The warm aroma of freshly baked waffle cones envelops every nook and cranny of Marble Slab Creamery, revving up guests’ senses with the promise of impending decadence. As the hand-rolled cones tan in their ovens, the store’s staff bustles about the premises whipping up fresh batches of premium ice cream in the onsite creamery and helping patrons select a flavor from a list of more than 60 options. This chef-driven dedication to gourmet ice cream began in 1983 with the company’s founding in Houston, Texas, when two French chefs were enlisted to create a recipe for Marble Slab Creamery’s signature sweet-cream ice cream using their culinary expertise.
Today, staffers utilize the frozen-slab technique of ice-cream architecture, scooping each customer’s choice of ice cream and mix-ins onto a chilled marble slab to mix the separate elements into one custom mélange. Though specializing in cone-based ice-cream treats, Marble Slab Creamery also offers a menu full of other scream-worthy confections, including cakes, shakes, and pie à la mode.
Every day, Breadsmith kneads and breeds made-from-scratch breads, honoring the practices of centuries-old French bakers. The delectable dough sculptures receive the royal treatment, with all delicate yeast bubbles bursting inside of a 6-ton stone-hearth oven. The oven's sweltering heat creates a cushy crust for American-style breads. In the presence of lightning-quick steam injections, European-style breads take on a crisp, crumb-dressed outer core. Daily bread offerings include French baguettes ($3.60), rustic Italian ($4.15), sourdough ($4.35), raisin cinnamon walnut ($5.95), and vanilla egg challah ($6.75). Use today's Groupon to fill up the family with lusciously leavened loaves fresh from the oven—or wait for them to go stale and then wield them as harpoons during the next potato-soup hunt.
To Dan Kim, a red mango is something truly special. The fruit only becomes that color for a very brief time, when it's most ripe, most delicious, and most nutritious. This became an allegory for Dan, a frozen yogurt enthusiast, who was conceptualizing his first yogurt shop. He opened the first location in 2007, vowing to use all-natural ingredients that, like the red mango, are both tasty and healthy. His commitment to conscientious snacking certainly caught on, as the brand has since expanded to more than 200 locations throughout North and South America. In 2011, Red Mango took top honors for frozen yogurt shops and for healthy options in a Zagat poll.
In addition to being all-natural, Red Mango's award-winning yogurt satisfies a range of diets by being gluten-free, kosher, and low-fat or non-fat. Each of the nearly 50 flavors, which range from green tea to dulce de leche, contains calcium, protein, and immune-boosting probiotics. Depending on the location, people can serve themselves or order from the full-service counter as they concoct sundaes crowned with anything from fresh fruit to peanut butter cups. The menu includes more than just fro-yo sundaes, however—it also features yogurt parfaits, Skinny Sorbettos, and fruit or boba smoothies. In addition to developing secret handshakes with their favorite yogurt taps, regular visitors can sign up for the Club Mango rewards program to receive special offers and discounts.
Executive chef Marcela Cantu employs extensive culinary training and fine ingredients to infuse each plate on The Ristretto's menu with palate-pleasing passion. Diners can pep-talk taste buds with appetizers such as bruschetta topped with herb-marinated tomatoes ($6.99), or funghi farcito, stuffed mushrooms accessorized with shrimp and crowned with cheese ($7.99). Move on to popular pasta plates such as the fetuccine alfredo with grilled chicken ($9.99) or farfalle al pesto ($9.99) inviting chicken, basil, and pine nuts to a tan-tie affair hosted by garlic olive oil sauce. The more meatily-inclined can select from ample options of chicken and fish, or savor eggplant parmigiana ($10.99) to sate an herbaceous appetite. Pull up a chair in the cozy dining room to set the scene for a romantic evening with a special ladyfriend or amicable gentlemanchum.
At first glance, La Pesca might seem to only be a seafood joint?cooks do pile eight different types of it, from clams to crab legs, into the caldo pesca soup alone. But the culinary team's specialty is merging those succulent catches with classic Mexican recipes. Here, cooks stuff jalape?os with white cheese and shrimp, broil red snapper by the pound, and pile octopus and mushrooms into tacos. In addition to crafting seafood-free Mexican options, such as grilled-chicken tacos, they also put their stamp on non-Mexican seafood dishes, such as po' boys with fried oysters.
Red Mango's frozen yogurts run the gamut of nutritional goodness, boasting all-natural, nonfat, probiotic, kosher, and low-calorie credentials. Pick from flavorful flavors such as pomegranate, coconut, and madagascar vanilla ($2.95–4.95) then toss in toppings (starting at $0.75 each), choose from fresh fruit, organic flaxseed granola, dark chocolate, and more. Red Mango magicians can also manipulate icy ingredients and taste-bud-tantalizing toppers to construct elegantly portable parfaits placed in convenient to-go cups. PureVia-sweetened smoothies ($3.95-4.95), such as Mandarin Mango and 4 Berry Blend, satisfy fruit-hungry palates, and enriched smoothies are packed with protein and immunity boosters ($0.65 each) to help drinkers eliminate invading viruses. Use today's deal to watch this frozen superhero spring into action, satisfying sweet cravings and melting all over the tongues of injustice.