I wrinkle my nose, roll my eyes, and let my hands rest against my hips in dissatisfaction. Seven. That’s it. Seven. I tote up. My fingers drum to the rhythm of the count.
One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven.
I plonk down on the chair and stare at the glass encasements on the counter.
“Are you still deciding?” I look up to a chipper woman. She looks young, fresh out of college. Her hair is swept back, not a strand falls on her fitted apron.
“No,” I say. “I mean, yes. I don’t know. They all look so…” I trail off.
You smile. “Anshula,” you say, keeping a steady voice. “It’s okay. Stay calm.” (I’m so glad you are used to my indecisiveness by now) “How about this one?”
You point to a perfectly circular pie. Neatly trimmed. Rich looking. It’s hidden under glass, and atop, a little stick of paper is slapped along the curve. “Lord of the Pies,” the paper reads.
Oh dear, oh d-d-dear (said in a Piglet voice). I can’t resist a good book reference.
We take a seat at the corner table. You let your fingers slide through a single yellow flower tilting over the rim of a small ceramic vase. Outside the window, we can see people trot to-and-fro the street. A steady clip-clop of shoes treads the sidewalk.
Emporium Pies, located on a sort-of cul de sac within Bishops Art District, draws a homey feel. The front porch is wooden (the soft coloured kind that begs for a hammock and rocking chair) and from the base, white beams stretch upwards to a warm hue.
“Lord of the Pies” is the shop’s classic fusion – a traditional apple pie stripped of innocence, wrapped in seductive sash of sugar. Each slice is densely fat, hosting a small chunk of ten manicured apples. The apples here are fine-tuned – soft-baked into a viscous caramel paste. The outer rim, a spontaneous mix of flaky and buttered thickness, reels the senses. A single slice suffices for the two of us, making what appears to be a more expensive pie a bargain offer.
You fork through the remnants of our slice, scraping the plate clean. I take a bite here and there. Times passes by slowly. And as the sun starts to shine a little brighter, a steady loop of people stream inside. Heads bob from the counter to the door, past the porch, past the sidewalk, past the road. By mid-afternoon, Emporium Pies transforms into a hotspot for young couples and eager children.
I check my watch. The gold coloured fingers stretch at a sharp angle. The seconds hand laps the surface at a hypnotic speed. 1:00 PM.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
Emporium Pies: (469)-206-6126, Website, 11AM – 9PM, 314 N Bishop Ave, Dallas, TX 75208
Now, we’re in search of the city’s brightest sector. Deep Ellum is Dallas’s colour factory. Biting reds. Electric greens. Bold blues. A swish of paint. A frantic frenzy of lines and curves. A roughage of hues.
The hip vibe of Deep Ellum is much like Austin. It’s a strange section of the DFW-metroplex, home to gothic speakeasies, antique malls, and more local shops than chains.
But street art here is quite unlike the Texas capitol. The murals are more intricate. Complex. Constant yet ever-changing. Deep Ellum focuses less on abstraction and more on large-scale political cartoons, celebrity satires, distorted animal forms, and caricature human figures. Deep Ellum roasts Texas through its works yet somehow, simultaneously glorifies the state. We could spend an entire day poring through every mural and –
“Ummm, Anshula, ” you murmur amidst my rambling. You shake my arm a bit. “Check the time.”
I adjust the husky sandalwood band around my wrist and gaze at a pastel green face. 3:30.
Oh, goodness. We haven’t had lunch yet. I apologize, I’ll fix that right away.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
The Dallas’s Farmer’s Market is a colourful feast. Bright and plump fresh produce. Friendly farmers and merchants. Oh, did I mention free samples?
You help me find ingredients for a makeshift picnic lunch. Strawberries. Check. Peaches. Check. Tomatoes. Check. Organic sugar cookies? I’m so tempted….
Don’t have the free sample, Anshula. Don’t even think about it.
Mmmm…let’s take a box (just this one time). I have no self-control when it comes to sweets.And while the food at the Dallas Farmer’s Market is oh-so-delicious, I usually visit for the neighboring nursery. Ruibal’s Rosemeade Market is wild and whimsical. If Willy Wonka had a plant factory, he’d own Ruibal’s: lush green plants, cast iron separators, a bright orange door, gardening accessories of every shape and size.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
Ruibal’s Rosemeade Market: (972)-306-2899, Website, 8AM – 7PM, 3646 E Rosemeade Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75287
White Rock Lake
White Rock Lake, a quiet spot a little south of Downtown Dallas, featuring almost 10 miles of hiking and biking trails, is picnic-perfect. Large expanses of grass, shaded by tall trees, stretch out and surround a deep blue-gray reservoir. We set up at a broad picnic bench and lay out our fruits and vegetables against the wood. We listen to the songbirds perform their litany of chirps. An egret swoops upwards from the lake. A coxswain chants as a small group rows into the lake.
“Take it full pressure is seven strokes,” she yells. “One…Two…Three…Half Stern to Row….Four…Five…Six…Seven.”
The paddles churn in rhythm to the time.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
The shapes dance to a gentle symphony. Beat by beat, the concentric circles and blocks move together harmoniously. A few harsh notes tear them apart and texture their clean-cut figures with the intensity of emotion. The outlines, elementary in pattern, melt into unique twists and forms.
The MADI museum is a free geometric art museum in Dallas. The museum focuses on an abstract craft that toys with mathematics and science in art forms. And as a die-hard nerd, I’ll admit, the collection makes me just raving MADI (as thus begins an inevitably sad slew of awful puns).
Tick. Tick. Tick.
MADI Museum: (214)-855-7802, Website, 11AM-7PM, 3109 Carlisle St, Dallas, TX 75204
Highland Park Village Theater
The Highland Park Village shopping center looks like it has been plucked out of a billion dollar movie starring Audrey Hepburn. Gucci. Burberry. Louis Vuitton. The only brand missing here is Tiffany’s. Even the Starbucks is upscale, ingrained with artwork and a softer colour palette. The people who shop in Highland Park Village are rich, like oil-baron meets old-world-wealth rich where $38 shampoo is apparently commonplace (yes, this knowledge is the product of us eavesdropping on one too many conversations while window-shopping).
But the reason we’re walking around this shopping center is to embrace a unique architecture style that I don’t see quite often when I travel. Highland Park Village follows a mission style revival architecture – a mix of traditional Spanish architecture and colonial American architecture. The blend looks very Italian gothic due to the intense detail but is far from it in terms of origins. Oooh, look! A few movies are playing. Tell me, which one would you like to see? Action? Comedy? Romance? I’m up for anything on one condition though. Absolutely no horror.
Tick. Tick. Tick.
Highland Park Village Theater: (214)-443-6035, Showtimes, 32 Highland Park Village, Dallas, TX 75205
(*snaps fingers*) I know just the place. Wild Detectives is the best bar in Dallas. I’ll admit, that’s a bold statement considering I don’t drink and I have no idea how the drinks there taste. What I do know is that Wild Detectives is a literary bar.
When we enter, you’re convinced we’re in a bookstore. Shelves of books line the restaurant. There is even a counter that showcases locally written books.
But the tipoff is the lights. And the faint smell of alcohol. Candles and lamps illuminate this wooden space. The bar revolves around an air of enticing mystery. Each detail is like a hidden clue scattered here and there. The menu is an illustrated picture book and most of the drinks are a play on classic literature titles (which, if you couldn’t tell by “Lord of the Pies”, I’m more than mildly obsessed with). Also, the posters are absolutely adorable. I wish I could find them and purchase them on Etsy.
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s ale?”
If Romeo came up with punny drunk pick-up lines like this, I would totally fall for him.
On a complete side note, what you like to order? One book. One drink.
Dostoevsky and Vodka? Sophie Kinsella and Cocktails?
I’m going for some old-fashioned Alexandre Dumas and a large hot chocolate. How does that sound?
Eventually, the Dallas sky is enveloped in a tar-paste darkness. As I check my watch, I realize, we should probably head out, but I promise, next week, we’ll investigate more wild spots across the world.
Wild Detectives: (214)-942-0108, Website, 10AM-12AM, 314 W Eighth St, Dallas, TX 75208
JORD Watches + INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY
Psssttt…do you like my watch? I received it two weeks ago from JORD Watches and I have to say, I’m head over heels in love with the simplicity of the design. I’ll be honest, I haven’t gone through a single day without having someone saying “That’s a lovely watch. Where did you get it?”
I love the concept of wood watches. There is something so natural and earthy about them. And JORD’s models are now a personal favourite. When I first looked through the JORD website, I fell in love with the Frankie 35 series (they have plenty of other series but Frankie 35 hit me in terms of affordability and elegance). I had such a difficult time choosing one of the options. Champagne? Navy blue? I finally settled on mint (after much debate) and I couldn’t be happier. The watch came in a lovely humidity controlled branded box (which I now use as a jewelry box). I was able to set the time really easily (the instructions are very intuitive).
When I took the watch out of the box, I was a little worried. I have a really, really small wrist and the band seemed too small, but the band size ended up being perfect. The face of the watch is quite large but in a subtle feminine way (so I can still read the time without holding the watch up to my nose) that I think is really attractive.
There are two things I want to note about this particular watch:
- The accuracy of the watch says “-10/+20 seconds/month” on the website, but mine has gotten to be about six minutes off since I set it. Now, that might be because Dallas is ridiculously hot and humid (almost like someone is punching a branding iron into the sky) all the time. I don’t think it is the fault of the watch per se, I’m convinced it’s the heat. But at the same time, I do want you to be aware of that. I value complete honesty on this blog and I never want to hide any information from you.
- The watch is splash proof. I love this because my watch has dealt with rain so well (Hallelujah!). It has rained a solid five days since I got it and the rain hasn’t cast an “avada kedavra” spell on it. Magic! I once owned a digital watch that stopped working after battering through light rain, but this analog watch is crazily amazing at dealing with a few water droplets here and there. That being said, you can’t submerge it in water (I haven’t tried, but I don’t plan on testing that). So I’d take it off for some underwater Insta shots.
Overall, I really adore the watch. If you are looking for a stand-out accessory to wear while travelling (and I’ll admit, for a mint green watch, it surprisingly gels with all my outfits), I highly, highly recommend JORD watches. Also, JORD is having a GIVEAWAY and you could win a $100 E-gift code on watch you like. They ship internationally so it doesn’t matter where you are living right now. Japan. India. Australia. This St. Louis-based company will ship the watch to you. You will not be judged based on your postal address, which is really nice. P.S. Even if you don’t win, you still get a $25 E-gift code.
Just click on the link below to enter (Giveaway closed as of 9/10/17).
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by JORD watches but as always, all thoughts and opinions (as well as puns so terrible, you want to cry) are very much my own. The links in this post are not affiliate links so if you are interested in the product, feel free to check it out!
Did you enjoy this guide to the best secret spots in Dallas? Let me know in the comments below! As always, I love hearing from you!