Savor Dallas: Sampling Some Well-Balanced Meals

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If we had gotten there 10 minutes later, we wouldn't have been able to get a parking space, which is shocking since the Savor Dallas International Grand Tasting on Saturday night at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel started at 7 p.m. and we arrived at 7:10 p.m.

Once we got in the hall, it was clear why all of the spaces were taken. The place was packed. Despite the lines, it didn't take us long to get a drink. Jack Daniels was showing off their new Whiskey and Cola in groovy aluminum bottles. They were strong but tasty. I look forward to trying them out over ice.

After a few sips, I knew I better get some food or there was going to be trouble in river city. We started out with meatballs from Kenny's Wood Fire Grill, which turned out to be one of the tastiest bites of the night. The rest of the night was a marathon of queuing and eating and drinking and queuing.

And, in case you were wondering, all the queuing was well worth all of the eating and drinking. Plus, it provided a much-needed chance to digest between the generous samples being served at every turn.

Seeing Blythe Beck of Central 214, Salvatore Gisellu of Urban Crust, and many other local favorites, serving up their creations and catching up with fans was great fun. It's so nice to people who dig food connect with the people who love to craft it for them with equal enthusiasm.

I am sure we didn't taste everything there was to taste. Some restaurants actually ran out of food before the night was through. But highlights included lamb meatball sliders from Dish; the Buffalina from Urban Crust; Cuba Libres from 10 Cane Rum; homemade ice cream from Dulce (from the owners of La Duni); toffee from Magnolia Bay; and sea salt caramels from Chocolate Secrets.

It would have been nice to have more high tops tables, balancing edibles and libations at the same time is a bit of a balancing act when you're hoping to enjoy them rather than simply carry them. And it would have been really great to have a lounge area of sorts to take in all the sights.

All you can eat bites and sips makes for great people watching. Teeny dresses, dangerously high heels, and folks who had no business driving -- ever -- were just the beginning. There was also live music and Cirque du Soleil style entertainment, including an aerial silk performer who poured drinks while dangling in mid-air.

Next year I plan on going prepared and bringing one of those "mingle plates" that hold your wine glass and your food. Tacky? Perhaps. But it sure would have made savoring Saturday night a heck of a lot easier.

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