At the 2015 CultureMap Dallas Tastemaker Awards, local foodies and restaurant industry insiders spilled out of the Empire Room, where they had gathered to celebrate — and sample — some of the best food and drink in the city. It was also the time and place to reveal this year's winners in our annual showcase of the top culinary talent.
Eager attendees paused to pose at the ShutterQube digital photo booth and win prizes from Celebrity Cruises before making a very difficult choice: Where to start?
The Bartender of the Year nominees took turns shaking up special creations made with Herradura tequila, and guests could also sip on Barefoot wines and craft beer from Alaskan and Odell. Wildflower-inspired florals by Dirt and furniture and decor provided by Fauxcades helped turn the Design District venue into a fun and funky party palace.
On the other side of the blue-lit room, a tantalizing array of nibbles awaited. Participating restaurants included Henry's Majestic, CrushCraft Thai Street Eats, The Rustic, The Second Floor by Scott Gottlich, Public School 214, Luscher's Red Hots, The Grape, Small Brewpub, Urban Taco, BBBop Seoul Kitchen and Cane Rosso. Pork was a popular ingredient, and tacos of various fillings were also crowd-pleasers.
Outside, Tiff's Treats handed out soft and warm cookies to those craving something sweet. In the VIP lounge, 40 lucky diners at the Celebrity Cruise Tasting Table were served a four-course meal by four of our nominated restaurants: Shinsei, Oso Food & Wine, Ser Steak + Spirits, and American Food and Beverage.
Joining our usual CultureMap revelers were nominees Jack Perkins (Maple & Motor), Matt McCallister (FT33), Kyle McClelland (Proof + Pantry), Jeff Harris (American Food and Beverage) and Omar Flores (Casa Rubia); judges Brian Luscher (The Grape), Eric Dreyer (Fearing's) and Michael Martensen (Proof + Pantry); and representatives Corey Admire, Jef Tingley and Darian Thomas from beneficiary Cafe Momentum.
Many were reluctant to leave when the event came to a close, perhaps hoping for one more morsel or mini cocktail. That just means there's more to look forward to at next year's awards.