Photo courtesy of Urban Seafood Co.

Urban Seafood Co. will present By the Prisoner Wine Dinner, featuring four courses paired with four wines from The Prisoner Wine Company

Photo courtesy of The Ranch at Las Colinas

Far Niente Wine Pairing Dinner

At this special wine dinner, Chef de Cuisines Skyler Gauthier and Jorge Rivera have developed a unique menu to complement wines from Napa Valley winery Far Niente.

Photo courtesy of Legacy Hall

These are the 9 best food and drink events in Dallas this week

This week in gluttony

Pairing dinners run wild this week with more than a half-dozen on the list, including beer, wine, and whiskey. Pricing ranges from $65 to $185 per person, the latter of which includes tax, gratuity, and even valet parking. It’s also Oktoberfest season, and there are two notable German-inspired fetes happening this weekend.

Wednesday, September 21

Love Runs Deep Beer Dinner at The Stoneleigh
Deep Ellum Brewing Company will welcome the flavors of fall with a four-course beer pairing dinner at Perle on Maple at The Stoneleigh Hotel. The menu includes coffee-crusted filet mignon, smoked paprika dusted scallops, and tangerine cake. Each course will be paired with a different Deep Ellum Brewing Company beer. Dinner is $89 per person and begins at 6 pm.

Commons Club Wine Dinner
This mid-week wine-pairing dinner will feature six courses by chef Christian Panepinto of Virgin Hotels Dallas Commons Club. Expect courses to be paired with wines by Kenwood Vineyards and G.H. Mumm Champagne. Menu highlights include burrata with charred peaches, hamachi, and bison with black garlic. Dinner is $125 per person and begins at 7 pm.

Thursday, September 22

Far Niente Wine Pairing Dinner at The Ranch at Las Colinas
The Texas-inspired steakhouse in Las Colinas will host a five-course wine pairing dinner with a mystery menu. Dishes will be revealed only as they come. But the wines are not secret – all will come from Napa’s Far Niente winery. Dinner is $165 per person and begins at 6 pm.

Nonna Night 3 at Saint Rocco’s New York Italian
The Trinity Groves Italian destination will host its third installment of Nonna Night, a four-course wine pairing dinner with comfort classics. Menu highlights include chicken saltimbocca, scallop and smoked mozzarella ravioli, and lemon blueberry cake. Tickets are $65 per person, plus tax and gratuity, and the event begins at 6:30 pm.

White Rock Beer Dinner
Located near picturesque White Rock Lake, White Rock Alehouse & Brewery will host a beer pairing dinner to benefit Friends of the Santa Fe Trail. The fun five-course menu includes fried poblano mac and cheese bites, potato pancake and schnitzel tostada, an heirloom beet salad, steak and shrimp with cheesy grits, and house-made spiced doughnut holes. Dinner is $65 per person and starts at 6:30 pm.

Friday, September 23

Pegasus City Brewery’s 2nd Annual Downtown Oktoberfest
The three-day German-inspired fete will the downtown Dallas brewery’s special Oktoberfest brew, Big D Jamboree. There’ll be daily live music, food vendors, beer hoisting and games, and a Saturday and Sunday artisan market. The party starts Friday at 5 pm and admission is free.

Whiskey Dinner at CBD Provisions
The folks from Texas-based Garrison Brothers Distillery are back in town for another whiskey pairing dinner, this time at CBD Provisions inside The Joule hotel. Go for cured salmon, braised lamb, gorgonzola fennel salad, and spiced pear galette, all paired with four different straight bourbon whiskeys. Dinner is $185 per person and includes tax, gratuity, and complimentary hotel valet. Arrive by 6 pm.

Wine Dinner at The Oceanaire Seafood Room
The Galleria Dallas outlet of this popular high-end seafood chain will host a four-course wine dinner featuring wines by Sonoma-Cutrer. Menu includes jumbo lump crab cakes, lobster bisque, smoked salmon mousse, grilled filet of beef, and more paired with Rose, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. Save room for sticky toffee pudding. Dinner is $165 per person, including tax and gratuity, and begins at 6:30 pm.

Saturday, September 24

5th Annual Oktoberfeast at Legacy Hall
The Plano food hall goes German with an all-day party. Doors open at noon and the live entertainment will run from 1 to 6 pm. General admission is free, or folks can purchase a $60 VIP ticket that includes a jalapeno-cheddar sausage on a stick, Bavarian pretzel, beer stein with a beer (refills will be $7), and access to a VIP-only seating area. Plan for stein-holding competitions and costume contests.

These are the 10 best food and drink events in Dallas this week

This week in gluttony

Oktoberfest events: the unofficial sign that fall is has arrived. This week brings the first of several German-themed festivals sure to dot the calendar soon, and it’s a big one that’ll draw around 50,000 guests. There are also two chocolate pairing events, two Tex-Mex restaurant birthdays (one turns two and the other, 104), and three eat-and-stroll tasting events. Practice balancing that drink and small plate now.

Wednesday, September 14

Hispanic Heritage Month at Central Market
Are you really into comida? The Texas gourmet grocer will showcase top-rated Hispanic brands from around the world for this month-long festival that kicks off Wednesday. New and noteworthy items available for purchase are Spanish-tenderized octopus, Chorizo de San Manuel from Edinburg, Texas, pastel de elote with buttery corn bread, sweetened condensed milk and white corn, and Mexican wedding cookies. The festival will run through October 11.

Thursday, September 15

El Fenix 104th Anniversary
Visit the downtown Dallas location of this Tex-Mex institution for a 104th anniversary lunch special not to be missed. The first 104 folks to arrive starting at 11 am will receive $1.04 enchiladas (up to two enchiladas). There’ll be mariachi music and Mexican dancers from 11 am-1 pm. Visit any El Fenix location for all-day happy hour and $1.04 sopapillas.

Addison Oktoberfest
Approximately 50,000 folks are expected to visit Addison Circle Park for Addison’s 35th annual four-day festival of German culture, food, music, and beer – named one of the country’s most authentic Oktoberfest celebrations by Forbes and USA Today. Expect oompah music, sing-alongs, stein-hoisting and lots of sausage, schnitzel, strudel, and sauerkraut. Admission is free Thursday and Sunday, and $10 per person on Friday and Saturday. Kids nine and under are free all weekend.

An Evening with Desert Door Sotol at Dude, Sweet Chocolate
While sotol comes from a wild plant related to agave, the spirit is not tequila and it’s not mezcal. Try Desert Door’s version in several cocktails paired with chocolate during this tasting at Dude, Sweet Chocolate’s factory. Drinks will include ranch water, old fashioned, paloma, and straight sotol paired with chocolates, sopes, and empanadas. The tasting is $45 per person and begins at 7 pm.

Friday, September 16

Time 2 Fiesta – El Patio’s 2nd Birthday Party
The Lewisville Tex-Mex restaurant, loved for its tableside trompo al pastor, will celebrate two years with birthday party. Visit from 5-9 pm for DJ music, face painting, and even a bounce house. The party will continue on Sunday with El Patio’s all-you-can-eat brunch ($25 per person, plus tax and gratuity) from 11 am-2 pm with live mariachi music. Don’t miss sopes de mariscos, green enchiladas, and an action station with Cincoro tequila infused carnitas.

Saturday, September 17

Taste of Oak Cliff
Returning for its third year, the two-day food-centric event celebrates the restaurants and eateries of the diverse Oak Cliff neighborhood. There will be more than three dozen food vendors, featuring everything from tacos and turkey legs to ice cream and snow cones. General admission is $20 per person ($13 for kids 2-12), or $35 for both Saturday and Sunday ($20 for two-day admission for kids). All food and drink items will be available for purchase from each individual vendor. The event will run from 11 am-7 pm Saturday and Sunday.

Mexican Independence Day Tea Party at Dude, Sweet Chocolate
The popular Dallas chocolatier will host a tea party with Mexican flair at its “mothership” headquarters. Menu highlights include pozole, pork tamales, chicken mole with Mexican rice, tres leches cake, and of course, chocolate. Tickets are $59 per person and the event will run from 12-2 pm.

World of Foodies at Historic Downtown Carrollton
Stroll through multiple culturally diverse food vendors during this downtown Carrollton foodie festival. A $30 “foodie passport” is good for 10 food samples and one drink from the bar with a souvenir glass. There’ll also be live performances celebrating multiple nationalities along with yard games and craft vendors. The event will run from 3-9 pm.

Sunday, September 18

Gelato Fest at Eataly
Explore 12 gelato stations across the store, featuring frozen favorites like classic gelato, boozy sorbetto, affogato, sweet focaccia with gelato, and more. Admission is free, but each taste requires a ticket. Get one ticket for $3, five tickets for $12, 15 tickets for $30 or taste all of the gelato with 24 tickets for $45. Complimentary gelato-making classes will be held at 3:30 pm, 4:30 pm and 5:30 pm, and the event will run from 3-6 pm.

Monday, September 19

Battered & Brewed Beer Dinner at Urban Seafood
Embrace all things fried. This four-course dinner at Plano’s Urban Seafood will feature four fried seafood courses paired with beer. Dinner is $75 per person and begins at 6:30 pm.

Gruene Music and Wine Fest brings more good times to historic Texas venue

Going Gruene

Wine, music, and super-old dance halls are the best offerings of Central Texas. Texas’ oldest dance hall, in fact, Gruene Hall, is bringing both wine and music together at the 36th Annual Gruene Music and Wine Fest from October 6 to 9.

In collaboration with KNBT 92.1 FM Radio, ticket and drinks sales from the four-day event in New Braunfels will benefit United Way of Comal County, which in 2021 received nearly $148,000 from the event.

Other festival costs are covered by sponsors (JP Morgan Chase & Co., New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung, and Texas Hill Country Wineries, to name a few). Visitors can participate in wine and beer tastings in between watching live shows at Gruene Hall and The Grapevine wine bar, another one of the event’s sponsors.

On Thursday, October 6, attendees will gather in the Grapevine Garden for tastings from Llano Estacado Winery, Becker Vineyards, Hilmy Cellars, and an unnamed brewery. Admission is free, and tastings are managed with drink tickets in increments of $5 per drink, which decrease to $4 when purchased in larger quantities. There will be live music and giveaways, followed by a ticketed performance from Josh Abbott Band at Gruene Hall.

Friday’s events are already sold out, but could inspire an itinerary for another day in Gruene, visiting the historic Gristmill River Restaurant right next to the dance hall. One of the draws to this day’s tickets was a “Great Guitar Auction,” followed by a performance from Pat Green.

Back at the Grapevine Garden on Saturday from noon to 6 pm, is a new event that mirrors Thursday’s tasting, this time with six wineries: Lost Draw Cellars, Fiesta Winery, Texas SouthWind Vineyard & Winery, Texoir, Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards, and Messina Hof. Josh Baca & The Hot Tamales and The Johnathans will play visitors through the six-hour tasting and into a ticketed concert by the Lost Gonzo Band, founded in 1972.

Sunday unplugs for a string of acoustic performances from 2 pm to 9 pm at Gruene Hall. The lineup hasn’t been announced yet, but Mattson Rainier of KNBT will emcee the all-day, 21-and-up show. The event ($40) promises “some of Texas’ best songwriters.”

When the festival was in its nascent years, it only filled one day, raising $450 for the United Way. The gigantic non-profit conglomerate claims a mission to “advance the common good,” which in Comal County includes support to several kids’, medical, and Christian groups. It also supports multiple food banks and resources for victims of domestic violence.

In general, tasting events are free and tickets can be pre-purchased online, or at the event. Concert tickets must be purchased ahead of time and may sell out. For more information and purchase links, visit gruenemusicandwinefest.org.

Photo courtesy of Visit Lubbock

3 unexpected — but delicious and fun — reasons to travel to Lubbock

1, 2, 3

Looking for a getaway that's full of music, wine, and good food? Look no further than Lubbock, a northwest Texas city that has all this and so much more.

Wine country
The Lubbock area is located within the Texas High Plains AVA, which accounts for 90 percent of all Texas wine grapes grown and produced.

With more than a dozen wineries, and six award-winning wineries in the Lubbock area, wine tastings are available for all palate preferences.

Drop in for a glass or two at Burklee Hill Vineyards and McPherson Cellars, the latter of which is owned by winemaker Kim McPherson, a two-time James Beard Award semifinalist.

Just outside of city limits, Reddy Vineyards, Llano Estacado, and English Newsom Cellars offer full tastings and tours of the vineyards on property.

Llano Estacado is the second oldest winery in the state and hosts multiple wine festivals per year, including Grape Day, an annual event in October that celebrates the end of harvest season.

High Plains cuisine
You'll find that the food here offers a distinct West Texas flare that pays tribute to the ingredients grown and raised in the area.

Not only does the locale have a large influence on the dishes served in local restaurants around town, but Lubbock’s diverse culture is also on display in each plate.

From La Diosa Cellars, a Spanish tapas restaurant, to Llano Cubano, a Cuban food truck, the offerings for dining in Lubbock are as extensive as they are rich.

Restaurants of note include The Nicolett — home to chef Finn Walter, a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef: Texas — Dirk’s, The West Table, Claraboya, Thai Pepper, Stella’s, Evie Mae’s BBQ, and Rave On at The Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences.

Standing ovation
Music lovers and theatergoers will be thrilled with the diverse lineup of performances onstage in Lubbock nightly. From Broadway performances like Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen to national headlining acts like Tim Allen and Lady A, the Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences offers shows for all preferences.

As the birthplace of Buddy Holly, Lubbock is no stranger to good music and local talent. The legacy of Lubbock legends such as Buddy Holly, Mac Davis, Waylon Jennings, and Josh Abbott take center stage at one of the many music festivals, including JABFest in October.

Fun fact: Lubbock currently boasts the most live music venues per capita in the Lone Star State.

To start planning your itinerary of Lubbock's restaurants, wineries, and attractions, head over to VisitLubbock.org.

La Diosa Cellars serves a stellar Sunday brunch.

Photo courtesy of Visit Lubbock
La Diosa Cellars serves a stellar Sunday brunch.
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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

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.