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THE DISH: Spring brings brand-new menu items

What's new at restaurants? Here's a roundup of fresh items to try at local spots.

Fans of Bravo's "Top Chef" have a reason to head out to Rubio's Coastal Grill this month.

Chef Richard Blais has teamed up with the San Diego-based chain for a trio of adventure-inspired street tacos.

The television personality, James Beard-nominated cookbook author and restaurateur brings his innovative culinary spin to to the three new flavors: the Hawaiian-inspired hula hula carnitas taco; the Blaised and glazed crispy chicken taco, offering a zesty taco twist on Buffalo chicken; and the ancho po-boy shrimp taco, featuring a modern take on classic New Orleans street food.

The special tacos will be available starting Thursday but Rubio's Rewards members can be the first to try the new Rubio's x Blais street taco plate, with VIP early access on Wednesday. Rubio's Reward members can order online at, or through the app, and get one free Blais taco or $5 off the specialty taco plate.

Diners can mix and match any three street tacos, which are served with house black beans and tortilla chips. The menu is available to order online, or through the app, for contact-free curbside or express pickup, or get their tacos delivered to their door for $1.99.

Rubio's is located at 9200 Rosedale Highway, Suite 200. For more information, visit

Just in time for resuming your work commute, Jamba Juice launched fuel-good food menu items: two new "handwiches" — its take on the classic breakfast sandwich for eating on the go — and an all new veggie egg bake.

The Impossible handwich is made with Impossible sausage patty and white cheddar cheese between toasted sprouted grain buns, clocking in at 12 grams of protein and 220 calories.

Meat eaters can pick up the classic sausage, egg and cheese handwich with all-natural pork sausage, egg, and white cheddar cheese on those toasted sprouted grain buns. This breakfast option provides 12 grams of protein and 320 calories to start your day.

Those who want a lighter breakfast can pick up the spring veggie egg bake, which is packed with red bell peppers, spring leeks and artichoke hearts and is under 200 calories.

Dunkin' wants you to keep cool this summer with its coconut refreshers and coconut milk iced latte. 

The refreshers come in three varieties: pink strawberry, with strawberry and dragonfruit; golden peach, with peach and passion fruit; and purple pomegranate, with blueberry and pomegranate.

The chain is also offering an iced coconut milk latte and guests can customize their drinks with coconut milk, adding to the nondairy options of oat milk and almond milk.

For those fully indulging, Dunkin' also has a butter pecan sundae signature latte, pairing the chain's premium espresso with butter pecan flavor and topping it with whipped cream, caramel drizzle and rainbow sprinkles. Butter pecan and sweet cream flavors can also be added to Dunkin's full lineup of hot and iced coffees, espresso drinks, frozen coffee and frozen chocolate.

Wednesday is the last day to enjoy Free Donut Wednesdays. Throughout May, DD Perks members in California were able to redeem a free doughnut every Wednesday with purchase of a beverage. Don't miss out on that last free treat.

Dunkin' is located at 1800 23rd St., Suite D and 1211 Allen Road, Suite 300.

Like it hot? Then Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers has dinner ready for you with its jalapeño pepper jack steakburger. Two steakburger patties are topped with melted pepper jack cheese, sautéed jalapeños and extra spicy Freddy's Famous Jalapeño Fry Sauce on a toasted bun.

"The jalapeño pepper jack steakburger is our spiciest menu item to date, and it has just the perfect amount of heat that makes it one of our most craveable limited-time offers," Scott Redler, co-founder and COO, said in a news release. 

The steakburger is available through mid-June or while supplies last. Freddy's is at 2649 Calloway Drive.

IHOP has gone all-in with the bacon with its new steakhouse premium bacon, which is being featured on the bacon obsession menu, Business Wire reports.

Playing into customers' desire for comfort food, IHOP is featuring the hickory-smoked bacon finished with a slightly sweet maple glaze in seven brand-new menu items:

The steakhouse premium bacon breakFEAST includes two slices of premium bacon along with golden hash browns, two eggs your way and two fluffy buttermilk pancakes.

IHOP's steakhouse premium bacon burger highlights the bacon atop a Black Angus steak burger with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles and signature IHOP Sauce. It's served with a choice of French fries, onion rings or two buttermilk pancakes.

The steakhouse BLT features the bacon with lettuce, tomato, red onion, pickles and signature IHOP sauce along with choice of sides.

Sweeten things up with the candied bacon pancakes, two buttermilk pancakes loaded with crispy bacon pieces, drizzled with vanilla sauce and dulce de leche caramel sauce and topped with a slice of candied bacon and crowned with whipped topping. 

Available weekdays, the bacon lovers combo includes candied bacon pancakes, two slices of hickory-smoked bacon and two eggs your way. 

For dessert, opt for the maple bacon milkshake, blended with sweet maple glaze and hickory-smoked bacon pieces, or the Oreo 'n bacon waffle sundae consisting of two Oreo cookie-filled Belgian waffle quarters topped with bacon pieces, Oreo cookie pieces, chocolate sauce, two scoops of vanilla ice cream, whipped topping and a slice of candied bacon.

Additionally, the steakhouse premium bacon can be added to any breakfast combo for $1.49 for a limited time.

Flame Broiler is offering a Korean-inspired spicy chicken bowl. Flame Broiler founder Young Lee drew on his South Korean heritage, adding a special take on the chain's spicy chicken with the flavors of gochujang, gochugaru and sesame. 

The chain has seven locations in Bakersfield. For more information, visit

Get your claws on these new menu items from Red Lobster.

The chain has gotten into the hot chicken ward with its Nashville hot chicken sandwich, Restaurant News reports. Hand-battered, all-white meat chicken tenders are tossed in a sweet and spicy mixture and served on a toasted brioche bun with pickled peppers and ranch sauce.

Or try the crispy cod sandwich, aka Codzilla, which features a huge (6 to 8 ounces) piece of fried cod that hangs off the toasted brioche bun and is topped with crunchy slaw and tartar sauce.

Red Lobster is at 8180 Rosedale Highway. Visit for more information.

The Habit Burger Grill is tapping to that brunch energy with its brunch charburger, PR Newswire reports. Cooked to order, the burger is topped with a fresh sunny-side up egg and finished with hickory-smoked bacon and melted cheese. It's all served on a toasted artisan brioche bun layered with crispy tater tots and the Habit's house-made secret sauce.

"The Brunch Charburger brings the fun and excitement of brunch to The Habit Burger Grill," Adam Baird, The Habit's executive chef, said in a news release. 

For more on The Habit, visit

Mountain Mike's Pizza has added a limited-time-only sweet treat to its menu. The Mini Churrs are a shareable dessert of 16 bite-size churros for only $4.99. 

"The Mountain Mike's experience is all about sharing, and our new Mini Churrs will bring an extra dose of happiness to guests of all ages after enjoying their favorite Mountain Mike's pizza," said Carol DeNembo, the chain's vice president of marketing, said in a news release. "Great food is meant to be shared, and with 16 bite size churros in every order, there's enough for everyone!"

The Mini Churrs are available now through June 30. For more information, visit

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.