Report From 2012 Savor Dallas: Top Ten Dishes Served at International Grand Tasting

Mint chicken salad from The Mint. (Photography by Elizabeth Lavin)

The popular International Grand Tasting at Savor Dallas 2012 took place on Saturday night at Irving Convention Center in Las Colinas. Organizers noted the move from Dallas to Irving was to make it easier for the residents of Fort Worth to attend.  Any worry that the change in venue would deter event patrons was quickly dispelled once the doors  swung open.  The place was packed, people shuffled around tightly, filling the venue as guests got the opportunity to hob-nob and rub elbows with some of the finest chefs in DFW.  The food and drink were, of course, spectacular as chefs were well prepared to excite and surprise their guests this year.

While nearly every dish our small group sampled was delightful, we thought we would pay homage to some of the most exciting and delicious dishes presented this year.  So here are (in no particular order) our picks of the Top 10 Best Bites of the 2012 Savor Dallas International Grand Tasting

Gazpacho from Dee Lincoln' Bubble Bar. (Photography by Elizabeth Lavin)

1. Kelly Hightower/Wild Salsa: Shrimp albondigas (spicy shrimp meatball) with ground pumpkin seed and onion, topped with cilantro and contija cheese.  Definitely the spiciest dish of the night, but perhaps, my personal favorite.

2. Juliard Ishizuka/ Dee Lincoln’s: Tomato gazpacho with goat cheese, watermelon, cured chorizo, and micro arugala.  Fine use of spice, temperature, and citrus, all together refreshing and unique.

3. Nick Amoriello/Meddlesome Moth: Shrimp and grits with pepperjack, jalapeno country gravy, and “tons of cream, tons of butter.” Hard to go wrong there.

The spicy star of The Meddlesome Moth's shrimp and grits.(Photography by Elizabeth Lavin)

4. Cesar Gallegos/Bolla: Smoked scallop crudo with avocado mousse, candied pepitas, jicama hot sticks, and a shot of Patron tequila. Bold flavors, unique presentation. I hope we get to see a lot more “hot sticks” in the future.

Brisket Tacos from Neighborhood Services.(Photography by Elizabeth Lavin)

5. Jeff Bekavac/ Neighborhood Services: Street tacos of smoky, sweet barbecue brisket with a blue cheese coleslaw.

The Whiskey Cake.(Photography by Elizabeth Lavin)

6. TJ Lengnick/Whiskey Cake: The Whiskey Cake, no one will question Chef Lengnick’s decision to bring the restaurant’s signature dessert to the party, nor do I think anyone will question its inclusion on this list. This thing is blissful.

7. Nicky Phinyawatana/The Mint: Minced chicken salad with lime, cilantro, mint, red pepper, served on baby endive and bok choy.

8. Pat Robertson/Five Sixty: Kobe beef tataki with asparagus salad, jalapeno ponzu, cilantro and fried garlic.

9. Kay Agnew/Margaux’s Bridge Bistro: Duck and andouille sausage gumbo.

10. Eric Brandt/Bisto 31: Escargot and pork belly with parsley pesto, walnut, and creamy polenta.

Goat Cheese and Sweet Onion Jam from JJ&B.(Photography by Elizabeth Lavin)

Recognition should also be given to the always brilliant Scardello Cheese with their lovely offerings of royal cheddar, landaff, and bleu debasque; JJ&B (Jellies, Jams and Butters) for their splendid sweet onion jam; and Kaurina’s original “kulfi” or Indian ice cream bars in mango, cardamom cream, and pistachio almond. Seriously, people were freaking out about this ice cream, myself included, which can be ordered here from



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  • Thanks Nancy for the kind (true) words about the chefs’ dishes and to Elizabeth for the beautiful photography. In addition to being more convenient for folks “in Fort Worth to attend” (and Tarrant County environs like Colleyville and Southlake), the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas is also more convenient for Collin County, and people in North and Northwest Dallas (it takes about the same amount of time to drive downtown from the Park Cities as it does to Las Colinas). Behind the scenes, we also had the best food and beverage service staff in our 8 year history, thanks to the professionals at “Savor….Las Colinas” and the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas. Savor Dallas 2013 will be back in either the first or second weekend in March next year (due to an early Easter). Exact date and locations TBA. Thanks to D Magazine for great coverage.

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  • Thank you Jim and to all at D Mag that included props to Nick Amoriello and his shrimp and grits at Meddlesome Moth. We would love to be included next year. It is a lot of work for you to put on Jim, and we are honored you highlighted our efforts. SW

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  • King

    This event get’s better and better every year, I just hope it comes back to Dallas.

  • acrow

    How did Parigi not make the list. They’re dish was delicious