This week our food writers tried one of Bon Appetit’s 50 best new restaurants, flirted with soup season, checked out a new drive-through coffee shop in Richardson, reveled in crispy beef takeout and drank a cocktail from a flask.
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Crispy beef at Jia Asian Bistro
Jia Asian Bistro, a smaller sister restaurant of Jia Modern Chinese, just opened at Gaston Avenue and Garland Road in East Dallas — you know, that corner with the mess of never-ending construction. I picked up an order of crispy beef on my way home the other day to see if it is as good and crispy as the version at Jia Modern. I can happily report that it is. The thin strips of beef are sweet and sticky with a gentle chile undertone, and they’re crispy despite not being heavily battered. I now have a positive association with the intersection that usually gives me hives. – Claire Ballor, food reporter
Jia Asian Bistro is at 7325 Gaston Ave., Dallas. jiamodernchinese.com.
The Dope at Hide
Hide is back. The cocktail bar reopened on Lowest Greenville after closing its doors in Deep Ellum two years ago. The design changed and the space is much bigger, but the cocktails are just as good as I remember — and I remember them fondly. A recent stop inside scored me two very different but equally delicious drinks. The Dope merges American whiskey with Cocchi Dopo Teatro (a vermouth-amaro hybrid), apricot, Oloroso sherry and Peychaud’s bitters. It’s served in a flask, with a glass and ice on the side, and it tastes like a more interesting and nuanced Manhattan. Next came Herb-y: Fully Loaded, which is not only a pun but also a gin drink packed with savory vegetal notes thanks to a basil eau de vie, cucumber-mint shrub and celery. There are 32 cocktails on the menu, and I look forward to trying them all. – Kevin Gray, contributing writer
Hide is at 1928 Greenville Ave., Dallas. hide.bar.
Hibiscus with cauliflower taco at El Rincón del Maíz
Soon after Bon Appetit named this small Mexican eatery one of the 50 best new restaurants of 2022, I visited it for lunch — twice. Two menus are offered: one vegan, the other filled with animal proteins. I’m an omnivore, but since BA gushed over the vegan menu, I ordered heavily from it (at these prices, you can afford to go big). The tacos are prepared with your choice of seven house-made tortillas. The cilantro, guajillo chile, cactus, mango habanero and beet versions are subtly flavored, and their colorful hues add visual appeal.
My favorite vegan taco cradled a filling I’d never seen before: hibiscus with cauliflower. Strips of the hibiscus petals are pan-fried with the cauliflower. It’s a brilliant, unconventional use of hibiscus. The cauliflower bits have a caramelized edge that contrasts with the hibiscus’ natural tartness. Chile and lime flavors season the filling, and the pickled red onion and cilantro add an extra spark of flavor. My tortilla choice? Beet, which echoed the filling’s magenta hues. You don’t have to be vegan to like this taco. The meat-filled panuchos, tamales and tacos are great too. — Tina Danze, contributing writer
El Rincón del Maíz is at 1709 Belt Line Road, Garland.
Truffle burrata toast with hard-boiled egg at La La Land Kind Cafe
Last Saturday, La La Land Kind Cafe opened its first drive-through coffee shop in Richardson. Despite the long line, it was well worth the wait. I was hungry and craving the restaurant’s famous avocado toast, but I decided to try the truffle burrata toast with hard-boiled egg instead of the classic version. If you’ve ever been to a La La Land Kind Cafe, you know this coffee shop is all about spreading kindness. It was incredibly refreshing to be told “I love you” as I was picking up my order, which had a personalized note written on it order that said, “You are the best!” It was an added bonus along with the avocado toast. The truffle oil complemented the burrata, the creaminess of the avocado mash, the spice from the chile flakes and the perfectly made hard-boiled egg. I highly encourage ordering the egg on top of any of the toasts on the menu. – Tina-Tien Nguyen, contributing writer
The La La Land Kind Cafe drive-through location is at 242 W. Campbell Road, Richardson. lalalandkindcafe.com.
Sopa de fideo at Huapango Mexican Cuisine
My hunger-busting barbacoa sope, suadero taco and mushroom quesadilla on fresh-pressed tortillas at Huapango Mexican Cuisine in Preston Hollow were all absolute fire. So it’s odd to share that the best thing I ate this week was the tiny restaurant’s sopa de fideo. A server asked if I’d like to try the soup after spotting me taking paparazzi-style pictures of my spread. I took her cue, said yes and ordered the largest size available for carryout after one sip.
At Huapango, this comforting Mexican staple is made with slippery-soft macaroni noodles, carrots, yellow squash, peeled potatoes, chicken and wisps of beaten eggs that all swirl in a deeply rich broth. It’s simple and soul-warming, perfect for kids or adults, and it’s something I’ll definitely be driving back for once this (expletive) hot spell finally eases and soup season begins. – Amanda Albee, contributing writer
Huapango Mexican Cuisine is at 2971 Walnut Hill Lane, Dallas.