The test kitchen pavilion is perfect for cooking demonstrations, or a private reception, with an outdoor tasting plaza featuring a weekly recipe swap; a table setting; the 1-acre manmade lagoon offers al fresco dining with amazing views of Dallas’ skyline.

Dining among the foliage has never been easier

The Dallas Arboretum has long been the undervalued gem of Dallas culture. Located on White Rock Lake, its 65 acres boast some of the best views of Downtown, while still being so near the heart of the city you don’t even go into a remote ZIP code. There are rolling hills of flowers, live outdoor music concerts, a pumpkin patch and even on-site restaurants. But the Dallas Arboretum isn’t just for wedding pictures and nature photographers. It will not be a foodie destination point.

Under construction since earlier this year, A Tasteful Place is a 3.5-acre, $12 million edible display garden, where produce is sown, harvested and even used by chefs in the on-site kitchens. Its construction was inspired by the movement seeking to create organic, sustainable, local and fresh produce, and designed to suggest a European potager.

Garden-to-tableThe schedule of plantings has been developed by staff horticulturalists to nurture the best vegetables for the season, starting this month with artichoke, beets, eggplant, pumpkins of course, and even quinoa. November and December add cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, onion and garlic, plus many more attractions (including decorative flowers, an orchard and a manmade lagoon).

The centerpiece, of course, is the pavilion and event space with test kitchen, which can be used for private receptions and cooking classes. There will also be year-round programming including daily tastings of recipes developed from the featured Vegetable of the Week at the tasting plaza, weekly heritage recipe swap each Thursday, and quarterly garden-to-table dinners.                                                          

— Arnold Wayne Jones

Newly opened, A Tasteful Place kicks off with a ticketed event this week: A Garden Gala Party on Oct. 15, followed by a cooking demo in the test pavilion by Robert Lyford, chef-owner of Patina Green on Oct. 18, starting at 10 a.m.. That night, Four Chefs under 40 — including Uno Immanivong of Chino Chinatown, Daniel Pittman of LUCK, Anastacia Quinones of Oddfellows and Andrea Shackelford of Harvest Seasonal Kitchen — will prepare cocktails and passed plates. Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, 8525 Garland Road.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 13, 2017.