Note: I listed everything alphabetically; these items are not in order of importance.
1. African peanut soup at Cooper Street 20/20, 800 South Cooper; 901-871-6879: The peanut butter/tomato flavor and the thickness of this soup is captivating.
2. Barbecued ribs at The Belmont Grill, 970 Poplar; 901-767-0305; 9102 Poplar Pike in Germantown; 901-624-6001: These personify wet ribs to me. I love the tangy, rich barbecue sauce, which is on the sweet side.
3. Barbecued turkey ribs at A & R Barbecue. Locations include 24 North Third; 901-524-5242:These aren’t actual turkey ribs; they’re processed turkey breast on a turkey bone with A & R dry rub. They’re cooked in a barbecue pit. It’s hard to stop eating these.
4. Beef tongue sandwich (torta lingua) at Taqueria La Guadalupana. Locations include 4818 Summer; 901-685-6857: It’s listed as the “Torta — Mexican Sandwich” on the menu. Make sure to ask for the torta lingua if you want the beef tongue. The sandwich comes on hoagie bread with mayonnaise, avocado, lettuce and tomato. The meat is so tender it almost melts in your mouth.
5. Bread pudding at Uncle John’s in Crawfordsville, Ark. 5453 Main; 870-823-5319: This still is the best bread pudding I’ve ever eaten. It’s so creamy it resembles (also a bit in the taste) egg custard. They use a custard made with sugar, eggs, butter and bourbon. I loved the hint of bourbon, which wasn’t overpowering. For the bread, they use hamburger buns.
6. Chicken salad and frozen fruit at Mortimer’s Restaurant, 590 North Perkins Road, 901-761-9321: The frozen fruit salad is made with marshmallows, fruit cocktail and other ingredients and topped with a maraschino cherry juice/cream cheese concoction. Pair that with the chicken salad. It’s my standard (along with Calvary Waffle Shop’s chicken salad) for that dish. The chicken salad is served on lettuce and two slices of tomato.
7. Curry at The Brass Door, 52 Madison; 901-572-1813: This delicious curry is comfort food, as far as I’m concerned. The bar/restaurant uses bartender David John Lowes’ recipe for Indian curry. It’s got a kick, but not enough to knock you down.
8. Fried pickles at Jerry Lee Lewis’ Cafe and Honky Tonk, 310 Beale; 901-654-5171: The deep-fried pickled cucumbers and peppers, which are a blend of sweet and dill, are on the menu as “Frickles: Miss Josie’s Spicy Dill Pickles.” “Frickles” is a combination of the words “fried” and “pickles.” The pickles are served with bleu cheese or ranch dressing, but I prefer them plain. I love the salty-sweet taste.
9. Petits fours at Kay Bakery, 667 Avon Road (901 767-0780): I think of iced petits fours as the sophisticated version of a cupcake, although they don’t taste like cupcakes. The cake batter is baked in a sheet cake pan for 25 to 30 minutes and then each 1½-by-3-inch petit four is individually cut. They only make chocolate and white petits fours at Kay Bakery, but the white ones are the most popular. They use their traditional white cake batter for the white ones.
10. Tiramisu at Dino’s Grill, 645 North McLean Blvd. (901 278-9127): This tiramisu includes mascarpone cheese, whipping cream, coffee, amaretto, espresso liqueur and brandy. Instead of the traditional ladyfingers, homemade pound cake is used. The finishing touch is the topping of cinnamon. The tiramisu I tried measured almost 3 inches tall and 3 inches wide. It was served on a dish with raspberry sauce drizzled around it. I could taste the different flavors as I kept eating it. The cinnamon added the perfect tang.