Entry #17 – Dyer’s Cafe

It has been said that I enjoy the finer things in life. This is true. That being said, I would also point out that a burger fried in super old grease can also be one of those finer things, if done properly. Dyer’s does it properly.

We started out with some of the best fried pickles I have ever had in my life. Truly, I get these things wherever I go but Dyer’s hit a home run with the breading, perfect seasoning, and a glorious ranch for dipping.

My friends both got bacon cheeseburgers, with which they were very pleased. I was, however, determined to be in ‘review mode’ and try out the Filthy Diablo, which I have not had in over a decade… It was amazing, but too much. Way too much.

Meat, cheese, smoked sausage, meat, cheese, smoked sausage, meat, cheese… I am not exaggerating! This thing is so big and juicy and delicious that while you may not defeat it, you will at least feel good about the experience. I managed to finish the filthy diablo, although I did eat the last smoked sausage portion separately.

Since I feel like this review is all over the place, allow me to summarize: perfect fried pickles, juicy and succulent burger, melty cheese, snappy and savory sausage, excellent sweet tea. In short, a superb experience.

Why, then, is this not a five star review? The service was pretty bad. It was worth it, though.

*****Update: I went back to Dyer’s again since I wrote this review, and the experience was even better. This time I got the 4×4 (see my IG for a great photo of its magnificence) and wow. Just wow. Aces!

Price: $-$$
Value: High. I don’t see how you can’t get full on these burgers.
Service: 2/5-3/5 – good days and bad days. on the good days your bill is right!
Decor: meh. nothing to write home about, but I like the Dyer’s sign
Overall: 4/5 – unless you are a vegetarian/vegan, you have no reason not to come here. at least once, you have to taste the juicy deliciousness

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Entry # 4 – Lychee Flavour Aerated Water (by Elisha)

Today on the Stephen O Show, I will be reviewing another ‘very much not at all like Fall or Christmas what are you doing is this even topical’ item. Also, shhh. I will be hitting the store soon and getting tons of stuff to review that IS topical. It will be a pale comparison to my buddy Matt’s reviews during the Halloween Countdown on Dinosaur Dracula (yay plug!) (warning: adult language), but I will do it all the same.

However, today we are going to talk about ‘Lychee Flavour Aerated water’, a delightful beverage from China. The first thing you need to know about this stuff is that it tastes amazing. It absolutely does. That being said I am getting ahead of myself. I have had this beverage before, more than once in fact, but I have never reviewed it until today.

lychee

There it is, in all its glory. And yes, that is a plastic ‘can/bottle’ with an aluminum top. Hey, it works, but it does not stay in the 6-pack rings at all. It fell apart when I was checking out, and we all laughed together (I am sure they were not laughing at me, haaaaahhhh…). I got this at the Cordova International Farmers Market, a place that will source many of my reviews. Go check it out!

How to describe the flavor? Well, it tastes pretty much like those wet lychee jelly candies that you can get in chinese food stores in those sealed little packets. That is not an insult, those little jellies are amazing! Mostly hailing from Japan, they will get their own review. Like I was saying, this stuff tastes just like those candies, which is to say top notch delicious.

Taste Review

I can’t describe the taste of these accurately, because I have no idea how to describe this drink without comparing it to the fruit. It tastes like Lychee! That is a huge compliment as far as I am concerned. How does Lychee taste? Fresh, bright, an explosion of sweet (but not overpoweringly so) fruit flavor on the tongue. There, my best effort.

I also did a little digging and this Chinese manufacturer is super proud of its flavors, because they get them from a Swiss flavor company called Givaudan. Who knew, but apparently these guys provide flavors for a ton of companies and this is a regular thing that everyone does. Call a guy and order some flavor. Nice.

The aftertaste is also pleasant, and for my money when ice cold this stuff is one of my favorites. Unfortunately, they are not super cheap due to being an imported product. So, I don’t keep them around all the time. Also, it being fall and all, I am going to switch my gears to more ‘cider-ey’ beverages. As much as possible.

Conclusion and Rating

Delicious! Yes, I know that is a meaningless word. I don’t know what else to say. Amazing!  No negative comments. Go get some and bless your life. Find them at . You can buy them individually or in a six pack.

Rating: 4.5 Out of 5 Soda Bottles 

I deducted half a point because of the price.

Go buy these!

Entry #2 – Fentiman’s Dandelion and Burdock Soda

Welcome to the cross-blog Stephen O  Follow both if you like reading my words, or something.

Today on the Stephen O Show I am reviewing Fentiman’s Dandelion and Burdock Soda. Now, you may be asking yourself, what the heck is that? That is an excellent question, and one that I really still don’t know the answer to. I mean, I know that, to quote Wikipedia:

Dandelion and burdock is a beverage consumed in the British Isles since the Middle Ages. It was originally a type of light mead, but over the years has evolved into the non-alcoholic soft drink commercially available today.[1] Traditionally it was made from fermented dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) and burdock (Arctium lappa) roots.

source

I saw it while hunting for Guarana Antarctica at the farmers market on a tip from my buddy Jared. I did find that, and I rejoiced mightily, but I figured while there might as well get a couple of other drinks to review for the Stephen O Show.

Packaging

The stuff looks great. Font choices are excellent, it really does look like an old timey soda, although I must admit the phrase ‘Fermented Botanical Dandelion’ is not particularly appetizing (to me, anyway).

Aroma

This stuff smells a little like flowers, and a little like cough syrup. However, not like the super nasty cough syrup. Just the regular nasty cough syrup, but slightly more pleasant than that.

First Taste

Austin and I had the same initial reaction when tasting this soda. My taste buds just did not know what to do with it! I tasted dandelion and something else I have never tasted before (must be the burdock), but I also had a hint of… licorice! No!

I just cannot stand black licorice, and it is definitely one of the tasting notes in this beverage. Thankfully, it is a minor tasting note and I was able to get past it.

Taste Review

As I continued to drink this thing, every time I would go for a sip I would have to psych myself up. Not that it was horrible, but that it really tastes… alien to me. I have honestly never experienced any flavor like this in my life. The more I drank it, the flavor did improve but I would not go so far as to say that I actually am excited about picking up another one of these from the fridge and popping the cap.

You know what it was like? Overall, it was like drinking lightly sweetened dandelion flavored cough syrup with a touch of licorice. The dandelion flavor was prominent, and this drink was barely sweet at all. I think that what really got me was the aftertaste. It was medicinal and faintly unpleasant (to me). If you are big into botanical, I think you might actually like it.

Conclusion and Rating

Let me be fair here: these are dang interesting. They are weird but they are interesting! The flavor is bizarre but if you need a break from the norm or if you like cough syrup, licorice, and eating flowers, then this drink may be for you!

You can find this beverage at the . There are more Fentiman’s flavors. Oh goodie for me…

Rating: 2 out of 5 soda bottles

I just can’t get past that aftertaste like I just chewed up some licorice tinged dandelions and then hit that ‘tussin.

See you later today on  for the second part of my Mega Season 2014 intro post!

Restaurant Review #6: Eat Well Sushi & Grill

Welcome to yet another ‘expanded review’. Whenever I post a review   ‘enhance’ it for my WordPress readership.  Let us begin!

The Setup

, and myself went to Eat Well to try out their buffet on Sunday. I do not think any of us had been since they had shut down and then reopened.

The Review

I used to love Eat Well. I really did. I was such a big fan of them in every way, from the giant fishtanks to the huge glasses of perfect sweet tea to the great sushi to the… well you get the point. Then, they closed… for a long time.

I actually did not even realize that they were back open, but I went with some friends to check them out last weekend. First, let’s talk about the good stuff: the sushi is pretty great. The key is, it’s fresh! I would not pick it over a dedicated super expensive sushi joint but for the price you cannot beat their wide selection and unlimited nom nom nom… sorry, got carried away. Seriously, though, I know that we were all pretty impressed with the sushi.

The fried shrimp was still great, the spicy pork was good, and the dessert cakes looked as good as ever. The waitress kept me with plenty of that delicious sweet tea too, so that was good. Then Stephen, you say, why not high marks then if the sushi, service, and tea were great?

Here is the problem: the hot items were not that great (except for a seafood dish, the shrimp, and the spicy pork). Also, about 1/5 of the buffet was tempura (where it used to have a lot more variety of foods available). That being said, I am not being critical. If everything was like that and the sushi, service, and tea were as good as they were, I would normally give four stars.

There were two major problem areas: one, the table smelled. It smelled like it had been wiped down with a dirty rag. This kind of puts one off the food. Worse than that, however, was the heat. It was hot in there, the air was on 80 and they said it was not working right.

I don’t mind eating while I sweat, as long as it’s from the spices! In this case, it was just hot. I don’t do hot. Not when I am eating, not when I am NOT eating. So, three stars because I am deducting one for cleanliness and comfort issues. I will probably be back.

Price: $$-$$$ (lunch is $13.99, dinner is $19.99)
Value: Subjective – If you love sushi, the value is great. If you like variety, mehhhhh
Service: 3/5 – Decent.
Decor:  I miss the fish tanks
Wow-factor: It’s still really big, but I miss my fish tanks
Overall: 3/5 – I would actually still recommend this place if you are going to pretty much stick to sushi. If not… give it a pass.

 

Restaurant Review #5: Mojo Cafe

Friends, the return of the Stephen O Show is at hand.  Today, we look at  Mojo Cafe. The owner/chef used to be one of the chefs at one of my favorite restaurants, Hog & Hominy. In addition to this pedigree, when I saw a couple of very impressive Yelp reviews for this place, I knew I had to go check it out ASAP. The menu looked amazing and though my GPS insisted it was in the middle of a bridge, I did eventually find it.

From the moment I walked in and smelled the aromas, I knew it was going to be a good experience. I have been there twice now, and can attest to the deliciousness of every single thing I have tried. The Mojo fries are covered with a sinfully succulent chorizo gravy, while remaining hot and crisp. I have had them twice, and they may be my favorite fry based appetizer in Memphis right now (sorry Hog and Hominy).

The Smoke on the Burger was a taste sensation! That cheddar cheese, those onions, that bacon! Amazing. Every single bite was a flavor explosion and I did not want it to end. To accompany it? Collards with kimchi, which was recommended to me by the owner and more than lived up to his description. Savory, a powerful punch of yum… just get it!

On my second visit I had the ‘Chef’s Sliders’. I honestly cannot tell you which is better: the sliders or that smoke on the burger. They are little flavor bombs and the tomato chutney goes perfectly with the chipotle aioli. Another thing about them? They were not overcooked. Sliders are often overcooked because they are so small, but these were cooked with a delicate hand. Pink in the center, juicy, I have nothing bad to say.

I was pleased to be able to try a new item: kimchi collard spring rolls with cilantro dipping sauce. WOW! This is probably my new favorite spring roll. That sauce just makes it, and as soon as they appear on the menu I will add them to my order.

The only thing I cannot review is the desserts. They look so good but I am always so full that I can’t try them. My mission next time is skip the Mojo Fries (though it pains my soul) and try the Elvis Dippers.

I want to add one more note: the staff were awesome. The lady at the counter was super helpful in selecting what to order and the owner/chef Steph was personable and super friendly. He really knows what he is doing back there, so go get a big dose of Mojo at Memphis Mojo Cafe!

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The Once and Future Tea

I think it is only appropriate that since tea was my inspiration for starting a review blog that it be the thing that gets me back on track with said blog. Well that is only partially true. Honestly I haven’t had any loose leaf tea in months except when visiting the Teavana store in the mall over the holidays.

This is less about tea than honey. Honey made me think of tea, but I still haven’t had any yet. In any case, I am rambling. My point is that I intend to resume posting here, which is saying something considering I never intended to stop posting here.

I have started using honey in my coffee here at work instead of sugar. Better for you etc but mainly I just love the flavor. Yes we are in fact leading up to a review here, maybe a mini review? Something, anyway.

Review: Buram Pine Honey

I got this stuff from Casablanca, a restaurant that I love. They use it to sweeten their quite frankly amazing sweet tea so I felt “how could I go wrong?”. I have had this honey for over a year and just opened it today. This is my first experience with a honey made from honeydew and… It is unique.

What you need to understand is that this stuff smells a lot like pine tree sap. It tastes more than a little like pine tree sap. I am sure that there are a lot of people who love it and I sure do in the tea. By itself? Ergh.. not so much.

It isn’t bad, not saying it’s bad, just… very different. I do not recommend it for use on toast or anything of the like, unless you want it to taste like you rubbed your toast on a tree. In coffee it’s actually quite nice, so I will retain it.

I found a LOT of honey I want to try on Amazon. Before I buy any though I want to check Fresh market and the farmers market and see what they have.

Bottom line: Buram pine honey is exactly that

Talk to you soon, more Stephen O Show is on the way including:

  1. movie reviews (Hobbit, Jack Ryan)
  2. restaurant reviews

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