This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

It’s a busy, busy week, what with people fresh back from the Thanksgiving holiday and organizations trying to rush their activities in before the New Year sneaks up. That’s why you can see any of several Christmas-themed stage plays: DTC’s A Christmas Carol, Theatre Britain’s panto of Mother Goose, MBS Productions’ saucy Bur-Less-Q Nutcracker and WaterTower’s staged reading of It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play. You can also see the real Nutcracker in Dallas before it moves to Fort Worth, courtesy of Texas Ballet Theater.

If you’re not really in the holiday mood, though, never fear: Friday night get drunk on French wines at the annual Beaujolais Festival: Beaujolais & Beyond, this time in the fresh new Irving Convention Center. It kicks off at 7 p.m. Or stay closer to downtown with Dick’s Night Out at Ku•De•Ta. Museum junkies can go to the Perot Museum — finally — on Saturday, as well as a new exhibit of Frank Lloyd Wright at the Arlington Museum of Art. And the Holocaust Museum debuts a collection of 71 private family photos take of Anne Frank by her dad Otto. And you can stop by Ro2Art Gallery on Sunday at 7 p.m. for a farewell meet-the-artist reception for gay collage artist Gary Farrelly. His show continued through Dec. 8.

For the music-minded, Jekyll & Hyde, with club diva Deborah Cox and American Idol‘s Constantine Maroulis, opens at the Winspear. And it’s a concert-heavy week, with Mary Fagan, Patti Larkin, Duncan Sheik and Amy Cook all performing throughout the week. And Willam Belli, my former roommate at a breakout star of RuPaul’s Drag Race, performs at the Rose Room on Sunday.

And there are still some great movies of there, including Skyfall, Argo, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Life of Pi, The Sessions and Lincoln (skip the dreadful Silver Linings Playbook), but one of the best is this week’s new release, Hitchcock.

And finally, Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day. You can make a difference and still have a little indulgence by stopping by Sprinkles Cupcakes on Saturday. Proceeds from the sale of the special red ribbon cupcake will be donated to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Strap on the food bag: Beaujolais, Pyles, Dish

This is a foodie kinda season anyway, with Thanksgiving around the corner, but I gotta say, there are almost too many interesting eating opportunities going on this week even for me. Here are a few:

Beaujolais Festival. The French-American Chamber of Commerce for DFW hosts this event every year, on the Friday after the third Thursday in November — traditionally, the day in France when the beaujolais nouveau is first released. It’s a fun, huge event (back at the World Trade Center this year) that offers up not only 2010 beaujolais but some vintage French wines as well as some Texas-grown grape. It starts Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. and tickets are $60 at the door. Visit FACCDallas.com for info.

Stephan Pyles 5th Anniversary Festival. Pyles has been full of celebrations this week: On Tuesday his Samar cheered its naming by Esquire as one of the top 10 new restaurants in America (they didn’t hold a similar part last December, when it made my top 5, but let’s not linger). Now on Sunday, he’ll toast the fall harvest with live music, cooking demonstrations and of course food and drink. It’s Nov. 21 from 4 to 8 p.m.; the cost is $50. Visit StephanPyles.com for tickets.

Dish dinner and benefit. You can get a great meal for a good price ($45/$65 with wine pairings) and do something wonderful for the community on Wednesday — Thanksgiving Eve. Just stop by the ilume restaurant from 6 to 9 and order the special thee-course dinner and the restaurant will donate a week’s worth of groceries to a client of Resource Center Dallas for each dinner served. I mean think about that for a sec: You eat one meal, you feed someone else for a week. The dinner includes such options as mushroom risotto, herb roasted tenderloin and pecan brownie. Call 214-522-DISH to make a reservation.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tasting Notes

The Grape celebrates its astonishing 38th anniversary this week with a special three-course menu priced, appropriately enough, at $38. From Tuesday through next Saturday, chef-owner Brian C. Luscher will create a chef’s tasting at the venerable romantic bistro. (Luscher prepared his justly award-winning burger for the Burgers and Burgundy DIFFA fundraiser last week, pictured; no word whether that will be on the menu, but you can always ask.) For reservations call 214-828-1981.

The Beaujolais Festival returns to the World Trade Center on Nov. 19. The annual celebration of the young burgundian wine includes Bordeaux and Texas wines, plus food from top restaurants like the Hotel St. Germain, Salum and Sambuca Uptown. Tickets are $55 and can be purchased at
FACCDallas.com.

Calling your cookie company Nothing Like It, as mother-and-daughter bakers Lynn Berman and Sara Berman Popek have done, invites skepticism. “I’ve had better,” you’re tempted to say, or, “Yeah… nothing that bad!”

Only you won’t. The cookies — each individually wrapped, like tiny little presents you give yourself — are delicious: Moist (the oatmeal raisin especially; try one with pecans), rich (peanuty peanut butter) and indulgent (rapadoodle — their version of the snickerdoodle). The Dallas-based online-ordering company just launched this month with cookies available by the dozen only now. The sturdy, attractive packaging helps justify the two-bucks-a-cookie price tag, but with cookies, shoes and sex, money should never be an object. Visit NothingLikeIt.com to order.

Addison’s WorldFest promises to let you “travel the world in a weekend,” and while that includes music, dance and a photo exhibit, what we’re attracted to is the food and wine. And that the event has free admission.

On Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m., a global food court will offer everything from chicken masala to pierogis, with a “sip and explore” wine garden from 1–4 p.m. Saturday, 2–5 p.m. Sunday. And for $20, Mercy Wine Bar will let you indulge in some wine and cheese tastings with vino from France to New Zealand. Everything takes place at Village on the Parkway, 5100 Belt Line Road.

Thanksgiving’s right around the corner, so that means one thing: Finding someone to cook for you. EatZi’s allows you to order by Monday, Nov. 22 in order to have your meal ready for Thursday. You can order from among choices of breads, turkey and trimmings, salads and stuffing, and of course pies (pecan, pumpkin, apple and cherry). Order online at Eatzis.com.

Sonny Bryan’s is also preparing a catering menu of turkey and ham, green bean casserole and stuffing, rolls, cobbler and tea for $10/person (10 person minimum). You could make it yourself, but isn’t it enough that you have to clean up afterward? Place your order by Nov. 19 to get it in by Turkey Day. SonnyBryans.com.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 22, 2010

—  Kevin Thomas