Last night was an evening of feasting and toasting, as hundreds of hungry fans streamed into Sixty Five Hundred for the fourth annual CultureMap Tastemaker Awards, the grand finale of our annual program celebrating the best in local food and drink. We honored nominees in all categories of food and beverage, from best chefs to the best restaurants in Dallas-Fort Worth.
This year’s event featured tasty bites from 30(!) area restaurants, showcasing the best in local dining right now. Sample bites included Kung Pao Lobster Rolls from Nick & Sam’s Steakhouse; Love Me Tenders (peanut butter and jelly fried chicken on a bed of cheesy grits) from Dot’s Hop House and Cocktail Courtyard; sriracha-spiked deviled eggs and smoked and fried Chicken Lollipop drumsticks from Street’s Fine Chicken; and confit quail over strawberry-rhubarb jam and goat cheese grit cake from Grayson Social. Is your mouth watering yet?
On the cocktail front, guests had their choice of beer (courtesy of Deep Ellum Brewing, 11 Below Brewing, and Alaskan Brewing Company); wine from Sonoma Cutrer; or five signature cocktails, including a Woodford Rye Old Fashioned with Woodford Reserve rye, vanilla syrup, and Woodford Reserve barrel-aged spiced cherry bitters, and the Texas Mule with Finlandia vodka, Topo Chico, lemon juice, and Liber & Co.’s fiery ginger syrup and Texas grapefruit shrub.
Meanwhile, Bartender of the Year nominees Eddie “Lucky” Campbell, Kyle Hilla, and Michael Martenson mixed up original cocktail samples in the Bartender Showcase, where attendees showed their love by voting for their favorite libations with golden coins.
Between mixing, mingling, and noshing, guests were pampered with manicures by MiniLuxe before heading over to strike a pose at the zany SmileBooth. Those with a sweet tooth satisfied their cravings with freshly made (or should we say spun?) cotton candy by Cottonsmith, as well as treats by Sprinkles and Sugarfina. Ice cream lovers couldn’t help but rave about the The Joule’s dark chocolate hazelnut soft-serve ice cream with olive oil and a candied baguette.
Nominees received the star treatment at the Korbel Lounge, where celebratory glasses of champagne and swag bags filled with everything from Jack Black skincare to Krave jewelry and gift cards from Uchi, Top Knot, Soul Cycle, and more were on offer.
But this party wasn't just about the eating and drinking — we had some awards to present. Celebrity chef emcee Tim Love revealed this year's winners to an enthusiastic crowd, who cheered on both Fort Worth and Dallas entrants alike. Special thanks to judges Alison Morse, Amy and Andrew Savoie, Chad Solomon and Christy Pope, Lindsey and Jacob Sloan, Jeffrey Gregory, John Tesar, Kirstyn Brewer, Kyle Hilla, Ladd Biro, Malcolm Mayhew, Marlene Duke, Nick Rallo, and Tim Love, who helped us determine who would take home the titles.
Spotted in the crowd were Daniel Forsythe, Martin Arista, Lauren Clapper, Nick Fragnito, Marcus Eerndt, Nicole Sanderson, Vodi Cook, Christina Thompson, Trinda Wood, Linda Snorina, Rosa Williams, Todd Howard, Melissa Becker, Travis Lyon, and Hailey Finucane.
Ten percent of ticket sales from the event are being donated to Trigger's Toys, which is dedicated to reducing the financial and emotional stress on chronically ill children and their families.
Now go read about all the winners, and we'll see you next year.