Friday, May 8, 2015
A Craving for Alcenia's Finally Satisfied.
I had spent a good deal of time walking. I had ridden the trolley. I had tried not to freak out too much walking Beale Street by myself. I found museums and fledgling little sushi places where cute guys tried to hit on me despite the wedding ring. I gulped down my fear of traveling solo.
And then I found Alcenia's.
Long before the Today Show or Guy Fieri or Roadfood found Alcenia's, I was on the doorstep of a little shop just north of Interstate 40 on Main Street. I was tired and hungry, and BJ took me in.
You can read about that experience here... yes, these were the early days of Tie Dye Travels, just a week after receiving my new fangled Nikon P50 camera, a massive improvement over my old Fuji Finepix, and I was enthralled and delighted with this little soul food cafe. Indeed, it was better than any Memphis barbecue joint I'd visited, and it just blew me away.
Seven years have passed. I've had a child, a travel writing career, a state job, a divorce, three books, a couple of epiphanies and a new chance at writing for a living again. I have passed through Memphis time and time again. And either I haven't had time to stop, or I've come on a Sunday or a Monday. I haven't had time to return to Alcenia's.
Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid, we parked out front and entered the cast iron gate.
BJ was chatting away with customers. She just kept going, greeting us each as we came in, waving her hand towards where to sit
We were just going to get lunch, but the scent of green tomatoes frying in the back were too much to handle, so Grav walked back and asked if an order could be added.
They. Were. Phenomenal.
Unlike so many places we've been, these weren't huge slabs of tomato and they sure weren't overbattered and consumed by their own crust. They were piquant and substantially flavored,
Not that we had anything to wait for, other than our photos. She asked us to post some of what we were taking to her Facebook page, which we did... but so much to post!
Grav had been craving fried chicken since I mentioned how much I liked it at this restaurant, so he had a thigh and a breast of darkly turned pan-fried chicken. And
He chose for his sides macaroni and cheese and fried cabbage -- the later of which was a bit sweet as well as buttery. The mac and cheese was not a
They came, as mine did, with those hot water rounds of sweet white cornbread.
BJ asked us if we wanted chow-chow (which she pronounces as "cha-cha") and of course we agreed, and its sweet and tangy textured magnificence only added to the cornbread experience. It
I could not resist the chance to enjoy those candied yams again and I did... each one glowing golden with its high butter and sugar content but I did not care at all. Calories this good are worth savoring, even if they go right to the waistline. Really.
What I do know is that eventually, I will have to come for Saturday brunch and try the salmon croquette. I hear such ardently favorable reviews of the pink seared rounds that I have to schedule a special day just so I can go back. But my free Saturdays are rarer than hen's teeth, so I'll have to wait.
You don't have to wait on me, though. Get yourself across the river and to this little place on Main Street, a straight shot from the Pyramid. This is soul food that really does what it's supposed to do, sooth your soul and make you long for returning many years after you've dined at one of those mismatched tables.
317 N. Main Street
Memphis, TN 38103
One more note for Guy Fieri... with all the tips I've sent your way, don't you think it's time you took me out to dinner?