This week marks the official end of summer, which in Dallas signals at least one notable development: The beginning of the peak social season. And from a foodie standpoint, these are some you really need to put on your radar:

Sept 30: The Ultimate Cocktail Experience (benefitting Trigger Toys) returns for a fifth year of mixological mayhem (last year’s event alone raised $200k). The event, pictured, returns to Klyde Warren Park, where once again six stations highlight a signature classic cocktail from a unique region, and teams conjure up alcoholic and non-alcoholic options. For more information and tickets, visit,, or

Oct. 3: Dallas Arboretum’s A Tasteful Place opens.  The Dallas Arboretum has spend months constructing a 3.5 acre cooking and event pavilion and garden, where foodie-focused events can take place… and where vegetables grown on the campus of the garden can be used by the on-site restaurants. It’ll open officially on Oct. 3 at 10 a.m. with Ruthie Pack’s Tasting Plaza, and every Thursday beginning Oct. 5 will launch the Heritage Recipe Swap, where guests are invited to drop off their own (and pick up others’) recipes centered around a signature item, such as tomato (Oct. 5), squash (Oct. 12) or even candy as gifts (Nov. 30).

Oct. 6: Burgers & Burgundy. The DIFFA fundraiser, organized by chef John Tesar, returns again, with vino and sliders a-plenty, this time outside the eyeball across from The Joule Hotel Downtown. Tesar will be joined by Stephan Pyles, Sharon Van Meter, Janice Provost and many more. Tickets at

Oct. 13–14: Park and Palate. It’s back to Klyde Warren for the return of this two-day event, with the theme Pillars & Proteges, pairing established chefs with up-and-comers. On Friday night, the lineup will include Kent Rathbun and Aaron Staudenmaier of Lovers Seafood; Houston’s Monica Pope and Timothy Smith; Dean Fearing and Eric Dreyer of Fearing’s. The Grand Taste on Saturday. For tickets and information, visit

Nov. 2–5: Chefs for Farmers. The three-day fundraising foodie festival features two nights and an afternoon of tastings, including the opening night party featuring a number of former Top Chef contestants, including Sheldon Simeon and Brooke Williamson, and Uchi Austin’s Tyson Cole; yours truly will be serving as a judge. For tickets and a full lineup, visit

— Arnold Wayne Jones