BREAKING: Chef Matt McCallister to open second Dallas restaurant, Filament

Matt McCallister

Matt McCallister

Matt McCallister — the former protege of Stephan Pyles who gained national fame after opening his Design District restaurant FT33 — has finally announced his sophomore effort. Filament will open “in spring 2015,” according to a release, in the Deep Ellum neighborhood. Focusing on simple Southern ingredients — “items that I eat on my own time,” McCallister says — it will be approachable, but with surprises. We’re used to surprises from him, and this is a happy one.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

A few people we think of when we think 2014

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Bruce Wood

Tomorrow’s edition of Dallas Voice reveals our annual choice for LGBT Texan of the Year. I won’t spoil who we chose, but in going over the year in my mind, some names stuck out — they were on my mind during 2014 a lot, for a variety of reasons. For instance, Bruce Wood — a friend and also one of the most frighteningly talented artists Texas has ever seen (I swear that’s not an exaggeration) — passed away, far too soon, at age 53 this past May. We did a cover story about Bruce the following week, cause he touched so many lives.

The community also reacted strongly to the passing of Chris Miklos, a muscleman popular in the bear community, but also a medical researcher who did a lot of good for people. Just a few weeks ago, I was stunned and saddened by the death, at age 31, of Brandon James Singleton, an actor, dancer and funny, skilled writer (he contributed a terrific series to Dallas Voice in 2012 about turning 30). Just as recently, two community leaders — Paul Lewis, a former executive with Caven and Steve Bratka, a huge fundraiser for the Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats — passed away.

Wed Steve Dan

Noviello and Bedner

Not everyone who resonated died, of course. Mark Pharris and Victor Holmes of Plano won a marriage equality against the state of Texas — bully for them! And bully, too, for Jack Evans and George Harris, who finally tied the knot last March after more than decades as a couple (though not legally binding, their retired pastor wanted to make a statement to the Methodist Church). TV personality Steve Noviello did enter wedded bliss — legally — to his partner Doug Bedner in New York. Matt Miller brought the Gay World Series of Softball back to Dallas, and we were all glad to see thousands of athletes out at the clubs. And Stephan Pyles got more recognition for his cuisine for his new restaurant, San Salvaje. We were also pleased as punch when our favorite radio commentator, Rawlins Gilliland, did his first live spoken word show … and it was such a hit, he did several more.

There were some important allies who we cheered on, as well, from failed gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis and lieutenant governor hopeful Leticia Van de Putte. Local chef John Tesar caused such a stir in the foodie community, we were happy he was on our side as a gay-friendly restaurateur. And Dale Hansen raised the bar high early on with his full-throated advocacy for gays in sports.

Think we left off someone important? Possibly — feel free to weigh in with comments. Then again, maybe they are in tomorrow’s paper — or even on the cover! Check it out Friday!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

A foodie weekend (with pictures!)

Dallas’ social season really gets rolling in the fall, with tons on foodie events especially ramping up already. Burgers & Burgundy is this Friday, followed soon by Chefs for Farmers, the Caesar Salad Competition, the Beaujolais Festival and more. Heck, if you add in all the fried foods at the State Fair, it’s virtually nonstop.

But it all got moving this weekend especially, starting with the James Beard Taste America Dinner at the Hilton Anatole’s Wedgwood Room on Friday; Abacus, the Uptown eatery, celebrating its 15th anniversary on Saturday; and Les Dames d’Escoffier Dallas hosting its Raiser Grazer on Sunday. (I wasn’t able to make it out to the latter, but Les Dames always do it up right.)

lobster Gnocchi

Gnocchi lobster

The James Beard event, a first of its kind in Dallas, featured five local chefs designing signature apps served during a reception, followed by superchefs Patrick O’Connell of The Inn at Little Washington and Dallas’ own Stephan Pyles taking on two courses apiece at the sit-down dinner. O’Connell’s lobster-gnocchi and Pyles antelope entree were heaven, and Janice Provost’s (Parigi) crab cake with lemony aioli the most heavenly single bite.

Abacus chefs

Abacus chefs

The fun at Abacus the next night was the uniqueness of the menu: The four-course dinner offered your choice of one of three items per course — one from Abacus executive sous chef Chris Patrick, one from former exec Omar Flores and another from Tre Wilcox, also a former exec. The winning chef on my menu? Flores, who delivered two of the four, with Patrick and Wilcox one each. But it’s quite possible the best single item was Wilcox’s duck three ways, especially the lobe of foie gras which started out the evening right. Congratulations to Kent Rathbun for a decade-and-a-half of setting the bar high.

See a slideshow of photos from the two events below.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Penne Pomodoro offers gluten-free menu

Food coverIn this week’s Food Issue, we have stories about the Oak Lawn Farmers Market and a vegan cookbook by drag cabaret performer Mistress Ginger. Organic… vegan… but we left out a gluten-free story. Sorry! Just so you know, Penne Pomodoro, the Italian restaurant with locations in Snider Plaza, Lakewood and Preston Forest, has gluten-free options on its menu. That’s a pretty sweet development for folks who like pastas, pizzas and risottos, but suffer from celiac disease.

And don’t forget to pick up a copy of Dallas Voice this week and read all about Trinity Groves, Stephan Pyles’ San Salvaje, the Resource Center’s food pantry, and much more.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Perini Ranch wins James Beard Award

Atop the famed iron armadillo at James Beard winner Perini Ranch Steakhouse

It’s the Oscars of the culinary world, the James Beard Awards (named after the late gay gourmand). Winning one is a feather in a cap — and in this case, that cap is a Stetson. Perini Ranch Steakhouse, the home to the annual Buffalo Gap Wine and Food Summit, is one of five recipients this year of the the Beard Foundation’s American Classic Award, which often goes to family-owned foodie businesses that have maintained their local character. The steaks there are excellent, as is the brunch if you’re lucky enough to get it, but it’s no doubt the steakhouse’s participation in the summit that helped bring it to the attention of the foundation. The Perinis attract some of the best culinary talent in the nation, many from the Metroplex (owner Tom Perini’s daughter, Caroline, is co-owner of Dallas’ Easy Slider food truck, and she is actually featured in tomorrow’s Readers Voice Awards). And the upcoming summit, in just a month’s time, will be the final appearance of legendary Dallas chef Stephan Pyles.

Congrats to the Perinis!

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Tasting notes: Mattito’s moves, El Fenix offers cheap margaritas

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In the Jan. 3 edition, I wrap up my year-in-review coverage with the people, cultural events, TV shows and books of the year, as well as the top new restaurants of 2013. (What, oh what, will make the list, my foodie friends?) But the food news today isn’t something new, but something pretty old. El Fenix, which kicked off a year-long celebration last September (pictured) of its 95 years in business, is offering a few value deals throughout the month of January, including its house margarita for $2.95 and chicken-and-steak fajitas for $9.95, plus its Wednesday-only enchilada dinner for $5.99. (As an enchilada junkie with lots of free Wednesdays, this excites me.)

In other Tex-Mex news, Mattito’s is officially open in the gayborhood. Actually, it’s been open for a few weeks, but you might not have noticed since it’s  ”official” first week came at the height of the icepocalypse. The new space is roomy and keeps all of the items you’re used to. It’s also a homecoming of sorts for Mattito’s, which moved away from Oak Lawn Avenue about a dozen years ago to hole up on Routh Street. It’s now in the Centrum in a space once occupied by Stephan Pyles’ Star Canyon. No pressure.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

SPOILER ALERT: ‘Top Chef’ all-straight now, but Texan’s still in running

Top Chef: Seattle has toyed with us, both as gays and Texans. The first evictee was openly gay chef Jeffrey Jew. Since then, we’ve had just one queer chef to root for: returning competitor Josie Smith-Maleve, pictured. She wasn’t personally popular among the other cheftestants, and they’d been itching for her to go for a while. Last week, when she bested frontrunner Kristen Kish, the world seemed topsy-turvy. So last night, when Josie was finally let go, it felt, sadly, like justice had been served.

Still, that leaves a gay-free zone headed into the final weeks of the competition. Not, though, a Texan-free one. FT33‘s Joshua Valentine — who started as a line cook at Stephan Pyles — is still in the running. Hey, if we don’t have a gay to support, we always go for a Texan.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

It’s very moving weekend we have in store. Wheel get right to it.

Starting today, Dallas’ Classic Chassis Car Club revs its engines for the 25th annual Golden Girls meet-up, a convention of member clubs that enjoy older, interesting or unique automobiles. The event includes mixers, a picnic and an awards dinner in Fort Worth. Here in Dallas, Park Place Motorcars officially launches its new Motorsports division, targeting those gearheads who have a need for speed.

One of the best movies of the year, Skyfall, opens today as well, with Daniel Craig, pictured, returning as James Bond and Javier Bardem as a gay supervillain. Even if you aren’t double-oh-seven fan, you’ll love it. Another admirable film opening this weekend is A Late Quartet, a clever drama where then members of a musical group find themselves actually performing the roles of a fugue as they interact. It contains an amazing performance by Christopher Walken, who should be short-listed for the Oscar this year. And it’s not too late to catch Cloud Atlas, another terrific movie with gay themes. Also, The Variants finished up its third season this week; you can watch it here.

On stage, Kitchen Dog Theater continues its new season with the dark comedy The Beauty Queen of Leenane opening Friday, and on Saturday 42nd Street tap-dances its way into Casa Manana. Also this weekend, the Theater Ministry of the Cathedral of Hope stages Standing on Ceremony, a collection of short plays about marriage equality. And on Thursday, Rick Miller performs, for what he says will be the penultimate time, his one-man show MacHomer at the Winspear.

Jim Duran, a Dallas fashion designer, launches his new menswear label, BLKLN, with a gala at Dish on Tuesday.  And sticking with fashion, model lensman Steven D. Hill holds his second annual toy drive with snacks from the Original Cupcakery and fashionistas on display. Oh, and last night, Stephan Pyles’ newest restaurant, Uptown’s Stampede 66, opened for dinner.

There’s also an anti-bullying concert being held at the Angelika Plano at the Shops of Legacy from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, with CDs available and proceeds benefiting anti-bullying causes.

Finally, Art Conspiracy returns for an evening of fundraising and art, music, food and other things that make life worth living. It’s at 960 Dragon St. in the Design District Saturday night.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

This week’s takeaways: Life+Style

Yes, we know this is Black Tie Dinner weekend, but if you don’t have tickets by now, you’ve got other stuff to keep you busy — some of it quite great.

First, you can get a taste of Black Tie for the B4 Preview Party Friday night at the Sheraton, a little sneak peak of the auction items. Then on Saturday you have two chances to see Jaston Williams (of Greater Tuna fame) performing his one-man show about growing up in the Panhandle, Cooking with Gasoline, pictured, at Casa Manana. You also only have a few more changes to see Lyric Stage‘s production of 1776. It’s not a perfect musical by any means, but the cast is strong and nothing will get you excited about voting more than a patriotic musical. You have a little longer to see The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity from Dallas Theater Center. Hot guys in Speedos and a smart dissection of consumer culture? I was sold.

Also on Saturday, you can go to the 500 Inc.’s 10th annual WineFest in Addison. (We’re even giving away free tickets!)

If you prefer staying in on a Friday night, Lily Tomlin returns to sitcomdom with Malibu Country tonight on ABC.

On Election Eve, Mama’s Party returns for a fundraiser in Grand Prairie with Amy Stevenson hosting as always and local vocal luminaries performing. Expect a lot of tributes to the late Buddy Shanahan — the local pianist died Sunday; a memorial service will be held for his friends at the Cathedral of Hope on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. For a different kind of music on Monday, you can instead see Liz Mikel play Blue (Room) at South Side on Lamar with her show about sex and women. Oh, lord!

Many of us will be glued to the TV watching election returns on Tuesday, but if you need some other distraction, consider seeing Oral Fixation, the storytelling series, at The MAC.

And finally, although Stephan Pyles’ newest restaurant Stampede 66 hasn’t officially opened yet, it’s due and day now, and until then, you can check out pictures of the interior here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

1ST LOOK: Stephan Pyles’ Stampede 66

It hasn’t officially opened yet, but following a few charity dinners and a party last week, Stephan Pyles’ new restaurant Stampede 66 is putting the finishing touches on the decor (and the menu) prior to a planned opening next week. Here’s a look at some of the pictures you can come to expect.

Check out the full slide show here. And read my preview-interview with Pyles in Friday’s edition.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones