Cochon 555 and its affiliated events like the Heritage BBQ champion the cause of the heritage breed pig. The Heritage BBQ, a competition involving six chef-led teams creating dishes using the entire pig, expanded this year to include stops in St. Louis and Louisville this year.
The competition, which includes local and regional chefs with fine dining pedigrees, has one representative of the casual BBQ restaurant this year — Craig Blondis of Central BBQ fame. I sat down with Craig to see what he had up his sleeve for this weekend's contest.
How did you get involved in the Cochon Heritage BBQ event?
Craig Blondis: Through Brady Lowe, the founder of [Cochon 555]. Last year, he came to the restaurant as a part of the bus tour and he loved my hot wings. This event sounded interesting and BBQ related so I thought, “Why not?”
Any place you can get breakfast for lunch is a-okay by me.
Stone Soup Cafe serves breakfast, from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m.
This is the Big Rex ($5.99).
The Big Rex comes with a choice of bacon, ham, or sausage and egg and cheese served on grilled toast. You can also get it on a biscuit.
Other Stone Soup breakfast dishes that look ideal for lunch are the Gut Bomb ($5.39), grits, sausage, and cheddar cheese in a bowl, and the Farmers Omelet ($7.69), with bacon, ham, or sausage with a choice of cheese.
One more thing to note ... Stone Soup recently completed the application process to sell beer. So now you can get beer with your breakfast for lunch.
Sad news to report: Mark Newman of Newman Farm passed away earlier this week.
Newman was a familiar face at local farmers markets, where he, alongside his wife Rita, sold heritage Berkshire pork products sourced from Newman Farm in Myrtle, Missouri.
He was an enthusiastic supporter of the farm-to-fork movement, a generous participant in the annual snout-to-tail dinners at Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Cochon 555 events, and a dear friend to many in the Memphis food community.
Newman Farm pork was known far and wide. From an October 2011 post in Memphis Stew:
Mark and Rita Newman are accustomed to celebrity customers. Chefs from New Orleans to New York feature the farm’s heritage Berkshire pork on their menus, including such luminaries as Momofuku’s David Chang.
Still, even the Newmans were flabbergasted to learn that their pork belly would be served to Barack and Michelle Obama at a well-heeled fundraiser in St. Louis catered by Kevin Nashan, chef and co-owner of Sidney Street Café.
“I saw the menu myself,” Mark Newman said a few days before the event, held Oct. 4 at the home of Tom and Lisa Carnahan. “I told Kevin, all I want is a menu signed by the president.”
When Coworker B told me that he preferred pancakes over waffles, I realized that I did not know him at all.
Then, then ... he confessed that when it comes to frozen desserts, he could take 'em or leave 'em. Over frozen yogurt, ice cream, custard, gelato, et al, and during the hottest of days, he would opt for a cookie. A cookie!
I think of him now and about this mango sno cone from Parker's Water Ice. It is the perfect treat for a muggy day like today.
I went for straightforward with one flavor, but witnessed a customer create a crazy-colorful cup with multiple flavors of ices. There are some 30-plus flavors ranging from grape lemonade and tropical splash to banana and root beer.
Parker's also offers about two dozen flavors of soft serve — pistachio nut, cheesecake, blackberry, etc. — all of which can be made into a milkshake.
Yet more news today regarding Overton Square.
From the release:
Prominent Memphis restauranteur Jimmy Ishii signed a 1,526 SF lease at 2116 Madison Avenue, in the historical Griffin House. Robata Ramen & Yakitori Bar, named after the Japanese word for “fireside,” is an izakaya bar and grill serving kushiyaki skewers of grilled meat and vegetables, kara-age bite sized fried chicken, ramen noodle soups and other traditional Japanese items.
Chefs will serve food to customers seated at the bar using a paddle/oar — a method based on an old Japanese custom practiced by fishermen passing meals prepared from their catch from boat to boat. Robata will have outdoor seating on the front porch, as well as a patio in the front yard furnished with low to the ground, Japanese-style seating. The interior will feature a ramen/sushi/liquor bar with a visible cooking area for customers to experience food preparation.
The restaurant is set to open in December.
Look what my brother sent me in the mail ...
I've been needing a little pick-me-up.
The highly anticipated Frost Bake Shop opened in the Laurelwood Shopping Center on Thursday.
Frost, a small but bright shop located in a corner space next to James Davis, is the retail off-shoot of All American Sweets. Bill Kloos Jr. opened the Bartlett-based bakery All American Sweets in 2004 with his parents. The bakery provides desserts to a number of local restaurants, and its coconut cake and strawberry cake (which includes a pound of fresh strawberries) are widely lauded. But, All American Sweets isn't a drop-in-and-leave-with-a-dozen-cupcakes sort of place. Frost is.
A press release was sent out Wednesday morning announcing that Babalu Tacos & Tapas has signed a lease to take over the TGI Friday's space in Overton Square.
From the release:
Eat Here Brands announced today it has signed a lease for approximately 5,000 square feet of restaurant space in Overton Square to open Babalu Tacos & Tapas. Construction will begin this fall with anticipated opening in early 2014. The restaurant will be located at 2113 Madison Ave. in the old TGI Fridays space. The lease was administered through Loeb Properties and Levy Commercial Realty.
The award-winning Babalu restaurant is based in Jackson, Miss., and serves chef-quality tacos and tapas/small plates with a distinctive twist. This location will be complete with an outdoor patio featuring an indoor-outdoor bar.
The Overton Square Babalu will be the second Babalu location opened by Bill Latham and Al Roberts, according to the release. (The original is in Jackson, Mississippi.) They have also opened several other restaurants, including Interim.
Tacos on the Babalu menu, and there are many, include one with pork belly, another with seared tuna. Tortillas are house-made. Among the tapas dishes featured are shrimp and grits, lamb sliders, and an enchilada of the day. Babalu is also well-known for its guacamole, which is made tableside.
Owner Kat Gordon says they closed on the quaint 585 S. Cooper house a few days ago. Now, she's dreaming up all kinds of menu items for the new bakery. Sure, they will still have many of the Muddy's classics — "I'm not going to tell the people of Midtown they can't have their Prozac," she says — but Gordon wants the Sanderlin and Cooper locations to maintain their own identities. The shops will be siblings, not twins.
This isn't the first time Muddy's has been on Cooper. For two and half years, Gordon had a somewhat secret helper kitchen at 800 S. Cooper that filled custom orders and supplied the Sanderlin location. In 2012, the 800 S. Cooper bakery was moved to 2497 Broad Ave., where it operates today. But Gordon says Cooper-Young, the neighborhood she calls home, was always on her radar.
"Apparently we can't get away from Cooper," she says. "It called us back."
With 1,800 square feet at the S. Cooper location, Gordon will have plenty of room to play around with new concepts. She says she's interested in bolstering her relationship with locally owned J. Brooks Coffee, for instance, and she also plans to convert the building's large yard into a patio.
As for the name, Gordon is thinking Muddy's Midtown, "because I imagine that's what people will call it anyway," she says. Construction on the charming house will probably continue through the end of the year, and Gordon is aiming for an early 2014 opening.
"The sentimental part of me really wants to open in February because that's when the [first] shop opened," she says. "It would have a lovely symmetry to it."
Muddy's Bake Shop, 5101 Sanderlin, 683-8844, muddysbakeshop.com
Local pimento-cheese maker Tom's Tiny Kitchen (TTK), which debuted at farmers markets before expanding to grocers like Miss Cordelia's and Superlo, spread its reach considerably on Monday when it hit the shelves of six area Krogers.
Ross Flournoy, of Tom's Tiny Kitchen and the son of Tom, took time to talk pimento cheese with Hungry Memphis.
Hungry Memphis: There are a lot of pimento cheeses out there ... What sets TTK apart?
Ross Flournoy: Taste AND texture! Obviously I'm not impartial, but I've never experienced a tastier PC than ours. And the texture is unique — it's thick and chunky, not smooth and processed like most. That's because we grate all of our own cheese and mix every single batch by HAND. You hear that??? By hand! No machines involved!
When you were working out the Kroger deal, did you insist on being in specific Krogers ... Baby Kroger, Sexy Kroger, Good Kroger?
My one condition for going into Kroger was that they guarantee me as many Reese's Big Cups as I want, free of charge, for the rest of my life. Which they granted.
In all seriousness, we were just thrilled to go into ANY Kroger at all, so to start in six is a dream come true.
This Mid-South Coliseum cake was made to commemorate local filmmaker/artist Mike McCarthy's 50th birthday.
It was made by the folks at Caminos De Michoacan.
Image courtesy Robin Tucker
These two very different people came together for one reason: to see who could make 50 turkey "sammiches" the fastest, with the sandwiches going to Manna House, which serves the homeless.
The competition took place at the Center for Southern Folkore, where Jason, Wendi, and her two teammates prepared the fixings for their turkey sandwiches. The ingredients were donated by Cash Saver Cost Plus Food Outlet, and Bluff City Coffee.
No, it's Summer Avenue.
It's Summer Avenue at Mendenhall, where, as of last Friday, you can grab a paleta and a scoop (or three) of ice cream after tucking away some of the finest tacos in the city at the Tacos Los Jarochos food truck. Yes, this is real life. Yes, we now have a taco-truck-ice-cream-shop partnership going on. The synergy is palpable.
Los Jarochos Paleteria y Neveria is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Tacos Los Jarochos and Los Jarochos Paleteria y Neveria, 4894 Summer Ave., 314-5735