Monday, June 30, 2014

Guess Where I'm Eating Contest 33

Posted By on Mon, Jun 30, 2014 at 3:02 PM

For this week's contest, a little fuel for your day ...


The first person to correctly ID the dish and where I'm eating wins his or her choice of a Gould's gift certificate or a Corky's gift certificate.

To enter, submit your answer to me via email at

The answer to GWIE contest 32 is the salmon patties at Stone Soup Cafe, and the winner is ... Melissa Pope!

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Salud! Cooking School Now Open at Whole Foods

Posted By on Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 10:45 AM


Whole Foods Poplar celebrated the opening of its new cooking school, Salud!, this weekend, with a private Tex-Mex Fiesta dinner on Friday night, followed by the school’s grand opening on Saturday, which included a kid’s pasta-making class and a “Simply Blackberry Farms ” dinner, which benefitted the Cooper-Young Community Farmer’s Market.

The school is offering a variety of cooking classes, from demonstration-style classes to more hands-on skills courses, as well as date-night and children’s classes. The school’s course offerings were pre-selected through August, but Salud! specialist Bri Rogers, who is running the school, is seeking input from the community as to what types of courses people would like to see in the future in order to make the school unique to Memphis.

The classes are affordable, with prices beginning at $39 per person. The school provides an intimate atmosphere, with classes capped at 18 people for demonstration classes and around 10 people for hands-on classes.

I attended the Tex-Mex Fiesta dinner on Friday, which provided members of the local media with a first glimpse of the school and included an abbreviated cooking demonstration. The menu for the evening included appetizers of salsa, guacamole, and chips, with vegetarian black bean tostadas as the evening’s main course. After a brief overview of the cooking school, the school’s main cooking instructor, Jennifer Wilkins, demonstrated how to make Watermelon Ginger Aqua Fresca cocktails and Tres Leches Cupcakes with Fresh Berries (both of which were delicious).

The ingredients for all dishes in all classes will be pulled straight from the shelves of Whole Foods, so if you fall in love with a recipe, you can go purchase all the ingredients right after class.

Register for classes online here or by calling 969-4368. Mention any dietary restrictions (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc.) when you register.

Here are some pictures from Friday night’s Fiesta!

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Guess Where I'm Eating Contest 32

Posted By on Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 9:42 AM

This is another place that's often been guessed as the answer to this contest but has yet to appear until now ...


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

To enter, submit your answer to me via email at

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

The answer to the last GWIE contest is Happy Mexican, and the winner is ... Jessie Walker!

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Nominate Your Favorite Server, Bartender To Be Included in 2014 Best of Memphis Ballot

Posted By on Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 5:39 AM

Best Bartender winner Brian Skinny McCabe tattooed his awards on his leg!
  • Best Bartender winner Brian "Skinny" McCabe tattooed his awards on his leg!

We've all got our favorites ... The server who always greets you by name, the bartender who mixes just the right concoction for your happiest moments or your darkest days. Now's the time to show them some appreciation.

Through June 29th, the Flyer is accepting nominations for Best Server and Best Bartender as well as Best Local Band and Best Local Singer to be included on the 2014 Best of Memphis ballot.

Best of Memphis 2014 Nominations

Voting for Best of Memphis 2014 begins July 9th.

And about that tat.

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Sweetwater Flows Into Memphis

Posted By on Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 11:06 AM


This week marked the big, Memphis debut of the much-loved beer from Atlanta-based Sweetwater Brewing Co.

The debut is big news for hard-core beer lovers and causal fans alike. The beer has a near-iconic status, especially in the Southeast. It’s delicious, balanced, and you can drink it all dang day long. And the company’s got enough flavors for just about anyone.

Here’s what the company said about the debut on it’s web site:
“Good news Memphibians — we’re finally makin’ it to your neck of the woods. We realize we may have skipped over you a little bit, but we’re makin’ up for it by coming in hard and fast starting June 16. We’ll roll in with 420, IPA and Blue, plus our summer variety Tackle Box that includes 420/IPA with Waterkeeper Hefeweizen and our all new Take Two Pils, a spicy blond lager.”

Rivers of Sweetwater will flow from beer taps this weekend if its weekday debut is any indication. The company’s tie-dyed banners could be seen on bars all over Midtown this week. Slider Inn was packed Wednesday night and it seemed the promise of some of that much-coveted Sweetwater beer did much to bring out the crowds on a school night.

Sweetwater was available in Birmingham when Memphis Flyer music editor Joe Boone lived there and he said he “very familiar" with the product:

“Regrettably, I did live in Alabama. While there, the American craft-beer revolution hit the Southeast. Sweetwater 420 showed up at my local wing joint and thus began a love affair that lasted until I moved home. Back in Memphis, I fell in love with Ghost River and eventually dove into what's become a local-beer key party with a line down the street. Memphis should be proud to be drunk and in bed with Ghost River, Wiseacre, Memphis Made. But it's ok to spice it all up with some foreign action. There's not much to love about Atlanta, but I'll post relationship status with Sweetwater 420.”  

I make a point to grab a Sweetwater anytime I’m in Atlanta or an Abita in Louisiana or a Yazoo in Nashville. And I always grab a Busch (right from a rushing mountain stream) when I’m in “the Rockies.” (I’ve never been to “the Rockies.”)

Drinking local beer is fun for me. But when it comes to Sweetwater, it’s also always been a bit of medicine. Airports are not my happy place. That notion puts the Atlanta airport on some very low rung of Hades. But there, close to the Delta gate for my typical Memphis flight, is the lovely, homey Sweetwater airport bar. Good to know now that I can get some of that good stuff on both sides of the trip.

Sweetwater is available at bars all over town. Find one here.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Lester's Fixins Buffalo Wing Soda

Posted By on Thu, Jun 19, 2014 at 3:40 PM

Bianca told me about Lester Fixins Buffalo Wing Soda she had seen at Sweet Noshings. I was appalled, and, of course, I immediately went out and bought a bottle ($2.50).


I thought there may be potential there as a sort of Bloody Mary-esque mixer, but this carbonated savory drink is truly awful.

Lester Fixins specializes in "food" drinks, including a bacon soda and a sweet corn soda.

On the upside, Sweet Noshing began serving ice cream about a month ago. Flavors include peanut butter fudge.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Visit to Babalu

Posted By on Wed, Jun 18, 2014 at 4:58 PM


Babalu opened Monday, so I was expecting a crowd, and indeed there was one. But, the space, part of what was once TGI Friday's in Overton Square, is roomy, and we got a booth fairly quickly.


This is the second location of the taco and tapas-focused Babalu. The original is in Jackson, Mississippi. According to the restaurant's website, a third will open in Birmingham.

Continue reading »

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Friday, June 13, 2014

High Cotton Set For High Times

Posted By on Fri, Jun 13, 2014 at 10:44 AM


High Cotton Brewing Co. will grandly open its Monroe Avenue Taproom Saturday at 4 p.m. with food, music, and the brewery's lineup of tasty (and even daring) beers.

The taproom has been under construction for months and will open pretty close to the brewery's first birthday. Anticipation for the event has been high.

Like Willy Wonka to the golden ticket winners, the High Cotton owners opened the taproom doors to the Memphis press Thursday. (No one got stuck in a tank of beer, turned into an enormous pint glass, and the bartenders did not sing self-righteous songs against gluttony or anything else.)

The taproom is located right across Monroe Avenue from Kudzu's, the Memphis institution known for live music and a laid-back attitude. One bartender remarked that the proximity will be great for any taproom guest looking for a cocktail and he pointed right across the street to Kudzu's.

The taproom itself is has a warm glow, lit by huge bay windows that face Monroe. It's also spacious with tons of room at the long bar (right out of a Hollywood western), and plenty of high-top and low-top tables. High ceilings make the whole space feel airy and comfortable. Not airy enough for you? High Cotton offers a big covered patio right outside the bar area for a good mix of light, breeze, and shade.

The taproom aesthetic is a spot-on blend of High Cotton's agrarian branding and good-time approach. Reclaimed wood surrounds guests from the tables, the walls, and the ceiling (much of the wood was reclaimed from older parts of the Cotton Exchange building). The wood, the concrete floor, and deliberately un-fancy fixtures create a back-to-basics vibe, bereft of modern-day distractions. It makes it easy to focus on good beer and good company.

A giant, light-bulbed sign that reads, "BEER!," makes it easy to find High Cotton's main event behind the bar. The company's beer has been in Memphis restaurants and bars for a good long while now and many by now are familiar with its mainstay Biere de Garde, ESB, Saison, or Scottish Ale. All of those are present on the tap wall at the Monroe Avenue Taproom, of course.

But High Cotton has always had the creative space to try something different. On tap Thursday was the brewery's delicious, refreshing, and rose-colored Sow & Reap Saison made with with cherries and smoked beets. Try it. You'll like it, especially in the heat. Owners said to expect a wide array of limited-edition beers at the taproom as seasons change or bolts of creativity strike them.

Saturday's grand opening will feature music from Dead Soldiers and food-truck food from Rock 'n' Dough and Stickem. Doors open at 4 p.m. and close at 10 p.m.

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Monday, June 9, 2014

Guess Where I'm Eating Contest 31

Posted By on Mon, Jun 9, 2014 at 11:18 AM

It is what it is ...


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

To enter, submit your answer to me via email,

The answer to last week's contest is the SOB Bar Pie at South of Beale, and the winner is ... Adam Shellabarger!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Craig David Meek Writes the Book on Memphis BBQ

Posted By on Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 8:53 AM

Craig David Meek is a former journalist, who’s been chronicling his quest to try every soul food and barbecue restaurant in the area on his blog Memphis Que.

Craig David Meek
  • Craig David Meek
The blog caught the eye of an editor at the History Press, with the result being Meek’s excellent Memphis Barbecue: A Succulent History of Smoke, Sauce & Soul.

The book begins with Hernando de Soto introducing pigs to the region and covers everything from such old-time Memphis favorites like Brady and Lil’s and the barbecue contest to Corky’s on QVC. There are some amazing moments in Memphis Barbecue — like Jim Neely speaking quite frankly about his TV celebrity nephew Pat Neely and John Willingham’s widow remembering the barbecue legend’s last day.

Memphis Barbecue will be released on Tuesday, June 10th, and there will be a launch party and signing at the Booksellers at Laurelwood that same day at 6 p.m. Related events include the Whole Hog BBQ, Live Music & Book Party at the Hi-Tone on Friday, June 27th and a book talk and signing with a barbecue tasting at the Cotton Museum Thursday, July 10th.

Meek took some to time answer questions about writing the book.

Writing the history of barbecue seems like a massive and daunting task. How did you figure out how to organize the book?
Meek: By writing a first draft that was a rambling mess, then going back through and putting everything in a more chronological order. I originally tried to organize it around different aspects of barbecue I considered important like craftsmanship, business, and tradition with different restaurants and competition teams used to represent different components of each aspect. It ended up reading like the world's most disorganized barbecue restaurant guide, but reading over it I saw that I had the entire history of Memphis there if I reorganized it into the story of the city told through barbecue.

Continue reading »

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A Visit to Tart

Posted By on Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 7:11 AM

Tart, a highbrow concept marrying art, coffee, pastries and French cuisine, finally is open after a lengthy delay.

Heather Bryan-Pike and Abby Jestis have managed to merge seemingly disparate dreams and a corporate casino background by converting a former duplex at 820 South Cooper into a quirky coffeehouse that couldn’t be more individualistic.

Based on customer feedback, Bryan-Pike told me during a recent visit, Tart has placed a heavier-than-anticipated focus on the food.

The Instagram-friendly tarts stand out in the display case, no explanation needed. But the food menu begs for an explanation even for the most ardent foodie.

I cannot pronounce the dish I ordered — salmon rillette — despite two years of French courses in college. I ordered it upon Bryan-Pike’s recommendation, but to try to regurgitate her crash course of the way it’s prepared would be an exercise in futility.

From what I gathered, though, the small glass cup at the corner of my plate contained a chilled paste made from shredded fish meat, which I spread on the half dollar-sized slices of bread along with pieces of juicy pepper and a sweet jelly. My plate also included a moist side of peas accentuated with spices and vegetables.
I also ordered a croissant and my friend, a cute Brazilian girl, graciously let me taste the cherry tart she ordered.



I was distracted by her smile (that’s my excuse, anyway) and failed to grab photos other than a pair of absentminded shots of my plates after I had nearly finished eating, but Tart features gallery lighting, local art on the walls and tables wedged into corners of the several rooms that give the venue a homey and private feel.

Dubbed the “CooperLoo Gallery,” a rotating street art installation provides a sort of odd motivation to stand inside the door of the restrooms and have a conversation.

As Tart is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Thursday, to 10 p.m. on Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Bryan-Pike and Jestis practically live there. Bryan-Pike serves as the outgoing spokeswoman chatting with most of the guests and Jestis bustles around greasing the gears of the machine.

One of Tart’s strengths is the duo’s combined intelligence, experience, and attention to detail, all of which converge in the venue’s layout, visual seduction, and the unique and nuanced menu.

The concept will feature community events, classes and collaborations with local artists, and a seasonally-based menu unlikely to grow stale.

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Guess Where I'm Eating Contest 30

Posted By on Mon, Jun 2, 2014 at 9:44 AM

The contest is back ... and the giveaway this week is a good one: 4 tickets to the annual martini-tastic Literacy Mid-South fund-raiser Literatini, being held Friday, June 13th at the Booksellers at Laurelwood.


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

Among the restaurants offering up samples of their martinis at the event are Automatic Slim's, Alchemy, South of Beale, Silly Goose, Blind Bear, Grove Grill, and Jim's Place, with guests voting on their favorite two. There will also be a "Martini Death Match." Last year's Literatini sold out.

To enter, submit your answer to me via email at

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

The answer to contest 29 is the Wedding Cake Supreme at Jerry's Sno Cones, and the winner is ... Michael Donahoe.

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