Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Liquor Store

The Liquor Store
2655 Broad Avenue


I've already thoroughly documented my love for The Liquor Store over on the I Love Memphis blog, but I still wanted to see what the monkeys (Satchel, 15, and Jiro, 13) thought. So for this year's (really last year's) lunch with Chip and his fancy camera, which doubles as our annual family photo, we went to the Liquor Store.

Read: All photos by the amazing Chip Chockley!

In addition to my monkeys, my mom, and Chip, we were joined by Chip's wife, Steph, and their two monkeys (Connor, 14, and Chloe, 11).

Before lunch, I insisted we all go to the newly restored Grand Carousel at the Children's Museum to work up an appetite. It's really quite fun, and it goes faster than you'd expect. (Chip got a lil queasy standing backwards snappin pics.)


There's a separate entrance and it's $3 per person, per ride. Rides are every 15 minutes on the quarter hour.


Ok, on to lunch! The building used to be an actual Liquor Store and owners Lisa & Luis Toro were inspired by that lovely hunk of metal pictured above, hence the name. In reality it's a diner, but they also have a full bar.

I called Lisa to let her know I was bringing 8 people, but considering the size of the place, they really can't guarantee anything. However, we got lucky and were able to get seated together after just a few minutes.


I had done a LOT of talking up of the Loaded Fries so Satchel knew he wanted them. However, he wanted them all to himself, not as an appetizer. This caused a bit of teenaged angst when I informed him that meant he had to wait and eat them when everyone else got their main dishes.

This angst was further fueled by the fact that Team Chockley had easily agreed to share an order as an appetizer.


Now, I will say that having ordered these multiple times, they do come out different every time. I would attribute it to the fact that the Liquor Store has only been open, what, two months? And like any new place, they are working out the kinks. However, no matter what the proportion of gravy to Cuban pork to aioli to cheese to fries is, it ALWAYS tastes great. (One time they even ran out of their standard skinny fries and it came out with girthy fries and ...still good!) The way the cheese gets crispy around the edges on the grill is my favorite part.



I didn't want our end of the table to die of jealousy, so I put in an order of papas rellenas.


Looking at the current menu, they appear to have been cut. Which is understandable because they did not, in fact, cure our jealousy.

When Satchel finally got his very own Loaded Fries he was super cranky about sharing...until he realized there was no way he was going to be able to finish them.

Jiro, who is my breakfast lover, went with the Pancake Stack (which comes with 2 eggs and a side of breakfast meat) and an extra side of hashbrowns. The Liquor Store serves breakfast all day! Actually all menu items are available all day! Yay!


His side of hashbrown's was accidentally given to Chloe who was next to him, and by the time the replacement came, he was stuffed. No worries, he took them home and ate them about an hour later.

My mom went with the Breakfast Hash with Cuban Pork at my recommendation.


It was a little heavier on pork than I had previously experienced, but that just meant that she had leftovers for a sandwich later.

Speaking of, none of us ordered the Cuban, but Chloe did. It was bigger than her head. (And she's got a big head.)

I think she ordered it without pickles though, which is CRA-ZY.


Chip & I both got the Blue burger which comes with applewood smoked blue cheese, caramelized onions and bacon. It's so good. It's preventing me from trying other things on the menu.


Oh hey, BIG NEWS for my VEGAN and VEGETARIAN homies. The Liquor Store just added the Impossible (TM) Burger to the menu! You may have heard of it as the "vegan burger that bleeds." I had one in New York and it really, really could fool a meat eater.

Ok, back to our meal. I am not sure what Connor ordered as it isn't photographed, but Steph had the Grilled Cheese (white cheddar, Swiss and American cheese) with potato salad instead of the usual choice of tomato soup or fries. (Apparently Steph is as weird as Chloe.) Actually, I think Connor maybe shared the Grilled Cheese with Steph? Anyways...


Sadly, we didn't save any room for pie.


I love looking in the pie case by the front door. Well the PIES in the pie case, that is.


All of the pies and most of the breads are made in house. Don't be like us. Save room for pie!


All in all, we had a great meal. There were a few bumps along the way, but the more I go to the Liquor Store, the more I am impressed with the service and the food. And I like that they are adapting the menu along the way.

Hope to see you there soon!

Friday, November 17, 2017

City Silo Table & Pantry

City Silo Table & Pantry
5101 Sanderlin Center

I have been a fan of City Silo since they opened in January. I was invited to the sneak peek and got to taste all of the things. The food is healthy, fresh, and delicious. Just about everything starts off vegan, and then you can add cheese or chicken if you like. I recently picked City Silo as Thrillist's Best New Restaurant of 2017, so head over there if you wanna know the back story.

I have tried to take the monkeys (Satchel, 15 and Jiro, 13) on numerous occasions, but there's one problem. City Silo is next door to the Sear Shack, which they LOVE. This makes it pretty much impossible to get them to opt for healthy food. (Though as far as burgers go, Sear Shack is on the healthier side than say, McDonald's.)

A few weeks ago, Jiro asked me to take him shopping for a few things. I obliged, and then I asked him to let me pick the lunch spot.


He was hesitant, but I helped him find something that sounded good as we waited in line to order. "What does kale taste like?" he asked. I can't remember what I said, but whatever it was convinced him it would be safe to order the Kale Caesar with chicken. And, of course, he wanted a smoothie. He got the Cosmic Coconut with banana, pineapple and various forms of coconut. I got what I always get--the buffalo tempeh and sesame cauliflower hearty bowl with quinoa, a fried egg, and sometimes avocado. And because we were having a big day, I also got a kombucha cocktail (Meet the Beet -- beet, lemon, ginger and local komucha).

I'm not gonna lie. It's not super cheap to eat here, especially if you add on smoothies or juices. Our total was $42. But! I don't care.

We took a number, took a seat and our drinks and food arrived shortly after.

"This looks good," Jiro said.


And then he ate every bite.


I got my super picky 13 year old to eat kale! I was pretty damn excited.


Mine was delicious like always, and despite my best efforts could not finish it, as the "hearty" part of the description is very true.


And the kombucha cocktail was right on.


We both left happy, and we felt great instead of bloated and full.

And then guess what happened? A couple of weeks later, we were running around and I said, "Hey wanna go eat at City Silo again?" and he said, "YES!" So we did.

On our second visit, I encouraged him to try some new things. He went a little crazy and ordered a yogurt bowl, two eggs and a smoothie.



I got what I always get (duh). But I mixed it up with a new coffee smoothie.


I tried really hard to get Jiro to taste my tempeh, but he refused. (They have a breakfast sandwich with tempeh that is very popular--The McSilo--that I know he would like. Next time!)

Again, we left feeling great.

I love this place.

I want one closer to midtown or downtown so I can go every day.

Check it out and don't be scared to take the kids!

Monday, October 09, 2017

Next Door

Next Door
1350 Concourse Avenue, Suite 165
(901) 779-1512

Last week, Jiro (age 13) and I went to Crosstown Concourse to try out Next Door. (Satchel, age 15, did not want to join us, but did want us to bring him home some food.)


I was invited to a preview on the big Concourse opening day celebration and I got to meet Kimbal Musk himself.


I know we're all supposed to hate him for what he said a few years ago, but he came across as very genuine and sweet and fun and tall! (He's squatting down in this pic.) Anyway, the whole Colorado team was there and they couldn't have been friendlier.

Also, my BBF (Best Bartender Friend), Adam, is now working the bar. (Next Door is currently the only place to get hard liquor in the Concourse. Farm Burger is beer & maybe wine ? only.)


Anyways, I've been trying to get the monkeys to eat here for weeks, but all they want is Farm Burger. So, I was very happy when Jiro looked at the menu and immediately saw something he wanted to try: Slow Cooked Meatballs (Parmesan yellow grits, marinara, grilled broccolini & almond gremolata). "Wait, what's broccolini?" he asked.

"Dad buys it at the Asian market. It's a skinnier version of broccoli," I explained.

"And gremolata?" he asked.

"It's a sauce," I said.


Then Adam came over to say hi and we asked him for recommendations. He assured Jiro that the meatballs were delicious and there were no onions mixed in anywhere. Then he sold me on the Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon bowl (Pan roasted with tuscan kale, beets, quinoa & lemon). "A family in Alaska catches all of our salmon," he explained.

What.The.Fuck. "No way," I said, imagining some version of my kids fishing for salmon in Alaska.

"Way," he said. "All our food is like that." Then he had to go back to tending bar. But, whoever his manager is should take note that he quickly and easily sold me on the most expensive thing on the menu!

Since we were there during happy hour, and Jiro was starved, I ordered a couple of starters--the Charred Cauliflower Salad (Curry aioli, raisins & chickpeas) and Buffalo Chicken Bites (Celery, buffalo sauce & blue cheese). I basically have to order anything involving cauliflower and buffalo sauce no matter where I go. (In my mind, these two things were on the happy hour menu, but now I see they are just regular starters.)

Here's the Happy Hour menu:


Jiro was impressed that our waiter took our order on an iPad, but was not impressed by the room temperature water. "Where's the ice?" he asked.

"Supposedly room temperature water is supposed to be good for you," I said.

"Room temperature water is gross," he replied.

Luckily our snacks came out and he was happy again. The cauliflower was just okay. We both questioned the use of raisins.


The Buffalo Chicken Bites were delicious.


We seriously took turns running our fingers over the last dregs of sauce. I told Jiro that next time I came I was going to ask for a bowl of kale on the side and make this into a salad.

Our entrees soon followed. This is Jiro's "hurry up and take a picture so I can eat" face. He loved his and ate every bite. I was impressed.


Here's a close up:


I also loved my dish. A lot.


The salmon was exceptional. I asked Jiro if he wanted a bite, and he said, "Salmon is gross."

"Not this salmon," I said. "Come on, one bite..."

He took a bite and said, "Mmmmmm...that is good. I'd eat that." Then he proceeded to have several more bites. I could not convince him to try the kale, quinoa and beet mixture though.

We were both super full and happy, which is why I didn't scoff too much at our $55 tab. Next time, we will skip the starters. I also soothed myself with the rationalization that leaving Satchel at home saved me at least $30!

A few other things to note:

There's a lovely patio and they don't seem to mind folks lingering, as judged by this shelf of games:


It seems very kid friendly. There's no kid menu, but they do have a little area by the bathrooms where toddlers can play with magnets, they offer coloring pages, there's tons of high chairs and boosters, and the bathrooms have changing tables.




There are still several menu items I want to try, so we will definitely be back.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Farm Burger

Farm Burger
1350 Concourse Ave. Ste. 175

Before the big opening last weekend, a friend and I had lunch at Farm Burger in Crosstown Concourse. I thought the monkeys (Satchel, 15, and Jiro, 13) might like it, so we stopped in for a quick dinner on Wednesday. Jiro had been to the opening day celebration, so he knew what to expect, but I think it's fair to say that Satchel's mind was blown by the Concourse.

I can't remember which atrium Farm Burger is in, but it's the one closest to Cleveland. When I went for lunch it was crazy crowded, but at 5:30pm, it was nice and mellow; No line, no waiting. (If you sit at the bar, you don't have to stand in line. The bartender will take your order. I did notice a dad and little kid at the bar, so it doesn't appear to be a 21 and up situation, but it may just be that they aren't enforcing it yet.)


The monkeys quickly decided what they wanted and we put in our order. Satch got a build your own burger with a side of six wings. Jiro got the signature Farm Burger and fries. I actually wasn't feeling great so I ordered a Super Salad with chicken packed to go. I figured I'd eat it later that night or for breakfast.


I sent the monkeys to get waters and paid the tab: $36.43 plus tip. (They deliver the food and bus the tables, so tipping is called for, but not necessarily 20%, which is what I reflexively do when they use those sneaky computers.)


They found a nice table by the window and put our number down so the food runners could find us..


I quickly noticed that two men were hard at work building furniture on the patio. Yay, patio!


Once I quit taking pictures, Satchel started in on a Dr. Bob-esque rant. "This is one of those borderline vegan places with local bullshit," he said. Then he conceded, "But their meat is probably really good." Having spent two weeks in California over the summer, he's become a bit more outspoken on certain things.

I noticed a sign nearby, so I went to see exactly what the Farm Burger M.O. is.


So, Satchel basically hit the nail on the head.

After a few more moments, Satchel's wings arrived, and everyone started salivating.


He agreed to let Jiro have one of the drummies (he prefers the flats) and Jiro, in turn, agreed to give me a bite. I thought they were very tasty. They were gone in just a few minutes, so I am assuming Satchel agreed. He said they were a 7 out of a 10. (For rating purposes, he said there is no 10, but Slider Inn wings are a 9.)

The burgers arrived next, and both boys pounced. Satchel allowed me a quick snap.


After one bite he was all, "Ohmygodthisisamazing. This is the best burger in Memphis. This is an 11 out of 10." So, there you go.

Meanwhile, Jiro was having a come apart. The Farm Burger he ordered came with farm sauce and caramelized onions.


The Farm sauce looked like Thousand Island with maybe relish in it? The chunks totally turned Jiro off. And he didn't understand what caramelized onions were. So, we had to do a bunch of scraping.


He ate about three bites and then pawned it off on me. It was a bummer because he was the one who was really excited about coming to Farm Burger. Oh well, he still had plenty of fries, which everyone liked (and compared to Wing Stop).

I snapped a pic of my salad for posterity.


Not sure how it would look if I ordered it to eat in, but I was happy the chicken patty was separate. I was actually expecting a chicken breast, but the chicken patty was fine. When I came for lunch, I had a chicken burger which I expected to have a ground patty, but came with a thin breast. But whatever--I'm chalking it up to being new. Both were good.


(Major thumbs up on the chicken burger, btw. Kale!)

I ate my salad the next day and it was really good. Wasn't crazy about the cranberries (aren't we done with dried cranberries yet??) and caramelized onions (which I like, but not on salad), but I was a major fan of the nutritional yeast. I didn't need any dressing.

But back to Farm Burger. We had folks check on us regularly. Everyone who works there seemed super nice and looked very hip, as you might expect. They even stole my favorite guy from Flying Fish, so A+ on service.

On our way out, we stopped at the Curb Market to get a few essential groceries, and then hit MemPops for two Peaches and Cream popsicles for the road. Aww, yeah.
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