Stand-Outs from the 2016 Fort Worth Food & Wine Festival
While there were events going on throughout the weekend, the Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival took place on Friday night with the Main Event, which featured nearly two dozen DFW chefs and more beer, wine, and liquor than a person can safely taste in one night could. Hundreds of people were housed in the Pier 1 Imports building, all participating in the delicate balancing act that is required at food and wine festivals. Will we ever figure out how to eat food from a tiny plate while balancing a glass of alcohol in one hand? Even those jumping for small wooden plates attached to wine glasses didn’t seem to do any better than Orin Swift’s precariously balanced Fagotelli on plastic glasses. The lack of resolution to this predicament is one of humanity’s greatest failures.
Events like this can be difficult to get noticed – chefs are delivering hundreds or thousands of dishes at breakneck speed to a large, impatient group of voracious consumers whose taste buds have been tarnished by palate fatigue. Even so, there are always some special features – some surprising and others definitely not. These were our favorite bites from the Main Event at the 2016 Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival:
Faro Fagotelli the small brewery
It’s no surprise that Small Brewpub’s Misti Norris produced interesting plates on Friday night – does this woman even know how to cook hot food? Many of the main event’s favorite plates ran out around 7:30 a.m., but those who got there early got a taste of Norris’ Faro Fagotelli, made with 44 Farms beef heart tasso, tongue chips, tallow aioli, pickled rose petals -Lardo celery and fresh dill. It had crunch, it had umami, it had creaminess, and it definitely had that moment of insecurity that often comes from small brewpub dishes – it’s the moment when you say to yourself, “I have no idea what I’m eating, but I ‘I agree. “
Patina Green Home and Market’s Brisket Biscuit Slider
There’s a reason people go to McKinney on Fridays to get Patina Green’s brisket pusher with jalapeño blackberry jelly on a smoked cheddar biscuit. In a world that is constantly trying to replicate the bold, laid-back flavors of Texan cuisine, Patina Green’s Robert Lyford manages it with ease. These weren’t the only brisket sliders at the Main Event, but they were by far the best, and that rustic, sweet-and-salty bite of Texan goodness made many people wonder why they don’t wander to McKinney more often. Lyford is known for making its own jams and jellies using nothing but fruit, sugar, and time, and the effort definitely pays off.
Rough Creek Lodge duck skewer
It’s a bit of a hike to Rough Creek Lodge and the resort in Iredell, nearly two hours southwest of Dallas, but if Chef Gerard Thompson’s food at Fort Worth Fest is a clue, it might be worth the trip. Thompson’s duck skewer with tzatziki sauce was so juicy, flavorful, and tender that we were a little surprised that it was made with duck meat. We were happy to catch one of those bad guys just before Thompson went out.
Hunt and Fish Social Club’s pork, pork, and beans
Hunt and Fish Social Club was £ 100. Sausage and 18 gallons of pork and beans make for one of the most memorable dishes of the festival this year. This collective of Fort Worth restaurateurs and foodies, Lou Lambert, James Smith and Chris Reale, formed and brought a much-needed element of laid-back fun to the festival. The Hunt and Fish Social Club is located outdoors in the midst of the smoky grills and craft beer offerings and delighted us with all the ingredients in this dish: white beans with brown, sugar-smoked pork, fresh pork sausage and a light, tempting fennel salsa verde. After hanging around this table for a few minutes, we couldn’t help but feel that this is definitely our kind of club.
Grace’s misoglazed chicken
If we’ve learned anything from this year’s festival, we need to eat more often in Fort Worth. Case in point: that adorable little bite from Grace, a downtown Fort Worth steakhouse and new American restaurant. Chef Blaine Staniford’s miso glazed chicken came on top of sweet sticky rice with a radish coleslaw. The mix of flavors and textures created a dish that we have visited more than once.
Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer clear.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free … Ever since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we want it to stay that way. We offer our readers free access to concise coverage of local news, food and culture. Produce stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands with bold coverage, stylish writing, and staff, everything from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Feature Writing Award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism have won. With the existence of local journalism under siege and setbacks having a greater impact on advertising revenue, it is more important than ever for us to raise support for funding our local journalism. You can help by joining our “I Support” membership program which allows us to continue to cover Dallas without paywalls.
Beth Rankin is an Ohio born and Cicerone certified beer server who specializes in social media, food and drink, travel, and reporting. Their belief system revolves around the importance of topo chico, the refusal to eat lobster out of season, and the importance of local and regional food routes.