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.
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.
From its corner on McPherson and Del Mar, this 10-flavor fortress of self-serve frozen yogurt tops each treat with towers of more than 30 toppings. Fro-yo funambulists take their first step through Sweet Spot's edible obstacle course with a rotating roster of flavors ($0.39 per oz.) that includes chocolate, kiwi, acai berry, and green tea. After filling up your bowl or bowler hat with a pileup of frozen flavors, you can tailor it to your taste buds with peaches, fresh-cut strawberries, freeze-dried love, and a host of other delicious toppings. As emphasized by Sweet's Spots facts page, frozen yogurt contains a number of nourishing ingredients that aid digestion, strengthen bones, and—when topped with fresh fruit—give you the ability to smell time.