Last Friday, July 11th, kicked off the 28th Annual Taste of Dallas Weekend. For those unfamiliar with one of the Big D’s biggest food and entertainment festival, see my write-up here.
At around 6:30 p.m., our evening began at the Automotive Building. This is where they held Taste of the Town, the VIP Indoor Tasting Experience and main attraction for many of the night’s attendees. Upon entering, we were greeted by other businesses symbolic of the area and Dallas culture. Imagine the large, car-filled, air-conditioned concrete building from the State Fair’s car show. Now remove the cars and envision large booths and tables on said floor with the likes of Albertsons, the Farmer’s Market and other neighborhood tchotchke shops.
It wasn’t disinviting per say, but they weren’t hard to pass up as we made our way to the back for the good stuff.
Friday touted a Date Night Special that for $75 bought you and a date free food and drink from established restaurants, local breweries and other area distilleries.
Trying to pinpoint what our very eclectic, diverse city tastes like is a feat in of itself, so I applaud the wide array of restaurants who threw their hats into the ring. As we ate and drank our way up and down the wide concrete aisles, I couldn’t help but think about how only a few of the restaurants really embodied the city. The breweries nailed it, in the way that only a down to earth beer-loving brewchacho can, but the food – or maybe the ambiance – seemed to trail a little farther behind. Some meals did stick out, however, and one in particular may have just gained itself a lifelong customer.
Here are my picks for the best five items I ate at Friday’s Taste of the Town by Taste of Dallas. When I say best, I’m judging on choice of menu item, representation of our city and most of all, taste.
5. Riscky’s Barbecue – Wins for Most Authentic Texan
It’s a no-brainer that barbecue made a showing on my list in some form or fashion. The brisket was tender and tasteful, and the portions were generous even for a large crowd like this. Technically they’re located in Fort Worth, but the food gave me the only reason I need to make a barbecue pilgrimage soon.
4. Nuevo Leon – Wins for Dallas Culture
I grew up on Nuevo Leon, and it’s comforting to see that so many years later they are still producing quality, original menu items full of the rich, Mexican flavors we know and love.
3. RoRo’s Baking Company – Wins for Taste
I’m still dreaming about the Cinn-A-Rolls that they served up at TOD, so you know they had to be good. One word: ooeygooey. Or is that two?
2. Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop – Wins for Creativity
Capriotti’s served up the Bobbie, their signature version of Thanksgiving in a sub. Though unexpected for a July fete – we quickly realized what makes it famous. We could taste the hints of fresh cranberry and stuffing from first bite to last.
1. The Cake Guys – Wins for #Winning
Remember when I said that at least one of them earned a customer for life? I can state with a certain amount of confidence that I won’t buy my cakes anywhere else for a long, long time. The sample cake presentations were breathtaking, the frosting tasted fresh and original and the cake itself hit just the right balance of flavor and consistency.
We capped off the night doing a semi-wandering act outside, but we both felt as if the indoors had given us a solid Taste of Dallas experience. A couple minutes of the Spazmatics and we were on our way, reminded of the hidden gems that make our city just so delicious.