Barbecue

The Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival is Back, and You'll Need to Wear Your Stretchy Pants

The Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival ends with the Ring of Fire, which doesn't have to do being madly in love with June Carter,  rather smoked meats.
The Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival ends with the Ring of Fire, which doesn't have to do being madly in love with June Carter, rather smoked meats. Courtesy of Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival, Nancy Farrar
After a two-year break, the Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival is back March 31 through April 3. This four-day event is a whole bouquet of flavors, sips and smoke spotlighting some of the best food in Cowtown. The events take place at a couple of different venues and, in addition to the more than 100 wines to taste at the Main Event, there's a trifecta of spinoff events celebrating brunch, tacos and barbecue.

Thursday gets started with a Special Collaborative Dinner: Houston to Ho Nai with James Beard award-winning chef Chris Shepherd and Fort Worth's chef Tuan Pham of Four Sisters - A Taste of Vietnam. This dinner, at Brik Venue (501 S. Calhoun St.) pairs Texas with Asian cuisines and includes a wine pairing ($195).

Tacos and Tequila is also on Thursday from 8 to 10 p.m. at the Heart of the Ranch at Clearfork (5000 Clearfork Main St.). For $50, participants will get "all the food and beverage you can (responsibly) consume at the event."

The Main Event is from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, April 1, and for $125 attendees can try more than 100 wines, craft beers and spirits from near and far to pair with chef-prepared bites. This event is also at the Heart of the Ranch at Clearfork. Some highlights from the wine menu include Sonoma's Chalk Hill Estate Chardonnay, Lancaster Estate, Stags Leap from Napa, BV Tapestry, Caymus Vineyards, Willamette Valley Vineyards and Trefethen Dragon's Tooth.
click to enlarge Tacos and Tequila is its own event on Thursday, March 31. - COURTESY OF FORT WORTH FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL, NANCY FARRAR
Tacos and Tequila is its own event on Thursday, March 31.
Courtesy of Fort Worth Food and Wine Festival, Nancy Farrar
In our experience, the best way to approach 100 samples of wine is to sip a little, drink water and get a small bite to eat. Rinse and repeat on that setting, and you'll be surprised how many wines you can taste and enjoy.

Nite Bites at Whiskey Ranch (4250 Mitchell Blvd.) is also Friday evening and will feature cocktails, sweet and savory snacks and a local DJ. Dusty Biscuit Beignets, Bird and Branch, F1 Smokehouse and Stir Crazy Baked Goods are some of the vendors at this event. It's $75 for early entry and $60 for general admission.

Saturday is a Culinary Corral from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. back at Clearfork. For $85 you can celebrate the best meal of the week: brunch. Funky Picnic Brewery and Cafe will be there as well as HG SPLY CO, Mac's on Main and Cane Rosso. There are a lot more vendors, visit their website for more information on that, but it looks lushes and soul-filling.

After that you can roll into Burgers, Brews and Blues from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (still at the Clearfork) for $80. Here you'll have many mini burgers and craft beer to try. Celebrity judges will be on-hand to choose their favorites and there will also be a fan favorite. A few of the burger flippers include Big Kat Burgers, The Bearded Lady, Easy Slider, Cast Iron Restaurants, Fred's, Kincaids.

Finally, on Sunday they wrap things up at Clearfork with the Ring of Fire, which is what we call the flower bed around our big tree out back that is full of poison ivy. However, for this event, general admission tickets are $65 and for two hours (2-4 p.m.) you get all the barbecue samples you can elbow your way to, and wash it down with wine, beer and spirits. Honestly at $65 you might be saving money on a Sunday barbecue dinner. Cousins BBQ, Dayne's, Flores Barbecue, Heim, Hurtado, Zavala's and Trevino's will be there. 
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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.