ForbesTraveler.com has named The Peabody one of the 15 top foodie hotels in the nation. The Peabody shares the honor with New York City's Four Seasons Hotel, home to L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon; Washington, D.C.'s Latham Hotel, which houses Citronelle; and Wynn Las Vegas, which has 11 restaurants, including Daniel Boulud Brasserie.
The expert panel included Washington Post food critic Phyllis Richman, James Beard Foundation vice president Mitchell Davis, and eGullet founder Steven A. Shaw. And while they expected to find great restaurants in great hotels in sought-after travel destinations, they were surprised to find the same in unexpected places such as Memphis and Laguna Beach, California.
If you want to see for yourself whether the Forbes poll was right, you'll have plenty of opportunity in June. Chez Philippe will host a "Taste of Greece" dinner on Thursday, June 21st. The five-course menu will feature upscale twists on traditional and well-known Greek dishes such as mousaka, eggplant casserole, and baklava. Price for the dinner, which begins at 6 p.m., is $65 per person plus tax and gratuity. For reservations, call 529-4199.
On Friday, June 22nd, Capriccio Grill will host a Trinchero wine dinner, which will feature six courses that are paired with wines from Trinchero Family Estates. Price for the dinner and tasting, which begins at 6 p.m., is $85 per person plus tax and gratuity. For reservations, call 529-4199.
The Peabody, 149 Union (529-4000)
Mark your calendar for Bravo Caliente, a wine-tasting fund-raiser for the Greater Memphis Arts Council's Bravo Memphis program, which is designed to introduce a younger crowd to Memphis arts.
The event, scheduled for Thursday, June 21st, from 6 to 8 p.m. on the Pembroke Square rooftop, will feature wines from south of the border. There will also be Latin music and dance as well as food from downtown restaurants.
Tickets for Bravo Caliente are $25 per person or $40 per couple.
If you want to splurge on a really good bottle of Scotch — the aged-50-years kind of "really good" — head to Busters Liquors and Wines and be ready to spend roughly the cost of a small, used car. A bottle of Balvenie Cask 191 is the only Scotch whisky of its kind in Memphis and one of very few available in the U.S. But it will set you back $7,500. If you want good Scotch but can't come up with that kind of cash, try the 10- to 30-year-old Balvenie selections available at Busters. They'll run you about $41 to $500.
Busters Liquors and Wines, 191 S. Highland (458-0929)
Erling Jensen has hired a new chef de cuisine to replace his protégé Justin Young, who has left to take a job as executive chef for Kraft Foods. It's "one of those 9-to-5 jobs where you make a million dollars a year," Jensen says. According to Young, he made the move to be able to spend more time with his family.
In Young's place is Karen Noriega. Noriega worked for Jensen at his current restaurant as well as at the short-lived but fondly remembered EJ's Brasserie before heading to Koto, Jensen's joint venture with Jimmy Ishii, which was replaced by Bari. Jensen says that Noriega will certainly put her mark on some of the dishes and that he typically gives his chefs a fairly free hand — one free hand, anyway.
Check out Noriega's style at the restaurant's Friday-night dinner series, offering five wines and four courses for $75 plus tax and gratuity.
Erling Jensen, 1044 S. Yates (763-3700)
River Oaks Restaurant has added a chef's table to its kitchen to give guests the opportunity to dine in close proximity to executive chef Ben Vaughn. Seating at the chef's table is available Tuesday through Saturday with the option of a six-course tasting menu or a grand menu with 12 courses. Wine pairings are available upon request. Seating is limited and reservations are required.
River Oaks Restaurant, 5871 Poplar (683-9305)