Category Archives: Contributor

Hosting the Perfect Dallas Garden Party this Summer

Written by Matt Smith

With summer just around the corner, many people in the Dallas area will be thinking about enjoying some leisure time such as taking a vacation or entertaining at home. If you enjoy having friends and family over to your home, one great idea is to host a daytime garden party where you can all enjoy the great weather as well as a range of food and drink.

Hosting a party such as this at the weekend is a great idea, as it means that many people will be off work so you have more flexibility with regards to the time you have your party. You also need to make sure you plan your food and drinks menu properly so that you cater for all needs.

Some tips that can help with your garden party planning:
There are various tips that can help when it comes to planning a garden party for the summer. When it comes to drinks, creating delicious chilled cocktails is perfect for this sort of event. The first thing you need to bear in mind is that not everyone will be drinking alcohol. Some people may be driving and others may prefer to stick to soft drinks. So, although you can create sumptuous alcoholic cocktails for those that are able to drink, make sure you also have the ingredients to make some virgin cocktails (or “mocktails”) for those that are not drinking.

The next thing you need to consider is the food that you will be serving up. As it is summer and the party will be held outdoors, it is best to stick to buffet food that can be enjoyed cold rather than go for hot food. Of course, you can also consider a BBQ if you prefer but depending on the weather it may be a little too hot for someone to be slaving over a hot grill all afternoon. If you opt for bugger food, go for simple options that are likely to appeal to most people and are simple to make and serve up. Also, don’t forget about people that may have special dietary requirements such as vegetarians or those with certain food allergies.

Biscuit Bar

Entertainment for your guests is also an important consideration when it comes to your summer garden party. You can’t go wrong by having some music by way of entertainment and these days you can just go on music streaming sites to download the perfect summer tracks for your garden party. You can then use a Bluetooth player to play the tune directly from your smartphone, which makes finding the right entertainment a breeze.

If you want to push the boat out or the garden party is for a special occasion, you may even want to consider hiring a marquee where guests can go to get some shade. In addition, you can put tables up in the marquee to set up your food, which will keep it free from insects and pests.

**Pictures by Beckley Co.**

Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival 2018

For Fort Worth foodies, the most wonderful time of year is quickly approaching. The Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival celebrates food and drink from Fort Worth and beyond, as well as benefits the Festival’s Foundation.

April 5-8 will bring Fort Worth burgers, beer, cocktails, wine, and so much more! Expect well-executed events that give you the best Cowtown has to offer … just make sure you wear comfortable pants.

This year, FWFW weekend will kick off with Tacos and Tequila on Thursday, April 5. On Friday, The Main Event and my personal favorite, Deserts after Dark. Saturday begins with Rise and Dine and then on to Burgers, Brews, and Blues. Pitmasters Picnic will close out the weekend on Sunday.

Tickets are on sale now!

Here is a recap of last year’s events:

Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival
April 5-8, 2018

The Bloody Buddy

Do you love Bloody Marys but hate the hassle of having to find the perfect mix to alcohol ratio? Fear no more, because The Bloody Buddy has arrived.

TBB is Texas’ first and only ready-to-drink Bloody Mary. (Yes, alcohol included!) Straight from Dripping Springs, TBB is a corn-based (gluten free, hollaaa!) vodka infused with real chili peppers for about a week. Their house Bloody Mary recipe contains organic tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, lime juice, and other secret spices.

Not only does this mix taste good, it does actual good, too. There are no artificial flavors, additives, or preservatives, and they use recycled plastic bottles which make TBB perfect for golf courses, lakes, beaches, hikes, pools, hotel mini-bars, the symphony … ya know … anywhere. And at 10% ABV, there’s just enough booze to hit the spot.

The Bloody Buddy is the easiest and tastiest way to get your Bloody Mary fix in a flash. Just open, poor over ice, and serve.

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

TBB is available at most Spec’s locations.

Harwood District DJ Brunch

Friday night vibes are best when they roll into Saturday morning for DJ Brunch.

DJ Brunch is a series by the Harwood District that rotated between Saint Ann, Mercat Bistro, Happiest Hour, and now, Dolce Riviera. Select Saturdays, you could nurse your hangover with some amazing food and hair of the dog while listening to some beats by DJs such as DJ Sober and DJ Souljah. We took the liberty of testing out the Mercat Bistro DJ Brunch for you. You know, for research purposes …

On the particular Saturday we went, it was oddly cold so we were #blessed that Mercat Bistro has a climate controlled, enclosed patio. We started the table off with a pastry basket of assorted fresh pastries, an order of shishito peppers, and the ricotta & honeycomb. Hey, we had a night of drinking to make up for!

As for drinks, well, we couldn’t only have mimosas, because that’s just too easy. … and we were with Susie. We ordered all three of their brunch cocktails—the Pêche Mignon, the Rose Gold & Bubbles*, and the Mango Cloud*. All were delicious, but the crowd favorites were the Rose Gold & Bubbles and the Mango Cloud. They both come deconstructed and the waiter pours your bubbles over gold flecked cotton candy. (Yes, our inner 5-year-old selves were jumping for joy.)

*no longer available


By now, our hunger had returned at full force. We tried the Quiche Lorraine, the Croque Madame Sandwich, and the Ham & Cheese Omelet. All were plated beautifully and tasted just as delicious.

But be sure to head over to Mercat Bistro for brunch and don’t forget to check out the Harwood events page to keep up with cool events like the DJ Brunch happening in the area.

The next DJ Brunch will be at Dolce Riviera on Saturday, March 10 between noon and 3pm. For reservations, call 469-458-6623.

Mercat Bistro
Instagram | Twitter | Facebook
2501 N Harwood St., Dallas, TX 75201

Harwood District


Wine & Magic

Didn’t think wine night could get any more fun? Think again.

Checkered Past Winery, located in the Southside on Lamar building, is making sure your wine night is never boring. Their $20/person Wine & Magic nights happen once a month, and let me tell you, this isn’t your ordinary magic show.

I’m glad Susie sent me (because magic makes her uncomfortable), and I’m glad she did.  The magic host, Trigg Watson, puts on a modern and entertaining (dare I say frustrating?) magic show. His tricks kept us on the edge of our seats and scratching our heads in awe.

While our team has been longtime fans of Checkered Past, we were excited to visit in a new capacity.

With over 60 wines and 20 local craft beers, the last thing you’ll be worried about is running out of options. To compliment the wine, Checkered Past offers an array of spreads (all made in house), charcuterie, and pizzas. Don’t forget to end your evening with one of their delicious desserts!

Upcoming Wine & Magic nights are March 10 and April 14. Stay tuned to Checkered Past’s website for other events and future Wine & Magic nights.

Checkered Past Winery
Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Street’s Fine Chicken Now Offers Brunch

Brunch goers: loosen your belt buckles. Street’s Fine Chicken now offers BRUNCH.

Known for their high quality, southern-style fried chicken, Street’s Fine Chicken is THE place to go for all of your fried chicken cravings. Since opening their second location in North Dallas at Forest & Inwood, they’ve moved on to releasing new, seasonal cocktails and … more importantly … brunch!

Their new brunch menu is only available at their Cedar Springs location (North Dallas location to hopefully follow soon) and can be enjoyed from 10am-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

You can expect items like the Fried Chicken Sandwich topped with a fried egg (talk about a “which came first” joke!), Chicken Fried Bacon, served with jalapeño gravy, and Berry French Toast. My favorite was the Breakfast Burrito, which has both fried chicken and egg in it, and is served with brunch potatoes.

All of the items on the brunch menu are $10. (There’s something beautiful about that … and that’ll make big brunch parties easier to split checks!) Oh, and mimosas are just $3 and Blood Marys are $5. (Now you know why you need to loosen your belt buckles … but not really your purse strings.) Not into brunch cocktails? They’ve still got you … their signature cocktail list offers drinks named after famous Southerners like Dolly’s Pardon, Reba’s Red and Shania’s Twang. … oh, and craft beer and wine on tap.

One thing I truly appreciate about Street’s Fine chicken is that even though you’re eating brunch, they still think it’s acceptable to order dessert.


Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Dallas: 3857 Cedar Springs Road

North Dallas: 5211 Forest Lane, #108

Must Visit Dallas Food & Drinks Events in March

The month of March is full of different activities and events all over the world. From the widely-observed International Women’s Day to series of other festivities, every country has its own local food events that are celebrated with pomp and of course, an abundance of food. We decided to put the spotlight on a well-known city for this year’s list of early spring food/drink carnivals.

The city of Dallas, Texas is usually acknowledged as the cultural and commercial hotspot of the northern region of the state. It is no surprise, then that a host of eye-catching food events would hold here. They go further to prove the fact that one can discover a ton of things to do in Dallas.

This year’s celebrations, particularly those in March promise to be colorful, exciting and food-packed for all occasions. Here’s a few must-visit, food-related events to look out for during March:

Red Mare Wine Dinner

March 1st

The III Forks Steak place will be hosting an exclusive wine dinner in partnership with the Red Mare Winery. This exclusive wine dinner will feature a host of exquisite courses along with the finest wine, plus an appropriate dessert to seal the event. It will be held in the evening hours of the day.
Tickets: $125.

Texas Independence Day

March 2nd

The Oak Highlands Brewery is proud to announce an all-open celebration of the 182nd Texas Independence Day with a cold beer and BBQ ribs Dallas style. The event will also feature the brewery launch their new brown ale brand, made from pecans grown exclusively in Texas.

Festival of Colors by Radha Krishna Temple of Allen

March 3rd

Better recognized as the Indian cultural festivity of ‘Holi’. This event serves as a commemoration of the oncoming spring. Celebration involves lots of colors, cultural music and Indian street food at all its spiciest! Get your taste buds satisfied with the feel of garam masala spices you’ve never tried before! The Festival of Colors kicks off at noon.
Entrance is FREE

Dallas Bites! Best Tacos & Margaritas Tour

March 3rd

Are you a lover of hot, spicy Mexican food? Then this food festival is for you. Food Tours is glad to host the March version of their Best Tacos & Margaritas Tour this year. For $64 you get to experience a bus adventure through the best gourmet and street taco places in East Dallas. Participants are allowed to bring their own drinks while savoring the tastes of award-winning margaritas across the city.

Poke & Sake

March 22nd

This event will be sponsored by the Dallas Fish Market. It will feature an unforgettable night experience as participants will search out unique poke cuisines. Each poke dish will be paired with the perfect sake tasting.
Tickets: $55

Dallas Arboretum Food & Wine Festival

March 22nd

Won’t it look like a great idea to taste all the dishes available in the world without traveling? This food and wine festival is designed to do just that. The event will feature an assorted choice of cuisines from four regions. You can also enjoy the finesse and expertise of chefs from some of the fun places to eat in Dallas.

Between the Buns

March 24th

This outdoor food event will feature the best sliders Dallas has to offer, alongside with fried chicken, burgers and many other bun-related cuisines. There will also be music and of course, cold drinks at cash bars. The food event is set for a kick off in the second half of the day.

Bacon and Beer Classic

Date TBD

This event features everything with bacon and beer. Nothing sounds more appetizing than cheesy bacon fries or bacon mac ‘n’ cheese inside a baseball arena. It is a cross-country festival, which is held in major baseball playing grounds across the USA.

To the tune of a host of interactive games plus exciting music, participants get to experience the evolution of bacon-inspired recipes. These foods will be made by the best local restaurants in the area. Although the date for the Dallas version is yet to be revealed for this March, our friends at Edubirdie recommend the experience and advise us to look out for this year’s date. It promises to be quite the gathering.

Without a doubt, a lot of other food events will be announced with time. These are our must-attend picks. We believe you will find an event suitable enough for your taste buds among the ones we picked. Have fun!

**Crystal Roman, the author of the post, is a blogger and a freelance writer for She is currently exploring the most fascinating places and events all around the globe to share her experience with readers.**

Firestone & Robertson Distilling’s Whiskey Ranch

If Texas is the second largest consuming state of whiskey, why don’t we have more distilleries? Inquiring minds (and whiskey lovers) must know.

The owners of Firestone and Robertson contemplated this question and answered it. Then they built Whiskey Ranch, the largest distillery west of the Mississippi River and the second venue for the Fort Worth duo. Coming out with an incredibly popular Texas Bourbon put a fire under their butts, and they realized they needed more space and production to keep up with (and predict) demand. Ten minutes southeast of downtown Fort Worth on the space that was formerly Glen Garden Country Club, Whiskey Ranch sits on 112 acres of secluded rolling hills … and yes, they kept the 18-hole golf course.

Whiskey Ranch was designed with a Texas ranch in mind. The Austin stone and iron meet you at the entrance as you drive down the winding road that leads you to the distillery. Once you arrive, it is hard to believe that you are still in Fort Worth until you see the skyline in the distance.

The Ranch House, which houses the Ranch Store, TX Tavern, Oak Room, Back Porch, and a Barrel Breezeway, will be your first stop. The TX Tavern tasting room is currently open on Thursday and Friday during store hours for tastings. The Oak Room and Back Porch will be some of the best new event spaces in Fort Worth. With plenty of room for large parties and a great view of the golf course.

Beyond the store, bar, etc., they built a rackhouse to age their barrels. They also plan to create a track that will allow the barrels to roll from the distillery to the rackhouse. (It’s a whiskey lover’s dream track.) To keep themselves on their feet, their main building has a lab that will serve as R&D for new liquids. (We’re hoping for a rye and some other exciting expressions!) They also have a blind tasting room used daily to ensure quality from their spirits.

Now for the star of the show: the Still House. When you walk through the doors, you are met by a fifty-foot -tall copper still. This beautiful still was custom-built for Whiskey Ranch and is complete with two site-glasses where visitors can see the magic bubbling. (Or distilling if you want to get technical.)

Whiskey Ranch will allow for continuous distillation rather than the batch process that is used at Vickery. They will be able to produce about 40 barrels a day rather than 3 barrels (their current output). So, the original location in Downtown Fort Worth at 901 Vickery will remain open.

Daily tours of Whiskey Ranch will begin in the coming months. Also, they plan to offer live music and food trucks to accompany tours. Stay tuned! 

Firestone and Robertson Distilling
Whiskey Ranch: 4250 Mitchell Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 76119

The Ranch Store is open Tuesday-Thursday 12-5pm and Friday 12-6pm.
The TX Tavern is open on Thursday and Friday during store hours.