At Water For Chocolate, chef Sean Guy crafts meals of seasonal American cuisine for the onsite coffee bar and for off-site catering events. The coffee-bar menu quells hunger with dependable salad and sandwich favorites as well as wraps filled with grilled flank steak, pico de gallo, and salsa ranch dressing. For the expansive catering menus, chef Guy displays the full breadth of his culinary acumen by featuring enough dishes to satisfy the most voracious appetites at large wedding parties or business meetings with Jabba the Hutt. Catered trays may include roasted veggies with red pepper aioli sauce and shrimp salad served in croissants and mini sandwiches.
The Velleggia family first laid their roots in Little Italy in 1970, establishing a specialty grocery store where they began to sell a combination of imported and housemade Italian foods. Relying on time-tested traditions and natural ingredients, they continue their culinary venture in much the same manner today. The highlight at Casa di Pasta is the store's homemade and hand-cut pastas, from gnocchi and tortellini to 26 kinds of ravioli stuffed with the likes of butternut squash, lobster, or smoked mozzarella and mushroom. Premade pans of lasagna and frozen italian sausages round out the selection of homemade goods that customers can pick up for nightly dinners or to feed groups at parties. Coolers and shelves also brim with olive oils, vinegars, breads, sweets, and cheeses imported directly from the Old World.
In 1983, "Beefalo" Bob DiMartino began a small-scale catering operation built around no-frills, classic recipes of pit-roasted barbecue, growing his business to include a carry-out joint, sports bar, and even an upscale banquet hall. Bob's process is simple: slow cooking beef, ham, turkey, slabs of ribs and morsels of pork and chicken over smoking hickory fires and not cutting corners with gas jets or heat vision. The sports bar garnishes these backyard-style feasts with plates of oysters, lump crab cakes, and strip steak, as well as sports games on 20 big-screen TVs and rivers of cold beer.
True to its roots as a catering outfit, Beefalo Bob's supplies parties of up to 10,000 with bull roasts, crab feasts, and roasted pigs, as well as rentals of tents, tables, and moon bounces. Fancy occasions find a home in the 250-person Reflections Hall, decked out with chandeliers, DJs, a fireplace, hints of sparkly gold, and a wide-open hardwood dance floor.
Loco Hombre is a Tex-Mex outpost serving favorites from both sides of the border, giving star-crossed hamburger and taco fans a meeting place at last. The dinner menu boasts Southwestern succulents such as the crab, artichoke, and chorizo dip ($10), whose Old Bay–dusted tortilla chips act as the spicy vessel for gooey goodness. Mexican entrees include pork tacos, with carnitas playing a staring role in a musical of flavors that includes chorus members queso fresco, jalapeño escabeche, and cilantro ($13). A jalapeño-popper burger stuffs Roseda beef with jalapeños and cream cheese and serves it up alongside a chipotle-ranch sauce ($15 for 1 lb., $13 for 8 oz.). Entrees such as the jambalaya ($18) contend for the heavyweight taste title, with ingredients such as chicken and a duo of sausages melding harmoniously in a Creole stew of peppers, tomato, onion, okra, and rice. Loco Hombre also serves lunch, a better way to satisfy midday Tex-Mex cravings than eating salsa out of a Longhorns cap.
A stack of pumpkins, a penguin, and a Barbie doll rarely share an origin story, but the pastry chefs at SugarBakers Cakes have hand-crafted all three from moist cake and frosting. They create cakes that range from classic carrot cakes to lifelike 3D confections, incorporating ingredients such as chocolate mousse, lemon curd, and coconut pecan icing. Honored by The Knot, WeddingWire, and four other establishments for their 2013 wedding cakes, the chefs can tailor their designs to suit a wedding’s unique theme or a reception venue.