We love a list and a Best In Dallas list is even better! Today, international art critic and writer Lee Escobedo reveals his favorite hidden gems for fresh local seafood, lavender cocktails, creative inspiration, and more.
When we asked Lee to tell us more about himself, our heads were spinning with the impressive amount of contributing writer gigs the Dallasite has racked up. The art-savvy journalist currently contributes to Berlin Art Link, Glasstire, Arts and Culture Texas Magazine, Nasher Magazine, PATRON Magazine, and The Dallas Morning News. Lee has spent the last few months planning his newest project, the “What Is Cinema?” podcast, with the help of two exclusive grants from the City of Dallas to connect the cultural and arts institutions in our city. As one of the top mover-and-shakers in town, Lee knows a thing or two about local hidden gems.
Read on for Lee’s Best In Dallas list, including his favorite local theater, gallery hot spots, and foodie favorites!
Of the fresh seafood at Oak Cliff’s La Calle Doce Lee touts, “In the early 90’s, when my abuelo would come to Dallas from the Valley to visit me and my family, this was his go-to spot.” He continues to frequent the restaurant to this day and states that the hidden gem “feels warm and familiar as if his ghost haunts the rooms in which we eat fresh pescado y arroz. I love restaurants and bars that exist in renovated houses. It’s my kind of kitsch.”
Of the signature cocktails at the Joule’s ultra-cool underground bar, Lee says, “Midnight Rambler is my favorite place to unwind after a day of writing and gallery hopping.” Lee frequents the downtown Dallas bar and loves the friendly, warm staff. “They remember your order, in my case a couple of Lavender Bramblers (gin, lemon, Creme de Mure, and lavender).”
As an international art critic, Lee has access to a wide array of galleries and exhibits. His favorite space of late, however, continues to be the “solid programming at Beefhaus, a DIY space in Fair Park.” Of the gallery, Lee exclaims, “I’ve seen some of the best shows this year so far including, Michelle Mirisola’s show of small dollar bill paintings and Emily Peacock’s experimental photography work.”
A big advocate of Oak Cliff, Lee prefers to shop for bargains at local shop Thrift Town. The “What Is Cinema?” co-host has a huge (and growing!) VHS collection and looks to the store to find his favorite films, old school-style. “They have a killer VHS selection. It’s my favorite place to go with my mom after purchasing paletas, she loves the cute jewelry.”
On The Move: White Rock Lake
Of the north-east Dallas reservoir that empties into the beautiful Trinity River, Lee states “White Rock Lake is great for walking. I walk a lot around East Dallas.” The outdoors serve as an inspiration for his writing, “I like to feel the street underneath my feet, listen to the sounds of people cussing into the air, and shouting love poems to one another.”
“Once a month, take an hour of your day to visit the Nasher Sculpture Center and garden,” says Lee of the downtown Dallas staple. He insists that regular visits to the creative destination will leave you feeling “refreshed and calm, and thinking about Giacometti and how beautiful the human body is.”
Lee loves the historic Oak Cliff Texas Theatre so much, he created a podcast to celebrate film there. “The Texas Theatre is my favorite place in all of Dallas,” states Lee. “I think it’s one of it’s most important cultural institutions. I also go to the West End to disappear from time to time, watching basketball at TGIF’s and low-key vibing at Gators for karaoke night.” Join Lee and film fanatics for a panel with Dallas creatives and local experimental act Francine Thirteen, drinks, & live music by Diamond Age and DJ Tony Schwa this Saturday, June 18 from 5 to 8 p.m. The event will take place during the Oak Cliff Film Festival at Spinster Records and is free and open to the public. For more information, click here.
La Calle Doce image courtesy of Utrip. Midnight Rambler image courtesy of RS Photography. Beefhaus image courtesy of Michelle Mirisola. White Rock Lake image courtesy of White Rock Lake Blogspot. Nasher image courtesy of Wanderant. Texas Theatre image courtesy of Texas Theatre.