My 6 Favorite Dallas Spots 3 Months In

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Three months in Dallas? Hi? How? But also I feel like I’ve been here forever! I Three months seemed pivotal enough to document some of my favorite spots thus far. There are a couple repeats from this and this post that I wrote just one and two weeks in. Now three months later, many more places visited, still some of the same faves and still so many places to keep exploring.

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Louie’s
If you live in Dallas, this probably wasn’t the first place you’d think would be on my list, but on the flipside, if you’ve been to Louie’s then you understand. Louie’s is a complete hole in the wall on Henderson known for their pizza and martinis. They are more than just a pizza place, with salmon, a burger, sandwiches, and a filet on the menu, but word from the wise don’t stray from the thin crust build-your-own pizza, big salads, meatballs and crab claws to start! As for the martini’s, they were so hyped up and I thought they would convert me, but even dirty I just can’t sip on gin and pretend like I like it. Louie’s has been on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, so I’ll just leave you with that. Post-September Whole 30, I’m coming for ya Louie’s!

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Central Market
One of my favorite past times is wandering the aisles at a grocery store. No really. If I need to kill some time or if I’m bored, or if I should be doing a million other things, I’ll often find a reason to end up at the grocery store. I love to do my big shopping on Sundays, but about mid-week I need a pick-me-up and will go stroll down aisles to pick up a little something-something. This is a long way of saying now that Central Market is in my life, this grocery store meandering has heightened. I still love TJ’s, Whole Foods and Sprouts, but Central Market has s a m p l e s. And I mean samples. The bakery section is 100% my weakness and just gosh awful temptation while on Whole30 right now. They have bread of plenty to sample with this whipped butter that should just be sued it’s so good.

My Central Market faves are their fresh verde salsa, homemade tortillas, these crispbreads, the crazy selection of bulk bin items and winding through their maze of a produce section.

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Bishop Arts District
Bishop Arts is tucked away west of downtown and coins the phrase “the most independent neighborhood.” It is quint and has this little mountain town feel to it, reminds me of Colorado. Cute shops (hi All Good Things), and new restaurants are popping up left and right. I got to go to Paradiso last night and everything about it from the design, to the menu to the atmosphere was on point. Some other BA faves and places on my list are Melt Ice Cream, Tribal All Day Cafe, Serve, Lucia, Eno’s Pizza, Coco’s, Botanist and Good Companions. If you have a free Saturday or Sunday, spend it wandering around Bishop Arts!

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photo via Katy Trail

Katy Trail Ice House
I know Katy Trail is a little cliche Dallas, but it truly is my favorite spot in the city. I already wrote about it here! It’s great in the evening, its great during the day on the weekends, fun for watching games, great drinks (Summer Beer) and good food. It’s all outdoors, but you’ll see people in workout clothes just coming off running the Katy Trail, people with their dogs, people dressed up having come straight for work. It’s really great for any time of day or event.

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Honor Bar
Another cliche Dallas spot that I’ve mentioned before, but it’s just flat out good. The vibes, the food, the experiences I’ve had there have all been great. It’s in this corner spot of Highland Park Village with a patio that expands out a bit. It’s always crowded, but for good reason. The ahi tuna, the macho salad and their version of a ranch water make me drool just thinking about them. Props to the Hillstone restaurant group for finding what they are good at and sticking to it. Being in restaurants makes you really appreciate how others do it.

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Royal Blue Grocery
No one should be surprised that two grocery stores made it on this list. Royal Blue is the most charming little grocery and specialty food store, one location in Highland Park Village and one downtown. If you didn’t know, my end goal in life is to open something similar. Think Barefoot Contessa or the bakery Meryl Streep owns in It’s Complicated. Catch me in my 40s or 50s and hopefully that’s where you will find me.

Royal Blue is my current fix to fill my daydreams. Their groceries are wildly overpriced, well everything in there is, but since it’s not my everyday spot (unlike the yuppie Highland Park moms) I feel ok treating myself to a Royal Blue visit every once and a while. My recent Royal Blue crush is their turmeric latte. Just turmeric, ginger, cinnamon (hold the honey #whole30) and steamed almond milk! They also have a vegan cookie butter gelato that is, well, I think you can imagine how amazing it is.

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Honorable Mentions: Oishii, The Pilates Barre, Sachet, Parkhouse, Up On Knox, Javier’s, Highland Park Presbyterian, Eatzi’s, and Terelli’s.

It’s been a stellar 3 months in Dally. Here’s to the next however many months. ILY big D!

Annie

Bites of My Life

Just when you think summer is busy, fall reminds you it’s no calmer. Work has really picked up, weekends are full with football games, events, errands what have you and my week nights are finding ways to go from 5pm to 9pm in lightening speed. All this to be said it was a relatively low key weekend which was a much needed change of pace.

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-Monday blues on blues on blues.
-Last week on W30 had me craving all the chips and snack foods. While these sweet potato chip ingredients are approved, downing them in almost one sitting probably was not…
-Breakfast for dinner just always wins: no sugar added chicken sausage, 2 pasture-raised eggs, tomato, and figs.
-I finished Where the Crawdads Sing last week. It definitely lived up to the hype, buuut it is slow to the start, keep chugging along if you are stuck in the beginning.
-With the influence of my friend Elyse, I got back on the bulletproof coffee train last week and only a few days in and I legit go to bed craving it for the next morning. I saved the recipe in my Whole 30 highlights.
-Wine (topo chico) Wednesday with friends who made sure the cheese board had Whole 30 approved snacks on it! PSA the verde salsa from Central Market is fire with plantain chips.
-A very chill Friday that included the Whole 30 bowl from Chipotle, a face mask and in bed by 9pm.
-Who else raided the Target 20th-anniversary designer collab early Saturday morning? More on this below.
-A W30 brunch date with my Whole 30 partner, Caroline, at Origin Kitchen. We both got the sweet potato bowl and I’m itching to recreate it.
-Boomer in Dallas cheering on our boys in LA!
-PUMPkin up the fall vibes.
-SO excited for this week’s lunch meal prep. The combination of spices and “autumnal” (cough Kathleen cough) ingredients in this recipe made my kitchen smell like it was straight-up middle of November.

Annie

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Target bite: I had to elaborate more on Target Anniversary collection. I have shopped almost every collection since they started this at Target. Kathleen and I would wake up bright and early to shop the limited time collabs. You can read an old post here on TAB and here on Kathleen’s blog from back in the day about our shopping experiences for Philip Lim and Missoni.

Target didn’t come out with any new designs. They simply reproduced items from the original collaborations. I spotted a few John Derian platters my mom still owns, an Anna Sui dress I wore the heck out of, two Philip Lim bags I wore my entire junior year of college and so. much. Missoni. The knit midi skirt brought back all the flashbacks.

Kathleen took to our old Target collab shopping ways and got there right at 8 AM. She started sending me pictures and I quickly got in my car. I walked away with this and this from John Derian and this blouse from Rodarte. Any other Target crazies out there? I’ll leave you with this quote from a lady in the parking lot shoving bag after bag into her tiny car trunk…“I really didn’t think I was going to buy this much!” Same girl, same.

Bites of My Life

Not a proponent of short weeks after all, anyone else? Starting the week on a Tuesday is no bueno. I felt rushed and unorganized all week. Despite yesterday being a busy Monday, and this post coming to you on a Tuesday, I already feel better about how this week is unfolding.

I was back home in OKC (again), but for some really good friend’s and kind of family wedding. In Dallas this weekend and next for the first time in what feels like for forever.

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-Favorite non-egg Whole 30 breakfast: 1 banana sliced and laid out, drizzle of almond or cashew butter, tahini and sprinkled with cinnamon.
-Ate this for lunch everyday last week. Swapped the potatoes for a purple and regular sweet potato and loved it with the tahini mustard sauce for a non-meat Whole30 meal!
-Barely slept last Thursday night and all the early morning workout classes I wanted to take were full. Groggy eyed I made it through this arm workout before leaving for the airport. Only 15 minutes and such a burnout.
-After a bit of a slow start I’m really getting into Where The Crawdads Sing and only have about 50 pages left.
-Weekend meals on Whole30 and at my parents were very makeshift, but I made it happen. Lots of snack plates with salami, avocado, fruit and either olives, nuts or plantain chips. Besides a glass of wine Friday and Saturday night, I held strong all weekend.
-Such a fun night celebrating the new Mr. and Mrs. Krenger. Chloe married my BIL’s brother so we are now just one big happy family!
-Honored that Chloe and Joseph asked me to make Perfect CCC’s for their wedding. They forgo dinner and did a massive desserts only table at their reception. Not to brag, but my cookies were easily the first to go.
-Shishito peppers. The EASIEST thing to make why I don’t do this more is beyond me? My parents started getting a farm fresh delivery of fruits, veggies and eggs, so we cooked these up as a snack Sunday. Just a little oil in a cast iron skillet, roast the peppers about 7 minutes until they blister. Sprinkle with flaky salt and lemon zest and you are done.
-Got home around 7:45 Sunday night and shoveled down some sweet potato chips with salsa for a very sad Whole30 dinner before unpacking, showering and falling into bed.

Annie

Bites of My Life

Hey September, I said heyyyyyy Septemberrrrrr. Beyonce reference to Hey Mrs. Carter anyone? That was so bad, OK moving on.

Labor Day how was it? I was back in Oklahoma City after my mom, middle sis and the babies came to visit me in Dallas. I wish I had video of me squeezed between two car seats with two crying babies in the pouring rain on our drive back to Oklahoma… I was home for the first OU home game, but got to sneak in good family time, good food, so many walks and prepped 150 Perfect CCCs that I’m making for my friend Chloe’s wedding this weekend! Got back in town yesterday and went into full on #SeptemberWhole30 prep mode. Let the games begin.

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-A taste of fall, but also full on basic white girl move by trying the new Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew. Verdict it’s delicious if you like pumpkin things, but you can’t modify it so it’s a niiiice sugar dose in your morning coffee. Still worth ordering at least one this season.
-I joined a volleyball league with some friends here in Dallas. Thankfully we were friends first so they don’t drop me because of my poor athleticism and weak contribution…
-Was on a kick last week of pilates, Royal Blue and then a neighborhood stroll. These were good mornings.
-Favorite new TJ’s find is this Suja celery juice. Just celery and lemon and only $2.99. Only a little more than a stalk of organic celery that you’d juice yourself.
-PizZA with my pizza loving mini me at True Food Kitchen. Loved having them in town for a couple days.
-We picked up Bird Bakery for our lunch on the road. This was my first BB experience and the chicken salad is truly out of this world.
-Got to my parents and did what I did best, cleaned out their fridge. The results were this yummy thai inspired cauliflower fried rice with curry and turmeric seasonings in it and thai curry cashews on top!
-Another parent fridge raid meal. Chicken salad, mismatched veggies, cottage cheese (are you yay or nay?) over mixed greens.
-A true depiction of gameday, inside Seven47 and my relationship with my sis and BIL.
-Back in Dallas after a packed weekend. Had to take a breather before heading to the grocery store, so my Whole 30 Day 1 lunch was an apple and almond butter because it was legit the only food I had.
-I’m getting wildly obsessed with sharing my grocery hauls, but y’all are into them, so I’m into them to. I save them all to a highlight on my instagram.
-First official whole 30 meal was this 5-ingredient sausage and peppers with marinara that The Defined Dish did on her instagram last week!

Annie

September Whole 30

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Whole 30, something we’ve all heard of by now, something most of us have probably done (I’ve done it twice), and something I’ll be starting up next week! Whole 30 is a month long program devoted to resetting your body by nourishing it with whole foods. While it falls into a “diet” category it really is structured to be so much more. There are multiple success stories out there on how it has changed people’s lives, helped heal autoimmune diseases, and reintroduced people to a love of healthy eating etc.

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Chicken sausage, sweet potato, bell pepper and spinach stir fry that will be seen during my Whole 30! Peep the ugly orange athletic socks.

For me, I love the way it makes me feel and truly love the fun challenge it puts around cooking (food nerd alert). I’ve been on a bit of a bender since moving to Dallas. Rightfully so I think. I’ve wanted to eat, drink and see all the things I can while exploring my new city. Zero regrets, buuuuut it’s time to reign it in. I was talking to a friend a couple weekends ago who is currently following a vegan diet. She lives in D.C. and like me, has eaten and drank all the things while enjoying the summer months. She mentioned how she’s an all or nothing girl. I’m the same. I struggle to just say “I’m going to eat healthy this month,” and actually follow through with it. While I stay pretty regimented during the week, weekends, parties and events come up and all bets are off. Give me every piece of cheese, tortilla chip and dessert in sight.

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Crock-pot chicken loaded in a sweet potato with compliant salsa, guac, and red onions. Based off this recipe.

My experience with Whole 30 in the past has helped control this type of chaotic eating in the best way. The guidelines (aka rules) of Whole 30 give me the structure I need to actually say no in situations like this. I find that acquaintances are more understanding when you say no to a cheesy app or cocktail when you say you are following a program like Whole 30 or vegan or whatever it may be, opposed to just saying, “oh i’m just trying to be healthy.”

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Kale & turkey taco salad with compliant salsa, tomatoes, green onion, avocado and crushed plantain chips.

Ramble on, let’s get to the quick bases of Whole30. For 30 straight days you say yes to whole foods, quality animal protein, and all the veggies. You say no to dairy, legumes, sugar and grains. With the way our cooking and healthy eating mindset has shifted in the past few years, this isn’t as daunting as it used to be. I completed my version of Whole 30 August 2016 and January 2017. I wrote a post going more into the program and links to some favorite recipes here.

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Sliced banana drizzled with creamy almond butter, tahini and a sprinkle of cinnamon - my favorite non-egg Whole 30 breakfast.

Is anyone else doing September Whole 30? It kicks off Monday, September 2nd and runs until Tuesday, October 1st. I mentioned above that I have done Whole 30 twice, that being said it has been “my” version of Whole 30. I give myself grace and may slip a drink in here and there on the weekends, but I do try to keep in under control. Because the more alcohol I drink, the more grains, sugar and non-whole 30 items I crave. Whole 30 also tells you to restart to day 1 if you slip up. Let’s get real, a mistake here and there is okay. If I have a non-Whole 30 food, I move on and do better the next day.

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I have a couple friends here in Dallas who are doing Whole 30 with me. I’m excited to branch out on my cooking and do a few special dinners with them. However, my biggest advice for Whole 30 is don’t overthink it. People often complain about the amount of money they spend on groceries and the meat heavy dishes. I try to keep things easy and not out of my wheelhouse, by including smoothies or eggs for breakfast, loaded salads or snack boards for lunch and some kind of easy chicken and veggie dish or soup/chili for dinner. No need to buy an instant pot or air fryer just to successfully complete Whole 30 ;) Below I’ve included some Take A Bite Whole 30 approved recipes and a round up of recipes I hope to try in this upcoming month.

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Whole 30 recipes I love already or hope to make:
Hibachi Style Chicken with Magic Mustard Sauce (my fave Defined Dish meal, pictured above)
Buffalo Chopped Chicken Salad
Ultimate Chicken Taco Salad
Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
Kale + Chicken Waldorf Salad
Everything Bagel Chicken Salad
Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Tom Kha Gai Soup
Spicy Potato Kale Bowls with Mustard Tahini Sauce

Give my Whole 30 Pinterest board a follow and I’ll be sure to update it through the month.

Go to Whole 30 Meals/Snacks:
Cobb Salad
Taco Salad
Banana or Apple with almond butter
Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Loaded Salads
Chicken Sausage Stir Frys (just make sure your sausage is sugar free)
Smoothies
Breakfast for Dinner with scrambled eggs, bacon and roasted sweet potatoes
Spaghetti Squash
Plantain Chips with Guacamole or Salsa
RX Bars
Dates with Almond Butter

Helpful links:
Approved RX Bars
Approved Larabars
Trader Joe’s Whole 30 Staples
Aldi Whole 30 Staples
Whole 30 Approved Almond Milk

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The best Whole 30 snack or dessert - medjool date and almond butter!

Now that you’ve read all of this and may be gearing up for a #SeptemberWhole30 yourself, I want to leave you with this article. While this article brings up a fantastic point and many many things I agree with,I still plan to complete Whole 30 next month. Having completed whole 30 twice and successfully not gone on a rapid binge day 31 I’m feeling confident about the 30 day and beyond challenge. But, read this article, be mindful of it and take it as you want.

Annie

Are you doing #SeptemberWhole30? Comment below if you are or if you have questions!