Critically-acclaimed comedy troupe Four Day Weekend is the longest-running show in the Southwest. The comedy troupe started their improv comedy show in Fort Worth, and they expanded the show to Dallas on Lowest Greenville in 2018. The troupe performs a 105-minute show created from audience suggestions and participation.
Ballet North Texas will celebrate the magic of the season with their annual production of The Nutcracker. In this distinctly Dallas production of the holiday classic, Clara, her Nutcracker prince, and the Sugar Plum Fairy go on a journey into the Kingdom of Sweets. Five fanciful scenes, more than 150 unique costumes, and Tchaikovsky’s enduring score make The Nutcracker a can’t-miss holiday tradition. The 2 pm performance on December 17 will be sensory-friendly.
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.
Uptown Players presents Head Over Heels
Head Over Heels is the bold new musical comedy from the visionaries that rocked Broadway with Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Avenue Q, and Spring Awakening. This laugh-out-loud love story is set to the music of the iconic 1980s all-female rock band The Go-Go’s, including the hit songs “We Got the Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed,” “Vacation,” Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven is a Place on Earth,” and “Mad About You.”
An inspired mash-up of posh and punk, Head Over Heels 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.
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.
Dallas Theater Center presents A Christmas Carol
Dallas Theater Center presents their annual production of A Christmas Carol, a delightfully reimagined take on Dickens’ enduring classic. Three spirits have come to visit the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge to take him on a fantastic journey through Christmases past, present, and future that annually delights audiences across North Texas. But will it be enough to save Scrooge’s soul?
CultureMap Emails are Awesome
News You Can Eat
January can be a sleepy time in the Dallas restaurant scene but 2023 has been an exception, and this roundup of restaurant news is proof. Most of what's here is about new dishes and new seasonal menus, but there's also news about chef appointments and celebrity chefs on TV.
Here's what's happening in Dallas dining news, collated from press releases, emails, and online sites:
Loro Asian Smokehouse & Bar has launched two ramen specials for February, served Tuesdays-Wednesdays after 4 pm: Smoked Brisket Ramen or Grilled Prawn Ramen, both featuring Balinese curry, sun noodles, ajitama egg, green onion, and sesame, both $18.
Bulla Gastrobar, the Spanish-style restaurant located in Legacy West, has launched a new Winter menu featuring clams with pork belly, Galician soup, braised short ribs with house-made potato chips, braised lamb with patatas panaderas, pear fiocchi pear-filled pasta, with honey blue cheese sauce, cauliflower with bechamel sauce, and Basque-style creamy cheesecake with blueberry compote.
Ford’s Garage, the restaurant inspired by the heritage of the Ford Motor Company, has a new limited-edition comfort-food menu featuring seasonal dishes with a twist including Philly Cheeseburger, a half-pound black Angus patty with caramelized onions, red bell pepper, Pepperjack cheese, beer cheese, and apple-bacon jam; 10-oz bone-in pork chop with apple slices, bacon jam, and rum glaze, with two sides; and Belgian waffle bites with caramel sauce.
Mendocino Farms has rolled out a new limited-time menu featuring a Countryside Cobb with Romaine, spinach, red onion, bacon, asparagus,, green onion, pickled peppadew peppers, Gruyere cheese, and boiled egg ($8 through February 10 if ordered online or via the Mendocino Farms App); Chicken Parm Dip sandwich with chicken, Mendo’s krispies, mozzarella, Grana Padano cheese, pomodoro sauce, basil, and Calabrian chili aioli on a sesame roll; plus new sides including Beets & Farro, Spicy Dijon Potato Salad, Creamy Potato Leek Soup, and Vegan Chili. At all five area locations: Preston Hollow, Addison, Plano, West Village, and Downtown Dallas.
Mod Pizza has added oven-baked wings, available in six- or 12-piece portions in five recipes: Original, BBQ Hot Honey, Buffalo, Sri-Rancha, and Parmesan Garlic Rosemary. The wings join other recent menu innovations that include a plant-based Italian Sausage, a new salad menu, and a series of seasonal, limited-edition No Name Cakes. A spokesperson says that wings have been in their culinary pipeline for a while, and they'll have more new items throughout 2023.
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit has a spicy new limited-edition Atomic Barbecue Chicken Sandwich, a collaboration with its virtual Wing Boss concept, featuring smoked chicken breast, pickles, onions, and a fusion of Wing Boss’ Atomic sauce and Dickey’s Sweet Barbecue sauce. It'll be available February 6-April 30.
Fuzzy's Taco Shop has brought back two favorite tacos: The Spicy Chimi Fajita Taco features a flour tortilla with garlic sauce, cheese, fajita beef or chicken, pico de gallo, and spicy chimichurri sauce made with parsley, cilantro, jalapeños, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. The Saucy Brisket Poblano Taco has shredded brisket, Butt Burnin’ sauce blended with Dr. Pepper and topped with poblano peppers, red onion, avocado, garlic sauce, feta, and cilantro on a warm flour tortilla.
Dunkin' has a new winter lineup featuring the Brownie Batter Dougnut, Brown Butter Toffee Latte, Stuffed Biscuit Bites, and Bacon Avocado Tomato Sandwich.
DQ restaurants in Texas are offering a deal on their Texas T-Brand Tacos, consisting of crunchy corn shells filled with beef, shredded cheese, lettuce, tomato, and taco sauce, three for $5 through the end of February.
Grimaldi's, the pizza chain, has launched a new Garden Ranch Salad with Romaine lettuce topped with red pepper, red onion, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, croutons, and ranch dressing.
Razzoo's Cajun Cafe has added new $9.99 lunch entrees all day Monday–Friday. featuring Cajun Fried Steak and Cajun Fried Chicken, both served with mashed potatoes and andouille cream gravy, and Andouille Sausage with Red Beans & Rice.
Freebirds World Burrito has added Hero tortillas, which contain 2g of carbs, designed for people who like burritos but are trying to lower their calories and carbs. It'll be a third tortilla option at Freebirds, the other two being flour and cayenne tortillas.
Hawthorn, the restaurant in the lobby floor of the AT&T building in downtown Dallas, now has executive chef Eric Spigner in the kitchen. Spigner has worked at Greenbrier Country Club, Pizzaiolo, and Nova in Dallas. Spigner was nominated for Rising Star Chef in CultureMap's 2019 Tastemaker Awards and also won on the Food Network Show Chopped.
Dallas celebrity chef Tiffany Derry will be a contestant in the fourth season of Guy Fieri's iconic culinary competition, Tournament of Champions, which returns on Sunday, February 19 at 7 pm on Food Network, where chefs from the East and West coast will face off in a bracket-style culinary competition.
Greenville Avenue Pizza Company owner Sammy Mandell helped set a Guinness Book of World Record. Mandell traveled to Tulsa to join World Pizza Champions in partnership with The University of Tulsa and set a new world record for World’s Largest Pizza Party to benefit Make-A-Wish Oklahoma at an event on January 21 that had a total of 3357 participants. The attempt is a charitable initiative of World Pizza Champions, as many members from around the country and world were in Tulsa to together author a cookbook.
Genghis Grill has a new restaurant prototype set to debut in spring 2023 that will be half the size of today's locations, with a goal to get customers in and out in under 15 minutes of placing an order, as well as a separate pick-up area for to-go and curbside parking spots.
Dallas-based Avocados From Mexico is making its "AvocadoGlow" brand color official through a partnership with PANTONE. The new color emulates the tones you see when you cut into a ripe avocado. They've launched a limited-edition Avocado Glow Collection that includes throw pillow, wallpaper, apron, oven mitts, coasters, a serving tray and a guacamole bowl.
Texas Food & Wine Alliance revealed its 2022 grant winners, giving away more than $107K in grants to 19 winners and one honorable mention statewide. Dallas-Fort Worth recipients included Cafe Momentum, Wicked Bold Chocolate, and Funkytown Food Project.
The FDA Modernization Act 2.0 was signed into law. This ends an 80-year-old requirement for animal testing in the development of new drugs and allows manufacturers and sponsors of a drug to use alternative testing methods to animal testing. Huge!
Good news for cinephiles and aspiring directors: Dallas has landed a top-25 spot among the best big cities to live and work as a moviemaker in 2023. Coming in at No. 20 (down from No. 15 in 2022 and No. 12 in 2021) on MovieMaker Magazine's annual list, Dallas joins four other Texas cities in the top 25: Austin (No. 12), Houston (No. 21), San Antonio (No. 22), and Fort Worth (No. 25).
MovieMaker compiles its annual list based on surveys, production spending, tax incentives, additional research, and personal visits whenever possible — with the notable exclusions of Los Angeles and New York:
"We don’t believe people should have to be rich or well-connected to make movies," writes MovieMaker editor Tim Molloy. "And we know plenty of people who moved to L.A. or New York with filmmaking dreams and ended up working industry-barely-adjacent jobs just to pay the bills. We think the best place to live is one you can afford — a place where you can be happy, inspired, and financially free to pursue your art."
These criteria are themes throughout the ranking: Atlanta, Georgia, took the top spot overall, followed by Vancouver, British Columbia (No. 2), and New Orleans, Louisiana (No. 3). The five Texas cities on the list all boast more affordability than Los Angeles or New York, and each one features a deeply supportive film community and various local incentives.
Dallas came in second among Texas cities at No. 20, selected for its location and architecture, among other factors.
"Why choose Dallas? The city offers an online document that addresses just that question, and points to factors including its equal access to both coasts, great weather (except for some cold nights) and striking visuals, including modern and futuristic buildings that form a strikingly camera-worthy nighttime skyline," Molloy writes.
Dallas' diversity, plethora of permitting options, and cost of living also bolster its ranking.
"It’s one of the most diverse cities in the country, with a deep, experienced crew base, easily obtainable permits, and hotel deals to be had — if you’re shooting in Dallas and staying in the city’s hotels for at least 15 nights, you could qualify for up to 10 percent back on rooms," Molloy writes. "It’s a great city to work on other people’s projects so you can save enough money to create your own, and is almost exactly in line with the U.S. average cost of living. Just drive or walk its streets and it’s impossible not to notice the new construction and businesses popping up all over town, and it’s full of rising filmmakers who pitch in to do each other favors and bring one another’s projects to life."
He adds that the Dallas International Film Festival does an admirable job of showcasing must-see films, such as last year’s documentary Juneteenth: Faith and Freedom.
Neighboring Fort Worth made the list for the second year in a row. (It was No. 25 in its debut last year also.)
"Fort Worth is the proud home of Taylor Sheridan’s upcoming Paramount+ limited series about Bass Reeves, the once-enslaved man who became a famed federal marshal," Molloy writes. "Sheridan’s Yellowstone prequel 1883 also shoots in Fort Worth, and is based in nearby Weatherford, where Sheridan owns a ranch. Fort Worth offers clear skies, easy permitting, and a vibrant film culture that includes the Lone Star Film Festival.
"The 13th-biggest city in the country also has experienced crews and a cost of living almost exactly in line with the U.S. average. While there’s no official local incentive program, the city’s very accommodating film officials work hard to offer soft incentives like deals on hotels."
Elsewhere in Texas
"Texas is booming, as you’re about to see from the five Lone Star State cities on this list — all of which would be higher in our rankings if Texas offered more generous tax incentives," Molloy writes. "Still, the state is working hard to attract film and TV projects, and the signs of growth are obvious all over the state."
Austin unsurprisingly took the highest Texas spot at No. 12, scoring points beyond the obvious benefits of SXSW. MovieMaker praised smaller fests like the Austin Film Festival, as well as the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program, and Austin's impressive list of filmmaker residents (Richard Linklater, Robert Rodriguez, and Terrence Malick — to name a few).
Houston placed right behind Dallas at No. 21, with MovieMaker touting its diversity and low cost of living.
San Antonio came in fourth among Texas cities at No. 22, selected for its plethora of permitting options, reinstatement of local film incentives, and growing educational opportunities such as the University of Texas at San Antonio’s new Bachelor of Fine Arts Film & Media Studies program.
This week in gluttony
Warm up this week with a whiskey dinner, rib-smoking class, and hot cinnamon rolls. Or hop aboard a motorcoach bus for a Valentine’s-themed vegan tour of Dallas. Follow that with a meetup at one of Dallas' newest vegan restaurants. This week also brings the first Galentine’s event of 2023 – a brunch just for gal-pals with lots of pink drinks. (Note: Due to winter weather, be sure to check the event links for possible cancellations.)
Tuesday, January 31
Lockwood Pairing Dinner at Whiskey Cake Plano
The Southern-inspired dining destination will partner with Lockwood Distilling to host a five-course cocktail and spirits pairing dinner. Menu highlights include shrimp and grit cakes, lamb meatloaf, and banana and spiced pecan eggrolls. Cocktails will be themed to match the courses. Reservations are $85 plus tax and gratuity, and dinner begins at 7 pm.
Saturday, February 4
House of Bread One-Year Anniversary
Line up early for 25-cent cinnamon rolls at this McKinney bread bakery, which is celebrating its first birthday. There’ll be raffle prizes, giveaways, and even a 25-pound cinnamon roll to share. Proceeds will benefit the Community Food Pantry of McKinney. House of Bread opens at 8 am.
RibsU at Manhattan Project Beer Co.
The folks from Backyard Pitmasters will host a class all about ribs during this Saturday morning cooking class. Learn about short ribs, chuck ribs, beef back ribs, St. Louis-style pork ribs, pork baby back ribs, and lamb ribs. Butcher a rack of spareribs and learn how to use a dry rub, how to slice, and how to serve. The class is $119 and will run from 10 am-1 pm.
The Vegan Valentine Tour
Hop aboard the motorcoach bus for a tour of Valentine’s specials at vegan eateries around Dallas. The tour will be led by Courtney Garza McCullagh of VegWorld Magazine. Tickets are $64, and the tour will run from 12:30-4:30 pm. The bus is BYOB.
Veggie Outers Meetup at Green Papaya Plant Based
Join the Veggie Outers, a foodie group that meets once a month at area vegetarian restaurants, on a visit to Green Papaya Plant Based, the new vegan restaurant at 3211 Oak Lawn Ave. The event is free. You can order a la carte from their menu which includes dishes such as avocado truffle burger, tofu pho, white truffle pizza, and green papaya salad. 6:30-9 pm. RSVP on their website or on EventBrite.
Sunday, February 5
Galentine’s Brunch at El Patio Mex-Tex
Bring your gal-pals for an all-pink Galentine’s brunch-time affair at this Lewisville hot spot. There’ll be lipstick readings, DJ music, pink drink specials, and an all-you-can-eat Tex-Mex brunch buffet for $28. Brunch will be served from 11 am-2 pm.