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Table Talk: Friday lunch is back, and our Summer food series has launched
 
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Maria Ahedo serves up lunch behind the counter at La Llamarada on Summer Avenue. (Chris Herrington/The Daily Memphian)
 

Maria Ahedo serves up lunch behind the counter at La Llamarada on Summer Avenue. (Chris Herrington/The Daily Memphian)

Welcome back to Table Talk, where Daily Memphian food and dining editor Jennifer Biggs sends the latest food news (along with a dash of this and that) to your inbox every Wednesday.

Here’s something I love to do: Deliver good news, even more so when it’s fun news, too. After a long break from the pandemic and all its fallout in the restaurant industry, we have finally managed to pull a Friday lunch together.

Our first one — and no promises that we’re back to a full schedule — is at noon, Friday, July 8, at Salt|Soy on Broad Avenue, and I am so excited to see readers in person again.

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Salt|Soy is Nick Scott’s Asian fusion/sushi restaurant that operated as a popup for a couple of years before he was able to take over the building on Broad that previously housed Lucky Cat, which closed pretty early in COVID. He just started serving lunch on Friday and Saturdays in May, so with this, we found an important element of resuming our lunches:

A place, as finding something open for lunch that can accommodate us has been a challenge. Restaurants are short-staffed, and some have never even reopened for lunch.

 

Edamame salad (clockwise, from left), catfish sandwich, prawn dog and tonkatsu are on the lunch menu at Salt|Soy. (Jennifer Biggs/The Daily Memphian)

I ate lunch there May 6 and planned to write about it, but COVID had other ideas. That was my last pre-COVID meal and I wasn’t in fact pre-anything — I had a scratchy throat but had tested negative before lunch. Anyway, I got sick and never wrote about the food, but the thought came to me that it would be a great place for a big lunch. Scott and I talked and here we are.

The menu: A sample of sushi for every table; a choice of ginger salad or miso soup; a mini house-made prawn dog, half a tonkatsu sandwich (it’s huge!) and your side dish of choice for your entrée; a selection of house-made cookies for dessert; and a soft drink. The bar will be open and you can purchase alcohol if you wish, including a special drink that will be made for our lunch.

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I had no expectation that we would return to our pre-COVID pricing, but Scott offered a $20 lunch, and we gratefully accepted and passed that on to you. (Let me caution you again that if we continue other events, that might not be the case.)

You have to reserve your spot and prepay by going to this Eventbrite link. The total cost for subscribers is $25.92, which includes tax and a 20% tip. For non-subscribers, it’s $30.92, because as we all know, membership has benefits and so does subscribing. 

At Eventbrite, you’ll see a link for subscribers to get a code, so click there if you subscribe and when you enter it, be sure to tap or click the small “apply” in the box. We’re set for 48 people. There is a second floor and if we have a lengthy wait list, we’ll consider opening it, too. If tickets are sold out, put your name on the wait list, and we’ll contact you if we decide to open more spots.

If you’ve been to our lunches, you know they’re fun. If you haven’t, now is the time. Come with a friend, a group, or come alone. We’ll have community tables, so let me know if you come alone and I’ll seat you with good company. Over the years, folks have made friends and even formed spinoff happy hour and dining groups from meeting at our lunches, so if your friends can’t make it, come make new friends. I am very much looking forward to this and can’t wait to see you.

 

Maria Ahedo is both the chef and owner of La Llamarada on Summer Avenue. (Chris Herrington/The Daily Memphian)

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What a fun week in food! Chris Herrington and I have been putting on the miles and packing on the pounds as we’ve tackled the restaurants along Summer Avenue for our four-week series about dining on the most diverse street in town, which launched this week.

Week 1 was Summer from East Parkway to Highland Street, with stops along the way at some of the more unknown restaurants there, including Luulu Halal for Somalian food, La Llamarada for Mexican soul food, and Kim Chai, which we’ve driven by for years yet never entered — and lesson learned.

Read it, listen to us talk about it on Sound Bites, then make your list and fill up your gas tank, because you have some eating to do.

 

The Castle’s gyro is $7.99; add fries and a drink and it’s $10.99 for everything. (Jennifer Biggs/The Daily Memphian)

More good food: I revisited the Castle Restaurant and was delighted to find that it’s as good as ever and a fantastic bargain. Owner Nada Hammoud is still making a killer gyro, and I paid $7.99 for one that two of us didn’t completely finish, making this $10 Deal a real bargain.

Jane Roberts tells us what a group of Memphians are doing to help promote fair-market coffee. Riverview Acquisition Corp. is merging with Little Rock’s Westrock Coffee Co., which sells about 20 million cups of coffee a day. 

In case you’re worried about running out of Sriracha sauce in this current shortage, we gave you a recipe this week to make your own. And you told me, by the numbers, thanks but … It seems y’all prefer local recipes. Message received and I’ll be back on it this week. (A side note: I found about a dozen requests hidden in my junk mail folder, so if you’ve asked for something and felt ignored, sorry. I’m on those requests now, too.)

I’ll be out next week (so I say now; you know how I do), so no newsletter. But look for the second in our Summer Avenue series next Tuesday, when you can catch a ride with Chris Herrington and me from Highland to Waring Road. Lots of good things to eat there, friends.

Have a great week!

 
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