Sharing is good — at least that's what Mama always said — and there's no better place to share than at the dinner table, especially when dining out or trying something new.
Shabu Shabu at Edo
Japanese restaurants are often associated with raw food — specifically sushi. However, shabu shabu, a Japanese take on the hot pot, is cooked right at the table, allowing you to appreciate its freshness.
Shabu shabu is an onomatopoeic name conjured from the sound of something swishing around in water, such as handwashed clothes. Once the pot of broth is boiling, use your chopsticks to simulate this action, swishing around the beef and vegetables in the broth until they are cooked. Once the meat and vegetables have been eaten, leftover broth can be combined with rice to make soup.
Shabu shabu is a great dish to share with friends and adds excitement to the meal. At Edo, shabu shabu can be ordered for one or two people ($19.99 or $29.99). However, the large platter of thinly sliced, uncooked beef, cubed tofu, clear shirataki noodles, cabbage, enoki mushrooms, onions, and scallions, two bowls of steamed rice, and dipping sauces meant for two is plenty for up to four people.
Edo Japanese Restaurant, 4792 Summer (767-7096)
Dinner at Abyssinia
Dining in Ethiopia is characterized by the ritual of breaking injera (bread made from teff flour) and eating several items from a communal plate. Gather around one of Abyssinia's colorfully woven basket tables with a group of friends and try the yebeg tibes (stir-fried lamb), yedoro key wot (spicy chicken stew that comes with homemade cottage cheese), or one of their delicious seafood or vegetarian options. Entrées are served with a variety of vegetables on top of a large piece of injera, the spongy, crepe-like flat bread with a decidedly tangy taste. A basket of injera accompanying the large plate is to be torn and used to scoop up bites of food, spongy side down. (So fun you may never want to use a fork again.) Once the food is gone, it's time to eat the bottom injera, which should be soaked with flavorful sauces and spices.
It is said that people who eat from the same plate will never betray one another. One trip to Abyssinia and you'll see why.
Abyssinia Restaurant, 2600 Poplar (321-0082)
The Sasquatch at Big Foot Lodge
Not surprisingly, everything is big at the Big Foot Lodge. By now, many Memphians have heard of the Sasquatch Burger Challenge in which a diner can have the $21.99 Sasquatch Burger (consisting of four pounds of beef, two pounds of bun, and one-and-a-half pounds of fixin's) free of charge, as well as a little fame, if he or she can eat it in under an hour. To date, only four people have managed to defeat the Sasquatch. Of these four, one was top-ranked competitive eater Joey Chestnut, who did it in an unfathomable seven minutes and 36 seconds.
If $21.99 seems too high a price to pay, try splitting the Sasquatch with three other people. Glance around the restaurant and you'll soon see just how many people do this. Whether it's for the novelty or because it simply makes good economic sense (a half-pound burger costs $6.49 — you do the math), this is the way to go. There are plenty of fries for everyone, but you'll have to fight for the pickle.
Keep in mind the Sasquatch takes 40 minutes to cook, contains 12,387 calories, and 266.8 grams of fat, so you might want to skip the 34-ounce beer.
Big Foot Lodge, 97 S. Second (578-9800)