Memphis is My Boyfriend: Episode 1: Of Brussels sprouts, Blue Note Bourbon, and ignoring the rules of the road.
Have you ever been to a restaurant and were just sitting there minding your own business? No? Well, me neither!!! I stay ear-hustling1 to everyone around me.
That night, a friend and I were celebrating everything, and at the same time absolutely nothing, at the Hen House Wine Bar on S. Mendenhall Road. Although we made reservations, we found the bar to be much more inviting. I promise this had nothing to do with the BarMen Matt and Patrick, but... if you know, you know. The way they shake the cocktails is mesmerizing.
I decided to start the night off with the cocktail, Hound Dog Unleashed. It is made with Blue Note Bourbon Whiskey, which is crafted right here in Memphis. When you start a night with anything made by Memphis, you know you have to sip and savor. And that’s exactly what I did. I nursed this cocktail for most of the night. Trying to chug it would have left me thinking my lemon-pepper-steppers were blue suede shoes walking on the cobblestones Downtown. My friend started her night off with a gorgeous glass of red wine. And if you’re into wine, this is the place to be. (Duh?! It has “Wine Bar” in the name.) They even offer wine flights! The next time I go, which will be soon, I’m going to get one of those to un-share2.
For our appetizer, we both decided to go with the Brussels sprouts. You know, we gotta get our greens in because veggies are important. These Brussels sprouts were fried on Mount Olympus by the personal head chef of Zeus and drizzled with sweet hot honey nectar of the forbidden fruit. (Lifts hands in praise!) These are the best Brussels sprouts I have ever had in my life. I don’t know how something can be crispy and succulent at the same time, but the chef did that! We also had the Brie with poached pears, honey and sourdough bread. Needless to say, we sent back a happy plate3. Yum!
Because we weren’t sure if we were in love with the sprouts or if it was just an infatuation, we thought it would be best to try them again. Trust me, nothing is worse than falling head over heels for something only to realize that the love was fleeting and circumstantial. But alas, they did not disappoint. It is safe to say that I will begin a mildly unhealthy situation-ship, or obsession, with Hen House’s Brussels Sprouts.
Via ear-hustling, I discovered that the ladies next to us ordered the poutine. It’s a bowl of fries, topped with braised beef, cheese curds in a red wine and mushroom gravy. In my attempt not to eye-hustle as well as ear-hustle, I just stared out of my peripheral. These ladies were eating this dish with a gusto and audible moaning. Yes, audible moaning. So you know this was good, good!
When our food arrived, I noticed that the people at the table behind me, to the left, Look, Point and Whisper. I said to myself, “Yeah, I know you want this. But it’s mine, allllllll mine.” I ordered the Local Beef Cut with puréed cauliflower. Bless the whole cow who sacrificed themselves so I could eat such a divine piece of meat. The meat was so tender and flavorful. I had inner battles as to whether to eat the meat by itself, or use it to sop up some of the puréed cauliflower. Which was equally delicious and soul-watering4. I wish I could give you more information about the Fried Chicken Sandwich my friend ordered, but I was so caught up in my own heavenly experience, I couldn’t ear-hustle properly.
After a great meal, my friend and I retired to our cars to witness a truly hilarious end to our date with Memphis. Instead of reversing out of their parking spot, some of our fellow diners decided to drive forward. Over the shrubbery, over the sidewalk, and straight onto Mendenhall. But they didn’t drive away. Instead they circled back to the very same parking lot that they took an illegal exit from.
Gotta love Memphis, mane!
1 Ear-hustling (v): Listening and being nosey to every conversation around you.
2 Un-share (v): the intention of sharing with someone, but deciding against it.
3 Happy Plate (adj): Describes a plate that is happy because all the food has been consumed off of it.
4 Soul-Watering (adj): Something that is good to all your senses and your soul!
Patricia Lockhart is a native Memphian who loves to read, write, cook, and eat. Her days are filled with laughter with her four kids and charming husband. By day, she’s a school librarian and a writer, but by night … she’s alseep. @realworkwife @memphisismyboyfriend