pretty much sums up last Saturday.
Every first Saturday of the month, all of the galleries and art studios open in the Santa Ana Artist’s Village for a little night-time art fair called the Art Walk. Private artist studios are opened at the beautiful Santora Building. There is usually a *main* exhibition at the CSU Fullerton Grand Central Art Center, and another big collective at OCCCA. Jenn and I have visited the Art Walk several times, and each time we were introduced to gnarly artists like Basil Wolverton and Mark Mothersbaugh. It’s really fun, and after you’re done looking at artworks, you can hop on over to Proof Bar to get obliterated by stiff drinks.
Plus, there’s a few eateries in the Artists’ Village too: if you’re into poetry readings you can get some vegetarian nosh at The Gypsy Den, but since Don decided to tag along, we had to go to an eatery that serves plenty of meat.
In comes Memphis.
When college was over and we became too old to join the Asian Invasion at Dave and Busters (that’s what the bartenders call Thursdays because all of the UCI students would flock into D&Bs). When we found Memphis Cafe (the Costa Mesa flagship), we fell fell in love with their non-krunk-music DJ and stiff drinks, and quickly became regulars. Too many a times
I would be sitting on the curb outside of Memphis, sloshed, and the bartender would come out to ask Jenn if I was going to be okay. Then we grew out of the dance-and-lounge scene and hopped on over to the Detroit Bar, another Memphis Group location that was geared towards to indie rock crowd (where we fell in love with indie favorites Aushua
and The Airborne Toxic Event
I only started to eat at Memphis a year after we started drinking there, and was WOWed by the meatloaf. Since then, it’s been one of my favorite ‘American’ cuisine restaurants.
Memphis Santora is the second addition to the Memphis Group. It’s a 50ish themed restaurant with decor that is a cute mixture of mid-century and kitsch, and the menu boasts emphasis on soul food.
It was a nice day out, so we opted to stay inside… and started with drinks. Because we love the drinks here.
Jenn had the strawberry lemon drop, which is one of their signature drinks. It is ultimately girly and can be easily guzzled down by any booze-wuss. I had a glass of Urban Uco Malbec – last time I was here, I had it with the pork chops and it was awesome. Very blackberry-y.
This is why I am not a restaurant blogger: If I already like the item, I will always like it. Corn bread is a good example. It’s crumbly, it’s buttery’ AND it has corn. Why would I not like it? Heck, I even like Souplantation corn bread, even though the corn kernels kind of scare me a bit. That said, Memphis’s corn bread is pretty epic with butter.
Jenn told me to NOT let her order the meatloaf because she gets it all the time (it’s THAT good). So she ordered this monster of a fried catfish with “hoppin’ john, collard greens, hush puppies roasted jalapeno, tartar sauce”. I hate catfish, so I didn’t even try… But the hush puppies were pretty good, although I felt like it was a bit of corn overkill after inhaling the preceding corn bread. The rice was good too, and reminded me of Wahoo’s Fish Taco’s rice. Jenn really liked the fish with the tartar sauce.
Don had the soul burger – ground angus chuck, chipotle aioli, pepper jack cheese, tomato, onion, pickle, house bbq sauce, shoestring fries. It was, to say the least, ginormous. He said that the burger itself was “okay”, but the bbq sauce was delicious. He didn’t even touch the chipotle aioli because he hates mayonnaise or anything that reminds him of it.
I had the spicy pork chops with jalapeno cheddar grits and green beans (sorry, it wasn’t on the online menu). I had it last time and liked it, I had it this time I still liked it. The sauce is sweet but with a little bit of heat, and the jalapeno cheddar grits really really really good. Very comfort food. This time around the porkchop was little tough though.
We were going to order desserts, but our waitress disappeared on us. It took us a while to flag down the hostess to get our check, and since we didn’t want to miss out on any exhibitions, we opted out. Oh well.
I was really excited to see the R. Crumb show…
But the exhibit at the OCCCA blew me away. Especially this weird latex display called Synapses totally creeped everyone out.
During the Artwalk the pieces were hanging from the ceiling, but during the show opening this Sunday (July 18th), real live people are going to be in these weird suits!
And I totally fell in love with this painting of an anteater. At $650, it’s probably one of the most reasonable art pieces on premise… But I has no dinero for a painting of an anteater.
Can’t wait till next month’s Art Walk!