Memphis Foodie

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

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

 

 

 

Dyer’s May 10, 2012

Filed under: Collierville,Cordova,Downtown — Shannon R Little @ 4:48 pm
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Get your shocked looks ready.  Up until a couple of weeks ago, I had never been to Dyer’s.  Yes, it’s true.  This mainstay in Memphis, that so many people rave about, has never entered my life.  The 2012 Beale Street Wine Race changed this all for me.  Some friends and I decided to head into Dyer’s that afternoon after a few Call-A-Cabs and beers.  We needed yummy, greasy food.

Surprisingly, the place was close to empty when we arrived.  I didn’t really understand this, as there was a mass amount of people on Beale Street at this time.  There was one server working the whole restaurant.  He was cool and laid back.

His attitude complimented the atmosphere of the place, which was also laid back.  It has a small town diner feel to it, which I liked.

The four of us decided to split 2 burgers and a basket of chili cheese fries.

 

 

I am going to say this, knowing I will get backlash from it.  I welcome all opinions, so fire away.

I did not like Dyer’s. At all. I thought it was disgusting. Next to the McDonald’s hamburger, it might be the worst burger I have had.  I normally try not to be so harsh, but I really don’t know what else to say.  I couldn’t taste meat, just charred stuff. The burger was so greasy, it fell apart in my hands. I couldn’t taste anything other than grease. I took one bite, and let it be.  Maybe the ancient aged grease isn’t doing the burger any good.

The chili cheese fries were edible, but nothing fantastic.  I would not order them again either.

Overall, my experience at Dyer’s was sub-par. The service was good. The atmosphere was good.  However, unless the food is edible, I will not return.

Sorry Dyer’s, but I don’t understand why you have such a good wrap around time. I can get better burgers in many places around town.

If you want to learn more about Dyer’s so you can try them out for yourself, check out their website or Facebook page. You can also find more review on Yelp and Urbanspoon.

 

Dyer's Burgers on Urbanspoon

 

 

Casa Mexicana March 18, 2012

Filed under: Bartlett,Collierville,Cordova,Southaven — Shannon R Little @ 12:00 pm
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This is was my first time at Casa Mexicana.  In fact, I have never really given the place a second look. I had never considered eating at this establishment before, because I always just assumed it was another average Mexican restaurant.  Don’t be fooled, it really is just another average Mexican restaurant.

 

What drew me to Casa Mexicana was the convenience factor.  The Cordova location is situated very close to Wolfchase Honda, where I take my car to get serviced.  My usual routine is to drop off my car, walk to the Wolfchase area to run errands while they are working on her, and then walk back to pick her up when ready.  This was my plan on this particular day.  Only, I had not eaten before I dropped my car off.  There are not many favorable dining restaurants in this area.  They all tend be mediocre chain establishments.  The only options otherwise are Casa Mexicana and Eat Well Sushi.  Eat Well is yummy, but I wasn’t in the mood.

 

Casa Mexicana was pretty empty when I walked in, but it was during the week.  I took a seat, and they presented me with my chips and salsa, like you get at pretty much every a-typical Mexican dining establishment.

 

 

The chips were really thin and greasy.  The salsa was pretty average, with a little bit of kick and not a lot of spice.  I munched on them, mainly because once I start eating tortilla chips, auto-pilot kicks in and I keep munching.

 

I ordered a margarita while I waited too.  I read on FourSquare that they have super strong margaritas.  These people did not lie.

 

 

Warning! I could taste some of the neon green, lime-y goodness in the glass.  However, I mainly tasted tequila.  To put this in perspective, all of the ice in my Margarita on the Rocks was melted in less than five minutes.  I had to ask my server for a glass of ice.  I used every single ice cube in a tall drinking glass to keep this thing cool while I drank it. It was strong. It was also awesome.  It was not too overwhelming for me, but I definitely did not order a second one either.

 

My food finally came, thankfully before I was able to finish the chips and salsa.  I ordered an enchilada, beans, and chile relleno combo, but I got a tostada instead.  This actually worked out perfectly, because I would rather have the tostada anyway.

 

 

There is not much to say about the food, other than it was pretty average. Nothing had an incredible amount of flavor or impressed me, but nothing was bad either.  It tasted a lot like going to any other average Mexcian restaurant in Memphis.

 

Overall, I will probably be back to Casa Mexicana eventually sometime in the future.  Not because it blew my socks off, but mainly because I will be hungry at some point when my car is being worked on.  If you are stuck in the same situation as me and need some place in walk distance, Casa Mexicana is not a bad choice.  Otherwise, skip it and go somewhere else.

 

Casa Mexicana does not have a website or social media presence, but you can find more reviews on Yelp and Urbanspoon.  You can also find photos of their menu there as well.  They have an extensive menu, with every possible Mexican option you could ever want.

 

Casa Mexicana on Urbanspoon

 

 

Memphis Pizza Cafe December 2, 2011

Memphis Pizza Cafe has been a staple in my life for as long as I can remember.  When I was really young, and living in East Memphis, my parents and I frequented the location on Park Avenue.  When we moved to the suburbs, the one in Germantown became our home.  Then, we moved to Arlington, and the location that made a brief appearance in Wolfchase was our spot.  Now that I am living back in the city, I go back and forth between the Midtown location and East Memphis location.  When visiting family in Collierville, I check out that location as well. I have, at some point in my life, settled into every Memphis Pizza Cafe location (with the exception of Southaven), just like I have settled into every home.

 

This time I ate Memphis Pizza Cafe, it was take-out, so I cannot comment on service.  However, from my past experiences, the service seems to always be pretty solid (taking into consideration how long it takes to cook a pizza). I also love the laid back atmosphere of the restaurants. It’s very homey and comfortable.

 

I usually order the exact same thing every time I go: a side salad with Ranch dressing (they have great Ranch), and one or two slices (depending on how hungry I am) on Ultimate Cheese pizza, add spinach, tomato, and cajun chicken. This is the ultimate slice of pizza.  With years of experience and trial-and-error under my belt, I finally found the perfect slice of pizza at Pizza Cafe.  This is it.

 

However, this time I was sharing with the masses, so I did not get to order what I want.  We ordered a Meat Lovers and a BBQ Chicken pizza.  I prefer either no meat or only chicken on my pizza, so I opted to eat the latter.  The BBQ Chicken pizza was great.  It wasn’t my typical order, but I have never had anything bad at Memphis Pizza Cafe.  Partially,  I believe, is because I love their thin crusts.  If I had to compromise again, I would opt for this.

 

 

They are always perfectly crispy, with the right amount of sauce, cheese, and toppings.  Memphis Pizza Cafe, in my opinion, is the best pizza joint in Memphis.  I know many that agree with me.  In fact, I have only ever talked to one person who didn’t care for this place.  I also discredit her opinion, as she is a New York-er with a pretentious taste in pizza.  Nothing can satisfy her anyway.  Personally, I have never had a bad experience at any location. Ever.

 

If you ever have a craving for pizza, I highly recommend trying this place out.

 

For more information, visit their website, Facebook page, or Twitter.  Check out their menu on All Menus.  For more reviews, visit Urbanspoon or Yelp.

 

Memphis Pizza Cafe (Midtown) on Urbanspoon

 

 

 

Corky’s October 6, 2011

Filed under: Collierville,Cordova,East Memphis — Shannon R Little @ 5:00 pm
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Though I have not found myself inside a Corky’s in quite some time, I do find myself gravitating toward them at events. Corky’s is the barbecue staple in Memphis that always has a food truck out to serve you up a Memphis tradition whenever and wherever. This particular time I ate Corky’s was at the Jim Dickinson Folk Festival at The Levitt Shell.

Whenever I am at these sorts of events, I always choose Corky’s over a corn dog or funnel cake. It’s like choosing between Taco Bell and Las Delicias. This time, I got the barbecue sandwich and Scott got the barbecue nachos. We split the two between us.

Corky’s is not my favorite barbecue in Memphis, and I usually roll my eyes when another tourist told me they have the best Memphis BBQ at Corky’s. Please do not go here if it is your one shot at good Memphis BBQ. They tend to chop the meat, instead of pull it, which does not leave it as tender as possible.

However, it’s solid and it’s flexible. You can order it to go to cater to mass amount of people, have it shipped to your front door, find it at Memphis in May when you take a break from music, or you can have a good meal out. Have it your way. It’s always hot and fresh, no matter how you eat it. It beats the fast food and a lot of other mediocre eateries, and it always leaves me ultra-satisfied.

For more information about Corky’s, visit their website or online store. You can also check out their Facebook Page, Urbanspoon, or Yelp.

Corky's Bar-B-Q (East Memphis) on Urbanspoon

 

Yogurt Mountain April 16, 2011

This past week, I ditched my loyalties to YoLo Froyo and braved Yogurt Mountain in Cordova with the family. I have never been to a self-serve yogurt store in Memphis other than YoLo, so I was a bit curious to see what the competition was all about. My did it have some standards to live up to.

Yogurt Mountain is a new hot spot for many Cordovans today. My sister says that every time she comes the place is absolutely packed. She wasn’t wrong this time either. By the time we left, the place was starting to empty. However, when we got there, there in fact WAS a line out the door. This place cannot be bad with such great business, right?

I will say that the chosen decor was lively, to say the least. I had a mild headache after leaving, with the mixture of lime green and bright purple. Yet, it keeps the place fun, and I am sure the kids love it. I did love the pictures of the different yogurt on the walls. It gave you ideas, for one. Though my sister and I both agreed that our yogurt never looks that put together. How did they get the sprinkles to lay evenly over the entire cup?!

I got some sample cups to go try the different kinds of yogurt, and I was surprised by the choices they had! They had some great options: Dulce de Leche, Cheesecake, Triple Chocolate, Banana Pudding, Vanilla Bean, and many more. I was very impressed by the quality of flavors they had available. It was more than your average Chocolate, Strawberry, and Vanilla. They even had their own signature flavor: Blue Cotton Candy.

After choosing a mixture of Cheesecake and Dulce de Leche flavored yogurt, I headed on over to the toppings bar. The toppings they had available were pretty varied. They had your normal toppings, plus additions such as Strawberry Pop-Tarts. However, none of them are homemade like at YoLo. That was a little disappointing, as I have become accustomed to putting homemade baked goods on my yogurt. They did, however, have Andes Mints. This made me excited, and added a lot of flair to my yogurt!

Just like other self serve yogurt place, you pay by weight. Yogurt Mountain is pretty reasonable in their prices as well. You pay 45 cents an ounce. This is not bad, unless you are my brother who has an actual mountain of yogurt covered in a ridiculous amount of heavy toppings. (Side Note: You may want to ditch the pre-pubescent, growth spurt twelve year old boys when having to pay by weight.)

Overall, I did enjoy Yogurt Mountain. The toppings bar was not as impressive. However, I liked the variety and quality of flavors of the yogurt. As a frozen yogurt semi-connoisseur, I will say that the yogurt was equal parts creamy and smooth. Ice-y frozen yogurt can really turn me off of a place, but Yogurt Mountain does a great job.

While here, I met this super nice couple, who owns the Memphis Bop Club. They frequent Yogurt Mountain several times a week, and they had nothing but good things to say about it!

(I do want to make a note that they had wonderful things to say about Yogurt Mountain and eating local in Memphis. However, due to technical difficulties, I could not get that part of the video. I greatly apologize and am reaching out to them again, so they can have their voice heard.)

Disclaimer: I do want to make a note here that Yogurt Mountain is not SOLELY a Memphis restaurant. After research, I determined they do have locations in several Southern states. The reason I decided to still include them is because each individual store is a franchise and not corporately owned. Every store has a bit of a different personality to it.

For more information about Yogurt Mountain, you can visit their website and see their menu (not all are available at every location), or you can also visit their Facebook page. They have also been in the news some lately. For more reviews, you can visit Yelp and Urbanspoon.

Yogurt Mountain on Urbanspoon