuisine. It's kicks a$$!!!! 408 North Bishop, Suite 107 Then stop by Make and see a shop filled with 100% hand made items. My Superchica merch is there and you can also sign up for a sewing class. Walk the neighborhood and enjoy the ambiance.

The Majestic: What a wonderful building. They host so many shows and plays each year, there is sure to be several you are interested in. The Dallas Black Dance Theater performs this month and the AFI film festival is happening in April. 1925 Elm Street Dallas

Jimmy's Food Store: Step into Little Italy and fill your tummy with a fine sandwich or maybe a cannoli. Jimmy's has a full stock of Italian groceries, wine and desserts. Their deli makes fresh sandwiches and other goodies and you can buy fresh pasta too. A favorite with diners who "aren't from here". You can eat there or take it with you. 4901 Bryan St

Henk's European Deli and Bakery: We love this place. It makes me feel like I've left Dallas for just a bit. They have a full service restaurant that specializes in all types of sausage, krauts and other German dishes. They also offer a wide selection of European beers served in tall steins. It's not campy, it's authentic. Stop by their large bakery to get meringue cookies, napoleons and black & whites. They also have a small shop where you can buy European groceries. Check out the live music on the weekends. Sit at the bar or table and enjoy. 5811 Blackwell, behind the big Half Price Books

That's a small list of good things in Dallas, but there are many more. I realize that what we lack is a general vibe that supports the arts & culture and a reverence for history. Sadly, Dallas is full of beautiful historical buildings but many are crumbling and others are to be demolished. Check out Preservation Dallas to find out more about what's being done to preserve our history.

I need encouragement too. Especially after I've traveled somewhere else, but it's really up to us to be bold and make our mark in Dallas and hope that others will follow and that one day we can overcome the materialism. We need a revival!!!

Let's just say no to valet parking, chains, McMansions and trendy anything.