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Table Talk: Summer sounds, sandwiches and soups
People say the pledge of allegiance before the 73rd annual High Point Terrace Fourth of July parade July 4, 2022. (Patrick Lantrip/Daily Memphian)

People say the pledge of allegiance before the 73rd annual High Point Terrace Fourth of July parade July 4, 2022. (Patrick Lantrip/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.

It turned out that Day 58 was my day. If you recall, I made note in last week’s Table Talk that I was still waiting for my new car tags on Day 57 and lo, the package arrived the next day.

I know that if you really want it to rain, you get out and give the garden a thorough soaking — no rain dance in the world has the power of an impulse sprinkler (which is also one of my favorite sounds in the world, by the way). But writing about a snagged-up tag? Had I known, I would’ve done it a month earlier.


That sweet sound of the sprinkler joins cicadas and crickets as the ever-present sounds of summer, my favorite season even when it comes down on us with the vengeance it’s shown this year. There’s little I love more than a warm night spent in a screened porch, listening to the night sounds, catching glimpses of fireflies, enjoying quiet conversation with a loved one or maybe reading, swinging ever so slightly. Add a gentle rain (summoned by the sprinkler) and the smell of the damp earth and the sweet mint and tarragon in the bed around the porch and, well, just call me content.

Know what can ruin that in an instant? Firecrackers and bottle rockets, which do nothing but make noises that terrify dogs. Nothing redeeming about those. You want a big fireworks display? I’m in. I know a chrysanthemum from a peony from a spider and am suitably impressed when the sky lights up. But something that only makes noise, terrifies dogs and — oh, yeah — catches houses on fire? Ugh, no thanks.

Still, I know people like to celebrate and far be it from me to rain on your parade. I will, though, point out the obvious fact that fireworks are illegal in Memphis. Yet still, I know some people love them, but how many nights in a row do they get to indulge?

The answer is two. July 3 and July 4. Start on July 2 and it’s rude, skipping line. Keep going past the holiday and it’s sort of sad, like the guy who lingers at the bar when they’ve already turned the lights on. When it’s over, it’s over, and so is my little rant, at least until New Year’s Eve.

Samira Ahmad is the owner of Horn of Africa restaurant at 693 Avon Road near Summer Avenue. (Jennifer Biggs/The Daily Memphian)


But speaking of Summer (the avenue this time), I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about it as much as Chris Herrington and I liked telling you about the restaurateurs, bakers, shopkeepers and butchers that make it the most diverse 10 miles in Memphis.

This week we took you through a section that we believe contains the heart of the street, the block that starts with El Sabor Latino at Avon Road and stretches a long block to Mendenhall Road, taking in several small strip centers that house old businesses such as Charlie’s Meat Market and the Pancake Shop, Hispanic restaurants such as Los Comales and Guadalupana and featuring Kay Bakery, Middle Eastern restaurants and a Middle Eastern market, a Hispanic market and Horn of Africa, which serves Ethiopian food. All right there. 

We’ll pick up at Mendenhall next week and finish this series, but we’ll roll up our sleeves and go somewhere else soon. Where do you suggest? Streets, neighborhoods, kinds of food — we always welcome your thoughts.

At Pho So 8, the banh mi features charred pork piled on excellent bread, with a generous handful of fresh herbs and slightly sweet and tangy pickled vegetables. It’s delicious and filling, and it’s $6.99 for a small or $12.99 for a large. (Jennifer Biggs/The Daily Memphian)

Geoff Calkins and I ate lunch at Pho So 8, way across town from Summer, for last week’s $10 Deal. We shared pho and split a big banh mi, which, you might know, I consider one of the world’s finest sandwiches. Perhaps the best, though much more research is needed. You can read about it by clicking here, but while we’re on sandwiches, let’s talk a minute: What makes a great sandwich great? You want a lot of a meat? A wet and saucy sandwich? How much does the bread matter? Tell me your perfect sandwich. 


Bonus question: Does the bread matter at all on a barbecue? (Which is not a sandwich, right? But how about if it’s served between two slices of white bread?) 

Lonisa "Lala" Bowen opened The Sift Bakery Pop-Up shop in Saddle Creek on Friday, July 1, 2022, where she sold her popular macarons. (Ziggy Mack/Special to The Daily Memphian)

Macarons for everyone! This perfect little sweet, a filled almond flour and meringue cookie, seemed to be all over town about 10 years ago, then they were scarce as hen’s teeth, and now they’re back. The Sift Bakery has opened a pop-up at Saddle Creek in Germantown, and Abigail Warren tells us what to expect. Spoiler: Deliciousness. 

And I don’t know what it is with me and the questions today, but which is best: Cake, cookies or pie? The correct answer, of course, is ice cream, so really, I’m looking for second-best. Fire away, and make your case.

I’ll end with this sweet story. Last week I printed the recipe for the cucumber soup from Just For Lunch, which Ann Barnes, who owned the now-closed restaurant, happily gave me. It was requested by Chuck Page and do you know what he did? He made a batch for me and sent it to the office. Now, that’s some kind of reader appreciation and sure made my day. 

No pressure.

Our Friday lunch at Salt|Soy is sold out, and I sure am looking forward to seeing a room full of Table Talkers enjoying good food and fine conversation. Enjoy your week.

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