Crockett Row will host a free block party to cheer on hometown team, TCU, during the College Football Playoff National Championship. The block party will feature food trucks, live music, and entertainment, indoor and outdoor food and beverages, live broadcast and prizes from 95.9 The Ranch, and more.

Guests can watch the game while enjoying food and drink specials from various locations at Crockett Row, including Concrete Cowboy, The Social House and the Movie Tavern Take Five Lounge. Two outdoor 25’ TV screens will be set up near the intersection of Crockett and Currie streets, alongside multiple food trucks and other food and beverage stations in the Crockett Corral to complete the block party experience.

Photo courtesy of Portillo's

Portillo's swings back through to Dallas-Fort Worth to preview famed Chicago hot dog

Hot Dog News

Cult hot dog classic Portillo's, the fast-casual chain serving Chicago-style favorites, is hitting Dallas in September with a two-week tour, to serve up its famed Chicago-style fare ahead of its opening its first restaurant in Dallas-Fort Worth in The Colony this fall.

From September 12-24, Portillo's will make at least 10 stops in a 32-foot Beef Bus, serving a quartet of dishes including Chicago-style hot dogs with all the fixings.

If this sounds familiar, you're not wrong. The bus toured the region once already in July. Sales were obviously sufficient to warrant a return trip.

The menu is the same as the last run and will include:

  • Chicago-style hot dog with everything: mustard, relish, celery salt, chopped onions, tomatoes, kosher pickle, and sport peppers on a steamed poppyseed bun
  • Italian Beef Sandwich, a mini version, served on French bread, and topped with sweet peppers or hot giardiniera peppers
  • Polish Sausage with everything: mustard, celery salt, chopped onions, tomatoes, kosher pickle, and sport peppers on a poppyseed bun
  • Maxwell Street Polish Sausage with yellow mustard and sliced grilled onions

The Beef Bus will follow the below route/schedule. They post an opening time, but not a closing time since they close when they run out of food. Apparently there were issues in July of running out of food, and as such, Portillo's reserves the right to cut off the line accordingly. Surely they know that this kind of thing, this limited availability, only stokes desire more keenly. Anyway, you've been warned, no complaining.

Here's the when and where:

Tuesday, September 13-Wednesday, September 14, 10:30 am: Dallas Arboretum, Gate 4: 8720 Garland Rd. Open for lunch, while supplies last. (NOTE: The Arboretum charges a $10 entry fee for non-members, so add that to your bill.)

Friday, September 16, 2 pm: Harvest House, 331 E Hickory St., Denton. Open through dinner, while supplies last.

Saturday, September 17-Sunday, September 18, 11 am: Taste of Oak Cliff, 221 W. 12th St. Event hours are 11 am-7 pm, but don't forget "while supplies last." (NOTE: There's a $20 event entry fee.)

Tuesday, September 20, 4 pm: Nebraska Furniture Mart, 5600 Nebraska Furniture Mart Dr, The Colony); Open for dinner, while supplies last.

Wednesday, September 21, 11 am: Truck Yard, 5624 Sears St., Dallas. Open for lunch and dinner, while supplies last.

Thursday, September 22-Friday September 23, 11 am: Truck Yard, 5959 Grove Lane, The Colony. Open for lunch and dinner, while supplies last.

Saturday, September 24, 11 am: Texas Live!, 1650 E. Randol Mill Rd, Arlington. Open for lunch, while supplies last.


Dallas Cowboys debut nachos and more new snacks at Arlington stadium

Cowboys News

The Dallas Cowboys 2022-2023 season at AT&T Stadium is about to begin, and they've unfurled a slate of new foods to go-with.

These new culinary creations will debut on Sunday, September 11 at the home opening game when the Cowboys play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The menu is from Legends at AT&T Stadium, their on-site food purveyor. In a release, their food & beverage director George Wasai gives props to one particular dish.

"Next-level flavor for fans is what this season is all about, continuing our tradition of delivering an extraordinary culinary experience for local fans and those visiting at AT&T Stadium," Wasai says. "Our famous Cowboys Mac N Cheese has a new option with lobster that we are so excited for fans to enjoy this new addition, with all of the new comfort food sandwiches and more."

That must be some mac & cheese to get its own shout-out.

New dishes include:

  • Steak Sandwich. Beef dipped in au jus on a toasted bun with arugula, provolone cheese, creamy horseradish sauce, and caramelized onions
  • Lobster Mac-N-Cheese. Their "famous" Cowboys Mac-N-Cheese with chunks of garlic-butter-poached lobster
  • Torta. Bolillo bun with refried beans, choice of chicken, barbacoa, or pork, queso fresco, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and guacamole
  • Fried Mozzarella Burger. Angus patty on top of fried mozzarella sticks, with marinara sauce and pepper jack cheese
  • Mozzarella Sticks. With marinara sauce
  • Mango Habanero Chicken Sandwich with Pineapple Slaw. Fried chicken tossed in mango-habanero sauce, topped with pineapple slaw
  • Muffuletta. Focaccia bread topped with olive salad, capicola, mortadella, ham, salami, provolone, and mozzarella cheese
  • Coffee. From Black Rifle Coffee

Wasai also touts the vegetarian (not vegan) menu, stating that "our Plant Based Touchdown program with vegetarian options for fans has been so successful, and we are honored to help have an impact on game day both in Stadium and at home with adding more produce and big flavor vegetables and vegetarian options to their familiar and favorite game day menu options."

Launched in 2021, their plant-based offerings feature vegetarian dishes, some using produce from WE Over Me Farm at Paul Quinn College in Dallas. They're available at the Plant-Based/Vegetarian Carts located at sections U411 and U441.

And the menu includes:

  • Awesome Plant-Based Burger. With lettuce, tomato, grilled onion, and chipotle aioli
  • Buffalo Chick’n Nachos. Blue corn tortilla chips topped with jalapeño jack queso, Sweet Earth's plant-based chicken tossed in buffalo sauce, and pickled jalapeños
  • Touchdown Tots. Tator Tots drizzled with jalapeño jack cheese, guacamole, sour cream, Sweet Earth plant-based chicken tossed in Cholula sauce
  • Plant-Based Chicken Avocado Wrap. Crispy plant-based chicken, avocado, lettuce, and ranch, wrapped in a tortilla
  • Plant-Based Chopped Chicken Salad. Lettuce, cucumber, tomato, charred corn, plant-based crispy chicken, and black beans in creamy herb dressing

There's another separate menu for suites that has dishes like hummus, empanadas, and plant-based chicken sliders.

Photo courtesy of Portillo's

Portillo's Beef Bus parks atop this week's 5 hottest Fort Worth headlines

This Week's Hot Headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. Portillo's deploys food truck to Dallas-Fort Worth to preview its famed Chicago hot dog. Chicago-style hot dogs are popping up via Portillo's. The fast-casual restaurant concept known for its Chicago-style street food is bringing its Beef Bus food truck to tour Texas from July 11-23, offering a preview of its menu ahead of its first restaurant opening in Texas, later this year. Fortunately for Tarrant County fans, they're including Arlington in the mix.

2. Fort Worth's July 4th fireworks show abruptly ended by disastrous grass fires. Fort Worth was forced to shut down its Fourth of July fireworks show due to a series of grass fires that ignited along the Trinity River. Advertised as the largest July 4 fireworks show in North Texas, the show took place at Panther Island Pavilion, and was canceled only a few minutes after it started, when fires immediately began to break out on the Trinity River banks.

3. These Dallas-Fort Worth businesses punch in among Texas' best employers, report says. Half of the state’s top 20 small and midsize employers to work for are right here in Dallas-Fort Worth, according to a new ranking. Great Place to Work, which helps employers improve their workplace culture, and Fortune magazine teamed up to select the Best Companies to Work For in 2022 in two categories: small and midsize employers, and large employers.

4. Former TCU tennis star Cam Norrie earns royal salute as 2022 Wimbledon semifinalist. Former TCU tennis superstar Cameron Norrie became a surprise king of the court at the 2022 Wimbledon Championships, and his hard-fought battle into the semifinals even earned him a bow from real royalty. Ex-Horned Frog Norrie, Britain's No. 1-ranked player and the ninth seed at Wimbledon, defeated Belgium’s David Goffin in a thrilling five-set quarterfinal match cheered on by the The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Tuesday, July 5. The royals later tweeted him their congratulations.

5. These are the 8 best food and drink events in Fort Worth this week. July means it’s officially ice cream season, and there are several events this week to celebrate the creamy, cool treat. Summer produce is also ripe and ready, and there's an annual festival happening this weekend dedicated to the beloved peach. Also find produce bursting with flavor at a local farmers market that takes place only once a month.

Their Chicago-style hot dogs are famous.

Photo courtesy of Portillo's
Their Chicago-style hot dogs are famous.
Photo courtesy of Portillo's

Portillo's deploys food truck to Dallas-Fort Worth to preview its famed Chicago hot dog

Pop-Up News

Chicago-style hot dogs are popping up via Portillo's. The fast-casual restaurant concept known for its Chicago-style street food is bringing its Beef Bus food truck to tour Texas from July 11-23, offering a preview of its menu ahead of its first restaurant opening in Texas, later this year.

Over the course of two weeks, the Beef Bus will visit various cities, events, and locations across North Texas.

This is in anticipation of the first Portillo's in Texas, coming to the Grandscape complex, the mixed-use development in The Colony, with an opening targeted for the fall. Their mad scheme is clearly to ramp up a fervor.

Fortunately for Tarrant County fans, they're including Arlington in the mix. And they're even trekking up to Denton.

The Beef Bus schedule is as follows:

Monday, July 11, 1:30 pm-5 pm: Across the street from the future site of Portillo’s Restaurant at Grandscape in The Colony

Friday, July 15-Saturday, July 16, 9 am-11 pm: Summer Truckin Nationals at AT&T Stadium

Sunday, July 17, 10 am-4 pm: Summer Truckin Nationals at AT&T Stadium

Tuesday, July 19, 4-8 pm: Klyde Warren Park

Thursday, July 21, 11 am-4 pm: "Christmas in July" at Grandscape, 5752 Grandscape Blvd., The Colony

Friday, July 22, 11 am-9 pm: Truck Yard at 5959 Grove Ln., The Colony

Saturday, July 23, 4-8 pm: Harvest House, 331 E Hickory St., Denton

The menu will include:

  • Chicago-style hot dog with everything: mustard, relish, celery salt, chopped onions, tomatoes, kosher pickle, and sport peppers on a steamed poppyseed bun
  • Italian Beef Sandwich, a mini version, served on French bread, and topped with sweet peppers or hot giardiniera peppers
  • Polish Sausage with everything: mustard, celery salt, chopped onions, tomatoes, kosher pickle, and sport peppers on a poppyseed bun
  • Maxwell Street Polish Sausage with yellow mustard and sliced grilled onions

Portillo's will also be giving away limited-edition merchandise, from swimsuits to pool floats and more, to anyone who utters a secret code word when placing their order at the Beef Bus window. To learn the secret code word, follow @BeefBusOfficial on Instagram.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Monumental new sculptures by  renowned 9/11 artist take root at Texas Botanic Garden

blooming work

Here is something new for Texas travelers who enjoy exploring art in nature. An intriguing new collection of sculptures called "Intertwined: Exploring Nature's Networks," by renowned artist Steve Tobin, opened at the Houston Botanic Garden on January 28.

Tobin's collection of pieces soar and wind and unfold against the backdrop of the gardens paths and trees, connecting the bronze, glass, ceramic, and steel sculptures to the landscape.

The connection is important for Tobin, an artist who may be most well known for his Trinity Root, a memorial that was cast from the roots of the tree that protected one of New York City's cathedrals during the 9/11 attacks. As a child, he was known as "Nature Boy," which he says was as apt then as now.

"I would find twigs or mushrooms, and they would mean something to me," he says. "I'm the guy with my nose in the sand and my butt in the air, looking deeper than most people. I think I see more. I think it's part of my DNA."

Originally from Pennsylvania, Tobin graduated from Tulane University in 1979 with a degree in math. He was always drawn to art, however, and his massive creations - from eggs in birds' nests to roots and limbs woven together to branches stretching to sky - evoke the powerful pull he feels to the natural world and a desire to help others see its beauty. The Christian Science Monitor described his works as "monuments to the meeting of science an art."

"Science is more creative that art," he explains. "Scientists have to describe the universe from nothing, and the explanation has to work. Artists can make up whole worlds. Scientists don't get credit for their vast creativity."

By focusing his works on the natural world, Tobin looks to showcase how the two subjects work in harmony, and how people can interact with them. In Eagle Nest, a huge, polished steel egg sits perched in nest.

Polished to a high gloss, the egg becomes a mirror. "You look at the egg and you see yourself," Tobin says. "It shows that you are in the egg."

For Tobin, there is magic in helping people, whether they are art novices or aficionados, find a connection with his art.

"I've done my job when someone has an expression of magic," he says. "And once you open that door, even for a second, it can never be fully closed."

He says he is looking forward to Texas audiences seeing his works in the garden, which he feels is a natural place for his sculptures — the biggest of which is 30 feet high and took 2,000 hours of welding to complete.

Showcasing his sculptures there cements the harmony with nature he feel and thinks is something others should strive to see. Tobin even has a connection to Houston: one of his great friends, a woman he met at Tulane, lives there.

Two other pieces also have roots there. Tobin says Steel Roots will resonate particularly well in Texas. "It's made from repurposed oil pipe, a lot of it from Texas," he says. "So now, it's back home in a different context."

And when Botanic Garden guest encounter the Twisties, they'll likely recall hearing the terms from gymnast Simone Biles, who famously used the word to describe the disconnect she felt between her mind and her body. Tobin's sculptures are between eight and 17 feet high and evoke Asian calligraphy. He describes them as "distorted gymnastics."

Mostly, though, Tobin wants visitors to get a window into how he imagines the world.

"I try to translate into sculpture what I see so people can see what I see."


"Intertwined: Exploring Nature's Networks" runs Saturday, January 28 through August 13 at Houston Botanic Garden, 1 Botanic Garden Ln. Regular garden admission is $15. For tickets and more information, visit Houston Botanic Garden online.

Photo courtesy of Houston Botanic Garden

Tobin's 'Romeo & Juliet' sprouts from the grounds.

Bolstered by 'Yellowstone,' Fort Worth ranks No. 25 on new list of best cities for filmmakers

That's showbiz

Taylor Sheridan continues his magic touch for Fort Worth: For the second year in a row, the city has landed a top-25 spot among the best big cities to live and work as a moviemaker.

Fort Worth repeats at No. 25 on MovieMaker Magazine's 2023 list. It is joined by four other Texas cities in the top 25: Austin (No. 12), Dallas (No. 20), Houston (No. 21), and San Antonio (No. 22).

MovieMaker compiles its annual list based on surveys, production spending, tax incentives, additional research, and personal visits whenever possible — with the notable exclusions of Los Angeles and New York:

"We don’t believe people should have to be rich or well-connected to make movies," writes MovieMaker editor Tim Molloy. "And we know plenty of people who moved to L.A. or New York with filmmaking dreams and ended up working industry-barely-adjacent jobs just to pay the bills. We think the best place to live is one you can afford — a place where you can be happy, inspired, and financially free to pursue your art."

These criteria are themes throughout the ranking: Atlanta, Georgia, took the top spot overall, followed by Vancouver, British Columbia (No. 2), and New Orleans, Louisiana (No. 3). The five Texas cities on the list all boast more affordability than Los Angeles or New York, and each one features a deeply supportive film community and various local incentives.

Fort Worth made the list for the just second year, thanks in large part to the shooting of series in the Yellowstone franchise.

"Fort Worth is the proud home of Taylor Sheridan’s upcoming Paramount+ limited series about Bass Reeves, the once-enslaved man who became a famed federal marshal," Molloy writes. "Sheridan’s Yellowstone prequel 1883 also shoots in Fort Worth, and is based in nearby Weatherford, where Sheridan owns a ranch. Fort Worth offers clear skies, easy permitting, and a vibrant film culture that includes the Lone Star Film Festival.

"The 13th-biggest city in the country also has experienced crews and a cost of living almost exactly in line with the U.S. average. While there’s no official local incentive program, the city’s very accommodating film officials work hard to offer soft incentives like deals on hotels."

Neighboring Dallas came in at No. 20, selected for its location and architecture, among other factors.

"Why choose Dallas? The city offers an online document that addresses just that question, and points to factors including its equal access to both coasts, great weather (except for some cold nights) and striking visuals, including modern and futuristic buildings that form a strikingly camera-worthy nighttime skyline," Molloy writes.

Dallas' diversity, plethora of permitting options, and cost of living also bolster its ranking.

"It’s one of the most diverse cities in the country, with a deep, experienced crew base, easily obtainable permits, and hotel deals to be had — if you’re shooting in Dallas and staying in the city’s hotels for at least 15 nights, you could qualify for up to 10 percent back on rooms," Molloy writes. "It’s a great city to work on other people’s projects so you can save enough money to create your own, and is almost exactly in line with the U.S. average cost of living. Just drive or walk its streets and it’s impossible not to notice the new construction and businesses popping up all over town, and it’s full of rising filmmakers who pitch in to do each other favors and bring one another’s projects to life."

He adds that the Dallas International Film Festival does an admirable job of showcasing must-see films, such as last year’s documentary Juneteenth: Faith and Freedom.

Elsewhere in Texas

"Texas is booming, as you’re about to see from the five Lone Star State cities on this list — all of which would be higher in our rankings if Texas offered more generous tax incentives," Molloy writes. "Still, the state is working hard to attract film and TV projects, and the signs of growth are obvious all over the state."

Austin unsurprisingly took the highest Texas spot at No. 12, scoring points beyond the obvious benefits of SXSW. MovieMaker praised smaller fests like the Austin Film Festival, as well as the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program, and Austin's impressive list of filmmaker residents (Richard Linklater, Robert Rodriguez, and Terrence Malick — to name a few).

Houston placed right behind Dallas at No. 21, with MovieMaker touting its diversity and low cost of living.

San Antonio came in fourth among Texas cities at No. 22, selected for its plethora of permitting options, reinstatement of local film incentives, and growing educational opportunities such as the University of Texas at San Antonio’s new Bachelor of Fine Arts Film & Media Studies program.

New Fort Worth ghost tour showcases the spookier side of the Stockyards

Ghosts of Cowtown

A national travel company is showing off the scary side of the Fort Worth Stockyards with the launch of a brand new ghost tour.

US Ghost Adventures, an Orlando-based company that hosts ghost tours in some of the most haunted cities in the country, has just added Fort Worth to its list of tour locations. The one-hour tour is held nightly at 8 pm and includes eight stops within a one-mile walking distance.

Some of the haunted highlights from the tour include Miss Molly’s Hotel (109 W. Exchange Ave.), a former brothel where unexplained activity – think lights turning on and off, heavy breathing, and footsteps heard on the stairs – have long been documented.

The Stockyards Hotel (109 E. Exchange Ave.), built in 1904, is said to be home to the apparition of its developer, Colonel T.M. Thannisch, as well as rodeo cowboy C.D. “Junior” Colwell, who is said to have committed suicide to avoid jailtime for swindling people.

Tour participants will also visit the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame (2515 Rodeo Plaza), where it’s said the six-foot, four-inch ghost of famed actor John Wayne has been seen admiring the cowboy memorabilia on display – even with a museum dedicated solely to him located just steps way at John Wayne: An American Experience.

While other ghost tours exist in Fort Worth, US Ghost Adventures owner Lance Zaal says his tour specializes in storytelling.

“US Ghost Adventures offers EMF detectors and focuses on telling the history behind the hauntings,” says Zaal.

When paranormal activity takes places, theories suggest electromagnetic disturbances can be seen with electromagnetic field (EMF) detectors. Lights on the detector indicate the strength of the disturbances, with a green light meaning little to no activity, yellow meaning moderate activity, and red meaning high activity.

Fort Worth was one of 12 new cities recently added to the US Ghost Adventures roster, as well as Houston and El Paso. The company operates tours in more than 50 cities across the country, and full list of new cities include:

The tour is $25 per person and there’s a two-person minimum. There's also an option to add a 30-minute bonus tour of four additional stops for just $6 per person.

Reservations should be made in advance online, and participants should meet at the Livestock Exchange Building at 131 E. Exchange Ave.