Last Friday, my coworkers and I moseyed on down to Broad Street to check out Three Angels Diner, the newest project from Bari's Jason and Rebecca Severs. They've got a great menu for vegans, vegetarians, and meat-lovers alike, and they've got great late-night hours (open until 2 a.m.!) I predict this will quickly become one of Memphis' favorite diners.
I started off with a cup of their soup special, mushroom bisque. It was perfect: creamy and rich with nice hearty bits of mushroom.
I'm still not convinced that I will ever like the mash up of bed sheets and butter, but at least the clerk bagged my milk in a separate bag.
Rumors swirled today that both locations of our beloved DejaVu had closed.
Turns out it's true, but things may not be so bleak.
I spoke with DejaVu owner Gary Williams this afternoon. He said that he had a small stroke last month but was doing well. The stress, however, of running the bigger East Memphis location was too much. The second location was also causing him to neglect the downtown spot, which was closed today due to tax problems.
Williams has closed the East Memphis location and is now dealing with the tax issues and hopes to have the downtown location open by Monday.
Yesterday, I went to lunch with Pam Denney at the Presentation Room, the student-run restaurant at L'Ecole Culinaire.
Pam's working on a review for the November issue of Memphis magazine, so I won't spoil it by going into too many details except to sing the praises of this glorious veggie burger.
Here are two blogs of local interest that show impressive focus.
Burn My Mouth: "dedicated to finding some of the hottest and best tasting food in Memphis, TN."
Wu Food Project: "On September 3rd, I decided that I would eat whatever Mr. Wu eats. He is the owner of the Royal Panda — and he's very lean and energetic. I am following his direction for the next 30 days and am eating only what Wu would eat."
After a successful first year, Downtown Dining Week is set to return November 15th-21st.
The idea came from Felicia Willett of Felicia Suzanne’s.
Willett says a number of factors came into play to set the event in motion, but she notes that it chiefly boils down to the fact that the downtown restaurant scene is unusually close. They had banded together to before to hold progressive dinners, and since other cities had held restaurant weeks, it seemed worth a try.
As Willett remembers it, she made some calls to her friends at Majestic, McEwen’s, Sole, and others.
“Y’all interested in this?” she asked.
“Yeah, absolutely” was the answer.
On Wednesday at Davis-Kidd Booksellers, the Memphis & Shelby County Music Commission celebrates the release of A Taste of Memphis Music, a cookbook with recipes from area musicians, chefs, notable Memphians, and music fans.
Among the contributors is Mayor A C Wharton, whose recipe for Strawberry Cobbler leaves the amounts of sugar, butter, and cinnamon up to "personal preference."
Chef Jason Jones of Madidi adds a great-sounding Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Saffron Creme Fraiche.
Singer Joyce Cobb includes a family recipe for Sweet Potato Custard, while Memphis Men of Harmony baritone Lee McNeil gives us the very Southern Gramma's Spicy Okra Hoecakes.
While I was at Harrah's Tunica for The Neelys Live!, I had two detours: checking out the Smokin' Aces BBQ Championship and Paula Deen's Buffet.
When I spoke to Tyler Salyer of Memphis' Big Mouth Smokers several weeks ago about competing on TLC's BBQ Pitmasters, I ventured a guess as to the secret ingredient for the Pitfire elimination round.
"Funny you should say that," answered Salyer.
The ingredient turned out to be frog legs, and it was what did in the Big Mouth Smokers.
The team, made up of twentysomething teachers, were cast as the newbies against the more seasoned Wood Chicks, A Boy and His BBQ, and 3 EYZ BBQ.
The episode, which aired last Thursday, was brutal. All four teams were a bit flummoxed with how to prepare the episode's main dish, turducken, and there was more flop sweat all around when the Pitfire challenge ingredient was announced.
Salyer, leading his team, was confident and knowledgeable. But he was also realistic. When Big Mouth's frog legs were presented to the judges — Art Smith, Warren Sapp, and Myron Mixon — just this side of raw, the team was asked to leave, their turduckens seemingly never to pass the judges lips ...
In the aftermath, Salyer took the time to answer some questions.
How'd you think you came off?
After watching the show, we’re happy with how we came off. We knew what we were doing with the turducken, but had no clue what to do with the frog legs. I think we came off as competent and not a team that just walked out of the woods.
On Friday, a couple of coworkers and I went to Lunchbox Eats. The restaurant opened a week ago Monday on Fourth Street a few blocks south of FedExForum.
As we were parking the car, I had the sort of childish tantrum that would have had me sent to the principal's office. Perfect, really, since the restaurant is adorably school-themed.
“Y’all sit your ass right here,” commanded Pat Neely.
And with that, Bunny and Edward took a seat on stage at today’s debut at Harrah’s Tunica of The Neelys Live!, the new stage show by restaurateurs and Food Network personalities Pat and Gina Neely.
The Neelys Live! might better be called the “Love and Happiness Tour” as the Neelys have earned their popularity through their notoriously frisky behavior and their commitment to having a good time.
I like a hard bread that puts up a good fight, and Fino's might just be one of the orneriest.
You can read all about it in the print edition hitting the stands on Wednesday. But in the meantime, we'll offer a few examples as a preview ...
At this year's Delta Fair, I so wanted to find chocolate-covered bacon or fried beer. This giant catfish sandwich from Grandberry's Catering was a nice consolation prize. It comes with American cheese and slaw and is made to order. It's perfect with a splash or two of Louisiana Hot Sauce.
In terms of fried foods, the new things this year are fried butter, fried cookie dough, and fried strawberries.
Deep-fried enthusiasts shouldn't wait. Delta Fair ends Sunday.
This veggie pizza ($15) from Movie & Pizza Co. hit the spot.
I'm a fan of MPC's crust, which is buttery and just between thick and thin, and I appreciate how generous they are with toppings.
One thing I did not know until today: MPC offers pizza by-the-slice, Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Prices start at $3.25 to $4.25 for the fully loaded.
Movie & Pizza Co., 110 Harbor Town (527-2233)