What better way to celebrate National Burger Month than by creating your dream burger? Now through May 31, you can "design the next Huey's burger" for a chance to have your burger featured on the Huey's menu and a $50 Huey's gift card.
Just a couple of rules:
All burgers must use the Huey's 5 1/3 ounce patty, seasoned with Huey's seasoning blend.
Burgers must use one of Huey's current bread selections - sesame seed bun, wheat bun, sourdough bun, Kaiser roll, wheat berry bread, wheat toast, Texas toast, hoagie roll, marble ry or croissant
Entries must include French's mustard or Cattleman's BBQ sauce
Make sure to include specific measurements, cooking instructions and layering techniques.
So what are you waiting for? Get your burger on, and be creative. Send you entry to Shannon Little at slittle(at)hueys(dot)cc by May 31.
Interim Restaurant & Bar has had many ups and downs in its relatively brief history. The space started out as Chef Wally Joe's signature namesake restaurant. When Chef Joe left to create his dream space (the popular Acre restaurant) the ensuing space was called Interim as a temporary fix. Well, Interim might as well be permanent fixture, because six years later, the concept has stuck. With Executive Chef Jackson Kramer (in his second stint at the helm), it looks like Interim is here to stay.
(Grilled quail with roasted grapes, pistachio cream and grappa)
Interim is one of those restaurants that's nice enough to impress, but reasonably priced, so as not to break the bank. The wine list is extensive, and the mixed beverages are potent. The bar is a popular weeknight hangout spot, but it's the food that helps Interim keep its permanent banner.
The appetizers are a bit more inventive than the entrees, but everything is well prepared and exemplifies the importance of the details - the housemade chutney that is served with the cheese cheese board, the beet puree that comes with the lamb, the garlic aioli that makes the Interim burger one of the best in the city. Interim doesn't skimp.
Diners may want to take advantage of the lunch menu, which offers the same thoughtful cuisine for half the price, and some dinner appetizers, like the grilled quail with roasted grapes, is large enough to satisfy a hearty appetite all on its own.
Anybody who knows me at all, knows that I absolutely adore Italian food. It is my absolute favorite type of cuisine. So you know that I was excited when a mediocre barbecue restaurant in Bartlett was replaced by a casual Italian eatery.
Thank goodness Bruno's is here to give me a low-key, non-chain Italian restaurant near my house. And this one really delivers.
We started out with the fried ravioli; Bruno's version rocks! Instead of the typical bread crumb coating, this ravioli had a light, almost tempura-like batter. It was crisp, and not at all greasy. I could have made a meal out this and a side salad.
For entree's, we had the chicken parmigiana sandwich with asparagus and the eggplant parmigana. Looking back, it probably would have been a good idea to vary our choices so we could have maybe tasted a different sauce, but c'est la vie.
That being said, these were very tasty plates of food. The asparagus is dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette and topped with some chopped tomatoes. This elevated it above the standard steamed version. I found Bruno's marinara a little tangy; it was too much for the plain spaghetti that was served with the eggplant parmigiana, but absolutely delicious with the eggplant and melted cheese.
For dessert, we split a slice of cannoli cake. It was enormous, super rich, and decadently creamy. The combination of ricotta cannoli filling, chocolate ganache and orange zest was really tasty, but I was glad I was splitting it with Tom. I don't think I could have taken it down by myself, and I have a serious sweet tooth.
Bruno's has an extensive menu of traditional classics. The prices are reasonable enough to put it into our regular dinner rotation. We don't even have to save it for a special occasion.
Just in case you haven't heard (Although, if you're friends with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, I'm sure you've heard) Memphis has been nominated for Southern Living's Tastiest Town. Now, I'll be the first to say that I believe that I'd put the cuisine in Memphis up against that of any other "foodie" city, including New Orleans or Charleston (both of which are nominated this year.)
So, if you love me, or if you've ever loved me, then please vote for Memphis. You can vote once a day per email address.
Also, the MCVB will be hosting a voting party on February 6 at Sweet Grass Next Door from 5-7 p.m. Join us for drink specials, door prizes and complimentary snacks.
If you're a frequent reader of Tiffany Tastes, you might remember that I'm not expert on BBQ. For someone who lives in Memphis, this is probably unheard of, but it's really something that I only get a taste for about once a month. When my mom comes to visit, we eat barbecue everyday for a week, and most of the time, that's enough for me. That being said, when I do eat it, I enjoy it. And, people often ask me what's my favorite barbecue in this great barbecue city. I'm not certain this particular establishment is the best, but it's definitely in my top 3.
I'm not the only person who considers The Bar-B-Q Shop in Midtown Memphis to be one of the best barbecue restaurants in the city. I find that almost everything on the menu is done very well. It's one of the few places in town where you can get your barbecue sandwich served on buttered Texas toast. Let me urge you to take them up on that offer. The richness of the buttery bread is a great counterpoint to the barbecue sauce, which is on the sweeter side.
Another popular dish that you'll find in restaurants around the Bluff City is barbecue spaghetti. While it is an acquired taste, some restaurants do it better than others. The Bar-B-Q Shop is tops in my book. Barbecue spaghetti can easily be overly sweet, especially since noodles don't offer much flavor to counter the sauce. So if the barbecue sauce sucks, the barbecue spaghetti will suck, too. If you want barbecue spaghetti, definitely get it from here.
You won't find a bad barbecue dish on the menu. So, if you have friends or family from out of town and you're looking for a place where everything across the board is good, this is your place.
Ever since Do closed, I have been looking for a place to get my all-time favorite cold weather staple, pho - the traditional Vietnamese soup. I've tried it at several other places around town, but I've been less than impressed. Until I found Noodle Star (in the space that formerly housed Jimmy's Hot Dogs).
Noodle Star features Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese dishes. It's like one-stop shopping for all of your Asian cuisine needs. There's s a wide variety of sushi, as well as noodles, stir-fry, fried rice and traditional Vietnamese soups.
We started off with the egg rolls (my standard adequacy gauge at any Asian restaurant.) These were crispy, light and not at all greasy. I really liked that the dipping sauce had a bit of a kick to it.
The pho at Noodle Star is first rate. It has that unique mix of savory with a hint of sweetness that I look for in my soups. While they don't have the more standard chicken pho, the sliced steak is super tender and makes a great substitute. The paper thin pieces of beef really soak up the flavor of the broth. It comes with the usual accoutrements: mint, bean sprouts, lime and jalapenos.
The sushi is pretty standard. They have regular rolls like the California and crunchy shrimp, but also offer a good selection specialty rolls like the namesake Noodle Star roll and the dragon roll.
The atmosphere is pretty casual, but prices are more than reasonable.
Noodle Star 6773 Stage Boulevard Bartlett, TN 38134 (901)266-0033
I was asked to participate in something really cool, my very first podcast! Seth of Mystery Meet contacted me to be a part of the Find Dining Podcast, a show where foodbloggers in different cities talk about their favorite restaurants and events in their town. I was so happy to spotlight Memphis, and one of the most delicious restaurants in town, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen.
Wow, it's been over a month since my last post. I've got to do a little better. I've got some great stuff that I'm working on, including highlights from my recent trips to Dallas and New Orleans. But until I can get those hammered out, I wanted to take a minute to talk about some recent closings in Memphis.
Within the last month both Valenza Pasta and Jimmy's Hot Dogs have closed for business. I'm not certain why Valenza closed, the website is still live, though the Facebook link is dead. Jimmy's closed to the decline in health of the propieter and the fledgling economy.
It's so important to support local businesses. It's vital to our local economy as well as the economic health of the people in our community. It makes me sad to read about all of these businesses closing.
Now we all know that when it comes to barbecue, I'm a little ambivalent, but I know what tastes good and what doesn't. Prior to very recently, I had only been to Rendezvous once, and let's just say, I wasn't impressed. Now, in their defense, we did drop in after a Redbirds baseball game, so it was near the end of the night. But the ribs were dry and most of the food was bland. A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to revisit the Rendezvous for a business dinner at 7 p.m. on a Friday night. Thankfully, the food was much improved.
We started off with the Rendezvous Special, a version of a sausage and cheese plate that included sausage, cheddar, smoked ham, salami, pickles and pepperoncinis all sprinkled with Rendezvous dry rub seasoning. This was my favorite part of the meal. I really enjoyed the inclusion of non-traditional meats; it really elevated the dish.
We also sampled the pork ribs and chopped chicken combo, and this time, the meat was cooked properly. I still think I prefer wet ribs to dry, but these were at least juicy and tender.
We also had the lamb riblets. I never even know people served or ate lamb riblets. These were okay, but lamb riblets are extremely fatty. There was way more fat than meat, but the meat that was there was quite tender as well.
A trip to Rendezvous isn't complete without BBQ Nachos. These were quite good, much better than the version they serve down the street at AutoZone Park. They almost make me forget my aversion to liquid nacho cheese.
Final Impressions: The food at the Rendezvous is solid. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to someone if they asked me where to find the best barbecue in Memphis. But, at least it isn't tied with another establishment for worst barbecue in the city like it was before this most recent trip. Stick with the Rendezvous special or the nachos, and you'll be just fine.
Bleu Restaurant and Lounge recently opened in the Westin right off Beale Street, and I have to admit, it's been on my radar since well before it opened for business (thanks to a very creative marketing campaign that built suspense by introducing certain elements of the restaurant to come without even divulging the name). I actually managed to go twice in the span of a week, once for lunch and once for drinks and small plates.
For lunch, I met up with Seth Agranov of the Best Memphis Burger Blog and his friend Jesse. (You might remember Seth from a previous post about the Kooky Canuck Kookamonga Challenge. For lunch, I took advantage of the BYO (Build Your Own) option that allows diners to create their very own sandwich (or burger or wrap) from the ground up. Choose your protein (chicken, angus burger, catfish, tilapia, catfish, sirlion or portabella mushroom cap) bread (kaiser roll, whole wheat bun, poor boy, tortilla wrap, grilled cheese bun (exactly what it sounds like)), cheese (American yellow, aged cheddar, Jarlsberg Swiss, sharp provolone, bleu or local goat), toppings (options include arugula, pickles, cole slaw, Bermuda onions, jalapenos, caramelized onion, sauteed mushrooms and roasted red peppers) and sides (hand-cut fries, potato salad, fruit cup, sweet potato fries and cole slaw.
I chose to build a burger on a whole wheat bun with Swiss, lettuce, tomato, pickle and caramelized onions. I picked sweet potato fries for my side (which I selfishly forgot to share with my dining companions). My burger was perfectly cooked, and with the exception of my caramelized onions being more along the lines of "slightly sweated," I found the meal to be very enjoyable and a great value. Check out Seth's Bleu Restaurant blog entry for more details about our lunch.
The very next week, my friend Nikki and I, took on Bleu for dinner. What we didn't realize at the time was that there was a Grizzlies game at the FedEx Forum that very evening. This meant that Bleu was extremely busy and without a reservation, we were relegated to waiting 45 minutes for a table or sitting at the hotel lobby bar. Since most of the regular menu was available at the bar, we were more than happy to sit in the quieter bar area.
I decided to order a couple of small plates from the lounge menu. First, I chose the potstickers with sweet chili sauce. They were good - slightly elevated from the version served at your neighborhood Chinese restaurant. But, the smoked gouda mac and cheese was the real star.
This delightfully rich dish is served in a cast iron skillet and topped with citrus Panko crumbs. Obviously homemade in Bleu's kitchen, this is quite possibly the best macaroni and cheese I've ever eaten outside of my mom's house. And for the low, low price of $5, the portion you receive is absolutely massive. With a small side salad, it would have made a hearty meal.
We couldn't resist having two desserts. We started off with the molten chocolate cake with vanilla gelato. It was pretty tasty, but it didn't hold a candle to the mousse of the day.
Small servings of chocolate and cheesecake mousse with a raspberry coulis and chocolate chips...absolutely divine. This is the type of light, creamy dessert that you want after a meal.
Final Impressions: Bleu has a great vibe, and I really enjoy the atmosphere. Be sure to make a reservation if you want to dine during a Memphis Grizzlies or Memphis Tigers basketball game (the place empties out fairly quickly once the first whistle blows). If you eat in the dining room, ask for the lounge menu so you can indulge in their amazing macaroni and cheese. And don't worry about finding a downtown parking space as Bleu offers complimentary valet parking for 3 hours per visit; just make sure to get your ticket validated.
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