N’awlins Big Easy Bistro owners Craig McNamara and Venu Puttagunta celebrate the spirit of New Orleans with a regular lineup of rustic cuisine as well as occasional oyster roasts and crawfish boils. Prepared in the tradition of Cajun cooking, the eatery's menu ignites taste buds with shrimp or barbecue shrimp. Soppin bread accompanies crawfish étouffée, and po boys come dressed up in lettuce, tomato, and house sauce or dressed down in buns made from blue jeans.
Erwin Ovalle spent his childhood in his family?s bakery, dashing back and forth into the kitchen to help bake bread after helping customers at the register. He dreamed of one day owning his own bakery, but after sampling the food from street vendors during a whirlwind trip across Mexico, he changed his dream. He would instead open a caf? infused with the very aromas that beckoned him to those humble street carts.
At Ovalle's Mexican Caf?, Erwin and his chefs pay homage to Mexican regional cuisine, building a menu centered around dishes such as enchiladas suizas and choripan?authentic Mexican chorizo with roasted poblano, onion, oaxaca cheese, and garlic aioli. And they build every dish from scratch, to boot. They pickle the jalapenos that tuck into braised short rib tortas, and whip up a cilantro garlic sauce that crowns the grilled chile-rubbed skirt steaks.
At Cafe 411, Chef Zain serves up Southern foods such as chicken and dumplings and housemade meatloaf. But the menu's highlight is Chef Zain's barbecue. He smokes pulled pork, beef brisket, and chicken for lunch and dinner served with sides such as coleslaw and baked beans. In the morning, when the sun is still lost, he and his staff prepare breakfast dishes such as biscuits and gravy, pancakes, and omelets.
Brought up in Germany by parents working with the US military, brothers Jonny, Robbie, and Jeremy Moore trace the foundation of their coffee shop to their travels. From Italy to Thailand, the brothers had the benefit of sampling some of the world’s best coffees, refining their palates and developing their love of the drink in the process. Today, they combine their efforts to source fair-trade beans from far-reaching destinations, bringing them to BonLife for Robbie to roast onsite. Focused on crafting perfect individual cups instead of pouring orders for the masses, BonLife regularly features nine brewing methods and a 10th that rotates monthly. The deft baristas watch Japanese siphoning apparatus percolate over open burners, drip pour-over cups from custom-made stands, and extract espresso from Sofia, a copper-plated espresso machine and not a woman who fiercely guards her coffee. The coffee bar also offers organic granola bars, biscotti, greek yogurt, and 100% fruit smoothies.
Husband-and-wife team Wesley and Colleen Crawford run Our Little Coffee House out of their little coffee house in Clinton, where they craft made-from-scratch goodies. Although best known for their fanciful cupcakes and a distrust of measuring cups, the twosome also bakes homemade pies, candies, pastries, and breads. Earning the most plaudits are the Crawford's cupcakes; six staple flavors including tropical pineapple and carrot caramel vie for counter space with rotating monthly and spur-of-the-moment creations. Wesley and Colleen are making a documentary about their journey, which has taken the couple from Macon, Georgia, to Tennessee, all in pursuit of their custard-covered dream.
When Tasia Malakasis walked into a gourmet food shop in New York City, she unexpectedly found herself face to face with her future. It was cheese?specifically, Belle Chevre, a French-style goat cheese made by hand in her home state of Alabama. It wasn't long before she was journeying down south to study the art of cheese-making. She became a genuine protege, and eventually, when the company's owner retired, she took over. Since 1989, the company has racked up numerous awards and accolades for its fine cheese, which include a pimento chevre, a Montrachet-style goat cheese, and a mint julep-inspired Southen Belle goat cheese. Their rustic creamery, housed in the old town cotton warehouse, offers both guided and self-guided tours, samples at the tasting bar, and a chance to meet the goats that help make the cheese by wrapping it up with their dexterous hooves.