Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Memphis Nosh: Maximo's on Broad

A few weeks ago I gathered some folks up to go to Maximo's on Broad, a fun little place on the currently revitalizing Broad Avenue. 

Plus, we really like brunch.

So let's start with the negative before we get to how delicious the food was.

I've never been so utterly ignored by another person as I was by one of the servers/hosts. A young woman with a nose ring and black hair did everything she could possibly do to keep from looking at us. It took another host coming over and asking if we needed help to even get out names on the list, and then I'm pretty sure the other host sat several other tables that got there after us. 

But after that, it was fine. So make sure you're okay with being really assertive to get a table, especially when it's busy!

They have a pretty extensive brunch menu, with lots of drink options.

Sloan got a Bloody Mary. One of my other friends did too. They said it was okay, but not nearly spicy or peppery enough.

I got the Brunch Burger, which, despite being a little overcooked (I like my meet to still moo a little) was really good. I would never have put ham on a burger but it's awesome!

I *think* this was the Heavenly French Toast. Whatever it was, it was good!

Sloan got The Kitchen Sink. Holy cow. 

This was probably my favorite thing anyone had. It was classic breakfast food but really really well done.  

Good mimosas - heavy on the champagne.

Overall I liked brunch at Maximo's. I've heard dinner is amazing, and they have a great wine selection I want to check out. Really good food, a pretty good price, and a nice atmosphere, so I would definitely go again if I'm over on Broad!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Recipe: Five Spice Chicken and Green Beans

If you can't tell, I've been all about easy recipes lately. 

Work is INSANE right now, which is great but tiring, and Sloan's is about the same.

Add in still unpacking, his daughter being here for the summer, the insane heat, plus trying to write that silly dissertation, and we've got a lot on our plates.

So when it's time to actually get something on a literal plate, I'm all about fast and easy and good - bonus points if I can take leftovers for lunch the next day.

This recipe ticks all those boxes, and is very budget friendly (and diet friendly if you aren't in a committed relationship with cheese like I am) as well.

Five Spice Chicken and Green Beans

serves 4, or 2 with leftovers for lunch

4-6 chicken thighs or breasts
2 packages frozen green beans
Five spice seasoning (I like this one from Simply Asia)
Garlic powder
Crushed red pepper
Olive oil

1. Heat a large wok or saute pan (I have this wok and LOVE it) over medium high heat, add olive oil to coat the bottom - you may need to add more if the chicken sticks, but this is a good place to start
2. Cut chicken into bit size pieces, then sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and five spice
3. Add chicken to the pan when hot - you want to make sure the pan is very hot before you add the chicken so it gets a sear - and let sear for 1 minute
4. Place frozen green beans in microwave and cook for one minute less than suggested - if it says 6, do it for 5
5. After 1 minute, move chicken around the wok and add crushed red pepper to taste. Continuously move chicken, adding more olive oil if needed
6. When the green beans are done, take them out, drain any liquid, and toss them into the pan, stirring continuously
7. Add garlic powder, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, and five spice to taste while stirring, then let sit and sear for 1 minute
8. Turn off heat, give one last stir, and serve!

This is great alone, or with rice, and is super filling, healthy, budget friendly, and delicious. 


Friday, June 24, 2016

Recipe: Lemon and Butter Shrimp Scampi

Need a SUPER fast, easy, and affordable dinner? 

This is it, my friends. 

When I got home from a work event last night at 8:30, I was starving. The word "shellfish" had been mentioned, and I wanted shrimp.

I always want butter and pasta, so the choice was easy. 

This is almost too easy to call it a recipe, but I hope you enjoy!

Lemon and Butter Shrimp Scampi
4 servings

1 stick of butter, plus 2 tablespoons
4 cloves garlic
A handful of dried parsley
1 lemon
30ish frozen shrimp - de-veined and peeled with the tails off
(I used half of one of the "salad size" frozen shrimp bags from Target - this is really adjustable)
1 lb linguine or fettucine pasta
1/2 cup shaved or shredded Parmesan
Garlic powder
Cajun seasoning (optional)
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

1. Start water boiling for pasta - when boiling, add pasta and boil according to package instructions until done.

2. In a small saucepan, melt 1 stick of butter. While it's melting, chop garlic and add to butter, then add dried parsley and juice of half the lemon. Simmer on low.

3. Put 1 tablespoon butter in a large saute pan (I like these from Rachel Ray) and throw in frozen shrimp. That's what makes this so fast - you don't even really have to thaw the shrimp.

4. Since the shrimp is frozen, it's going to produce some liquid. In 3-5 minutes, pull shrimp off the burner and drain the liquid in a colander. Put shrimp back in pan, add another tablespoon of butter, then add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and, if you like a little kick, Cajun seasoning to taste. Cook shrimp until pink in color and mostly opaque.

5. Drain pasta, then toss into pan with shrimp, turn pan to low. Pour on butter sauce and toss. Slice up the other half of the lemon very thinly and add to pan, along with parmesan. Toss and saute for an additional 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat and add chopped fresh parsley.

Then enjoy!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Taste the Rarity 2016 at Wiseacre Brewing

Anyone who knows me knows I love beer, especially when I get to try new and fun (and sometimes weird) things.

A couple of weekends ago, Sloan and I went to a beer festival at one of my favorite Memphis breweries, Wiseacre.

(Also, when I moved here in 2009, there were NO breweries except Ghost River, and definitely no tap rooms. Four for you, Memphis, you go Memphis.)

Wiseacre has a great tap room and a wide variety of beers - almost anyone can find something they like, and it's in a great location.

Their annual beer festival, Taste the Rarity, is a huge collection of breweries both local and from all over the country. While it's not as big as Cooper-Young Beer Fest, it's still got a lot of great beers, food trucks, and entertainment. For $50, you get entrance and a commemorative tasting glass.

I tried a LOT of beers, most of which are things I can't get here or can only get in really limited release. I did try the Wiseacre Unicornucopia, which wasn't totally my style, but it's a very good beer that I just didn't love. Mostly though, I focused on the beers that we don't get in Memphis.

(via Wiseacre's Twitter)

(Because I'm a t-shirt fiend, I did buy the awesome color-changing shirt. I have a problem.)

Sloan was all about Three Floyds from Munster, IN. Seriously, he talks about their beer a lot, and now I see why. Zombie Dust may be the best pale ale I've ever had.

I also loved Indeed Brewing out of Minneapolis. When I go to beer fests, I want to try the weirdest stuff people have - I can drink a normal beer any day, but of COURSE I want to try that Lavender Sunflower Honey Dates Honey Ale that you're calling LSD! Actually, as weird as it sounds, I would buy this one for sure. It was definitely all of those flavors, but I LOVE lavender, so I didn't mind - plus the people working the Indeed booth were super nice.

We decided after a bit of drinking and listening to the Grizzline that we needed some food. Luckily, my favorite food truck, Gourmade, was there! We split the Mambo No. 5, which is basically tater tots covered in mac and cheese, braised short rib, green onions, and angel tears.

Mambo No. 5 with LSD Honey Ale from Indeed.

While we were eating, we got to talking to another couple who are from Richmond. Turns out he is Jay Bayer, owner of Saison and a huge proponent of the Richmond local beer, wine, and food scene - so fun to talk to another person who has the same passions we do (including early American history and the history of food and drink)! He recommended we try the Richmond brewery he was there with, Hardywood Park, and they definitely did not disappoint!

I tried the Spirit Braid, a farmhouse style ale with citrus, and Sloan had the Foolery, a bourbon barrel aged milk stout (stouts just aren't my bag, but he loved it). Spirit Braid was insanely good - I could close my eyes and imagine I was sitting on a front porch somewhere with absolutely nothing to do all day. Perfect.

We tried several other beers, including ones from Sun King (the rudest people there, so I'm not going to link them, but decent beer), Haymarket, and 2nd Shift (a favorite of mine), but I had to go by my favorite brewery's booth at some point that day: Jackalope.

I fell in love with Jackalope a Cooper-Young Beer Fest last year, and they didn't disappoint at Taste the Rarity. Super nice people based out of Nashville, they're really willing to talk about their beers and events, which is fun when you're at an event like this. And believe it or not, they had something even stranger than the LSD from Indeed - Birthday Cake.

Birthday Cake was a wheat beer brewed with Jasmine tea and vanilla. They also had a personal favorite, Bearwalker, but I mean...birthday cake.

It tasted like cake. Like beer and cake and happiness all rolled into one glass.

My happy place.

Only two small gripes about the festival as a whole.

At $50 a ticket, we were surprised at how quickly most beers ran out. We stayed from 3:30ish until 5, and literally almost every booth was out of at least one beer. For a fest that goes from 3-7 that just seemed like poor planning. I think selling fewer tickets, even if that made them slightly more expensive, would be the way to go - it was super crowded, more so than is comfortable.

Second, and this is probably not even really a fair criticism, some of the vendors were really not very nice. It was hot, and there were some very drunk people, but you're here representing your brewery and the craft beer industry in general - be a little nicer.

Other than that, it was great! Definitely going back next year!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

I'm a platter, but still...

A good friend told me one time that people shouldn't judge when others are overwhelmed, or feel bad because they're struggling, because everyone has different size plates.

Some people have saucers, and can only handle a couple of things at a time, because nothing else will fit on their plates.

Some people have dinner plates, and can handle several things easily. 

Others have serving platters.

Platters shouldn't feel like saucers are lazy, and saucers shouldn't feel like platters are superheroes.

We all just have different sized plates.

I've always felt like I had a large platter, like the kinds they put cookies on at events. I'm good at juggling lots of things, and always have been.

But let me tell you. There isn't a platter big enough for the last month.

Here's what's been happening lately:

1. I'm still struggling to finish the last chapter of my dissertation. It's so close, but I feel really abandoned by some of my mentors, and have one who has out and out said he didn't want to even be on my committee, so I'm having some real guilt and pain  and anguish about the whole thing.

2. I had a HUGE work event the end of April that took up a ton of my time. At least I got to buy cute new shoes.

3. After the huge work event, I have at least 9 medium work events coming up that I'm coordinating in the next 3 months.

4. The day after the huge event, I found out that, while I had been planning to move in July (just across town, in with my boyfriend) I needed to move May 13th-ish. So even though I was happy that my roommate found a new roommate, yikes.

5. I had to clean out my boyfriend's house - with his help - and figure out what was staying and what was going in a yard sale.

6. I had to pack my house and do the same thing. 

7. I had to physically move, which mostly consisted of me cursing my mother for teaching me to read and encouraging me to buy all those heavy ass books.

8. My boyfriend got a job after almost 3 months of unemployment.

9. Said job meant that he had to fly to training on Sunday, come back Wednesday, and work Thursday, Friday, and Saturday - for 4 weeks. 

10. Starting the week after I found out I needed to move earlier.

11. We both got sick.

12. Yard sale.

And in between all that, we each had family stuff, small work stuff, dog stuff, kid stuff (his daughter is here for the summer), and everyday stuff like eating.

While all of this resulted in some awesome things (great weekend moving, in all honesty, where I got to hang out with my mom and his mom and our friends), I'm exhausted.

Like "I took too many benadryl and now I can't feel my toes" exhausted.

So I'll be in and out here, with lots of exciting stuff in the works (local food reviews! Taste the Rarity review! summer work clothes!) but this platter has got to recognize limits for a minute.

After all, I'm a platter, not buffet table.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Travel: Weekend Getaway Essentials

This last weekend, I took my boyfriend home to meet my family, in Arkansas, for the first time. 

(We also went to the Flippin Walmart, which was definitely a tacky highlight of the trip!)

To be fair, he had met my mom and brother already, but still, that's stressful! 

It was an amazing weekend getaway (seriously, they love him), but now I DEFINITELY need a vacation from my vacation!


While I'm daydreaming about my beach vacation, here are my weekend getaway essentials!

I always bring a good book - right now I'm rereading the "Bride" series from Nora Roberts - total fluff but I love it! I'm also big on skin care, so I need sunscreen, and if you're going to the beach, or even to somewhere where you might be hiking or sitting outside, you need to bring a bag that won't get soaked and a towel in case YOU do (we went hiking in the Ozarks this weekend and definitely needed sunscreen, and a towel would have been nice to take a little break on!)! A giant towel is also a makeshift picnic blanket!

Plus, if you're a nerd like me and know that the meaning of the universe is 42, you KNOW to always bring a towel.

Finally, stay hydrated y'all.

Thanks to HomeAway (a really great website that helps you find vacation rentals) for making me this cute graphic!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Nashville Nosh: Burger Up

A few months ago, my mom and I went to Nashville to see one of our favorite authors, Deborah Harkness, speak at the Nashville Public Library.

(Seriously, she's a badass - she's a tenured professor of early modern Europe and science at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, a wine blogger, a best-selling author of some amazing books, AND a super nice person!)

Before the talk, we stopped at Parnassus Books to get some books for her to sign and to get our line tickets, and then we decided we should get some food. Luckily, the people at Parnassus directed us to Burger Up, in the adorable and trendy 12 South neighborhood.

Burger Up's menu looks pretty standard at first glance. Lots of fried things, lots of burgers, fries...but then you look at the insane quality and ingredients on those basics.

We ordered some fried mushrooms (with spicy lemon lime remoulade) and I ordered the woodstock - Benton's bacon, Tennessee sweetwater cheddar, Jack Daniels maple ketchup. No boring burger here!

My mom got the class - and yeah, no fancy names or jack daniels ketchup, but still so good, and great quality.

But first, let's talk about these mushrooms.

I have never, in my entire 31 years of eating fried mushrooms (no joke, I'm pretty sure instead of a pacifier my parents just stuck a fried mushroom in my mouth as a baby) eaten fried mushrooms that were this good. 

We ordered two orders worth. 

No shame.

Here is my burger.

And a close up shot. Oh my.

(Before our second order of mushrooms came out...)

They also have super fancy and delicious ketchup. The Jack Daniels ketchup on my burger was great, and this was great, but that lemon lime remoulade was where it was at.

In addition, it's a really cute space. 

The service was great, the prices are really reasonable, and the food was insane. Plus, a table with kids sat next to us, and the kids menus are in books! How fun is that?

We had a great time in Nashville, and will definitely be back to eat (multiple) orders of those fried mushrooms soon!