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]]
The Great American Land and Cattle Company provides steaks that are cut onsite and cooked precisely to specifications. They arrive with an eclectic smorgasboard of sides: pineapple coleslaw, fries or veggies, and "Texas caviar"?that is, beans. The most popular cut is the tender ribeye, but the menu has all degrees of fanciness covered, from filet mignon to country-fried steak in gravy to steakburgers. If you'd like yours extra-spicy, you can order it tampique?a?covered with grilled onions and green chilies or jalape?os.
Though the company produces its many seasonings and sauces with steak in mind, the kitchen's not a beef-only zone. It also makes room for pulled-pork sandwiches, Cajun-style chicken, and charbroiled cold-water lobster tails, among other proteins. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, music and other live entertainment drifts through the dining room and onto the patio as the mountains in the background sway gently to the beat.
When Schlotzsky's first opened in Austin back 1971, the owner offered just one sandwich. Known as The Original, the stack offered lean smoked ham, genoa and cotto salamis, three kinds of cheese, and a layer of marinated black olives, all atop a hot sourdough bun. That?s all it took to get Schlotzsky?s off the ground and send it on its way to become a global franchise, today featuring locations in 35 states and four countries. Of course, today?s menu holds many, many more flavor combinations?Angus roast beef and cheese, chicken and pesto, and a smoked-turkey reuben, to name a few?along with salads and pizzas. The latter aren't as much of a divergence from Schlotzky's lunch-friendly template as it might sound: at eight inches across, they're still easy to grab on the go, and the crust is made with sourdough just like the signature sandwich bread and the walls of the head baker's home.
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.