Few foods are as surrounded by controversy as barbecue. Disputes over the styles prominent in Texas, the Carolinas, and Kansas City can get serious. That's why it is for the best to let professionals handle the delicate art of smoking meats and mixing sauces. At Ribshack BBQ, all of the staples are accounted for, from racks of ribs to pulled pork. These are all accompanied by the requisite greens, coleslaw, and mac 'n' and cheese that one might expect to find in a road-side barbecue joint or lazily written country song. Thanks to a new liquor license, cold beers fuel the chatter that drifts up between bites of food.
At all 200 Cookie by Design locations across the country, bakers hand-craft cheery cookie centerpieces from scratch with the creative flair of a florist. Founder Gwen Willhite stumbled across the inspiration for these artistic treats back in 1983 when, suddenly unemployed, she found she had time to combine her passion for baking and crafts. Today, each edible bouquet is prepared with the same care she showed when first starting out. She decorates each cookie by hand and personalizes the colorful confectionary arrangements for all occasions, including birthdays and housewarmings. Her cookies come in a variety of shapes, from ducks to hearts, and can be ordered in forms other than bouquets, such as baskets or trays. To get the most out of their medium, the bakers also design and decorate cookie cakes. In many instances, they’ll even hand deliver packages and can offer same-day delivery on select items, and cookie creations are always available onsite.
Born and raised in France, chef Cedric S. Fichepain carried his family recipes and passion for traditional French fare across the pond in 1997. Four years later, Cedric cut the ribbon at Le Voltaire Restaurant, which serves up classics such as croque madame sandwiches and coq au vin stewed in white wine. The cellar's 1,000-bottle inventory of French wines has earned the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence eight years in a row, and the eatery was also recognized as one of the city's best French dining experiences in _Omaha Magazine'_s Best of Omaha 2012. The restaurant's lemon-yellow walls and rough-hewn wooden door create a rustic feel, and beneath a unique glass bar top is a display of carefully arranged dried flowers.
Taras Slipka brings something unique to the cakes that he crafts and decorates: an art degree. Drawing from training in Europe, Slipka uses his subtle, classically trained touch to transform delectable French-style pastries into stunning masterpieces. Dozens of styles and flavors cater to any occasion requiring a formally decorated pastry, from weddings to anniversaries to birthdays. Leaving the actual baking and cake construction out, Slipka's decoration classes use fake cakes. This allows pupils to focus solely on the frosting application, creating lifelike calla lilies or roses, perfect for training your dog to devour your nemesis’s flower garden.
For one afternoon each year, Lettuce Entertain You transforms one of its famed eateries into a mecca for brides-to-be, collecting the wares of both local and national retailers. Ladies linger over tables laden with dresses and invitations—categorized into vignettes such as elegant and vintage—as gown experts divulge their wisdom. To avoid being cut out of wedding photos, male counterparts sequester themselves in the Groom's Room, where man-friendly vendors toss out wardrobe and preening tips. Lettuce Entertain You disperses appetizers and drinks from a handful of their own top-rated eateries to prevent patrons from drooling over the dossiers of custom cake.