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January CONTENTS 2017 • VOLUME 14 • NO. 1

features 46 Revisiting Dining Traditions Delta Supper Club

62 Pêche New Orleans’ best

54 Diving for Burgers Chasing the sizzle

departments 14 Living Well Ultimate Foods

42 On the Road Again Franklin, Tennessee

18 Notables Meet Bud & Alley’s Dave

44 Greater Goods 68 Homegrown Crafting cheese boards

22 Exploring Art Divian Conner’s lens

70 Southern Harmony Saliva

26 Exploring Books Delta Hot Tamales

72 Table Talk Windy City Grille

30 Into the Wild Christmas trees recycled

76 In Good Spirits Winter Sour

34 Exploring Cuisine Memphis’ International food festivals

78 Exploring Events

38 Exploring Destinations Charleston’s culinary scene

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80 Reflections A Taste of Life

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editor’s note } january Fashionable Foods Food is fashion these days. Consumers crave honesty, so trends result when people grab onto sound bites designed to do one thing: sell a product. One year, butter is bad. The next, eggs. Now gluten. Through all the Facebook food photo gluttony, my greatest admiration settles on those growing, raising or producing food. I come to you this month from the snug Homestead Farms greenhouses where Robert’s fresh lettuce and tomatoes grow--in January! Local, fresh and without a marketing angle. What else do we need? This year, we once again celebrate all the growers, chefs, food destinations and more. What’s better than knowing a place, or face, as well as the food? Like Anne May’s smile at Windy City, Bud & Alley’s Dave, and innovators like Chef Ryan Prewitt at Pêche. For those of us not behind the grill or table, it’s easy to underestimate the mountain of daily work done by these crews each day. Finding good foods with pure ingredients has never been easier with Ultimate Foods. Located in East Memphis, Olive Branch and soon Collierville, the prepared meals contain only pure ingredients. Meet this young food business on page 14. Wandering about the region for food fun has never been better. With the Delta Supper Club, friends meet food--and more. Around Memphis, exploring the culture and cuisine of many international communities is more than possible with

JANUARY 2017 • Vol. 14 No.1

PUBLISHER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR Adam Mitchell PUBLISHER & ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Paula Mitchell EDITOR-AT-LARGE Karen Ott Mayer ASSISTANT EDITOR Andrea Brown Ross the multiple festivals held throughout the year. Turn to page 34, get out your 2017 calendar and find your favorite festival. I n t h e r e g i o n , Fr a n k l i n , Tennessee and Charleston, South Carolina are just two of the many food towns with burgeoning culinary scenes and we’re excited to explore both this month. Be sure to catch another young culinary voice on the back page as we meet Emma, a high school student interested in the culinary arts. She reminds us that food is more than just a necessity of life; it can be a true pathway to independence and passion. We hope 2017 sparks a new culinary passion in you. Bon Appétit!

Karen on the cover Some of the juiciest, messiest, mouth-watering burgers can be found in Memphis’ oldest bars and dives. Find out where to wrap your mouth around one of these heart attacks! Every dive has a great history. Read more on page 54.

CONTRIBUTORS Robin Gallaher Branch Chere Coen Jame Richardson K.C.Ervin Kathryn Winter Clint Kimberling Devin Greaney Debra Pamplin Andrea Brown Ross Jim Beaugez Charlene Oldham Emma Williams PUBLISHED BY DeSoto Media 2375 Memphis St. Ste 205 Hernando, MS 38632 662.429.4617 Fax 662.449.5813 ADVERTISING INFO: Paula Mitchell 901-262-9887 Paula@DeSotoMag.com DeSotoMagazine.com Get social with us!

©2017 DeSoto Media Co. DeSoto Magazine must give permission for any material contained herein to be reproduced in any manner. Any advertisements published in DeSoto Magazine do not constitute an endorsement of the advertiser’s services or products. DeSoto Magazine is published monthly by DeSoto Media Co. Parties i n t e re s t e d i n a d v e r t i s i n g s h o u l d email paula@desotomag.com or call 901-262-9887. Visit us online at desotomagazine.com.

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living well }

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ultimate foods


Ultimate Alternatives By Robin Gallaher Branch. Photography courtesy of Ultimate Foods

Lauren Daves works as a teacher’s assistant in a DeSoto County, Mississippi kindergarten class. “It’s so much fun; the kids keep you laughing constantly,” she said. After school, she puts on her other hat as busy wife and mother of two. She finds it helpful to come home to good meals ready for the microwave so she invests in Ultimate Foods. Reached by phone shortly before dinner, Daves was eager to talk about Ultimate Foods because her family loves its selections. Her latest bill for 17 meals tallied $133. “To me, it’s worth it,” Daves said. “It makes my life a lot easier when I don’t have to cook. It’s already prepared and I know it’s fresh and healthy.” Ultimate Foods is a three-year-old business specializing in healthy take-out orders. It’s going places. “We’re breaking the barriers of healthy eating in taste, cost, and convenience,”

said Shannon Leeke, marketing manager, nutritionist, and health coach. Starting out in 2013 in a shared kitchen at the Trolley Stop Market in Memphis, the company offered home deliveries. It moved to the front windows of a gym in downtown Memphis and became a grab-and-go; it then moved again and grew to three locations, East Memphis, Cordova, and Olive Branch. “We just hit our million dollar mark in sales this year, Leeke said. “We’ll be in Collierville in December.” The stores DeSoto 17


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carry a Project Green Fork certification showing the company seeks to reduce the environmental impact from things like waste and harmful chemicals. Ultimate Foods is owned by entrepreneur Nick Harmeier and chef Jason Polley. It began as an idea to fulfill “the growing need for healthy food options,” according to its website. It has grown to employ approximately 30 people. Cooking is done in Cordova. A meal plan of five breakfasts, lunches, dinners and 10 snacks for five days starts at $152.50. Five lunches, five dinners, and 10 snacks for five days starts at $135. Orders in by Saturday can be picked up on Sunday for free or be delivered for $10. Each of the three locations has frequent drop-ins for a daily lunch or dinner. “The biggest surprise for our customers is that we’re cheaper than, or about the same price, as a drive-thru; but the nutrition is so much better and the quality of the food is so much better,” Leeke said. She smiled when asked about current best-sellers. Patrons love the turkey lasagna, cilantro pesto flank steak, and sriracha chicken chili. Leeke explained that sriracha is a mild hot sauce. Part of the fun of working at Ultimate Foods for Leeke is that Polley likes trying new recipes. “Jason creates the meals and I do a nutrition analysis,” Leeke said. For example, a gluten-free waffle mix was found to have too much sodium, “so we cut the mix with oat flour in order to cut the sodium,” she said. Ultimate Foods has southern favorites and staples like barbecue, lasagna, and macaroni and cheese—but all within healthy levels of sodium, sugar, and fats, said Leeke, 28, who earned a Master of Science degree in nutrition from University of Mississippi. “We want to break the barriers for healthy eating in terms of price, full flavor, and capturing what the South loves,” she said. Ultimate Foods has regular, seasonal tasting parties for its customers. “People love it!” Leeke exclaimed. Douglas Griggs of Olive Branch is another Ultimate Foods fan. He’s a diabetic and a mountain climber and works for Southern Guard Rail installing guard rails along interstates. He’s been an Ultimate customer for about a year. “I did their 21-day challenge,” he said. “Three months later I got my blood work done. My cholesterol was way down and my other numbers improved. Griggs likes Ultimate’s breakfast foods the best, and he eats the fish and salmon dishes three to four times a week. “For me, it’s all about the numbers,” he said. Ultimate Foods offers a complimentary nutrition consultation. Leeke meets with a customer; they discuss things like weight, body mass, physical activity, and goals. Age and gender factor in. Leeke often finds that a customer chooses to buy all the meals for 21 days, a period giving enough time to get used to new and healthier eating habits. She meets again with the customer for a reassessment after three weeks. Because Ultimate Foods cooks seasonally, it buys locally. A favorite farmer is in Mississippi. He brings sweet potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and herbs like oregano, rosemary, and parsley to the company. Another vendor supplies coldpressed coffee (strong and darn good cold!) and another local bakes bread. As a nutritionist, Leeke watches the Glycemic Index, a scale which quantifies “how carbohydrates from different foods affect your blood sugar,” according to the website. In order to keep a low Glycemic Index, Ultimate Foods offers fresh fruits and vegetables and starches from foods like sweet potatoes and brown rice pasta. Leeke’s background in cooking and nutrition goes back to her childhood. At age 12 she asked her parents for a KitchenAid mixer, a top-of-the-line cooking tool. “I still have it and use it; it’s on the kitchen counter” she laughed. “Now I’m into upgrades and want the pasta maker.”

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notables } dave rauschkolb

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The Bud behind Bud & Alley’s By Cheré Coen. Photography courtesy of Bud & Alley’s

Thirty years ago Florida’s Highway 30A along the Gulf of Mexico was a lone stretch of road — little traffic, unending beach views and few restaurants. Dave Rauschkolb was 24, in college and working at one of the area’s few fine dining establishments. One day while he and Scott Witcoski were hunting for a good surfing spot, Witcoski suggested they stop by Seaside, a new housing development begun by Robert Davis. Davis was looking for someone to take over the development’s restaurant. “I was like ‘No, I’d really rather do it another day because the surf ’s up,’” Rauschkolb recalled. “But we stopped in Seaside and Robert gave us the dog and pony show of what Seaside would become. I didn’t say no but more of ‘We’ll see.’ I had to call my mom and talk about quitting college.” The prospect was too inviting, although the two wondered how they would keep business rolling more than the three to four months of year during summer vacations. Still,

they took the plunge. The restaurant was a turnkey operation so it required little outlay and Davis vouched for the young men when they signed their loan at the bank. Bud & Alley’s Waterfront Restaurant and Rooftop Bar — named for Rauschkolb’s dachshund Bud and Witcoski’s cat Alley — opened on Jan. 20, 1986. “At the time Seaside had about 20 houses,” Rauschkolb remembered. “We were one of five restaurants along 30A. But we managed to turn a small profit the first year.” The two friends made their truck payments with money to spare, so life was good. “We were just having a ball running a restaurant on DeSoto 21


the Gulf of Mexico,” Rauschkolb said. “I reveled to be in the restaurant business in my early 20s, to have a voice and be a part of this new community.” Seaside began only a few years before Bud & Alley’s opened, on 80 acres of South Walton County between Panama City Beach and Destin. Over time the “Seaside experiment,” as Rauschkolb refers to it, grew and became the well-oiled community it is today — a traditional neighborhood development that’s an example of the new urbanism movement. Today, the development contains 300 homes and more than 12 restaurants and 41 shops and galleries. And in 2016, Bud & Alley’s turned 30. Seaside landmark Many live in Seaside year-round but the community swells in summer. Both residents and visitors, however, routinely make Bud & Alley’s a part of their dining experience. The restaurant serves up farm- and sea-to-table fare, including seafood pulled from Gulf waters from Louisiana to Apalachicola. “We wanted Bud & Alley’s to be the quintessential beachside restaurant that served the freshest seafood, locally sourced,” Rauschkolb said. At sunset, folks gather on the roof deck of Bud & Alley’s to watch the dramatic colors blend into the sea. For many, it’s a ritual regularly repeated. Rauschkolb bought out Witcoski 11 years ago and has added Bud & Alley’s Taco Bar, “because there was no Mexican cuisine on 30A,” and Bud & Alley’s Pizza Bar, which serves up Napoli-style, wood-fired pizza. He’s even started a bakery in Grayton Beach to provide sourdough bread to the restaurants. 22 DeSoto

“I saw that there’s no bakery on 30A, so we started one,” he said. One dining service Bud & Alley’s wasn’t catering to was breakfast, mainly because Rauschkolb feared it would strain the staff, a pool of employees that rises to 340 in the summertime. Still, wouldn’t breakfast overlooking the Gulf waters on the roof deck be awesome, he surmised? Rauschkolb took his management to New York to try out breakfast spots, they developed traditional breakfast recipes “with a Southern twist” and began breakfast service in 2015. Menu items include duck confit hash with potatoes, leeks, roasted peppers and a sunny side up fried egg; sweet potato pancakes (Bud & Alley’s is known for its sweet potato fries); and crab cake Benedict, a White Oak Farms poached egg on a toasted English muffin topped with Hollandaise sauce. “Breakfast is widely popular now,” Rauschkolb said. “It’s such a beautiful setting.” Accolades Bud & Alley’s has received numerous awards over the years, including Florida Trend Magazine’s Golden Spoon Hall of Fame Award, designating the eatery as one of the Top 20 Restaurants in Florida. Visit South Walton’s 2015 Perfect in South Walton Awards has also bestowed upon the eatery awards for Best Seafood Menu, Best Gulf to Table Menu and Best Sunset View (Grand Champion). Since Chef Emeril Lagasse moved to Seaside, the restaurant has also been featured twice on “Emeril’s Florida” TV show on the Cooking Channel. “It’s great to have him in the community,” Rauschkolb said of the famous chef.


Dave Rauschkolb

Seaside was also the location for “The Truman Show,” a 1998 film directed by Peter Weir and starring Jim Carrey, Ed Harris and Laura Linney. Rauschkolb became friends with Weir and served as an extra in the film. So what do the next 30 years hold for Rauschkolb? The restaurateur and young father of two plans to add 850 square feet to Bud & Alley’s roof deck, install an elevator and bathrooms to the top floor and combine the taco and pizza bars. Nothing drastic, he insists, but more of an “enhancement project.” In addition, Bud & Alley’s will have direct beach access so visitors enjoying the Gulf waters can walk straight up to the restaurant. All in all, it’s been a great ride, Rauschkolb said, one he will continue in the next 30 years. “I still can’t believe I get to be the guy who’s living in Seaside and gets to do what I do,” he said. “How lucky was I, at such a young age, to be involved in this.” Bud & Alley’s Waterfront Restaurant and Rooftop Bar is open daily for breakfast (hours vary in the off season), lunch and dinner. For more information, call (850) 231-5900 or visit www.budandalleys.com. DeSoto 23


exploring art } divian conner

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Food Photography with

Divian Conner By K. C. Ervin. Photography by Divian Conner

For Divian Conner, food has always been about family. She grew up in Starkville, Miss. watching her mother cook every single day to put the food on the table for their father when he got home. And every single day, she would set the table with her sisters, understanding that they were going to share a meal as a family. “Watching her in the kitchen has taught me so much about food and cooking,” Conner said. “I think food can be a reflection of love and also encourages acceptance of different cultures, diversities, in regards to people.” And as a single mother of four, it was important to continue that tradition. Before she really thought about photographing food, Conner made meals for her family with the same love and attention her mother would use. Living in the age of social

media, it was only natural that she share some of those details with friends and family online as well. It was just a normal part of life. However, there was something different about Conner’s images that stood out from the typical social media posts. “I made things like stuffed manicotti, homemade alfredo sauce, or different types of pastas and sandwiches. Most of the things required a bit more work, like homemade breads and DeSoto 25


rolls because I do not use canned vegetables or boxed foods.” It wasn’t the type of food found among typical families who had to revolve their meals around their hectic schedules. “A friend of mine in Canada said he did not believe I could cook,” she said, fondly remembering the friendly banter shared over the web. “I had never thought to take photos of our food. When he said that, I started taking pictures and posting them online.” Bolstered by her friends’ positive comments, Conner started creating recipes and sharing them as well. Eventually, the food blog became a necessary platform to share her recipes and food photography. Even though her family meals are shared online, her true interest in food and photography goes beyond the digital. “I love that I am not only sharing a photo or recipe, but this is something that I am giving to my family,” she said. “The extra care in presentation is also a reflection of ‘they are worth it.’” An important fact because each meal carefully created and then photographed is food that immediately goes to the family, whether it’s the lunches she packs for her children, making desserts or sweets, or even their dinner for the night. “I cannot afford to be wasteful. I come up with recipes or ideas for my blog and photos based on what my family will eat. I do not waste anything.” Despite her love of food, Divian’s photography did 26 DeSoto

not start with food. At first she began scrapbooking her children and their day-to-day lives, like any mother might. “The more I did scrapbooking, the more I knew I wanted better looking photos,” she said of the early days. “I bought a DSLR camera one day and learned from trial and error.” And honestly, that’s how she’s grown in her food photography as well. It’s been about taking a ton of pictures, and learning what angles work best for which foods. “I also took inspiration from magazines and other food blogs,” she said. “When you become serious about your art, you do look for examples in other people’s work.” And through the examples of others and trial and error in her own pictures, Conner has learned a lot about what makes a good picture. “I have a tendency to go for dark, matte, yet colorful photos,” she said. To get the best light, she has a wooden food board she places near the window to catch as much natural light as possible. “We live in a day when it’s easy to go out to a restaurant or even stay home and take a picture of your food. Just put a filter on it, and you’ve got a nice photo,” she said. “The mistake everyone makes is that they use flash when taking pictures of their food.” Over the years, Divian has learned that lighting is one of the most important aspects of taking pictures of food.


“I do also love the styling and composition. I usually include fresh flowers and herbs,” she said. The background plays such an important part because it balances out the focus of the food. “I submit photos to Foodgawker.com, and they are very strict about which photos they accept. The biggest reasons they deny photos is typically composition and lighting.” She says that food photography is about the picture as a whole, balancing the food so that the food looks its best. While Divian posts to her own blog, she also creates photos and recipes for a website called Living Locurto. “I also partner with a couple of national brands, working with them to create recipes I share on my own blog,” she added. She has also been published nationally in food magazines. Find her work online at divianconner. blogspot.com or on Facebook at Cooking with Divian.

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exploring books} delta hot tamales

Author, Anne Martin

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Tamale Tales By Kathryn Winter. Photography courtesy of Anne Martin

The Delta is known for many things, one of them being a wonderland for hot tamales. Anne Martin, a Greenville, Mississippi native and self-proclaimed hot tamale connoisseur, recently wrote and published Delta Hot Tamales: Histories, Stories and Recipes. The book includes recipes on how to make them, how to use tamales as an ingredient to cook with, and a whole lot more. More than a cookbook, it also includes a history of the Mississippi Delta hot tamale and the artisans who make them. A tamale is described as a traditional Mexican food, made of a corn-based dough which is then steamed in a corn husk that is discarded before eating. Tamales can be filled with different meats, cheeses, vegetables and chillies. Tamales date back to Mesoamerica as early as 8,000 to 5,000 B.C. and were eaten by both Aztec and Mayan civilizations. A portable food, the tamale was used for hunters and travelers.

Martin’s book explores the theories behind how the tamale ended up in Mississippi. In an excerpt from her book, Martin explained, “As time passed the tamale found its way to other countries, crossing the border into the United States when migrant Mexican workers were brought here in the early 1900s to work in the fields picking cotton. Known simply as tamale, or tamal, the food was portable, easy to prepare and could be taken to the field. Working alongside African Americans DeSoto 29


tending to the crops, Mexicans shared their food made of pork and masa.” Martin’s book also describes ways to cook using hot tamales and how to cook everyday dishes with them. She loves to make tamale stuffed bell peppers. “Stuffed bell peppers are a favorite family meal, most recipes call for ground beef, but adding a tamale makes it so much better. It’s wonderful- put it inside the pepper and cover it with cheese and it’s absolutely delicious.” Martin grew up in the middle of the hot tamale epicenter in Greenville. Now she resides in Rosedale, and documents the stories of growing up and living in the Delta. She spent 30 years working in broadcast news, and is a regular contributor to Life in the Delta and Eat. Drink. Mississippi. She is also a co-founder of the Delta Hot Tamale festival. “I grew up eating hot tamales. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t eat them. They were always such a special treat. They always had a mystery surrounding them, and speculation about how they were made and where they came from. I realized quickly you couldn’t get good hot tamales anywhere but the Delta. As one of the co-founders of the Hot Tamale Festival, I began to learn more about tamales and craved to know even more. There isn’t a book about Delta Hot Tamales out there. And there needed to be to share this heavenly treat with the world,” Martin said. Some people believe that tamales could have landed in the Delta after soldiers who had fought in the MexicanAmerican War brought back the recipe to Mississippi with them. Others think that the rich tamale history comes from the African American dish called cush. And then there are those who say tamales were always part of the Delta, claiming Native Americans in the area are responsible for the delicacy. 30 DeSoto

An agricultural tribe, they worked with maize or corn and since tamales are wrapped in cornhusks, there were plenty for making them. Martin explains that hot tamales are special for the people who make them as well as those who eat them. “They are carrying on a tradition that began so many years ago using a basic recipe that has changed little over time. They know they are creating a food that is loved and adored by many but made by few. Making hot tamales is truly a labor of love with a healthy dose of patience thrown in. Some know and fear that the closely guarded recipes will die with them. Making a tamale truly is an art form.” One of Martin’s favorite tamales is the spinach tamale made by Hattie Johnson in Greeneville. “Oh my gosh, it is the best thing ever. I thought a traditional beef or pork tamale was the best thing I’ve ever had. I changed my mind after I had the spinach tamale. Greg Harkins also makes a shrimp and grits tamale that is great,” Martin said. Her tamale philosophy is that no one can say hot tamale without smiling. “It’s a happy, fun food. Regardless of race or economic status, hot tamales are a favorite with just about everyone.” Delta Hot Tamales can be purchased at many local bookstores, including Square Books in Oxford and Lemuria Books in Jackson, or on Amazon.com. Follow Delta Hot Tamales page on Facebook for more information on book signings. “Delta hot tamales are unique food found only in the Mississippi Delta. Every bit is full of tradition, talent, history and love. Every tamale has been touched by human handsthere is no way to make it without their hands. If you’ve never had a hot tamale, remember to shuck off the husk before you eat it.”


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into the wild } recycling christmas trees Alexandra Jones-Twaddell and Malley Chertkov add a Christmas tree to the growing line in Island Beach State Park in February 2013. Similar dune restoration projects — using trees as a foundation to trap sand — will be carried out this year all along the Atlantic Coast.

Near Jefferson, La., volunteers place recycled Christmas trees inside man-made wooden cribs in the shallow water of a local marsh in January 2011. The trees absorb wave action and protect fragile marshland from erosion.

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Submerging recycled Christmas trees can enhance the fish habitat

Rooted in Recycling By Clint Kimberling. Photography courtesy of capeandislands.org

After the holidays are over and relatives leave and you finally get around to taking down the decorations, what do you do with the Christmas tree? If you just drag it to the curb for regular garbage pickup, there’s a lot more you could be doing. Real Christmas trees are 100 percent biodegradable and can be recycled in a variety of ways. There are several creative ways that Christmas trees can be recycled, reused and repurposed. As Michael Buchart of The Southern Christmas Tree Association, bluntly put it, “It’s a shame to throw it in the garbage. It can always be used elsewhere so consider other options for your tree.” The first and easiest method is curbside recycling. Contact your local public works department and ask if they

support curbside pick-up for recycling. Many municipalities will collect trees as part of their regular pickup schedule for the two weeks following Christmas. There are often requirements for size or flocking, but this is the easiest option. If your municipality doesn’t support curbside pickup, a drop-off recycling center may be located nearby. Besides turning it over to a recycling facility, another option exists that lasts for many years. One of the best options is planting the tree in your yard outside. After all, you paid for DeSoto 33


Goats love them. (Hey, it’s the FOOD issue!)

it. Why just get a few weeks of use out of it? Enjoy it year round. If you’re considering this option, you can ask your tree lot for a ball and burlap tree or place it in a container once you get home. Mississippi winters are generally mild enough that a tree planted in January will survive the year. A piece of advice is to plan ahead by digging the hole before Christmas when the ground is still soft. If you don’t want to bother with planting the tree you could simply leave the tree in your yard without planting, repurposing it into a natural haven for wildlife. Leave it on the stand or prop it up on a fence and it can serve as bird feeder and sanctuary. Hang pine cones, orange slices or strung popcorn on the branches to attract birds. The needles on the tree will eventually dry up but it will be a nice bird habitat for a few months. Dr. John Kushla, a Mississippi State University professor at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center, recommends using the tree for compost material. He said a Christmas tree can easily be sawed into pieces or chopped finely for composting. “It’s great for enhancing the garden. Be sure and mix the tree clippings with other garbage. Wood chips have lots of carbon and will need other nutrients to help it break down.” Along these same lines, you can also turn your tree into mulch. If you have access to a wood chipper or if your local landscape company provides chipping services, a single tree can produce a nice amount of mulch for your garden. Additionally, you can remove the needles and boughs from the trunk and spread them in your beds. This will offer protection from winter freezes and spring thaws. The branches will provide the steady temperatures that most plants need. Buchart, a fisherman, recommends taking the whole tree out to your favorite fishing hole or farm pond. “You can weigh it down and sink it in the water to enhance the fish habitat. They’ll use the tree to hide in and feed around.” Buchart also advocates finding a restoration project that accepts tree donations. Surprisingly, Christmas trees are used in a large number of coastal and 34 DeSoto


wetland restoration projects in Louisiana and other coastal states. “The fibrous structure of the trees are great at keeping sediment from shifting. The tree acts as a levee and is a great way to catch silt and sediment and fortify the shoreline,” said Buchart. Your retired Christmas tree can even make itself useful around the house. The branches and needles can be removed and the trunk can be used for wood working projects or even firewood. Be sure to remove the needles before burning as they will cause sparks and flare ups. The needles from the tree will continue to be fragrant for a long time. Use them for homemade potpourri to keep that Christmas tree smell in the house for a few more months. “Whatever you do,” Buchart urged, “Keep it out of the landfill. Explore all options before you throw it in the garbage. See what you can do with it.”

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exploring cuisine } international food festivals

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Cooking without Borders By Devin Greaney. Photohraphy by Devin Greaney

Across the Mid-South area, ethnic groups celebrate cultural differences together through the culinary arts. These international festivals serve up southern hospitality along with their own cultural culinary specialties. Africa in April “We understood culture is very important to a people. Without a culture you die,” said Dr. David Acey. In the 1980s he and his wife, Yvonne, decided to start a festival to celebrate the continent. There was a Memphis in May, so why not an Africa in April? “We went down to Main Street dressed in our African clothes and started beating our drums and said ‘we’re starting a festival!’” Three days of festivities happen at Robert Church

Park with a different African nation honored every year. www.africainapril.org Bangladesh How can you not admire their dedicated hearts? There are 65 Bangladeshi graduate students at the University of Memphis who find time to plan and hold the annual Bangladesh Night in late September. This year marks the fourth Bangladesh night. “This is a special night. During two or three hours, we DeSoto 37


feel like we are in Bangladesh. We have put a lot of hard work into this event and you can tell they are exhausted when done!” said student, Monsural Huda. memphis.collegiatelink.net/organization/BSAUofM/events China Xiaoyan Hu and her family are from China attending the University of Memphis. “When I encounter other cultures, I think it is a great way to learn. We think this is something meaningful,” she said. At the University of Memphis, the Confucius Institute has a dragon for the dragon dance. “You can’t purchase a dragon in the United States so one of my coworkers brought it here all the way from China! It was a big hit,” she said after a performance in Jackson. January 28 will be the Chinese Lunar New Year and celebrations at the Rose Theater at the University. And yes, the dragon will be there. Greece This year, Greek food lovers can look forward to the 59th annual festival to be held May 12 and 13. The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church at 573 N. Highland is home to their signature festival which attracts large crowds. Be sure to participate in their dances which are not too complicated, and just energetic enough to work off the dolmas and baklava. www.memphisgreekfestival.com 38 DeSoto

India Like so many other festivals, the Indian community started a small cultural outreach to the community years ago. At the festival in November, it was apparent how much it had grown since its 2003 beginning as it now covers the entire Agricenter. “Every year it’s getting bigger and it’s challenging, because it’s all run by volunteers,” said Manjit Kuar who is one of those volunteers and media liaison for the festival. “We like to promote our culture, teach our children... and bring diversity into our world.” www.indiafestmemphis.org Israel November is a festival that Is-ralie fun. Memphis Friends of Israel hold their festival at the Agricenter. While many people may know Memphis is home to the largest barbecue contest in May, it’s also home to the largest kosher barbecue contest as well. Whether you eat kosher, don’t like pork, or are just a homesick Texan who misses beef brisket, this is the food festival for you as 45 teams gather at Anshei Sphard at 120 N Yates. www.asbee.org www.memphisfoi.org/israel-festival.html


Italy Before the early 1990s, Marquette Park was known to East Memphians for its playground and ball fields. Now it’s known throughout the metro area as home to Holy Rosary’s Italian festival for music and especially food. Got a pasta recipe and friends? Enter your team in the contest and share your own hidden Italian talents. memphisitalianfestival.com Latin America T h e M i d - S o u t h ’s H i s p a n i c population is growing and celebrating their culture. Latino Memphis honors a different nation each May. This year’s festival will be honoring Columbia. Karen Febles is a native of the Yucatan who loves her adopted town of Memphis and her culture. She has worked with both the Tamale Festival held in late September and the Dias de La Muerte commemoration which is held in late October here. “When we collaborate with each other that always brings magic. That’s how people grow!” www.latinomemphis.org/hola Palestine May in Overton Park celebrates the Middle East with the Palestine Festival at Overton Park. Last year’s event included food, dance, and music of what many faiths consider The Holy Land. Persian The beginning of Spring marks the beginning of the Persian New Year, Nowruz. “Chaharshanbeh Souri (Festival of Fire) is celebrated on the last Tuesday of the Iranian calendar. This event is free and open to public, and sponsored by the Iranian American Association of Memphis. The festival will be held in March at the Municipal Park in Germantown, between the Great Hall and the library. “People can jump over the small bonfires and there are Persian foods and sweets along with music and dance,” said Shahab Sadeghi. www.facebook.com/psamemphis

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exploring destinations } charleston, sc

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Coast Bar and Grill

A Taste of Charleston By Debra Pamplin. Photography courtesy of the Travel Channel, Joe Vaughn and insert-food.blogspot.com

Charleston has always had its thumb on the pulse of tourism, hospitality and natural beauty. The city that prides itself on southern charm is making its mark with foodie-enthusiasts throughout the nation. In fact, Business Insider ranked Charleston as one of the 30 best cities for foodies around the world. With over 600 restaurants throughout the city, there is plenty of variety and mouth-watering platters to go around. One of the most popular dining options is the Coast Bar and Grill. With farm-to-table practices firmly set, the chefs at Coast Bar and Grill obtain the freshest seafood, fruits and veggies from local fishermen and farmers. Executive Chef David Pell is originally from Spartanburg, but trained in Paris, where he graduated top of his class in 1999. Since 2008, Pell has been overseeing culinary operations and menu development at Coast.

What’s on the menu? Platters range from Shrimp Ceviche to the house’s Coast Crab Soup. For a lighter option, there is a seafood cobb salad and a crispy fried oyster salad. On Sundays, stop by for live music, a drink and appetizer. The Charleston Grill is another heavily visited dining location. In addition to the seafood menu items, options range from lamb chops, rack of lamb, and beef fillet. Priding themselves on fair platter size, the portions are reported as ‘huge’. Jazz music in the background sets the mood for an intimate and relaxing dining experience. The Charleston Grill DeSoto 41


The Charleston

racked up some amazing stats from Trip Advisor. In addition to placing third out of 676, there are over 1,200 reviews left by tourists and locals alike, with over 1,000 of those listed as ‘Excellent’. Chef Michelle Weaver has been with the restaurant for 16 years, and for five of those years she has worn the title of executive chef. Originally from Alabama, she gained formal training at the New England Culinary Institute. Teaming that with her southern upbringing, Weaver creates unique and outstanding menus and platters. Day after day, year after year, Weaver continues to serve up southern cuisine at its best. The Charleston restaurant that has received the highest amount of publicity in recent years is Husk. Back in 2010, Executive Chef Sean Brock was named the Best Chef of the Southeast by the James Beard Foundation, and was nominated this year for Outstanding Chef. In 2011, Husk was named ‘The Best New Restaurant in America’ and Chef Brock’s signature Skillet-Roasted Chicken graced the cover of Bon Appėtit Magazine. Similar to other restaurants, Husk uses only southern ingredients, but what sets Husk apart is the interaction patrons have with the chefs. With an open kitchen, chefs freely interact with the guests. No waitresses or waiters here; the chefs personally deliver the entrees. So, at Husk, you not only get farm-to-table service, you get grill-totable service from the chefs. For a unique southern menu option, try the pig’s ear wrapped in lettuce. Reservations are a near must. Charleston has also been voted as the number one city in the U.S. and Canada, by Travel & Leisure. The

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Husk - Dave’s wood-fired clams, fried chicken skins, Holy City beer broth, sweet onion, spinach, shitake

city is historically rich, as it is the location of the first full battle of the Civil War. It is also recognized as ‘The Holy City’. The title likely comes from the fact that South Carolina was one of the few original colonies to tolerate all Christian denominations. Most recently, the title may stem from the number of churches throughout the city. Take a tour of Fort Sumter National Park, and see where the first cannons that started the great Civil War were fired. Maybe stroll through the four-block city market or Charleston’s zoo. Drayton Hall, the well preserved antebellum plantation, is just another slice of history. For a more wild and fun experience, take some time to learn how to do lifts and flips on the water, with the help of Hydrofly Watersports. Take a boat cruise, or play in the fountains and sprinklers at the Splash Zone Waterpark at James Island County Park. Of course, Charleston is also famous for its expansive amount of shopping options. From boutiques to brands, the shopping options are impressive in this southern town. Antiques, art galleries and outlet malls provide a full day of fun. Be sure to peruse King Street, as it was listed as one of the top 10 shopping streets in the U.S by U.S. News and World Report in 2011. When the shopping and the exploration is over, stop by one of Charleston’s hot spot restaurants for a lowcountry platter, a glass of wine and indulge in all that is Charleston.

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on the road again } franklin, tn

, n i l k n a Fr see Tennes

9:00 Breakfast at Five Daughters Bakery inside The Factory at Franklin. This locally- owned family business is known for their 100 layer donuts. It’s a delicious croissant meets donut and takes up to three days to craft. The bakery was recently featured when the Travel Channel named Franklin one of the Top 10 cities in the world for people with a sweet tooth. After breakfast, stroll through The Factory a former stove factory now home to unique shops, restaurants, and performance venues. 10:30 Tour one of Franklin’s three historic Civil War sites, where the Battle of Franklin was fought in 1864. Carnton Plantation, Carter House and Lotz House tell the story of the battle from the unique perspective of each homeowner. 12:00 Head to the village of Leiper’s Fork just minutes outside downtown Franklin. A “wide-spot in the highway” at best, Leiper’s Fork features some of the best art galleries, antique shopping and true southern vibes you’ll find in the South. Grab lunch at Puckett’s of Leiper’s Fork. Enjoy a delicious plate lunch, BBQ sandwich or burger. Walk off lunch by perusing the shops. Make sure to stop into Serenite Maison, which has a “Pickin Corner” filled with historic instruments (not for sale), but are there for any and all to play. 3:00 Head to Main Street in downtown Franklin. Franklin is home to a “Great American Main Street” as well as being called America’s Favorite Small Town. Main Street is lined with locally-owned shops and boutiques, many of which sell the work of other local artisans. Be sure to visit the historic Franklin Theatre, a great place to see a show or movie. Many consider it to be the best 300-seat venue in the world. 6:00 Dinner at Gray’s on Main. A pharmacy for nearly 100 years, it was turned into a restaurant in 2013 and has quickly become one of the top spots in the region. They are known for their locally sourced southern fare that is traditional but with their own twist. Dishes like barbecue braised brisket, shrimp & grits or cider brined pork tenderloin are what keep locals coming back. Stick around after dinner for live music and one of their amazing handcrafted cocktails.

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Carnton Plantation

visitfranklin.com fivedaughtersbakery.com factoryatfranklin.com puckettsofleipersfork.com downtownfranklintn.com franklintheatre.com graysonmain.com

If you plan to stay the night, there are 30+ hotel options to choose from in the area. The most authentic Franklin experience is Pot & Kettle Cottages. The three charming and beautifully decorated cottages, located in the heart of Leiper’s Fork, were designed by Kim Leggett of City Farmhouse. Leggett has been featured in countless design publications and hosts her City Farmhouse pop up shows across the south. City Farmhouse is based in Franklin and located at the Factory next to Five Daughters Bakery.

The Franklin Theatre

Craft cocktails at Grays

Five Daughters Bakery

A performer on stage at Grays

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greater goods } southern snacks

Southern Snacks 2

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1. Uncle Buck’s flavored syrups, Bass Pro Shops, 1 Bass Pro Dr, Memphis, TN 2. The Resident Chef mixes, Paisley Pineapple, 6542 Goodman Rd #115, Olive Branch, MS 3. Amish Wedding apple butter syrup, Commerce Street Market, 74 W Commerce St, Hernando, MS 4. Delta Bred cheese straws, Cynthia’s Boutique, 2529 Caffey Street, Hernando, MS 5. Ala Carte Alice mixes, The Wooden Door, 2521 Caffey Street, Hernando, MS 6. D’evereux hot sauces, Bon Von, 214 W Center Street, Hernando, MS 7. Uncle Jim’s rubs and mixes, Ultimate Gifts, 3075 Goodman Rd E # 16, Southaven, MS 8. Forever Herbs jalapeno compote, Mimi’s on Main, 432 W Main St, Senatobia, MS 46 DeSoto


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Southern Snacks 10 11

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9. Ala Carte Alice glazes and sauce, The Wooden Door, 2521 Caffey Street, Hernando, MS 10. Savory party cracker seasoning, Square Cupboard, 328 W Commerce St, Hernando, MS 11. Captain Rodney’s pepper jelly and glaze, The Pink Zinnia, 134 West Commerce Street, Hernando, MS 12. D’evereux jalapeno jams, Bon Von, 214 W Center Street, Hernando, MS 13. Nut Butter brown sugar cinnamon peanut butter, Merry Magnolia, 194 E Military Road, Marion, AR 14. Sugar Taylor sauce, Mimi’s on Main, 432 W Main St, Senatobia, MS 15. Fried Green Tomatoes Batter Mixes, Ultimate Gifts, 3075 Goodman Rd E # 16, Southaven, MS 16. Cowboy Syd’s D-lish sauce, Mimi’s on Main, 432 W Main St, Senatobia, MS DeSoto 47


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Delta Dining Redefined By Robin Gallaher Branch. Photography copurtesy of Delta Supper Club

Delta Supper Club, a one-year-old dining venture combining top chefs, unforgettable meals, and locales rife with river history, carries on the love of fellowship and food known for generations in Mississippi. DeSoto 49


Yet, this club adds modern touches. For instance, guests may know some but definitely not all of their fellow tablemates. Instead of dining at a neighborhood home, the rotation is a new venue guaranteed to be interesting and maybe even a bit bizarre, but definitely Delta indigenous. Celebrity chefs fly in from all over the country. A nice give-back touch is this: Some of the proceeds go to scholarships for area culinary students in the hopes of fostering Mississippi’s cooking talent. These twists reflect not only the business nature of the three founders—Stewart Robinson, David Crews, and Kimme Hargrove—but also their passionate love for the Delta region. Robinson agrees with the famous definition of the Mississippi Delta as starting in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis and ending on Catfish Road in Vicksburg. “The tickets to events sell like tickets to a Rolling 50 DeSoto

Stones concert,” said Todd Paden, summarizing the business’s first-come, first-serve event policy. He and his wife Chappell are ardent Delta Supper Club members. And with good reasons. One, the invited chefs hold impressive resumes. Edward Lee is a four-time James Beard Foundation Award nominee for ‘Best Chef: Southeast’ Cory Bahr was named ‘King of Louisiana Seafood’ in 2011, serves as a spokesperson for Louisiana Seafood, and regularly hosts the Great American Seafood Cook-Off. Alex Harrell studied under acclaimed New Orleans chefs and opened his restaurant, Angeline, in the historic French Quarter in 2014. Michelle Bernstein, a fixture in Miami’s restaurant scene for years, received a James Beard Award in 2008. Paden, who is in the food service industry and travels


for a living, said he ate at a Bernstein restaurant when he visited Miami three years ago, “but it was a pleasure to meet her in person at the Delta Supper Club at Indianola.” Dining venues equally rival the interesting chefs and food. Past venues include The B. B. King Museum in Indianola, The New Roxy Theater (open-air and three-tiered and in the process of being renovated!) in Clarksdale, Kimmel Aviation at Greenwood Airport (an 8000-square foot hangar), and Dockery Service Station at Cleveland (a red and white building complete with two old timey pumps in matching red and white) The Events In each venue, guests enjoy some sort of local, highquality, unique-to-the-Delta story or entertainment. Area farmers, specialty cooks, and vintners may tell the guests about

local produce they have eaten. “As long as there’s a good story to tell, we’ll make it happen,” said Robinson. Paden remembers Kingfish, the entertainment at the New Roxy, in particular. The musician, known only by his first name, “is an incredible blues guitarist” and helped make the Clarksdale experience “above and beyond and just over the top,” Paden said. Hargrove also remembers the Clarksdale event, saying the featured chef, Cory Bahr, “was a blast, to say the least. He was very interactive with the guests, and they loved it.” A memorable kitchen experience for Crews was cooking “20 whole lobes of foie gras for Chef Michelle’s dinner” over an open pit. Although Robinson says that all the events end up his favorite, he held a particular fondness for the presentation DeSoto 51


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showcasing the untold story of Mississippi’s WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) at Kimmel Aviation. The Owners Delta Supper Club is a joining of three Delta-area aficionados who have day jobs but carved out time to pursue their dream of promoting the Delta’s unique blend of history, food, fellowship, and permanence—and are having a great time doing it. Robinson runs a boutique duck hunting business, Esperanza Outdoors, at Linden Plantation in Glen Allan. He’s the cook and guide at Esperanza and knows a zillion ways to make duck and other wild game delicious. Crews dons a chef hat laden with honors. His day jobs have included culinary instructor at Mississippi Delta Community College and chef aboard the Holland American Cruise Line. He’s on the culinary staff of Southern Foodways Symposium. Crews was named King of American Seafood in 2013. Hargrove, the trio’s third member, is the self-proclaimed “wild card and worrier and little sis of the group.” Her day job is as a marketing associate for Hammons & Associates Advertising in Greenwood. Also a cook, she loves the Delta’s basic—good produce; she summed up its creativity this way: “My joy is taking tried-and-true regional recipes and spinning them with my own brand of culinary creativity, never making the same recipe twice.” The Dinners and Afterwards Guests arrive at event venues dressed in anything from sun dresses to tuxedos, pearls to cowboy boots. Patrons know where an event will be and the name of the chef but do not know the evening’s menu or the entertainment or the historical emphasis. The suspense makes it fun. Crews directs the kitchen and gives each visiting chef free rein. “I want this meal to be about you,” he tells them. “I want your menu to be like ‘If I came to your house, what would you cook me?’” Cocktails start about 6:30. Dinner—multiple courses with appropriate libations, many of them from Mississippi-begins an hour later. Guests are seated at tables of eight. The meal is plated family style— on purpose. That means a guest holds a DeSoto 53


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platter of, say, red snapper for eight, while the guest an elbow away takes a portion. This creates a lot of conversation and laughter. People get to know each other. “The chefs come out of the makeshift kitchens and say they’ve never heard such laughter at an event!” Robinson said. “People get together and have a great time,” Paden agreed. “It’s a oneof-a-kind experience.” The supper club members expect great dining, and the chefs not only give them a current trend but “put a Delta spin on it,” he said. The Delta is important to Paden and his wife. Paden grew up in Memphis but his Mississippi roots are at Glen Allan Plantation. His family heritage and those of other families in the area go back to 1819 when officers of the War of 1812 received their pay in land. His parents still meet regularly in homes for monthly, rotating meals. A supper club, he noted is very much a Southern experience and very definitely a Mississippi one. Many Delta Supper Club patrons make a weekend of it. They visit the Delta byways and continue socializing and sightseeing throughout the historic region. For Paden, the best event was the one in Clarksdale at the New Roxy Theater. Many fellow diners stayed at the Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale, an eclectic mixture of Delta buildings that have been remodeled and converted to hotel rooms. Paden explained that what’s happening in North America is that chefs are experimenting with ethnic flavors, different spices, varied textures and creative ways of cooking traditional fares. Delta Supper Club is very much in line with this trend, he added. Paden is “one hundred percent OK” with the price of the dinner (which varies with the locale and menu from $75 to $175) and the price of each individual yearly membership, $100. Acknowledging the loyalty of Paden and other Delta Supper Club members, Crews said, “I would say they are loyal because they share our vision of wanting to make the Delta a better place.” deltasupperclub.com

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Dyers Burgers - The Original

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r o f g n i Div

s r e g r u B By James Richardson. Photography by James Richardson

Everyone knows about McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, and Sonic hamburgers, all fast food joints whose only claim perhaps is the fast part. Not everyone however can name a few Memphis local eateries that also serve hamburgers but are a far cry from their chain counterparts. In fact, anyone craving funky or offbeat with their burger already knows where to dive in.

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Arcade Restaurant Cheeseburger with egg

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Rocky Kasaftes

Alex’s Tavern is located at 1445 Jackson Avenue in a neighborhood not classified as swell. But, it is the oldest familyowned tavern in Memphis and has been open since 1953 in the same location. Not necessarily a “local” tavern, it has customers from around the country due to a strong Facebook following. The current owner, Rocky Kasaftes, continued its operation after his father’s death. Their menu consists of mighty fine burgers, ribs, wings, gumbo, and beer. Entertainment is by several extra large HD TVs on the walls of the tavern and two juke boxes with oldies. Rocky said theirs are the best juke boxes in town. Parking is on the street in front of and behind the tavern. Andy Graves, part-time cook said, “Most people don’t even know we have a front door.” The Green Beetle at 325 S. Main Street is another eatery that serves exceptional burgers. It is owned by Josh Huckaby and managed by Shawn Boice. It opened in 1939 and its claim to fame is that it is the oldest tavern in Memphis. Unlike Alex’s Tavern, it has had different owners, whereas Alex’s has been family-owned continuously. According to Boice, in the early days it was a pretty rough place. Gangsters would frequent the restaurant. And celebrities have frequented the Green Beetle. “We’ve had the

cast of Jersey Boys and various Grizzlies. And Desi Arnaz, before he became famous with Lucille Ball, would fill in with bands here.” Their menu has burgers, catfish, and beer. During the week is Burger Tuesdays, which has their Beetle Burger for $6.99. And there is catfish on Fridays for $8.99. During Trolley Nights on South Main, which is last the Friday of every month, the Green Beetle has a band for entertainment. Parking is along South Main or one of the side streets. The cross street is Vance Avenue. Also on South Main is Earnestine and Hazel’s. As Keenan Harding, the general manager, explained, “The building was built in the early 1900s and started out as a church. After the church, a man by the name of Abe Plough who was famous for St. Joseph Aspirin and Coppertone skin products, came in and opened it up as a sundry store in the mid-1930s. It was called Pantaze Drug Store. Then he and this black gentleman by the name of Sunbeam Mitchell worked together on certain deals. Sunbeam was an entrepeneur and was real big in the music industry. In 1947, Abe Plough’s business skyrocketed and he turned this business over to Sunbeam. And Sunbeam’s wife Earnestine came in. Hazel was her sister. They DeSoto 59


The Green Beetle

Green Beetle’s Beetle Burger

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turned it into a soul food cafe.” Some of their original menus are still on the walls. The upstairs they ran as a ‘rooming house.’ “Sunbeam Mitchell had one of the largest nightclubs in Memphis called Club Paradise. That’s where a lot of the old blues artists performed and got their start. Albert King, Otis Redding. B.B. King. Sam and Dave. Ray Charles. This was a place where all the black musicians could come and play and get something to eat. And the rooms upstairs is where they could get some rest.” Russell George became the owner in 1993 and invented the Soul Burger. “He wanted an old-fashioned simple burger. No lettuce and tomato. Just fried onions and other ingredients. We probably sell 700800 burgers every week. We have a real big menu...burgers and beer,” said Harding. “We give tours upstairs. There’s a bar upstairs and we open it up on Friday and Saturday. The bartender named Nate Barnes -- we call him ‘the man upstairs’ -has been here for 22 years. We have a guy that plays the saxophone upstairs every Saturday. We have a blues band up front on Saturday. Jazz on Sunday.” The Arcade Restaurant, across the street from Union Station on Main Street at G. E. Patterson was started and built by Speros Zepatos in 1919. It is in the style of a 1950s diner and still family owned. It is billed as “Memphis Oldest Restaurant”. It did survive the decline of downtown Memphis during the 1960s and 70s; but in the 1980s the downtown area began a revival and the Arcade is again thriving. T he menu is a varied one. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. And, of course, the Arcade Cheeseburger. With an egg even. Dyer’s Burgers is yet another notable and recognized burger dive. The only Dyer’s remaining in existence is located at 205 Beale Street in downtown Memphis. Scott Lawrence, the general manager of Dyer’s pointed out, “We are Dyer’s Burgers. This is the only one left that is Dyer’s Burgers. This is where the grease is. On world famous Beale Street. It’s kinda where it belongs.” He said there is a Dyer’s Cafe in Collierville that is not affiliated with Dyer’s Burgers. The original Dyer’s was at Poplar and Cleveland. Then it came to Beale Street in late 1990s. “Dyer’s started back in 1912. Doc Dyer would cook his burgers in a cast iron skillet. It got to the point that he got busier and busier. But there was no runoff for the grease and beef tallow that they DeSoto 61


Earnestine & Hazels

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were cooked in. It went from pan frying to really frying. The grease collected and people just loved the burgers. They decided shortly after that part of their secret was in the grease. So, we’ve kept it, strained it, and filtered it, and seasoned it daily ever since.” Dyer’s has more on the menu than burgers and beer. But the burgers cooked in 100-year -old grease is what brings people back. All these burger joints have a couple things in common, other than great burgers. They all serve cold beer.

Alex’s Tavern 1445 Jackson Avenue Memphis, TN 37107 (901) 278-9086

Arcade Restaurant 540 S. Main Street Memphis, TN 38103 (901) 526 - 5757 arcaderestaurant.com

Dyer’s Burgers 205 Beale Street Memphis, TN 38103 (901) 527-DYER (3937) www.dyersonbeale.com

Earnestine & Hazel’s 531 S Main Street Memphis, Tennessee 38103 earnestineandhazelsjukejoint.com

The Green Beetle 325 South Main Street Memphis, TN 38103 ​(901) 527-7337 thegreenbeetlememphis.com

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The signature whole fish at PĂŞche

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f

Pêche Passions CHEF RYAN PREWITT CREATES MAGIC AT PÊCHE

By Cheré Coen Photography courtesy of Link Restaurant Group, eatingwithziggy.com societysouth.com and houseofhaos.com DeSoto 65


Chef Ryan Prewitt

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Even with the best-made plans, life sometimes veers us in new and exciting directions. For Ryan Prewitt of Memphis, chef at Pêche Seafood Grill in New Orleans, the road took him many places, eventually landing him at the James Beard Awards. Prewitt grew up in Memphis, graduating from Rhodes College with a degree in English. He moved to San Francisco to work in advertising, but his career choice “didn’t click,” he said. A friend suggested he join him in the restaurant industry so Prewitt made a bold career change. “I started cooking professionally and just got more and more interested,” he said. Prewitt worked with chefs Robert Cubberly and Alicia Jenish at Le Petite Robert Bistro, then headed to New Orleans to join Chef Donald Link at Herbsaint. Prewitt became Chef de Cuisine in 2009 and later executive chef for the Link Restaurant Group. But it was his travels that led him to Pêche. Prewitt was a member of the Fatback Collective, a group of Southern chefs founded by Nick Pihakis of South Carolina, the original owner of the Jim ‘N Nicks chain of barbeque restaurants. Fatback was founded to promote small hog farms and old-school hog breeds, among other issues. The group traveled the country for fundraisers and cook-offs. “The group was formed of writers, cooks and others to steer collected talents toward something more positive and

to use it to raise money and to work toward a common goal,” Prewitt explained. Prewitt learned new techniques from fellow barbecue pitmasters but it was his trip to Uruguay that changed his perspective. There they watched huge meals being cooked on five-foot bonfires, where fire and smoke were used in unique ways. “I, and perhaps, we were exposed to a completely different style of open-fire cooking,” he recalled. “It was just amazing. In retrospect, that was the moment Pêche was born.” He and Link had discussed opening a seafood restaurant before, but Uruguay opened Prewitt’s eyes to new cooking techniques, ones that would be incorporated in a Crescent City restaurant, where Gulf seafood is easily accessible. Pêche is located at the corner of Magazine and Julia Streets in the city’s Warehouse District and serves rustic dishes from an open hearth. Whole logs are used to produce charcoal, which Prewitt then uses for cooking, along with incorporating smoke for flavor. On the other side of the hearth is a smoker where he creates bacon and cured fish. The massive hearth is visible from the dining room, so visitors can watch their meals DeSoto 67


being prepared. “It’s the heart and soul of the restaurant,” Prewitt said. “It’s a monster.” Prewitt purchases seafood fresh from the docks, including large Gulf fish species. He loves to serve parts of fish not usually served in restaurants, such as the collars and bellies. “Anything that represents what we’re trying to do here, to utilize the whole fish like most restaurants use the whole hog,” he explained. “There’s more to fish than just fillets.” One of the most interesting menu items is the whole grilled fish. Prewitt typically uses a two- to three-pound fish that’s cooked and served whole. He admits he initially worried people would balk at seeing a whole fish on their plate, but the response has been positive. “It’s the closest to the fish coming out of the water that you can get,” he said. “It makes me so happy to see a family of four digging into a fish. I think it’s the public trust, that we’re going to cook it right. We take that trust seriously.” The restaurant has received numerous accolades and in May 2014, Prewitt received the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: South, the highest award in the restaurant industry, one voted on by peers. That same year Pêche earned the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant. “It was pretty amazing,” he said of the Beard 68 DeSoto

Award. “To get nominated was incredible. To win twice was unfathomable. It was an incredible experience, a real once-ina-lifetime moment.” Prewitt visits Memphis about twice a year to see family and friends and to attend fundraisers such as the one for Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis by Chef Kelly English. Even though his family loves to head south for a visit — and to enjoy both Pêche and other restaurants in New Orleans — Prewitt feels it’s imperative to remain true to his roots. “It’s important to stay connected to Memphis,” he said. “And to stay connected to family.”

James Beard Awards

The name gets tossed around as a culinary badge of honor but just what are the James Beard Awards? James Andrew Beard grew up in Portland, Ore., where his mother ran a boarding house and during summers the family visited the Oregon coast where they fished and gathered berries for their meals. Beard worked in theater but started a catering company to augment his income. The supplemental career soon became his main income source with the opening of New York’s food shop Hors d’Oeuvre in 1937 and the publication of


Louisiana crab Crawfish capellini

Beard’s first cookbook, “Hors d’Oeuvre & Canapés,” in 1940. Beard went on to host the first food program on television, champion a national cuisine and the use of local products and was named the “Dean of American cookery” by the New York Times in 1954. Today, the James Beard Foundation offers educational programs, special dinners and the annual awards that honor the best of the nation’s culinary talent.

c

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homegrown } mississippi cheese boards

A Cut Above By Andrea Brown Ross. Photography by Adam Mitchell

When Barry Cox, of Tupelo, Miss. began dabbling with woodworking in his spare time over 40 years ago, he had no idea it would eventually turn into a business endeavor years later. Cox detailed how his woodworking venture began when he ran across a seemingly simple household item.

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“I saw a key holder constructed out of wood, and I thought, ‘I could do that’. I usually look at a picture of something, study it, and figure out on my own how to create it,” he described. As the years went on, his creations evolved from key holder to magazine racks, and then to large pieces of furniture. By the time his children had become adults, he had honed his knack for woodworking. Then, somewhat on a whim, he entered a national contest with a china cabinet he had constructed for his daughter’s new home. To his surprise and delight, he placed second. His prize, woodworking equipment. So, from the mid 1990s through the 2000s he sold his goods at the Tupelo Flea Market as his full-time career in the banking industry allowed. When grandkids came along, woodworking took a backseat to making memories with family. In 2013 after Cox’s retirement and as the grandchildren were getting older, he and his wife Jane began reviewing their bucket list. They decided to start Barry’s Fine Woodworking & Crafts. Committed to supporting local and small businesses, Cox’s handiwork can be found in gift shops throughout the state of Mississippi, no retail chain stores. Undoubtedly, Cox’s signature pieces are his cheese boards, particularly the boards shaped as the state of Mississippi. Whether used as an accent piece, or coordinated with a matching butler tray, it’s a one-of-a-kind gift, literally. Cox elaborated on the unique quality of his cheese boards, which he credits to a higher power. “God creates the beauty in the wood. I just find the beauty in the grain and work from there,” Cox commented. The innate difference between each piece of wood makes no two the same. “I buy my wood locally from a lumber yard in Marietta, Miss., which uses lumber from both Tennessee and Mississippi. I work with American hardwoods, such as red oak and white oak. I also use some cedar, or juniper. Walnut, cherry, maple, and poplar are often used to create the accent on the pieces,” he said. Taking a section of hardwood, Cox crosscuts into several pieces. After putting the strips in order, laying them out, and using a quarter turn, he arranges the strips to create a pattern. And while Jane still works full time, she finds time to contribute to this part of the process. “Jane is an integral part of creating the pattern. It’s a bit of a trial-and-error process. She has a way of finding what patterns will look great as a finished product,” shared Cox.

After creating the pattern, the next step involves putting the pieces together with waterproof glue and pipe clamps. Having sold hundreds of cheese boards, Cox shared that he has never had any complaints of his boards breaking. When the boards are ready for the next step, they are sanded down and the corners are rounded. The most time consuming step of the process, the sanding procedure typically takes a few hours as 8-10 types of sanding paper are used. Boards are then covered in a food safe mineral oil finish. Cox said the final steps include putting felt squares on the bottom corners, putting our brand on the bottom, and attaching a note. “We like to include a note on the type of wood used and how to care for it”. Boards range from 8 by 8 inches, 8 by 12 inches depending on the pieces of wood and availability, or up to 9 by 14 inches for the Mississippi shaped boards. They are priced accordingly. Cox also creates boards using a different technique which expresses the grain highlights especially in oak. “Sometimes the grain pattern almost seems to move or wave,”said Cox. Customers can request custom orders through their local retail dealer. Since the boards are finished with mineral oil, Cox suggested occasionally reapplying with a soft cloth to help the grain continue to “pop”. After applying, he said allow the board to sit overnight, and wipe off any excess the next day with a paper towel. Sanitizing the boards can be done with water and vinegar. If the board gets any scratches, simply remove those with a sander and re-apply mineral oil. “It will be good as new,” assured Cox. With decades of experience behind him now, Cox still gets excited about a few particular aspects of his trade. “We hand deliver to all of our shops. Not only do we want to make sure none of our products have been damaged, but I still get a kick out of seeing the first reactions of the shop owners when they see the pieces. I really enjoy seeing that. Of course, I’m proud to say that I still have all 10 fingers, too!” Barry’s Fine Woodworking & Crafts can be found on Facebook. In Desoto County, his products are sold at Ultimate Gifts in Southaven and The Wooden Door in Hernando and Olive Branch.

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southern harmony } saliva

S A L I VA

Plays to its Strengths Founding guitarist credits Memphis scene with the band’s rise to success By Jim Beaugez. Phoptography courtesy of Saliva

Wayne Swinny has witnessed a lot in the past two decades. As founding guitarist of Grammy-nominated hard rockers Saliva, he’s seen bandmates come and go, relationships spark and fizzle, and trends pass by—all from the window of a tour bus. 72 DeSoto


“This band has outlasted one of my marriages and two of my drummers,” joked Swinny. Saliva rose quickly in the Memphis rock scene after forming in 1996 from the remains of local fixtures like Blackbone. Swinny met original singer Josey Scott in a studio one day while killing time between sessions. Singer, songwriter Scott walked into the room, grabbed an acoustic guitar and started playing songs he hadn’t been able to use in other bands, and asked Swinny’s opinion. “They were in raw form, but they were so truthful and real,” he recalled. “That night I called my singer and said, ‘Hey, how would you like to go back to playing drums?’ Luckily he said yes.” For the next three years, Saliva wrote songs, played gigs and kept a relentless rehearsal schedule at the behest of drummer Todd Poole, who Swinny described as a “grinder.” Although the band members all had full-time day jobs, they followed a four-night weekly practice regimen no matter how tired or distracted they were from their personal lives. With band members Scott and guitarist Chris D’Abaldo bringing a built-in audience from their Blackbone days, Saliva hit the Memphis club scene to big crowds almost immediately. Word spread quickly, and soon the band was flying to New York City to showcase for record labels. The showcase setting didn’t capture the real Saliva experience. Executives would file into a mostly empty, rented club or rehearsal space and watch the band perform. A rock band in this setting couldn’t be further from its element—it may be a decent way to hear the songs, but the sterile, suit-and-tie vibe doesn’t make for a high-drama rock show. So, when the label that would eventually sign the band asked them to come for a third time, the band demurred. “I think it was Josey who said, ‘Look, we’re not coming to New York [again],’” he said. “’You guys come to Memphis, come see us in front of our crowd, and then if you don’t want to sign us, we’ll shake hands and part ways.’”

Playing to a jam-packed New Daisy Theater crowd, Saliva took full liberties with its home-field advantage, and walked away with a record deal. “There were five years or so in the late ‘90s where [the scene] was just magical,” Swinny said. “The fans showed up. There were so many good bands. That Memphis crowd is a big part of the reason we got signed.” Propelled by hits like “Click Click Boom,” the band’s major-label debut “Every Six Seconds” earned Platinum certification and a Grammy nomination for the song “Your Disease.” The follow-up, “Back in Your System”, spawned the rock radio hit “Rest in Pieces,” and the band’s chart success, record sales and tours with KISS, Aerosmith and others continued for years. Saliva’s latest release, “Love Lies & Therapy”, followed a difficult period during which Swinny suffered a debilitating bout of pneumonia and the band endured lineup changes, including the departure of charismatic frontman Scott. Swinny credited new vocalist Bobby Amaru with helping keep the band on track as Swinny recovered. “When [Amaru] took the gig, he was humble enough to respect what we’d already done, but he was also good enough to bring something new to the table,” he said. “He’s an incredible writer and performer, and he basically produced this record. “I told him, ‘You’re getting the ball every play and you’ve got to score.’ And he did an absolutely fantastic job.” Now 20 years into his career with Saliva, Swinny and company just finished the Make America Rock Again tour alongside contemporaries Trapt, Alien Ant Farm and others, which he described as the most fun tour he’s ever done—a rock & roll summer camp bro-down with a few dozen multiPlatinum friends. “To be honest, I’m enjoying the band more now than I ever have,” he said. “That hour or so that we’re on stage, I ain’t got a care in the world. It’s a real good time.” DeSoto 73


table talk} windy city grille

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Mississippi’s Windy City By Andrea Brown Ross. Photography by Adam Mitchell

Often, we hear stories of a small-town girl finding her way and coming into her own in the big city, making a name for herself. For Anne Best May, owner of Windy City Grille, it was just the opposite. When May blew into the small Mississippi town of Como from the bustling big city of Chicago, little did she know that she would not only find love and family, but become the owner of not one, but two, successful restaurants in the Mid-South. Growing up in Chicago, May would go on to have a successful career as an office manager in a law firm, and then in sales. But the demands of a busy career began weighing on her. “While I had successful careers in Chicago, I came to point where it didn’t feel like my heart was in it anymore,” shared May. As fate would have it, May’s mother had moved to north Mississippi in 1994, and May visited her every year. May’s mother, having purchased a building on Como’s Main Street, encouraged May to make a career change utilizing the building.

“When my home in Chicago sold in just three days, I went for it. I moved to Mississippi in 2002 to start another chapter in my life,” explained May. With the help of local contractors and a restaurant consultant out of Memphis, May’s restaurant took about eight months to get up and running. August 2017 will be the 15th anniversary of the Como location. And just like its name, the Windy City Grille offers a menu indicative of some of the most popular Chicago dishes. Chicago-style pizza is a popular menu item. Whether it’s the thin crust or deep dish with lots of toppings, it has remained a DeSoto 75


favorite over the years. “Everyone has their favorites, but I love them both!” said May. Other customer favorites include salads, wings, burgers, and catfish. Customers will notice the menu options hail to Chicago. Wrigley Field, Grant Park, Magnificent Mile are a few of the salads. Sandwiches include “Swim with Fishes” Po Boy, “El Train Special” Turkey Hoagie, and the “Al Capone” Italian Beef, just to name a few. Besides the catchy names on the menu, Windy City offers fresh, made-to-order servings. Their menu initially began as a one-sided of a piece of paper. The menu has expanded through the years as patrons and employees have suggested items. Now with two busy restaurants, May has a standard menu, but weekly specials are offered on a rotating basis. Somewhere between the success of the Como location and opening the Hernando location on the town’s historic square eight years ago, May found love in that small 76 DeSoto

town. Now married ten years, May gained “wonderful stepchildren and great in-laws that have welcomed me into their family”. Striking a balance between work and family can be a challenge, but May credits her staff for their efforts. “I attribute much of my success to the fantastic staff I have at both restaurants! Employees, like Sharron Farmer, who has been cooking for me for 13 years at the Como location.” May also credits her success to the diversity of the menu and price. “If the husband wants a steak, he can come in and order a steak, and there are plenty of other options if his wife is in the mood for something else. I also think we are reasonably priced. You get what you pay for and then some.” Both locations are open seven days a week. Lunch begins at 11:00 a.m., and there are daily lunch specials. Happy hour is Monday-Friday 3-6 p.m. Both locations have flat screens to watch ball games and outdoor patio seating is available.


Trivia is offered Tuesday nights in Hernando and Thursday night in Como, along with karaoke. Live music is played in Como on Friday and Saturdays nights and occasionally in Hernando as well. For customers in a hurry, May suggested preordering lunch by calling in the order ahead of time, or placing an order to go. In Hernando, CitySpree delivery is available. Limited reservations are offered for parties of eight or more, as well as, some catering options. So no bright lights or big city for this girl anymore, she’s quite content with the small town atmosphere of Como or the bustling town square of Hernando. “I brought a piece of Chicago with me. It’s something different, and it’s stuck. At times, running two restaurants is stressful and trying, but I wouldn’t change anything.”

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in good spirits} winter sour

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The Winter Sour By Charlene Oldham Photography by Darren Edwards/Courtesy of H. Joseph Ehrmann

Margaritas and daiquiris evoke beachside breezes for many, but sour cocktails shouldn’t be limited to summertime. H. Joseph Ehrmann’s winter sour recipe was inspired by the Meyer lemons that abound in his area. “I love the floral component and sweetness of that lemon and it grows all over our neighborhood - in front and back yards,” said Ehrmann, who operates the San Francisco bar Elixir. “Our customers often drop off baskets of Meyer lemons and we make fun cocktails with them throughout the winter.” An alternate version of the cocktail created at the company that produces Tito’s Handmade Vodka adds another seasonal element with winter preserves such as cranberry. “We wanted something that would be refreshing, yet still incorporate the warm flavors of the season,” said Nicole Portwood, Tito’s vice president of brand marketing. “Preserves are also a great way to bring sweetness to a cocktail without making it overbearing or cloying.” The cocktail’s fruit flavors and the piney pungence of rosemary can also be replicated in foods served with the winter sour. “This cocktail would be fabulous with an appetizer of smoked meats and rich cheeses, with the sweet and sour notes playing well off both,” she said. “I’d love to see the rosemary garnish reflected in a rosemary and parmesan crisp or cracker as part of the offering, as well as an accompanying dried fruit that mirrors the one used in the cocktail. For a main dish, a nice smoky eggplant or even a really savory rosemary lemon chicken would work well. It’s great to highlight some of the same flavors in the cocktail and the dish.”

H. Joseph Ehrmann’s Winter Sour Ehrmann loves the unique nature of this drink, which combines the classic cooking combo of rosemary and lemon in a cocktail while Campari adds the complexity of a bitter balancing note. 1 ounce Campari 1.5 ounces Meyer Lemon Juice 1.5 ounces Clover Honey Syrup 2 inches of fresh rosemary 1 ounce of egg white In a mixing glass, strip the leaves of two inches of rosemary and muddle lightly. Add the Meyer Lemon Juice and egg white and dry shake for 5 seconds. Add the Campari and honey syrup and fill with ice. Shake well for 10 seconds and strain to serve “up.” Garnish with a few petals of rosemary or a short stem. Out of Meyer Lemons? Use ⅔ cup lemon juice and ⅓ cup orange juice (1 ounce lemon + .5 orange = 1.5 ounces juice) The Tito’s Winter Sour 2 ounces Tito’s Handmade Vodka ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice 1 Tablespoon preserves such as fig, persimmon or cranberry Combine all ingredients with ice in a shaker. Shake vigorously for 10 to 15 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a rosemary sprig.

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exploring events } january 5th Annual First Day Hike January 1 Tishomingo State Park Tishomingo County, MS For more information, visit tishomingofunhere.org or call 662-423-0051.

artistry and imagination and has explored a broad diversity of styles from jazz to classical and soul to African. Carter draws from a diverse well of influences that include classical, Motown swing, funk, and world music, among others. For more information visit gpacweb.com or call 901-751-7500.

Tupelo Gift & Accessories Market January 5 - 6 1879 North Coley Road Tupelo, MS Wall art, furniture, handbags, jewelry, home decor, clothes and more. For more information, visit tupelogiftmarket.com or call 662-842-4442.

Tedeschi Trucks Band with North Mississippi Allstars January 17 Orpheum Theatre Memphis, TN 7:30PM For more information, call 901-525-3000 or visit orpheum-memphis.com.

The Harlem Globetrotters January 7 FedEx Forum Memphis, TN 7:00PM For more information, visit ticketmaster.com or call 800-745-3000.

Wynton Marsalis January 17 MSU Riley Center Meridian, MS For more information, visit msurileycenter.com or call 601-696-2200.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers January 12 FedEx Forum Memphis, TN 7:00PM For more information, visit ticketmaster.com or call 800-745-3000. The Science of Beer January 13 Pink Palace Museum Memphis, TN 6:30PM - 9:30PM Taste an extensive selection of beers from both local professionals and home brewers, learn about that beer with lectures and activities, play games like giant jenga, and compete in trivia. For more information, visit scienceof beer.brownpapertickets.com or call 901-636-2362. Regina Carter January 14 Germantown Performing Arts Center Germantown, TN 8:00PM Over a span of more than two decades, violinist Regina Carter has established herself as an enduring and creative force in jazz. She demonstrates an unbridled 80 DeSoto

Kudzu Playhouse Presents William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet January 20 - 29 Hernando Performing Arts Center Hernando, MS For more information, call 888-429-7871 or visit kudzuplayers.com. Panola Playhouse Presents Disney’s High School Musical, Jr. January 20 - 29 Panola Playhouse Sardis, MS For more information, call 662-487-3975 or visit panolaplayhouse.com. Extreme Deep: Mission into the Abyss January 21 - May 6 Iodine Exhibit Hall Pink Palace Museum Memphis, TN EXTREME DEEP: Mission to the Abyss offers opportunities for hands-on exploration of life at the bottom of the sea.. For more information, visit www.memphismuseums.org or call 901-636-2362.


17th Annual Crystal Ball Le Cirque Magnifique January 21 The Arena at Southaven Southaven, MS 6:00PM Dining, auctions, entertainment, and dancing. Honoring Richard Grant, author of “Dispatches From Pluto”. For more information, call 662-449-5002 or visit www.cfnm. org.

The Harlem Globetrotters January 7

The Bodyguard: The Musical January 24 - 29 Orpheum Theatre Memphis, TN Based on the smash hit film, the award-winning musical will star GRAMMY® Award-nominee and R&B superstar DEBORAH COX! A breathtakingly romantic thriller, THE BODYGUARD features a host of irresistible classics including “Queen of the Night,” “So Emotional,” “One Moment in Time,” “Saving All My Love,” “Run to You,” “I Have Nothing,” “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and one of the biggest selling songs of all time – “I Will Always Love You.” For more information, call 901-525-3000 or visit orpheum-memphis.com. Oxford Fiber Arts Festival Jam January 26 - 29 Oxford, MS For over five years the Festival has become one of the major winter events in Oxford that draw vendors and attendees from across the region. It is a family-friendly festival with a significant education component that includes children’s art classes and over two dozen workshops. For more information, call 662-236-6429 or visit oxfordarts.com. Clarksdale Film & Music Festival January 26 - 28 Clarksdale, MS Clarksdale Film & Music Festival at Delta Cinema and New Roxy in historic downtown Clarksdale, Mississippi, featuring Mississippi movies, blues music, history bus tours, special guests and more! For more information visit www.clarksdalefilmfestival.com.

Tedeschi Trucks Band with North Mississippi Allstars January 17

The Bodyguard: The Musical January 24 - 29

The Garth Brooks World Tour with Trisha Yearwood February 2 - 4 FedEx Forum Memphis, TN For more information, call 800-745-3000 or visit ticketmaster.com.

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reflections} a taste of life Chef Nick Wallace

A Taste of Life

By Emma Williams. Photography courtesy of nickwallaceculinary.com

Sitting around a table and trying desperately to stifle our howling laughter, my friends and I listen to the man who works so diligently to provide opportunities for students like ourselves. His name is Executive Chef Nick Wallace, and he works at The Mississippi Museum of Art, striving to create new forms of art every day. Born and raised in Edwards, Mississippi, Wallace understands the difficulty of maturing in an isolated town. Perhaps this is why he took the time to meet with us, showing us that we could make something of ourselves. The idea of this successful chef attempting to help students from an area as forgotten as ours made many of us ecstatic for the opportunity. His successful escape from the seemingly endless cycle that is rural poverty , inspired us in a way difficult to describe to those that have not experienced it. During our culinary arts trip to the Mississippi Museum of Modern Art in Jackson, Wallace demonstrated how simple, healthy foods can be manipulated into an amazing meal. Many of us rarely experience food both delectable and healthy, but Wallace’s demonstration allowed many of the students on the trip to experience such a combination, perhaps for the first time. Wallace provided us with an experience that many of us may not have ever encountered, showing us what is within our grasp if we attempt to reach it. Wallace spent the beginning of our time demonstrating the creation of the meal we enjoyed. This demonstration helped to enforce the importance of healthy and delicious food for those of us who never had the chance to experience such 82 DeSoto

a meal. Our salads were delicious and unique, and the use of fresh greens grown at local farms added a sense of community to the otherwise isolated meal. While our table manners may have been lacking, we attempted to correct them as a group through suggestions and, though it pains me to admit it, a quick Google search to ease our minds. As we waited to receive a plate, one of my friends tapped his glass and jokingly remarked, “I would like to make some toast.” We laughed, likely more than we should have, and the joke circled the table before I asked, “What if our food turns out to have toast with it?” As soon as we saw our plates, we felt a shiver pass around the table before we dissolved into more giggles. There, on the plate, was a piece of toast. People growing up in rural poverty often do not see a way out. Wallace showed us that way. A nice meal seems like such a little thing, but when most people can only think of “oil” or “military” as viable career options, it can change their view of the whole world. Wallace may have grown up in a small town, but he may not fully realize how his actions influence places like Quitman, Miss. in particular. To know that there are options beyond manual labor or the family business is earth shaking, and Wallace has given several of us that knowledge by simply existing. A senior at Quitman High School in Quitman, Miss, Emma visited the Mississippi Museum of Art as part of her Culinary Arts II program at the school’s Career Tech Center.


DeSoto Magazine January 2017  

Regional cuisine, great chefs, kitchen designs and the latest gadgets.

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