When describing The Magic Pan Restaurant's cuisine to Ventanas Magazine, owner Annette Lawrence, an El Paso native, described it as "gourmet with a Southwestern flair." Homemade sauces and dressings in flavors such as honey Tabasco and creamy cilantro lime add kick to fresh salads served with sides such as pecan cornbread, while parmesan cream laced with peppery chipotle spices up a classic bowl of fettuccini alfredo. Smoked and roasted meats fill the majority of the restaurant's sandwiches, which are held together by focaccia, brioche, ciabatta, or the telekinetic powers of the kitchen's chef, and meaty entrees such as prime angus ribeye with smoked sea salt, cognac, and fresh herb compound butter reveal the kitchen's talent for updating culinary classics.
According to Ventanas Magazine, The Magic Pan's interior also combines flavors from around the globe in a design scheme orchestrated by Lawrence and her daughter Vanessa. At The Pan Restaurant on Cincinnati Street, work from local furniture makers is showcased alongside pieces imported from Bali, while guests to the original restaurant on Doniphan Drive enjoy their vibrant fare while surrounded by colorful, original artwork or patio planters filled with exotic flowers.:m]]
Sri Lankan culture incorporates distinctive southern Asian roots along with influences from the various European nations that have ruled it. As a result, the cuisine typically features a mélange of Indian, Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese, and Malaysian flavors. At Curry Leaf, Lana Hillstrom remains true to the flavors of her native Sri Lanka, filling the menu with her country's eclectic cuisine. Chickpeas, pork, and sliced mango simmer in aromatic curry, distinguished from familiar Thai or Indian versions by a signature powder that uses 21 fragrant ingredients, according to the Colorado Springs Independent. The rest of the menu includes Sri Lankan interpretations of Asian standards such as chicken tikka, fried rice, and mulligatawny soup.
Channeling the same vivaciousness as the menu, the dining room bursts with color from its sunshine-yellow walls, draped with leafy foliage and imported Sri Lankan rainbows. Framed pictures and woodwork also adorn the walls, and a rocking chair and a stately armchair add to the room's homey ambiance.
The sight of foam balls raining from the sky would be unusual at any place but Jungle Jaks’ Foam Factory, where they’re part of a brightly decorated playground that kids aged 3 to 12 can roam to their hearts’ content. Young ones of all dispositions can find something entertaining among Jungle Jaks’ range of athletic and artistic attractions, such as a mini soccer field for pickup games and a well-stocked arts and craft studio where masterpieces can be created. Excess energy burns away in the disco area as danceable pop hits play, while the Wii room, equipped with numerous Nintendo games and a flat-screen television, keeps arms and legs engaged as players search for Princess Peach’s lost contact lens. Elsewhere, a toddler play area engages tots with age-appropriate slides and toys, and a snack bar reenergizes guests before they collide with fellow riders on indoor bumper boat and bumper car rinks. All this excitement led to Jungle Jaks' nabbing El Paso's Best of the Best award, "Where to Take the Kiddos," in 2012 and 2013.
Across four decades and three generations, the Hoenselaar family has prepared its signature bone-in hams the same way—marinating them in secret spices and smoking them at length over a special blend of hardwood chips. At each of The HoneyBaked Ham Co.'s 400 locations, specialized machinery invented by founder Harry J. Hoenselaar himself carves each haunch into a perfect, thin-cut spiral. Slices then fill sandwiches such as the croissant-swaddled Ham Classic, or join other meats on the likes of the toasted Ham & Turkey Bella, which hoists swiss cheese, banana peppers, and balsamic vinaigrette between ciabatta bread. The correlation between pork consumption and out-of-control parties has not slipped past the notice of the HoneyBaked chefs, who also offer catering platters and party trays for 10 or more people.
Before opening her own bakery, Baby Cakes by Marcy owner Marcy Rangel honed her skills by building delicious desserts at other area bakeshops, including Sweet Endings, where her work earned her the coveted title of Best Cake in El Paso. Today, Rangel leads her own staff of pastry experts as it continues to practice delicious kitchen alchemy, transforming ordinary flour, sugar, and butter into elaborate specialty cakes worthy of taking center stage atop any sweets table. Working entirely from scratch, Rangel can custom decorate cakes with colorful frosting-based designs or shape them to resemble shoeboxes, tubes of lipstick, and other objects that everyone secretly wants to eat. "Naughty" cakes for bachelor or bachelorette parties are also a shop specialty, as are cupcakes in signature flavors such as tiramisu and strawberries and cream.
When Kipps Cheesesteak first opened in June 2010, owner Kipp wasn't sure if he'd be able to sell the 36 rolls he bought for the day. He shouldn't have worried—he was completely sold out by 11:45 a.m.
It seems that customers couldn't get enough of the cheesesteaks, which were served in classic fashion—rib eye topped with caramelized onions and slathered in Cheez Whiz or provolone—or jazzed up with green chilies, barbecue sauce, or hot sauce. The eatery is still going strong, and in addition to cheesesteaks, serves burgers, hot dogs, creative salads, and housemade cheesecakes.
The signature hot sandwiches and 23 types of frosty beers perch atop Kipps's retro-style bar, which is equipped with several wide-screen TVs broadcasting sports games and only the least-obnoxious car-insurance commercials.