At Simply Fondue, diners begin meals by submerging bread, vegetables, and fruit into bubbling pots of cheese. Following the appetizer course, servers present platters of meat, spring vegetables, or seafood. These entrees are cooked to order in one of four styles: traditional (coated in sesame batter and fried in soybean oil), Mediterranean Sangria (seasoned with wine, garlic, and orange), vegetable bouillon (cooked in a spiced broth), or fondue grill (grilled tableside). For dessert, servers flambé chocolate fondue and accompany each vat with nuggets of pound cake, jumbo marshmallows, chocolate-chip-cookie dough, and other delicacies. Among 18 dessert fondues, the bananas foster fondue brims with banana liqueur, dark rum, and a hint of cinnamon, whereas the rocky road contains a chunky blend of marshmallow cream, pecans, and construction cones. Bartenders complement meals with a choice of more than 100 martini flavors, from classic cosmopolitans to pumpkin-pie martinis. Arched, Spanish-style doorways open toward dining areas with low red and gold lighting. Wire sculptures and abstract paintings deck the space above booths, and an entire wall, inlaid with cubbies, stores dozens of wines.
Though Let 'em Eat Cake formed under the direction of Anne Pickens, the torch has now been passed to her daughter, Sara. Following the teachings of her mother, but adding her own adventurous flair, Sara crafts baked treats that range from gourmet cookies and lemon bars to cupcakes and customized, full-sized cakes. Like an artist paints with a brush or a newborn burps, Sara wields buttercream and fondant with panache, using cake to sculpt 3-D renditions of anything imaginable, including newspapers, bottles of Patron, and Santa hats. Cakes are available in flavors such as carrot, strawberry, and vanilla.
For cupcakes, Sara has assembled an arsenal of more than 30 flavors, including pineapple upside-down cake, maple bacon, and pumpkin spice. Sara also consults for weddings, and crafts cakes for any occasion including graduations, birthdays, baby showers, and prison escapes.
The diversity of Indian cuisine is as vast as the nation itself. At India Express, the skilled cooks serve up meticulously spiced entrees and traditional vegetarian-friendly dishes to give diners a taste of the country’s culinary history. Like a cool winter's day on Venus, the eatery's traditional clay oven can reach temperatures of 1,000 degrees, perfecting specialties such as the lobster tikka masala, with barbecue lobster smothered in a tomato-and-onion cream sauce.
Una Mas Mexican Grill entices customers with high-quality, traditional Mexican cooking delivered with a modern flair and appetizing attitude. Incline your eyes to the menu and try a small bowl of tortilla soup with marinated chicken, avocado, cheese, and broth-soaked tortilla shreddings ($2.79 for a small). Margarita salad tantalizes teeth with fresh Romaine lettuce, jicama, cabbage in reds and greens, carrots, radishes, pinto beans, and mexican cheese, all flicked by the flavory fingers of salsa fresca and lime vinaigrette ($6.29). Volunteer your mouth for the task of dismantling a foghead burrito, which wraps chicken in a chili-tomato tortilla and accessorizes with cheese, guacamole, rice, black beans, sour cream, roasted pasilla, corn salsa, and barbecue sauce ($6.59).
Wise Guys elicits the flavors of the East Coast with a simple but tasty menu of cheesesteaks, gyros, and burgers. Sweet or hot peppers spice up original Philly cheesesteaks, while gyros prepared Chicago-style infuse a bit of the Midwest into the menu. Burgers, salads, and sides of onion rings or garlic fries round off the menu displayed over the eatery’s front counter. Guests can sit down and dig in the dining room, which is as no-nonsense as the menu, checkered with black-and-white framed photos and clusters of dark tables.
At first it seemed like the only people who would ever hear about Patrick Caldwell's pies were his friends and family. Using a recipe born in North Carolina and passed down from his mother, he'd craft his specialty white-sweet-potato pie for every family gathering. But it was his mother-in-law who gave him the final push to turn his pie-making hobby into a full-time endeavor. Using the family recipe as a blueprint, Patrick began to tweak the formula to make it perfect, aging his white sweet potatoes in a wine cellar for nine months to enhance their natural sweetness and cure them of their fear of the dark. Before long, Patrick's Famous Pies were in high demand at area farmer's markets, where he still sells them today alongside other specialties like sweet-potato bread and peach cobbler.