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 jalapeños 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.
Massive containers of whey and protein powders line the walls at Vitamin Power, providing customers with a full view of the variety of nutrition and supplement products they have to offer. Customers can load up on protein shakes filled with vitamin C, pre-workout formulas, or more intense supplements designed to help muscles bulge. The shop also prepares smoothies using fresh mangoes, berries, and bananas, as well as mix-ins that boost energy including pecans and flax seed.
The cooks at Dickey's Barbecue Pit have been serving slow-smoked, USDA-inspected meats slathered in sauce concocted from the Dickey family recipe since the first shop opened in Dallas in 1941. The menu is populated with sandwiches piled high with barbecue-drenched Texas-style chopped beef brisket, southern pulled pork, spicy cheddar sausage, and turkey breast ($3.50–$7). Fingers dress themselves to paint white T-shirts after handling plates mounded with barbecue-smothered ribs, which are accompanied by a choice of two sides such as creamy coleslaw, waffle-iron fries, or mac 'n' cheese ($11). The Giant Stuffed Baker cushions a family of meat, cheese, and toppings on a baked-potato sofa more fluffy than Mother's Day card poetry ($5.50–$7).
For decades, the aroma of freshly baked cookies has lured kids to the kitchen. There's something irresistible about that combination of melted chocolate and sugary dough, and it's not something you simply grow out of. Thanks to Nestle Tollhouse Café by Chip, you don't have to. The sweetest shop in McAllen welcomes kids of all ages to browse cases lined with giant cookie cakes, gooey brownies, and old-fashioned chocolate chip cookies. On warm summer days, the shop also serves ice cream and, upon special request, douses customers with the cookie dough hose.
Google, Safari, and PowerPoint all share something special: a place on the sushi menu at Otto Sushi & Seafood. At least, they inspire some of the tongue-in-cheek rolls that chefs create there. The Google roll hugs avocado and fried shrimp inside fried rice; the Safari roll is composed of crab, avocado, and cream cheese; and the PowerPoint roll includes asparagus, cheese, and fried fish in soy paper with squid salad on top. The rolls represent the Japanese portion of the menu, but chefs also pay homage to Mexico and America through cooked seafood plates—try the spicy à la diabla fish or shrimp for a taste.