Happy New Year, and Hoppin’ John Recipe

Happy New Year, and I hope your celebration goes well and without incident.  As tradition with other New Years, it’s normal to have certian items the first day of the year.  Tradition is that the first thing you eat in the new year, should be one of the things to bring you luck.  One of my favorite is Hoppin’ John (Black Eye Peas and white rice).  Right after the stroke of midnight, you eat some Hoppin’ John.  The person who is preparing the dish, puts a dime in the finish dish.  Then they person who gets the dime in their portion will have good fortune for the new year.   Continue reading “Happy New Year, and Hoppin’ John Recipe” »

Memphis: The Chocolate Bar Returns on October 3rd

The Chocolate Bar

Well… Zora’s Lounge is doing another The Chocolate Bar event on October 3rd.  If you recall I attended the previous event, and left with mixed feelings.  I loved the idea and the vision that they had, but was slightly blinded by the execution of it.  I have hope that they will improve this event.  Anyway, it’s Saturday October 3rd @ 9pm.  Doors open, and the event starts at 9pm.  There are two sections in the lounge.  There is a $5 cover section, and a $10 cover section.  The only difference is that the $10 section is where Lila will perform.  The $5 section gets the music via speakers.  The live performance should start at 10:00pm.

The main premise is envisioning a sushi bar, but with chocolate and great wines. The wines include Relax Riesling… Frontera Shiraz… Barefoot Moscato, Sauvigon Blanc, Beringer White Zin, Zonin Baccorosa and Sonoma Merlot. The assortment of chocolate consists of triple chocolate cake, cocoa truffles, tiramisu, German chocolate cake, white Russian truffle, marzipan and fudge. TIP: Anything below $5 in price is not worth it. The slices of cakes and such are much better value.

Zora’s Lounge is located at 652 Marshall, Memphis, TN.  Also to get more information please call (901) 525-0009.



Speaking of Lila, she will be the artist of the evening.  She is a local violinist, who plays a variety of genres such as Jazz, hip-hop, soul, R&B, funk, alternative, rock, Latin, and reggae.  She recently released a Jazz/Fusion album titled “The Blue Violin“.  You can go to iTunes or CDBaby to sample songs from her album.  It should be a very good performance and experience.  Below is a very nice video bio on her.


Memphis: The Chocolate Bar @ Zora’s Lounge (with Review)


Just received word about a very interesting event this weekend. The Hattiloo Theatre’s Zora’s Lounge is presenting “The Chocolate Bar” on September 19th @ 9pm. This will be a great chance for them to show off their newly redesigned Zora’s Lounge. They also have “We Two” performing at the event, which is a mostly Jazz with a dash of Neo Soul. The main premise is envisioning a sushi bar, but with chocolate and great wines. The wines include Relax Riesling… Frontera Shiraz… Barefoot Moscato, Sauvigon Blanc, Beringer White Zin, Zonin Baccorosa and Sonoma Merlot. The assortment of chocolate consists of triple chocolate cake, cocoa truffles, tiramisu, German chocolate cake, white Russian truffle, marzipan and fudge.

There is a cover charge of $10 per person. Zora’s Lounge is located at 652 Marshall, Memphis, TN.  Also to get more information please call (901) 525-0009.

UPDATE  With Review 9-26-09

We attended The Chocolate Bar last week, and it was an experience.  There were some good points, and some bad points.  I’m very glad that there are people trying to create quality events, that cater to the “Grown Folks” crowd.  I just think that they need more work on the execution of those events.  Here are my thoughts below.

Good Points

  • 1. Great concept for the event. Fine chocolates and wine to enjoy while enjoying soothing live music, with like minded people.
  • 2. Location and venue were perfect for this event.  The lighting was just right, to almost a fault.  It was a smoke free environment, with nice furniture to accent the mood.
  • 3. Event started on time, and the performers started on time also.  This shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is.
  • 4. Food was good, fresh, and was made to order.
  • 5. Event staff were very helpful when they were made aware of any issues.

Bad Points

  • 1. The flyer was very inviting, but left off basic information that would have helped attendees.
    1. a. There was an option to reserve tables in advance, but wasn’t listed on any communication. This would have helped, since it was a very small venue.
    2. b. There were two areas of the venue. The main lounge which was $10 cover (Music was performed here, but very cramped) or the side lounge $5 cover (music was heard over speakers, but more room).
    3. c. Event started at 9pm, but it didn’t list the time when doors opened.  The doors also opened at 9pm.  I like to arrive early, and enjoy the vibe.
    4. d. The performers started at 10pm, but that wasn’t listed anywhere. Attendees had no clue if the performers were late, until they asked the staff when was the performers starting.
  • 2. Before the performers started at 10pm, they had music playing. based on the crowd’s age and the event’s theme, they did not have the right music at all.  Each song was totally different genre from the previous song, and it was played way too loud for the over 30 crowd.  It was to the point where you couldn’t have a conversation as you at the chocolate and sipped wine.
  • 3. There were no samples for the food items on the menu. So you were ordering blind.  For example the Tiramisu @ $3 a piece, was a 1″ by 1″ swirl of whipped cream with sprinkles of coffee and chocolate. So, the first 8 items on the menu were small pieces of chocolate or miniature inspired creations.  The last four items (Chocolate Cheesecake, Triple Chocolate Cake, German Chocolate Cake, and Chocolate Fondue) all were wonderful looking.  We only found that out when we saw someone in the other $5 lounge with them. No one in the $10 lounge had ordered any of those five items, so no in that lounge had know of the deliciousness they were missing.
  • 4. Lighting was a bit too dark.  There were some accidents, because people couldn’t see in some portions of the lounge.
  • 5. Performers were good, but didn’t perform any Jazz pieces.  They performed mostly R&B, Neo Soul and some Blues.  No jazz at all.

Now after reading all that you, would think that we had a bad time.  We had a good time, but there were the above things that kept getting in our way of having a great time.  We would love more events like this in the Memphis area, but they are few and far between.  So, that is why we expect so much from the few that are here.

Endangered Species: Black Owned Business Customer Service

Black Business

As lovers of great food, and especially Soul Food, we tend to frequent small mom and pop restaurants.  Being in the South, we to try to give our dining dollars and support to fellow Black owned businesses, that happen to have great food. This policy of ours is becoming harder to continue. What’s the reason of this declining desire to give our valuable dining dollar to these businesses? Very simple….  consistently bad customer service.

Why is it that some of our Black owned restaurants can have such bad service, and seem not to be concerned about it?  Also, why is it expected for us to give then our business, regardless of their customer service? You want to give them the business, and enjoy the food.  Which would be a win-win for everyone, but some businesses don’t see it that way.  Below I will give three recent examples of this problem. Each restaurant’s service has varied problems, but problems none the less. Continue reading “Endangered Species: Black Owned Business Customer Service” »

Soul Food Festival Coming Near You

Soul Food Memphis

Here is the last event to help fill up your weekends.  The Soul Food Festival.  Bet you didn’t know one of those existed.  I was really taken aback when I saw the size of this event, and the numerous cities that it is taking place.  It has many musical groups for the “Grown Folks” crowd.  From Peabo Bryson, Silk, Ready For the World, O’jays, MC Lyte, and quite a few others.  The artists do vary from city to city, so check the flyer for your location.

There will be a variety of Soul Food vendors, some local and some national.  To become a vendor for your city’s event check here. Also for general rules about the event check here.

Tickets range from $25 – $35 for general admission, and VIP tickets are from $45- $50.  Gates normally open two hours prior to show time, and the show lasts about four to five hours.  Tickets can be purchased in advance at Front Gate Tickets. Below are the upcoming dates and cities for the Soul Food Festival.

July 11th   Nashville, TN

August 1st   Memphis, TN

August 8th   Charlotte, NC

August 15th   Cleveland, OH

August 22nd   Kansas City, MO

August 29th   Cincinnati, OH

September 5th Palm Beach County, FL (Info not released)

Back From Vacation!!!!


Sorry for the lull in posting, but I needed a good vacation to revive my spirit.  Now that it is refreshed, revived and renewed I can burn it up.  We went on a cruise to the Western Caribbean, and had a blast.  I see that not a lot has happened in Soul music lately, so I’ll do what I do best, and bring you some more unknown music.   Check out the photos from the trip.  You will notice the food looked unreal.  It was.  I had some great dishes, that I’m going to do some follow up posts on.

Double the Contest, Double the Goodness

CelebrateWell… I’ve finally getting these contests going.  The site is finally done, and time to celebrate.  Ok, here is the deal.  There are two contests, since there are two parts of Soulified, so double the goodness.

Music Contest

  • For the music lovers, there are two chances to win.
  • The prize is a copy of Prince’s new three album set (Lotusflow3r, MPLSound, and Elixir), that was released a week ago.
  • Just be the 25th or 50th person to register and post a comment saying “music” to this article.

Food Contest

  • For the food lovers, there is only one chance to win.
  • The prize is a set of four Urban Accents spices.  They include Sonoma Pepper, Marrakesh Za’tar, and  Mozambique Peri Peri,
  • Just be the 25th person to register and post a comment saying “food” to this article.

Tasty Low Carb Cheese Cake

Low Carb Cheesecake

Low Carb Cheesecake

Ok, I’ve been working on this revised recipe for a while now.  The famous Secret Ingredient Cheesecake recipe has a sinfully rich taste, and velvet smooth texture.  It also has a ton of carbs, since it has a full cup of sugar.  Well…. that won’t cut it in 2009.  With both of us, doing the low carb thing, I had to revise it, and got it down to 15 grams of carbs per slice (1/8 of the 9″ pie pan).  Going low carb, it limits your choices for any satisfaction for your sweet tooth.  I’ve tried to make this previously, with normal Splenda.  It just didn’t work.  Normal Splenda just doesn’t bind with the other ingredients like normal sugar.  In comes their new Sugar Blend.  It was specially formulated for baking, and it solves that binding problem.  I was actually shocked at the taste, compared to the Full O’ Fat version.  Try out this recipe out, and let me know how it works for you.

2 eggs
2 PKG 8oz Philly cheese regular
1/2  cup of Splenda Sugar Blend
1 to 2 tblsp of pure Vanilla to taste (don’t use Jamaican vanilla.  you can use imitation vanilla, but I use pure Mexican or American vanilla)

This will make 1 9″ pie pan or 12 mini pie pans

1. Mix all with a blender at room temp, until mixture is very smooth with no lumps.  Mix in eggs, sugar and Philly cream cheese at the same time. Add vanilla last.
2. Pour into desired graham cracker pie pan
3. Pre heat oven to 400. Then cook for 30 mins, or until top is lightly gold brown.
4. After done let cool, for about 30 mins
5. Add any toppings as needed. Normally the middle of the pie sinks, and in this impression is where I add the toppings.  The ugliest looking cheesecake is the one that gets the topping to cover it up.

Memphis music lovers have more days to enjoy

Taste Of Thursdays

Taste Of Thursdays

Being kind of new to Memphis, it has been hard for us (wifey and myself) to find some places to really enjoy music. Hard to believe, that can happen in the City Of Memphis. We have found two places recently, that are great examples of grown folk chill spots. They have the prerequisite of the great music, delicious food, and a full calendar of events. The first we tried was Soul Cafe, which Dave Hollister frequents, performs and hosts in some of the events. You can count on them to have a show every Friday, to help relieve the end of the week stress. The second place that really eximplifies the term “hole in the wall”, is Cafe Soul. Don’t let that turn you off. The outside of the building, doesn’t do any justice to the inside. With the stage in the center, it really makes for an enjoyable time. Will Graves & Soul are there the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month. So, there are two great ways to spend your Friday and Saturday nights.

Now there will be two more days. Your Thursdays can now be filled with Taste Of Thursdays. It’s going to be a blend of Jazz, wine and Italian food. It starts March 19th, and will be every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month. Then your easy Sunday’s can be made easier with Sax On Sunday. They’ll have various sub genre’s of Jazz, and also a poet on hand to drop a stanza or two. I haven’t been to either of these new events, but once I do, I’ll give the full report.

Half Healthy, but Full Of Flavor

Complete meal with pork chop, squash & zucchini and side salad

This meal was a spur of the moment choice.  I was at the grocery store, and couldn’t think of what to cook for dinner.  I wanted something mostly healthy, but had a taste for fried pork chops.  I knew I could pull together a salad with no problem, but what about a 2nd veggie?  I chose yellow squash and zucchini.  It’s easy to make, and doesn’t take too much prep work.  Let’s get started. Continue reading “Half Healthy, but Full Of Flavor” »

Kickin’ Chicken Breasts

Last night I had plans to try out our new Emeril’s Grill & Panini maker on my chicken breast seasoning recipe. After taking it out the box, and assembling it, I had the urge to use the normal charcoal grill. So, I’ll have to review the Emeril Grill later in the week. My aim with bringing simple, but great recipes, is to show people that wonderfully flavorful food can be prepared and cooked in a short amount of time. Anyway, on to the recipe. Continue reading “Kickin’ Chicken Breasts” »

Just In Time, Chicken Tortellini Soup


Good afternoon. I’m posting this recipe just in time for a friend that is under the weather. This is a great savory soup, that will warm those chilled bones after being out Christmas shopping. It is very easy to create, since you are just putting all the ingredients, bringing to a boil, then simmering. This can be used as a good base soup, that you can add and remove items as you please. I have made some changes to cut done on time, preparation, and importantly cost. Let’s begin, and as always please let me know your feedback with this recipe. Continue reading “Just In Time, Chicken Tortellini Soup” »

A Farmers Market, the Perfect Cooking Inspiration

Ever sometimes lose that cooking spirit, and don’t know how to get it back?  I have found the cure for that aliment.  Find yourself a local farmers market, tour for one hour.  In Memphis, TN there is a great one on Winchester.  It is very large, and has been here for years.  Wall to wall it contains Indian, Asian and Hispanic food items, that normally can only be found certain countries.  It is filled with exotic fruit, unique vegetables, live fish, and huge variety of foreign foods.  Once you arrive, inside the store you are given a feast of greenery.  They have regular and Pineapple sugar cane for $2.49.  Next to the sugarcane, is potted herbs for $2.00.  To think how fresh and vibrant those herbs will taste, just sends my mind racing at the cooking possibilities.   Continue reading “A Farmers Market, the Perfect Cooking Inspiration” »

Secret Ingredient Cheesecake Recipe

     Here is my famous secret ingredient cheese cake.  I have perfected this through the years, and I even used to sell these in NJ.  It’s a very simple cheese cake that you have to bake.  It’s just simple four ingredients.  You can put the mix in a 9″ graham crust pie pan, made by Nabisco or a off brand.  The off brand actually tastes better, in my tests for some reason.  Or you can make your own crust with, butter, brown sugar and crushed graham crackers.  You can also put the batter in mini graham pie pans.  They hold one heaping table spoon of mix each.  The mini graham cracker pie shells, are great for parties and other events.  It allows you to really plan how many much you need to make.   Continue reading “Secret Ingredient Cheesecake Recipe” »

Purveyors Of Pork, since 1968

Good afternoon. This is a little late, but it’s the first real post. This morning we were up early and wanted something different for breakfast. Well… How different can you really get for breakfast? More like a new place to go. So, we remembered passing by Bryant’s Breakfast and decided to give it a try. Continue reading “Purveyors Of Pork, since 1968” »