I don’t cook. There, I said it.

Don’t get me wrong, I still eat like a champ. My juicer gets plenty of exercise, and I rock a great salad. And although I do love veggies & hummus for dinner, when I get the chance to dine out, the answer is always an enthusiastic yes. And during Restaurant Week, the answer is WOOHOO followed by a shameless happy dance.

I believe that belly laughs and lively conversations with friends are the perfect pairings with excellent food and wine. And the sweetest part? It’s all for charity AND someone else gets to do dishes!

DFW Restaurant Week presented by Metroplex Cadillac Dealers is North Texas’ largest culinary event. Diners enjoy delicious prix fixe meals at more than 140 participating fine dining restaurants, with 20 percent of the price donated to the North Texas Food Bank or Lena Pope. This year, some of my favorite Arlington alumni are returning to the RW ranks. After reviewing their menus, here are my top pics for RW in Arlington:

  • The Keg (August 5-18) – First class food nestled in the bustling Arlington Highlands! Warning: complete your shopping list first because once you’re seated, you’ll slip into chill mode. Enjoy the moment! (Oh and I swear they have the best dirty martini in town!) My RW picks:
    • Appetizer: Baked Garlic Shrimp
    • Entrée: 7 oz Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon with Garlic Mashed Potatoes
    • Dessert: Billy Miner Pie
    • COMPLETE MENU
  • restaurant506 (August 7-17) – This place is a gem! The charmingly intimate restaurant, located in the romantic Sanford House Inn & Spa, hosts unique events like the monthly wine Sip N Swirls and the Yoga Brunch. And a side trip to the spa, of course. My RW picks:
    • Appetizer: Yellowfin Tuna Tataki Tower with Mango Pico de Gallo, Avocado and Fried Wonton Chips
    • Entrée: Scottish Cedar Plank Salmon with Tomato Fennel Relish, Saffron Risotto and Grilled Asparagus
    • Dessert: Flourless Chocolate-Espresso Torte
    • COMPLETE MENU
  • Melting Pot in Arlington Highlands (August 5-September 2) – Excellent ambiance and wine list! The only problem with this place? I always want to skip the meal and double up on dessert. Don’t judge me. My RW picks:
    • Appetizer: Garlic Herb Quartet Cheese Fondue - Creamy garlic and herb cheese, Fontina and goat cheese blended into white wine and topped with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and scallions served with rustic breads, fresh vegetables, and crisp green apples for dipping.
    • Entrée: Basil Pesto Scallops, Spicy Thai Teriyaki Sirloin, Honey Orange Chicken, Herb Crusted Pork, and Wild Mushroom Sacchetti served with fingerling potatoes, white mushroom caps, and broccoli florets prepared fondue-style and accompanied by a flight of dipping sauces.
    • Dessert: Heaven in a Pot Chocolate Fondue - Original milk chocolate fondue swirled with crunchy peanut butter.
    • COMPLETE MENU
  • Piccolo Mondo (August 5-11) – The atmosphere...the soft twinkles of candlelight on the tables, the elegant piano bar, the impeccably dressed waiters...makes this my Italian food go-to. My RW picks:
    • Appetizer: Escargot alla Romana with crushed red peppers, fresh mint and fresh tomato sauce
    • Entrée: Angel Hair Alla Pescatora with fresh clams, shrimp, calamari and fresh tomato sauce
    • Dessert: Spumoni
    • COMPLETE MENU
  • Mercury Chophouse Arlington (August) – Enjoy incredible food and service, with a side of “best panoramic view of the Entertainment District” for good measure. My RW picks:
    • Salad: Cobb Salad in a Mold
    • Entrée: Spinach Ricotta Dumpling
    • Dessert: Strawberry Shortcake
    • COMPLETE MENU

You may not change the world with a delightful culinary romp, but it doesn't hurt to try. Now it’s time to choose your adventure: 1) Pick a restaurant in Arlington and DFW; 2) Call friends to join you, then to book a reservation; 3) Mark your calendar; 4) High five yourself for planning an amazing evening for a great cause; 4) Munch on hummus & carrots as you fantasize about the amazing foodie fun that's just ahead.