It’s hard to cross the Trinity River.
Guest post by Lea Ann Stundins.
Just so we’re clear – I live in North Oak Cliff. So when I say it’s hard to cross the Trinity River, I mean that only important things like Indian Food and Aveda conditioner can make me go north of downtown Dallas.
It’s a weekly discussion we have at Bolsa Mercado. We completely understand why y’all bridge and tunnel people (we can officially use “tunnel” now, thank you Klyde-Warren) would want to cross to Trinity to come visit us. We’re more than just the home of the Dallas Zoo, Better Block, and Edie Brickell. We’re like family.
We’ve been described as the Austin of Dallas. Mayberry RFD. Eclectic. The Melting Pot. Yep, we’re all of that. I know your kids. And fair warning, I will mother them if they are in earshot. Even our neighbors without kids take that saying about the village seriously.
Most likely, someone in our family is artistic or musical, or both. We go to public school – and we like it. And it’s not a party in Oak Cliff without a piñata. Our friends and neighbors are as diverse as the day is long. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
So I’m finding it harder and harder to cross the river. Which leads me to a “ten things I can’t live without in North Oak Cliff” list:
Burnt Ends – This is what candy made out of meat tastes like. Find these delectable nuggets at Lockhart Smokehouse. But only when they feel like making them. And, you’ll have to follow them on twitter to find out when they feel like it.
Giraffe-Feeding – You haven’t been licked until you’ve been licked by something with a long black tongue at The Dallas Zoo. If you’re there with your young-uns, bring their swimsuit so you can splash around in the stream inside the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo area. Between feeding the giraffes and talking your kid out of the mole tunnels, that’s an entire afternoon right there.
Mexican Egg Rolls – An excellent mash-up of food cultures, and a neighborhood favorite at Veracruz in Bishop Arts. I prefer to have a dinner crawl down the block – start with the Mexican Egg Rolls, move on to the Prosciutto-Wrapped Figs at Hattie’s, then on to Eno’s for Pasta Carbonara (with a soft-boiled egg yolk on top). Emporium Pies for dessert of course. Now you’ve royally done Bishop Arts.
Large Marge – Er, I mean The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. On your way across the Trinity River to my neighborhood, open your sunroof as you drive under the magnificent arch of Large Marge, and let your passengers take some Instagram pics. It’s especially nice when the Mary Kay ladies are in town, and it’s all pink and color coordinated with the Hyatt Ball and the Omni LEDs. It’s practically Vegas.
Pétanque – Once a year, my friends Amy Cowan and Jason Roberts throw the Francophile party of the century. Bastille on Bishop. Just because Amy likes baguettes and Beaujolais. Who doesn’t!? They block off a street and turn it into a Pétanque court (which is kind of like street billiards). And don’t worry, the metal balls have been replaced with plastic ones. Because my kid managed to hit himself in the head with a over-zealous throw last year. He’s a game-changer.
Pink Ladies – Not the Grease kind, the Aunt Stella’s Snow Cones kind. It’s the best flavor. Out of all the gazillion flavors. Trust me. Every afternoon you’ll see us lined up down the block to get our hands on Dallas’ best snow cone and hang out with our neighbors. Who cares that it’s 105 out here y’all. I. Have. A. Snow. Cone.
Chocolate Covered Bacon – Dude, Sweet Chocolate. Yep, that’s the name of the store. No meal out in Oak Cliff is complete without a sweet from Dude Sweet. Stop early and often.
NFL Encyclopedias from the 70s – Since he is not allowed to play the sport, my 7-yr-old kid’s new party trick is to tell you the entire life history of every football player that has ever lived. So I visit Lucky Dog Books on a regular basis. Since I’m often right across the street at Bolsa Mercado, this is not hard. And some lovely neighbor always seems to have just sold back their football anthology collection just in time for me to buy it.
Math Nerds – Did you know that the number one public high school in America is in North Oak Cliff? You do now. The Science & Engineering Magnet at Townview, which is a free Dallas ISD public high school, is chock full of math nerds like my oldest kid, who we will all work for someday. They’re real global citizens, representing the best qualities in all of us. Plus, they speak Polynomial. And Latin. There’s no high school angst or drama. No cliques. No bullies. Just really nice kids who respect the heck out of each other.
The Mommy Mafia – The mafia is alive and well in North Oak Cliff. And it’s called the RECPTA. You need a canopy shade for your neighborhood BBQ? We can get you one. Dance teacher? Art supplies? Done and done. You want that bicycle paleteria guy to show up at your kid’s birthday party? We have him on speed dial. For 85 years, the moms of North Oak Cliff have united to make sure everybody is welcome and loved in our neighborhood.
North Oak Cliff. It’s more than the place I guess. It’s the people. It’s the sense of community. The feeling that we’re working for the greater good over here. So the longer I live here, the more I embrace the mantra “If it’s not in Oak Cliff, I don’t need it.”
Except for the Aveda conditioner, y’all. It is 105 again today.
Guest post by Lea Ann Stundins.
Lea Ann Stundins is a creative consultant, shopping strategist, and blogger at Mommy’s Wish List. You’ll find her not only telling people how not to pay for things, but cursing at Photoshop in her glamorous dining room office. Lea Ann is on twitter @mommyswishlist.