Tasting Notes: McCallister in running for ‘Best New Chef,’ Tesar does local wines

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Matt McCallister, above, chef-owner at FT33, one of Dallas’ top new restaurants of 2012, is in the running for Food & Wine magazine’s title of “The People’s Best New Chef/Southwest.” Now, those of us who has followed Matt from Stephan Pyles to Campo before he nestled in at FT33 might quibble about the term “new,” but he’s certainly worthy of a vote! (McCallister isn’t the only Dallasite on the list, though — his pal Omar Flores with Driftwood is also a nominee.) Voting continues here through Monday.

Tonight, John Tesar, chef of the hot seafood resto Spoon in Preston Center, will feature wines from local Oak Cliff Cellars at a special wine dinner, paired with fish from around the world. Four courses (plus an amuse and dessert) run $100, including, of course, all the wines. Starts at 6 p.m.

Thursday, you get a chance to sneak a peek at Trinity Groves across the Calatrava, as part of the expanded Savor Dallas. Then on Friday, check out the wine stroll (this year at the Perot Museum) before the seminars and major tastings on Saturday, culminating in the big event at the Irving Convention Center Saturday night (this year, it doesn’t conflict with DIFFA).

Asador, the surprisingly inventive farm-to-fire restaurant inside the Renaissance Hotel, celebrates its second anniversary on Friday with a free concert from Goga, and a $25, three-course tasting menu.

On March 20 at 6:30 p.m., The Grape will host an exclusive winemaker’s dinner featuring the wines of Petroni Vineyards, with winemaker Martin Mackenzie introducing the wines. Four courses are $85/person.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tasting Notes: BreadWinners to replace Cibus, cones of food get Epic

The same day that Lombardi Family Concepts made two big announcements — first, that its NorthPark eatery Cibus would be closing, and second, that its Uptown Italian resto, Taverna, would be moving a few blocks, and now next door to another Lombardi restaurant, Cafe Toulouse — comes word that the BreadWinners will be moving into the old Cibus space.

This is actually a not of news for several Uptown-based restaurants. BreadWinners has been a staple along McKinney Avenue for more than 15 years, especially revered for its brunches and desserts, and Alberto Lombardi has established a fortress of concepts in the Knox-Henderson neighborhood: In addition to Taverna and Toulouse, La Fiorentina and Sangria are within spitting distance; his La Cubanita, which closed more than a year ago, was also in the area.

The NorthPark opening/closing follows the announcement that Seasons 52 will expanding into Dallas from its Legacy locale, taking over the space vacated by McCormick & Schmick’s.

July 24 is National Tequila Day, which in a city like Dallas is kinda big news. Urban Taco in Uptown will be marking the event with featured flights of its tequila menu, and Asador, the restaurant inside the gay-adjacent Renaissance Hotel, will mark its usual “Taco Tuesdays” special with a complimentary tequila tasting, starting at 4:30 p.m.

At the Taste of Dallas this weekend, I tried out a new concept from Southern Breeze, a new bakery and cafe in Keller, that’s offering a pretty cute little true: Pip Pops, pictured. Basically small, ravioli-sized pies mounted on a stick, they are pretty cute and also tasty. Also new at Taste: Epic Cones, a unique way to eat everything from pizza to cold curry chicken salad to apple pie. Even stranger? The new venture is located in the old Club One space.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones