A restaurant opening is always good news, even more so when it shows signs that a local chain is thriving.
Restaurateur Christian Alvarez just opened El Puesto Cocina & Lounge, which joins the flagship El Puesto Cocina on Brundage Lane and El Puesto Cocina y Cantina on California Avenue.
In soft opening for dinner and cocktails last week, the new spot at 2060 White Lane will soon begin lunch service as well.
The spacious location also features a stage, allowing El Puesto to host live music and entertainment. For its first weekend, it hosted a DJ and a band.
Although the menu is not yet available online, the restaurant has been sharing sneak peeks on Instagram including dishes like mejillones al puesto, green mussels with a garlic butter paste, white wine, sauteed tomatoes, onions, serranos and "a secret pinch of love," served with garlic telera bread.
New on the menu
Locale Farm to Table (1727 18th St.) is raising funds this month for Give Big Kern with a special appetizer.
Its Give Big Kern Tuscan tomato chèvre dip ($12) is made with goat cheese and organic scratch-made marinara and served with toasted ciabatta.
All funds raised from sales of the dish will go toward the annual nonprofit donation drive that will host its big giving day on May 2.
Starting Thursday, McDonald's will start selling Big Mac sauce dip cups at its U.S. locations.
The dip cups feature blue-and-silver packaging, which is a throwback to the original 1968 packaging when the Big Mac made its debut.
Diners will need to use the company's mobile app to order the sauce.
Teriyaki Madness (1525 Columbus St., #100) has taken a cue from customers customizing their bowls to introduce two fan-favorite options.
The orange spicy chicken bowl features the chain's grilled spicy chicken teriyaki wok-tossed with a splash of orange sauce.
That's not to be confused with the spicy orange chicken bowl, which takes the classic fried, sweet orange chicken and wok-tosses it in the brand's spicy sauce.
"Teriyaki Madness has always prided itself on offering next-level customization for our bowl-loving customers," Jodi Boyce, the company's chief marketing officer, said in a news release. "As a result, customers have discovered some great combinations on our menu, and we've been paying attention. Hey, just because we didn't come up with it doesn't mean we don't recognize a great idea when we taste one!"
Summer is here for California Pizza Kitchen (10150 Stockdale Highway), at least on its menu.
The chain has brought back some seasonal favorites and added some other fresh options.
"We are always looking for new ways to bring fresh California Creativity to our menu. But sometimes our guests just want the seasonal CPK menu classics they already know and love. And we are more than happy to listen," Paul Pszybylski, VP of culinary innovation at CPK, said in a news release.
Back this season is the California fields salad, featuring fresh watermelon, strawberries and field greens tossed with basil in house-made champagne vinaigrette and topped with feta and pistachios. Diners can add grilled chicken, grilled shrimp, sautéed salmon or fresh avocado to the dish for an additional charge.
Also returning is the strawberry shortcake, a warm shortcake biscuit piled high with fresh strawberries, whipped cream and house-made candied lemon zest. Indulge further by adding a scoop of vanilla Häagen-Dazs ice cream (for an additional charge).
New this year is the dynamite shrimp appetizer, fried crispy and tossed in homemade sweet and spicy Sriracha sauce then topped with slivered scallions and toasted sesame seeds.
Sip on returning beverages such as the summer fruit sangria, made with Belleruche Rosé, Grey Goose vodka and Monin watermelon syrup, garnished with fresh watermelon, strawberry and mint.
Another option is the sparkling watermelon cooler, made with fresh lime and soda water infused with watermelon purée, which is made with fresh watermelon and Monin watermelon syrup.
Although it's known best for its fire-grilled chicken, El Pollo Loco has brought back shredded beef birria to the menu for the second year running.
Many local businesses have served birria, either beef or goat, for some time, but El Pollo Loco was the first quick-service restaurant to add it to the menu.
Based on the popularity of the dish, the chain's culinary team went even further this year, making upgrades including a crispier shell on the crunchy taco and an even more flavorful consomé dipping sauce.
There are three birria entrees, all packaged in a specially designed carrier box along with consomé dipping sauce and a side of fresh tortilla chips.
• Birria crunchy taco box, featuring two crunchy corn tortillas filled with beef birria, cheese, onion and cilantro.
• Birria grilled burrito box, a warm flour tortilla filled with beef birria, cheese, sour cream, rice, beans, cabbage, onion and cilantro.
• Birria overstuffed quesadilla box, a warm flour tortilla filled with beef birria, avocado, cheese, onion and cilantro that is artfully folded in a hexagon shape and grilled to seal.
Shredded beef birria will be available through June 28.