Hot!2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas

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The Travelin Man
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 17:45:20 (permalink)
buffetbuster

TJ got it!  I will go ahead and drop an autographed photo of wanderingjew in the mail to you.

lleechef-
I wish I could drop off a slice of pie in the mail to you!

Despite knowing the correct answer for the question, I still think you were the one who wrote "WOOP WOOP."
#31
ChiTownDiner
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 18:06:33 (permalink)
Alcenia's - where to begin!  So, so good! 

The fried green tomatoes were exquisite!  I didn't even notice the bottled ranch.  Light as tempura, devoid of corn meal (from the lips of Ms. BJ as she described the breading) tart as confirmed by bb and overall spectacular. I kept trying to get bb to take more pictures to get an extra slice on 'em...but he is wise in the ways of communal dining, even with just 2 at the table! 

The catfish bites - could we really have two grand slams back-to-back...oh yeah we did.  Not a drop of grease, light and flakey with the same great coating as the green tomatoes and later the pork chop, it paired perfectly with the house-made tartar sauce which was so chunky and flavorful I did really talk about it for days! 

Things get blurry after this as the number of dishes multiplies exponentially and the flashes of bb's knife and fork creates a strobe light effect which disturbs my memory but not my appetite.  The fried pork chop was indeed the single best food item on the trip - yes, even one-upping Does Eat Place in Little Rock.  Moist, perfectly seasoned and once again, batter from heaven!

The sides, with the exception of the aforementioned spaghetti were all solid.  The whole okra was new to me and I really enjoyed it. 
Mac 'n cheese - I've bathed in it before, so there's not much more to say than there was absolutely none left. Same for most of bb's sides, loved 'em.

The cole slaw was rich, creamy and beautifully presented as bb's picture provides confirmation.  I am a creamy cole slaw guy so this was right up my alley!  Loved it!

With regard to the pie...and several "extra" courses we enjoyed, I have always found Roadfooders to be extremely intelligent and therefore, I know you all know, it takes TWO to tango or to fight over pie!  So much for "no designs on dessert!"

With regard to a few tasting items that came from the kitchen on the house, the food items at Alcenia's really come from the heart and I believe Miss BJ wanted to share her love and pride in everything leaving that kitchen with two guys who were pretty damn excited!  I had to keep mopping bb's brow and calming him down between course and photography!

This could easily be the best meal of the year in a year of great meals!  The food, our host, my dining companion...my strongest recommendation to anyone visiting Memphis! 
 
post edited by ChiTownDiner - 2013/10/24 19:29:55
#32
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 18:20:03 (permalink)
ChiTownDiner

Alcenia's - where to begin!  So, so good! 
The fried green tomatoes were exquisite!  I didn't even notice the bottled ranch.  Light as tempura, devoid of corn meal (from the lips of Ms. BJ as she described the breading) tart as confirmed by bb and overall spectacular. I kept trying to get bb to take more pictures to get an extra slice on 'em...but he is wise in the ways of communal dining, even with just 2 at the table! 
The catfish bites - could we really have two grand slams back-to-back...oh yeah we did.  Not a drop of grease, light and flakey with the same great coating as the green tomatoes and later the pork chop, it paired perfectly with the house-made tartar sauce which was so chunky and flavorful I did really talk about it for days! 
Things get blurry after this as the number of dishes multiplies exponentially and the flashes of bb's knife and fork creates a strobe light effect which disturbs my memory but not my appetite.  The fried pork chop was indeed the single best food item on the trip - yes, even one-upping Does Eat Place in Little Rock.  Moist, perfectly seasoned and once again, batter from heaven!
The sides, with the exception of the aforementioned spaghetti were all solid.  The whole okra was new to me and I really enjoyed it. 
Mac 'n cheese - I've bathed in it before, so there's not much more to say than there was absolutely none left. Same for most of bb's sides, loved 'em.
The cole slaw was rich, creamy and beautifully presented as bb's picture provides confirmation.  I am a creamy cole slaw guy so this was right up my alley!  Loved it!
With regard to the pie...and several "extra" courses we enjoyed, I have always found Roadfooders to be extremely intelligent and therefore, I know you all know, it takes TWO to tango or to fight over pie!  So much for "no designs on dessert!"
With regard to a few tasting items that came from the kitchen on the house, the food items at Alcenia's really come from the heart and I believe Miss BJ wanted to share her love and pride in everything leaving that kitchen with two guys who were pretty damn excited!  I had to keep mopping bb's brow and calming him down between course and photography!
This could easily be the best meal of the year in a year of great meals!  The food, our host, my dining companion...my strongest recommendation to anyone visiting Memphis! 


I think this is the start of your Alzheimer's kicking in, not a food related disturbance.  Although a food coma could bring about the same symptoms as you describe, good thing you both are professional eaters
#33
love2bake
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 19:21:56 (permalink)
BB - no slices to go for later?!?  " />  Waahhhhhh
 
(Where's CC's wagging finger icon when I need it?)
 
 
#34
ChiTownDiner
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 19:31:20 (permalink)
L2B - you missed the 3 to go part!  You think I'm letting the lad leave a pie shop empty handed! 
#35
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 21:15:22 (permalink)
Arghh--that's embarrassing! 
 
I am not at my best right now and only looked at the pics.  I'll go back and read.
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 21:20:39 (permalink)
So love2bake, what would have been your pie choices?
 
Excellent rundown CTD, especially the description of the catfish bites!  Much appreciated.
#37
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 00:12:49 (permalink)
Mmmm!!!
 
My choices would be Tato Patch (sweet potato), Cool Breeze (lemon icebox), Moonshiner (bourbon--couldn't tell if this was with pecans or with some other filling, but I'd try it either way), Company Iz Coming (especially if it's coconut custard), Zoe's (cherry), and Coolin Ya Heels (Key lime).  Maybe the chocolate, too.
#38
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 07:30:18 (permalink)
L2B - this was a pretty unexpectedly interesting place.  Strip mall decor and small, it lacked some of the homey features I have come to expect in family run pie shops.  On the other hand, the selection was large - although there were NO crumb topped pies which are my favorite.  I would have selected the cherry also but they were out of that one.  The staff was friendly and warmed up to us as the cameras came out and the banter with the table next to us picked up.  Overall, the most important feature is the pie!  And on this, they excelled.  I loved all of them especially the surpisingly refreshing strawberry.  I think most Roadfooders would love this place...and a few made the journey over the next few days.  CTD
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 07:50:06 (permalink)
That's what I like about you CajunKing, you don't mess around!  You were one of the couple people I was thinking I would love to come here with.  And how can you not like a place that names one of their pies "Good Googa Mooga"!
 
love2bake-
That is also a fine list you have.  I like that right away you zeroed in on what are generally considered Southern pies.
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 08:23:31 (permalink)
We made it to Payne's

just about ten minutes before they closed.  There was still plenty of people sitting down and eating in the large, sparse dining room, so we didn't feel rushed. 
 
A little background on my experience at Payne's.  A few years ago, a handful of us stopped in at another Payne's, located on Elvis Presley Boulevard and it was truly awful.  The meat was incredibly fatty, the service was painfully slow, the toilet in the bathroom had overflowed (okay, that may have been my fault, but luckily we had a plumber with us) and the place was just dirty.  Looking back on it, we should have walked out rather than eaten there.  This has made me not want to eat at Payne's ever again. 
 
Since then, the Sterns named Payne's their top choice for barbecue pork sandwich in their 500 Things To Eat book.  That got my attention.  On top of that, wanderingjew visited the other Payne's location on Lamar Avenue and declared it his favorite, also.  Okay, those two things convinced me to give them another try.
 
You order at the window

and while we were standing there looking over the menu board,

one of the employees swooped in and placed a plate full of peach fried pies right in front of us. 

Of course we considered this as a sign that we were meant to buy one, so we did.
 
I chose a booth near the window for better light and CTD brought the food over.  Just by looking at the food, you could tell that we were in the presence of greatness.  The pork bbq sandwich


was truly a thing of beauty.  The cole slaw on top of the sandwiches was surprisingly yellow, but was not overly mustardy.  This was the perfect combination of tender chopped inside meat, chewy outside meat, fresh cole slaw and a mild (they also have a hot sauce) sauce that enhances rather than overwhelms.  Absolutely no doubt, this was the best bbq sandwich I have ever eaten in Memphis!
 
CTD went with the bbq bologna sandwich.

It comes between two slices of white bread and the bologna is thick cut, soft, with maximum porky flavor.  Sometimes I don't like bologna when the texture is too blubbery, if you know what I mean, but this was perfect.  Topped off with more of that cole slaw and sauce and we oooh and awed over how good this was, too.
 
The one misstep:  the fried pie was too flaky, fell apart easily and was no match for future fried pies we would be eating.
 
Cozy Corner has always been my favorite Memphis bbq restaurant, with my favorite pork bbq sandwich.  Knowing we were going there on the bus tour in a few days, I was curious to see which one I would like best.  At this point, Payne's is going to be difficult to beat.
 
BTW, I should mention that I think the Payne's on Elvis Presley we visited on an earlier trip has closed down and was not related to the Lamar Ave location.  But just in case, if you do want to go visit Payne's, please make sure you visit this location.
 
Payne's
1762 Lamar Avenue
Memphis, TN
901-272-1523
 
Okay, this was a considerable amount of food in too short amount of time.  Even the bottomless pit known as ChiTownDiner's appetite was full.  We checked into the hotel, where I took a quick nap and waited for Cousin Johnny's flight to arrive. 
post edited by buffetbuster - 2013/10/25 11:18:08
#41
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 08:43:48 (permalink)
Payne's - Right up there as a 1-2 for favorite of the 5 day trip with Alcenia's!  We did the traditional Roadfood spilt, so we each got half and half! 
 
Previously, I had loved the bologna at A&R, but on this trip, Payne's reigned supreme!  The cole slaw really helped make this a great sandwich.  The sauce was just right, not to sweet, not to spicy, just right! 
 
The pork was chopped (see menu) and that was the small.  The kitchen is less professional than most home kitchens with a small residential stove with a pot of sauce on it and a brush!  They were out of beans for the day, but all that was forgotten as the we were mesmerized by the gentle sound of our pork being chopped by a cleaver right in front of us. Delicious! 
 
At this point, I'm thinking this is gonna be a great weekend...and it was!!!  What a start!
#42
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 08:48:17 (permalink)
Told ya so!!!!!
#43
buffetbuster
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 09:27:44 (permalink)
Thanks for those details at Payne's CTD.  Since I was wandering around taking photos, I missed out on the pork being chopped.
#44
wanderingjew
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 09:40:50 (permalink)
 bb or CTD was Flora the owner, at Payne's that day?
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 09:47:05 (permalink)
Not sure...it was a women at the counter and a guy chopping and expediting.  I had very little conversation and did not get names. 
#46
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 09:53:55 (permalink)

 
 
This is Flora
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 09:58:44 (permalink)
It most definitely was not Flora who waited on us and we did not see her there.  The young lady who we spoke with was in her mid-20's.
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 10:03:24 (permalink)
Agreed...and it was still great!  Thanks to WJ & Carolina Bob for the recommendation!  
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 10:13:18 (permalink)
I recall that Flora's son and daughter work with her. So that very well could have been her daughter.
#50
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 10:34:49 (permalink)
wanderingjew




This is Flora

I watched this lady chop the pork on a video, I would have lost all my fingers chopping the way she does.......This place is a gem, just what a old southern BBQ joint should look like.........
#51
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 10:48:08 (permalink)
buffetbuster

Thank you JB-ME! What pie or pies would you have chosen?

I think the  German chocolate, pecan, custard, blueberry, and key lime would be in the running for potential top picks. It is so hard with so many choices! My favorite pies to make as well as eat are fruit and berry pies. I can control the sugar and not make them too sweet.
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 11:38:20 (permalink)
  Tim and I also hit The Pie Folks after the tour Saturday night. We had tried to go there last year when we were in Memphis around Thanksgiving time, but when we walked in unfortunately due to the holiday they were only selling whole, pre-ordered pies. We HAD to get there this year.  We got the lemon icebox, the "slap yo mama" chocolate pie, and the strawberry pie. All had different crusts that suited the individual pies. My favorite was the strawberry - it tasted like amazing strawberry ice cream in pie form....I don't know how else to describe it. The chocolate pie was luxurious and had a great texture and a perfectly chocolate taste - no bitterness, just deep and rich. The icebox pie was very tasty - could have used a bit more tartness but we also enjoyed that pie.
 
post edited by TnTinCT - 2013/10/25 11:48:43
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ChiTownDiner
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 12:03:23 (permalink)
Terry - I'm having flashbacks! 
#54
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 12:20:45 (permalink)
Oh my gosh!!  So the strawberry pie was a chiffon pie???  Oooohhh--add that one to my list now.
 
#55
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 13:08:12 (permalink)
The photo of the strawberry pie is so vivid I feel as if (almost) I could taste it. It looks absolutely wonderful!
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 13:10:18 (permalink)
TinTinCT-
You beat me to the punch with the photo and description of the strawberry pie.  Wasn't that fantastic?  Thanks so much for adding on the photo!  If you get a chance, please write about your conversation with the owners about competing in pie championships.  Didn't the strawberry win something, along with the chocolate? 
 
Mind you, Tim and Terry drove out to Pie Folks AFTER we had hit six stops on the Memphis bus tour, a true Herculean task!  They have forever earned my respect and admiration as Roadfooders!
post edited by buffetbuster - 2013/10/25 13:12:01
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 13:13:31 (permalink)
JB-ME

buffetbuster

Thank you JB-ME! What pie or pies would you have chosen?

I think the  German chocolate, pecan, custard, blueberry, and key lime would be in the running for potential top picks. It is so hard with so many choices! My favorite pies to make as well as eat are fruit and berry pies. I can control the sugar and not make them too sweet.
Considering how great the blueberry pies are in Maine, it probably wouldn't live up to your expectations.  Still, some solid choices there. 

post edited by buffetbuster - 2013/10/25 13:20:51
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 13:46:43 (permalink)
By the time we gathered up Cousin Johnny at the airport, it was already 8:45PM, which did not leave us too many options.  Still, having a hankering for barbecue, we headed for A & R Bar-B-Que

on Elvis Presley Blvd. 
 
Maybe we were tired.  Maybe we were still glowing in the greatness of Payne's sandwiches.  Most likely it was because it was late and A & R was getting ready to close up for the night, but the food wasn't good. 


They tasted like they had been sitting around for a while and the meat in the pork bbq wasn't as fresh as it could be.  If I remember correctly, the white bread used on the bologna sandwich was partially stale.  Not a good meal.
 
It wasn't a total loss though.  The side of bbq spaghetti,

where bbq sauce and shreds of pork replace the tomato sauce, was still good.  They did have bottles of orange and grape Crush in bottles. 

And the three of us split a slice of moist strawberry cake,

with super sweet icing.
 
As soon as we walked out the door, they locked it behind us.  This was the third restaurant that did it in one day, which has to be some kind of Roadfood record.  Besides, restaurants usually lock the doors when the seeing us coming!
 
A & R Bar-B-Que
1802 Elvis Presley Blvd.
Memphis, TN
901-774-7444
 
For CTD and I, we had already eaten so much great food on this day, we really didn't mind this clunker.  Poor Johnny misses the great meals of the day and starts his trip with this.  Fortunately, better meals lay in his immediate future.  We checked into our hotel near the airport.
 
Somehow, I ended up with all three slices of to-go pie from Pie Folks.  I think Branch Rickey's quote, "Luck is the Residue of Design" is fitting right here.  I handed Johnny his slice of strawberry pie without looking at it, thinking it would be the more typical pie that had whole strawberries, in that red gelatinous liquid.  Instead, I hear some serious yummy noises coming from across the room and Johnny is eating what looked more like a strawberry ice box pie. 

But it was thicker than that, so I really don't know what to call it.  I did end up getting a couple of bites and it was clearly the best of the pies we bought from Pie Folks.
 
The Slap Yo Mama chocolate pie

was pleasantly fudgie and had a flaky, buttery crust, but was clearly outshined by the strawberry and other chocolate pies we would be eating later.  The pecan

sat in the fridge waiting to be reunited with CTD the next day.   
post edited by buffetbuster - 2013/11/08 08:16:11
#59
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 13:48:42 (permalink)
buffetbuster A little background on my experience at Payne's.  A few years ago, a handful of us stopped in at another Payne's, located on Elvis Presley Boulevard and it was truly awful.  The meat was incredibly fatty, the service was painfully slow, the toilet in the bathroom had overflowed (okay, that may have been my fault, but luckily we had a plumber with us) and the place was just dirty.  Looking back on it, we should have walked out rather than eaten there.  This has made me not want to eat at Payne's ever again. 

Since then, the Sterns named Payne's their top choice for barbecue pork sandwich in their 500 Things To Eat book.  That got my attention.  On top of that, wanderingjew visited the other Payne's location on Lamar Avenue and declared it his favorite, also.  Okay, those two things convinced me to give them another try.
Ahem.  Also, IIRC, it was moi who convinced wanderingjew that he should disregard his bad experience at the Elvis Presley Blvd location and check out the one on Lamar.  If I'm mistaken on that count, I apologize, but still...
Buddy
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