Soul Fish Cafe, Memphis

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

My sister-in-law Kara had a friend in town over the weekend and organized reservations for a crew of us downtown at Itta Beana. I have been dying to review it but when we got on the road, Becca called us to warn us that parts of downtown Memphis was without power. So I suggested going to midtown to find a place for dinner. We parked at the Celtic Crossing Irish Pub, that's Jackie's new thing, going to pubs. We had a beer then walked across the street to Soul Fish Cafe. I loved that we didn't have to fight mosquitoes outdoors and it was a pleasant July evening. We had a short wait at the cafe, keep that in mind. The restaurant is small and our party of 9 took a while to get tables pulled together. We were supposed to have 13 but the power outage spoiled the fun for some of us!

You know someone would order an I think Matt ordered up some fried pickles. They all said they were great. The specials are written on a wall but I stayed on the menu for some reason. I ordered fish tacos for dinner. And oh my gosh...they were the best, blackened tacos in all the land! They were served with black beans that were seasoned with cilantro, salt, pepper and a little pico. The fish was blackened perfectly and the chipolte sauce was divine. I mean, it was awesome! Jackie made a mistake ordering this time. He got the large catfish. And frankly, that is all he got. He did have a choice of two sides, he had the white beans and hush puppies. The fish was broiled, not fried, which was refreshing to me, even though I ordered the perfect dinner for me. He loved his dinner but mine was much, much better, just sayin! Kara wanted desert, so we all got the homemade coconut cake and my coffee was hot and strong, just like I like it.

I can report the ladies room was in perfect shape, even though it was also the storage room for all the paper towels and toilet paper in the place. Serafina was our waitress, our bill was $55.64 which included 2 Fat Tires, chardonnay, and dessert. Not bad I'd say! I loved the Soul Fish Cafe. Check out their great website!

Soul Fish Cafe, 862 S. Cooper, Memphis 901-725-0722

Molly's La Casita, Memphis

Monday, July 26, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mother and Gary travel to Memphis every July for a skeet shoot in East Memphis. Over the past few years, I've met mother in Memphis with Chloe and we'll shop and eat lunch or dinner. This Friday, I met her to do some Old Navy back to school shopping and we had, just had, to hit up the Petco next door to get her sick miniature hamster it's own wheel. Jackie and Chloe separated the sickly hammie a week ago and decided it needed some exercise. I think it looks worse now than it did, and that's not because of the wheel either. It's just sick, I'm already planning a funeral, by the way. We were all hungry at this point and after talking Chloe out of going to her chain of choice, Chili's, we headed for this authentic Mexican restaurant in Midtown. You do have to make a note on parking...we ended up parking behind the Blue Monkey, which shares parking with Molly's. Not a big deal but it's hard to park in front on Madison.

We were promptly seated and served our unsweet tea, diet coke and Chloe's milk as well as chips and salsa. I particularly liked this salsa because of its consistency and cilantro. Mother got Chloe some white cheese dip we all shared and Chloe pronounced it as too hot, but mother and I disagreed.

For lunch, the kid's menu offered three choices, tacos, quesadillas or chicken tenders and all served with ice cream. Chloe got the beef taco and rice but she wasn't given her ice cream but we didn't care and she didn't notice it on the menu. Mother had her busy on her laptop ordering up Biscuit (her little four legged baby brother she's always wanted) a stroller with a hood and cup holder. Yes, I'm shaking my head too as I write this. Mother ordered the Chicken Enchiladas with sour cream and salsa verde served with their homemade refried beans. She loved them and thought the beans were fantastic. I got the Fish Taco that was served with baked spinach in a little corn bowl. The flour tortilla had grilled red snapper with a ranch chipolte sauce. It was great and I was thrilled there was only one taco. When the waitress was taking the order next to us, I heard them order up homemade tamales, so after we placed our order I added a chicken tamale with salsa verde. That was one of the best tamales I've ever had. I mean that! I'm ready for Mexican food right now!

Our wonderful, attentive waitress Rochelle brought our $35.00 tab. I didn't think that wasn't bad for three lunches. And I am thrilled with my first visit to Molly's La Casita and I plan to go back with Jackie next time. Check out the wonderful website or become a fan on Facebook.

Molly's La Casita, 2006 Madison Ave., Memphis 901-726-1873

Jefferson Jackson Dinner, Little Rock

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Jackie and I competed in our first triathlon at Village Creek State Park today! After clinging to the side of the canoe at the half way point of the swim, I've decided that I will be continuing my swimming lessons at the YMCA in Memphis!

Stephen Shanks had called us a few ago before to let us know that cousin Benton Smith, the yellowest Democrat in the state of Arkansas, was to receive the Jinks Democrat Man of the Year that same night at the Arkansas Democratic Convention. So of course we went and we all kept it quiet because it was to be a surprise to Benton, and I think it was. We all enjoyed bottles of Chardonnay and Cabernet on the table and trying to act like we were all at that table of 8 by chance. I wish I knew who catered the event, but it was great food. The buffet was salad, rice, rolls, green beans, chicken or beef. It was really good!

Benton was so surprised and accepted the award and recognition with flying colors. His acceptance speech and acknowledgements of his family full of Democrats was perfect. And what a great way to end our first triathlon day! And I was proud to show off my magic markered leg with my tri bib number under my dress! lol!

Top picture is Benton and Alexis, group pic at the dinner and pre-triathlon pic.

River Rock Grill, Morrilton, Ark.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Happy Anniversary! Kara and I agreed on this weekend for our annual Smith vacation with Memaw and Grandad and it fell a day after Martin's birthday and on our 17th wedding anniversary. Mewmaw had reservations at Tanyard Springs cabins at Petit Jean State Park and it was perfect! It was a wonderful place to take kids. They fished, we hiked, cooked out and enjoyed our cabins. We had a great birthday dinner for Martin and we hiked the next morning with the whole crew. We also took them to the swimming pool that was packed.

Memaw had her coolers packed with provisions for the entire weekend. She had gatoraide and snacks for the hike and pool, knew where to rent the fishing poles and get Kara's ice. She had Martin's dinner organized and it was delicious. She also brought her favorite annual breakfast...omelets campfire style. Using her farm fresh eggs, ziplocks and a pot of boiling water, we each fixed our own omelet. To your beaten eggs we could add cheese, onions, fresh jalapenos and tomatoes. You zip it and let it simmer in the water for a few minutes then voila! It's your own personal omelet. She also had ketchup ready for Chloe. Memaw can sure plan, organize and cook!

For dinner Saturday night, and giving Memaw a break, we ate a mile away at the River Rock Grill located at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute that Kara's mother recommended. Luckily the place wasn't packed and they graciously sat us in our own dining room. With four children nine and under including an infant, that was a good move on their part! We were seated and immediately offered a wine list. I have to confess I didn't write down every dish this trip but Kara had the mussels and Jackie loved his Filet and creamed spinach. The kids had hamburgers and pasta with marinara. I was glad they had these offerings! We loved our dinner, it was a perfect meal and the kids did great.

The institute is part of the University of Arkansas system and is used as a convention center for groups. We didn't check out the rooms but the facility was very neat. The institute was really something!

I highly recommend Tanyard Springs for your next family vacation and you've gotta eat at the River Rock Grill!

First picture is of Whit and Chloe in a hammock at the cabins, then one of the kids outside the restaurant rock climbing and the last is me taking a picture across from the water fall at Petit Jean State Park.

River Rock Grill, 1 Rockefeller Dr., Morrilton, Ark. 501-727-6235 Check out the fabulous website:

Tanyard Springs, 144 Tanyard Springs, Morrilton, Ark. 888-826-9273

Mike Shannon's, St. Louis, July 2, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Saturday, July 2, 2010

Mike Shannon delivers again! Jackie and I ate at one of our downtown St. Louis steakhouses on our way to the Cardinals/Brewers game. It was a hot day and we asked to be seated inside in the ultra posh bar area near the tv's so we could see replay World Cup games. We had a wonderful, young waiter that kept everything rolling. Jackie ordered the grass fed filet that was listed $2 more than the other filet. No entree comes with vegetables or salads, so Jackie ordered up the burgundy mushrooms. I had the very delicious House Salad with artichokes, grated Parmesan and house vinaigrette. For my entree, I ordered a side of the lobster mac. I didn't want to eat too much before the walk over to the stadium in the heat. It was a heavy side and we split it and left a ton on the table, just sayin. I made a pass through the ladies room and found it in perfect shape. Mike Shannon's was great, as it has been over the years. Our bill was $102 which wasn't too bad, with the Schlafly beer and glass of chardonnay. We did wonder why they didn't serve all grass fed beef instead of a choice of the beef fed artifical growth hormones. I'll have to research that!

Original Review June 2, 2009

Mike Shannon's is one of our favorite downtown St. Louis establishments. Jackie and I have been to Shannon's for 15 years now and are never disappointed. When the new Busch Stadium opened in 2006, the year the Cardinals won the World Series, Shannon's opened an outside bar that faces the north end of the stadium. This is our new spot before game time. This year's St. Louis trip was a new endeavor for us as parents. It was our first trip without Chloe which means we stayed at the fabulous, and I mean fabulous Four Seasons Hotel at Lacledes Landing. This fine, five star, hotel was plush, brand new with a tv in the mirror of the bathroom...We loved the view overlooking the arch.

Back to our weekend without Chloe in fabulous St. Louis, we met some old friends at the patio at Shannon's before the game. It is a great place to stop before the game for beer, brats, hamburgers and nachos. We sat closer to the restaurant on a side patio that had the bar menu from the restaurant and I of course ordered toasted ravioli and we had Stella's and Ultra's and good times talking old times. The ravioli was okay, but not the best.

We were off to the game so I can't review the menu for this wonderful constant restaurant. But it is a must for dinner featuring steaks and seafood. They are known for the delicious house Italian salad and creamed spinach in my book. Jackie loves their steaks.

Mike Shannon's, 620 Market St., St. Louis, MO 63101 314-421-1540

Charlie Gitto's, Downtown St. Louis, July 3, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Jackie and I put Gitto's on our agenda every time we are in St. Louis. We hit it just right Saturday before the Cardinals/Brewers game. The place was packed of course, with Cardinal fans galore. We ordered what we do every year, Toasted Ravioli for an appetizer, yes I am cringing, and house salad and Ravioli for dinner. We split a bottle of Chianti and loved it. Jackie also made a comment about the bread, room temperature with no butter. This is the way he likes his bread!

I took a spin through the bathroom located upstairs and so enjoyed going down memory lane. Before children, we would get a group of friends to rent one of the rooms upstairs. We'd usually have 20 or so and enjoy our own waiters and having the room to ourselves. Both rooms were empty which makes me want to get everyone together again!

I love Charlie Gitto's. You'll get outstanding Italian cuisine and service and if you are a Cardinal fan, you'll fit right in on a game day.

June 2009 Original Review:

Gitto's, Gitto's, Gitto's...This is my favorite restaurant in all of St. Louis and has been for 15 years. Charlie Gitto's, downtown St. Louis, opened in 1974 with Charlie Sr and Annie (his wife) and other family members, running the casual family restaurant. His daughter, Karen Gitto, is my contact for when we book the banquet room upstairs.

Gitto's has a great Italian menu but I don't veer off course when I eat here. I always stick with what I love. I am not an appetizer person but I always get the appetizer toasted ravioli which is the best, homemade ravioli anywhere. It comes in a large bowl with marinara sauce for dipping. The ravioli are small without a ton of crust, which I like, and dusted with Parmesan cheese. For dinner I can't not order the ravioli. My friends swear by the Chicken Parmigiana, Gnocchi, New York Strip and the Manicotti but I just can't order these when I dream about the Ravioli and meat sauce 364 days of the year. A must is the Charlie Gitto's salad which is a shredded iceberg lettuce salad topped with artichokes and a special house Italian dressing and dusted with aged Parmesan cheese. I nearly licked the plate clean. Jackie ordered the ravioli also, we were going to order one and split it since we had been at a beer festival earlier at Forrest Park, but he wanted to get our own. And we both nearly finished both huge bowls. We got to Gitto's just in time to get seated before the Saturday game rush at 4 pm and I was bound and determined to watch the Belmont pre-race on ABC. So luckily it all worked out. We also ordered a bottle of Chianti that Jackie said he'd split with me and he did thank goodness, that was a lot of wine with some really good food.

I have to admit I didn't get our waiter's name. I was so into the ravioli and salad and Chianti that I totally ignored him while watching the race highlights. But I can say he was great and attentive.

All I can say about Gitto's is that it's my favorite Italian restaurant of all time. It is always good, it is always reliable and the staff are friendly and attentive and it's a must when you're in St. Louis. Gitto's sister restaurant boasts a more formal menu and set up on the Hill, which is the heart of the restaurants in the middle of St. Louis. But downtown will always be my choice of the two. Plus you can't get the ravioli on the Hill. That should be a crime.

Charlie Gitto's, 207 N. 6th St., St. Louis, MO 63101 314-436-2828