With a delectable selection of chophouse favorites from land, sea, and sky, Austin's Seafood and Steak gives premium proteins new homes on plates and palates. Each of Austin's certified Angus steaks—from the 8-ounce top sirloin ($12.99) to the 14-ounce cajun ribeye ($20.99)—is hand-cut daily by kitchen beefmasters, preserving freshness and appeasing the cravings of the restaurant's eager-to-help meat cleavers. Fish and fowl round out the menu, as tender scallops ($16.99) bring familiar comfort to tables of off-duty mermaids. The Mardi Gras chicken ($12.99) throws a tablecloth Carnival with a colorful assortment of peppers, onions, and sauces served in the shape of a smiling-jester float.
Conceived by celebrity stylist and fashion designer Heather Thomson, Yummie Tummie streamlines women's figures with cleverly engineered, lightweight shapewear. Each sleek top incorporates a firming midsection panel into the compression cotton to smooth or hide lumps, bumps, and embarrassing romance novels. The Yummie Tummie original tank ($62), lauded by Oprah in 2008, excels alone or as a comfy base for a layered look, and is available in black, white, or nude. Offering a contemporary take on the original, the skinny tank ($62) rests on wider straps and fits up to a size-H chest. The skinny tank provides support in black and white options, unlike the Sherman tank, which provides support only in green camouflage.
Inside The Apollo Cafe's kitchen, chefs synthesize local produce and meats into lunch, brunch, and dinner menus of Southern-inspired comfort cuisine. Take a seat in the noontime sun to savor a battered and fried monte cristo sandwich ($7.95), pairing gouda, ham, and turkey with fruit compote to blur the boundary between sweet and savory and between waffles and Thanksgiving. Goat cheese and pears complement mixed greens and a house-made basil vinaigrette in The Apollo salad ($6.95). During dinner, cooks daub the honey-glazed pork chop ($12.95) with brandy cream sauce and surround it with brussels sprouts and smashed potatoes to keep feral steak knives at bay. Golden fried carrots, a creamy grit cake, and sautéed spinach accompany seared mahi mahi ($14.95) fillets on fantastic voyages to explore the inside of the human stomach.
At Nick's Ristorante, Nick and Sherry Mikus emulate northern Italian recipes inspired by more than four decades of international traveling. In the kitchen, Chef Gerald works from a menu featuring dishes such as the Angel Hair Pasta Nicky, with shrimp, pasta, and thyme sautéed in a white-wine sauce with oregano and tomatoes. Certified Angus beef in cuts ranging from 12 to 20 ounces—voted Best Steak in North Alabama by the Alabama Cattlemen's Association—arrive with wedge salads and garlic mashed potatoes.
To allow guests to fully enjoy the flavors in these hearty Italian entrees, Nick's Ristorante's decor features oodles of elegance. Glass pendant lamps hang above the dining room from wrought-iron columns, where they cast a soft glow over the crisp black tablecloths that double as capes for hungry Batmen. Wines from around the world complement each meal, and patrons can slip into Nick's Ristorante's lounge to sample cigars from Perdomo, Victor Sinclair, and other producers.
The Chef Next Door's owner and culinary captain as well as the executive chef at the Marketplace Cafe, Margaret Hale elucidates the art of cooking through themed cooking demonstrations. Each demonstration at the chef's gourmet kitchen is bolstered by take-home recipes, offering up to 20 students at a time the opportunity to recreate dishes at home or to use them as blueprints for crafting more effective weapons for food fights. The topic of each session rotates seasonally and often, and each demonstration rounds off with dinner-size portions ready to silence the most boisterous of hunger pangs. Classes are BYOB, so students may choose to bring a favored libation for washing down savory fare and rinsing fingertips in between courses. Check the calendar for upcoming offerings.
For some people, the colors of red, green, and white evoke Christmastime. For regulars of Anaheim Chili, though, they just mean lunch. The red, green, and white chilies are but 3 of 10 different kinds on the menu, which lists each stew's baseball-card-like stats: base, spice, garnishes, and heat. The bases range from the home-style chili's ground beef and kidney beans to the pesole's dark-meat chicken and hominy. Toppings may include onion, cilantro, and sour cream. The large selection begs for mixing and matching—thankfully, you can order a triple cup meal and dip your spoon into three different kinds of chili during a single meal.
Balancing out the restaurant's specialty bowls is a host of appetizers and burgers, as well as baked or fried chicken wings. Mindful of its obsession with heat, the menu features a seasonal watermelon salad, whose mixture of fruit and mint counteracts fiery bites better than chili served a la mode. Draft and bottled beers also cool down taste buds with sips of Blue Pants Brewery and Straight to Ale.
The staff at Dinner by Design strips mealtime of its time-consuming components by shopping, chopping, and cleaning up for you. When visitors arrive at the kitchen for a session scheduled online, they find all the fixings for fresh, healthy meals already sliced, diced, and awaiting further preparation. After donning an apron and glancing at recipe cards, customers pile the quality ingredients into complimentary containers as they chat with fellow chefs to distract them while they steal their spatula. After patrons put the finishing touches on their chosen number of entrees, each portioned to accommodate individuals or families of varied sizes, they load them into a basket or cooler from home and stow them in their freezer. Meals can later be warmed in the oven according to included instructions, which usually indicate a cooking time of about 30 minutes. For eaters in a hurry, the staff keeps a Take and Bake freezer stocked with entrees, sides, and desserts ready for pickup, or delivers them directly to dinner tables.