I was really struggling to come up with a birthday present for Candy. I was going to get her a Keurig single cup coffee machine, but right before I went out and bought it she developed some stomach problems related to coffee and told me she would have to quit drinking it. So I was back at square one.
Surfing around the web and checking facebook I came across an upcoming event here in Dallas that I, frankly, had never heard of. It was called Savor Dallas – and it is a multi-day, multi-location, celebration of food and wine and stuff like that. One event was called the Arts District Wine Stroll.
The Stroll was billed as:
The popular “Arts District Stroll” sets the stage for the two-day festival on Friday, March 30th, 5-7pm, where guests can enjoy wine and food tastings in the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Meyerson Symphony Center, and the Winspear Opera House. A group of the popular new Food Trucks will be selling their goodies along Flora Street during the Stroll.
So I guess it is something like a pre-paid pub crawl, except with a little more class.
Well, it looks like we might be on to something here. Walking around the Dallas Arts District, visiting four beautiful public buildings, all designed by Pritzker Prize winning architects, while sampling food and wine along the way. Meanwhile the usual flotilla of Food Trucks waits along the route in case you don’t get enough along the way.
That sounded like a plan to me – so I logged in and bought a pair of tickets online (good thing I didn’t wait – the event sold out a few days later).
The event ran from five to seven – only two hours long. We didn’t want to waste any time, so I took a half-day of vacation from work and we decided to take the DART train down there to avoid any traffic or parking hassles. We arrived at the Winspear Opera house right at five o’clock, had our tickets scanned, received a green wristband and a wine glass, and we were off.
The thing was great. There were over fifty spots pouring out samples of wine spread among the four locations and a healthy handful of food spots. We hit the Winspear Opera house first (an excellent sake there, in addition to the wine), then moved next door to the Meyerson Symphony Hall. These were crowded, but the lines moved quickly and we were able to sample a good selection of wine and some excellent food.
I carried my camera and a small Moleskine Notebook with a matching fountain pen. I tried not to take too many pictures – it was really hard to hold a wine glass, little tray of food, and steady the camera enough to take decent photographs. I was going to take notes on particularly good wines – wines that Candy liked – I’m not a good judge, I like everything,… but it wasn’t really necessary, we simply picked up brochures and business cards from stuff we liked.
After the Meyerson we walked down to the Dallas Museum of Art. I liked it the best. Because it was down on the end and a longer stroll than the others, it was by far the least crowded and there weren’t any lines at all.
Best of all, though, they had a Tequila Sampling station. There were two attractive young girls in white skintight spandex minidresses mixing various tequilla concoctions and pouring out trayfulls of shot glasses for us to snatch up and sample. Some of the mixes (coconut and grapefruit juice) were a little off – I much preferred the straight, smooth tequila – but it was all pretty damn good. I could have parked myself in front of the tequilla sampling place, while waiters kept coming by with strange little hors d’ oeuvres – like lamb on plantain chips or oysters in tiny ice cream cones – all night long.
But it was time to move on and we walked next door to the Nasher for the final half-hour of the festivities. The Nasher garden is a perfect spot for something like this – a healthy crowd milling about the grass lawn of the garden, sheltered by the groves of perfectly groomed trees, sipping wine and eating food while about a billion dollars of modern sculpture looks on.
I slowed down on my alcohol consumption there – only trying a couple of wines – but there was some really good food. I had never had tuna tartare tacos before – and they were very good. I hate to say it, but with all the fancy top-shelf restaurants demonstrating their wares, I think the best thing I had was the tomato basil soup with mini croissant from La Madeleine. It was exactly what I wanted right then.
Everybody seemed to be having a blast. It hit just the right note – fancy enough to enjoy a special night out, but not too upper crust to be unpleasant or stressful. Candy made some new friends and I enjoyed the very diverse and interesting crowd. I even liked the fact that at two hours it was fairly short. It seemed to end right at the right time, we had all had our fill but didn’t get too worn out yet.
I’m definitely going to give this a shot next year. I’ll have to remember to get tickets early again – I’m sure it’ll sell out. It would be nasty if the weather was bad – you wouldn’t want to stroll around in the rain or a storm…. but if that happens I could simply find the tequila place and stay right there.
Bronze Crowd, by Magdalena Abakanowicz
I can’t say we tried everything they had on the Stroll – but I know we tried most of it.
Wines at the Savor Dallas Wine Stroll:
14 Hands Winery
Chateau Ste. Michelle
Condado de Haza
Fall Creek Vineyards
Flip Flop Wines
J. Lohr Vineyards
Les Cadrans de Lassegue
Louis M. Martini
Prats + Symington
Selección de Torres
Water Supplied by:
Stella Artois Beer
Jorges Tex-Mex Cafe