To walk into Julles Posh Foods is to be pleasantly surprised. Nothing about the address suggests excellence. It's wedged into a strip mall between a Lenny's and Walgreens. But the owners, MK and Julliet Bhupesh, are doing something refreshingly different for East Memphis: They're cooking light.
"There's a lot you can do with a drop of oil," muses Julliet. "You don't have to fry it."
MK and Julliet both grew up in India, but they didn't meet until much later, in California. At the time, MK was working as a consultant at Accenture, while Julliet was a pastry chef at the Grand Hyatt in Monterey. Her culinary training is classically European: She has worked at five-star hotels alongside celebrity chefs like Anton Mossiman and Gordon Ramsay. So what drew her to MK?
"He had a sly smile," recalls Julliet. "He cooked shrimp with coconut for me, and I thought that was very brave."
At Julles Posh Foods, the menu changes weekly, according to the season and Julliet's whims. On a recent Monday, the menu featured a Trio of Bean Salad with Lemon Dressing and Grilled Chicken ($14), as well as a Pistachio-Crusted Wild Salmon with Maple Mustard Vinaigrette ($20).
But I was pumped for the Spicy Shrimp ($20). Here, crisp white asparagus and a bean ragout make a zesty bed for some truly peppery crustaceans. For fun, pair it with one of Julliet's cold-pressed juices. I liked the "Boost n Run" ($9), a gingery potion of beets, carrots, and kale.
Nearly all of these dishes are gluten-free, and several are vegan. That's a perk, says Julliet, but it isn't the point. Rather, it flows naturally from her philosophy of cooking light and using predominantly fresh, local ingredients. Recent examples include fingerling potatoes from Woodson Ridge Farms and amaranth microgreens from Rocking Micros.
If you have time, you really ought to dine in. Julles Posh Foods is executed in the sunny style of a Euro café: white and tidy with green and yellow accents. But for busy families who prefer to eat at home, there are actually two more ways to get this food.
First, you can pick up. Julliet prepares and plates each dish, then flash-chills it in an oven-safe container. (An aside: It's rare to see this level of care taken with prepared foods. Even in black plastic, these dinners look immaculate.) Finally, you can arrange to have your meals delivered. Visit jullesposhfoods.com to order online.
You've probably heard about Seamless, the site that lets you order food online. It currently works with 8,000 restaurants in more than 600 cities. Alas, the list does not include Memphis.
But wait! Before you let fly with that familiar, world-weary sigh: Memphis now has its own, homegrown version of Seamless. Back in February, Chef Shuttle started delivering meals to six zip codes in the eastern half of the city. Founder Ryan Herget says he plans to add more neighborhoods in the coming weeks.
Here's how it works: Go to chefshuttle.com and pick a restaurant (there are currently about 20 to choose from). Order from the menu; the prices are the same as dining in. And that's it. The food shows up at your door within an hour, and all for a flat delivery fee of $4.95.
I had been meaning to try Chef Shuttle. Also, I had been meaning to check out Game of Thrones. So on a recent Wednesday night, I decided to kill two birds with one stone. At 5:30 p.m., I ordered dinner from 4Dumplings, a Chinese joint in East Memphis. Then I cued up season five, episode one, and pressed play.
5:32 p.m. Opening credits — followed by a dizzying, two-minute montage that attempts to summarize the past 40 episodes. Anyone who hasn't already seen those episodes will be utterly confused by this. Confused, I open a can of Wiseacre Tiny Bomb pilsner.
6:08 p.m. Food arrives, well ahead of schedule. The friendly delivery driver, Nancy, confesses, "I'm a people person. I love meeting people." Meanwhile, onscreen, a naked knight cuddles with another knight. I kind of hope Nancy didn't see that part.
6:11 p.m. Do these characters ever actually meet each other? In a pyramid, a busty woman wearing white says she won't reopen the fighting pits. I break into the food and am pleased to find that it is piping hot. First up: a bowl of hot & sour soup ($3.50).
6:18 p.m. The woman is in bed now, attended by her lover. They talk a lot, but that's okay, because they are very attractive and very naked. I open another beer and move on to pork dumplings ($8), which I dip into a delicious, vinegary sauce.
6:26 p.m. A man being burned to death is shot through the heart with an arrow. According to the show's unusual logic, this is supposed to be merciful. Really? As the closing credits roll, I lay into a bowl of homemade noodles topped with spicy Mongolian beef ($9). The show remains inscrutable, but the food, at least, was good.