TASTING NOTES

Posted on 29 Mar 2012 at 5:55pm

tastingSavor Dallas, the annual weekend celebration of food and wine, is back, but this year things are switching up. It still kicks off Friday, March 30, with the Arts District Stroll ($35), which features dozens of wines and bites from local chefs throughout the area, from the DMA to the Winspear. But this year, the party continues with Sips and Sounds at the Kessler ($35), an Oak Cliff extension featuring food from Tillman’s Roadhouse, Gloria’s and Hattie’s, plus live music.

It continues on Saturday with luncheons, wine and cheese pairings and even a wine tasting seminar during the day, followed by the big event: The International Grand Tasting, which this year moves from Downtown Dallas to the spectacular Irving Convention Center in Las Colinas. For more information, and to get tickets to any of the events, visit SavorDallas.com.

If you can’t make it to Savor Dallas, you might wanna check out the Buffalo Gap Wine and Food Summit near Abilene next month. Now in its sixth year, the Friday night dinner (prepared as always by Stephan Pyles) is already sold out, but you can still get tickets to some of Saturday’s events: A Tuscany in Texas wine tasting, a lunch featuring Italian antipasti, a cheese and wine seminar, and the Saturday night gala, Cowboys, Cuisine and Cabernet, with dancing, wine and food from top chefs under the beautiful West Texas sky. For more information, visit BuffaloGapSummit.com.

While the White Party rages in Palm Springs over Easter weekend, Dallas bartenders will strut their stuff for a chance to pour where it rarely rains. For the third consecutive year, the gayest city in the desert is sponsoring its nationwide Palm Springs Summer Cocktail Challenge, pictured, seeking the best mix master in the country. On Monday, April 9, local mixologists will convene at the Round-Up Saloon to offer up their unique recipes using Stolichnaya Vodka. The winner gets a chance to go to California and compete against other bartenders nationwide. The mixing begins at 9 p.m.

Sweet Tomatoes, which features soups, salads and baked goods, opens its newest location in the Old Town shopping center at Greenville Avenue and Lovers Lane, and is offering an introductory $5 all-you-can eat price all day Friday and for lunch on Saturday.

The arrival of spring means not only new flowers, but new menus. Chef Andre Natera at Pyramid Restaurant inside the Fairmont Hotel rolled out his new menu on March 20, on the eve of spring, but the rich selections could work just as well in the warm days of autumn. As usual, the menu is executed deftly, with simple items like a fennel carrot soup packing a surprising tang (and rich yellow color) with the addition of mustard creme fraiche. Carrots figure in inventive ways on several of the dishes, among them the roasted lamb (highlighted by mint gnocchi) and the lobster entree — a beautiful lobe of meat brightened by a trio of carrot sides: pickled, roasted and pureed with ginger.

At Breadwinners, the menu includes something long overdue: Breakfast-for-dinner options, including chicken and waffles, steak and eggs and ham benedict. Even without that change, there are many new items joining some favorites: firecracker chicken (bacon-wrapped jalapeno nuggets), the low-country classic shrimp and grits, and pan-seared sea bass with mango salsa. And, of course, the array of indulgent desserts. Save room.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 30, 2012.

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