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J and J Say Two 11-year-olds visit and review Memphis' top restaurants
Ken's Food Find This blog is devoted to highlighting restaurants of the Memphis, Tennessee area.
Memphis Foodie Your tool for delicious, local cuisine right in the heart of Memphis, TN.
Mother Daughter Eat Well An exploration of real foods and the wholesome ways two women find them, prepare them and enjoy them.
Princess Aioli Mix 1/3 Italian-American princess, 1/3 Southern belle, and 1/3 Miami gringa. Result is one self-indulgent foodie who’s trying to figure out how to use her law degree to become the next big food writer.
Sad Lonely Crafter Inside the life of a housewife. A lover of knitting, crafts and all things Gamecocks
The Chubby Vegetarian A great source of anecdotes and recipes from one of Memphis' most famous vegetarians
Madison Avenue is becoming a hot bed for ethnic cuisine in Memphis. You can get Jamaican jerk grilled shrimp and Evelyn and Olive, Cuban sandwiches at Havana's Pilon and Venezuelan cachapas from Arepa and Salsa (along with arepas, of course).
UFOs - fried cheese arepas with sour cream sauce
I think that Arepa and Salsa really shines with its starters. The UFOs are tasty, crispy without being greasy and something that even kids would love. They also serve an excellent rendition of an empanadas, which are flaky and extremely flavorful.
Shredded Chicken Tostones
In addition to the starters, Arepa and Salsa has a variety of arepas (Venezuelan flatbread, split and stuffed with fresh ingredients) and tostones (think sandwiches with smashed, fried plantains in place of bread). Having attended college in Miami, I miss good fried plantains, so I typically go for the tostones, because I can't think of a better bread substitute. My favorite tostones are the "Pernil" (roast pork), because the sweetness of the plantains pairs perfectly with the savoriness of the pork.
Arepa and Salsa also serves fresh pressed natural juices, specifically from Latin American fruits like guava, pineapple and tamarind. There's ample parking behind the restaurant, and while you're waiting for your food to be prepared, there's plenty of entertainment in the form of sporting events (usually soccer) on the televisions throughout the restaurant and a free arcade game system. If you've never tried Venezuelan food, Arepa and Salsa is a delicious introduction.
When it comes to chefs in Memphis, plenty of names get thrown around: Kelly English, Andrew Ticer/Michael Hudman, Felicia Willett and Wally Joe are just a few. Another chef that most definitely belongs in the conversation is Ryan Trimm, who has quietly been building his restaurant empire. With the opening of Southward Fare & Libations, his third eatery, Trimm is not only stretching his creative culinary muscles, but also expanding beyond his home turf of the Cooper-Young neighborhood in Midtown, to plant is feet firmly in East Memphis.
(Quail with Grilled Peaches and Pecan Vinaigrette)
My friend Nikki and I try to go out at least once a month, and each time we do, we attempt to patronize a restaurant that is new to at least one of us. Enjoying Chef Trimm's cuisine like I do, when it came my turn to pick the place, I knew that I wanted to try Southward Fare. The menu changes frequently, as they're figuring out what works and what doesn't, as well as taking advantage of what is abundant and in season. I'm sure that they'll find their footing soon, but trust me: you can't go wrong with the oysters, catfish cakes or the artisan cheese plate.
(Heath Bar Trifle with Chocolate Pudding and Brownies)
It is obvious that the folks at Southward Fare spend as much, if not more, time developing their drinks as they do their food. With a comprehensive list of cocktails and an equally impressive array of "mocktails," it is just as easy to quench your thirst as it is to satisfy your appetite at Chef Trimm's newest addition.
Sometimes my love of food comes in handy. Recently, I was invited to be one of the official judges of Dishcrawl's Battledish competition. Chefs from six downtown Memphis eateries provided tasting plates that were judged on creativity, authenticity, modernity and downright tastiness. Those that could, also provided a cocktail (or two) to be judged in a separate part of the competition. The votes of the panel of food experts counted for 50% of the results, and the public vote accounted for the other 50%.
(The winning cocktail - Cranberry Lemongrass Martini from Automatic Slim's)
I sampled some extremely delicious dishes during the day, and because of how the event was structured, I was able to dine at my lesisure. And, I met up with some friends along the way.
Battledish wasn't just a Memphis thing. It was happening, simultaneously, in multiple cities all across the United States.
Check out the upcoming events for a more authentic Dishcrawl experience (imagine a pubcrawl that has chewing involved). And if you don't live in Memphis, never fear. You probably have Dishcrawl in your city as well. Tickets will typically set you back $40-$50, and events usually sell out, so don't wait. Your tastebuds will thank you.
In the five years that I've lived in the Cordova area, the Asian restaurant in the shopping center with the Malco Cordova movie theater has had several identities. It started as Wasabi, then it became Mikado. Now, it's iSushi, and silly name aside, this might be my favorite so far.
Like its predecessors, iSushi is, well, a sushi restaurant with other Japanese fare. Unlike the others, it seems like there was thought and effort put into developing the flavor profiles of the dishes.
The sushi is fresh, and the choices are numerous. Specialties like the soft shell crab roll and the mango dragon roll feature ingredients that don't grace most Japanese restaurants' menus. But, their traditional options like the California roll and the fried salmon roll are just as good.
Stir-Fried Noodles with Chicken
But my favorite item might just be the simplest. The stirfry noodles (I like mine with chicken) are a more delicious version of lo mein. And while I know it's not traditional Japanese fare, it sure is tasty. The sauce is very savory, there are plenty of crisp veggies, and I can get three meals out of one $6.00 order. Eating at iSushi can be cheaper (and better) than any fast food restaurant. With fresh, tasty food and extremely reasonable prices, I hope that iSushi will be here to stay.
iSushi 1134 North Germantown Parkway Cordova, TN 38016 (901) 754-0567
Erling Jensen was one of Memphis' first fine-dining establishments. Tucked out of sight down a small road in East Memphis, this cozy restaurant offers a unique twist on classic French cuisine. My husband and I decided to check it out for our anniversary as it's been on my "to dine" list for as long as I've lived in Memphis.
Boston Bibb Lettuce, Belgian Endive, Marinated Goat Cheese, Pine Nut Vinaigrette,Cooper Young Honey and Black Cherries
I decided to make my meal from three separate appetizers (two salads and one hot app), while Tom took advantage of their amazing Sunday night dinner special (a $38, three-course, prix-fixe menu with 3-4 choices per course)
My first salad (and my favorite dish all night) was comprised of bibb lettuce, endive, goat cheese, local honey, black cherries and a pine nut vinaigrette. At first, I balked at the idea of spending $18 on a salad that didn't have any protein, but I'm so glad I ordered it. The combination of flavors was one I hadn't tasted before, and the ingredients were super fresh. It is definitely makes my top-three all time salad list.
Seared Berkshire Pork Belly Confit with Arugula, Granny Smith Apples, Sweet Soy Gastrique and Tangerine Oil
My second salad consisted of pork belly confit, arugula, apples and a soy gastrique. This was another successful dish. I honestly believe that making a good salad is one of the most difficult culinary tasks. It seems simple, but it's hard to take something simple and make it memorable.
European Quail Stuffed with Cornbread and Truffle on Ratatouille
For my "entree'" I had the quail with ratatouille. I might be one of the few people on earth that's not a fan of truffle, but I often find it very overpowering. In this case, the chef used a very deft hand, and it accentuated the earthy flavors of the ratatouille instead of masking them.
Chocolate Soufflé Milk Chocolate with bourbon hot chocolate sauce and Vanilla Ice Cream
For dessert, I had the chocolate souffle', and it was almost perfect - rich and decadent. It was a fabulous ending to a delicious meal.
I would highly recommend this oldie, but goodie, for any special occasion. Pro tip: go on a Sunday night for the $38 prix fixe. The menu changes weekly.
I wanted something different for breakfast one morning, and I decided to do a hash with some onions, potatoes, and ham. I topped it with a fried egg and grated a little Bonnie Blue Farms goat's milk gruyere on top.
Local ingredient count: 2 Yukon gold potatoes Gruyere cheese (bought on a previous farmers market excursion)
This might be the dish I'm the most excited about. I took my pork tenderloin, marinated it in a little soy, ginger and garlic. I roasted it, and served it with brown rice noodles and sauteed baby bok choy
Local Ingredient Count: 2
Pork Tenderloin Baby Bok Choy
For my final market meal, I went really simple. I took the last of my chicken and made quesadillas, roasted some asparagus and sauteed the corn in a little butter.
Local Ingredient Count: 3
Corn on the Cob
I feel like this experiment was an unqualified success. In fact, I'm going to try and do this once a month while the market is open. Not only does it test my ability to think on my feet, but I'm doing something good for the environment and my community.
In recent months, Bartlett has literally exploded with casual eateries. From Bruno's to Noodle Star, it seems like this area of town is the place to be for budget-friendly eats in a laid-back atmostphere.
Gelato Cafe fits right into that mold. If it sounds familiar to you, it probably is. Gelato cafe used to be located in the Wolfchase Galleria. I, for one, am estatic about the move. When they were in the mall, they weren't in the food court, so probably didnt' get the traffic. And, I'm sure their rent is cheaper now, too.
This is the place to be for sandwiches, gourmet coffee drinks, and of course homemade gelato. And let me tell you, there's is some of the best in the city. I especially like chocolate chip and creme caramel.
(Crossaint Sandwich #1, packaged "to-go")
As far as sandwiches, you can't go wrong with either of the croissant sandwiches (ham and swiss or turkey and swiss), the Italiano Classico #1 (salami, fresh mozzarella, tomato, olive oil and oregano on foccacia) or the Caesar tortellini salad.<
Gelato Cafe is open daily and offers free Wi-Fi for diners.
I feel like this experiment has been really educational for me, not just as a grocery shopper, but also as a cook in the kitchen. I've really enjoyed the challenge of creating dishes just utilizing the fresh products that were available at the farmers markets.
A snack/breakfast I've really enjoyed this week has been the Bluff City Coffee Ezekiel-style bread topped with a little softened butter and a drizzle of honey.
Local Ingredient Count: 2 Ezekiel Bread Honey (purchased on a previous market trip)
I love pasta salads for lunch. They keep for a while, are delicious hot or cold, and allow me to throw in all kinds of delicious veggies.
Local Ingredient Count: 3 Cherry Tomatoes Zucchini Yellow Squash
My first main meal of the week was Westwind Farms chicken thighs with roasted Yukon gold potatoes and Brussels sprouts. I enjoy this meal because I can put everything in the oven (albeit with slightly different timing) and when it's done, I have a delicious entree' that is full of flavor without me having to babysit pots and pans on the stove. (Forgive the plastic plate, but it's my husbands week to do the dishes, and I was trying to make less work for him.)
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.