In Search of Valley Ranch's "Urban Sophisticates"

Categories: Alice Column

howsophisticated_opt.jpg
Alice Laussade
The News offers this coffee shop among Valley Ranch's urban treasures.
Welcome to Alice Column, in which Alice Laussade writes stories about things on (roughly) the same day of (roughly) every week, making it (roughly) a column. Got an idea for a column? Start your own blog and write it up, you lazy shit.

The Dallas Morning News has definitively ranked the best areas in Dallas for "urban sophisticates." You're either thinking to yourself, "FINALLY" or "What the holy hell is an urban sophisticate? Is that a monocle-wearing hipster?"

News columnist Jacquielynn Floyd defines "urban sophisticates" as "people who want affordable, walkable neighborhoods with plenty of entertainment and dining options." Cool. So they are people.

I still had questions about these urban sophisticates -- How much bacon do they consume? Do they wear underpants? Do they follow @CBS11Larry on Twitter? -- so I decided to do some of my own research. I had to view these urban sophisticates in their natural habitat.

See also:
- The Morning News Says the Best Neighborhood for "Urban Sophisticates" is Valley Ranch
- Dallas' Lady Mosquitos Are a Buncha Bitches

I headed straight for Valley Ranch, in Irving, which beats Uptown in DMN's list. DMN visited Java Me Up, an independently owned coffeehouse attached to the library in Valley Ranch, for a piece justifying Valley Ranch on its list. So, I went there too. (Worth noting: The parking lot is totally walkable. I must've walked across 200 individual empty parking spaces.)

Inside Java Me Up, I studied Little League Coach Urban Sophisticate taking a loud phone call in the middle of the cozy coffee shop. Apparently, he's "going to cut that jerk-off from the team if he doesn't get his 10-year-old act together." Learning: Sophisticates are harsh. And loud.

My second subject was Whataburger Order-Taker Urban Sophisticate. While she was very kind, she did repeatedly ask, "What kind of sauce do you want with your taquitos?" Her quaint restaurant is found in the same shopping center as an intriguing little breakfast stop cleverly named "IHOP" that appears to sell sugar to fans of the Ford F-150. There's even a combination KFC/Taco Bell, which is either brand new or permanently closed. A few blocks down, I ran across Michael's Italian Kitchen, 7 Salsas Mexican Cuisine and Our Place Indian Cuisine. Learning: Urban sophisticates like restaurant names to include the kind of cuisine served.

Valley Ranch is just a quick 25-minute drive from downtown Dallas, but why drive when you can easily ride your fixed-gear there in eight leisurely hours? When you arrive in Irving's Urban Sophisticate Homeland, take in the beautiful urban-and-also-sophisticate scenery: Three egrets fly between what must be hundreds of apartment complexes that boast "Apartment living at its best!" A Wet 'n' Wild-swirly-style water slide awaits Permanent-Wedgied-Bathing-Suit Daughter Urban Sophisticate, and sits right around the corner from several beautiful community-planned ponds. Plus, there's a Vitamin Shoppe. Learning: Valley Ranch has affordable living and entertainment options more than covered.

Valley Ranch has everything (except the fields of ranch dressing you were hoping for). It is, in fact, the perfect place for urban sophisticates. And, of course, by "urban sophisticates" I mean "people." And by "perfect," I mean "Sure, whatever you say, DMN. Sounds good."

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24 comments
Saleh
Saleh

I have no idea what an urban sophisticate is, but I used to live in uptown and now live in Las Colinas.

Uptown is great is you want a faux urban experience; gentrification is now complete. You can enjoy your Velvet gringo taqueria, your pale-imitation-of-Greek Ziziki's, or your choice of almost-VPN but overpriced Americanized pizza. And on and on and on. If you're white, and want to hang out with a bunch of other white people doing white people things, Uptown is perfect.

If you want authenticity and diversity, then Las Colinas is preferable. It hosts the most diverse neighborhood in the US, and the wide variety of hole-in-the-wall ethnic restaurants and stores to go with it. If you want an authentic Japanese izakaya, a Lao grocery store, or a great Moroccan tagine at an ex convenience store, then Las Colinas is great.

Snarky article aside, neither is better than the other. Uptown is the Disneyland version of urban, and Las Colinas is diverse and authentic, but suburb-ish.

TexMarine
TexMarine

SHHHH!!!!! We need to keep up the facade so that these "urban sophisticates" to stay in the suburbs!!

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

No wonder I get confused with Irvine CA and Irving TX.....they are, in fact, the same thing.

Daniel
Daniel

"... an intriguing little breakfast stop cleverly named "IHOP" that appears to sell sugar to fans of the Ford F-150. "


A+

rbeezlee
rbeezlee

Why does this fascinate you so much? Why do you (and it's not just you) focus on what the DMN does?  You do realize that they aren't your competition, don't you?  They sure as shit don't see you as a competitor. I know you believe you're some sort of "watch dog"; you aren't. Please stick to writing about bacon, one day street fairs, your favorite local musician(s) who also happen to be your friend(s) or with whom you'd like to call friend(s), anything to do with sex and free and unlimited abortion, the evil nature of not only the GOP but also anyone who isn't lock-step in Observer/uber-progressive ideology, and any and all things SWPL.  

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

Again I say "What's a dazzling urbanite like you doing in a rustic setting like this?"

jeffoest1
jeffoest1

Funny article. While true, let's be honest - Valley Ranch residents didn't ask for this "scrutiny" and label from the DMN.

superbjorn
superbjorn

yeah the suburbs are always walkable...irving has nice places but in general it is nothing but strip malls and parking lots. pretty much most of the DFW area

markzero
markzero

Learn from Alice: even a short trip to Valley Ranch can unexpectedly lead to egrets.

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

@rbeezlee Calm down - it's so simple.  Urban Dictionary defines "urban sophisticate" as "A middle 20's to middle 30's aged person that employs the urban city living experience with an impeccable and eclectic combination of labels such as classy, elegant, hip, and trendsetting, all surrounded by humbleness. What sets them apart are their tastes and craving of knowledge of the social-scene and its fashion, music, etiquette, and epicurean palettes. These people are "in the know" and they are known well by their open inner circles. Their outlook is positive in life. Most followers and friends are attracted to their presence, but a few are the cause of unintentional envy."   Can we have a show of hands of  who thinks this DOES NOT apply to Valley Ranch

Daniel
Daniel

@rbeezlee Abortion is legal in Valley Ranch, too, you know. ("It's the perfectly legal medical procedure that urban sophisticates demand!" the DMN's Jacquielynn Floyd crows.) Of course, since there are no hospitals (urban sophisticates disdain proximity to health services),  you would have to perform it yourself, and that IS technically illegal. But hey, they have to catch you first! In fact, many urban sophisticates throw "perform your own abortion" parties, which are really little more than friendly get-togethers with an intoxicating whiff of illicitness. 

Dallasphotog
Dallasphotog

@rbeezleeNice try DMN employee.   I like her columns, and as a major metropolitan city with only one major newspaper, I applaud her calling out the DMN on these BS DMN articles.  Other than a quite normal bedroom community filled with all sorts of unsophisticated chain stores, what makes it unique?  What makes it best for "urban sophisticates?"

What the hell is an "urban sophisticate" anyway???

banepage
banepage

@markzero and people still ridicule Carrollton for wiping out their Egrets...flying rats

Daniel
Daniel

@markzero It's better to egret something you have done, than something you haven't done.

Mervis_Earl
Mervis_Earl

Missed the boat on the hospital Daniel. There is a nice shiny Baylor branch at 161 and MacArthur.

jeffoest1
jeffoest1

@Cliffhanger @jeffoest1 Oh I know! Just saying the poor residents of VR are caught in the cross-hairs a bit! I doubt they live there because they had thoughts of being "urban sophisticates" either!

markzero
markzero

@banepage I thought they just scared them away? It's illegal to kill migratory birds, by federal law I think.

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