Hot!2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas

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ChiTownDiner
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/06 15:39:28 (permalink)
Got any pictures of that? Sounds like a looker!
Michael Hoffman
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/06 15:49:25 (permalink)
It broke the camera. I forgot to mention, the Continental kit was black.
buffetbuster
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/06 16:01:31 (permalink)
Despite the fact that there was a busy day ahead of visiting the best Roadfood restaurants in Memphis, six diehards met in the lobby of the Springhill Suites at 6:30AM for a pre-tour meal.  Michael Stern, Stephen Rushmore, Chris Ayers, ChiTownDiner, Cousin Johnny and I piled into one extra large SUV and headed for Bryant's Breakfast
 
Bryant's


started as a bbq parlor, but soon found their niche instead was serving breakfast.  One of the nice things about this place is that they open at 5:30AM and they are so popular, you will find a line at all times during the morning.  
 
What exactly does Bryant's specialize in?  Here

is clue #1  And the back of the employee's t-shirts

is clue #2!
 
We all ordered different items to share and sat down at one of the communal tables to dig in.  The one item you need to know about is the ham biscuit. 

The ham may have been a little on the mild side, but combined with the pillowy soft biscuit, it made a wonderful combination.  Other things tried in a biscuit were the tenderloin

and the city ham,

which also included an egg.  Nothing wrong with either one, but the meats did not rise to the level of the biscuit.
 
A couple cinnamon rolls

were split among the group and they do ask if you want it heated up.  Even warm with icing running down the sides, it seemed like it could have been fresher and this was not a favorite among the group.  I did like the bacon pancakes,

but maybe that is because everything tastes fine covered in syrup, because the bacon didn't add much other than texture.
 
While the rest of us ordered judiciously because of the amount of great restaurants we would be visiting in a few hours, the ChiTownDiner doesn't intimidate so easily.  He went with something called "The Sampler",

which includes, three scrambled eggs, biscuits, gravy, bacon, sausage, ham, a tenderloin and a potato pancake.  You can't stop the ChiTownDiner, you can only hope to contain him!
 
Halfway through our meal, Jane Stern arrived, with a cup from Starbucks in her hand.  
 
Even though all the food at Bryant's isn't great, it is still an ideal stop for a quick bite before your day starts and the long lines prove Memphians love the place.  The crowd was a mixture of blue/white collar and also included three motorcycle policeman.  Stick to the ham biscuits and you will walk out satisfied!
 
Here is the review Michael Stern wrote from our visit.
 
Bryant's Breakfast
3965 Summer Avenue
Memphis, TN
901-324-7494
 
We headed back to the hotel to get ready for the beginning of the official tour.      
post edited by buffetbuster - 2013/11/06 17:26:03
ChiTownDiner
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/06 16:47:23 (permalink)
This was an interesting first stop in that it seemed like half the town passed through while we were in there.  At one point, the line was 40 plus long!  Here's one more look at the sampler with a side of pie...custard I believe.  Never to early for pie!
 

 
Here's a look at our early morning scouting team joined by Jane Stern after a quick Starbucks stop!
 

 
Note the debris field in the middle of the table!
 
Officially, we were now ready to start the food tour!!!
ChiTownDiner
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/06 16:52:05 (permalink)
easydoesit - They seem pretty popular with the number of places serving them.  And then of course, we got guys like CajunKing running around the countryside singing their praises! 
 
L2B - I am a malt guy with my favorite being cherry.  I was surprised with as broad a selection, that cherry was not on the list.  My cherry malt at Wiles-Smith Drugs was only average the day before.
agnesrob
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/06 16:58:41 (permalink)
Just an incredible report! Such great looking food!
jackzig
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/06 17:03:02 (permalink)
I'm from Baltimore, my grandmother use to make "meat cakes" which had moistened white bread, and onion added to the ground beef. It's actually a German recipe.
will_work_4_bbq

We never called it a slugburger, but I grew up thinking that you had to add moistened bread and an egg to your ground beef before making burger patties.  Then they were grilled outside.  After I grew up and left home, I realized that it was simply my Mom being thrifty and trying to make the meat stretch.  Imagine my surprise - and delight -  when I tasted my first 100% beef burger! 


buffetbuster
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/06 17:22:20 (permalink)
About the group photo from Bryant's:  did you notice how much of the debris is sitting where ChiTownDiner had been sitting?
buffetbuster
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/06 17:24:35 (permalink)
jackzig-
Welcome to Roadfood!  I grew up in a German household, but that doesn't sound familiar.  Was it made with beef or some other meat?  Was it good?
CajunKing
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/06 17:40:38 (permalink)
I love the line about the extra large SUV.... WELL DUH look at the eaters that went into poor SUV.  Stephen could have been the toothpick! 
 
Easy - The slugburger is popular in it's own region.  Each and every place I went to the other day had fast food chains within minutes.  The locals kept coming in ordering and heading out.  CF Penn was the busiest of the day, but each and everyone easily served 25 to 50 people in the 20 minutes are so I was inside each.   Speed is amazing at these places, you order and then within 2-3 minutes you are handed your bag ready to go, and that is because they had to wait on fries.
 
Think of it like a Chicago Style HD, all those places making them and all those people eating them, now condense that into only a small handful of places that offer it and you can quickly see that they are popular and busy.
jackzig
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/06 17:42:00 (permalink)
I liked them when I was a kid. I tried to recreate them a few months ago but the taste wasn't the same. This is as close a recipe as I could get, the ones I remember were made with all ground beef: (credit to Rachel Rapport - Coconutsandlime.com)
Meat Cakes (Frikadellen)
Ingredients:
2/3 lb lean ground beef
1/3 lb ground pork
1/3 lb ground veal
1 egg, beaten
1 small onion, diced
1-2 slices soft sandwich bread, torn into bite-sized pieces
salt
freshly ground black pepper
Directions:
Mix together all ingredients in a medium bowl. Form into about 6 flat patties. Set aside. Heat some canola oil in a skillet. Add the patties and cooking, turning once until cooked all the way through and browned on both sides. Drain on paper towel lined plates. Serve hot. 
buffetbuster
 
These weren't eaten on a bun, rather severed on a plate with mashed potatoes. Like someone said a little like meat loaf.
 


jackzig-
Welcome to Roadfood!  I grew up in a German household, but that doesn't sound familiar.  Was it made with beef or some other meat?  Was it good?


buffetbuster
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/06 17:59:27 (permalink)
I do want to invite all those people who attended the tour, but don't post regularly, to comment in this thread.  The rest of the Roadfood.com readers would love to hear your opinions about the places we visited.  So please join in! 
post edited by buffetbuster - 2013/11/06 18:01:10
mayor al
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/06 19:01:42 (permalink)
Fantastic report... Looking forward to the next chapter.
love2bake
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/06 19:56:11 (permalink)
buffetbuster

A big thanks to ChiBears15 for sending me a photo of the group meal at Rendezvous.

Starting at the front from the left, that is Amy, Joe, Boyd, Danny, Wayne, Gregg, Johnny, myself, Gary, Kerry and Chris.  Stephen and his mother must have already departed by the time the photo was taken.

Looks like a very fun group!!  I have to take note of the decor, too, though.  What is going on there???  Athena (or Venus) next to working horses, checkered tablecloths, stained glass--I guess eclectic is the best conclusion.
 
The breakfast place looked fantastic.  Yes, I love desserts, especially love the pies, but breakfast is my food passion. 
 
CTD - I'm going to have to try a cherry malt now!!
Louis
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/06 21:18:17 (permalink)
buffetbuster

I do want to invite all those people who attended the tour, but don't post regularly, to comment in this thread.  The rest of the Roadfood.com readers would love to hear your opinions about the places we visited.  So please join in! 

 
I'm enjoying the thread.  Studying it.  Taking notes for my huge stack of travel notebooks.  I've attended a few of the President Days gatherings in February, but have not taken a bus tour.  Maybe some day soon I will rectify that omission.
 
buffetbuster
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/06 21:23:20 (permalink)
Louis-
We would love to have you join us on a tour someday!  Since Memphis isn't all that far away, do you get down there often?
 
Love2bake-
Yeah, you will not see statues like that at Payne's or Cozy Corner!  Just one of several ways that the Rendezvous is different than other Memphis bbq parlors.
ScreamingChicken
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/07 08:53:59 (permalink)
Did anyone try dipping their Bryant's breakfast biscuits into gravy?  It seems like it might be a nice accompaniment, especially to the tenderloin biscuit.
ChiTownDiner
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/07 13:45:58 (permalink)
ScreamingChicken

Did anyone try dipping their Bryant's breakfast biscuits into gravy?  It seems like it might be a nice accompaniment, especially to the tenderloin biscuit.

 
Is the pope Catholic?  Does a bear....are you thinking this was rookie trip?

easydoesit
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/07 14:41:49 (permalink)
Boy, what a great time by a great looking group!  Thanks for taking us along, and also on the morning scouting trip, by the diehards (BB's term).
 
Those Bryant's biscuits -- just two questions --
 
1.  They look wonderful, but do they have butter on them at all?  Or served without?  What is the preferred way?
 
2.  The tenderloin looked really good too, but, from can't tell from the photo, did they cook the under?
 
easydoesit
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/07 14:49:15 (permalink)
Okay, a third question, about the city ham. In the late 90's, I lost 47 pounds of ugly fat be going low fat diet.  That nice looking trim of fat around the city ham would have been gone first thing in the old days.
 
These days, I might pull it off, or leave some of it there, but it looks like a lot of fat related to meat.  It would certainly change the "mouthfeel" of the chew.
 
What do the regulars do?  Grab it and chomp it?  I'll try that next chance I get.
 
buffetbuster
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/07 17:47:58 (permalink)
Finally, FINALLY, it was time to start the official Roadfood bus tour.  We met in the lobby of the hotel around 9:30, boarded the bus and drove the short distance to Gus's World Famous Hot and Spicy Chicken.  

This chicken restaurant began with humble origins in the small town of Mason, TN, eventually opening another location in downtown Memphis.  Apparently, there are now four of them, with another one opening soon in Austin.

Sometimes I will hear a comment along the lines of why should I go on a bus tour, when I can just visit the restaurants on my own.  There are a lot of good answers for that question, but the most obvious is that there are advantages in being part of a group.  And a group led by Jane and Michael Stern opens doors.  Gus's doesn't normally open until 11:00AM and anyone who eats here knows that there is often a long line waiting for a precious table.  Instead, we arrived just before 10:00AM and were welcomed with open arms.  We had the entire place to ourselves!

ChiTownDiner, Cousin Johnny and I ordered the eight piece meal.  But we are much too impatient to wait for chicken to fry, so we (and by we, of course I mean CTD) asked our waitress to bring out a couple slices of pie right away!  The sweet potato pie 

was smooth, with a nice mixture of spices, but the chess pie,

with a brittle top layer was the better of the two.  This was soon followed by a side of fried green tomatoes. 

Not bad, but these were no match for the spectacular ones CTD and I enjoyed at Alcenia's two days earlier.

While devouring the pie, I noticed that some of the people sitting near the open door to the kitchen were getting up and snapping some photos.  With my curiosity piqued, I went over to investigate and got a photo of the fryers working their magic!

 
Eventually, this platter of fried chickeny goodness was delivered to our table. 

With the gorgeous reddish/gold color and the rugged exterior, this is some of the best looking fried chicken imaginable. 

Luckily, Gus's doesn't get by on looks alone, because even on your first bite, you know you are in the presence of greatness!  The skin is indeed spicy with a decided Cajun flavor, though really doesn't bring much in the way of heat.  The inside meat is perfectly juicy, which gets you thinking, is this the best fried chicken I have ever had?  And several people on the tour indeed said it was the best they have ever had. 
 
At one point, Chris Ayers came over to our table and said to me that there is no way that I could say Stroud's in KC is better than this.  This chicken was so good, it was tough to argue.  What I can say is that all the other dishes at Stroud's are of such high quality that the total experience is better.  As for the chicken itself, my top three would be Gus's, Stroud's and Bon Ton Mini Mart and I would be thrilled to eat any of them!
 
Sides of cole slaw and baked beans

came with the meal, but were nothing more than an afterthought.  Besides, we liked the chess pie so much, we ordered another slice,

soon to be attacked by three hungry forks!
 
Gus's is fairly big and open when it isn't full, which gave us a few moments to walk around and socialize,

Before long, it was back to the bus, where there was a buzz over this fantastic meal.   But this was no time to relax, because my favorite bbq parlor in Memphis was just minutes away!
 
Gus's World Famous Hot and Spicy Chicken
310 S. Front Street
Memphis, TN
901-527-4877      
post edited by buffetbuster - 2013/11/08 10:29:46
CajunKing
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/07 19:16:12 (permalink)
3 Hungry Eaters and only 3 pieces of pie... WHAT IS WRONG WITH THAT PICTURE???
 
1 lonely little piece of chess pie and 3 HUGE FORKS
will_work_4_bbq
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/07 22:08:55 (permalink)
I am already sorry I missed this trip!  The Chess PIE!!!  The CHICKEN!!!  Wow!!!
love2bake
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/08 05:40:03 (permalink)
I love this--pie as appetizer!!
 
The chess pie looks amazing with that crunchy top.  Was it regular chess or lemon?
Buffalo Tarheel
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/08 07:41:48 (permalink)
Looks like a great trip - wish I had been able to be there.  Outstanding report and pictures.  You know it was a great trip when it takes until page 6 to get to the official starting point of the tour.  Thanks for sharing the report.
buffetbuster
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/08 07:48:35 (permalink)
love2bake-
It was regular chess pie and it was good, but nowhere near the best pies we would have on this trip.  For pie lovers like us, this trip was heaven!
 
CajunKing-
We should have had a fourth fork in that slice of pie in your honor!
TnTinCT
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/08 08:04:35 (permalink)
What a way to start off the "official" trip - Connecticut doesn't have much in the way of great fried chicken, and I had experienced Gus's last year on a trip to Memphis, so I couldn't wait to go again. I think I agree with BB - the total experience (and other dishes) at Stroud's is better, but the chicken at Gus's gets first place in my book. My chicken pictures aren't as good as yours, so will wait to share more pictures when I can add something new!
Big_g
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/08 08:39:03 (permalink)
Some of the very BEST chicken I've every had...and the Fried Green Tomatoes were outstanding too. 
So glad I could make the trip...looking forward to the next one =) 
ann peeples
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/08 11:28:56 (permalink)
You guys are killing me with the pie and chicken! Great and fun report!
ChiTownDiner
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Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/11/08 12:13:42 (permalink)
Not much to add to buffetbuster's excellent review of Gus's!  But I do have to say that it is always a good thing to begin each meal with pie!  ALWAYS!
 

 
Here's another look at the Chess Pie...we needed a second look also and that's the reason for the 2nd piece...all in the interest of science!
 
While Gus's was really good, and it very nice of them to open early just for us, the next stop was high on my list...
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