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Dallas restaurants make it fresh and spicy and more dining news

Dallas restaurants make it fresh and spicy and more dining news

Tomato soup
A fresh tomato soup is on the menu at Americano at the Joule Dallas hotel. Photo courtesy of Americano

In the height of summer, Dallas restaurants are adding fresh, spicy seasonal ingredients, be it batch of Hatch chiles, snocones, or a bowl of clean, pure tomato soup. There are new places to get chicken, and plenty of new desserts.

Here's what's happening in dining news:

Hot Joy, the San Antonio-based Asian-fusion restaurant, has opened a Dallas location at 3130 Lemmon Ave. in the former Texas Land & Cattle space, with big flavors, Tiki cocktails, late-night hours, and a wild atmosphere. Hot Joy was founded in San Antonio in 2014 by owner Chad Carey, who describes the menu as a mash-up of China, Texas, Vietnam, Japan, Louisiana, Thailand, Mexico, Malaysia, "and anything else that lights up our brain."

Signature dishes include shrimp dumplings, Spam fried rice, and twice-fried chicken wings with crab fat caramel. A happy hour menu will run Monday-Friday from 3-6 pm and 10 pm-midnight, with dishes that include edamame; steamed buns with pork belly, tofu, or fried chicken; and fried okra with ranch.

Hot Joy will occupy that location for two years, before relocating to a more permanent spot. Helping bring the concept to Dallas is Front Burner Restaurants, whose portfolio includes Velvet Taco, Sixty Vines, Whiskey Cake, Ida Claire, Mexican Sugar, Legacy Hall, and The Keeper, opening in Plano's Legacy West.

Arepa TX, the Latin-American restaurant specializing in Venezuelan-style arepas, is readying its Dallas location at 5940 Royal Ln., in the space previously occupied by Natalie's. This is Arepa's second location, following a first which they opened at the bustling Shops at Starwood at 6959 Lebanon Rd. in the spring. Arepas are the satisfying corn cakes with a pocket inside, which you can stuff with fillings such as meat, cheese, avocado, and eggs; they've been described as cornmeal English muffins. In addition to arepas, the restaurant's other specialty is artisanal frozen custard pops, which they make in versions with cream and without.

Raising Cane's, the Louisiana-based chicken finger chain, has opened its fourth Frisco location at The Star in Frisco. Woot.

Latin Deli, which has locations in East Dallas and in downtown, has a new menu of salads. There's a pulled chicken salad, spinach with strawberry, caprese with tomato slices and mozzarella, and a chicken salad with spicy ranch dressing. At $8.24 each, the salads are a bargain, and can be ordered any time of the day. Both branches serve a full breakfast with omelets and crepes, and their selection of sandwiches, also priced at $8.24, is epic, including a Cubano with ham and pork, and a Mexican torta with chorizo.

Rush Patisserie, the Oak Cliff bakery known for its croissants, macarons, cream puffs, and other French pastries, is stepping outside its usual zone with a refreshing seasonal item: snocones. The bakery served them as a fun item at a Bishop Arts event and decided to add them to the menu for the rest of the summer. The bakery is open evenings from 4-10 pm and closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

TorTaco, the cool taco and sandwich concept from Firebird Restaurants (El Fenix, Meso Maya, La Ventana, Snuffer's), is now serving brunch and its regular menu on Saturday and Sunday, from 11 am-3 pm. This is huge. The restaurant opened in the former Stephan Pyles space but was open only on weekdays, because weekend business in downtown Dallas can be a challenge. Their bowls are great, and so are their mezcal cocktails, and now both can be consumed on weekends.

Blatt Beer + Table, the Preston Hollow gastropub, has a new weekend brunch menu with German-themed and classic dishes. Highlights include mini German pancakes, in sweet options such as banana and Nutella and savory such as smoked salmon. Chicken and waffles have chicken strips with jalapeño cornbread waffles and honey-orange butter. Two beer cocktails include the Beermosa with Revolver Blood & Honey American wheat ale, triple sec, and OJ; and the Red Beer with Tupps pale ale and Bloody Mary juice.

Americano, the Italian restaurant at the Joule Dallas hotel, has new seasonal options including chilled tomato soup with cherry tomato, herbs, and focaccia croutons. A stromboli has Calabrese soppressata, mortadella, sopressa, provolone picante, mozzarella, taleggio, and olive relish, rolled and baked in Americano’s pizza dough. A Prosecco cocktail has a glass of Prosecco poured over a scoop of Americano's housemade sorbet.

Nick & Sam's Park Cities has a menu refresh with 14 new dishes: Cajun crab dip, grilled artichoke, crab cake Louie, Texas snapper, seared sea scallops, Wagyu beef hot rock served tableside, three new sushi options (including a surf-and-turf roll), and three new sides that include baby carrots, green bean gremolata, and goat cheese grits.

Snuffer's is bringing back the Hatch chile cheeseburger, a chuck burger stuffed with Chihuahua cheese and diced Hatch green chile, then topped with Hatch green chile, crumbled bacon, tomato, and Hatch green chile mayo. Hatch chile cheese fries are Snuffer's legendary recipe with a twist: hand-cut Idaho potato fries topped with diced Hatch green chile and Chihuahua cheese. That's a lot of Hatch.

Hudson House, the hot new restaurant serving the people of Park Cities, is slowly but surely expanding its hours. This is the Northeastern-themed sibling to East Hampton Sandwich Co., serving up loads of oysters among other things. They'll begin lunch service in August, and that'll be followed by breakfast hours in the fall.

Hide, the Deep Ellum cocktail bar, has three edible cookie dough flavors: double chocolate chip, Nutter Butter, and sugar cookie. Four ounces costs $5. A new sundae has salted caramel ice cream and three ounces of double chocolate chip and Nutter Butter cookie dough, topped with whipped cream, Kahlua chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, a Nutter Butter cookie, and a brandied cherry, all for $9.

Stirr, the Deep Ellum restaurant, expanded its dessert lists with treats like lemon meringue pie featuring lemon custard, toasted meringue, lemon thyme ice cream, and a thyme-graham crumble; and bananza with pate a choux, mascarpone mousse, burnt caramel, banana cremeux, banana ice cream, and bruleed bananas.

Nestlé Toll House Café now has personalized ice cream sandwiches made to order. You choose two cookies, then pick your ice cream flavor. Toppings and sauces run from sprinkles and gummy bears to chocolate syrup. A recommended combo is the cinnamon pretzel crunch, with dulce de leche ice cream sandwiched between cinnamon pretzel crunch cookies.

Tricky Fish, the restaurant in Richardson’s CityLine development, has added new menu items including shrimp linguine, blackened salmon with dirty rice, redfish with wilted spinach salad and fried onions, and shrimp tacos.

Blue Mesa Grill has a crazy new way to serve sizzling fajitas: on a Himalayan salt block, said to be the purest, most natural form of salt that exists. Their unique property allows them to be heated to up to 700 degrees, and hold that temperature for up to 30 minutes. Beyond the effect of the high heat, they are naturally anti-microbial, making them one of the safest and cleanest ways to cook and serve food. The salt and trace minerals enhance the flavor of the food in a way that cannot be duplicated by any other cooking method. You can get skirt steak, chicken, and shrimp served on these blocks of salt, sitting on a bed of onions and peppers sizzling in garlic butter, with black beans, ginger rice, flour tortillas, guacamole, pico de gallo, and jalapeño.

Torchy's Tacos is releasing four specialty tacos for August that are hot: fajita beef taco with Manzano chile salad, fried shrimp with diablo mayo, fried chicken with jalapenos, and pork with Torchy's hot sauce. VP Michael Rypka says these four tacos "are everything a Torchy’s fan should anticipate." Hmm, well not everything, Michael, because some Torchy's fans are vegetarian.

Fuzzy's Taco Shop has a new seasonal item: honey-citrus glazed chicken salad, with a chilled chicken breast on a bed of lettuce and spring mix and topped with pepitas and feta in a roasted poblano vinaigrette. It's available through September 12.

Central Market's 22nd Annual Hatch Chile Festival runs August 9-22 at all locations. The supermarket chain imports more than 330,000 pounds of peppers a year.