Our first destination post Nashville was Memphis; the land of Elvis, B.B. King and soul food. We only had one night in town and were staying in the Cooper-Young neighbourhood, which it turns out is the area to be in for great restaurants and bars removed from the madness of the Beale Street crowds. After getting settled in our Airbnb (this time a spare room in the home of a wonderful Brazillian woman named Dalila, her sons and their pet Guinea pig and chameleon) we set off in search of dinner.
We found ourselves at Beauty Shop, formerly Priscilla Presley’s preferred spot for a dye job, now a fantastically kitsch restaurant serving food thats hard to pin down in genre but so so delicious. The whole place is so well designed; from the tables for two where you sit under hooded Belvedere hair dryers not unlike the ones your granny gets her permed under, while larger parties find themselves in booths made of glass bricks, to the original mint green hair washing sinks still in use behind the bar. I had pan roasted barramundi with sweet corn and pea succotash, almonds and a citrus garlic coconut milk broth. Neil had something with duck that looked delicious but I can’t for the life of me remember what was in it. George had a double order of kale salad, because… George. We also had great skinny fries with cayenne, sugar and spring onions. The highlight for me though had to be the avocado and white chocolate ice creams for dessert which went bizarrely well together and balanced out an otherwise worryingly healthy meal.
The next day was spent exploring. Beale Street; essentially two miles of blues clubs, restaurants and touristy shops with some major neon sign competition between them. The vintage and antique stores back in Cooper-Young were packed so full of treasures I literally wanted to hire a shipping container and take everything with me. We also spent a truly unhealthy amount of time at the Bass Pro shop – an giant silver pyramid where you can buy anything and everything to make your Duck Dynasty/Bear Grylls (delete as culturally relevant) dreams come true. We were tempted by the adorable pink hand guns and camouflage speed boats, but alas the budget wouldn’t stretch.
It was a flying visit, so fleeting in fact that we didn’t even make it to Graceland, but Memphis will stick in my memory for its undeniable charm, style and soul. We would have loved to stay longer but had plenty of ground to cover before Neil flew out of New Orleans in 5 days so the road was calling..
Written by Laura.