Ok here’s the deal. I turned 31 on July 7. From July 6-12, I was in full fledged birthday week feast mode. In setlist form it went something like this:
Iris > House Party > Country Club > Italian Feast (Hog & Hominy > Andrew Michael > Hog & Hominy) > Iris
It was epic. It was fierce. Most importantly it was spent with good friends and family along with some really, really good food. Today I’m going to hone in on the Italian Feast. Really, I’m going to hit on the Hog & Hominy parts, as the whole Italian Fest would take too long. I’ll circle back later tonight to write abut the Andrew Michael part.
Set One – The Opener
Here’s how this went down. K (thanks K!!!) got in touch with our pals at Andrew Michael and asked if they would do a special “No-Menu Birthday” for me. They thought that sounded great, and we were set for a Wednesday night dinner. Sounds normal from here, right? Well, this Wednesday night was also a soft opening night at the guys’ new place Hog & Hominy.
I couldn’t let this big night pass without stopping by to see the place in action. Really, I’m so proud of Andy and Michael and their whole staff for what they have accomplished since opening AM Italian Kitchen. I had to get in there and give some hugs and high fives. As you’ll see, that is not all that we got…
We (5 of us) sat down about an hour before our dinner reservation, thinking we’d get a drink and a small snack (famous last thoughts). Matt came by our table and got us started with some wines, beers, and a crisp club soda. Water was served in sweet bottles.
Then, it began.
#whiteboyproblems #firstworldissues #amIinBrooklyn?
The idea behind Hog & Hominy is that the menu is going to feature the foods that Andy and Michael would want to eat themselves. Fortunately for us all, they have incredible taste!
First thing out of the kitchen was the insane crispy headcheese starter.
Here’s my thought process as I take my first bite.
Headcheese -> Great
Fried -> Better
Add an egg -> Best
Add some watermelon -> Genius
I’m not going to lie and say that crispy headcheese is not one of the most delicious things on the planet by itself, but the addition of the watermelon made this dish all-time in my opinion. The sign of people that are on top of their game.
Begin Side Note – What’s with the hashtags in the header? Well, during the night, I had a conversation that I never expected to have. After a different crispy headcheese dish at Andrew Michael, we sat at the table questioning which was the best headcheese appetizer of the night. This is not a normal conversation under any circumstances (except maybe in Brooklyn and Portland). Moving on. End Side Note.
Hot Oven, Big Lovin’
While we were hanging out over drinks, I snuck back into the pizza kitchen (you can see them cooking from the dining area, also they custom made the pizza oven from the bricks that were on the chimney on the restaurant before they renovated) and asked Michael what pizza I should get for our table to try one out before dinner. With a smile, he said “I got you.”
That statement is one of my favorite things about having gotten to know the guys in the kitchen at the two restaurants. I will often show up for dinner and let them decide what I should have. It makes it interesting, and I always end up getting something that I might not have ordered, but that I end up loving. So here we go!
The Red Eye pizza. Bask in its glory. This currently sits on top of my favorite pizza charts. Pork jowl, celery, red eye gravy, and a fried egg. It is like the best breakfast ever put into a pizza. Just trust me.
The Boom-Baba resides right up at the top of the charts as well. Prosciutto, figs, and a balsamic reduction turn this puppy into something extremely special.
Next up is the Prewitt, named after fellow Memphian Ryan Prewitt, now a chef in New Orleans. This one is made of boudin and scrambled eggs. Awesome.
So, as you can see, the pizzas are off the chart. I certainly didn’t expect us to eat three of them (before dinner), but it was a birthday blowout.
Set II – An Andrew Michael Interlude
In effort to keep this blog at a reasonable length and to keep the focus on one restaurant at a time, I’m going to discuss the Andrew Michael dinner in a separate post.
A Thrilling Encore
After finishing up our last savory course at Andrew Michael, our server told us to head back across the street for dessert. At this point, it was getting late, and we were the last people in there, so we tasted all the desserts, while the H&H squad had their final team meeting before opening for real the next day. Things got a little out of hand (in a good way).
I’m Southern, thus I love chess pie. Simple enough, correct? But take that pie and make it into handheld bars, and I’ll love you. They did, and I do. Loved them.
Here’s a nice little slice of a peanut butter pie with a creme brulee crust (what!!!). Yes, it was as good as it looks. I had a pie expert at the table next to me, and K’s expert testimony was something like “omg yum omg yum.” (Paraphrased, as at this point, the food buzz was at an all-time high).
This fine, although slightly out of focus, specimen is the peach crostata. That translates into something like a small pie that might have been cooked in a muffin pan. This was my favorite of the desserts for sure. They were all so good, but the peaches were so delicious in this and combined with a crispy crust and sweet vanilla gelato (house-made), it was just everything I want in a summer dessert.
Last, but not least, they sent out a series of shakes for us to try out, featuring their house-made gelato. These came in two styles, for the masses and for the adult masses. I’m obsessed with the straight up Nutella shake, as it is most delicious. The adult version, a Nutella shake with vanilla vodka was quite a hit at the table as well. The shake above is made with their blueberry gelato and some blood orange liquor. It did not last long.
After Party – aka My Closing Remarks
Here’s what I posted on Facebook right after dinner:
After 4 hours in Hog and Hominy and Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, I can safely say that Brookhaven Circle is in good hands. Thanks to all the guys and girls that put together an awesome birthday dinner for me and my crew tonight.
At this point, I’m too full to even begin to start talking about it…
A lot of people worked on this birthday event for me, so thanks again to Alison, Ryan, and Ryan at AM, to Trevor, Aaron, Branson, and Matt at H&H, special thanks to Nick for all the great work he does at both places, and a final shout out to Andy and Mike, who have put in so much love and effort into both of these places. Together you’re all bringing Memphis something extremely special, and I thank you for that. And on a day in which you guys had probably 150 or so faces in each restaurant, you all made me feel like family. (If I left anyone out, know that I love you too)!
Brookhaven Circle is truly in good hands with these fine people leading the charge, and I encourage everyone to get out there and see why. See you there!
you want to go to there:
Hog & Hominy
707 W Brookhaven Circle
Memphis, TN 38117
Mon-Sat: 4pm until… / Late Night Menu: Thurs-Sat
Lunch Hours Beginning July 23rd
PS. If after all that you still want to read more, check out Kerry’s take on H&H here.