new likes downtown.

IMG_1167So, I am always up for trying new things. I would like to think most people are, but I guess you have to understand that I consider going to the movies or simply trying a new place to eat, an adventure. There’s something about not knowing whether an eatery is going to be “our new place” or the prospect that a new movie might move into my top ten that I really like. Hey, you gotta make the most of the small things in life…right?

With that said, you can imagine how pumped I get when I notice a new place popping up or I finally get to try out a place I’ve been wanting to go to. These past few weeks I have achieved both of the aforementioned. I have tried a new place (okay several times now) that opened about a month ago, and finally ate at an oldie but goldie. And… here’s how it turned out.

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T&T’s Coffee Art consistently rocks!

New Downtown Resident: Tamp and Tap

Tamp and Tap brings two of my favorite things under one roof… a little tamp (coffee) and a little tap (beer). And ummm…. whats not to like about a place that offers up both of these delicious liquids? I am actually sitting here drinking my regular hazelnut latte order as I type this very blog post, just so ya know! But aside from my usual order, you should get very excited about the Nutella Mocha this place makes. Yep, you heard me, Nutella meet mocha, meet amazingness! And I can tell you from first hand indulgence, it rocks! But if thats not for you, they of course also offer up any other coffee concoction you could possibly want.

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Wooo whooo Gerst!

On the beer side, there is a pretty good bit to choose from as well. See picture to the right for a list of draft options. And as you read that list you will see another reason to give T&T major props… Gerst! Yes, for anyone who knows me I am a huge Yazoo Gerst fan, and well right now downtown you can only get it at one other place… Aldos Pizza Pies. So, props to Aldo too! 

I have not tried the food… but I hear from others it’s pretty good! So, next time you are in the neighborhood you should try this new coffee bar out for yourself. They are located below Van Vleet Flats, at the corner of Second Street and Gayso. Open from 7a-9p every day. Chances are if you are here after 6p on a weekday you might see me.

Veteran Pinch District Resident:  Westy’s

So, I am fairly certain my research is accurate when I tell you that Westy’s has been around since about 2004. But I just made my first walk through the door this past Friday night.  And I have to say, I’m a fan!

They offer up a very chill atmosphere that fits family night out, date night, or drink night with friends. Its also a smart choice for a large group with all kinds of different tastes… because they definitely have something for everyone. They literally boast the biggest menu I have ever seen. If you can’t find something here you like, then chances are you don’t like food!

WestysIs the food the most amazing, never-had anything like this, going back every day kind? No. But was it a fun vibe with quality food and really good service… most definitely! If you go, ask for Leo, he took such good care of Christopher and I and seemed to be doing so for every table in the place. You won’t be disappointed!

So, if your riding the Riverfront Loop, visiting a friend on Mud Island, or taking a St. Jude tour, think about stopping at Westy’s for some grub! It’s located on the corner of North Main and Jackson in the Pinch, and is open 10 a.m-3 p.m 365 days a year. AND if you live downtown, Westy’s will deliver to you until 2 a.m., as long as you as spend at least $12. Pretty nice gig!

So, now that I’ve given you both some new and tried and true options…. come visit us downtown!

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new favorite memphis gem.

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106 ge patterson

As of last Sunday, I have now been around for a quarter century and one. Yep, time is officially flying, there is no doubt! But what an incredible day I got to have to bring in 26. My amazing mom and dad made the trip to Memphis to celebrate with me. It was such a special treat!

I should also mention at this point a little known fact… my dad is slightly obsessed with Diners Drive-Ins and Dives. And who isn’t, really? I don’t know anyone who hasn’t tuned in to at least a few hours with Guy Fieri, to find out some of the best eateries to visit

So, knowing Dad’s obsession with this show and my love for trying out new places… I picked Rizzo’s Diner off South Main for my birthday brunch. And what a great decision I made…

Rizzo’s was on Diners and Dives  last August and showcased for it’s eclectic options, unique gastropub vibe, and insanely delicious food. My dad called me immediately after it aired to ask if I been yet. So, it seemed fitting- since I still had not been as of this past week-to go with my parents and let it be their first Diners and Dives experience, while also adding a new eatery to my Memphis foodie map.

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thanks Chef Mike.

The experience did not disappoint! Everyone reading this blog, living or visiting Memphis, should make a point to try it out. The food is amazing… truly! It’s high quality and it’s unique. It’s not your normal, “see ’em on every menu” options – and I love that. Let me say this, if my dad gave them top billing, you will like it too…my dad’s is quite the food critic.

Yep, Chef Mike Patrick has got it going on… and he could not possibly be more friendly! He made our experience so fun and even answered all our questions on what it was like filming for Diners and Dives…yes, we were those people. Perfect place that made for a perfect day!

You should check it out too!  Cheers Rizzo’s Diner!

But until you go… here’s some culinary temptation for ya…

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south main scramble.

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southern style eggs Benedict.

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cajun chicken salad plate.

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french toast bananas foster.

big plans. small kitchen.

One of the things we noticed right off when moving into our small place, was the minimal room in our galley kitchen.  We concluded that leaving out common kitchen appliances, no matter the size, was going to take up too much counter room and therefore make the already small space look smaller. So, we improvised and decided instead to store our toaster, blender, and such in the cabinets, in place of where the dishes would normally be stored. This also played into us wanting to display our dishes…. either you or your family and friends have spent a lot of money on those dinnerware beauties and often they lay under-represented behind a door. We (okay pretty much me) wanted to make them part of our everyday decor, so we could look at them all the time…and make certain they were appreciated.

I’ve seen where folks have taken off cabinet doors and displayed their dishware, I love that idea. But being in an apartment we couldn’t do that. I have also seen kitchens where the dishes are stacked up in piles on the countertop, and I like that too, but again not an option for us,due to limited space. So, we found this compact shelving unit, shown below, to store ours on…and look at anytime I want! We love it!

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Dishes!

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My recommended reading for the month… Although this article in the July issue of Real Simple, talks about kitchen organizing somewhat differently than I am here, it is a great read that makes a lot of sense. Check it out!

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Stovetop Cooking Tips

You can’t call me a chef or even a great cook, but I at least enjoy cooking.  Whether it’s Bertolli for a quick meal, making lasagna, or grilling out I find pleasure in making things. Maybe it’s the making something that I’ve always enjoyed. Well, I’m here to pass on some of my limited knowledge on some cooking tips that I’ve either read, learned the hardway, or acquired from someone wiser than myself.

Since getting nice pans for our wedding I’ve had to learn a few things. It is best for cooking and cleanup if you heat the pan thoroughly before placing anything inside the pan, unless you are boiling water, heating a sauce or an oil. You can test if the pan is hot by quickly touching the top rim of pan. It should be hot to the touch. (Please be careful not to burn yourself.) Also, you can test the temperature of the pan by spreading a little bit of butter in the bottom of the pan and if it starts to brown or turn black you have the temperature too hot. If you don’t want the butter in what you are cooking, you can wipe it up with a towel.

Not every stove will heat the same either, so what may need to be cooked on a heat setting of 4 on one stove might be a 6 on another. You need to  test different settings on your stove. Also, different types of foods like eggs need to be cooked at a lower temperature than say cooking a stir fry or making bacon.

12 heat pan and add butter

And lastly I have a cleaning tip or two. Let cold food sit out for before placing them into a hot pan, it keeps it from sticking to the pan. Also, it is best if you let a pan cool off before placing cold water in or on it as the metal might warp. I like to let my pans cool off, then put some Dial soap in the pan and add water and let the pans soak for over an hour before attempting to clean it.

super quick dinner for two.

IMG_0650On nights when we have Grizz games to get to, or we happen to get home later than normal and are just to worn out to cook… we make this gem for a quick yet healthy meal. Okay, so it’s probably not the most healthy thing out there… but its definitely not greasy fast food and it sure tastes better than a PB&J and fills you up more than a Lean Cuisine. So, you get the picture…

Plus, these guys only take about ten minutes to cook. And we have found that if you let your pan heat up for a few minutes, while also letting the meal thaw, it will cook even quicker.IMG_0651

Although stocked full of tasty veggies, these pastas don’t always have enough protein for us ‘witzs. So, Christopher started buying a pack of diced chicken for us to add to it each time… and it makes all the difference. The one pictured here is our favorite.  This works for us as a super quick dinner, so maybe it will for you too.

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nom…nom…nom.

easiest homemade meal. ever.

By definition I am no skilled cook. No one is emailing me asking for my pot roast recipe (not that I would have one to give if they did) and I am probably more likely to be cast as an extra on an episode of Game of Thrones or Hart of Dixie than I am to ever be a contestant on Top Chef. See, I would rather spend my time channeling folks like Samantha Brown or Anthony Bourdain, rather than Giada or Rachael Ray… so my culinary skills have only made it so far.

But just like everyone else, I still love a good homemade meal. One that’s warm, tasty, and just leaves you in a good mood afterwards. So, lucky for me I know my very own Barefoot Contessa. I call her mom. And thankfully she has passed on to me the easiest ( yet still super yummy ) recipes she has in her repertoire. My favorite just happens to be good ole Chicken Pot Pie. It’s not only easy, it’s foolproof… and as my mom would say ” just delish!”

Most folks probably already have their own CPP recipe, but if not, pitch the Marie Callenders, and keep reading….

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Whatcha Need to Have:
1 can of Cream of Potato
1 can of Veg-All (drained)
1 can of Cream of Chicken
3 Chicken Breasts (cooked)
1 package of Pillsbury pie crusts
Salt
Pepper

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1. Cook chicken breasts thoroughly and cut up. ( I am not fan of looking at photos of raw chicken, and didn’t think you would be either… but you get the picture). Cook the chicken, then cut it up. Easy as that.

 

2. Mix ingredients in a bowl.

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Before.

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After.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Salt and Pepper to taste. And don’t be stingy… you won’t be disappointed. Make sure you can see the black!

4. Now it’s time to assemble the pie!IMG_0633

You will notice in the ingredient listing I specifically mentioned you needed Pillsbury brand for your pie crusts. I am not just being a brand snob… I have found that  pie crusts are much like Lucky Charms, Eggo Waffles, and Bluebell ice cream… you taste the difference in the brand. So it’s worth the splurge.

First, lay out one pie crust in bottom of the pie pan.
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Next, add in your filling.
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And lastly, place remaining pie crust on top. Remember to flute edges with a fork, and put 3-4 slits in the top, to let the steam escape! Plus, this make it look very “pie like.”
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5. Now it’s time to go in the oven! Cook on 350 degrees for an hour.

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Temperature.

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Yep, I’m old school.

 

 

 

 

 

6.Then go sit down and catch up on an episode of Parenthood, The Walking Dead, Downton Abbey, or you know, your favorite  show… and about the time it’s over… it’s time to eat!

7. Enjoy. Enjoy. Enjoy.

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Perfection.

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Delish!