It’s all feast and no famine for Dallas foodies this fall. From Texas’ biggest veggie festival to the ultimate meat battle to one very secretive white dinner party, it’s all here for the taking.
Now pencil in these dates for the best food-filled celebrations of the season, listed in order of occurrence:
Harvest, September 15
Event chairs John and Mary Martha Pickens, with honorary chairs Michal and Loyd Powell, host this event at The Shed at the Dallas Farmers Market, now in its third year. Chef chair Sharon Hage recruits some of the best local chefs, resulting in delicious food along with specialty cocktails, entertainment by Aaron Einhouse Music, and silent and live auctions. All proceeds benefit the senior and child programs of the North Texas Food Bank. Tickets are $200, and the event starts at 7 pm.
Smoked Dallas, September 24
Pitmasters from all over the state — including Fort Worth’s Heim Barbecue and Dallas’ Slow Bone — descend on Main Street Garden Park downtown to show off their barbecue skills. There is also a stellar lineup of live music, with performances by the Toadies, Shinyribs, Dirty River Boys, the Roomsounds, and Dean Fearing’s Lost Coyote Band. Tickets start at $28, and general admission starts at 2:30 pm.
Chefs for Farmers, September 25
This event is all about chefs and farmers coming together to provide good food to passionate attendees. More than 120 food vendors from all over the country set up shop alongside DJs and other live entertainment at Gilley’s Dallas. Tickets are $100, and the event starts at 2 pm. Also new noteworthy: the Chefs for Farmers Street Food Night Market the night before, September 24, in the Dallas Design District, sponsored by CultureMap.
Dîner en Blanc, September 30
The picnic-style Parisian dinner party is popping up again, with plans to wine and dine more than 2,200 attendees in an undisclosed location. Expect dinner from Food Glorious Food, entertainment by Bravo, dancing, and a Pyrotex fireworks show. Participants of this mysterious dinner are in charge of setting up and taking down the entire operation, leaving no sign of their experience when it is all over. Tickets are $37, and more information will be emailed before the night of the event — if you make it off the wait list.
DIFFA Burgers & Burgundy, October 7
Chef John Tesar is rounding up celebrity chefs for an epic upscale cookout themed DIFFAcella on the Ron Kirk Pedestrian Bridge. This a definite change in scenery, as it has formerly been held in Karen and Bill Seanor’s backyard. Guests can expect bunned bites; cocktails; entertainment by Repel the Robot and the Please, Please Me; live art installations; three caricature artists; and a henna artist. Oh, and lots of support for DIFFA Dallas via the "Pawkitecture" auction. Tickets are $150, and the event starts at 6:30 pm.
Park & Palate, October 22
In its second year, this two-day shindig at Klyde Warren Park starts with the already-sold-out Down to the Roots event, where 12 chefs create comfort food with a modern twist. But the main attraction is the grand tasting on Saturday, with 30 chefs and 30 wineries offering tastings, cooking demos, and book signings. All proceeds go directly back to Klyde Warren Park. Tickets start at $75 for the grand tasting, which lasts from 2-6 pm.
Texas Veggie Fair, October 22
This free, dog-friendly event is wildly popular in Dallas, and you should expect a packed park full of veggie-enthusiasts. Taking place at Reverchon Park, it’s the largest veggie festival in Texas and features speakers, chef demos, live music, and vendors galore. (Official lineup announcement coming soon.) The festival lasts from 11 am to 6 pm.
Meat Fight, November 13
Tickets for this annual barbecue competition benefiting the National MS Society typically sell out fast, so set your alarm for October 4, 10 am, when they officially go on sale via Meatfight.com. This year the event returns to Four Corners Brewery, where teams of Dallas’ top chefs compete for bragging rights to the best smoked meats, as determined by BBQ authorities like Texas Monthly’s Daniel Vaughn. You must go hungry, because you will want to eat all of the things. Also bring your wallet, to bid in the live auction that in the past has included items like a smoker built by famed pitmaster Aaron Franklin. Last year it raised $150,000.