A Tour of the Fort Worth Food + Wine Fest Night Market

Stephen Montoya | FortWorth Magazine

Our digital editor braves long lines to experience unique culinary offerings.

It’s always fun to bring a plus one to an event especially if it’s a first for both of you. This was the exact scenario me and my plus one, wife experienced at the TX Whiskey Ranch on Friday. I’d scored some tickets to the Night Market portion of the Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival being hosted at this truly authentic Fort Worth-style location not really knowing what to expect. The weather was perfect as we waited in line for our watches and clocks to hit 9 p.m. on the button. The seasoned event staff scanned our tickets during this wait and gave us our bracelets beforehand, so we could enter this gala without any delay.

I remember feeling a Wonka-like sense of excitement as we waited for the gates to open to this street market-style event. Finally, as the clock struck 9 p.m., we made our way like lemmings to the inner sanctum where food trucks and restaurants turned street vendors began to serve the throng of hungry and thirsty attendees. It was a mad dash, as we tried our best to make a loose game plan, which went right out of the window once we got inside the TX Whiskey Ranch House. As we passed the large line of barrels that adorn the hallway that lead into the main vendor area, there was standing room only. I remember walking around trying to capture some images for this article and losing my wife in the crowd in a matter of seconds. So, I put my camera down and found her waiting in a line to try a TX Whiskey sweet and sour mixed drink. The crowd was so thick at this point that our main bartender had to stand on a table to get everyone’s attention so he could explain what was in this new concoction he and his team were serving.

With a stiff drink to keep us company, our next stop was to say hi to Trey Smith, owner of Dusty Biscuit Beignets. After getting our powdered sugar on, we tried another sweet treat from the Mama Lama Food Truck, in the form of a waffle on a stick. It was at this point I realized that there were no paper towels or napkins to be found outside of the tiny napkin we received with our sweet food treats. As I turned to look for something other than my pants to clean my hands on, I saw the longest line of the night begin to form on the west side of the Whiskey Ranch campus.

The line that began to stretch almost to the middle of the courtyard was for Smoke’ N Ash Barbecue. This Tex-Ethiopian style cuisine was one of the highlights of night. Each patron received some rib tips served with gluten-free teff injera and Tikil Gomen (cabbage and carrots). This plate was so good, I went back for seconds, which means I had to wait in line twice to get the goodness again. After we were done eating, we got one more mixed TX Whiskey drink that had a hot pepper finish like a Tabasco or Tapatio hot sauce in it. With our bellies full, we walked around the grounds enjoying DJ Jason Esquire while gazing at the City of Fort Worth’s skyline, which was lit up like a holiday decoration. All-in-all this was a fun experience that now has a great memory I will always cherish attached to it. The only thing I would change is bringing some hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes next time.