Burger King, Sonic and Carvel thrill to the chill

Taste Tracker: Pickle power at &pizza and Wings Over; Portillo’s tosses up new salads; make way for stroganoff at Noodles; Jamba is all about acai; and IHOP’s April Pancake of the Month rolls out.
&pizza's Dickle
Pickles are hitting the menu in unusual places, like this pizza called The Dickle from &pizza. | Photo courtesy of &pizza.

It’s the first week in April, but some concepts are thinking ahead to summer with frozen and frosty treats making their debut. Others are sticking with spring for now, adding more salads, fruit-topped bowls and seasonal fare. But since April can bring cold and rainy days (like this entire week in the Midwest and East), restaurants are at the ready with warm and cozy dishes, too.

Check it all out on this video, then read on for more details.

Burger King is gearing up for summer with a Frozen Cotton Candy beverage in shades of baby blue. The icy treat balances flavors of blue raspberry and cotton candy, and BK offers an optional cloud of cold foam to top it off.

Nostalgia drives Carvel’s frozen lineup, as the brand returns Orange Dreamy Creamy Soft Serve to commemorate the dessert chain’s 90th birthday. The 1970s-era flavor is available for a limited time scooped, in a shake, and as a sundae, Flying Saucer ice cream sandwich or ice cream pop.

Sonic also turns to a retro flavor for its Oreo Big Scoop Cheesecake Sundae and Blast. Both are topped with a scoop of Oreo Cheesecake and feature vanilla soft serve and cookie pieces. The same cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies show up in three new items at Jeremiah’s Italian Ice: Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Flavorite with vanilla ice cream and Oreo crumble; Oreo Double Stuf Flavorite with Oreo crème ice; and Oreo Frappe Flavorite with Oreo mocha ice.

From ice cream to pickles. &pizza’s new Dickle is a pizza with a parm-romano base covered with juicy dill pickles and finished with a ranch and garlic butter drizzle. The LTO runs through May 4th. And Wings Over unveiled its Big Dill flavor as a rub option for wings. The blend of dill, garlic and vinegar adds a tangy twist to chicken wings.

Portillo’s is expanding its salad selection with two new additions: the Spicy Chicken Chopped Salad and Chicken Pecan Salad with Bacon. The first is a riff on the chain’s best-selling chopped salad, this time, topped with breaded spicy chicken and hot giardiniera, then tossed with house dressing. The Chicken Pecan Salad features spring mix, red cabbage, grilled chicken, thick crispy bacon, pecans, tomatoes, shredded mozzarella and cheddar, then topped with new creamy honey peppercorn dressing.

Bowls of another kind are making news at Jamba. In tandem with National Acai Bowl Day on April 6, the chain is launching an Acai Peanut Butter + Chocolate Hazelnut Bowl and Acai Tropical Bowl topped with bananas, pineapple, granola, honey and coconut flakes. Also new on the menu is a Tropical Waffle bowl with a Greek Yogurt or coconut whip base.

On Wednesday, Noodles & Company brings back what it says is the fast casual’s most requested dish: Steak Stroganoff. Wavy egg noodles are combined with a mushroom sherry cream sauce, fresh herbs, cracked pepper and roasted mushrooms, then topped with marinated steak, Parmesan cheese and Italian parsley.

It’s a new month, and that means IHOP’s April Pancake of the Month is ready for prime time. Drumroll please…it’s Cinnamon Apple Pecan, and it joins a couple of other newbies, like Cupcake House-Made Milkshakes inspired by the chain’s popular pancake flavors, and the Cinn-A-Stack. IHOP is also bringing back its viral Pepsi Maple Syrup Cola, a limited-edition beverage flavor available nationwide.

It's a big month for birthdays, with Black Angus Steakhouse celebrating its 60th in April. Food and beverage specials and an expansion of brunch are part of the celebration, with a partnership with The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf kicking off a Brunch Experience on April 20. Off-menu dishes such as Hot Honey Chicken Biscuit Sliders and Lobster Fritters served as a side with ribeye and scrambled eggs will be offered, as well as specialty drinks like a Lavender Blueberry Mimosa.

Salmon is the protein of choice at Tacodeli, where the Salmon Pistachio Taco highlights the responsibly sourced Atlantic fish. The salmon is breaded and grilled with coarse-ground pistachios, drizzled with house-made pistachio salsa and topped with habanero escabeche. Also available is the seasonal Strawberry Pistachio Salad, a spinach-based bowl with avocado, fresh, local strawberries, goat cheese, candied chipotle pistachios and strawberry balsamic vinaigrette.

Dream Cookies are Tim Horton’s latest platform, coming to the chain’s locations in three flavors. There are peanut butter Dream Cookies stuffed with pecans and topped with Reese’s minis; sugar cookies with white chocolate chips and M&M mini milk chocolate candies; and Rocky Road Dream Cookies—chocolate cookies filled with pecans, marshmallows and chocolate.

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