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at Sweet Grass
House-made charcuterie is my favorite frolic at the table, especially at Sweet Grass where chefs run through a Berkshire pig every week or so. A combination I loved in mid-May included chorizo verde, duck prosciutto, and a salty spread of rabbit rillettes, but don’t expect a duplication. Instead, be adventuresome and embrace whatever pate, sausage, liver mousse, or head cheese shows up on your plate.
937 S. Cooper (901-278-0278)
at Pop’s Smokehouse
Oversized and magnificent, this food truck sandwich is an iconic Memphis Happy Meal. Competitive grillers with the cooking team Boars Night Out, owners Jeff and Kim Toney cook pork traditionally over cherry wood, pull it apart in manageable chunks, and add a generous pour of barbecue sauce that is both sweet and smoky. - photograph by Pamela Denney
check popssmokehouse.com for the truck’s daily locations.
Vegetarians in Memphis know that an elegant vegetable plate for lunch is not an easy score. Happily, the chefs at Interim caress seasonal vegetables into combinations such as this springtime favorite: A square of baked gnocchi topped with micro-greens, a mound of roasted Brussels sprouts cut into quarters, and a berry reduction that seduces the palate like a fine Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley. - photograph by Pamela Denney
5040 sanderlin (901-818-0821)
with the Danish National BBQ Team
What happens when a Danish cooking team marries exotic barbecue with Weber grills and a tent kitchen on the Mississippi? The best meal I ate all year, hands down. From start (clay flower pots sprouting grilled vegetables in smoked soft cheese) to finish (lemon fromage sprinkled with raspberry dust), the team turned Memphis barbecue into a dazzling taste treat. Even now, I still smile when remembering the team’s entrée: slow cooked beef tenderloin served with celeriac puree, pickled oyster mushrooms, grilled foie gras, and truffle sauce. - photograph courtesy Danish National BBQ Team
Many of the team’s recipes are included in their new award-winning book Gold, available atThe Booksellers at Laurelwood.
If cremeux (a lovely French word that means creamy) seems an incongruous pairing with artichoke, remember how artistry and invention team up at Acre. A custard-like mold, the artichoke cremeux anchors cucumber, sourdough slices, grilled gobo, fennel sprigs, violet blossoms, smoked steelhead roe, and a crunchy garland of parsnip that masquerades across the plate like a sandy beachscape. - photograph by Pamela Denney
690 S. Perkins (901-818-2273)