Last night, Foodways Texas held its inaugural Dallas fundraiser at Smoke at Oak Cliff’s Belmont Hotel. Their mission is to promote, celebrate, and preserve the food heritage of Texas.
The evening began with a reception in the Belmont Hotel where, to accompany passed hors d’oeuvres, guests could choose between Tito’s Handcrafted Vodka (Austin) mixed in a variety of martinis or wine, which included Becker Vineyards (Fredericksburg) 2009 Fumé Blanc and 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve wines. Beer lovers sipped Full Moon Pale Rye Ale, a brew from Real Ale Brewery in Blanco, Texas. Good, Better, Best — a film which documents the making of Texas sorghum syrup — played in the background.
Opening speeches by founders Marvin Bendele, Robb Walsh, and chef Tim Byres whipped the foodie crowd into a noisy and festive food frenzy. After introductions, we sat for a family-style dinner in the back room of Smoke. Several folks of the sold-out crowd braved the outdoor patio. Executive chef Tim Byres roasted the oysters listed on the menu below on an open pit. He melted the scampi butter and seared the chorizo to create a hearty take on the familiar shellfish.
The large tables gave guests the opportunity to meet new people from all walks of life who had come to learn about good Texas food. One look at the menu below is a great example of the diversity of Texas food. The menu looked like a nightmarish task for the kitchen staff, but they handled it with aplomb. The wait staff, at least some of whom were volunteers from the Foodways Texas organization (I even ‘Observed’ a ‘moonlighting’ restaurant critic), made their way adroitly between tables, despite the crush.
At the end of the meal, some guests learned to shuck oysters, taught by seafood supplier Jim Gossen. I shucked my first one ever and, maybe I’m biased, but its briny flavors seemed so fresh immediately after opening.
Look out for Foodways Texas next event, a symposium in February devoted to the edible heritage of the Gulf Coast.
GULF COAST GATHERING
MONDAY, JANUARY 24th, 2011
901 Ft. Worth Ave, Dallas TX 75208
Pimento Cheese Croquette & Tejano Red Sauce
Pickled Shrimp with Rio Star Grapefruit
Salted Snapper & Fresh Masa
Smoked Sausage Kolache with Fruit Mustard
Chicken Salad & Celery Toast
Family Style Menu
Brick Roux Gumbo with Fresh Fish, Oysters & Andouille Sausage
Fire Roasted Oysters with Scampi Butter, Mexican Chorizo & Ash Salsa
Raw Oysters with Mignonette & Red Chile Vinegar
Grilled Whole Shrimp with Horseradish, Herbs & Pickled Relish Vinaigrette
Cornmeal Fish Fry with Green Chile Hushpuppies
Lettuce Salad with Radish Vinaigrette
Stewed Collard Greens with Sorghum
Blue Cheese Cabbage Slaw
Mustard Seed Potato Salad
Spicy Charro Beans
Assorted Vegetable Pickles: Peppered Green Beans, Sweet Carrots, Bread & Butter
Cucumbers, Cumin Red Onions & Jalapenos
Fresh Breads, Biscuits & Butter with Jalapeno Jelly
[SideDish paid to attend.]