Last year, my first DFN post was about attending SavorDallas.  Well, it’s been a year and, once again, we attended Saturday’s International Grand Tasting.

This year’s event relocated from downtown to the new Irving Convention Center, providing an opportunity to check out the enormous brown spaceship now looming over Las Colinas.  Turns out the building’s off-putting exterior creates some interesting indoor/outdoor spaces that event organizers turned into “destinations” like the Cadillac Chocolate Lounge and a S’Mores Lounge hosted by Fiji Water.  The variety of venues within a venue only added to the sense there was a lot to take in – aside from countless wine,s spirits and beers, and tasting portions from 60+ of Dallas’ best restaurants.

This year, every guest got one of those handy trays (emblazoned with American Airlines logo) that helps you manage an appetizer plate and a wine glass one-handed.  A nice addition that really improves the experience.

D Magazine’s SideDish blog just posted their top ten list from the event.  Rather than reprise those (though I do have to applaud Bistro 31’s Escargot and Pork Belly with Polenta), I’ll highlight some of the other dishes I enjoyed.

The Braised Beef Short Rib from Dallas Chop House stood out for its melt-in-your-mouth tenderness and full flavor. Nick & Sam’s dished up a hearty portion of Chicken Andouille Sausage and Lobster Gumbo Over Dirty Rice.  It was phenomenal.  The Landmark Restaurant in the Warwick Melrose Hotel was beckoning guests to experience the restaurant again, with a delicious Shrimp and Gazpacho dish.  In addition to the Kobe Beef Tataki Side Dish highlighted, Five Sixty was also preparing fresh sashimi – a nice touch.

I love dessert.  And, like last year, highlights included chocolates from Stephen Smith’s nib Chocolates and Kate Weiser’s Chocolate Secrets.  The Texas Tortuga from nib never fails, nor do the beautiful and delicious creations from Chocolate Secrets whose PB&J confection was a delight.

Still, I think one of my favorite desserts of all time has to be Whiskey Cake from the restaurant of the same name.  I love this stuff.  TJ Lengnick was handing it out, and he’s just as affable as his restaurant’s vibe.  Whiskey Cake should make everyone’s Top 10 list.

The retailer who likely benefited most from their presence at SavorDallas is Artizone.  Check it out.  Gourmet home delivery. Not only can you buy goodies from Scardello Cheese and a host of other great food providers, you can order from JJ&B (Jellies, Jams & Butters) whose Sweet Onion Jam and Fig & Walnut Jam have to be among my new favorite treats.

Now Dining Out in Dallas is tomorrow evening.  Duty calls.