Best of Dallas 2015 Guide : Page 92 Best Alternative to Chuck E. Cheese’s Amazing Jake’s There comes a time in every parent’s life when the invitation arrives for a child’s birth-day party at Chuck E. Cheese’s. Kids may love the soggy pizza and animatronic rodent, but it’s misery for adults. Amazing Jake’s, which occupies an old department store space in Collin Creek Mall, is a much nicer place for kiddies to gather. Buffet-style food includes pizzas, pastas, soups, salads and desserts. An open layout relieves claustrophobia, and there’s a wide array of games and activities. If one must go to a kid-centric arcade, Amazing Jake’s beats the rat-hole. Collin Creek Mall, 831 N. Central Expressway, Plano, 972-509-5253, 1530 Main St., in the Joule Hotel, 214-261-4601, Best Picnic Plan Best Use of Rice Krispies Treats CARnIvAl BARKER’S ICE CREAM Scardello’s Monger Picnic Service and Dragon Park There’s a narrow window of time in North Texas when it’s not too hot or too cold for a picnic, so if you’re going to do it, do it right. This is why we like to leave it to the experts at Scardello. Their “monger picnic service” in-cludes a consultation with their cheesemon-gers to pair cheeses and accompaniments, and $25 will get you a choice of two quarter-pound cheeses, a half baguette and an accom-paniment of a jam, chutney or pesto. If you like, they can also help you select wine and craft beers to complement your cheese. (Bio-degradable utensils, cups, etc. included.) The perfect picnic needs the perfect setting, so you’ll want to abscond with your goodies to nearby Dragon Park, a tucked-away statue garden that some find as magical as a “mini-Narnia.” Scardello, 3511 Oak Lawn Ave., 214-219-1300,; Dragon Park, 3520 Cedar Springs Road SPORTS/RECREACTION | | stage NIGHTLIFE/MUSIC | | Night+day FOOD/DRINK CULTURE/PEOPLE | SHOPPING/SERVICES | Classified | MusiC | dish | Movies | Culture | feature | | sChutze | uNfair Park | the thread | CoNteNts | Best Cocktails Midnight Rambler As if it weren’t cool enough to slink down the stairs positioned just under a neon-lit “cocktails” sign, the atmosphere at Midnight Rambler is chic without feeling over the top. Once you find your way into this dimly lit cocktail den, the drinks that await somehow manage to eclipse the ambience. The cock-tail nerdery of bar braniacs Chad Solomon and Christy Pope is evident in their modern-ist technique and clever wordplay on the cocktail menu, and the drinks they stir are just so damn good. Close your eyes and point at a random spot on the menu, you’ll find a winner every single time. Best Place to Get a Margarita and a Mustache Smoke No, we’re not talking about that time you fell asleep at that party in college. Hiding in the corner of the waiting area of Smoke’s Plano location is a kooky vending machine that dis-penses not only fake mustaches, but also ran-dom wildflower seeds and “medals for achievements that have yet to happen.” If you get stuck waiting for a table at the popular up-scale barbecue joint, you might as well make the most of it — add taste-testing their Wood-shed margarita and mustache-sporting to your list of achievements. 2408 Preston Road, Plano, 972-599-2222, Best Place to Chase Caffeine with Shaved Ice Mudsmith Kathy Tran You know it for its craft coffee, but Mudsmith has a secret. Tucked away in the back is a booth housing an “Olde New Orleans” shaved ice machine. Order a shaved ice up front at the barista stand and a friendly coffee slinger DALLAS OBSERVER DALLAS OBSERVER S onth eptember 24-30, 2015 M XX–M onth XX, 2014 Serving Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Weekend Brunch Full Bar • Great Patio Fresh food in the neighborhood! 9661 Audelia Road #105, Dallas, TX 75238 • (214) 349-2233 • 14 92

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