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

Friday, February 24, 2012

Meet the Chef: Jonathan Steenerson . Ciao Bella

I wanted to introduce you to the chef for our next gathering, Chef Jonathan Steenerson. When one thinks of Italian Cuizine, "healthy" isn't always the first adjective used to describe it. Well that is about to change my friends. Chef Steenerson was recently featured in an  article about how, and why he decided to make a "healthy" change to the menu at Ciao Bella.  Their new menu will feature a few vegetarian, gluten free, and even vegan friendly dishes. We are going to get to try a few of the healthy changes at our gathering next Tuesday. I for one can't wait.

In our series "Meet the Chef," I ask the hard hitting questions that others are afraid to ask...probably for fear of appearing foolish. With that being said, here is my interview with Eagle Scout Jonathan Steenerson...

What is your cooking or educational background?
It was hard knocks since I was 14. My dad and grandfather owned restaurants and my great grandfather was a butcher. I got it by osmosis.

What/who are your culinary or gastronomical influences?
James Gentry and Erling Jensen were great local influences.

Are you from Memphis or the area?

Yes. I went to high school at Houston. I was gone 7 years and now I've been back home for 2 years.

Fact or fiction: I heard your menu is going to take a more healthy turn, with even a few vegan items.
We are looking into putting some vegan items on the spring menu. For now, we are trying to accommodate life choices by request, including whole wheat, vegetarian, vegan and gluton free.

Tell us the story of how you decided to join CB.
I was CB original chef from 10 years ago. When I moved back to Memphis recently, I ran into Judd Tashie and he later approached me to come back. The Tashie's are a good family and they provide good food. I wanted to be a part of that again.. It's rare that you work for a family who truly care and appreciates their employees.

What is the best thing about running your own restaurant/kitchen?
Feeding people. Is there anything more noble?

What is your favorite thing to eat on the menu?

Cheese pizza, but I add peppercinnis.

What is your favorite thing to make on the menu?

Kobe Beef Gnocchi. That's fun.

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

Sunday thru Thursday happy hour 1/2 price drink and food menu in the bar 4-7PM; Monday night 1/2 price pizza dine in 5-7PM.

Tell us something that most people wouldn't know about you…non-restaurant related?
I'm an Eagle Scout.

Anything else you want to say about your business that I haven't asked?

Support the little guy…we are the backbone

Ciao Bella
565 Erin Drive (located behind Huey's on Poplar)

Hours of operation:
Sunday through Thursday
5 P.M. to 9:30 P.M.
Friday and Saturday
5 P.M. to 10:30 P.M.