Tuesday, September 10, 2013

September Gathering: Belle Diner, September 24, 2013


Oh My! Oh My! Am I looking forward to this month's gathering. Chef David Johnson, the owner of Belle Diner has lined up an amazing looking menu. Last Easter, we had a gathering at his last place called Southern Belle, which had been on Madison. He moved to a new location, therefore we are having another gathering with him at his new place. I didn't get to sample his food that night, so I am especially excited about this month's gathering.
Ticket link is at the bottom of the page. Price is $25 tax and tip included. As always, alcohol is on you.

Take a gander at this menu. If after reading this, you don't want
to slap your mamma, kick your dog, and punch your best friend, I don't know what will.

1st Course:
Local Field Greens Salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion, croutons and choice of dressing.

2nd Course:
Fried Mississippi Catfish bites with jalapeno hushpuppies, pepper jelly, and pickled okra tartar sauce.

3rd Course:
Bourbon Brown Sugar glazed beef brisket with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and braised collard greens

4th course:
Petite house made fried pies (apple & peach)

Canned food items for foodbank donations are always welcome. 
117 Union Ave.
Hrs: 11:00 am - 2:00 pm, 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm


Name(s) of Attendees:

Food Allergies?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Meet the Chef/Owner: Marguel Polania . Arepa and Salsa

I am looking forward to introducing everyone to a great restuarant as well as a great family this month. This restaurant epitomizes what I want to do with this dinner group...help the mom and pop restuarants out there that are putting out amazing food. The Polania family has created a (hopefully not too much longer) hidden gem here in Memphis. Although I haven't tried the food, I only hear amazing things about it. Multiple people have reached out to me about this place, complimenting both food and family. They must be doing something right over there on Madison.

I often get to see the best and the worst of people when setting up these gatherings. Not only has the Polania family been extremely gracious, they have been a lot of fun through this process. Although I have two left feet, I am looking to heading out to their place on a Friday night and try learning the Salsa!  Without further ado, I present to you the Polania family!
What is your cooking or educational background?
I come from a family where the food is the centerpiece of any family event. In my grandmother's house, who was an excellent cook, the gatherings always ended up in the kitchen in spite of having a house with large terrace, a large living room or dining room. The process of cooking was part of the enjoyment.

What/who are your culinary or gastronomical influences?
Although our food is authentic Venezuelan, I recognize that I have some influence of the Spanish tastes inherited from my maternal grandmother who knew how to combine both styles to achieve excellent dishes.

Are you from Memphis or the area? If not, how did you get here?

I am from Venezuela and my husband is from Colombia, but Memphis was the city that united us and where we started our family.

Tell us the story of how you decided to open Arepa and Salsa.
I think that is an idea that life gave us. Because when we had a meeting/party with friends or work colleagues, they always asked us for the same thing; "please bring Arepas and Diego, “do not forget the Salsa music." We saw how they enjoyed the arepas and Salsa music. One day we said, "Why not carry this happiness to a greater number of people? ... Therefore, we embarked on this beautiful adventure.

 Who is involved in the restaurant? Family? Friends?
100% Family owned. Since the remodeling of the restaurant, the participation of brothers and nephews, was vital. Each one of them has given us a helping hand to better the restaurant. My husband created the ambience and theme that gives the restaurant a warm and inviting atmosphere. My mom by defining the menu in the kitchen, the nephews help in the construction and artistic touches. My brother-in-law is our technical support guy, without forgetting those friends that are really part of our family helping us with different details.

What is the best thing about running your own restaurant/kitchen?
We enjoy many things from having our own business such as:
  • To arrive each morning to the restaurant and the challenge of making sure that each customer is satisfied and leaving with a smile because they love our food.
  • When we see that a customer is enjoying his/her meal that is the result of the dedication of our team.
  • See that our dream grows every day.
What is your favorite thing to eat on the menu?
This is one of the most difficult questions that customers ask us everyday day, because everything included on the menu are our favorite recipes that we enjoyed as a family and we love all of them. It was truly difficult to select the dishes to include in the menu.

What is your favorite thing to make on the menu?

The “Arepa de pernil”, from the moment of selecting the meat, marinating it, cooking, filling the arepa, and presenting it to the customer. I enjoy the whole process.

What special events do you have throughout the week? On the menu?

We have complimentary Salsa dancing classes every Friday night at 8:30 pm for our customers.

Tell us something that most people wouldn't know about you…non-restaurant related?
According to Isabella Polania, I am the best mom ever.

Fact or fiction: I hear you are a great dancer.
I do not know if I am a great dancer, but for me Salsa is a sort of communion of love that involves happiness and enjoyment. Through it I met my husband and we fell in love with each other. I love to dance Salsa.

Anything else you want to say about your business that I haven't asked?
We conceived this idea a few years ago but opened our doors in September 2012. In these 10 months we have received a great acceptance from the Memphis community and I feel so blessed and grateful to get their support and am committed every day to keep exceeding our customer’s expectations.


Monday, July 22, 2013

August Gathering: Arepa and Salsa

Gathering at Arepa and Salsa - Venezuelan Cuisine

I am so excited about this gathering. It should be great fun. Food looks incredible, and I know the folks that run it are really great people. They have a back room that has Salsa Lessons on Friday nights. (Maybe we can get a group together to go Salsa!) I am apologizing in advance for any toes I might step on if said Salsa gathering ever occurs. I am strictly a white man's overbite kind of dancer...enough of that! On to our Foodie gathering.

Everyone is welcome, but you must buy a ticket to attend. Go to the bottom of this to buy ticket.

Tuesday, August 6th - 7 PM

Arepa and Salsa
662 Madison Ave
Memphis, TN 38105

11:30 A.M. -  9:00 P.M.


Tostone cup (Shrimp)

Empanada (Beef)
Naked Arepa (Chicken)


Half Pernil Arepa
One Toston (Chicken)

Small Cachapa (Two cheese and Beef)

How Much:
$25 (tax and tip included)

Drinks are extra this time...
Soda: $2.19
Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Sprite.
Natural Juices $3.50
Budweiser, Light, Lime $3.50
Miller Lite, Coors Light $3.50
Dos XX (Amber) , Samuel Adams (Boston Lager) $4.25
Heineken $4.50

 Beautiful photos courtesy J. Terrell Studios 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June Gathering: Ethiopian Restaurant


Man does it feel good to write that! I am so excited to announce the return of FoodieMemphis.

We will be gathering next tuesday night, the 25th at 7 pm. The location will be the Ethiopian Restaurant in Cordova. I have heard many great things about it and am excited about seeing everyone and sampling some of my favorite foods...Ethiopian! 

Our menu for next weeks gathering includes:Injera - a unique sour dough bread.

Rice and Salad - Seasoned rice served with injera and salad.

Veggie Combo - Vegetable combination plate of chopped collard greens, lentils, cabbage, carrots, chickpeas, green beans, and salad.

Doro Wot - Spicy sauce made with chicken, onions, garlic, berbere, ginger, and spice butter, topped with a hard boiled egg. It is the most famous dish.

Yebeg Wot - Tender pieces of lamb marinated in spices and cooked.

Zilzil Tibs - Savory beef cubes sauteed with onions, jalapeno peppers, and exotic spices.

Please visit the blogsite and buy your tickets. as usual, ticket price will be $25. It includes tip, and taxes. So all you do is show up and enjoy. I am mot sure about adult beverages, but if they are provided by the restaurant, they are extra.

Hope to see everyone there!

 Ethiopian Restaurant info

1134 N Germantown Pkwy Ste 107
Memphis, TN

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Upcoming Gatherings: L'Ecole Culinaire (THURSDAY) September 20

Since it is "Back to School" time, I figured we foodiememphis members should put on our backpacks and head back to school as well...sort of. This month's gathering is going to be at L'Ecole Culinaire, our very own culinary school.

I know some of the instructors out there and have worked with some of their graduates in the real world. They are sending out some talented individuals. We are lucky to have such a great school here in Memphis. Hopefully we will meet the "local" chef's of tomorrow. I can't wait for our gathering. The menu looks amazing.

Be sure to get your ticket at the bottom of this page. We are open to anyone, but you must have a ticket to join in the fun. 

Bbq Pork Belly, Asian Slaw
Heirloom Tomato Salad, Bleu Cheese
Brussel Sproutd, Bacon, with Brown Butter Jus

Flat Iron Steak, Andouille Sauce
Braised Chicken, Truffled Jus
Pressure Cooked Pork, Bok Choy

Brioche Bread Pudding
Lemon Ice Box

L'Ecole Culinaire Memphis
1245 Germantown Parkway
Memphis, TN 38016

Foodiememphis tickets cost $25 and include tax and tip.

Ticket sales have closed for this event.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Upcoming Gatherings: August 7th, The Cove

Gathering at The Cove, Coctail and Oyster Bar (best pirate bar in town

Tuesday, August 7th - 7 PM

The Cove
2559 Broad Avenue
Memphis, TN 38112


Stoner Pie - LaRosa tamales topped with cream cheese, Rotel sauce, fresh ground cumin, and Fritos
Antipasto Platter - Sliced genoa, sopressata, coppa with provolone, roasted eggplant, tomatoes, & olives
Mediterranean Platter - Marinated artichokes, hummus, grilled eggplant, roasted tomatoes, olives, & pita bread

The Big Cheese - Provolone, goat cheese, parmesan, bacon & tomato, served with a side of chips
Midtowner - Sautéed eggplant, roasted tomatoes, and goat cheese, served with a salad
The Cove - Genoa, sopressata, and coppa salamis, Italian olive salad, and provolone cheese and served with a salad

Bacon Red Onion - Fresh red sauce with bacon and thin slices of red onion topped with fresh parsley
Roma - Pesto sauce with genoa, sopressata, and coppa salamis, and Italian olive salad
Rockin' Artichoke Pizza's - Spinach Rockefeller sauce with marinated artichokes, goat cheese, and bacon

How Much:
$25 (tax and tip included)
Ticket sales for event are now closed.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Imagine Vegan Cafe Photo Recap and Review

I must admit that I was concerned about our gathering at Imagine Vegan Café. I am pretty open to different styles of cooking, and was even a vegetarian for almost a decade, but vegan is SO outside my comfort zone that I was concerned. I was so concerned in fact, that I even told a few friends that this gathering would go one of two ways…a total disaster or a total success.

Well my foodie friends, I am pleased to report that our gathering at Imagine Vegan Café was a total success! If I heard it once, I heard it ten times after the gathering, “Thanks for choosing this restaurant, I would NEVER have eaten here on my own…and I LOVED it. I will definitely be back.” I think everyone who joined us had a great meal and found at least a few items on the menu that they plan on getting get upon their return, me included.

In fact, I had to go back and try that BBQ sandwich again. I am about to write something many in Memphis may claim to be pure heresy. I am debating whether or not I think the best BBQ sandwich in Memphis is...gasp, VEGAN?! Seriously folks, the BBQ sandwich at Imagine Vegan Café is that good. 

Imagine Vegan Café epitomizes what our group is all about. We want people to try restaurants that are out of their comfort zone. Initially, the idea behind our group was to only eat at ethnic restaurants. The tasting menu was introduced as a way to get people to try things that they wouldn't normally try, or better, wouldn’t know to try. I don’t know if any other restaurant fits that description better. I have wanted to go and try Imagine Café a few times, but was always nervous about it b/c I had no idea what would be acceptable to my refined palette (tongue firmly planted in cheek). I now have realized that it was most definitely my loss.

Foodiememphis promotes locally owned restaurants and the entrepreneurs behind them. Adam and Kristie Jeffrey are doing something totally different than most other restaurants. Their restaurant isn’t about food as much as promoting a healthy lifestyle. They are trying to show people that vegan food doesn’t have to be bland and tasteless, as many in our group (myself included) had anticipated. It is tasty, has good texture, is filling, and is delicious.

In perfect Cooper Young fashion, they have great tunes by which to eat. My personal belief is a good meal can only be improved by good company and good music. Go by try a BBQ sandwich, listen to some great tunes, or just sit at the bar and have a beer or two and talk music with Adam. I can’t “Imagine” a nicer time.

foodiememphis tasting menu: this is 100% Vegan, even the beef tips

Dogs n’ blankets . A childhood favorite! Six hot dogs wrapped in flaky crescent rolls.
Buffalo wings . Six boneless buffalo wings served with carrots, celery sticks, and homemade ranch dressing.
Chicken Nuggets . Five southern fried chicken nuggets served with homemade ranch for dipping.
Spinach Dip . Warm, creamy spinach dip served with tortilla chips.

Sausage Pizza . Vegan pizza served with sausage and cheese.
Beef tips and rice . Sauteed beef tips and onions served on a bed of rice.
Chicken Drumstick Meal . Mock fried chicken drumsticks so close to real thing it will scare you.
Red beans and rice with sausage . Slow-cooked red beans and rice served with kielbasa sausage.
Eggplant Parmigana . Fried eggplant topped with marinara, mozzarella and served with a slice of garlic toast.

Mini cupcake provided by our vegan baker Karina Khan. ( AMAZING! )

As our group has a tendency to vote for vegetarian dishes as the group favorite, I was curious how the meat substitutes would fare with our group. It was close, but the winner of this month's group favorite award went to...

I was torn between two items on our tasting menu, the eggplant parmigana and the BBQ sandwich. Both were incredible and one couldn't go wrong ordering either. I apologize that there are no pictures of the BBQ sandwich...I couldn't wait to eat it. I was amazed that in the voting everything on the tasting menu got at least one vote. Even the side items like the mashed potatoes and green beans. 

Our exit/Atticus survey results are highlighted below.

What food(s) did you like best?
“Chicken nuggets and the BBQ sandwich – I’m still not sure the BBQ wasn’t real meat.”
“red beans/rice + green beans”
“dog in a blanket”
“bbq, pigs in a blanket”
“Pizza and the BBQ”
“beef tips”
“Spinach Dip”
“hot wings and eggplant parm”
“buffalo wings, eggplant”
“hot sauce on the hot wings, the wings were good too, but I really liked the sauce. J

What did you like best about the gathering?
“the variety”
“meeting new people, and trying a restaurant I wouldn’t have tried!”
“the laid back atmosphere of the restaurant”
“as always, making new friends who like food as much as I”
“seeing old friends. We meet at foodie gatherings!”
“the eclectic group, and the different food”
“the company”
“spreading the word about awesome vegan food and Imagine Café”
“trying something I wouldn’t try on my own”
“not knowing who you will sit with, and then having a great conversation”
“fun location, and the GOOD food”
“hanging with my peeps J
“the wide variety of food”
“being able to sample many different foods”
“trying vegan food for the first time!”
“the whole vegan experience"
"The music, man, the music"

What can we do to improve the event?
“No complaints here!”
“Great event, I really enjoyed it. Nice choice of restaurant.”
I don’t know…this was my first one. I liked it!’
”do it more often”

Thanks again to Adam, Kristie, and the whole crew at Imagine Vegan Cafe. We had an amazing night.

If you want to go and try it yourself, here is ther info.

Imagine Vegan Cafe
2156 Young Ave.
Memphis, TN 38104
(P) 901.654.3455

Thanks to Kathy Fisher for taking the pictures for this gathering.

Imagine Vegan Cafe on Urbanspoon