Friday, May 13, 2016

Red Koi's Kentucky Roll

Posted By on Fri, May 13, 2016 at 9:35 AM

Ladies and gentlemen ... here's a sushi roll with FRIED CHICKEN IN IT!


Red Koi's Kentucky Roll ($6.75) consists of chicken katsu, cream cheese, avocado, and honey sauce. The chicken katsu is lightly fried, making the roll crispy. The cream cheese quickly messes with you though, as the roll changes from crunchy to creamy. Then there's the avocado and the great honey sauce with the perfect amount of sweet. 

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Two New Barbecue Books Hit Shelves

Posted By on Thu, May 12, 2016 at 10:45 AM

It’s that time of year again when the skies of Memphis take on a similar look to that of L.A., but instead of smog generated from an overpopulation of single-occupancy vehicles filling the atmosphere, an inundation of smokers, pits, and cookers cover the Memphis skyline in a haze of heavenly swine-scented smoke.
Two books just hit the shelves, and the matrix, Tuesday, and they offer a couple of ways you can contribute to the seasonal pork-infused smog, either by way of cooking cob roller yourself or by educating dilettantes on original authentic barbecuing.


As if winning multiple world barbecue cooking championships, opening several successful barbecue restaurants, and publishing her own cookbook weren’t enough, pitmaster Melissa Cookston is at it again, this time with a new cookbook. Smokin’ Hot in the South (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $22.99) serves as a collection of grilling recipes that takes traditional Southern ingredients and recipes and approaches them from a new angle.

There’s grilled coconut cake, green tomato pizza sauce (with smoked chicken and truffle crema!), butterbean pate, and green tomato salsa.

“I’ve taken simple Southern ingredients and kicked it up a notch so that they are used in unique ways,” Cookston says. “For most people, the kitchen is their comfort zone. I like to take cooking outside. That’s what it’s all about.”

Before there were divisions and categories and sections and parts, and before there were options such as gas and electricity, there was wood and coal and a 200-pound hog and a man (and probably a woman, too). And with those minimal elements came stories and scars and hazards and a culture, and Louisiana native Rien Fertel fell in love with all of it.


Fertel recently released The One True Barbecue: Fire, Smoke, and the Pitmasters Who Cook the Whole Hog (Touchstone, $25), a hybrid travelogue, history, and homage to the disappearing culture of pitmasters who cook whole hogs over wood-fired coals.

“I fell in love with and romanticized what they did, and I became obsessed with the barbecue that they made,” Fertel, of New Orleans, says. “The book is about the process and the food, but really it’s about the people who stick with the tradition and stubbornly adhere to a culinary art form that doesn’t really make sense.”

There are stories of scarred arms from grease splatters, exploding pigs from a combination of grease hitting the fire in just the right way, and the fact that there are only 10 traditional whole-hog pitmasters left in the U.S., including the two children of Ricky Parker who run their father’s barbecue restaurant, Scott’s Parker’s BBQ in Lexington, Tennessee.

Fertel will appear at the Booksellers at Laurelwood Sunday, May 15th at 2 p.m. for a book signing.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

City Tasting Tours Take Off Saturday

Posted By on Wed, May 11, 2016 at 11:53 AM

"I love barbecue," says Cristina McCarter. "That's so Memphis to say, but it's true." 

McCarter (full disclosure: she's a sales assistant at the Flyer) says she's a foodie and a connoisseur of good food. And she's taking that appetite to the streets with City Tasting Tours, starting this Saturday. 

Each tour stops by five downtown restaurants, where participants will split one of the establishment's signature dishes. That may mean barbecue nachos at Central BBQ (a McCarter favorite) or the peach cobbler at Ray'z or the Soul Burger at Earnestine & Hazel's. Along the way, McCarter shares points of interest.

Tours are Saturday, 1:30 p.m., and start on South Main, go north, and end up on Beale Street. They take about 2 1/2 hours. The cost is $55.  

City Tasting Tours is an offshoot of a tour that McCarter worked for back in 2010. "It was something to do every weekend," McCarter says. "I got paid to eat." Last fall, McCarter was contacted by the tour owner who suggested she take it and make it her own. 

So far, she has 12 downtown restaurants signed up. She hopes to eventually expand to Midtown and Cooper-Young.

Participants should come hungry. "You'll definitely get full from this," McCarter says. 

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Barbecue Fest: Clint Cantwell To Lead Grilling Classes

Posted By on Tue, May 10, 2016 at 10:48 AM

Clint Cantwell grew up in Texas, married a Memphis girl, and spent some time in Kansas City, so he’s got all his barbecue bona fides covered. A few years back, he was hired by Kingsford to edit their web site, and he develops recipes for meat and grill companies and for his own site,

During Barbecue Fest, he’ll be leading classes on grilling on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in partnership with Men’s Journal and GoRVing.

“The first day is barbecue since Memphis in May is the Super Bowl of Swine,” Cantwell says. “The second day is the basics of steak — things you can do at home to elevate your steak grilling to compete with steak houses in your own backyard. And the third day is focused on hamburgers and grilled chicken — techniques to amp up your grilling game.”

Cantwell says that the thing about mastering grilling is not so much learning the techniques as much as unlearning bad ones.

“There are certainly things that people inherently do wrong because that’s the way they were taught. A lot of people have become convinced that they need to take the spatula and smash burgers while they’re grilling. All you’re doing with that is releasing all the fat and juices and drying out your burgers. Little things like that that you can change,” he says.

Good tools are essential, too. Long-handled spatulas and tongs keep you away from the heat. Another one is a nice thermometer. “If you’re spending good money on a steak and doing a nice rub, the last thing you want to do is cook it to well done and then it’s dry like shoe leather,” Cantwell says.

“Ultimately it’s about teaching folks that grilling doesn’t have to be just about hot dogs and hamburgers,” he says. “You can do desserts, appetizers, side dishes. The possibilities are pretty limitless.”

Full schedule below. He’ll be located between the food vendors and the merchandise tent.

Thursday, May 12 (1-2pm, 3:30-4:30, 5-6)
Basics of Low-and-Slow BBQ
· BBQ vs. grilling
· How to cook low-and-slow on a grill
· Balancing meat, spice, and smoke
· Competition cooking versus home cooking
· Demo: The perfect Memphis-style Pulled Pork Sandwich
 Prepping and smoking pork butt
 Injecting meats
 Wrapping meats
• Demo: Grilled coleslaw
• Demo: Making a signature BBQ sauce
 Knowing when the pork is done
 Assembly (pulled pork sliders with grilled coleslaw and signature BBQ sauce)
· Demo: Grilled pizza on the KettlePizza grill insert
· Demo: Grilled desserts (Grilled red, white, and blue poundcake)

Friday, May 13 (1-2pm, 3:30-4:30, 5-6)
· Demo: Grilled appetizers (Grilled and chilled gazpacho soup)
· Intro to grilling steaks
o Grading beef
o Dry aged vs. wet aged
o Choosing the right cut
o Alternative steak cuts (butcher’s cuts)
o Cutting costs: Trimming your own steaks
• Freezing meat – makeshift cryovac
o Pre-salting steaks
o Seasoning steaks (coffee and cocoa dry rub)
o Grilling a frozen steak
o Reverse sear grilling
o Knowing when the steak is done (the horror of cutting into steaks to check doneness)
o Completing the perfect steak (compound butters)
· Demo: Grilled coffee-cocoa rubbed cowboy ribeyes with roasted garlic butter
· Demo: Asian marinated flank steak
· Demo: Grilled Desserts (grilled peach crumbles)

Saturday, May 14 (11-12, 1-2, 3-4pm)
· Demo: Grilled appetizers (Bacon wrapped “MOINK balls”)
· Demo: Simple Sides
o Grilled corn salsa
o Grilled guacamole
· The basics of grilling the perfect burgers
o Selecting the perfect beef blend
o Grinding your own meat at home
o Overworking the meat
o Forming the perfect patty to fit the bun
o Adding an indention
o Seasoning
o 2 zone cooking
o Pressing burgers with a spatula
o Cooking to the correct temp (USDA recommends 160 degrees)
o Selecting the right bun (showcase all bacon bun and mac-and-cheese buns)
o Customizing burgers and burger bars
· Demo: Pimento cheeseburger sliders
· Demo: Smoked herb-citrus salt rubbed butterflied chickens (moving beyond beer can chicken)
o How to spatchcock a chicken (removing the backbone) and benefits
o Rub: creating an herb salt rub
o Smoking to perfection, resting meat, and slicing

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Monday, May 9, 2016

Guess Where I'm Eating Contest 100

Posted By on Mon, May 9, 2016 at 11:07 AM

To celebrate the 100th entry in this contest, we're offering a super-cool prize this week: 2 tickets to Margarita Festival

The festival, hosted by the Flyer, features local restaurants competing to win the Best Margarita in Memphis title. Guests get to sample and vote for their favorites.

The event sold out last year.


A nice treat for a hot day ... I managed to get this all over me and my car. 

The first person to correctly ID the dish and where I'm eating wins the 2 tickets. 

To enter, submit your answer to me via email at

The answer to GWIE 99 is the Mellow Mushroom in East Memphis, and the winner is ... Jenny Robertson! 

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

South of Beale's Bar Pie Special

Posted By on Wed, May 4, 2016 at 11:32 AM


Once I saw the South of Beale's Bar Pie Special ($11.50), I knew that I had to be adventurous for once.

This week, the bar pie is gator sausage, garlic, roasted red peppers, gouda, green onions and a chili-lime crème fraiche.

I have never tried alligator and was worried about how it would taste. I LOVED IT! I would compare the alligator meat to chicken and sausage. The meat tastes like chicken but better. It’s more flavorful, chewy, and it has the firmness of sausage. It fits right in on the bar pie. The roasted red peppers and green onions are fresh and the Gouda is nicely melted on the bread that is soft and grilled like a Panini. Lastly, the chili-lime crème fraiche adds a great kick of spiciness. If you like it spicy, you will love the sauce.

Grab it before it’s gone on Monday.

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Monday, May 2, 2016

Guess Where I'm Eating Contest 99

Posted By on Mon, May 2, 2016 at 10:48 AM


Peace ... 

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

To enter, submit your answer to me via email at

The answer to GWIE 98 is the Triple Decker from Say Cheese food truck, and the winner is ... Meredith Taylor!

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

City East's Matzah Brei

Posted By on Wed, Apr 27, 2016 at 2:20 PM


It’s Passover this week, and City East has something on their menu that you can eat to celebrate the holiday. It’s their version of matzah brei and it’s on the menu year-round! The matzah brei is served with hash browns and you can get it topped with syrup or jam ($6.35) or with salami ($8.35). I got mine with salami.

Matzah brei is matzoh fried with eggs. The matzoh was broken into pieces and it was crunchy but softened. It mixed well with the eggs and the salami was nice and hearty. A simple but delicious dish!

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It

Posted By on Tue, Apr 26, 2016 at 9:14 AM


When Diane Grover gave birth to her youngest child, Mary Ellen, more than a decade ago, she learned what it meant to be a champion for people with intellectual disabilities. Mary Ellen, or ME, was born with Down syndrome.

Over the years Grover advocated for her daughter and others with intellectual disabilities in a variety of ways, including founding the International Down Syndrome Coalition, but her most successful was handing out jam. On March 21st of last year — March 21st being world Down syndrome day — Grover handed out jam produced by a Colorado company, Steamers, that employed people of all abilities in an effort to create awareness of the disparity in employment rates for those with intellectual disabilities.

It has been reported that only 17 percent of people with disabilities were employed in 2015. Grover's efforts to bring these numbers into the forefront took her on a path of advocacy she never anticipated. Requests for more jam grew into greater demand for gift baskets which transformed into developing her own coffee roast which turned into running her own company.

Grover now owns Dreamers Merchants, a business which facilitates the vend of products either created or sold by people with disabilities. It started when Grover included coffee in her gift baskets which she sold to raise money for the Down Syndrome Foundation. She contacted J. Brooks and told them about her efforts, and the company encouraged her to create her own blend to both raise awareness of her efforts and funds for her cause. The Dreamers blend was born, which she advertised on her Facebook page.


Soon friends across the country were asking to sell the coffee too, and Dreamers Merchants was born. That grew into selling artwork created by her vendors, or Dreamers, or products made by other advocacy companies, and most recently, Grover's first brick-and-mortar shop.

Sometime around Valentine's Day of this year, Grover and team cut the ribbon on their first coffee shop, Dreamers Coffee, located at the Vantage Point Golf Center on Macon Road in Cordova. Grover now works to help her merchants develop skills running their own businesses, either setting up tables at events to sell their wares, and Dreamers coffee, working in the coffee shop, learning how to frame their artwork, and other tasks. She now works with 25 Dreamers across the country, eight of them locally, and helps with 26 online stores in nine national locations.

For more information, visit or call 849-7111. Dreamers Coffee is located at 9580 Macon.


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Monday, April 25, 2016

On the Scene at the Southern Hot Wing Festival

Posted By on Mon, Apr 25, 2016 at 2:41 PM


Wing lovers packed in Mississippi River Park for the annual Southern Hot Wing Festival. 

Frank Chin was there to get in his shots. 

Southern Hot Wing Festival 2016
Southern Hot Wing Festival 2016 Southern Hot Wing Festival 2016 Southern Hot Wing Festival 2016 Southern Hot Wing Festival 2016 Southern Hot Wing Festival 2016 Southern Hot Wing Festival 2016 Southern Hot Wing Festival 2016 Southern Hot Wing Festival 2016

Southern Hot Wing Festival 2016

Annual event is a fund-raiser for the Ronald McDonald House of Memphis. 

By Frank Chin

Click to View 42 slides

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Guess Where I'm Eating Contest 98

Posted By on Mon, Apr 25, 2016 at 11:18 AM

A pretty day in Court Square with something good to eat ... 
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

The answer to GWIE 97 is the huevo torta at Maciel's, and the winner is ... Kim Gullett!  

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Friday, April 22, 2016

Old Venice's Lucky Luciano

Posted By on Fri, Apr 22, 2016 at 1:37 PM


Meatballs on pizza? Why not? Old Venice takes on that challenge with one of their specialty pizzas, The Lucky Luciano ($17.99 for a large). There’s pizza sauce, Italian sausage, mozzarella cheese, red bell pepper, meatballs, and it’s topped with shredded parmesan and fresh oregano.

The meatballs! Soft, flavorful, and juicy. And not messy ... which I wasn’t expecting. I also thought it was going to be heavy. Not the case at all.

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

At the Rajun Cajun Crawfish 2016

Posted By on Thu, Apr 21, 2016 at 1:23 PM

Downtown got crawfish crazy Sunday at the annual Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival. Photographer Frank Chin took in the scene. 

Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival 2016
Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival 2016 Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival 2016 Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival 2016 Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival 2016 Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival 2016 Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival 2016 Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival 2016 Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival 2016

Rajun Cajun Crawfish Festival 2016

Annual event raises funds for Porter-Leath. 

By Frank Chin

Click to View 36 slides

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Bluefin Looking Ahead, etc.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 20, 2016 at 4:29 PM

  • Bluefin, Facebook
Karen Barrett started at Bluefin roughly a week after a staff-wide walk out in December. Where there were once some 30 employees, only 4 remained. 

Since then, says Barrett, who is Bluefin's manager, things have been looking up. They've been busy rebuilding the staff and have some changes in mind. 

(The reason for the walk out, according to those involved, was due to a language barrier with new owner Mr. Woo, and the fact that Woo had asked all employees to reapply for their jobs.)

Much of the change is in the menu. Gone are the flatbreads. There are new sushi rolls. There is a hibachi grill. There is a plan to add Korean dishes as well.

 They also plan to move the bar, which is in the front on the north wall to where it was originally — in the front foyer section. The area where the bar is now would be converted into a coffee bar. 

• The Flyer's Margarita Festival returns to the Overton Park Greensward on June 18th. Tickets sold out last year; get yours here

• LA-based Pranom Pop Up will be at Earnestine & Hazel's on Thursday, April 21st, selling Thai street food. On the menu is Tom Ka Gai (a chicken coconut soup; $10) and there will be a vegetarian option as well.

They'll be there from 7 p.m. til they sell out. 

Huey's is offering new spring specials, including Jalitos (cheese-filled jalapeno peppers); chicken salad sandwich and salad plate; and Fish N Chips. 

McAlister's is offering a Banh Mi sandwich for a limited time. It has pulled pork, pickled veggies, sriracha mayo, and cucumbers. Get it through June 28th. 

Phillip Ashley Chocolates has introduced its Love You Mom collection just in time for Mother's Day. The collection features 12 different chocolates and sells for $45. Flavors include rosebud caramel with pink flake salt, lemon poppyseed; and chocolate mint cookie. They can be preordered online on in the shop. 

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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!"
See all the pictures, taken by Don Perry and Cole Wheeler at the Flyer's Facebook page. 

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