Tuesday, April 19, 2016

On the Scene from Bacon & Bourbon

Posted By on Tue, Apr 19, 2016 at 1:52 PM

The Flyer's first-ever Bacon & Bourbon was last Saturday (everything was last Saturday!) at the Memphis Farmers Market downtown. 

Says Events Manager Jackie Sparks-Davila, "We had 500 people, not a single drop of bourbon was left over, and so much bacon, pork belly, bbq, pizza, bacon cupcakes were eaten!"
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See all the pictures, taken by Don Perry and Cole Wheeler at the Flyer's Facebook page. 

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Monday, April 18, 2016

Guess Where I'm Eating Contest 97

Posted By on Mon, Apr 18, 2016 at 10:57 AM

A new favorite ...  
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The first person to correctly ID the dish and where I'm eating wins a fabulous prize. 

To enter, submit your answer to me via email at ellis@memphisflyer.com.

The answer to GWIE 96 is LYFE Kitchen, and the winner is ... Jenny Lee Wilkins!

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Big Weekend Ahead: Crawfish, Bacon, etc.

Posted By on Fri, Apr 15, 2016 at 12:47 PM

Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival
  • Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival

This weekend is jam-packed with food-related events. 

• The granddaddy of them all — the Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival is Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., at Riverside Drive between Union and Beale.

Benefiting Porter-Leath, this festival attracts some 25,000 with its 16,000 (!) pounds of crawfish, live music (Marcella & Her Lovers, FreeWorld, etc.), gumbo contest, crawfish bob, crawfish races, and crawfish eating contest.

You can even get their crawfish to-go at a special area set up at Union and Riverside. If crawfish isn't your thing, no worries — barbecue, hot wings, and more will be sold. 

Tennessee Swamp VIP Tent tickets are $100 ($175 per couple) with unlimited crawfish and drinks from noon to 5 p.m.

• There's the first-ever (and sold out) Bacon & Bourbon event Saturday at the Farmers Market, presented by the Flyer. Check back here for pictures from this event. 

• The annual Memphis Brewfest is Saturday at AutoZone Park. This one benefits Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy.

• Kelly English's Le BonAppetite, benefiting Le Bonheur Children's Hospital, is an all-star affair featuring John Currence, John Besh, Aaron Sanchez, and others. Happening Saturday at the Pipkin Building.

Healthy Memphis Festival is Saturday on Broad. Vendors include OC Vegan Foods, Fresh Market, Relevant Roasters, and more.

• It's Streetdog Adoption Day at Memphis Made Brewing Co. Dogs and beer? A match made in heaven.

• The Harbor Town Crawfish Festival is Saturday, from noon to 7 p.m.  

• Sunday it's the annual Grow Memphis Edible Plant Sale at Idlewild Presbyterian Church, 1- 4 p.m.



Thursday, April 14, 2016

Underground Kitchen Coming to Memphis

Posted By on Thu, Apr 14, 2016 at 2:45 PM

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Six years ago, Micheal Sparks and his partner moved to Richmond, Virginia. They didn't know anybody, so they started inviting their neighbors to dinner.

"It got out of hand," says Sparks.

Those dinners, highlighting local ingredients, grew into community events, which eventually led to Sparks founding the nonprofit Underground Kitchen last year.

Underground Kitchen is described as "an outrageous community-oriented secret dining society, enlisting the most talented chefs in their field and pushing them to the limits of their culinary creativity while serving a menu in an unexpected, stunning venue." It's currently in 15 cities. Underground Kitchen will make its way to Memphis in May or June.  

First, a venue is selected — past venues have included a hat factory, an art gallery, and a mansion — then a chef is selected. The chef may be local or may be recruited from another one of Underground's cities. One thing's for sure, the chef may not cook his usual menu. "We give them the outlet to blow it out," Sparks says. 
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Dinners are held once a month, and each one has a theme. For one event held at the Virginia Fine Arts Museum, the site was transformed into a fishbowl. The menu was surf and turf. Another, in a distillery, incorporated bourbon in each of its six courses. 

Sparks describes Underground Kitchen as the "Cirque du Soliel of food." Everything from the music to the decor, is curated. "I'm pretty much a bitch about it too," Sparks says.

Memphis is part of Underground's Silk Road 95 series, which highlights purveyors (wineries, fisheries, farms, etc.) along Interstate 95 and its offshoots. 


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Guests sign up for a free membership at theundergroundkitchen.org, and then they are informed when tickets go on sale. They are given a little hint of what the dinner may entail ("saffron," perhaps) and that's it. Forty-eight hours before the event, they are given the location. Guests learn the chef and menu at the event. 

Underground Kitchen hosts three types of dinners: UGK Dine ($85), three courses and highlighting new restaurants; the regular UGK ($150) with six courses; and UGK Bespoked, which is tailored to corporate or nonprofit events. Proceeds from the dinners go to programs geared toward food education and getting vegetables to those who need them most. 

The dinners, Sparks says, allow people to explore food. "Picky eaters," he says, "It's not for you." 

Images courtesy of Underground Kitchen

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Andrew Michael's A|M Breakfast

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2016 at 3:14 PM

Our waitress let us know that one thing Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen prides itself on is a starter, the A|M Breakfast ($11).

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The A|M Breakfast is made up of a poached egg, pork belly, polenta, and  pork rinds. The pork rinds are crunchy and spicy while the pork belly is juicy and smokey. The polenta is creamy, cheesy, and goes well with the poached egg. After trying everything separately, I mixed everything all together, which made it taste even better because the pork rind gets softer and changes texture. Delicious.

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Guess Where I'm Eating Contest 96

Posted By on Mon, Apr 11, 2016 at 10:47 AM

You know this logo? 

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The first person to correctly ID where I'm eating wins a fabulous prize. 

To enter, submit your answer to me via email at ellis@memphisflyer.com.

The answer to GWIE 95 is the Berry Good smoothie at the I Love Juice Bar, and the winner is ... Sarah Cummings!

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Kroger Gets Wine Ready

Posted By on Wed, Apr 6, 2016 at 12:59 PM

Kroger officials gave media tours of the Germantown Kroger store Tuesday. - TOBY SELLS
  • Toby Sells
  • Kroger officials gave media tours of the Germantown Kroger store Tuesday.

Wine will soon flow in the aisles of many Tennessee grocery stores and on Tuesday Kroger officials showed the media just what that will look like in stores in Memphis.

One long aisle in Kroger’s Germantown store was draped in large vinyl banners that read “Coming…July 1st,” the day wine sales will be legal in some Tennessee grocery stores. That aisle was featured prominently by the close to the front door and right in the middle of the Germantown store. It was also set close to the beer aisle, which now features a growler station.

While you couldn’t buy wine at the store yet, of course, you could buy wine bottle openers, wine glasses, and sundry other bar accouterments. But Kroger officials gave a tour of the store that would show what the public can expect when they will, in fact, be able to buy bottles there. 

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Stops along the tour included the meat department, the Murray’s Cheese shop, the dessert section, and the floral department. At the tour stops, wine distributors said that they will work with Kroger stores to help them
with seasonal selections and showed off some of the wines that will be available. 

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Prices from the various vendors varied, of course, though the different ranges included everything from a (possibly) $3.99 bottle up to high-end wines in the $80-$90 range. But all distributors said they would work with customers and get them anything they asked for, including Cristal champagne which can costs in the hundreds of dollars per bottle.

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Friday, April 1, 2016

Stoney River's Deviled Eggs

Posted By on Fri, Apr 1, 2016 at 2:11 PM

Yes, Stoney River is known for their steaks, but you shouldn’t ignore the other items on their menu.

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I stumbled upon one of their starters, deviled eggs ($8). These are deviled eggs with a twist, finished with sugar-cured bacon and homemade pickle relish. The deviled eggs taste similar to a creamy egg salad. Thanks to the bacon on top, there’s a crunchy factor that you don’t expect and it’s sweet. If you like deviled eggs that taste like creamy, smooth candy, these are for you.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Always an Excuse to Go to the Farmer

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 9:50 AM

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The Farmer was one of the first to show what farm-to-table means.

I try never to turn down an excuse to go to the Farmer, and what better reason to go than for a good cause. The farm-to-table restaurant — one of the pioneers in Memphis — recently held a benefit for the Bluff City Fellowship, a recovery community in the area, and my fellow Memphians couldn't resist either. The event sold out with 90 Farmer fans getting on board. 

For $29 diners could choose between a soup or salad, one of three entrees, and from a choice of two desserts.

The soup offered was a sweet potato bisque with the crowd-pleaser, Benton bacon, and marshmallow creme fraiche. The salad was the SG Wedge, with crisp romaine, cherry tomatoes, pickled onions (the best way to eat an onion, IMHO), bleu cheese crumbles, and buttermilk Ranch dressing. I went with the salad, pretty much to save room for dessert.

For the main course, I picked the Savory Chicken Breast, oven roasted with natural jus, red skinned mashed potatoes, and sautéed green beans. I went with the chicken because I will forever be enamored with the Farmer due to my first rendezvous with the restaurant several years ago. My mother and I lunch together about every month, conquering the Memphis restaurant landscape one new establishment at a time. I had never tried the Farmer — back then it was the Elegant Farmer, but in the past year or so dropped the Elegant because of some copyright/trademark/patent/whatever issues — so we met up on Highland Street and were greeted by a warm, jolly "Hello!" from the owner, Mac Edwards.

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The Farmer owner Mac Edwards

I will never forget the Oven Roasted Chicken Breast my mother ordered. One bite, and I had been transported back to my homeland, L'hexagone (I am an unapologetic francophile). That's the thing about the Farmer. Everything is done right. Well. Correctly. And that is what makes it good. No need to wow with portmanteaus or whatever the fashionable import of the month is. The food is the upside of perfectionism.

I do kind of wish I had tried the Lake's Catfish, a pan-seared filet with citrus orzo, sautéed green beans, and saffron aioli. Lake's catfish is the best in the region, and I haven't yet had the pleasure of being swept off my feet by the Farmer's expertise on the dish. I'm not a big l meat-eater, except when it comes to barbecue, so the Smoked Pork Loin Chop didn't appeal to me. Edwards and team served up an oven-finished center cut chop with sweet potato hash, sautéed green beans, and BBQ bordelaise. Sounded AMAZE. 

For dessert, there was no chocolate, but there was the strawberry cake recipe that I grew up eating, the one with strawberry Jell-O in the ingredients. It was so sweet my teeth curled. There was also the apple cobbler with cinnamon whipped cream, but I don't really get cobbler. It doesn't have any chocolate in it.

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Monday, March 28, 2016

A Visit to Curb Market

Posted By on Mon, Mar 28, 2016 at 12:51 PM

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I stopped by the new Curb Market on Friday, opening day. 

Curb Market, in the old Easy Way site on Cooper, specializes in locally sourced goods. 

Slideshow
Checking Out Curb Market
Checking Out Curb Market Checking Out Curb Market Checking Out Curb Market Checking Out Curb Market Checking Out Curb Market Checking Out Curb Market Checking Out Curb Market Checking Out Curb Market

Checking Out Curb Market

A look at the goods... 

By Susan Ellis

Click to View 13 slides


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Guess Where I'm Eating Contest 95

Posted By on Mon, Mar 28, 2016 at 11:07 AM

Something for breakfast ... 


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The first person to correctly ID the drink and where I'm eating wins a fabulous prize. 

To enter, submit your answer to me via email at ellis@memphisflyer.com

The answer to GWIE 94 is Bryant's Breakfast, and the winner is ... Todd Lowe!

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Visit to Park + Cherry

Posted By on Thu, Mar 24, 2016 at 1:25 PM

The owners of Acre Restaurant signed a three-year lease to run the Dixon Gallery and Garden’s new café called Park + Cherry. It opened this Tuesday and everything on the menu has an average price range of $8-$10. There’s a selection of sandwiches, salads, snacks, sides, sweets and coffee.

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The first sandwich I tried was the truffled pimento cheese ($8). The bread is super soft and airy. As for the pimento cheese, it’s different from others that I’ve tasted. I chalk that up to the fact that there’s actually preserved black truffles worked into it! The pimento cheese is light, fresh and simply put… delicious. It’s also a nice serving size.

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For the healthy option, I tried the quinoa, pickle pear, arugula, and cranberry salad ($9). The quinoa is cooked just right. The pear and cranberries give a nice hint of sweetness to the salad while providing two totally different textures at the same time. If you want a fresh and light-tasting salad that will fill you up and has a touch of sweetness, this is for you.

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Lastly I sampled one of the hot-pressed sandwiches. I went with the smoked beef brisket Reuben ($10.) It had Swiss, sauerkraut, and sweet red wine mustard. On the first bite you can taste the smokiness of the meat. The brisket is smoked to the point where it isn’t overwhelming and that allows the sauerkraut to kick in. It’s got a great crunch and a sweet pickled taste to it. The red wine mustard with the melted Swiss cheese seals the deal. If you want a juicy sandwich, you can’t go wrong with this one.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Guess Where I'm Eating Contest 94

Posted By on Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 11:08 AM

Iconic …

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The first person to guess where I'm eating wins a fabulous prize. 

To enter, submit your answer to me via email at ellis@memphisflyer.com

The answer to GWIE 93 is the Pimm's Cup at Bar DKDC, and the winner is ... Philip LeTard!

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Hard Rock's Guinness & Jameson Bacon Cheeseburger

Posted By on Thu, Mar 17, 2016 at 2:28 PM

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The Hard Rock's Guinness & Jameson Bacon Cheeseburger ($14.95) — now here's a burger for St. Paddy’s Day. It’s a half-pound certified Angus beef patty topped with Jameson Irish Whiskey bacon jam and Guinness cheese sauce. The burger is served with seasonal fries and a Sriracha mayo dipping sauce.

The bun is lightly toasted, the meat is flavorful and very juicy, and the Guinness cheese sauce creamy with a light hint of Guinness. But it's the Irish Whiskey bacon jam that's the star. It’s caramelized just right, making it sweet, crunchy, and crazy good!

Overall, you’ve got yourself a creative, sweet, and cheesy burger. Try it today before it’s gone. The Guinness & Jameson Bacon Cheeseburger will be on the menu until April 10th.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Scoops Parlor and MBRW

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2016 at 8:56 AM


My coworker and I decided to check out Scoops Parlor during Memphis Black Restaurant Week. So did a lot of people.

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The creamery/creperie is located inside the old Rizzo's Diner spot at 106 G.E. Patterson in the historic South Main district. With only a handful of tables, it was easily packed to the gills for lunch.

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We both opted for the MBRW two-course lunch special for $15, wherein we could choose either an appetizer/entree combo or an entree/dessert combo. We were both on good behavior and went with the appetizer/entree combo, each choosing the Mushroom Asparagus Crepe, which came with Buttery Sweet Potato Mash, and a Scoops House Salad with Ranch dressing. The dessert options they offered included either the Apple Cinnamon Crepe or the Strawberry Lemonade Cake with a scoop of Vanilla Bean Gelato, and we could have had a Scoop o' Cheddar Broccoli Soup for the app or the Pulled Pork Crepe with Homestyle Slaw. Sometimes you just have to be low-key.

The crepe was delicious. The pancake was cooked to the right consistency, fluffy yet thin yet a little firm, and the mushroom, asparagus, and cheese filling was just what I was looking for. Their regular menu comes with various drizzling choices, and the chef chose a butter sauce to dribble on the mushroom and asparagus crepe. With the sweet potato mash, who really needed dessert. 

Memphis Black Restaurant Week ran March 7-13th and was created by Cynthia Daniels in an effort to create awareness of and support minority-owned restaurants in Memphis. Other participating restaurants included DeJaVu (we ran into Chef Gary at Scoops) at 51 S. Main, Evergreen Grill at 6661 Winchester, the HM Dessert Lounge at 1586 Madison, the Bistro at 2945 Millbranch, Onix at 412 S. Main, the Office @ Uptown at 594 N. Second, and Mot & Ed's at 1354 Madison. 

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