The warm aroma of freshly baked waffle cones envelops every nook and cranny of Marble Slab Creamery, revving up guests’ senses with the promise of impending decadence. As the hand-rolled cones tan in their ovens, the store’s staff bustles about the premises whipping up fresh batches of premium ice cream in the onsite creamery and helping patrons select a flavor from a list of more than 60 options. This chef-driven dedication to gourmet ice cream began in 1983 with the company’s founding in Houston, Texas, when two French chefs were enlisted to create a recipe for Marble Slab Creamery’s signature sweet-cream ice cream using their culinary expertise.
Today, staffers utilize the frozen-slab technique of ice-cream architecture, scooping each customer’s choice of ice cream and mix-ins onto a chilled marble slab to mix the separate elements into one custom mélange. Though specializing in cone-based ice-cream treats, Marble Slab Creamery also offers a menu full of other scream-worthy confections, including cakes, shakes, and pie à la mode.
The cakes created by bakers at A Piece Of Cake By Ybarra's don't fit inside any sort of box?both figuratively and literally. Each cake showcases a different style, such as a five-tiered wedding creation with red flowers flowing down its side, a birthday cake molded into the shape of Thomas the Tank Engine, and a colorful pile of small cakes crowned with clusters of mini balloons. What the cakes do have in common is that they're frosted and filled with creative flavors, from almond or chocolate-mint cake to fudge-chocolate or pineapple buttercream frosting.
For decades, the aroma of freshly baked cookies has lured kids to the kitchen. There's something irresistible about that combination of melted chocolate and sugary dough, and it's not something you simply grow out of. Thanks to Nestle Tollhouse Caf? by Chip, you don't have to. The sweetest shop in McAllen welcomes kids of all ages to browse cases lined with giant cookie cakes, gooey brownies, and old-fashioned chocolate chip cookies. On warm summer days, the shop also serves ice cream and, upon special request, douses customers with the cookie dough hose.
With parents hailing from Sicily and Naples, Anthony Russo enjoyed an Italian upbringing. By age 12, he spent much of his time in the kitchen, learning to prepare Old World recipes with his family and family friends. And from the flurry of Italian phrases and conversation, one quote of his father's stuck with him most: "If you can't make it fresh, don't serve it!" Several decades later, Anthony has hand-tossed his own Italian restaurant franchise and, true to his father's words, employs fresh ingredients in the same family recipes that were passed down to him. Amid exposed brick and walls the warm hue of marinara, skilled chefs craft New York–style brick-oven pizzas with toppings such as spinach, sundried tomatoes, and capers. Servers stand ready to answer questions about the restaurant’s wine lists, letting guests know which wines pair best with the pizzotto sandwich or whether pinot noir can really turn dogs invisible.