Chef Jerrett Joslin orchestrates a symphony of sizzling sounds and blooming flames while grilling certified-Angus steaks at The Wild Mushroom Steak House & Lounge. Here, guests are seated at tables draped in white linens, which offset the dining area's coffee-colored walls, and tuck into plates piled with juicy carnivorous morsels such as the prime filet. The Chilean sea bass, one of Fort Worth, Texas magazine's top 25 dishes, delights taste buds with three varieties of mushrooms beneath black-truffle-cream sauce. To wash down the rich and hearty bites, a selection of more than 260 wines from the Wine Spectator's Restaurant Wine List awaits, ranging from California cabernet sauvignon to Australian shiraz to German riesling. The Wild Mushroom has even won an Award of Excellence from WineSpectator.com for their extensive wine lists. The dining room?s dim lighting adds romantic ambience and kindly prevents dates from noticing third and fourth eyebrows.
Since 1952, the family-operated lot at The Brazos Drive-in Theatre has invited carloads of movie-lovers to kill their engines, tune their radios to 89.1 FM, and recline as far as their seats allow for the evening?s double features. The historic theatre is the longest continually running drive-in in Texas, and was almost obliterated near to its 50th anniversary when a tornado rampaged through the lot, ripping half of the screen apart and saving the audience from a Rob Schneider film. Refurbished to its former glory, the recently upgraded digital screen now lights up against the darkening sky to show premier films.
More than 325 bottles of international wine fill Zambrano Wine Cellar’s shelves and its climate-controlled wine cellar, arranged by chef, wine enthusiast, and owner Cef Zambrano. When not hobnobbing with celebrities such as Harrison Ford, Nolan Ryan, and Katie Couric, Zambrano coordinates a menu of bistro fare to harmonize with his library of wine selections, which received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2009. Zambrano presents updated takes on Mediterranean favorites, crafting small plates of escargot broiled in garlic butter and shallots, as well as four types of bruschetta topped with tomato, chicken, duck, or fillet tips. Diners can dive into shared nibbles with custom plates of international meats and cheeses or pizzas topped margherita-style or with signature spanish ham.
Zambrano’s prized glass wine cellar sits behind a smooth stone bar, inlaid with variegated amethyst that glows as it catches the light better than an outfielder with a magnifying glass. While perched at its high-backed leather banquettes, diners can sip from the 50-plus list of wines by the glass while gazing at a flat-screen TV in the corner or admiring the custom art on the dining room’s exposed-brick walls. In the front of the dining room, gauzy orange curtains frame sheets of sunlight that illuminate simple wooden tables, each adorned with a single flower that provides color and an amuse-bouche for hungrier guests. A sidewalk patio offers al fresco dining and bustling sights of Sundance Square.
Gene Estes suspects that growing up in the "dry" precinct of Abilene, Texas, may have inspired his alcohol-based ingenuity; he crafted his first batch of wine from Concord grape juice when he was just 23. Years later, after holding various pharmaceutical jobs and putting to use his Masters in Microbiology, Estes's interest in wine re-emerged with a full and passionate force. Today, as the president and vintner of Lost Oak Winery, Gene works alongside resident winemaker Jim Evans to craft a host of award-winning wines. Among them is the 2012 Viognier, which scored a double gold in the renowned San Francisco Chronicle International Wine competition?meaning all five judges awarded the varietal with top scores before gilding the bottle twice in molten gold.
The winery itself offers both guided and self-guided tours, offering visitors a glimpse into the wine-making process complete with samples straight from oak barrels. Additionally, special events draw guests to the lush grounds for live music, wine club events, and the pre-Christmas holiday open house, where they can place preemptive wine orders with Santa.
It's a good idea to arrive early at Movie Tavern, and not only if you hate missing the opening credits. Early birds can peruse the extensive menu of chef-crafted American cuisine, from kobe beef sliders to pizza and sandwiches. But even after the show begins, the snacks keep coming. Unobtrusive servers slip in during the show to deliver orders, and can be called on for more drinks or dessert with the push of a button. Guests can even sip margaritas or signature cocktails at the full bar before heading in to the theater. The family-friendly establishment also serves finger food for kiddies.
As for the entertainment, audiences get to enjoy all-digital presentations of first-run films any day of the week, plus Retro Cinema every Wednesday morning at 11:30 a.m. as well as Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m. Audiences also benefit from Movie Tavern's membership program. Anyone can sign up for free online to receive one free bag of popcorn, plus a free ticket every year on their birthday, special offers, movie news, and invites to screenings and other special events.