Memphis Foodie

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

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

 

 

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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

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

Sekisui Pacific Rim March 21, 2012

Filed under: East Memphis — Shannon R Little @ 2:00 pm
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I bought a restaurant.com certificate for Sekisui Pacific Rim about two years ago, completely forgot about it, and then found it in some paperwork not too long ago.  You know that feeling you get when you find money in your pants pocket you didn’t know you had? I had the same reaction when I found this certificate.

 

A couple weeks later I used it for a much needed girls’ night dinner with my friend Dani.  We ordered dinner, drank wine, and chatted for hours.  Sekisui Pacific Rim has the perfect atmosphere for this occasion.  The lights are dim. Elegant blue lights decorate the inside. Fish tanks sit on the walls, and calming music plays in the background.  It’s almost like you are in a swanky spa, but with a menu.

 

We had a certain amount of money we had to spend, so we ordered quite a bit of food.  We both started with a house salad, that comes topped with that yummy Japanese dressing.

 

 

I love Pacific Rim’s house salad.  Not only is the dressing perfect, but the crunchy noodles on top are a great contrast to the vegetables underneath.

 

After our salads, we split an appetizer of edimame.  Sushi has a reputation of filling me up quickly, but leaving me hungry again an hour later. I always counteract this by eating edimame beforehand.  Pacific Rim’s edimame tastes fresh, crunchy, and perfectly salted.

 

 

We also split an order of Gyoza, which is “Pan seared pork dumplings with spicy dipping sauce.”  The dumplings were yummy.  They were crunchy on the outside, housing the sweet tender pork on the inside.  The sauce was the perfect mixture of syrupy sweet and spicy.

 

 

After the gyoza, we went for the main attraction.  We split four rolls:

  • Memphis Bayou: softshell crawfish and avocado
  • Redbird: crunchy crab, sweet chili sauce, sushi shrimp on top
  • California: crab, masago, avocado, cucumber
  • Rock & Roll: shrimp tempura, crab, masago, avocado, cucumber

 

 

I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to sushi.  My favorite is usually the California roll.  This time is no different.  However, all of the rolls were delicious.  They each had their own characteristics that made them great.  They all not only looked beautiful, but tasted fresh too.

 

At this point in the meal, we already had take out boxes to take a lot of the extra food home.  However, Dani said their fried cheesecake was amazing.  We ordered it.

 

 

The cheesecake was very rich.  I could only take a couple of bites.  It was good though.  I think I still prefer my cheesecake baked, but this was a nice change.  The cheesecake was piping hot, which was perfect for the melting french vanilla ice cream on top.

 

It’s also important to note that Pacific Rim has a great wine list. There is something on there for everyone.

 

They have a cute little patio out front as well.  I have tried to enjoy it in the past, but it can be noisy.  The restaurant is located on Poplar Avenue, so you have to talk a little loud to be heard over traffic sometimes.  I think the atmosphere inside is much better.

 

Overall, I highly recommend Sekisui Pacific Rim.  They have a great atmosphere for a girls’ night or for a date night.  I even saw some families enjoying themselves as well.

 

Though Pacific Rim is part of the Sekisui family that expands over several states now, it is important to know that Memphis is its original and main home. To learn more about SPR, visit their website, Facebook, or Twitter.  You can also find more reviews at Yelp and Urbanspoon, or book a table using Open Table.

 

Sekisui Pacific Rim on Urbanspoon

 

 

Dixie Queen March 15, 2012

Filed under: East Memphis,Southaven — Shannon R Little @ 11:01 am
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Dixie Queen is one of those Memphis establishments that brings me back to my childhood.  When I was younger, my mom and I used to go to the Dixie Queen on Mt. Moriah to get a burger, fries, and freeze.  We would eat inside and then head next door where there was a super awesome Putt Putt course.  It had giant replicas of zoo animals, windmills, the whole bit.

 

I do not frequent Dixie Queen as much any more, but every so often I have to stop in and get my freeze fix.  That is what I had to do recently.  I was in the area and made an instant decision to go through the drive through.  I ordered an orange freeze.

 

The freezes are just as good as I remember them as a kid.  They are not icy at all, and they are not too liquidy either.  They have that perfect consistency and are bursting with flavor.  I don’t know exactly how to describe what a freeze is.  It’s a lot like a milkshake, but kind of like a smoothie. There is really nothing else like it.  You just need to try it for yourself.

 

For the record, the burgers and fries are really good for a fast food restaurant.  If you are going to eat fast food, I would definitely opt for this instead of any national burger chain.  The food is especially good at 3:00am on your way home. I found out about their late hours as a young adult and was thrilled.

 

The staff is usually super friendly too.  They always have smiles on their faces and are willing to chat it up with you.

 

The only downside: Don’t come here if you are in a hurry.  They will take forever and make you late. Guaranteed. Every time.  There were four cars in front of me at the drive through, and I didn’t leave Dixie Queen for over 15 minutes.  I could have gotten food faster at a sit down restaurant.  However, if you have the time to hang out, it is worth the wait.

From my experience, Dixie Queen is one of those places that is never talked about, but an establishment most Memphis know and love.

 

Dixie Queen has no website or social media outlets, as they prefer to run old school.  You can check out reviews on Yelp and Urbanspoon.  Also, Memphis Business Journal wrote an article on them in 2003, about their Memphis home base and expansion.

 

Dixie Queen on Urbanspoon

 

 

Folk’s Folly Prime Steakhouse February 23, 2012

Filed under: East Memphis — Shannon R Little @ 4:52 pm
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Folk’s Folly Prime Steakhouse is consistently voted “Best Steak” by several reader’s polls across town, every year.  No doubt too, there is a reason behind it.  Growing up, I knew that Folk’s Folly was the magical place that only grown-ups could go to, and only when it was a very special occasion.  In fact, I still feel this way today.

 

Folk’s Folly is where we decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, and I had been looking forward to it for forever.  Since it was Valentine’s, I was not allowed to take pictures on this adventure.  I crowdsourced a few photos, but sorry for the lack of evidence.

 

To start the evening, we were treated to a private dining room: one single table in a small room, shut out from the rest of the world by curtains.  It was fantastic, and also the most romantic atmosphere I have ever experienced.  Our server Retha helped us pick out the perfect bottle of wine and listed off our specials.

 

As an appetizer, we chose the crab cakes.  They were delicate, lightly fried, and complimented with the perfect remolaude sauce.

 

Photo compliments of Eliot from Folk's Folly's Urbanspoon

 

After we finished our crab cakes, we decided to split a 14 ounce filet minion, small lobster tail, spinach casserole, and twice baked potato.

Photo compliments of Thomas from Eat Local Memphis

 

The steak was cooked a perfect medium rare, cooked enough on the outside yet juicy and full of flavor.  The lobster tail was buttery (and made me feel very high class).  The twice-baked potato was perfect, with a great mix of butter, cheese, bacon, and chives.  The spinach casserole made me say outloud, “Oh my God, that is so amazing.”

 

After dinner, we went to the bar for dessert.  We both ordered a Folk’s Folly Freeze, which is ice-cream mixed with your liqueur of choice.  Scott got a Brandy Alexander freeze, and I ordered one with Godiva and amaretto.  They were heaven!

 

I had absolutely no qualms with any part of my experience at Folk’s Folly.  Romantic atmosphere.  Great wine. Perfect service.  Perfect food.

 

Folk’s Folly is fine dining, which means the great experience comes with a hefty price tag.  This is the reason a special occasion is usually necessary.  (Also, we had a gift card.)  However, compared to many fine dining or steak restaurants, they are reasonable.  Our whole bill, excluding dessert, cost around $150.00.  That includes the bottle of nice wine, appetizer, steak, lobster, and two sides.  Their steak and drink prices are significantly cheaper than Ruth’s Chris.

 

For more information, visit Folk’s Folly’s website or Facebook page.  You can also find their menu on All Menus.  For more reviews, check Yelp or Urbanspoon.

 

Folk's Folly Prime Steak House on Urbanspoon