Here's a problem we welcome: so many pickles, so little time.
There has been a lot of buzz lately about how to make your own, and we know that many local restaurants make them for their cocktails and dinner menus, but where can you buy a jar of locally made pickles to take home? We have some ideas.
Felicia Willett of Felicia Suzanne's has her own line, Flo's Pickles, including the spicy bread-and-butter pickles she's been using in her restaurant for years. The name comes from Felicia's nickname from her time in New Orleans, and the brand covers everything from pickles and pepper jelly to tomato jam and chow chow.
You can pick up a 16-ounce jar of pickles for $12 and an 8-ounce jar of her jelly, jam, or chow chow for $9 at her restaurant. By mid-July she hopes to have them for sale on her website, feliciasuzanne.com. In the fall, she'll roll out her second wave of products, including pickled jalapeños and a creole martini mix.
Ryan Trimm of Sweet Grass also has a line of pickles, albeit an unofficial one, which he uses primarily as a way of preserving produce without taking up valuable refrigeration space in his restaurant.
"People saw the jars and started asking if they could buy them," he says. "It's nothing fancy — we don't have labels, we just use masking tape."
Trimm's biggest seller is sweet pepper relish followed by the very same bread-and-butter pickles they use on their pimento cheeseburgers. They have a host of other options as well: classic dill pickles, pickled watermelon rinds, and pickled ramps, beets, radishes, carrots, cauliflower, and carrots, ranging from $6 to $10 a jar.
Trolley Stop Market hopes to join in the fun sometime in the fall. Owner Keith Forrester says he plans on getting his certification in pickling and canning so that he and his wife Jill can preserve some of the produce they grow at Whitton Farms. They will have their own food label and make both pickles and hot sauce.
He also invites anyone else interested in using his commercial kitchen, for pickles or otherwise, to contact him at 815-9519 for more information. "We want to rent the kitchen out to other people just as much as we want to use it ourselves," Forrester says.
Above all, pickle-lovers must not forget about a culinary genre in which pickles figure most prominently: Vietnamese cuisine. New Que Huong in particular has our attention. Owned by Tuyen Le, New Que Huong is now selling pickled vegetables and house-made dipping sauces.
Tuyen and her daughter Huyen serve up their special pickled vegetables a variety of ways — in their bánh mì sandwiches; in their steamed buns (a recent addition to their menu); or atop a simple salad, with a light house-made vinaigrette.
Diners liked the pickles so much, Tuyen says, they started serving them in plastic to-go containers. Now, you can pick up a container anytime — whether you decide to stay for a meal or not.
"A lot of people like to take [the pickles] home and throw them on salads," Huyen says. "Or people will ask for some of our sauces to use in their own cooking. One guy says he just pours the sauce all over a chicken and pops it in the oven."
The pickled vegetable mix is a tangy, sweet, spicy blend of carrots, daikon, ginger, and napa cabbage. It looks like the Korean specialty kimchee, and the taste isn't far off, but don't make the mistake of mentioning that around Tuyen. You're likely to hear the stern response: "It's not kimchee."
You can also pick up some of New Que Huong's homemade plum sauce, peanut sauce, onion sauce (a light vinegar-based dipping sauce), lemon pepper sauce, and fish sauce. Pickles and sauces range from $3 to $5.
Sweet Grass, 937 S. Cooper (278-0278), sweetgrassmemphis.com
Trolley Stop Market, 704 Madison (526-1361), trolleystopmarket.com
New Que Huong, 942 W. Poplar in Collierville (861-0162)