A Local’s Loves: Dallas

Having spent my early childhood here, gone to college here, then settling nicely on the eastside of Dallas in Lakewood, I have gathered over the years an arsenal of favorite places and things to do around town.

I have my little niches and comfort zones that make me feel everything is right in the world, and over the next several months I’ll be sharing them with anyone who, if they’re ever in the DFW area, should make a pit stop to. Hopefully you will enjoy these places as much as I do.

Townhouse Kitchen + BarFavorite Lunch Spot:
Townhouse Kitchen + Bar

It’s the absolute perfect place for lunch for many reasons. One, the décor is a kind of comfortable elegance that embraces your low-key casual Friday get-up, yet sophisticated enough to take the boss out for a bite. It’s hard to find a place that straddles both. Second, the prices are totally affordable. The portions are pretty large, and I usually never have to spend more than about $20 to $25. And finally, the food. It’s simply divine. A diner may either order their Bento Box of the day, which includes salad, entrée, side and dessert (they don’t skimp either), or pick from a slew of whimsical, New American goodies including pork sliders, the ahi tuna sandwich, their version of street vendor tacos, and my favorite, their grilled vegetable wrap with pickled veggies, hummus and goat cheese. Swoon. 13270 Dallas Pkwy., Galleria Dallas, 972-300-0986, www.townhousedallas.com

Favorite Place to See a Movie:
Angelika at Mockingbird Station

Yes, I’m a sucker for those trendy indie films. So sue me. This venue also has a pretty well stocked bar where I may imbibe as I please in the theater. And afterwards, I can pop into West Elm or Francesca’s for a few fleeting purchases. 5321 E. Mockingbird Ln., 214-841-4713, www.anglikafilmcenter.com

Favorite Quiet Spaces:
Sometimes, life’s noise is too much and a quiet place to catch my breath is needed. If it isn’t at home, there are two places I beeline to.

The grassy knoll above the amphitheatre at the Dallas Arboretum. It overlooks a gorgeous scene of White Rock Lake and greenery below, and behind the knoll is the vast gardens themselves. Perfect for a picnic especially this time of year. 8525 Garland Rd., 214-515-6500, www.dallasarboretum.org

The docks of White Rock Lake. Go in the early evening to watch sailboats and listen to the hum of the area’s wildlife. Trust me, the city’s chaos will float away with the ducks.

Favorite Dinner Spot:
Sundown at Granada
It’s really hard to pick just one place as my favorite dinner destination, since Dallas is crawling with amazing restaurants with innovative chefs serving delicious food. And I don’t want to necessarily shine a light on just one place when there are so many great eateries, but, since that’s exactly what I’m doing, I better make it count, right? Sundown at Granada is everything a restaurant should be. The servers and bartenders are warm, the ‘70s lakeside cabin-inspired décor is both stylish and comfortable, and both the drink and food menus are thoughtfully put together and perfectly executed.

The owner, Mike Schoder, is a cool, laid-back guy who owns the live music venue next door, Granada Theater. He’s also a vegetarian and has a bit of a hippie vibe about him, so the menu reflects a bit of that. And the meat that is on the menu is free-range and high quality. Entrees include Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto, Spicy Berry-BBQ Atlantic Salmon with roasted sweet potatoes and spicy pecans, vegetarian/vegan options like Chilled Buckwheat Soba Noodles and the Peaceful Indian Chole—a mix of curried coconut chickpeas, dried apricots, brown rice and toasted almonds. The cocktails are just as involved, my favorite being the Fiona Apple Bison, a concoction of Zu Bison Grass Vodka, Apple Liqueur, maple syrup, lemon juice, bitters and ginger beer. 3520 Greenville Ave., 214-823-8305, www.sundownatgranada.com

Favorite Shops:
Zara at Galleria Dallas.
 It’s the only Dallas/Fort Worth location for the Spanish-based, Euro-chic brand, and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
13350 Dallas Pkwy., 972-701-7100, www.galleriadallas.com

H&M at NorthPark Center. Their H&M has two giant floors of cheap and chic threads. I head there after a depressing bout of window-shopping at Oscar de la Renta and Tiffany’s.
8687 N. Central Expy., 214-363-7441, www.northparkcenter.com

Other necessary pit-stops include We Are 1976 and Indigo 1745 in Oak Cliff, Urban Flower/Grange Hall on Knox/Henderson, and when I’m feeling particularly like a 30,000-dollar millionaire, Highland Park Village—not buy, of course, but to envy.

Have any of your own Dallas favorites? Let us know in the comments below.