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

 

 

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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

 

 

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

 

 

Gracie Bleu January 4, 2012

Filed under: Germantown,Southaven — Shannon R Little @ 1:25 pm
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I happened upon Gracie Bleu one night when out in the Germantown area and suddenly having one of those uncontrollable Dear-God-I-Need-Something-Sweet moments.  This magical place was within walking distance.

 

Gracie Bleu is another trendy build-your-own-yogurt concept spots, where you grab a bowl, fill your own yogurt, and choose your own toppings.  You then get charged by weight.

 

 
The atmosphere in the place was fun and relaxing.  They had fun writing on the walls and beanbag chairs, where you could sit and enjoy your concoctions. Obviously, this is where Scott and I made a beeline to.

 

 

The yogurt, we both agreed, was better than most of the frozen yogurt you find in the city.  Many times you get a treat that tastes too icy with not enough sweetness and creaminess.  Gracie Bleu was not that.

 
I chose to get a mixture of peanut butter and espresso yogurt.  The peanut butter tasted like a spoonful of Jif with a bit of extra sugar and the espresso was rich and flavorful.  I topped mine with whipped cream, strawberries, and chocolate chips.  It was yummy! I put way to much into my cup, then proceeded to eat ALL of it.  I couldn’t stop.  Then came the tummy-aches.  Yet, it was totally worth it.

 

My experience at Gracie Bleu was great, except for the charming young ladies working the counter that evening.  Yes, okay, we were those people who came in 20 minutes before closing.  I did ask if it was still okay to come in, and the lady said yes.  Then there was a group of people coming in behind me.  They already had the whole place cleaned up, and yes we may have messed it up a teensy bit.  I felt bad, but how can you keep a place like that immaculate when you are pouring yogurt and toppings?

 
Despite all of our faux pas, that did not give these girls an excuse to complain to our faces about how messy and disrespectful people can be.  When everyone in the place had left, except for us (we still had 10 minutes), they started complaining about the rude people that just came in. Out loud. They obviously wanted us to hear that they were talking about us.

 
Gracie Bleu had great yogurt, but I will not be back because of the rudeness of the staff.  No bad day is a good enough excuse for that kind of behavior.  We were very polite and apologetic.

 
You can find me at YoLo, where the yogurt is good and the staff is super awesome.

 
For more information on Gracie Bleu, visit their website, Facebook or Twitter.  You can also find more reviews on Yelp and Urbanspoon.

 
Gracie Bleu Yogurt 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