Dallas' Best Liquor Stores, Ranked

Categories: Drinking, Lists

Lauren Drewes Daniels
Spec's: It's what's for dinner.
Liquor stores are the grown-up equivalent of toy stores. These are the places that lushes are more excited to go to than anywhere else, and will happily plunk down a huge chunk of money on barrel-aged, triple-distilled ways to make our heads hurt really, really bad the next morning.

We've rounded up the city's ten best, and ranked them according to just how easily they can facilitate your drunkenness.

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10 New Year's Resolutions For Dallas Diners in 2015

Categories: Lists

file photo
Definitely eat more barbecue, just go to Plano to do it.

2014 was good to us, Dallas diners. We saw the opening of some of the city's most exciting restaurants along with some pretty devastating closings, but overall, things seem to be trending up for the foreseeable future. As such, that means that there is going to be a lot of excellent food to eat in the coming year, and you should make a conscious decision to break out of your dining rut and try some new things.

And this is, of course, the time of year when we make New Year's resolutions immediately before breaking them a few days into January. This year, though, you should resolve to just eat better in Dallas. Losing weight and quitting smoking is so ten years ago, so try one of these ten resolutions for Dallas diners instead.

1. Give the suburbs a chance.

For the longest time, the Dallas suburbs were a wasteland of chain restaurants and mediocre food, with a few notable exceptions. Now, this is entirely untrue. The migration of great Dallas restaurants, like Smoke, Dalat, EatZi's, and Lockhart Smokehouse, now means that there are plenty of great meals to be had north of I-635. You've always known about the excellent Asian and Indian food in Irving and Coppell, but now you have a few fine dining options for when you're meeting friends up north.

2. Eat some of John Tesar's old meat.

Chef John Tesar's 240-day dry aged ribeye was one of the most interesting menu items in Dallas this year, but it was relatively scarce. The process takes two-thirds of a year, which has meant that the beef has been really hard to come by. Now that Knife is finally hitting its stride after being open for most of 2014, you can look forward to much more of Chef Tesar's funky, flavorful beef in the New Year.

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Eight Local-Food Gift Ideas for the Hungry and Thirsty Dallasites in Your Life

Categories: Lists

Amy McCarthy
Artsy chocolate that is also delicious.
If you haven't already wrapped up your holiday shopping, you're probably very near entering panic mode. Who knows what you should buy your picky grandpa, but you're still going to have to suck it up and find a gift before December 25. You could fight the crowds at the malls for the umpteenth time, or you could just remember that everyone -- even your pickiest friends -- loves to eat.

And fortunately, there are lots of great local purveyors selling delicious food gifts this time of year. Instead of elbowing soccer moms at NorthPark or just throwing in the towel and ordering everything on Amazon, consider finishing up your shopping with these ten locally-made gifts. Remember: no one returns baked goods and booze.

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How to Dress Like Your Favorite Celebrity Dallas Chef for Halloween

Categories: Lists

Can Turkilymaz
All the costume you need, right here.
Halloween is the one day of the year when you pretend like you don't give a shit about what other people think of you, dress up like an idiot, and proceed to get really hammered while looking like a Ninja Turtle or something. Some people start planning for their Halloween costumes months in advance, but if you're like us, you're probably just going to put some new tape around your glasses and call yourself a nerd.

But you can be better than that. Your Halloween costume doesn't have to be some boring, generic bullshit, not with a city full of "celebrity" chefs to inspire you and your fellow partiers' outsize familiarity with those chefs' signature looks. Skip out of work early and gather your supplies for one of these five chef costumes, which are much more interesting than anything that you were thinking about wearing tonight. (Except you, Ebola Man. You stick to the plan. No, really, it's a great idea.)

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The Definitive Ranking of Cokes

Categories: Lists

Vivian Chen/Flickr
Your vessel of choice.
Not all Coca-Colas ("Cokes") are created equal. On one end of the spectrum is an especially frothy Coke that comes fizzing from a fountain into a much-too-big red plastic cup loaded to the brim with ice, in a dark pizza parlor in the sweaty aftermath of an especially tense slow-pitch softball game that you pretended not to care about but really, man, what a big win. On the other, or near it anyway, is a Caffeine-Free Coke, so pointless that its presence in the fridge has been known to cause unsuspecting soda-seekers to briefly consider drinking La Croix before slamming the fridge shut, huffing loudly and driving to 7-11 for a Big Gulp.

Here, the definitive ranking of Cokes. When bottles and cans are involved, they are presumed to be acceptably cold.

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The Don't-Over-Think-It Guide to Dallas Sports Bars

Categories: Lists

This is exactly how you want Sunday to end.

It's all very well and good being Scott the Food Critic and having a fancy list of hip and happening Dallas restaurants to go and watch football games. We don't all get paid to sit in bars and drink craft beers. The rest of us everyday working stiffs have things like taxes and utilities to think about.

Thus we arrive at the very nub of the question -- where can I watch sports that makes sense to do so, and how good will my experience be when I watch the aforementioned sports? That title was too unwieldy, though, so we went with something else. Here's a list of places it makes sense to watch the new football season, and where they are.

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A Guide to Eating Out in Denton

Categories: Lists

James Rambin
La Estrella does it right.

Though the revolving door of Denton restaurants is vicious and rapid, the staples that stand the test of time are more than worth yours.

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Dallas' 10 Best Cocktail Bars

Categories: Lists

Catherine Downes
The Lavender Hill at Bolsa
It's Drinking Week at City of Ate, which means even more stories than usual about our favorite pastime. Check back for more stories about craft beer, killer bartenders and more.

We're square in the middle of a major shift in the way we think about booze. Syrupy appletinis and cosmopolitans have been replaced with intricate craft cocktails, and they certainly aren't poured by any old "bartender." You must mean mixologist. You pretty much look like a loser ordering a vodka cranberry at this point in the cocktail's renaissance, so it's essential that you get out to one of these ten excellent cocktail spots to broaden your horizons. Listed, as always, in no particular order.

Bolsa (above)
If you find yourself in need of an after-dinner cocktail or a place to do some serious day-drinking, there's something for everyone on this menu. Keep it simple with a swirl of the restaurant's weekly housemade jam and good gin, or get really complicated with the Clean Slate. If you're a drinker of simple tastes, you may not recognize the Dom Benedictine or Pierre Ferrand, but you're probably going to enjoy it just the same.

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Passport Not Required: Sampling Three Asian and Mediterranean Markets' In-Store Dining

Categories: Lists

Photos by Kathryn DeBruler

Yea, though I walk through the aisle of the cooking fats of Indo-Pak, I will fear no hydrogenation: for ghee art with me; thy full pockets and thy full belly they comfort me.

A few years ago I watched a documentary on African immigrants. One man, recalling his first experience in an American grocery store, remarked on how shocking it was to discover that there was an entire aisle dedicated to pet food. Truly, the sheer number of choices housed behind the sliding glass doors of American grocery stores is a thing to behold. But for all the dog kibble and Kombucha and paper plates, there are many gaps left by the Tom Thumbs and Albertsons of this world. To fill these culinary cavities, one must venture to the outlier markets -- those geared toward ethnic cuisine, where pet food gives way to 50-pound sacks of rice and spices are bestowed the pedestal of shelf spacedom normally reserved for frozen pizza.

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The Summer Drinks of Dallas

Soon enough the Polar Vortex will be rightfully consumed by summer and the sweat will start pooling again. When it does, douse it with one of these summer cocktails, either using the recipes below or just showing up at the bar.

Violet Beauregarde, above (Bolsa):
1 1/2 oz Tito's vodka
1/2 oz St. Germain
1/2 oz simple syrup
1/2 oz lemon juice
6 to 7 blueberries
2 to 3 basil laves
1 lemon wheel (muddled)
Topped with red wine

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