Monday, October 12, 2015

Memphis Nosh: Staks Pancake Kitchen

Last weekend I went to Staks Pancake Kitchen, the new breakfast place in East Memphis at Perkins and Poplar, with Sloan and his daughter - even if I didn't like them, it's pancakes, and I really really love breakfast food, so I was going to go eventually, and with a bunch of people I could steal their food too!


So here's the deal with Staks: you order at the counter, you don't tip (because they actually pay their servers a decent wage *GASP*), and they have the best damn pancakes I've ever eaten in my whole life.

(Even if the food was bad - which it absolutely isn't! - I would support them for this!)

We all got water, Sloan's daughter got milk, and Sloan and I got coffee - great coffee, from J. Brooks.

The pancakes are amazing, but right off the bat I was impressed by the service. My water cup had a tiny leak, and I asked a passing server if she could take it and get me a new one - I said I know this probably isn't your job but it's flooding. She looked at me, smiled, and said "of course it's my job, my job is to take care of you!"

Amazing what happens when you pay servers more than $2.15 an hour. 

Then the food started coming out.

And holy wow.

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes - these were surprisingly not too sweet!

I didn't feel bad snagging a bite of that GIANT pancake!

I got just the regular buttermilk pancakes with a side of crumbled bacon. I wanted to try the foundational pancakes, and I was not disappointed!

I mean, look at how well they stay together! They weren't dry, but they weren't that gross squishy texture either. Absolutely perfect!

Their side of bacon is huge, thick cut bacon from Porcellino's.

I also got the fruit cup. This was the only part I wasn't totally impressed with - mostly because it wasn't very much fruit from $3.25 - but the fruit was really fresh and good.

Sloan got the Shrimp N Grits.

Gouda grits. 


Two poached eggs. 

Oh. My.

It was so good - I'm definitely getting pancakes AND an omelette or this next time!

The menu is pretty extensive, with lots of choices for everyone. It is a little pricier than a lot of breakfast places in town, but they don't accept tips (so if you're a decent human being, you should figure 20% of that price is the tip you should leave anyway) and a lot of the ingredients are local. Plus, I'll always pay a little more for good food and good service.

Staks is a gorgeous, delicious new breakfast (or lunch!) option that y'all should definitely check out soon!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Back to School Essentials

Although this is hopefully the last year (please please please) I'll be heading back to school as a student, it's definitely going to be one of my busiest semesters. 

Between teaching, job-hunting (I would love to go back to school next fall as a professor!), finishing my dissertation, and attempting to have a life, I'm going to be BUSY. 

Luckily, there are a few essentials out there that can help me, or anyone about to enter a busy semester, get by a little easier!

Back to School

1. I have a bit of a lipstick addiction, but I don't always have time to stop and reapply during the day - this Estee Lauder Lip Envy is like a cross between a gloss and a stain, so it lasts hours, doesn't dry out your lips, and comes in a huge variety of colors. I have "Lethal Red" and plan on buying some more very soon!
(Also, Dillard's has a great gift with purchase going on with Estee Lauder, so check it out!)

2. Anyone who knows me knows my phone is rarely very far from me. This sassy case is so me, and helps protect my ridiculously expensive lifeline.

3. If your school is anything like mine, there are HUGE changes in temperature throughout the day, even inside! A cute pullover is the perfect solution!

4. Counting down the minutes until your class is over? Trying to squeeze in lunch? Meeting with your advisor? You NEED to know what time it is!

5. Yeah, yeah. I'm teaching and a grad student and I should probably have a laptop case not a backpack. Don't. Even. Care. History books are heavy. Papers are too big. This is a cute color.

6. I keep a little bag with some emergency makeup, a pair of contacts, hand wipes, and ibuprofen in it - and I like that little bag to be adorable, like this one.

7. I've talked about this planner before. I literally cannot remember anything unless I write it down!

8. I like coffee. And cokes. And, I guess, water. Plus, this is basically my mantra.

What is on your back to school essentials list? 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Memphis Nosh: Curry Bowl

Indian food is one of my favorites, but I'm kind of picky.

I want really spicy, not too much sauce, and I'm a naan addict, so it has to be good.

Memphis has some good Indian food, but I've never really...loved...any Indian food I've gotten here.

I LOVED the Indian food I had in London.

(Chicken Jalfrezi, Durbar, London)

But I only sort of liked all the Indian food I've tried in Memphis.

That all changed when I went to Curry Bowl.

It's in a totally unassuming strip mall at Hacks Cross and 385, and I honestly would have never known it was there if my friend Sloan hadn't told me about it and wanted to go - I'm just never in that part of town, but I will be now!

(And it was nighttime so I got no good pictures of the outside. Imagine a picture of a restaurant in a strip mall at night goes here.)

Curry Bowl has a lunch buffet that I definitely want to try, but we went around 8 on a Wednesday, so we each ordered an entree.

I got the Chicken 65 - boneless chicken marinated in yogurt cooked with curry leaves and spices.

Hello. Come here often?

Sloan got the Gobi Manchurian, butter fried cauliflower with ginger, garlic, and onion, on the recommendation of our server.

Chicken 65 on the right, Gobi Manchurian on the left - he was nice enough to share!

Definitely a good choice on both our parts. 

We also got some garlic naan, and this is what really sold me - this was the best naan I've ever had. 

Super garlicky, great texture, and we even ordered another order to go, because we literally could not stop eating it.

The service was really good, very attentive without being overbearing, and our server made great suggestions and asked how spicy we wanted everything. We both got spicy, and, while mine was a little spicier, both had a good kick and a nice lingering heat. I probably drank more water than I usually do, but I wasn't in pain or anything!

It's kind of plain on the inside, but everyone is super friendly, they have Bollywood music playing, and it's insanely good food for not a lot of money. 

Check out the menu here, and enjoy some of the best Indian food in Memphis!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Style + Travel: Vegas Vacation and the #UltimateVegasOutfit!

Where is the only place on earth you can go from New York City to Paris in less than an hour? 

 Las Vegas, of course!

I've been to Vegas once and loved it, and my favorite part was the ability to really feel like I was in New York City, then to walk down the street and think I had stepped into a Parisian neighborhood.

With gambling and nightclubs and tons of people of course!

One of the things I hear from people all the time is "how do I dress stylishly when I travel, without packing all of my things or spending all of my money?" I think this question is especially relevant when you go to Vegas - you want to have fun AND look great, especially if you're traveling the "world" walking down the Strip!

Here is what I would pack and wear to my two favorite Las Vegas hotels and attractions, New York New York and Paris Las Vegas:

Vegas: New York New York

For the New York New York, I think you need something fun, sensible, with just a touch of East Coast prep meets street-wise style.

This striped top keeps it classic, while the ripped jeans (which I would cuff since I'm so short!) are comfy and stretchy - a must when you're on the casino floor, wandering through the shops, or eating a LOT of New York style pizza!

A couple of pops of color from this adorable Tommy Hilfiger purse and those fabulous mint Converse, plus a watch (an essential in Vegas, where clocks are few and far between!) are all the accessories you need!

Paris Las Vegas

This outfit, for Paris Las Vegas, uses the same pair of jeans (if you say you don't wear your jeans over and over you're a liar...) so you don't have to pack a ton of different pairs. Jeans, black top, comfy but cute wedges, and a clutch are perfect for the Paris - you want to be able to stroll and feel like you're in Paris, France, but this is no place to wear couture, since you're going to be walking a lot! Add your watch and a bold Kendra Scott piece and you're set!

You could also dress this outfit up with a smokey eye and maybe some more accessories for a show - I mean, who wants to spend precious time going back to change!?

Rewearing jeans really saves a lot of room in a suitcase, as does using small purses and clutches (and no one wants to lug around a giant purse in Vegas anyway!). Changing up outfits with accessories and easy to mix and match tops saves room and money, and neutral shoes that are comfy and go with everything will let you pack fewer shoes but still look fabulous!

A lot of Vegas outfit ideas are just for clubs but...everyone knows how to buy a black dress and heels! New York New York is a little more casual, and trust me - real Parisians don't wear stilettos all the time!  

Both images via

These are some outfits that won't break the bank, won't break your back in a giant suitcase, and that will take you from eating pizza in New York to playing blackjack to seeing a show  to eating macarons in Paris, all in one trip!

Check out the great deals, trip ideas, shows, hotels, and things to do in Las Vegas on, and enjoy your trip to one of the most fun cities on earth - and take me with you!

This post was written in collaboration with I was not compensated, and all opinions and styles are my own.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Memphis Nosh: Mac's Burgers

Recently, I heard that a new burger and gourmet macaroni and cheese place had opened.

I HAD to go.

Cheese = life.

So on Sunday, my friend Sloan and I went for dinner.

Mac's is in the shopping center by the "old" Target on Colonial, in the same strip as The Wine Market, Williams-Sonoma, and the Pottery Barn Outlet - most of it is the former Dan McGuinness space (which is still there just smaller) and it has a nice bar and large dining room.

They also have some cool decor, although it's still a little sparse. I actually don't mind that - I think they're still finding their identity and that's okay!

Basically they have a ton of appetizers, a huge burger selection, and then a ridiculous selection of mac and cheese.

I already knew I wanted to try several of the macaronis. Luckily, you can basically do a flight of macs with the Mac Trio!

I got the Memphis Mac (Pulled pork, smoked sausage, coleslaw - although I don't like slaw and they had no problem leaving it off - and bbq sauce), the Sheboygan (Grilled beer brat with beer soaked onions, topped with green onions), and the Loaded Mac (Hardwood smoked bacon, shredded cheddar, green onions, topped with sour cream).

Holy Macaroni.

Well, actually, they aren't "macaroni" noodles, but that's okay, because these noodles hold the cheese better AND hold up a little better. I hate smushy pasta and these were just about al dente.

Note: this is not that gross baked mac and cheese with the bread crumbs and the layer of cheese. These are like pasta with cheese sauce. The way it should be.

Sloan got the Big Easy burger (the double, so two patties, lettuce, onion, tomato, pepper jack cheese, fried shrimp(!!!), havarti, garlic cream cheese, and fry dip) and, instead of fries, you can sub in ANY of the macs for $2. So he got the Garlic Chicken Mac (roasted garlic, grilled chicken, sautéed spinach). He also got a Rockbone IPA, and they have a pretty decent local beer selection.

Yes. Those are fried shrimp on top of a burger.

Also, it's blurry. My camera couldn't handle this thing.
We didn't get one - I just had a diet pepsi - but they also have Jameson slushies, which I WILL be drinking in the future.

I want to go back and eat basically everything really. My roommate and I are eyeing the Loaded Egg Rolls (the Loaded Mac in an egg roll what is life??!?) and the Grilled Shrimp Mac, and I definitely want to try the Southern Fried Mac with Chicken tenders and gravy. Gravy on top of mac and cheese?


I think the prices are pretty reasonable for the amount of food you get - neither of us could finish our food and had leftovers, and even with a beer it was totally reasonable. 

The service was a little spotty, but we were the last people there, and they are still pretty new. Our waitress was super nice, they just seem to have a little too much staff with too little to do. But I will absolutely be back, especially since it's so close to campus/Target/the wine market/all of the things!