You know that saying about leaving well enough alone? Yeah, Dallas has been throwing that saying right out the window lately when it comes to food. Suddenly, the status quo isn’t cutting it, and that’s a very good thing for all of our collective stomachs. First, the Town of Addison’s Taste Addison cluster became Fork & Cork, an upgrade for sure, wherein it embraced its whole wine-only-in-the-outdoors-by-city-ordinance situation and just leaned the hell in with tastings, legit international food celebrities and the like, taking a real step toward true food festival status. Now, Savor Dallas, a formerly wine-focused, more like food-adjacent event is stepping the F up with a ton of new-and-insanely-improved food activities for four full days of awesome. Basically, our city’s food events are shaping up to put Dallas on the map, festival-wise. Will there be a Dallas Food & Wine Festival the likes of Austin, Atlanta or Napa one of these years? Suddenly I’m thinking it’s not so impossible. A large part of this kick in the spittoon is that recently, Savor Dallas was purchased from Jim and Vicki Briley-White by CrowdSource, the events arm of The Dallas Morning News. Yup. That’ll do some things.
If you’ve attended all or part of Savor Dallas before, some of the elements will be familiar. There’s a Wine Stroll on Thursday evening in the Arts District, pretty much exactly like in years past. (Pro tip: the best part is watching tipsy fashionistas teeter around in their stilettos after a few too many Chardonnays, especially after you’ve had a few yourself.) The Savor The Arboretum event returns this year, where guests will sample wines and bites in a “garden party”-like setting. There’s also an extravagant International Grand Tasting on Saturday night, though thankfully this year the folks in charge have opted to bring it on back to Dallas proper from Irving, where the event has taken place the last couple of years. And then there’s the upgraded Reserve Grand Tasting, which costs more, is limited to a smaller number of attendees and features the tippy-top shelf liquors, beer and wines.
Then there are the new events, which is where it gets seriously interesting. The Toast of the Town Event Series, priced between $30 and $100 or so each, feature a slew of local celebuchefs in small settings. Here are just a few tastes: There’s meet and greet about meat with chef and author Tim Byres of Smoke, a heart-to-heart about hamburgers with beefcake burgermaster Nick Badovinus, a charcuterie chat with chef Graham Dodds and his team at Hibiscus, and you can listen to Brooks Anderson of Boulevardier open up about oysters.
Lastly, there’s a new Savor Dallas brunch situation called the Community Brunch. Why didn’t anyone think of this before? Because after a long weekend of drinking and eating, it’s so obvious that more drinking and eating is the only way to tie it all up in a beautiful hung over bow. And this one’s a great one: the folks at Café Momentum, The Joule Hotel and Wild Salsa are putting on an outdoor brunch in Downtown’s Main Street Garden with plenty of brunch foods, mimosas, Marys and Larry g(EE).
Even though Savor Dallas is only 11 this year, in many ways, the fest feels more like a teenager, finally coming into its own, getting pretty hot and looking very tasty. It’s shed the chubby fat of those awkward teen years (read: chain restaurants, less-than titillating seminars), and really blossomed. Because finally, the food is quite possibly poised to overshadow the wine this year, featuring the restaurants and chefs that Dallas food fiends can’t seem to get enough of.
SPONSORED CONTENT ALERT!
This blog post was sponsored by the folks at the Dallas Morning News. They gave me a bit of money to write about savor and post about it on social so you guys could find about it and hopefully buy tickets and go drink things and eat stuff. They also gave me some free tickets to some of the Savor Dallas events so I could go there, take photos, post them to the social media and whatnot. I’ll be attending the Grand Tasting, the Community Brunch, and probably a Taste of the Town event or two. Total estimated value of the free tickets (including +1 tickets): $600, plus compensation for sponsored social media posts and blog posts.