Memphis Foodie

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

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

 

 

Kwik Chek April 9, 2012

Filed under: Midtown — Shannon R Little @ 3:20 pm
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Kwik Chek has a big reputation in Memphis.  I have never heard anyone say anything negative about this place.  From what I can tell, it is everyone’s favorite sandwich shop and the mecca of all things awesome and delicious.  At least this is the impression I get, which is why I don’t understand how it took me so long to get over there and try them out for myself.  I am, in fact, attracted to all things awesome and delicious.

 

Kwik Chek does not look like much from outside.  You would never give it a second glance if you weren’t familiar with it.  It doesn’t look like much on the inside either. It’s an open area, with a counter lining the right side, a deli counter in the back, chips and drinks lined on the left, and tables in the middle. It’s the hole-in-the-walls that always surprise you as gems, though.

 

Scott is a Kwik Check expert, so I let him help guide me to my perfect sandwich.  He chose the Hey Zeus wrap, which is a flour tortilla containing turkey, roast beef, feta cheese, bell pepper, onion, lettuce, tomato, mayo, mustard, lemon herb dressing, and spices. Phew.  He raves about this sandwich and how awe-inspiring its taste is.

 

 

I chose The Turk hoagie sandwich, which has turkey, provolone, bell pepper, onion, lettuce, tomato, mayo, mustard, lemon herb dressing, and parmesan cheese.

 

 

This was a pretty freaking good sandwich.  It had a lot to live up to, as my expectations were at an all-time high.  However, and I might get stoned for saying this, I don’t think it is the best in Memphis.  Top five? Definitely.  Fino’s still tops my list as best sandwich.  Kwik check has that unique factor.  You will not find a sandwich anywhere around like it.  They have a great talent of mixing and matching ingredients you wouldn’t typically put together on a sandwich, and coming out on the other end with a fantastic sandwich.  I will definitely be back.  This is a great grab-and-go kind of place.

 

They are also open until midnight, so they rock the fourth meal as well. Who doesn’t want a sandwich at midnight, anyway?

 

Kiwk Chek doesn’t have a website or social media presence.  I think it adds to the charm.  However, you can view their menu at Marks Menus.  You can also find more reviews at Yelp and Urbanspoon.  Or you can read one of the many write-ups about them from local sources: Eat Local Memphis, I Love Memphis, Memphis Spork, or Go Memphis.

 

Kwik Chek on Urbanspoon

 

 

Cafe Society March 27, 2012

Filed under: Midtown — Shannon R Little @ 3:00 pm
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Cafe Society is an underrated French restaurant in Memphis.  It seems pretty bare every time I pass by it, and nobody really ever talks about it.  I cannot determine why this is either. I have always had nothing but great experiences there, and this past time was no different.

 

Scott and I decided on a nice dinner out to Cafe Society not too long ago.  Though I have been several times, this was my first full meal here.  I have only gone in the past for either an appetizer or dessert only.

 

Cafe Society has a wonderful quiet, romantic atmosphere, the kind that reminds you of a cafe actually in France.  The black table cloths and dark walls are balanced out by dim lights on every table.  The place was a good mix of couples and businessmen.

 

Our server, who was fantastic and over-cheerful the whole experience, presented us with a wine menu and bread basket almost immediately.  Cafe Society has a great wine list.  We chose to split a bottle of white wine.

 

 

The bread was pretty average.  It was warm french bread, but there was not much special about it.  I ate a coupe of pieces.

 

For an appetizer, we ordered Oysters Maurice, “Topped with shrimp and cheese gratinee.”  Our server recommended them, so we decided to go for it.  They were great! They had the richness that all French food had.  They were bursting with flavor, and the french bread to eat with them created a perfect texture contrast.

 

 

For entrees, we both ordered the specials that day.  Scott got a steak with pommes frites.  It was a perfectly cooked, nice cut of steak.  The fries were shoestring and crunchy, with a unique but perfect blend of seasonings on them.

 

(I apologize for the dark photos, but I didn’t deam it appropriate to use a flash in a fine dining French restaurant.)

 

I had a salmon filet, which was topped with scallops, shrimp, and vegetable medley.  It was served on a rice pilaf.

 

 

I do not even know how to describe how amazing this entree was.  I ate the whole entree with my eyes closed, so I could concentrate on the flavor.  I was full about halfway through it, but I devoured every last bite.  The flavor combinations were perfect.  The dish was rich, but not too rich.  There is nothing the chef could do to make this taste any better.

 

I am very pleased with Cafe Society and hope it does well.  The service was excellent, and the food was as well. It’s a bit pricey for your average night out, but it is perfect for a celebration.

 

For more information on Cafe Society, visit their website.  You can also find more reviews at Yelp, Urbanspoon, and Trip Advisor, or book a reservation at Open Table.

 

Café Society on Urbanspoon

 

 

Fino’s from the Hill March 24, 2012

Filed under: Midtown — Shannon R Little @ 2:00 pm
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I have been to Fino’s from the Hill three times in the last month.  Keep in mind that this statement is coming from someone who goes out of her way to try new restaurants as much as possible, never eating at the same place to often.  Fino’s is that good.

 

Fino’s from the Hill is a cute little Italian deli at the corner of Madison and McLean. During the day they sell sandwiches, pasta, and other Italian dishes.

 

Please be aware of the cute little boy who popped into my picture.

 

They also have a little market to pick up traditional Italian goods to cook at home.

 

 

Fino’s is my new go-to spot for a sandwich in Memphis.  In my not-so-professional opinion, Fino’s has the best sandwiches in the city.  Not only are they the best, but they are cheap! The sandwich below cost me less than $7. Half of one cost under $4. How can you beat fresh meat, cheeses, and bread for under $4?

 

Though I have tried several of Fino’s options, I always go back to my absolute favorite: the Penn Station.  This is a fairly new sandwich at Fino’s that contains, “turkey, pepperoni, provolone, banana peppers, lettuce, tomato, and onion marinade.”  For the record, Fino’s onion marinade is amazing on anything. 

 

 

This sandwich has more flavor than any other sandwich I can remember eating.  Don’t forget your napkins, though.  It’s a messy one!

 

I also prefer my sandwiches on Fino’s soft bread.  Unless requested otherwise, they serve your sandwiches on traditional Italian breader that is pretty tough.  It you request the soft bread, it is melt-in-your mouth soft.  Either bread is amazing at soaking up all of the delicious flavors of any sandwich your order. The guy behind the counter suggested saving half of our sandwich and eating it the next day, after the bread had time to soak up some of the juices.  It’s much better the second day.

 

To go with my sandwich, I ordered a side salad.

 

 

Fino’s has a pretty good side salad, with plenty of chunky ingredients.  Between the cheese, fresh croutons, the tomatoes, onions, and onion marinade, I was a very happy camper.

 

I was also curious about their Spinach and Tomato popover, so I ordered that as a side as well.  It was pretty good, but I realized that I am not a turnover person.  It tasted fresh and buttery, though.

 

 

Alongside the great food, Fino’s also has some of the nicest staff in the city.  They are friendly and personable, while helping you decide what you want to best suit your mood.  There was one time recently when their credit cards machine crashed and they could only take cash for the time being.  Scott had picked us up and couple of sandwiches, but only had cash on him. He was $2 short, so the guy behind the counter took $2 out of his own wallet and told us not to worry about it. It’s that kind of friendly.  (For the record, we went back later and paid him back.)

 

They also will wrap up your sandwiches and box up your leftovers for you. Just take it to the counter. They are all about customer service here.

 

 

I will continue to give Fino’s my business.  Between their delicious sandwiches and their awesome staff, I have no reason not to.

 

For more information on Finos’s, visit their website or Facebook page.  They post daily specials on both.  You can also find more reviews on Yelp and Urbanspoon, or just read was Eat Local Memphis has to say.

 

Fino's Italian Deli & Catering on Urbanspoon

 

 

Celtic Crossing January 30, 2012

Filed under: Midtown — Shannon R Little @ 3:00 pm
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A recent visit to Cooper Young ended the night up at Celtic Crossing for dinner.  Scott and I went to Alchemy for a couple of drinks and then headed to Celtic for some grub after.  It was later at night, so Celtic had a band inside.  We wanted away from all of the noise, so we chose to sit outside in the heated patio.

 

Heated patios, I believe, are one of the greatest inventions.  You get to sit outside in the middle of winter and relax, without freezing.  Celtic has a great patio, so I love that I can take advantage of it during 20 degree temperatures.  They even had a big flat screen outside, so we could watch the Grizz dominate while sipping a beer.  There was only one other table other than us, so it was pretty quiet.

 

First, the staff at Celtic is great.  The doorman was super cool, and our server got us everything we needed.

 

We got a goat cheese dip as an appetizer.  Scott really likes cheese, so this is usually how we start our meals: with big bowls of cheese.

 

 

We both agreed that the dip was pretty bland.  However, goat cheese is a very mild cheese, so we blamed it on the cheese.  I ended up just munching on the pita wedges, which were still warm.

 

Then our food came out.  Scott got the Irish Burger, which is described as “8 oz. of sirloin topped with imported Irish muenster cheese and rashers”.  Rashers, if you did not know, is a fancy Irish word for bacon.  We had to ask.  His came with fries.

 

 

I ordered the Grilled Carribean Jerk Chicken Sandwich, which is a “grilled chicken breast served over a red onion and cranberry salsa”. I got red potatoes with mine.

 

 

When we tried our food, we realized that we could not blame the blandness of the goat cheese dip on the cheese.  We had to, in fact, blame it on the restaurant itself.  Our food was equally as bland as our appetizer.  Neither the burger nor the chicken had any seasoning on it.  My red onion and cranberry salsa was just that: mashed up cranberries and onions.  Nothing else.  The fries were soggy and, like everything else we ate, bland.

 

We were both starving, so we devoured it all.  However, I would have much rather walked down the street to Young Avenue Deli (had they not had a cover) or Cafe Ole (had their kitchen not been closed).

 

The next day, we found out from an actual Irish man that maybe we could perhaps blame it on the food and not the restaurant.  According to him, Irish food is traditionally very bland and nothing to write home about.  Apparently, Celtic Crossing did it right by sticking to their roots.  However, on the other hand, traditional Irish food does not serve up burgers and chicken sandwiches.  Therefore, we are left confused as to what to think of Celtic Crossing.  Is the food due to the bad kitchen or the bad traditions?  Either way, we can agree that the food was not great and we won’t be coming back to eat.

 

However, Celtic has a great beer list, so it is a possibility I will be back to drink.  They have a great happy hour as well, and apparently a good Sunday Brunch too.  Trivia has its possibilities as well.  St. Patrick’s Day is always a blast here.  However, most of the time I just find it overcrowded and a little annoying.  But, hey, maybe that is how you like your evenings to be.  Celtic Crossing is never my first pick (or second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth), but that does not mean I won’t be back.  My friends seem to love it, so you may see me tagging along too.

 

You can find out more about Celtic Crossing by visiting their website, where you can also view their menus, or Facebook page.  For more reviews, check out Yelp, Urbanspoon, Trip Advisor, or Gayot.  You can find their menus on All Menus or Marks Menus as well, or read a write-up about them from The Commercial Appeal.

 

Celtic Crossing on Urbanspoon

 

 

 

Memphis Dawgs January 24, 2012

Filed under: Downtown,East Memphis,Midtown — Shannon R Little @ 4:00 pm
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I have been trying to meet up with Todd Bourne of Memphis Dawgs for quite some time now, but the timing has never been right.  Today, it was destiny.  He had parked his hot dog cart right in front of my work, so I just had to walk right over and grab a dog.  Todd is a super nice guy and treat all of his customers like they are his best friends.

Not only is Todd great to chat with, he awesome serves up a solid hot dog.  All of his hot dog’s are  100% all beef, 1/4 pound Nathan’s hot dogs.  They are huge.  He serves them up on a soft, hot hotdog bun and tops the hotdog with the toppings of your choice.

He suggested I try the Memphis Dawg, which has onions, coleslaw, and his secret BBQ sauce.  This man knows what he is talking about, so I went with it.  The hot dog was delicious.  It was cooked perfectly, and they toppings went very well together.  It was a messy work of art, that I successfully at while driving home.

Memphis Dawgs makes its rounds in the food cart world.  Todd is at a differrent location every day.  He keeps his customers up-to-date though, so you don’t miss out.  He posts daily where he will be located on Twitter and Facebook.

I highly suggest you track Memphis Dawgs down and get your hands on a hot dog yourself.  They are a yummy, quick, and cheap lunch. You can have it your way too.

For more reviews on Memphis Dawgs, you can check out Urbanspoon or Yelp.  You can also read about him in a Memphis Flyer article or an article from Andy’s Restaurant Scorecard.

Memphis Dawgs Hot Dog Cart  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