Hot!2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas

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buffetbuster
Porterhouse
2013/10/23 14:12:23
This past weekend was the 9th Annual Roadfood Bus Tour.  We spent Friday driving around Memphis, while Saturday was dedicated to Arkansas.  Having been on all nine tours, I can say that this was the best food on a bus tour, yet!
 
On Wednesday, I flew into Memphis, landing around 1:00PM, with the ChiTownDiner making the airport pickup.  Since he arrived in town a few hours earlier, he was already several stops ahead.  He gave full details on his visits to Women's Exchange, Donald's Donuts and Wiles-Smith Drugs.  By the time I gathered up my luggage, walked through this very long airport and met CTD outside, it was now 1:30.  Our first lunch stop (together) was Little Tea Shop in downtown Memphis and they close at 2:00PM.  And since we had plans out of town the next few days and they are closed on weekends, this would be our only chance to eat here.  The GPS said we were 15 minutes away, but that probably didn't include all the wrong turns and doubling back it asked us to do.  Thanks to some nifty Chicago-style u-turns and a convenient case of temporary color blindness at a stop light, we arrived in front at around seven 'til.  I ran in to plead our case, while CTD parked the car.  Fortunately, no begging was necessary as they told us to sit down, enjoy and take our time.  They are really nice people here.
 
Little Tea Shop

has one of my favorite methods of ordering your meal.  You get a slip of paper, a small pencil and you just mark down what you want. 

The waitress collects it, asks any necessary questions and passes it on to the kitchen.
 
First out were a basket of corn sticks. 

Knowing who I was with and how much food we would be consuming over the course of the day, I passed.  CTD chose the pimento cheese sandwich,

with the pea soup on the side.  Homemade pimento cheese on white bread seems like the right thing to order in a Southern tea shop and it was quite good.  Always creative, I noticed CTD was dipping the corn sticks into the pea soup.
 
My vegetable plate

consisted of English Peas, corn bread dressing, turnip greens and corn.  The standouts were the slightly bitter greens and the highly seasoned creamed corn.  Dessert was an order each of the apple cobbler and the peach cobbler. 

These cobblers were more of the breading than fruit style, with is my preferred cobbler, but the breading was just a little harder than it should have been.  Still, these were fine versions of the Southern dessert classics.
 
In the men's room, they have one of the strangest signs I have encountered.  They ask that men please sit down to urinate, so they don't get splashed by impurities.  Huh.
 
Little Tea Shop
69 Monroe Street
Memphis, TN
901-525-6000
 
Not much time to recover appetite since we had a fabulous meal waiting just a few minutes away.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2013/10/23 14:16:13
JRPfeff
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/23 14:27:51
Wow. A new record for fastest posting of bb trip report.
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/23 14:29:55
It's when he finishes it that matters.
leethebard
Sirloin
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/23 14:30:21
Looks like a great place....did you have any tea???
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/23 14:37:54
buffetbuster

In the men's room, they have one of the strangest signs I have encountered.  They ask that men please sit down to urinate, so they don't get splashed by impurities.
As long as this doesn't require sitting in a urinal...
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/23 14:51:02
ScreamingChicken

It's when he finishes it that matters.
You people know me too well!
 
Lee-
If iced tea counts, then yes!  Sweet tea for me, unsweet for the big guy.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/23 14:52:52
ScreamingChicken

buffetbuster

In the men's room, they have one of the strangest signs I have encountered.  They ask that men please sit down to urinate, so they don't get splashed by impurities.
As long as this doesn't require sitting in a urinal...

Now there is a mental image for you.....
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/23 21:15:48
It was an interesting ride with two gps's and a co-pilot providing conflicting reports and a tight time limit.  Glad the speeding rules had been waived!
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/23 21:24:37
The corn sticks were really good broken up into the split pea soup.  To me, no matter where you go in the south, pimento cheese sandwiches are always good.  This one really hit the spot!  buffetbuster's corn was the hit on the veggie plate.
For cobbler, I prefer the crumb top variety but these were a solid choice.
tcrouzer
Cheeseburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/23 22:08:04
Good start to your trip report, BB! Can't wait for more.
I just don't get the lettuce on the pimiento cheese sandwich??? It's just wrong, in my highly opinionated opinion, and I've been eating PC sandwiches almost all of my life.
love2bake
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/23 22:23:49
I'm coveting that vegetable plate and the cobbler on the right with the extra "goo."   And we're just getting started...
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 07:00:01
tcrouzer

Good start to your trip report, BB! Can't wait for more.
I just don't get the lettuce on the pimiento cheese sandwich??? It's just wrong, in my highly opinionated opinion, and I've been eating PC sandwiches almost all of my life.

 
In future ordering, I omitted the lettuce when I remembered.  Here it wasn't mentioned up front as it was a paper ordering process.  I agree and the salvation here is it one just one layer...not much of a hinderance but a perfect foil many "I'm getting full jokes!" 

buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 07:03:16
tcrouzer

Good start to your trip report, BB! Can't wait for more.
I just don't get the lettuce on the pimiento cheese sandwich??? It's just wrong, in my highly opinionated opinion, and I've been eating PC sandwiches almost all of my life.
Thanks!
 
Not having grown up with pimento cheese sandwiches, I kind of like the lettuce, which gives the sandwich another texture besides just soft.  But, I will be glad to eat a cheese pimento sandwich in any way, shape or form. 

post edited by buffetbuster - 2013/11/08 07:54:13
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 08:04:44
CTD had never eaten at Alcenia's, which sits just outside of downtown Memphis, so we made that our next stop.  I had eaten here only once before and had a disappointing meal, which you can read about halfway down this old thread.
 
They are supposed to be open until 5:00PM, but when we pulled up the place looked dark. 

We were concerned that maybe the Travelin Man decided to join us on this trip.  Once we stepped inside, we were greeted immediately by a young man who turned out to be our waiter and the owner, B.J. Chester-Tamayo,

who gave each of us a big hug!
 
The inside is vividly decorated,

with nothing but color everywhere you look.  Even the seats

were interesting and lively, but still comfortable.  When B.J. asked what we were doing in Memphis (apparently we don't sound like locals.  Who knew?) and we told her we were in town for the annual Roadfood Bus Tour, we became her new favorite customers.
 
The menu is so full of great sounding items,

it would take eating here a week straight to get through them all.  We placed our orders and waited.  Our drinks came in tall plastic cups,

with my sweet tea being as sweet as I can ever remember anywhere, but it still tasted freshly brewed.
 
The first thing out to us was the fried green tomatoes. 

Which kind of threw us off, because neither of us ordered it.  Well, we know better than to look a gift vegetable in the mouth, so we dug in.  I probably would have preferred a different sauce than ranch dressing, but how can you complain about free food?  Besides the tomatoes were perfectly tart.  We loved them!
 
Even better yet, was the catfish bites

which came out next.  Once again, something we didn't order.  It was at this point that I realized that we would not have the appetite (or time) to visit as many restaurants as we would have liked on this day, so just sit back, relax and enjoy the great meal in front of us.  So we did.  The catfish bites were misshapen chunks of meat in a spectacular, highly seasoned coating that explodes flavor in your mouth.  CTD was even more impressed by the pickly, homemade tartar sauce, which he was still talking about days later.
 
Another thing I liked about Alcenia's is that they didn't bring the food out all at the same time.  They bring it out when it was hot and ready.  CTD got his entrĂ©e before I did, which was the fried pork chop,

along with mac and cheese and a side of spaghetti.  The spaghetti, which is a common Mid-South side dish, was the only throw away food we ate here and I don't think either one of us took more than one bite.  The mac and cheese was supremely creamy and cheesy.  Not sure what kind of cheese they used, but it tasted like a mixture.  The pork chop was thick, juicy and had the same coating as the catfish bites.  Without a doubt the best fried pork chop I have ever had and may have been the single best thing I ate all weekend.  There was also a side of cole slaw,

but I don't remember even tasting it.  Maybe CTD can elaborate on it.
 
My dinner was the dark meat fried chicken

that also had the same delicious coating on it.  I could have eaten a meal of just the skin on this chicken, but the inside meat was also tender, though not as juicy as I would have expected.  Really good fried chicken, but it did not reach the heights of the pork chop.  Besides, I will take great Southern vegetables over just about any meat.  And the vegetables here are perfectly done.  The green beans

are cooked in pork juice and you can really taste the piggy flavor.  They asked if I wanted okra in my lima beans and of course I said yes!  The limas

were buttery and a little sweet and I finished the entire bowl, which was no easy chore on this day.
 
As if that wasn't enough, they also brought out a bowl of the cabbage

for us to try, just because Jane and Michael Stern liked it so much on their previous visits.  And it is easy to see why.  The cabbage contains lots of spices, with pepper at the forefront and was the top vegetable on the table, at least for me.
 
There were also some thin griddle cakes on the table,

which I ignored, since there was too many other things to concentrate on.  CTD

seemed to enjoy them, though!
 
At this point, I am very full with absolutely no designs on dessert.  But, as usual, CTD had other plans and ordered a slice of the custard pie,

which was brought to us warm.  Light and eggy, this was the perfect conclusion to a memorable meal.
 
The service here was informal and constant, without being overbearing.  Our waiter was incredibly polite, calling us sir throughout the meal.  B.J. also made several trips out from the kitchen to check on us and answer our questions.  She is a genuine person and a fabulous host.  She told us all the recipes are from her or her 92 year old grandmother, who lives in Meridian, MS.  She has had a lot of success lately, deservedly so, appearing on national tv shows and writing a cookbook.  But none of it has gone to her head and she is still a grounded, very kind woman who sincerely loves what she does.
 
Since it was CTD's turn to pay, I never saw the bill, but whatever it was, it was a bargain for the quantity and especially the quality of this food.  What a great experience!
 
Alcenia's
317 N. Main Street
Memphis, TN
901-523-0200
 
As full as we were, our work wasn't done, since there were two places we had to get to before they closed for the day at 6:00.             
post edited by buffetbuster - 2013/11/08 08:00:00
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 08:49:34
A few more things worth mentioning:
 
* ChiBears15 also dined at Alcenia's, the day after us in fact, so hopefully he will chime in and tell us about his experience.
 
* The only other customer in Alcenia's at the same time as us was a young man dining by himself.  Based on our conversations, he was very worldy having traveled all over the globe and did his best to eat local everywhere he went.  Surprisingly, he had never heard of Roadfood before, but he has now.  We asked him what he does for a living that allowed him to travel so much and he said he tours with bands.  He isn't a musician, but a behind the scenes guy.  The current group he was working for was something called AFI, which I only knew as an acronym for the American Film Institute.  He also told us about some of the other groups that has employed him, with Death Cab for Cutie being the only name I recognized.
 
* I do think it is necessary to say that we never look to get free food.  As a matter of fact, it makes me more than a little uncomfortable.  I would much rather pay for everything.  But sometimes restaurants owners see you taking photos or expressing enthusiasm for the food and they want you to try some other items on the menu.  I have learned it is much better to accept and be grateful rather than argue and appear ungrateful. 
 
Furthermore, we never go in and announce we are with Roadfood or a food blogger or anything like that.  In this case, all we told B.J. was that we were taking part in the Roadfood tour and the R word was all it took to have her treat us like special guests.  I get the feeling she treats a lot of her customers as special guests!   
post edited by buffetbuster - 2013/10/24 08:52:32
ann peeples
Sirloin
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 09:06:22
What a fun beginning to your report! Cant wait for more!
 
Big_g
Cheeseburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 09:55:44
Great photographs and verbage, always a joy to read your trip reports.
 
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 11:03:46
Thanks Ann
 
And Big_g, it was a real pleasure to meet you down in Memphis! 
lleechef
Sirloin
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 11:21:35
I have been waiting for this trip report!!  I must admit I laughed when I saw that The Little Tea Shop proudly advertises HEALTHY Home Cooking.
Now get busy and show us more!!!
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 11:26:00
lleechef-
We also noticed the healthy home cooking sign.  I said to CTD, "Not if we have any say in the matter!" 
 
As for more, there will some pie and bbq tonight!
lleechef
Sirloin
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 11:32:49
Yay!  Pie and BBQ.......my favorites!  I must admit I was never, ever a fan of pie.  But there must be some kind of pie karma or pie osmosis oozing from my computer because now I love the stuff.....when it's properly made.  I blame it on you, bb  
Michael Hoffman
Double-chop Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 11:53:17
Yeah. Me too!
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 14:52:27
Pie Folks has been on my hit list for years.  Doing research before the trip, I was surprised to find that they had moved from Olive Branch, MS to the east Memphis suburb of Germantown.
 
Despite us leaving Alcenia's in the downtown area after 4:00PM, we experienced almost no traffic heading out to the 'burbs.  As we were flying down the highway, CTD pointed out that if this was Chicago, we wouldn't even be moving.  So the question is, does Memphis have that little rush hour traffic or do people know to get out of our way on our quest for pie?
 
Pie Folks

is a shockingly little store front in a strip mall.  What they lack in size, they make up for is available pie flavors! 

How is that for a pie menu board CajunKing?
 
Do you notice how there is a name for the pie and then a translation or description of the pie?  Well, it shouldn't have, but this threw us off.  The first thing I asked about was the banana cream pie, which they were out of.  The next choice was the lemon ice box pie, which they had, while CTD went with the blueberry.  After ordering, I continued looking it over and there had to be at least a dozen others that would have been preferable.
 
Still, the lemon ice box pie

was quite good.  It had a nice balance between sweet and tart and the whipped topping tasted homemade.   But how could I pass up peanut butter and chocolate?  Or double mocha java?  CTD's blueberry

was also a fine effort, with plenty of sweet fruit in a soft crust.
 
The inside of Pie Folks is only two small tables, plus a ledge with a few chairs.  Most of the customers we saw were getting their pies to go.  They also had a board where patrons were free to write comments. 

Not a bad idea, although it could backfire if you don't watch it carefully.  Bonus points for anyone who can spot my comment.
 
Since Cousin Johnny was landing in Memphis in a few hours, we took a slice to go.  And as long as we were up at the counter ordering, both CTD and I added a slice each to go.  More on those later.  We still had to hit our first bbq stop of the trip before they closed.
 
Pie Folks
7781 Farmington Blvd.
Germantown, TN
901-752-5454 
post edited by buffetbuster - 2013/10/24 14:57:58
lleechef
Sirloin
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 15:12:18
Did you comment, "Wonderful pie!!! crust and all" ???  What do we win if we get it right?  I don't want no stinkin bonus points.......I want pie!
TJ Jackson
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 15:17:30
"Pie Rules"
 
Given the pricing as shown, I would order two one-half blueberry pies
post edited by TJ Jackson - 2013/10/24 15:19:42
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 15:52:51
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!
JB-ME
Cheeseburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 16:36:17
Another wonderful trip report! Can't wait to read the rest. It was fun to read the list of pies and wonder what I might choose, if I were there. I would have had a hard time, too! I also enjoyed reading about your wonderful visit to Alcenia's. 
TJ Jackson
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 16:57:02
Make sure you use that one particular photo.......you know, my favorite
 
Permission from Mr Mayor may apparently be required
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 17:23:14
Thank you JB-ME! What pie or pies would you have chosen?
CajunKing
Sirloin
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 17:40:30
Be SCARED VERY SCARED!!!!!!!

 
BB - Not to bad on a pie list looks kinda small though 
 
Ok my order is:  (in no particular order)
 
City Slicker
Millionaire
Big Daddy
Ape Wild
Goober
Coolin Ya Heelz
Cool Breeze
Aloha
Uptown
Zoe's
Henhouse
Mammaw's
Haywagon Ride
 
Then I may try some cookies too
The Travelin Man
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 17:45:20
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."
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 18:06:33
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
CajunKing
Sirloin
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 18:20:03
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
love2bake
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 19:21:56
BB - no slices to go for later?!?  " />  Waahhhhhh
 
(Where's CC's wagging finger icon when I need it?)
 
 
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 19:31:20
L2B - you missed the 3 to go part!  You think I'm letting the lad leave a pie shop empty handed! 
love2bake
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 21:15:22
Arghh--that's embarrassing! 
 
I am not at my best right now and only looked at the pics.  I'll go back and read.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/24 21:20:39
So love2bake, what would have been your pie choices?
 
Excellent rundown CTD, especially the description of the catfish bites!  Much appreciated.
love2bake
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 00:12:49
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.
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 07:30:18
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
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 07:50:06
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.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 08:23:31
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
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 08:43:48
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!
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 08:48:17
Told ya so!!!!!
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 09:27:44
Thanks for those details at Payne's CTD.  Since I was wandering around taking photos, I missed out on the pork being chopped.
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 09:40:50
 bb or CTD was Flora the owner, at Payne's that day?
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 09:47:05
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. 
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 09:53:55

 
 
This is Flora
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 09:58:44
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.
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 10:03:24
Agreed...and it was still great!  Thanks to WJ & Carolina Bob for the recommendation!  
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 10:13:18
I recall that Flora's son and daughter work with her. So that very well could have been her daughter.
pnwchef
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 10:34:49
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.........
JB-ME
Cheeseburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 10:48:08
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.
TnTinCT
Cheeseburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 11:38:20
  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
ChiTownDiner
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 12:03:23
Terry - I'm having flashbacks! 
love2bake
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 12:20:45
Oh my gosh!!  So the strawberry pie was a chiffon pie???  Oooohhh--add that one to my list now.
 
rumaki
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 13:08:12
The photo of the strawberry pie is so vivid I feel as if (almost) I could taste it. It looks absolutely wonderful!
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 13:10:18
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
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 13:13:31
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
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 13:46:43
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
BuddyRoadhouse
Filet Mignon
Re:2013 Roadfood Bus Tour Memphis/Arkansas 2013/10/25 13:48:42
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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