A Taste of Memphis - MilkyWay Wine - Life's Kitchen Wine Dinner 

Memphis Brings Soul to Downtown Restaurant Scene

Downtown Boise gets an infusion of soul this week with the opening of A Taste of Memphis in the former Villano's Deli location. Owner McNesheye Reed, who says she officially moved to Boise in August, began sojourning to Boise when her daughter moved here more than a year ago, and found herself visiting the City of Trees so often, it made sense for her to quit her job in auto insurance and move to Boise permanently.

"The first thing I loved about Boise was the downtown area," says Reed. "It reminds me of Memphis when I was a kid, and people loved it so much. I knew I wanted to start my first business in Boise."

This summer, Reed says, she began discussing plans to move into the space with Lisa Villano, who was planning to relocate her eponymous deli prior to her death in June. Reed, who is originally from Memphis, Tenn., will now be the sole purveyor of soul food in the valley, which means for those like myself, who need a regular fix of catfish and collard greens, the year-long wait between Soul Food festivals will be much less painful.

The menu includes lunch and dinner portions of pork ribs, a pulled-pork sandwich, fried or grilled chicken, fried catfish, red smoked sausage from Memphis and black-eyed pea casserole. Daily specials keep things fresh, with a list of dishes that change with the day of the week, but it's the little things on the desserts, sides and drinks menus that get my mouth watering: sweet tea, fried peach pie and candied yams take me back to the Southern days of my youth.

As of press time, a yet-to-arrive occupancy permit was the only hold-up for Reed. It's a possibility that doors will open for business Thursday, but the big to-do is on Friday. The ribbon-cutting ceremony culminates at 1:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon with the official chop by Mayor Dave Bieter. The public is invited, and I'll be there with my appetite and an extra stack of napkins.

A Taste of Memphis, 712 W. Idaho St., 208-331-5699. Mon.-Thu.: 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat.: 11 a.m.-midnight, Sun.: 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

Hey, Winos!

The MilkyWay held its inaugural wine club meeting in September, and if you missed out, now is the time to start plotting your infiltration of next month's meeting. Assemblage Milky happens one night a month, during which wine drinkers sample top-notch wine with pairing food and an expert to help you understand it all. Annual Assemblage Milky memberships are $50, a fee that entitles the member to 50 percent discounts for monthly meetings ($25 members, $50 nonmembers), a 10 percent discount on wine from The MilkyWay's wine list, and a 10 percent discount on featured retail wines and 5 percent off any regular retail wines at 8th Street Wine Company.

For more information, call The MilkyWay at 208-343-4334.

Up and Coming

Mark your calendars for Life's Kitchen upcoming wine dinner hosted by Chef Richard Mount on Thursday, October 25. The former executive chef of Life's Kitchen and Ten-O-Two, Mount has yet to announce the evening's menu, but will hand select pairing wines for five courses.

Tickets are $75 per person; appetizers and aperitifs start at 6:30 p.m. dinner is served at 7 p.m. For more information, call 208-331-019 or visit LifesKitchen.org, where a menu will soon be posted.

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