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One of the best food festivals is also one of the simplest.
For lunch May 1, Empty Bowls brings 46 chefs and bakers together in Fort Worth’s Amon G. Carter Jr. Exhibits Hall to serve soups, stews and desserts.
It’s a $75 ticket at the door for the Tarrant Area Food Bank, or $65 earlier online.
You get to pick from 3,000 handcrafted bowls. Then you go for a fillup of Rise nº3 Soufflé’s marshmallow soup, Bob’s Steak & Chop House’s lobster bisque or another great soup or stew from a local restaurant.
Basically, it’s a soup festival. But there’s plenty of light springtime dishes, too, and sweets.
Local Foods Kitchen, the cafe and take-out shop on Hartwood Drive in the Trinity Commons shopping center, will serve a chilled soup with its power salad of broccoli, edamame, carrot, sweet potato, sunflower, walnut and craisins.
Righteous Foods, a health cafe nearby on West Seventh Street, will serve a kale-zucchini mix with almonds, free-range chicken and sporuted rice.
Chef Ben Merritt and Fixture Kitchen will serve a garlic-potato soup, and Fred’s Texas Cafe will dish up guisado.
It all comes with chicken salad and mini-popovers from Neiman Marcus’ NM Cafe, or compare that to a sample from the Chicken Salad Chick chain.
For dessert, there’s cream-filled cookies from Stir Crazy Bakery or pies from the Paris Coffee Shop.
Bonnell’s, Grace, Magdalena’s and Reata are among other restaurants serving soups, bisques and stews.
It’s a major annual fundraiser for the food bank, the primary hunger charity serving Tarrant and surrounding counties.
(A lot of small ministries and food pantries use the name “food bank.” But only the Tarrant Area Food Bank in Fort Worth and North Texas Food Bank in Dallas are central hunger agencies that distribute food to smaller charities.)
Empty Bowls opens at 11 a.m., but for an extra donation ($150 total) you get to slip in at 10:30 a.m., pick better bowls and land a reserved seat. A raffle includes TCU Horned Frogs football tickets.
▪ Another major local food event is May 17, and these tickets usually sell out.
It’s the Fort Worth Zoo restaurant festival, Beastro, featuring about 30 restaurants serving throughout the zoo with animal exhibits open and animal encounters in the park.
The list of restaurants is always top-flight and includes some that don’t go to other festivals: B&B Butchers and Restaurant, Bird Café, Bob’s Steak & Chop House, Bonnell’s, Campisi’s, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, Fixe Southern House, Heim Barbecue, HG Sply Co., Righteous Foods and Winslow’s Wine Cafe, among others.
It’s a four-hour party ending with dancing to Emerald City and three other bands throughout the zoo.
It’s a 21-over event (attire is “summer chic”) and tickets are $110; fortworthzoo.org.