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State Fair of Texas Announces 2019 Big Tex Choice Awards Semi-Finalists

Making it to the semi-final round isn’t easy, so these concessionaires have something to celebrate.

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Photo courtesy of State Fair of Texas

With only 63 days until opening day of the 2019 State Fair of Texas, the competition to make it to the 15th Annual Big Tex Choice Awards is heating up.

State Fair concessionaires are busy perfecting their innovative offerings in hopes of getting into the final round of judging at the coveted event.

After the first round of judging, 33 semi-finalists – 20 savory and 13 sweet entries – are moving forward, putting these contenders one step closer to the main event, where they will compete for one of three winning titles: “Best Taste – Sweet,” “Best Taste – Savory,” and “Most Creative.”

The contest started in mid-July with 49 individual entries from 30 concessionaires. It is required that competitors have at least one year of experience as a concessionaire at the State Fair of Texas before entering.

Making past the first round requires contestants to be super creative with the name and description of their original creations.

Judges are looking for the food with the name and description that sounds most appealing to their personal palette, just like a fairgoer might do while at the Fair.

Over the next several weeks, the second round of preliminary judging will begin, and these edible creations will have to prove to the panel of judges that they are just as delicious as they sound.

The tasting round will judge each semi-finalist on, at minimum, four main ingredients of a finalist-worthy concoction: uniqueness, presentation, creativity and, of course, taste.

To keep everything fair and solely based on the food, judges sample each submission during a “blind judging” throughout the entire process.

Judges will also have to defend their rankings against the seemingly simple yet crucial question – how likely is a fairgoer to actually buy the item?

The top 10 finalists, to be announced in mid-August, will go on to compete live in the final round at this year’s Big Tex Choice Awards ceremony.

Even if your entry of choice does not make it to the main event, concessionaires can still choose to introduce their food at their stand as a “new food” during this year’s State Fair.

The 15th Annual Big Tex Choice Awards, presented by Metro by T-Mobile, will take place Sunday, August 25 at 2pm in the historic Tower Building at Fair Park.

A limited number of tickets are available online for $125. Tickets always sell out, so get yours fast. You do not want to miss the chance to view the competition while getting a first taste of this year’s new Fair foods.

All proceeds from the annual Big Tex Choice Awards competition are donated to the Big Tex Scholarship Program, which provides college scholarships to students across the Lone Star State.

Food + Drink

Tailgate BBQ at Four Seasons Dallas with Pitmaster Jack Arnold of Snake River Farms

Don’t miss this exciting dining experience.

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Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Dallas

In Texas, tailgating is an art. It takes proper planning and execution. Moreover, to execute the best tailgate, one must have the best grill.

Four Seasons Resort Dallas welcomes Pitmaster and Guest Chef Jack Arnold from Snake River Farms and Big Green Egg to showcase the ultimate grilling experience.

The Tailgate Barbecue kicks off at 6:00 pm on November 30, 2019 in the Pavilion at Four Seasons Resort Dallas.

“We are looking forward to a great evening with Jack and serving up a delicious menu that will leave attendees salivating for more barbecue,” says Christof Syré, Executive Chef at Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas.

Jack, who exclusively cooks on four Big Green Egg grills, will share tips and grilling techniques as well as his passion for grilling that he learned from his dad, a south Texan and his main inspiration for charcoal grilled and slow smoked beef. Jack represents Snake River Farms, which is a family-owned company with more than 50 years of experience in the beef industry, producing some of the highest quality American wagyu beef from ranch to table.

Chef Syré and Guest Chef Jack Arnold’s mouth-watering menu includes bourbon molasses blazed Snake River Farms kurobuta pork shoulder tacos; Texas bobby quail, jalapeño, goat cheese and bacon lollipops; hickory charred Snake River Farms American wagyu black grade cap of ribeye bites; brown sugar guajillo Snake River Farms pork belly; and whole grilled red fish with sweet peppers, caramelized onions and canton tomatoes. Side dishes served up from the grill are charred shishito peppers with smoked tomato aioli; charred fall veggie kebabs with chimichurri; and cast iron roasted patatas brava with guajillo spiced sea salt.

Accompaniments include warm BBQ potato salad; cole slaw; grilled baby romaine; and corn and black bean salad.

Finish up the evening with pumpkin pie in a jar; cherry cobblers; bourbon flamed baked Alaska; banana pudding; warm cookies; baked brown sugar caramel apples; and liquid nitro ice cream.

The event is $65 per person and a cash bar is available for libations. Reservations are highly recommended. Call 972 717 2525 to reserve a spot.

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Around + Beyond

Mallow Box S’Mores Bar Cafe Opens

Gourmet marshmallows arrive at the Shops at Willow Bend, just in time for the holiday season.

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Image courtesy of Mallow Box/Facebook (Photo credit: Unknown)

Mallow Box, the company know for their gourmet marshmallow food and beverage items, has opened a store just in time for the holidays.

The brands first retail location in the Shops at Willow Bend food court is open, serving a variety of s’mores, hot and cold drinks, shakes, bowls, skewers and more.

“We’re so excited to be launching our first retail location,” said Mallow Box Founder Martha Ware. “We began with small local events, trade shows and pop-ups at places like Nordstrom’s eventually having a kiosk at the mall. Now we’ve taken the next step and looking forward to serving our great mallows and mallow-based drinks and shakes.”

All Mallow Box marshmallows are hand-made from scratch without preservatives. Each delicious item and drink come in a variety of flavors such as chocolate and cream, maple bourbon with bacon bits, lemon and banana rum, among many others, with a choice of toppings such as M&Ms, peanuts, coconut and more.

All items are also available to go. The s’mores bar is a new concept and customers will get to customize their s’mores to their delight –– choosing from cookies, marshmallow flavors, chocolate types and toppings! All s’mores are made on site and in front of the customer.

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Around + Beyond

New Menu Items at Stampede66 by Stephan Pyles at Delta Hotels by Marriott Dallas Allen

The new fall menu crafted by Chefs Stuart Race, Mikeal Frey, and Stephan Pyles is available now.

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Photo courtesy of Stampede66 by Stephan Pyles (Photo credit: Jonathan Zizzo)

The new Stampede66 by Stephan Pyles fall menu crafted by Chefs Stuart Race, Mikeal Frey, and Stephan Pyles is available now for lunch and dinner.

Located within Delta Hotels by Marriott Dallas Allen & Watters Creek Convention Center, Stampede66 by Stephan Pyles offers guests a true taste of Texas through familiar Southern dishes with a contemporary twist.

The new menus highlight the Southwestern flair the restaurant is known for, but will offer a greater variety of approachable choices for guests. Stampede66 classics such as SP’s Hell’s Eggs, Shiner Bock Beer Bread, SP’s Original Southwestern Caesar, Honey-Fried Chicken, 72-Hour Brisket and more will remain on the menu.

“We crafted the menus to celebrate the Lone Star State utilizing ingredients Texans love,” said Executive Chef Stuart Race. “Lunch and dinner will be updated by utilizing more seasonal ingredients along with flexible options, such as our Keto-friendly items.”

The lunch menu is divided into five sections including Salads and Soup, Sandwiches and Pizza, Stampede66 Keto, Big Plates and Dessert.

Guests can enjoy items such as the Smoked Turkey Cobb, Pulled Barbecued Pork Pizza, Shiner Bock Fish Tacos, Blackened Shrimp and Grits and more.

Keto-friendly options include the BBQ Spiced Seared Grouper with Avocado, Watercress, Almonds, and Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes and the Grilled Sirloin with Tomatillo Green Beans, Broccolini and Cilantro Butter.

Salads and Soups range from $7 to $14, Sandwiches and Pizza from$12 to $16, and Big Plates range from $12 to $29.

Guests have the opportunity to choose items from seven sections on the dinner menu including Bocaditos for Sharing and Bread, Tacos, Salads and Texas Classics, Stampede66 Keto, Stampede Signature Large Plates, Steaks, Chops and Seafood, Serious Sides and Dessert.

Dinner entrees include Chef Mikeal’s Burger with Wood Grilled Beef, Muenster Cheese, Fried Egg, Crispy Onion Strings, Spicy Chipotle Bacon Aioli (also available for lunch), Wood Fired Grilled Strip Loin, King Salmon with Chard and Sundried Tomato Pesto Orzo, and more.

Stampede66 Signature Large Plates range from $19 to $24, Steaks, Chops and Seafood range from $19 to $49, while Tacos, Salads and Texas Classics are available from $7 to $16.

Stampede66, founded by James Beard Award-Winning Chef Stephan Pyles, a 5th generation Texan and founding father of Southwestern and Modern Texan Cuisine, serves as an ode to Texas as the concept was influenced by Pyles’ upbringing. The atmosphere at Stampede66 allows guests to surround themselves with projected scenes of glorious Texas landscapes, hand-carved wood accents from Master Woodworker Doc Wright and original sculpture and art by Chris Judy and Specified Art.

The restaurant, placed within the Delta Hotels by Marriott Dallas Allen & Watters Creek Convention Center, is located at 777 Watters Creek Boulevard, Allen, Texas 75013.

Stampede 66 by Stephan Pyles is open daily to the public for breakfast, lunch and dinner and weekend brunch. Semi-private dining options for groups are available. Reservations can be made by online or by calling 469.675.0800.

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