It's that time when we reminisce about what happened in the last year on the Dallas food scene. We remember fondly the triumphs (Trader Joe's cookie butter returns!), failures (Primo's Uptown shutters!) and the requisite celebrity sightings (Beyonce and Jay Z dined at Mesa!).
Follow us down memory lane with the 10 most-read food stories of 2013:
1. Trader Joe's Speculoos cookie butter is back on shelves, hallelujah. After months of hand-wringing and waves of hysteria, the crisis was averted. The national shortage of Speculoos cookie butter, the delectably spiced peanut-butter-like spread sold by gourmet grocery chain Trader Joe's, was over by early August.
2. Whataburger spicy ketchup and mustard soon to hit supermarket shelves. Speaking of hysteria, Whataburger started bottling its overly hyped spicy ketchup. The burger chain partnered with HEB stores to start selling it — along with Whataburger's regular ketchup and mustard and a new potato chip product called Whatafries — this past summer.
3. The 10 best restaurants in Dallas-Fort Worth. Best being a subjective word, we qualify it thusly: Which restaurants are locally significant, changed the way we eat, uphold a standard of excellence, or offer something you can't get anywhere else? In alphabetical order, these are our 10.
4. Addictive cookie butter tops the list of most popular Trader Joe's products of 2012. One tradition that preceded the discount gourmet grocer's arrival in Texas is its annual listing of best-selling products. The list changes year to year because TJ's product mix changes depending on availability and consumer tastes. In 2012, the aforementioned cookie butter took the No. 1 spot.
5. The 10 best breakfasts in Dallas are good reasons to get up in the morning. There is breakfast, and there is brunch. Brunch is leisure, procrastination, dawdling and mimosas. Breakfast is all business, for people on a mission, who need to meet up or fuel up. These are the 10 best restaurants in town for that critical morning meal.
6. State Fair of Texas 2013 Big Tex fried food awards exalts Nutella and fried meatloaf. The day arrived when our arteries quivered in fear: The State Fair of Texas announced its ninth annual Big Tex Choice Awards in which vendors competed for Best Taste and Most Creative new foods. This year, only two were sweet; the rest were savory.
7. Primo's Tex-Mex closes abruptly after 28 years as Uptown's favorite patio. After presiding from its patio perch over McKinney Avenue for 28 years, the original Uptown branch of Primo's closed on December 20. When employees reported to work, they discovered locked doors and a hand-written sign: "Primo's is now closed for business. Thank you for the 28 years of patio fun and margaritas."
8. Beyonce and Jay-Z share post-concert dinner at Mesa restaurant in Dallas. Following her performance at American Airlines Center in early July, Beyonce and husband Jay-Z (back then, there was a hyphen) dined at Mesa Dallas, the critically lauded authentic Mexican restaurant in Oak Cliff. The couple came in just before midnight, after the restaurant had closed, so they had the place to themselves.
9. Dallas-Fort Worth Restaurant Week list for 2013 lacks hottest restaurants. The day finally arrived when a few hundred tight-fisted foodies started maniacally making reservations for DFW Restaurant Week, the annual national event where people can fine dine on the cheap. Notably absent from the list of participating restaurants were hot spots like Spoon and FT33. Lots of steakhouses, though.
10. An admittedly one-sided diatribe against the worst bar in Uptown Dallas. Intrepid nightlife reporter Jonathan Rienstra had a few words to say about Concrete Cowboy: "People stand in line for 30 minutes to join the tightly packed herd of shiny shirt-wearing and scantily clad reality show extras slowly rotating around the bar."