Literary City Guide | DALLAS, TX


Be the “I” in BIG. Everything is bigger in Texas and we are reminded that each person who walks this special city is a key part in making it BIG.
— TK

Tour Guide: KELLY THURMAN

Kelly Thurman

Kelly is an Executive Consultant by day and enthusiastic reader and budding author. She and her husband Steve make Dallas their home and love spending time at the family ranch in Honey Grove, Texas. She loves to travel, cook, try new restaurants and recipes, drink amazing coffee and wine, and is an avid collector of friends and fond memories.

Q&A

Relationship to Dallas: After 19 moves, I was transferred to Dallas in 1987 and have called the city home ever since.

Writer you'd like to invite to dinner: Television writer Jeff Eastin

Chef you'd like to prepare the meal: Michael Ehlert creates a feast for the eyes and joy for your stomach.

Writing soundtrack: Usually I like peace and quiet, and when I get stuck and need inspiration I play music that I would find in the scenes I am writing.

Pen or Pencil: Pen

Coffee or Tea: Coffee with a splash of cream, please.

Paperback or Hardback: Whatever is available.

 


Good Reads


BOOKSTORES

Interabang Books. The name of the store says it all.  It is a question mark and an exclamation point, that is Interabang. When you’re thirsty for knowledge and you want something whimsical—a gift for a husband with eccentric interests or an informed book seller with staggeringly accurate suggestions. The book signings are amazing and the crowds can be large, but the experience of hearing the authors is inspiring.

Half Price Bookstore (Northwest highway). I can get lost for hours exploring through old and new pages of books on every subject under the sun.  There are stacks of books, magazines, and records of every genre. I find good deals, and stock up a pile of books for summer reading or coming across unique treasures. There are plenty of places to sit and peruse the inner pages or get a cup of coffee and dive into the wonderful world of words.

Logos. This bookstore is full of wonderful Christian titles and holiday books. The staff is friendly and very resourceful—I’ve always been able to find what I was looking for and appreciate the recommendations. This little book nook is in Snider Plaza, a charming street with cute boutiques and specialty stores. I love to pick up a book and find a table at one of the cute restaurants and get lost in the pages.

LIBRARIES

Highland Park Library. This library is tucked away along a meandering creek in an old Spanish style building. There are programs for children of all ages (preschool through high school) and book clubs too. It’s a quiet and serene setting among trees and is a great place to pick up periodicals and read or type out a new book of your own.

Dallas Public Central Library. Right downtown, next to city hall and a civic gathering plaza stands this grand modern architecture seven story library.  There’s the Mayor’s reading challenge to help the community develop a love of reading and learning, a storytellers without borders program, and they host story time for kids several times a week.

READINGS & CONFERENCES

Museum of Art Arts & Letters Live. Inspired literary and arts performances creatively combines the written word, visual arts, music, and dance. There are internationally acclaimed authors as well as local artists who enthusiastically share their inventive works.

Dallas Poets Community, Half Price Books. Writers gather to share insights, how to’s and critique one another’s work. Open mic’s are on the first Friday of the month from 7 to 9 p.m. and workshops take place on the second and fourth Wednesday.

OTHER FINDS

Dallas Arboretum. One of the most visited places in Dallas is the botanical gardens at the arboretum.  These gardens on White Rock Lake change with every season—spring blooms, summer roses, fall pumpkins and the twelve days of Christmas in winter. These enchanted gardens are great for romantic walks and picnics, getting engaged or married, having tea, seeing art shows, and listening to great concerts. There is a 3.5 acre ornamental tasting garden and food pavilion with free food tastings. A children’s adventure garden is a place of fun and discovery.  These manicured gardens are a magical place and my favorite place in Dallas.

Nasher Sculpture Center. A beautiful modern art museum in the heart of Dallas. A visit to this museum is one part beauty and one part thought provoking. It’s a little jewel in the middle of the city.

Klyde Warren Park. Across from the Nasher, this park has an outdoor library, games, playground, restaurants, and lovely grounds to explore. It was built over the freeway and is a beautiful park in the middle of our rapidly growing city full of stylish sky scrapers. During lunch and dinner, food trucks line the park and have tasty food and beverages to quench your thirst.

Good Eats


COFFEE SHOPS

Dream Café. Honey cut granola, yogurt, and fruit is a healthy fresh start to the day, especially when served with a perky cup of coffee to sip while you work on your next novel. This eatery loves food and coffee and you can tell because they pay attention to detail and make room for you to dream. (My husband likes the Santa Fe Omelette with basil pesto, sun dried tomatoes, and goat cheese.) You can get specialty coffee or a simply cup of Jo to get a quick caffeine hit.

Ascension Coffee. Coffee roasted to perfection. This shop coaxes the best flavor out of every bean and brews it perfectly.  The special pours are remarkable, the conversations lively, and the plates are tasty.   

Crossroads Diner. Definitely a throw back in time where you’ll find fabulous sticky buns, yummy pancakes, Crossroads frittata, and of course, mild breakfast brew coffee. On weekends you’ll have to wait so bring a paper or your laptop and breeze through the morning.

A PROPER MEAL

La Duni Café. Amazing Latin American cuisine, with craft cocktails and a coffee bar. The pastries have a European sophistication and the Latin flavors, aromas, and colors draw you in and delight your senses. The casual and quiet ambiance is great for dining and talking with friends and family, or a romantic date night.

Neighborhood Services. This is the neighborhood “cool” bar. Elevated American cuisine is their forte, or for something more exciting try the meatballs with house-made voodoo sauce. The industrial-meets-urban atmosphere encourages you to come sit at the bar and meet your neighbors or get a table and catch up with friends. I highly recommend trying the Voodoo meatballs.

Toulouse Café. A rather intimate bistro with Parisian tables and a sophisticated air, stylish patrons and friendly staff are the backdrop for a wonderful meal. Good wine, hearty comfort food, and special dishes with sumptuous sauces (plus fancy desserts) transport you across the world.

Pappas Bros. Steakhouse. My husband usually calls around 4 p.m. and gives the Master Sommelier, Barb, a wine budget, plus the type of wine and region he’s interested in. She’s always gracious and has an uncanny ability to choose the perfect wine every time. The filet mignon and savory side dishes are a work of art and the taste is simply remarkable.  The atmosphere is full of rich dark wood and candlelight. I love the wine cellar dining room, but my favorite table is in front of the fireplace—it’s truly a special place for a night worth remembering.   

TREATS

Emporium Pies (Bishop Arts). I’m a pie girl, I love the crust, the fillings, the textures and the taste. Their tag line is: “Fine pies, for fine folks,” and pies are all handmade and change with the seasons. The fresh ingredients, delicious fillings, and flaky crusts will entice you to buy a slice and you’ll want to bring a whole pie home to your family.  

Cake Bar (Trinity Groves). Truth be told I never met a cake I didn’t like. These treats are mouth watering and sweet. Inches high, layered with butter cream icing, these cakes are good by the slice or for family celebrations.

Bread Winners. A truly French experience with stick to your bones breakfasts, savory summer salads, interesting dinners, and desserts galore.  The pies are so great that Bread Winners catered 175 pies for our wedding instead of cake. (We served coconut cream, cherry, apple and chocolate pie.) The restaurants are a great place to catch up with friends, eat delicious food, sip coffee or have a glass of wine.


DALLAS

KELLY's 5 Favorites


1. Favorite view. Trinity Groves bridge looking toward downtown Dallas.

2. Favorite place to write. My writers nook with an ergonomic chair and my inspiration boards I created for the different books I’m writing.

3. Favorite museum. Dallas Art Museum is a global collection of modern and masters, my favorite impressionist and galleries that are rich in history.  There are great visiting exhibitions, lectures, concerts and literary events. National and local dance troupes of all varieties give dramatic interpretation from stomp to ballet and everything in between.  Best of all it is free! A coffee shop provides a quiet place to rest and is most welcome as the museum is one of the 10 largest in the United states.  

4. Favorite coffee shop. Sip Stir Coffee House has a warm atmosphere where they cultivate coffee and community. The friendly baristas enthusiastically greet you and make you feel at home, elevating the entire experience. Comfortable seating is great for people watching or punching out 1,000 words.

5. Favorite thing about Dallas. Dallas has a can-do mentality where all things are possible. Texans are comfortable wearing denim and boots or pearls and tuxes, and there’s a unique style and independent attitude that’s one part comfort and one part bling. There’s great food and music, fanatical sports fans, amazing churches, and intimate boutiques. I love living in Dallas and meeting a cacophony of interesting people from all over the world.