Originally, we were supposed to be out of town this weekend which was a huge bummer because we knew we would be missing Chefs for Farmers, a three day celebration celebrating the farmers that help make the best dining spots in Dallas the best.
As luck would have it, our trip was cancelled and Chefs for Farmers invited us to join them at the Culinary Village, originally set to be held at Lee Park. Since Texas weather has as many mood swings as a 13 year old hormonal girl, some quick thinking and planning turned #CulinaryVillageatLeePark to #CulinaryVillageatGilleys.
We arrived a bit before the 2:00 start time and a line was already forming with anticipation, we could hear people game planning on which tables they wanted to hit up first. With everyone's wine glasses in hand (it was BYOG-bring your own glass) and the line forming down Lamar Street, at 2:00 on the dot we all started to enter the front door of Gilley's. We have a deep admiration for promptness so our first impression of the day's event left us very hopeful the remainder of the day would run as smoothly. Spoiler alert-it did.
Upon our entry we were handed the cutest little piggy so that we could vote for our favorite dish, we both placed them in our pockets knowing this small token had such great power. Since we were some of the first to arrive, we took our time walking around the venue to get a feel for the layout and decide how we were going to manage to eat (and drink) for the next several hours.
The layout of Culinary Village felt as though it was split in four different sections-the main room where the stage was and featured live music, two smaller rooms, and the patio outside the main room that we originally didn't notice (another spoiler alert-this was a BIG mistake).
Scared to miss out on anything, we finally just picked a spot and decided that we would walk the perimeters of the room, stopping at every food table and drink tables as needed. Our very first stop was CBD Provisions for no other reason than the fact that they had their roasted pig out for display and it seemed as good as any other spot to start at.
From there we made our way around the two smaller rooms, trying each and every food dish. Some locations we would share a plate and some spots we would try to steal each other's remaining bites from each other. Very quickly, we realized the little piggy in our pocket would be extremely difficult to let go of-we would say one dish was our favorite until we visited the next table that quickly would become our next favorite.
We also realized that even though the pours of wine may have been slightly less than a glass but more than a wine tasting sample, we truly needed to pace ourselves between drink tables. All you can drink is a lot of fun until you have to go to work the next morning.
Finally making our way into the main room, at a much slower pace than we initally started but with no less enthusiasm, we went from table to table filling our bellies more than we thought we could. Small plates may not seem like a lot of food but when you are working on your 20th plate, you realize just how much it really is.
As we finally made it to the very back, we thought we were ending our culinary tour with oysters and shrimp from TJ's Market. Sitting down to take a breather (and so one of us could catch up on the Cowboys game-way to go whichever coordinator assisted with that "amenity") we saw we had missed out on a several tables we had been looking forward to. We quickly learned that the front patio full of people were not the smokers of the group (our assumption based off our last event at Gilley's) but a complete other section of tables.
Our (brief) rest from eating seemed to make just the slightest bit more room so that we could tackle the very last tables. We immediately noticed the longest line snaking down in front of other tables and jumped in-we knew it had to be for something good. We soon realized it was for the biscuit bar but word quickly started making its way down to let us know they were out of the fried chicken. Everyone seemed to let out a collective sigh but still enjoyed the biscuit and accompaniments provided. If only we had known of the patio earlier.
Finally making our way down the patio to eat our last dish, we high fived each other feeling extremely accomplished and about ten pounds heavier.
Before we could head home though, we had a job to do and those piggies were burning a hole in our pocket. We discussed our options between the two of us and neither of us could pick just one and wished we had several swine tokens to pass out. We are afraid we are going to disappoint you dear reader because just like we wouldn't share our political votes, we decided not to share our votes with you here either though we will tell you that neither of our choices was a winner (the honor went to Chef Michael Gulotta of MoPho which was well deserved).
This was our first experience with Chefs for Farmers but it absolutely will not be our last. We attend several festivals of different kinds each year and by far this event is one of the best executed events we have attended. From the (seemingly) seamless transitions of venue to an expedited check in and the small touches like trashcans every ten or so steps, there wasn't anything left to be desired. We unnecessarily worried that it would be extremely crowded and the time waiting at tables would exceed the time we ate but our experience proved to be quite the opposite-only two tables did we have to wait more than 30 seconds for our dish.
Thank you again Chefs for Farmers for having us out, we are already looking forward to next year!