The Best Things I Ate In Memphis In 2014 (Part Two)
It's been an excellent year for food in Memphis, so I decided to forget about narrowing down my favorite dishes to just ten, and instead share the 22 Best Things I Ate In Memphis In 2014.
Here is Part Two, numbers 12- 22. Click here to read Part One. These are not in any particular order.
12. Grilled Cheese Sandwich from Fuel Food Truck
There's a reason I asked Fuel Food Truck to come to the I Love Memphis 5th Birthday Party back in August: their grilled cheese sandwiches are gifts to humankind. You can get it classic with just cheese, or add bacon, a fried egg, avocado, or all three. Read more about Fuel Food Truck here.
13. Red Eye Pizza from Hog & Hominy
We have reached peak pizza with this pie. The pulled pork, celery leaves, and fried egg on this one are piquant, satisfying, and somehow not too heavy. Read more about Hog & Hominy here.
14. Mussels in PBR Broth from the late Southward
I was sad to hear that Southward in East Memphis closed, and I hesitated to include their Mussels in PBR Broth on this list. I didn't believe that a broth made with Pabst Blue Ribbon beer could ever enhance a bowl of mussels, but I was so, so wrong. It was decadent, earthy, and there was not a single drop of broth left after I got toasted bread for sopping. Southward's chef, Ryan Trimm, is still going very strong over at Sweet Grass and Next Door, so maybe there's a chance he'll bring back this dish as a special (hint, hint).
15. Mac 'n' Cheese from Central BBQ
This is an oldie and a well-documented favorite among Memphians. Why it is my personal favorite mac 'n' cheese in town: classic macaroni noodles, more cheese than cream (though plenty creamy), pleasing sauce viscosity, and that dash of seasoning on top does more for me than any baked crust ever did. No need to add bacon or lobster or put a bird on it or anything. Read more about mac 'n' cheese in Memphis here.
16. Banana Bread/Anything from Bounty
I've been to Bounty three times since they opened a few months ago, and each time has been better than the last. I recommend the catfish, the "chicken under a brick", the beef bavette, the scallops, the banana bread pudding, pineapple tapioca, house made gelato…almost everything I've tried has been impeccable. Let me be clear: when I do fine dining, I like food with lots of inventive flavor combinations, a mix of textures, things that are satisfying and bold but not too heavy. I understand that's not everyone's cup of tea, but I love it. Read more about Bounty here.
17. Father's Office Burger from Oshi
Annoying tiny table-plate aside, the Father's Office will be one of my go-to fancy schmancy burgers next year. Between the locally-made bun, bacon, blue cheese, and onion jam on a thick Angus patty, it's a flavor blowout. Comparing this to simpler burgers is apples to oranges for me, because if I'm craving a big fancy gourmet beast, I'll go to Oshi, Belly Acres, etc.; if I want a meat-on-cheese-on-white-bread situation, well, see below. Read more about Oshi.
18. Cheeseburger from Shelby Forest General Store
Maybe it was the setting – surrounded by general store ephemera from several decades, dusty hunting/fishing lodge decor, after a long hike through Shelby Forest – but the cheeseburger at the Shelby Forest General Store is one of the best. Go for the corn poppers (like corn dog nuggets with corn inside instead of meat) as a side. Read more about my Shelby Forest visit here.
19. Croutons from the Side Porch
If you haven't been to the Side Porch in Bartlett yet, stop, drop and go. My comments on the croutons: "The Side Porch kitchen takes their homemade rolls, cuts them into pieces, and toasts them up into big, buttery, mouth-watering hunks of garlicky goodness. There's a bit of seasoning to it, but the best part is the texture, a nice crust on the outside, soft but toasty on the inside. I could have eaten a whole basket." Edit: may have almost eaten a whole basket. Read more about the Side Porch here.
20. Spicy Tomato Soup from La Baguette
I ate this on a regular basis for years, then took an unintentional hiatus (I got distracted by the Foodnado) but recently, spicy tomato soup and I have reconciled with great passion and mutual respect. If you're craving soup during lunch hours, this is a must-order. The soup is rich and peppery (but not too spicy for my weak palate) and there's a swirl of melty cheese. And it comes with La Baguette's fresh bread. Read more about soups in Memphis.
21. Bar Fries from Local
These bar fries, covered in blue cheese and bacon and scallions, don't last long once they hit the table. I've been known to order these late-night, post-beer-drinking, to satisfy afternoon carb needs, or to help me and friend through a hungover brunch. I've also been involved in more than one "second order: return of the bar fries" situations, which is where your table finishes the bar fries so fast, they go ahead and order another round.
22. Pain au Chocolate from Tart
Let me finish out this list with dessert. On one of my early visits to Tart, someone recommend the Pain au Chocolate. "It's just a croissant", I said. "It's just some chocolate," I protested. Wrong. Tart knows their pastries, and they offer all kinds of intricate tarts, macarons, petit fours, and puddings, but the chocolate croissant takes the cake(ha). Read more on Tart here.
What are your favorite things you ate in Memphis this year?