Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Lost Pizza Co.

Lost Pizza Co.
2855 Poplar Ave.
572-1803


On Friday, we went to check out the new Lost Pizza Co. It's a Mississippi chain that has now made it's way to Memphis. It recently opened in the old Grisanti's location.

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Sadly, it was too cold to sit on the awesome patio.

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We were a little confused when we walked in as none of us realized it was an order at the counter place. Luckily there wasn't much of a line. There were three registers and when one opened up, we went to place our order. The girl (high school age tops) behind the register looked bewildered. So much so that I had to ask if I was actually supposed to order at the counter.

She finally came to, and we placed our order. I got a personal size of their version of a buffalo chicken pizza because that is what I have to order if it is on the menu. I can't remember what it was called. Hot Chick, maybe? (The online menu isn't complete.) Warren got a personal Kujo, which has bacon, hickory ham, pepperoni, Italian sausage, ground beef, onions, green peppers, black olives, mushrooms & their house cheese.

The monkeys (Satchel, 11 and Jiro, 9) did not want to eat pizza, so they each got a kids' meal. Jiro ordered mini corndogs (barf) and Satchel ordered boneless wings. He was given about 20 choices of sauces/flavorings and finally settled on mild with ranch dressing. He wanted a salad and so did I. He got a small Ceasar and I got a large to share with Warren.

I ordered four waters and paid the ticket: $44.22. I had to do a double take as it seemed a little high.

I noticed there were crayons along the counter and asked the girl what they were for, assuming they must have some sort of kids menu thingy to color. (The monkeys still like to color.) She didn't know and asked the girl next top her who really didn't seem to know either but said she had some computer paper. We passed.

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Warren went to get a table and I sent Jiro to get drinks. He pointed out that the kids' meals came with drinks and sent me back for a real cup for he & Satchel to use. Satchel also noted that we were charged .25 each for the four waters. I'm glad someone was paying attention.

By the time we got to the table, the salads were right behind us. They looked good. Nothing special other than the inclusion of a pickle.

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The kids' meals came flying to the table soon after the salad. Clearly the mini corn dogs were standard frozen fare. Jiro noted the Rice Krispy treat on the menu which is why he wanted the kids' meal. I thought it was at least house made. Nope. So basically I'd put this among the worst things you could feed your kid for dinner.

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He wasn't complaining though.

Satchel's boneless wings were only slightly better.

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He actually said they were too spicy to eat, which is not like him at all. They definitely were not mild. I wished they were on my pizza because my supposed buffalo chicken pizza was bland city.

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Jiro actually went in search of a bottle of hot sauce for me, which made it at least edible. The crust was good. (There was no red sauce or hot sauce, rather the base was ranch dressing, and I'm sorry, but ew! I should have never ordered this. There were also a ton of onions. Why? I take full responsibility for not thoroughly reading the description!)

Warren was the only one among us who liked his meal. His pizza was on the thick crust and he almost couldn't finish it. I had a bite and it was good.

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On the bright side, the interior is super cute and features a full bar and lots of nice reclaimed objects as decorations.

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There were tons of families there and the service was super fast. However, by 6:30, the line was out the door.

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I really don't know why they don't do table service. But hey, not my restaurant.

All in all, it was ok. There are definitely a ton of other places I'd rather go to eat pizza, but I think Lost Pizza is a good choice for a beer on the patio or an after soccer pizza party or something like that.

Lost Pizza Co. on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 24, 2014

India Palace

India Palace
1720 Poplar Ave
(901) 278-1199


Just before Spring Break we had three snow/ice days. One day, I met Satchel (age 11) and Warren at India Palace for lunch. (Jiro, age 9, was at a friend's house)

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India Palace is Warren's most favorite restaurant. I like Indian food just fine, but I don't crave it. So we don't go nearly as much as Warren would like. It's always a little weird for me because I will always remember the building the way it was in 1992-1994 when I worked at Squash Blossom.

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The inside is very nice and there is definitely no sign of Squash Blossom left. I'll also point out that it is VERY quiet inside. They play some nice music, but there is no talking and if you were to take a small child or baby, I am pretty sure you would feel like the center of attention! However, I have seen plenty of kids there happily munching away.

Satchel has been a couple of times with Warren and is a fan. When we got to the buffet, he literally squealed when he saw the Basmati rice. That is his favorite. It was fun going through the line with him. He loved pronouncing the names of all of the dishes. Satchel asked, "Have you tried the glokma balls?"

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I don't know how much the choices change from day to day, but these are the dishes I remember: Lamb meatballs, chicken curry, yogurt masala, spinach palak paneer, daal maharani, tandoori chicken...and some other stuff!

Here's Satchel's first plate:

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And his second, which is more revealing.

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He obviously likes to eat the meatier options. And the bread. He loves the naan.

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Mmmmmmmmmmmmmnaan.

"This stuff is good," he said. "This is so much better than school lunch. School lunch is nasty. Except fruit and salads." (His enthusiasm for school lunch ended when his second semester teacher started getting them to the cafeteria late thus causing him to end up with a hodge podge of leftovers. His lunch is a 1:15pm, so it's slim pickings regardless.)

Here's my plate. The chicken curry was my favorite, with the lamb meatballs being a close second.

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Warren is much more adventurous. I think he pretty much ate one of everything. This is his second plate, which like Satchel's, hones in on his favorites.

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Smile, Warren! We are at your favorite restaurant!

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Fine, eat! He's only slightly more cooperative than Satchel.

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Ok, back to the food. There's a whole section of extra sauces and whatnot that I usually ignore, but Warren likes them.

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Actually looking at this photo now makes me think it's a salad bar? Regardles, this is what Warren brought back.

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Mmmmmblurry!

I checked out the desserts. I usually get mango kulfi which is like a pudding, but there was none. (The menu describes it as Indian style ice cream.)

I came back with gulab jamun. They have a milky dough taste so I usually refer to them as milk balls. The menu describes them as "carmelized cheese balls in rose scented syrup." I really don't get that at all. I never really get the descriptions, honestly. The vision I get in my mind is so not what comes out on the plate in an Indian restaurant.

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Typically they have yogurt to go with them, but all I found was cream of wheat. Eh.

One of my favorite things about India Palace is the over zealous water filling. It gives me a giggle. And also makes me feel weird and totally self conscious about drinking water!

I think I'm starting to see why I don't go here that often!

Anyways, Satchel loved it. He wanted to know if he could get a to go box of rice. He was also curious about how they charged. "Is it by plate?" He was happy to know it was a flat rate.

The total for the three of us was $29.

I think if Jiro were with us, he might have had bread and a little chicken & rice. Probably not worth the money.

Don't forget to freshen your breath on the way out!

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(Warren once bought a whole bag of this to keep at the house.)

India Palace on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Skewer

Skewer
5101 Sanderlin Ave Ste 105
(901) 682-9919


I wanted to try Skewer the minute I heard about it. I decided to take the boys (all three) for an early Valentine's dinner last Thursday. We ended up taking two cars in the middle of rush hour traffic and in the middle of the tennis tournament! BUT! We still found parking and there were plenty of tables waiting for us at 6:00pm. Jiro (age 9) and I arrived first.

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It is super cute inside. I love an open kitchen.

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Jiro looked at the menu for about two seconds before deciding exactly what he wanted: Yakitoridon. (Yakitori, or skewered chicken, served over rice with an egg.) Since there was a picture, he also knew he needed to order it without green onions.

I told him that there was a very similar dish on the kids' menu, called Three Sticks, but he wanted nothing to do with the kids' menu.

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I was still perusing when Warren and Satchel (age 11) arrived. Satchel was starving and unable to focus, so Warren picked two things for them to share: Toriyakidon and Tonkatsudon. All three of them were getting donburi (rice bowls), I couldn't believe it. "No one is getting Ramen?" I asked. Crickets.

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I am not really a Ramen fan, so I decided to at least try the restaurant's namesake. Skewers are available a la carte, sort of like sushi, which they also sell.

We got our order in, and added some edamame to calm the monkeys. I went to check out the bathroom (very nice, but no changing table) and by the time I got back, the edamame was practically gone.

Both Warren and Satchel were on their phones, which totally embarrassed Jiro. We decided to talk to each other and have an "old fashioned" meal. Ha! I noted that there were several different types of patrons dining with us--a few families with small children, a couple of tables that definitely looked like "Girls night" groups, and so on. We also watched the guys in the kitchen and looked at the menu item pictures scrolling across a big screen TV. (There was also another TV showing actual TV.)

The food came out fairly quickly, but not all at once. The kids were first.

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Jiro was very happy with his selection and noted that he got 4 skewers instead of 3 like on the kids menu. I noted that his egg came scrambled instead of soft boiled like in the picture, but he didn't care.

Satchel started on the Toriyakidon, which is fried chicken cooked in house yaki sauce.

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He seemed pleased, but the chicken was actually once large piece and he needed more than chop sticks to really tackle it.

Warren was very happy when the Tonkatsudon came out. It doesn't look much different, but it is pork instead of chicken.

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I ordered an assortment of skewers--basil chicken in black sauce, miso beef tenderloin, giant shrimp, mixed veggie, and miso tofu.

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They ranged in price from $3-$4. The tofu and veg were as much as the beef and chicken, but came with two instead of one.

I really liked the beef and chicken, probably due to the sauce. The tofu was a little boring, and honestly I think they forgot to cook the shrimp. Or reheat them. Or whatever. They were cold and tasteless. (They were also advertised as "giant shrimp with heads on.")

Unless you are trying to go gluten free, I think the donburi bowls are more satisfying.

We all agreed we wanted to come back and try other things on the menu, so it was definitely a win. Our total tab was $58 plus tip, so it's not an every day kind of place, unless I can convince the kids to share or eat from the kids' menu.

Skewer on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 10, 2014

Pyro's Fire Fresh Pizza

Pyro's Fire Fresh Pizza
1199 Ridgeway Road
(901) 379-8754


Over the Christmas holidays, we were scheduled to be out east for the roller skating princesses' holiday program (my nieces are princesses). I had been wanting to try Pyro, so I set up a dinner date with my mom and nephew, who were also planning to attend the performance.

Pyro is located in the Park Place (?) Mall just around the bend from Rock-n-Dough Pizza Co. It was REALLY hard to resist Rock-n-Dough as it is my absolute favorite, BUT we wanted to try something new.

The monkeys, especially Satchel (age 11), LOVED the name Pyro. I guess it sounds dangerous?

I didn't get a picture of the front, but it doesn't look like much since it is in a strip mall. Here is the inside:

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Pyro has a very chain look to it, but it is not a chain. In fact, this is the flagship store. (Another is slated to open on Union Ave. in Midtown.)

You order at the counter in a very Subway sandwich like way. You tell them the size you want, then go down the line pointing at ingredients to add. However there are a five pre-made specialty options for those who don't like to be responsible for the final product.

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Pizzas come in regular size (11 inches) or snack size (about 5.5 inches, as it is half teh amount of dough). There was also a "kid size" option, but I don't know if it differs from snack size. I hope not, as 5.5 inches is already pretty tiny!

The only other things on the menu are salads and bites. You can build your own salad or choose from five specialty ones. The "bites" are pieces of dough that you can dip in savory or sweet sauces.

The first stop is the dough smasher. (Gluten free dough is also available, although I can't imagine it is up to Celiac standards based on the fact that there is only one smasher, so cross-contamination seems inevitable.)

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It makes the crust super thin.

Then there are the toppings.

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You can choose between six sauces (marinara, spicy marinara, pesto, olive oil, barbeque, and alfredo), seven cheeses (including vegan Daiya), ten meats, and sixteen veggies. It really seems like the possibilities are endless, but it also kinda seems like overkill if the majority of your family eats plain cheese or pepperoni!

But I do think with a big group, it's a nice option for everyone to get a little pizza just the way they like it.

Sticking with the "whatever way you like it" theme, they have one of the fancy Coke machine that lets you mix flavors.

There's also a full bar, with craft beer and everything. It appears to be separate. (We didn't indulge on our visit.)

I know you libras are already sweating about all of the decisions required to eat here!

Getting everyone through the line was fairly uneventful. I think the veggie person tends to get overwhelmed so the line didn't move as fast as it could, but whatever. It was pretty quick.

We didn't see any tables big enough for the six of us, so Jiro (age 9) and I sat in a booth with my mom and nephew and Warren and Satchel sat at a two top nearby. (They were both cranky about something, so it was fine.)

Later we saw people push the tiny two tops together to form a table big enough for eight. I guess that just never occured to us!

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(Jiro thought the walls looked like they had blood on them. I couldn't really argue, although I'm sure it was supposed to be more fire like!)

The pizzas started coming out after about five minutes, one at a time.

Branch had the pre-made barbeque pizza and said it was good.

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My mom had the pesto specialty pizza. I had a couple of slices and can attest to it's yumminess.

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Jiro had a snack pizza with pepperoni and bacon. (That's fancy for him!)

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I had a snack pizza with banana peppers. (Fancy for me!)

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I was definitely still hungry after my snack. It seemed to be a good size for Jiro.

Satchel and Warren grumpily ate salads which they got right away in the line.

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Warren perked up when his pizza arrived. His standard is Italian sausage, black olive & fresh mushroom.

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Satchel did not originally order a pizza for whatever reason, so once we were all pretty much done, he decided he wanted one. (Since they make them in about 5 minutes and we had plenty of time to get to the skating rink, I agreed. Unfortunately we ended up in line behind a large group that overwhelmed the veggie girl.)

But it was ok, Satch needed more food to get through the skater princess show.

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The total for the four of us was $39. (Four snack pizzas, two side salads, and one drink.)

Pyro is not Project Green Fork certified, but they seem to be making an effort.

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There is a private party room in back, and a patio area in the front that will open up in warmer weather. There were also a couple of arm chairs for those who want to chat or stare at a TV or whatever.

The restrooms are lovely and include a changing table.

Finally, I'd like to note that they also serve coffee and breakfast pizza.

If you are a fan of super thin crust and decision making, Pyro is the place for you!

Pyro's Fire Fresh Pizza on Urbanspoon
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