Chef Eukia Bryant’s culinary education began when she was just a girl. In her family’s kitchen she would marvel as her grandmother nimbly sliced meat and stirred pots of aromatic sauces. Although she would continue to study at a professional culinary institute, Eukia never forgot the skills and recipes she learned next to her grandmother. Today, with her own personal-chef business, she draws from those skills to whip up wholesome gourmet meals for couples and small groups.
The seasoned chef journeys to her clients’ homes, arms laden with bags of fresh produce, fine ingredients, and professional cooking equipment. She bustles about household kitchens as she whips up lavish dishes and desserts according to each customer’s specified tastes, preferences, and dietary restrictions. Before cleaning up the kitchen, she carefully packs meals into oven-safe containers and leaves customers with detailed reheating and serving instructions.
The versatile chef also designs elegant dinner parties for which she assists her clients with all aspects of planning—from crafting a special gourmet menu to deciding what color kazoo should go in each goodie bag.
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.
At Let's Dish!, families select healthy, hearty meals to eat at home without having to dedicate valuable time to planning, shopping, or preparation. After placing an order online, patrons stop by the shop at a scheduled time to find dishes that are made from fresh ingredients, customized to taste, and then, like Sleeping Beauty, frozen to prevent them from aging. Meal menus rotate monthly and include homestyle selections, such as pork tenderloin, pot roast with mashed potatoes, and rosemary and mustard grilled sirloin steaks. The preassembled Dish-n-Dash entrees allow for speedy pickup service, freeing families to spend more quality bonding time sorting the mail by size and color. On a national scale, Dish Delivery's reach expands from New York City to North Carolina.
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.
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.
Using healthy, natural ingredients, chef Lisa Honick crafts a diverse menu of fully prepared breakfast, lunch, and dinner fare, as well as sundry entrees, sides, and desserts that long for the finishing flames of customers' home ovens. Early morning biters can grab a seat in the bright café dining room and hang a fang on the thick-sliced challah French toast, topped with rum-glazed bananas and candied pecans ($7.95). Classic lunchtime deli fare includes the moonlight in Vermont, a roasted turkey breast sandwich that lures lazy vampires away from daytime television and swaddles tongue buds with Vermont cheddar, apples, cranberries, Euro greens, and boursin spread ($7.95). Dinner entrees to go, such as the chicken marsala or glazed corn beef with pineapple sauce, arrive at hungry tables accompanied with salad, two side dishes, rolls, and dessert ($17.95/person, all dinners).