Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Always an Excuse to Go to the Farmer

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 9:50 AM

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The Farmer was one of the first to show what farm-to-table means.

I try never to turn down an excuse to go to the Farmer, and what better reason to go than for a good cause. The farm-to-table restaurant — one of the pioneers in Memphis — recently held a benefit for the Bluff City Fellowship, a recovery community in the area, and my fellow Memphians couldn't resist either. The event sold out with 90 Farmer fans getting on board. 

For $29 diners could choose between a soup or salad, one of three entrees, and from a choice of two desserts.

The soup offered was a sweet potato bisque with the crowd-pleaser, Benton bacon, and marshmallow creme fraiche. The salad was the SG Wedge, with crisp romaine, cherry tomatoes, pickled onions (the best way to eat an onion, IMHO), bleu cheese crumbles, and buttermilk Ranch dressing. I went with the salad, pretty much to save room for dessert.

For the main course, I picked the Savory Chicken Breast, oven roasted with natural jus, red skinned mashed potatoes, and sautéed green beans. I went with the chicken because I will forever be enamored with the Farmer due to my first rendezvous with the restaurant several years ago. My mother and I lunch together about every month, conquering the Memphis restaurant landscape one new establishment at a time. I had never tried the Farmer — back then it was the Elegant Farmer, but in the past year or so dropped the Elegant because of some copyright/trademark/patent/whatever issues — so we met up on Highland Street and were greeted by a warm, jolly "Hello!" from the owner, Mac Edwards.

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The Farmer owner Mac Edwards

I will never forget the Oven Roasted Chicken Breast my mother ordered. One bite, and I had been transported back to my homeland, L'hexagone (I am an unapologetic francophile). That's the thing about the Farmer. Everything is done right. Well. Correctly. And that is what makes it good. No need to wow with portmanteaus or whatever the fashionable import of the month is. The food is the upside of perfectionism.

I do kind of wish I had tried the Lake's Catfish, a pan-seared filet with citrus orzo, sautéed green beans, and saffron aioli. Lake's catfish is the best in the region, and I haven't yet had the pleasure of being swept off my feet by the Farmer's expertise on the dish. I'm not a big l meat-eater, except when it comes to barbecue, so the Smoked Pork Loin Chop didn't appeal to me. Edwards and team served up an oven-finished center cut chop with sweet potato hash, sautéed green beans, and BBQ bordelaise. Sounded AMAZE. 

For dessert, there was no chocolate, but there was the strawberry cake recipe that I grew up eating, the one with strawberry Jell-O in the ingredients. It was so sweet my teeth curled. There was also the apple cobbler with cinnamon whipped cream, but I don't really get cobbler. It doesn't have any chocolate in it.

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Monday, March 28, 2016

A Visit to Curb Market

Posted By on Mon, Mar 28, 2016 at 12:51 PM

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I stopped by the new Curb Market on Friday, opening day. 

Curb Market, in the old Easy Way site on Cooper, specializes in locally sourced goods. 


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Guess Where I'm Eating Contest 95

Posted By on Mon, Mar 28, 2016 at 11:07 AM

Something for breakfast ... 


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The first person to correctly ID the drink and where I'm eating wins a fabulous prize. 

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

The answer to GWIE 94 is Bryant's Breakfast, and the winner is ... Todd Lowe!

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Visit to Park + Cherry

Posted By on Thu, Mar 24, 2016 at 1:25 PM

The owners of Acre Restaurant signed a three-year lease to run the Dixon Gallery and Garden’s new café called Park + Cherry. It opened this Tuesday and everything on the menu has an average price range of $8-$10. There’s a selection of sandwiches, salads, snacks, sides, sweets and coffee.

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The first sandwich I tried was the truffled pimento cheese ($8). The bread is super soft and airy. As for the pimento cheese, it’s different from others that I’ve tasted. I chalk that up to the fact that there’s actually preserved black truffles worked into it! The pimento cheese is light, fresh and simply put… delicious. It’s also a nice serving size.

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For the healthy option, I tried the quinoa, pickle pear, arugula, and cranberry salad ($9). The quinoa is cooked just right. The pear and cranberries give a nice hint of sweetness to the salad while providing two totally different textures at the same time. If you want a fresh and light-tasting salad that will fill you up and has a touch of sweetness, this is for you.

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Lastly I sampled one of the hot-pressed sandwiches. I went with the smoked beef brisket Reuben ($10.) It had Swiss, sauerkraut, and sweet red wine mustard. On the first bite you can taste the smokiness of the meat. The brisket is smoked to the point where it isn’t overwhelming and that allows the sauerkraut to kick in. It’s got a great crunch and a sweet pickled taste to it. The red wine mustard with the melted Swiss cheese seals the deal. If you want a juicy sandwich, you can’t go wrong with this one.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Guess Where I'm Eating Contest 94

Posted By on Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 11:08 AM

Iconic …

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The first person to guess where I'm eating wins a fabulous prize. 

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

The answer to GWIE 93 is the Pimm's Cup at Bar DKDC, and the winner is ... Philip LeTard!

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Hard Rock's Guinness & Jameson Bacon Cheeseburger

Posted By on Thu, Mar 17, 2016 at 2:28 PM

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The Hard Rock's Guinness & Jameson Bacon Cheeseburger ($14.95) — now here's a burger for St. Paddy’s Day. It’s a half-pound certified Angus beef patty topped with Jameson Irish Whiskey bacon jam and Guinness cheese sauce. The burger is served with seasonal fries and a Sriracha mayo dipping sauce.

The bun is lightly toasted, the meat is flavorful and very juicy, and the Guinness cheese sauce creamy with a light hint of Guinness. But it's the Irish Whiskey bacon jam that's the star. It’s caramelized just right, making it sweet, crunchy, and crazy good!

Overall, you’ve got yourself a creative, sweet, and cheesy burger. Try it today before it’s gone. The Guinness & Jameson Bacon Cheeseburger will be on the menu until April 10th.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Scoops Parlor and MBRW

Posted By on Tue, Mar 15, 2016 at 8:56 AM


My coworker and I decided to check out Scoops Parlor during Memphis Black Restaurant Week. So did a lot of people.

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The creamery/creperie is located inside the old Rizzo's Diner spot at 106 G.E. Patterson in the historic South Main district. With only a handful of tables, it was easily packed to the gills for lunch.

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We both opted for the MBRW two-course lunch special for $15, wherein we could choose either an appetizer/entree combo or an entree/dessert combo. We were both on good behavior and went with the appetizer/entree combo, each choosing the Mushroom Asparagus Crepe, which came with Buttery Sweet Potato Mash, and a Scoops House Salad with Ranch dressing. The dessert options they offered included either the Apple Cinnamon Crepe or the Strawberry Lemonade Cake with a scoop of Vanilla Bean Gelato, and we could have had a Scoop o' Cheddar Broccoli Soup for the app or the Pulled Pork Crepe with Homestyle Slaw. Sometimes you just have to be low-key.

The crepe was delicious. The pancake was cooked to the right consistency, fluffy yet thin yet a little firm, and the mushroom, asparagus, and cheese filling was just what I was looking for. Their regular menu comes with various drizzling choices, and the chef chose a butter sauce to dribble on the mushroom and asparagus crepe. With the sweet potato mash, who really needed dessert. 

Memphis Black Restaurant Week ran March 7-13th and was created by Cynthia Daniels in an effort to create awareness of and support minority-owned restaurants in Memphis. Other participating restaurants included DeJaVu (we ran into Chef Gary at Scoops) at 51 S. Main, Evergreen Grill at 6661 Winchester, the HM Dessert Lounge at 1586 Madison, the Bistro at 2945 Millbranch, Onix at 412 S. Main, the Office @ Uptown at 594 N. Second, and Mot & Ed's at 1354 Madison. 

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Friday, March 11, 2016

Mempops Opens New Store on Saturday

Posted By on Fri, Mar 11, 2016 at 11:13 AM

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Mempops, a food truck specializing in all natural, handcrafted frozen pops, opens its first brick-and-mortor store on Saturday, March 12th, 11 a.m., in the Park Place Centre. You can buy and eat your pops in the store, watch them being made, and even sign up for a “make your own pops” party.

The featured flavors are broken into two categories, cream and fruit. The cream side includes Mexican Chocolate, Strawberries and Cream, Arroz con Leche, Orange Vanilla, and Reverb Coffee Dulce de Leche. On the fruit side there’s Avocado Lime, Strawberry, Pineapple Coconut, Mint Lemonade, and Spicy Pineapple.

I tried the Avocado Lime. It was a pleasant surprise, tasting like a raw avocado in a creamy form with a hint of lime. It’s a fresh, cold, creamy fruit pop. Delicious and refreshing!

In the future, Mempops plans on adding boozy pops to their menu. If you stop by tomorrow, all pops will be $2 (usually $3.25) to celebrate their grand opening. 



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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Ben & Jerry's Non-Dairy Ice Cream Available in Memphis

Posted By on Thu, Mar 10, 2016 at 4:11 PM

Four new Ben & Jerry's non-dairy flavors are available for sale by the pint at the Ben & Jerry's scoop shop in East Memphis (5007 Black Rd.). The new vegan flavors are made with an almond milk base.

Eventually, Ben & Jerry's will also be selling the vegan flavors by the scoop, but an employee at the shop said the bulk non-dairy ice cream hasn't arrived yet. They do, however, have almond milk in stock to make non-dairy milkshakes with the new flavors as soon as they arrive.

Until then, customers can purchase non-dairy P.B. & Cookies, Chunky Monkey, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, and Caramel Coffee Fudge by the pint. A few weekends ago, I popped into the shop with a few friends, and we grabbed a couple of pints to enjoy inside the store. An employee gave us plastic spoons, and he even warmed the pints, which were frozen rock solid, in the microwave for a few seconds so they'd be easier to eat.

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I went with P.B. & Cookies —  vanilla ice cream with chocolate sandwich cookies and a crunchy peanut butter swirl.

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I've sampled plenty of almond milk-based vegan ice cream in my day, but the new Ben & Jerry's version take the cake for the creamiest. One of my friends exclaimed, "This is just like dairy ice cream!"

The P.B. & Cookies had just the right balance of salty (from the peanut butter) and sweet, and the large chunks of sandwich cookies (think Oreos) peppered throughout were like little treasures waiting to be excavated with my flimsy plastic spoon. I ate my fair share in the store that night and took the rest home. But the next day, I immediately dug back in as soon as the sleep cleared from my eyes. Ice cream for breakfast? Don't mind if I do.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Elwood’s Shack's Seattle Dog

Posted By on Wed, Mar 9, 2016 at 4:41 PM

Elwood’s Shack might just have the most diverse menu I’ve ever seen. You can get everything from a fish pizza and BBQ quesadillas to crazy fun hot dog creations. I went with the Seattle Dog ($7.50).

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The Seattle Dog has cream cheese, grilled onions, grilled jalapenos, regular slaw and BBQ sauce. It was spicy and my favorite kind of messy… the kind where you want to lick your fingers. (If you’re not into that, make sure you have lots of napkins.)

This dog has a lot going on — crunch from the slaw, sweet from the BBQ sauce, creaminess from the cream cheese. The pickle on top is a nice touch and helps balance things out. Interesting and delicious. 

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Monday, March 7, 2016

Guess Where I'm Eating Contest 93

Posted By on Mon, Mar 7, 2016 at 10:44 AM

Something to wet the whistle ... 

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The first person to correctly ID the drink and where I'm drinking wins a fabulous prize. 

The answer to GWIE 92 is the veggie sub at Fino's, and the winner is ... Michael Donahoe!

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