The Cosmic Coconut indulges cravings with a full menu of specialty vegan smoothies, juices and snacks as well as fair-trade, organic coffee drinks. Futuristic light fixtures and repurposed furniture unite beneath hues of blue and lime green and surround a counter of bowls of fresh fruit, which transform into charming princes or specialty drinks such as the Chimps in Space smoothie with bananas, coconut milk, vanilla, nutmeg, and stevia ($3.50+) or the Grass Roots juice with wheatgrass, carrots, ginger, beets, apples, and chard leaf ($5.50). Embark on digital excursions in the café with WiFi access and a boost of energy courtesy of a café latte ($2.85+) or a Blood Transfusion juice shot, crafted from fresh-pressed wheatgrass and young coconut ($6.50). In addition to straw-centric refreshments, The Cosmic Coconut serves items such as fresh guacamole ($3.99) and apples with almond butter ($4.50) to keep molars from feeling left out.
Though the entrees at The Dixie Cafe make the biggest splash across its menu marquee, they're threatened with gastronomical upstaging by the southern-style eatery's 19 sides and scratch-made gravies. The chicken-fried steak, for example, is a tender, hand-breaded fillet that fully blossoms with flavor only after chefs smother it with cream gravy and cheddar cheese. And the Cajun grilled catfish's down-home taste isn't fully developed until it is paired up with bites of turnip greens, fried okra, or a homemade roll. The classic platter meals take advantage of this by pairing an entree with two sides, rolls, and jalapeño cornbread and can be ordered "light" for a portion that's smaller than the regular size and easier to toss in the air and catch in your mouth.
Chef Geroy Rachel honed his skills at L'École culinaire in Memphis before opening Royal Flavors, a food truck specializing in smoky barbecued meats. Inside the mobile kitchen, he wraps bacon around chicken legs, flavors pork riblets with a dry rub, and smokes beef burgers to serve on butter buns with provolone cheese and pickles. Smoked cabbage salad or turnip greens with smoked pork round out meals, and slices of caramel cake or strawberry shortcake provide a sweet finish. Diners can take their food to go or eat beside the food truck, where picnic chairs surround a flat screen television.
Ugly Mug Coffee aims to protect the farmers harvesting each bean by sourcing organic, pesticide-free, and fair-trade coffee from around the world. Integrity pervades every phase of its buying process, as the company selects farmers who cultivate bird-friendly, shade-grown coffees without the use of toxic chemicals, and pay them a fair, livable price to incentivize their growing. Their fair-trade philosophy extends to what Ugly Mug hopes will one day be a hands-on collaboration with the farmers; until then, partnerships with economic-development programs and Growers First keep Ugly Mug's coffee ethical without reading it transcripts of the long dialogues Socrates often had with his percolator.
Ugly Mug's stringent vetting and buying process results in nuanced, aromatic coffee roasted right in Memphis. Single-origin coffees from Brazil or Mexico showcase each country's character with a gentler roast, and blends include Hardy Passion, a dark, rich roast, or Saving Grace, a balanced Peruvian/Guatemalan brew with a clean finish. Flavored coffees sweeten mornings with tastes such as Cinnamon Sticky Bun or Buttermoon, a popular mix of roasted-nut and sweet-caramel flavors.
So far, Dr. Bretta King and her sister Belinda have managed to dodge all of their family's hereditary illnesses. They don't consider this luck—according to the sisters, they have a raw vegan diet to thank for their health. They pay tribute to this lifestyle at Two Vegan Sistas, where they introduce people of all dietary persuasions to the art of vegan cuisine. Eschewing soy, sugars, and genetically modified foods, they've created an 80% raw menu focused on dishes cooked at below 105 degrees. They blend walnuts and almonds with vegetables and spices to make their vegan meats, top sandwiches in vegan barbecue sauce and mayo, and craft entrees such as mediterranean couscous and stir-fried quinoa with vegetables. To further a mission of environmental preservation, they also deliver their food to Memphis-area homes.