Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Earnestine and Hazel's, Memphis, TN

Earnestine and Hazel's


Earnestine and Hazel's is a small bar at the corner of G.E. Patterson and Main Street, catty corner (that's diagonally for you northerners) across from the Arcade Restaurant. I've been there a number of times and it's always been good. They have a regular bar but the only food they serve is what they call the Soul Burger and plain potato chips. It's a burger with pickles, onions, and their special house sauce.

They are open late, until 2:00 AM or 3:00 depending on how busy it is.

The prices are pretty reasonable. A single burger is $6.00 and a double is $9.00, both including a bag of chips. Tonight's bill was less than $8.50 for a burger and diet Coke, not including tip.

They also have a free pool table during the week, then on the weekend, I think it's 50 cents per game It's one of those tables where you insert the coins, push the lever, and the balls come out. If you're a serious player, bring your own cue. Most of the cues there are warped.

They tout themselves as the "most haunted bar in America," claiming that the jukebox comes on when the ghosts activate it. I've never seen any ghosts, but I've definitely enjoyed the food.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Twain's Steak House, Robinsonville, MS


I've posted about this restaurant before, so I'll keep it relatively short. They are inside Sam's Town Casino. I went there Sunday night and it was great. I got the 6 ounce filet, loaded baked potato, and a Caesar salad.

I received a coupon in the mail for a free dinner for two and a friend and I went. I don't really gamble much anymore (I used to years ago) and I didn't gamble at all this night. We just ate and left. I have already received a coupon for next month and there are no free meals included, so I guess they've figured out I don't gamble much any more.

Prices are about average for a somewhat upscale steakhouse. The entire bill, including my food and my friend's food (two starters, two steaks, two potatoes, two drinks) was $101.50 before tip. The food is really good, but honestly, I won't be going back much since apparently my monthly comp coupons are no longer going to include food.

Service was a little tiny bit lacking this time. The restaurant was not very busy, we got there 2 1/2 hours before they closed, but the waitress kept forgetting to come back around. She asked me if I wanted sweetener with my iced tea and I said yes, but then didn't see her for several minutes, and the hostess came around and asked if I needed anything and brought it to me. Then the same thing happened every time I needed something else. I'm not one to complain. Things happen, it's just worth mentioning. I had the same waitress last time I was there and she wasn't like that then.

I definitely recommend them, however. It you gamble anyway, it's worth asking for a comp, and if you don't but just like going to nice restaurants, it's like going to any other steakhouse.

South of Beale, Memphis, TN

South of Beale


South of Beale is a small burger restaurant and bar in Memphis on Main Street at Vance Avenue. I went there for the first time a couple of years ago on recommendation of a friend and have been hooked since.

I went there tonight (Monday 1/29/2018) after a rehearsal. Each night they have a burger special but also also have a regular menu. Everything I've had has been great. Tonight, I got the the burger special, which was a burger with Claybrook Farms beef, cheddar arugula, spicy Asian mayo, and homemade fries and ketchup, and as always, it was great.

Side note: Not long ago, I recommended this place in a local Reddit sub and someone commented that he didn't like South of Beale because they "rely too much on their unique ingredients to make the food good." I'm not sure exactly what that means. He stated that the food was good but didn't like to eat there because of why the food was good. That confused me a little. If the food is good, why does it matter? Anyway, I definitely recommend them.

I've also had their duck patty melt, a sushi-type seared salmon appetizer, and a few other items and everything has been good.

Prices are about average for a downtown place. Not overpriced, but a little higher than somewhere in another part of the city. Tonight's dinner, including drink and tip, was about $21.00.

They do have their own, no cost parking lot. I thought that might be worth mentioning since a few places downtown don't.

Bonus review!

I went there back on November 15 and got a three-course dinner special they were offering that night. There was a choice between several things, and I got duck fried rice, wood fired salmon with artichokes, and creme brulee and it was great. I don't remember how much it was exactly, but it seems like it was around $30.00 with drink and tip.

Avellino's Southaven, MS



Avellino's is as a small Italian restaurant in Southaven on Goodman Road east of Elmore in the strip mall behind Harbor Freight Tools.

I go there regularly, especially on Saturday nights, because it's buy one get one free appetizer night. I went there this past Saturday night and got my usual, boneless wings and jalapeno poppers. Their poppers are better than most other places in my opinion because they use cream cheese instead of cheddar or other kinds. All of their sauces are home made also. I get ranch with these two appetizers. This is what I get almost every time when I go there on Saturday night, but I've had a number of their other dishes, and they have all been really good.

Prices are about average.  On BOGO night, I only spend about $11.00 including tip and drink, but on other nights, it's usually around $18 or so depending on what I get.

Not long ago, I had a slice of their supreme pizza which was really good and I've also had a couple of their sandwiches, several pasta dishes, and their chef salad. Highly recommended!

Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana, Germantown, TN

Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana


Deli Mexicana is small Mexican Restaurant on Germantown Road a little north of Wolf River Blvd. They also have a location in East Memphis on Poplar, but that location is new and I don't know if that it's is open yet.

I've been there several times but had not been recently, and it was as good as I remember! It's definitely not your typical Mexican restaurant. The owner is from Mexico City and the dishes are authentic, made the way he grew up eating them. Everything I've had there has been great.

This picture is from this past Saturday afternoon. I had a rehearsal near there and went in for a late lunch on the way home. This is chicken tamales with green sauce and white cream.

The prices are a little more probably than your typical Mexican restaurant, but for that price, you get great, all fresh ingredients, and I have yet to have anything that wasn't just fantastic. They don't even have cheese dip, and normally I pick Mexican restaurants based on their queso, so that give you an idea of how much I like their food. This order of two tamales with chips was around $11.00, but well worth the price.

The only reason I don't go there more often is because I don't get over to that area much any more.

Main Street Doughnuts, Southaven, MS

Main Street Doughnuts


Main Street Doughnuts is one of the few doughnut shops I go to. I've been trying to eat a little healthier lately and part of that for me is eating fewer carbs, but every now and then I want a kolachi and they have the best of all the places I've tried.

They are located on Hamilton Road in Southaven just east of I-55 off Stateline Road. They open pretty early in the morning like most doughnut shops and close early in the afternoon.

I started trying their kolachis on recommendation of a friend a few months ago and have been hooked since.

This picture is from this past Friday morning on my way home from work.

Their prices are typical of most shops. These two kolachis, doughnut, and a drink was around $9.00

I also recommend OB Donuts in Olive Branch. Their doughnuts and kolachis are good also, I just happen to like Main Street's a little more.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Marlow's, Memphis, TN


This past Wednesday, I went back to Marlow's to try the barbecue. It was good. I won't say it was the best I've ever had, but it was definitely good, and I would go back if I was in the mood. I also tried an order of fried Gouda cheese and it was really good, although to be honest, I thought the appetizer was a little overpriced, but hey, that's part of the expense when you eat out at restaurants, and to be fair, the cheese pieces were fairly large. The house made marinara was good too.

All together including drink and tip, I spent about $25.00, but remember that included the appetizer, and there was plenty of barbecue, slaw, and beans. I would definitely recommend it.

Both times I went, it was a little loud inside, but they have a large bar right in the middle of the restaurant, so it's hard to get away from the commotion. They do have a separate dining area (which also has a gift shop that I didn't go into this time) so next time, I'll sit in there if it's open.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Brother Juniper's, Memphis, TN

Brother Juniper's


Brother Juniper's is a small cafe/breakfast shop in Memphis on Walker in the University of Memphis area. I've been there several times, but found out recently they have a Monte Cristo sandwich, which I really like, so I decided to try it.

Their Monte Cristo was different than any I've had before, but it was good. It had a hint of cinnamon and was served with maple syrup, so it's more of a breakfast sandwich, but again, it was really good, just not what I was expecting. Instead of using syrup, I wanted to eat it like a regular sandwich so I asked for some mayo. All they have is packets of Sysco Foods mayo, which to be honest, didn't have much taste, but the sandwich itself, and the home fries it came with were good.

All together including drink and tip, I spent about $15.00. The next time I go, this sandwich won't be my first choice, but it was definitely worth trying, and I will order it again next time I'm in the mood for a Monte Cristo.  I've also had their omelets and pancakes which are really good too.

They are only open for breakfast and early lunch, and closed on Mondays so check their hours before going.

Marlow's, Memphis, TN



Marlow's is a barbecue restaurant on Elvis Presley Blvd in Memphis, just north of Shelby Drive. I heard about it a few months ago but just now got the chance to try it last night. Oddly enough, I wasn't in the mood for barbecue so I got a cheeseburger instead. I tried the Blue Suede Burger, which as the name implies, was a burger with blue cheese (real blue cheese crumbles) and an onion ring, and a side order of fries, and a side salad.

It was really good. I asked the waiter about the barbecue he said that he always gets a burger and hasn't had the barbecue, so I'll find out next time if I'm in the mood. The side salad was really good to; It was mixed greens with real blue cheese crumbles in the blue cheese dressing.

Prices were about average. With drink and tip, my total was around $15.00.

One really convenient this about Marlow's is, they are open kind of late. I went last night around 10:00 and I think the kitchen is open until midnight.

A-Tan Asian Restaurant, Memphis, TN



A-Tan is an Asian restaurant near Poplar and Highland in Memphis, TN, back behind the Perkins restaurant. I've been there several times over the last few years. One of my cousins told me about it a few years and I met her for dinner there one night and have been going ever since. They have a Chinese side and a Japanese Hibachi side, but I have never eaten on the hibachi side.

I went there a few days ago with a friend of mine and got the General Tso's Chicken, one of my favorite Asian dishes. I've had it several times and it's always been good and the other day was no exception. They also have good sushi, but I didn't get sushi this time.

Prices are about average. I got there just before the lunch menu times were finished, so I was able to get lunch prices which included an egg roll and steamed or fried rice. I think all together with drink and tip and total was around $12.00.

Old Style BBQ, Olive Branch, MS

Old Style, BBQ


Old Style is a small family owned barbecue restaurants right off Highway 78 in Olive Branch. I've been there several times, and the food has always been good. I can't figure out their time schedule. They are open until 9 during the week and until 10 on the weekends, but sometimes the dining room side is closed and only the "fast food" side is open. I prefer the dining room side, but either way, the food is good.

I went there this past Thursday night. I was supposed to have a rehearsal but it was canceled due to the weather, so one of the other musicians and I went there to eat. I usually get the BBQ plate with beans and a salad, but on the fast food side, the salad isn't as good, so this last time I got fries and beans. On the fast food side, all food is served in a to go box.

The prices are about average. I had a BOGO coupon and the total with drinks was about $13.00. Normally, it's about that price per person.

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Crazy Cactus, Olive Branch, MS

The Crazy Cactus


The Crazy Cactus is a small Mexican Restaurant in Olive Branch. They used to be in Memphis and I had been there several times so I expected it to be good.

I was supposed to have a rehearsal in Memphis tonight but it was canceled due to the weather but it wasn't bad in my area yet, so one of the other trumpet players and I decided to meet there for dinner.

I had a chicken fajita quesadilla (not chicken fajitas) and my friend had tacos, and both were great. I also got a side of cheese dip which was really good also. I pick my Mexican restaurants based on how good the cheese dip is since the food is generally similar at most, and I will definitely be back to the Crazy Cactus!

Prices were about average. I spent a little over $20 including drink and tip, but that included a large cheese dip.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Fitzgerald's Casino Buffet, Robinsonville, MS

Fitzgerald's Casino


Fitz is the casino I go to the most. I like to play craps occasionally and I happen to like this particular casino. It's not usually too busy and has a pretty good buffet. I went there tonight and even though I didn't have any luck at the gaming table, I had pretty good luck at the dining table (pardon the bad pun!)

Tonight's choice was a salad with some chicken salad on the side and from the other sections, I got a piece of fried fish, some fried shrimp, some macaroni and cheese, then went back a got a small serving of spaghetti. I normally don't like spaghetti because most places make it too plain, but Fitz always does a good job.

I've been there quite a bit over the years. I used to go to the casinos all the time years ago before my father died (it was all he liked to do) so I could ride with him, but after he died a took a break for a few years, and about 3 years ago, started going back occasionally.

The casino scene has really changed in Tunica over the last few years. At one time, there were 12 or 13 casinos, and they were always packed no matter what night you went. Lately, they are much less busy, and there are only 8 total, Sam's Town, Hollywood, Resorts (which doesn't even have a craps table now), Fitzgerald's, Gold Strike, Horseshoe, Roadhouse, which doesn't even have a buffet now, and First Jackpot which used to be Bally's until just a few months ago. Years ago, every casino had a buffet, a steak house, a cafe or diner, and a few had even other restaurants and most of the restaurants were open late. Now the buffets are only open until 9 or 10 at night and the steak houses are only open a few nights per week for a few hours.

If you have to pay, prices at the Fitz are about average for a casino buffet. It's about $20 normally, except on Friday nights when it's $30, but that includes seafood and Corky's ribs. I had a comp coupon that I received in the mail because I do play there from time to time.

I went the Gold Strike buffet a couple of weeks ago and was really impressed. It's the only casino that has a sushi bar as part of the buffet, and everything I got was good, but it's usually pretty busy, so I go elsewhere, usually to Fitz, which has always pretty good when I've been.

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Country Skillet, Southaven, MS

The Country Skillet


The Country Skillet is a small restaurant in a strip mall across the street from Dale's Restaurant on Stateline Road in Southaven. I've been there a number of times and in the past, everything has been great. I usually get a cheeseburger, but I've had their cheeseburger salad, and a few different items on the breakfast menu.

Today I had the ham club sandwich which, to be honest, was average. It was not bad at all, just nothing special, however, as I said, everything else has been great and if I am in the mood for a club sandwich, I would definitely order it again. I substituted onion rings for French fries and they are good also.

The waitresses have always been friendly, the food comes out quickly, and the prices are reasonable. Today, with drink and tip, I spent about $12.00.

I highly recommend it, especially the breakfast. They open early, 6:00 AM and are only open for breakfast and lunch.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Neighborhood Grill, Olive Branch, MS

The Neighborhood Grill


The Neighborhood Grill is a small mom and pop cafe on Highway 178 in Olive Branch. It is owned by someone that used to work at my agency, so I had heard quite a bit about it. I went there yesterday morning after work because it's near my doctor's office and I already had an early morning appointment. They are only open for breakfast and lunch and at 6:15 they were already pretty busy, which I took, correctly, as a good sign.

I got an order of scrambled eggs and sausage, along with a ham sandwich. I didn't realize the plate I ordered came with biscuits I wouldn't have ordered the sandwich, but I'm glad I did. The biscuits were fluffy and soft, and everything was great. The ham sandwich was particularly good.

The prices were fair. I spent about $13.00 including a drink and tip. I will definitely be back!

I went back the next day and got almost the same thing and it was just as good.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Mr. Rusty's Real Taste of Chicago, Memphis, TN

Mr. Rusty's Real Taste of Chicago


This one is out of order date wise.

Mr. Rusty's is a small cafe on Winchester Road at Cazassa Street a few blocks west of Airways. I have been there a few times now and this picture is from October 6, 2017. Everybody that works there is really friendly and the food is great, although honestly, I've gotten the same thing every time so far, which is the sausage and beef hoagie sandwich. Everything comes with french fries.

Every time I've been, someone was with me and they said what they got was great too.

I first found Mr. Rusty's about two years ago after I visited Chicago for the first time, and I highly recommend it. It is a small cafe with a few tables with a casual atmosphere and a large screen television to watch while enjoying your meal.

Sam's Town Casino Buffett, Robinsonville, MS

Sam's Town Tunica


I went there tonight to the Great Buffet for the first time in a number of years, and to be honest, I was a little disappointed. The food was mostly average, but the fried catfish was kind of stringy. I didn't happen to take any pictures like I usually do, but it was standard buffet fare.

I got some fried shrimp which was pretty good, a piece of fried catfish which I didn't eat all of, some chicken and dumplings, some macaroni and cheese, some Asian stir fried mushrooms with pork, and a small piece of what I think was supposed to be cheesecake. By far, the best item was the Asian mushroom dish, which was very tasty, but everything else was average. The waiter was very friendly and kept our drinks refilled, so I was was pleased with the service.

Friday night is BBQ and ribs night, but I didn't happen to get either of those. The ribs looked good and my friend that was with me got some, but didn't comment on how he liked them and I forgot ask.

I received a coupon in the mail for a free buffet so I didn't pay out of pocket for it, and to be honest, it would not have been worth the $20 it would have normally cost. The best part of the trip was the fact that I won $20 using a free play coupon that was included with the buffet coupon.

It's also worth mentioning just so it's clear, I went at about 5:30 PM so I wasn't there late or during the last few minutes before they were about to close. It had only been open about a hour and a half when I arrived, and was scheduled to be open for another few hours.

That said, however, I have been Twain's Steakhouse and Smokey Joe's Cafe (the cafe has great sandwiches) and both of those have always been good, so overall, I would recommend Sam's Town, I just wasn't awestruck by their buffet.

Bonus review:

On November 27, 2017, I ate at Twain's Steakhouse at Sam's Town and it was very good. It's a much more formal atmosphere, but casual enough for the average person. This is the 6 ounce filet with Bearnaise sauce, baked potato, and Caesar salad. Prices are about what you would expect for a semi-formal steakhouse. The total bill for two people for one entree, side item, and a salad was right at $100, but it was worth it even though I didn't have to pay (I had a comp).

They are only open Thursday through Sunday after 5:00 PM.

The Mellow Mushroom, Memphis,TN

The Mellow Mushroom


The Mellow Mushroom is a national chain, and generally, I won't be reviewing many chains because as a rule, I prefer privately owned and "mom and pop" types of restaurants, but this was the first time I have been there, and it was surprisingly good.

There are two locations in this area, but I went to the one at Park Avenue and White Station Road in Memphis. Prices were probably a little high for a pizza joint. I spent almost $19 before tip for a soda and small pizza. The pizza was plenty for a meal, but definitely just enough for one person.

I got the "House Special" which is basically a supreme. It had their house red sauce along with pepperoni, sausage, ground beef, ham, and bacon, and the veggies were mushroom, black olives, roma tomatoes, green peppers, onions, and mozzarella. It was really good. My friend also ordered a side order of hummus and I tried that and it was really good as well.

The ambiance was a little too noisy for my personal taste. I met a buddy of mine there, and we had to talk really loudly to hear each other over the background clamor. That said, however, overall, I enjoyed it.

Monday, January 1, 2018

The Dirty Crow Inn, Memphis, TN

The Dirty Crow Inn


The Dirty Crow is a bar and grill on Kentucky Street just off Crump Blvd in Memphis. I've been there a couple of times but it's been during lunch time on a weekday. I would guess that on weekend nights, it's much more of a bar, but during the day it's not too crowded or loud. It's small with only a few tables and the waitresses were really friendly.

This is the "We Don't Bluff" burger, a burger with cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce, bacon, and onion straws. It was great. Last time I got a hot dog special that was great too, but they don't always have that.

The prices are average. With drink and tip I spent about $15.00.