From its paradisiacal perch on North Padre Island, Black Sheep Bistro spices up its menu of fresh seafood, steak, and pasta dishes with an array of international flavors, ranging from Mexican to Martian. Rich, flavorful appetizers like Nacho Ordinary Crab ($8)—a savory pile-up of toasted corn tortilla chips and fresh blue crab meat, topped with pepper jack cheese—complements the Bistro's warm, colorful ambiance and gives taste buds a seamless segue way to entrees such as the locally famous Little Joe ($25), a filet smothered in blue cheese and caramelized onions, and the Pescado La Ticla ($15), the catch of the day grilled over mesquite coals and slathered in pico de gallo. Diners with ample post-prandial stomach space can close with a slice of Grandma's Homemade Apple Pie A La Mode ($4.50). Otherwise, savor a glass of Napa Valley wine on the outdoor patio and feel the ocean breeze playfully muss your hair as you indulge in a little people watching, fleeing-people watching, zombie watching, and zombie fleeing.
Turkey Gone Wild! It might sound like a surreal newspaper headline, but it’s actually just the name of one of Small Planet Delicatessen & Bakery's hot sandwiches. The gourmet creations are the deli’s specialty, and the aforementioned Turkey Gone Wild is a melty layering of turkey, white cheddar, purple onion, and avocado spread. The deli's New Planet sub also starts with turkey, but bulks up with hard salami, jalapeños, and pesto sauce, tucked between slices of jalapeño-cheese bread. Customers can also build their own sandwich from a diverse selection of breads, meats, and toppings that includes everything from sweet ham to artichoke hearts.
The rest of the menu boasts an international spread of deli- and bakery-inspired foods. There’s country french quiche and athenian gyros, mesquite-chicken quesadillas and kids’ personal pizzas. A tempting array of baked goods in single-serving sizes enables patrons to try just a slice of tuxedo-truffle cake, or a single white-chocolate-and-walnut cookie, the crumbs of which can be tossed in the air for a post-meal celebration.
Housed in a combined café and chiropractic office inside the historic Vivroux Hardware building, Chiro Java injects visitors with the energy to almost massage their own backs after eating an array of American- and Mexican-inspired breakfast and lunch dishes. The kitchen staff crafts chicken salad from a family recipe and uses only nitrite-free lunchmeats, both of which they sandwich between high-fiber whole-wheat bread baked in-house. At the full-service coffee and espresso bar, baristas serve up organic frappés, allergen-free desserts, and organic, fair-trade coffee roasted fresh each day. Facilitating a sense of calm, the café keeps its lighting low, and surrounds guests with festive gourds, hardwood walls and floors, and lovingly worn rugs underfoot.
Visitors to Aspen's Brew might forget they're inside a coffee shop at all, as the family-owned cafe cultivates an ambiance of low-key comfort reminiscent of a classic, all-American living room. Guests can admire and purchase the unique artwork on the walls while lounging on the couch, kick back with the morning paper on an upholstered grandfather chair, or handwrite their emails at one of the wooden tables. As the morning sun gradually suffuses the cozy space with natural light, baristas rustle up six award-winning micro-roasted brews from Dillanos Coffee Roasters while the on-site bakers usher out scones, muffins, croissants, and cinnamon rolls. To add even more homeyness to the mix, they also serve up bagels, breakfast sandwiches, and squares of Grandma's coffee cake, a from-scratch pastry that comes from a secret recipe whispered between generations during games of Telephone at family reunions. In the afternoon, the kitchen staffers keep the hospitality coming with fresh, made-to-order sandwiches and paninis, as well as homemade soups, specialty coffee drinks, and desserts such as carrot cake and brownies.
The folks at Aspen's Brew also cater this down-home cafe fare for events, whether for morning meetings, lunch, or afternoon gatherings. To ensure these special occasions go off without a hitch, they deliver anywhere in the greater San Antonio area.
At Da Vinci Gelato & Caffe, a glass case shields 32 pans of gelato and sorbetto. Cinnamon dusts the peaks of tiramisu, and rivulets of chocolate snake through the grooves of amaretto. Sorbets brim with fruits of the season, from strawberry and watermelon in warmer months to pomegranate and pear when the sun turns its back on earth. Although flavors rotate regularly, one thing remains constant: each batch is whipped up fresh daily in accordance with authentic artisan recipes.
As a contrast to frozen treats, baristas make hot drinks and cooks prepare authentic italian paninis that bear dark stripes from being flattened between two Ferrari grills. The staff also assembles crepes and packs take-home containers of gelato.
Hearty American drive-in fare fills the menu at Frank’s Hog Stand, a motorcycle-themed eatery that serves sit-down diners as well as riders on the go. Twosomes can dig into The Chopper philly-cheesesteak sandwich, which nestles succulent beef beneath monterey cheese, grilled onions, and bell peppers ($6.99), or The Dirty Frank, which smothers a hoagie-roll-ensconced hot dog in chili, cheese, and relish, creating a trifecta of taste. A lineup of 100% Angus-beef burgers assumes a range of personalities, from the friendly third-pound A Hand Full to the bombastic 1-pound The Heavy Throttle, each paired with one side, such as french fries, coleslaw, or baked beans. A shared dessert such as a chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry milk shake washes down meaty remnants, or mouths can garble the national anthem as they wrap around an all-American slice of apple pie baked to crispy perfection.