Friday, April 3

The One After the Fish Pudding

First things first because we've had a few requests for a review: We went to church. We had the fish pudding. It tasted like something grandma would make, so we loved it: casserole-y with minimal chewing and a mayonnaise & paprika-type topping (which Anna promptly scraped off, of course).

The portions weren't as meager as what you see here - this is a shot of my half of the dish. (The thing with the orange dollop and parsley on top is the pudding.) Anna and I like to split so we can try more stuff, like dessert, which was some sort of weird baked German meringue torte (pictured beneath the holy pudding). Not my favorite, but it came with ice cream on top, and hey, it's something new. I hope you were able to make it out to Calvary's Waffle Shop this week since the lenten lunches are now over. If you didn't, though, don't fear - we have another obscure foodie treat for you...

... the 20/20 Diner. Unless you're a Whining and Dining reader or as obsessed with the Memphis farmers market on South Main as we are, you're probably not familiar with this little gem at the Southern School of Optometry on Madison. Farmers market soup-lady Cathy and bread-lady Sherry serve homemade breakfasts and lunches to students, professors, and anyone else who's willing to sign in downstairs and trek up to the fourth floor. They have free wi-fi, too. Heads up, though: I think this is a Monday-thru-Friday-only gig.

I had their delicious gravy and biscuits (Fridays only!) for breakfast but I've heard their cheap, fresh sandwiches are what's made them a hit. For a sampling, get some of their soup, hummus, and bread (separate booths) at the Memphis Farmers Market on S Main when it starts April 18. They told me they'll be there the first week. And may I recommend the African peanut or potato and leek soups? Eat, enjoy, and thank me later.

Wednesday, April 1

The One with the Holy Hash

Let's keep this short and sweet. Calvary Episcopal Church. Downtown. Church ladies serving you waffles, turnip greens, and bourbon pie. Through April 3. Go before it's over and you have to wait another year. Seriously.

Anna and I went last week to enjoy the warm atmosphere of Calvary's annual lenten lunches in their church basement. The cafeteria-style layout helped us make friends with our lovely neighbors, Nap and Jason, who swear by the peppermint ice cream with chocolate sauce. We enjoyed a waffle, some turnip greens (recommended), and chicken hash (not recommended) over good conversation and all kinds of holiness. And did I mention bourbon pie? Mmm.

We're going back today for fish pudding. That's right. I hear you have to get there early for it.

Sunday, March 1

The One with Cheese and Sea Creatures

We apologize for our brief hiatus - Mardi Gras called, and it would have been rude to ignore such festivities. A few brief comments:
  • Hand grenades are evil. (The drink, that is. Probably also the actual weapon, but I'm not initiating political discourse here.)
  • The Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone is the coolest thing ever.
  • Molly's at the Market made the best bloody mary we drank all weekend. Jane even told the bartender she loved him.
  • During Mardi Gras, the best time for Cafe du Monde is 11:30 pm.
  • We were invited to walk around the French Quarter with the walking krewe KOE. Check that one off the list of things to do...
But now we're back to the real world. Which is fine for me, because I ate a lot of cheese and a few sea creatures last night.

If you haven't been to Bari Ristorante e Enoteco, go. Immediately. Or if you have a tighter budget, save up a few months so that you can really experience the full Italian meal as it's meant to be.

My friend Dan received a Bari Cheese Tasting for his birthday. That's 46 different cheeses. Check it out:
Delizioso! Dan is supposed to email a list of our favorites to me, but in the meantime, you can check out the formaggio menu on Bari's website. We had 7 people with us last night, but could have used another person or two. My only complaint is that after a while, the cheeses started to run together. Or maybe that's just my undiscerning cheese palate. In any case, we realized what kinds of garbage are most widely available to us in grocery stores. Maybe I shouldn't recommend the tasting; ignorance is bliss.

Since man cannot live by cheese alone, we also ordered food. Like sea urchins. Yes, that's right, sea urchins. And they were amazing. Laura and I spent the afternoon Googling how to prepare and eat these creatures and were extremely skeptical about trying them based on the information we found. But then our waitress told us that Bari has only been able to find them 3 times in the last 6 years, and we knew we had to order them. I am so glad we did.

See the coral colored parts in there? That's what you eat. The restaurant cleared out the funk (which is what freaked Laura and me out when researching), then drizzled it with olive oil and lemon juice. We split 2 of them between the 7 of us (these suckers are expensive!), but it was a real treat. The citrus covered up most of the salt water taste, but a hint of the ocean sneaked through. The texture was extremely light, and to plagiarize someone else's description, almost foamy. Bryan, Matt and I loved them. The others weren't as impressed.

We moved on to our next courses. Salads, pastas, and a potato and mushroom soup that was deliciously earthy. Grilled brussel sprouts that were perfectly flavored and still crisp to bite. Laura order octopus. There were also sauteed prawns involved, but by the end of the meal, we were so stuffed that the flavors were unfortunately wasted on us.

Not to be cheesy - er, formaggio-y? - but the best part of the meal was sitting with a great group of people and sharing bites of everything. So do yourself a favor and go to Bari. Savor the flavors and opportunity to spend time with the good people in your life. If nothing else, at least have a glass of wine and maybe a single course at the bar.

Wednesday, February 18

The One Where We Drank Expensive Martinis (pt. 2)

First, let me say this: I don't think the martinis were that expensive.

Apologies for the delay in getting these Little Bar (at the Mud Island River Inn) pictures out! If you're anything like me - and for your sake, I hope you're not - you've spent a few nights lying awake wondering, "What must that confit have looked like?" or "How would one execute a savory beignet?"

Sleep well tonight, my friends, because now you know the answers to your respective queries are "Delicious" and "Deliciously." I could have used a little more tasso and crawfish in the beignets (they were excellent nonetheless), but the duck confit crepe was a don't miss - please try this if you're ever on the island. I think it was around $10. But don't expect to go for dinner - this is strictly a drinks and nibbles kind of place.

Was I surprised that the food at Little Bar was special? Of course not - it's the same kitchen as Currents, for cripes sake. But I was pleased by how much I enjoyed this sort of liminal, not-quite-fine-dining experience. Little Bar is a great way to do Currents casual-style. It's connected to the restaurant, so you feel like a part of the experience, but not so much that you're embarrassed about the blue jeans you're donning. Maybe it's the new Memphian in me that appreciates that. Regardless, the old college student in me appreciated that it I spent a lot less money.

Tuesday, February 17

The One Where We Drink Expensive Martinis

Yesterday, I was a Debbie Downer. After a weekend of puppy sitting this little furball...

...I should have been in a great mood. Instead, I hung out at the Launchpad all day (my house is freeeeezing!) and accomplished absolutely nothing. Eric came over around midafternoon, and Jane stopped by when she left work. When they realized that I was in a crap mood, they recommended the usual remedy: Happy Mexican. (Ooooh, now I have a craving for guacamole...) We ultimately decided that tequila was probably a bad idea, and instead decided to try something new with the Little Bar at Currents on Mud Island.

Vodka chased Debbie away. Duck confit crepes and tasso beignets also helped. Very rich and delicious. Before ordering, we nibbled on complimentary spiced walnuts. I'll leave the rest of the food review to Jane, if she ever decides to post. She's a better food critic, and she has the pictures.

The bar is a nice little place (and I do mean little - 6 seats at the bar and four small tables lining the opposite wall). Quiet with low lighting, it's the perfect place for after work or after dinner drinks. Best of all, there is a rooftop terrace on top of the Inn! I'm definitely looking forward to warmer weather and sunset cocktails. (Hint, hint.)

Sunday, February 15

Who are we? And why do you care?

I'm Anna. My friend Jane and I like to explore Memphis (hence the name of the blog) and try new things. Wait, this is us:

So anyway, we have a list of things to do in the city. For example, we ate chicken feet last night. Well, I just licked it; Jane actually crunched through bone. Eww.

Check out that chicken foot! No way am I biting that.

Jane's preparing to crunch through.

Why do you care? If you're an early reader, it's because Jane and I pressured you to read and pretend to care. But Memphis is a fun town that's easy to put down. This is our little way of reminding our fellow city-dwellers of the happy little places hiding around the corner. So come explore with us. (We promise we won't force you to eat chicken feet.)