Feed Yourself and Feed Memphis

If you haven’t seen it yet, Michael Glasgow’s new book Feeding Memphis: A Celebration of the City’s Eclectic Cuisine is an awesome look at some of Memphis’ favorite places, people and food.

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From the Arcade to Restaurant Iris and Muddy’s to the Rendevous, Feeding Memphis includes recipes and stories from twenty-four locally-owned restaurants, representing a broad look into the soul of Memphis food and the awesome people behind it. Here’s a look at a few of the beautiful photos from inside.

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Beyond just being a beautiful tome, Feeding Memphis does actually feed Memphis. The author and the publisher are donating $10 from the proceeds of every book sold to the Mid-South Food Bank. Michael Glasgow’s goal with this book is to provide the resources to feed 150,000 people. I love this idea. To purchase your copy, visit the book’s webpage.

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If you’d like to help out and have an awesome meal, Ryan Trimm and the team at Sweet Grass are collaborating with Michael for a dinner on Monday night (Jan. 12) to celebrate the launch of the new book. The dinner will be a three-course affair, with each diner getting a copy of the book and a chance to meet the author. It is going to be a great event, so get out there, support the Food Bank and have a great night. Cocktails start at 6, dinner at 6:30 and tickets are still available online.

Hope yall enjoy!

-Thomas

Commence Grinding. Muddy’s Grind House opens in Midtown.

Another Gnome Adventure.
I was recently talking to my sister about K, and she said something like, “if you told teenage me that one day my little brother would marry a girl that owns a coffee shop in Midtown, I wouldn’t believe it. Teenage me is so jealous right now.”

Well, I’m still not so sure that I believe a. K married me b. there is a new Muddy’s. But six and a half years after Kat opened Muddy’s Bake Shop, she is at it again with Muddy’s Grind House. It is the cute blue house on the hill at the corner of Cooper and Vinton smack dab in Midtown in the 38104.12

Kat and her team (above is Grind House manager Nicci, Kat, and Muddy’s Ops-man supreme Kip) have put a ton of work into getting that yellow door ready to open for customers. Just like the first store, this special place is a true labor of love. All of their hard work getting ready now gives them a place to do what they love doing. Here are a few examples of what they’ll be up to.

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(Almost) Time to Grind

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It has been with a lot of excitement that I’ve watched the house on the southwest corner of Vinton and Cooper transform over the last few months. This isn’t just any house getting worked on, it is the future home of Muddy’s Grind House. K and her whole team have been working extremely hard to bring a new, exciting Muddy’s experience to Midtown, and I can’t wait for it to open for real in the next few weeks.

Taking advantage of their great location and the Cooper Young Festival, the Grind House team hosted a pop-up shop featuring some baked goods from Muddy’s Bake Shop and some new Grind House-exclusive goodies. The Blue Day Band brought their signature bluegrass sound to the patio and kept the energy going throughout the afternoon.

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On to the goodies at the newest Muddy’s.

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I got a cup of their J. Brooks drip coffee to go with the two new Grind House items, the ginger scone and the hazelnut cookie, both of which were excellent with my coffee.

DSC_0130The ginger scone came from one of K’s dad’s recipes, and it has been a family favorite for a long time. It will be a great addition to your morning coffee.

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The hazelnut cookie was a revelation. I had no idea that this was on the menu, and I ended up eating 4-5 or so throughout the day. They have the consistency of a shortbread cookie, are super flavorful, and will be an excellent compliment to your coffee or tea.

This is just a first preview of what’s coming soon at Muddy’s Grind House. As the shop gets closer to opening, I’m sure I’ll get a chance to try a few other things and share a little more about it. But, what I can say is this. I am so proud of all of the love and hard work that the team has put into this project, and I am excited about all of the new folks that have joined the Muddy’s family recently, and I think you’ll enjoy getting to know them at the Grind House. You can be sure they’ll have tasty treats, good coffee, and the signature great service that has made Muddy’s such a gem.

See you there!

-T

 

The Hunt for Eat Local Memphis

Yes. Eat Local Memphis has been quiet, MIA, whatever you want to say. Crickets-quiet around here. Even caterpillar-drive quiet.

But, a little sound is starting to come back as I type up some new things on the keyboard.

First, some good news. I haven’t been fasting, and I definitely have not lost my appetite. But to offer up a little bit of an explanation, I had a few things going on over the last few months. From wrapping up a lacrosse season, getting married to K, starting a new job, and eagerly watching the progress K is making on Muddy’s Grindhouse, I just plain forgot to write about food for a while. It happens, right?

Second, I have some exciting news about upcoming content.

  1. This is exciting for sure. Amanda Greer has written a few posts and is bringing some fun new content to Eat Local Memphis. Look for her first posts on High Cotton and the Petra Cafe soon. I’m really excited to have her writing!
  2. My wedding weekend was awesome. Along with the general celebration and joy, there was some excellent food, which needs to be shared. The amazing photos by Amanda Raney will make you all hungry and make you wish that I would take a photography class.
  3. My new job means a new set of lunches to talk about. As I acclimatize to eating downtown, I’ll have some good stuff to share.
  4. Lastly, somehow, with all of the stuff going on this summer, I found some time to eat some great stuff, both in and out of Memphis. Be on the lookout for those posts as well.

That’s the basic scoop with what’s been going on and what’s coming up. Hope there are still a few folks out there to read!

-T

 

Small Plates, Big Taste

Do you ever go to a favorite website/blog and get disappointed when you see the same post holding court at the top of the page? Well, it gets pretty old when that happens over and over. You just hope that someone will write something, anything. Well, when that was happening to me when I’d check out Eat Local Memphis, I realized I’m the only one that could fix it, as I am the only writer (maybe some other folks might want to share their thoughts on here, just a thought…if you would want to, holler at me). So, here we go. My usual spring includes a lacrosse induced writing hiatus, as I coach a team of scrappy laxers from January through May, and that both limits my time to eat out and to write. But, who can fault someone for coaching, right?

Back to the beginning

I think that sometimes the best way to get back into the groove is to get back to the basics. So, instead of hunting down the newest place to check out (don’t worry, I’ll get to all of those spots soon!), and K and I went to our faithful date-night spot, Tsunami. Well before I started writing about food, Tsunami was the place for me and my family to go get a great meal. The same thing was true for K and her peeps, so it naturally became one of our spots from the beginning. I read somewhere that people love to read lists, so here is one for you to try out.

Reasons Tsunami is awesome (not an exhaustive list)

  1. Delicious
  2. Consistency – both in quality of food, but also in quality of customer service. It certainly helps that so much of their staff have stayed there for a long time.
  3. Energetic atmosphere
  4. You always see someone you know
  5. Great bar
  6. Creativity

I’m going to expand on the last one, as that’s what keeps calling me back. One of my absolute favorite parts of the Tsunami menu is the list of small plates on the left side of the menu. These dishes rotate constantly. A dish could be on the list for a week, two, but often not too much more than that. This is the go-to list of what is fresh, fun, and in-season. The second benefit is that the plates are actually small, with smaller protein portions, which mean they cost a little less and make it easier to try more things. Win-win-win.

So, here’s what we got the other night from the small plate menu. If you want to try these, you should hurry on over there. First was a delicious portion of salmon (notice that small does not mean tiny), served over a bed of crawfish hash with a mustard sauce. It was awesome.

Salmon and Hash

Summer means Succotash

I love the summer. I like sitting on the porch and enjoying the shade and a nice breeze, as I am doing right now. Shorts, love em. Patios, parties, pools, punches, etc. Summer is also succotash season. That time of year when corn, beans, tomatoes, etc all come together, joining to make the ultimate summer side.

Halibut and Succotash

It is such a refreshing dish, full of fresh flavor. Tsunamis was edamame based, and was a perfect match for this flaky, delicious halibut. A perfect dish for a warm, summer night. Get out there and get this little plate before it is gone.

-Thomas

You want to go to there:

Tsunami
928 Cooper St
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 274-2556

Bring Your Appetit

LeBonAppetit

Kelly English tends to attach his name to things that are pretty awesome. His restaurants, his love of the Grizzlies, and his loyalty to his adopted city show a series of choices that panned out pretty well. Well, here’s one more thing to add to the list, Le Bon Appetit, a fundraiser for Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

Great Cause

The event takes place on Saturday at Minglewood Hall, and it has a great purpose attached to it. Le Bon Appetit is raising funds that will be used to purchase a new pediatric ambulance for the hospital.

Great Food

If Kelly was cooking by himself, this would be a party worth going to. Taking this event to the next level, he’s invited a whole bunch other chefs to join him. The chefs are distributed into 16 chef teams, with each group featuring a Memphis-based chef and a guest from out of town. I am super excited, because the guest list of chefs and their restaurants reads a lot like Thomas’ Places to Travel and Eat list. Look at this list.

Great Time

This party is bound to be a great time with food, drinks – shout out to Nick Talarico for locking down the local mixology – and music by the BB King Blues Club All-Stars. You don’t want to miss it if you can make this happen.

Tickets

Tickets are pretty scarce at this point, so you should act fast. Tickets start at $250, but get you a lot of great food, an awesome night, and the knowledge that you helped bring a new ambulance to town. Get yours online.

See you there!

Thomas

The Brunch Report – Rizzo’s

I love South Main. There is so much to do down there, from farmers markets and civil rights museums to soul burgers. One of my favorite places down there is Rizzo’s, whose vegetable plate at lunch is as good as it gets. Fortunately, you aren’t limited to lunch and dinner over there, and their brunch is just as good as the rest of their food.

So, I went over there recently with a couple of friends for a nice leisurely brunch on their newish patio beside the restaurant. After we got some coffees and mimosas, we were ready to order up some of the goods.

Rizzos 1 - Meatloaf sandwich

One of my friends got this amazing meatloaf sandwich. What a beauty!

 

 

Rizzos 2 - Catfish Benedict

 

I got this catfish benedict, with a english muffins, poached eggs, and some great blackened catfish. Everything was cooked well, and was extremely tasty. If you are anywhere near downtown, and you aren’t going to Rizzo’s semi-regularly, you are missing out. From lobster corndogs to a great brunch, there should be something for everyone. Hit it up for brunch, and enjoy the rest of the afternoon around South Main. What a great part of Memphis. See you there!

-Thomas

You want to go to there:

Rizzo’s Diner
106 E. GE Patterson
Memphis, TN 38103
(901) 523-2033
Rizzo's Diner on Urbanspoon

The Shack Out Back at Felicia Suzanne

K’s and my friend Felicia Willett is awesome. If you’ve met, you’d agree, and if you’ve eaten her food at Felicia Suzanne downtown, you know what I’m talking about. So, I was pumped up when I heard that she was redoing the patio on the side of her space. We went to check things out for the official grand opening in November at the first annual JR Willett’s Banjos and Bonfires, which raised money to fight prostate cancer in honor of her late father, JR Willett.

Felicia Patio - band
The Side Street Super Club kept everyone warm with some great bluegrass. Notice the new seating on the patio.

Felicia Patio

The bar (dubbed the Shack Out Back), was lit up and rocking.

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Felicia shows off the new turkey burger sliders from the patio menu as K laughs, most likely at one of my hilarious jokes.

Felicia Patio - turkey sliders
Close up.

Felicia Patio - tamale pie
Cornbread “tamale” pie. This was awesome, especially on such a cold November night. Not cold like it was earlier this week, but it was pretty serious at that point in the year.

Felicia patio - tacos
Fish tacos. I really need to get one of these taco stands. And some more of these tacos…

Felicia Patio - hushpuppies

Hushpuppies. I might have eaten the whole tray of these.

Felicia Patio - meat pies
Is it me, or are meat pies popping up on menus all over town? Second question, what took so long?

Felicia Patio - hot chocolate and stache

 

The party ended up with a few last songs, some cookies, and hot chocolate, spiked it you like. Overall, this was an awesome event for a great cause, and I look forward to it becoming an annual event. And lastly, it is clear that with the new bar, furniture and menu, Flo’s Patio and the Shack Out Back are going to be huge hits downtown whenever the weather is anywhere close to manageable.

Felicia Suzanne is already one of the best places to get a bit and a drink in Memphis, and with the addition of this more casual patio, it just gets better. See you there!

-Thomas

You want to go to there:

Felicia Suzanne – Flo’s Patio and the Shack Out Back
80 Monroe
Memphis, TN 38103
(901) 523-0877

Felicia Suzanne's on Urbanspoon

A Strong Currence

Sometimes it happens, you’ve been there, right? You get busy doing stuff, and you forget to tell someone a story that you were pumped to tell. Same thing happens with the blog. Good news is that this story (and some of the others coming up) is still a good one to tell.

Currence Dinner 1

A Northern Excursion

While on his book tour to promote his new book, John Currence made a stop in Memphis at Andrew Michael to cook a collaborative dinner and sign some books. If you aren’t familiar and you didn’t go to Ole Miss, John is a huge deal down in Oxford, MS, where he rocks his restaurants City Grocery, Boure, Big Bad Breakfast, Snackbar, and Lamar Lounge. I’ve been to a couple and loved them, and I always get great reviews about the others. He’s been a big supporter of a lot of our chefs in Memphis, always popping in and cooking with them for fundraisers and other exciting dinner events. So, all that being said, I was very excited to check out Pigs, Pickles & Whiskey and eat a fun dinner.

Can’t Beet it

Each course was a dish from the new book and was paired with a favorite song, so I’ll share those as I go.

First up was an awesome plate of smoked beets, charred pecans and a buttermilk-goat cheese crema. There were two types of beets, and this dish is a definite keeper.

Currence Dinner 2 - Beet salad

 

I’m dying to make this one at home. I’ll post when that happens.

Pearls of the Sea

Next up was an oyster stew, which was rich and delicious.

Currence Dinner 3 - Soup

All Heart and Grits

The next course saw an awesome dish of NOLA-style barbecue shrimp and creole cream cheese grits.

Currence Dinner 4 - shrimp and grits

These shrimp were very flavorful, and I loved the smoothness of the cream cheese grits. Great dish. They also sent out a delicious dish of chow-chow, which was so delicious. I could have eaten a pound of it at least.

Currence Dinner 5 - Chow Chow

Just Desserts

To wrap things up, we got a sweet dessert of John’s pork fat beignets with a bourbon caramel sauce.

Currence Dinner 6 - Beignets

 

There isn’t much to say about these. You can imagine that they are awesome, and you’d be right.

Book it

My advice after this awesome dinner is twofold. First, get down to Oxford and try out some of Currence’s spots. I know I’ll keep going down there for more food like this. Second, hit up your bookstore and get your own copy of Pigs, Pickles & Whiskey and make these and some other awesome dishes in your own kitchen.

-Thomas

You want to go to there:

City Grocery Restaurant Group

You want this book:

Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey

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