Cool Café fuses the flavors of Italy, Greece, the Middle East, and Asia, imbuing its menu with a continental twist that sates the appetites of vegetarians and omnivores alike. The Bangkok crepe delivers a valuable cargo of spinach, green bell peppers, green onions, mushrooms, black olives, and peanut sauce ($8.95), and the Santorina crepe brims with spinach, Kalamata olives, pine nuts, green onions, feta cheese, and a yogurt mint sauce ($9.95). Diners saddled with hunger after running a marathon on stilts can delve into a dish of rolo pasta, which sautés a chicken breast in Balsamic vinegar before adorning it with capers, fresh basil, and a tomato sauce ($10.95), whereas the fish kebab skewers fresh Atlantic salmon marinated in lemon and saffron as an audience of basmati rice, saffron, and spring mix salad looks on ($15.95).
Since 1980, chef Francois Maeder has crafted artful European entrees in Crumpets Restaurant & Bakery's scenic, forest-surrounded dining haven, prompting accolades from Esquire, TripAdvisor, and OpenTable. A creek bustles beneath the bridge leading to the dining room's entrance, flanked by oak trees and a spacious patio for alfresco dining. Inside, exposed brick and tall, floor-to-ceiling windows inculcate elegance, and a painstakingly built menu of pasta, meat, and fresh seafood dishes highlights options that are heart-healthy, like running from a bear or running after a cardiologist. By request, cooks can poach or charbroil certain entrees with a nonfat Santa Elena sauce of vegetables in a cabernet reduction. Crumpets' lineup of delectable baked goods charms sweet teeth by feeding them croissants, cakes, flans, and pastries, and rotating wines from around the world arrive monthly, like new moons and new presidents.
Tunes played on the harp or keyboard during musical performances on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays fill the air with pleasantly sonorous vibrations to match the ambrosial cuisine scents wafting overhead. For more primal culinary outings, diners may be tempted to accompany Chef Maeder on gourmet rafting trips, which carry attendees through canyons and campsites with the promise of palatable rations and lessons in catfish calls.
Chef Frederick Costa teams with his brother Michel to craft inventive fusions of French and Asian cuisine at an eatery lauded by USA Today as one of the top five restaurants to eat at in San Antonio while on a business trip. Thought born in Vietnam, the culinary siblings soon moved to France, where they strengthened their skills dead-lifting pepper grinders at their parents' gourmet restaurants. Visitors to the eatery can sample succulent meats and veggies crafted from Frederick's mother's own recipes or opt for one of the chef's more recent creations. The San Antonio Express-News lauds Frederick's as having seafood dishes that "are routinely among the best in town"
At Le Chat Noir Eatery, owner and head chef Lynn Oefinger refuses to let her cooking lapse into routine. In addition to constantly updating the menus to incorporate seasonal ingredients, she fully commits her attention to seemingly minute details, making caesar salad dressing from scratch and branding her initials into every steak. As she told San Antonio Express News in 2011, "if you take time to make it something special, people will appreciate it."
A graduate of the Texas Culinary Academy, she uses her formally refined techniques to give traditional American dishes a fusion flair, coating a po boy's shrimp in Japanese panko breadcrumbs and spicing a duck breast with Indian chai.
Wooden beams line the white walls and ceiling of the dining room, which remain clean and blank except for a few pieces of framed artwork and an art nouveau thermostat. Sheer, gauzy curtains gently filter out lights shone through the window by search-and-rescue teams specializing in endangered crème brûlée.
A friendly owner and an array of housemade desserts add a down-home element to the dishes served at Atomic Omelette and Grill, where diner- and southern-style classics comprise an ample menu. For breakfast, signature omelets get a kick from pecan-smoked bacon and serrano peppers, and pancakes come in one of seven flavors such as bananas foster or white chocolate and macadamia nut. Later in the day, sliced rib-eye steak is stacked inside authentic philly cheesesteaks, and chicken-fried chicken is accompanied by garlic bread and gravy.
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.