Posting photos of thermometers is a frequent occurrence on my Facebook news feed. Yep, it’s hot. Even Dallas locals can’t handle it. I can’t get 10 feet outside my front door in the morning before feeling like I’m about to pass out. And while baking cookies on the dashboard of your car is funny (and delicious!), I have some thoughts on better ways to cool off, and they involve cocktails. Here are my personal favorite places to embrace summer, sip some suds and splash around a little.
Beach volleyball at Sandbar Cantina & Grill
Granted, there are no frothy white waves crashing onto any pristine shore here, but the sentiment of sinking my toes into some sand and serving a ball over the net is just as satisfying. Order a drink at the bar, relax in a lounge chair or play a round of volleyball. With volleyball tournaments, live bands and DJs, I can get my vacation in ... right from home!
317 S. Second Ave., 214-884-5528, www.sandbarcatina.com
Boozy (or non-boozy) snow cones from the La Grange food truck:
To give a very brief history, La Grange opened in Deep Ellum a few years ago as a rockin’ live music venue and a swanky bar with gourmet tacos (yes, gourmet). It has always served these delicious, syrupy and quite-alcoholic shaved ice cups that I love, and now it has taken that concept and turned it into a stationary food truck at the new Dallas West Trailer Park in Oak Cliff. Obviously, the cups can be ordered without the “kick,” but what’s the fun in that? There are literally dozens of flavor options. My favorite is the Infused Mint Snow with a flavored rum drizzle.
400 W. Commerce, Dallas West Trailer Park, 214-741-2008, www.lagrangedallas.com
Pool time and down-home cooking at Ku De Ta/Southern Comforts:
I call this VIP swimming pool and gourmet Southern eatery the “good-times compound.” It’s two totally different venues and atmospheres sharing one property. On the restaurant side, diners delight in bacon-sautéed spinach, chicken-fried steak over liver mousse and fruit cobbler. The dark-wood decor reminds me of the inside of a whiskey barrel, and it’s decked with antique flags from the South. I can come here for my fix of live country and blues music. But, if I’m feeling up for a swim, I just walk through the courtyard to the exclusive Ku De Ta pool, post up at a cabana or bed, and relax with a drink. My favorite is the Cointreau Breeze—a summery blend of Cointreau, cranberry juice and grapefruit juice. Yum! And P.S.: Chat with the owner or the manager of the venues and they may give you a membership card to the swanky Ku De Ta.
3121 Ross Ave., 214-298-3836, www.kudetadallas.com, www.southerncomfortsdallas.com
Beer Tastings at Deep Ellum Brewing or Rahr & Sons Brewing:
There are a few excellent, local brewing companies that lead weekly or bi-weekly tours and tastings. If I’m in Fort Worth, I’ll stop by Rahr & Sons (Wednesdays 5 to 7:30 pm or Saturdays 1 to 3 pm). It boasts seasonal and year-round brews, and since I’m not a big fan of super-hopped beer, I’m diggin’ the Summertime Wheat. And I love Deep Ellum Brewing Co. because it's in an artsy part of town, the beer is delicious and it has a beer garden in which to frolic. Its tastings are Thursdays 6 to 8:30 pm and Saturdays noon to 3 pm.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Co., 701 Galveston Ave., Fort Worth, 817-810-9266, www.rahrandsons.com;
Deep Ellum Brewing Co., 2821 St. Louis St., 214-888-3322, www.deepellumbrewing.com
Have any favorites of your own? Let us know what they are.