Photo by Priscilla Dickson

Two Dallas-born stars of fashion and entertainment will receive the state's highest honor for achievement in the arts, a Texas Medal of Arts Award, in 2023. Fashion designer Lela Rose and actor Luke Wilson are two of 11 medal recipients announced at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth on Wednesday, September 14.

Two other North Texans also are being honored: Yellowstone and 1883 creator Taylor Sheridan (a Weatherford resident and honorary Fort Worthian) and country superstar Miranda Lambert (a Lindale native who was crowned an honorary Fort Worthian when she was inducted in the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame last year).

The complete list of 2023 Texas Medal of Arts Award recipients is:

  • Film/Actor: Luke Wilson, Dallas
  • Design: Lela Rose, Dallas
  • Film/Producer: Taylor Sheridan, Weatherford
  • Music/Songwriter: Miranda Lambert, Lindale
  • Arts/Health: Center for Performing Arts Medicine, Houston
  • Lifetime Achievement/Musical Theatre: Carole Cook, Abilene
  • Music: Christopher Cross, San Antonio
  • Architecture: Miró Rivera Architects, Austin
  • Visual Arts: Deborah Roberts, Austin
  • Literary Arts: Benjamin Alire Saenz, El Paso
  • Dance: Septime Webre, Brownsville

The medals will be awarded at the 11th biennial Texas Medal of Arts Awards on February 21-22, 2023, in Austin. One of the Lone Star State's premier arts events, the glittering awards ceremony, presented by the nonprofit Texas Cultural Trust, is making its post-pandemic return in 2023.

Celebrating the creative contributions of Texans across multiple disciplines, the 2023 event will reflect and look ahead to the role the arts play in our lives and communities, according to a release. Texas Culture Trust 2019 TMAA honoree Brandon Maxwell will chair the event.

A statewide group of experts selected the 2023 TMAA honorees across a wide variety of creative disciplines.

“The state of Texas is fortunate to have been the birthplace of a vast number of incredibly creative and talented artists in every medium,” says TXCT board of directors executive committee member Judy Robison in the release.

Since 2001, the TMAA has celebrated 118 Texas leaders and luminaries for their creative talents, excellence, and generosity.

Dallas native Luke Wilson has established himself as a versatile actor, with performances in such broad comedies, thoughtful dramas, and provocative independent features as The Royal Tenenbaums, Old School, Legally Blonde, and Fort Worth-set 12 Mighty Orphans. In television, he can be seen starring in Stargirl on The CW.

Dallas' Lela Rose is known for her eponymous brand of sophisticated, elegant designs worn by the world's most fashionable. In 2018, Rose launched Pearl by Lela Rose, a woman-led, fashion-forward ready-to-wear line specializing in fabulous clothes that are fun to shop for.

For more information on the Texas Medal of Arts Awards, visit the website.

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Hannah J. Frias contributed to this story.

Lela Rose (with dog Bobbin) at a Dallas event in 2018.

Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Lela Rose (with dog Bobbin) at a Dallas event in 2018.
Courtesy photo

Only one Dallas spot makes Bon Appetit's list of best new restaurants

List News

Texas restaurants are well-represented on Bon Appetit’s list of America’s 50 Best New Restaurants for 2022. Seven Lone Star State establishments earn the magazine's approval.

They are:

  • Birdie’s, a counter service restaurant in Austin known for its seasonal menu and well-chosen list of natural wines
  • Canje, the Caribbean restaurant in Austin from star chef Tavel Bristol-Joseph
  • El Rincon del Maiz, a taqueria in Garland that serves vegan tacos on seven different types of corn tortillas
  • La Onda, chef Victor Villarreal’s Latin-inspired seafood restaurant in Fort Worth that includes dry-aged fish among its offerings
  • March, the Houston fine dining restaurant dedicated to tasting menus inspired by different regions of the Mediterranean
  • The Nicolett, a Lubbock restaurant that serves "High Plains Cuisine" in the form of dishes such as elk tartare and house-made pappardelle stuffed with avocado
  • Reese Bros. Barbecue, a San Antonio food truck that pairs classic Texas barbecue with Mexican-inspired sides

The strong showing represents an improvement over 2019, when only four Texas restaurants made the list. The magazine skipped a Best New Restaurants list in 2021, instead recognizing restaurants that showed leadership during the pandemic with its Head of the Table awards.

The magazine's editors express optimism about the state of dining in America. They note that a broader range of immigrant culinary traditions has spread across the country, writing that it means "more Guyanese and South Indian and Palestinian and Indigenous Mexican food for all of us." They also praise restaurants that are putting their staff first by offering improved working environments.

"I hope this list, divided by region and filled with our thoughts on what to order and what to know, acts as an invitation to shake off any skepticism as to whether going out is 'worth it' these days," writes restaurant editor Elazar Sontag.

Each restaurant on the list receives a brief profile along with a list of recommended dishes. For El Rincon del Maiz, a taqueria opened in a former Sonic Drive-In in 2021, they write:

Here, the Saporito family, hailing from Tabasco, Mexico, presses out a rainbow of seven different types of corn tortillas doctored up with homemade flavoring mixes—magenta beetroot, fiery orange guajillo, green nopal. Then, they fill them with clever blends of plant-based ingredients: juicy jackfruit quesabirria, crispy fried hibiscus with cauliflower, even chicharrones made of shredded coconut. Oh, and did we mention the creamy mushroom tamal bathed in salsa verde? There are plenty of excellent meat options too (and a very good horchata) but here, plants really deserve the spotlight.

Their recommendations for what to order include the Vegan Birria Taco, Hibiscus & Cauliflower Taco, and Mushroom Tamale.

From this list of 50 restaurants, Bon Appetit will reveal its ranked top 10 list on September 14.

Photo by Miguel Angel

Texas Medal of Arts Awards returns with star-studded affair in 2023

Championing the Arts

One of the Lone Star State's premier arts events, the biannual Texas Medal of the Arts Awards, is making its post-pandemic return in 2023.

The nonprofit Texas Cultural Trust's signature event will take place at venues across Austin on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 21 and 22, 2023. Honorees will be announced at Fort Worth's Kimbell Art Museum on September 14.

Celebrating the creative contributions of Texans across multiple disciplines, the 2023 event will reflect and look ahead to the role the arts play in our lives and communities, according to a release. Texas Culture Trust 2019 TMAA honoree Brandon Maxwell will chair the event, along with TXCT immediate past board of directors chair Linda LaMantia, and TXCT board of directors executive committee member Judy Robison.

Together with leadership, the chairs convened a statewide group of experts to select the 2023 TMAA honorees across a wide variety of creative disciplines.

“The state of Texas is fortunate to have been the birthplace of a vast number of incredibly creative and talented artists in every medium,” says Robison. “It is my great pleasure to co-chair this amazing event to showcase the many accomplishments of Texas artists. After a three-year delay, we are ready to present the best Texas Medal of the Arts show ever!”

Since 2001, the TMAA has celebrated 118 Texas leaders and luminaries for their creative talents, excellence, and generosity. The star-studded celebration spotlights the power of the arts to not only improve children’s education, stimulate the economy, and improve health and well-being, but also to keep us connected, engaged, and inspired. The two-day event also aims to preserve the unique and proud culture of Texas.

"The arts add vibrancy to our lives and give us the space to engage and connect with others,” says TXCT CEO Heidi Marquez Smith in the release. “This spectacular event provides an opportunity to highlight the creative genius that has been cultivated in Texas and reminds us why we need to continue to invest in the arts. The Texas Medal of Arts Awards is not only meaningful, but entertaining and inspiring."

Each ceremony recognizes nominees from the following categories: architecture, arts education, arts patron (individual and corporate), dance, design, film, lifetime achievement, fashion design, literary arts, media/multimedia, music (performance and songwriter), television, theater arts, and visual arts.

Past honorees include actors Jamie Foxx, Matthew McConaughey, Tommy Lee Jones, and Eva Longoria; musicians ZZ Top, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, and Ray Benson; Texas-born businesses Neiman Marcus, H-E-B, Exxon Mobil, and Texas Monthly; director Robert Rodriguez; media personalities Dan Rather and Walter Cronkite; writer Lawrence Wright; and many more.

The 2023 event will take place in iconic Austin venues, including the Commodore Perry and The Long Center for the Performing Arts.

Courtesy photo

Artist and Dallas restaurant family will be featured at MS fundraiser

Awards News

An artist and a Dallas restaurant family will be featured at an annual multiple sclerosis fundraiser in Dallas.

According to a release, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society will present four awards at its "Together for a Cure" fundraiser luncheon including its Spirit of Hope award, which will go to Anna Lombardi Daigle and the Lombardi Family, known for restaurants such as Taverna, Toulouse, Bistro 31, and Lombardi Cucina Italia.

And this year's Keynote Speaker is Lydia Emily, an artist and multiple sclerosis advocate, whose has been featured at galleries in Milan, Berlin, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco.

The Society will also present "Professional for a Cure" awards to three medical professionals:

  • Bharathy Sundaram, M.D., Texas Institute for Neurological Disorders
  • Benjamin M. Greenberg, M.D., UT Southwestern
  • Nancy Monson, Ph.D., UT Southwestern

The Professionals for a Cure Award honors leaders in the MS movement. Drs. Greenberg and Monson are members of UT Southwestern's Peter O'Donnell Jr. Brain Institute; both have received research funding support from the National MS Society.

The luncheon will be held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on November 18 from 11 am–1 pm. It supports programs that contribute to the quality of life of those affected by MS, as well as national research initiatives seeking solutions to MS.

Anna Lombardi Daigle and the Lombardi Family are being recognized for their foundational efforts in supporting and building awareness for this luncheon since 2007.

"This is very near and dear to my heart as my mother has been suffering from MS since 1984," Daigle says.

Lydia Emily battled cancer in 2010, and was then diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2012. She'll tell her story and how MS has impacted her life.

Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with two to three times more women than men being diagnosed.

State Fair of Texas

State Fair of Texas reveals winners in 2022 Big Tex fried food awards

State Fair News

The 2022 batch of fried foods has arrived: The State Fair of Texas has chosen the finalists for its annual Big Tex Choice Awards, with 10 state fair vendors who will compete for acclaim with their various kooky concoctions.

This year's competition drew 51 entries from 36 concessionaires. Entries are evaluated on uniqueness, creativity, presentation, and taste.

The finalists will participate in a competition on August 28 when a panel of judges gives three awards, for Best Taste – Savory, Best Taste – Sweet, and Most Creative.

UPDATE 8-28-2022: The winners are as follows:

  • Best Taste – Savory: Fried Charcuterie Board
  • Best Taste – Sweet: Peanut Butter Paradise
  • Most Creative: Cha-Cha Chata

The finalists are:

SAVORY

Chicharron Explosion Nachos, Glen & Sherri Kusak
Fried pork rinds with Cajun-style seasonings topped with beef fajita meat, queso, and BBQ chopped beef.

Deep Fried BLT, Tom Grace
A 12-inch rectangular tortilla filled with bacon and cheddar cheese is fried, then used as sandwich bread to hold lettuce, tomato, and mayo. Served with garlic parmesan potato chips.

Deep Fried Lasagna Roll, Parish Family
Lasagna made with ricotta, parmesan, provolone, mozzarella, and meat sauce is rolled, dipped in cheddar-herb batter, fried, then garnished with marinara, mozzarella, and basil. Served with zucchini fries.

Fried Charcuterie Board, Tami Nevins-Mayes & Josey Mayes
Mozzarella, salami, and green apple wrapped in a wonton wrapper and fried, topped with goat cheese and hot honey.

Holy Biscuit, Isaac Rousso
Biscuit topped with brisket, street corn queso, bacon, honey, and fried pickles.

SWEET

Cha-Cha Chata, Garza Family
Horchata milkshake with caramel, cinnamon, whipped topping, crushed candy, cinnamon galletas de gragega, and fried arroz con leche bites.

Deep Fried Rocky Road with Blue Bell Ice Cream, Cody & Lauren Hays
Rocky Road fudge coated with batter and fried, drizzled with chocolate syrup, sweetened condensed milk, mini marshmallows, and cinnamon glazed nuts, served with a cup of Blue Bell Ice Cream vanilla ice cream.

La Bluebonnet, Milton & Grace Whitley
Citrus juice, blueberries, and sugary base poured over ice.

Peanut Butter Paradise, Chris Easter & Nicole Sternes
Honey bun injected with caramel, topped with peanut butter, Reese's Pieces, Crushed Butterfinger, peanut butter cups, and more caramel.

The Ultimate Brookie Monster, Juan & Brent Reaves
A "brookie" consisting of a brownie with chocolate chip cookies, Oreos, and marshmallows baked inside, then battered and fried. Served with vanilla ice cream, then topped with cheesecake crumbles and strawberry sauce.

The 2022 State Fair of Texas will open on Friday September 30 and run through Sunday October 23. Here's how to get every possible discount.

Nicole Gossling

One of Dallas' most acclaimed restaurants Petra and the Beast is moving

Chef News

One of Dallas' most highly rated restaurants is moving: Petra and the Beast, which has earned countless accolades since it opened in 2018, is leaving its location at 601 N. Haskell Ave. and moving to the center of Lakewood.

The restaurant will go into the space at 1901 Abrams Rd., previously occupied by Lakewood Smokehouse, which closed in July 2021.

Petra owner and chef Misti Norris, who's currently on Martha's Vineyard island in Massachusetts cooking a prestigious dinner hosted by the Farm Institute, confirmed that the restaurant would be relocating, with a hoped-for opening by fall.

Note: Petra will remain in business at the Haskell Avenue location until the Lakewood move is complete. The move is anticipated to occur gradually, as the restaurant very slowly eases out of its current space and gravitates to the new location, which will require a renovation.

The relocation accommodates the growing trajectory of the restaurant, which started out as a pop-up, before officially opening in East Dallas with limited hours and seating.

Petra nonetheless immediately began earning nods such as Esquire's 2018 list of Best New Restaurants, followed by an award from Texas Monthly in 2019. Petra also made a list of top 50 restaurants in the U.S. by Food & Wine, as well as CultureMap's annual Tastemaker Awards' top 10 restaurants in Dallas in 2022.

One of Dallas' most renowned chefs, Norris began racking up her own awards, including Best New Chef from Food & Wine in 2019, and a nomination for top chef in Dallas in CultureMap's annual Tastemaker Awards, a category she won handily. In 2022, she was one of five chefs nominated for "Best Chef Texas" by James Beard.

In 2022, she was recruited to join the lineup at AT&T Discovery District in a rotating chef restaurant called Attalie. Her concept, called Stepchild, came first: It opened in June. It's an Acadian/French-inspired restaurant serving dishes such as Koji fried chicken, brined for 5 days.

This relocation is a significant big step up in terms of size: At 5,400 square feet, the Lakewood Smokehouse space is more than triple Petra's original location of 1,540 square feet. But the new space will accommodate Norris' various projects, such as, for example, the roving pop-up concept she just launched.

Called Rainbow Cat, it recently hosted an installation at Cosmo's Bar in East Dallas, with a menu of tempting dishes including a "McMuffin" on a house-made English muffin topped with fennel-cured porchetta; a "Unicorn Dog" with a smoked pepper sausage on a garlic sticky rice "bun"; and a chocolate peanut butter chunk cookie sammie enclosing a filling of toasted potato cream.

Lakewood is a notoriously tough market to win over, with many casualties. But Petra seems certain to be a destination no matter where it settles.

"Petra has many customers from Lakewood, and I love the area," Norris says.

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Top-ranked high schools make the grade in this week's 5 hottest Dallas headlines

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. 2 distinguished Dallas high schools sit at head of the class as Texas' best in 2022. Two campuses in Dallas have earned extra credit as the best high schools in Texas. In the latest rankings from education review website Niche, Dallas ISD’s School for the Talented & Gifted tops the list of the state’s best public high schools, and St. Mark’s School of Texas in Dallas leads the list of the state’s best private high schools.

2. NFL legend Terry Bradshaw's ranch north of Dallas listed for $22.5 million. An Oklahoma ranch around 70 miles north of Dallas-Fort Worth that’s owned by NFL Hall of Famer and Fox Sports analyst Terry Bradshaw is back on the market for $22.5 million. The 744-acre ranch was relisted after a deal with a would-be buyer fell through.

3. Dallas grilled cheese restaurant abruptly closes location in Oak Cliff. A Bishop Arts restaurant dedicated to making grilled cheese sandwiches has closed: The aptly named Dallas Grilled Cheese Co. closed its original location at 310 W. 7th St., after nearly eight years. According to co-owner Diana Ezzell, the closure was prompted by problems with the location.

4. Best vegan grocer in Denton relocates to market-deli space. An acclaimed market in Denton specializing in all things vegan is making a move: Mashup Market, the plant-based specialty grocer that debuted at 316 Oak St. in 2020, is closing that original location and making its new headquarters at 1302 W. Hickory St., its second location that opened in 2021.

5. Dallas man allegedly scammed $26M from Chinese real estate investors. A Dallas-area man has been charged for allegedly scamming Chinese investors out of more than $26 million in a real estate scheme. Timothy Lynch Barton, the 59-year-old president of real estate development firm JMJ and CEO of real estate investment firm Carnegie Development, has been indicted on seven counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and one count of securities fraud.

Beto to visit Dallas college campuses following debate on TV with Abbott

Campaign News

On November 8, Texas will vote for its next governor — choosing from either incumbent Republican Greg Abbott or Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke.

In anticipation, the two will participate in a debate on September 30, which takes place at 7 pm at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg. It's hosted by KXAN news anchor Britt Moreno and will feature questions from a panel of journalists.

The debate will air on Nexstar television stations which in Dallas is KDAF Channel 33; the Texas Tribune will also livestream.

It's their only scheduled debate and according to the Associated Press, Abbott conditioned his participation on the debate taking place without an audience.

"Sources tell me Abbott would only agree to face Beto with no audience in the room," said journalist Scott Braddock, in a tweet which is right here:

This will be first time Abbott and O'Rourke meet since the May 25 press conference where O’Rourke confronted Abbott after the shooting in Uvalde.

O'Rourke, who previously undertook a summer tour across Texas, holding 70 public events in more than 65 counties, is now launching a College Tour focused on young voters. It includes visits to two Dallas-area campuses, with only one open to the public, as follows:

  • Monday October 3, 10 am: Town Hall at University of North Texas, at the University of North Texas - Gateway Center Ballroom, 801 N. Texas Blvd., Denton. Open to UNT students only.
  • Monday October 3, 12:30 pm: College Tour Town Hall at Dallas College El Centro Campus, 801 Main St., Dallas. Open to the public.

During the College Tour, he'll hold more than a dozen public events at colleges and universities around the state, affording an opportunity not only for him to share his platform — reproductive freedom, reducing gun violence, raising minimum wage, legalizing marijuana — but also an opportunity to get students and young people registered before the October 11 deadline.

'Wide-awake' Dallas neighbor is 2nd best U.S city for families, says Fortune

No place like home

Fortune advises readers to not let Wylie’s “picturesque, historic downtown fool you.” And for good reason. The magazine hails the North Texas city as “a fast-growing, modern community that doesn’t skimp on the amenities.”

Thanks in large part to those amenities, Fortune puts Wylie at No. 2 on its list of the 25 best places in the U.S. for families to live. Ann Arbor, Michigan, takes the top spot.

In recognizing Wylie, the magazine cites the city’s well-above-average public schools, numerous facilities for older residents, and events such as the Bluegrass on Ballard festival and Wylie 500 Pedal Car Race.

"With its start as a stop on the Santa Fe Railway in the 1880s, Wylie has always been a gathering place," the magazine writes. "In fact, because shops stayed open late to accommodate the railway visitors and business, one of the town’s nicknames became 'Wide-Awake Wylie.' The historic downtown continues that tradition of community today..."

Fortune lists the median home price in Wylie as $399,838 and the median household income as $96,845. The booming suburb is home to nearly 60,000 residents. It now stretches across Dallas, Collin, and Rockwall counties.

To come up with its ranking, Fortune combed through mounds of data for almost 2,000 communities in the U.S.

The only other Texas city in the top 25 is the Houston suburb of Sugar Land, ranked 17th.

“Residents have a sweet spot for this Houston suburb that brings the community together through its lively downtown hub, local events, and even a ball game or two,” Fortune says.

Among other highlights, Fortune notes Sugar Land’s “outstanding schools,” the Sugar Land Space Cowboys minor-league baseball team, Sugar Land Town Square, and high-quality health care at Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital.

In Sugar Land, the median home price is $399,250 and the median household income is $121,665, according to Fortune. The suburb is home to around 110,000 people.