After being widowed in 1982, Ruby Lorraine Feagan, better known as Tootie, began supporting her family one pie at a time, building her reputation as she won a succession of baking contests throughout Texas hill country. Investor Don Merrill came into the fold after reading a flattering article in Southern Living magazine and subsequently tasting one of Tootie's crusty, buttery, 6-pound apple pies. Today, Tootie and her daughter continue to ensure the quality of Tootie Pie Co. Gourmet Caf?'s 13 signature pie flavors ? which also include lemon velvet, coconut supreme, and the Rachael Ray?praised pumpkin pie ? as they're carefully crafted and delivered to customers' homes nationwide. The bakery's burgeoning fame has extended to the Food Network's Kid in a Candy Store, which featured Tootie's pie-on-a-stick, slices of signature desserts skewered and dipped in chocolate.
Inside Tootie's caf?, the menu of gourmet sandwiches includes sweet chicken salad with red grapes and pecans and italian grilled chicken panini with roasted red pepper and pesto or chipotle mayo. Sips of house coffee and espresso-based Milan mochas clear palates between bites better than vigorously shaking them Etch A Sketch?style.
In a previous life, Cajun Seafood & Sandwiches was a Korean café. Under the influence of a new owner hailing from Lafayette, Louisiana, the café ushered in a different type of spice. Now, diners slurp pho hot pots and sausage gumbo with the same spoon, and crunch into banh mi sandwiches and creole-style po' boys with the same wooden dentures. Seafood such as catfish and shrimp can be boiled or deep fried in housemade batter. Chow mein and fried rice swelter under the influence of table condiments such as sriracha and sweet chili.
Paciugo Gelato & Caffe’s gelato case boasts row after row of creamy confections, their silken swirls laced with sprinklings of pistachios and shavings of hazelnuts. The recipes are the result of Paciugo founder Cristiana Ginatta’s travels across Italy, which allowed her to sample hundreds of regional ingredients and dream up new flavor combinations. Now, stateside, her gelaterias churn hundreds of flavors fresh daily. The desserts’ sumptuous appearance belies their relatively wholesome nature, though—Paciugo’s experts craft their gelato with all-natural ingredients and 70 percent less fat than can be found in ice cream. The gelateria also boasts soy-based gelato and sorbets for a dessert as frozen and wholesome as an ice sculpture of Mister Rogers.
Both a quick pit-stop for grabbing a coffee and homemade pastry and a respite for sitting down for lunch and lingering a while, Hearthstone Express functions as a coffee shop and bistro. The cooks usher in the day with breakfast, scrambling eggs and tucking them into buttery croissants with spinach-artichoke spread and crispy bacon. Meanwhile, the bakers whip up pastries such as danishes, scones, and bagels to complement cups of coffee. For lunch, the cooks move on to gourmet sandwiches and paninis; best-sellers include Alicia's club?turkey, avocado spread, mozzarella, and honey dijon on a croissant?and the turkey artichoke panini, topped with spinach-artichoke spread. But the staff is open to customers' own creations as well, making Build Your Own sandwiches. Diners can pick their meat, bread, cheese, veggies, and dressings, and name it anything they want, such as Janet.
Cosmic Cakery's owner, Brittney, believes that baking is just as valid an art form as painting or sculpture (in fact, it seems to borrow heavily from both). One look at Brittney's custom cakes will make you inclined to agree. Her edible creations have included a purple boom box, a cake shaped like Legos, and another cake topped with a pair of artfully crafted roller skates. But the taste is what matters most, and Cosmic Cakery certainly delivers on that front with everything from marshmallow fondant to peanut-butter cup cake pops.
Taste Crepes & More treats its guests to foldable, flat European-style egg pancakes, wrapped over sweet fillings such as Nutella or dulce de leche, or such savory eats as smoked salmon and cream cheese, ham, or pepperoni. Diners sink their teeth into a sweet, zesty flavors of a traditional crepe suzette, or chow down on a lunch of crepes stuffed with sausage, olives, cheese, and caramelized onion. In addition to dishing out crepes fresh from the griddle, Taste whips up handmade pizzas to order, presses toasty panini sandwiches, and sides its meals with wholesome soups and salads.