By THERESA VASQUEZ
Special to the Parade
“This was done by accident,” said Castañeda pointing to the magnificent display of fresh-made specialty apples. “This used to be a five-nut cinnamon apple, but I used the wrong spice (cayenne) – and people loved it! Now I make a five-nut apple, five-nut candy bar, and a five-nut marshmallow. Nobody even wants the cinnamon anymore… at parties, people have tried them, and they come in for the specific items.”
The restaurant/bistro has been in the Port Isabel locale for nearly two years come April. The business name was derived from Castaneda’s’ daughter Michela, which at the time Castaneda became humorously overwhelmed when asked to spell her name.
Due to Castañeda’s loss of vision in 2001, he lost his job in sales management, although now he states that he is getting some of it back and says that he started making candies, apples, and various items from his mother’s recipes.
“Since I didn’t have much else to do,” he said.
Castañeda began by taking his creations to parties and gatherings and friends/family loved them, so he decided to do it professionally. “We opened up to do my chocolates, because that was the original plan… I think we’re getting close to 5,000 chocolate bars since we’ve been here,” said Castañeda. “But we also make lollipops, cake pops, different things that my wife makes, and arrangements/baskets.”
The specialty chocolate bars run $6.00 for reg., and $6.50 for dark, also two-piece bars which will have both dark and milk. The bars run between a quarter and half of a pound. And, “instead of cutting and wasting, I package in two,” explained Castañeda.
Castañeda uses two specific types of apples (Fuji/jonagold), which he feels, sets him apart from the pack. “We specialize in different apples for parties and so forth, and for here. We have 18 different varieties. These are our most popular – the almond joy, and the five-nut cayenne… the Oreo, and pecan, are next contenders, and the peanut butter kiss ball has caramel, peanut butter, chocolate kisses, peanut butter kisses, white Choco kisses, and is covered in chocolate with lava!… it is out newest edition!” said Castañeda.
Chocolate supplies are completely made by Castañeda, “aside from the apples,” he joked.
Every item at Mickey’s is made from scratch, and Castañeda added, “The angus burger and the chicken salad sandwich are the biggest sellers for the food menu.” Mickey’s has a full menu, which includes sandwiches, burgers, home-style meals (meatloaf/pot-roast), milkshakes, and desserts, to name a few.
“What sells the most depends on the holiday,” Castañeda said. “For Valentine’s its chocolates, and for Easter its baskets and apples.” They do all types of specialty baskets to the preference. They add in all types of specialty items, bachelorette items, and items brought in by the customer. “Islanders, locals, parents, teachers, and local leaders will come for a special occasion, personalized to the occasion,” said Castañeda.
Castañeda is big into sponsorship. He has been involved in altruistic missions like the Tsunami softball league; he is in the bistro every day, otherwise he is coaching the 14 girls, ages 8-10, in the year-round softball league. Castañeda said, “…it is the second year for the Lightning Bolts, and first year for the Tsunami team and we provide everything for the girls.”
The Castañedas partnered up for their new addition, R&R BBQ, five months ago, and said, “Business is good and growing.”
The next project for Castañeda is to get a Mickey’s on South Padre Island and in Los Fresnos. As business talk wrapped up, Castañeda was left with one last question: What is the strangest thing you have covered in chocolate? “Bacon” replied Castañeda. “We do chocolate covered bacon.”
They have yet to produce chocolate covered bugs. We shall see.
Hours of operation and the menu are soon to change. But at the moment, operation hours are Monday and Tuesday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Wednesday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Thursday from 11 a .m.-5 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m.-7 p.m., and Sunday from 12-3 p.m. It will change to 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday and Sundays from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. as Spring Break approaches.
For more information on Mickey’s Chocolate Treats and More, located on 1401 Highway 100, Ste. 8 Port Isabel, call Castañeda at (956) 943-7183.