Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Best Bets: Gray Canary's S'more

Posted By on Tue, Jul 31, 2018 at 2:53 PM

S'more at The Gray Canary - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • S'more at The Gray Canary

I didn’t discover s’mores — that graham cracker, marshmallow, Hershey’s chocolate bar concoction — until I was a grown-up. My sister was a Brownie scout, but I don’t remember her mentioning the glories of s’more making over a campfire, which I associate with scouting.

I do know that I love the glorified “S’more” dessert at The Gray Canary. It’s absolutely delicious.

Instead of making gooey treats over a campfire, this dessert — which is quite large — reminds me of Baked Alaska, which I used to order as a birthday cake at the old Justine’s restaurant. I also got a Baked Alaska “birthday cake” at Antoine’s one year in New Orleans. This is that great ice cream/cake concoction that arrives at the table in flames.

Ditto The Gray Canary’s “S’more.” It also arrives at your table on fire.

I ordered one at a recent dinner with five friends at the restaurant and I immediately said I wasn’t going to share it. The server brought extra spoons, so I reluctantly relented. Then a fellow diner said, “Let’s order another one for the table.” We did. And that immediately was devoured. To the last smudge of cream.

I asked Michael Hudman, who co-owns Gray Canary with Andy Ticer, the history of their S’more dessert.

They were working on a dessert menu while driving to New Orleans, Hudman says. “We knew we wanted to use fire in some form or fashion. We played around with smoked cream, burnt cream, this and that, a lot of different ways. Andy may have said, ‘Hey, I love s’mores.’ So, we thought about that. It makes so much sense. When you’re down on a beach doing s’mores with the kids, it was a lot of fun.

“The restaurant kind of encapsulates high energy, lots of fun. The whole premise behind this restaurant was fun.”

The Gray Canary chef de cuisine Ysaac Ramirez showed me how he assembles the dessert.

He poured chocolate and hazelnut ganache — the base — on a plate. On top of that, he placed a frozen graham cracker-encrusted flor di latte soft serve cream, which he covered  with Italian merengue that he piped on. He then torched the whole thing to give it a golden brown, added graham cracker crumbs and hazelnuts to the plate and, finally, doused the dessert with grappa and ignited it.

Hudman agrees the dessert looks like a Baked Alaska. So, it perfectly fit with the restaurant theme — fun. “That same vibe — nice, loud, and rambunctious.”

The Gray Canary is at 301 South Front; 901 242-2932

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Monday, July 30, 2018

2nd Hopdoddy opening August 13th

Posted By on Mon, Jul 30, 2018 at 2:38 PM


The second location of the Texas-based burger chain Hopdoddy will open here on August 13th in East Memphis at Poplar Commons. There, the restaurant will join Nordstrom Rack, Chicken Salad Chick, and Ulta.

You can expect the same great burgers, bowls of fries, and imaginative milkshakes. In addition, Hopdoddy will continue its new “Brew Series” burger ...

which emphasizes the synergy between burger and beer at Hopdoddy. In September, guests can expect a spotlight on local Oktoberfest beers along with the new Das Brat Burger featuring a bratwurst and potato patty topped with homemade sauerkraut, lingonberry preserve and Oktoberfest pickled mustard seeds.

The location will also participate in the chain's “Goodnight for a Good Cause” charitable giving program. For every Goodnight Burger sold, a portion of the proceeds will go to the Stax Music Academy.


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Restaurant Iris to re-open in August

Posted By on Wed, Jul 25, 2018 at 5:58 PM

Restaurant Iris - JUSTIN FOX BURKS
  • Justin Fox Burks
  • Restaurant Iris

Restaurant Iris is slated to be in full bloom in August.

The restaurant, which has been closed, will reopen in August with a new look and a new menu.

People familiar with the restaurant “are going to walk inside and say, ‘Wow,’” said chef/owner Kelly English.

The restaurant is going to be “quite different on the inside,” he said.

Take the floors. “I love the charm of the old, creaky floors, but there was never a flat surface in the whole building. Never. Those floors are 112 years old. So, we’ve got all new flooring. We took it down the earth and built it back up.”

The renovation is something he’s wanted to do for a long time, English said.

There will continue to be art in the restaurant, he said. “We’re going to have art on the wall still from local artists.”

But, he said, the restaurant is “going to feel a little different. A little more modern than you remember it. Less walls in the space. I feel like we’re staying exactly true to ourselves by changing. It’s going to be the same focus of what we’ve always done: to tell the story of who we are. Just a little more modern approach to it.”

There will be a bar. “It’s in a separate room. You’re going to walk into the bar when you walk into the restaurant.”

The little bar near the entrance is gone, English said. The new bar will have 12 seats and a couple of tables. There will be bar snacks and diners also will be able to order from the full menu.

As for the food, English said, “The story of Iris has always been, ‘What if the people that settled in New Orleans had settled in Memphis? What would they cook? What was available here?’ That narrative hasn’t changed. But we’ve pulled in more groups of people that are represented around town.

“There’s a large portion of people who live here that have come here to make our community better and we take notice of that.”

The menu isn’t finished, English said. But, as for vegetarian options, he said, “There’s going to be more plant-focused dishes on the menu than there ever has been.”

When Restaurant Iris opens to the public, guests will see “a beautiful restaurant that’s very welcoming and hospitable to everyone.”

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Miracle Holiday Pop-Up Bar Coming

Posted By on Thu, Jul 19, 2018 at 1:56 PM


Miracle, a nationwide, holiday-themed, pop-up cocktail bar, will be coming to Memphis the Friday after Thanksgiving and will run through New Year's Eve. It will be operating out of Civil Pour at 409 S. Main.

From the press release:

The concept for Miracle was born five years ago, when upon the advice of his mother, Greg Boehm decided to halt construction of what was to be his new East Village cocktail bar Mace to transform the unfinished space into a pop-up bar serving holiday-themed drinks among festive décor. As crowds swarmed the NYC location, Boehm’s friends throughout the bar industry asked how they could recreate the holiday magic in their own bars and expansion became inevitable. Over the past few years, Miracle has expanded from 4 locations to over 50 in 2017. In 2018, Miracle in conjunction with Sippin’ Santa will reach a total of over 70 locations internationally at some of the most highly revered cocktail establishments around the world.
And here's the cocktail menu:


Vodka, Elderflower, Dry Vermouth, Spiced Cranberry Sauce, Rosemary, Lime, Absinthe Mist

Snowball Old Fashioned
Butterscotch Rye, Spiced Demerara, Wormwood Bitters, Orange Zest

Bad Santa (served hot)
Apple Cider, Applejack, Manzanilla Sherry, Lemon, Cinnamon Syrup, Popcorn & Bacon Butter, Baked Apple Bitters

Christmas Carol Barrel
Aged Rum, Aquavit, Amaro, Pumpkin Pie, Demerara Syrup, Lime, Vanilla, Angostura Bitters

Koala-La La La, La La La La
Gin, Pine, Dry Vermouth, Lime, Eucalyptus Syrup, Orange Bitters

Gingerbread Flip
Bourbon, Gingerbread Syrup, Elemakule Tiki Bitters, Whole Egg, Nutmeg

Run Run Rudolph
Prosecco, Gin, Mulled Wine Puree, Lemon, Cane Syrup

Yippie Ki Yay Mother F****r!
Sweet Potato Barbados Rum, Cachaça, Trinidad Over Proof Rum, Dry Curacao, Marshmallow Orgeat, Lime

Jingle Balls Nog
Cognac, Pedro Ximenez Sherry, Brown Butter, Cinnamon, Cherry, Vanilla, Almond Milk, Cream, Sugar, Egg, Nutmeg

And A Partridge In A Pear Tree
Reposado Tequila, Pear Brandy, Mezcal, Spiced Demerara Syrup, Lime, Egg White, Club Soda, Angostura Bitters, Cinnamon


Nice Shot
Rum, Peppermint, Chocolate

Naughty Shot
Bourbon, Cinnamon

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Friday, July 13, 2018

DoorDash Enters Memphis Market

Posted By on Fri, Jul 13, 2018 at 11:41 AM

Another food delivery service, DoorDash, has entered the market.

Brent Seals, Head of Launch, explains how DoorDash started, the company's vision, and its plans for expansion.

What's the company's origin story?
Tony Xu and his co-founders started DoorDash to help small business owners like his mom scale their business and reach new customers.

To learn the logistics business, the DoorDash founding team sought out positions at delivery companies and pizza restaurants to experience firsthand the pain points of logistics for both businesses and consumers. What they learned was:

● It’s very hard for a single store to flex their workforce to meet changes in demand (e.g., if it rained or there was a football game, wait times for delivery at pizzerias would spike, other nights were filled with folding boxes).
● While consumption had become more instant, delivery hadn’t changed in the past four decades — it hadn’t entered the digital age.

Today, five years later, DoorDash operates in 850 cities, has more than 200,000 dashers, over 700 employees, and is still passionate about transforming local businesses and helping them thrive in the digital and convenience economy.

How does it work?
As a logistics company, DoorDash matches supply and demand across three different audiences — restaurants, customers, and Dashers. By downloading the DoorDash app or heading to DoorDash.com, consumers can choose from hundreds of local restaurants and with the click of a button, hungry consumers are connected with available Dashers.

DoorDash provides the logistics layer these restaurants need for easier on-demand order fulfillment. By utilizing data and machine learning, DoorDash has perfected the science of selecting the right Dasher to pick up the order and deliver it to the customer efficiently to ensure the food arrives fast and fresh.

DoorDash also provides additional data analytics offerings for merchants looking to streamline their delivery operations. Restaurant partners have also seen increased sales, new customers, and improved operational efficiencies thanks to these services.


Is it subscription?
DoorDash doesn’t offer a subscription service. Fees vary by region and restaurant, while a delivery fee and an optional Dasher tip is always included.

What areas does it cover?
DoorDash operates in over 850 cities across the US and Canada. For the Memphis area specifically, DoorDash is available in Memphis, Bartlett, Arlington, and Lakeland. Neighborhoods include: Uptown, Midtown, Downtown, Central Gardens, South Memphis, Nonconnah, Oakville, Orange Mound, Parkway Village, East Memphis, Germantown, Collierville, Raleigh, Wolfchase, and Berclair.

Is it just restaurants or other things?
For Memphis, we are only offering delivery from restaurants, however, DoorDash recently expanded into grocery delivery, with our DoorDash Drive platform powering Walmart’s grocery delivery. DoorDash Drive is a fulfillment and catering platform that allows merchants to deliver orders that originated outside theDoorDash marketplace. DoorDash Drive was the first step to opening up the DoorDash platform to everyone.

What makes it different from other delivery services?
DoorDash offers the best selection of restaurants at the highest quality of service.
In just five years, DoorDash has partnered with 90 percent of the top 100 restaurants who offer delivery including brands like The Cheesecake Factory, Wendy’s, and P.F. Chang’s. Across our 850+ cities, we deliver from more than 100,000 stores.
We’ve also built a suite of merchant products and integrations to ensure the highest quality and fastest delivery, every single time. Our in-house support system offers best-in-class service that solves customer problems in real-time.

When does it launch (has it already)? Is there a special deal?
Yes, we launched on June 26th. In celebration of the Memphis market, customers can use promo DASHMEMPHIS for $5 off an order over $15, valid through July 26th.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Jennifer Chandler to Report Food for CA

Posted By on Fri, Jul 6, 2018 at 5:04 PM

Jennifer Chandler has been hired to cover the food beat in the Commercial Appeal.

Chandler is a well-known and well-liked presence in the Memphis food scene. She is the author of several cookbooks and a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in France. She does a weekly food segment on WKNO.

"It's a dream job for me that I thought would never happen," she says.  

She starts July 30th.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Blue Note Bourbon To Debut

Posted By on Tue, Jul 3, 2018 at 5:12 PM

Blue Note Bourbon will launch in mid July.
  • Blue Note Bourbon will launch in mid July.

Whiskey lovers get ready: Blue Note Bourbon, a locally-produced bourbon, will make its debut in mid-July.

The bourbon is the first bourbon produced at Big River Distilling Co. LLC in Memphis.

“Blue Note Bourbon is made to honor the deep, music history of Memphis,” says Big River co-owner McCauley Williams. The bourbon is “as smooth as the blues.”

In addition to being “extremely smooth,” Blue Note Bourbon has “strong notes of caramel, butterscotch, and spice.”

The bourbon will be “an extremely limited release product. We are releasing 950 bottles into the Memphis market.”

Big River Distillery opened at the old Pyramid Vodka site, but vodka no longer will be made there, Williams said.

“We bought the company and have pivoted away from vodka and are now doing Tennessee whiskey and bourbon,” says Williams, who owns the business with Alexander Folk, who, previously, was an owner of Pyramid Vodka.

“There’s a much larger market for whiskey,” Folk says. “It ages over time and becomes more and more valuable each day.”

“Vodka,” Williams says, “is an un-aged spirit and is designed to be tasteless. It’s a mixture to mix with. It tastes as close to nothing as possible. Bourbon is more like a red wine. You take a more artistic approach to it. There are bold flavors that taste like a caramel note, a a smoky note, a caramel pecan note. There are similar terms for red wine.”

Williams, who was with Baker Donelson law firm, and Folk grew up together.

“The long story short, the company kind of fizzled out before it really got off the ground, Williams says.

Williams represented Pyramid Vodka “during these disputes about what to do with the company.”

He and Folk began talking about what it would be like if they bought the company and changed the product.

Blue Note Bourbon is the first of many brands from Big River Distilling Co. “We do plan on doing a number of different brands here in town all to be produced by us,” Williams says. “We’re going to do a rye whiskey, a Tennessee whiskey and multiple varieties of bourbon.

“We think the Memphis market deserves its own premium small batch bourbon whiskey that it can call its own. A good drinking product they can enjoy.”

Chicken & Beer Fest in August

Posted By on Tue, Jul 3, 2018 at 10:23 AM


The first Memphis Chicken & Beer Festival is happening at the Liberty Bowl August 11th.

"Every restaurant has a chicken dish," says Caroline Hall of iHeartMedia, the host of the Chicken & Beer Fest.

She envisions an array of food for the festival — fried rice, pizza, chicken wings for days.

Some of the vendors that have signed up include Mr. P's (wings); Oshi (chicken sushi); Dirty Crow (Messy Crow chicken sandwich); Smackers, The Grille, Look at that Butt BBQ, Hooters, Southern Hands, Laura's Kitchen, Grecian Gourmet, Wing Stop, and All-Star Wings. Cupcake Cutie has promised a chicken-flavored cupcake.

She says the idea came about when the company wanted to do a beer event with a Memphis touch.

The company has held Wine on the River, Sister Strut, Cars & Cigars. They wanted something like that, adult fun.

Speaking of adult fun, Hall says that Chicken & Beer Fest will be like adult recess with hula hoops, inflatables, jousting, and a photo booth.

Tickets are $40, benefitting the Dorothy Day House. 

Monday, July 2, 2018

Burger Week Begins July 11

Posted By on Mon, Jul 2, 2018 at 12:24 PM


The Flyer's 3rd Burger Week launches a week from Wednesday, July 11th.

Everybody likes a good burger, right? And Memphis has plenty of them.

This year, there are 23 participating restaurants. Each will offer a special Burger Week burger for just $5.99 (fries and drinks are extra). It's a great chance to sample a lot of burgers for not a lot of money.

Burger Week runs through July 17th and is presented by Orion Federal Credit Union and the Tennessee Beef Council.

Be sure to follow #flyerburgerweek for all Burger Week news and use that hashtag to show us what you're eating this week and to enter to win great prizes.

Burger Week Facebook page

Got a Grody Grill? Let's See It!

Posted By on Mon, Jul 2, 2018 at 9:09 AM


Is your grill an embarrassment? Dirty with rusted holes, janky shelving, and an animal nest or two? Is it so bad that it makes you ashamed to wear your "Kiss the Cook" apron?

Well, we want to see it for ourselves for our Rescue My Grill Contest sponsored by the Tennessee Beef Council, held in conjunction with next week's Burger Week.

If you've got the grossest grill, you could win a Grilling Prize Pack courtesy of the Tennessee Beef Council:
  • 22-inch Weber grill
  • Spatula/Tongs
  • Spice Pack
  • Charcoal
  • Guide to Summer grilling recipe brochure
  • $50 Beef Gift Card

Here are the deets:

• Open from 8 a.m. Monday 7/2 to 8 p.m. Tuesday 7/10; Photos are submitted between 7/2-7/4, with voting on submissions held from 7/6-7/10.

• Contestants will upload photos of the worst, oldest, dirtiest, shittiest grills in Memphis, and users will vote on the one they think most deserves to be replaced! If you want to win, you must caption your photo with what you'd cook if you won a new grill.

Enter here. 
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