On Sunday, December 2nd, 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Center for Southern Folklore, Memphis Farmers Market is hosting a Roasting & Concert honoring Steve Collins of One Sharp Dude.
Collins was a fixture at area farmers markets, known for his One Sharp Dude ambulance and his blunt teasing over the sorry state of customers' cutlery.
After years of heart problems, Collins received a heart transplant on November 29, 2011.
"I'm one year old," says Collins.
But, damage to spinal cord occurred during the procedure and Collins is now paralyzed from the waist down.
"I've accepted it," he says. "I don't complain about it."
Sunday's party marks the 1 year anniversary of Collins' transplant. It will feature parody songs, and six people have been tasked with the roasting.
Collins says that he knew there was an event on Sunday but the scope and details were kept from him. Through little bits of information dropped here and there — his daughter coming from out of town, a question from lunch date — he figured out that the event was bigger than he had been first led to believe.
And he says that even though the last year has been difficult, he's ready for a good roasting.
"Absolutely," he says.
According to Collins, his "100 words or less" answer to folks who marvel over his good attitude is "Have you known me any other way?"
With the holidays and hunting season, it's now the busiest time of the year for Collins' sharpening business. For more information about getting your knives sharpened, go to the One Sharp Dude website, onesharpdude.com.
For many of us of the insular Midtown-is-Memphis ilk, there is no grocery store in Midtown, quickly qualified as no decent grocery store. So when we talk about Kroger, we most certainly mean the Kroger on Mendenhall in East Memphis.
And so it goes that almost all adjectives lead to the Mendenhall Kroger. It is the Good Kroger, though that once referred to the one at Kirby Parkway. It is also the Kosher Kroger, while the Schnucks on Perkins when it was still Schnucks was the Kosher Schnucks.
Yes, of course, people still refer to the Kroger on Union as Schnucks or Seessel's or the Midtown Kroger. And, I absolutely refuse to acknowledge the Kroger at Poplar and Cleveland as the Ghetto Kroger. Come on now, really?
But what do we call the onetime Kosher Schnucks Kroger on Perkins? Anybody? Anybody? How about the Kroger just down a bit near the Home Depot? The one at Poplar Plaza? There are some 50 Krogers (!) in the area. They may not be Good or Kosher, but they could be Average, Awesome, or Appalling.
Who knows? Once the expansion of the Kroger on Union is done, maybe it will be the Decent Kroger.
So, my new favorite thing at Aldo's Pizza Pies is ... a sandwich. The Sardo ($9), specifically.
The heart of this sandwich is the grilled eggplant, which is thinly sliced — a smart approach for making sandwich easy to eat and to keep it from falling apart. There's also provolone, spinach, tomato topped with a basil-garlic aioli and served on a great baguette.
I had no choice but to order a donut that matches the swell sign at the newly open Memphis Donuts.
This is the pink sprinkle (with tax .75). This is a yeast donut with a berry glaze. I say without hesitation, this is one exceptional donut.
The menu includes a small of array of yeast and cake donuts and a few savory breakfast items. They are open 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
On part two, we wrap up the judging by dissecting and discussing Sno Balls, Suzy-Q's, and Zingers. Who will win? Watch the award-eligible video at the end of the post to find out!
The Hostess headlines sent the masses into a panic, leading to a run on snack cakes at convenience stores. Wall Street speculators and plucky entrepreneurs took notice, and what followed was the creation of an unregulated black market, a smorgasbord free-for-all. Don't eat that Twinkie, you mad man! Might as well be eating a Honus Wagner!
It was a dark time that saw the unholy combination of arbitrage, credit default swaps, insider trading, hedge funds, and short sells: All of those bad things you read about and don't understand. They happened again. And this time the powers that be were messing with our precious.
Where's the bailout on this one, Washington? The people had spoken: Hostess was too big to fail. Someone may have heard, because Hostess and the unions are meeting with a mediator to try to settle their dispute. (And thus, the Twinkie bubble burst, leaving only carnage and tears in its wake.)
We at the Memphis Flyer, ever mindful of our civic duties, found upon our heads the helm of public trust, falling to us the great and terrible responsibility to mark this moment in American history.
How to do so in a sober and appropriate fashion? Taste test, nerds!
We did, however, come across six prime goodies for our experiment: Orange Cup Cakes, White Powder Donettes, Honey Bun, Sno Balls, Suzy Q's, and Chocolate Zingers. And, minus Twinkies, at least we had a control group, a golden mean with which to compare our results.
The judges assembled: Greg Akers, Anna Cox, Michael Finger, Louis Goggans, Hannah Sayle, Chris Shaw, and Bruce VanWyngarden
Snack cakes were judged on a 1-10 scale in the categories of presentation, color appeal, texture/tactile, taste, collectability, and overall. Collectability was defined as "hoard-worthiness and value on the black market." In other words, how highly would you rate the item if your life depended upon it in a post-apocalyptic world.
Without further ado, part one of the Great Hostess Taste Test.
The book club members were divided about that month's selection, Paul Harding's Tinkers. (Some found the book, about fatherhood and mortality, a bit depressing. I liked it fine.) One thing we all agreed on was the pizza the night's host picked up at Lucchesi's. It was delicious.
That pizza was the Ms. Becky with an olive oil glaze, mushrooms, black olives, mixed onions, green peppers, tomatoes, spinach, and a 3-cheese blend ($11.99 large and $13.99 family).
I picked up the Gourmet Vegetarian with spinach, sun dried tomatoes, marinated artichokes, mixed onions, and 3-cheese blend ($11.99, $13.99). Also delicious.
Other take-and-bake options include barbecue, chicken Alfredo, Hawaiian, and the Lucchesi's House, which is topped with salami, pepperoni, and Italian sausage.
The crust hits it somewhere between thin and thick and is very good. You can also buy pizza crusts from Lucchesi's for your creations.
Early afternoon on the day that Hostess Brands announced it was liquidating the business, about a dozen employees gathered outside the Hostess plant at 400 Monroe. A few BCTGM (Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers) union members were carrying signs that read, "On Strike Against Hostess Brands."
Some of the workers (the plant employed about 250 workers, according to the Memphis Business Journal) were taking images of a letter signed by the CEO which was taped to the door of the plant.
One union member, who asked that his name not be used, said that he had worked for the plant for 11 years. He said that production at the plant ended at 10 a.m. He wasn't sure what would be the union's next move.
"We just have to wait because this is not official," he said. "We're seeing what their [Hostess'] situation is."
A transcript of the letter, dated November 16th, is below.
I'm just going to come right out and say it. I love Food Lovers' Guide to Memphis: The Best Restaurants, Markets & Local Culinary Offerings, written by Memphis magazine food editor and my friend Pam Denney.
The book features some 200 restaurants and markets organized by location, from downtown to the suburbs. It also includes sections on food events, local food writers, pub grub, and more.
But this is no dry recitation. Pam's conversational writing style and her knack for tucking in interesting facts and trivia about the Memphis culinary scene makes the book not only a guide to flip through when one asks, "Where do you want to eat?" but a good sit-down read starting at page one.
A couple of samples below ...
Here are two November doings for Mid-South eaters ... Both end at the end of the month, so don't dawdle.
First, Muddy's Bake Shop has an offer that both helps the Mid-South Food Bank and satisfies your sweet tooth. Folks who bring in a jar of peanut butter to donate to the food bank will receive one of Muddy's Tomboy cupcakes (chocolate cake topped with peanut butter icing) for their good deed. That's what they call a win-win. Details here.
Second, it's time to vote. Memphis magazine is holding its annual Restaurant Poll, with results to be revealed in the magazine's annual February Dining Issue. This year marks the issue's 30th anniversary, and it's shaping up to be a doozy. If you vote, you'll be a part of that. Details here.
Today, Hannah and I went to check out Bleu's new Build Your Own Pasta option, a noodle-centric version of the downtown restaurant's popular Build Your Own Sandwich lunch.
You start by choosing your protein, from clams and meatballs to grilled sausage that run from $8.99 to $10.99. Next, you select one of five sauces (marinara, alfredo, etc.) Then, it's on to the veggies (caramelized onions, tomatoes, and so on) and pasta (spaghetti, penne ...). You can also opt for add ons that range from sirloin to shrimp for an extra $3.99.
Hannah got shrimp ($10.99) with broccoli, mushrooms, and roasted red peppers with the pink vodka sauce and Pappardelle noodles. It made for a pretty plate.
As the proteins are all meat and I'm a vegetarian, the chef came out to discuss other options. (Very nice!) But I was fine with sticking with the veggies: tomatoes, spinach, and caramelized onions with marinara on top of Orcchiette. It couldn't have been better.
This is a smart addition to Bleu's menu and just in time for the cooler weather.
Revival Southern Food Company, a food truck that launched last winter and placed 3rd place in the Best of Memphis "Best Food Truck" category, announced last week that the business is for sale.
That means everything is for sale — from the truck itself and the pots and pans to the business' Twitter handle and logos. Does this include the recipe for Revival's famous Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding? "Yeah," says Adam Bettis, a partner in the business, "that would be part of it."
Asking price is $39,000.
According to Bettis, he worked the financial side of the business, while Chris "Crash" Hethcox was in charge of the food. Bettis says that Hethcox was offered a regional position with a restaurant chain that was too good to pass up.
Revival was known for its excellent veggie tacos and dirty fries. They served up everything from sliders and blue plate specials to Frito pies.
Bettis says he's gotten several calls from interested buyers. Some would like to purchase only the food truck.
For more information, go the Revival Southern's Craigslist ad.
At City Hall Cheesecake in the Collierville town square, the best seller is the white chocolate raspberry. Among the other flavors: cookies-n-cream, a great-looking triple chocolate, and strawberry. Flavors-of-the-week range from peanut butter banana, chocolate almond coconut, and caramel brownie to red velvet, orange creamsicle, and mint Oreo, plus many many more.
I opted for plain. Isn't it pretty?
Whole cakes range from $35 for plain to $55 for variety. By-the-slice is a pricey $5.95. But, but ... this really is too much to be eaten in one sitting. Split it, or take the rest home for later.
So, November is Pimento Cheese Awareness Month? That's news to me, but turns out I'm prepared, as I recently picked up some Tom's Tiny Kitchen chipotle pimento cheese from SuperLo (you'll find it in the meat section).
I'm also quite fond of Holiday Ham's version. Felicia Suzanne's uses PC for their lunch-menu BLT, which also included a fried green tomato. You can also get a dollop of it on your burger at Sweet Grass and at Trolley Stop.
Any outstanding pimento cheeses I'm missing?
The chill in the air had me craving a vegetable plate for lunch and I just so happened to be near the Silver Caboose in Collierville's charming town square.
There is plenty to choose from on the menu — hamburger plates, chicken salad ("Caboose famous!"), turnip greens with pot likker, etc. And as I was mulling over the vegetable options, I spotted among the luncheon salads the Frozen Fruit plate ($9.95).
What to say? This is a time capsule of a lunch. The frozen fruit is sort of like a sorbet and very good. The finger sandwiches are pimento, egg salad, and olive and cream cheese (a combo I'd never had before) served on gooey white bread. .