The Cheap Bastard's Ultimate Guide to Eating like a Total Cheap Bastard in Dallas
For this week's cover story, Alice "The Cheap Bastard" Laussade provides an extensive and profane guide to, as she puts it, her "favorite restaurants in Dallas where cheap meets delicious (without meeting diarrhea)." It follows. Also, now you can Cheap Bastardize freakin' anything.
Dan Zettwoch Click to see the full Cheap Bastard cover
White Rock Coffee
4216 Abrams Road
The Starbucks drive-through on Northwest Highway has a singing barista. Guess that's cool if you like to start your morning by busting barista noses. If someone singing at you before you've had your coffee sounds like the worst marketing idea ever, check out White Rock Coffee. Drive up and get you some caffeine. Order a White Rocker (latte with caramel and white chocolate), then brag for the rest of your life that you got face-banged by Bret Michaels.
Big Mama's Chicken N Waffles
9810 Forest Lane
At Big Mama's Chicken N Waffles, you can drive through the line or walk up to the window. Either way, you're paying cash only. So bring your bills and order the chicken and waffles. Do not stray from this order. Repeat: Do not be a doofus.
When you look at the food pile they serve up, you'll think, "It's just chicken and waffles. I mean, seriously, how good can it [bite] AWMAHAGAD THAT'S WHAT MY MOUTH LIKES!" Eat it.
T C Shaved Ice
Dan Zettwoch It's time to find the stuff in this thing! Click to embiggen and play
10999 Garland Road
TC Shaved Ice offers a unique variety of flavor options, including, but not limited to, "tigers blood" (pretty sure it was strawberry plus coconut), "dreamsycle" and "raspbery." A large shaved ice costs less than three bucks (cash only), but brings you 100 percent relief from even the flop-sweatiest of Texas summers. Plus, you'll probably see a hooker.
11625 Webb Chapel Road
Fried fish? Yuh huh. Drive-through or dine-in, the crispy, so-hot-out-of-the-fryer-it'll-melt-your-face-off-Iron-Maiden-or-Indiana-Jones-or-Total-Recall-style fried catfish fillet and fried shrimp basket comes with fries, tastes better than Brad Pitt looks in Legends of the Fall and will cost you about seven bucks.
Note: Seafood Shack won't let you order a margarita from their drive-through. I asked. Research.
6537 E. Northwest Highway
Amuhrika is the best place ever. And that is, in part, because of Keller's. Here, you can drive up, put the car in park and order a burger, beer and even cigarettes while your engine is still running for absolutely no reason. While you suck down a cheeseburger, drink in the scenery: 20 chicks in the bed of a pickup, cyclists in spandex, a motorcycle gang or three and the best artist's rendering of a hamburger with "special dressing" ever.
Cool & Hot Tacos
930 E. 8th St.
There are nine things you need to know about Cool & Hot. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. Great tacos. Get picadillo.
2. And snow cones. Snow cones!!
4. Credit cards: Yes.
5. Scenic tire-shop views.
6. Breakfast tacos all day, which is stunning because:
7. They're open 24 hours Thursday through Sunday
8. Butt cracks!!!
9. Drive-through or walk-up. If you walk up, sit on their patio and play "Cat Calls: Love 'Em Because They Make Me Feel Like a Special and Respected Lady."
6857 Arapaho Road
When it's hot dog time -- and really, when isn't it hot-dog time? -- check this place out. It's cash only and there's no seating inside, but they have the neon relish and Vienna beef your stomach seeks. A Texas Dog will cost you next to nothing and comes loaded with mustard, tomatoes, jalapeños and something called "salarysalt."
Dog Stop also serves shaved ice. So, theoretically, you could ask them to put dreamsicle syrup on your hot dog. Oooh -- or you could order a shaved ice with hot dog syrup. "More mustard, please!" Oh, that'd be gross? Right. Because a hot dog isn't assholes and elbows to start with.
Egg Roll Hut
4509 Columbia Ave.
You've driven past Egg Roll Hut a million times, and you probably had no idea you were missing out on the best chocolate malt in Dallas. The Internet will tell you to try the chicken fried rice at the Egg Roll Hut, and to the Internet, I say, "INTERNET WRONG!" Pass on the egg roll, the burger, the chicken-fried steak basket ("with homemade gravy") and get the chocolate malt. Egg Roll Hut takes credit cards, offers delivery and is open late. If you drive through, bring a buddy. On a scale of safe-looking to scary-looking, Egg Roll Hut is Ron Perlman.
Buffet, Real or Imagined
2014 Irving Blvd.
Chicken-fried steak or chicken-fried chicken. Whatever you order at Mama's Daughters', make sure it's something-fried-something and you're guaranteed to leave happy. In this most perfect diner ever (packed with bitchy waitresses and super nice old dudes) they have daily "Meat & 3" specials, which all include a meaty entrée and three sides (I always go mashed carb, fried carb, cheesy carb). Is it sensible to include three side items with every giant entrée? Fuck yes, it is, darlin'.
Sweet Georgia Brown
2840 E. Ledbetter Drive
Did you hear that? That was the sound of Tony Horton screaming, "NOOOO!!!" Darth-Vader-style as you walked in the door of Sweet Georgia Brown's. This place is a buffet-style Mama's Daughters'. Plus barbecue. It's the polar opposite of Spiral Diner. I dare you to ask them if the have a low-carb option here. Wait -- I undare you. Don't get concussed. "Sir, why is there a beef rib sticking out of your forehead?"
When you order, they put your food straight into a Styrofoam container fit for carry-out, because -- let's be real here -- if you eat three sausage links, plus two scoops of greens (Holy Soul Food Jesus, get the greens. They're at least 40 percent meat), plus two scoops of mashed potatoes, plus two scoops of macaroni and cheese plus cornbread all in one sitting, you're the exception to the motherhuggin' rule.
The buffet here will run you around $14. Which ain't a bad deal for the three meals you'll get out of it.
4436 Lemmon Ave.
Taj Express looks kinda busted from the outside, which makes stupid people scared to go in there. Sweet.
Smart people get to eat all the naan, papadams and creamy, cheesy spinach stuff they can stuff in their mouth holes. The all-you-can-eat buffet costs about $8 per person, changes daily and offers just a few entrée options. Sometimes it's tikka masala day, sometimes it's tandoori chicken day, sometimes it's korma day. Embrace the random.
Tortas La Hechizera
13531 Montfort Drive, No. 127
Do not order El Aragon at Tortas la Hechizera if you generally feel inadequate. Found on the "Las Peligrosas" section of the menu, this bigger-than-Meatloaf's-moobs sandwich is packed with beef fajita meat, poblano peppers, raw onion, tomato, sour cream, avocado and the meltiest cheese ever. It's better than seeing jeggings on a fat cat.
Wingfield's Breakfast & Burger
2615 S. Beckley Ave.
Every time someone orders the triple bacon cheeseburger at Wingfield's, an angel goes, "Are you fucking kidding me? C'mon, you guys."
Here's the Wingfield's drill: Walk inside this tiny, tiny building (which only holds about six people, uncomfortably) and order a burger and a drink. Do not order fries. In this case, fries are a waste of precious burger stomach space. (And the burger you're about to eat is Jessica-Simpson's-current-ass big.) Pay cash. Wait for about 10 minutes, until you hear your name yelled.
Bring the food back to your car and Dyson it. (There's no seating inside. You could stand in there and eat your burger at the people who are waiting in line, though).
Next: Calorie Bombs and hangover cures.
Calorie Bombs/Hangover Cures
911 N. Peak St.
What to order when you get here: 5-Alarm breakfast taco (refried beans, eggs, chorizo, five-chile salsa and cheese in a 14-inch tortilla) at breakfast. At lunchtimes: The Lester (soft flour tortilla layered with refried beans then folded around a crispy corn shell, then ground sirloin, then lettuce, tomatoes and cheese for $2.69) and Disaster Queso (queso + ground beef + guac + pico = Kool-Aid guy "Oh Yeah").
While you wait: 1) Put your mouth directly to the self-serve jalapeño ranch pump. 2) Pump.
Maple & Motor
4810 Maple Ave.
Guy Fieri likes the burger here, but don't take his word for it. (Dude is like a cracked-out 80-year-old Miamian. He wears tennis wristbands, lost his sunglasses on the back of his head and won't stop yelling "BACON!") Get there and try this meat house yourself.
The hangover cure here: tots with cheese, bacon and jalapeños. Or, ya know, a burger. Or hair of the dog.
2726 Commerce St.
Burgers. Chicken wings. Hot dogs. Cheese fries. Beers. Basically, you're at Chili's without having to go inside a motherhunching Chili's. "Hey, guys! Welcome to Chili's!!! My name's Greg McDonglick and I'll be your server tonight!! Wanna try our new Southwestern Egg Roll Mimosa Burgers??!? THEY'RE GREAT I HATE MY LIFE!" A server at Angry Dog would never exclaim "mimosas" at you. Never.
Trailercakes (food truck)
The mini cupcakes at the Trailercakes food truck are sweet, piled high with frosting, and they need to go swiftly into your mouth part. Try the PB&J cupcake (peanut butter icing piled on top of grape jelly-filled white cupcake), a Strawberry Fields (white chocolate cupcake with strawberry icing and a strawberry Pop Tart jabbed in the top for good measure. Yumb.) and the Cookie Monster (Oreo cookie crust, plus white cake with marshmallow center, topped with Oreo buttercream and AN OREO).
9007 Garland Road
Actual conversation that happened when I was in line the last time I was at Hypnotic:
Customer: (looking at a case full of animal-cracker-topped donuts) So, um -- you guys have
Owner: (unapologetically) Naw, man. No.
Customer: OK. Gimme a half dozen of the bacon ones.
Come to Hypnotic Donuts on Lone Star Wednesdays and from 11 a.m.-12 p.m., you can get your doughnut, chicken biscuit and free Lone Star.
You want the Kaye's Chicken Biscuit. It comes with the aforementioned chicken, biscuit, cream cheese, fresh jalapeños, and it makes you yell, "CHIK-FIL-A CAN GO BLOW A GOAT!! THIS IS AMAZETITS AND THIS JOINT IS OPEN ON SUNDAYS WHICH IS SOMEHOW THE ONLY DAY YOU EVER REALLY NEED A CHICKEN BISCUIT ANYWAY!" Beer, a chicken biscuit and a bacon-topped doughnut? If this breakfast had boobs, you'd marry it.
Ssahm BBQ (food truck)
Sara Kerens A beautiful mess of kimchee fries
Kimchee fries (fresh, hand-cut fries, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese, cilantro, onion, caramelized kimchee and spicy mayo plus their spicy marinated pork) are the best cheese fries you'll ever eat. Order the Ssahm Dawg and the nice lady in the truck will actually ask you, "What kind of meat do you want on your bacon-wrapped hot dog?" Meat trifecta?!? Yes. It's a bacon-wrapped hot dog topped with your choice of their marinated beef or pork, plus jalapeños, lettuce, cheese, cilantro and onion, caramelized kimchee, wasabi mayo, spicy mayo (because everyone knows a meat trifecta requires two mayos) and a side of "AMERICAAAA! FUCK YEAH!"
Next: One-stop shopping lunch
Jimmy's Food Store
Dan Zettwoch Read Alice's tips (Click to embiggen)
4901 Bryan St.
Walk inside Jimmy's, head straight to the back of the store to the meat counter and order yourself an Italian Stallion sandwich (mortadella, capicola, sopressata, pepperoni, provolone, porketta, coppa, mozzarella and prosciutto, plus lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, cherry peppers, romano cheese, mayo and mustard. You can add avocado for an additional charge, but Jesus, Fatty. Are you serious with the adding the avocado right now?) While you wait for the lovely people behind that glorious meat counter to make your sandwich, shop in the store for dinner. They have fresh pastas, badass sausages, lasagna for days and all the beer, wine and weird jars of pickled eggs you could ever need.
634 W. Davis St.
Just want to clear this up right off the bat: It's not a bag market, y'all. It's a food place.
The turkey sandwich (house-smoked turkey, bacon, avocado, lettuce stuff) is great, but the chicken salad sandwich here bitch slaps every other chicken salad sandwich in Dallas. It's simple: chicken, celery, walnuts and roasted grapes. Not sure if you heard, but roasting stuff makes it taste stupid good.
Plus, while you're there, you can get stuff for dinner! Buy their house-made pickles, a six-pack of hipster beer (made of real hipsters), 20 million different kinds of honey and all the gnocchi you could possibly need for Fill The Swimming Pool With Pasta and Swiminit Night.
Flash Mart on Abrams: Taqueria La Tejanita
6769 Abrams Road
Taqueria La Tejanita (the taqueria inside this gas station) serves delicious tacos of the breakfast and lunch varieties. Plus, since you're in a gas station that has a taqueria inside, take the opportunity to create some kickass combo meals. Here are my favorites from Flash Mart:
The Don Johnson: Three barbacoa tacos and a pair of aviators.
The Optimist: condoms, box of Franzia, tacos for three
The Double Shift: powdered doughnuts, a bacon and egg breakfast taco and a 5-hour energy
The Walk of Shame: Three al pastor tacos and bleach.
1205 W. Trinity Mills Road, Carrollton
This restaurmarket is a bit of a drive, but it's worth it. The veggie samosas, naan, "special" chicken karahi and chicken tikka masala are just barely more amazing than walking through the aisles of the market here. I really wanted a reason to buy 10 giant-ass burlap bags full of basmati rice. Find the freezer in the back with the bags of frozen samosas that they made in-house earlier that day and your freezer will be so happy it'll give you a blowjay.
9256 Markville Drive
Everybody please keep going to freakin' Steel and stupid Kona Grill so I can keep being the only person in line at Kazy's Gourmet getting sushi rolls for $2 each that are likely made with the same fish they're serving you at your favorite hippest, coolest, all-the-rage mega fancypants Dallas sushisteraunt.
This Japanese market supplies fish to many local sushi restaurants. You can get sashimi grade fish here for an at-home sushi night, plus they have giant fridges and freezers full of fresh quail eggs, tubs of made-on-site wasabi, roe, potstickers and all kinds of fun sodas. I just bought five rolls and six pieces of sushi for 20 bucks. Sushi boom.
Next: Just cheap and easy. No frills.
Just cheap and easy, No frills
9785 Ferguson Road
Go to Dairy-ette. Or, ya know, don't. Dairy-ette don't give a shit. This badass drive-in has been there since 1956 and it'll be there in 2050, whether you order a burger or not.
You want: A burger. Onion rings. A mug of they-made-it root beer. Sit inside, so you can see a real live old dude reading something called The Newspaper while another old lady yells at her cell phone for existing and your waitress begs the guy in the back to hurry up with your dang food.
(Note: This joint is cash only. So, be sure to lovingly bone an ATM before you get here.)
Pizza By Marco
10720 Preston Road
It's just pizza by the slice, y'all. It's not served on a dove and sprinkled with baby lamb eyelashes by David Uygur -- it's just a slice. You can build your own, if you have time to wait a little bit. I add chorizo, jalapeño and cilantro. I call it: The Shitchyeah (A.K.A. The Unnnnngh).
Nammi (food truck)
This was one of the first food trucks trucking foods around Dallas, and it's still a favorite. Nothing like ordering their barbecue pork bahn mi (12-inch baguette, garlic mayo, cucumber, pickled daikon and carrot, jalapeños, cilantro, pork) when they're in a Sigel's parking lot, taking your food into the Sigel's break room and watching Dallas' best reality show, Drunks Who Stumble Into Sigel's at Lunchtime Trying to Buy Beer with a Handful of Starlight Mints. Also try their crazy coffee. It'll get you higher than the cocaine drug.
2560 Royal Lane
If you're looking for a Chinese restaurant, it's always nice to find a place that says, "CHINESE RESTAURANT" on the front of its building. This is that place.
Royal Wok has about 40 lunch specials on their menu that are less than $6 and include a cup of soup and an egg roll. Aaaand, some of these specials (including the combo lo mein) turn into special-er specials on certain days of the week. Most days, the combo lo mein will cost you $5.50. But, on Fridays it's only $4.85!!! Clap for savings!
9661 Denton Drive
You want a dive bar? Here's your dive bar. I hope you want Schlitz ("Six for here, and a six-pack to go") and a cheeseburger with tots too. Because that's all you're getting.
Club Schmitz is cash only, but they're nice enough to have an ATM just for you, right next to the shitters.
Dallas Tortilla & Tamale Factory
309 N. Marsalis Ave.
If you have nine bucks and a craving for the lunch of champions, get here and order a dozen pork jalapeño tamales. A dozen "New Tamales" will run you a little more than 10 bucks, and you have to order them a day ahead of time, but a little planning can get you fancier options including spinach and feta, red chicken mole, green chicken mole, sweet potato and raisin & cinnamon. (BYO margarita.)
Thai Lotus Kitchen
3851 Cedar Springs Road
Scary-looking from the outside, scary from the inside. But the food is good. This is the perfect lunch spot to bring your mom to, if you like making your mom cry (scared-and-pissing-pants cry, not the proud-of-you-cry). Get the spicy basil rice and don't forget to order a Thai iced tea. Thai iced tea is the reason God invented living. It's watching-someone-run-full-speed-into-a-screen-door good.
4071 Maple Ave.
Nine times out of 10, when you order something at Herrera's, at first glance it just looks like they served you a plate of sauce, but you know better: There are a couple enchiladas, maybe a tamale and a soft taco under there somewhere.
Hererra's hides enchiladas under its sauce like chicks with big boobs can hide their cell phones, their credit cards and a vacuum Mary-Poppins-style in their cleave. It's Criss Angel-wonderful.
Cheaper Than it Oughta Be
2612 Commerce St.
Actual cost of brunch: $10-12ish bucks
What it should cost based on deliciousness: $1 million, after taxes
Maybe it sounds weird to order pancakes from a pizza place, but do it. Pretty sure the inspiration to start serving Saturday brunch came to Jay Jerrier just like this, "Dudes, we're way good at making pizzas. I bet we'd be good at making other round-shaped food too." So, they started Saturday brunch, and let me tell you, the giant-ass fluffy pancakes (with Nutella mascarpone) and crispy pancetta (pigs call it "The Fancy Bacon") are the most comforting hangover cures ever. The Red Plate special is $12, which gets you a buffet's worth of breakfast, including eggs, the aforementioned pancakes and pancetta.
316 W. 7th St.
Actual cost of buffalo macaroni and cheese: $9
What it should cost based on deliciousness: infinity American dollars
When you go to Oddfellows, get the buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese and watch as your life instantly gets better. You will refer to everything you talk about as having happened, "since Oddfellows macaroni and cheese" and everything before that as "before Oddfellows Macaroni and cheese."
Babe's Chicken Dinner House
1006 W. Main St, Carrollton
Actual cost of dinner: $11.99
What it should cost based on deliciousness: the hearts of eight angels
Holy fried chicken, Babe's, did you just say family-style chicken dinner? Because, I just said, "Yes, fucking please."
You could go to KFC and just get a bucket of chicken. But doing that would be as lame as wearing a fedora to anywhere ohmyGodstopwearingstupidhatsyoubunchaassholes (unless, of course, you're currently in a stage production of Newsies). Choosing to go to KFC instead of going to Babe's is like choosing to make out with a dead dog instead of licking face with The Tre Wilcox. C'mon -- The Colonel's name has the word "colon" in it. Even the fried chicken at KFC is like, "Yeah. I taste like poops, you guys."
Babe's is better. Go there. Get the fried chicken. Honey-up some biscuits. Check "fried chickengasm" off your bucket list.
5818 Live Oak St
Actual cost: $2
What it should cost based on deliciousness: 62 billion winning lotto tickets
The midnight corn dog. Sometimes you need one, and The Landing has yours. They won't let you order this jalapeño-ed corn dog until midnight, but when you do, it'll be cheap as hell and it'll make you drunk smile.
(Don't let any dude try to convince you that you can go with him in the bathroom and get a midnight corn dog before midnight. I promise you, it's the wrong corn dog. And that jerk is always out of mustard.)
Next: Awesome for $1
Awesome for $1
1404 Main St.
At lunchtime, get dollar drinks with the purchase of a lunch entree. While you're enjoying your food and drank, play the Chesterfield Drinking Game!
4500 Bryan St.
Get the dollar tacos. Well, they're $1.35. But, they give you a free taco if it's your first time there, so it averages out. You're going to want to order the suadero, the al pastor and a gallon of their green sauce.
408 W. Eighth St.
Foie-gras-stuffed prunes cost $1 each at Lucia. Sure, they're not the only thing you'll buy, and getting dinner here could break your bank for eternity, but getting these sure will reduce the price of your night. (High fives if you order 200.)
2917 Gaston Ave.
Add a fried egg to your burger at StackHouse for just a buck. Or, make your friend buy the burger and just eat the damned awesome fried egg. A fried egg makes everything better. Somebody please put a fried egg on gas prices and tell me I'm wrong.