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

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Porcellino's Craft Butcher

Ed. Note: I went back for breakfast with a friend, and while I still think dinner is more exciting, the Baby Dutch Pancakes are a must try!!

Porcellino's Craft Butcher
711 W Brookhaven Circle
(901) 762-6656


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Let me start by saying that I went to Porcellino's for dinner in February with a friend and was blown away by the awesomeness. I am a huge fan of Andy & Michael and love, love, love Hog & Hominy and Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen.

The cocktail list at Porcellino's is top notch.

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The menu itself features such delicacies as dumplings made with collard greens and pork belly.

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And in addition to that, just when you think you can't eat any more, a cart comes by with delicious daily specials.

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So, please keep all of that in mind when I say that when I took the monkeys (Satchel, 12, and Jiro, 10) to breakfast at Porcellino's over Spring Break it was a little blah.

We arrived at about 8:30am and it was pretty dead--maybe a table or two. I told the boys to look at the menu board and let me know what they wanted.

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Jiro went with a croissant and the biscuit of the day which featured maple sausage, egg and cheese. Satchel, who was claiming not to be hungry, just wanted a plain biscuit. Our friend, Pavel, ordered a chocolate croissant. I am a big fan of bruleed grapefruit and granola & yogurt, but decided to get the pimento cheese gougeres. And coffee.

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I placed the order and sent the boys to sit down. In terms of iced coffee I had a couple of options--a cold brew and something with nitrogen. Since I wanted to add milk, the waitress advised going with the cold brew.

Major thumbs up on the coffee.

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Our total was $28.95 plus tip.

The boys took a seat in the window, which I don't blame them, but I requested that we move to a table.

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We had a number and soon our food came out. That's when we realized we should have grabbed water and silverware from the nearby station.

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Satchel's biscuit was nice & fluffy.

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Jiro's was a little more exciting, but I was surprised by the teeny tiny sausage patty. We were in a butcher shop after all!

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I have seen numerous people post pictures of their biscuits on Facebook with comments like "OMGYUM," but I'd say ho hum.

Chocolate croissant looked like what you'd expect. Pavel asked for a second one so it must have been good.

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The gougeres were cheesy and nice. The kids wanted nothing to do with them.

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So yeah. It was ok. I hear the lunch is equally unexciting. Maybe they really want to focus on the butcher shop during the day? Or maybe they need all day to prep for the awesome dinner items? That's cool, albeit a little disappointing for the Andy/Michael empire. You heard it here: dinner is where it is at.

Porcellino's is Project Green Fork certified.

Porcellino's Craft Butcher on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Strano! Sicilian Kitchen & Bar

Strano! Sicilian Kitchen & Bar
948 Cooper Street
275-8986


Even though I live just a few blocks away from Strano, I never really wanted to go. Why? Because I hate the sign. It's just so ugly! And inside it is all white tablecloth and there's the curse and so on. After the CA's rave review, the Tuesday ladies and I went for happy hour and were thoroughly disappointed by the drinks and the apps. I really almost texted Jennifer Biggs and called her a liar.

When one of my Flyer assignments included a dish from Strano, I decided to take Jiro (age 10) and do a full on dinner. I was prepared to hate.

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We walked over from my apartment around 5:00pm on a Saturday night. There were several full tables and we were asked if we had a reservation. I replied, "Surely we don't need a reservation at 5:00pm?"

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We were seated next to the window at a two top, which pleased me very much. I love people watching. When Jiro sat down he said, "This place is fancy."

"A little," I replied.

Strano is a little weird in that way. I think it wants to be somewhere between casual and fancy, but the white tablecloths and the prices (which are higher than Bari) definitely make it seem fancy. However, I'd say the majority of diners dress casual.

Moving on, our very sweet waitress brought us some garlic bread and olive oil to snack on while we reviewed the menu.

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The garlic bread is not for amateurs. It features whole cloves of garlic. Lots of them. The bread was tasty but I am not a huge garlic fan so I shied away from eating too much.

Next we had Rosemary's Sicilain salad. It was delicious.

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The dressing was really sweet and tasty and Jiro, who is not usually a salad fan, was happy to help me eat it. He really liked the bacon and pecans. I thought the arugula could have been cleaned better--this is a major pet peeve of mine--but there were only a few spoiled bits.

We saw a lot of really nice meat and cheese plates coming out of the kitchen and were jealous. In fact, everything that came out looked great.

While we waited on the main courses we had lovely conversations about why my hair is so gray and why the Roo is so fun to ride. (Party bus!) We were going to the movies at Studio after dinner, but I couldn't convince Jiro to ride the Roo. (Once we got there and spent a half hour looking for parking, I regretted not insisting.)

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For dinner, Jiro ordered a "personal" Carne Classica pizza which has giant pepperoni, Italian sausage and bacon. I don't think 12" is the standard measure for a personal size pizza, but ok.

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It looked and tasted great. I absolutely would come for lunch and eat pizza or get one to go. Even at $17. Jiro could only eat about three slices and I had to have one, so we had a half a pizza left for later, which was just fine.

I ordered the ravioli of the day which featured goat cheese, pepperoni and basil inside and sundried tomato on top. There was also more garlic bread and extra garlic cloves in the sauce but they were easily avoided.

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It was DELICIOUS. Seriously. So, so good. I could only eat half and was happy to have it the next day!

Jiro wanted some key lime pie for dessert, so we got the closest thing--lemon sorbet. The presentation was a crowd pleaser.

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It was very good and quite refreshing.

We also had an order of Zappolies, which are usually served at brunch. They were very tasty too--like little beignets with hazelnut and Campari berry dipping sauce.

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We were both stuffed and happy, and we had lunch for the next day.

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Our total came to $70 plus tip, which was a little jarring. Like I said, the prices are high! Looking over my receipt I see that it specifies I had a FULL salad and a FULL ravioli, so I am guessing half orders are available at a lower price? Also a scan of the lunch menu shows much more reasonable prices. For example, the same "personal" size 12" pizza is $13 at lunch versus $17 at dinner.

So overall, I give it the thumbs up. The service was excellent. I'd say the prices should be adjusted a bit, but considering the place was packed an hour later when we went to the movies, I guess people don't mind paying them.

Strano! Sicilian Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon
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