Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tasted ~ South of Beale Brunch

One of the greatest things I love about the Memphis places I’ve eaten at recently is truly great food in unexpected places. Like the review of Alex’s Tavern last week, we find again a bar with food better than most bars yes but food that would still stand out even if presented in a fine dining restaurant. South of Beale’s “chef-driven” menu offering unique combination of flavors such as crab and crawfish ravioli with lemongrass hollandaise first attracted us but our first taste of South of Beale was the Sunday Brunch last Sunday that also exemplified the unique flavor combinations.

{ Christopher } House made Muesli / Granola, grilled pineapple and banana, yogurt
{ Sophorn } Stuffed French Toast / Toasted french bread with bananas and coconut syrup

Christopher’s muesli was a great compliment to my French toast. We took alternate bites of each until they were both gone. The banana/coconut flavor of my dish reminded me of a great Cambodian dessert my mom makes. The crispy toast was the main difference that actually helped balance out the sweetness. Just as a side note, it was a very hot day, and I know sweet tea is pretty ordinary, but the sweet tea was particularly and absolutely refreshing that day.

Next time we come for brunch we will surely try the special brunch cocktails such as the watermelon sangria we saw everyone order and the Irish biscuits and gravy.

South of Beale
361 S. Main Street
Memphis, TN 38103
Ph +1.901.526.0388
Project Green Fork Certified
Open Monday to Thursday 4pm to 12ish / Friday to Saturday 4pm to 3ish / Sunday 11am to 10ish

Twitter / Facebook / Sunday Brunch Menu / Spring Dinner Menu

Photos by Sophorn.

South of Beale on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tasted ~ Cockadoos

Since hearing from Kerry of I Love Memphis about the new coffee shop downtown when it opened, I noticed a lot of excitement in the online world about Cockadoos. With my first visit last week, I was excited to see that not only was it a coffee shop but that it also offered a fresh salad bar, both rarely found downtown or at least close to where I work. It easily reused the former Cafe 61 space with just some change in the decor so the relaxed, quiet lounge is still found at the front and more active dining is found towards the back and upstairs in the mezzanine space.

Below are images of what we tasted.
{1} Chai tea with the perfect amount of sweet and spicy.
{2} Water served in mason jars adds a southern charm.
{3} Salad bar charged either 1-trip or limitless. { Salad bar means I can load up on bacon. Yes! }
{4} Fried peach pie satisfied my craving for peach cobbler.

85 S. 2nd Street
Memphis, TN 38103
ph +1.901.590.0610
Open for breakfast and lunch 7 days a week / 7 am to 3pm
{ Project Green Fork Certification in progress }

Photos by Sophorn. Thanks to Christopher for being my hand model again.

Cockadoos on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Critterbug & Cricket Logo Development / Part 1

As mentioned before, I am developing a logo for my friend Tricia's new business called Critterbug & Cricket which creates personalized gifts for kids and women. The names Critterbug and Cricket are endearing nicknames she and her husband gave her two kids before they were born, since they wanted the boy or girl surprise. I suggested to Tricia that we try to relate the nicknames to her kids by creating a logo inspired by them. Actually, inspired turned into literally including them by cartoonizing their faces.

The actual logo shown above starts to take on the idea that, like her use of monogramming and applique on her products, the logo itself can be an applique or a sticker. Below are mark studies along with color studies where orange represents critterbug/girls and blue represents cricket/boys. {I still need to work on color studies of the logo above.}

Tricia needs a blog header, business cards and product tags/labels. The image above starts to think about all three. In fact, the business card was discussed to become the product tag just by punching a hole through the card. If you are curious to see the photos of Tricia's cute kids I used to draw the illustration, see below.

Graphics by Sophorn. Photos courtesty of Tricia.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Memphis Music Spotlight { James Robinson }

Today, I’d like to welcome singer/songwriter James Robinson to the Memphis Music Spotlight interview series. Well, technically James is based out of Austin, Texas, but he was raised in Memphis, Tennessee so we’re always gonna claim him. He has only recently moved to Austin to expose them to the soulful music of Memphis. Before I knew him, I saw him perform a couple of times and was blown away by his voice. Now that he’s back in Memphis for a bit working on his latest album, I got a chance to visit with him and interview him to hear his other voice, his thoughts on music.

Don’t miss his next show this Sunday / May 23 / 6pm / New Daisy Theatre, Memphis / $25
He’ll open up for Eric Roberson and Tim Terry.


Musical Background
James as a kid was too shy to realize his potential for entertaining people with his voice so first sought an instrument to accompany his music making. He became interested in the drums and keyboard early on but through music programs such as the honored Stax Music Academy, at the age of 17, transitioned to singing. He furthered his study in music through a music scholarship at the University of Memphis, learning under noted musicians such as guitarist/keyboardist Gerard Harris.

After performing at local venues and getting some street credit, he worked with Freesol singing on their first album 11:11. He soon released his own solo album on Cotton Row Recordings. Now, he is working with hip-hop artist Hezekiah and producer Steve McKie, known for producing big talents such as Jill Scott, John Legend, Common, and Musiq Soulchild. His music is usually described as soul with R&B but his album, expected to release September of this year, mixes in a unique flavor that he will take to Europe first with a tour creating momentum before touring the States.

Below is my summary of our phone q&a. He is not quoted word for word but I did my best.

How does one gain connections in music? Was the Memphis Music Foundation an important connection for you?
For me, it was performing shows, playing with other bands, seeing shows and connecting with other musicians. I was in a music program so I was always hanging out with fellow musicians. The Memphis Music Foundation is helping me out now but early on I didn’t know about them. It was also just being at the right place at the right time.

What are your tips to other artists trying to make it in the music industry particularly in Memphis?
The infrastructure isn’t in place to catapult an artist’s career {in Memphis.} There are no major labels. They shouldn’t focus on what Memphis doesn’t have but what it does have. It does have the Music Resource Center {run by the Memphis Music Foundation} and Cameron Mann {director of MMF}.

What are some good Memphis music venues to perform in or see performances, referring mainly to ones that have a good music audience?
Meaning an audience where people are just open to your music. Some places I’ve performed: CafĂ© Soul, Smoking Caterpillar, Young Avenue Deli, Club Zodiac. And yeah, the Buccaneer and Ernestines & Hazel’s.

Is anyone else in your family in the music business?
My sister Valencia Robinson. She's a singer. I've collaborated with her before when I made my first solo album. She sang back-up vocals.

I’m always looking to discover new music or artists. What are you listening to?
Blues, jazz like Leon Ware, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Buddy Miles, Miles Davis, Ahmad Jamal. And Thom Yorke. I’ve been listening to his album Eraser. Yeah. But my biggest influences would be African music and blues.

As you’re a songwriter too, what are the ingredients in making a great song?
Melody and substance. By substance, I mean the spiritual x-factor.

What are some examples of that which are also your favorite songs?
“Very Special” by Deborah and Ronnie Laws. Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You”

Who would you want to collaborate with musically if you could pick from anyone?

Oh, I love her. How about another creative collaboration not musically?
Umm. Hmmm. {Laughs.} Make it Tia. Tia Morris. {A beautiful Memphian he met and I have contact with.}

I’ll see what I can do to make that happen. What are some other creative outlets?
Photography. Reading. Can I say reading? I write a journal. I collect visual arts and research artists.

I’m always interested in what people who aren’t in the architecture field would answer this question. What is your favorite building in Memphis as far as good design goes?
St. Jude hospital because I heard it was designed by a black architect. {Paul R. Williams}

It always seems glamorous but I would think for a working {independent} musician this is a misconception but is the music business really glamorous?
No. It’s superficial. It’s a day to day grind. It’s hard work.

OK last thing. Are you ready for a songwriter’s challenge?* I’m going to give you 3 words you have to use to write a short song. 2 verses and the hook I guess. Let’s see I’ll give you 5 minutes. The words are firetruck {which is from my husband}, Memphis {because this is a Memphis blog}, and fearless {to throw in an adjective.} *The idea came from a father we read about who used this technique to cultivate creativity in his kids. We do this with Atticus when we all participate in making up stories on the spot.

Now I present you the lyrics to the short song James sang over the phone to me. {I’ll work on getting a video of it. }

To put these flames out between you and I,
You’ll need a firetruck transporting Memphis’ best.
I’m out here struggling, gasping for dear life.
Burning with desire for dear life.

Some call it dumb.
Some call it sprung.

I call it fearless.
You should call it fearless.
I call it fearless.
You should call it fearless.

/Ladies and gentlemen, James Robinson. So impressive. Thanks so much James for sharing your time. I made the photo banner more graphic for you to give you a peek into our future graphic collaboration.

James Robinson MySpace / Web

Song and photos courtesy of James Robinson. Graphic layout by Sophorn.

/Song Sample Below ~If I wrote the code right. Or listen to the Ear treasures playlist.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tasted ~ Alex's Tavern

Where do you find the best burger in Memphis? My Jims I work with at Formus Architects proudly say the best burgers in town are located at their favorite tavern, Alex’s tavern, to be precise. They are on a first name basis with the owner Rocky of Alex's Tavern . Yes, they love the food at their favorite bar, but not until a recent news article awarding the title "best burger in town" to Alex's "World Famous" Greek Burger did I make a concerted effort to try a burger at a smoky bar. {Not a usual hangout for me.}

Yes, it was a bit smoky but that in no way did it take away the enjoyment we had devouring the burger. The burger even with onions, that we usually pick off, was one glorious bite after one glorious bite. It tasted so good I regret sharing it with Christopher. He even finished the seasoned chips before I had my fill and made him apologize. He kindly offered to get another order of chips. {Thanks Christopher.}

We only shared the burger because we also wanted to try the recommended chicken drummies also noted as "World Famous" on the menu. Flavor options were hot, bbq, and greek seasoned. We decided greek seasoning had to be what was unique to Alex's so opted for that flavor with a ranch dressing dip instead of bleu cheese. Incredible flavor! It was well-cooked with the proper crispy outer skin and tender meat inside.

We are now curious to try the other raved items: the chicken tenders and the ribs. We'll be back next week and I think we're bringing some friends, maybe the Jims.

Alex's Tavern
1445 Jackson Ave
Memphis, TN 38107

ph +1.901.278.9086
Open Monday to Sunday 12pm to 3am

Photo /graphics by Sophorn.

Alex's Tavern on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Fashion Forecast Memphis 2010 ~ Idea Notebook

This past Friday, I attended Fashion Forecast Memphis, a premiere event presented by Tajuan Givens in it's second year benefiting Dress for Success Memphis. The runway show featuring local shops and designers showcased 11 great collections way up from last year's 3. As Susan Kyles, executive director of DFS Memphis, put it best, the event can potentially put Memphis proudly on the map. The collections showcased are listed below.

~The Boulevard / 164 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38013
~bebe /Wolfchase Galleria, 2760 Germantown Pkwy, Memphis, TN 38133 / 901.387.4800 / web
~Southern Couture / 6150 Poplar Ave, Memphis, TN 38119 / 901.682.1128
~Sneak Peek / 515 S. Main St., Memphis, TN 38103 / 901.605.8853 / web
~Eye-Con Couture / 1645 Union Ave, Memphis, TN 38104 / 901.726.0393 / web
~Studio 615 / 2922 West End Ave, Nashville, TN 38212 / 615.321.4448 / web
~Style Junkie / 639 Marshall Ave, Memphis, TN 38103 / 901.601.4019 / web
~Eugene Michaels /3670 Houston Levee Rd, #105, Collierville, TN 38017 / 901.221.8301 / web
~Maggie Dandridge / 901.270.2924 / web / email
~Danielle Pierce / No info available.
~philip grene / 901.406.5507 / web / email

Most of the boutiques and designers were new to me, but I will add them to my list of fashion resources and inspiration from now on. Also, watching the runway show, I wasn't armed with a camera but with a pen, taking notes of what items I must add to my wardrobe soon. The list is tagged to the Idea Notebook above.

{1} Rompers
{2} Wide brim sun hat
{3} High-waisted mini skirt or shorts
{4} Large satchel bag
{5} High heel sandals or wedges with multiple straps or lace cut-out
{6} Metal bib necklace
{7} Weekender bag by philip grene
{8} I'm So Memphis t-shirt available at Sneak Peek or Style Junkie

I created a portion of the montage at polyvore. You can see where the photos of the actual items links from here. Such a fun tool.

Special thanks to Susan Kyles and DFS Memphis. Graphic layout by Sophorn. Photos from corresponding item sites.

Monday, May 17, 2010

memphis bbq fe{a}st


Memphis barbecue fest has usually been an outing for us only if we have guests in town. One year it was my brother and his friends. This year my parents, great cooks of bbq by the way, attended for the first time. Luckily, we passed by a team booth with people we knew ~ our friends Katie and Chris~ at just the right time {feasting time}. Thanks Chris, Katie, and VooDooQ! It was so delicious.

It was so hot and bright we were relieved to get under a bigger shade to cool down.

Chris' plate of bbq made it hard to refuse his invitation to help ourselves. For Atticus though, he first had to contend with the decor surrounding the VooDooQ entry before digging in.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Atticus was the stand-in hand model for Christopher's plate by my request. He touched the sandwich with a petting motion, and I just had to work with that. I think he was somehow trying to comfort the pork sandwich and assure it that this kid would not be eating it, especially with dessert and fruit to be found.

See this year's winning bbq teams here + supplement photos to this posting here.

Photo/graphics by Sophorn.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sneak Peek ~ Upcoming Guest Review on Dining With Monkeys


One of the coolest moms in Memphis, Stacey Greenberg, asked me to be a guest contributor for her blog Dining with Monkeys. I doubt there are many Memphis parents who don't already know about this blog, but if I must tell you, Dining with Monkeys is a very thorough restaurant review/guide to restaurants {mostly in Memphis but includes other cities} rated to kid and parent standards. I am so thrilled and honored that I couldn't wait to share at least one photo from the upcoming review on Sweet Grass, the restaurant and their newly added brunch menu. The photo above is the second best from Atticus' menu shots so stay tuned for the full post at Dining with Monkeys with savory photos. You can already see that we gave it 3 thumbs up.

Go check out the full review here.


Sweet Grass
937 South Cooper Street
Memphis, TN 38104
ph +1.901.278.0278
Open Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm. Open Sunday for brunch/lunch.

Lunch hours start this Friday 05/14/10.

Photo/graphics by Sophorn

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tasted ~ Jerry's Sno Cones

Saturday was a glorious day for being outside AND for enjoying snow cones. As mentioned previously, we invited a crew of Atticus’ friends and their parents for a Saturday lunch and dessert. All 5 families came as newcomers to Jerry’s but left as new loyal customers.

{ ORDER }A long line formed soon after we arrived.
{ PICKUP } Around the corner, we pick up our order while Atticus picks up a spoonful.
{ ENJOY } Flavor ~ Napoleon Dynamite enjoyed by Christopher and Atticus, previous night.

It was a given that we all ordered snow cones, but the most enjoyed item on the menu turned out to be the burger/cheeseburger based on everyone’s comments.

~ “Forget the snow cones. I’m coming back for the burger.” ~Linda.
~ It was a "typical greasy spoon burger that you just can't get anymore." ~Chris, said in the best way possible! {Until now.}

~ And my favorite quote from mom Leighann about her burger* in the animated graphic below:

*Photo is of my Senor Burger which was great served with jalapenos and Ranch instead of ketchup.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Snow Cone Flavors {Tasters}

As for the snow cones flavors, the favorite among the boys was Rainbow as Dylan, Trip, and Atticus, first drawn by the bright array of colors, finished it down to the last drop. Among the adults, it became clear that making any flavor supreme {adding soft serve ice cream on top} was the way to go. Others tasted but not pictured were strawberry {Leighann} and red wedding cake {Jenny}.

First, I tried the coconut and almond with chocolate ice cream on top { similar to eating an Almond Joy } that they recommended then tried pineapple coconut Saturday eaten in the animated gif below since I love pina colada. All I can say is “More please.”

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Jerry's Sno Cone
1657 Wells Station Rd.
Memphis, TN 38108
ph +1.901.767.2659
Open Monday to Saturday, 11am to 9pm. / Cash Only.


The extra photos above are for Katye and her dad Chris. Katye collected flowers from the yard next door to Jerry's for me and wanted a picture of it. Thank you Katye! Chris pointed out the Santa Claus boldly displayed on the porch next door as an added ambiance of the neighborhood character. Apparently, like Jerry’s, it’s also appreciated all-year round.

Photo/graphics by Sophorn.

Jerry's Sno Cone on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 7, 2010

Jerry's Sno Cone ~ More Please

On our way to Fuego Maya’s for a Cinco de Mayo dinner, we stopped by Jerry’s Sno Cone just down the way to check out the menu for the outing we were planning for Atticus’s friends this Saturday. Since we’ve never tried Jerry’s before, we just couldn’t wait 3 more days and ordered snow cones before dinner. I mean you just can’t get enough snow cones, right? I also got a chance to get a few wide angle shots {sneak peek above} and will take more photos of what everyone tastes on Saturday. If you would like to stop by around noon, please find me. I would love to take pictures of what you order and get your review for the full post. Hope to see you there.

Jerry's Sno Cone
1657 Wells Station Rd.
Memphis, TN 38108
ph +1.901.767.2659

Photo/graphics by Sophorn.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Selection of Modern Kid's Beds

Wave 1 & Wave 2 / Gudiksen Design for Mimondo / Found via Freshome

Atticus is turning 4 in about 2 months, and he is still sleeping in a small converted crib. It's about time my big boy gets a new bed so I’ve been shopping around for well-designed modern kid’s beds. Here's my list of potential purchases or even inspiration for designing/building one myself.

Petra Toddler Bed / Shop Inmod

Pluunk Bed / Architecture Firm {Firm name not listed} / Shop Inquisitive Kid

Ufizzi Bunk Bed / Similar to Pluunk Bed / Shop Inmod

Bb2 / notNeutral Design / Shop Design Public / Love the integrated bench

Leander Bed / Shop Inmod

“Nifty corners” bed box / Laphoeff / via Design Milk / Also available in blue.

Photos from related sites.
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