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Recent Eats: ZAZA, Zoe’s Kitchen, and South on Main

Recent Eats: ZAZA, Zoe’s Kitchen, and South on Main
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Thoughts from some of my recent eating experiences…

Mixed bag last week at ZAZA last week as my Vietnamese Chicken Salad was on point but the Petit Jean Ham & Pineapple pizza missed the mark. The latter had a soggy interior, and, after one slice, I decided to direct my attention back to the salad. The ingredients for the now-permanent menu item are right up my alley. Fried wontons, cucumbers, cilantro, jalapenos, chicken, and a delicious honey chile vinaigrette all come together to form this wonderful sweet and spicy combination. Kudos to the staff for the fantastic service, as they did an awesome job of getting the pizza out to a table of crazy kids. ZAZA is a wonderful place for small, festive gatherings.

South on Main’s yock box special proved once again to be a nice treat. The beauty of this dish is in its simplicity. Spaghetti, pork broth, smoked pork shoulder, fresh onion, and a slightly spicy red sauce meld wonderfully together, and, although I didn’t wash it all down with a suggested Miller Highlife Pony, I did with a Four Roses Single Barrel (served neat). All and all, it proved to be a nice ending to the day. If you see the yock box on the menu, it’s definitely worth trying out.

Lost Forty Brewing served up a delicious Blackberry American Wheat beer for yesterday’s Freshcut Monday. The beer certainly looked and tasted the part with blackberry really shining through. It had this wonderful, mild sour taste, making it a beer I wouldn’t hesitate to order again.

I’m not the biggest fan of Zoe’s Kitchen. The food isn’t good or bad…it’s just food. The portions are fairly small and the dishes seem healthy, so that’s at least two good traits. My chicken salad sandwich on whole-grain bread with a side of pasta salad was solid, but nothing about the restaurant was as good as its main competitor, Taziki’s. Would I go back? Yes. But I don’t have to be excited about it.

The fam and I took a quick weekend trip to Memphis and hit a few of the popular restaurants. Our crispy pork tacos at Las Tortugas in Germantown were insanely fantastic, as was the queso fundido, side of guacamole, and elote. If you go to Memphis, this place is a must-stop. We also hit Dyer’s Burgers on Beale Street, a spot that serves up deliciously greasy gut-bomb burgers and fries. These are by no means the best burgers on earth, but a visit to Dyer’s is something you should do at least once. We also hit up Brother Juniper’s, which is one of the absolute best breakfasts in America. Seriously. Get anything…like the omelets or biscuits or cinnamon roll pancakes or fried potatoes. Just arrive 15 minutes before open, as the place gets very crowded and the wait can be up to two hours. We even did a little fine-dining at Catherine & Mary’s, the latest venture from the restaurant group that owns Hog & Hominy and Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen. My center cut rib-eye was the hit, as was our pasta dishes, but overall, I just didn’t love the restaurant as much as the others. It was loud, very expensive, and a heavy hand of salt hurt a few dishes.