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One Sweet Santa



So what do you do with one pound of marshmallows, 60 pounds of Rice Krispy treats, 22 pounds of white chocolate, and 90 pounds of Royal icing? If you're Konrad Spitzbart, The Peabody's executive pastry chef, the answer is obvious: Make a life-size Santa as part of the hotel's holiday display.

"Last year, we did several smaller items, and I wanted to do something different this time," Spitzbart says.

While the base of the Santa was built out of plywood and PVC pipe by the hotel's engineering department, the rest of it is edible. Spitzbart, however, doesn't recommend the indulgence. "We made this holiday display so it lasts for four weeks — not so it tastes good," he says.

The trickiest part for the pastry chef will be getting Santa from the third-floor pastry kitchen into the hotel lobby. "We measured to make sure he'll fit in the elevator, but we might have to tilt him a little," he says.

If all goes well, Santa and his candy sleigh will be on display right in time for The Peabody's tree-lighting ceremony on Friday, November 23rd, at 5 p.m.

The Peabody, 149 Union (529-4000)

Having served dinner for the past nine years, Ben Smith, chef/owner of Tsunami, felt the time was right to offer Memphis diners a new option.

"We have been open for lunch since the beginning of October but kept a rather low profile," Smith says of the restaurant's new hours. "There's so much more going on in Cooper-Young since we first started, and it seemed like a good time to start opening for lunch."

For the mid-day shift, Smith hired David King, who was part of Tsunami's original staff and recently returned to Memphis from cooking stints in Denmark and San Francisco. Also back on board is Marissa Baggett, who left Tsunami several years ago to learn the ins and outs of sushi-making and went on to head the kitchen at Dō.

Lunch at Tsunami isn't just a mini version of the dinner menu. It's a different menu with a few favorites and several new dishes, such as seafood saimin, a Hawaiian-style noodle bowl with fresh seafood in a miso-dashi broth, and a traditional Thai beef salad with flank steak, tomatoes, cucumbers, and spicy lemongrass dressing.

Entrées and sandwiches cost between $8 and $12; soups and salads from $3 to $8. The restaurant serves lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner Monday through Saturday from 5:30 to 10 p.m.

Tsunami, 928 S. Cooper (274-2556)

Ubee's (not in anyway related to Newby's, btw) is a new fast-casual restaurant on Highland in the University of Memphis area.

The first score for Ubee's: Parking is available in the back so you don't have to spend 15 minutes searching for a spot on the street in this busy neighborhood. The restaurant's interior is light and modern, with an open kitchen almost extending the full length of the restaurant. A sleek and simple bar at the end of the dining room is framed by cobalt-blue booths.

The menu at Ubee's reads like a text-message. Starters include "Yummus" and "Edu.Mame" (described as a "lipsmacking soysnacking nod to the University of Memphis"). Burgers include the "UBurger," "UB Cheesy," and the "DoubleU." Paninis, salads, and treats continue along the same lines, with the "French 101," the "Go-Go Granny," and "Sweetie Pie."

The second score for Ubee's: "If U can't come to Ubee's, then Ubee's comes to U," with delivery service to the surrounding area.

Ubee's, 521 S. Highland (323-0900)

Sushi is a new addition to Umai's menu. Chef/owner Ken Lumpkin currently offers three choices on the main menu and several daily sushi specials. Snapper sashimi with homemade vinaigrette and California greens; seared scallops with spicy sriracha sauce and apple salad; and tuna tartare with capers, scallions, and hazelnut oil are the options on the menu. Specials include a sushi appetizer from selected fish and a sushi platter.

Umai, 2015 Madison (405-4241)

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