It was our first adventure to Taste of Dallas and we were excited to show Gamma (a foodie from California) just how Dallas foodies roll.
Speaking of roll, this was the first year that Taste of Dallas featured a collection of 15 food trucks which joined the ranks of favorite Dallas restaurants, in Taste Curbside!
How fun is that?
The Taste of Dallas was held at Fair Park, which we always like an excuse to take a trip down from McKinney for. It was a hot, hot day, so while there were many vendors outside selling tastings of their favorite menu items for $1-$3 each, we opted to stay inside the air-conditioned automotive building most of our visit.
The chef's stage boasted many wonderful chefs from the DFW area, demonstrating their favorite dishes and giving the crowd samples to try. I heard the Picadillo Tacos from Chef Bob Stephenson were delicious.
After a meandering through the automotive building, where a plethora of local companies were selling culinary delights (homemade beef jerky, wine jams and jellies, etc) and chefs were giving demonstrations, we made it to our destination - Taste of the Town.
For $30, you could get admission to a white picket fenced off area - Taste of the Town, where select restaurants from Dallas were sharing samples from 2-8pm. We were quite excited to see what these fine restaurants had to offer.
Honestly, I was a bit disappointed that the staff there was so strict about their "no ins & outs" rule. I suppose I understand that they didn't want people to return a few hours later...for fear they may run out of food? However, with small children and a number of family and friends to coordinate with - this rule became a big headache for me.
We had to be sure that we all entered together and everyone's tummies had to be at the same level of hunger to make it worthwhile for everyone. The staff at the door actually asked us if we needed to use the restroom first, because we wouldn't be able to leave if we needed to (err, that's kind of my own personal business, thank you very much).
Sweet Tomatoes, Old Fashioned Macaroni Salad with Ham was strangely one of our group's favorite comfort food picks.
South Fork Texas Steakhouse missed the mark for me with their goopy, flavorless mac & cheese and baked beans whose sauce tasted more like a sweet dessert than the savory beans that I prefer.
I have to say, though that my one and two year old both seemed to enjoy the mac & cheese.
Winner for the most aesthetically pleasing dish, would probably be Kenichi's Lump Crab with a Vanilla Bean Vinaigrette Sauce. Again a tad sweet for me, but really nice idea and beautiful presentation.
Most of our group thought the Gazpacho from RJ's Mexican Cuisine was tart, tasty and packed a whallop of flavor. I'm a big fan of Gazpacho in general, and this was just what we needed on a hot day!
I do have to give a shout out to Andria's Cajun Cuisine for a nice job on their dirty rice and red beans and rice with sausage. Nice and spicy, but not too overpowering, so the hearty Cajun flavor of the dishes shined through.
Note: I'm a little shocked that my 2 year old could handle the spice, but she did and came back for more!
The overall winner for me, was Max's Wine Dive short-rib "Shorty Roll" - oh dang. Whichever rich, red wine (I'm guessing) they braised these short ribs in totally infused some amazing flavor and depth to this little baby. The pickled onions added a delicious snap, and the soft, melt-in-your-mouth bun was a perfect compliment to this little morsel of goodness.
Bravo, Max's Wine Dive. Bravo.
There was a nice selection of local craft brews, from Deep Ellum Brewing Company, and Real Ale Brewing Company and various wines and a few liquors to try. Not too many to be overwhelming, not too few to feel jipped. Lots I had already tried, and a nice handful of newbies to surprise me.
Now at Taste Tavern, you could go in and out as needed - so that was a nice change from Taste of the Town.
Full of food and libations, we were ready to hit the Kids Taste Town. With 30,000 square feet of airconditoned fun, the kids had an absolute blast (and so did we).
Bounce houses, obstacle courses, candy land props and petting zoo's, oh, my! Only $10 bucks for unlimited access to all the rides and fun, not a bad deal at all!
Overall, we had a fantastic day. The foresight of having the indoor, air-conditioned areas really saved the event in my opinion. I did notice that the variety in quality of restaurants was vast. I wouldn't say that this event necessarily drew in the "Top Restaurants in Dallas", but there was a nice variety to choose from, and for the price - this was a very affordable foodie event for beginners and those who just want to get out and enjoy having fun in the community.
Until next year, Taste of Dallas, thanks for the yummy food and fun!
I will leave you with a bit of humor ..............................................