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One BBQ dinner in Memphis - A&R, BBQ Shop, Central, or Corky's for ribs?

Mikehill1957, I totally agree with you about awareness being important. I actually found the Graceland area just fine to stay in. While I wouldn't wander around by myself in the dark, there aren't too many places I'd do that anyhow.

I never made it to Alcenia's--the trip was just too short. Next time!

Mar 29, 2012
gracie92108 in Kentucky & Tennessee

One BBQ dinner in Memphis - A&R, BBQ Shop, Central, or Corky's for ribs?

Thanks for all the helpful responses.

I just realized I hadn't checked back in here with my impressions.

I made it to Central BBQ just in time in the evening--my plane had been delayed, and I had called over to see if they'd still be open. They held it open just for me, which you've got to love.
I got a 1/2 slab, prepared 1/2 wet and 1/2 dry. It was phenomenal--tender, flavorful, and far and away the best BBQ meat I've ever had. I also got barbecued beans, which were delicious. The macaroni and cheese and peanut butter pie were solid. Unfortunately, I didn't end up trying any of the sauces because I asked for it to go (since I got there just as they were closing) and forgot to pick some up. Needless to say, I highly recommend a trip there.

Hearing I was interested in Memphis BBQ, my client ordered BBQ beef sandwiches from Neeley's Interstate, which were very tasty. And they FedExed me some Corky's packaged ribs as a "thank you" gift. I haven't yet tried those. I love Southern hospitality!

Mar 26, 2012
gracie92108 in Kentucky & Tennessee

One BBQ dinner in Memphis - A&R, BBQ Shop, Central, or Corky's for ribs?

Thanks much, gentlemen. I know you get a lot of questions about BBQ in Memphis and appreciate you answering mine.

It's a long story, but I do need to stay near Graceland. However, the hotel itself sounds like it's safe per TripAdvisor.

I'm looking forward to checking out Central or BBQ Shop. Keeping my fingers crossed that the plane gets in on time!

Jan 16, 2012
gracie92108 in Kentucky & Tennessee

One BBQ dinner in Memphis - A&R, BBQ Shop, Central, or Corky's for ribs?

I'm in Memphis next week for business for a tragically short time, which means one late dinner out. (I'm hoping to at least order takeout lunch from Alcenia's to get some Southern/soul food in as well.)

This California girl has never been to Tennessee before, much less Memphis. Where I live, BBQ is crap, so I can't wait to try some Memphis BBQ. I'm leaning towards ribs but want to keep my options open.

My research on this board has helped me narrow it down to three: BBQ Shop, Central, and A&R (Elvis Presley Blvd.--mostly for convenience, since I'm staying near Graceland). My client has recommended Corky's, which seems to get mixed reviews here. I will have a rental car.

Here's the twist: a few posts on this board have got me slightly paranoid about safety. Generally, I'm pretty easygoing about that, but since I don't know the area and am a woman traveling alone late'ish at night, I thought I'd reach out and ask: which would you recommend as meeting these three criteria: 1) great ribs, good all-around; 2) easy to find by car; and 3) has parking right by the restaurant if the restaurant is safe but in a dicey-ish area?

TIA!

Jan 13, 2012
gracie92108 in Kentucky & Tennessee

In Healdsburg for several days - food/wine recs?

Thanks for all the great tips.

I think we have our restaurant options set except for dinner. We're going to Santi one night, but I'm dithering between Farmhouse Inn, Madrona Manor, and Mirepoix for the second night. While we like a nice ambiance, our primary focus during an expensive dinner is the food. Value is also important--I've spent $100 per person and thought it totally worth it, although it's always nice to get $100 pp food at $50-75. ;-) On the other hand, I can't stand spending $75 PP for food that's ho hum or worse, mediocre. Any thoughts about which restaurant might best fit the bill?

Re wineries, it's a bad time of year to go for some of the smaller wineries--right after the holidays, but I think we'll be able to catch some of them. We're thinking of driving up through Sonoma to hit the Mayo Family and some wineries around Kenwood on the first day, then spend the following day and a half near Healdsburg, through the Alexander Loop and Westside Road wineries (plus some Dry Creek if we can fit them in, although that may be optimistic).

I can't wait!!!

Dec 20, 2007
gracie92108 in San Francisco Bay Area

In Healdsburg for several days - food/wine recs?

Excellent suggestions--thanks so much! We're taking Dry Creek Kitchen off the list and will add in Charcouterie and/or Farm House Inn. And sounds like we'll be visiting Selby, Ramey, and Siduri.

Any thoughts about good wineries in Alexander Valley AVA? I heard they might have some nice meritages and cabs. We're looking for delicious wine, probably under $40 a bottle on average, nice and largely unpretentious owners/pourers. We're happy to go off the beaten track.

Is there any incredible food for one splurgish night within 30 minutes or so? We prefer to keep it to $200 or less for two people for three-ish courses, 1/2 bottle wine. We were hoping Cyrus would fit the bill, but our timing is bad.

Dec 19, 2007
gracie92108 in San Francisco Bay Area

In Healdsburg for several days - food/wine recs?

We're more familiar with Napa Valley but have decided to shake things up and stay in Healdsburg right after Christmas.

I'd love some guidance on food and wineries.

1. For food, we're looking for something close (within 15 minutes of Healdsburg), but we'll drive even those windy dark roads for great food. Based on research here, this is what we're thinking of for food:

lunches - Bovolo, Mayo Family Vineyard Reserve Tasting Room
dinners - Dry Creek Kitchen, Barn Diva, and/or Santi
snack - The Cheese Shop

I'm very sad that Cyrus appears to be closed when we're there. Any good substitutes or other suggestions for dinner or lunch?

2. Re wineries, we've been around Dry Creek and enjoyed it, but we're not major Zin fans, so we may have exhausted that AVA. Husband leans towards Pinot, I lean towards Cabs & Meritages, and we both like sparking wine. What are our best bets for regions? (We're willing to drive further during the day than in the evening.)

Thanks much!

Dec 18, 2007
gracie92108 in San Francisco Bay Area

Wine Cask in Santa Barbara

When we were in Santa Barbara several years ago, we loved our food at the Wine Cask. We were extremely disappointed in Bouchon, however--very expensive, especially considering the mediocre food. And it was just the two of us.

Aug 10, 2007
gracie92108 in California

In Oahu with car - good eats, good value?

Thanks so much to everyone for responding! We just got back and followed a number of people's recommendations, which (of course) turned out to be excellent.

We loved Alan Wong's, which we saved for our last night. We sat at the counter (only seating available) and thus got a chance to see the amazing presentation on all the dishes. And we got some piping hot malasadas at Leonard's, which were yummy. The Tiki Grill and Bar in Waikiki had excellent salmon, although service was about the slowest I've ever seen (luckily, we weren't in a rush.) Even Zippy's for a quick meal was fine.

In North Shore, we ate mostly at burger shacks and shrimp trucks. I liked the burgers and coconut shrimp at the Sugar Mill restaurant in Kahuku. The Palm Terrace was adequate for a hotel restaurant. My sister had her rehearsal dinner at Ola's and was extremely disappointed with the service that night, although the food was good.

Overall, a wonderful and yummy trip.

Aug 10, 2007
gracie92108 in U.S. Elsewhere Archive

In Oahu with car - good eats, good value?

We'll be in Turtle Bay for four days and in Waikiki for three.

Sounds from this forum like Waikiki is slim pickings for food. We are definitely willing to drive for good food, particularly if it's a good value. We're looking for mostly moderately priced stuff or lower with maybe one expensive night out. We''re fine with hole-in-the-wall too.

Besides the shrimp stands in the North Shore (we'll go there for husband--I don't like shrimp), where else should we go? And if we're stuck in Waikiki one night, what's our best best for decent food?

Thanks!

Aug 01, 2007
gracie92108 in U.S. Elsewhere Archive

East San Diego County rec's?

I third Ranas.com. Even after we moved farther away (from San Carlos to Mission Valley), we still go there. Some of my favorite Mexican food in the area, the folks who own it are so nice, and prices are great for the quality.

Jul 25, 2007
gracie92108 in San Diego

Worst of San Diego and Most Over-rated

I totally agree on Rainwater's. When my husband and I first started dating about eight years ago, we went there several times, and it was very good--great steaks, yummy sourdough, and decent prices. We stopped going because we moved farther away. Then, we returned, and were horrified--although the quality had dropped, the prices had gone way up. Seems like they're angling for the conventioneer/expense account crowd.

Jul 08, 2007
gracie92108 in San Diego

Worst of San Diego and Most Over-rated

I'm not an ED fan, either. I'm always disappointed because their desserts look better than they taste.

Honkman, where do you prefer for bread? (I happen to adore Bread & Cie's olive bread--I haven't found a better version anywhere. But I don't love all their other breads as much.)

Jul 05, 2007
gracie92108 in San Diego

Worst of San Diego and Most Over-rated

Thanks for the info on Chilango's. I hadn't been in that area for a bit.

Good to know about Casa de Madera. Sometimes we don't feel like driving out to Spring Valley/Casa de Oro.

Jul 03, 2007
gracie92108 in San Diego

Best Mexican in San Diego?

I second Rana's.com. Very good, unpretentious Mexico City-style food and a great deal.

I go to El Agave for tequila and appetizers, but their prices on entrees have gone through the roof.

And based on this thread, I am definitely trying Super Cocina and Mama Testa's ASAP.

Jul 03, 2007
gracie92108 in California

Worst of San Diego and Most Over-rated

New and loving this thread!

My first nomination? It may be really obvious, but: Millefleur. At those prices, the food should be sublime. My filet mignon with Stilton was sublime, but the $15 salad? Mediocre. I'd rather roll the dice at Jack's Dining Room in La Jolla if I'm going to be spending beaucoup bucks.

As for Chilango, their food is wonderful, and I would never call them overrated, but. . . . I haven't been able to go there since they jacked up their prices a number of years ago--tripling the prices for the same food (which admittedly was fabulously priced). My alternative? Rana's in Spring Valley (worth the drive IMHO), with prices at Chilango's old prices. And their desserts are divine.

I completely concur with many of the listed restaurants. Hash House A Go Go (rosemary twigs, anyone?) is not only mediocre but just annoying. Although I will eat at La Vache in a pinch, it's definitely overrated. I used to love Kemo Sabe way back in the day, but the execution hasn't worked for years. The other Cohn family restaurants aren't even close to worth the money. And I couldn't have described Extraordinary Desserts better than did bythenumbers.

I happen to like Parallel 33, but I haven't been there in a while, so their quality could have slipped. As for Market, my first meal there was so good that I've forgiven them the hit-or-miss of the next couple of visits. But it's interesting to hear that the missing may be happening more than the hitting.

I really like Pamplemousse, but they definitely need to shake up their menu. I find some restaurants really shine during restaurant week (Jack's), while others really don't (Tapenade).

Jul 03, 2007
gracie92108 in San Diego