Friday, March 16, 2012

Savor Dallas: Best Food & Wine Event of the Year

2015 Post-Event Update: I no longer recommend attending this event. It has been steadily declining for the past the three years to the point where the 2015 event was not worth going to. Here's why: None of the media reviewers I see there every year or strangers I talked to in line were wowed by the creativity and flavor in any of the dishes this year. This downhill trend started at the 2013 event and has culminated in zero "wows" in 2015. It's nearly the same vendors every year. It seems more of them have figured out they need to make the food ahead of time. Perhaps that explains why taste and creativity has suffered. Although I don't understand why they haven't also learned to bring more food because every year a quarter of the booths run out of food one hour before the event ends and almost no one has food with 30 minutes left. The ticket price used to be cheaper and a good value with several really creative and delicious dishes to try, but $120 ticket price per person is not even remotely worth what you get now. I recommend spending that money on the much tastier and more creative food at any of the reputable restaurants in Dallas.

From a Dallas Foodie perspective, Savor Dallas is my favorite weekend of the year, and it's coming up at the end of this month. What sets it apart from other Dallas food and drink events is the sheer number and quality of items to be sampled at multiple events over the course of two days.

Photo courtesy of Savor Dallas

The star event is the International Grand Tasting on Saturday, March 31st. You won't find any national chains here, but you will find something from every fine dining restaurant in town, plus the best casual restaurants, local artisan foods, and more beer, wine, and liquor than you can consume. Attempting to eat and drink everything is like going to Canton's First Mondays flea market and trying to see it all—it's just not possible. Tickets are a bit pricey, but totally worth it for the most glutinous event of the year. Not even Thanksgiving tops this. I recommend loose fitting pants and a cab.

I'll be live posting my food photos and comments, so be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter, especially if you can't be there in person. I'll probably have a free media pass, but this blog is not a paid endorsement. Below is the official press release with event details.

Photo courtesy of Savor Dallas

Riedel Crystal Wine Tasting
Savor Dallas also welcomes Riedel Crystal CEO Maximilian Riedel who will be hosting a special Riedel Crystal Wine Tasting on Thursday March 29th. Savor Dallas founder Vicki Briley-White says, "It will change the way you taste wine forever!"

Arts District Stroll
The popular "Arts District Stroll" sets the stage for the two-day festival on Friday, March 30th, 5-7pm, where guests can enjoy wine and food tastings in the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Meyerson Symphony Center, and the Winspear Opera House. A group of the popular new Food Trucks will be selling their goodies along Flora Street during the Stroll.

Sips and Sounds
Following the Wine Stroll, "Sips and Sounds" at the historic Kessler Theater in the Bishop Arts District on Friday March 30th from 8:00 until midnight, offers a casual after-party and concert with recording artist Carrie Rodriguez on-stage, plus tasty bites from a host of Oak Cliff chefs, like Tillman’s Corner and Gloria’s, plus artisans including Kessler Cookies, and great "sips" from Ultimate Vodka, Stella Artois, and Apothic and Edna Valley Wines, at the hottest new live music venue in Texas.

Wine, Women and Lunch--Texas Style
Also new, great women chefs and winemakers join forces to create a sizzling lunch and wine tasting at Milestone Culinary Arts Center in Uptown Dallas on Saturday March 31st from 11:30 until 1:30. Led by host chef Sharon Van Meter from Milestone Culinary Arts, "Wine, Women and Lunch--Texas Style" benefits the Dallas Chapter of Les Dames d'Escoffier and features recipes from the award-wining "Cooking with Les Dames d'Escoffier".

Wine and Cheese Pairing
Continuing are the popular Saturday afternoon wine panels. The first is a pairing of wine and cheese at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek to benefit the Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter of the American Institute of Wine and Food with the Mansion’s Michael Flynn and Rich Rogers from Scardello Artisan Cheese.

Wine Panel
The second, being held at the Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas, is the Savor Dallas "Wine Panel" tasting seminar moderated by Master Sommeliers James Tidwell and Drew Hendricks and Benefiting the Texas Sommelier Association Education Fund featuring winemakers attending the annual wine festival.

Reserve Tasting
The “Reserve Tasting” features ultra-premium wines and spirits from 5 to 6:30 pm. Savor Dallas Lone Star Awards this year will be presented to Alberto Lombardi for Culinary and Curtis and Patricia Meadows for the Arts.

International Grand Tasting
The gourmet highlight of the Savor Dallas weekend--the "International Grand Tasting" (7-10 pm), showcases a sampling of signature cuisine from over 60 top Dallas/Fort Worth top chefs and hundreds of premium wines, spirits, and beers. Both events will be staged in the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas. Arrive by Cadillac at these two Sat. night events and receive free valet parking, thanks to Savor sponsor Cadillac. The evening’s answer to responsible drinking will be a fleet of Yellow Cabs standing by to ferry excessive revelers home. Rates will vary depending on Metroplex location destination.

Kroger presents Savor Dallas. Premium sponsors for this year's event include Louis M. Martini Winery, Stella Artois, Ten Cane Rum,, and FIJI Water. All proceeds from a fine-wine silent auction held during the International Grand Tasting are donated by Savor Dallas to the North Texas Food Bank.

Ticket prices for the individual events range from $35 to $125. Weekend passes also are available at an overall cost saving. For a complete schedule, and all details for each event, including a list of all participants, and to purchase tickets, go to or call 888-728-6747.

Parking will be $5 per car in the Winspear Opera House Red Parking in the Arts District the entire evening of March 30. Parking for March 31 will be $ 8 self-parking in Irving Convention Center Garage or valet parking for $15.

About the Irving Convention Center
The beautiful new Irving Convention Center, itself a work of art, is located at 500 W. Las Colinas Blvd. between O’Connor Road and MacArthur Boulevard on Highway 114 just 10 minutes from downtown Dallas.

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