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August 27, 2007



football is the scourge of our culture.


Thanks for a fair review of Dallas. I am so tired of seeing our fair city represented in TV & Film by a bunch of cowboys hootin' and hollarin' like retarded chimpanzees. A great example of this phenomenon is "Serving Sara" with Matthew Perry; seriously, it pains me to watch what they did to Dallas. Oh, you have to admit the Ballpark (we still call it that) is pretty awesome… the Press Box on the other hand; not so much. Next time you’re in town, let me buy you a steak.

D. McEwan

That better be one tough librarian if she thinks she kin make me hang up my shootin' irons before I go in to check out HARRY POTTER AND THE OK CORRAL. (Yeah, I know the OK Corral was in Arizona.) Besides, what if a book looks at me funny? Am I just supposed to take it?It's been 31 years since I was last in Dallas, and I still haven't gotten the itch to go back. I'll settle for syndicated reruns. Who the hell did shoot JR anyway? (O yeah, Kristin. Bing shoulda raised her better.) Well, at least we know it wasn't in a library.I still have to be careful that the shit-kicker bar I go into IS a gay bar. You know how you know if it's a gay shit-kicker bar? You hear "Oh my God, look at this mess! Do you know what I paid for these boots? They're suede! This shit will NEVER come out!"Remind me again why we didn't just let Texas secede? Any chance they still might? And take Dubya with them?

Jon Wolfert

Ken- Enjoyed seeing you and watching your arteries clog before my eyes. Since I've now lived in Dallas twice as long as I lived in NY, may I offer these observations:If you want a good deli, good luck.Exactly. Why do you think I have a business card from the Carnegie Deli stuck to my office door? We had one wonderful authentic NY kosher deli here named Gilbert's, but they closed last year. I used to ask the owners how they managed to be the only ones in Texas to get the food right. Answer: they flew everything in from NY.For Italian, there’s the aptly named Campisi’s Egyptian.Great pizza, which has no resemblance to what New Yorkers call pizza. And you never know, the lovely Amber Campisi (Playboy centerfold Feb 2005) might be tending the bar. We 'locals' are full of useful information like that.Mark Cuban...supposedly answers his emailJust for the record, he actually does. It may take two months and you'll only get one sentence, but he does it. Punctuation and capital letters cost extra.Dallas is the home of JAMI KNEW there was some reason I moved here.Big D is filled with gifted singers who would all have huge careers if they could only sing songs that were longer than eight seconds.Eight seconds is the average time it takes to describe in song all the natural scenic wonders of North Texas. Well it's flat, and it's hot, 'till it's not, ba-da-bop. We've just been re-working that kind of little song for radio stations for 30+ years!There. I finally posted a comment on your blog. Thank you, and thank you-FM.jmw

Jon Wolfert

One more thing:There’s a highway named for George Bush… and it’s a toll road.It's actually named for the first President Bush (small consolation). But I know people who won't use the road because they think that W is getting the money!


Thank you for acknowledging some of the finer points of Dallas, such as the Crow Museum of Asian Art. Next time, you should check out the Nasher Sculpture Garden, which is home to one of the largest private collection of sculptures and artwork. You also need to try out some of the non-Texas restaurants, such Abacus, Fearing's, Tei Tei Robata, Hibiscus, The French Room, Nana, Shinsei...just to name a few random but excellent examples of Dallas' fine food culture.In a few years, you will be able to see the new Opera House and Performing Arts Center in downtown, next to the Meyerson Symphony Center.If you do stay in Arlington again, be sure to visit Cacharel, which is one of the longest-lasting restaurants in DFW and still serves some of the finest French cuisine in Texas. It also boasts a great view of the lights at Six Flags at night.On top of that, there are great private art galleries featuring works of local artists, the Dallas Arboretum and White Rock Lake Park which is actually larger than Central Park, the live music scene in Dallas/Fort Worth/Denton, and surprisingly good nightlife. You can find a great neighborhood bar with a comfortable, laid back atmosphere, or you can venture into the upscale nightclubs that continue to hold prominence across the country.


Football is king in Dallas. High school games routinely draw from 20 – 50,000 people. And still, no one watches FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS.Last I heard, Friday Night Lights was being broadcast on Friday Nights. Since Friday night is when high school games are played, that audience won't be at home to watch the TV show. So the natural core audience (admittedly, not huge considering the whole US, but still potentially helpful to a low-rated show) is immediately excluded. There's something entertaining in its own way about watching network programmers screw up.

Mike T

How you could've left out the simple genius of chik-fil-a and the fact that the Mariner's pinched a fat loaf in the form of a SPLIT SERIES with the Renarded Rangers is beyond my grasp.Other topics I'm less shocked you failed to mention:Yuniesky Bettancourt: best name in the bigs is also the most repugnant to SpellCheck.Where does Ichiro eat in Dallas?Does Ichiro eat in Dallas?Taco Bueno: Best Mexican Fast food in the states that border Texas?


For a great deli, you have to go to Grapevine just north of the airport and hit Weinberger's. It's more Chicago-style than NY but it's excellent, plus they give you attitude, which I sorely miss. I've been in Texas for six years and I still can't get over how nice everyone is.


Big D is filled with gifted singers who would all have huge careers if they could only sing songs that were longer than eight seconds....and had a unionB

D. McEwan

"'And take Dubya with them?'Not a Texan. You're only a Texan if you're born here. He's a Connecticut Yankee as far as a good many of us are concerned."I'm with R.A. on this. You guys elected him your governor, so you've claimed him. (Or are you telling me Texans would elect someone they consider a non-Texan to be their Governor?) Take him, and take him NOW.I realize I live in a state which elected Ahnohd Schwarzenegger Governor, so we're in no position to point fingers. Tell you what; in the spirit of generosity, you can take Ahnold too. If only the great Ann Richards were still alive, I'd settle for a trade.

Otto Schmidlap

The last great Deli in Dallas was a place called Phil's on Lemon Ave, i think. Real kitschy inside like the breakfast restaurant in Pulp Fiction. They closed many years ago. Though I would never move back now, Texas was very good to me during my years there. Fondly remembered.Anybody else here remember Phil's Deli?How about the Cellar?or Jack Ruby strippers on Harry Hines.Good times.


....be sure to visit Cacharel, which is one of the longest-lasting restaurants in DFW and still serves some of the finest French cuisine in Texas. It also boasts a great view of the lights at Six Flags at night. ...Just what I am looking for in a French restaurant (snerk)


I wish you would write a book of travelogues. I enjoy most things you write Ken, but I really look forward to your descriptions of the places you visit most.

D. McEwan

"We only elected him Governor because we felt bad for his Dad losing in '92."You FELT BAD FOR HIS DAD??? How about feeling bad for America for having had that evil shmuck as president for 4 years? In any event, shoving the imbicile son, that a more-enlightened generation would have kept locked in the attic for his whole life, into a national spotlight and handing him a political career could only serve as further embarassment for Evil George Sr.


The West End has gotten a bit down on its heels as far as a tourist location in the past couple of years (assuming that the Sonny Bryan's BBQ you went to was the one near the Depository). Since they built the American Airlines Arena to the north, the main section has lost a lot of both restaurants and tourist-trap stores. And the one-story building Dick's Last Resort is now in next to Hooters isn't nearly as much fun to throw ripped up napkins around in as when you could rain them down from the second floor onto the hostess in the old building (though I assume they still have an area where the can serve batchlorette parties their drinks in phallic-shaped glasses they way they used to upstairs). A nice stumble through all the clubs and bars of Deep Ellum, over on the east side of the downtown area, is also an interesting way to spend the night, as long as you have nowhere to go before noon the next day. Or if you're stuck at a hotel Arlington, you can drive over to the Stockyards in Fort Worth, which is also restaurant and bar-intensive (though from first-hand experience, I don't recommend going there to drink and then trying to drive back to Dallas).But I shudder to think what the ticket prices are going to be for the Cowboys at the Jerrydome when it opens in 2009, since we're shelling out $160 apiece for the Cowboys-Patriots game this October (of course, I also shudder to think what the ticket prices are going to be at George's new Yankee Stadium when it opens two years from now).


It IS a fair review of Dallas, and Dallas does have some national if not international class cultural institutions. But, as a native Chicagoan who lived there for four years, the place is still not a real city. There are no neighborhoods where you can really walk in, no place beyond the mostly chain-driven West End Village that has any real street life with significant commercial vitality. All that shopping is to be had in malls--big malls and strip malls. The downtown is not a place where people congregate. And there are literally no independent bookstores. Only Half-Price Books and Christian bookstores. It's just one big bland, ugly suburb whose people aren't clear on the separation of church and state and therefore a most undesireable place to live.


And in 2004 Lupe Valdez was elected sheriff of Dallas County. She’s the first Hispanic, first woman, and first openly gay lesbian to ever fill that role.Well, all the straight lesbians just weren't working out, so we figured we'd try something new.


Can't really disagree with the negative OR positive things said so far about my home town, but I need to address the "no delis" assertion. There's a (fairly new) place at Preston Rd. & LBJ called Ed's Deli that I love and, as with the aforementioned Gilbert's, flies everything in from NY. I'd love to hear previous poster Jon's opinion of this place (or yours, Ken, next time you're in town)as I've never been any farther north than Oklahoma.

A. Buck Short

Ken (& Weepingorilla)RE: The Big D stands for DELI.Please tell me if this is an abuse of your comments section. I just thought a few of these factoids might be educational as well as of minor amusement.I know Ed’s Deli flies everything in from NY. Their motto is, “Here come the knishes; there go the carbon credits.” We moved to Dallas 20 years ago (so centrally located, exactly halfway between Lubbock and Lufkin), and I finally figured out why it’s been so tough to find a decent corned beef sandwhich. Here, they use up all the brisket for BBQ! (Why waste it on a Reuben?)But there are 5 delis and one colossal supermarket chain where you can get corned beef and pastrami that isn’t made out of shoulder or top round (which I wouldn’t even recommend to a goy). The supermarkets are the larger Tom Thumbs in N. Dallas where the kosher meat section gives you a choice between the aforementioned shoulder or brisket. I recommend taking out the second mortgage and going for the brisket.The delis are your Ed’s, then Bagelstein’s at Arapaho and Coit (which still sounds like only half a name.) I’ve been trying to convince them to open a second place called Bride of Bagelstein. Then Deli News, also in Far N. Dallas, and finally the two Cindi’s NY Deli and Bakeries. One at Campbell at Coit and the original on Central Expressway at Northhaven next-to-the-Discount Casket-store-I-am-not-making-this-up.Cindi’s is an amazing story. Taken over 20 years ago from the original Jewish owner by Anh Tran and her family, Vietnamese boat people. Customers kept asking why she didn’t open a Vietnamese restaurant. She said she never cooked in Vietnam, she only learned in Texas. Only a notch below Carnegie grade, but the best thing is, because they’re also a bakery, you can even get black and white cookies or a charrah (er, excuse me, challah).I would recommend trusting these professionals for all your Hebraic meat needs after my harrowing experience Memorial Day. Kroger’s supermarket had a phenomenal sale on brisket ($1.99lb). Unfortunately the smallest you could buy was 14 lbs. “No problem,” I said, I’ll save one-third as brisket, smoke another third for BBQ (fyi 6hrs.) and pickle the rest into corned beef. How hard could it be?”Gathering the pickling spices, I discovered I was only one ingredient short – potassium nitrate, which arguably doesn’t contribute flavor but is essential to keep the meat nice and pink. Just like at the deli, rather than turning an ominous gray. All the recipes said “Readily available at my neighborhood pharmacy." Well the first didn’t have any, but, with a smirk, informed me that potassium nitrate is SALTPETER. That’s one of the 3 ingredients in gunpowder, and as you probably know, also the legendary secret food additive allegedly employed liberally by prep schools and the US Army to keep a guy’s mind on either studies or combat.I tried 5 pharmacies, none of which has carried said product since Oklahoma City -- even though that was a Ryder Rental truck full of Ammonium Nitrate, not the Potassium variety. But evidently close enough. You don’t know how tiring it is continuously explaining to pharmacists that, no, you are not another Timothy McVeigh; all you want is a sandwich. I finally scored a 4-oz. jar of the stuff at Dougherty’s independent Drug Store, after changing my story. I explained that I was one of those guys everybody keeps hearing about with erections that last more than 4 hours. And I was getting’ pretty sick of it.

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    Ken Levine is an Emmy winning writer/director/producer/major league baseball announcer. In a career that has spanned over 30 years Ken has worked on MASH, CHEERS, FRASIER, THE SIMPSONS, WINGS, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, BECKER, DHARMA & GREG, and has co-created his own series including ALMOST PERFECT starring Nancy Travis. He and his partner wrote the feature VOLUNTEERS. Ken has also been the radio/TV play-by-play voice of the Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres.
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