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Photo by Tamytha Cameron

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' most VIP couple leads all-star gala for Perot Museum 10th anniversary. The 10th anniversary of a Dallas landmark deserves a star-studded party and a few fireworks, too — and that's exactly what the Perot Museum of Nature and Science did to celebrate its milestone birthday. Dallas' most VIP couple led the festivities. Dirk and Jessica Nowitzki co-chaired the 10th anniversary Night at the Museum Gala on Saturday, November 12.

2. Dallas hires Martine Elyse Philippe as new director of arts and culture. The city of Dallas has a new Arts boss: Martine Elyse Philippe, who has worked in arts administration and the nonprofit world, has been appointed Director of the Office of Arts & Culture, a division of the City Manager's Office that fosters partnerships and support with arts and cultural organizations.

3. Record store in Dallas' Oak Cliff to spin off hip new restaurant-lounge. There's a hip new lounge bar restaurant opening in Dallas' Bishop Arts: Called Ladylove, it's going into the favorably located space previously occupied by Dallas Grilled Cheese Co., and is forecast to open in early 2023. Ladylove, whose subhead is "Lounge & Sound," is from David Grover and Kate Siamro, the same amazing team who own Spinster Records, the vinyl record store in Bishop Arts.

4. New Uptown Dallas movie theater sets opening date in time for the holidays. A little over a year after it was first announced, Violet Crown Cinema will open its first Dallas theater in West Village in early December. The theater is located in the former Magnolia Theater, which closed when the pandemic hit in March 2020 and never reopened.

5. Dallas university among best in U.S. for entrepreneurship programs, says Princeton Review. Dallas entrepreneurs, take note. The University of Texas at Dallas is near the top of its class among the country's best entrepreneurship programs. UTD's Naveen Jindal School of Management appears at No. 12 for best graduate entrepreneurship program and No. 25 for best undergraduate entrepreneurship program on new lists from The Princeton Review.

Photo courtesy of Disney

Disney's Strange World is a visual stunner with too many story ideas

Movie Review

For a studio whose entire reason for being seems to rely on creating and sustaining familiar characters, Walt Disney Animation takes its fair share of risks. In the last 10 years, it has released nine films, seven of which were not based on pre-existing properties (the other two were sequels for two of those seven). That’s a lot of new stuff, most of which has succeeded mightily for the perennially-popular leaders in animation.

They’re at it again with Strange World, which takes place in an unknown country/world known as Avalonia, where Jaeger Clade (Dennis Quaid) is a famous explorer whose only desire is to find a way over, around, or through the imposing mountains surrounding the land. His son, Searcher (Jake Gyllenhaal), doesn’t share his enthusiasm, and an early discovery by Searcher of a unique energy source leads to a rift between father and son. Jaeger continues onwards, while Searcher returns home with a plant they call Pando that creates harmony throughout the land.

Years later, when the plant shows signs of failure, Searcher is recruited by Avalonia leader Callisto Mal (Lucy Liu) to help in an expedition to find the source of whatever is attacking Pando. What they and others – including Searcher’s wife Meridian (Gabrielle Union) and son Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White) – find in their travels certainly lives up to the title.

Co-directed by Don Hall and Qui Nguyen and written by Nguyen, the film is a visual stunner. The quality of animation in Disney movies rarely fails to impress, and Strange World is the latest and greatest example. Whether it’s the humans, the landscape, or the innumerable weird creatures that populate the film, there is almost nothing that doesn’t deserve to be stared at and admired.

It’s odd, then, that the story does not come close to matching the graphics. There are a variety of reasons for this failure. Nguyen is the sole credited writer, and he stuffs the film full of big and small ideas, probably too many for this type of project. Searcher’s family and the world of Avalonia and beyond are diverse in multiple ways, to the point that it feels like Nguyen was trying to include everything he could think of in case he never got another shot.

The bigger sin, though, is how quickly the film advances through its plot, often bringing up new things out of nowhere. While Searcher and his family make for an interesting group, the side characters never make an impact. There are also multiple instances where the story takes a turn that makes no sense, either in the world of the film or a storytelling manner.

This includes the final act of the film, which features a significant twist that is presented and accepted in a way that doesn’t fit with the rest of the film. It adds on yet another message in a movie that contains a lot of them, but in a way that even those inclined to believe in what it’s trying to say may wonder why that part is there at all.

The science fiction element of Strange World is a bonanza for the filmmakers and animators to go as wild as they wanted in the visual department. But all that splendor is in service of a story that just doesn’t measure up, making it one of Disney’s less successful offerings in recent years.

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Strange World is now playing in theaters.

Photo courtesy of Disney

Searcher (Jake Gyllenhaal), Jaeger (Dennis Quaid), and Ethan Clade (Jaboukie Young-White) in Strange World

Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum presents The Secret Diary of the Holocaust

The Secret Diary of the Holocaust tells the story of Rutka Laskier, a 14-year-old girl who kept a journal while in Bedzin, a ghetto located 130 miles south of Łódź. Until her deportation to Auschwitz in 1943, she recorded not just the Nazi atrocities, physical hardship, and hunger she experienced, but also her daily life as a teenager.

This event will feature a screening of the film, followed by a discussion with Zahava Scherz, Rutka’s half-sister.

Photo courtesy of Hallmark Channel

Hallmark Channel counts down to Christmas with festive photos and giveaways at DFW tree farm

Christmas countdown pop-up

The Hallmark Channel will kick off Christmas movie binge-watching season with a cross-country tour to Christmas tree farms – and a stop in North Texas is on the schedule.

Haynie's Green Acres Farm in Crowley – one of eight family-owned farms on the tour – will host a Hallmark Channel holiday pop-up event on two consecutive weekends, November 25-27 and December 3-4. The feel-good cable television network will install cheery photo ops, provide festive giveaways, and most notably, comp Christmas tree purchases for randomly selected customers.

The pop-up coincides with Hallmark Channel's signature holiday programming event, "Countdown to Christmas," which will debut new original holiday movies every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through the holiday season.

Hallmark Christmas pop-up It'll be like stepping into a Hallmark Christmas movie.Photo courtesy of Hallmark Channel

This is the second year for Hallmark’s holiday activations at Christmas tree farms, and their second time to appear at Haynie's. Farm owner Bettye Haynie says she was initially contacted by Hallmark to participate in the pop-up because her farm represented the channel's family-friendly values.

"We are excited to have Hallmark return to our farm this year," Haynie says. "They have been a wonderful fit and it has been our pleasure to have them visit."

Representatives from Hallmark Channel say farms were chosen based on their presence as a long-standing family destination where holiday traditions are manifested.

One other Texas tree farm was chosen, Spring Creek Growers, in Magnolia, northwest of Houston. The tour is also stopping in Somis, California; Powder Springs, Georgia; Chesterland, Ohio; Yardley, Pennsylvania; Raleigh/Cary, North Carolina; and Manalapan, New Jersey.

The Haynie family has owned their Crowley farm (30 minutes south of Fort Worth) since 1978 and began growing Christmas trees in 1998. Trees range from Virginia pines to Carolina Sapphires and even brightly colored flocked Fraser firs. Prices range from $39.99 for a tabletop tree to up to $999 for a 12-foot flocked fir.

Although Haynie's typically lets customers chop down their own trees, this year all trees are pre-cut, as fields are closed due to the summer drought.

Hallmark Channel pop-up All trees at Haynie's will be pre-cut this year.Photo courtesy of Hallmark Channel

Haynie's offers complimentary family-friendly activities, including weekend hayrides, coffee and cider, picnic areas and tree swings, and plenty of areas for photography (rates apply for professional photograph sessions). Admission to Haynie's is free.

The Hallmark Channel tree giveaways will take nothing but a bit of luck on customers' part. During the pop-up events, customers will be selected randomly at checkout to receive a voucher good toward their tree purchase.

The Hallmark Channel pop-ups will run November 25-27 and December 3-4; hours are 2-5:30 pm Friday, 10 am-5:30 pm Saturday, and 12-5:30 pm Sunday.

Free photos with Santa will be available from 2-4 pm November 26-27 and December 3-4.

Haynie's Green Acres Farm is at 10405 Shannon Valley Dr., Crowley. For more information, visit their website.

Photo by Merie Weismuller Wallace/Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

Steven Spielberg opens up personal history in The Fabelmans

Movie Review

For over 40 years, director Steven Spielberg has been delivering some of the most popular blockbuster movies of all time as well as a bevy of Oscar-quality dramas, a combination that’s unique to him. For his latest, The Fabelmans, he’s decided to go more personal than ever, telling a thinly-veiled version of his own childhood.

Sammy (played mostly by Gabriel LaBelle) is one of four children – and the only son – of Mitzi (Michelle Williams), a concert pianist, and Burt Fabelman (Paul Dano), a computer engineer. From an early age, Sammy is enthralled by the art of filmmaking, first remaking a train crash sequence from The Greatest Show on Earth, and gradually moving on to more adventurous stories.

Burt’s advancing career, which moves the family from New Jersey to Arizona to California, causes stress for various members of the family, most notably Sammy and Mitzi. Sammy must deal with anti-Semitic bullies, while Mitzi falls deeper into a mental health crisis. Sammy’s movies continually offer a respite for the family, though, giving him a creative outlet and the rest of them a chance to forget their troubles for a while.

Written by Spielberg – his first writing effort since 2001’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence – and Tony Kushner, the film is heavy on emotions but presented in a way that those feelings don’t always translate. Spielberg is no stranger to depicting fraught family situations in his long career, but in showing ones from his own family, it feels like he pulled back, not wanting the scenes to be overwrought or schmaltzy.

The result is a story that isn’t as universal as some of his other films. As the film is told from Sammy’s perspective, it’s easy to get caught up in his pursuits and various discoveries as he gets older. The mindsets of the rest of the family are less clear, even though his parents and sisters are ever-present. Mitzi’s state of mind is a concern from the start, but it’s not always treated as such by other important characters.

Just as Sammy’s movies are an escape for his family, so too are they some of the best parts of the film. Sammy figuring out the process and secrets of filmmaking is informative and often thrilling, especially if you’re a cinephile. Spielberg has been considered a master for so long that watching him revisit the days when he was learning as he went is catnip for movie lovers.

In addition to being a dead ringer for a teenage Spielberg, LaBelle is a fantastic actor. It’s no easy feat to carry a movie on your shoulders, and LaBelle makes the assignment look easy. Williams’ performance will likely be more polarizing; she employs a very mannered speech pattern that works in some situations, but not all. The film also includes memorable short appearances by Seth Rogen, Judd Hirsch, and David Lynch.

Spielberg has provided the moviegoing public with such pleasure over the years that he deserves to have a movie that’s mostly for him. The initial viewing of The Fabelmans left this critic wanting, but perhaps it will gain more traction on a second screening.

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The Fabelmans is now playing in theaters.

Photo by Merie Weismuller Wallace/Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

Gabriel LaBelle in The Fabelmans

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Comedy and intrigue pair perfectly in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Movie Review

The murder mystery genre is one that never really goes out of style, but only if it keeps up with the times. One of many issues with Kenneth Branagh recently reviving Agatha Christie’s works is that he hasn’t updated the stories at all, leaving them feeling very old-fashioned. Writer/director Rian Johnson brought the genre into the 21st century with 2019’s Knives Out, something he continues with aplomb in the pseudo-sequel, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.

Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is, like everyone else in mid-2020, struggling with the isolation of the pandemic. He gets a lifeline when he receives an invitation from billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) to join him and five of Bron’s closest friends – Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson), Duke Cody (Dave Bautista), Andi Brand (Janelle Monáe), Claire Debella (Kathryn Hahn), and Lionel Toussaint (Leslie Odom Jr.) – at his private island in Greece for a murder mystery-themed birthday party.

What happens on the island is best left experienced by the viewer, but suffice it to say that it involves over-the-top opulence, intrigue, jealousy, double-crosses, murder, and, naturally, Blanc lending his unique perspective to everything that takes place.

If the first Knives Out was a whodunit with lots of entertaining elements, Glass Onion could be considered a comedy that just so happens to have mystery at its center. Johnson has loaded the film with characters and situations that are ridiculous, but not so exaggerated as to be off-putting. Absurdity rules the day, but in a way that complements the story instead of being jokes-for-jokes’-sake.

The group of friends, representing a wide variety of professions, at first seems to be an odd combination, but as their history is gradually revealed, the tighter they become. The ingrained dynamics that were at play with the family in Knives Out are somewhat missing here, but Johnson and the actors imbue the characters with just enough detail so that the hold they have on each other feels real instead of contrived.

One of the unexpected pleasures the film offers is the number of off-the-wall celebrity cameos it contains. Setting the story early in the pandemic is not a crucial part of the film, but doing so allows Johnson to include a Zoom call with perhaps the least-expected celebrity quartet imaginable. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who’s been in every movie Johnson has made, makes perhaps his funniest, if most invisible, appearance.

Craig, who’s been begging to get away from James Bond for years, is once again a delight. As he’s shown as Blanc and in 2017’s Logan Lucky, if you pair him with a Southern accent and the freedom comedy provides, the result is magic. The rest of the cast does well, with Norton and Monáe especially standing out.

Glass Onion is so good that you can easily see Johnson returning every few years with a fresh cast; in fact, a third film is already planned for 2024. Other than Blanc, Johnson is not relying on the same tricks this time around, indicating his creativity knows no bounds.

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Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery will be in select theaters for one week starting November 23. It will debut on Netflix on December 23.

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Daniel Craig in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Emmy-winning actress inspires Dallas luncheon to raise $560,000 for critical cause

Maximum impact

What: New Friends New Life Luncheon

Where: Hyatt Regency Dallas

The 411: Co-Chairs Katherine Wynne, Kristi Sherrill Hoyl, and Melissa Sherrill Martin — along with honorary co-chairs Matrice Ellis-Kirk and former Dallas mayor, Ambassador Ron Kirk — welcomed 800 supporters to the beloved fall luncheon November 4.

The official mission of New Friends New Life is to restore and empower trafficked and sexually exploited teen girls, women, and their children, and drive awareness of the issue and its prevalence. Emcee Shelly Slater, CEO Bianca Davis, and several inspiring presentations and speakers underscored the importance of that aim.

Martin highlighted the work of NFNL’s Youth Resource Center, which has provided hope for nearly 550 girls, and recognized top sponsors Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt, Tracey Nash-Huntley and David Huntley, Ashlee and Chris Kleinert, Southwest Airlines, and the Jensen Project as well as Nancy and Randy Best and Carolyn and David Miller.

The 2022 ProtectHER awards honored recipients Lynn McBee, Santander Consumer USA Foundation, Dr. Nissi Hamilton for the impact they make as advocates and volunteers.

The highlight of the afternoon were remarks by Emmy-wining actress and activist Julia Ormond. Ormond is the founder of the nonprofit ASSET Campaign, which works to require major businesses to publicly disclose their policies to prevent human trafficking and forced labor in product supply chains.

She has traveled the world to campaign against human trafficking and child enslavement. She shared from her perspective that “enslavement and forced labor are like the cancer in humanity. With cancer you do chemo to get right to the tumor. With trafficking we also need to take a laser-like approach that gets right to the tumor. We need to understand that when we buy a product from a supply chain, we are supporting value chains, the people who are in forced labor.”

Thanks to impactful words and the inspiration of all the presentations, the luncheon surpassed its goal with $560,000 in net proceeds raised.

Who: Hundreds of supporters and champions of the cause, including Katherine Wynne, Maggie Kipp, Elizabeth Saab, Michael Horne, Marissa Horne, Elizabeth Gambrell, Cheryl Joyner, Beth Thoele, Suzanne Massey, Jeff Waugh, Gail Turner,, Jessica Turner Waugh, Caren Prothro, Robin Bagwell, Wendy Messmann, Diondra Wilcher, and Kaileigh Johnson.

Photo by Tamytha Cameron and Celeste Cass

Julia Ormond, Jenna Quinn

These are the 15 best things to do in Dallas this weekend

Weekend event planner

It's officially December, so naturally this weekend is dominated by holiday-themed events, including five local theater productions, two concerts, another Nutcracker, and celebrations in Dallas Arts District. There will also be two non-holiday theater productions, a concert by a YouTube sensation, a visit from a famous actress/comedian, and a stand-up comedy event.

Below are the best ways to spend your precious free time this weekend. Want more options? Lucky for you, we have a much longer list of the city's best events.

Thursday, December 1

Vocal Majority presents A Blue Suede Christmas
Vocal Majority's A Blue Suede Christmas will transport audiences to Las Vegas for a fun journey of harmony, smiles, and memories. The first act will feature some treasured Vegas icons, and maybe even a sighting of Elfis Presley. In the second act, the mood changes as Vocal Majority inspires the audience with beloved and sacred Christmas songs. There will be four performances through Sunday at Eisemann Center for Performing Arts in Richardson.

WaterTower Theatre presents Jesus Christ Superstar
Jesus Christ Superstar, the iconic rock opera featuring music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, is set against the backdrop of an extraordinary series of events during the final weeks in the life of Jesus Christ as seen through the eyes of Judas. Reflecting the rock roots that defined a generation, the legendary score includes "I Don’t Know How to Love Him," "Gethsemane," and "Superstar." The production runs through December 11 at WaterTower Theatre in Addison.

The Firehouse Theatre presents Disney's Beauty and the Beast
This “Tale as Old as Time” centers around Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed into his former self. But time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity. The production runs through December 18 at The Firehouse Theatre in Farmers Branch.

Bishop Arts Theatre Center presents Black Nativity
Black Nativity, returning to the Bishop Arts Theatre Center stage for its 18th anniversary, is a hand-clapping, toe-tapping, finger-snapping theatrical wonderment, inspired by Langston Hughes's retelling of the Nativity story. The production runs through December 18 at the Oak Cliff theater.

Friday, December 2

Dallas Symphony Orchestra presents "Christmas Pops"
The tradition of Christmas Pops continues with the Dallas Symphony Chorus performing transcendent anthems, classical holiday favorites and sing-along carols. Favorite holiday vocalists join the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Dallas Symphony Chorus to bring a bit of Christmas magic to Meyerson Symphony Center through December 11. There will also be two "Family Christmas Pops" concerts on December 3 and 10, a special one-hour long family-friendly performance featuring the Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas.

Theatre Arlington presents Hooray for Holidays
Theatre Arlington is bringing back Hooray for Holidays, a hilarious Christmas musical that features special guests at each performance. The production features The Callahan Kids TV Christmas Reunion special. Everyone is excited about the former child stars’ return to television until they realize that as grown-ups, they are no longer cute and their talent is lacking. The only thing that can save the show is a Christmas miracle. The production runs through December 18.

Sandra Bernhard: Bern it Down
Sandra Bernhard is an actress/performer/comedian whose career now stretches more than 40 years, having succeeded in films, on TV, and on stage. Her first big break was at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles, and she'll return to her roots with this night of comedy and music at Granada Theater as part of her Bern It Down tour.

Richardson Theatre Centre presents A Hometown Holiday Radio Show
Richardson Theatre Centre's A Hometown Holiday Radio Show is an evening of music and merriment for the entire family, featuring a recreation of old-time radio classics, live songs, and just plain holiday fun. The production runs through December 18.

Theatre Coppell presents A Little House Christmas
The Ingalls family is warm and happy in their little house by Plum Creek, just outside the town of Walnut Grove. It’s time for the Christmas holidays, and everyone is keeping secrets about the presents they have to give. All the characters are there: Laura, Mary, Carrie, Ma, Pa, Mr. and Mrs. Olsen, and Nellie, and there are surprises all around on Christmas Day that remind us that love is the greatest gift of all. The production runs through December 18 at Coppell Arts Center.

The Piano Guys in concert
The Piano Guys are four dads who became an Internet sensation by way of their series of self-made music videos, including One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” and “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen. It’s the Guys’ highly original blend of classical music with pop that has led to over 500 million YouTube views. They'll perform at McFarlin Auditorium.

Uptown Players presents Head Over Heels
Head Over Heels is a laugh-out-loud love story set to the music of the iconic 1980s all-female rock band The Go-Go’s. An inspired mash-up of posh and punk, the production is an unpredictable Elizabethan romp about a royal family that must prevent an oracle’s prophecy of doom. In order to save their beloved kingdom, the family embarks on an extravagant journey where they are faced with mistaken identities, love triangles, sexual awakening, and self-discovery. The production runs through December 18 at Kalita Humphreys Theater.

Saturday, December 3

Wait Wait Stand-Up Tour
The Wait Wait Stand-Up Tour is a night of stand-up-comedy featuring some of Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me’s funniest panelists. They answer questions on Wait, Wait, but there they're subject to FCC limitations. This a chance to enjoy a full evening of their unfiltered stand-up comedy. The host is veteran stand-up and Wait, Wait regular Alonzo Bodden. He'll be joined by Adam Burke, Negin Farsad, and Maz Jobrani. They'll perform at Majestic Theatre.

Ballet Ensemble of Texas presents The Nutcracker
Ballet Ensemble of Texas will present The Nutcracker to kick off their new season. The production will feature Breanne Granlund and Nathan Vendt, both dancers with American Ballet Theatre, and BET alumni. Over 200 young dancers from the Ballet Academy of Texas will join BET in this production. There will be four performances through Sunday at Irving Arts Center.

Klyde Warren Park presents Tree Lighting Celebration
After starting the day at the Dallas Holiday Parade downtown, head to Klyde Warren Park's Tree Lighting Celebration, where Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson will join Santa to light the iconic holiday symbol. The free annual tradition includes a festive day of activities and entertainment, photos with Santa, story time with Mrs. Claus, face painting, crafts, games, and snow flurries. The day culminates with a live show featuring performances of holiday music, visits from Santa’s friends Frosty and Rudolph, and the Christmas tree lighting. The Salty Donut and Andy's Frozen Custard will also both be making their Klyde Warren Park debut in time for the festivities. Immediately following the tree lighting will be...

Reliant Lights Your Holidays
Reliant Lights Your Holidays, taking place at Sammons Park within the AT&T Performing Arts Center, will feature the illumination of hundreds of thousands of dazzling LED lights, with live performances by Selena tribute band Bidi Bidi Banda, and Vinyl Countdown: A Tribute To Arena Rock. There will also be a Christmas-themed drone show, a wintery snow playground, kids craft area, photos with Santa, and miniature golf on the Reliant Putting Green. For more spectacular Christmas light displays and events around DFW, go here.

Photo courtesy of Dallas Symphony Orchestra

Dallas Symphony Orchestra presents "Christmas Pops" at Meyerson Symphony Center, December 2-11.

Warm up to winter menus and holiday specials in this Dallas restaurant news

News You Can Eat

December is (almost) here and in the Dallas restaurant world, that means wonderful winter menus and specials for the holidays: Peppermint shakes, pumpkin pasta, boozy hot chocolate, Christmas tamales, spiced horchata, and so much more. There are also a couple of new restaurants opening in the next week, hustling to start serving in time for holiday festivities.

Here's what's happening in Dallas restaurant news, with items culled from press releases, emails, and DM's on social media:

Loro Addison is officially opening on December 14, when they'll be "slinging slushies and frying corn fritters all day long," according to an email. From December 14-18, the first 100 customers every day get a free custom Yeti. This is the second Loro in DFW and is located at 14999 Montfort Dr.

Shake Shack is opening a location in Plano at 5009 W. Park Blvd., at the intersection of Preston Road, on December 5. This is the second Shake Shack in Plano but the first in Texas to feature a drive up window. They'll open with a few limited-time items including the new Hot Ones Burger and Hot Ones Chicken Sandwich, plus seasonal holiday shakes: Christmas Cookie Shake, Chocolate Milk & Cookies Shake, and Chocolate Peppermint Shake. The menu will feature the Lockhart Link Burger, a cheeseburger topped with Kreuz Market jalapeno cheese sausage link, pickles, and ShackSauce.

Freebirds World Burrito celebrates the opening of its new location in Murphy on December 6. The first 25 guests in line receive free burritos for a year. There'll also be food samples, swag giveaways, and yard games. It's at 103 W. FM 544 and is the fifth Freebirds to open in 2022.

Layne's Chicken Fingers has opened a location in Denton at 1200 W. Hickory St. It's from franchisees Scott and Heather Davis, who plan to open five more Layne’s in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, possibly Burleson, Arlington, and Mansfield.

Tipsy Elf, a holiday pop-up bar from Exxir Hospitality, is now open in the little white house at the corner of Bishop & Melba in Bishop Arts, spanning into sibling Mermaid Bar as well as a tented patio. Entertainer Gloria Devine will give nightly readings of letters to Santa, and there are new cocktails including the North Pole Dancer, Secure The Sack, and a salted toffee old fashioned with port spices titled Left Me for The Muffin Man.

Grand Lux Cafe at the Galleria Dallas has a set of new menu items including Fried Provolone Cheese with marinara sauce, Garlicky Shrimp, Pasta Alla Arrabiatta - spaghettini tossed in spicy tomato sauce and topped with ricotta cheese, steak frites with parmesan fries, BLT Benedict with Calabrian Hollandaise on a grilled English muffin, and two drinks: Bluegrass Margarita with Basil Hayden Bourbon, and a Cold Brew Espresso Martini.

Eataly Dallas is carry a selection of pasticcini (bite-sized pastries) from Pasticceria da Guido, a pastry shop by Michelin-starred chef Ugo Alciati. Exclusive to Eataly Dallas, these Michelin-starred Italian sweets are known for quality, simplicity, and tradition. Eataly’s pastry team has worked with Pasticceria da Guido to ensure they're properly prepared. Find Pasticceria da Guido at Eataly’s pastry counter, located on the west side of NorthPark Center, every day this holiday season.

Elm & Good at the Kimpton Pittman Hotel is featuring a special dish from executive chef Ben Smallman, with a portion of the sales going to No Kid Hungry: Market Pumpkin and Maple Stracciatella features Kuri squash, stracciatella, sage, maple syrup, and pumpkin seeds, for $17, and can be ordered through December 31, Tuesday-Saturday from 5-10 pm.

Blue Mesa Grill has a new Holiday Fajita Party Pack To-Go, with queso, guacamole, chicken taquitos, steak & chicken fajitas, adobe pie, black beans, coconut lime rice, toppings, tortillas, and brownies with a cajeta swirl. $195 serves 8 people. It's available through December 31; order at bluemesagrill.com.

Blue Goose Cantina is offering its annual homemade Box O’ Tamales in pork, chicken, jalapeño, and cheese options, with three sauces - Salsa Verde, chili con carne, and queso. The boxes are $30, and require a 24-hour minimum advance order on BlueGooseCantina.com. Click ‘Order Now,’ and select the nearest restaurant and date needed.

Greenville Avenue Pizza Company has partnered with Monkey King Noodle Company on the new Dan Dan Pizza, featuring Monkey King’s Dan Dan sausage, GAPCo’s mozzarella blend, chili oil, bok choy, shredded carrots, wonton sauce, and sesame seeds. It's $25 for a 16-inch large, $20 for a 12-inch small, and $8 for a slice, at all three locations: Greenville Avenue, Peavy Road, and Richardson, throughout December.

Snooze an A.M. Eatery has a limited-edition Cranberry Orange Pancake, a buttermilk pancake topped with orange crème anglaise, cranberry coulis, cranberry mascarpone, and almond streusel, available through December 31. Proceeds from the purchase will be donated to World Central Kitchen.

BoomerJack’s Bar and Grill has a new winter menu with $8 items including Brown Bag Burger, Bottomless Soup & Salad, BLT, and a Grilled Chicken Sandwich. The Fat Jack Sampler is a sampler for the table with Boneless Wings, Mozzarella Bites, Brisket Quesadillas, Fried Pickles, and Jack’s Skillet Queso with tortilla chips, for $35. Holiday items include Boozy Hot Chocolate and Tableside S'mores.

The Dolly Llama has a limited-time Christmas Waffle featuring mint-chip ice cream with chocolate sauce, holiday sprinkles and a marshmallow snowman, all in a warm waffle. It's available from December 5-31 and can be purchased as a Bubble Waffle, OG Liege Waffle, or within a cup.

Aw Shucks and Big Shucks Oyster Bar now have whole Key lime pies for preorder only, through the month of December. The pies are made in-house daily and 24-hour minimum notice is required. A 9-inch pie is $30.

Bulla Gastrobar is bringing back Holiday Spiced Horchata, a holiday cocktail with spice-infused coconut cream, rum, and creamy flan foam, for the entire month of December.

Ellie’s Restaurant & Lounge has newly released a new winter cocktail menu with selections that include peppermint espresso martini; "Sweater Weather," with Ketel One, hot apple cider, spiced apple syrup, bitters and graham cracker rim; and Holiday Cheer with Tito’s, cranberry syrup, ginger beer, lemon, cranberries, and rosemary.

Another Round, the indoor mini golf and bar venue in West Dallas, has two new holiday-themed shots: Gingerbread Man with Baileys, Butterscotch Liqueur, Hot Damn Cinnamon Liqueur; and Holiday Spice, with Rumchata and Fireball. Two shots are $12. There’s also a festive cocktail, the Mistletoe Pomegranate Margarita - Exotico Blanco, with Pama Pomegranate Liqueur, lime juice, agave, and red sugar, served in a cup rimmed with green sugar and garnished with pomegranate seeds for $12.

Razzoo’s Cajun Cafe has introduced a new holiday cocktail called the Berry Blitzen, served in a Hurricane glass with Jack Daniels, Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur, Finest Call Raspberry, honey syrup, and lemonade, topped with a Red Bull. They're also bringing back Angry Balls, a pint of Angry Orchard Hard Cider paired with a shot of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey.

Sean Rakidzich, real estate entrepreneur and influencer, is hosting a benefit for Harvest Project Food Rescue, a Dallas nonprofit that provides fresh produce to 2000-plus people a week. Food will be provided by Chef Diana Zamora (Nena’s Postreria), and businesses such as José and CocoAndre will provide gift certificates for a raffle benefiting Harvest Project. It's December 1, from 6-10 pm at The Victor building at 3039 Nowitzki Way #4012.