Pie Place Café & Bakery's made-from-scratch creations tempt discerning taste buds by way of seasonal rotation and ever-inventive recipes. Start stomach engines with a classic greek salad ($7.95), or a toasted-walnut and fruit salad tossed with mandarin oranges, crisp apples, and craisins ($8.95). A variety of soups are offered throughout the week, starting with broccoli and cheese on Monday and concluding with Saturday’s white chicken chili ($3.95 for a cup, $4.95 for a bowl). A bevy of alternating savory pies warm bellies with comforting options, including the chicken enchilada, which layers spicy cream sauce with chicken, cheese, avocado, and sour cream. Likewise, hearty sandwiches such as the chipotle-chicken panini unite bacon and cheese on ciabatta ($7.25), while the black-bean burger boasts its galactic share of sliced-avocado crescents ($7.25).
White Rhino Coffee is about more than just coffee—although really good coffee is of the utmost importance here. Open early and closing late, the cafe serves as a place where strangers can become friends over caffeine-fueled conversations and laughter. Along with classic french press, espresso, and drip coffees, the staff recommends tasty drinks like nonfat iced dirty peppermint chai. "Edibles" such as house-baked cookies, muffins, fresh fruit, and scrumptious sandwiches keep bellies full and quiet during events like open mic night and group naps.
New York-style pizza and Italian-style Italian food fill the menu at Café Sicilia, a casual neighborhood joint with a welcoming feel. Served by the pie or slice, sizzling pizzas are topped with canadian bacon, mushrooms, capers, artichokes, and other standard or specialty toppings and give off the aromas of toasted crust and melty cheese. Deep dish, sicilian-style pies pack an extra hearty punch, while stromboli and calzones transform the slice into a more compact culinary vehicle.
Outside the pizza realm, Café Sicilia's chefs plate fettucini alfredo, baked ziti, tortellini, and lasagna. Kids can tuck into spaghetti and meatballs or chicken parmigiana, while parents feast on zuppa de pesce, an assortment of seafood layered in zesty marinara. Culinary expeditions conclude with tiramisu, cannoli, and plain or chocolate cheesecake.
A woven hanging light looms overhead, casting a buttery glow on wall alcoves festooned with orchid arrangements. Nearby, booths flaunt intricate geometric designs to match throw pillows on the adjacent sofa. The walls are comprised of texturally diverse materials such as stacked stone, exposed brick, and barbecue-flavored wallpaper, an eclectic assortment that mirrors Orchid City Café's mélange of Cajun, American, and Asian fusion fare.
Poboys and Thai-style rice dishes overflow with a choice of catfish, salmon, and chicken—all available fried, grilled, blackened, or interrogated. Chefs also mold half-pound Angus sirloin burgers to pair with fresh-cut french fries and specialty drinks such as smoothies or sweet boba tea.
Owned by New Orleans expats forced out by hurricane Katrina, Pierre's Mardi Gras Café, featured on Fox 4, rekindles the Cajun spirit from within its kitchen, kicking out authentic New Orleans fare. Friends, romantic partners, or auditioning potato-sack teammates become temporarily obstructed from each other's view by the 12-inch Half & Half po' boy, a classic french-bread sandwich with somersaulting bites of fish, shrimp, and oysters accented by lettuce, tomato, and mayo. Philly steak po' boys sizzle and crunch in their edible envelopes, and surf 'n' turf po' boys squash appetites with steak- and shrimp-inspired stomps of the foot. Pairs take a break from open-jawed po' boy bites and ladle a spoonful of authentic jambalaya into their mouths, an alchemical elixir composed of two different sausages and shrimp in tomato sauce, or trade off spoonfuls of crawfish étouffée as they argue about whose taste buds would be more likely to guest star on reality TV. Cups of shrimp creole and crawfish étouffée boast flavors that slow-dance atop tongues in simmering revelry. Pierre's Mardi Gras Café will be open on Sunday, September 4, as well as on Labor Day.