The culinary experts at Catering with a Twist refer to their prepared feasts not as 'buffets' but as 'food displays,' a fitting title for the rows of colorful baked goods and hot entrees they carefully arrange for events big and small. Executive Chef Lexy and her crew update traditional wedding eats with inventive stations featuring such edible combinations as chicken and waffles and sliders and mac and cheese. An on-staff pastry chef complements savory options with cheesecakes, crème brûlée, and tarts available in individually sized portions.
Travis Dickey opened Dickey's Barbecue Pit in 1941. To keep things simple but delicious in the early days, he created a minimalistic menu with only seven items such as beef brisket and bottled milk. By the time the '60s rolled up in a Volkswagen van, Dickey's two sons had grown up and taken over the enterprise. Using their father's hickory-smoked recipes, they expanded the business from a single restaurant to a franchise. To this day, each location uses the same tried-and-true barbecue techniques employed by the founder all those years ago. From the original seven items, the menu has grown to include spicy cheddar sausage and complimentary ice cream as well as sides such as macaroni and cheese and jalapeño beans.
Mann's menu is the work of owner Jim Mann, an artist whose medium is meat and whose canvas is your face. No-nonsense noshers can order meat by the pound—sausage ($11.99), brisket ($12.99), ribs of bovine ($9.09) or porcine ($12.99) origin, pulled pork ($12.99), and more. To keep a hand open for impromptu gong solos, have Jim slap some of that meat between ground-wheat slabs for a barbecue sandwich ($5.59) and side it with potato salad, turnip greens, or black-eyed peas ($2.59 for one serving, $4.99 a pint). Larger appetites have their choice of combo plate with two sides (two meats, $11.59; three meats, $12.99; four meats, $15.79; veggie plate, $7.59). Once your plate looks like a pig exploded on it and your mouth and clothes are gloriously slathered in barbecue sauce, potato salad, and flecks of cobbed corn, finish up your power lunch with a jumbo Texas sweet tea ($2.29) and banana pudding ($2.89), then go nail that job interview.
A French-trained chef and a Mexican restaurateur pool their talents at Brown Bag Delivers, designing healthy, affordable cuisine for clients seeking to stockpile easy-to-prepare meals. The menu of entrees and sides rotates every week so the chef can incorporate new, seasonal ingredients. Each meal comes with simple instructions for reheating and can stay fresh inside clients' refrigerators for as long as six days—which is the exact running time of the Ken Burns documentary on leftovers. Although pickup is an option, the staff will also deliver orders to homes or workplaces throughout the Austin metropolitan area.
ZuZu eschews standard fast-food preparation methods by handcrafting all items on its menu with fresh ingredients. Sauces and salsas are made from scratch, beans and rice are fresh and not refried, and each dish is made to the exact specifications of the customer and the regulations laid out in the food section of the U.S. Constitution. Sharable chips and guacamole ($3.95) and mix-and-match small dishes like a la carte gorditas ($1.95) and tostadas ($2.25) allow patrons to sample a broad spectrum of flavors. Platters range from burritos stuffed with rice, black beans, and cotija cheese ($7.50+) to sizzling fajitas ($8.95+), and veggievore options such as yhr chimichangas ($7.50), enchiladas ($7.25), and quesadillas ($6.75). Sweet teeth whimpering can be silenced with flan ($4.25), three scoops of vanilla ice cream ($2.75), or a ZuZu sundae ($3.95).