Cuates Kitchen

An award-winning Dallas food truck has acquired a brick & mortar location with a very high profile: Cuates Kitchen, which launched as a food truck in 2018, will expand with a regular restaurant at 3811 Fairmount St., in a quaint little cottage most recently known as the home to acclaimed though short-lived restaurant Modest Rogers.

Cuates Kitchen owners Carlos and Carla Rodriguez, who are twin brother-and-sister, are working on the location and hope to be open by mid- to late-May.

The siblings are originally from Veracruz, Mexico, and have a sweet story: "Cuates" means twins.

"Our passion has always been food, starting in Veracruz watching our abuela and abuelo make queso (the real kind), barbacoa, empanadas and homemade tortillas," they say.

After encouragement from friends and family who tried their food, they took the plunge and started a food truck with the assistance of their father, and have been serving authentic Veracruz-style food since 2018.

Their menu includes:

  • Tacos, options such as carnitas pulled pork, barbacoa beef, chicken tinga, cochinita pibil marinated pork, any three for $13
  • Empanadas stuffed with chicken, two for $15
  • Sopes, topped with black bean spread, two for $9
  • Nachos with white cheese, pickled jalapenos, pico de gallo, sour cream, $11
  • Chips & queso, $8

It took little time for them to gain acclaim including an award for "Best Traditional Taco" at the Tacolandia festival in 2019.

"My whole family has always worked in the restaurant industry, and we always wanted to open a restaurant but there's a lot to it," Carlos says. "My sister and I became inspired after watching a Netflix show about a food truck. We went to Austin which is such a big food truck city, and saw how it could be done. We came home that day with a food truck."

The food truck has not only earned them accolades, it's also given them valuable training in running a business.

"We do a lot of corporate events, birthday parties, weddings, it helped established our name and brand and food," Carlos says. "We'll continue to do the truck, but we started to reach a point where we were expanding beyond the food truck and needed more room to operate."

The location is a perfect next step.

"It has six tables inside and six outside, and we love that it's an established location and that we can start offering our food during predictable hours, which a lot of our customers requested," he says. "People liked our food and would ask if it were available outside of special events."

The restaurant also gives them an exciting chance to flex on the menu.

"We're from the coast so we're definitely adding seafood: ceviches, shrimp tacos, fish tacos," he says. "We also have a wonderful chicken mole taco. We'll add tortas and appetizers, as well as a vegan taco, plus a fun platter that will have some signature items for which Veracruz is known."

Elotes tacos and empanadas are currently their two top sellers, but their homemade sopes are a not-so-distant third.

"Our empanadas are a huge hit — they're savory and we make them with a corn-flour crust so they're gluten-free, which people love," he says.

They'll open softly, just for dinner at first, and eventually add lunch hours. They're also working on getting a permit to sell wine and beer.

"Everything is happening so fast, it's lucky we have a mom back in the kitchen and our dad is helping on the weekends," he says.


Mi Cocina veteran opens new modern Mexican restaurant in Sunnyvale

Tex-Mex News

A former Mi Cocina pro has opened his own restaurant on the southeast side of Dallas in Sunnyvale: Called La Carretera Modern Mex Kitchen, it's from Erick Barrera, who worked with beloved restaurateur Mico Rodriguez for many years first at Mi Cocina and then at Mesero, Mico's post-Mi Cocina startup.

Barrera and his wife Cindy first opened La Carretera in 2020 as a taqueria, but expanded a few months ago into a full-service restaurant in the same location at 3630 N Belt Line Rd., with patio space and a full bar with beer, wine, and margaritas, on the rocks and frozen.

Originally from Guanajuato, Barrera grew up working in restaurants in Mexico, from pizzerias to taquerias, so hospitality is what he knows best. In the U.S., he started his career at Park City Club, the private club in Preston Center, before going to work with Mico at Mi Cocina, then Mesero, where he not only led the opening of many locations as Executive Chef, but also brought innovative items to the menu such as salmon, redfish, and seared tuna, helping to define what Mesero’s menu is today.

"I like cooking and creating and felt like it was time to do it in my own kitchen," he says.

His menu at La Carretera ranges from tacos to shrimp brochette. Prices are affordable, topping out at $25 for a ribeye steak.

Tacos are a big category, with traditional fillings such as adobo chicken, trompo, carnitas, chorizo, brisket, or barbacoa; as well as high-end specialty tacos with blackened shrimp, hongos & poblano, salmon, tuna, or orange chicken. They also do trendy tacos de birria, as well as quesadillas de birria.

Upscale entrees include blackened salmon, with a unique breading made of crunched-up Cheetos and tortilla chips, served with rice and a veggie medley — zucchini, mushrooms, cabbage, red/green peppers, and onions — for $20.

Rib Eye Mama Maya is a 10-ounce ribeye with cherry tomatoes, grilled onions, poblano peppers, green cabbage, cilantro, sauteed with olive oil, served with bean soup, guacamole, pico de gallo and tortillas. The shrimp brochette consists of four jumbo bacon-wrapped shrimp with rice, de la olla beans, and guacamole, for $15.

Their housemade mole is another signature, prepared daily with 38 ingredients, including chocolate, ancho chile, pasilla, peppers, guajillo, and cinnamon, for a balance of spicy and sweet.

There are $9.99 lunch specials, and they do a weekend brunch on both Saturday and Sunday, with dishes like French toast and chilaquiles. Delectable desserts include an admirably tall layered tres leches cake and caramel-filled churros.

La Carretera muralMural at La Carretera Modern Mex Kitchen.La Carretera

Their corn tortillas are from El Maíz, Tortillería y Taquería in North Dallas, which are interestingly also from Guanajuato and prepared in the same style that Erick grew up with in his hometown.

La Carretera also does classic items such as enchiladas, fajitas, and burritos, and even a brisket burger for good measure; but Barrera says that their goal is to step outside the traditional mold.

"When it came time to define the concept, I wanted something modern, unique, and not a copy of other Mexican places," he says.

The dining room, which seats about 120, is simple but chic, with a large Mexican street graffiti-style mural as a centerpiece. And rather than the usual chips and salsa (which are available on the menu), he welcomes customers with frijoles in small, branded hand-painted cups called cantaritos.

This has a special place in his heart as the containers were bought by his mother, who unfortunately passed away just a week before the restaurant opened.

He calls it modern Mexican, which he describes as "Mexican culture with an upscale touch."

Mexican Sugar

Upscale Mexican restaurant from the 'burbs makes splashy Uptown Dallas debut

Uptown News

An upscale Mexican restaurant that up until now has only been found in the 'burbs is hitting the big city, IE Uptown Dallas: Mexican Sugar, a pan-Latin concept that's part of the Front Burner Society restaurant group (Whiskey Cake, Sixty Vines, Ida Claire, Son of a Butcher), is opening in the McKinney & Olive building at 2355 Olive St. #155, where it will continue its mission to celebrate Mexican culture and cuisine.

According to a release, it'll open in May.

It's going into the same elegante complex as Roti Grill, Mixt, and the uber-Starbucks Reserve, in a space that was originally designated to be a location of Hugo's Invitados. (Which is now at the West Village.)

It'll be a two-story behemoth spanning more than 12,000 square feet with seating for nearly 400, with what the release calls "breathtaking views" of the American Airlines Center and the Hotel Crescent Court. Interesting. Is AAC breathtaking? If you like architect David Schwarz, I guess.

Mexican Sugar's menu is comprised of traditional flavors of Mexico with a contemporary twist. Highlights include

  • Tuna crudo
  • Striped bass
  • Bone-in pork chop
  • Housemade tortillas

The new location will also feature an Agave Library for tequila enthusiasts, with more than 150 tequilas and mezcals, served in margaritas and agave tasting flights.

This is Mexican Sugar’s third location. The original opened in Plano in 2013. A second opened in Las Colinas in 2020.

"We can’t wait to open our newest Mexican Sugar restaurant in such a premier location," says general manager Justin Beam. "As we bring our lighter, fresher, and better approach to Mexican cuisine to Uptown, we’re confident that our guests will enjoy the unique culinary experience. We look forward to creating unforgettable moments in every corner of this remarkable venue including our second-floor patio which offers one of the most breathtaking views in the city." There's that breathtaking again. I do not think that word means what they think it means.

Kathy Tran

Dallas' Harwood District adds new restaurant featuring Tex-Mex and tequila

Tequila News

The Harwood District near downtown Dallas welcomes yet another new restaurant, this time Tex-Mex. Called Tequila Social, it's the latest concept from Harwood Hospitality Group, and will open in the 3100 McKinnon building on the ground floor at 3100 McKinnon St, #G100.

According to a release, it'll open this spring. Not open yet. Coming soon.

The concept is a "casual, West-Texas inspired dining experience" featuring:

  • Tex-Mex
  • extensive margarita and frozen drinks program
  • large patio on the Katy Trail

They'll be open for lunch, dinner, and brunch. Smash hit.

The Harwood Hospitality Group team behind it includes culinary VP Taylor Kearney, VP of development Stephan Schneider, and hospitality VP Warren Richards, who've taken their inspiration from Big Bend and the laid-back towns of West Texas.

In a statement, Richards says, “Tequila Social provides an energetic environment, perfect for socializing with friends after work, a day out with the whole family, a lively weekend brunch, or a fun date night. The beverage program showcases agave through a variety of margaritas & frozen cocktails, while a selection of easy drinking beers will provide relief even on the hottest summer day."

Kearney says his menu "will honor Tex-Mex classics such as charred skirt steak fajitas, Baja fish tacos and queso while taking a light-hearted approach with dishes like buffalo chicken flautas and a decadent bone-in burrito."

It's a big 10,000-square-foot space with seating for 355 and that includes a spacious dog-friendly patio with 200-plus seats, not to mention 60-inch big screen TVs, fire pits, social games, and live entertainment. The restaurant will be accessible from the building's parking garage but is also directly accessible from the Katy Trail, so very pedestrian-friendly.

This is Harwood's 13th restaurant concept, joining a portfolio that includes Dolce Riviera, Elephant East, Happiest Hour, Harwood Arms, Magnolias: Sous Le Pont, Marie Gabrielle Restaurant and Gardens, Mercat Bistro, Poco Fiasco, Saint Ann Restaurant & Bar, Te Deseo, The Grove at Harwood, and the recently opened market Fig & Favor. They're also developing a 22-story boutique hotel, Hȏtel Swexan.

Photo courtesy of Sabal

These are the 10 hottest stories that had Dallas talking in 2022

The year's hottest headlines

Editor's note: What was Dallas reading in 2022? We are so glad you asked. News of specially designed swimwear was a perfect fit for readers, and not just during bathing suit season. Lists of best Christmas lights and top State Fair discounts came in handy. A Deep Ellum Tex-Mex restaurant closed, and doors to a Fixer Upper castle in Waco opened. Here's a look back at the 10 most-read CultureMap stories from the year. By the way, you can also look back at the topdining, arts & entertainment, travel, society, and real estate stories; most memorable theater experiences; and best and worstmovies in their own lists, too.

1. Dallas designer launches uplifting swimwear for women with itty bitty fit issue. Highland Park native and TCU grad Hartley Lynn launched SABAL, a new brand of swimwear for women with smaller chests, on August 22. Designed for AA to C cups, SABAL swimsuits are specially designed to retain their shape and feel in and out of the water. Before starting SABAL, Lynn considered “going under the knife” for enhancement, she says, but she decided she didn’t want to alter her natural body. She simply wanted swimsuits that would make her feel good about herself.

2. Dallas' most VIP couple leads all-star gala for Perot Museum 10th anniversary. The 10th anniversary of a Dallas landmark deserves a star-studded party and a few fireworks, too — and that's exactly what the Perot Museum of Nature and Science did to celebrate its milestone birthday. Dallas' most VIP couple led the festivities. Dirk and Jessica Nowitzki co-chaired the 10th anniversary Night at the Museum Gala on Saturday, November 12.

3. Where to see the most spectacular Christmas lights dazzling Dallas-Fort Worth in 2022. In early November, it already time for Dallas-Fort Worth to light up, merry and bright, for the 2022 holidays — from towering trees that twinkle and shine to dazzling drive-thru displays and immersive walk-thru experiences. This was our guide to the biggest, brightest, most spectacular Christmas light displays in the area (many of which are on through at least New Year's Eve). We also broke out the top homes and neighborhoods for lights in a separate list.

4. Affluent Dallas suburb makes bank as richest Texas county, report says. Based on its geographic size, Rockwall County is the smallest county in Texas, at just 149 square miles. But don’t let its size fool you when it comes to wealth. Rockwall County also is the richest county in the state. In May, data analysis website Stacker compiled a list of the wealthiest counties in Texas based on median household income, and Rockwall County came out on top at $100,920.

5. Surprising place northeast of Dallas could be ‘the next Austin,’ says Bloomberg. For years, cities around the country have competed for the banner of “the next Austin.” In hopes of replicating Austin’s astounding success as a much-admired economic hub, fans have touted their cities as the next incarnation of Austin. Bloomberg Opinion columnist Conor Sen made the case for the mountainous Northwest Arkansas region to be the Austin-in-waiting.

6. How to get every possible discount at the 2022 State Fair of Texas. The 2022 edition of the State Fair of Texas started its 24-day run at Fair Park on September 30, with music, games, and food. But first, we were here for discounts. There were a multitude of discount ticket options deals being offered by the State Fair and other entities, meaning there's no reason you ever had to pay full price.

7. Texas will host CMT Music Awards for the first time ever in 2023. Big news for country music fans: During Carrie Underwood's sold-out show in Austin on November 2, CMT Music Awards co-host Kelsea Ballerini came on stage to announce that the CMT Music Awards will come to the city's new Moody Center in 2023. Airing Sunday, April 2, 2023, the fan-voted awards ceremony will be hosted in Texas for the first time ever.

8. 7 spectacular surprises inside Chip and Joanna Gaines' new Fixer Upper castle in Waco. For the first time ever, Texas’ king and queen of renovation, Chip and Joanna Gaines, unlocked the doors and let the public into one of their famed fixer-uppers before it was featured on their Magnolia Network show. We went to Waco for a tour and discovered seven surprises behind the castle walls.

9. Longtime Mexican restaurant in Deep Ellum closes, breastaurant on the way. A longtime Mexican restaurant in Deep Ellum closed in late November: Maracas Cocina Mexicana, which had been in business at 2914 Main St. in one form or another since 1992, closed on November 25, to be replaced with another concept whose identity was still to be (officially) announced.

10. Bachelor favorite marries billionaire's son in lavish Dallas wedding. A Bachelor runner-up in 2020 won her happily ever after two years later in Dallas: Madison Prewett married Dallas native Grant Troutt in a glamorous, reality TV star-studded celebration at his folks' estate on Saturday, October 29.

Sabal swimwear
Photo courtesy of Sabal

SABAL launched with two bikini top styles and two bottom piece styles, plus one style of one-pieces.

Photo courtesy of Maracas

The 10 most-devoured restaurant and bar headlines of 2022 in Dallas

This year's hottest headlines

Editor's note: As the year comes to a close, we look back at the 10 most-read restaurant and bar stories of 2022. The list features a couple of sad closures, but also long-awaited supermarket news, and some fun expansions and new concepts coming to town - including one inside a Dallas landmark. These are the dining stories that Dallas readers devoured most, all from CultureMap dining editor Teresa Gubbins.

1. Longtime Mexican restaurant in Deep Ellum closes, breastaurant on the way. A longtime Mexican restaurant in Deep Ellum closed in late November: Maracas Cocina Mexicana, which had been in business at 2914 Main St. in one form or another since 1992, closed on November 25, to be replaced with another concept whose identity was still to be (officially) announced.

Maracas Tex-Mex

Photo courtesy of Maracas

Deep Ellum suffered a Tex-Mex closure late in the year.

2. Newest 7-Eleven store in Dallas comes with unheard-of amenity: a patio. Convenience store king 7-Eleven in June opened a new store in Dallas with a previously unheard-of offering at a 7-Eleven store: a patio. Located at 13635 Preston Rd. at the corner of Alpha Road, this was one of the chain's "Evolution Stores," a concept that strives to upgrade the convenience store model, serving as a testing ground featuring their latest products and innovations.

3. Seafood restaurant with incredible patio opens at Grand Prairie marina. A location with one of the best patios in Dallas-Fort Worth is now home to a new restaurant: Called Blue Sunshine Patio Bar & Grill, it's a seafood-driven restaurant opened in Grand Prairie at 5700 Lake Ridge Pkwy. off Texas 360, in the space that was previously The Oasis at Joe Pool Lake.

4. Where to eat on Thanksgiving at Dallas restaurants: 2022 edition. One minute it was January. The next minute, we were thinking about the holidays. It's never too soon to start dreaming about pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, and stuffing fragrant with sage and thyme. In October, we rounded up the best restaurants to get Thanksgiving 2022 feasts in Dallas.

5. Dallas hot rodder Richard Rawlings to open mega-restaurant-bar in Lewisville. There was a double dose of news about Dallas hot rodder Richard Rawlings one week in August. First came news that the Fast N' Loud reality show star and owner of Gas Monkey Garage was selling off a slew of classic cars — nearly his entire collection. Then came word that he's gearing up to open another bar-restaurant mega-venue in Dallas-Fort Worth.

6. Portillo's deploys food truck to Dallas to preview its famed Chicago hot dog. Chicago-style hot dogs popped up over the summer via Portillo's, the fast-casual restaurant concept known for its Chicago-style street food. Portillo's brought its Beef Bus food truck to tour Texas from July 11-23, offering a preview of its menu ahead of the first restaurant opening in Texas. The Beef Bus then came back in September.

7. H-E-B sets opening date for first supermarket in Dallas-Fort Worth. In early September, H-E-B fans could mark it on their calendars in red: The Texas supermarket chain had finally set a date for the opening of its new store in Frisco, which would also be the first H-E-B location in the Dallas area. It would be opening on Wednesday, September 21 at 6 am.

8. Old school club in Dallas' Deep Ellum shuts down after a decade. A Dallas bar closed after a decade in Deep Ellum: Wits End, an old-school hangout in the epicenter of the neighborhood at 2724 Elm St., closed its doors on June 26. The bar was one of the last with a throwback vibe that hearkened to the Deep Ellum of old, with band stickers, graffiti, and slight medal edge — reminiscent of when Deep Ellum was a music-driven neighborhood.

9. New steakhouse from Las Vegas team coming to Dallas' landmark Reunion Tower. Reunion Tower, the blinking ball on the skyline of downtown Dallas, announced in October it finally has a new tenant: Called Crown Block, it's a steak and seafood restaurant from Las Vegas group Blau + Associates, set to open in spring 2023.

10. Dallas' legendary Mike's Chicken expands from original laundromat location. A family run fried-chicken restaurant in Dallas that has earned national acclaim said in January it was expanding: Mike's Chicken, which has been serving great fried chicken made to order at 4234 Maple Ave. for more than six years, would be opening a second location at 7752 Forest Ln., in the little strip center at US-75, across from Medical City, in the former Taco Y Mas space.

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DFW's dismal ranking among best places to live leads this week's 5 most-read headlines

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. Dallas-Fort Worth no longer a top 100 place to live, declares U.S. News & World Report. Dallas-Fort Worth has fallen from grace in a closely watched annual report of the best places to live in the U.S. The Metroplex appears at a dismal No. 113 (out of 150) in U.S. News & World Report's Best Places to Live ranking for 2023-2024. Last year, DFW landed at No. 32; it was No. 37 in 2021. Here's (sort of) why it plummeted in the rankings.

2. Sliders restaurant from Detroit shimmies onto Dallas' Greenville Ave. A slider concept from the Great Lakes State is expanding to Texas, and that includes a high-profile location in Dallas: Called Savvy Sliders, it's a young fast-casual concept founded in Flint, Michigan, and it will open its first Dallas restaurant at 4818 Greenville Ave., in the space recently vacated by vegan chicken restaurant Project Pollo.

3. New lagoon-waterpark with lazy river dives into Dallas-Fort Worth. A long-awaited waterpark in Cedar Hill is debuting Memorial Day weekend with two of Texas' favorite splashy attractions: a lagoon and lazy river. The Lagoon at Virginia Weaver Park will open Saturday, May 27 after more than a year in development.

4. Happy Hippie Brewing to bring peace, love, and beer to new HQ in Richardson. A craft beer brewery is opening a splendid new facility in Richardson: Happy Hippie Brewing Company, a small brewery specializing in Belgian-style beers, is opening an an 11,000-square-foot brewery and taproom at 500 Lockwood Dr., in the Lockwood area within the city's evolving CORE District.

5. Asian restaurant Howard Wang's shutters location in Uptown Dallas. A Chinese restaurant in Uptown Dallas closed: Howard Wang's Uptown Grill, one in a family-owned chain, closed its location at 3223 Lemmon Ave. #103, with the final day of service on May 21. The restaurant had been at that location for 12 years.

21 North Texas museums offer free admission to military families this summer

Giving Back

Nearly two dozen Dallas-Fort Worth museums are honoring active duty military personnel and their families with free admission through the Blue Star Museums initiative, May 20-September 4, 2023.

Established by the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the U.S. Department of Defense, the Blue Star Museums program annually provides military families free access to 2,000 museums nationwide throughout the summer. The program begins yearly on Armed Forces Day in May and ends on Labor Day.

Free admission is extended to personnel currently serving in the U.S Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard (including those in the Reserve), and all National Guardsman. Members of the U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps and NOAA Commissioned Corps are also included in the program.

Those who qualify can use their military ID to bring up to five family members - including relatives of those currently deployed. More information about qualifications can be found here.

There is no limit on the number of participating museums that qualifying families may visit. Admission for non-active military veterans, however, is not included.

According to the National Endowment for the Arts website, the initiative was created to help "improve the quality of life for active duty military families" with a specific focus on children. The site states 2 million have had a parent deployed since 2001.

"Blue Star Museums was created to show support for military families who have faced multiple deployments and the challenges of reintegration," the organizers say. "This program offers these families a chance to visit museums this summer when many will have limited resources and limited time to be together."

In Dallas-Fort Worth, participating institutions include well-known art, science, and history museums, as well as smaller museums outside the city limits. Here's a look at all the museums in North Texas that are participating in the Blue Star Museums initiative this year.

In Dallas:

In Fort Worth:

In Garland:

In Irving:

In Mesquite:

In Cleburne:

In Krum:

In Sanger:

More information about Blue Star Museums and a full list of participants can be found on arts.gov.

These are the 7 best most intriguing hot dogs in Dallas right now

Hot Dog News

Editor's Note: In prior stories, CultureMap contributor Lila Levy has sussed out the top bagels in Dallas, and tried pretty much every lavender latte in town. Now she's ready to offer her take on that summertime classic: hot dogs.

Portillo's hot dogs
portillo's hot dogs


Hot dogs are the quintessential summer food and an item that nearly everyone loves. They're simple, flavorful, easy to make at home, and affordable if you dine out.

Some cities like Chicago have a long-standing tradition with hot dogs, and while Dallas is not Windy-City-level quiet yet, we've seen an influx of some exciting new hot dog concepts come to town, joining a few locals who've been dishing out memorable hot dogs all along.

Here's the 7 most interesting hot dogs you can find in Dallas-Fort Worth:

Portillo’s in the Colony, Chicago-style hot dog, $4.50
Chicago-based fast casual brand known for its hot dogs and other favorite Chicago fare, has expanded to Texas, with its first restaurant in The Colony, which opened in January 2023. Chicago-style hot dogs are my favorite kind, and Portillo's does it right. Their basic hot dog comes with "everything": mustard, relish, celery salt, chopped onions, sliced tomato, pickle, and sport peppers on a steamed poppy seed bun. I loved the condiments, especially the peppers and relish. My companion thought the bun was too soft, but it was fine for me. Their hot dogs have a snappy casing with a robust tangy flavor.

Hunky'sHunky Dog, $4.25
Cedar Springs pioneer has been serving hamburgers, fries, and malts, since 1984. They're known for their burgers but they also do a trio of hot dogs including the classic "Hunky Dog," a hefty quarter-pounder with relish, onions, and mustard. I've been here before and know it's best to ask for the hot dog to be grilled extra, to give it that additional "burnt hot dog" cookout flavor. At $4.25, it's a bargain and their presentation is cool: They split the hot dog down the middle and place the onions and relish on top, and they toast the edges of their bun.

Fletcher's Original Corny DogsMake Mine Texan, $10
No story on hot dogs is complete without Fletcher's, famed purveyor of the classic corny dog. You used to have to wait for the State Fair of Texas to get them, but now that they have a food truck, you can find them camped at venues such as the Dallas Arboretum, and they're also at Klyde Warren Park Tuesdays-Sundays. They've expanded their lineup of flavors so I ordered their most recent invention: Called Make Mine Texan, it's a hot dog made of beef and brisket, with smoke seasoning that adds a heartier Texas flavor.

Dog Haus in RichardsonTooo Chi, $8
California hot dog chain takes a gourmet approach with jumbo hot dogs, veggie dogs, vegan sausages, and 40+ toppings including some you might not expect, such as arugula. I ordered the Tooo Chi, their version of the Chicago hot dog, which they brag is a hormone- and antibiotic-free beef hot dog, with tomato, pickle, neon-green pickle relish, mustard, diced onions, sport peppers, and celery salt. Their cooking added a nice char that emphasized the grilled flavor. It made me nostalgic to the days when my parents would grill hot dogs in the summer outside. Their point of distinction is their bread: sweet rich King's Hawaiian rolls, which they butter and grill, for a nice contrast of soft roll and crisp edges.

Angry DogAngry Dog, $8.95
Deep Ellum staple had hot dogs on the menu long before hot dogs became the foodie sensation they are today, and they offer a simple plain hot dog on a bun as a nod to those humble days. But everyone gets the signature Angry Dog: a kosher dog, split in half and grilled, placed on a toasted open-faced bun, then topped with chili, grilled red onions, mustard, and shredded cheddar cheese. It's more of a chili casserole than a hot dog, a knife-and-fork kind of deal where the bun gets soggy underneath the mountain of toppings, and you almost lose track of the hot dog. But unbeatable for a hangover cure or a big cheat meal.

Globe Life Field, Ballpark hot dog, $7
In recent years, the Texas Rangers' food service division has been jazzing up its ballpark menu, introducing new items, some of them crazy like the Boomstick 2-foot-long hot dog. I stick to the basic ballpark hot dog, with the only option being that you can get grilled onions at no additional charge. It's a standard six-inch hot dog, with self-serve mustard, ketchup, and relish, on a soft, nondescript bun, with a nice snap, the prototypical hot dog you eat while cheering on the hometown team.

Frank Seoul, Potato hot dog, $5.49
Korean hot dogs, also known as Korean corn dogs, are a Korean street food that started showing up in Dallas a few years ago, via Korean-born chains such as Two Hands and K-Town. Frank Seoul was one of the first and has locations in Carrollton and Frisco. Their specialty is hot dogs coated in a batter and deep-fried, like a corny dog but with a batter made from flour or rice flour, and additional ingredients such as the coating of diced potatoes in the potato hot dog that I ordered. They have a wild variety like a "cream cheese dog" — literally cream cheese on a stick &mdash and prices are all $6 or less.

This is not the place for a hot dog purist. The hot dog itself was lackluster, but the "shell" of crispy fried potatoes was magnificent, like a wonderful hash brown, and great on its own, didn't need the mustard I added a bit.