Sunday, November 30, 2008

The End or ?

One of the most inspirational people in the culinary Illuminati of Memphis is closing up shop. My friend Alyce Mantia is shuttering her eponymous gourmet deli & restaurant, Mantia's. Its almost TOO sad to report. Over the 8 years I've been in Memphis, Mantia's was the place that would inspire me to prepare some of the finest meals I've ever experienced. She became my friend, sometime employer, & over all culinary guru. Every time I would even think about heading over to Mantia's I would become giddy with excitement. What better way to pass the time than to purchase exotic cheeses, oils & spice blends? This shop wasn't just a retail store it was a destination. I could always count on Alyce & Joanna to be there with smiling faces & a recipe idea or story. There is nowhere in town to buy Jamon Serrano, which I think is VASTLY superior to Prosciutto di Parma. Nowhere. She kept a leg of this jamon to slice just like it should be done in Spain. I'm going to miss this place. I'm going to miss seeing the duck fat in the freezer next to the Buerre d'Isigny. I'm going to miss my favorite tuna salad in town. I'm going to miss the giant wheels of Humboldt Fog. I'm going to miss the way Alyce would pronounce French perfectly. Her Cassoulet was the most amazing dish I have ever tasted. Whatever Alyce does next I'm sure will be excellent. I love you Alyce!!

5 comments:

Benito said...

I've got some great memories of the place--I went to my first wine tasting there back in 1997, and over the years I learned what *real* cheese is supposed to taste like.

Memphis is now a lesser city for its loss.

P.S. Everyone always makes fun of the public radio pledge drives and changes the station, but whenever Alyce was on WKNO offering "cheese of the month" prizes for donors or talking about good food, I'd take the long way home so I could listen to all of it.

Michael Hughes said...

"Real" cheese, I like that. I agree, Memphis is a lesser city for losing that shop. At least Alyce is still here, I'm curious to see whats in store for her! She is extremely talented & so full of life & passion.

Becca said...

Where are we going to get cheese now?

Michael Hughes said...

I guess we'll have to rely on Whole Foods & Fresh Market now. Although I was pleasantly surprised by the selection at Schnuck's. Although, none of these places can compete with what Alyce had.

Becca said...

Yeah. That Garrotxa (sp?)...I am not sure I can live without that.