Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Return of BreakFest

Posted By on Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 1:40 PM

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BreakFest
, the festival dedicated to all things breakfast, returns this Saturday, September 23d, with some significant changes.

Chief among them is a new location: the medical district at Union and Bellevue. This means expanded parking that includes a reserved lot for VIP ticket holders.

Another new development is that teams, competing in such categories as omelet, bacon lovers, breakfast sandwich and more, can win cash prizes.

Old Dominick is sponsoring the Blood Mary contest, and Bikesmith will be raffling off a bike. There will be cornhole and giant Jenga as well, and the music lineup includes Memphis Second Line Jazz Band and Grape the Band. Plus, there will be breakfast trivia contest (!) and an eating contest.


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Thursday, September 14, 2017

SingBean offers Farmers Market Delivery

Posted By on Thu, Sep 14, 2017 at 3:20 PM

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Adam Weeks is a judge in Arkansas. His side hustle is his gig as a farmer with Powhatan Farms. His side side hustle is the new SingBean.com, a farmers market delivery service.

Weeks says that before he was a farmer himself he loved going to farmers markets and loved eating fresh. He began to get up early on Saturdays to drive to the Memphis Farmers Market from Arkansas. He started to meet the market's vendors.

Once he was in the farm game himself, he recognized what he calls a valley in the farmers market game. "Farmers get squeezed," he says. On the one side, there are farmers market customers and restaurants and on the other are the big grocery stores like Whole Foods.

It's really, really hard for the smaller farmer to be a supplier to grocery stores, says Weeks, so he decided to to turn his attentions to the opposite side of the valley with SingBean.

Weeks says he knows of no other service like SingBean. Unlike a CSA, you can pick and choose what you want and how much you want from a variety of farmers. That means if you want a small thing of tomatoes, so be it.

Customers can pick up their orders at Trolley Stop from 3 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays, or have their order delivered by Meals in Motion for a $6.99 fee.

Weeks says he sought out local farmers market super stars. Among SingBean's vendors are Bonnie Blue Farms, which sells goat cheese, Dave's Bagels, and Whitton Farms.

In the works is meal box delivery a la Blue Apron.

SingBean is currently in its soft opening phase, but will officially launch in the next week or so with the hope of having all the kinks worked out by the spring/summer season.

As for the name SingBean, Weeks says that he liked how it sounded like "string bean" and "singing" and, at the same time, sounds like a doorbell ringing. "That' all," he says.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Memphis Made to Can Beer Year-Round

Posted By on Wed, Sep 13, 2017 at 3:16 PM

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It's an old beer commercial cliche where after the guy gets done bailing hay or something, he sits down with a beer, opens the can with a satisfying cryysssshhhhh, takes a head-tilting swig, and then settles back with a sated grin on his face. Aaaahhhhhhh.

And while I have acted out that same scenario simply by fetching beer out of the fridge and settling on my couch in front of the TV (we all have), I contend that the guy who deserves that cryysssshhhhh the most is one Drew Barton of Memphis Made Brewing Co.

Barton built the brewery its own canning machine. A canning machine. Built it!

The brewery has offered limited-run canned beers in the past using mobile canning machines. The new Bartronic 1000 Cannerator (not sure if that's the real name of the machine) will allow Memphis Made to get cans into stores. They will be starting the brewery's popular Fireside Amber Ale, which will debut during the Cooper-Young Festival. The beer will be in stores September 18th.




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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Work Continues on 'Slider Out'

Posted By on Wed, Sep 6, 2017 at 3:44 PM

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A few details of Aldo Dean's new project on South Main emerged Wednesday, including its working title, "Slider Out."

Dean owns Slider Inn, Aldo's Pizza Pies, and Bardog Tavern. He said last year that he'd bought the garage and antique car storage facility at 365 Mulberry. At the time, he said it would be a second Slider Inn location.

Dean has been working on the project and later this month he'll appeal to the Memphis Landmarks Commission to add a small addition to the existing building for the restaurant's restrooms.

Dean also wants to add an exterior covered patio for year-round dining that will include large overhead doors that can be opened during comfortable weather, reads the application to the Landmarks Commission.

The restaurant will keep the automotive signage already in place on the building. Another sign will be added later to identify the restaurant. Dean also plans to install a piece of public art near the restaurant's main entry on Talbot.

Tennessee Taco Opens Next Week

Posted By on Wed, Sep 6, 2017 at 12:45 PM

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The three most beautiful words in the world: tacos, tots, donuts. Coming Monday, the Tennessee Taco Company will be serving up all three.

From the press release:

Tennessee Taco Company Opens Monday
New Memphis restaurant by Belly Acres owners Ben McLean & Chef Rob Ray

MEMPHIS, TN (September 6, 2017) - It’s taco time in West Tennessee thanks to Memphis restauranteurs Ben McLean and Chef Rob Ray. The co-founders of Belly Acres on Overton Square are bringing fresh street taco concept Tennessee Taco Company to the Poplar corridor in between East Memphis and Midtown this Monday, September 11th.

Located at 3295 Poplar Avenue #101 at Holmes Road, Tennessee Taco Company will have 24 different kinds of street tacos you've probably never eaten before. Chef Rob Ray calls them “progressive tacos.”

Whether you prefer savory beef, chicken, pork, fish, or vegetables, there’s a taco for everyone. Other menu options include pots o’tots, fresh guacamole, and doughnuts of the day.

Partner Ben McLean says, “We are excited to bring a Texas inspired, Tennessee perfected Taco concept to Memphis. We have the pleasure of doing what we love to do, creating smiles with food and service and helping make Memphis the culinary capital of Tennessee!”
Can't wait to try it.

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Interim Under New Ownership

Posted By on Tue, Sep 5, 2017 at 12:30 PM

INTERIM, FACEBOOK
  • Interim, Facebook


Interim Restaurant & Bar has a new owner.

Tony Westmoreland and Nick Scott, the owners of Alchemy Memphis, and Ed and Brittany Cabigao, the owners of South of Beale and Zaka Bowl, bought Interim Restaurant & Bar from Eat Here Brands, the owners of Babalu.

David Krog will remain as executive chef. Krog’s culinary career includes working at Erling Jensen: the Restaurant and The Tennessean. He also opened the old Madidi restaurant in Clarksdale.

Said Krog: “I’m grateful to Eat Here Brands and excited about the next chapter. And the breath of fresh air from this local group.”

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Next Door, 2nd Mama Gaia Now Open

Posted By on Thu, Aug 31, 2017 at 11:35 AM

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  • Crosstown Concourse

Next Door American Eatery
in the Crosstown Concourse officially opened its doors on Tuesday.

The restaurant, a Kimbal Musk joint, is a more casual offshoot of the The Kitchen, located in Shelby Farms.

Next Door had a soft opening last week with the goal of ironing out the kinks while raising money for The Kitchen Community's Learning Gardens. (No money was charged for the meal, and lieu of tips, donations were suggested.) Ninety-two of these "outdoor classrooms" have been in established in area schools so far. The goal is hit 100 by November.

The menu is designed around a clean-eating ethos using locally sourced goods — eggs and chickens from Marmilu Farms, pork chops from Home Place Pastures, for example.  
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The dishes we sampled were the grilled broccolini with spicy sesame aioli and sunflower seeds; the Next Door Roasted Veggie bowl; and the veggie tacos. Other dishes include a beet (!) burger, Cuban and BBQ pork sandwiches, soups, and Calamari Fritto Misto. There are daily specials as well.

All the dishes were good, but that veggie bowl was standout — with broccolini, mushrooms, cauliflower, peppers on red quinoa topped in a tahini dressing. So tasty and satisfying. A comfort food that won't hit you like a ton of bricks later.

The restaurant seats 126 inside with additional seating for 50 more on the patio. They are open daily, starting at 11 a.m., and a full bar will be in operation soon.

Mama Gaia, the organic vegetarian restaurant, opened its second location in the new Ballet Memphis building on Madison last week.

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The space designed by archimania, which recently won an award for the Mama Gaia restaurant design in the Crosstown Concourse, fits well the Mama Gaia aesthetic. The Mama Gaia menu lets the ingredients do most of the talking, with small but expertly done flourishes. The space is open with a collection of small tables lining floor-to-ceiling windows surrounding most of it. One side has small bar for sitting and eating, and there is a bar for drinks at another.

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Note this bar for drinks — new to the Mama Gaia brand. At the preview we sampled the Crosstown Cooler (360 brand organic vodka, fresh-pressed organic cucumber juice, fresh organic lime juice, organic agave, and locally grown organic mint) and the Allegro (organic 360 vodka and organic OJ, lemon juice, berry puree, and agave).

The menu should be much the same as the first restaurant's, though the Ballet Memphis site does have Copia Pizza and an Asian Bowl, plus new Quinoa Dippers. 

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Memphis Tequila Festival!

Posted By on Thu, Aug 24, 2017 at 1:04 PM

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Tequila! On October 13th on Overton Square, there will be the first-ever Memphis Tequila Festival presented by the Memphis Flyer!!

Guest can sample 15 tequilas, and since it's happening on Friday the 13th, we all know this is a GOOD idea.

There will also be live entertainment, plus plenty of food. Tickets are expected to sell out.



The Front Porch is hosting an Oyster Roast on Sunday, September 3rd, starting at 3 p.m.

There will be char-grilled oysters, raw oysters, and oyster po'boys with oysters sourced from the Gulf and the East Coast.

A $50 VIP ticket will get you a cheese and sausage plate, a half dozen, raw and a half dozen char-grilled oysters, low country corn and potatoes, and two drink tickets for beer or the featured wines. That sounds like a pretty good deal to me. You have to reserve your VIP tickets ahead of time: 524-0187.

Also a pretty good deal is the fine fine view from the breezeway at Front Porch — one of the best sittings in Memphis.

• Loeb announced earlier this week that Belltower Artisans is moving to the Highland Strip, at 549 Highland, in late 2017.

This is an interesting hybrid pottery studio and coffee shop. The first Belltower Artisans was in Minglewood Hall.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Minibar Delivery Launches in Memphis

Posted By on Tue, Aug 8, 2017 at 11:23 AM

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In this chapter of Never Leaving My House Again, Minibar Delivery, an on-demand alcohol delivery service, announced today that it is expanding into Memphis, starting tomorrow (!).

From the release:

On Wednesday, 8/9, Minibar Delivery will be live in Memphis, allowing residents in city limits to get beer, wine and spirits delivered straight to their door in under 60 minutes for a flat $5 fee.

Arthur's Wine & Liquor and Buster's Liquors & Wines are serving as the city launch partners.

The service is super simple to use: just download Minibar Delivery's iOS/Android app or access via your desktop. Enter your location and you'll be connected to a liquor store in your area. Add your items to your virtual cart and checkout, and your order will be delivered to you in under an hour.

Minibar Delivery also provides tasting notes, pairing recommendations, cocktail recipes, gift delivery, and is the only provider to offer a subscription service; the “Auto Refill” option allows users to arrange for items within an order to be delivered at a selected interval of 1, 2, 3, or 4 weeks.

To celebrate the launch, customers can enter the code "MEMPHIS" prior to checkout to get $5 off and free delivery on their first order.


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Monday, August 7, 2017

Instacart Enters the Market

Posted By on Mon, Aug 7, 2017 at 2:51 PM

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Instacart
, a grocery delivery service, officially enters the Memphis market tomorrow, August 8th.

Customers download an app and place their order, receiving their delivery in as little as an hour.

What sets Instacart apart is that it delivers from a multitude stores, including Costco, Whole Foods, Kroger, CVS, and Petco. Customers also have two options in delivery payment: $5.99 per delivery of a $35 order, or a subscription at $149, which waives all delivery fees.

That latter option, says area manager Jenn O’Shaughnessy, is particularly handy for those who place multiple orders.

Instacart was founded in 2012 in San Francisco, with a single vendor. They've since grown to 100 markets with 75 retailers signed up.

O'Shaughnessy says that the company decides on where to plant the flag next from the number of requests they receive per zip code.

Instacart shoppers work on a shift rather than by demand like other services. They are taught via app on how to pick produce, etc. About 100 will be hired to serve the area.

One cool thing about Instacart, says O'Shaughnessy, is that folks who are not members of Costco get the benefits of a membership via their Instacart shopper.

Instacart will delivery to 31 zip codes around the city, from the Graceland area to Arlington to many points in between.

Through September 24th, Instarcart is offering a special deal for first-time customers, $20 off a delivery of $35 or more, with free delivery.


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Friday, August 4, 2017

Rendezvous Ups Its Nachos Game

Posted By on Fri, Aug 4, 2017 at 2:10 PM

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Two exciting developments on the Rendezvous BBQ Nachos Beat:

• On Tuesday, they introduced a vegetarian version of their famous barbecue nachos, and

• They now deliver — in the mail, y'all! — their nachos, so you can send them to your friends, family, and most precious loved ones.

"We are what we are. We don't change much," says Anna Vergos Blair.

But, that doesn't mean the place is completely static.

In an irony that would make Alanis Morrisette's head explode, Blair is vegetarian, has been since she was 2 or 3. You can credit her, in part, for the vegetarian offerings on the menu, including the red beans and rice and the Greek salad.

Recently, Flyer friend and perhaps Memphis' best-known vegetarian, Justin Fox Burks, was at the Rendezvous taking pictures. He had had the salad before, but never the red beans and rice. Blair brought him some and he said that the restaurant should make it into a sandwich. So, Blair fetched a bun. It was good but messy.

And that's how the beans wound up on the nachos. It's the same Rendezvous BBQ nachos, sans the meat.

"I know it sounds crazy, but it's good," says Blair.

Blair says the plan is to get the nachos into the FedExForum.

As for the delivery, that idea came from Goldbely, the gourmet food online store. They were in town and at the Rendezvous for a TV shoot with the Food Network, according to Blair.

"They were all eating nachos, and they said, You should ship these," remembers Blair. The Vergos fam just about dismissed the idea out of hand ... until they didn't.

They realized that they could pack the ingredients individually and include instructions on how to put them together. And then they picked up the phone: to Pancho's for their cheese dip and to Felicia Willett for her her Flo's Homemade Goodness pickled jalapeno's. Each box contains 2 pounds of pork, sauce, seasoning, a tub of Pancho's, a jar of the jalapenos, and a bag of chips.

A box of the nachos is $99.


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Voodoo Cafe: Beignets and Coffee on Wheels

Posted By on Fri, Aug 4, 2017 at 12:27 PM

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About five years ago, Faith and Mark Lansdon decided they would open a coffee shop. It would have a motorcycle theme.

But with the overhead of opening a shop over head and pressing down, they decided to scale their plans back and go with a food truck. And now a motorcycle-themed food truck didn't quite make sense.

Then the Lansdons took a trip to New Orleans. And, like everybody, they went to Cafe du Monde and, afterwards, their idea for their coffee shop food truck began to gel. The Voodoo Cafe food truck launched in early may.

The truck serves coffees from all over — Cuban, Turkish, Vietnamese iced, etc. And and and, they serve beignets shaped like voodoo dolls (!) in such flavors as Sweet Juju (named after a neighbor) with sweet cream and cinnamon, the Black Magic with Nutella, and the Muddy Zombie with peanut butter, chocolate, and caramel sauce.
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Mark found an old ’50s delivery truck and refurbished it from top to bottom, putting solar panels on top so the truck gets only half its energy from generators. He taught himself how to make the coffees — this one needed to be boiled three times, that one needed to sit for 24 hours, etc.

Faith was in charge of the beignets and enlisted a (very lucky) friend to help with the flavors. They initially offered plain beignets with powdered sugar and chocolate and raspberry sauces on the side. The sauces weren't a hit, however. Then, Faith thought, "beignet sundae," and scoured her kitchen for what might work. One final bit of inspiration came with the red appetizer pick stuck in the middle of each beignet man. It's been a hit with those who like to play with their food.

Mark says he had to re-work some of the coffees for American tastes and for practical reasons (Cuban coffee is served in tiny cups). The Lansdons also figured out to keep the voodoo doll-shaped beignets voodoo doll-shaped while making them. It involves multiple steps and flash freezing. Leftover dough is made into little voodoo dolls and given as dog treats (they may sell them later).

The Voodoo Cafe logo is of a voodoo doll in a business suit. According to the Lansdons, it's their way of saying they stayed clear of the corporate world and they are sticking it to the man.

The Voodoo Cafe truck will be at Germantown Hardware on Saturday, 8 a.m. On most Sundays, they are at Walnut Grove and Houston Levee from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

Best Bets: Elvis Cake

Posted By on Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 8:00 PM

Elvis Cake at Blink and Arcade Restaurant - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Elvis Cake at Blink and Arcade Restaurant

It’s time to get your Elvis on.

The 40th anniversary of the King’s death - Aug. 16, 1977 - is looming. The iconic entertainer will be revered with movies, photos, memories - and food.

The also iconic fried peanut butter and banana sandwich usually comes to mind when people think of Elvis’s favorite foods. Apparently, it also does for Melissa Williams and her son, Glaze Hardage. Using the sandwich as a jump start, they created the “Elvis” cake.

“He loved peanut butter and bananas,” Williams said. “We love banana cake. We love peanut butter frosting. And it was born.”

When it comes to creating, Williams, who is owner of Blink restaurant at Southern College of Optometry, said she’s “development” and Hardage, the catering manager, is “research.”

“I come up with an idea,” Hardage said. “I tell her, ‘Hey this sounds like a good idea.’ Then she works on making it a reality.”

They came up with the Elvis cake two years ago, Hardage said. “We were sitting there thinking about Elvis Week,” he said.. “Our banana cake is very popular. And our peanut butter icing is very popular. And we’re thinking, ‘Hmmm. What if we combine the two?’ And once we did, it was a hit.”

The Elvis cake is in rotation with their many other types of cakes at Blink, so you should call ahead to see if they have it that day.

The cake also is served at the Arcade restaurant. Jeffrey Zepatos, the restaurant’s general manager, said the Elvis cake now is available and it will continue to be during Elvis Week. “Every time we get it I can only keep it in stock a day, a day and a half at this point,” Zepatos said.

I stumbled upon the Elvis cake by accident one afternoon when I was eating lunch at the Arcade. I just wanted cake for dessert, so I’d have eaten anything. The restaurant happened to have the Elvis cake that day, so I ordered a hunka hunka of it.  I was blown away after the first bite. It’s so delicious. But then I also love the fried peanut butter and banana sandwich, which Arcade regularly serves.

When I recently was at the Arcade, I noticed a man and his wife eating Elvis cake at another booth. I had to ask them what they thought.

“I love it,” said Abrann Harrison from Seattle. “It’s absolutely great. It’s fun. We had the Elvis sandwich at Graceland yesterday, but this is four times more intense. The flavor’s just outstanding.”

The cake was “sweet and peanut buttery and got that little banana in there," said his wife, Sharon. "It was great.”

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen at Blink, I asked Hardage what type of cake he orders for his birthday.

“The banana with the peanut butter frosting,” he said. “Just because it’s so good.”

And who makes it for him? “My mother, of course.”

That’s alright, Mama.

Blink is at Southern College of Optometry at 1245 Madison; (901) 722-3289

Arcade Restaurant is at 540 South Main; (901) 526-5757.

Elvis cake from Michael Donahue on Vimeo.




Monday, July 31, 2017

Crafts & Drafts, etc.

Posted By on Mon, Jul 31, 2017 at 2:35 PM

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• A few years back, my niece had some time after whipping up a batch of Spam Musubi for a family gathering, so she crocheted everybody a hat. I about fell over because I have always wanted to be CRAFTSY. Always.

It's not meant to be, alas, but I find some comfort in the Funlolas and babycreeps of the world and the upcoming Crafts & Drafts.

Y'all know the drill: tons of local crafts (think soaps and jewelry and ceramics and food stuffs and stuff you never knew you needed) paired with local beer. A perfect match to be sure.

Happening November 11th in the Crosstown area. And vendor applications are now being accepted through August 15th.

* The Best Memphis Burger Fest is set to return October 7th, and this year will include a burger-bobbing contest. We have no idea what that is, but it sounds like good, messy fun. Star & Micey are set to perform.

UPDATE ON BURGER BOBBING: From a Burger Fest rep: "It's sort of like bobbing for apples - but in place of apples are inflatable burgers and instead of water, the burgers are submerged in ketchup."

• A new location of French Truck opened in the Crosstown Concourse a few weeks back, and now it's got its breakfast and toast menu up and running, served until 2 p.m. seven days a week.

(It's taken a long time for Memphis to catch up with toast, and before you scoff, read this, the greatest story on the toast trend ever told.)

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Featured on the menu is a waffle sandwich with egg, prosciutto, and goat cheese; a sweet quinoa bowl with strawberries, ricotta, and candied hazelnuts; avocado toast; and the B.N.B. toast with bacon, Nutella, and basil.

French Truck in Crosstown is open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

• I'm pretty much an iced coffee freak, and one of the best I've ever had is the Thai Iced Coffee at the newly open Edge Alley.

The Thai iced coffee has both condensed milk and coconut milk, so this may have to be a special treat for me. Also indulgent is the biscuit-centered menu.
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The biscuit was dense hearty thing, but oh-so-flaky and stuffed to perfection with egg, avocado, and cheese.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

* You know what is opened? Margaritas on Second across from the Peabody in the old Kooky Canuck space.

One word to sum it all up: colorful.
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 •Some new folks are in charge of the Dixon's Park + Cherry.  Kristi and Kevin Bush of CFY Catering have taken over the spot from Acre's Wally Joe and Andrew Adams.

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  • Justin Fox Burks
The Prosciutto and peach sandwich served on a croissant sounds dang good, as does the veggie sandwich with lemon hummus. Park + Cherry also a good selection of coffee drinks and I heard tale of a cookie-dough stuffed cookie sandwich.

• And and and, you can now buy sauce and rub at Williams-Sonoma created by BBQ master and all-around legend Melissa Cookston.

PLUS, UberEATS is now delivering Corky's.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Royal's Yvonne Mitchell Cooking Up Hits

Posted By on Wed, Jul 26, 2017 at 1:00 PM

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A couple things to know about Yvonne Mitchell, daughter of the legendary founder of Royal Studios Willie Mitchell: She can cook and she can cook for crowds.

"My mother always had musicians living with us," Mitchell explains, saying she recruited to help feed the masses when she was around 8 or 9.

So consider Mitchell prepared for Friday's "Rhythm on the River (Poppa Willie's Night)," the first in a trio of events in celebration of Royal's 60th anniversary. Mitchell will be cooking dinner for the crowd.

"I'm making salmon croquettes with a special sauce I made up. Chicken with mushroom gravy, rice and greens, black-eyed peas, homemade cornbread, lemon poundcake, peach cobbler, and a 150-year-old recipe for chow chow," Mitchell says.

Mitchell has worked for the studio for nearly 50 years, doing everything from being an administrator to doing copy writing to cleaning the machines and staging photo sessions for the musicians. She and her sister formed A&V Enterprises, and they worked with Ann Peebles and Hi Rhythm.
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When Willie Mitchell passed away in 2010, the family had to regroup and figure out how best to serve the studio. They decided to make Boo Mitchell the face of the studio, with Yvonne providing a little TLC for the musicians.

Musicians often stay in the studio from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., says Mitchell. She would bring them her famous lemon pound cake and then feed them a proper Sunday dinner, so they would have some comfort food after days of burgers and barbecue.

She cooked for Bruno Mars, John Mayer, and Boz Scaggs. She cooked for Melissa Etheridge for seven days. She's catered the Memphis Music Hall of Fame inductions.

For the Rhythm on the River event, held at the studio, Don Bryant will perform with the Bo-Keys. It's Bryant's first time back to Royal since the 1960s.

As for Mitchell's 150-year-old chow chow recipe, it's her grandmother's, and she's getting the grandkids in on the act because she messed up her shoulder and needs help with all the chopping. She says they're doing pretty good.

So, does anyone ever cook for Mitchell? "Not really," she says. "My sister can't boil water."

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