Tasty Notes is a roundup of food and restaurant news including specials, local food news, dining events and more around the area. (And, yes, it’s kinda been on hiatus.)

James Beard Foundation announces 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards semifinalists

The James Beard Award

This is certainly big news in the food and restaurant industry. The JBF announced its semifinalists on Wednesday with Texas making the cut. Queer-owned Restaurant Beatrice in Oak Cliff is among this year’s nominees.

From JBF:

The James Beard Foundation announced today its 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards Semifinalists in advance of the James Beard Awards presented by Capital One. The full list of 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards Semifinalists can be found below and on the James Beard Foundation website. Nominees will be announced on Wednesday, March 29, and winners will be celebrated at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards Ceremony on Monday, June 5, 2023, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

“Congratulations to all our 2023 James Beard Award Semifinalists! This is always an exhilarating moment as we kick off the Awards cycle and recognize the outstanding achievements of individuals and teams across the country,” said Clare Reichenbach, CEO of the James Beard Foundation. “After a year of fundamental changes, we look forward to building on the progress made, celebrating those paving a better future for us all—through their talent and craft, service to others, and commitment to a better, more sustainable industry. We look forward to sharing more exciting details for the 2023 ceremonies in the coming days.”

The James Beard Awards, considered to be among the nation’s most prestigious honors, recognize exceptional talent in the culinary and food media industries, as well as a demonstrated commitment to racial and gender equity, community, sustainability, and a culture where all can thrive.

“Congratulations to our 2023 Semifinalists. It is exciting to see deserving talent across the industry be recognized for their achievement—and that the changes we made to our policies and procedures are still bearing fruit,” said Tanya Holland, Chair of the James Beard Awards Committee, James Beard Foundation Board of Trustee. “I am honored to be part of a program that can have a positive effect on so many.”

“We are so thrilled to recognize this year’s Restaurant and Chef Awards Semifinalists, a truly diverse group of talented individuals across the culinary industry,” said Adrian Miller, Restaurant and Chef Awards Committee Chair.

The Texas semifinalists are:

Outstanding Restaurateur : Chris Williams, Lucille’s Hospitality Group, Houston.

Outstanding Chef: Junior Borges, Meridian, Dallas and Christine Ha and Tony J. Nguyen, Xin Chào, Houston.

Outstanding Restaurant: Lucia, Dallas.

Emerging Chef:Victoria Elizondo, Cochinita & Co., Houston and Jennifer Hwa Dobbertin, Best Quality Daughter, San Antonio.

Best New Restaurant: Don Artemio, Fort Worth; Restaurant Beatrice and Tatsu, Dallas; Tatemó, Houston.

Outstanding Bakery: Kuluntu Bakery, Dallas and La Casita Bakeshop, Richardson.

Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker: Mariela Camacho, Comadre Panadería, Austin.

See all the semifinalists here.

El Chingon’s to host multiple dining events in February

El Chingon in Fort Worth has a full lineup of events coming up in February, such as Valentine’s Day “Taste of Guadalajara”, Anti-Valentine’s Day event and its Fat Tuesday Taco Eating competition.

The restaurant celebrates Feb. 14 with a taste of the flavors of Guadalajara and a mariachi band who will serenade diners throughout a three-course meal in La Chingona, the restaurant’s intimate private event space.

The next day, its Anti-Valentine’s Day festivities hype up the single life with DJ ETX and DJ Honey and a variety of bottle service packages.

Taco Tuesday is certainly a big deal with its Fat Tuesday Ultimate Taco Challenge on Feb 21 where guests will tackle 42 tacos within four minutes and 20 seconds.

Luckys offers Valentine’s specials for the Love of BAE

In honor of Valentine’s Day, the Gayborhood diner will offer guests “For the Love of BAE (Bacon and Eggs)” specials. Valentine’s breakfast at Luckys, will feature strawberry pancakes for $13.69, $6.25 mimosas and $25 bottles of Gran Passione Prosecco. Guests can also enjoy a complimentary dessert with the purchase of two entrees. The promotion must be mentioned when ordering. No online ordering available. Specials are good for dine-in or to-go.

—Rich Lopez