We were down there last weekend for a cooking class at the Viking Cooking School and had a great meal.
When you step into this Delta institution, which has been around since 1933, you feel like you've stepped back in time. The entry way is still set up like the old neighborhood market it used to be. Upon arrival, you are escorted down the narrow hallways to your own private "booth." Each booth is really a room curtained off for privacy, complete with a buzzer to call for your server. The paint may be peeling and the juke box no longer plays, but the good food and good times have not felt the effects of time.
Try the whole pompano in the house lemony butter sauce, the broiled shrimp with lump crab meat soaking in the signature Worcestershire and garlic-based fish sauce, or a tasty steak. But don't forget to bring your own wine or liquor. Lusco's no longer serves the home brew it was once famous for.
Local restaurant group sells first franchise
The French Quarter Group, a locally owned restaurant group, has sold the first national franchise for its Crescent City – Real New Orleans Food chain. The four New Orleans-themed restaurants currently in the Memphis area are owned by the restaurant group.
McEwen's on Monroe's sinful banana cream pie is one of 50 pies featured from award-winning bakers across the country in the new cookbook "Killer Pies: Delicious Recipes from North America's Favorite Restaurants" (Becker & Mayer, $16.95) by Stephanie Anderson.
McEwen's and its famous sweet have also been featured in Bon Appetit, The New York Times and USA Today.
Bread on a roll
The Bagel Co. at 6698 Poplar has begun to bake fresh breads, which will be available for purchase as well as on the sandwiches at The Bagel Co. and West Street Diner.
"Our fresh bread comes in flavors such as white, wheat, sourdough, and rye," says owner Ron Bishop. "But what makes them unique is that we bake them in a No. 10 can."
A bit of trivia, baking breads in cans goes back to World War II when resourceful bakers used cans because the shortage in metal made it difficult to buy new pans.
Simply Kosher Cook-Off
The second annual Simply Manischewitz Cook-Off invites cooks to submit original recipes that are kosher, have no more than a total of eight ingredients and can be prepared in one hour.
A judging panel will pick 30 semifinalists to compete live in one of the three regional cook-offs. Two semifinalists from each regional competition will fly to New York City in February 2008 for the finale. Entries must be received by Sept. 21. For more information, visit manischewitz.com.
Memphian Ellen Tavin's recipe for "Fantastic Fish Cakes" was chosen from thousands of entries to compete in the regional round of last year's competition. Let's see if we can get another local cook to the finals this year.
Other Mississippi Delta dining spots
Harry Jaffe of Germantown recommends Giardina's in the Alluvian Hotel in Greenwood.
"Folks come from all over the Delta to dine at Giardina's. The pompano is as fine as what's available at Galatoire's in New Orleans," he says.
If you're not up for the drive, Jaffe also recommends taking Amtrak's City of New Orleans down to Greenwood.
Kay Clark of Memphis, originally from Dockery, Miss., suggests heading south for the fine dining of KC's Restaurant in Cleveland. Just a few miles north of Cleveland, the tiny town of Merigold has some dining spots Clark says are of note. She recommends lunch at The Gallery Restaurant, owned by the famed McCarty pottery family, and a dinner of great steaks and catfish at Crawdad's.
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