The theme of this year's Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium in Oxford, Mississippi, October 19-21, is one near and dear to many around these parts: Barbecue: An Exploration of Pitmaster, Places, Smoke, and Sauces.
• An appearance by Eddie Huang, outspoken New York chef and writer, who will take on "barbecue, bao, and Taiwanese-Southern identity."
• Good Eats smart guy Alton Brown talks about What Happens Between Those Ribs?
• Lincoln-Douglas Barbecue Debate with Wright Thompson of ESPN and Brett Martin of GQ.
Tickets go on sale August 1st and always sell out. Cost is $595 and includes all meals and lectures. Symposium attendees must be members of the Southern Foodways Alliance.
Go to southernfoodways.org for more information.
"Chick-fil-A is Desoto County, soccer and baseball teams, Mike Huckabee, red state, Christian."
That from a coworker who sees the Chick fil-A imbroglio as self-segregation via fast food with the same values fault line that separates the city of Memphis from the municipalities.
So, for this person, the August 1st Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day — aka the "buycott" spurred on by former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee in support of Chick-fil-A company president Dan Cathy's anti-gay/pro-family stance — and the August 2nd vote go hand-in-hand in this culture war.
And then there's the next day, August 3rd, declared Same Sex Kiss Day.
As a native Memphian, I couldn't help but want to test Burger King's summer barbecue menu to see how it held up. Unfortunately, by the time I got around to it, the Memphis BBQ pulled pork sandwich was not on the menu, so I decided to drown my disappointment with a Bacon Sundae ($2.99).
Music fans, mark your calendars for these upcoming dinners:
A Heart Full of Soul at the Napa Cafe on August 19th and 20th, benefiting the Stax Music Academy.
A Fine Country Dinner at Whitton Farms in Tyronza, Arkansas, on September 9th, benefiting the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home Project.
Corn! Corn on the cob, creamed corn, cornbread, corn nuggets… Corn ice cream?
It turns out La Michoacana, a frozen treat darling of the Memphis food scene, not only serves an impressive array of paletas (Mexican popsicles), they also serve homemade ice cream, made fresh every day, in flavors like German (German chocolate, without the chocolate) and corn.
We read about the corn ice cream on a friend’s Facebook page. (How else does one learn anything these days?) It certainly is a dark horse flavor in a race where chocolate and strawberry and caramel-coconut reign supreme. And we know some of you may turn your noses up at it. But give it a try, maybe even just a sample at the counter, and we’re pretty sure you won’t be sorry.
Partly a testament to the quality of La Michoacana’s ice cream in general, the corn ice cream has a rich, sweet flavor of real cream, not unlike a golden vanilla, but with slight sweet corn overtones. The ice cream melts, not in drips, but in a creamy foam that coats the entire scoop. And for less than $3, you’ll have more than enough to share. Ignore the corn ice cream detractors and dive in.
I got a cheeseburger with lettuce and tomatoes, and for 50 cents, the fine people at Tops threw an ounce of their pulled pork on top. An ounce of pork isn't enough to drastically change the taste of the burger, even with BBQ sauce, but it is enough to act as one of the best toppings I've had on a burger.
Tops burgers range from $3.15 for a 1/4 lb hamburger to $4.95 for a 1/2 lb cheeseburger.
After much ado, Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman’s second joint venture Hog and Hominy does not disappoint.
Hog and Hominy doesn't take reservations, so at the urging of fellow food writer Pam Denney, we arrived on the early side — about 5:15 p.m. on a Tuesday. And she was right; slowly but surely the new hotspot on Brookhaven Circle filled up, until diners were hovering around the bar, waiting to take our table. If our meal was any indication, they likely found it worth the wait.
We started with some snacks: popcorn, arancini, and poutine. The arancini, fried balls of risotto with a pickled cabbage filling, dusted with freshly grated Parmesan, are not to be missed.
Poutine, a Canadian classic made with neckbone gravy and shreds of tender pork, combines three knockout ingredients — French fries, gravy, and cheese curds — you don’t see plated together often around these parts. The glutton in me wanted more cheese curds (always, more cheese curds) but I’ll defer to Andy and Michael on the proper proportions. And lest you think the dish sounds too rich, a drizzle of chili oil kept the otherwise hefty fare from being bogged down.
We tried the Honey Pecan Shake ($5.95), with Wolf River Honey, local pecans, and vanilla ice cream. Dang good. The chunks of pecans are particularly tasty touch.
Other flavors include peach, blackberry, blueberry, and, of course, chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla ($4.95-$5.95).
As soon as the end of next week, Thomas Bourne is moving his popular Southern Dawgs hot dog cart indoors for a new carry-out restaurant located at 670 Waring, at Summer Avenue in Berclair.
Bourne says he's already passed health inspection and is waiting to complete the code enforcement process.
The brick-and-mortar Dawgs will have no tables or chairs. All orders are to-go. The hot dogs will continue to be served from the cart.
Big John’s Shake Shack in Marion, Arkansas, does three things unapologetically: Deck the walls with Elvis memorabilia, serve up more desserts than one person can possibly eat, and fry everything in sight.
Some friends and I took a trip across the river to check out the beloved shake shack yesterday. Loretta Tacker, wife of the founder, the late John Wayne Tacker, runs the 35-year-old business. She mills about tending her flock of customers and refilling glasses with sweet tea from a giant mason jar.
Things only get more charming from there.
Stacks of golden fried pies, all handmade by Loretta, sit in a little bakery case on the counter. Caddy corner on the other side of the counter, a number of whole handmade pies line the shelves of another bakery case. There is a moment, when you place your order, when you feel almost surrounded by pies.
When I walked into A&R Barbecue, I had no idea what to expect; I didn’t even know what turkey ribs might look like. Turns out, they look a lot like oversized chicken wings, and they taste a lot like turkey covered in BBQ sauce, which happens to be very good.
The turkey ribs that I had were incredibly tender. Each rib also had a deceptively large amount of meat on it, so much so that I actually had some trouble finishing my order of three, which cost $9.99.
The Bastille Day dinner on Saturday at Chez Philippe is part of the Peabody hotel’s Historic Dinners series. The five-course prix fixe menu, created by Chef Ryan Spruhan, features very French dishes, including vichyssoise, ratatouille, bouillabaisse, and coq au vin. For dessert, there will be a selection of cakes.
The Bastille Day dinner at Cafe 1912 is a decades-long tradition that began at the old La Tourelle. The dinner is so popular that this year Cafe 1912 is making a weekend of it, with seatings Friday, Saturday, and Sunday starting at 5 p.m.
According to Martha Hays, who owns Cafe 1912 with her husband Glenn, the cuisine at this French restaurant has gotten more eclectic over the years, and so the Bastille Day dishes — it’s à la carte and the regular menu is also being offered — will be a bit more traditional. Think Julia Child, says Hays. Among the dishes are a pâté of foie gras, duck breast with orange sauce, and strawberries soaked in Grand Marnier served on puff pastry and topped with Chantilly cream. Hays says they’ll put up some decorations and play Maurice Chevalier and then let the evening take its course. “The party is up to people who come,” she says.
Bastille Day Dinner at Chez Philippe Saturday, July 14th, 7 p.m. $85 per person, plus $30 for wine pairing. Reservations: 529-4188.
Bastille Day Dinner at Cafe 1912, Friday-Sunday, July 13th-15th. Seatings start at 5 p.m. Reservations: 722-2700.
I mentioned coworker Michael a while ago when he and his girlfriend Lindsey bought a fondue pot after eating at the Melting Pot. Michael told me how much fun he and Lindsey were having creating these wonderful fondue concoctions.
Now these two busy bodies have moved on to strawberries, more specifically strawberry jam.
It's a homecoming, of sorts, for the Edge Coffeehouse, which will be moving into the Harry's Detour spot at 532 Cooper, a space it once occupied nearly 20 years ago.
By this point, the Edge (perhaps best known for the Avalanche, a great coffee milkshake) has had several homes, but more on that in a moment. ...
Owner Frank James was hoping to have the latest incarnation of the Edge open for business on July 4th, but says he's still securing permits. He does, however, plan to open the doors for the holiday and to celebrate.
"We're having a giant party," says James. "I'm expecting a mob, seriously."
The chipotle adds a bit of heat, though nothing too intense, and a fine smokiness. Irresistible.
The chipotle pimento cheese sells for $7 and is available at the Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market, Agricenter International, and the Memphis Farmers Market.