July 28, 2013
As an aside, here are some scene-setters for tonight’s post:
- I have been tussling all day with a web site creator. It has triumphed. I have given up the ghost, gone to drinking wine, and turned the technical stuff over to someone who, hopefully, knows more about it than I do.
- I have been juggling what all I need to get done next week, which is more than I’m going to get done next week, and many of those things are things that cannot be done until something else, over which I have no control, takes place, and I’ve just Thrown Up My Hands.
- I cooked a good dinner of creamed corn, okra, purple hulled peas, country ham, heirloom tomatoes and cornbread, about which I am not going to blog, because, well, I have written about all those things ad infinitum.
- I spent Thursday and Friday in Memphis and its environs, and enjoyed it greatly, and ate some fine food, so I am going to revert to what I do quite well, which is waxing eloquent about food.
It’s been a while since I had such a two-day period of dining overindulgence. Went to Crittenden County and to Memphis, over Thursday morning, back Friday night, and squeezed in four most excellent meals, including three old favorites and a brand new favorite.
Pulled in to West Memphis in time for a 9:30 meeting, got that over, went up to Marion to visit Child A and discuss potential lunch plans. I was jonesing for Uncle John’s, a long-time Italian eatery in the thriving metropolis of Crawfordsville, AR, population maybe 300-and-some. No website, but here’s a review. Her lunch hour time restrictions didn’t allow for a dinner in, so we called in an order, went to pick it up, brought it back, and ate it in the break room at her office. She had ravioli; I had the roast beef po’boy, which is an open-faced roast beef smothered in red meat sauce.
To tell the truth, I was a tad disappointed in the po’boy. Seems to me that the quality of the sliced roast beef has gone down. Meat sauce is still primo, though. And I finished off Child A’s ravioli, homemade, irregular squares filled with a meat-and-cheese stuffing, and just so-so-so good. As good as I remembered. Check one craving, satisfied.
Dinner was thinking about being Pearl’s Oyster House, but I took to contemplating Central Barbecue’s new downtown location, which I’d never patronized, it being less than two or three months old.
Central’s exquisite barbecue has not suffered from the expansion. They already have two outlets, at the site of the old Tony’s Pizza on Central, where I downed many a pitcher of beef in my dissolute college years, and one at the former Red Lobster location on Summer Avenue. The downtown location is on Butler, within rock-throwing distance of the National Civil Rights Museum and just off the trolley line. It does a pretty thriving business at lunch among the bidness crowd and at night among the South Main party and residential crowd.
Pulled pork plate. Beans and potato salad. Saison Irish ale. (I had, btw, never seen both “saison” and “Irish” used in conjunction as modifiers for ale, but what do I know?) More food than I could eat. And it was up to Central’s usual excellent standards. Go there. You won’t regret it. I won’t call it my favorite in Memphis, as that varies depending on the day and my mood, but it’s damn-sho among the top five.
Next day. Repeat meetings. Meet a friend for lunch; she is to pick the place, as she is An Authority on the foodie scene in Memphis.
“How about Caritas Village?” she texts me.
“Dunno WTF it is, but fine by me,” I reply.
July 14, 2013
Back here in the Land of the Razorback (or perhaps more appropriately, on this side of the state, the land of the Red Wolf), I am happy to report we are eating well. The bounty of summer just continues to pay off, and I continue to buy and cook lots o’vegetables.
In fact, we have more veggies than we can put in the fridge, because while Kate’s friend Laura was gifting her with veggies on Saturday, I was at the Hot Springs Farmers’ Market buying more veggies. Which is OK. We’ll use ‘em all before they go bad.
I had made a spur of the moment, last-minute decision to take an overnighter back to Hot Springs on Friday, and attend the soft opening party at the Superior Bathhouse, Brewery and Distillery, a new enterprise begun by dear friends of mine in one of the historic buildings on Bathhouse Row. I’ve been involved in that project since almost its inception, and I wasn’t fixin’ to miss its debut.
July 11, 2013
I won’t go so far as to say Famous Dave’s Barbecue lives up to its name. It ain’t Memphis barbecue. But it ain’t bad.
I will, however say of the feast for one that that one better be pretty hungry.
I was in a hotel room in Council Bluffs, Iowa, earlier this week, an extremely busy 48 hours down and no dinner plans. Limited by my lack of a car, my options included:
- Junk food from the hotel snack bar downstairs.
- Walk across the street to Bass Pro Shops and eat at the restaurant there.
- Call a shuttle from the nearby casino and eat steak or at the buffet there.
- Order in pizza.
- Order in Famous Dave’s.
I rather quickly eliminated the three middle alternatives, two of them because they required getting dressed and, more significantly putting on shoes and I had been wearing a suit and heels all day, and one because I don’t much care for pizza. That left me with options one and five.
May 21, 2013
Had a wonderful, wonderful trip back home over the weekend, and a couple of fine meals, as well.
The above would be a view which covers maybe half the people who were eating dinner following the Homecoming service at Liberty United Methodist Church in Camden, TN, on Sunday. The fellowship hall, maybe a 40 x 80 room, did not have an empty seat; some folks scattered out to the Sunday School classrooms.
Back in the center back of this photo, you can see two of my kids’ heads. But you can see us all better in this one, taken after dinner.
Amazing Grandchild 3, who was somewhat underwhelmed with the whole thing, was snoozin’. AGC 1 was her general whirlwind self, and managed at one time to color on a pew and the sanctuary door with a marker before we snagged her. AGC 2 ate. A lot. And smiled. A lot.
And I had a marvelous time, and got to see a lot of old friends and kinfolk.
The food was as plentiful as I remember. There’s a counter separating the kitchen from the seating area, about four feet wide, and every square inch of it was packed with food. Fried chicken. Baked ham. Meat loaf. Barbecue. Casseroles of every description. Green beans. Creamed corn. Sweet potatoes. Potato salad. Cole slaw. Salads, both fruit and green. Cornbread. Rolls. Biscuits. I touch only a tiny portion of the abundance that was there.
Desserts and drinks took up four 10-foot folding tables of their own, elsewhere around the room.
It certainly did not matter to be the last in line. They were NOT going to run out of food. Except for deviled eggs. I hated that. Guess I’ll have to make me some this afternoon, being I have a gracious plenty of eggs. Oh, and they ran out of the cherry cream cheese pie, which was always one of my favorites (cream cheese, condensed milk, cherry pie filling, among other things), so I contented myself with two kinds of fruit salad.
March 16, 2013
Well, it’s like this. After a period during which things have been, by turns, stressful, frustrating, and downright unpleasant, I figured I’d get back to you on a positive note, and share a really inspiring food-related story.
A new program in Arkansas launched yesterday, designed to provide microloans, crowd-funded, to entrepreneurs in the state. Kiva Zip provides small, zero-interest loans to small businesses and start-ups. I’m privileged to have been asked to be a trustee for the organization — i.e., one who recommends borrowers, who then complete a loan application, are interviewed by a Kiva loan team, and, if approved, see their loan appear on the website. From there, social media and small philanthropists all over the world take over. You can register as a lender, browse the loans, and pick one or two or a dozen to support. The minimum loan is $25. 200 loans later, that borrower gets a PayPal payment, and is off to pursue his dream.
There are 32 Arkansas loans on the website right now. Of those, 17 are food-related. They range from a creamery and soda fountain to organic vegetable farming to artisan candy to a market in a tiny Delta town that’s the only source for food and drinks for 22 miles, to an artisan cheesemaker who’s turning his hobby into his livelihood.
November 12, 2012
I do love New Orleans. The worst thing about going there is trying to decide just which of the nine bajillion places to eat you’ll visit while you’re there.
Will you eat at Galatoire’s? Brennan’s? Two Sisters? K-Paul’s? Arnaud’s? Commander’s Palace? Any of the other big, little, in-between places that dot the narrow streets of the French Quarter, or will you venture outward?
I believe I could spend a month in the Big Easy, eat at a different restaurant every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and still find amazingly wonderful new places to try. And weigh 700 pounds.
I mean, Antoine’s has been feeding people since 1840, Tujagues since 1852. I have yet to sample either. So much Creole, so little time.
I had two dinners, one lunch, one breakfast to spend on gastronomic excess (not to mention I had an iffy stomach) on my recent trip. I guess I could’ve had two breakfasts, had I gotten my happy arse up in time to go and get back before my 9:30 meeting.
I chose, in chronological order, Brennan’s, Felix’s Oyster House, Mr. B’s Bistro, and Cafe du Monde.
June 24, 2012
You might well note that, from the absence of posts and the allusions to assorted activities, it’s been an eventful, and busy, month.
Child C and Future Son-In-Law have moved in. NS has been moved out; he has some issues which require a different sort of living environment, one where he can get the help he needs. (As an aside, to any of you who cope with mental illness in a friend or family member, I understand your plight much more than I once did.) Work has showered me with projects and assignments on which I am so behind I do not see much hope of ever catching up, or at least not before mid-2013.
June 9, 2012
One problem with living in Hot Springs is that there’s so much cool stuff going on you often can’t get around to all of it. Which, sometimes, when the stuff is fun and not work, means you Do Not Cook.
And sometimes, there’s nothing wrong with that, either.
This week has been opening week of the Hot Springs Music Festival, which is just absolutely some of the coolest stuff of all the stuff that Hot Springs offers. Musicians come from all over the world and for a solid two weeks, will play a dozen or more chamber performances as well as a half-dozen full orchestral concerts. It’s sensory overload, and it’s marvelous!
It’s also hell on cooking. But there is still good food to be had — including at one of the social events of the season, Flavor of the Park.
Flavor is one of major productions of the Greater Hot Springs Chamber (my own employer). It features goodies from about 20 restaurants, beer and wine from local distributors, and a good time being had by all. We have it down at the Farmers’ Market Pavilion, and for a change, this week it was merely warm, not sufferin’ hot like it was last year.
May 15, 2012
And you know what Atlanta means — Murphy’s!
I went last night. And yes, they had the pork shank on the menu. And yes, it was marvelous. And yes, I was planning on going back tomorrow night, but for the fact that I have a business commitment that’s come up suddenly that will have me crawling out of bed at 3 to leave the hotel at 4 to get on an airplane leaving ATL at 6:05 tomorrow morning, a change that was effected yesterday afternoon.
Starbucks will be my friend.