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Monday, February 20, 2012

Derail Your Train at RP Tracks

Tracks, son
In the years from 2003 to 2007, the University of Memphis and its surrounding neighborhood harbored what would prove to be, in my opinion, some of the most restless and unruly students that Walker Avenue and the surrounding area had seen to date.  Being young and impressionable, I somehow found myself running with these crazy creeps, walking around the Highland strip like the Greenstreet Hooligans.  My Tiger comrades and brothers-in-arms and I would usually convene at one of our favorite rally points: RP Tracks.  RP Tracks, or simply Tracks as we called it, was always bustling with blue and gray, no matter the day or time. 


In keeping late-night hours and being opened 7 days a week, Tracks pigeonholed itself into being the spot for hungry (or in my case, thirsty) dipwads campus wide.  More nights then not, Tiger students and fans alike would share pitchers of beer and gigantic burritos while watching our boys hoop like heroes on one of their TVs.  If a game wasn't on, then I would embarrass myself at the pool table or dartboard.  And, having lived near campus most of my collegiate career, I was almost always within walking distance.  Ah, yes..... if college is Neverland, then RP Tracks is the Lost Boys treehouse.  So, one could imagine my bewilderment in discovering as of late how many Memphians, new and old alike, aren't privy to such a fine establishment.  


RP Tracks is easy enough to overlook if you aren't on campus or in the campus area.  However I, being the studious little scamp that I am, continue in my education at the U of M, and have been finding myself pleased....nay... genuinely and nostalgically ecstatic to "rediscover" some of these gems surrounding the campus.  Per my suggestion, I took a newer-to-Memphis cohort of mine to RP Tracks.  Let me tell ya something, when you take a young man into a place like RP Tracks on a lazy Saturday, you will come out with luminary status. duh.  Every 20 to 30 something man (and some women) has the recessive Peter Pan genome, and Tracks, my friend, is where Peter would get his smack fix.


Not much has changed in the years since I last graced the small bar and grill by the railroad track.  If anything, I would venture to say they have actually improved on what was already a great thing (if you overlook the fact they no longer have a dart board.. they needed room for an additional pool table).  I was like a kid in a candy store: the jukebox went digital, they added more flat screen TVs, the menu got larger, and they still kept their "Golden Oldies".


Please let me elaborate on what I consider their "Golden Oldies":


Bar-B-Que Tofu: Don't you turn your nose up at this, little boy, because this shiz is the jam.  They are famous for it.  I swear that I ate a bbq tofu burrito at least  once a week in college.  They do a wonderful job at not overcooking the stuff (which is super easy to do), and the sauce is their own: very sweet with a nice kick.  It pairs very nicely with a pitcher of Killian's. 


Lots of Stuff Appetizer: I had a roommate in college who would literally order this as her meal every single time we would go here.  Chicken Fingers, fried mozzarella, onion rings, and steak fries make up this Tracks classic, and the only thing better than being fried to perfection is the dipping sauces that come with the thing.  In fact, most appetizers at Tracks come with a choice of dipping sauces, including ranch, bleu cheese, honey mustard, bbq sauce, horseradish sauce, marinara, cajun mayo, and the mysterious "hot stuff".
 
Veggie Options: Because let's face it: colleges are LOADED with hippies, and those d!psh!ts need to eat, too.  The spinach, grilled portabella, and feta cheese quesadilla is actually an old stand-by of mine.  I must admit, RP Tracks is a meat-lover's paradise, but for every loser crying over dead cow, there's a spot in a comfy booth and a hummus-loaded pita or a veggie burger waiting on the nerd at RP Tracks.


Train Shooters: This one is for the regulars or those in-the-know.  They have a whole damn menu of shooters that are discounted when a  train rolls by (and that is super often).  The staff that Saturday was not only obliging when I asked about the old train shooters, but they joined us in the libations as well.  I believe I had a "Bloody Brain" and a "Mind Eraser".  Both.. uh.. did their job.


Now a pleasant surprise and new addition to the already great RP Tracks is a Brunch Menu.  Yes, Sunday Funday partakers, things just got weird on Walker Ave.  With $3.50 mimosas and $4 Bloody Marys, things could potentially get out of hand on God's day.  Served on Saturdays as well as Sundays, weekend warriors get the option of the regular menu or the brunch menu, which boasts brunch classics like Eggs Benedict and omelets, as well as pigs in a blanket and a huge selection of breakfast burritos.  This is a far cry from your average stuffy brunch: no piano players, no khakis and button-downs, and best of all, not a child to be seen


While I studied journalism and not rocket science, I am still certain that a place like RP Tracks stays overlooked by too many people.  I am shocked the such a diamond in the rough isn't still filled to the brim on a game day (or any day for that matter). So should you wake up with that wild hair still lodged up your derriere, crawl over to RP Tracks (http://rptracks.com/index.php) on Walker Ave and roar like a true blue Tiger.


-Stephanie



JT is a Tiger
Soapbox Post Script:  Perhaps Memphians need to be reminded that the University of Memphis has upgraded to the Big East conference, has 23 football scholarships and a new coach for next season, and has  teams like the women's soccer team that have won 5 consecutive conference titles.  In a city where people constantly bitch and moan about having nothing to do, why not make an effort to be a goodwill ambassador for this city and be a fan for a school on the brink.  Why?  Because local support means a helluva lot to recruits.  What a-hole wants to play for a school when the city turns their collective nose up to their own university?  I wouldn't.  And what do better recruits mean?  Better teams, dummy.  And what do better teams mean?  Bowl games.  And what do bowl games mean?  More money.  Get the picture?  Sure, I know SEC reigns supreme in the south, but why not dump all of this Tiger basketball bandwagon bullshiz and get behind your local university... It's an easy way to get behind your city.  Go to some home games, wear some blue, or at east head down to RP Tracks and root for your home team.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Food and Gettin Yo Freak On

FOODATIO:


Foodatio is the act of giving pleasure to your partner through the act of meal preparation.  Simultaneous foodatio (both people engaging in foodatio with each other) is assumed to maximize pleasure and increase the couple's joint sensuality.  


Love (or lust or loneliness) is in the air, and for every woman in waiting, there is a dipwad man that has failed miserably and procrastinated in preparation for the cheesiest day of the year.  A wise man once told me that Valentine's Day is a farce designed to legalize prostitution: a transfer of gifts for sex.  Gentleman, if you think your special someone is going to put out when you've forgotten to make a dinner plans for your sweetie, then you are sorely mistaken.  No woman is wooed by a lack of consideration. duh.


So the question now is,"What the eff do I do?"  Well, have no fear, because the Foodie Call Girl is here; I'm pleased to let all of you procrastinating philanderers know that preparing a good meal using quality ingredients can actually work out better than postin' up at a french restaurant and embarrassing yourself by enunciating the "t" at the end of fillet.  So is that what I am planning on tomorrow? Hell no, better not be! Are you kidding?!


Aw, look at ya!
But it is an incredible turn-on when a man can cook... and cook well.  And while grilling a piece of beef is great, preparing a sexy meal is even greater.  However, don't be an a-hole like my father by proposing that he cook, just to burn out my mother's favorite saucepan, splatter grease everywhere, pile dirty dishes in the sink and not clean a damn thing........ that doesn't exactly scream out "ROMANCE" (or even "I value my life" in that household).  Trust me, she'd rather help you in the kitchen if you are that big of a slob.  In fact, the test of true compatibly is if two people can actually work together in preparing a meal without ripping each others eyes out.  If that isn't the case, then this, theoretically, is one damn day that you can suck it up, prepare a meal, and do the dishes......In fact, have her take a nice relaxing hot bath if ya'll ain't gunna cook together.  She might want to have you for dessert.   


First of all, Valentine's Day, as we have already established, is a time to feel SEXY.  You want to eat sexy food and drink sexy wine while listening to sexy music and talking about sex (or laugh about your lack thereof).  Certain foods and beverages soliciting lusty feelings are referred to as aphrodisiacs.  These may affect hormone levels Testosterone, act as pde5 inhibitors Icariin, increase nitric oxide Citrulline, or affect neurotransmitters Dopamine...... blah blah blah...... all that means is that it is (kinda) scientifically proven that some foods can work as pantie droppers.  Some commonly-known aphrodisiacs are oysters, basil, truffles, pineapple, saffron, avocado, hot chilies, vanilla, watermelon, and red wine.


Want help with a sexy menu?  Of course you do, dummy:


Appetizer:
Fried Oysters and Saffron Aioli 
THE OYSTERS:
-12 oysters, shucked (at most grocers)
-1.5 c. flour
-tsp cayenne pepper
-tsp salt
-tsp blk pepper
-oil or shortening for pan frying

Heat 2 inches of oil in a deep saucepan or skillet to about 325 degrees.  Toss the oysters in a mixture of the flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne.  Fry until they are a golden damn brown.

THE AIOLI:
-pinch of saffron
-1 tbls boiling water
-1 egg yolk
-.5 c. olive oil
-.5 c. canola oil
-salt and pepper (to taste)
-1 lemon

In a bowl, steep the saffron in the water for one minute. Put the oils in a measuring cup. Add the egg yolk to the bowl and beat (the mixture, you creep).  Drizzle the oil in slowly while beating until the mixture starts to thicken. When all the oil has been added, add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.


Salad
Pineapple and Avocado Salad
-about .5 c. pineapple chunks
-1 sliced avocado
-about 2 c. spinach (or any other leafy green)
-.25 c. thinly sliced red onion
-white wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil (dashes as dressing)
-lime wedge (optional)


If you are waiting on me to instruct you on how to toss a salad than you are sorely mistaken.


Entree
Sexy Prosciutto-Wrapped Halibut with Truffle Oil Drizzle
-2 Halibut fillets (about 7 ozs ea.)
-4 pieces of thinly-sliced prosciutto (most grocers carry in their meat depts)
-2 tbls truffle oil
-2 tbls olive oil
-2 sprigs rosemary
-salt to taste


Preheat yo' oven to 400.  While it's heating, wrap chilled halibut in prosciutto.  Drizzle wrapped fish in OLIVE OIL and cook for 5 to 8 mins (WARNING: Don't overcook! Overdone halibut be nasty, mane).  Drizzle cooked fish with truffle oil and garnish with rosemary.


lil' wine goes a long way
Notice that I didn't tell ya to make a side item.  Think about it: No girl likes to be rolling around nakey in a bed on a full stomach (you've all heard, "I'm bloated," or "I have a food baby. Ew."). So don't fill her up or make her clean her plate. Instead, buy some sexy lavender dark chocolate for dessert, serve dinner with a nice bottle of sauvignon blanc or even a light pinot noir, and you've got yoself a sexy soiree for two.


You can thank me later.  


-Stephanie