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News Bites: La Casita Bakeshop Owner Competes in Halloween Baking Show, La La Land Opens in Richardson

SideDish’s weekly digest of need-to-know dining happenings in Dallas.
A photo of La La Land's Bell Avenue location. Photo provided by La La Land

Maricsa Trejo competes in Food Network baking competition

Trejo, the woman behind La Casita Bakeshop in Richardson, brought her baking skills to a Halloween-themed baking competition show that premiered on Food Network this week.

Trejo is a James Beard nominee and a self-proclaimed spooky enthusiast. She’s up against 11 other bakers for a $25,000 prize in the Halloween Baking Championship’s eighth season. Trejo came out on top in Monday’s episode and won the first challenge with a blueberry Danish pie.

Competing in a baking show on a major network wasn’t something she ever expected to do, but she said she received messages from two of her customers telling her to apply for the casting call.

“So, I just did it,” she said. “It was actually very fun and the whole experience was amazing.”

Trejo and other competitors stayed in a haunted hotel during the filming of the competition, but that wasn’t the hard part, she said (it was actually a dream of hers to stay in one). After she received her James Beard nomination, Trejo said many of the thoughts going through her mind were driven by her own anxiety to live up to expectations.

“The anxiety part of my brain was like, ‘Don’t do this. Don’t do this. You’re going to crash and you’re going to burn,’” she said. “But I won the first challenge, and I was like, ‘OK, I’m meant to be here.’”

Halloween Baking Championship will air every Monday on Food Network at 8 p.m. CST.

La La Land serves up happiness in Richardson

La La Land Kind Café Founder Francois Reihani is continuing his mission of normalizing kindness with a new drive-through and walk-up location of the coffeeshop in Richardson, the Dallas Morning News reported Tuesday.

The new location looks like a home, Reihani said. The walk-up window was made to look like someone’s front porch, and the drive-thru is lined with yellow flowers to make commuters feel welcomed. Reihani said he’s also asked employees to start calling their customers “friends” as an effort to build relationships with the community.

“We’ve spent so much time and effort creating a true experience so that by the time that you leave, you’d feel like you just made a brand-new random friend,” he said. “And it was probably so good and easy that you start to also question: ‘Why isn’t humanity like that?’”

The coffeeshop made headlines for its business model of hiring kids out of the foster care system. One store in each city runs an 8-week paid internship program to help build life skills (there are locations in North Texas, Houston, and Santa Monica, CA; the Bell Avenue storefront runs the Dallas program). Once graduated, the foster youth can choose to go to another location to continue working or choose a different career path.

La La Land’s main mission—to normalize kindness—also caught eyes. A daily coffee run is the best way to meet people face-to-face, Reihani said, giving him the best chance to spread happiness.

“Does coffee normalize kindness? No. But does it help us to do so? Yes.”

La La Land Kind Café is located at 242 W. Campbell Rd. Richardson. There was a soft opening Sept. 12, and a grand opening is scheduled for Sept. 17, where all menu items will be half off.

In other news

Buzzed Bull Creamery, a boozy ice cream shop, opened Sept. 12 in Grapevine to serve ice cream, shakes, and sorbets to the masses. The shop uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the desserts in seconds, they say. There are 32 alcoholic and non-alcoholic flavors—alcoholic flavors start at 5 percent ABV. Buzzed Bull Creamery | 419 S. Main St., Grapevine.

A new Japanese restaurant called Tokyo Shokudo opens Sept. 15 in Plano. The restaurant promises a “Teishoku” dining experience, where all dishes are served together with rice, miso soup, and pickles. Tokyo Shokudo | 4709 Parker Rd.  Ste. 450, Plano.

East Quarter will add Tex-Mex restaurant Muchacho to the 300 Pearl, located on the corner of Jackson Street and Cesar Chavez Boulevard, next year, bolstering dining options in the area between downtown Dallas and the Dallas Farmers Market. Brunch and regular menu items include Tex-Mex classics like fajitas and queso, while the drink menu features signature margaritas and tequila flights. This will be the third outpost for the small chain, which is run by James Beard-nominated Chef Omar Flores. Muchacho | 2110 Jackson St., Dallas.


Nataly Keomoungkhoun

Nataly Keomoungkhoun

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Nataly Keomoungkhoun joined D Magazine as the online dining editor in 2022. She previously worked at the Dallas Morning News,…