You all are in Texas now. Just beyond those shiny skyscrapers are real cattle ranches, real oil wells and real cotton fields. And real Texans who know how to eat big, drink big and spend big. Time to squeeze into those Wranglers and join in. That 24-ounce steak, that wrist full of diamonds and that bucking bull are beckoning. In Dallas, sidle up to a martini at the Rattlesnake Bar at the tony Fearing’s at the Ritz-Carlton. And in nearby Fort Worth, stand in line with the real cowboys for barbecue and a Lone Star longneck at Angelo’s.
If you have a hankering for fried alligator tail with hush puppies or fried catfish with alligator sauce, these Cajun classics are part of the delectable dining repertoire offered at, where else, the Alligator Cafe. The scaly guys are flown in from Louisiana. Bon appetit!
Address: 4416 Live Oak St.
Info: (214) 821-6900; eatgator.com
Brooklyn Jazz Café
The music is jazz, but the food is down home. And the big TV screens are tuned to sports. A winning combo when you just want to hang out.
Address: 1701 S. Lamar St.
Info: (214) 428-0025; brooklynjazzcafe.com
From $2,750, flame-orange Hot Rod Hell boots to a Fender Prince of Darkness shirt and a Skull Roses belt, Cowboy Cool owner Heath Calhoun will be happy to guide you through his one-of-a kind couture collections.
Address: 3699 McKinney Ave., Suite 407
Info: (214) 521-4500; cowboycool.com
At the way, way high end of Dallas-chic retail is Stanley Korshak. Behind its Versailles-inspired facade, you’ll find Carolina Herrera, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Dior … with the latest looks for the season. Services include vacation packing. You get the idea.
Address: 500 Crescent Court
Info: (214) 871-3600; stanleykorshak.com
Fearing’s at the Ritz-Carlton
The most talked-about place in town. Fearing’s is Texas haute cuisine with a twist. Try the black buffalo tenderloin, the chili-braised short ribs or the “chicken fried” lamb chop.
Address: 2121 McKinney Ave.
Info: (214) 922-4848; fearingsrestaurant.com
Billy Bob’s Texas
Billy Bob’s is, well, Billy Bob’s. Still going strong with 27 bars and bull riding under one roof, the place houses enough dance floors and country music stars to get your boots tapping. It’s a massive honky-tonk full of real Texans who’d just love to make your acquaintance.
Address: 2520 Rodeo Plaza
Info: (817) 624-7117; billybobstexas.com
Across North Main Street, you’ll find venerable M.L. Leddy’s, since 1922 the purveyor of the really good stuff to Texans who know the really good stuff. You can buy off the well-stocked racks, but Leddy’s is known for custom-made everything — shirts, saddles, belts and boots. And they’ll be glad to steam the “right” crease in your cowboy hat.
2455 N. Main St.
Info: (817) 624 3149; leddys.com
Cattlemen’s Steak House
For those with a more sedate nature, who just want a simple rib-eye steak, hit Cattlemen’s Steak House for what is arguably the best steak in Texas. The decor is straight out of the down-to-earth cattle baron ’50s — primarily giant photographs of prizewinning steer the restaurant bought at the Fort Worth Fat Stock Show a half-century ago. Get someone to explain calf fries before you order them.
Address: 2458 N. Main St.
Info: (817) 624-3945; cattlemenssteakhouse.com
No trip to Texas would be complete without stuffing yourself on barbecue brisket, sausage, cole slaw and potato salad at Angelo’s. Once known to locals as the Saw-Dust Country Club because of its Cadillac-to-pickup-truck clientele and the sawdust on its barn-like floor (the law has since eliminated the sawdust), it still draws blue-collar workers, artists, power brokers and politicos.
Address: 2533 White Settlement Road
Info: (817) 332 0357; angelosbbq.com