Monthly Archives: January 2013

Nuts & Chocolate from The Peanut Shoppe

This story takes place on January 29th, 2013.

The day we killed two birds with 1 stone, twice.

#92 on 100+ Things to Eat in Memphis – Nuts and Chocolate from The Peanut Shoppe

The peanut shoppeSince I’ve been in Memphis, I’ve been going with my wife to her job. In the afternoon, the office gets a bit peckish, so they all go to Walgreens on Main St to get some snacks. Naturally I tag along for the cultural experience… the problem with this, however, is that we constantly pass this sight:

It’s an intriguing sight. A hole in the wall with neon signs and peanut decals all over the store-front glass. What could be inside? I’ll tell you what, an old-world experience that I’ve never had before.

On this day, my wife and I decided to deviate from the group’s path and stop at The Peanut Shoppe for some snacky-snacks instead. I was blown away. This hole in the wall is like a magical portal that, when opened, extends far and… well, long. It’s not a wide shop, by any means, but it has a wide selection of nuts and chocolate (or nuts covered in chocolate). As you peruse the wares of The Peanut Shoppe, you will inevitably find yourself in a conversation with the owner. He’s a charismatic fellow with a gift of the gab. It made me think of what it must have been like in candy-stores of old, where candies were hand-made and people still said hello as they passed each other on the street.

Chocolate cashews and chocolate butter toffee almonds from The Peanut ShoppeMy wife chose the Chocolate Butter-toffee Almonds, and I chose the Chocolate Cashews. A quick weigh on the scale for each, a swipe of a card (which the owner advised us would be an additional $.50, and we then began a discussion about the 4% increase on Visa & Mastercard purchases, as well as whether or not one could live in a plastic-less society), and we were on our way to enjoy these delicacies.

Holy wow. My wife and I both agreed that the Chocolate Butter-toffee Almonds were an amazing flavour explosion. I certainly wasn’t expecting the toffee to be as crunchy as it was underneath the chocolate. And you definitely got that flavour coming through as well. And the Chocolate Cashew’s were amazing (you can’t go wrong with two of the best tasting things on earth). I definitely had the lion’s share of the haul as I could keep my hand out of the bags for more than 2 seconds after finishing a nut.

It just goes to show you, sometimes its good to get off the beaten path and explore. The Peanut Shoppe is on Main Street, opposite Brinkley Plaza and right next to Court House Deli.

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What’s This?

Now, normally when I write a post for this blog, it’s usually to say that I’ve eaten something from one or more of the various lists I’m trying to complete. This time, however, it is to dote on a particular restaurant I’ve visited numerous times.

I didn’t start this blog to get anything for free. I simply wanted to make sure there was a record of my completion of the various food lists you see in the menu above. However, I just received something TOTALLY awesome and I wanted to recognize the awesomeness.

I recently posted about my experience with Huey’s. I tweeted at them (@HueysRestaurant) that I had done so, and a few days later (yesterday, as of posting this) something arrived in the mail! Just look!

Huey's card

Huey's card inside
Wow. I was pretty blown away. I have never experienced anything quite like that before. Yes, the gift card is awesome (will DEFINITELY be making use of that :D), but the hand-written card was just the BEST THING!

So, to clear up my confusion, the sweet potato fries are served with a chipotle ranch dressing! Haha. Also, I definitely think I’ll be trying out the Bluff City burger next time 🙂 And I can’t endorse Huey’s enough. If you’re visiting Memphis, seek out one of their many locations.

Steak Burrito and Guacamole from Las Delicias Mexican Bar & Grill

The first Mexican restaurant I’ve written about on this list, and my first time to Las Delicias. Let’s begin.

This story takes place on January 28th, 2013.

#7 on 100 Things to Eat in Memphis Before You Die – Guacamole from Las Delicias

#13 on 100+ Things to Eat in Memphis – Guacamole from Las Delicias

#133 on 100+ Things to Eat in Memphis – Steak Burrito from Las Delicias

My wife has been sick all weekend with a stomach virus that has been going around. A particularly nasty form of the norovirus, it meant she was unable to eat almost anything for 2 days straight. Today was the day she gained her appetite back, and she decided on Mexican. A quick consult of the list meant we were headed to Las Delicias, which was perfect as we were headed out to Target which was apparently on the way.

Las deliciasYou know a place is good when they appear on a “best things” list multiple times. Granted that list was generated by a Yelp discussion, but there’s a reason people like it so much! It is, in fact, on the 100+ Things to Eat in Memphis list 3 times for different dishes, and in the top 10 on the 100 Things to Eat in Memphis Before You Die! Needless to say for their guacamole! Needless to say, I was excited.

Upon entering the restaurant, we were told to sit anywhere. Fantastic! A server was over right away to ask us what we wanted to drink, and if we wanted guacamole or cheese and chips. I, in my eagerness to try the guacamole, said “Yes”. She asked again which we wanted, and I said “Yes”, again. My wife finally had to step in and say we wanted the guacamole… oops.

Las delicias guacamole

Holy wow… the guacamole is amazing and well deserving of the #7 position. And the chips were so good! But lets break it down a bit. Why is it so good?

  1. Chunkiness. I love my guac chunky. I want pieces of avocado, tomato and onion, not a homogenous goop of green.
  2. Lime juice. I’ve said it over and over again to anyone who will listen that it’s worth it to use lime juice rather than lemon.
  3. Cilantro/corriander. If you hate this magical herb, you’re wrong. You’re just plain wrong. Suck it up and eat it.

To be quite honest, it reminded me of my own guac that I make at home, and I think that’s why it’s so good. It tastes fresh, home-made, like someone made it with care and didn’t just chuck a bunch of ingredients in a food processor.

Las delicias steak burritoIn regards to the main, as you can tell by the title of this post, I went with the Steak Burrito. I let my wife choose, and as we have already spent a lot eating out this month, she chose the cheaper option. But wow, this in no way tasted cheap. Mexican food has this mysterious quality to me that I can’t quite describe or recreate at home. I don’t know if it was in the spicing or the marinade, but that steak burrito was just so tasty. I tried it in every possible combination I could think of: with and without tortilla; with and without pico de gallo; with and without sour cream; with and without the other sauces they provided. It was all delicious and I couldn’t think of any other words to describe it.

Mexican food – good mexican food – often brings about a culinary word block in my attempts to unlock the mystery of why it’s so good. Las Delicias did just that. The food is SO GOOD. You will love it. It will be a yummy experience. Head on down to 4002 Park Ave and see for yourself! I’m looking forward to going back.

Capote Cupcake from Muddy’s Bake Shop

Similar to a lot of the posts on this blog, this is not the first time I’ve eaten at the establishment I am sampling from. Muddy’s is a Memphis mainstay and on my first visit to Memphis my then-girlfriend (now wife) took me there so I could experience the awesomeness. This is not that story.

This story takes place on January 24th, 2013.

#32 on 100+ Things to Eat in Memphis – Capote Cupcake from Muddy’s Bake Shop.

This story picks up from the end of the last post about Central’s BBQ Nachos. We had just had an amazing, savoury meal and were in the mood for something sweet to end the night. I mentally consulted the lists, and came up with two options:

  1. Finish off Gibson’s Donuts by getting a Red Velvet Donut, or
  2. Go to Muddy’s and get Prozac and Capote cupcakes

This was a no-lose situation. Considering the pot to draw from at Gibson’s was smaller than Muddy’s, we went there first. I had presumed that they would be out, and I was correct. Red Velvet is one of their most popular sellers. The last time we went, they were out too, and this time we arrived a good 3 hours later in the day. Time for plan B.
(Please realise that Muddy’s as a plan B in no way diminishes their prestige. It is only due to my wanting to “finish” an establishment that Muddy’s would be considered such.)

mary_kepa_joined-832Muddy’s is simply amazing. So amazing that we had them do cupcakes (and a strawberry cake for cutting) for our wedding. We LOVE that they’re a local business that is putting out such a quality product, and it shows in their popularity. Sometimes they’re just too popular, as was the case this evening.

We arrived at Muddy’s around 7.30pm, walked in the store and waited in line. A line at 7.30pm in a bakery… It wasn’t a super-long line, thankfully, but it definitely wasn’t something I was expecting. We got up to the case and wouldn’t you know it, they were out of both Prozac and Capote. My heart sunk, but then I realised I was still going to be eating something from Muddy’s, and everything was okay again. I had decided that their Grasshopper cupcake would be the one I’d go with and was just about to order when out came a tray of Capotes!

Untitled Untitled

We had planned to eat our cupcake and slice of cake (my wife got a slice of carrot cake) at the store, but, with my luck being restored to it’s usually unremarkable level, all of the seats were taken. It was too cold to eat outside, so we had to quickly change plans. The images you see of the store above were from 2010 on my first trip to the U.S.A. Unfortunately, due to them being busy, we weren’t able to get a takeout box, and one of the servers gave us a bag instead (makes for a messy slice of cake).

We rushed home, because who can keep a cupcake waiting, and quickly snapped a couple of pics before digging in.

Muddy's capote cupcake

Every cupcake I’ve had from Muddy’s is a lesson in what cupcakes SHOULD be, and it starts with their frosting. Until you’ve had one of their cupcakes, you have no idea how amazing it is. It is the creamiest, smoothest buttercream I’ve ever tasted, with not one hint of graininess, and the Capote is no exception. The flavour may have been lacking in vanilla, but I liked that it didn’t abuse you with vanilla flavour, and the sweetness was just right.

Muddy's capote cupcakeWhere the Capote cupcake shines is in its balance. The amount of frosting for the cupcake is perfect. The chocolate cupcake has very little sweetness with hints of, what seemed like, coffee running through it. This creates the perfect rhythm section for the frosting’s solos. It truly is all about balance with the Capote, and it is expertly achieved by Muddy’s.

My next trip to Muddy’s will be for a Prozac Cupcake (I’ve already had one, but it has been so long that I need a refresher ;). Why don’t you head down to Muddy’s as soon as possible and try one of their amazing cupcakes for yourself!

BBQ Nachos from Central BBQ

Central BBQ menu

I recently posted about an experience I had in 2010, eating ribs at Central BBQ. The primary purpose at that time was to compare ribs cooked in various States (I had some in Texas, Tennessee, and North Carolina). This time I was coming to Central to cross something off the list that I had heard so much about.

This story takes place  on January 24th, 2013

#18 on 100 Things to Eat in Memphis Before You Die – Barbecue nachos (on homemade chips) from Central BBQ

#45 on 100+ Things to Eat in Memphis – Barbecue nachos from Central BBQ

This was just an ordinary day. We went to work, and came home. On the way home, we had discussed dinner. The lists came up, but we decided on just eating something at home. Arriving at home, we assessed the pantry situation… no coconut milk. We couldn’t have the Thai Green Curry we wanted. Go get coconut milk… or go get some BBQ?! As you can tell, BBQ won out!

I’ve been in Memphis for just over a month now and I STILL haven’t had BBQ. And living in Memphis, you smell BBQ almost everywhere you go. It’s been horrific! So when my wife asked what my number 1 pick from the list would be, it was BBQ Nachos from Central.

The first time we went to Central, my first trip to Memphis, my wife told me about their BBQ Nachos. At the time I was disgusted. BBQ sauce and cheese wasn’t something that went together in my head, but she insisted they were amazing. I was focussed on my ribs mission, however, and couldn’t be swayed. Time passed, my palate grew, and when the list came along I was ready and rearing to get my gob around a plate of BBQ nachos.

Central BBQ nachosWow. Look at that badboy. That is a stack of Central’s homemade chips, covered in pulled pork, slathered in BBQ sauce, drizzled with nacho cheese, and sprinkled with shredded cheese and jalapeños. I was in for a good time.

First things first, let me just say that I don’t think you would have the same experience if eating these nachos on tortilla chips. I think it would be tasty all the same, but Central’s homemade chips make this dish something special. The seasoning blend on the chips melds so well with the smokiness of the BBQ and the sweetness of the sauce that whenever I had a bite with every component it was like a sensory overload in my mouth. Each component is there for a reason, building and adding to each other to become an ornate tapestry of flavour.

Central BBQ nachosWith that said, miss 1 or 2 of those components and you’re brought back to earth quite quickly. My nachos had a small pool of BBQ sauce to one corner, and a portion of the pork was without sauce. It dropped the nachos from being food of the gods to something mere mortals could ascend to. I think if the construction of the nachos meant pre-mixing the pulled pork with the sauce it would allow for more even distribution, and a better experience in my opinion.

Considering that one minor exception, this dish is easily one of the best things I’ve eaten from these lists so far. And DO make sure you order it with their homemade chips, an option that I would not have known about had I not seen the list. Central BBQ continues to impress, so if you haven’t already, head to one of their locations and order some BBQ Nachos now!