I’ll be honest. I used to loathe Dallas. There’s a longtime rivalry between my hometown of Houston and its northern neighbor. There are the natural sports rivalries, like the Rockets versus the Mavericks and the Texans versus the Cowboys, but there’s also this impression Houstonians have of Dallasites as being uppity and from oil money, your typical ten-gallon hat touting male with his blond big-haired trophy wife. Conversely, we Houstonians are generally proud of our ethnic diversity tendency toward blue collars.

But after several trips to Dallas to see my beloved neurologist at UTSW and to visit friends, I’ve decided Dallas is not so bad after all. The DFW metroplex has some solid food and is more demographically diverse than I’d initially thought—as a matter of fact, a majority of my LGBTQ friends reside in Dallas. I still loathe the Dallas freeway and tollway system though, but that’s another story.

My friend, Michael Chen from my season of MasterChef lives in Dallas, and while we were in town, he took us to a few great eateries, including standing-room-only Ten Ramen, Quoc Bao Bakery for banh mi thit, and Madrina (more on this to come).

It’s good to be open-minded, and I’m glad Michael helped change my outlook on Dallas. Check out the above video to see where you should eat if you ever find yourself in Big D.

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