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Food & Drink

News Bites: Filipino Chain Jollibee Lands in Plano and Fine Dining with a Side of COVID Testing

SideDish’s weekly digest of need-to-know dining happenings in Dallas.
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Fast-food spread from Jollibee with a bucket of Chickenjoy fried chicken, mango peach hand pies, and a plate of spaghetti.

Welcome to SideDish’s weekly dispatch of need-to-know News Bites, from quiet closures to opening updates and everything in between, including coronavirus-related intel.

Joy for Jollibee
One of the Philippines’ most beloved exports comes in the form of Chickenjoy fried chicken, hot ube-filled pastries, and sweet-sauced spaghetti. Yes, a Jollibee will open at 1016 Preston Road in Plano tomorrow, August 20. (The dining room will remain closed; call-ahead pickup and drive-thru services, plus walk-in takeout will be available.) The popular fast-food chain has finally heeded the call of North Texas Filipinos who’ve been asking the brand to bring its tocino and tapa breakfast combos with garlic fried rice. I’m personally stoked about drive-thru halo-halo (which means mix-mix), an icy dessert with myriad toppings from sweet beans to condensed milk to ube ice cream. Think of it as an upgraded shaved ice and similar to Vietnamese chè. For more Filipino flavors, peep the food coming from pop-up and takeout-only operations like Ulam, Bahay (a Hella Lumpia and Bilbao collab), Not Your Lola’s (back after a hiatus), and, for pasties, there’s The Pandesal Palace.

New Netflix Chef’s Table Trailer Has a Familiar Voice
You can hear the familiar voice of Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn, who’s based in Dallas, in the trailer for the latest Chef’s Table. The upcoming series on Netflix focuses on barbecue, something Texans know much about. But it looks like the show will also delve into the cooking style’s ancient, indigenous origins. I can’t wait to learn something new and get outrageously hungry at the same time. Chef’s Table: BBQ premieres on September 2.

Testing, Testing…
Bullion has joined forces with Urgent HomeMD and GeneIQ to provide low-cost, self-collecting COVID-19 tests, costing $75 each whether you have insurance or not. Purchase a test online, then schedule an appointment for a Tuesday or Thursday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sounds pretty simple! Although you don’t have to purchase any food or drink to procure a test, a wagyu burger kit with a side of Bullion Old Fashioneds to go sound like a fine reward for swabbing your own nose. The drive-through tests will still be operating in a Lubben Plaza lot accessible through a drive-through entrance on Wood Street.

Food Pantries Feeling the Pinch
A new report from the Dallas Morning News says an Arlington food pantry has seen demand skyrocket, specifically an increase of 364 percent from last year’s distribution. It’s harrowing yet not surprising as North Texas Food Bank’s semi-recurring food distribution event at Fair Park regularly sees long lines of cars waiting for their share of staples. Back in June recall our profile on Minnie’s Pantry founder Cheryl Jackson who said the amount of meals they provided monthly has quadrupled. They’ve also expanded service to Plano ISD, feeding students dependent on free or reduced meals.

School Fundraiser With a Foodie Twist
Speaking of students. With school soon to be back in session, either in person, remotely, or a combination of the two, supplies are in great need. And it’s not just crayons and tissue boxes. The stark reality of COVID-19 means in-class learning will require a lot of PPE,extra cleaning supplies,  temperature-checking tools, and technology for remote education. Teachers can’t be left to foot the bill as they usually do. So United to Learn, a Dallas-based nonprofit that partners with 53 Dallas ISD elementary schools, has kicked off its fourth annual Learning Launch campaign. Learning Launch aims to help fill these gaps so teachers can have the necessary resources to educate young learners. The foodie twist? The first 50 people to donate $1,000 or more by August 31 will receive a dinner for two and a keepsake tablescape delivered on September 10 by Alto. It’s called Dinner for a Cause and the magnanimous donors can enjoy said meal by Dallas’ food influencer and New York Times bestselling author of The Defined Dish, Alex Snodgrass, prepared by Origin Bar + Kitchen, which includes an elegant, reusable tablescape created by Emily Clarke Events. They’re accepting donations of any amount through September 17. 


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