Saturday, January 26, 2008

I ate the Whole Hog

Every once in a while a friend comes along with a great idea. This time the great idea was "let's to go Memphis on Saturday... we can stop by Fresh Market and go try Whole Hog Cafe." Yes! So I spent the remainder of the week avoiding any other bbq and looking forward to the short trip.

I didn't quite eat the whole pig but as good as the bbq was, I could have. This time I got to Whole Hog Cafe well before closing time and it was definitely worth the stop. I sampled the pulled pork, which being a proper Southern gal, is what bbq is all about. The variety of 6 sauces at the table
makes it tough to decide which is best. I tasted all but the Mustard based type, which I still can't figure out why someone had the thought "man that smoked meat is good, let's put some MUSTARD on it" and actually decided it was good. Not that I dislike mustard, it just doesn't fit in the world of bbq in my world. Sweet, spicy, tomato, molasses, vinegar... I'm not otherwise biased, I can appreciate them all for their own goodness.

I also tasted the bbq nachos, which like the rest of the items weren't skimpy on the portions. Getting to sample the grub with friends has it's benefits, as I have it on reliable word that the bbq beef sandwich and the bbq pork topped baked potato are also both good choices. I was definitely right a couple of posts back, I'm very glad I'll have a location nearby soon so I won't have to drive so far to get their delicious bbq.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Imagine a Restaurant

After my recommended restaurant experience in Little Rock turned out disappointing for dinner, I got another suggestion from another reliable source. This one paid off quite nicely. (Thanks!) The name of the place alone hinted that it would be something worth noting and it followed through.

Since I was in Little Rock, I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to get some of the "good stuff" available at Fresh Market. Living in a smaller town has it's benefits but the lack of ingredient options sometimes does limit what fun foods can come from my kitchen. So when I'm in a larger city with a selection of either specialty foods or the larger gourmet grocery stores I like to make at least a quick stop in for a few items. While the internet nets me a plethora of sources, I just can't beat sometimes browsing around the store for new goodies.

So I wouldn't want to buy every interesting gourmet delicacy in The Fresh Market, we first stopped by Imagine a Restaurant, located in the same shopping complex. It was a really tasty stop for lunch. The club sandwich my husband ordered was great, and the Ham, Brie and Apple sandwich I ate was delicious. I chose the sweet potato chips and he chose the regular potato chips, both made fresh in-house and both excellent. After making some fresh potato chips at home this weekend, I can't imagine why more restaurants skip out on this simple but tasty dish. I'll definitely put this on the list of restaurants I hope to visit again sometime this year.

After I mentioned Whole Hog Cafe in my previous post, a bit of interesting news has brought it back to my attention. In our local newspaper this week, it was announced that Whole Hog Cafe will be opening in my town, probably around late March. I won't have to travel to Little Rock or Memphis just to sample this new-to-me BBQ, so while they're taking away the travel it does mean I can have as much as I want, whenever I like. I think I will enjoy the convenience.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Greetings for 2008

It's about time I finally ate or went somewhere noteworthy! The holidays didn't provide me with a lot of blog fodder, but a short trip to a small town in Tennessee visiting relatives did give me one cozy little restaurant to mention. The Elms Restaurant in Selmer, Tennessee has that southern style service that's missing in many places today. The waitresses know the patrons, they call them and everyone "honey" and sincerely care if the diners are happy. Between the warm sincere service and some simple, tasty food it's a welcome stop for lunch or dinner. Of note in my book were the fried cheese sticks since they were battered instead of breaded, which is my personal favorite.

Last week my husband and I were in Little Rock for one night, and after making a pass by Whole Hog Cafe and feeling too much sympathy for the employees to go in at 20 minutes to closing and order dinner, we ended up at Julie's. The restaurant had come with good recommendations from reliable sources. While I think it had the potential to be a good restaurant, it failed to deliver. The chef must have been quite paranoid about under cooking the shrimp as despite the good flavors I can imagine the bottom of my running shoes would be less rubbery in texture. The other items we had were merely ok at best, and the baked potato was baked and past its prime long before we arrived.

So for desert, my husband & I skipped out on the offerings at Julie's and opted for Krispy Kreme. I know it's just a donut chain but in this case it's worth mentioning. Yes, the donuts are good. Really good. It's the service that gets my attention. At this location the service has been fantastic every single time. While I haven't been in that often, it's been consistently good each time, good enough for it to stand out against the crowd of mediocrity.

I have plenty of trips planned for this year, including a Caribbean cruise I just booked this week. As I like to call it, "blog fodder" will be plentiful this year I hope. As always, I've resolved to take a little more time to enjoy my hobby of cooking this year, but I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunities for roads and eats along the way too.