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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Memphis Eats: Kwik Chek

The Kwik Chek is another one of those Memphis oddities that somehow just works.  In short, it is a Mediterranean/Korean restaurant located in a gas station that sells food.  Odd, I know.  Odd, but delicious! It is located on Madison Avenue, and is marked by a sign that says Kwik Chek and you might pass it by assuming it is a mini mart.

Once you get inside, the experience continues.  You walk to the back of the store to order from the menu that has everything from Bi Bim Bop (my favorite!) which is a Korean rice dish that comes in a steaming hot bowl and continues to cook as it arrives at the table, to subs to kabobs to gyros.  Really unique, but all delicious.  After you order back here:

You then grab a drink out of one of the coolers, then pick out a table and sit down and wait for your meal to be brought to your table.

If you order the Bi Bim Bop, it comes out looking like this!  It is served with an egg sunny side up and chopsticks, and when it gets to the table, start stirring and the egg cooks as you stir.  Bi Bim Bop is totally unique and yummy.  And TOTALLY not what you would picture yourself ordering when you look at the outside of the Kwik Chek.  But go on, take a walk on the wild side, do it.  Its delicious.  

You can also order a Ninja sub, which is another favorite.  At the end of the meal, you go to the check out and just tell them what you had to eat and what drink you had.  I'm going in to detail about this, because it can be a little awkward the first time if you don't know what to do!  So be brave and try it the first time even though it looks a little funny.  You will love it!  And try the Bi Bim Bop!  If anything, because it might be the most fun name of any food ever!

Kwik Chek on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Memphis Eats: Sakura

Sakura is one of those restaurants that I will always miss when I leave Memphis.  It is just great sushi.  Huge servings, unique rolls, and all delicious.  It is in a strip mall in Saddle Creek behind the Wendy's.  Its in a nice area, but when you see the restaurant, it looks like your average sushi/hibachi restaurant.  Don't judge a book by its cover.

 I have had sushi a lot of places, but Sakura is probably the best I've ever had.  It is so good.  The Joyce roll is one of the best.  I love the mango roll.  The Caterpillar is yummy.  Its all good.  It isn't too pricey, although we always spend a lot of money because Brian always orders too much.  And every time we leave, he says "Don't let me order so much next time, I forget how big it all is", and then we do it again.  Anyway, go to Sakura.  It is FANTASTIC.  Some people my say its "Americanized" sushi.  If so, that's quite alright with me.  Its so pretty.  And delicious....

It is a decent sized restaurant and if there is a wait it usually isn't too long.  It is sort of quiet, so not loud kid friendly, but its not stuffy or fancy by any means.  But we took Cooper one night and there were older adults and the tables around us and the thought crossed my mind that I hoped he didn't get crazy.  And he didn't so it was ok.  But its no Chuck E Cheese.  So delicious.  Mmmm I wish I was eating there right now...

Sakura Japanese on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Memphis Eats: Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana

Two posts in one day!  Wowza!  I'm backkkk!  I'm going to keep with my Mexican theme and talk about my other favorite Mexican spot, Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana.  It is a Mexican restaurant, but putting it in the category with other Mexican restaurants in Memphis doesn't really do it justice.  I just went on and on about Las Delicias for its yummy, cheap uniqueness.  And it is great, but eating at Las Tortugas makes you feel like you've never really even had Mexican food before that moment.  

I didn't know about Las Tortugas, and we ate dinner at Iris when we moved back to Memphis.  The chef there, Kelly English, said that Las Tortugas was one of his favorite Memphis restaurants.  And as amazing as Restaurant Iris is, you sort of have to run straight to Las Tortugas to try it the very next day.  Sooo we did, and now it is one of our favorite places to eat when we get out towards Germantown.  So much so that it was my first meal I requested after I had my baby!  

All the ingredients are FRESH.  Fresh like you can see a minivan with the fresh produce that they have picked up that morning sitting out back behind the restaurant.  The owner, Jose "Pepe" Magallanes and his son, Jonathan, have been there every time I've eaten there.  His son is usually at the register, and no matter how crowded it is, will take the time to tell you all about the menu, what the deli is all about, and anything else you'd like to know.  There are various local and national newspaper and magazine articles featuring the restaurant on the walls, along with signs like this one to make sure those California folks appreciate the authenticity that Las Tortugas is:

This is just not your usual Memphis restaurant.  The food is authentic in a you didn't even know what authentic was until you tried it sort of way.  They buy the veggies and meat locally.  Everything is so, so delicious.  Lobster, brisket, chicken, shrimp and other amazing daily choices can be done as a tortuga (a sandwich on freshly baked and grilled bread) or as tacos on corn tortillas.  

It is all amazing.  And then on to my very favorite.  This is my crack.  The Elote con cotija y mayonesa.  Oh my goodness.  It is AH-mazing.  It is steamed sweet corn on a stick, rolled in lime, cotija cheese, mayo, and crushed chilis.  Wow.  Just go there, order one of the amazing tortugas or tacos and then do not leave without getting the elote.  I sometimes stop by just for the corn.  I often dream about it.  It was a pregnancy craving.  And when I move away from Memphis I will crave this and Central BBQ nachos.  

The food is a little pricey as far as lunch goes because everything is so fresh and purchased locally.  The dining area is very small, there is almost always a line, and a wait for tables.  So try to get there early and beat the lunch crowd.  You will not be disappointed.  Las Tortugas is at 1215 South Germantown Road in a shopping complex next to Waffle House and across from Chick-Fil-A.

Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana on Urbanspoon

Memphis Eats: Las Delicias

So the next stop on my favorite Memphis eats is a Mexican restaurant that's not like other Mexican restaurants- Las Delicias.  It is at 4002 Park Avenue, kind of in a random slightly questionable looking area.  Look for the  red light up sign.  It is so so good.  We eat there a lot.  Our good friends Sarah and Josh introduced us to it last year, and we were hooked.  Another restaurant that we didn't go to in dental school that we should have!  The food is so good.  I recommend the fajitas.  They are not like your usual fajitas.  They have steak and bacon and onions and cheese and green peppers and are so yummy.  They are served with corn tortillas and are just fantastic.
They also have tortas that are basically sub sandwiches and those are delicious.  They also have great margaritas anddd you cannot miss their tortilla chips that are homemade in house.  They are so crispy, flaky, and delicious.  They also have homemade guacamole that is amazing.  You can get the chips and guac to go, so I highly recommend just helping yourself on the way out!  The best thing about Las Delicias is it is so so cheap.  Like, where you look at the bill and think there's a mistake cheap.  They don't take reservations and don't have much of an area to stand around and wait, but there is usually a little wait.  Totally worth it.  Great for groups, and kid friendly.  Two thumbs up!

Las Delicias Mexican Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 19, 2012

Memphis Eats: Tokyo Grill

This is sort of an odd one to blog about, but we eat take out from here so often I have to mention it.  One of my co-residents told me about Tokyo Grill last year, we tried it, and it has been on our short list of "where should we pick something up from?" restaurants ever since.  It is cheap, super fast (call in an order and they'll tell you it'll be ready in five minutes.  The sushi is not the best sushi in Memphis (I'll blog about Sakura soon, because that to me is hands down the best sushi), so I usually stick to the Hibachi or appetizer menu.  I love Miso soup, squid salad (Ika salad), steamed potstickers (Gyoza)...and you can get these for super cheap and they are delicious.  

 My meal of squid salad (Ika salad), fried rice, and miso soup.  Yummy!!

 Brian usually goes with either the bento box pictured below, or Hibachi chicken.  Both good.

This is some sushi that we ordered that was pretty good.  I haven't ordered enough sushi to vouch for it.

Soooo, sort of an odd on to blog about, but you always need a few last minute I don't feel like cooking anything or making the effort of putting on clothes and going to dinner kind of places.  This is like three nights a week for us :)  Especially since Cooper arrived.  We're getting back in to our cooking and eating out now that he is sleeping better and we have come out of the baby cave we were living in!  Tokyo Grill is open 7 days a week 11 am-10 pm.  So also good for a late night hunger craving!  I'm not saying run out and make this your first Memphis restaurant to try, but it is good, cheap, fast take out (or you can dine in).  Worth a try!

Tokyo Grill on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 12, 2012

Memphis Eats: Little Tea Shop, Kooky Canuck, Central BBQ

I mentioned some of my favorite places from dental school that I had to return to when we moved back in one of my first blog posts.  I am going to post a full review for these guys, but I'll go ahead and repost this:

Since I wrote about New Orleans food, I'll have to mention the top few places that I HAD to visit after returning to Memphis.  Number one on our list is Central BBQ Memphis.  Brian and I both agree that this is hands down the best BBQ in Memphis.  I love the half bbq nachos:
The other spot I had to go to was the Little Tea Shop.  It is another one of my Memphis favorites.  Don't let the name fool you- it is not tea and crumpets- it is amazing home cooked meat and vegetable with a different daily special each week day.  It is a spot where Memphis lawyers and businessman are known on a first name basis and where the regulars have their usual table.  The owner knows everyone, and if you go there enough she will put your picture on the wall (when I left Memphis we finally made the wall!).  Corn sticks are served with every meal and they are delicious!

Another spot that I can't believe I haven't been to since we have been back is Kooky Canuck (formerly Big Foot).  I will go there soon and will have to take pictures of their GIANT burgers and most amazing chocolate chip cookie ice cream dessert.  The owner, Shawn Danko, was so great to all of us in dental school, and it was the spot we would always head any time we finished a big test or a year of school or really any other excuse.  Ok that's enough rambling for tonight....

Memphis Eats: Brother Junipers

This is also a re-post of an old post, but I'm reorganizing so here you go.  This was one of jennifer's favorite Sundays in Memphis I think because she always talks about the morning we made Pimm's Cups, so this one's for you Jenn!

On to Sunday Funday....Jenn stayed at our house Saturday night and we woke up and decided we'd go to Brother Juniper's since EVERYONE has said it is delicious!  We drove over there and they said it would be an hour wait, so we decided to head back down the street to our house and have some Sunday Funday cocktails!  We had been dying to make a Pimm's Cup since leaving New Orleans.  It is the cocktail to drink at Wimbledon, but we know and love it from having it at Napoleon House in the French Quarter in New Orleans.  Napoleon House is a historic bar in the French Quarter in a building that has been around for 200 years.  Their signature drink is the Pimm's Cup, and its a great cocktail to sip while wandering around the French Quarter.  So so delicious and refreshing.  Anyways, I'm off on a tangent.  We made ourselves a Pimm's Cup!  Or we put Jenn to work, and she made us a Pimm's cup. 
Excellent presentation I must say!  How to make a Pimm's Cup, you ask?  Easy!  You need Pimm's No. 1 liqueur, 7Up, Lemonade (we used that Simply Lemonade that comes in the clear container and it was good!), and cucumber slices.  You put in a shot of Pimm's, shot and a half of lemonade, then add 7Up and cucumbers to taste.  Serve it over ice and garnish with a slice of cucumber.  If you haven't had one, probably hard to add to taste, but just mix the 7Up in until it tastes delicious to you.  Some recipes add mint, or use a squeeze of lemon juice instead of lemonade, but these were great.  Thanks to Tara Kelley for coming home from her visit to New Orleans and perfecting the recipe after she had one at Napoleon House and loved it!  On another note, if you can see them in the picture, check out the metal straws.  These are one of my favorite little things I own.  Had lemonade with a metal straw when I was little, and I had been on a search to find them ever since.  Finally found them at the Williams Sonoma outlet in Memphis during dental school.  They are so great because they get all cold when you drink through them. 

So we made it to Brother Juniper's and it was so so good.  Brian had the breakfast bean burrito:
I had the Gyro omelet.  Can't really tell from the picture, but inside was gyro meat, feta, and mozarella cheese.  Yummmmm!  And the home fries were AMAZING.
Jenn had the San Diegan, which was really good.  It was featured in Rachel Ray's Best Eats in Town in the Memphis section and definitely lived up to the expectations.  Everything was amazingly delicious.  Best breakfast I've had in a while, and probably dangerous that its right down the street. 

Brother Juniper's College Inn on Urbanspoon