Monday, March 09, 2009

The best job

A couple of months ago, I was bemoaning the decisions made by corporate executives to a couple of coworkers when one of them told me about The Best Job In The World, a six month job as a caretaker of an island in the Great Barrier Reef sponsored by Tourism Queensland. The job truly did sound like the best job in the world, expect for the requirement to move away from family for six months. Then, I thought, why not live out the concept of the job, but instead of spotlighting Australia, I should promote the great things about the city in which I live.

The idea faded for a bit, but was brought back recently. Italian and I had an evening out coming up and it seemed to be a good opportunity to start. Wouldn't you know it, but a very timely article in the local paper was highlighted in the program book of the Broadway play we were seeing. The article called out for all Memphians to speak up about the many great things our city has to offer, so without futher ado, put on your blue suede shoes and join me as we go Walking in Memphis.

Let's hear it for Broadway
From Irish Clover

Being former theatre people, Italian and I try to do our part in supporting the performing arts. Generally our support is limited to attending shows and plays. This year, we splurged on season tickets to our local Broadway theatre house, the Orpheum. Located on Beale Street in downtown Memphis, this historic theatre has had it's ups and downs. It began life as a premiere theatre of the South, hosting a wide range of opera and vaudeville performances. A fire in 1923 shut down the theatre for 5 years until it was rebuilt and reopened in 1928. In the 1940s, the theatre changed ownership to the Malco movie theatre chain and only showed films until the 1970s when Malco wanted to sell the theatre. The fate of the Orpheum was at a crucial point and the grand theatre was almost demolished.

Thankfully, the Memphis Development Group purchased the building and brought Broadway back to Memphis. The Orpheum also is home to Opera Memphis and Ballet Memphis. In the summer, you can still catch a movie on the big screen with the Summer Movie Series. One of the things I love the most about the theatre is the family series the Orpheum brings. Approximately four shows comprise the family series and these shows are great for introducing little people the joy of theatre. Granted, the Orpheum has brought in the likes of Blue's Clues, but they have also brought Frog and Toad, and Stellaluna, giving children a range of show types. The Orpheum has also been a venue for a wide range of musical and comedy acts, providing something of interest to the culturally diverse Memphis population.

Localvore's Delight
From Irish Clover

A night out to the theatre isn't complet without a night out to nice restaurant, and in Memphis, one has several restaurants to choose from. We decided to try out a new place located between our home and downtown. River Oaks tauts a menu filled with either locally grown or sustainably produced foods, including Arkansas quail and grass-fed filet mignon. When possible, the chef buys from local growers first, but will venture outside of the delta for sustainable goods like the diver scallops. At River Oaks, local or sustainable doesn't mean dowdy or boring. In fact, our dinner was beautifully prepared and absolutely amazing.

We began our meal with an appetizer of foie gras, artfully prepared and served on a cylinder of sauteed apples and onions balanced on a round of toast. The apples and onions themselves were a treat, but when placed with the foie gras, the taste were perfectly balanced and complementary. Then, our server brought over freshly baked zuchinni and olive bread which was dense and hefty and yummy. Our main course of lamb and quail arrived perfectly timed and perfectly cooked. The lamb had a lovely pinky center and was some of the best lamb I've ever had the pleasure of eating. The quail was also cooked well and oozed flavor and tenderness. The portions are designed for multiple courses, so when it was time for dessert, we were ready and not overly stuffed. The desserts didn't disappoint us either. The chocolate souffle was light and the accompanying vanilla bean ice cream was the best partner. Honestly, I can't remember what Italian's dessert was because I loved mine too much to take note of his. We have plans to come back to this gem of a restaurant. There were way too many items on the menu to pass up, so we're going to try them all.

1 comment:

MemphisArtGirl said...

You should also try "Just for Lunch" in Chickasaw Oaks Village...they have a sunday brunch that is amazing and they also try to use local and organic as much as possible. "Andrew Michael" is another new restaurant on Brookhaven Circle that is amazing.