Today was a bit stormy (had to stay indoors during most of my lunch, boo!), but it’s Wednesday, which means my first work week back from vacation is more than half-way over. Hooray!
Speaking of vacation, I thought I’d hop on the What I Ate Wednesday party bus and share some of the awesome food we ate in Memphis (+ a little re-cap of our trip). I’m leaving out a special dining experience from our first night in MS with the in-laws (because it was so delicious, it deserves its own personal review and post), but I’ve got more than enough pictures and meals to share below.
On our first afternoon in Memphis, we took a little stroll through downtown and made our way to a restaurant we’d heard about a few nights before while watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives: South of Beale.
We weren’t starving—and it was a bit late in the afternoon—so we chose to share a few dishes including the fried green tomatoes; crisp beat salad; and gouda mac ‘n cheese. We nibbled on the free popcorn while waiting—and I had a sip of Mark’s beer, which was brewed at a local Memphis brewery, Ghost River.
The food overall was good—but not great. The highlight was definitely the remoulade served alongside the fried green tomato. In Guy Fierri’s words, I would eat that on a flip-flop! The downside was a piece of ceiling falling onto my salad plate. No, I’m not kidding! We sat in the corner by the window, and apparently the recent heavy rains caused a bit of damage. Definitely startled me, though!
After a nap at the hotel, we ventured out to Beale Street. We walked around a bit before settling on Pig on Beale for dinner.
Per my usual, I ordered the pulled pork sandwich (“pork with an attitude!”) and Mark opted for the smoked turkey. It was good (particularly the baked beans), but not as good as my hometown favorite, The Brick Pit.
We then ventured to BB King’s Blues Club to listen to the awesome All Star Band.
Their selection of non-alcoholic drinks was slim, so I had a raspberry tea (way too sweet—and bearing no resemblance to tea at all!) and a cherry limeade. Craving dessert, Mark and I split a humongous brownie, topped with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and strawberries. Yum!
On day 2, we ate a huge breakfast at Bon Ton Café (no photo) before driving to the zoo. A big plate of fried eggs, toast, bacon, and hash browns (with a side of OJ) was just what I needed. The zoo was fantastic. It was quite big—and we walked a lot—but I really enjoyed it. Some of my favorite animals included the penguins, elephants, polar bears, and baby giraffe.
That’s me pointing to my baby and the baby giraffe, in case you couldn’t tell!
After the zoo, we stopped for a tour of Sun Studio (where Elvis, Johnny Cash, and a host of others were discovered). I didn’t take any pictures on the tour (wish I had), but the tour was really informative and fun. And of course we just had to order a chocolate malt at the attached soda shop (again, no picture!).
We later had dinner at a fantastic restaurant: McEwen’s. One side was a wine bar, the other a small, but nice, restaurant. Mark and I were both really impressed with the menu; there was nothing on it that sounded anything less than delicious.
I ended up ordering a single glass of red wine (oh how I miss thee!) and the duck breast entree (with green beans and a potato/butternut squash side). Mark opted for the catch of the day: grouper, served with an heirloom tomato relish and polenta. While my duck was cooked perfectly, I found the smoked chili to be a bit overpowering. I still ate every last morsel, however.
For dessert, we shared the classic vanilla creme brûlée. It was simple, but made very well.
Post dinner, we took a carriage ride through the downtown area. It was so breezy and cool thanks to looming rain (it barely sprinkled, however), and while our tour guide didn’t share a whole lot of knowledge with us, she was really nice (as was her rescue dog, Jack).
We checked out the top of the Peabody Hotel (before it started drizzling) and enjoyed some coffee (decaf for me!) and a pianist in the lobby before heading to bed.
On our third day, we went to Graceland. We slept a bit late, so our first meal was lunch. We tried to eat at Rendezvous, but they were closed for lunch. This was to our advantage, because our next choice (recommended the night before by our carriage guide) was Aldo’s Pizza Pies.
We sat outside on the lovely sidewalk and shared the Gina Bellina (tomato sauce, goat cheese, spinach, black olives, mozzarella, and sun-dried tomatoes). We also split an order of mini cannoli for dessert. So good!
Graceland ended up being more impressive than I anticipated. It wasn’t too crowded, so we enjoyed touring the home, airplanes, and car museum.
For dinner, we ventured back to Rendezvous.
Again, I opted for pulled pork (pretty good, but I didn’t like the coleslaw at all) and Mark tried the world famous ribs (and brisket). Neither of us was super-impressed, but it was still tasty.
We did a bit more walking along Beale and also walked along the river bank for a while before going to bed pretty early. We’re old, what can I say?
After checking out of our hotel on Thursday, we had lunch at Huey’s (another recommendation from our guide). It was a neat place and I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture of all the toothpicks stuck that people shoot into the ceiling! I decided to branch out and order the Bluff City Burger, which was loaded with onion straws, smoked cheddar, and BBQ sauce. It was huge, but satisfying.
Once we loaded up into the car, we decided to stop in Tunica for a little bit to see the casinos. Again, no pictures, but we though the Gold Strike and Horse Shoe were pretty nice. Shortly after we made it back to the in-laws’ house in time for dinner, the next day’s 4th of July cookout, and quality family time (aka, buying lots of clothes for Baby M).
All in all, we had a great time and enjoyed some tasty food. Have a great remainder of the week, everyone! :-)