Though they're both made from scratch daily, the two house sauces at Notini's are quite different. One is a plain tomato sauce, rich and ready for pouring over meatballs and Italian sausage. The other is a white alfredo sauce, meant to be mixed with fettuccine and meats such as chicken and shrimp. These family recipes define many of the dishes on the menu—a compilation of classic Italian foods that was created as an homage to the original Notini, Antonio.
Originally from Barga, Italy, Antonio Notini worked in the restaurant industry from the time he immigrated in 1909 until his retirement in 1960. Today, his son and grandsons manage Notini's with a deference to family tradition. They prepare po' boy sandwiches, pastas, and specialty pizzas to go with their signature sauces, and they serve up mint-spiced tea both by the glass and the take-home gallon. Weekly specials reward returning visitors with deals such as all-you-can-eat spaghetti on Wednesdays, which is otherwise only available if you hide out in their kitchen until after closing time.
Grab a stool at the long counter inside Cascio's Market Bistro, then close your eyes. In that moment, you're no longer in Bossier City, Louisiana. The casual restaurant's dining room fills with aromas that can't be pinned to a map: a fusion of Italian ingredients, cajun spices, and down-home American cooking.
Take the Reuben panini for example, which comes with sweet potato fries and a shaker of cajun seasonings. The meatball po' boy, on the other hand, combines the best of Louisiana and Italy. For more traditional flavors, try the homemade lasagna, plus some cannoli or gelato for dessert. Diners can even learn recipes for themselves without hiding a tape recorder in the soup?the bistro has its own supply of communal cookbooks.
Making cupcakes from scratch with recipes you developed yourself doesn’t just attract swarms of hungry customers—it can also attract the attention of the Food Network. Kim Wood’s batches of artistic and decadent desserts landed her a spot on Cupcake Wars, where she competed with three other confection experts for the chance to be named the kitchen victor. Back in her shop, she crafts the same sweets she made on TV as well as dozens of other cupcake flavors, using only fresh, whole ingredients such as sweet-cream butter, fresh fruit, and cupcake wrappers just plucked from the garden. Her signature flavors—which include key-lime pie, italian cream cake, and chocolate mint—vary by the day, and gluten-free and vegan options are available once per week. Beyond the signature sweets, Wood keeps things interesting by modifying her cupcakes into cake balls, cake pops, and cream-filled whoopee pies.
The owners and chefs at Santa Fe Cattle rely on old family recipes that demand steaks are aged and cut in-house, rolls are baked fresh each day, and signature sauces are mixed onsite. These touches transform the menu’s casual, regional eats into dishes worthy of John Wayne’s personal dressing-room buffet. Steaks, fajitas, and sliders are plated next to housemade sides of cole slaw, Santa Fe taters, and of course, a bucket of peanuts—which guests shuck directly onto the floor. The peanut shells add character to each one of the restaurant’s 20 locations, which evoke old-west saloons with touches such as brick walls draped in horse saddles and weathered wooden floors.
Started by two personal trainers, The Perfect Blend maintains a focus on health as its staffers sell nutritional supplements, teach diet and exercise strategies, and serve healthy low-fat, no-sugar-added smoothies and frozen yogurt. Flat-screen televisions display sporting events and “Hans and Franz” sketches to inspire in-store athletes perusing walls of protein powders, vitamins, and meal-replacement shakes. Meanwhile, self-serve frozen yogurt machines quietly whir as they mix their creamy contents, including no-sugar-added vanilla and cake batter flavors, into frozen swirls. Customers can also rev up their snacks with toppings from a self-serve bar stocked with healthy fresh fruit, honey, and crunchy maple pecan granola, perfect for camouflaging the gummy bears, sprinkles, and M&Ms also available.
Roller skates aren?t the safest and most efficient way to transport an order of a burger and fries to hungry diners, that?s why Some Like It Hot Food Truck?s ?50s pinup Posey takes it to the pavement behind the wheel. She comes to life painted on the side of the mustard-colored Some Like It Hot Food Truck?the first food truck in Shreveport?and makes stops at neighborhood hot spots and the Barksdale Air Force base weekdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The staffers begin mornings sizzling breakfast staples such as pancakes, egg-and-cheese sandwiches, and omelets, which wash down with cool glasses of sweet tea or steamy cups of coffee. As the day transitions into lunchtime, they swap breakfast burritos for stuffed burgers, which ooze gooey, savory fillings such as jalape?o cheddar and bacon cheddar. They also sling sandwiches including BLTs and clubs, alongside barbecue-slathered hot dogs. In true ?50s diner fashion, everything pairs with a side of hand-cut fries, soda pop, and the strong hankering to exclaim, ?Gee, that was swell, mister!?