Thursday, May 1, 2008
Veg Out: Memphis Taproom
Pubs keep opening. People continue bickering about them on messageboards. Philly crowds are consistently tough to please. A girl that's genuinely curious about the simple pleasures of food walks into the Memphis Taproom and doesn't care about any of that.
I certainly have my loyalties, places where I feel more comfortable than others, where not all bar food is deep-fried and slicked with salt. Trying new places, to me, is about easing my restless nature and learning my land. It's not about scooping things or being ahead of the game. Even if that's what makes me a journo.
The nice thing is, I've only heard raves about the place.
When I first went to Memphis Tap, they were mostly out of food because of crowds, but there were veggie burgers, and I was appeased. Readers of this know what my first question was. Yes, they are made on Memphis Street. I'm going to pledge to you right now, that I will never eat another veggie burger unless it is made on the very same street that it is served. There. Other meat subs don't count, as they require a higher degree of genius to manufacture.
It was a substantial burger. I figured that my lettuce and tomato came from Greensgrow Farms up the block. This soothed me. No iceberg here. Stacks of fries were crisp and golden, I'm not a fan enough of the revered french fry to be judgmental. Typing that just made me remember the bar on Cedar and Huntingdon with a side window where you could order food. Fries were $1, served in a packet. They made me care about fries. But that's another post.
I didn't have my heart set on a veggie burger, but it was nice to get that crucial element out of the way. I came back for round 2. I took on the ALT, an avocado bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiched on toast. This was some toast, because it was spread with a brown sugar mayo that sounds like it had no right being in this particular club. Incredible. It lended a barbecue flavor to the ALT, and took what would have been a reliable vegan standby and gave it attitude. Plus, avocado on anything is dope as fuck. I realize that it's sort of a pricier ingredient to work with, but I don't see it on menus often enough. Listen, I need avocado. It's a thing.
I ran into Mike Landers, mayor of vegan doughnuts, who was just dropping off a supply of cookies for the dessert menu. Before I knew it, I was eating a trio of sandwich cookies: peanutbuttapeanutbutta, chocochocomousse, and oatmeal creme pie. Entirely vegan and kick-in-the-ass delicious to boot. Word is, a vegan cake is on the way from another nearby baker, as well as Stock's poundcake, which could NEVER EVER be vegan. It's still the finest poundcake that exists.
I'm not yet at the inner core of the meatless motherload on tap at Memphis. Or the beer itself. That's why I'll head back, eat my way through it, drink on as the 25 bus rolls by in its obnoxious-but-musical way. Try arriving at the same time the Kenzinger truck pulls up. It's a good sign.
Memphis Taproom, 2331 E. Cumberland at Memphis, www.memphistaproom.com