Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mac's Burgers

Mac's Burgers
4698 Spottswood
901-512-4604


I would just like to preface this review by saying that dining with one tween and a teen is not always fun. Ha!

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Last night the monkeys (Satchel, 13, and Jiro, 11) and I met my mom at Mac's Burgers over by the "old" Target/Williams Sonoma outlet. It's in the bulk of what used to Dan McGuinness. (Dan McGuinness is still open, but in a much smaller space.) We arrived at 6:00pm and the front of the restaurant was pretty full. They seated us at a tall table by the bar. Satchel looked over and saw that there was a huge screen showing the US National Men's soccer team, and was immediately smitten. "It's already better than Skybox," he said, meaning he didn't have to request a channel change.

Unfortunately where we were sitting it was FREEZING. I mean, uncomfortably so. I am not a wimp about A/C, but it really was too much. They couldn't adjust it so they moved us back up front by the window with the general population. By this point the teenager was 1. mortified by his mother being too cold to sit at the table he liked; 2. mortified by his mother complaining about the cold; and 3. annoyed that even though 3 out of the 4 of us wanted to move we did not bend to his wishes. There were TVs everywhere so he could still see the game if he wanted, but he opted to sit where he could not just so I knew how miserable I had made him.

Good times.

Next, we consulted the menu. I had already decided in advance on a salad. Jiro quickly informed me that he wanted the Mac and Cheeseburger which comes with macaroni. This was quite adventurous for him. Then he said, I don't know what a double is, but I want that too. When I explained it was two meat patties, he was thrilled. (Someone was hungry!) My mom asked the waiter a few questions about the mac and cheese options (you can pick three), further mortifying Satchel. By the time it was his time to order, he said he felt pressured to get the mac and cheese with grilled shrimp instead of the Boom Boom Chicken that he originally wanted.

He just could not even.

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Anyways! I commented that I couldn't believe no one got one of the fancy frozen lemonades that the populous has been raving about. Eventually we agreed to split a mango lemonade.

The food came out crazy fast and all at once. Sweet!

Jiro's burger was beautiful.

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He said it was hard to eat, but he was up to the challenge.

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Satchel is usually good about asking that offensive menu items are removed from his meal prior to ordering, but not this time. He quickly ate the shrimp and picked at the macaroni that wasn't touching the peppers.

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My mom was very happy with her mac n cheese trio (grilled chicken, grilled shrimp and cheesesteak).



My salad was clearly less exciting, but very tasty. (Are you seeing a grilled pepper theme?)

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The mango lemonade was very delicious and very sweet. I would definitely recommend adding a little alcohol--especially if dining with a teenager.

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Because I am sweet and I love my cranky teenager, I asked if he wanted to order the Boom Boom Chicken. It was clear he was still hungry. He grumpily agreed to eat it if I ordered it.

Look! A real smile.

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Do you need a closer look at his food?

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Uh, yum, right? I am a sucker for Boom Boom sauce. I had one fry and then another and so on. Clearly getting a salad was dumb. Just as he was finishing, a runner brought over a separate bowl with more chicken in it. We were all confused until the waiter came over and said that the chef didn't think he put enough chicken on the first time. Uh, ok, we'll take it! My mom and Jiro had a taste and then Satchel asked that I take the waiter up on his offer to go box the rest of them.

Just when I thought everyone was happy, Jiro started in with the "can we leave yets." I had visions of strolling through Williams Sonoma or making a quick run through Target, but it wasn't happening.

I paid the bill ($69) and we hit the road.

We'll be back (with hoodies) and hopefully the boys will be less moody. If not, there's always spiked lemonade!

Click to add a blog post for Mac's Burgers on Zomato

Monday, July 20, 2015

Blue Nile Ethiopian Kitchen

Blue Nile
1788 Madison Avenue
(901) 474-7214


On Saturday, the monkeys (Satchel, 13, and Jiro, 11) and I decided to try out the new Ethiopian restaurant on Madison, Blue Nile. I'd been trying to get there for a few weeks and was surprised by what an easy sell it was to the monkeys. Satchel loves njera and when he reminded Jiro of what it is ("that yummy spongy bread"), he quickly got on board. When I mentioned that the owner was the same as the Stick 'em food truck, well, we couldn't get there fast enough.

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Jiro was super sleepy from a "sleep"over the night before and was begging for a Coke, so it was kind of funny when we saw the temporary (?) sign out front.

Inside, it was cool and dark, with fans blowing. I loved the curtains over the windows. It felt a little like we were in a restaurant in Ethiopia. (Not that I've ever been in one, but it felt authentic.)

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The kids insisted on sitting so they could see the beautiful mural. They played a game where they tried to find differences between the two lions.

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Ok, so what about the food? The menu is awesome. It's very clear and has a lot of variety, without being overwhelming.

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Our waitress mentioned that they had recently added a burger and that it was awesome. I thought Jiro might go for that, but he really wanted kabobs. Satchel ordered doro wat with chicken. I asked super nicely if they'd let me have the snapper, which is apparently only on the dinner menu. Our waitress said Ermyias, the owner, was in the kitchen, so she confirmed with him and I was good to go. Yay! I asked to look at the dinner menu while we waited and it looked pretty similar to lunch, but with the addition of the snapper, a beef jerky appetizer and a couple of desserts. After looking it over, I added a beet salad to our order. I love beets.

The food came out really quickly and looked delicious. This is Satchel's kind of meal!

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Jiro was very pleased with his kabobs too. They were very similar to what is sold on the food truck, but look even prettier on a plate with rice.

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And I was thrilled with the snapper. It was perfect.

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And the beet salad did not disappoint. There were a few peppers hiding in there so it had a nice kick.

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The food, the atmosphere, the service--everything was great. None of us could come up with a single complaint! Our lunch was $49 plus tip, but we ordered big. We will definitely be back! Y'all go try it.

Click to add a blog post for Blue Nile Ethiopian Kitchen on Zomato

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Bourree (New Orleans)

Bourree
8115 Jeanette
New Orleans, LA
504-510-4040


I follow the New Orleans local alt weekly, The Gambit, on Facebook. When I read about Bourree, I knew I had to go.

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They have two things on the menu: wings and daiquiris. It's a "wing & daiq shack!"




Okay, the clearly also sell beer and dessert, but they are secondary!

The monkeys (Satchel, 13, and Jiro, 11) and I decided to go on our way into town. I got a little confused finding it since it's in the former location of Boucherie, which is now around the corner on Carrollton. (I believe there will be some more moving around soon.) Anyways, we managed to find it, but we were just a few minutes early. (They are open noon to midnight.) We walked around for a bit while we waited and the somewhat cranky monkeys tried to sway me to eat elsewhere, but I held strong.

We were the very first customers. We were instructed to order at the bar, so we did.



There were three kinds of wings so we decided to try them all (kimchi & lemongrass, sweet mango barbecue, and spicy buffalo). The monkeys got sodas and I got a GT & D (Gin & Tonic Daiquiri). We took a seat and waited for the food.

You can tell it used to be a fancier restaurant. I like the way they tried to make it more casual with little touches.





My daiquiri came out (in a go cup, natch) and it was very interesting. Basically a frozen gin & tonic. It wasn't sweet at all, but I liked it.



And soon the wings came out.



The monkeys cheered up immediately and dug in.



Surprisingly, Jiro liked the kimchi ones the best. Satchel liked the mango barbecue.



I thought they were all damn tasty.



We thought about getting more, but we were in Nola, and had a lot more eating to do! I definitely think Bourree is a must stop for wing lovers.

Click to add a blog post for Bourree on Zomato

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Skybox Grill & Bar

Skybox Grill & Bar
2140 W Poplar Ave (Collierville)
(901) 854-0509


The Skybox is in Colliervile where the old Petra Cafe used to be. It opended up earlier this year and I had never heard of it. I needed to try the macaroni eggrolls for a story I was working on, so I loaded up the monkeys (Satchel, 12, and Jiro, 10) and headed east. Since we have to pass my mom's house on the way, we picked her up too.

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I wasn't really blown away by the decor and was a little iffy on the sports bar concept, but soon a waiter switched on soccer at Satchel's request and then chatted with the boys about different players for a few minutes. He even told them that Tim Howard comes in from time to time. They were sold. Soon they were very happily watching the Man City v Crystal Palace match.

There is a separate bar, and I was impressed with the beer list.

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On the regular menu, we had no trouble finding things we wanted to eat.

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First up, the macaroni eggrolls. YUM!

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I really wanted to not like them so I wouldn't be tempted to drive all the way out to Collierville again!

Our main orders came out soon after. As the waitress was setting everything down, Jiro pulled his arms out of his shirt (he was cold) and acidentally caused her to drop his plate. She was super cool about it and said she'd get another one ASAP.

The waitress had told Satchel the wings were really good, so he had to try them. He was not disappointed.

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"These wings are quality," he said.

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My mom had the grilled shrimp BLT which she said was surprisingly delicious. She credited the bacon which she described as exceptional. She liked the ciabatta bread which she said was interesting. We all tried the fat fries and gave them the thumbs up.

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I had the Mahi tacos with cabbage and pico. I thought two tortillas was too much and dropped one. They weren't super flavorful, but nothing a little hot sauce couldn't fix.

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Jiro's replacement burger came out fairly quickly and he compared to it to McDonald's because the patty was very thin and the burger hung off the side of the bun. Though he didn't like the looks of it, he did like the taste.

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We absolutely couldn't leave without trying the deep fried moon pie with salted caramel ice cream. Holy shit.

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The monkeys literally got out of their chairs and hovered on either side of me to eat it up as fast as possible. It was really, really good. Another thing I did not need to like!

Our total was $55 plus tip, which is pretty good considering we had an appetizer and a dessert.

We really enjoyed our visit and we all plan to go back for the boys' family birthday dinner.

Skybox Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

City & State

City & State
2625 Broad Avenue
249-2406


I am totally in love with City & State, the new coffee/retail shop on Broad Avenue. It's on the corner of Broad & Collins, and has a great parking lot in back.

from c&s facebook
(Photo courtesy of City & State)

I went in a couple of times during opening week and couldn't wait to take the monkeys (Satchel, 12, and Jiro, 10).

Yes, they drink coffee, sort of. Around the holidays, Satchel really wanted to try a pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks. As a treat, I let him. Then Jiro wanted to try. Then they came out with the peppermint whatever it was. So, somehow, a weekly coffee became their go to treat of choice.

I, myself, am not much of a coffee drinker. Well, at least not a snobby one. I brew it at home and then drink it cold with flavored creamer. But I do like to meet up for a fancy coffee from time to time.

So far, City & State is the most beautiful coffee shop to ever open in Memphis. (Yes, I am throwing down the gauntlet!)

from c&s facebook
(Photo courtesy of City & State)

It even has an amazing patio. (I love patios.)

from c&s facebook
(Photo courtesy of City & State)

from c&s facebook
(Photo courtesy of City & State)

So what about the coffee, you ask? It's delicious. It's Intelligentsia coffee. I am a fan of the bon bon with steamed milk. Look how cute! It's similar to a Cuban.

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You mix it all up and then combine it with the milk. So yummy.

Satchel tried the Lumberjack Latte which I believe has maple and pecan goodness in it.

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He loved it.

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Jiro had the cinnamon & brown sugar latte. He said it was yummmmmmmmmy.

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He also tried some pain au chocolate, which they source from la Baguette.

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I eventually convinced him to pick it up and eat it with his fingers.

We enjoyed having sit down coffee together and I hope that the monkeys will soon realize that sitting down and having coffee with a friend--or their mom--is one of life's great pleasures. (Cost wise, the coffee at City & State is only slightly more expensive than the boys' usual order at Starbucks.)

City & State also carries tea and has a few other edible items like oatmeal and chocolate bars! Next door, the retail space is a must visit. Lots of fun things to buy for yourself or someone you love.

Check it out!

City & State on Urbanspoon
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