January brings an unusually long list of dining news happenings, from tacos to steak, from burgers to pizza, from coffee to wine. Here's the latest chapter of restaurant news around Dallas-Fort Worth:
Taqueria La Ventana, the taco sibling to Meso Maya and El Fenix, has opened a location at the Dallas Farmers Market. It'll be open breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. This is the third Taqueria La Ventana, after downtown Dallas and Addison. According to a release, another branch is opening in Greenville, Texas, in summer 2016.
Mudhen, the new concept from restaurateur Shannon Wynne (Meddlesome Moth, Rodeo Goat, Lark on the Park, Bird Cafe) has opened at the market, as well. Executive chef is Suki Otsuki on a menu that includes starters, salads, sandwiches, entrees, and "B.Y.O.B." — Build Your Own Bowl.
Goodfriend Package Store, the liquor store-sandwich shop from the owners of Goodfriend Burger Bar and the Blind Butcher, is slowly open, selling beer plus breakfast and lunch, featuring ingredients from Blind Butcher chef Oliver Sitrin. Located at 1155 Peavy Rd., across the street from Goodfriend, the shop includes a deli case and a small selection of vinyl records.
Scardello Artisan Cheese has opened a location inside the Market building at the Dallas Farmers Market. The shop features a brick facade with salvaged wood, subway tiles, and butcher block. A bar features local beers and domestic wine on tap. The menu includes cheese plates, charcuterie, salads, and sandwiches.
A Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House will open in Plano in 2017 in the Legacy West development at Legacy and the Dallas North Tollway. This will replace the Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House that is currently in North Dallas but is moving to Uptown Dallas in late 2016.
R Taco opened its newest location at 1515 N. Town East Blvd. in Mesquite on January 15.
Downtown Dallas Mexican restaurant Wild Salsa has opened a second location at The Village at Fairview.
Austin-based JuiceLand will open a branch in Dallas in spring 2016 at Sylvan | Thirty, where it will serve juices, smoothies, hot beverages, and salads to-go.
Tampa, Florida chain Burger 21 is expanding to Texas and has opened its first branch in Frisco at The Towers at Frisco Square. In addition to beef burgers, there are chicken and seafood burgers, hot dogs, and shakes.
California Pizza Kitchen has a new menu with globally inspired main dishes such as steak and fish, cocktails, local beer, and seasonal sides. The new menu is available at the CPKs in Grapevine and Willow Bend, part of a national roll-out to CPK's nearly 200 restaurant locations nationwide. The remaining Dallas-area CPKs will receive the reimagined menu later this year.
Uncle Julio's has an eye-catching new dessert called the chocolate piñata, filled with churros, fresh pineapple, blackberries, and strawberries, served with sauces and whipped cream. What fun to crack it open at your table with a hammer. One piñata serves four-eight people and is available for $20, only at the locations in DFW, because we're special.
Chino Chinatown at Trinity Groves has a new brunch menu with a chicken and corn waffle with jalapeño maple syrup, chicken lollipop steamed buns, $2 mimosas, and $5 Bloody Marys. Brunch is Sundays from 11 am-3 pm.
The Joule Hotel has a new cocktail cart service, from 5-11 pm, Thursdays through Saturdays. A bar cart rolls through the lobby, outfitted with spirits, liqueurs, glassware, and Tom Dixon bar accessories. The person manning it is called a "cartendar."
There's an opening date for the Preston Center branch of The Hospitality Sweet: March 2016. The restaurant is going in at 6135 Luther Ln., in the old Cafe Expresso space, with a lunch menu similar to the one that's in the original branch in downtown Dallas. However, owner Meghan Adams says they'll expand the breakfast menu to include items like eggs Florentine, cinnamon swirl pancakes, and cinnamon hazelnut buns with cream cheese frosting.
Paul Martin's American Grill launched a "wine dinner for two" Monday night special with salad, choice of entrée, and bottle of wine (from a selection of 25 bottles) for $50. Entrée options include dishes such as chicken, salmon, or skirt steak.
Lombardi Family Concepts will be offering regional menus for a week, from January 25-31. Toulouse will focus on Burgundy truffles. Taverna will serve a menu highlighting Sagra Della polenta. Penne Pomodoro will serve specials from Piedmont-Val D'Aosta. Bistro 31 will focus on Italian black truffles from Norcia.
Spezzo, the fast-casual Italian restaurant in Plano with a thing for meatballs, now has bison meatballs, available in a sandwich or meal with choice of soup, salad, or ziti pasta.
Julia Pearl Southern Cuisine has an executive chef: Jermaine Brown, who has worked with culinary director Tre Wilcox at restaurants such as Abacus, Marquee Grill, and Loft 610. Brown will conceptualize specials and new dishes as well as execute the regular menu of dishes such as smoked brisket, redfish, and pomegranate-red pepper glazed pork belly.
Knife at The Highland Dallas has a new pastry chef: Eric Cobb. He's spent the past seven years at the Four Seasons Hotel in Dallas working with esteemed pastry chef Randy Gehman. He attended culinary school at The Culinard in Alabama. Look for his chocolate and coffee dessert, featuring dark chocolate coffee ganache, whipped milk chocolate crémeux, chocolate sponge, and milk chocolate coffee ice cream, on the menu.
Lost Oak Winery had three wines honored at the 2016 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Its flagship Syrah varietal received a silver medal; the Lost Oak Viognier and the Vintage Lane Willow White received bronze medals. The wines are available for purchase in the winery's tasting room in Burleson as well as online.
Checkered Past Wine Pub has released its first two wines: A dry red Syrah ($25) and a sweet ruby Cabernet ($23).
Blue Bell Creameries is under criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for its mishandling of ice cream linked to 10 cases of listeriosis; three people died.
Starbucks has a new espresso drink: the latte macchiato, featuring steamed whole milk that is perfectly aerated and free-poured, creating dense foam reminiscent of meringue. The beverage is then marked by slowly poured full espresso shots, which create a signature espresso dot. It's similar to the flat white that Starbucks launched last year. The latte macchiato joins the existing core espresso family, which includes doppio espresso, caffé Americano, flat white, cappuccino, and caffé latte. We end with an awesome interactive graphic to play with.