Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pyro's Breakfast Pizza

Posted By on Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 9:44 AM

I generally never have my act together to go get breakfast, but last Thursday I was up and at 'em early enough to grab breakfast at Pryo's on Union.

The Flyer recently did a story on the build-your-own option and how some tend to panic given all the choices. I'm one of those panic-ers, and while I was the only customer there at the time and felt no pressure to move it along, I did struggle over the choices and switched mid-order from an egg skillet to the breakfast pizza ($8.30).

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I kept it fairly simple: marinara, cheese, black olives, onions, and peppers topped with egg. Since the pizza crust is thin and crisp, the egg layer was spread out and not particularly dominate among the flavors. It wasn't much different from eating a non-egged pizza, and there is nothing wrong with that at all. Pizza for breakfast, with plenty left over for lunch.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Guess Where I'm Eating Contest 27

Posted By on Mon, Apr 28, 2014 at 10:22 AM

For this week's contest, a little window dressing ...

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The first person to correctly ID where I'm eating wins his or her choice of a $50 gift certificate for Gould's or a $40 gift certificate for Corky's.

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

The answer and winner will be revealed in the next contest post.

The answer to last week's contest is the chicken and dressing at the Little Tea Shop, and the winner is ... Gregg Smith!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Winners of Hot Wing Festival Tickets, Hot Wing Tips

Posted By on Fri, Apr 25, 2014 at 8:21 AM

The winners of super hot wing lightning round of the Guess Where I'm Eating contest are Justin Bailey, Spencer Moore, and John Schratz.

They correctly ID'ed the wings as coming from Alex's Tavern, winning passes to this Saturday's Southern Hot Wing Festival.

Alex's wings are among festival founder John Gagliano's favorite wing offerings in Memphis.

"Regarding the best wing in Memphis is a tough question, but a good one," Gagliano says. "Unlike 'Buffalo Wings' (which must be fried), Memphis offers a different twist with grilled, smoked, fried, and combinations. Then there are the seasonings you see in Memphis, with paprika, lemon, honey, chili, red pepper and on and on. So I will list 3 or 4 places that I prefer:

Double J Smokehouse and Saloon:
Grilled and hit hard with flash fry and a variety of sauces

The Buccaneer:
Fried and seasoned with 'heat'...simple and to the point

Alex's Tavern:
Fried and comes either in 'hot' sauce blend or a Greek sauce variety (marjoram, Greek oregano, thyme, dried parsley, and more) Both sauces are evenly spiced and deliver a punch.

Buffalo Wild Wings:
For national brand BWWs get an 'A' +. The wings are prepared in the 'classic' Buffalo style, fried, and with a vast variety of styles and blends. I prefer a 'hotter' wing like the 'Desert Heat.'

And for 'Asian Wing'...

Wang's Mandarin House:
Served as an appetizer, the grilled/flash combination of authentic 'Chinese tradition' and contemporary blend comes in both a spicy or mild sauce."

The Southern Hot Wing Festival is Saturday, April 26th, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tickets are $15.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Guess Where I'm Eating Contest - Special Edition Hot Wing Lightning Round!!!

Posted By on Mon, Apr 21, 2014 at 11:03 AM

This extra helping of the Guess Where I'm Eating contest is in honor of the Southern Hot Wings Festival, happening Saturday, April 26th, at Mississippi River Park.

The first person to correctly ID where I'm eating wins a pair of passes to the festival and entry to the VIP tent, which features beverages and food from Fino's.

The next two people to guess correctly win a pair of passes to the festival.

Here's a hint: I actually took the wings to-go because it's way too dark inside to take a picture.

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

Guess Where I'm Eating Contest 26

Posted By on Mon, Apr 21, 2014 at 9:19 AM

For this week's contest, a place near and dear to many ...

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The first person to correctly ID the dish and where I'm eating wins his or her choice of a $50 gift certificate for Gould's or a $60 gift certificate for Pearl's Oyster House.

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

Answer and winner will be revealed in the next contest post.

The answer to last week's contest is the Spumoni at Pete & Sam's, and the winner is ... Brittney Block!

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Station BBQ

Posted By on Fri, Apr 18, 2014 at 2:52 PM

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  • The Station BBQ, Facebook

When Paul O'Neal was thinking about opening a barbecue restaurant he was pretty much fixed on having it in a converted gas station. Then he found out how much that would cost (just consider the expense of removing gas tanks!).

Ultimately, he opened his barbecue restaurant, The Station BBQ, in a converted Bonanza. And he's really quite pleased with the site — in West Memphis, near where I-40 and I-55 split. It's next to a McDonald's, too, which is a-okay with O'Neal.

"We're at the crossroads of America," O'Neal says, noting the tens of thousands of cars and trucks that go through there each day. As for McDonald's being a neighbor, he says he benefits from the chain's overflow.

O'Neal's partner in the business, which opened in late January, is Anthony "AC" Collins, whose BBQ bloodline traces to Corky's.

The men spent two years perfecting their approach to low-and-slow bbq and concocting one sexy beast of a sauce — molasses-thick, not too sweet, with a spicy finish.

The Station BBQs wet ribs
  • The Station BBQ's wet ribs

The Station BBQ offers no sauce on the table. For their wet ribs and sandwiches, they ladle it warm over the pork. The sandwich comes on Texas toast. O'Neal says you've got about 8 minutes to eat it before it comes apart.

The menu also features dry ribs, bbq bologna, a wedge salad, tamales and chili, catfish, bbq spaghetti, and a dessert called Ken's Oreo Balls that involves deep-frying and ice cream.

The 4,000-square-foot restaurant seats about 190, and there's a party room.

"Let me tell you about West Memphis," says O'Neal, describing an event that convinced him that opening The Station BBQ was going to be a good idea. It was THE event of year— a super swanky wedding. The governor of Arkansas was there.

"Guess who did the food? Corky's!" O'Neal says.

"People like their bbq, their beans, their slaws."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Taste Washington Wine Event Set for April 24

Posted By on Wed, Apr 16, 2014 at 11:38 AM

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Have a hankering to taste 24 of the most acclaimed wineries from the state of Washington without traveling to the Pacific Northwest?

Lucky for you, Joe’s Wines & Liquors will host Taste Washington from 4:30-7 p.m., Thursday, April 24th, at the University Club of Memphis. Tickets cost $50 and are available now at the store or at the door the night of the event, if it isn’t sold out.

“I think it says a lot about the caliber of wine lover and food lover here in Memphis,” Joe’s Wines & Liquors general manager Michael Hughes says.

“Having [a tasting] of this scale has never happened before, and I think it’s the perfect opportunity to really showcase a lot of these wineries to a broader audience in the city of Memphis.”

Hughes stressed that this contingent of wineries from the state of Washington isn’t going anywhere else as a group — not St. Louis or Nashville or Atlanta. Joe's owner, Hughes, and another staff member each have made multiple visits to Washington.

As a result, many of the wineries are sending a representative.

Will Camarda, the son of winemaker/owner Chris Camarda and the namesake of Andrew Will Winery, will be in attendance.

“He has never been to Memphis before so this is a real coup,” Hughes says. “Andrew Will Winery is one of the most respected wineries in all of Washington, if not the U.S.”

Sleight of Hand Cellars is sending winemaker Trey Busch, whom Hughes describes as a vibrant, approachable character.

Seven Hills, represented by vice president Erik McLaughlin, is one of the original founders of the state’s wine industry and has eschewed trends for decades, marching after their own unique flavor profiles and maintaining quality.

“I’m kind of a kid in a candy store with this lineup because there’s not one winery that’s coming that I’m not excited about,” Hughes said. “We’re a business. We run it as such. But we also do these events because we want to make Memphis a better place and give people an opportunity to experience things that they might only be able to experience in other cities.”

For tickets, call Joe’s Wines & Liquors (725-4252), stop by the store at 1681 Poplar, or take your chances at the University Club of Memphis the night of the event at 1346 Central.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Visit to Lost Pizza Co.

Posted By on Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 1:12 PM

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The Mississippi-based pizza chain, Lost Pizza Co. has opened its first Memphis location in East Memphis’ Chickasaw Gardens area.

The new location at the corner of Poplar and Humes has a spacious interior with a mishmash of Mississippi Delta-themed mementos hanging from the walls and ceiling, from a collage of old Mississippi license plates on one wall the restaurant to half of a Volkswagen bus mounted on another. They also have a small, covered patio with fans in the front of the building.

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The menu at Lost Pizza Co. includes a list of signature pizzas, subs, salads, pasta dishes, and an assortment of starters, including wings, locally made tamales, and chips and queso. Lost Pizza Co. also gives customers the option of creating their own pizza masterpieces. Create-your-own pizzas begin at $4.99 for an individual pie (about eight inches) with cheese and sauce (your choice of marinara, alfredo, or salsa!) plus $1 or $2 per topping.

My aunt and I met for a weekday lunch at Lost Pizza Co. When I arrived at noon, the place was empty except for one table with two lone diners, but the patio filled up quickly over the next half-hour.

I ordered the Happy Hippy signature pizza, which was topped with red sauce, baby spinach, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, green peppers, onions, black olives, and their house cheese.

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My aunt ordered the Kujo, which features bacon, hickory ham, pepperoni, Italian sausage, ground beef, onions, green peppers, black olives, mushrooms, and cheese.

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Both of us had ours made on the thick crust, which was a good base for the load of toppings on our pizzas. The thin crust I saw other customers eating looked similar to Memphis Pizza Café’s pies. Both of us were very pleased with our pizzas. The crust was delicious, and the toppings tasted fresh.

The pizzas at Lost Pizza Co. are priced more modestly than the pies at some of the other pizza joints that have recently opened in East Memphis, and the food is really good. They have happy hour Monday through Friday from 3-6 p.m. with a lineup of local beers on tap.

A note for vegetarians: Lost Pizza Co. doesn’t have many meatless menu items. The Happy Hippy is the only vegetarian signature pizza, and all of the subs have meat. I asked to substitute mushrooms for the chicken on one of the specialty pizzas and was told that they don’t do substitutions on the specialty pies. So, unless you create your own pizza, the only other entrée options for veggies are the baked spaghetti or a salad.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Guess Where I'm Eating Contest 25

Posted By on Mon, Apr 14, 2014 at 9:31 AM

This one comes courtesy of a Flyer friend who's complained that the contest is too hard. I had no clue on the what/where on this one. Do you?

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The first person to correctly ID the dish and the restaurant wins his or her choice of a $50 gift certificate for Gould's or a $40 gift certificate for Corky's.

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

Answer and winner will be revealed in the next contest post.

The answer to last week's contest is the Flaming Volcano at A-Tan, and the winner is ... Dabney Ring!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

On the Scene at the Memphis Zoo's Annual Wild World of Wine and Beer

Posted By on Sat, Apr 12, 2014 at 2:55 PM

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You may have heard some strange noises coming from the zoo last night—and it wasn’t amorous alligators or lustful lemurs. No, last night it was a crowd of dedicated conservationists, each doing her best to save the animals, one drink at a time. That’s right, at the Memphis Zoo’s 16th Annual Wild World of Wine and Beer, attendees could taste 48 wines from around the world, safe in the knowledge that 100% of the proceeds from the event would go toward conservation. In the words of one party-goer: “Drinking is my favorite way to help animals.”

When it comes to outdoor parties in Memphis, April can be dicey. But last night the zoo hit the jackpot. At 7 p.m., when the party got going, the sky was lit up with a gorgeous orange-and-pink sunset. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and the temperature hovered in the low 70s—ideal weather for drinking, talking, and dancing.

The event featured beer from three local breweries: Memphis Made, Wiseacre, and High Cotton. But the main attraction was definitely the wine tasting, featuring 48 different wines from around the world. These were organized geographically, with eight tables representing regions like Oregon, Australia, and Argentina. When I spoke to nurse Jutta Siebert, she had just tried a Belle Ambiance Cabernet Sauvignon from California. “It’s very succulent,” she enthused “and not too sweet.”

There was also a silent auction, featuring abstract paintings by both human and animal artists. That’s right, they actually got the giraffes to paint! And sea lions and orangutans. But for my money, the real show-stealers were sublime plant arrangements made by Memphis Zoo horticulturalist Jill Maybry.

Memphis Zoo Conservation Director Andy Kouba said he expected to make between $40,000-$50,000 thousand dollars from the event. “Some of that money,” continued Kouba, “will actually help us reintroduce local endangered species into the wild—animals like the Mississippi Gopher Frog, the Trumpeter Swan, and the Louisiana Pine Snake.”

Live music was provided by the Kathryn Stallins Band, who performed covers of rock classics like “Proud Mary” and “Mustang Sally.” The crowd seemed shy at first, but as the evening wore on, perhaps swayed by the plight of the endangered animals, they lost their inhibitions. The dance floor was crowded and lively until the band stopped playing, at 10 p.m.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Details on Porcellino's, the Butcher Shop from Andrew Michael/Hog & Hominy Folks

Posted By on Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 1:59 PM

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More details have been revealed about Porcellino's, a butcher shop set to open on Brookhaven Circle by Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen/Hog & Hominy owners Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman.

Porcellino's is described as a "community butcher shop and sundry store," with an opening date in August.

Attached to Porcellino's will be the Double Bird, a community wine and cocktail bar.

Aaron Winters will serve as head butcher for Porcellino's. Meats will be sourced from Newman Farm and Double H Farm. Porcellino's will also sell pastas, charcuterie, and cookbooks. Sandwiches and coffee will be served at the shop as well.

The full statement:

Porcellino's, a community butcher shop and sundry store, will open this August on Brookhaven Circle here in Memphis, TN. Ticer and Hudman plan to create a space meant to help connect their customers with their meals in their own homes.

With head butcher Aaron Winters, Porcellino's will offer cuts sourced from whole animal fabrication. Sourcing from regional farms, such as Newman Farm in Myrtle, MO for their pork and lamb, and Double H Farm in Nashville, TN for beef, they hope to grow a wider partnership between the community of eaters and the farmers who provide the food we eat.

Porcellino's will also feature fresh and dried pastas, made daily, and charcuterie, both fresh and cured, as well as cookbooks and other items that will assist the home cook in preparing a meal. During lunch, the butcher shop will serve sandwiches and coffee. Attached to Porcellino's is the Double Bird, a community wine and cocktail bar that will offer cichetti, a small plates style of food.

Meant to serve as a gathering place for the community, Porcellino's and the Double Bird will bring together Ticer and Hudman's philosophy that a great meal includes a sense of community. Porcellino's also serves as the third leg of their Brookhaven Circle plans in East Memphis, with their award winning restaurants Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen and Hog & Hominy, as a place where parents will bring their children and create a legacy of eating well.

Cake Villain Promises World Domination, Fudge (Muahahahahahaha!!!)

Posted By on Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 12:10 PM

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Summer Kienitz works a 9-to-5, just like you and me. But during her off-hours, she morphs into her alter ego: The Cake Villain. Her aim? "Conquering the world one delicious, adorable cake at a time." (Muahahahahahaha!!!)

You may have unwittingly (or wittingly???) furthered the Villain's mission by purchasing her treats during last fall's Broad Avenue Art Walk. The Villain also does custom-cake designs.

On Saturday, April 12th, the Cake Villain will be setting up a battle station at SideStreet Burgers in Olive Branch. Her weapons will include brownies with sweet whiskey creme drizzle and candied bacon crumbles and caramel and brown sugar monkey bread cups. There will be fudges as well, including white chocolate macchiato, mint Oreo cookie, and whiskey pecan. The blitz occurs from noon to 5 p.m. (or until the stockpile is depleted).

The Villain recently took a break from plotting and scheming to answer some questions from Hungry Memphis.

Every great villain has an origin story ...
I grew up in rural Northern California, born to unassuming civilian parents. I left the small town as soon as I could escape it and went on to get a Bachelors of Science degree in biochemistry in the bay area. It was there, bartending my way through college in a proper Metropolis, that I realized the desserts I made for parties had a profound effect on people. Bartending gave me insight in to unique flavor combinations and chemistry gave me the ability to make the recipes work. I had found my calling.

But, the thought of bringing another squeal-inducing, fluffy pink cupcake in to the world made my head hurt and I slowly came to terms with the fact that I was to belong to the dessert dark side. A Cake Villain. The sleepy citizens of the world cannot be trusted to ask more of their dessert. And so, from a sea of mind-numbing cupcakes, it is my duty to rise up and rule over them all in a new future filled with boozy fudges, outlandish cake designs, and bacon! Bacon on everything I can possibly put it on!! Muahahahahahaha!!!

Continue reading »

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Phuong Long

Posted By on Wed, Apr 9, 2014 at 1:15 PM

I pass by Phuong Long several times a week, but had never been there before last Friday when Alexandra, Bianca, and I stopped by for lunch.

Alexandra started with the wonton soup with pork ...

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She hadn't anticipated the soup being so hearty and ordered the curry tofu as well ...

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As Bianca is determined to try every version of lemongrass tofu in the city that's exactly what she ordered ...

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I love bok choy, so I ordered the stir-fried tofu with baby bok choy ...

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All lunch specials come with an egg roll (vegetarian egg roll available upon request), and run around $7.

Everything was good all around, and we had enough left over for dinner. Definitely worth a return visit.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Grocer at SMFM Now Open

Posted By on Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 2:03 PM

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The Grocer at SMFM, an offshoot of the South Memphis Farmers Market, has opened.

The grocer carries produce as well as dry goods, such as cleaning products and condiments.

Much of the produce will be provided by the farmers market vendors, with some wholesale produce brought in to supplement the selection.

The market is open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Monsieur Demarcus French Crêperie Moving to Midtown

Posted By on Mon, Apr 7, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Demarcus Woodard
Monsieur Demarcus French Crepêrie is moving from its location in Victorian Village downtown to a new spot on Madison in Midtown.

Owner Demarcus Woodard says that ongoing concerns about the condition of the building, particularly a leaky roof, have prompted the move.

The restaurant opened last fall in the old site of the Neely's barbecue restaurant at 670 Jefferson. The new restaurant is at 1329 Madison near Cleveland, in the former Southern Belle space.

Woodard says there will be seating for about 20 to 30 in the new location and that he is currently busy re-creating the old restaurant's black-and-white decor and French ambience for the new site. He thinks the new space will be open in two weeks or so.

Woodard says that the menu, which focuses on both sweet and savory crepes, will stay mostly the same, but that the new spot on Madison will be more casual, with an eye toward drawing students at nearby schools. Price points will be lower as well.

According to Woodard, the Crêperie had two sets of diners, younger folks looking for a good deal, and those coming for the cuisine. He's aiming to satisfy both at the new restaurant. At the same time, he's been looking at another space in East Memphis for a fine dining restaurant.

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