Muddy’s Bake Shop

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5101 Sanderlin Ave Ste 114
Memphis, TN 38117
Website

This is the eternal debate- the best cupcake in Memphis. Well, for me there is really no debate. Muddy’s wins hands down. But for some people, I guess they disagree with me.  (Here’s a pretty funny joke about the debate.)

Muddy’s is everything good in this world. It smells of happiness. It oozes whatever good dreams are made of. If you are having a bad day, go to Muddy’s. They will make it all better.  These people work miracles with butter and sugar and possibly black magic. Actually, scratch that. If it’s magic, it’s good magic. They would be the Harry Potter’s of the cupcake world.

And this Saturday night when I selected and paid for my cupcakes, something even more amazing happened. They were half off. Yes, that’s right. After 10 on Saturday’s they do happy hour. I think it’s half off anyway. They were really cheap. Of course the selection is limited because they have been serving a weekend full of the work weary hoards of Memphians who know this secret oasis in East Memphis. (I like to think it is a secret since things that aren’t a local “secret” sometimes get ruined by the demands of, let’s say, the less appreciative customers…  if you are those customers and you attempt to turn Muddy’s into something it is not, we will hunt you down and run you out of Memphis, just so you know.)

Muddy’s is everything I love about Memphis and why I named my blog Memphis is not so bad. They are a local business. They do only what they like to do, and they do it well. Just this week they gave away free pie all afternoon.  Of course they got an overwhelming response, and I’m sure some people tried to take advantage, and I bet they even encountered some people who weren’t appreciative. But I know them, and they will do another promotion another day that is just as amazing and worth every bit of the hassle to go check it out. The selection is different each day, so you can always try something new. But you can always grab your favorite Capote or Prozac (as long as you get there before they sell out). But if they have sold out, they will still be there with a smile and a coffee, and a shot of icing, or whatever other baked good is left. You can sit in the mid century seats and eat on a real plate with a real fork and really, truly enjoy the decadence of your little moment.  Magic happens at Muddy’s!

Photographed above are Frankly Scarlet, Capote, & Prozac (to go).

Photographed above are Frankly Scarlet, Capote, & Prozac (to go).

Muddy's Bake Shop on Urbanspoon

Central BBQ (Downtown Location)

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Central BBQ on Urbanspoon

So, I’ve been gone a while. I have lots of excuses.

I’ve been working a lot. Been to some amazing places. Singapore, Vietnam, Mexico, France. I’ve moved. I’ve started (and stopped and started again and stopped again and tried to start again) running. I’ve had a couple birthdays. Taken on yet another website to manage (as a volunteer). In all that there are a few things that remained the same. One of them was Central BBQ.

I live in Arkansas and commute to Memphis for work. So when I heard a new Central location was opening downtown I thought it must be too good to be true. (Others had the same sentiment as you can see at my favorite Memphis blog here: What Should We Call Memphis? )

But it wasn’t. It happened. It actually happened. And even better- there is parking. That’s right. You can both eat AND park your car at THE SAME PLACE. Downtown! And it’s Central BBQ! It’s a freaking miracle from God. Nothing less. On your knees people. Give thanks. Damas gracias.

So, there have actually been many meals that tempted me to start writing again (and with help from my dad and sister who dine with me 99% of the time, I hope to go back and write about the best ones), but this is what really did it for me. I love having places to go downtown. And I’m scared for them. I’ve heard whispers that the market is being over saturated with restaurants. I’m seeing great places with lots of empty tables. Great chefs are sitting around with nothing to do on week nights. So, I will be the crazy person sitting next to you taking photos of the food on the table. Don’t make fun of me. I’m trying to help!

So, for the food, you’ll remember I posted a while back about another location. Basically it’s the same food. We order lots of different things now and really never find anything we don’t like. We always get nachos. But surprise of all surprises, you can get them on fries, tortilla chips, or their homemade BBQ chips. The BBQ chips are a bit salty for the nachos (and that’s saying a lot coming from me who salts almost everything) but half fries and half tortilla chips is the way to go.

This trip I also tried the smoked sausage sandwich. This is a big deal because I don’t usually eat anything that looks anything like it might taste like a hot dog. Let me assure you, this does not taste like a hot dog. It’s amazing. Put some extra of the darker BBQ sauce on it and it’s perfect. I went over board with the chips. I really didn’t need them, but just seemed like I should order them with the sandwich.

Then the last photo is my dad’s combo plate. Sorry the photo is a bit blurry. I know one of those is brisket, and we all liked it. I think the other two are pork and chicken. Whatever you get there will be great. Other regular things me, my family, and friends love include ribs, pork sandwiches, the salad, the sausage and cheese plate, and the hot wings. Peace, love, and BBQ my friends!

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Nachos (pork, half fries, half tortilla chips)

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Smoked Sausage Sandwich with BBQ Chips

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Combo Plate

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143 Beale St
Memphis, TN 38103
(901) 578-3031

We went during “downtown dining week” and the food was just ridiculous. Let me preface this with a bit about Downtown Dining Week.  This is one week each year when the best restaurants from Downtown Memphis get together and offer a set menu (3-4 courses) for $20.11 (or the cents are whichever year it is, haha). I’ve not attended before this year, and I was delighted to see so many great options. The website has which courses are offered at each place, and most of them let you reserve your table using  OpenTable.com.  So, long story short, they are all very busy with people who may not normally come to their restaurants, and they are probably a little over worked and under-tipped for their trouble. That being said…

Itta Bena was a complete waste of my time and calories.  We each chose the soup (other choice was salad), the shrimp and grits (other choice was a pork chop) and the brownie a la mode (the only choice).

Each of our 3 soups had shells in it, which I know happens sometimes. But, for each of us to complain of it several times, this means they were careless in their preparation.  Maybe becuase they knew it was on the Downtown Dining Menu? I’ll leave that to you to decide, as my opinion would be based on unfair assumptions.

The entrees were appetizer sized. And you all know how I loathe the super sized servings that most restaurants have adopted which contributed to American’s obesity issue.  But literally, it was less than a 1/4 cup of grits, and 3 shrimp (not exaggerating).

The desert was dry and obviously left over from previous days (brownie- from a box, I guess?). Also, they had not even attempted to dress the plate in any way. It was a brown square of cardboard with a white golf ball of icecream. That’s it.

The meal was in NO WAY worth even the discounted $20 they charged for it.

And on top of that, it was my birthday. So, it was complete waste of time and a huge let down for a special birthday meal. I’ve eaten there before when the food was great, but has turned me off of them for good.

Sorry there are no photos to prove all of this. I had decided to enjoy my birthday dinner without worrying about photos…. great plan, aye?

Itta Bena on Urbanspoon

Kooky Canuck

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97 S 2nd St
Memphis, TN 38103
 

We have eaten at Kooky Canuck’s several times over the years. Heck, when we started going their it was still called Big Foot’s (no copyright infringement intended).  Turns out Big Foot owns his name and didn’t want the restaurant to use it- or something like that.

Over the years we have tried a lot of things, including the Big Foot Burger (or Kookamonga as they now call it) and it was all it was hyped up to be- a giant burger big enough to feed at least an average sized family. We cut ours like a pizza so we each had burger slices, which is kind of cool because you get more bites that you usually only get from the very inside of a regular sized burger. It did take quite a while to cook, but you know that going in, so all is fair. Added onto the long wait that you almost always have on Friday or Saturday  nights (heck-even weeknights if there is an event nearby) and you are looking at a couple hours for dinner.

Southwestern Salad

But moving on-I think I have tried a lot of things on their menu, including: Fried Dill Pickles, Onion Rings, Fried Green Tomatoes, Poutine, BBQ Egg Rolls, Meatloaf, & Marinated Chicken. They were all pretty good, but my favorites were the Fried Pickles and Fried Green Tomatoes.  Seeing a theme here?

This particular trip we were going just before Beauty and the Beast at the Orpheum. I ordered the Southwestern Salad, which was described as follows: Crispy greens with tomato, corn, black beans, sweet and spicy pecans, cilantro, sour cream, cheese, and tortilla strips, all tossed in our Mexi-ranch dressing then topped with your choice of fried or grilled chicken. The photo above is what it looked like. Needless to say, I was a little disappointed. Where is everything? Of course the fried pieces of chicken were great, but I could have gotten that off of the kid’s menu. I wanted a real salad.

BLFGT & Sweet Potato Fries

My sister got the BL ‘FG’ T (Bacon, Lettuce, Fried Green Tomato Sandwich) which looked and tasted wonderful. So were the sweet potato fries. My neice got the kids mac-n-cheese with fries. Her fries were the best thing I tasted while there, but that was probably because I was so mad at myself for ordering that stupid salad at a place like Kooky Canuck’s.  She wasn’t nuts about the mac-n-cheese, and looking at it, I was pretty sure that was because it had been reheated. The sauce had that chunky texture that reheated Kraft Mac-N-Cheese gets (yes, I know this from experience). So I really couldn’t blame her for not wanting to eat it.

Kids Mac N Cheese with Fries

Kooky Canuck on Urbanspoon

Central BBQ

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2249 Central Ave
Memphis, TN 38104
Check them out at: http://cbqmemphis.com/

Salad with Chicken

I’m not sure how I mustered up the will power, but I managed to order something other than nachos during our last visit to Central BBQ.  I settled on the salad, and I was surprisingly impressed.  It had a plethora of chicken on it, and the dressing was really fantastic (honey mustard). I also tried the beans which came with my sister’s order, and they were probably the best BBQ baked beans I have had in Memphis. That’s saying a lot but I think it’s the truth!

Pork Sandwich with Beans

My sister got the sandwich and my dad got the platter, and the both loved theirs as well.  Central BBQ also has a little bar with all their sauces, so I was able to try their liquidy vinegar based sauce even though I didn’t really order any true BBQ style dishes.  It was perfect to help the salad out and by cutting down on the higher fat dressing.  Kudos to all restaurants who put their condiments out so you don’t have to feel like an idiot asking for sauces that don’t really go with what you ordered!

BBQ Platter

Between the fantastic food and the perfect casual & funky atmosphere, I can’t wait to go back!

Central BBQ (Midtown) on Urbanspoon

La Guadalupana

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4818 Summer Ave

Memphis, TN

(901) 685-6857

 

I had been hearing some amazing things about this really great, really authentic Mexican place on Summer Ave.  So, when we tried to get pizza at the Pizza Shack and were shooed away becuase they had booked the whole place and failed to put a sign up, we gladly decided to try out La Guadalupana.

It was busy and even in the large space, almost half of the tables were full.  The waiter kept up and was in good spirits, which is always nice.

The real treat for me, though, was finding my favorite authentic Mexican dish on the menu-chilaquiles! They are, when prepared as they should be, freshly fried strips of corn tortillas covered with chicken, cheese, and either red or green sauce.  As usual in America, they were served on chips instead of freshly fried strips and baked with everything together, which means it was soggy by the time they got to me. But hey, I got Chilaquiles, so it was a good day for me.  The sauce was that deep, dark, rustic red color that always comes with a smoky taste. Also, it was just hot enough for me but not overwhelming, which is hard to do.  Definitely worth a try!

Chilaquiles

My dad got a chicken enchilada which was served with the green sauce. It has a mild citrus taste and is perfect for anyone who doesn’t like things to spicy but doesn’t want to cover their food in melted cheese & fat!

Chicken Enchilada

My sister got the burrito, which was huge! It tasted great to me, but she wasn’t too happy about the raw onions on it. I can see how raw onions should probably be listed on the menu since so many people don’t like them, but I think the restaurant did the best they could with their English to Spanish translations on the menu items.

Giant Burrito

All in all, I loved it and hope to go back sometime. Another place in Memphis that is not so bad! :)

La Guadalupana on Urbanspoon

Bombay House

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1727 N Germantown Pkwy
Cordova, TN

(901) 755-4114
Check them out at: www.bombayhouserestaurant.com

Bombay House on Urbanspoon

I know my blog is called Memphis Is Not So Bad.  However, I just had a pretty terrible lunch experience.  I normally don’t write about restaurants that did average-to-poorly because it just causes more stir around their name and can actually end up being good for them if they were otherwise falling off into obscurity.

But, I am just too disappointed about the $10 I just wasted at Bombay House not to take advantage of my public forum for complaining.  We made the mistake of arriving later than the normal lunch crowd (around 2:00 pm). The buffet was scheduled, according to the website, to end at 2:30pm.  Ignoring that the waiter had no concept of personal space and practically sat on our table when pouring our drinks (face forward, might I add, if you get my meaning), I slipped out of the booth while he was busy with the water.


The food looked about par for Indian buffet food. I started off with cucumbers and Tzatziki sauce, which was fair enough. I filtered my way throughout the other foods as time went on (about 20 minutes to be exact) and most of the food was so-so. Nothing too fantastic or so unique that anyone could really have anything to complain about (or praise, in my opinion). The chicken curry didn’t taste like a curry at all, but more like chicken in ketchup. Maybe some people like it, I don’t know.  

The food isn’t really why I am so bummed that I wasted $10.  We spent those very long 20 minutes or so listening to what I can only call Indian rave music.  I only stopped being irritated by this when I was distracted by another loud noise-I began hearing a waiter or other staff member yelling in Hindi. I don’t think he was mad or anything, but with him standing just outside the kitchen and myself sitting in the middle of the dining area, I swear the people in the parking lot could have clearly heard him.  At one point, it actually became funny that he didn’t realize how insanely inappropriate his behavior was.   It takes a lot to take me from irritated to laughter, but he did it. And the reason I know for sure that I was there no longer than 20 minutes- at about 2:30 they started taking down all the food. This is fine as far as the food goes because we were actually finishing up. But they had no way to know that because we were still eating from the plates we had just made.  The waiter brought us our check when we obviously weren’t done eating yet.  So then I started thinking “maybe that loud idiot really did know that people actually in India could probably hear him… he just wanted us to leave!” And, back to irritated.

Not good enough for your hard earned money. Try one of the other places in town which I have heard great things about, like India Palace or Golden India.