There's a reason the outdoor music festival Friday on the Green takes a break in August and the open-air Woodshed Smokehouse closes for a few weeks in July - even Texans need a break from the heat once in a while. But when the triple-digit highs subside, new drinking and dining possibilities return, namely, patios.
Central Market has a large outdoor stage, a playground area, dozens of tables, and, of course, all their great, chef-prepared dishes in one area, and there's a nice mix of family friendly bands (mostly local) performing every Friday and Saturday evening.
You can't beat the view from the Live Oak Music Hall & Lounge rooftop, where a full-service bar and great food choices await. For a closer view of downtown, grab a table on the Reata restaurant rooftop and order up some Texas fine dining. From there you won't be far from the Flying Saucer's covered patio where live music and craft beer/food pairings are a regular thing.
After a long trek down the Trinity Trails you can park your bike at The Woodshed for some smoked goodies or visit Fort Worth Food Park, just a block away. The food park offers a rotating selection of the most popular trucks in town like Good Karma Kitchen, Salsa Limon, and Bombay Chopsticks. They also have a Cantina stocked with local beers from Martin House Brewing Company and Panther Island Brewing, among others.
The new West 7th area Landmark Bar & Kitchen offers picnic tables, classic board games, a creative mixed drink menu, and free arcade games inside.
No matter where you choose to enjoy your outdoor dining experience, don't wait too long. The fall season in Texas can be as brief as it is beautiful.
posted on: Friday, Sep 19, 2014 12:00 AM
Arts and Culture
The already acclaimed, ever-entertaining, Broadway at the Bass Performance Hall series only burnishes its reputation by how it finishes off a current season as much as how it kicks one off. Case in point: The final show of the 2013-14 Broadway at the Bass lineup, Nice Work If You Can Get It. This frothy work sends the audience careening back to the Roarin' 20s, and plants everyone right smack in the middle of madcap New York. There, everyone is invited to join a coterie of more than slightly off-kilter characters, all attending the wedding of a very wealthy playboy who goes by the name of Jimmy Winter.
All would seem to go according to Winter's carefully mapped-out script until he encounters one Billie Bendix, a bootlegger who is as effervescent and as unpredictable as the booze she's purveying. Winter's heart doesn't stand a chance. The emotions, along with the gin and champagne, run and fizz in what is one of Broadway's great Tony-nabbing favorites -- which, not incidentally, is sewn together by a cache of memorable tunes penned by Ira and George Gershwin including "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off," "Someone to Watch Over Me," "But Not For Me," and "I've Got a Crush on You."
Once local audiences are finished guffawing their way through "Nice Work If You Can Get It," they can re-set their funny bone for the debut show (in November) of the 2014-15 Broadway at the Bass series: Elf. Highlights from the upcoming season include Once, Cinderella, Dirty Dancing, Pippin, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, and Chicago.
Details: Broadway at the Bass: Nice Work If You Can Get It, runs from September 16-21. Tickets: $38.50-$88. Ticket office and more info: 817-212-4280, www.basshall.com.
2014-15 Broadway at the Bass Schedule: Elf (Nov. 18-23), Disney's Beauty and the Beast (Jan. 14-18), Once (Feb. 18-22), Chicago (April 3-4), Cinderella (June 23-28), Dirty Dancing (July 7-12), Pippin (July 21-26), Kinky Boots (Oct. 27-Nov. 1, 2015).
Photo Credits: NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT national tour. (Photo by Jeremy Daniel)
posted on: Monday, Sep 15, 2014 12:00 AM
Dining, Special Events
Tacos, craft brews, and live music will bring the crowds to Heart of the Ranch at Clearfork on Sunday, October 12th. If thoughts of this trifecta already have your food-loving heart leaping for joy, then stop here and buy your tickets to Tacos + Taps now. I will see you there!
For those of you that need a little more convincing, read on.
This past March marked a milestone in the growth of Cowtown’s culinary scene when the first annual Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival came in with a bang and left everyone hungry for more. The festival’s most popular event, Burgers, Brews + Blues, sold out to a crowd of over 800 attendees that ate and drank their way through the night. If you’re one of the many that was left scrambling to find a ticket, redemption is here! This event is back with the same formula for a good time, but with the twist of tacos.
Eleven restaurants will compete for bragging rights of best taco in town. Taco Heads, Del Norte Taco, Mariposa’sLatin Kitchen and Velvet Taco may feel they have the upper hand, but notable chefs from A F+B, Bird Café, Clay Pigeon, Grace, Max’s Wine Dive, Pacific Table, and Reata have big plans to seize the taco title.
Find local favorites like Martin House, Rahr & Sons, Panther Island and Revolver Brewing among a list of 22 craft breweries that will be on hand for a battle of the brews. Taste your way through all 33 stations and vote on your favorite beer and taco while listening to live music from Joey Green Band.
General admission tickets are $60 and include food and drink from 5pm until 8pm. Early access tickets are $75 and get you in the door at 4pm to let the tasting begin an hour early. The event is for ages 21 and up only.
Funds raised go to the Fort Worth Food + Wine Foundation which has awarded over $10,000 in charitable contributions that move food forward in Fort Worth. The second annual Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival will be held March 26-29, 2015.
Tacos + Taps, Sunday, October 12, 5-8pm (4pm early admission)
Heart of the Ranch, 500 Clearfork Main Street, 76107
posted on: Friday, Sep 12, 2014 12:00 AM
Family Friendly, Special Events
Amp up your fall family activities by showing some Purple Pride and go to a TCU Horned Frogs home game. This weekend marks TCU Family Weekend, and no better time to “Amp it Up” than now. Start off by wearing purple and getting to the game a few hours before kick-off. The family fun starts around Frog Alley where kids can stay entertained with bounce houses and activities like face painting and balloon artists. Live music keeps the mood festive as do all the tailgating families and food vendors surrounding the stadium. Don’t miss the exciting Frog Walk where you can cheer on the football players and coaches followed by the marching band as they walk into the stadium.
Frog Alley closes about half an hour before kick-off. This gives your family plenty of time to get to your seats inside the newly renovated Amon G. Carter stadium. During the game there’s lots of fanfare. Every time the Frogs score you’ll hear the Frog Horn, see lots of flag waving, and maybe even see a few fireworks. In case you need extra energy to cheer on the Frogs, look to the concessions for stadium favorites like corn dogs and nachos and food from local favorites Fred’s Texas Cafe and Buffalo Bros.
There’s plenty to do around Fort Worth pre and post game. If kickoff isn’t until the evening take the opportunity to visit the Fort Worth Zoo or the Log Cabin Village near the TCU campus. You could also visit the museums in the Cultural District like the family friendly Fort Worth Museum of Science and History or the Cowgirl Museum. Make time to see the Sundance Square Plaza in Downtown and its beautiful fountains. You can frolic in them from 2-6PM and then head to the game. Explore more family fun in Fort Worth.
posted on: Thursday, Sep 11, 2014 12:00 AM
Arts and Culture, Special Events
It would be hard to find a more laudable sponsor of an end-of-summer musical event than the Salvation Army. But that is exactly who is behind the September 6th Most Good Music Festival, to uncork at Fort Worth's Panther Island Pavilion.
This festival puts Texas country music front and center, as it makes no bones about wanting everyone to grab a pair of their best, or, at least, most cozily worn-in boots, and bring along as many boot scootin' friends as possible to the all-day, musical affair.
The bill itself is led by such guaranteed-to-please talent as Stoney LaRue and Jack Ingram. They will be joined on the spacious Panther Island Pavilion stage by everyone from Mike and the Moonpies, the Folk Family Revival, to Stewart Mann and the Statesboro Revue, and the Marshall Young Band.
Not only is this sure to be a crowd-pleasing, countrified way to end the summer, but all the monies collected from ticket and food sales are aimed at a very worthy cause: The Salvation Army's storied and persistent efforts to bring upwards of 1 million meals to the North Texas needy.
Details: The Most Good Music Festival, organized by the Salvation Army. September 6, 2014 at Panther Island Pavilion, Fort Worth. Doors open at 2 p.m. with the music revving up at 3 p.m. All ages welcome with general admission tickets at the door: $45, and $175 for a VIP pass. Get Tickets and find more information. Panther Island Pavilion is located at 395 Purcey Street in Fort Worth.
posted on: Friday, Sep 5, 2014 12:00 AM
Happy cows may come from California, but happy people come from cheese shops in Fort Worth, Texas.
At its roots, Magnolia Cheese Company is a cut-to-order cheese shop focused on local and American artisan cheeses, but an inspired menu that elevates sandwiches, salads and soups puts them in a class of their own. Proprietor Elizabeth Northern takes pride in each selection of the shop’s cheese case while chef Jen Williams is thoughtful of every component that graces the plate.
I have adored this Near Southside bright spot since its opening in late 2012, but lately their Sunday brunch menu has me outright addicted. I have made their cool and cozy shop my own personal foodie haven for the last six Sundays in a row. (All in the name of research, of course.)
Brunch standards of French toast, salmon, biscuits and gravy all have their place on the menu, but each gets a little extra attention by employing local ingredients whenever possible and combining an inspired balance of flavors.
French toast preparations change weekly, sometimes dotted with bites of dragon fruit or peaches with pink peppercorn depending on what is in season. Bread for this dish is soaked overnight in the same style as the bread pudding and is seared leaving a crunchy caramelized exterior and velvety center that is not excessively sweet.
Frittatas filled with Brazos Valley brie and fresno chiles one week appear the following week with a more classic combination of leeks, potato and tarragon. Buckwheat crepes come rolled with an herbed goat cheese and served alongside ribbons of salmon that have been cured in-house with whiskey and spices. Add a poached egg topped with rich béarnaise sauce to any dish for only $2.
While mimosas are the standard brunch accompaniment, opt for the michelada, a traditionally Mexican concoction of tomato juice, beer and savory spices. Magnolia adds a local flair with Blood and Honey, a citrusy wheat ale from Revolver Brewing Company in Granbury, Texas. These are sold by the carafe, which is a deal at only $11 and is more than enough to share among two people. The pickled okra garnish adds the perfect tangy bite.
If you don’t make it on a Sunday, take heart in the fact that you can nosh on Magnolia’s chevre cheesecake any day of the week. Served here with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of bee pollen, this dessert takes the cake in my book.
October will bring about a refreshed menu along with the pleasure of outdoor seating when the heat begins to subside. I have observed tables filling up faster and faster each week, so reservations are highly recommended though not required. I will see you on Sunday!
1251 W. Magnolia Avenue, Fort Worth, TX 76104 |Open 11am to 9pm Tuesday through Thursday, 11am to 10pm on Friday and Saturday. Brunch served Sunday 11am to 3pm.
posted on: Friday, Sep 5, 2014 12:00 AM
Nightlife, Special Events
Fort Worth's newest music festival, the Clearfork Music Festival, is also one its biggest with 25 local and regional bands taking the stage this Saturday. Actually, there will be three stages, meaning there shouldn't be any lulls in the music or the partying from noon til midnight.
This year the Clearfork Festival has made the move to Panther Island Pavilion. A friend of mine who is booking bands for the event explained that the festival had simply outgrown the Clearfork-area space used last year. Panther Island Pavilion definitely offers a lot of room, and one heck of a view of downtown.
If you're not familiar with the Clearfork area (off Edward Ranch Road between Hulen and Bryant Irvin) then let me give you the scoop -- it's going to be Fort Worth's newest hotspot very soon. Many of the lofts, restaurants, and stores for this urban village are yet to be built, but you can catch a glimpse of the fun-to-come if you visit The Trailhead. I stumbled upon this little woodland oasis while running along the Trinity Trails with a friend recently. The park provides space for yoga group lessons, custom bike racks beautifully carved into logs, picnic tables, and even food trucks on certain days.
So what can you expect for this year's fest? Well for starters, some great craft beer brands (Real Ale Brewing Company and The Lagunitas Brewing Company) will be on tap in addition to a small army of food trucks. And then there's the music. Local pop/jazz group Lindby's polished, bright sounds open the show at 12:45 on the Main Stage. One great country band that swept much of the Fort Worth Weekly Music Awards recently, Holy Moley, goes on at 6:00 on the KTL Stage while Un Chien takes its tightly-knit psychedelic tunes to the Main Stage at 2:15.
The concert's band roster reads like a "who's who" of the local music scene. Dollar for dollar, there's no better deal in town this Labor Day Weekend.
posted on: Thursday, Aug 28, 2014 12:00 AM
Nightlife, Things to Do
One day, craft beer lovers will look back on this time as something of a beer renaissance in Fort Worth.
In addition to newcomers Collective Brewing Project and Martin House Brewing Company, there's a Northside-based brewery that's making a name for itself with some creative and scientifically tested brews.
Full disclosure: I had never visited a beer brewery before stopping by the Panther Island Brewery recently, but it had the look and feel that I imaged it would. The brick and mortar exterior is unassuming, but charming in its own vintage-industrial way. When I stepped inside I saw several large stainless steel tanks and a maze of piping that took up a third of the openair factory floor. Panther Island founders Mike Harper and Ryan McWhorter were hustling around the floor. As I found out later, the duo always keeps the doors open, partly to welcome random visitors, and because the space is hopelessly too large to air condition.
We settled around the bar area to talk beer. Harper handed me a pint of their Allergeez, an American Wheat Ale. A mildly sweet, full bodied flavor with not-so-subtle camomile notes greeted my lips. I usually don't associate the word "delicious" with a beer, but it certainly came to mind here.
McWhorter came from a background in sales and made his first brewing attempt with a Mr. Beer kit he bought from Walmart. Then things grew from there, he said. Harper spent a couple of years at Starbucks and a ‘90s cover band called The Dick Beldings. It took me a minute to remember that the principal in Saved by the Bell was Dick Belding. Great name for a band.
Things took off a few years back when McWhorter asked Harper to start a brewery with him. Not one to take such a daunting project lightly, Harper enrolled in beer school where he "nerded out" on the intricacies of beer making.
"I went to vermont to study in the American Brewer's Guild and got a certificate in brewing science and engineering," Harper recalled. "The program was a little shorter than six months. We spent the last week Vermont doing hands-on things with big brewing systems. I like details, but they got down to the minutia of water temperature and how temperature affects the head of a beer."
For now, Harper and McWhorter are focused on their beer and their customers. When asked if they have plans for mass distribution in the region, they said their focus is local for now. You can find their Allergeez, Cannonball (a Scottish Dark Ale), IPf'nA (Imperial Indian Pale Ale), and Boom (Summer Blondge) at Magnolia motor lounge, Poag Mahone's, Rodeo Goat, The Pour House Sports Grill, The Brass Tap, and Craft and Growler. Each beer offers a unique take on a classic style. Harper is working on a hopless IPA and McWhorter has plans to capture his favorite candy, Butterfinger, in beer form.
A few weeks after my meeting with Harper and McWhorter I stopped by the cantina in the Fort Worth Food Park. I was excited to see the Boom and Allergeez on tap and struck up a conversation with the bartender. He was quick to praise the service he gets from Panther Island, something Harper and McWhorter had repeatedly told me was important to them. Even more importantly, he said Panther Island Brewery beers were quickly becoming crowd favorites.
posted on: Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014 12:00 AM
Dining, Special Events
Something lunch, something new, something seafood, something moo.
This year I have developed what I consider a solid strategy to take on DFW Restaurant Week. I plan to dine at one restaurant in each of four categories inspired by a rhyme intended for brides, but adjusts nicely to fit my gluttonous purposes. Given that many area restaurants are participating from August 11th through 31st, I think that this is a mission I can eagerly accomplish.
The three-course meals range from $25 for lunch to $35 or $45 for dinner depending on the venue. To add to the enjoyment, portions of the proceeds from Fort Worth area restaurants go to the Lena Pope Home. If three courses leaves you wanting more, presenting sponsor Central Market is offering up a fourth course at participating restaurants. Take your receipt to the information desk to collect your Fourth Course Certificate when you spent $25 or more at any DFW Central Market.
A special three-course lunch menu is offered at only $25 per person at these establishments. All three also offer separate dinner menus in the evening at $45.
Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine: Lunch menu includes a smoked prime rib sandwich and chocolate amaretto cake for dessert.
Waters: Jon Bonnell’s venture into coastal cuisine in West 7th includes choice of Creole Black Drum or the succulent lobster roll.
The Capital Grille: Lunch options include clam chowder to start followed by the dry aged sirloin with roasted pepper, fresh mozzarella and arugula salad.
Restaurant week is the perfect time to get a taste of some newcomers that may be on your list to explore.
Bite City Grill: Start with soy BBQ shrimp and finish off with the heavenly aerated cheesecake.
Clay Pigeon Food and Drink: First course options include an artfully plated compressed watermelon salad that sits on a bed of goat cheese as well as the summer corn soup topped with a pickled peach relish.
These restaurants offer excellent steak options on their Restaurant Week menus, but their seafood preparations steal the show.
Eddie V’s: North Atlantic lemon sole begs to be finished off with the dessert course of hot “Bananas Foster” butter cake.
Grace: Dinner includes a selection of artisan cured hams to start as well as a pan seared hake (a sweet white fish) served with sweet corn succotash.
Fort Worth abounds with beefy options and downtown takes center stage.
Del Frisco’s: Get the best of both worlds with a duo filet served with Béarnaise sauce and peppercorn gravy.
Mercury Chop House: Dinner includes a choice of 6-ounce filet or braised short ribs served with a mushroom risotto round for entrees, and there is even an optional course of a tenderloin beef martini served with mashed potatoes.
Reata: The $35 dinner menu offers bacon wrapped tenderloin served with a rich ancho demi sauce; add a wine pairing to all 3 courses for only $20 more.
As you strategize, keep in mind that some restaurants participate for only the first week (August 11 – 17) while others take advantage of one and two week extensions. Reservations can be made through opentable.com or by calling the restaurant directly. Visit the DFW Restaurant Week site for the full list of participating restaurants across Fort Worth and Dallas.
posted on: Saturday, Aug 9, 2014 12:00 AM
Arts and Culture
Over the next six months or so, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth will do quite a bit of aesthetic globe-trotting. From the undeniable artistry of the Japanese film director, producer, writer and, last but not least, director, Hayao Miyazaki -- currently being celebrated in Miyazaki at the Modern: Masterpieces of Animation -- to the gritty, unsparingly honest art scene born of 1980s New York in Urban Theater: New York Art in the 1980s – the Modern has perhaps never travelled as far and wide over the contemporary art landscape.
A mere month after the conclusion of the Miyazaki at the Modern show, opens the museum’s fall spectacular: Urban Theater: New York Art in the 1980s. A special exhibition organized by the museum’s supremely talented and visionary chief curator, Michael Auping, this show will laser-in on the at-times harmonious and anarchic, and chaotically creative art scene of 1980s New York. An incubator of some of the last 50 years' most innovative and provocative art, New York in the 1980s became an alchemic cauldron for so much of that world, informed by cartoons to consumer trends, high and low culture to street art. The art scene, spawned on New York’s meanest and most tony streets, was, in Auping’s words, the “wildest…loudest, and the most intense” of anywhere in the world. This exhibition will show it all, from the City’s “Bad Boys” to art inspired by latter day expressionists, through inspired graffiti masters. The museum will devote a staggering 25,000 square feet to this show, allowing it to accommodate massively scaled iconic works by, among others, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Laurie Anderson, Francesco Clemente, Keith Haring, Julian Schnabel, Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Robert Mappelthorpe, Kenny Scharf, among many others.
Miyazaki at the Modern: Masterpieces of Animation (through August 23) at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell Street, Fort Worth.
Urban Theater: New York Art in the 1980s, September 21-Jauary 4, 2015. The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell Street, Fort Worth. General admission (includes special exhibition admission): $10 for adults, $4 for students with ID and seniors 60-years and above. More information - 817-738-9215.
posted on: Thursday, Aug 7, 2014 12:00 AM