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.
China Garden was founded with a passion for sharing home cooking with the community, and to that end they present an all-encompassing scope of Chinese, Thai, Korean, and Hunan cuisines. With that wide spectrum of dishes on hand, the menu bulges with an expansive selection, tempting guests with simple, elegant choices such as pork lo mein, egg drop soup, and general tso's chicken. The chefs prepare each dish made-fresh-to-order, unlike the cooks at fast-food restaurants. For convenience, China Garden offers both lunch and dinner for sit-down dining, carryout and specialize in delivering while providing easy ordering through its website.
Repicci's authentic Italian-ice creations use flavorsome flavors to make icy-cold treats free of fat, cholesterol, and dairy. Allow tongues to embark on a vacation to a mini iceberg with a dish holding a fresh-served single ($3) or double ($5) scoop in one of many fruity or dinner-spoiling flavors: blue raspberry, lemon, piña colada, creamsicle, green apple, cherry, and blue raspberry are some of the recent resident flavors. Like candy bars or individually wrapped shrimp, premade, 8-ounce cups ($3) and 4-ounce push tubes ($1.50) stuff a tasty treat in a convenient package. Up to eight people can nosh on the edible mouth air conditioners upon Repicci's patio, replete with free WiFi, sunlit conversations, and automatic appreciation for the outdoors.
For more than 23 years, Mrs. Annie has been dishing out homemade sweet treats and natural snacks blended fresh, one pot at a time, every day. Sugar-lusting customers can peruse the plethora of premium brittles and artisan eats, and bury bicuspids into brittle classics such as peanut brittle (16 oz., $7.95) and pecan brittle (16 oz., $8.95), or spiced up jalapeno peanut brittle (16 oz., $8.95). Flavored peanuts—Spanish-roasted, spicy hot, or sugar-coated (7 oz., $2 each)—shake the foundation of legume traditionalists, while Mrs. Annie’s all-natural peanut butter ($3.75 for a pint) makes for the perfect PB&J sandwich or a delicious solution to roof repair.
After two decades in the Air Force, technical sergeant Ken Lee traded his airplane wings for chicken wings and finally opened his own restaurant, boasting two locations. And in May 2012, Mama Lee's received a televised makeover from the Food Network's Restaurant: Impossible crew. No detail was neglected. Celebrity chef Robert Irvine and his team renovated the facility and the decor floor to ceiling, replaced individual pots and dishes, and hung frying-pan flowers on the walls. They also revived the menu, which still proudly showcases classic favorites such as fried chicken, catfish, and mac ‘n’ cheese, as well as homemade desserts, such as peach cobbler freshly picked from a cobbler tree.