Starving On a Budget- A look at Dallas' food culture

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Recently, we got a chance to talk to Dalila Thomas, a Dallas based news producer for CW33, and creator of the blog, Starving On a Budget. The St. Louis native shared with us some of her favorite places to eat in Dallas.

Patrick: How long have you been in Texas and what brought you there initially?

Dalila: I came to DFW in 2012 after getting my Masters because my sister lived here. It was either Dallas or Shreveport, LA (where my parents now live) so of course I chose Dallas. After nine months of not finding anything news related in the city, I moved to Louisiana for news producer job and a year later finally landed a job in my field in Dallas. I’ve been back since April 2014.

Patrick: Every time I see your IG posts, it seems like you’ve found some amazing new eatery in Texas. How do you find all of these places?

Dalila: Honestly Instagram! I think the app is amazing and I’m slightly obsessed! When I first got here I started following a lot of foodies and going to some of the places they recommended. Eventually I started finding some cool places on my own, but I owe a lot of it to what a find online. And through people I meet of course. In addition to my personal passion, I write and produce a food segment each week for my job so that helps me stay up on new places. 

Patrick: What have been your favorite places thus far?

Dalila: It depends on what I’m feeling. I looooove grits so I’m always down to brunch at a place with awesome shrimp and grits like The Cedars Social or a new favorite of mine, Pink Magnolia.

For a hearty meal I love Sissy’s Southern Kitchen.

As for tacos, which are a must in Texas, a little spot my boyfriend put me on in East Dallas called Tacos La Banqueta. Super authentic and yummy (and cheap!)

And because my sweet tooth is on ten all the time I suggest Cake Bar or Val’s Cheesecakes.  They come in a tiny little jar which happens to be the perfect size. Just enough to change your life.

Sidenote: I recently tried cactus fries for the first time at Armoury D.E., and they were quite delish.

Patrick: We all know that Texas is well renown for its BBQ, are there any places you’d recommend?

Dalila: Yes, of course. It’s funny, growing up I only really ate my dad’s BBQ, and we didn’t eat pork. So every time tell a chef or owner I’m from St. Louis they say “Yeah spare ribs, rib tips,” and I’m like, “Suuuure?”

Any who, there’s a place in Garland that’s pretty good called III Fellas. And in Dallas, The Slow Bone. I personally don’t do BBQ spots too much because people don’t grill their meat with sauce on it, which I believe defeats the whole purpose.

Patrick: Where would you recommend if someone wanted to try something new? A place that one wouldn’t normally associate with the traditional “Texas” style.

 Dalila: If it’s not southern comfort food, I’d have to say Italian. Now of course Italian isn’t new, but there’s a spot called Two Guys From Italy that’ll have you questioning any Italian you’ve eaten before.

Also Jamaican Gates in Arlington has some amazing jerk!

Patrick: What would you say to those with more picky palettes?

Dalila: For someone with a pickier palette that wants to get a taste of Texas I would suggest three things you can’t really go wrong with: a burger, tacos, and BBQ of course.

If you don’t go to one of the BBQ spots I listed above, you can also try Pecan Lodge in Deep Ellum. If you’re looking for another taco spot Fuel City in Dallas is pretty good as well.

Burgers happen to be a personal favorite of mine and there are several places I know will never disappoint:

In and Out (double –double or bust)

Liberty Burger

Village Burger Bar

Hopdoddy Burger Bar

Twisted Root

Easy Slider Food Truck

Patrick: Is there a way for people to keep up with you as you travel, find new places and experience new things?

Dalila: I’m working on the launch of my blog, but right now Instagram is the best way to keep up with where I am and what I’m stuffing my face with.

Patrick: Anything else that you’d like to share?

Dalila: Food is love. Food is life. Don’t let anyone tell you any different!