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Elvis Eats

A few offbeat dishes to whet your appetite for Elvis Week

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Drink Up
Rogue Ale has partnered with Portland, Oregon's famed Voodoo Doughnuts to create its Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Banana Ale, a beery tribute to Voodoo's Memphis Mafia, a fried donut with banana chunks, chocolate frosting, peanut butter, peanuts, and chocolate chips.

"It's weird, but it's good," says Taylor James, the beer manager at Cash Saver Cost Plus Food Outlet on Madison.

The ale's most distinct flavor is the chocolate, with the banana in the finish and the peanut butter in the aroma.

The ale, which comes in an eye-catching Pepto-Bismol-pink one-pint bottle, is $10 at Cash Saver. James ordered 25 cases and is confident there will be plenty to make it through Elvis Week.
Cash Saver Cost Plus Food Outlet, 1620 Madison (272-0171)

Bella Caffe in the Pink Palace Museum has its own spin on the King's purported PB&B obsession. The Velvet Elvis is a traditional mocha latte dressed up with peanut butter and a dash of banana syrup. It comes served hot or as an icy blended frappe — opt for the latter on a hot August day — and topped with a healthy dose of whipped cream.

Banana flavoring can be overwhelming, but the Velvet Elvis proceeds with moderation and balances out the sweet chocolate with the nuttiness of the peanut butter and the espresso. And the espresso gives the drink an extra jolt of caffeine for hip-swiveling good fun. (Though, try to keep your gyrating in check, as this is the Pink Palace and there will be children around.)

Bella Caffe, 3050 Central (320-6407)

Hot Dogs & Hamburgers
Blues City Hot Dogs opened earlier this summer on Highland and offers a small but eclectic menu of hot dogs. There's the Grizzly Dog with cheese grits, and the Southwestern Dog, which comes dressed with guacamole, sour cream, jalapeños, and Fritos.

And then there's the Elvis Dog — a hot dog, bacon, and pancakes served in a bun. The maple syrup is optional.

"This is our tribute to Elvis," Blues City's Iymon Rasoul says. He says that the thinking was that Elvis equals the South, and the bacon-pancake combo is a very Southern dish.

"It's very popular," says Rasoul, who notes college students particularly like it. "It's a good, full, meaty meal."

Blues City Hot Dogs, 669 S. Highland (435-6879)

Like Blues City Hot Dogs, the Checkered Cow — a burger venture inside D'bo's Wings n' More — offers an imaginative menu.

The 20-plus-item menu includes eye-popping offerings like the Firecracker Burger soaked in Tabasco and the Nacho Burger topped with nacho cheese and tortilla chips.

And like the Blues City Elvis Dog, the Elvis Is N the Building Burger comes with bacon. There is also peanut butter, which melts from the heat of the freshly cooked patty.

"It's not a bad combination," says our taste-tester. "The peanut butter with the meat is kind of interesting."

Multiple locations, thecheckeredcowburgers.com

Chicken & Bologna
Miss Polly's Soul City Cafe on Beale has a number of dishes devoted to Elvis, none of which involves peanut butter and banana. The Love Me Tender sandwich is a simple chicken tender hoagie, and the Jail House Special is a sandwich made with rag bologna that has been smoked, fried, and basted with BBQ sauce.

But the real star at Miss Polly's is the Comeback Special, named after Elvis' famous 1968 television special. A generous serving of eight fried chicken livers comes served with a buttery waffle and your choice of a side item, all for $8.99. When we asked whether folks take their chicken liver and waffles with syrup or hot sauce, our waitress took pity on our ignorance and told us either way is fine.

Miss Polly's Soul City Cafe, 154 Beale (527-9060)

Like a Hurricane
Ten years have passed since Hurricane Elvis ripped through Memphis, and on a recent rainy Saturday morning, we went to confront a Hurricane Elvis of a different sort.

"It's a strong fruity flavor," said the braces-faced teen working the counter of the Hurricane Elvis. We went with it and had them upgrade the sno cone to a supreme — intermixing the smooth shaved ice with soft serve ice cream.

The flavor was sweet and vaguely fruit-like. Maybe it wouldn't have been Elvis' favorite, without any banana or peanut butter to speak of. But this sno-cone stand in a refurbished gas station felt authentically vintage, and sitting in the rain certainly felt like an appropriate homage to Hurricane Elvis.

Jerry's Sno Cones, 1657 Wells Station (767-2659)

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