Thursday, October 13, 2016

Soul Fish (Midtown)

Soul Fish Cafe
862 S Cooper St.
(901) 725-0722


Thanks to a vegetarian friend, I have rediscovered Soul Fish of late. I know that sounds weird since they specialize in catfish, but they have a great veggie plate. I am in love with the fried okras. (I also know that it is just okra, but I like saying okras.)

When they fixed it up and added an amazing patio, well I just couldn't be happier.

I seriously forced Jiro to walk over with me last week for dinner. Satchel refused to leave his room. This is my life.

This is actually Jiro being funny. Once we got there he was delightful.

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We sat on the patio, and I had a delicious pint of Lucid Kolsch (something I can't do when I go for lunch).

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Jiro got us an order of fried pickles to snack on. Whoa, I had no idea how good they were.

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Then we both had a hard time deciding what else to get. For whatever reason, I strayed from my usual veggie plate with the okras, broccoli and mashed potatoes and ordered a salad. Just as weird, Jiro went with chicken tacos.

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I enjoyed my beer, the breeze and Jiro's company while we waited on our food. It was a perfect night to sit outside. We saw several of our CY neighbors doing the same.

My salad was just fine, but I missed my okras.

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Jiro questioned whether Soul Fish knew what a taco is, since he was clearly given two burritos. (I made him get broccoli since we pounded down the pickles.)

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We got some chicken wings and mashed potatoes to take home to Satchel, because we are nice. (Had the waitress told me they came with fries, I would have passed on the taters.) Both Jiro and I had a wing when we got back to the apartment, you know, just to make sure they were good. They were. Jiro lamented not ordering them for himself. And Satchel has asked me to go back and get him more at least twice in the last week.

And I returned just two days later to get my okras.

I think you can count on seeing some or all of us there quite a bit.

(FYI--the new inside is quite nice too. I'm told that it is nearly identical to the one out east.)

Soul Fish Café Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Char Restaurant

Char Restaurant
431 S Highland Street,Suite 120
(901) 249-3533


I got invited to come to Char for brunch during their training last weekend. (They officially opened on Monday.) I planned to take both monkeys (Satchel, 14 and Jiro, 12), but Jiro skipped town on me. So, Satchel and I went with my friend, Joanna, who just happens to be BFF with one of the executive chefs.

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When I picked Satchel up, he was semi-excited.

"Where is it?" he asked.

"Somewhere over by the University," I said.

"What kind of food do they have?" he asked.

"Uh, I don't know," I replied.

"What do you mean you don't know?"

"Uh, I don't think the menu is online, yet," I half lied. The truth was, they emailed me and invited me to come try it out in advance and free of charge so it didn't really matter!

"Oh, is this one of those come early and eat free things?" Satchel asked, now familiar with the drill after our visit to The Kitchen at Shelby Farms.

"Yep."

That seemed to satisfy him. I do know that there's one in Jackson and one in Nashville and that the owners are the same as Amerigo. I also saw that my beloved Jeff Frisby of Restaurant Iris fame is the manager.

I only drove past it once before locating it. Satchel is actually the one who figured out that it was probably attached to the new apartment building. We got there at 11:30am, a few minutes ahead of Joanna. We went ahead and got seated. Once inside, we were both like, "Holy shit, this place is fancy." It's gorgeous. Lots of dark wood and natural light.

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Suddenly we both felt super underdressed. But, thankfully, they weren't officially open, and this is Memphis after all. Speaking of, this old map was bringing people in from all over the restaurant.

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Our waiter, Josh, gave us menus, brought us drinks, and steered us to the crab claw appetizer all before Joanna arrived. Satchel and I were still trying to decide what to eat when she joined us. We had the very good problem of everything sounding super yummy. Joanna quickly went about asking questions about just about everything on the menu.

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Then she asked if her friend was in the kitchen. Meanwhile we added some fried green tomatoes to our appetizer order, and soon we were in business.

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Let me tell you something. Those crab claws were like crack. Holy moly. SOOOOOOOO good. Like dangerously good. Like eat them and you will be hooked forever good. Oh my!

In comparison, the fried green tomatoes were just ok. (One got eaten before I snapped the picture.)

The chef came out, Joanna finished up with her questions, and we put in our final order. Then we went about entertaining Satchel.

Entertaining might not be the right word. He'd probably say that "interrogation" was more fitting. I gotta say, I might need to bring Joanna along once a week or so because she found out all sorts of stuff that I didn't know!

Satchel was a good sport and answered her questions and even seemed to be enjoying himself. (Joanna is super fun, so it's pretty hard not to have a good time when she's around.)

We took a break from quizzing him to eat some more.

Satchel and I both had the gumbo.

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I am super picky about gumbo because my sister truly makes the best gumbo ever, but this was really good.

Joanna had the wedge salad, which is what I had as my main course. We both agreed it was too big. A quarter cut would be just right.

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Satchel got the mahi mahi for his main course. He rejected the (delicious) melon salsa, but happily and quickly ate everything else.

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Joanna had the red fish which was the chef's suggestion. It was a hit.

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Even though we were massively full, we couldn't resist free dessert. While we waited, I checked out the ladies room. It's awesome, and not just because of this sign.

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(I didn't actually take my phone to the bathroom...until I saw that Joanna needed some more time debriefing Satchel in the absence of his mother.)

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Not surprisingly, Satchel was relieved when dessert arrived and Joanna and I went back to stuffing our faces. We had a pecan crumble (?) and the brownie. We had a big fight about which was the best. (I say brownie.)

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Now, I have no idea how much any of this cost. I'm guessing it's a little pricey just based on the food and the atmosphere. The menu isn't online yet, so someone who's been since they opened will have to let us know. I will say that the place is top notch and totally worth a visit, even if you gotta fork over a little more cash than usual.

GET THE CRAB CLAWS!

Char Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, September 26, 2016

Another Broken Egg Cafe

Another Broken Egg Cafe
65 S. Highland
(901) 623-7122


On Saturday morning, I drove to Mike Rose Soccer Complex in Collierville at 8am to watch Jiro play in a soccer tournament. After the game, he was starving. He recently got a phone with service, so on our ride back to Midtown, he started looking for places to eat breakfast. "How about Bryant's?" he asked. "No, Brother Juniper's," he said.

"Both of those places are going to be mobbed at 10am on a Saturday," I said.

"Oh," he said, in a merpy kind of way.

"We can drive by and see," I said. "I can wait if you can."

So on to Brother Juniper's we went. There weren't many people outside, so I got hopeful. We parked and then once inside I remembered that they built an entire room for people to wait in. The hostess said it would be about 45 minutes. Not terrible, but also not do-able. "Let's try that Broken Egg Cafe," I suggested to Jiro.

"How far away is it?" he asked.

"Just down the street," I said. "Where El Porton used to be."

Sold!

Now, I can't say that I was really dying to try this place despite a few people, including my mother, telling me how good it was. I just knew it wasn't my kind of place. But, they have restaurants in 12 states, so clearly there are plenty of folks who consider it their kind of place.

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It was pretty crazy crowded when we got there, but we were seated right away. I'd say the interior has been opened up a bit since El Porton was there, so inside has a lot of seating. There's also still the massive patio and seats at the bar. (Yes, full bar.)

It really feels like a place in another town, if that makes any sense. Like a place you eat at on a road trip. A Howard Johnson's maybe? It just has a very generic vibe going on.

We were right by the kitchen so there was a lot of hustle and bustle, but it was ok. A waitress came right over for our drink orders and easily talked us into starting with an order of City Grits ($3.89). The description included the words garlic and gouda, but Jiro was not deterred.

The waitress also asked if we had any questions about the menu, which was huge, and explained that it was a little different than other places. "We're a California style Louisiana kitchen," she explained.

Okaaay...

"They have beignets," I noted.

"Biscuit beignets," Jiro corrected me. "It's like they took two good things and combined them into something disgusting."

Harsh!

Jiro ultimately decided on the Cinnamon French Toast ($10.59) and I went with the Southwest Scramble ($10.89.)

The grits came out and Jiro said, "Will you help me pick off the tomatoes?"

"Just push them over to my side," I said.

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"These are delicious," Jiro said between bites.

I had to agree. "These are either the best grits ever or we are just starving."

We plowed through them and then I don't think either of us was really hungry anymore. (Note to self, stop ordering appetizers!)

While we waited on the rest of the food, I marveled at their drink menu.

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Party at Another Broken Egg!

I hadn't had any coffee yet and I was tempted to order one of these.

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Next time!

Out came the food. It was okay.

I think Jiro ate about four bites of his before declaring it too sweet. (Shocking!)

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I offered him some of mine, and he did a pretty good job of polishing off my potatoes. (His original reason for wanting a sit down breakfast was so he could get some hashbrowns.)

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My scramble was ok. It was definitely massive. The guac was inedible. All in all, it was fine.

Our total was $27.72 plus tip.

I can't see us ever going back, unless it's to get that frozen coffee and beignet and bacon drink (lol), but if you are in a pickle and need food fast, this is your place. They serve breakfast and lunch all day. And the service is pretty darn good.

On our ride home, Jiro let out a little gas and I said, "Another broken egg, huh?" So, yeah, at least I got a good joke out of the experience.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Kitchen

The Kitchen
Shelby Farms Park
415 Great View Drive East, Ste. 101
(901) 729-9009


I got an invite to try brunch at The Kitchen last week. It was their soft opening, and therefore free of charge. My mom and my niece joined me and the monkeys (Satchel, 14, and Jiro, 12).

It took us all a minute to find it. I had just assumed it was where the Visitor's Center was/is, but it's actually around the lake a bit. And I didn't realize it had its own entrance off of Walnut Grove. Anyways, it was pretty easy to figure out where it was once I narrowed down where it wasn't.

It's huge.

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The inside is lovely and the patio is definitely the thing of patiosexuals' dreams.

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We dined outside, which was lovely, but a bit windy. We had to hold our menus with both hands to keep them from flying away!

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(The dinner menu is here.)

The waitress took our drink orders and everyone went with water. I decided against a cocktail in favor of ice coffee. The waitress said they didn't actually have ice coffee but they could pour regular coffee over ice for me. I told her it was no problem and that I could drink hot coffee.

A few moments later she brought out ice coffee, which was perfect.

It took us a minute to decide on our food order as it seemed everyone wanted to have a unique order. In the end, the monkeys went with the Farmers Breakfast (your standard eggs, bacon, toast, etc.) ($13), my niece and I with the Gulf Shrimp salad ($16), and my mom chose the Pasta Bolognese ($18) with the sauce on the side (only because she hasn't been feeling well).

I can't remember what we talked about while we waited for the food because it came out super fast. Soon (almost) everyone was all smiles.

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Turns out they brought three farmers breakfasts and only one shrimp salad, so I took a farmers breakfast for the team.

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"Oh, the eggs are just the way I like them," I noted. Then noticed that the monkeys both had their eggs over easy too.

"They never asked how to cook the eggs," Jiro said, clearly wishing his were scrambled, though he didn't complain. (He just didn't eat them.)

The shrimp salad was very pretty and I did get a taste of it.

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The pasta looks a little naked, but even so, my mom loved it. The sauce on the side was super delicious, she just couldn't tolerate it.

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Satchel also had a side of grits ($4), which were served with apples, raisins, brown sugar and cream. I think maybe the Kitchen has grits confused with oatmeal? Anyways, he said they were ok. He was hoping for the standard kind with butter or cheese. (They actually have grits listed under sweets as Breakfast Grits and as a side as Hannah Farm Grits, so maybe he just wasn't clear enough when he ordered?)

I asked everyone how they liked their meals and everyone was pleased, but I thought it was funny that Jiro pointed out that he could have the same breakfast a lot cheaper elsewhere. I explained that the Kitchen is all about supporting local farmers and doing the eco-friendly thing, and that it adds up.

It really adds up! Though our brunch was complementary, we did see the check: $92.

So, I've been trying to think of scenarios in which I'd go back to the Kitchen. One of their other goals is to be a neighborhood meeting place. That seems like a stretch considering the location. Maybe I'd meet someone from Collierville half way? Go after a long bike ride? When someone else is paying? (Kidding. Sort of.) Maybe just have a drink? I'm not sure yet.

I peeked in at the Kitchenette, which is the Kitchen's grab-n-go spot in the Visitor's Center. I think it will definitely get a lot of business.

Y'all tell me what you think.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

DWJ #2

DWJ #2
2156 Young Avenue
901-207-6204


I've had DWJ on my go to list for about two years. It's out in Southwind or some place far away, but supposedly has private karaoke rooms like in that movie with Bill Murray. Anyways, DWJ#2 opened up in the old Greencork space in Cooper-Young last Monday (9/12). On Wednesday, I told the monkeys (Satchel, 14 and Jiro, 12) that we were going to walk down for dinner. "How far is it?" Jiro whined. "Is it on Cooper?" asked Satchel.

We made it the three blocks without too much trauma, but you'd be surprised how hard it is for three people, two of them teenagers (ish), to share a sidewalk.

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On our way there, I got a text from Warren about dropping off the kids' bag, so I ended up inviting him to join us.

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Inside the restaurant was very nice and full of Cooper-Youngians. There weren't any karaoke rooms that I could see. I guess Mulan kinda has a corner on that market in Cooper-Young. (Literally! Ha!)

We tackled the menu while we waited on Warren.

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I asked the waitress for help decoding, but she said it was her first day. So, she sent out the manager. Or maybe the chef? Anyways, he wasn't too much help either, but he did make some suggestions. I asked about cooking at the table, and he said it was for three or more and sort of guided us towards letting the kitchen do the cooking. That was fine by me.

"Mom, you need to up your Korean game," Satchel advised.

When the waitress came back, I ordered a couple of appetizers since Warren still hadn't made it. I decided on the Goonmandu, which is a tofu based dumpling, and the Kimbap, which is a Korean version of sushi. Each was $10.

Warren finally arrived and it became clear that we had a celebrity in our midst. Or that Warren had a jump on his Halloween costume.

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When we finally stopped laughing, we put in the rest of our order. And laughed some more.

Then came the apps. The dumplings were really good. They tasted more meaty than tofu-y.

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The monkeys were a little spooked by the green onions, so Warren and I ate most of them.

The Kimbap was also quite delicious. (I had seen it on someone else's table, otherwise I might never have ordered it.)

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The monkeys liked it too, but both poked out the pickled daikon and cucumber.

We had a lively conversation about bullying at school and in general all enjoyed each other's company while we waited for the rest of the food. It was weird! But obviously good weird.

Honestly, I was pretty much full at this point. But I took one for the team and kept eating!

My Dolsot Bibimbap ($11.00) was super pretty.

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It was lacking a little umami, or something. I don't usually get it with tofu, so maybe that was it? I needed to add a lot of hot sauce and I wished the egg wasn't all the way cooked when it came out. It was good, but not as good as Kwik Check.

Warren got the Donkatsu ($12.00), which is close to his standard pork tonkatsu that he always orders at Japanese restaurants. He also got a .50 side of kimchi.

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He liked it and had to keep Satchel from stealing most of it. I thought Satchel's Daeji Bulgogi ($14.00) was the best. It was spicy and full of flavor.

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Jiro's Chadolbaki ($14.00) was a bit of a zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, but perfect for someone who doesn't like spice, I suppose.

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When we were all done, the waitress brought our check and a little present for each of us. Awww...

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Inside there was some candy and a little charm. We told the monkeys to save them for their girlfriends. (They don't have girlfriends. So, you know, it was hilarious.)

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Our total was $78.11 plus tip, which was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more than I set out to spend on dinner on a Wednesday night. But, we did order waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much food. Next time, we keep ourselves in check.
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