The secret to making Kalli's Baklava — a sweet and flakey pastry filled with nuts and honey — comes down to this: practice.
So says Southaven resident Carolyn Bredosky, who spent 15 years with her husband, Gary, perfecting baklava on the weekends from her Greek grandmother's favorite recipe. "We started making baklava for Christmas gifts," Carolyn said, "and it was a cool thing to do together."
By 2005, the couple had turned their hobby into a business, obtaining a commercial license to bake at home and selling their pastry to area restaurants.
"We jumped through a lot of hoops," Carolyn said. "For one thing, Southaven is a donuts and baseball town. People didn't know much about Greek food."
Not so for customers at Miss Cordelia's and Young Avenue Deli, where "Kalli's Baklava" was sold as a popular dessert.
"We layer the dough and butter, make our own honey syrup, and grind a mixture of walnuts, almonds, and pecans," Carolyn said. "It's tedious, but it's worth it."
The couple never quit their day jobs (Gary is an aircraft mechanic, and Carolyn teaches voice), but last year they were asked by Whole Foods to be a local vendor in the chain's Memphis store. By February, Kalli's Baklava was on store shelves, and the couple began sampling their pastry every other weekend. (Stop by Whole Foods Saturday, May 30th, and try a taste.)
"It's been a slow grow," Carolyn said. "With all the gorgeous pastry at Whole Foods, we though we might be overlooked. But people are starting to catch on. It's very exciting."
"Kalli's Baklava," sold at Whole Foods, 5022 Poplar (685-2293)
Here's a reason to get out of bed on Sunday mornings: Angie Kirkpatrick's new restaurant on Brookhaven Circle — The Kitchen — is serving brunch.
The menu, offered from 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., features hearty European fare, such as Italian casserole (sausage, fire-roasted peppers, onions, potatoes, and two eggs) and French toast (stuffed with whipped mascarpone, topped with strawberries, and drizzled with maple butter).
There also are soups (shrimp bisque), salads (arugula with goat cheese and parmesan or watermelon and strawberry tossed with almond slivers, mint, and a balsamic drizzle), and desserts (bread pudding, crème brûlée, and berry chocolate mousse).
The brunch menu isn't quite as eclectic as the restaurant's dinner menu, which highlights signature dishes from around the world, such as shepherd's pie from England, cioppino from Italy, and coq au vin from France. "Brunch is a little more universal," Kirkpatrick said. "Everyone eats eggs, one way or another."
A veteran manager of area restaurants including The Half Shell on Mendenhall, Kirkpatrick opened her restaurant April 1st, teaming up with chef Sabrina Ball from Chicago, whose spin on traditional cooking matched her own.
"We're not trying to be overly creative," Kirkpatrick said. "We are a restaurant for the times: European comfort food at affordable prices."
New daily specials also are planned, along with lighter menu offerings for warm weather: Grecian lemon-roasted chicken salad and smoked salmon salad served with a little honey.
The Kitchen, 715 W. Brookhaven Circle, thekitchenonbrookhaven.com (761-1530)
Right on schedule, the second Panera Bread in Memphis opened last week as a new anchor for the Laurelwood Shopping Center in East Memphis.
A few days earlier, franchise owner Rick Postle introduced Panera to a well-attended V.I.P. party, where guests marveled at the site's remarkable transformation from a Walgreens, drank wine, and sampled bread, soup, and sandwiches.
While menu selections are the same at all Paneras in Memphis, unique décor gives each restaurant a signature look, said managing partner Adam Jackson. For instance, Panera in Laurelwood spills outdoors where crepe myrtle, lantina, and yellow day lilies shape a community courtyard for eating and socializing.
"We have tables and umbrellas, which give people a nice place near the fountain to enjoy their food," Jackson said.
Next up for the ownership group is a third location by early September in Germantown at Poplar and Exeter, followed by a Collierville opening in the spring of next year.
Panera Bread, 4530 Poplar, Suite 101, panerabread.com (767-3116)