Five Ways to Spend Friday Lunch (Memphis)

Friday. The day we long for. I wholeheartedly believe that Friday lunch is the perfect preview for a wonderful weekend ahead; so when time allows, I make plans accordingly. Below are my top five Friday lunch suggestions which, if possible, would sit in my schedule on repeat. Which do you most prefer?


The famous twenty-five cent martinis and biscuits will draw any pedestrian through the Main Street red doors of Felicia Suzanne's on a Friday at noon. Yet now, on the adjacent patio, a fast-casual option serves up oysters, crab cakes, and my most coveted grilled sandwich in the city: Felicia's short rib grilled cheese. Take a seat inside or out, and you'll experience two fine and fancied Southern dining options.

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Now open for lunch at 11:30 a.m. on Fridays, Downtown's hot spot and haven provides a smoked poboy selection (pork tenderloin, brisket, to name a few) with an optional housemade pimento cheese add-on. Seasonal grilled salads boast the freshest farmers market finds: heirloom tomatoes, local cheeses, herbs and greens. I'll never tire those trays and that rosé.



Though their addictive tacos require a watchful eye for the truck's current location, you'll see the bold scripted "El Mero Taco" vehicle at the Levitt Shell, on South Main, and even on the St. Jude campus. I am most fond of the brisket chilaquiles (topped with a fried egg) and off-the-cob parmesan street corn...But let's be honest: Anything you order at the window will blow away your taste buds.

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The line at Elwood's Shack might intimidate, but the outcome is exceptionally worthwhile. Order the unrivaled fresh fish tacos or barbecue pulled-pork pizza and stake claim at an outdoor picnic table. No, my two recommendations do not go together; but I suggest to order one this Friday and the other the next. Trust me.


Overton Square's popular Cajun-creole crib now opens for lunch, and we are forever grateful. A half poboy and a grocery (side item) pair perfectly halfway through the work day, especially on the patio. I most enjoy the catfish with spinach madeleine.

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Zucchini Pasta with Fava and English Peas

IMG_9652 Perhaps it's due to my tiny basil plant growing in the corner of my window, or my last month's bounty of local produce; but nonetheless, I have been craving a garden-inspired dish for the summertime dinner table.

Saturday morning, I strolled 'round the corner to the farmers market. I found a bag of English peas, already peeled (yes.), and a couple of bright green zucchini. Thus, the garden pasta plan was born. Though linguine or bucatini would have been fabulous, I felt proud of the healthier spiralizer alternative in mind. P.S. If you do not yet own a spiralizer, Whole Foods offers pre-spiralized packages of vegetables!

Perfect for summer nights, even my steak-and-potatoes fiancé approved. What's your latest spiralized creation?

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Makes 4 servings

2 zucchini, spiralized 1/2 cup English peas 1/2 cup fava peas, peeled 1/2 cup low-fat ricotta, seasoned with salt and pepper 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon basil, ribboned Truffle oil, to drizzle Sea salt Red pepper flakes

1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Prepare a small ice bath to set aside. Add fava and English peas to boiling water for 2 minutes; immediately drain and add to ice bath to stop cooking.

2. Add olive oil to a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook zucchini noodles for 3-4 minutes, until cooked through but not soggy! Turn off heat and toss in basil, sea salt, and a drizzle of truffle oil.

3. Plate zucchini and top with ricotta and peas. Sprinkle with additional basil, salt and red pepper flakes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Night at the Lorraine

I am grateful to live and work steps from the National Civil Rights Museum. The campus serves as an unparalleled lens into the civil and human rights narratives of our city, nation, and world. I always recommend its exhibits to out-of-towners, though I admittedly take the space and its powerful force for granted. And for many, the Museum marks a moment in history -- the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. Yet upon becoming more engaged in the Museum's growth, I learned that the Lorraine Motel is, in fact, a mecca of music and cultural history. As the only interracial hotel Downtown, many famous musicians and cultural icons graced the halls of the Lorraine.



This Saturday evening, I'll be joining the community to celebrate the magic and energy of the Motel at Night at the Lorraine! We'll rewind to the 1960s, enjoying live music, a limited-edition Lorraine Motel exhibit, a silent auction, and iconic, Memphis-inspired food & drinks.

Of course, I am most excited about the food offerings. A few highlights include Rizzo's DinerLunchbox Eats, and Belle's Southern Bistro. Rumor is they'll be whipping up specialty small plates for all guests to enjoy over a cocktail.

It's not too late to join me -- Buy your ticket, and I'll see you Saturday.

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image courtesy of the commercial appeal

Father's Day Giveaway with Southern Creed

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset There's really something about celebrating Dads in the South -- perhaps it's the backyard cookout with lemonade and cold beer; or a calm, cool and collected family walk in the park; or a family meal on the patio with shareable plates and pie. Southerners seem to relish in those moments and gatherings, and I especially find this to be the case on Father's Day.

Father's Day falls on June 18; in case you got nervous about timing, you have plenty of time to plan and celebrate Dad the proper way.

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I recently met the founder of Southern Creed, a now Memphis-based small business inspired by life in the South. Hand-designed and sewn fabrics--from cotton and catfish to okra--currently apply to traditional bow ties, neck ties, pocket squares, and dog leashes.

I fell in love with the bacon print, especially, which poses as automatic inspiration for Father's Day brunch. While the print will not work for my rabbi father, who keeps kosher, I figured I would give one away in hopes that it lands in the hands of a well-deserving, hard-working Dad!!

Join our giveaway below for your chance to win a Southern Creed bacon bow tie and a cotton pocket square. Now is the time to get on top of Father's Day gifting to-dos!

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  1. Leave a comment below with
    1. Your name.
    2. Your email address.
    3. What you plan to cook for Dad for Father's Day.
  2. The winner will be notified on Friday, June 3.
  3. For an extra chance to win with Southern Creed, hop onto Caramelized's Instagram (you must follow the account!) and leave a comment on the Southern Creed bacon + bowtie photo.

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How to Picnic in Style


Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetWith Memorial Day around the corner and a summer forecast of sunny skies and abounding live music, picnicking presents the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the spirit of the season. I first got the summer picnic bug when perusing City & State (a typical weekend agenda item). A Yield field bag caught my eye. I debated the necessity for a brief moment and, next thing I knew, it was in my back car seat with an iced bon bon in the cup holder.

Friends, don’t debate the potential debacles of picnic prep and execution. If you feel the urge to be outside with a friend or four, grab what’s in your fridge, a few of the following accessories, and a bottle of wine or sparkling water. Make it a monthly outing with girlfriends. Make it a weekly ritual with your significant other. Brunch, sunset happy hour or evening dinner al fresco, you’ll be happy you did so.

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1. TREASURE THE TOTE Similar to the City & State stunner, a durable and stylish bag or basket is the key to elevating a picnic experience. Target's standard picnic basket is an undeniable classic; or you can go for a more modern shape with the Verona wicker basket from Nordstrom.

2. PACK THE GOODS Limit your menu to room-temp-friendly finger foods—grilled skewered vegetables, cheeses, sandwiches, lettuce wraps, mini mason jar salads, etc. Though forks are an appreciated option for guests, it’s simply worth holding off on the angel hair and messy entrées. My only exception to this rule is pie—because every picnic needs a good ‘ole fruit pie.

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3. LAY THE FOUNDATION Bring along a large wood board as a multifunctional canvas for prep or final presentation. Chop garnishes, chop blocks of cheese, and use it as a serving platter for the main course and leveled foundation for grassy areas.

4. ROSÉ ALL DAY Don’t fret over the hot temperatures when toting white or rosé wines—A S'well bottle will keep your bottle chilled for the entirety of your picnic, if not longer.


Throwaway solutions are easy, yes, but why not step it up with copper tumblers? In the summer heat, these will impressively handle and maintain those just-shaken cocktails.

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The Best Memphis Cheese Boards

Ask anyone who knows me--My last supper will forever be a cheese and charcuterie spread. The quintessential appetizer that draws together dinner guests and gets the evening going, a cheese board takes many forms but holds true to its foundation. I enjoy experimenting with different spreads, jams, cheeses and meats; though the magic is truly in the pairing. My best cheese board bets are below; which is your preference?

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1. BARI RISTORANTE The luxurious antipasti opportunities are extraordinary, offering a la carte ordering service with two full pages of salumis, cheeses and accompaniments. Let your waiter help craft a perfect palette for two, four or eight. And don't skip the prosciutto.

2. LOFLIN YARD Perhaps it's the rocking chair and Coach House porch view, or the French bottle of red that I plucked from the shelf of the Safe House--Nonetheless, it's a package deal at Loflin Yard. The cheese plate offerings are selected collaboratively between Loflin's executive chef and bar lead to ensure wine and barrel-aged cocktails match appropriately. Earlier in the Spring, I especially enjoyed the picked red onion and watermelon with the brie.


3. ECCO ON OVERTON PARK The cheese and antipasto plates--offered separately or together--pile high with rich berries, cheese blocks, nuts and tapenades. The starter is truly a feast in itself...And we don't mind it.

4. ANDREW MICHAEL ITALIAN KITCHEN I usually boast about the cheese; but in this case, the freshly baked bread slices and irresistible olive tapenade make this appetizer a home run at the original Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman establishment. Andrew Michael's new-ish bar lounge is a can't-beat backdrop for this cheese and charcuterie plate.

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5. 387 PANTRY (do-it-yourself) I love to take inspiration from restaurant experiences into my home. Thus, I cannot finish this list without recommending an outpost to create a show-stopping cheese board in the comfort of your own abode. I trust 387 Pantry on South Main to hand over the fresh cheese, salumis from Porcellino's, fancy crackers and spreads (like Flo's tomato jam). You might even walk out with a cutting board.

6. SOUTH OF BEALE SOB's seasonally inspired snack plate offers pre-cut cheeses with hearty sides--a hummus of sorts, fried deviled eggs (hello), glazed pecans and toast points. Their Downtown patio calls my name on an almost weekly basis, and I can never go wrong with this snack of champions.