Memphis Foodie

Your tool for delicious, local cuisine right in the heart of Memphis, TN.

Memphis Farmer’s Market Harvest Celebration October 28, 2012

Filed under: Events — Shannon R Little @ 4:00 pm
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I encourage you all to go to this event. It’s going to be a blast!

 

It’s Sunday, November 4th, from 4pm-7pm. Rain or shine. Tickets are $35 in advance and $45 at the gate. This includes lots of yummy food, Ghost River Beer, and wine.

 

 

The Avett Brothers and Cheerwine Host Charity Show October 26, 2012

This post is a bit off topic for me, but I felt it was a great story I wanted to share with you all.

 

Last Friday on October 19th, a week after their show here in Memphis, The Avett Brothers and Cheerwine joined together to do the Legendary Giveback charity concert in Charlottesville, VA. Fans could pay to see the show live, and all the proceeds would be donated back to charity. Or, if you could not make it to the show, it was streamed live on the internet for all to watch.

 

For those who don’t know (like I didn’t), Cheerwine is a cherry drink, mainly sold in the South, but has expanded to a national level as well. It is sold in several stores throughout Memphis. Cheerwine is a soft drink, but doesn’t contain any cola. Tom Barbitta, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Cheerwine, describes it as “an iconic brand. It’s been around since 1917 with a flavor all of its own. We therefore do not consider ourselves an ordinary cherry soda. Our flavor that always surprises is probably the main reason the brand has been around for 95 years”. You heard right. 95 years. Cheerwine was founded in 1917 as an independent, family owned company, which they still are today.

 

The Avett Brothers grew up drinking Cheerwine. As Seth Avett explains, “One of the greatest treats of my time at home in North Carolina is going to a small gas station out in the country of Rowan County and getting Cheerwine in a glass bottle. It has been for many years”. The partnership between the band and the company has grown over the last few years, as they realized they share similar values.

 

One of the main shared values is community involvement and giving back. Cheerwine was looking to do something nice for their fans, and they saw The Avett Brothers as a model philanthropic group in which to partner. Barbitta says, “The people who drink Cheerwine are so important to us and we wanted to do something special for them to show them how much we truly care”. This charity show raised money for three organizations, of which both parties were proud to represent: Operation Homefront; Big Brothers, Big Sisters; and The University of Virginia Children’s Hospital. The organizations were chosen based on the diverse groups they serve, in order to help as many different people as possible.

 

This concert featured several classics, but many songs focused on the new album The Carpenter. The new album is a focus on where the guys are in their lives now. They say they do not write for albums. “Since we are writing constantly, we never think in terms of ‘writing for a record’. We just take our most current chapter into the studio and do our best to let those ideas which excite us the most take us on a trip that will lead to a piece that make sense to us and is something we are proud of,” Avett says.

 

Cheerwine and The Avett Brothers say this is certainly not their last charity endeavor. Be on the lookout for future charity concerts and ways to get involved and give back as well.

 

 

Aldo’s Pizza Pies August 20, 2012

Filed under: Downtown — Shannon R Little @ 3:05 pm
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I am usually behind on the trends when it comes to trying the latest, hot restaurant. However, I prided myself on checking out Aldo’s pizza Pies Downtown within the first week they opened. Behold my review, semi-timely.

 

I went to Aldo’s with a couple of friends recently for a light bite to eat for the evening. I admit I was pretty skeptical about this place, knowing it’s the same people behind Bardog and Slider Inn. I don’t really care for Bardog, and I have only had decent experiences at Slider Inn. However, I went in with an open mind.

 

It was Wednesday at around 8:30pm when we went, and they were packed, as expected. Despite the chaos, we were quickly seated. Service was a tad slow, but I could tell our server was overwhelmed with the traffic and trying hard. That’s what counts in my book: attitude and trying.

 

Kudos to Aldo’s for doing pizza by the slice for the dinner crowd. Every pizza place I have encountered in Memphis only does pizza by the slice for lunch. I was happy to know I didn’t have to purchase an entire pizza for myself. You have limited options when doing pizza by the slice, as I would assume, considering the effort in creating and keeping fresh so many different pizzas at once. Options are vodka cream, pepperoni, sausage, veggie, and their Slice of the Day.

 

The Slice of the Day sounded right up my alley, called “The Other Side” and loaded with Poblano Cream, Fontina/Trugole, Grilled Chicken, Tomato, and Spinach. (FYI: I’ll eat tomato and spinach on just about everything.) I went for it.

 

 

The slices were a good size. As for the taste? It was perfect. You could tell everything was made fresh, especially the bread. The crust was perfect, not too thin and not too thick. It was a thin crust for sure, but there was enough dough to taste the bread. Toppings were loaded on top. It wasn’t too greasy, and it was packed with flavor.

 

Greer ordered the Pepperoni Pizza slice, and agreed that everything tasted fresh.

 

 

Then, having heard nothing but rave reviews about the cheesecake from both friends and the media, I had to suck it up and try it. If people are raving about cheesecake at a pizza place, then it has to be worth a shot. Not to mention, I get weak in the knees for a good slice.

 

 

Let me tell you. I agree with Kerry when I say that, no doubt about it, this is the best freaking cheesecake I have ever had in my life. It has that dense texture that you want from cheesecake, but somehow miraculously also manages to be light and fluffy. The flavor combination is perfect. I had one of those “close your eyes and picture yourself on a tropical island eating this cheesecake” moments. There was one tiny drawback. I was told there was supposed to be a raspberry drizzle on top, but we didn’t get it. We asked our server for it, but no avail. Either way, it was amazingly delicious.

 

Overall, Aldo’s is worth a try. Don’t be surprised by their prices. They are a bit pricey for pizza, but it’s what you pay to get quality, fresh ingredients every time. It’s debatable whether Aldo’s is my new favorite pizza place, but it is definitely in my top 3. Memphis Pizza Cafe better watch their backs. They have competition.

 

I can’t seem to find a website for Aldo’s, but you can check out their Facebook page. You can also find more reviews at Yelp and Urbanspoon.

 

Aldo's Pizza Pies on Urbanspoon

 

Support Ronald McDonald House Through Ice Cream August 17, 2012

Filed under: Memphis Foodies — Shannon R Little @ 1:28 pm
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There are very few things in this world I adore more than ice-cream. It’s the only food to which I can never say no, and a very unhealthy addiction. It’s also delicious.

 

In honor of the 18th Annual Big Scoop Ice Cream Festival (!) Ronald McDonald House of Memphis will be holding their 1st ever Homemade Ice Cream Contest. They are looking for the Mid-South’s BEST ice cream and wanted me to help spread the word.

 

 

Ronald McDonald House is a great organization to get involved with, and I believe that making ice-cream has to be the easiest and most fun way yet to do so. I highly encourage everyone to participate.

 

Visit the website here and sign up here.

 

R.P. Billiards July 17, 2012

Filed under: East Memphis — Shannon R Little @ 12:00 pm
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R.P. Billiards is another one of those college hangouts that I actually never hung out in while I was in college. I had been to R.P. Billiards only once before my most recent time, and that is when one of my graduate school classes decided we wanted beer while we learned. Therefore, it was a good experience.

 

R.P. Billiards has never really been on my radar, but it was suggested by my friend Charlotte one night. Charlotte was in town from Germany, staying around the campus area with no car, so I agreed to meet her somewhere within walking distance.

 

Though we were meeting for drinks, I was ravenous when I got there. I could tell the bartender saw that look in my eye, and she was on the ball. She was very sweet and great at her job. Charlotte and I were there to catch up, and she knew it. She checked on us every now and then, but really left us to our own. My drink was never empty, and I left full and satisfied.

 

Charlotte ordered cheese fries, which were waffle fries smothered in cheddar cheese and bacon, served with ranch dressing and sour cream. It’s impossible to mess up fried potatoes with cheese, bacon,  and ranch dressing, and R.P. Billiards had some decent cheese fries. They are not my favorite in town, but they were yummy.

 

 

As tempting as those cheese fries were, I erred on the more health conscious side with a blackened tuna sandwich. I did not know it came with fries, but I munched on a few of those as well. You know, for “research”. The tuna sandwich  was great. The tuna was juicy, with great seasonings. The remolaude was perfectly sweet and tangy. They aren’t shy with it as well. This sandwich is a mess to eat, but totally worth it. I took a couple of bites of the sandwich, and between the sauces, flaky tuna, and toppings, it crumbled before my eyes. I gave up and ended up eating with a fork and knife. The fries were average fries, but the season them well, making them unique. They were crispy and crunchy.

 

 

I try to shy away from college hangouts, as that time in my life has passed. R.P. Billiards is not my place of choice to go for a drink. However, I think their food is overlooked by most. Yes, it’s mainly greasy bar food. Yet, the quality of some items will shock you. I recommend dropping in and seeing what they are all about. They stay busy during the school year, but it is way less crowded during summer and winter breaks.

 

R.P. Billiards does not have a website or social media presence, but you can find more reviews at Yelp, Urbanspoon, and Trip Advisor.

 

RP Billiards on Urbanspoon

 

 

 

Taqueria Los Picosos July 12, 2012

Filed under: East Memphis — Shannon R Little @ 12:00 pm
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I was craving Mexican food one night, so I ventured to the area of Memphis that seems to be the mecca of Mexican: Summer Avenue. Summer has some of the greats, so I could only assume there were more undiscovered gems to try.

 

I stopped at Taqueria Los Picosos. This place seemed very authentic. Everything was written in Spanish. From the signs outside to the menus inside, not one word of English could be found (minus the “OPEN” sign outside). There were also lots of handwritten signs on the windows and walls. I could only hope they weren’t about a food born illness of some sort.

 

 

The place looks like your average Mexican joint: hard booths. colorful walls, etc. You order from the counter and they bring it to you.

 

They started us out with your usual chips and salsa. They were good, but pretty average. The chips were thin. The salsa was very sweet, with not much kick. You could add the extra sauces in the bottle for more of a kick, but it still didn’t add much flavor. Just hot.

 

 

We also ordered guacamole, as I am a guacamole fiend. It was also pretty average. Not much flavor other than the avocado was present. I was hoping for some more pepper, onion, and/or tomato.

 

 

For dinner, Scott opted for the Steak Fajitas. They came out on a sizzling skillet. They were huge! He said they were pretty good, with a lot of flavor. The peppers and onions tasted fresh.

 

 

I ordered the Chicken Quesadilla, mainly because I knew what I was ordering. I wasn’t in an adventurous pick-something-off-the-menu-then-find-out-later-what-it-is mood. Mine was also gigantic. The quesadilla, rice, and beans tasted just like something you would find at El Porton or El Mezcal. It was decent, but it didn’t knock my socks off.

 

 

In the end, we boxed up over half of our food to go. They don’t want you to leave hungry, that is for sure. I don’t know if I will be back to Los Picolos, especially if I have options like Las Delicias. If am in the area again and super hungry, though, it might be worthwhile to stop in and share something.

 

For more reviews on Taqueria Los Picosos, visit Urbanspoon or Yelp. You can also read Dining With Monkeys’s write-up as well.

 

Taqueria Los Picosos on Urbanspoon

 

 

All American Sweets July 9, 2012

Filed under: Bartlett — Shannon R Little @ 12:00 pm
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I was recently invited out to the All American Sweets bakery out in Bartlett. All American Sweets is a family owned and run bakery (meaning 3 people run the place) that mainly sells commercially. They now also make cakes for special occasions as well, such as wedding cakes.

 

 

Bill Kloos led me through the behind the scenes aspect of the bakery, which was very impressive. His philosophy boils down to “go big or go home”. They have nothing but they best equipment, setting themselves up for a bigger business in the future.

 

 

Then we got down to the good part, aka trying the cakes. I tasted the Coconut Cake, Banana Nut Cake, and the Strawberry Cake.

 

 

I am very impressed that this bakery uses nothing but fresh ingredients. They make all batters and icings from scratch, and all of their fruity cakes have actual fruit all throughout them. The Coconut Cake was very coconuty and sweet. Yummy. The Banana Nut Cake tasted like a sweeter version of Banana Nut Bread. It still has the denseness and earthiness to it, which I liked. This is also a great excuse to be able to eat it for breakfast.

 

 

However, the Strawberry Cake is what really caught my attention. It was awesome. The cake was very light and moist. It tasted like biting into a strawberry. The middle icing layers have actual muddled strawberries in them, so you get that fresh strawberry taste. I am not one to order cakes when going out to eat, but I would definitely order this if I saw it on the menu.

 

I left All American Sweets on a sugar high and with a full belly. I wish I had a list of all the places their cakes are sold, but I do know you can find them at Lucchesi’s and Soul Fish Cafe. You can also call and pre-order cakes for yourself.

 

For information on All American Sweets, visit their website and Facebook page. You can also find more reviews on Yelp.

 

All American Sweets on Urbanspoon

 

 

Bangkok Alley July 5, 2012

Filed under: Collierville,Downtown,East Memphis,Southaven — Shannon R Little @ 12:00 pm
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When I have a craving for Thai food, Bangkok Alley is not normally on my radar.  I have certain places that I frequent for this cuisine.  However, I was forced to step out of my comfort zone for a friend’s birthday dinner one night.  I had actually never stepped into a Bangkok Alley before this night, so I was in for a brand new experience.

 

I liked the atmosphere in the bar/lounge area. There were cozy benches with lots of brightly colored throw pillows. The dim lighting and candles gave it an elegant touch. The whole place was pretty small, but the intimate feeling worked.

 

Our servers were very sweet, but they seemed a little understaffed for our big party. Granted, we had around 20-25 people, but our food seemed to take longer than it should have. Also, I ran out of water before the food got there, and it never got refilled. This poses a pretty big problem, considering how saucy and hot Thai dishes usually are.

 

We started with some spring rolls, because they are “the best in town”, according to my friends. We opted for the Fresh Basil Shrimp Roll, which is described as “Basil, shredded carrot, lettuce vermicelli, and shrimp wrapped in rice noodle skin, served with special dipping sauce.” I have to admit, they were very yummy! I much prefer the soft rice skin as opposed to the crunchy rolls, because you taste all of the flavors on the inside. I could have eaten enough of these to make it my main meal. They were huge and full of flavor. The dipping sauce was the right combination of spicy hot and sweet.

 

 

My company also raved on and on about the “Drunken Noodle”, or “Pad-Kee-Mao” in Thai. There were many choices on the menu, so I was happy to have a suggestion to narrow down my choices. This dish is described as “Stir fried flat wide noodle with fresh basil, egg, onion, bell pepper, bean sprout in special cooking wine sauce”. I love Thai noodle dishes, so I was ready to take on Drunken Noodle. The dish comes with a choice of chicken or tofu, and I opted for the tofu.

 

 

The first thing I noticed is what a generous portion of noodles this was. You will not go hungry, for sure. Thai food is known to be spicy, so I should have known to expect a kick in the pants. This dish wasn’t Thai hot, but it was well above mild for sure. Overall, the dish was yummy. It didn’t knock my socks off like I was expecting, but I will order it again in the future.

 

Also keep in mind this is an Americanized Thai restaurant, so prices are not comparable to your hole-in-the-wall joints around town. You pay extra for the atmosphere and the higher quality ingredients. I say it is worth it, if you are looking for a nice meal out.

 

Overall, Bangkok Alley did not rise to the top of my Thai restaurant list, but it made it to the top 5. I am not aching to go back, but I can guarantee I will when the time is right.

 

For more information on Bangkok Alley, visit their website. Their Collierville location also has a Facebook page, but I cannot tell if it applies to all locations. You can also more reviews on Bangkok Alley on Yelp and Urbanspoon.

 

Bangkok Alley on Urbanspoon

 

 

 

Stone Soup Cafe May 18, 2012

Filed under: Midtown — Shannon R Little @ 12:00 pm
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Stone Soup is yet another place that has been on my to try list, basically since they opened.  Just driving by the place makes me excited to see what it is all about.  The restaurant operates out of a cute little Midtown home in Cooper Young, and their patio is just as cute.

 

Pre-patio – Photo Credit to http://www.bestmemphisburger.com.

 

Stone Soup Cafe is a Southern plate lunch and sandwich kind of place.  It’s the kind of place you go when you have a hankerin’ for grandma’s home cookin’.

Scott and I met for lunch on a Saturday afternoon.  The weather was beautiful, so we decided to soak up some sun out front.  Our poor little server was either brand new or they were very understaffed.  We sat for a long while before we could get drinks.

The menu was more diverse than expected.  They serve breakfast all day on Saturday.  The lunch menu also has plate lunches, sandwiches, entrees, wraps, and, of course, soup.  However, I was a bit confused by the soup menu.  For someone who has soup in their name, I would assume they would have more than 5 soup options.  You have more than that at places like Panera Bread.  I expected a lengthy variety of soups.

For lunch, I got the pimento cheese sandwich.  I heard they had a great one, and I do love some pimento cheese.

 

 

The sandwich was pretty good.  They load you up on some pimento cheese spread.  This was a leaning tower of pimento cheese, sandwiched between two slices of texas toast. The bread was a bit greasy, which took away from the taste of the pimento cheese.  However, it was very soft and tasted pretty fresh.  The chips on the side added to the Southern flare of the place.  Sitting at a table on the front lawn, with this dish, made me feel like I was at a picnic.

Scott, who was in breakfast mode, ordered the South of the Border Omelet, which contained “cheddar, onions, green peppers, salsa, sour cream, and jalepenos”.  It was served with a side of homemade biscuits.

 

 

Scott was a big fan of his omelet.  He said it was cooked perfectly and tons of yummy ingredients stuffed inside.  The biscuits were a great addition, and reminded me a bit of my grandma’s.  Don’t worry Mamaw, your biscuits are still better.

Overall, I had a pleasant experience at Stone Soup Cafe.  The service was very behind, but I expect it was just a fluke that day.  Our food was pretty good, but nothing fantastic.  I will probably be back to Stone Soup Cafe at some point, when craving some Southern food under the sun.  However, I am not dying to go back.

For more information on Stone Soup Cafe, visit their website or Facebook page.  You can find more reviews on Yelp and Urbanspoon.  Also, check out these other reviews and write-ups about Stone Soup Cafe: Hungry Memphis, I Love Memphis, Best Memphis Burger, Memphis Food Guy Blog, Go Memphis, Memphis Daily News, and Pancake Palate.

 

Stone Soup Cafe on Urbanspoon

 

 

La Michoacana May 14, 2012

Filed under: East Memphis — Shannon R Little @ 12:00 pm
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La Michoacana is one of those small known-unknown places.  Nobody talks about this place, yet all local Memphians seem to known and love it.  I visited La Michoacana for the first time a few weeks ago.  It has been on my list to try for quite sometime, as I have heard nothing but rave reviews about.

 

 

When I pulled up to the building, my heart filled with excitement like a five year old child.  The place even looks exciting. The writings on the outside of the windows make it seem like a fun place to be.

 

 

The inside of the building is just as fun as the outside.  Brightly colored walls, kids drawings, and photos of customers having fun all make the place inviting.  It seems like they drew their inspiration from a preschool or Sunday School classroom.

The main difference is that preschools don’t smell like corn.  Yes, this place smells like corn.

La Michoacana has many sweet options for you to choose from.  They have paletas, which cost $2 a piece.  Many swear by these popsicles.  They also have ice cream.  The commonality between it all is that you will find flavors here that you cannot find anywhere else.  Tequila, Rose, Corn, Jalapeno, etc.  The ice cream flavors go on.

I opted for a small papaya ice cream.  Scott, who tends to shy away from weird sweets, opted for strawberry.  My papaya ice cream was fantastic. You can tell that they make the ice cream in house.  It’s the perfect consistency.  It has a rich sweetness to it, but overly-fruity sweet.  It’s also very creamy.  Scott’s strawberry was above par as well.  It was also sweet, without being overly fruity.  They seem to have the right flavor and texture recipes to all of their ice cream.  I was amazed.

I live so close to this place, that I cannot believe I have not tried it yet. I will be back soon, that is for sure.  Jerry’s Sno Cones now has some competition for my love.

La Michoacana does not have a website or social media presence, but you can find more reviews at Yelp and Urbanspoon.  You can also find write-ups by I Love Memphis, Dining with Monkeys, Whining and Dining, and WMCTV5.

 

La Michoacana on Urbanspoon

 

 

 
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