Well… It’s that time of the year again. The annual Unified Professional Theatre Auditions (UPTA) take place this weekend in Memphis, and I am back for my fourth (fifth, sixth?) year of playing for them. Unlike UPTA’s older sister, SETC, which "travels" from state to state, year to year, these auditions started in Memphis, and have stayed in Memphis since they began. I came on board a couple of years ago, and besides finally getting to go to Graceland, I also became acquainted with some of the fine and not-so-fine dining establishments here in Memphis. And when I say "not-so-fine", I don’t mean that as an insult. In fact, it’s really more of a compliment, even if it does sound a bit backhanded. Perhaps, "not-as-fine" is a better qualifier: no cloth tablecloths, large plastic drink tumblers, silverware wrapped in off-the-roll paper towels. Just good, old-fashioned, traditional down-home food served in down-home settings. Even though Memphis is a BBQ town, there are also a couple of other specialties to be enjoyed: fried chicken, cornbread gem muffins and even chocolate-covered grapes(!).
On the day I arrived, I had originally planned to head down to Beale Street to get some BBQ, but due to a transportation glitch, I ended up heading to a place closer to my hotel for dinner. After walking along the non-sidewalked streets, and across a "small" highway, I ended up at Catfish Cabin. This was my first time there, and were it not for the almost totally "breaded and deep-fried" menu, I probably would eat there again sometime over the next couple of days. Truly, some good eatin’!
It is a true old-style, Southern restaurant. The decor was basic: the usual faux-nautical dark wood walls, yellowed vinyl red-and-white-checked tablecloths, a roll of paper towels on each table. I had originally ordered Combo #5: catfish fillets, shrimp and oysters – all fried – which also came with hush puppies, french fries and coleslaw. Alas, a few minutes after I had ordered, the head waitress started walking from room to room announcing, "We’re out of shrimp! Out of shrimp!" After another five minutes, my waitress came back to my table to inform me that they were out of shrimp. Oh, I guess I wasn’t supposed to hear that previous announcement. Since I had had time to think about it, I decided to forego swapping out the shrimp for chicken fingers, and just decided to get a catfish fillet and oyster plate. And what a plate that turned out to be!
Is that enough "golden brown" on one plate for you? However, there were bits of green and yellow in the hush puppies (diced jalapenos and corn), and the coleslaw had carrots in addition to the cabbage and mayo-mustard dressing. It was a very good, and very filling meal. -All washed down with Sweet Tea, of course. Even though I wanted to clean my plate, to not let a bit of that crunchy goodness go to waste, alas, that was not to be due to the size of the portion. They did have some "famous" desserts listed on their menu, but there was no way I going to go there. Just no more room in the "in".