Spring will a busy time for the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, one packed with art, wine, and food.
The museum's primary fund-raising season kicks off with the Brooks League Designers and Artists Showcase at the Agricenter International April 1st to 3rd and culminates on May 6th with the black-tie Patrons Dinner, the final event in the annual "Art of Good Taste" series.
The event at the Agricenter will feature a wine-tasting Friday night, a Latin fiesta on Saturday night, and the Mimosa Brunch Sunday. Fascinating Catering will prepare a buffet-style brunch and guests will be entertained with a fashion show by Chico's.
Throughout April, the museum will host wine tastings, auctions, and dinners, including First Wednesday's "Escape from the Ordinary" on April 6th. The evening will feature a lecture on pre-Impressionism and the "Quilts of Gee's Bend" as well as food prepared by the Brushmark restaurant's Penny McCraw.
For an overview of upcoming events, see BrooksMuseum.org.
Sunday, March 27th, is Easter and that means Easter brunches.
Since we're already at the Brooks, let's start there. There will be a buffet at the Brushmark on Easter Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person and $10 for children 12 and under. McCraw will prepare a feast of Grecian-style petite lamb chops, Gorgonzola and potato gratin, and haricots verts with almond butter.
At the Holiday Inn at the University of Memphis, "Helga," a three-foot mermaid carved out of chocolate, will reign over the dessert table. Chef Edward Nowakowski will also be carving ice vases that will be lit and filled with fresh flowers to decorate each of the buffet stations. More than 700 people are expected for the three seatings from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom. Reservations are required (678-5410). The cost is $25.95 for adults, $22.95 for seniors, and $11.95 for children ages 6 to 12.
Equestria will host a brunch buffet from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Easter Sunday, featuring a selection of fresh fruits, meats, and seafood as well as homemade breads and pastries. The cost is $24.95 per person and $9.95 for children.
Chef Jeff Dunham will create a special à la carte menu for the Grove Grill's brunch. An assortment of breakfast and dinner items such as eggs Creole, roasted sirloin, and fresh seafood will be served from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Paulette's, voted as having the best brunch in Memphis magazine's Readers' Poll, will also offer a special à la carte menu, with eight different entrées served with fresh salads and the restaurant's famed popovers from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For those planning on cooking Easter dinner at home, consider pairing the meal with wine from the Corkscrew. The downtown liquor store is having a spring closeout sale offering many wines at more than 50 percent off the usual price. The Corkscrew is located at 511 S. Front (543-9463).
Midtown's Bar-B-Q Shop recently took Chili Pepper magazine's "2005 Fiery Foods Challenge" and earned the top spot, first place in the Golden Chili Awards with its Dancing Pigs sauce.
Dancing Pigs was among 875 entries judged by the national food magazine.
"We've won awards before, but this is one of the biggest national awards that we've ever won," says Eric Vernon, who owns the Bar-B-Q Shop with his parents Frank and Hazel. "One of the things that makes our hot sauce a winner is that it's not only hot, it has a great flavoring."
Though the Vernons have been using the recipe in their restaurant for more than two decades, the recipe originated at Brady & Lil's, a well-known restaurant on South Parkway in the 1950s. The Vernons bought the restaurant and changed the name and location, first moving to East Memphis and then to its current Midtown address 17 years ago. The sauce, however, has stayed the same for more than 50 years.
"It was pretty famous in the day," says Eric. "Mr. Brady taught my father and mother how to make the sauce."
Ten years ago when the Vernons decided to market the sauce in Kroger grocery stores, the family once again took inspiration from Brady and Lil's. The name "Dancing Pigs" came from the restaurant's logo, which featured two dancing pigs.