Monday, December 22, 2014

Belly Acres

Belly Acres
2102 Trimble Place
901-529-7017


I took the monkeys (Satchel, 12, and Jiro 10) to Belly Acres for lunch. It's in Overton Square where the Bayou used to be. It's also conveniently located across from the new parking garage, which is free until 6pm.

Belly Acres has only been open about a week, and as with all new places, people are buzzing about it. I was excited to check it out, especially since it has a very distinctive kid-friendly vibe to it.

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Anyone who remembers the Bayou knows that one of the best features was the patio. The patio wasn't open today, but I can see it teeming with children and mommies with cocktails come spring time. I definitely dreamed of such a place when the monkeys were younger.

We were with our friend, Chip, and his two monkeys (Connor, 11, and Chloe, 8). When we went in (around noon thirty) the place was fairly packed, and with regular people. As in, not families. It was very much a work lunch looking crowd, which I think is a testament to the concept (citified farm fresh) and the excellent location. Anyways, I told the woman at the door that we would like a table for six. She politely informed me that we should order at the counter and then she handed us all menus.

UGH.

Ordering at the counter with six is kind of annoying and I was in the mood to sit down and leisurely look at the menu, since I hadn't been able to find it on my phone earlier in the day. We were in the middle of a crowd of people coming in and suddenly we were in a rush to figure out what to order. To make matters worse, no one over 40 could possibly read the menu with its 8 pt font. The menu board over the registers isn't much better. And honestly, having finally located the menu on the website I can barely read it on my computer screen. Seriously. (Chip agrees with me.)

Anyway, unable to read the menu thoroughly, I decided to get the black eyed pea burger because I heard a friend rave about it on the Facebook. Chip went with the Voodoo Moo Moo which the Flyer recently wrote up. The monkeys wanted basic burgers and weren't super hungry so I just got them the standard kid burger (Belly Burger) off of the "Little Bellies" menu.

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We sent the kids to save a table while we did the ordering. We were given a street sign and our drinks to take to the table.

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The kids were happy to have Abita Root Beer on draft in cups they could take home.

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I was a little cranky about the drinks not being self serve since it was an order at the counter situation, but a waitress/runner came by fairly regularly to offer refills.

While we waited I directed Chip's attention to the bar area.

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It's cool because you can sit and watch the kitchen action while you enjoy a drink. However, the bar front, which I didn't get a shot of, is all mirrors. So, uh, mommies, be sure and wear pants (or at least panties!) when you belly up to the bar.

HA!

The rest of the place is very cutesy. Everyone loves the soybean field.

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If you look closely you can see the decorative corn stalks. I love the yellow booths in the windows. There's also a plane going through the wall and a tractor up front to sit on. (Honestly, if my kids were young enough to want to sit on the tractor and I had to navigate the ordering at the counter at the same time, I would need to order myself several drinks.)

After about ten minutes the food came out. Well, some of it. Connor got his chicken tenders and my monkeys got their burgers. That's when Satchel reminded me that he had asked for chicken tenders too. Dammit! I really have gotten used to them mostly ordering for themselves.

He picked off the pickles and sulked for a moment before digging in.

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Connor, who is a sweetie, actually offered to gave Satchel some of his chicken but he declined. Chip tasted the chicken and said it was really good.

At least Jiro was happy.

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He gave me a few fries, which were nice and crispy.

A few minutes later, Chip and Chloe got their burgers. They were both happy.

Then there was just me.

Waiting.

Finally my black eyed pea burger came out and I cursed myself for not ordering a regular burger. Or at least actually reading the description.

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It was topped with sweet potatoes and pickled turnip greens--two of my least favorite foods. The patty itself was super mushy and I just didn't want to eat it. My fries were also on the mushy side, so I was bummed. But it was mostly my fault so I let it go. Satch gave me half of his burger, which was really yummy and it all worked out.

Considering they've only been open a week, the service is fine. And if you want a really good grass fed burger, this is your place. Price wise it's about $10-$15 per adult depending on whether you add fries and a drink. The kid food is a deal at $6.50 with large portions, including fries. I feel certain we will be regulars on the patio once it warms up.

Maybe as they go along they'll ditch a few menu items and increase the font a bit for those of us footing the bill.

Belly Acres on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 21, 2014

Mosa Asian Bistro

Mosa Asian Bistro
850 S. White Station Road
901-683-8889


Mosa has been on my list of places to go forever. The monkeys (Satchel, 12 and Jiro, 10) and I finally made it there last Saturday afternoon.

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Mosa was originally on Poplar near Kirby, and was opened by Mr. Eddie, who you may know from the old Formosa on Summer Avenue. (Sidenote: My sister, a few friends and I totally pretended we got lost on the way home from a field trip in high school so that we could go eat at Formosa. I have no idea why they let us drive ourselves. Do they still do that? Anyways, we all got suspended.)

When Mosa was on Poplar it was one of those order at the counter and sit down places. Now it's a sit down place. It's in the shopping center near Poplar & White Station behind Bed, Bath and Beyond.

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Once inside, we saw several of our Midtown friends. Definitely a good sign. My friend, Mairi, even gave me a few menu suggestions, including the Thai tea.

I was able to get Satchel excited about eating here with the promise of chicken wings. We did not see them on the menu, but thankfully I noticed we walked right past this sign on our way in.

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Both monkeys were hungry, so we ordered 4 wings of each flavor and an appetizer of dumplings. Jiro also ordered a kids' Teriyaki chicken and Satchel ordered the Niew Ro Mein, which is a soup. I ordered the Thai tea and the hot & sour soup as Mairi suggested.

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The tea was very yummy. The waiter said it was an orange spiced tea with half & half. No wonder! The dumplings were also a hit.

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We immediately had to decide how many everyone was getting. I agreed to only have one. After one bite Jiro said, "That's sooooooooo good." Satchel agreed that they were better than the ones at Fresh Market. (We get those to go and cook them at home sometimes.) After his final bite, Jiro said, "That was the most delicious thing ever."

Next up, some spiced peanuts and a cucumber/pickle salad that we were told was the appetizer for Satchel's soup. How awesome is that?

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Then came the chicken wings. OH MY GOODNESS.

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I am torn as to how I feel about the sauce being on the side for dipping. On the one hand it makes the wing eating experience a little neater. On the other, it really just made me want to slather MYSELF in the Rainbow Panang Curry sauce. IT'S SO GOOD. SO. SO. GOOD.

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It's sweet, spicy, tangy--it's just everything all at once. I want to marry it. The Sriracha style sauce was fine, but it paled in comparison.

The monkeys just ate the perfectly fried wings plain, which meant I got ALL of the sauce.

We were still working on the wings when everything else came out. Jiro's kids' meal had a lot of vegetables. When I noted it, he said, "Yeah, I guess I'll eat it anyway." Ha!

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Satchel's soup looked great, and contained stew meat, which he loved.

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Jiro also wanted some of it and Satchel agreed to share after I agreed to get six more chicken wings.

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My hot & sour soup was just ok. It was a little peppery and boring after what we'd already had. I passed it to Jiro, and he ate the tofu out of it.

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Our total bill was $43.15, which really isn't bad considering how much food we ordered. We are totally going back. And I will marry that sauce!

Mosa Asian Bistro on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 10, 2014

Oshi Burger Bar

Oshi Burger Bar
94 S. Main
901-341-2091


Oshi opened up a few weeks ago right down from my office. My friend, Richard, and I tried it out for lunch one day. While he had plenty of jokes to make about the "furniture" the food was served on, and the fact that the cowhide booths are from milking cows, we both agreed the food was tasty.

Last week, the monkeys (Satchel, 12, and Jiro, 10) and I all had dental appointments across the street. It was a cold, rainy day and downtown was seemingly deserted. It seemed like the perfect time to try out the hippest burger joint in town.

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Warren also had a dental appointment, but had to get back to work since he's on West Coast time. He popped in just to take a look around and place his to go order. We couldn't pass up this photo op.

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We sat in a booth and perused the menu. Jiro immediately honed in on the milkshakes. They come standard with booze (which is gross, imo), but the waitress said they could all be made alcohol free.

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We decided to share the Malt Shoppe (Vanilla Ice Cream, Malted Milk, Malted Milk Balls, Bourbon) minus the bourbon. It was delish.

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File this under, "as long as you continue to pose like this I will continue to post it on the internet."

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After looking at the burger options, Jiro asked, "Can I just have a burger the way we like it?" Satchel chimed in with, "Yeah I want bacon but not if I have to have bleu cheese." I told them I thought this would be no problem, and I was right.

I ordered the seared tuna tataki salad because I am an idiot. No, because I was trying to be healthy. (On my first visit I had the tuna burger which was great and the kale salad which was even better, but garlicky.)

Before leaving, Warren had instructed me to bring him a Mr. Robato hot dog and kim chi fries. I asked the waitress to please time the to go order accordingly.

The milkshake was gone before our order was in, and it made the monkeys hungry for more. Satchel entertained himself (and the wait staff staring from the bar) by regurgitating his water. Gross.

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Satchel said, "I can see the chef eating in the kitchen." This cracked him up. Then he motioned to the exposed duct work and said, "See those pipes? Someday they are going to burst and rats will fall on the burgers like rain."

Have I mentioned how gross 12 year olds are?

It was about this time that the waitress came over with a to go bag with Warren's food. I looked at her, and took a deep breath. Satchel sunk down in his seat. I said in my nicest voice, "Uh...I thought I asked if you could time it so that the to go order would be ready at the end of our meal, not the beginning?"

She looked mortified and pointed to where Warren once sat and said, "Oh, I thought you wanted me to rush it so he could take it with him."

I could *maybe* see what she was talking about, even though Warren was gone when I placed the order, but come on. She said she'd put the food under the heat lamp until we were ready. I let it go.

I perused the beer menu, but held strong.

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Mmmmmm, beer.

Speaking of, the bartender is Gene, who I know from his brief stint at the Cove. He came over a few times to chat up and egg on the monkeys. He even tried to get us all to come sit at the bar. We were the only people there so clearly he was bored.

A short while later, the food came out and the monkeys were all smiles.

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(Observe the burger "futon" and French fry "chair" that Richard previously thought were so funny.)

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After a few bites, Jiro said, "Mmmmm this is the BEST BURGER EVER."

Satchel followed with, "Mom, this is one of the best burgers I have ever had. We need to come here more often." Then he added, "You can use that quote."

Satchel even liked the ketchup, which is spicy. I think they add the sweet and spicy sauce from the Asian market (usually next to the Sriracha), but he said it tasted like they added straight up Tabasco.

I'll admit, I wanted a burger. My salad was ok. Thankfully Jiro shared his fries.

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I'm pretty sure each monkey could have eaten a second burger, but I was able to dodge that bullet. I asked for the check and the waitress brought Warren's to go order back out.

Behold the Mr. Robato hot dog (Wagyu American Kobe All Beef Dog, Ginger Pickles, Umami Mayo, Sesame Seeds, Nori Flakes).

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And the kim chi fries (Kimchi, Bacon, Beer Cheese).

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He later reported that they were very good.

Our total bill was $58 plus tip.

The monkeys have already asked to go back.

Oshi Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Bounty on Broad

Bounty on Broad
2519 Broad Avenue
410-8131


I've tried to go to Bounty a few times, but the Wed-Sat schedule made it a bit challenging. When I heard they were doing brunch on Sundays, it was ON. Despite a two day Halloween hangover, I brought the monkeys (Satchel, 12, and Jiro, 10) and Warren along.

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Bounty is beautiful and a wonderful addition to my beloved Broad Avenue. I love the outside and the inside. We were seated downstairs near the kitchen. (I didn't make it upstairs!) At some point, in addition to the downstairs seating, there is going to be a butcher shop.

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Our waiter, Tom, was super nice and pleasantly hipsterish. He brought menus and got everyone drinks. Jiro wanted lemonade, but settled for iced tea. Satchel wanted coffee like Warren and I, but settled for decaf. I kind of love that he thinks he's mature enough to drink coffee.

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Since the bar was upstairs, Warren didn't realize he could have gotten a Bloody Mary until he saw the people next to us get one. Oh well.

The brunch food menu looked great.

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Tom explained that everything is served family style. Then we had to have a discussion about what that actually meant to each of us. I broke it down and said, "It's like when we go eat Chinese food and everything comes on a big plate and we share." The monkeys do not like to share.

Tom made a few suggestions, which we took, and everyone placed their order.

For an appetizer, we had the avocado deviled eggs with house smoked bacon. Tom told us it was a whimsical take on "Green Eggs & Ham." It was a hit. Well it was a hit with the three of us who tried them! Jiro abstained.

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We arrived right at 11am, when they opened, and by 11:30am, I'd say it was a full house. I saw children of all ages, and I have seen Bounty specifically say "children welcome" on their Facebook page. (The owners and the chef have young children!)

Soon the rest of the food arrived, and it all looked great. Jiro's choice was the cheese fries with country ham, scallion cream, and fried egg. (Somehow country ham is always involved in brunch!)

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When he tried to grab some of the egg, the yoke spilled out and he exclaimed, "Mom! They forgot to cook the egg!" I calmly explained that it was supposed to be like that and it was ok. I probably should have had them fry it over hard, but the runny yoke is probably the only reason Jiro agreed to share with anyone, so that was a win.

Satchel chose the grilled hangar steak with brussels sprouts, mushrooms and balsamic reduction.

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He really, really did not want to share, but was forced to. He could have easily eaten the whole thing.

I chose the catfish with arugula, artichokes and green tomato relish.

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Satchel swiftly relocated all of the artichoke to his plate.

Warren went with the vegetable strata, which Tom explained had an English muffin as the base.

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It was really yummy. Even Jiro had some of it.

But what really turned brunch into a party was dessert. Do not let Jiro's face fool you. He just wanted me to hurry up and take a picture so he could commence eating.

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We tried two of the three dessert options--chocolate nirvana and banana bread. YUMMMMMMMMM.

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On our way out, Jackson Kramer, the chef, poked his head out of the kitchen to say hello, which is always a nice touch.

Overall we were very impressed with Bounty. However, Bounty is not cheap. Our brunch rang in at $99 plus tip. (Credit cards only, in case any of you people still carry cash.) So, I will absolutely be back, but I will most likely leave the monkeys at home. Or maybe just bring one of them, as long as he promises to share.

Bounty on Broad on Urbanspoon
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