Encanto Mexican Grill's owners, Elia Rosetta and Manuel Torres, draw inspiration from their Italian and Mexican backgrounds to infuse tacos, enchiladas, and Mexican steaks with subtle European accents. Though the menu throws its share of curveballs (think grilled fajitas with tofu, or a piñata filled with guacamole), it largely stays true to the culinary traditions of Mexico. One of the restaurant's most popular dishes, for example, is a slow-cooked chicken guisado in a roasted poblano pepper. On Sundays, chefs treat early risers to brunches of salsa-smothered eggs and fluffy omelets. In warmer months, diners head out to the patio to sip wine and listen to live music.
The first IHOP—the dream of founders Al and Jerry Lapin—opened in 1958 in Toluca Lake, California, and was originally dubbed the International House of Pancakes. Since then, rapid expansion has led to myriad milestones across the company's colorful history, from introducing its modern IHOP acronym in 1973 to its 1,000th restaurant opening in Layton, Utah, in 2001.
Today, the company stands strong with around 1,500 locations across North and Central America, each one an enthusiastic dispenser of pancakes, french toast, and tables constructed entirely out of bacon. Though IHOP is known as a bastion of breakfast, it also stays open during the day and into the evening, delivering lunch and dinner as well.
Tazas is filled with the inviting aromas of hookah smoke, a menu of grilled sandwiches and more, and a dazzling bevy of bean and leaf beverages. More than 20 mixes of premium Social Smoke shisha, such as chai-tea latte, white peach, and chocolate chill, produce thick, fragrant plumes ideal for evil villains hoping to make grand exits.
When Food Network celebrity chef Guy Fieri roams the country in search of down-home eats on his show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, he follows his gut. Rarely, though, does he stumble upon a “culinary compound.” But such was the case when he and his film crew visited Texas Pride Barbecue, where “It’s all about Texas,” as owner Tony Talanco told the San Antonio Express-News.
The haven of Texas-style barbecue juts out from the tall grasses, mesquite trees, and barbecue-sauce waterfalls that fill the surrounding fields. As an old filling station, Tony’s restaurant not only greets guests with the smoky scents of slow-cooked brisket, ribs, and sausage, but also with waves of nostalgia surging from antique gas pumps, jukeboxes, farm equipment, and artifacts from the 1920s through ‘60s that Tony has salvaged. In the kitchen, Tony and his cooks lavish time on their two most popular items: the brisket and the homemade barbecue sauces. After dry rubbing the brisket with seasoning, they cook it for 12 hours in a pit fueled by mesquite wood. This smoky flavor comes to life when dipped in hot or regular sauce, both of which begin with onions caramelizing in bacon fat.
Texas Pride Barbecue continues celebrating its state heritage with live music and special events that include a Bike Night and a fish fry. Such activities may have been part of the reason the San Antonio Express-News declared Texas Pride Barbecue its “Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests”—one of many awards the eatery has racked up.