Photo courtesy of MainStage Irving Las Colinas

Everything's bigger in Texas, including the mysteries. One Time To Die is the name of Tex Thornton's new autobiography, but when the Sheriff gets word that there might be trouble at his book release party, will that title become a little too true?

At this dinner and a show, guests see if they can solve the mystery and save the day. The murder mystery dinner comes with a delicious twist - it's based on a true, historical crime.

Photo courtesy of HG Sply Co.

These are the 11 best food and drink events in Dallas this week

This week in gluttony

Italian inspo is big this week during events that harken the fresh flavors of the Italian Riviera and cuisine from the Piedmont region. Rose season is also in full swing, and there’s a terrace patio event to celebrate. And don’t miss the 10th anniversary of a pioneering Dallas restaurant that proved putting paleo cuisine on a menu can draw crowds.

Wednesday, May 17

Back to the Future with Ridge: The Ultimate Kegger at Sixty Vines
This wine tasting event will feature the release of Ridge Vineyards’ first wine in a keg, a 2021 Zinfandel called Three Valleys kegged exclusively for Sixty Vines. The $125 ticket (plus tax and gratuity) includes five different wines paired with chef-prepared bites. The tasting will take place on Wednesday at Sixty Vines Uptown and Thursday at Sixty Vines Plano from 6-8 pm both nights.

Monterosso Lemon Festival Wine Dinner at Dolce Riviera
The Italian Riviera-inspired restaurant in the Harwood District will host a four-course wine pairing dinner featuring lemon-infused specialties. Think lemon ricotta ravioli, lemon cod, and lemon goat cheese torte. Dinner is $125, plus tax and gratuity, and begins at 7 pm. The dinner is part of the restaurant’s week-long lemon festival, with coincides with Monterosso Lemon Festival that takes place on the Italian coast. Lemony specials, from appetizers and cocktails to dessert, will be available through Saturday.

Thursday, May 18

Cup of Hope at Half Shells and Fish City Grill
All local Half Shells and Fish City Grill locations will participate in a "Cup of Hope" fundraiser, in which 100 percent of proceeds from cups of gumbo or soup will go to the first responders and victims of the recent shooting at Allen Premium Outlets. Soups include gumbo, clam chowder, cream of jalapeño, crab bisque, and red beans and rice, and the promotion runs all day.

Le Meridien Dallas The Stoneleigh Speakeasy Dinner
Le Meridien celebrates its 100-year anniversary with a series of three dinners featuring 1920s-inspired food and cocktails such as Waldorf salad and steak Diane. Guests get full access to the historic 11th-floor library bar, living and dining room, and corridors. Tickets include valet parking, dinner, two cocktails from the 1920s-inspired menu, and live entertainment. You can't just buy tickets, you need to sign up to be randomly selected, but if you are randomly selected, tickets are $60 and it starts at 5:30 pm.

PEJU Wine Dinner at Musume
Napa Valley winemaker Sara Fowler of PEJU Winery will visit the Hall Arts District sushi destination for a multicourse wine dinner. Menu highlights include a sushi sampler, Thai basil lamb lollipops, and udon Bolognese. Dinner is $180, plus a service fee, and begins at 7:30 pm.

Saturday, May 20

Fiesta on the Plaza at Toyota Music Factory
Get your fill of tamales during this Latin-inspired tasting event that will feature various Mexican and Salvadorean tamales along with mariachi music, DJ music, and dance performances. Early bird tickets range from $15-$35, which include food and beer tickets, with prices to increase to $30-$50 on Tuesday. Kids' tickets are $13. Save room for churros and paletas for dessert. The event will run from 10 am-6 pm on the Texas Lottery Plaza at Toyota Music Factory.

Asian American Heritage Festival in Garland
Boasting the 14th largest Vietnamese population in the United States, the city of Garland will be celebrating the talent, creativity, and diversity of Asian Pacific American communities at this festival, taking place at Winters Park Amphitheater at 1419 Spring Creek Dr. from 2-10 pm with cultural performances from Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Japan, Hawaii, Indonesia, and more. There'll be craft stalls, art performances, the Colorful World Nation Parade, a lion dance, plus food vendors such as ORC Filipino Asian/American BBQ, Sabai Street Laotian food, Tom Yum Thai restaurant, and Churn and Bake.

Bella Hampton Farm Foundation Pig Roast
Bella Hampton Farm in Kemp, Texas rescues abused and abandoned farm animals, and practices ethical farming. They're hosting a fundraiser with a pig roast (maybe a pig they saved?), farm tours, live music, Tito's Vodka cocktails, plus food from chefs Leo Morales (Refined Hospitality Concepts) and Diana Zamora (Nena Postreria, Cry Wolf). The event runs from 1-6 pm and tickets are $100.

Sip, Sip, Rose at Ellie’s
Start Saturday by drinking pink during this brunch-time celebration of rose. Set to take place at Ellie’s on the terrace, the $40 ticket includes pours of various roses along with spring-themed specialty bites, live music, photo ops, and local shopping experiences. The event will run from 11 am -1 pm.

HG Sply Co. 10-Year Anniversary
The original Lower Greenville location of HG Sply Co. will commemorate 10 years in business with a rooftop party. Visit from 11 am-4 pm for half-prize appetizers on the rooftop along with drink specials and giveaways. A DJ will keep things festive from 12-8 pm. Not in Dallas? Visit the Trophy Club or Fort Worth locations for $10 HG Mules all day Saturday and Sunday to celebrate.

G.D. Vajra Wine Dinner at La Stella Cucina
Indulge in authentic cuisine from the Northwest Italian region of Piedmont paired with wines by G.D. Vajra during this multicourse dinner. Wine producer Giuseppe Vajra will be on-site to chat with guests. Dinner is $175, plus tax and gratuity, and seating times are available by reservation all evening long.

Al Biernat's Facebook

These are the 8 best food and drink events in Dallas this week

This week in gluttony

First and foremost, friendly reminder that Mother’s Day is this Sunday. (You’ll find the list for Mother’s Day dining here.) But there are multiple opportunities to treat Mom (or other loved ones, or yourself) all week long. Tasty events range from a $21 popcorn and beer pairing to a $300 multicourse whiskey tasting. Save room for fresh gnocchi, Wagyu and wine, and a festival dedicated to local craft beer.

Tuesday, May 9

Garrison Brothers Distillery Bartender Face-Off at Local Yocal BBQ and Grill
Local bartenders will go head-to-head to create the best Garrison Brothers bourbon cocktail during this tasting event in historic downtown McKinney. Taking place at the Local Yocal BBQ and Grill, the event will welcome Garrison Brothers co-founder Charlie Garrison as one of the competition judges. Tickets are $50 and include three exclusive cocktail samples, Garrison Brothers tastings, bites and passed appetizers, live music, raffle prizes, and valet parking. Doors open at 6 pm and the cocktail competition begins at 7 pm.

Wednesday, May 10

Omakase at Kessaku featuring Glenfiddich Yozakura
An exclusive unveiling of Glenfiddich Single Malt Whiskey’s limited edition 29 year-old Grand Yozakura will take place during this multicourse tasting event. The spirit is the first-ever single malt to be finished in rare Japanese Awamori casks. A selection of sake and cocktails also will be offered. Reservations are $300, plus tax and gratuity, and the event begins at 6 pm.

Thursday, May 11

Icons of Eataly at Eataly Dallas
This month’s Icons of Eataly restaurant takeover features gnocchi al pesto Genovese, a pillowy potato gnocchi with fresh pesto Genovese pasta that’s well suited for the start of summer. Enjoy fresh gnocchi-making demonstrations and the chance to make your own pesto during this evening event at La Pizza & La Pasta, one of Eataly’s restaurants. The evening will include live music and freshly cracked wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano. The featured gnocchi dish will be $30 and the event will run from 5-10 pm.

Robert Mondavi Wine Dinner at Al Biernat’s North
Partake in a variety of wines from Robert Mondavi paired with four courses during this dinner at Al Biernet’s North location. Menu highlights include Wagyu beef and lamb meatballs paired with Pinot Noir and center cut filet mignon paired with Cabernet. Dinner is $195, plus tax and gratuity. Arrive for a reception with passed appetizers at 6:30 pm followed by dinner at 7 pm.

Wagyu and Wine at Fodo de Chao
All locations of the South American-inspired steakhouse will offer at side-by-side tasting of bone-in ribeye and Wagy ribeye paired with Fogo’s Trilogy Wines, which include two red blends and a malbec. The $45 price also includes hors d’oeuvres like Brazilian empanadas and bacon-wrapped chicken. Reservations may be made starting at 6:30 pm.

Saturday, May 13

Raclette + Wine Tasting at Trova Wine + Market
On the eve of Mother's Day, treat mom to complimentary Raclette cheese, paired with wines from Mayfield Selections, poured by Kelsey Collins Keener. Don't miss out on roasted potatoes, onions, cornichons, and prosciutto topped with melted Raclette cheese. And of course, wine. Reservations are recommended (make them on Open Table), but walk-ins are also welcome. 1-4 pm.

Beer + Popcorn Pairing at TUPPS Brewery
The downtown McKinney brewery will partner with neighbor Mom & Popcorn for a unique pairing. Try five flavors of gourmet popcorn paired with five different craft beers. Popcorn varieties include sea salt with cracked pepper, chili con queso, pizza, loaded potato, and classic caramel. Tickets for pairings are $21 and will be available at staggered times of 12 pm, 2 pm, 5 pm, and 7 pm. There’ll also be live music from 1-4 pm.

Strassen Beerfest DFW 2023
More than 30 local breweries will participate in this annual German-themed tasting event, set to take place at Texas Live! in Arlington. Guests can partake in multiple food stations, drinking games, and music. Tickets start at $25 for entry and three pints of beer along with a stein. The event, which starts at 2 pm, is 21-and-up, but dogs are welcome.

Photo courtesy of Nash Farm

Nash Farm presents Farm to Fork

Nash Farm's Farm To Fork Experience is one of their biggest fundraisers of the year, celebrating their current accomplishments made possible by the Grapevine Heritage Foundation, sponsors and personal donors.

Tickets include one-on-one experiences around the farm with the historical interpretation team, dinner, and a private acoustic performance from country artist Justin Mason.

Nobu Dallas

Nobu Dallas presents Taste of Nobu Dallas

Nobu Dallas will highlight acclaimed chef and restauranter, Nobu Matsuhisa. Guests can indulge in a culinary journey with signature canapes, live chef stations, and hand-crafted cocktails all while having a chance to meet the pioneering Japanese chef. Admission will include all food and drinks.

Photo courtesy of Carte Blanche

Inside the reservation system that fuels Dallas' hottest restaurants

Table for Two

Once a tiny start-up in Chicago’s Fulton Market neighborhood, Tock’s network has grown rapidly in the past decade, earning a reputation as the industry’s most restaurant-friendly, all-in-one reservation system.

In recent years, Tock has become a go-to here in Dallas for businesses looking to drive incremental revenue through everyday reservations, events, takeout, and more.

Here’s how Tock works for every kind of business, from the avant-garde cocktail lounge to the storied steakhouse.

Tastemaker Awards nominee
Limited reservations with $10 deposits

Known for its whimsical cocktails and innovative techniques, Apothecary is the intimate, speakeasy-style bar from the team behind Rye. They offer limited reservations on Tock, while still holding select seats for walk-ins.

This hybrid system works great for guests who want to make plans in advance, or drop by on a whim — and the $10 deposit per person ensures they’ll actually show up.

Carte Blanche
Tastemaker Awards nominee
Prepaid tasting menu experiences

From a husband-and-wife team comes a fine dining experience that highlights unique wild game and native Texas ingredients.

Full chef’s tour and six-course menus can be booked with prepaid reservations. This allows the team “to anticipate who is coming in and to give guests an all-encompassing experience at the best price possible.”

Pappas Bros.
Tastemaker Awards nominee
Ticketed events

With locations in Dallas and Houston, this award-winning steakhouse, known for premium cuts and an impressive wine selection, dates all the way back to 1976.

Pappas Bros. use Tock to power (and sell out) unique events that suit their brand. For example, this month, they’re hosting a Treasures of Spain wine tasting and an exploration into "A Wonderful World of Pinot Noir."

Tastemaker Awards nominee
Limited, prepaid omakase reservations

Recently named a semi-finalist for Best New Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation, Tatsu offers a serene omakase experience in the historic Continental Gin Building. Each night, chef/owner Tatsuya Sekiguchi prepares a traditional menu for fewer than 20 guests.

By prepaying, the team knows exactly who is going to show up, so they can focus on creating the ultimate dining experience.

Petra and The Beast
Reservations + pickup

Since being named one of Esquire's Best New Restaurants in America back in 2018, this casual dining spot has developed something of a cult following. With a focus on whole utilization, fermentation, and sustainability, chef Misti Norris supports local farmers while delighting Dallas diners.

She utilizes Tock for à la carte reservations, six-course tasting menu reservations with $25 deposits, and limited takeout, which includes cheese and charcuterie boards for pickup. All of these experiences are displayed side-by-side on their Tock page.

Funky Picnic Brewery & Café
Reservations, classes, and unique events

Born in a Fort Worth garage amongst friends, this craft brewery has grown into a full-fledged business with a kitchen and a backroom.

Carte Blanche

Photo courtesy of Carte Blanche

Tock helps Carte Blanche book chef's tours and multi-course dinners.

The team utilizes Tock for both free reservations and one-of-a-kind ticketed events. Curious imbibers can book a beer and cheese class, a beer yoga session, seasonal beer dinners, or the occasional late-night drag show.

Interested in using Tock for your business? Learn more here.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

DFW's dismal ranking among best places to live leads this week's 5 most-read 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. Dallas-Fort Worth no longer a top 100 place to live, declares U.S. News & World Report. Dallas-Fort Worth has fallen from grace in a closely watched annual report of the best places to live in the U.S. The Metroplex appears at a dismal No. 113 (out of 150) in U.S. News & World Report's Best Places to Live ranking for 2023-2024. Last year, DFW landed at No. 32; it was No. 37 in 2021. Here's (sort of) why it plummeted in the rankings.

2. Sliders restaurant from Detroit shimmies onto Dallas' Greenville Ave. A slider concept from the Great Lakes State is expanding to Texas, and that includes a high-profile location in Dallas: Called Savvy Sliders, it's a young fast-casual concept founded in Flint, Michigan, and it will open its first Dallas restaurant at 4818 Greenville Ave., in the space recently vacated by vegan chicken restaurant Project Pollo.

3. New lagoon-waterpark with lazy river dives into Dallas-Fort Worth. A long-awaited waterpark in Cedar Hill is debuting Memorial Day weekend with two of Texas' favorite splashy attractions: a lagoon and lazy river. The Lagoon at Virginia Weaver Park will open Saturday, May 27 after more than a year in development.

4. Happy Hippie Brewing to bring peace, love, and beer to new HQ in Richardson. A craft beer brewery is opening a splendid new facility in Richardson: Happy Hippie Brewing Company, a small brewery specializing in Belgian-style beers, is opening an an 11,000-square-foot brewery and taproom at 500 Lockwood Dr., in the Lockwood area within the city's evolving CORE District.

5. Asian restaurant Howard Wang's shutters location in Uptown Dallas. A Chinese restaurant in Uptown Dallas closed: Howard Wang's Uptown Grill, one in a family-owned chain, closed its location at 3223 Lemmon Ave. #103, with the final day of service on May 21. The restaurant had been at that location for 12 years.

21 North Texas museums offer free admission to military families this summer

Giving Back

Nearly two dozen Dallas-Fort Worth museums are honoring active duty military personnel and their families with free admission through the Blue Star Museums initiative, May 20-September 4, 2023.

Established by the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the U.S. Department of Defense, the Blue Star Museums program annually provides military families free access to 2,000 museums nationwide throughout the summer. The program begins yearly on Armed Forces Day in May and ends on Labor Day.

Free admission is extended to personnel currently serving in the U.S Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard (including those in the Reserve), and all National Guardsman. Members of the U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps and NOAA Commissioned Corps are also included in the program.

Those who qualify can use their military ID to bring up to five family members - including relatives of those currently deployed. More information about qualifications can be found here.

There is no limit on the number of participating museums that qualifying families may visit. Admission for non-active military veterans, however, is not included.

According to the National Endowment for the Arts website, the initiative was created to help "improve the quality of life for active duty military families" with a specific focus on children. The site states 2 million have had a parent deployed since 2001.

"Blue Star Museums was created to show support for military families who have faced multiple deployments and the challenges of reintegration," the organizers say. "This program offers these families a chance to visit museums this summer when many will have limited resources and limited time to be together."

In Dallas-Fort Worth, participating institutions include well-known art, science, and history museums, as well as smaller museums outside the city limits. Here's a look at all the museums in North Texas that are participating in the Blue Star Museums initiative this year.

In Dallas:

In Fort Worth:

In Garland:

In Irving:

In Mesquite:

In Cleburne:

In Krum:

In Sanger:

More information about Blue Star Museums and a full list of participants can be found on arts.gov.

These are the 7 best most intriguing hot dogs in Dallas right now

Hot Dog News

Editor's Note: In prior stories, CultureMap contributor Lila Levy has sussed out the top bagels in Dallas, and tried pretty much every lavender latte in town. Now she's ready to offer her take on that summertime classic: hot dogs.

Portillo's hot dogs
portillo's hot dogs


Hot dogs are the quintessential summer food and an item that nearly everyone loves. They're simple, flavorful, easy to make at home, and affordable if you dine out.

Some cities like Chicago have a long-standing tradition with hot dogs, and while Dallas is not Windy-City-level quiet yet, we've seen an influx of some exciting new hot dog concepts come to town, joining a few locals who've been dishing out memorable hot dogs all along.

Here's the 7 most interesting hot dogs you can find in Dallas-Fort Worth:

Portillo’s in the Colony, Chicago-style hot dog, $4.50
Chicago-based fast casual brand known for its hot dogs and other favorite Chicago fare, has expanded to Texas, with its first restaurant in The Colony, which opened in January 2023. Chicago-style hot dogs are my favorite kind, and Portillo's does it right. Their basic hot dog comes with "everything": mustard, relish, celery salt, chopped onions, sliced tomato, pickle, and sport peppers on a steamed poppy seed bun. I loved the condiments, especially the peppers and relish. My companion thought the bun was too soft, but it was fine for me. Their hot dogs have a snappy casing with a robust tangy flavor.

Hunky'sHunky Dog, $4.25
Cedar Springs pioneer has been serving hamburgers, fries, and malts, since 1984. They're known for their burgers but they also do a trio of hot dogs including the classic "Hunky Dog," a hefty quarter-pounder with relish, onions, and mustard. I've been here before and know it's best to ask for the hot dog to be grilled extra, to give it that additional "burnt hot dog" cookout flavor. At $4.25, it's a bargain and their presentation is cool: They split the hot dog down the middle and place the onions and relish on top, and they toast the edges of their bun.

Fletcher's Original Corny DogsMake Mine Texan, $10
No story on hot dogs is complete without Fletcher's, famed purveyor of the classic corny dog. You used to have to wait for the State Fair of Texas to get them, but now that they have a food truck, you can find them camped at venues such as the Dallas Arboretum, and they're also at Klyde Warren Park Tuesdays-Sundays. They've expanded their lineup of flavors so I ordered their most recent invention: Called Make Mine Texan, it's a hot dog made of beef and brisket, with smoke seasoning that adds a heartier Texas flavor.

Dog Haus in RichardsonTooo Chi, $8
California hot dog chain takes a gourmet approach with jumbo hot dogs, veggie dogs, vegan sausages, and 40+ toppings including some you might not expect, such as arugula. I ordered the Tooo Chi, their version of the Chicago hot dog, which they brag is a hormone- and antibiotic-free beef hot dog, with tomato, pickle, neon-green pickle relish, mustard, diced onions, sport peppers, and celery salt. Their cooking added a nice char that emphasized the grilled flavor. It made me nostalgic to the days when my parents would grill hot dogs in the summer outside. Their point of distinction is their bread: sweet rich King's Hawaiian rolls, which they butter and grill, for a nice contrast of soft roll and crisp edges.

Angry DogAngry Dog, $8.95
Deep Ellum staple had hot dogs on the menu long before hot dogs became the foodie sensation they are today, and they offer a simple plain hot dog on a bun as a nod to those humble days. But everyone gets the signature Angry Dog: a kosher dog, split in half and grilled, placed on a toasted open-faced bun, then topped with chili, grilled red onions, mustard, and shredded cheddar cheese. It's more of a chili casserole than a hot dog, a knife-and-fork kind of deal where the bun gets soggy underneath the mountain of toppings, and you almost lose track of the hot dog. But unbeatable for a hangover cure or a big cheat meal.

Globe Life Field, Ballpark hot dog, $7
In recent years, the Texas Rangers' food service division has been jazzing up its ballpark menu, introducing new items, some of them crazy like the Boomstick 2-foot-long hot dog. I stick to the basic ballpark hot dog, with the only option being that you can get grilled onions at no additional charge. It's a standard six-inch hot dog, with self-serve mustard, ketchup, and relish, on a soft, nondescript bun, with a nice snap, the prototypical hot dog you eat while cheering on the hometown team.

Frank Seoul, Potato hot dog, $5.49
Korean hot dogs, also known as Korean corn dogs, are a Korean street food that started showing up in Dallas a few years ago, via Korean-born chains such as Two Hands and K-Town. Frank Seoul was one of the first and has locations in Carrollton and Frisco. Their specialty is hot dogs coated in a batter and deep-fried, like a corny dog but with a batter made from flour or rice flour, and additional ingredients such as the coating of diced potatoes in the potato hot dog that I ordered. They have a wild variety like a "cream cheese dog" — literally cream cheese on a stick &mdash and prices are all $6 or less.

This is not the place for a hot dog purist. The hot dog itself was lackluster, but the "shell" of crispy fried potatoes was magnificent, like a wonderful hash brown, and great on its own, didn't need the mustard I added a bit.