Love Local with PGF

I feel like October is the time of football, weddings, and special events. In case your social calendar isn’t already tapped out, you should hit up the new Wiseacre Brewing Company to enjoy Project Green Fork’s 4th annual Loving Local event.

Because of the work that Margot McNeely and PGF do, we have 56 restaurants in our community that are certified as making less paper waste, recycling glass and cans, and recycling food waste. Check out their impact numbers!

I’ve gone to a bunch of these in the past, and I can assure you that there will be fun, good food, and awesome auction items. Here are the details:

Loving Local 2013 for web

Buy your ticket online here.


Southern Currence (y) – Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey – Book Release Party

Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey. Book Jacket

When I read the title of the new John Currence cookbook, my cadence kept falling into an imitation of Warren Zevon and kept ending with a “hooah!”

Based on my first impression Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey should be every bit as popular as that classic tune. We can all get a taste of the action by attending the cookbook release party tomorrow night at Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen.

Dinner Details
On Wednesday, October 16, 2013, Chef John Currence, the James Beard Award Winning Chef of City Grocery, Big Bad Breakfast, Boure, Snackbar in Oxford, is taking over the kitchen at Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen to cook from his new cookbook, Pickles, Pigs, and Whiskey.

Our chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman call Chef Currence Uncle Johnny (and yes, if you’re a fan of the brunch item on Sundays, its moniker is in tribute to Chef Currence) for all the support, guidance, and inspiration that he has given them over the years, and they are excited to have him in their kitchen.

Not just another successful Southern chef, James Beard Award-winner John Currence is THE ambassador for Oxford, Mississippi. In his first book, he shares his rugged and fancy style of cooking through 130 delicious recipes, colorful personal stories, music pairings, and beautiful photography.

The dinner costs $75.00 per person and includes the cost of the meal and Chef Currence’s mighty cookbook. Additional costs are alcohol, tax and gratuity. Chef Currence will sign books from 6:00-7:00 p.m. and then will serve a massive meal that packs a punch of flavor straight in your mouth.

There you have it. I’ll be there. See you there!


You want to go to there:

Chef John Currence Cookbook Release Party
Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen
For reservations, please call (901)347-3569

The Best Around – Flyer’s Best of Memphis 2013


It is that time of year again. The Memphis Flyer has taken our votes, counted them twice, and published the results in their Best of Memphis issue. Memphians vote on everything from Best Chef (Kelly English) to Best Jukebox (Ernestine & Hazel’s) and all of the categories in between. I won’t spoil the surprise, so head over to their website and read the list!

Before wrapping this up with a sweet montage video, I’d be remiss to not mention two things:

First, thanks so much to all of you that voted Eat Local Memphis as a Best Blog in Memphis for the fourth year in a row. That’s a very nice honor, and I greatly appreciate that you all read and enjoy the blog. I enjoy writing it (and of course, all of the “research” that goes into it)!

Secondly, I want to  give a shout out to K and her team at Muddy’s for winning Best Bakery and Best Dessert again. Not only do they have awesome products, but they really work to be a special place with great service that gives back to Memphis. I think they accomplish all of that, and I’m so pumped to see them recognized.

K and T

Read the list, picks some places to eat, and I’ll see you there!


You want to go to there:
Memphis Flyer Best of Memphis 2013

Bonus Video:

Hit Me With Your Best Shot – Shotwell Candy

Shotwell 1

I write a blog about food in Memphis, so I like to think that I have an idea of what’s going on in this town. Then, I read this blog post on Garden & Gun about Jarrod Smith and his Shotwell Candy Co. Right under my nose and reported in my favorite magazine, someone is making my favorite candy in our collective backyard. I had to get together with Jerrod and learn about him and the business and get a taste of these caramels that are quickly showing up all over the country.

K and I met Jerrod at H&H to share some drinks and some stories. I went home pumped up about caremels, his company, and the state of craftsmanship in our city. Here goes.

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Back Again – Heritage BBQ Comes to Town

As a child (or a yoot), I was never too pleased when summer started winding down. I had to change when I woke up, I had to get my haircut, and I had to start cramming in all of that summer reading that I dilly-dallied on all summer. But now, as an adult who does not have a 12 week vacation, then end of summer brings a different set of feelings. As we move through August, we can all look forward to football and the return of the Cochon Heritage BBQ event on August 30.

Cochon Heritage BBQ

First Memphis was treated to a Cochon 555 event, won by Kelly English. Then we hosted the first ever Heritage BBQ event, which was a feast of epic proportions. Now, Heritage BBQ is back in Memphis on August 30 for another demonstration on what can happen when fine chefs mix excellent technique with the highly-flavorful heritage breed pork that will be on display.

Cochon Heritage BBQ

The Cochon events are the brainchild of Brady Lowe. He puts on events across the country to showcase heritage breed pork and the chefs that can take it to the next level. Here’s what he says about the event:

“My goal is to create team building events that showcase the growth potential of BBQ restaurants buying whole heritage pigs from family farms. The process and judging format is my best approach at whole animal utilization, whereas we do not create a burden on small farmers to hold a surplus unwanted animal parts during any part of our competition. The events are hyper-local and they create word-of-mouth marketing for family farms. It’s an honor to have a national spotlight right and develop a message with a deeper meaning, far beyond competition BBQ. Today, we are reaching out to people who care about the conversation of local food made by real people.”

Cochon Heritage BBQ

Last year, we gathered on the rooftop of the Peabody for an opening night kick-off party. This year’s festivities will take place at Beale Street Landing. I’m pumped about the new location, because I think it has a lot of potential. I imagine that this will my first official visit to the Landing, so I am excited to get some great use out of a project that has really taken a long time to get of the ground/river.

Last year the food was insane, as chefs from across America descended on Memphis to bring their take on whole-hog utilization with interesting takes on classic barbecue styling. Each team is responsible for six dishes that represent bone, muscle, pull, stew, mayo, and mustard.

Cochon Heritage BBQ

This year Memphis will be represented by Ryan Trimm (Southward, Sweet Grass, Next Door), Jackson Kramer (Interim), Rick Farmer & Miles McGrath (St. Jude), and Craig Blondis (Central BBQ). They’ll compete for the title along with Travis Grimes (Husk, Charleston, SC), Michael Scelfo (Alden & Harlow, Boston), and Chad Clevenger & Nick McCormick (Alma Cocina/Tap A Gastropub, Atlanta). So, as it should be, there will be plenty of Memphis faces representing our barbecue traditions, as some fine chefs come in from across the country to show of their skills.

This is sure to be a feast of epic proportions. I highly recommend not missing out. Also, wear comfortable pants…

See you there!


Click below for all of the details and to order tickets!



Heading Southward

Press play.

Now we can begin.



One of the benefits of this whole Eat Local blog business is that every now and then my friends invite me to cool food events, knowing what a good eater I am. That’s what went down recently when I was invited by good friends to join them at one of Southward’s friends and family nights. The kitchen and the front of house served up their menu to a packed house to get a little more practice before the official opening, which I believe was today.

We nearly tried everything on the menu, so this little photo journey should give you a pretty good idea of the awesomeness that awaits your upcoming trip to the Regalia shopping center out East by Oak Hall. Tucked in the back in the old Circa location, Southward has gotten a full makeover and sports a cozy bar that gives way to a high-ceiling dining room with excellent design that features a great community table. There’s also an upstairs room that will be great for business meetings and small parties. Anyway, on to the Fare and the Libations.

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Quick Bite – R U Ben?

Trolley Stop Pizza


Reuben pizza from Trolley Stop Market. That is all.


The Hold Up – Burger Time at the Holding Pen

In the one year that Hog & Hominy has been open, it has quickly become one of my favorite places to eat in the world. At once it is both extremely high-level and easily accessible. From brunch to hot dogs to sweetbreads to tasting menus to pizzas that are great hot and allegedly better when eaten cold out of one’s fridge the next day, this place has been killing it from day one. I’ve liked everything that I’ve ever had there, so imagine the excitement when the word started to get out about the Holding Pen, their new dive bar located on the H&H back patio (see Pamela Denney’s article in May’s Memphis Magazine).

The key piece to the whole thing was going to be the John T. Edge hamburger that is only available Thursday-Saturday nights after 9pm. This was huge, as we now had two of Memphis’ best chefs working on their version of the tried and true classic. Or, just another reason for me to head out to Brookhaven on the even-more regular. So that’s what we did last weekend.

Holding Pen 1 - sign

The first thing that you notice is that the Holding Pen is accessible via secret bookcase door in the back of Hog & Hominy, which is awesome, obviously. Then you get out there and find that they’ve covered the patio, added some huge sliding barn doors on the back, and put up at least one growl towel for every win the Grizzlies had last year. A nice mural backs the bar, and they’ve got classic tunes pumping through the record player.

Menu options are limited to hamburgers and a few specials. While we were there they had a Frito pie in the crockpot, boiled peanuts, a couple of cheap beers, and a pitcher full of a special cocktail. It would be like if you went to your friends house for a pool party. Is there a better compliment of the Andrew/Michael family of restaurants than to say that whenever I go, I always feel like I’ve gone to a friends house? With the caveat being that these friends are extremely good cooks.

My party of four ordered up four burgers and some drinks before heading into H&H for a late night dinner. Here are a couple of them.

Holding Pen 2 - Burgers

Amazing. This burger is completely unpretentious and totally delicious. It is an Oklahoma style burger, meaning that it is cooked on a flat grill with onions pressed into the excellent Claybrook Farms meat before the first flip. This caramelizes the onions and maintains moisture in the patty. Since it is cooked hot and flat, the meat is just the right amount of crisp on the outside while being the right temperature on the inside. Add some melted cheese and the coup de grace, which is pickled lettuce, and then slap it all on a simple, cheap bun, and you are on fire.

Holding Pen 3 - Close up

I highly recommend reading Leslie Kelly’s article on Serious Eats about this burger, the reason it is named after the head of the Southern Foodways Alliance, and the time that Thomas Kellar told Andy and Mike that they are the future and not to “f it up.”

It was a long wait from May when I heard about the burger until last week, but it was worth the wait, as most things are when Andy and Mike and their team are involved. So, look for me on any Thursday-Saturday night, I’m sure I’ll see you there!


You want to go to there:

The Holding Pen on the Hog & Hominy back patio
707 W Brookhaven Circle
Memphis, TN 38117

Reminder – The Holding Pen opens earlier, but the burger is only available on Thurs-Sat after 9pm. Worth the wait.


Aye? Chiwawa!

A Remembrance of Treasures and Tacos


Once upon a time there was a kid that grew up in Memphis. He can still remember that anytime his parents would take him Downtown or into Midtown, they would pass a jungle of a building on the South side of Madison. The impressionable youth would ask what it was all about, probably assuming that some kind of natural disaster like a zombie attack had occurred on the site. No, son, that used to be the prime pizza spot in all of Midtown. For years and years, he could not believe this, as it was seemingly abandoned and overgrown his entire life.

This short little story could be about me or about just about any of you that read the blog and are roughly 30 or so. Before that old building was transformed into a modern taco and hot dog shop by the Chiwawa team, I can not remember ever seeing one of Madison’s best pieces of real estate in anything other than its jungle glory. It was like the old built in grill in the back of my parents house that was overtaken by the ivy that lived in the yard.

But like Indiana Jones and anyone else that has gone into the jungle with an eye on a treasure, the Chiwawa folks saw gold in that spot. A little work and some elbow grease later, and Midtown has a sweet modern building with a double patio. Instead of sitting idle on the sidelines of an Overton Square resurgence, the space is home of a hopping taco and hot dog spot. Editor’s note – there are no hopping tacos. Hopping is in reference to the spot.

Taco Time

I’ve been in for lunch and dinner a couple of times so far, but I just went in last week to try the new taco creations. One of my friends, an excellent chef, worked with the Chiwawa team to develop some new tacos, and the ones I had showed his flair for pairing ingredients for awesome creations.

Chiwawa 1

Chiwawa and I don’t share the same china pattern; rather, I got these for the road and brought them back to Chez Eat Local. Some tacos just call for busting out the Florentine. What you see on the plate is a catfish taco, a pork belly taco, and an order of papas fritas aka fries.

Chiwawa Catfish Taco

Sometimes you go to a spot and order a dish and it is good enough to make you question whether you should ever order anything other than that. That’s the basic deal with this catfish taco. Not sure that there will be many dinners where I want more than two tacos, so it might take me a while to try the rest of them. As of right now, the catfish taco is on my must-order list.

Chiwawa Pork Belly

Here’s a nice look at a pork belly taco. When did you expect to say those three words together? Really. It is put together with refried beans, pickled white cabbage, and arbol chili vinegar. After this taco and the pickled lettuce at the Holding Pen, I’m going all-in on pickled greens as the secret ingredient in just about anything.

So, if you are like me at all, and you remember a time in which you could never figure out why that cool pizza building was never in action, now is your chance to go say thanks to the people that fixed it up into “sumthin real nice, Clark.” Thank them by buying tacos and watching movies on their Monday Movie Night, or by eating hot dogs. Your choice, but go say thanks and get the catfish while you’re at it. See you there!


You want to go to there:

2059 Madison Ave,
Memphis, TN ‎38104
(901) 207-1456

Chiwawa on Urbanspoon

You Must Walk to Crawl – My Dishcrawl Experience pt. 1

Here’s one of the cool things about Memphis. I’m always finding awesome things that I didn’t know about. Often, these aren’t brand new, and I’m not on the cutting edge, but these are things that other people are all about. There just happen to be so many cool things going on in town that there is always something new around the corner. I guess that’s why we have all of these cool blogs and things like Choose 901 and I Love Memphis. We need guides in our own city to keep up.

Well, fortunately for me, Kim over at Dischcrawl is a champion of her own awesome thing that is happening in town, and she invited me to come check out their most recent event downtown. If you have ever forgotten the last leg of a pubcrawl, then you can probably imagine that a Dishcrawl is the foodie version of that great activity. Kim sets up an event based on a neighborhood. So, I signed up to go on the Downtown (North of Beale) Dishcrawl with the knowledge that we would go to four different places for a taste of each place. (Note, you get food at four places included in your ticket. Drinks are on you.)

You get an email two days in advance that tells you where to meet, but other than that, the rest of the locations will remain a secret to be revealed the night of the event. So, here’s part one of my experience.

Meet at Automatic Slim’s at 7:00 on Thursday

That’s the message that me and 40-50 others got last week, and so that’s where I headed.

Dishcrawl 01 - Slims

I headed upstairs and took a seat and started chatting with a couple of other Dishcrawl rookies. There were plenty of folks that had been out on one of these events before, and to me repeat business is always a sign of good things to come. First up, we got a tasting plate of three off-menu items, which served as recruitment pitch for me to go back in the future.

First up was a nice fresh bite of ceviche. Not many things make as much sense as ceviche on a night when the heat index was pushing 110. It was nice.

Dishcrawl 02 - Slims Ceviche

Next we tried a little smoked lamb with mint jelly on a crostini. Yum. Whomever decided that lamb and mint were soulmates can be my wingman any day.

Dishcrawl 04 - Slims lamb

Lastly there was a a banana wrapped in bacon with a tangy honey drizzle. Think about that for a second.

Dishcrawl 03 - Slims banana

You read that correctly. But when broken down into taste elements, this was sweet, salty, and tangy with a combination of textures in the bacon and banana. So, you’re asking, “you mean those two staples of my kitchen go together like Zach and Kelly is what you’re saying?”


Yes. That is what I mean. Now on to phase two.

Much Ado About Aldo’s

We got up and got instructions that we’d take a short walk to our next location. So, down Union went this eating posse, and we headed down Main to Aldo’s for round two.

Dishcrawl 05 - Aldos


If you haven’t been Aldo’s is a pretty sweet pizza spot on Main St. With their other spots Bardog and Slider Inn being big time players in the lives of Memphians, it is no surprise that this place is rocking it as well.

First up was a nice little shrimp and grit action.

Dishcrawl 06 - Aldos Shrimp


Pretty tasty. Tops to me was this nice goat cheese stuffed pepper. Awesome.

Dishcrawl 07 - Aldos goat cheese stuffed pepper


Lastly, we had a pretty delicious olive tapanade to go with that there bread. Also very tasty.

Ok, so part 2 is coming soon. But I want to give a shout out in part one to our awesome host Kim and her sidekick-for-the-evening Paige, who actually ran the first couple of Dishcrawls in Memphis.

Dishcrawl 09 - Kim and Paige

They were awesome hosts and set up a great event. I definitely recommend heading out on one of these. It would be good in a group as a way to see some different places and have a cool social meal. I went solo, and I’d highly recommend that if you 1. like food 2. like talking to strangers. It seems like a great way to meet some new folks and have a good time, two things that go pretty well with a full stomach. See you there!


I want to go to there:

Dishcrawl Memphis - Read about past events and sign up for their emails. Don’t delay after getting an email as the dinners sell out pretty quickly.

Automatic Slims
83 S. 2nd Street,
Memphis TN 38103

Aldo’s Pizza Pies
100 S Main St #101
Memphis, TN 38103
(901) 577-7743





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