Five tasty bits we picked up at Savor Dallas’ International Grand Tasting, an upscale food and wine fest

Savor Dallas, the annual upscale food and wine fest, ends its four-day run today with a sampling of food, premium wines, beers and spirits at the Dallas Arboretum. The cost is $65 or $59 for Arboretum Members.

Bite sized treats at a recent Savor Dallas

Proceeds go to support the Arboretum’s education department. This marks the first year Savor Dallas, which opened Thursday with events at Trinity Groves, was expanded to four days. The largest event of the festival, the International Grand Tasting, drew hundreds of well-coiffed food and wine lovers to the Irving Convention Center to sample wine, beer and the creations of chefs from more than 45 local restaurants.

Here are some of tastiest bits:

• Chef Antonio Marquez, 49, of Lazaranda on Belt Line Road yet to tire of his bi-national lifestyle. Just over a year ago Marquez opened in D-FW his first restaurant outside of his home country of Mexico. His family still lives in Monterrey so Marquez, a Cowboys’ fan since age 8, splits his time between here and there. He had checked out potential locations in Boston, Georgia, Florida and Houston but settled on Addison. “We think Dallas is a more eclectic city regarding food,” said Marquez, taking a break from dishing out tropical ceviche with shrimp, fish, mango and pineapple. “We thought we would do well here.” So far so good, he said, even though “we are not Tex-Mex. There are no nachos or fajitas.”

• Wondering what happened to the Buttons in DeSoto that’s now dark? So were we. Some of the online reviews were less than kind but Robert Morris, marketing coordinator said only that the former space on Pleasant Run was too small. “We’re looking for a bigger spot in that part of town,” he said, as attendees sampled jerk chicken with rice and black beans. The restaurant still has locations in Addison and Fort Worth.

• Brad Phillips, executive chef at the Asador at the Renaissance Dallas hotel expects to be “super busy” when an expansion with two ballrooms opens in June 2014. So far the space, which broke ground recently, has attracted quite a bit of interest he said adding, “They’ve been selling that space for six months and we just broke ground.” Asador’s offering for the evening was parsnip and cumin soup with toasted hazelnuts.

• Cook Hall, which took the place of Craft in the W Hotel is “doing great,” according to Chef de Cuisine Rick Graff, who was with Craft when it opened and stuck around for the restaurant re-do. The space is now less of a dinner destination and more of a casual hangout spot, drawing in more neighbors, he said. The new restaurant, which opened in October, is “bar centric,” offering small sharable plates, similar to a tapas restaurant. “We were trying to create an atmosphere where it was easier to come by for events [at the American Airlines Center] or as a neighborhood hangout,” he said. “That’s happening.”

• This goes into the “we’re sooooo envious” file. Paula Lambert, the big cheese over at the Mozzarella Company, is prepping to take nearly 30 wine and cheese lovers to tour the Italian countryside in May. The tours will take place under the Viaggi Deliziosi (Delicious Travel) brand. “We’ll drive around Tuscany during the day and cook together at night,” said Lambert. She isn’t expecting any communications challenges. Lambert says her Italian is “flawless” but she’s working on her accent.

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