The Best of the Fest
Food and wine lovers can purchase tickets for the fourth annual Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival, March 30-April 1, in venues around the city. The festival features five tasty events over three days and nights, and it will bring together Fort Worth’s best culinary talent, along with special guest chefs from Dallas and around the state. Here’s the scoop on the event menu:
1. Festivities kick off with the BBQ Showdown at W.R. Watt Arena at Will Rogers Memorial Center, (6-9 p.m. March 30, $60 or $75 for VIP early entry). Participating pit masters include past favorites like Travis Heim of Heim Barbecue, Barrett Black of Black’s BBQ in Lockhart, and John Sanford of Cresson’s BBQ on the Brazos, along with the George family of Angelo’s Bar-B-Que, who are event newbies.
2. The Main Event (6-9 p.m. March 31, $125 or $150 for VIP) is one of two indoor-outdoor events taking place at the Pier 1 Imports Building. It features more than 100 wines, craft beers and spirits to pair with bites from Marcus Paslay of Clay Pigeon Food and Drink and Piattello Italian Kitchen, Robert Lyford of Patina Green Home and Market in McKinney, and John Tesar of Knife in Dallas.
3. Patrons can then head to The Shack at Panther Island for Desserts After Dark (9-11:30 p.m. March 31, $55 or $65 for VIP) to taste sweet samplings from Gypsy Scoops, Stir Crazy Baked Goods, Dough Boy Donuts and more, paired with craft cocktails and DJ tunes.
4. Then it’s back to the Pier 1 Imports Building for Rise + Dine, a brunch-themed event (11 a.m.-1 p.m. April 1, $65 or $75 for VIP) with mimosa and bloody mary bars along with dishes from Buttons, Café Modern, Press Cafe, and event newcomers Revolver Taco Lounge, Esperanza’s and Paco’s Mexican Cuisine.
5. The festival culminates with Burgers, Brews + Blues, an annual sellout held at the Heart of the Ranch at Clearfork (6-9 p.m. April 1, $70 or $85 for VIP). All-star burger participants include Fred’s Texas Cafe, Rodeo Goat and Swiss Pastry Shop. Here, guests can pick their fan favorite while enjoying beer from 22 craft breweries and live music under the stars.
The event benefits the Fort Worth Food + Wine Foundation, a nonprofit that raises funds for local grant programs and culinary scholarships. All-access VIP passes are available for $400 and include early entry to all five events and a signature tasting tray and wineglass. www.fortworthfoodandwinefestival.com.
Waters Moves Downstream to Downtown
Six months after closing its flashy glass doors in the West 7th development, Waters Restaurant reopens this month in prime real estate on Main Street in Sundance Square. Fort Worth celebrity chef Jon Bonnell, who told his followers on social media that he couldn’t pass up the “incredible opportunity” to have a restaurant downtown, will offer the same fresh seafood selections that drew diners to the original location: crab claws, gumbo, a variety of oysters and daily fish features. Interiors will differ greatly from the longtime previous tenant, Mercury Chop House, which moved just blocks away to the ground floor of The Tower. Floor-to-ceiling windows will let in plenty of natural light, illuminating a space accented with a horseshoe-shaped bar, an open kitchen and glass wine cellars. Waters Restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner daily. 301 Main St., Fort Worth, 817-984-1110, www.waterstexas.com.
Longtime Arlington Mediterranean destination Istanbul Grill will open a second location in Sundance Square this month, bringing authentic Turkish cuisine to downtown Fort Worth. What will change: There will be a full bar. What won’t change: The menu, which will remain filled with favorites like the eggplant, zucchini, sliced potato and ground beef-layered moussaka and the spiced red lentil soup. Mediterranean-food lovers also will find more familiar items like hummus, baba ghannouj, falafel, gyro sandwiches and chicken, beef and lamb kebabs. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner daily on the ground floor of the Cassidy Building on Throckmorton Street. 401 Throckmorton St., Fort Worth, www.istanbulgrilltx.com.
Power Lunch in Big D
Dallas’ posh Hotel Crescent Court — formerly the Rosewood Crescent before Fort Worth-based Crescent Real Estate took over ownership last summer — has launched a new “Power Lunch” menu at The Conservatory, the hotel’s elegant venue for casual dining. Situated in a glass sunroom overlooking a tranquil garden and water fountain, the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and weekend afternoon tea. Executive chef Charlie Rushton’s new menu includes pretty springtime-inspired dishes like roasted beets with Texas burrata and citrus segments, ahi tuna poke with Texas grapefruit and finger lime caviar, and lobster pannini with shaved fennel and dill mayo. Ladies who lunch will love the baby arugula salad with watermelon radish and Parmesan, while heartier appetites will appreciate the house-made potato gnocchi with marinara and crispy red snapper over a salad of cucumber, seasonal beans and pickled red onions. The hotel will undergo a multimillion-dollar renovation later this year. 400 Crescent Court, Dallas, 214-785-8208, www.crescentcourt.com.
Rising to the Challenge
Bread lovers, rejoice! Montana-based Great Harvest Bread Co. is open on West Magnolia Avenue, baking fresh loaves in multiple varieties daily. The 40-year-old bakery chain, started by a couple of college sweethearts who baked bread to help pay for their tuition at Cornell University, offers sandwiches, salads, soups and sweets like brownies, sugar cookies and tea cakes. Wheat is milled in-house daily and the baking begins as early as 2:30 a.m. Patrons can sample fresh breads like cinnamon chip and the sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seed-filled Dakota upon arrival at the front counter. Expect long lines for breakfast items like savory biscuit sandwiches and cinnamon rolls, and don’t forget to pick up fresh-baked dog treats for your four-legged friend. 1305 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, 682-708-7228, www.greatharvestbread.com.
Cowboy chef Grady Spears is kicking up his boots and settling in nicely at his latest restaurant endeavor, Horseshoe Hill Cafe, opened two years ago on what he calls the “outlaw end” of the Stockyards. He’s now launched Saturday morning breakfast service, with stick-to-your-ribs specialties like homemade butterscotch rolls, short rib and scrambled egg burritos, and, of course, chicken-fried steak and eggs. Spears has drawn crowds for his wide-ranging chicken-fried steak dinner menu, which includes Southwest-inspired toppings like red chile cheese enchiladas and stuffed poblano peppers. Patrons should go thirsty, as the cowboy coffee, fresh juices and mimosas are bottomless. Breakfast is served 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays. 204 W. Exchange Ave., Fort Worth, 817-882-6405, www.horseshoehillcafe.com.
With its traditional meat-and-potato-centric dishes, Irish cuisine might be perceived as bland and boring. Not so, says Central Market Southlake cooking school instructor Debra Stults. She recently traveled to Ireland and was impressed by the “foodie explosion,” she says. “The restaurants were chef-driven, the wait staff took care in describing the different options, and many were farm-to-table themed — I couldn’t wait to take the inspirations into my own kitchen and then share them in the classes that I teach.” Stults provides recipes for Mulligatawny Stew, inspired by the traditional Irish version but with flavorful additions like coconut milk, apples and aromatic spices. Gruyere and black pepper popovers are a comforting accompaniment. Make the dish for St. Patrick’s Day dinner, or attend Stults’ hands-on Irish cooking class March 17 at Central Market Southlake (6:30-9 p.m., $60 per person). Dishes will include soda bread with Irish butter, Guinness beer stew, bread and butter pudding with Irish whiskey sauce and more.
The Southside Gets Sweeter
With a background in painting and sculpting and a culinary school degree, artist and baker Tareka Lofton combined her two creative loves to launch Loft22 Cakes & Pastries. The cozy bakery is in the East Daggett Avenue space that once housed Stir Crazy Baked Goods before its move to Magnolia Avenue. Lofton is familiar with the cozy space, as she interned there while studying pastry at Le Cordon Bleu. Lofton specializes in custom wedding cakes with glamorous touches. She also bakes cookies, cupcakes, cheesecakes and croissants, all of which are available at the bakery along with coffee and her signature banana pudding. The “22” signifies Tareka’s birthday (Sept. 22). “I finally feel like I’m doing what I’m born to do,” she says. Loft22 is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. 106 E. Daggett Ave., Fort Worth, 682-841-1771, www.loft22cakes.com.
The Lazy Moose Is Loose
With its taxidermy-adorned walls, dark leather seating and lodge-worthy brick fireplace, the Lazy Moose provides an atmosphere unlike any other on the hip West Magnolia Avenue restaurant and bar scene. A collaboration by Lili’s Bistro owner Vance Martin and David Shaw of Shaw’s Patio Bar & Grill, the venue is first and foremost a cocktail lounge, featuring handcrafted libations like the blood orange and basil martini and the charred pecan-infused “moose drool” old fashioned. But don’t miss the bar menu, which is anything but typical. Sharable plates include crispy Brussels sprouts tossed with pecan brittle, green chili polenta fries and gargantuan “moose wings” marinated in lemongrass and Thai curry sauce. Sandwiches range from tenderloin, pear and Gorgonzola to a soft-shell crab bahn mi. Patrons can visit late night for drinks, bites and, soon, acoustic music. 1404 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, 682-708-3822, www.thelazymoosefw.com.
Greasy Bend Burgers, which gained a healthy following in the Riverside neighborhood for its old-fashioned grill burgers, is under new ownership. Now called Good Foods Company, it’s owned by the folks behind Tina’s Cocina on West Magnolia Avenue. The tiny burger joint has added fried chicken sandwiches and chicken-fried steak baskets to the menu, along with breakfast items like egg dishes, pancakes, breakfast burritos and coffee. Baked goods and desserts will follow soon. New hours are 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday. 2919 Race St., Fort Worth, 817-759-9988.
Dallas-based Savor Patisserie has opened a pop-up shop in West 7th, selling handmade, French macarons through March 20, possibly longer. Flavors include s’mores, caramel, lemon and red velvet, by the box or individually. Order online for pick-up. 2926 Crockett St., Fort Worth, www.savorpatisserie.com.
The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden will host its first Food & Wine Festival on March 16, featuring food, fine wine, craft beer and live music. Against the backdrop of Dallas Blooms, its spring festival, it welcomes Uchi chef Jeramie Robison, Oddfellows chef Anastacia Quinones, Abacus chef Christopher Patrick and more. $140 general admission, 6:30 p.m., www.dallasarboretum.org/foodwinefest.
Celestina Blok (@celestinafw) is a
Fort Worth-based freelance food news writer.
Find recipes for Mulligatawny stew and Gruyere and black pepper popovers online at indulgedfw.com.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
1 large apple, peeled, cored and diced
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
3 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 cups cooked barley
1 1/2 cups roasted and diced chicken breast
1 Italian plum tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 cup golden raisins
1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add oil, swirling to coat. Add the onion, celery and carrot and saute for 5-6 minutes, until tender-crisp.
2. Add the garlic, ginger, and apples and saute for an additional 3 minutes.
3. Add the spices and salt and pepper to the pot and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to develop the flavors.
4. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer mixture for about 15 to 20 minutes or until flavors have blended.
5. Stir in coconut milk. Taste and correct seasonings, adding salt and pepper as needed.
To serve: Place about 1/4 cup of barley at the bottom of each bowl and top with soup. Arrange chicken, tomato and raisins on top.
GRUYERE AND BLACK PEPPER POPOVERS
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon thyme, finely chopped
1 cup flour
1 ounce Gruyere cheese, cut into 8 small cubes
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place an oven rack in the lower part of the oven and remove the ones above it. Place 2 popover pans (muffin pans will work) in the oven to get hot.
2. In a small saucepan, warm the milk over medium heat until it is hot (about 125 degrees) but not boiling. Remove from the heat.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the salt and black pepper until smooth. Let milk cool to a warm temperature, about 105 to 115 degrees. Slowly whisk the warm milk into the eggs. Add the flour and whisk until the batter is just combined. (It may be slightly lumpy.)
4. Remove the muffin pans from the oven. Spray the pans generously with nonstick cooking spray. Fill cups about 1/3 cup full of the batter. Set a cube of the cheese on top of the batter in each cup.
5. Bake the popovers until puffed and deep golden brown, about 40 minutes (do not open the door or they may collapse). Remove the popovers from the pans, sprinkle with the grated Gruyere if desired and serve immediately.
1425 E. Southlake Blvd., Southlake, 817-310-5600, www.centralmarket.com