Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wiles-Smith Drug Store

Today, Memphis is losing (half of) an institution: Wiles-Smith Drug Store.

In business since 1944, this independently-owned pharmacy is currently run by Charlie Smith. Mr. Smith is retiring soon, and so after today Memphians will have to go elsewhere to get their prescriptions filled.

Happily, the adjoining soda fountain and lunch counter will remain open for another month or two. I think it's about time for a chocolate milkshake, don't you?

Notice the gentleman outside removing the painted window sign (which I assume referenced their pharmacy services). While I was at the counter, he carefully painted on a new sign promoting their still-open lunch counter.

Can I just say how much fun I had on this particular food adventure? For starters, I struck up a conversation with a total stranger sitting next to me. A recently-graduated music major, she shared with me all about trying to "make it" in the local music scene while I, in turn, yammered on about minoring in voice in college, singing in church, etc. It's like, how serendipitous is it that two 20-something music geeks would be sitting next to each other at a 70-year-old soda fountain in Midtown?

I also had the pleasure of running into a precious friend with whom I attend church. She was treating her family to lunch, and told me all about how she'd been coming here since before even Mr. Smith was co-owner--when it was just "Wiles Drugstore."

Just a classic Memphis moment, running into friends and strangers and bonding over good food. Speaking of which--here's our milkshake!

Served old-school in a metal cup, love it :)

The milkshake was scrumptious of course, but today I feel like the food isn't really the point. Today is about appreciating a by-gone era, about taking time to spotlight a real piece of Memphis history. By this time I finished my shake (12:15), the lunch area was crawling with people: young, old, businessmen, women with babies, all taking a moment to pay homage to a place that's been around since FDR was in office.

Mr. Smith himself, ringing up my order. Such a sweet man, obviously touched and a bit emotional from the outpouring of community support.

Bottom line: Would I eat here again? Sadly that won't be possible. But I urge every person reading this to please stop by soon and say goodbye to this humble--yet iconic--bit of Memphis history. I promise you won't regret it!

Wiles-Smith Drug Store
1635 Union Ave
Memphis, TN 38104

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Woman's Exchange Tea Room

Pardon the extended absence; internet's been down. Glad to be back blogging!
Last week I met my friend Laura for lunch at the Woman's Exchange tea room. Confession #1: Before that day I'd never heard of, seen or eaten at the Woman's Exchange. (Bad Memphian, bad!) Confession #2: Both Laura and I were child-free for the afternoon, so we were about twelve different kinds of giddy.
Located on Racine Street between Poplar and Walnut Grove, the Woman's Exchange is a rather unassuming little building on the outside...

But inside it's like you've died and gone to hand-smocked, home-made, weekend-at-grandma's heaven. Sweet volunteers in blue monogrammed aprons flutter around everywhere--clearing plates in the tea room, helping customers locate that perfect "something" in the infant and children's clothing section, and assisting customers with whatever else they might need.

After placing our orders (salad plate for me, vegetable plate for Laura), we settled into our seats and admired the action around us. About four minutes later (not even kidding, y'all--these women are amazing at what they do), our lunches arrived.

Half of my plate consisted of some of the ripest, sweetest fruit I'd ever tasted. The chicken salad tasted just like grandma's, the pimento cheese sandwiches were great (and I'm not generally a pimento cheese fan), and even the Jell-O salad rocked. It was like the 1950s on a plate--totally scrumptious.

My iced raspberry tea was delicious, too--didn't even need sweetener!

Laura's plate smelled heavenly. I traded my deviled egg for her cornbread, and I've got to say it was about the best dang cornbread I've ever eaten.

Peach cobbler for dessert. Oh Lordy, the peach cobbler. Even though it was a bit soupier than I was expecting, the crust was still crisp (how did they do that? how??) and the taste was just killer. A great finish to a wonderful meal.

Now for some of my favorite non-food-related bits...

These sweet volunteers are singing "Happy Birthday" to a 95-year-old woman who was being treated to lunch by her daughter (in green). It was precious to watch!

Their bright and airy sun room (filled to capacity when we arrived, dangit) would be about the world's most perfect bridal tea location.

After a lengthy gab fest in which Laura and I discovered that we're kindred spirits on so many levels, we stopped by the children's clothing section for a quick browse.

We also checked out their new gallery, featuring pieces from a variety of local artists.

I fell in love with this sheep painting. Gorgeous in person!

They also had this binder on a center table which included information on every artist featured in the gallery. Such a neat, personal touch!

The Woman's Exchange is open 10:00AM-4:00PM, Monday through Friday. From October to December, they're also open Saturdays from 10:00AM-2:00PM.

Bottom line: Would I eat there again? Absolutely. World's best "weekday lunch with a girlfriend" spot, found!

Woman's Exchange Tea Room
88 Racine
Memphis, TN 38111

Woman's Exchange Tea Room on Urbanspoon

Monday, September 1, 2014

Delta Fair & Music Festival

Yesterday afternoon the family and I took advantage of a break in the rain and dropped by the Delta Fair. The air was unbelievably hot and humid, the grounds smelled of cooking oil and wood shavings, and between the petting zoo, the fair food and the general "stickiness" our family went through about four dozen wet wipes.

A solid afternoon, overall.

Petting zoo. Lord, how I wanted to adopt this sweet little piggy.

Oh, you know. Just two of the loves of my life. Dangling 100 feet in the air.

(Wade and Little Foot.)

Sweetest cotton candy seller at the whole fair! (Hi, Bailye!!)

Shortly before leaving I spotted one of about two dozen Pronto Pup stands. Like the song of the siren, I was powerless to resist its call.

Oh, mama like. Mama like very, very much.
The Delta Fair & Music Festival is held every year on the grounds of Agricenter International. This year they're here 'til September 7, so be sure to stop by and check 'em out!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Five Things Friday {Food, Family and Fashion}

1. I made a killer lunch the other day, and all it took was 15 minutes and three ingredients! Simply cook 1/4-pounds fettuccini (or whatever pasta you fancy) according to package directions, then grab a container of pesto...

Throw a dollop over your noodles...

Toss everything up, and sprinkle with freshly-grated cheese. (I used pecorino.)

Voila! Yields two lunch-sized servings or one generous dinner-sized portion.

Yeeeeah, diet starts back next week folks. I'm enjoying summer 'til then!

2. Speaking of food, Boo Bear the Fruit Monster has developed a serious obsession with apples. Yesterday I handed him a large, freshly-washed Gala. Twelve minutes later this was all that remained. Please note the lack of core.

3. Happy first dating anniversary (one day late, sorry!) to this gorgeous couple. These two go together like peas and carrots ;)

4. Happy thirty-third wedding anniversary to this gorgeous couple. I love how you love not only each other, but Jesus, your children and your grandchildren. Thank you for being my first and best role models!

5. OMG do I have such a date with these three ladies this weekend. Happy fall, y'all!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Haps

I feel like I've hardly sat down the last 10 days! Between weddings and choir performances and more birthdays and parent meetings and conferences...let's just say it's been a leetle bit busy around here.

Saturday before last I had the immense pleasure of singing at Jenny Beth's sister's wedding. The ceremony and reception was just flawless--congratulations, A and C!!

Jenny Beth, the beautiful bride, me and Katie.

(We've known each other kind of a long time.)

Pretty wedding hair right before I took it down. Probably only the third time I've had my hair "done" since my own wedding. Such a treat!

The following evening I led preschool choir up at church. Little Foot is actually in my class, so I was able to be a fly on the wall as she and her "boyfriend" interacted :)

Prior to the start of class, each kid had to sit on a small star Velcro'd to the ground. (All the stars together formed a circle.) Apparently Little Foot's boyfriend felt he wasn't sitting close enough to her as it was, so he snatched up his star, placed it on the ground right next to hers and then sat down lol. They really are precious together.

That brings us to last Monday, the first of three days in a row that I had the honor of singing at a local seminary under the direction of this sweet man.

Dr. Jim Whitmire, former minister of music at Bellevue Baptist Church--and one of the kindest men I've ever met.

Speaking at one of the sessions was Ken Whitten, senior pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, FL where I was baptized at the age of six.

After several busy days of singing (made possible by my amazing husband who came home early each day to watch the kids), I was ready for some refreshment!

First up was attending Living Proof Live in downtown Memphis with my mom and sister. It was so awesome to see/hear Beth Moore and Travis Cottrell right in our own backyard. Plus we were able to stay overnight at The Madison between the Friday PM and Saturday AM sessions so it was almost like a mini-getaway :)

Beth Moore at the Forum Friday night. She was awesome!
Riding a carriage back to our hotel.

I swear this photo was our driver's idea lol.

Pretty "Frozen" d├ęcor overhead. Little Foot would've died!

Which brings us to last Saturday night: celebrating my love's 34th birthday at Flight!

He's mine.

I'm his.

I decided to mix things up and get the "Feathered" flight. Left to right: Chicken and Waffles (Ashley Farms chicken breast, buttermilk waffle, Vermont maple syrup and local mushroom cream), Quail and Dumplings (Texas bandera quail, potato gnocchi fricassee, house cured Newman Farm bacon) and Duck Confit (Woodson Ridge root vegetable gratin, cedar roasted mushrooms, brandy jus). While it was all delicious (especially the quail and dumplings, yum!), it was kind of "poultry overkill" lol. Think I'll vary my meat choices next time :)
So yes, it's been a very busy, very fun few days! This week I'm just soaking up the last of summer vacation--won't be long now before I have two kids in preschool!
(Lord help me.)