Looks like Oshi Burger Bar on Main is getting pretty close to complete

They’ve added a big awning and even the hours on the door.

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They need to hurry, my body is ready. For cholesterol.

 

Jack Binion’s Steak in Horseshoe Casino

About a month ago I was invited to the soft open of Jack Binion Steak at the Horseshoe casino. They invited a bunch of media and bloggers to come and check out the food and drinks before they officially opened yesterday, the 16th. Casinos aren’t usually my thing, but food and drink is, and free food and drink is actually enough to make me drive 45 minutes to the casino from my downtown apartment.

I invited my friend Sarah to come along with me, so after waiting for her to finish somehow getting lost between Arkansas and downtown Memphis, we jumped in my car and headed south.

I haven’t actually been to the casinos in years. The drive hasn’t changed much, take a quick ghetto tour down south third street for half of the trip, then look at massive fields for the second half. It always seemed to take a lot longer than 40 or so minutes, but every other time I’ve gone I’ve been an intoxicated passenger, not a sober driver having a conversation.

We got there a bit early so we would have some time to shower and get ready in our hotel room. I’ve never gotten a room at Horseshoe before, and they put us in a deluxe king. Really nice room, nice comfy couch, king size bed, two TV’s in the main area and one in the bathroom. The rooms were super clean and well kept. Overall very nice. I probably should have taken a few pictures of the room but I was too busy getting ready.

Sarah changed into a dress and I made myself halfway presentable, and we headed downstairs.

For the first half hour or so we sat in the bar area and had cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. The bar is nicely appointed and comfy with a bar, cocktail tables, and some booths along the way. It’s toward the casino floor but a bit around a corner so it’s not unbearably noisy. Anyway, it looks a lot like this:

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I had a beer first, because I was dying of thirst, then we decided to try a few of the “Signature Cocktails”. Most of them are just their take on already established drinks, which isn’t a bad thing. Most drinks have already been invented and a lot of people will want something somewhat familiar. I got the “Category Five”

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As the name hints, it’s a hurricane. It was actually really good though, as far as hurricanes go. All top shelf liquor and fresh fruit garnish. Definitely a few steps above the bucket variety you find on Beale and Bourbon. I don’t remember what Sarah ordered, but it was blue.

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They also brought out some hors d’oeuvres. The corn fritter was pretty damn good, Sarah had like three. The chicken drumstick was probably my favorite, wrapped in bacon and with a spicy bbq sauce. The shrimp wasn’t that great to me, seemed overcooked. The mango salsa that came with it was tasty though, tasty enough to sway my choice of entreé, but more on that later.

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After hors d’oeuvres everyone started moving into the main dining room. We were seated toward the very back, which is probably where you want to be if you’re looking for a reasonably quiet meal. The restaurant is just off the casino floor so the tables closer to the entrance can be a little noisy. Not the end of the world, but if you would like a quiet reprieve from casino noise while you eat, ask for a booth in the back.

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Since the tables were set up at four tops, we were paired with Chris McRae from Foodie Memphis and his friend Darcy. We couldn’t have asked for better dinner company, and since Chris is on a vegan diet we got to see how the chef adapted to something out of the ordinary (for a steak house).

Before the first course they send out an appetizer sampler that consisted of short rib, duck breast, and pork belly.

 

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The duck and short rib were both tasty, but the pork belly, oh man, the pork belly. It’s on the regular menu as an appetizer and you really, really need to try it. It’s some of the best I’ve had. It was really done. Perfectly seasoned and fall apart tender. We easily cut it with a spoon. I could have eaten at least a pound of it. If you’re going to get an appetizer, make it the pork belly.

Sarah and I skipped the first course as I planned to try their desserts and didn’t want to be too full to eat them. Chris went with a salad that he said was pretty solid and Darcy got a crab cake.

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For mains I did the pan seared grouper with mango salsa and coconut rice. Sarah got the seared scallops with a side of asparagus. We also got some scalloped potatoes to split. Darcy did a steak and crab legs and Chris got a stuffed tomato dish that the head chef improvised. Everyone except Sarah had multiple glasses of Malbec, she had the Sauvignon Blanc. I definitely liked the Malbec more, I wish I had drank maybe 3 or 4 fewer glasses so I remembered the name. I’ll make sure I check next time I’m there so I can update this post.

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My grouper was awesome, and came with the same mango salsa that accompanied the shrimp hor d’oeuvre. The coconut basmati was especially nice, it complemented the light, sweet salsa very well. The scallops were also really well done, nice sear and super tender inside. Naturally, in reviewing a steak house, I forgot to get a picture of the steak. I never said I was good at this.

I very rarely order dessert, but I felt I had to this time, you know, in the interest of thorough journalism. Chris got a marinated berries dish, that was honestly overpowered by ginger. I mean I like ginger as much as the next guy but it was damn near painful. I could swear I took a picture of it, but I can’t find it now. I’m probably still a little loopy from all the ginger.

Darcy and I both ordered the Creme Brulee sampler, which proved to be an amazingly good choice. It consisted of four different kinds of creme brulee served on cute little spoons. There was Saffron, Mocha, Chocolate, and Coconut. We both picked the coconut as our favorite, I don’t know if it will be offered as a full size dessert by itself, but if it is, order it Then order another to take back to your room and bathe in. Then maybe a third to take home for dessert the next day. It’s that good. The Saffron was nice and subtle, but maybe a little too subtle. I’m a big saffron fan but I would have had a very hard time picking out the flavor had I not been told up front what it was. The chocolate was chocolate, hard to fuck up but not particularly special just because it’s really hard to do something amazing with chocolate creme brulee. Mocha was my least favorite, but that’s more a matter of person taste than anything, I’m not a big coffee fan. Sarah is and she liked it a lot.

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Sarah got the cheese cake with berries. Well done, nice consistency, fresh fruit, and the portion size was fucking huge.

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We stayed super late, we were basically the last table there when we finally left at close to 11pm, so I’d very much like to thank our server, Jing, for putting up with us for multiple hours and dozens of glasses of wine.

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And the Head Chef Bruce ford was also amazing, not only for coming up with the menu and catering to special dietary concerns but also for spending probably half an hour fielding questions from us, early in the night logical food based questions and then a few dozen glasses of wine later some slurred nonsensical ones. Also, I inadvertently threw fruit at him.

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Overall I had a very nice time. All of the food was at least very solid, and some of the dishes were real home runs. In particular the pork belly appetizer and the coconut creme brulee. I’m going to go back in a few weeks, and this time I’ll make a point to actually have a steak. I wouldn’t say it’s destination dining, I doubt I’ll be driving down to the casinos on a weeknight just to eat there, but I will say for sure that if I’m going to the casinos, I will make sure I take the opportunity to eat there. I think I’ll start with the pork belly appetizer and finish with one gallon of the coconut creme brulee.

 

I don’t know who is doing this or what it means

But keep doing it, because it’s awesome.

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That is all.

What the hell did they do to riverside drive?

I’m having a really hard time understanding why they thought this was a good idea. They took the part that’s curvy as hell and right beside a park with walking and biking trails, and changed it from a divided road to an undivided two lane curvy road with a giant distract beside it for tourist and no barrier between lanes of traffic, in order to make room for walking and biking lanes, beside the fucking park?

Thanks.

Downtown Trolley Service Suspended

I don’t like it, I don’t like it one bit. According to the MATA website, Trolley Service will be down for “Three to six months” while they determine if they’re going to restore or replace the trolleys. It’s only been a couple of days and it’s already weird to see Main street with no Trolleys rolling by. I hope they make a quick return. This has to also suck for the businesses located on Main. The “Modified” route the busses are taking skips almost all of Main Street north of Peabody Place. No fun at all.

Also, can someone tell city market to decide when breakfast ends? Non-standard breakfast hours are my biggest pet peeve ever.

Free Month Membership to the Pink Palace

Now through midnight May 31st, you can get a free three month basic membership to the Pink Palace Museum.

Go to memphismuseums.org and click on free membership on the top right.

Need Condoms or just want to get condoms from a bona fide super hero?

CondomMan will be at the U of M campus dining area starting at around noon.

Memphis has a super hero.

And he’s definitely the hero Memphis needs. CondomMan has made prophylactics his priority. He’s a guy who spends his free time wearing a cape and visiting community centers, churches, and local businesses and handing out free condoms. He does all of this in proper super hero attire.

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He’s the superhero memphis needs, and I think he deserves some support. Add him on facebook, and, although I don’t believe he’s officially affiliated, a donation to Planned Parenthood of Memphis is never a bad idea if you’re into the cause.

Went to Belle Diner again tonight, still forgot my camera.

Just like last time, I went to Belle Diner and forgot to bring a decent camera to take pictures with. Luckily I now have a Nexus 5, which has a much better camera than the Nexus 4. Anyway, we actually went for the wine tasting I mentioned last time, but it turns out they only do that once a month now. Oh well, I think the next one is supposed to be next Wednesday, I’ll try to make it there.

Our waitress was the bartender, Shametrius, and she was absolutely awesome. I told her I liked dark beer and to pick one for me and she brought me a High Cotton Biere de Garde. Really interesting beer, looks like an amber, drinks more like a stout. If you aren’t in a big group, sit at the bar and hang out with her, you won’t regret it.

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I decided to order the roasted chicken again, because quite honestly I was craving the shit out of it ever since the last time I had it.

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I did decide to mix it up a bit though, I got the mac and cheese instead of the okra.

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My friend went with the salmon and the broccoli

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Overall everything was very good. The dinner rolls and cornbread are great, I had to make myself not fill up on them. The chicken was perfectly cooked, a little crisp to the outside and very juicy and tender inside. The sauce on it works really well with rice too, that was definitely a good decision. The salmon was also good, the remoulade on it was particularly delicious, just the right amount of spice without overwhelming everything else.

There were a few minor issues though. Both of our sides were pretty tasty, but both of them came sitting in soupy sauces. My picture of the sauce on the broccoli didn’t turn out, but it was basically the consistency of water. The mac and cheese was also tasty, but something was also going on with the sauce. I’m not sure if their cheese sauce broke or if the cheese they put on top just gets super oily when melted, but whatever the root cause was, the effect was less than appetizing:

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Mmmm, oily!

But like I said, the food was still good, we just had to rescue the sides from their watery/oily doom and move them to our entree plates. I’ll definitely be going back, I just might avoid the mac and cheese until I see someone else try it first.

 

 

Finally found a place to get my hair cut downtown.

I’ve been whining about this forever. I want an easy place to get my hair cut. I kept trying different places but they were easy crazy expensive, like Gould’s or had insane hours, like Revolution on front street. I’m actually pretty convinced revolution is a mob front or some shit, because they’re NEVER open. I stopped by today, a wednesday, at 4pm to find the door locked and the closed sign up.

Upon seeing this, I decided to finally take a friend’s recommendation to go to Epiphany. They’re located right at the bridge over to mud island, at the corner of Front and A. W. Willis (North Parkway). They have parking around the back. I walked in with no appointment, and after a very brief wait, I was in a chair having Lindsey shear my locks.

I was in serious need of a haircut and she made short work of it. It looks and feels much better, and was super cheap at $15. I think I’ve finally found my spot.

In the interest of maintaining the classic before and after trope, I’ll post two pictures with multiple differences for my before:

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And after:

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