There are countless gelato shops in Rome, yet Bacio di Roma managed to snag the Best Gelato in the City title by the prominent Italian food magazine, Gambero Ross. Now relocated to Baton Rouge, Roma’s talent for handcrafting decadent treats has not ceased; the owners' also operate Bacio di Roma—or Kiss from Rome—where they have earned local praise from publications such as Dig and the Daily Reveille.
Inside the Baton Rouge gelateria, staff prepare a range of flavors from all-natural ingredients. As Kendra Chamberlain of Dig learned, gelato must be created in small batches. This means that staff work up to 10 hours a day to create each batch by hand —just like in Italy, where Keebler Elves are illegal. Icy treats are paired with Lavazza coffee drinks, from espresso served straight up to lattes and chocolaty mochas. Shop successor Mario Lozanov takes pride in preserving the quality of traditional gelato flavors but welcomes new flavors such as birthday cake as well as a variety of hand-crafted desserts such as cannoli, tiramisu, and panna cotta, alongside an expanded menu featuring Italian panini sandwiches, sweet and savory crepes, soups, and salads. The shop is open during current remodeling to enhance the store's cozy and warm ambiance.
Red Mango's frozen yogurt has been garnering national attention for more than five years, unlike that musician strumming away next to the foosball table in his basement. The shop earned a place atop Zagat's 2011 lists for Best Smoothie and Frozen Yogurt Chain and Best Healthy Options Among Quick Refreshment Chains. Red Mango showcases its award-winning reputation by dishing up all-natural and gluten-free yogurts—all of which are either low-fat or nonfat—that promote healthy digestive and immune systems with natural probiotics. Friendly staff members are always on hand to whip Ghirardelli dark chocolate, POM pomegranate juice, and seasonal pumpkin spice frozen yogurts into stevia-sweetened smoothies or parfaits layered with organic granola and fruit. The toppings bar brims with crunchy cereal, cheesecake bits, and nuts, allowing creative customization.
For more than 30 years, Quiznos has toasted its submarine sandwiches to bring out the hidden flavors found in butcher-quality meats, cheese, and artisan breads. Its classic and signature subs take on a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles ranging from the prime rib mushroom and swiss to the classic italian donning black olives, mozzarella, red-wine vinaigrette, and plentiful sliced meats. Those closely monitoring their waistlines can take unabashed bites of sandwiches that have fewer than 500 calories, such as the pork-cuban, Baja-chicken, and veggie-caprese subs. Quiznos' Toasty Bullets and Torpedoes offer slimmer versions of sub fare and flaunt supreme aerodynamics when shot out of T-shirt cannons and into mouths. A selection of Flatbread Sammies, soups, and salads round out Quiznos' varied menu.
Established by two brothers in 1994, El Magey feeds the masses with family recipes every day. After warming up with complimentary tortilla chips and salsa, bellies fill up on entrees from a menu of authentic Mexican and Latin American fare. Seasoned grilled skirt steak, grilled shrimp, tilapia, and crawfish star in some of the eatery's specialties supported by a cast of homemade guacamole, pico de gallo, and mole-covered backup singers. A buffet emits swirls of savory aromas, with specialty items starring on Friday seafood nights and Wednesday kids' night buffets. Homemade desserts seal each meal's deal, tickling taste buds with in-house-crafted flan and tres leches cakes as sweet and smooth as a kindergartner's pickup lines.
CiCi’s Pizza combines the variety of a buffet with the thrill of bottomless pizza. Each pie is crafted with dough made from scratch daily and then slathered with homemade marinara and showered with toppings ranging from traditional pepperoni and Italian-style sausage to creative combinations including buffalo chicken and mac 'n' cheese. The buffet is stocked with a plethora of fresh pastas, as well as signature salads with the option to put tossing talents to the test at the salad bar. After they've feasted on savory options, diners can revisit the buffet for dessert including freshly baked brownies, slices of apple pizza, and cinnamon rolls drizzled with icing—or they can eat dessert first, thereby tearing an irreparable hole in the space-time continuum.
Brennan Ledet experienced one of the rarest anomalies in the known universe—he met someone who had never heard of a taco. He realized with a shudder of terror that this might not be as unusual as it sounds in certain areas dominated by Cajun traditions. After working for a Mexican restaurant with owners who were too afraid to embrace actual Mexican cuisine lest it frighten the locals, he decided to take matters into his own hands. In 2011, he opened up his own restaurant that would appease residents with traditional Cajun fare while introducing them to the exotic flavors of Mexico.
At Taco Boudreaux, Ledet and his culinary team incorporates local produce and seafood into the menu of Cajun Tac-Eauxs, which boasts fried catfish, gator, oysters, or shrimp topped with housemade rémoulade, pico de gallo, and jalapeño peppers. They continue the Cajun-Mexican fusion in their étouffée burrito and the carne asada po-boy sandwich, which they serve with shoestring fries. Bartenders, meanwhile, can complement meals with domestic and Mexican beers and specialty cocktails, such as the Mardi Gras margarita, whose secret blend of purple juices and spirits are shaken by a parade marshal before being poured into a glass rimmed in king cake sugar.
Sombreros decorate both the dining-room walls and the vintage pickup truck outside on the lawn, which flaunts a hand-painted portrait of Taco Boudreaux’s sombrero-wearing shrimp mascot.