A mix of sleek, brightly colored stools and weathered wooden tables creates a rustic, yet modern look inside The Purple Martin. And a mix of new and old is exactly what guests can expect from the executive chef, whose creative bistro dishes often incorporate traditional Mediterranean spices and flavors. The signature house dish is a Tunisian chickpea stew called lablabi. Chefs ladle cups of it atop a slice of bread, which soaks up the rich flavors of savory garlic and cumin broth, and top the bowl with a poached egg. For lighter dishes, chefs toss sprigs of arugula with purple beets and orange slices before drizzling the entire mixture in a North-African vinaigrette. They also shave off thin slices of seasoned lamb to tuck into doner kebabs or inscribe with secret messages marked "eat after reading."
Host to regular erotic art shows and sex-positive social events, Shameless Grounds serves up a dose of radical inclusiveness alongside its frothy espresso drinks. Customers 18 and older rappel down the human-sexuality lending library's bookshelves with care so as not to spill foamy lattes (a $3 value) or bold americanos (a $2.55 value) on erotic photography and gender-studies tomes. Alternatively, the S'creamer (a $3.85 value) combines ice cream and espresso with rich chocolate sauce for a dessert easily sipped during rounds of kinky bingo, fetish-themed karaoke nights, and other sex-positive events.
Amber and JoyLynn, founders of The Joy of Cake Bakers, both grew up with a love for baking and a belief that dessert and happiness go hand-in-hand. They work with their clients so that they can customize each cake to match their personalities and ruling planets before toting their visually appealing confections for delivery.
Kakao's chocolate bars and barks, truffles, and other confections are handmade on-site and feature local ingredients, including Mattingly's beer, sunshine, and feelings. While some menacing candy makers inject artificial space-whale fat into their whale-fat pies, Kakao eschews all artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Fresh cream, honey, and sugar create the buxom, butyraceous taste of its caramels ($6 for a four-pack), and chocolate bark ($3) is chipped off the cacao tree with an axe.
Serving what the Riverfront Times calls "jazzed-up American-grill standards," Fox Park Grille infuses its starters, sandwiches, and wings with signature touches. The grill's casual atmosphere ushers sports fans and foodies alike to its tables, where burgers stuffed with american, blue, and swiss cheese challenge hands to heft their kaiser rolls. From the meatballs to the sauces, including roasted red pepper, honey mustard, and marinara, the kitchen crafts many eats in-house and remains open until at least 10 p.m. six days a week.
Aside from innovative bar fare, Fox Park Grille also specializes in evening entertainment. Guests vie for the top spot during Wednesday trivia nights, and karaoke singers take the stage on Thursday and Friday. On Saturdays, DJ Rayn spins songs from the ’80s and ’90s for a nostalgic dance party that segues into a fight club for former prom kings.
City Bistro specializes in hearty American sandwiches. Its menu catalogs a Tuscan grilled chicken wrap with provolone and aioli sauce, as well as a steak sandwich with grilled portabella mushrooms and on a toasted bun. Beyond their cheddar bacon cheeseburgers and BLTs, the team pours wine, mixes cocktails, and chills bottles of imported and domestic beer at their newly remodeled and expanded bar area that features a stage for live blues and Motown music.