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Table Talk: So it’s 100 degrees, but it’s fall and the festivals are here

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.

Today we’re back in ridiculous triple-digit temperatures, living in this extended summer that is the only one I remember being ready to see go. Enough already! But tomorrow, we get relief and that means that Cynthia Daniels’ Soulful Food Truck Festival is going to have gorgeous weather on Sunday for its fall festival.

Cynthia Daniels (right) will host two events this weekend, the Elixir five-parties-in-one on Saturday, Sept. 24, and the Soulful Food Truck Festival on Sunday, Sept. 25. (The Daily Memphian file) 


(And it could be a good way to recover from Elixir, Daniels’ Saturday night event that promises big fun and a little something for everyone; Joshua Carlucci gives us the details here.)

Daniels, an entrepreneur and event planner who started Memphis Black Restaurant Week among a host of other festivals, parties and events, used to cap off MBRW with this food truck rodeo, but it took on a life of its own, so here we are, getting ready to spend a day in the autumn sun shopping, listening to live music and eating, of course.

Some of the food trucks are Mr. Frazier’s Fish Fry, the vegan Shroomlicious, Smokin’ J’s and Smurfey’s Smokehouse. There are about 30, so I’m not naming them all, but I want to check out Buttermilk Cakes and am definitely not going to miss Kaye’s Pints & Scoops.

Take a look at the event’s Facebook page to see the trucks, the vendors and the music lineup, or go straight to Eventbrite if you want to buy tickets in advance (you can also buy at the gate). Kids age 5 and younger are free, and other tickets range from $10-$20, depending on whether you want VIP access. It’s 11 a.m. for VIP entrance, noon for the general public, and the festival goes until 6 p.m. You can bring your blankets and lawn chairs, but leave your dog, your coolers, any outside food and your tent (your tent?!?) at home. 

Looking for something for Saturday, too? You’re in luck. Cazateatro’s Latin Fest 2022 is noon to 6 p.m. in the Courtyard at Overton Square. Of course, you can go and have fun — eat, dance, listen to live music, let the kids enjoy some activities — but here’s also an opportunity to learn more about Hispanic and Latinx cultures and experience a wide variety of Latin American foods, music and dances. Admission is free.


Celtic Crossing’s whiskey dinners feature a tsating and a three-course dinner. (The Daily Memphian file) 

Check back here every week because we’re in festival season. I’ll tell you more about this one later, but because tickets sell fast and the date was just announced today, here’s early notice that Cooper-Young Beerfest is back in its full glory on Saturday, Oct. 22, and you might want to grab your tickets. They’re $50 through September and $55 in October. VIP tickets are being offered for a limited time for $75 and include a special VIP mug, a Beerfest T-shirt and a koozie all in a tote bag.

Finally, this: After a summer break, the whiskey dinners are back at Celtic Crossing and these are big fun. The first one is tomorrow, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. This one features two Irish whiskeys and the intriguing Armida Barrel Bourbon, a blend of three straight bourbon whiskeys finished separately in pear brandy, Jamaican rum and Sicilian amaro casks. The three-course dinner prepared by chef Reny Alfonso, which includes the whiskeys, is $75, and you can get your tickets here

BluffCakes owners Chloe and Tyler Sexton are moving their cookie company from a rental kitchen to its own space in Germantown Collection by the end of the year. (Mark Weber/The Daily Memphian)

I hope you read my story about Chloe Sexton and BluffCakes, her growing giant cookie company, this week. If you didn’t, find the time if you want to read a story about a young woman who has faced adversity through much of her life but has come out ahead every time. She’s a testament to perseverance and honesty that most of us can use, and come on, who doesn’t want a 7-ounce cookie? It can come in handy, too.


Last week was grandparents’ day at school for my grandchildren, Jack and Chloë, and I took a big BluffCakes chocolate chip cookie to lunch for them to split. One of the grandmothers of a first-grader was sick and couldn’t come, and it was that little girl’s birthday. The BluffCakes cookie was so big that we cut it and split it between six kids when we sang happy birthday, and everyone had plenty. 

I was also privileged to tell you more about Tamra Patterson, Chef Tam, who is also an inspiration and, like Sexton, a true believer. Even if they believe in different things, they believe in themselves. Patterson’s confidence has snagged her a spokeswoman role for Wesson Oil, and on top of that, she has a new restaurant opening in December. 

Pasta salad, fries with curry mustard and Korean ketchup, a hearty Italian salad and a meatloaf sandwich are on the new lunch menu at Farm and Fig. (Jennifer Biggs/The Daily Memphian)

Farm and Fig is where we found our $10 Deal last week, but I came away with more than that because I’m definitely going to give takeout from the Cooper-Young place a try. The Saturday breakfast, I hear, is great and cheap, too. 

I went with Chris Herrington for one of his meals at Krissy’s Soul Food, and yeah, what he says. I love pork neckbones, and these were possibly the best I’ve eaten. They were no doubt the meatiest, and if they’re your thing, you’ll want to check out this New Eats and Krissy’s

So many people have asked me about the Fino’s tiramisu recipe we printed last week in Recipe Exchange, and like I said when I wrote it, no, I’ve never heard of whipping egg whites for a tiramisu. But I want to hear from you when you make it because I’m curious, too. 

The Steve & Todd’s Creole Italian pop-up at The Second Line ends Monday, Sept. 26. (Photo courtesy Iris Restaurant Group)

Curious, but not curious enough, I guess. The fact is, I was just stuffed after Chris and I had lunch at Steve & Todd’s Creole Italian earlier this week, where we split spaghetti, a crab-stuffed and fried avocado and stuffed eggplant, which we both loved. But warning: It was decadently rich. That’s not a bad thing, but lordy.

One piece of that eggplant killed any possibility of dessert, so no tiramisu for us. The pop-up continues through Sunday night at The Second Line, then next week, Fino’s moves back to Fino’s and The Second Line resumes its normal menu. Chris and I talk about the meal (and Sexton, Patterson and a few other things) on this week’s Sound Bites. Click over and listen.

It’s been a while since I’ve given you a word puzzle update, but good news! Waffle has opened its archives, so you can go back and do all the old puzzles. And to the folks on Facebook asking me to play Word Blitz: I appreciate you thinking of me — I do! — but I can’t actually play games in real time because work. So don’t be offended and play away; I love a word puzzle, too.

Everyone have a great week. Next week, I’ll let you know where our October lunch will be. We had fabulous food and a big old time last week at 117 Prime; shout out to Ryan Trimm and his staff for making it happen.

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