The 50 Things I Miss Most About Dallas Since Moving To Austin.
Almost exactly a year ago today, I moved from my hometown — that'd be you, Dallas — to Austin, Texas.
A great career opportunity bestowed itself upon me and I went for it. Despite my strong, networked ties in Dallas, I landed the Austin job. About two weeks later, I moved on down.
At my going away party in Dallas, I was stunned and grateful for how many different friends made an appearance. But, honestly? That's just Dallas, man. The support, the healthy creative challenges and the evolution of the Dallas scene in recent years? It all still holds a dear place in my heart, even after this time spent apart.
I mean, sure, there are a handful of consumer-driven things I miss (see: Rusty's Tacos, yes, even despite the overwhelming amount of tacos in Austin), but. deep down. it's the people, the places and the local businesses that make me miss Dallas the most.
Lately, as I've been reminiscing more than usual (thanks a lot, Timehop!), I figured it was time to pay some proper respect to the things I miss the most about Dallas since moving away.
Here they are, in no particular order. (C'mon, don't get your panties in a bunch.)
1. The Renaissance. When Austin people tell me “Dallas sucks,” I get more than annoyed. I get a little heated, actually. But the truth is that most people outside of Dallas have no idea what's going on there these days. Well, here's a little secret I can divulge because I've seen it from both the inside and the outside: Dallas is going through one of the coolest Renaissances I've ever seen a modern city experience of late. Between the music and art — I mean, it's tough to even keep up. What's cool, though, is that these people are out here making sure I do: Be it through a bike ride around White Rock Lake with DJ Sober or a completely sober and delirious-from-laughter all-night hang in Deep Ellum with Arturo Torres or a photo shoot with Jeremy Biggers, Dallas — to me, at least — was a place where all of these people could co-exist within the art scene as one. Competition was out there, sure, but the Dallas scene was at least healthy and encouraging about it. In Dallas, people seem to want to build their empire together — and they're doing it so, so right. In Austin, creative groups act more like silos, and it can be tough to mesh them together. Dallas, much to its credit, isn't like that. Take, for example, that Trees concert from back in February, where Sarah Jaffe, Sam Lao and Blue, The Misfit not only shared the bill but collaborated together to make sure the night showcased each of their individual strengths. You don't see stuff like that in other cities. You just dont.
2. The Singlewide.
3. Uncle Uber's Sammich Shop. In particular, the grilled chicken breast sandwich with extra Uncle Uber's sauce and French fries.
4. White Rock Lake.
6. House of Plates' parties.
7. Centre. True story: Without my Clae sneaker purchase from Centre, I may have not gotten my first big-girl design job as an adult. I mean, I probably would have, but I like to think Hance Taplin's recommendation for job-interview footwear had a lot to do with it. Beyond that, it's incredible to see how much this streetwear boutique has grown in recent years.
8. Fossil. A lot of folks have no idea Fossil is headquartered in North Texas. Well, it is. And, if you know someone who works there, you should definitely get yourself a tour and some lunch in Cafe 54. Or, some Starbucks. Or a workout in their gym. Or, y'know, you can just get a job there like I did, and love your life forever.
9. The Public Trust.
10. Flying down Central Expressway in the late-night hours.
11. The Katy Trail. There's nothing quite like biking all the way to the end of Katy Trail and accepting the death challenge of weaving your way through Downtown Dallas traffic to reach Klyde Warren Park. A beer on the way back home helps, though, and I was always up to grab one there right off the trail. Such convenience. Much Dallas.
12. Klyde Warren Park.
13. Rooftop movies at Sundown at Granada.
14. Rusty's Tacos. I have a taco problem that has only intensified since I moved away from Dallas. The Rusty Taco on Upper Greenville literally
knows me knew me. Sad face.
15. We Are 1976. When I first met shop owners Vynsie, Julie and Derek Law, I was blown away with their work ethic. Together, they had turned their dreams into reality. These three creatives have built a coming-together space for a lot of independent artists. We Are 1976 is the go-to for gift-shopping and screen-printed poster buys in Dallas. I used to scope their jewelry cabinet once a month — like, at least. Here, I could always scoop something up for a lovely partner of mine. Also, the We Are 1976 crew throws the best damned receptions and parties. The Johnny Cupcakes stops were especially memorable.
16. The Fraternal Order of Eagles (F.O.E) Pool. OK, so Barton Springs and all the water holes in Austin are pretty legit. I admit it. But there's really something special about the F.O.E., too. Beyond the people-watching, the swimming and the having of one too many frozen beverages, there's just a fun spirit there.
17. Serious Pizza.
18. The Art, for crying out loud!
19. Spiral Diner. Almost freakin' every new friend I've made in Austin is a vegetarian or vegan — and, still, none of them has ever taken me to a restaurant here that can hold a candle to Spiral Diner. NOT. A .ONE. Kerbey Lane's gluten-free and vegan pancakes are as close as we get to Spiral Diner down here in Austin — but that's still pretty far, y'all.
20. Fuck Brunch at Anvil Pub. Austin's “Manmosa” can get lost.
21. HG Sply Co's Roof.
22. Easy Slider's Baby Bella.
23. KXT 91.7-FM.
24. The Dallas Society of Visual Communications (DSVC).
25. Surprise Erykah Badu performances at The Prophet Bar.
26. Dallas' back roads. In Austin, there's this lake that I swear is really a river. Lady Bird Lake is what they call it, and it keeps certain busy parts of Austin all sorts of separated. The “lake” is beautiful, though, and one of my favorite bike trails loops it. Still, the two- and sometimes three-lane streets here weren't originally built to handle the traffic jams on the bridgeways. And the only way across the “lake” is by one of four main roadways (including I-35, which is a traffic death wish). In Dallas, I knew all the surface streets — Greenville, Abrams, Coit, you name it. It was easy to jump off of the main highway and dash north and south, east and west. Traffic? No problem. If you're a Dallas native, you have escape routes. I learned a lot of them from my father. Austin doesn't have this luxury. No matter how long you've lived in Austin, you're just set up for traffic failure.
27. (Almost) every show ever at the Granada Theater.
28. Dolly Python. And their shop dogs and bird, too!
29. The State Fair of Texas. Even in spite of all its downfalls, it's still the best.
30. Midnight at the Modern. And, really, all the incredible museums in Dallas-Fort Worth, in general.
31. Bob and his keyboard.
32. Brunch. Yeah, I'm going there. But it's true: Dallas doesn't mess around when i comes to brunch. Austin brunches have some problems — namely the fact that ever brunch spot down here is packed with tourists and has at least an hour-long wait. In Dallas, there are just so many places to choose from, and no tourists to ruin your hangover, either. Oh, it's Sunday? We all just got paid? We're still working on adulting? It's brunch time! Oddfellows, Sundown, Sangria, Villa-O, Vickery Park. The list could go on forever. Some spots even open before noon. Wherever my young creative crew was, I was. And the mimosas flowed like water.
33. Emporium Pies.
34. Three Links. It's not even close: The single most punk show I've ever attended was at Three Links.
35. The Entrepreneurial Spirit. As a college grad, I started my own brand and business. The reason I started? Because I saw other kids my age doing it — namely Ha Mai, popularly known as Fur Face Boy. Ha taught me a lot, but so did other brands. Loyal KNG, Unkommon Kolor, Sleepy Dan and so on. There was a time when small T-shirt and lifestyle brands were ruling the underground scene in Dallas. We sold our gear at trade shows and became common faces in the crowd — or at least familiar enough to make our own events and work our own venues. This is where I first saw the magic of collaborative artistry and positive support. Dallas is a city of business, and us startup creatives wanted a piece of the pie. We got it, too.
36. Transit Bike Shop.
37. Common Desk.
38. Every place Brooke Humphries has owned, like, ever. She gets it.
39. Record Store Day at Good Records.
40. 35 Denton. Knowing the kind of hard work that the volunteers do for this small-town festival makes it my favorite festival of all time. Best ever fest ever? Forever.
41. Sour Grapes' Open Studios.
42. Bank of America Plaza. When I was 15, I got lost after a Mavericks game. But, thanks to the light of the “Green Building,” I was able to figure out my bearings and find my way home.
43. The Entire LED-lit Dallas skyline.
44. Clampitt Paper.
45. The Greenville Avenue St. Patrick's Day Parade. I mean, you have to go at least once, right?
46. The Gayborhood. I actually kind of hate some venues in this neighborhood — maybe I'm just not so into clubs — but it's still “home.” I'd never heard of a “Halloween Block Party” until I became part of the Gayborhood community in Oak Lawn. I once brought a friend from Paris to that party, and she couldn't believe her eyes — and I mean that in the best way possible. After hearing her complain about Texas so much, I felt pretty special having introduced her to one of the best parties in Dallas.
47. The Annual Selena Party at Country Burger. Anything for Selenas!
48. GastonPeak. My friends in the industry put a little studio together at Gaston and Peak just after I skipped town. You might have heard of some of them.
49. Gorilla vs Bear Shows.
50. Just a little less humidity. Hey, it goes a long way!