Tuesday, January 29, 2013

More Florida Street - Daisy's Soul Food and South Memphis Grocery

South Third Street just south of McLemore has been closed for several months now due to construction causing me to detour down Florida Street when I am travelling through the area for work. As I noted in my post about Mama's Flavors Soul Food on Florida, the street is an under-appreciated treasure trove for people who love Southern cuisine.

Since that post I've sampled a few more spots in the area on separate occasions that pretty well summarize what the erratic weather has been like in Memphis during the past month. I tried Daisy's Soul Food & Wings on a frigid Monday afternoon two weeks ago with ice and snow spitting down from the overcast skies. Yesterday I visited the South Memphis Grocery wearing a T-shirt and enjoying the warm sun.

Daisy's is just off of Florida in a shopping center at the corner of Third and Belz. I'd never noticed it driving south on Third in the past. It is much more visible driving on Belz, which I was using to reconnect with Third thanks to the current detour.

 At Daisy's I had neckbones, pinto beans and greens. Everything was well seasoned and the neckbones had the kind of texture I aim for when I cook them at home using a technique that basically combines braising and roasting. The food was cheap, the portion were generous and the service was friendly, even if I did get a few confused looks that seemed to imply, "what is this white dude doing in South Memphis eating neckbones during an ice storm?"

I'd heard stories about the tamales and burgers at South Memphis Grocery at Florida and Mallory since before I even started this blog. On Monday I stopped in to sample the tamales. They were only $1 apiece so I ordered three. How sketchy is the area around the store? At 11 a.m. on a Monday there were multiple people hanging outside nearby working on catching a buzz. Everyone was totally cool with me while I was there but since there weren't any tables and I was going to be eating while sitting in my vehicle I opted to eat my tamales around the corner by my next stop in the parking lot of a salvage yard just off Brooks Road near Third.

Sometimes you see tamales for sale and ask if they are the Mexican-style made with masa and wrapped in corn husk or the Southern Delta-style made with corn meal and wrapped in wax paper. At the South Memphis Grocery I didn't bother asking since it was obvious they would be the Dirty South Delta variety,

It's hard to do a Delta tamale justice with a photograph since it is ultimately just a greasy roll of corn meal and spicy pork. But this was a damn fine greasy roll of corn meal and spicy pork. Part of me wished I'd bought more than three since they were so good. Another part of me was glad I didn't because I could have easily eaten them until I was ill. Instead, later that day I had a second lunch at Big Bill Bar-B-Que on Elvis Presley, which has become a common stop for me when I am in Whitehaven.

Daisy's Soul Food & Wings on Urbanspoon

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