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Live Amidst Nature In Far North Dallas Apartments

For the people of Texas, Far North Dallas is the area present north of Lyndon B. Johnson, also known as LBJ. In the east it borders with Richardson and in the north with Plano. Addison and Richardson are the inner suburbs over there. So, the neighborhood is surrounded by many suburban communities.

With surrounded by so many suburbs, it is quite easy for the residents of  far north dallas apartments to go for shopping in these nearby suburbs. There are some excellent shopping places like The Promenade shopping center in Richardson, and other such places in Plano, Denton and Carrolton too. Read more

You gotta believe! ‘Improbable’ Aggies not satisfied as Texas A&M preps for CWS favorite Louisville

Sam Craft/AP Texas A&M catcher Cole Bedford, center right, hugs teammate Hunter Coleman (10) after defeating Davidson in an NCAA college baseball tournament super regional game Saturday, June 10, 2017, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)

When this season began, Texas A&M baseball coach Rob Childress probably didn’t expect to be sitting in Omaha in the middle of June, talking to reporters a few days before the College World Series.

After all, the Aggies were coming off their second loss to TCU in the super regionals in as many years and lost 16 players from that 2016 team, with 12 of those headed to the minor leagues.

And yet, Childress was seated at a table Friday with three other coaches he could face this week, talking about his team’s improbable journey. For the first time since 2011 and only the second time since 1999, the Aggies are one of the last eight teams remaining in the NCAA postseason.

But just because the Aggies have somehow made it to Omaha doesn’t mean they’re satisfied.

"We’re going to be going to win a national championship," A&M senior outfielder Nick Choruby said before the team’s super regional series win over Davidson last week. "We’re not just going to be happy to be going."

Sunday’s matchup between the Aggies (41-21) and No. 7 Louisville (52-10) is one that features two teams with opposite expectations. According to the Las Vegas’ Bovada Casino, Texas A&M has the worst odds of winning the national championship. The Cardinals have the best chances of holding the trophy at TD Ameritrade Park.

Louisville also happens to have junior Brendan McKay. McKay, who will start opposite A&M’s Corbin Martin, is the nation’s best two-way player and was drafted fourth overall by the Tampa Bay Rays in this week’s MLB amateur draft.

Louisville coach Dan McDowell said the left-handed pitcher with a 2.34 ERA and a team-high .464 on-base percentage has been level-headed and humble despite all the accolades that show he’s one of the best players in college baseball. McDowell said McKay helped ease Louisville’s transition into the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"We needed a superstar player like Brendan along with all the kids we’ve had around him to elevate each other and allow us to compete in a great baseball league," McDowell told reporters Friday.

While Louisville was on its way to being the ACC’s best team during the regular season, A&M was trying to fight its way into NCAA contention. The Aggies’ low points included a 17-3 loss to Vanderbilt and a loss to Missouri in the first round of the SEC tournament.

Yet, the Aggies managed to squeeze into the NCAA tournament and somehow found themselves hosting Davidson, the only No. 4 regional seed to advance to the super regionals.

"The guys believed an awful lot," Childress told those gathered in Omaha on Friday. "We found a way to get into the NCAAs and certainly made a lot of breaks along the way to get here."

That belief, along with some good defense and decent pitching, helped propel A&M into an unlikely postseason fate.

Before Childress traded his gray A&M polo into a maroon shirt for team picture day at the front of TD Ameritrade, he said he’d give his players the same tips he’d give someone before their wedding day.

"Remember every hand you shake and every hug you get," Childress said. "Don’t look up and go, ‘What just happened today?’ But at the same time, you need to make sure you keep your head down when it’s time to prepare in practices and when the games occur."

Texas A&M (41-21) will play the No. 7 national seed Louisville (52-10) in the afternoon game at 1 p.m. CT on Sunday.

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Chaat Room: A Guide to Dallas’ Best Indian Street Snacks

The India Chaat Cafe in Far North Dallas offers aloo tikki chaat, papri chaat and samosa chaat.

Let’s talk chaat.

It’s the unofficial favorite fast food of India, a quick cuisine of street bites, snacks, fritters and other savory treats to eat on the go. Chaat isn’t meant to be fancy. It’s almost all vegetarian, and it often repurposes other foods in surprising ways, but it’s the ultimate in big-flavor fast food, from stuffed flatbreads and incomparable veggie burgers to samosa sandwiches and other strokes of fusion genius.

Best of all, chaat is all around Dallas, and a filling meal often costs as little as $4.

This guide isn’t meant to be a complete listing of all the chaat in North Texas. Instead, we’ve highlighted some of the best dishes from four terrific restaurants in Dallas and Irving. They all have other, equally scrumptious snacks to order, but this is a starting point, an inspiration to go exploring. Go forth, now, and chow down on some of the best bargain food in Dallas.

The biggest compartment of Bombay Chowpatty’s pav bhaji platter ($8.50) is a well-spiced, but only somewhat spicy, mash of vegetables.

Chowpatty is a major public beach in Mumbai, and with swimming risky because of heavily polluted waters, the beach is most famous for its street carts serving up chaat. Bombay Chowpatty in northern Irving gets its name from that beach and its iconic savory snacks. The beach appears as a wall-sized poster, and the restaurant has an outdoorsy feel, thanks to bright sunlight, iconic Bollywood movie posters and a wide-open floor plan. The chefs work at a large island in the middle, right behind the ordering counter. Stop by the sides for napkins or plastic utensils.

Lunch platters here are reliably superb, like the chole puri platter ($8), with a spicy chickpea curry and greasy-in-a-good-way frybread, or, even better, the pav bhaji platter ($8.50). The biggest compartment is a well-spiced, but only somewhat spicy, mash of vegetables. Try a spoonful, sure, but the point of pav bhaji is to build a sandwich with little dinner rolls that have been seasoned and griddled. Few fast-food meals are more satisfying, especially since the lunch platters all come with good rice, free tea and dessert.

Bombay Chowpatty also serves what might be the weirdest fusion food in metro Dallas: the pizza dosa ($7.50). It’s a dosa filled with sweet tomato sauce, red onions, green bell peppers, cheese and a very liberal dusting of oregano. The result is admittedly pretty odd, especially since the tomato sauce tastes like supermarket Boboli-brand stuff. It’s best and most intriguing if you dip the dosa in one of the accompanying chutneys.

825 W. Royal Lane, Irving. bombaychowpattyirving.com, 972-677-7658. Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., 4:30 – 9:30 p.m.; Fri. 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., 4:30 – 10 p.m.; Sat. 12 – 10 p.m.; Sun. 12 – 9:30 p.m.

India Chaat Café
In Far North Dallas, sharing a strip mall with the refined French bistro Cadot, India Chaat Café is a fast food and takeout spot that projects peppy optimism. The bright colors, TV tuned to an Indian music video channel and simple menu all suggest the kind of comfort food in which this restaurant specializes.

India Chaat Café’s aloo tikki chaat ($4) is a colorful bowl built on two patties formed from potatoes, herbs, hot chili pepper flakes and seeds.

Aloo tikki chaat ($4) is a colorful bowl built on two patties formed from potatoes, herbs, hot chili pepper flakes and seeds. On those potato cakes, India Chaat Café piles up chickpeas, chutney and a sort of curried gravy with a bewitching blend of spices. It’s enough for a meal by itself, but save room for other snacks and sides, including naan stuffed with lamb ($3.50). It couldn’t be simpler: a stack of buttered naan with a paper-thin layer of ground lamb and parsley folded into the pockets. In case you hit spice overload, there’s a refreshing yogurt dip speckled with seasoning and thin shreds of carrot.

The restaurant’s specialty, while not technically a chaat, is indisputably delicious: “Desi-style” pizzas with Indian toppings. A small chili paneer pizza ($8) boasts a thin crust that stays perfectly crisp all the way to the center, topped with bell peppers, small cubes of paneer, a little bit of oregano and a lot of spice. This is some of the best, and unlikeliest, pizza in North Dallas.

18101 Preston Road. indiachaatcafedallas.com, 972-381-0003. Sun.-Thurs. 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.

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Rajwadi Vegetarian Indian Fast Food
It looks like an ordinary veggie burger. The bun is an ordinary bun, gently toasted and glistening with grease. Served on paper, this bun pulls strongly on childhood fast-food memories. The patty doesn’t look like meat, of course, but it doesn’t look too crazy on the outside, either. Maybe the lack of lettuce, tomato or onion is a giveaway that truly transporting flavors are about to hit your tongue. This is dabeli, a chaat from Gujarat that has become one of Rajwadi’s two signature sandwiches.

That veggie burger patty is, in fact, mashed sweet potatoes dosed with a brace of curry seasonings. It contains pomegranate seeds for sweet-tart balance, roasted peanuts for crunch and red onions because everything is better with red onions. Fiery-hot, refreshing, crunchy, soft, sinful and vegetarian all at the same time, dabeli is an ingenious snack like nothing else in the world. And, for $5, it is very filling.

Rajwadi’s samosa sandwich ($4.49) is a classic chaat because it adds a little texture and a lot of portability to the samosa.

Rajwadi’s other iconic sandwich is the samosa sandwich ($4.49), a samosa smashed flat and placed on another toasted bun. Hey, it tastes better than it sounds. This is a classic chaat because it adds a little texture and a lot of portability to the samosa.

Rajwadi is tucked inside an Indian supermarket with a small but excellent selection of groceries. The sweets are worth trying, and you shouldn’t leave without exploring the frozen meals section, in which $2.50 for a dinner counts as expensive. You also shouldn’t leave the restaurant area without trying sabudana vada ($4.49), crisply fried fritters made with mashed potatoes, tapioca pearls and cilantro. They’re an outstanding snack, and they come with two chutneys, one sweet, the other hot.

9400 N. MacArthur Blvd., Suite 114, Irving. 972-444-0033. Daily 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Taj Chaat House’s dosas are served in absolute monster sizes that defy you to try finding room for a side dish.

The most celebrated and most popular of Dallas’ chaat restaurants, Taj Chaat House, has been occupying its street corner in Irving for many years. Much has been said about Taj Chaat already; the Observer has called it one of DFW’s most interesting restaurants. The house specialty here are dosas, which are served in absolute monster sizes that defy you to try finding room for a side dish.

But if you can restrict yourself to chaat, there are rewards like the dahi puri ($3.50), gently fried pastry puffs filled with chickpeas, potatoes and chutneys. Yogurt gets drizzled over the top, along with cilantro and diced tomato; the result is served cold and not exactly elegantly plated, but it’s a refreshing snack. Taj Chaat House’s excellent free chutney bar, including peanut-garlic, ginger and spicy-coconut varieties, means that this is also a great place to grab an order or two of naan or paratha and spend lunch dipping away.

As with many chaat dishes in Dallas, few vegetarian meals can be as economical, flavorful — or affordable. What’s not to like?

1057 W. Rochelle Road, Irving. tajchaathouse.com, 214-596-1133. Daily 11:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.

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Over 30 live oak trees were ‘hacked’ in North Dallas and people aren’t happy

People are outraged after a developer cut off the tops of over 30 live oak trees along Forest Lane in North Dallas this week.

The trees, with foliage that had been visible from Interstate 635 near Josey Lane, were chopped down to their limbs by the property owner, who bought the lot from the neighboring Home Depot, according to city council member Jennifer Staubach Gates.

She drove by the property herself on Friday to see the damage to the trees, which are on the city’s protected list.

"I was appalled. It was horrific," she said. "There is no arborist on the planet who would recognize that kind of butchering."

Steve Houser, a local arborist and former chair of the City of Dallas Urban Forest Advisory Committee, agrees and said the way the trees were cut will likely kill them.

"Professional arborists do not top trees like this," he said. "This is a huge loss for the area."

He suspects that the motive behind cutting back the trees was to increase visibility of the building from the road while avoiding a tree removal permit and accompanying mitigation fees with the city.

David Cossum, director of Sustainable Development and Construction for the City of Dallas, said the owner of the property, Platinum Construction based in Fate, did not file a tree removal permit with the city.

The company could not be reached for comment on Friday.

The city has not issued a citation, Cossum said, but an investigation is underway to determine if a removal permit should have been filed.

"It’s pretty self-evident that they should be classified as having been removed," he said of the live oak trees.

"It’s shocking," said Cindy Beatty who lives down the road from the property. "I just think it’s disgraceful."

Beatty was was shopping at the Home Depot on Friday when she said she saw the hacked trees. Employees at the store told her the developer is getting ready to build a storage unit facility on the property and wanted the building to be visible from the highway.

"I just hate to see trees destroyed to put up a storage facility," she said.

The city said the investigation should be concluded by next week, but Houser said regardless of the outcome, the damage has already been done.

"It’s very unfortunate," he said. "Trees like this clean your air, water, soil and they just improve overall quality of life. Damage like this will kill a tree, and Dallas doesn’t have enough trees as it is."

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Dallas Cowboys: Is Ryan Switzer the new Cole Beasley?

It’s been nearly two months since Tony Romo announced his retirement, but the Dallas Cowboys still haven’t made a clean break with the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback.

Romo’s locker remains unoccupied, and no one on the current roster is wearing his old No. 9, according to ESPN. The 37-year-old has yet to file his retirement paperwork and hasn’t completely shut the door on a possible comeback, telling reporters in April that he’s 99 percent sure he won’t return for another season.

The Cowboys effectively ended the Romo era in Dallas last season, when rookie Dak Prescott was named the starter early in the year to replace the injured veteran and then Prescott’s role became permanent late in the season. The team was expected to trade Romo in the offseason, but he abruptly called it a career in April.

Could the Cowboys be planning to retire Romo’s number, joining Don Meredith, Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman as the only quarterbacks in franchise history to have that honor?

Romo will most likely lose his locker before seeing another player don No. 9. Head coach Jason Garrett has placed team leaders at different corners of the locker room, a location Romo’s locker currently occupies.

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Southern Dallas Is Growing Faster Than North Dallas, But Still Isn’t Caught Up

Graham Coreil-Allen / Flickr

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings says progress is being made in revitalizing southern Dallas. He credits his GrowSouth initiative in helping stimulate investment and development in communities south of Interstate 30 and the Trinity River. Still, the area faces many challenges.

The big takeaway from the 2017 GrowSouth annual progress report: Southern Dallas is growing — and at a faster rate than North Dallas. Since 2011, when the initiative launched, the tax base growth in southern Dallas has been about 25 percent – about double the growth happening in the northern part of the city.

“Long story short, if you had invested $100 in North Dallas versus southern Dallas, you would’ve made more money in southern Dallas,” Rawlings said. “We have never seen this type of growth.”

Along with the area’s overall improvements between 2012 and 2016, southern Dallas has seen an uptick in population, lower property crime and a higher high school graduation rate – nearly 11 percent higher. Property values also increased by more than 40 percent. Per capita income is up and unemployment is down.

Rawlings said the city is trying to attract more jobs to the area by encouraging investment from companies like Uber – which has hired more than 2,500 people in southern Dallas. Starbucks announced this week it will be opening a store next to Red Bird Mall to help revitalize the area and provide more jobs for young people.

There’s still more work to do

Public school enrollment is down slightly, aggravated assaults are up, and not enough has been done to attract larger retailers to the area.

“We have to work harder, faster, quicker to catch up to North Dallas, and I think we are. I think we have that sense of urgency but we need to keep that intensity going,” he said.

Rawlings said the plan is to push more public-private partnerships and integrate GrowSouth into the city’s daily operations. He’s looping in Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax, who will take the initiative beyond the mayor’s office.

“I’m committed to building upon the rich history of southern Dallas through this initiative,” Broadnax said. “Our strategies and approaches for making decisions and investments in southern Dallas need to be built around data – looking at market strengths that I believe will result in transformative projects in the neighborhoods in southern Dallas and create the ripple effect we strive to create in economic development.”

The hope is that the initiative can continue on after Rawlings’ term ends in 2019.

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A Perfect North Dallas Renovated Ranch

Our Inwood House of the Week is one of those homes you expect to see as a location for a TV series set in the 1950s. Mom is vacuuming in heels and pearls as dad fires up the grill for a neighborhood barbecue, jazz wafting out onto the patio. This North Dallas renovated ranch at 11439 Chicot Drive perfectly captures the character and nostalgia of the era, but step inside and you quickly move from 1951 to 2017.

The ranch is a uniquely American style, originating in the 1920s though it was popularized during the post-war building boom. The idea was to create a family-friendly house with a connection to the outdoors, generally through sliding glass doors, as there was an emphasis on backyard life. Remember, this was when the barbecue craze began. Inviting the neighbors over for cocktails and tossing a steak on the grill was a weekly event. Regional architects added signature looks, and we began to see split levels and features borrowed from Mediterranean and Colonial homes, like the dormers on this one.

A new generation of buyers is embracing the 50s ranch and all that it embodies, including that love of backyard life and neighborhood parties. While they are drawn to the defining exterior features, today’s buyer wants a clean transitional feel inside, and that’s exactly what you get with this renovated ranch.

Raegan Barringer of Barringer Homes was the mastermind behind the remodel.

“It’s just beautifully done,” Dave Perry-Miller listing agent Sharon Redd said. “The spaces are open, light, and bright. It is the perfect balance of old and new. It has a great floor plan. The quality of materials and the workmanship are meticulous.”

The kitchen was opened up to the family room, and beautiful Carrara marble countertops were installed along with some very hip wallpaper in the breakfast area.

One of our favorite features of this 3,957-square-foot home is the two-sided fireplace. The present owners removed the walls on either side of it to bring in light from the French doors across the back of the former sun porch.

A couple of steps down from the kitchen is another living area with sliding glass doors to the yard. It would be a great game room for the kids or a wonderful home office space.

This home was built for family living with four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a powder bath. The yard is enormous. You can easily fit in a sizable pool and still have plenty of play area.

Redd listed this terrific renovated ranch on Monday for only $ 1.075 million. Grab your pearls and heels and get ready to grill some steaks and party on the patio!

Karen Eubank is the owner of Eubank Staging and Design. She has been an award-winning professional home stager for more than 25 years. She’s been a professional writer for 20 years. Karen is the mother of a son who’s studying music at The University of Miami. An ardent animal lover, she doesn’t mind one bit if your fur baby jumps right into her lap. Find Karen at www.eubankstaging.com

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High dollar PAC causing stir as Dallas runoff elections approach

A Dallas political action committee funneling large amounts of money into particular city council campaigns is raising eyebrows among members of competitive races and complaints of “dark money” buying elections. (Photo: Steve Rainwater / Flickr, Composite: NDG)

When city council candidate Eric L. Williams stepped up to the microphone during the Monday Night Politics forum on March 20 at Fair Park’s African American Museum, he didn’t mince words as to why he was running for the District 8 seat in South Dallas.

“I’m not going to drink the Mayor’s Kool-aid,” Williams said, adding that $200,000 had “bought” the District race back in 2015.

Allegations of “North Dallas money buying South Dallas elections” is nothing new, but a political action committee (PAC) with a purse approaching just about that amount is causing a stir as the city moves toward runoff races in three districts. According to documents received and compiled by the North Dallas Gazette staff, the “For Our Community PAC” has spent more than $195,000 on various campaigns in the 2017 election (as of the April 28 filing of campaign expenditures, there were further donations received after that date). The PAC consists of high-dollar donors, with one individual contributing $100,000 alone. For Our Community PAC is at least linked to Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings through Mari Woodlief, who runs the PAC and is also Rawlings’ political consultant.

Williams is no longer in the race for District 8, having been eliminated in the first round of voting. The For Our Community PAC backed his opponent, incumbent Erik Wilson, to the tune of more than $24,000.

Wilson now faces returning council member Tennell Atkins in a runoff race. Atkins has been quite successful in raising funds himself (out-spending Wilson as of the end of April). Atkins also received the highest number of votes in the May 6 election, but with a wide and diverse field in that race, no candidate gained a clear majority in the first round of voting.

But District 8 in South Dallas was not at the top of the list for expenditures. With one exception, all the candidates supported by For Our Community PAC are incumbents seeking reelection. The one exception was the District 14 race in which the PAC backed challenger Matt Wood over incumbent Philip T. Kingston. Kingston is often referred to as a thorn in the side of the council’s status quo, opposing the mayor on a variety of issues ranging from the handling of the Police and Fire Pension crisis to the proposed Trinity River tollway.

Between supporting Wood and specifically opposing Kingston, For Our Community PAC’s expenditures in the District 14 race exceeded the six-figure mark, including the production of a video which portrayed Kingston as a rude and combative element on the city council. Despite the effort, Kingston managed to pass through the May 6 election unscathed, garnering more than 54 percent of the vote outright and avoiding a runoff.

In West Dallas, For Our Community PAC supported incumbent Monica Alonzo, which drew some criticism associated with the reported opposition to HB 2480 by Alonzo’s brother, Texas Sen. Roberto L. Alonzo. The bill which was filed by Texas Rep. Eric Johnson to alleviate pressure from growing property taxes in the West Dallas district caused by the incursion of new investment was killed in a political maneuver by GOP lawmakers in Austin. With a $10,000 donation to the PAC from the co-founders of West Dallas Investments, some questions of motive were raised.

However, Johnson’s bill was one of more than 100 bills killed by the Republican Freedom Caucus in a move that is now being called the “Mother’s Day Massacre” and is being chalked up to partisan in-fighting in the legislature. HB 2480 was officially returned to Calendars Committee on May 12. Also, Alonzo and fellow incumbents Casey Thomas and Rick Callahan received, by far, the lowest level of financial support from the PAC. All three combined totaled less than $21,000.

The For Our Community PAC also weighed in heavily in the District 7, lending its support of more than $24,000 to incumbent Tiffinni A. Young. Young received the highest number of votes in the May 6 election, but did not gain a clear majority and will face challenger Kevin Felder in a runoff.

While the contributions of the For Our Community PAC have left many grumbling, no one has suggested the PAC has done anything illegal. All indications are that the election rules were followed and these donations are allowable.

There are many voices being heard across the country calling for campaign finance reform, and assertions that money plays too big a role in U.S. elections. It was the primary rallying cry of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary. Until such laws are changed, voters can expect to see such PAC activities continue.

(Disclosure: The North Dallas Gazette endorsed eight candidates in the May 6 election. NDG endorsed the same candidate as For Our Community PAC in the District 3 race, Casey Thomas; and endorsed opposing candidates, Tammy Johnston in District 7, and Tennell Atkins in District 8. NDG reached out to For Our Community PAC for comment, but did not receive a reply by press time.)

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North Korea Launches Missile From Test Site, US Officials Say

(CBSNEWS) – North Korea launched a missile from a test facility near the country’s west coast early Sunday morning, U.S. officials tell CBS News national security correspondent David Martin.

Reuters earlier reported the firing of unidentified projectile, citing a South Korean military official. The South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that the object appeared to be a ballistic missile.

U.S. officials said they were still assessing whether the launch was successful and trying to determine what kind of missile was tested.

Although the type of missile is not known, the U.S. had been expecting the North to fire a KN-17 medium-range ballistic missile.

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This Tiny North Dallas Restaurant Serves up a Spectacular Feast of Vietnam’s Greatest Hits

My quang yellow noodles, special vermicelli bowl, and shrimp and barbecue pork wide rice noodle soup, com bo luc lac (shaken beef) and eggrolls at La Me.

Pho is served at La Me, but not too many people seem to order it.

This restaurant, on the far northeastern edge of Dallas adjoining Richardson and Garland, is one of the most popular gathering places among Dallas County’s population of more than 26,000 Vietnamese-Americans. At mealtimes, La Me buzzes with energy. Walk in during lunch rush on Friday and a table for two might be impossible to find. Come for dinner and at least one table, if there’s one free, might be taken up by employees picking through enormous laundry baskets of fresh herbs and aromatics.

La Me serves a wide range of Vietnamese foods, from home-cooking to dishes commonly served at wedding feasts and other special occasions. For American diners who only know pho and banh mi, this diversity can be a revelation. That’s especially true because the kitchen here, with its genius for great soup broths and its mastery of an enormous menu, is quite simply one of the best in Dallas.

Try my quang ($8), a bowl of wide rice noodles made bright yellow with the addition of turmeric to the dough. It’s a specialty of the Quang Nam province, served in a gently savory, meaty broth with pork, a few tail-on shrimp, dozens of chopped roasted peanuts and a slew of herb garnishes, from basil to chives. The shrimp are nicely cooked, the peanuts add bursts of texture to a flavorful broth and the bowl is generous enough for two meals, especially since it comes with an enormous sesame cracker on the side.

Bring a group of friends to La Me and order a few soups to share.

The soups at La Me can be a wonder, since nearly all of them start with their own broths. Bring your friends, order a whole table full of soups and dip a spoon into your neighbors’ bowls. That way you can compare the delicate, lightly sweet duck broth in the duck noodle soup (bun mang vit, $8) with the rich, deep, gently spicy taste of the thick rice noodle soup with shrimp and barbecued pork (banh canh tom thit, $7.50).

The duck soup is good, and the bone-in duck oh-so-tender and just the right amount of fatty, but that thick rice noodle soup’s broth is eye-popping. Less eye-popping are the thick rice noodles themselves, which have less substance and less give than you’d expect.

An order of the “house special” soup, my kho dac biet ($8), can actually be prepared with the broth served on the side. Try it that way. First take a few bites of the thin, kinky noodles and admire the bowl’s piece de resistance, a whole shell-on shrimp fried directly into a big, bubbly cracker. Some of Dallas’ most avant-garde restaurants could learn that trick and charge twice the price for it. And, yes, fried this crispy, the shell is perfectly edible.

Bo luc lac, AKA shaking beef, one of Vietnam’s national dishes.

Then add the broth. On its own, sitting in its side bowl, the broth is a transparent light yellow, mild but well-developed. Once in the bowl, it combines with the ground and grilled pork, crab claws, clams, scallions and noodles to develop into a rich brown, thicker and meatier, with a bit of sweetness from the grilled pork. It’s like a culinary magic trick.

Another dish that shows La Me at its formidable best is shaking beef, or bo luc lac ($10), the stir fry that is one of Vietnam’s national dishes. Here tender filet mignon is cubed and marinated in rice vinegar, soy sauce and fish sauce, then tossed into the wok and served on rice with scallions, red onions and greens on the side.

One comparative letdown is the bun bo hue ($8), the soup that’s often bright red from its sweet-sour-spicy broth. Here it comes with solid cubes of pig’s blood, coppery-tasting and with the texture of tofu. Spice fans will need to add a big squirt of chili sauce, though. The same general description also applies to bun rieu ($8), a variation with generous amounts of fried fish and shrimp.

Vermicelli bowls get a whole page on the menu; simply choose your favorite combination of toppings. The special is a marvelous mixture of gently sweet grilled pork, a couple of grilled shrimp, two small egg rolls, bean sprouts, pickled carrots, a handful of chopped peanuts and more vegetables besides ($9.50). It’s the ultimate power lunch.

This is a good time to point out that La Me’s egg rolls, ordered in a combination bowl or separately as an appetizer ($6 for five), are rather special. They’re small and generously filled, but the stars are the wrappers, folded into multiple layers each with their own texture, the interiors soft and doughy, the outside edges fried until crisp with airy bubbles. These egg rolls taste like a wave of nostalgia, like your memory of how egg rolls tasted when you were a kid.

As for spring rolls, why not make your own? The “Tiny Rice Stick” menu page is meant for do-it-yourself types; each brings one or two fillings, a huge platter of veggies and herbs and a stack of rice paper wrappers. The name refers to the tiny rice noodles you can use to fill out your roll. On the grand combination plate ($9.50) a particular favorite filling was the sausage patties made from shrimp; there are whole shrimp, too, with intense scorch marks from a quick visit to the grill.

The egg rolls at La Me are over-the-top good.

Quarters at La Me are tight, but not cramped. Service is efficient – by the way, Yelper comments that the staff don’t speak English are dead wrong – and food often arrives impressively fast. Just remember to pay at the counter when you’re done.

La Me boasts consistently terrific execution and a mind-bogglingly huge menu. There are whole categories of food which this review doesn’t have space to cover, like the restaurant’s porridge bowls or its seafood fried rice with shrimp, cuttlefish and scallops, or dishes that reveal the influence of Chinese cuisine. There’s even pho, if you can bring yourself to order it.

La Me, 9780 Walnut St., #140. 972-669-8515. 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday-Tuesday.

A week of tragedy and grief cast a pall over North Texas

There is no precise way to measure grief.

You can’t gauge the intensity of sorrow and loss like the violent winds of a spring tornado.

Since last Saturday — when seven tornadoes touched down in North Texas, claiming at least four lives and injuring dozens of others — a vortex of human violence has torn apart North Texas.

In the span of five days – from Saturday to Wednesday – at least 14 people have died in a string of killings, including the fatal police shooting of a teenager in Balch Springs to a bizarre murder-suicide in East Dallas to a ghastly murder-suicide involving a stalker on a pastoral college campus in Irving.

Nature’s cruelty couldn’t match our inhumanity toward one another – driven by rage, mental instability, terrible choices. Tragedy after tragedy.

Look at them.

Saturday, April 29:

A Balch Springs police officer, Roy Oliver, 37, fires a rifle into a car full of teenagers as it drove away from a party late Saturday night, striking Jordan Edwards, 15, in the head. Edwards, once a standout football player and honor-roll student at Mesquite High School, will be laid to rest today. One dead

Monday, May 1:

In Denton, a man facing a trial on a charge of indecency with a child fatally shot himself outside the Denton County Courts Building. He later was identified as Kevin Conley, 56, of The Colony. One dead.

In East Dallas, Derick Lamont Brown, 36, fatally shot Arthur Doyle Riggins, 66 – and also wounded a neighbor and a Dallas paramedic — before killing himself. Two dead.

In Fort Worth, a woman, Leslie Bailey, 47, died after being shot in a Ridgmar Mall parking lot by her estranged husband, David Bailey, 45, who killed himself later during a police chase. Two dead.