Go Vegan at Spiral Diner
I’m not vegan but I aspire to be. I feel like a total prima donna when I recite the list of things I don’t eat, but I have good reason. Meat and gluten are foremost on the list so I was delighted when my mom took me to Spiral Diner in Oak Cliff. First of all, it’s just cool looking — ’50s diner meets industrial loft. My Jamaican Jerk BBQ San’ich was saucy, spicy, and sweet with a pineapple on top. I would be lying if I said it tasted like meat, but meat hasn’t been a part of my diet for 8 1/2 years so I don’t crave it. The multigrain tempeh was moist and I got thoroughly messy eating it, which is a good sign in the case of any burger. Bonus: getting a sandwich that reads “jerk.”
Ride the McKinney Avenue Trolley
Not too many modern American cities still have a trolley this quaint, and let’s face it, functional. When my husband and I lived downtown we’d walk to McKinney Avenue for dinner then take the trolley back. The best part? It’s free. The trolley runs from Dallas Museum of Art downtown to West Village shopping center on McKinney and Lemmon Avenues. You can hop on and off as many times as you like and it runs 365 days a year. The streetcars date back to the early 1900’s and the conductors truly take pride in their work as they are all volunteers.
Chow Down at Taj Express
There is perhaps no food I love more than Indian food. Taj Express was a staple in my single-girl diet when I lived five minutes from the Lemmon Avenue buffet. Dallas has a plethora of good Indian places now, but most are far north of downtown. Taj Express is a convenient and satisfying lunch stop with its $10 buffet. I know buffet is a dirty word to some, me included, but Indian buffets in Dallas are usually fresh and delicious. Taj Express is small by the standards of Indian buffets in Richardson and Irving, but I can’t get enough of those crunchy vegetable pakoras (pictured below) and I don’t often see them at other Indian restaurants. Taj Express may qualify as a hole-in-the-wall by decor standards, but the food is five-star in my book.
Groove Out at House of Blues
Let me take this opportunity to tell you how comfortable and cozy House of Blues is.
Shop Till You Drop
If you can’t find anything nice to say about Dallas, go shopping. Sure, the concrete, heat, and traffic get you down, but, man, is the retail therapy therapeutic for those of us who enjoy that sort of thing. As far as shopping goes, there’s hardly a thing you cannot find in Dallas. I’ve been to Dubai and I’ve seen the world’s largest mall and honestly, Dallas malls are holding their own against indoor ski slopes, larger-than-life aquariums, and outdoor fountains.
The Galleria has an ice skating rink and NorthPark has some pretty cool modern art. It’s not just the high-end malls like the Galleria and NorthPark, but vintage wonders like Lula B’s in Deep Ellum that are pure entertainment. Just like Dubai, Dallas gets unbearably hot in the summer and the mall is a great place to cool off, shop, and dine.