Discoveries in Memphis: Alcenia’s


*deep sigh*

Happy New Year!

Why is it that food (which, by the way, has been the bane of my existence as of late) is what would lure me back to the old blog?  Go figure.

What’s most important here is that this blog is not simply about food.  It’s about the best food I’ve ever eaten in my life.  I mean life-changing.  Soul food makes me happy.  I do not, however, enjoy the way it smiles upon my hips.  Imagine my delight when my mother told me she’d seen an interview on the local morning news featuring a woman who owned a downtown soul food restaurant known for its salt-free, flavor-packed cuisine.

We made it a point to head on over to 317 N. Main Street before Mom’s Christmas visit was over.  It was one of the best things we’d done all week!  In true C2W (yes, my family has a cool nickname.  Now go get one for yours.) fashion we all sampled from each other’s plates. 


Me, The Mom, The Sister

I immediately fell into a deep unholy lust with the meatloaf.  The green beans and deep-fried French fries were sinfully delicious too.  I can’t forget Alcenia’s famous hot water cornbread and praise God for Alcenia’s corn!  I never knew there was such a thing as sweet potato cobbler and can only hope I’m forgiven for my ignorance.  The bread pudding…pardon me.  I had a moment.

Equally as amazing as the food was the service.  We immediately felt like we were family. Our waitress and even Alcenia’s owner B.J. Chester-Tamayo treated us so well I thought I may have found long-lost relatives.  In fact, a family came 6 came in as we were dining saying that every time they return to Memphis they stop in at Alcenia’s.  I can’t wait to make it a tradition of ours too.

Make your way down to Alcenia’s and be sure to get one of B.J.’s famous hugs!  Check them out here.



So I’m slowly but surely getting to know Memphis.   I’m so happy spring is around the corner!   Cold weather, high winds and snow are NOT my thing.

Anyway, it was suggested that I try Osaka Japanese Cuisine.  I love sushi and have been looking for a spot to try out here for a minute.

OSAKA WAS THE GREATEST! Their prices are awesome, the food was spectacular and the ambiance was peaceful.  My waitress was attentive but not annoying.   And can we talk about portion size? Food for DAYS! *sigh*   I think I’ve found sushi heaven.   If I were a fish destined to be consumed by ravenous humans, I’d wanna go out at Osaka!

S/O to Brandi for the recommendation!

ANTM Cycle 16 Promo


No one ever wants to talk about it.  And that’s amazing since you can’t watch a full hour of TV without hearing some celebrity spewing statistics at you or watching some young girl bop down the street turning down guys left and right – you know, things that are supposed to reflect you.  Me.

Despite the ads on TV, radio, magazines and billboards we still don’t want to talk about it.  How many of us sit down and discuss our feelings about this pandemic with our friends?  Our family?  How many of us discuss preventative measures?  Why?  It’s that elephant in the room that still makes everyone uncomfortable.  Maybe we need to push that discomfort a little further.

Forget statistics for a moment.  Here’s a fact: in order for there to even be statistics, there need to be reports.  And most people with HIV or AIDS don’t even know they have it.  Most of us have encountered – and not necessarily sexually –  people who have either HIV or AIDS.  Did you know?  Did they know?

Back to the stats.  According to someone in the US is infected with HIV every 9 minutes and 30 seconds.  I hope that makes more than a few people utter a cute little “WTF.” 

At this point in the fight everyone is urging us to know our status.  And what’s the harm in it?  What are you afraid of?  Being a leper?  Get over it.  Something’s already wrong with you.  You’re too black.  Too white.  Too fat.  Too skinny.  Your breath smells like hot shit on a windy day.  But HIV and AIDS can be treated too.  No money?  Get over that too.  Because they’re too many people in this fight who want you to live. 

And if the test comes back negative, why wouldn’t you want that sense of empowerment?

Trust me, I’m scared shitless EVERY time I’m tested.  Why?  Because I watch TV, listen to the radio, and read magazines that are perpetually scaring me half to death about this thing.  But I go.  And every time I call for the results or find myself in the waiting room twiddling my thumbs for the rapid test results and the nurse says, “negative,” there’s no greater sense of relief.  No greater renewal of dedication to self.  I owe it to myself to know where I stand and to continue to protect myself.

Some folks argue over whether this fight should be fought here at home or in Africa (if you live under a rock, Africa is the most AIDS-ravaged continent on the globe).  I’ve got my opinions on that too.  A tale for a different time.  But at least they’re fighting.  Why don’t you?

I’m not asking you to grab a picket sign, donate half of your paychecks to research or even volunteer your time.  I’m only asking you to get tested.  Grab a friend if you need to.  Chances are they’re just as wary pf the whole thing as you are.  Yes, it may be uncomfortable with someone there with you.  But not nearly as uncomfortable as one could be alone.  Join the fight by helping to eliminate the need to fight.  Know your status.

Here are some sites that can help you find a testing center in your area:

E. Lynn Harris (yes, I’m a fan)

E. Lynn Harris


aka: Everette Lynn Harris


Everette Lynn Harris was a bestselling author of novels about  African American men in gay and bisexual relationships. In his nine novels, which have sold more than three million copies, the gay characters are “on the down low,” or have not publicized their sexuality. Harris, a black man, endured years of abuse at the hands of his stepfather and for years denied his own homosexuality.

E. Lynn Harris was born on June 20, 1955, in Flint, Michigan, to Etta Mae Williams and James Jeter, who were unmarried. When Harris was three, he moved with his mother to Little Rock, Arkansas.

While living in Atlanta, Harris self-published his Invisible Life in 1991 and personally hand-delivered it to black-owned bookstores and beauty salons. In this coming-of-age tale, the book’s protagonist, Raymond Tyler, discovers his bisexuality and struggles to accept his true desires. Invisible Life caught the eye of a Doubleday sales representative, who bought a copy and sent it to the publishing house. Eventually, Harris made a presentation to company officials, who signed him to a three-book deal. Anchor Books, an imprint of Doubleday, published the book in trade paperback in 1994.

Among his other novels are Just As I Am (1994), And This Too Shall Pass (1996), If This World Were Mine (1997), Abide with Me (1999), Not a Day Goes By (2000), Any Way the Wind Blows (2001), A Love of My Own (2002), and I Say a Little Prayer (2006). His books tell ultimately optimistic stories that explore friendship, careers, romance, sexuality, and race. Harris wrote with an ear for black dialect, with descriptions, slang terms, and dialogue. Just As I Am, Any Way the Wind Blows, and A Love of My Own all won Novel of the Year designations by the Blackboard African American Bestsellers Inc. In 1997, If This World Were Mine won the James Baldwin Award for Literary Excellence. His memoir, What Becomes of the Brokenhearted, which he wrote over a period of seven years, was published in 2003.

A musical based on Not a Day Goes By toured nationally in 2004. As a lecturer, Harris spoke at colleges across the country. He wrote articles for Sports Illustrated, Essence, The Washington Post Sunday Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and The Advocate.

Harris’s novel I Say a Little Prayer was released in May 2006. Written during his time teaching at the Univerity of Arkansas and time spent at his Houston, Texas, home, it debuted at number three on The New York Times Book Review’s bestseller list. He subsequently published Just Too Good to Be True (2008) and Basketball Jones (2009).

Harris died on July 24, 2009, in Los Angeles while on a business trip.

Kehinde Wiley

Kehinde Wiley

Born: 1977 – Los Angeles, California – Present


A portrait painter for the new millennium, Kehinde Wiley creates works that merge the aesthetics of urban culture with the visual vocabulary of classic European portraiture. Having grown up in South Central Los Angeles and graduated with an MFA from Yale University in 2001, Wiley is uniquely adept at bridging the two worlds. Wiley’s subjects, young black men he encounters on the streets of Brooklyn and urban centers around the world, are portrayed in their own contemporary clothing, in the poses found in both European art history and in public sculpture. Heroically styled and skillfully rendered, Wiley’s paintings present a provocative visual juxtaposition and confront the hot-button issues of race, masculinity and power in contemporary culture. At only 32, Wiley has already firmly established himself in the art world. His paintings have been exhibited in a number of international group and solo exhibitions, have been featured in countless publications, and are part of the permanent collection of many leading art institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, California’s Hammer Museum, and the Miami Art Museum.

Biography courtesy of USA Network

For more information on Mr. Wiley and to view his artwork visit his site:

Out-N-About: La Baguette

I’m still getting to know my new home of Memphis, Tennessee.  One day while I was driving around I noticed this place and couldn’t wait to go visit!  I love pastries (though I call myself trying to lose weight) and French stuff has a special place in my heart.  Go figure.  lol

It took a couple a weeks but I finally made the trip.  I was pleasantly surprised to see it was an African American-run shop.  That was the extent of my pleasure.  The service was horrible!

I wasn’t greeted when I walked in – though I made it a point to speak to the chick at the register.  She acted like she was too busy to help me and like it was a chore to ring me up.

I ordered a mini lemon tart that was actually pretty good and a lemon square that left something to be desired.

I try my best to give everyone a second chance so I’ll go back for round two once I’m over being pissed off about round 1.  If any of you go or have gone, please share your experiences.

Honi Coles & Cholly Atkins

Charles “Honi” Coles – April 2, 1911 – November 12, 1992

Charles “Cholly” Atkins – September 13, 1913 – April 19, 2003


53rd Annual Grammy Awards

Despite the obvious snubs many hip hop and R&B artists received at this year’s Grammys, overall the show was great.

Let me go ahead and get my complaints out of the way:

  1. B.o.B and Drake both deserved to win!
  2. I was tired of hearing that damn Lady Antebellum song
  3. More awards should have been televised. It’s the Grammy Awards, right?

Anyway, highlights included:

Lady Gaga

I’ve never given her much thought, but ever since I heard her blow it out acapella at the VMAs I wanted to take a closer look.  Her performance was awesome.  She had a concept and rode it to the very end.  She was an egg.  So what?   I don’t have to get it or vibe with it.  But  I definitely respect it.  Plus. her vocal ability is sick.  I think she did the most singing-whilst-dancing among any of the performers.

B.o.B/Janelle Monet/Bruno Mars

I love each of these artists individually but their talents combined provided a stellar performance!  I love B.o.B’s versatility from the gutair to rapping to singing.  Janelle Monet cannot be described in words.  And every time I see Bruno Mars I learn something new about him.  I never knew he played the drums, too!  Plus, a childhood friend’s brother is in his band (go, Phred!).  Janelle Monet shocked me (and my sister) when she stage dived, but it worked out well for her.  I deem this: BEST PERFORMANCE OF THE NIGHT.

Cee-Lo Green

Cee-Lo is known for his theatrics on stage and didn’t disappoint last night.  What the hell was he, anyway?  A peacock?  Plus, he performed with Gwyneth Paltrow.  Um, is she a singer now?  Though their set had many confusing elements for me, I’ve decided to list it as a highlight because the song is the tea (if you don’t know, ask or look it up) and only Cee-Lo can have a band made up entirely of puppets.  Hot shit.

Katy Perry

I love Katy-friggin-Perry!  She’s so awesome to me!  Her performance started sweetly.  I was worried about her trying to get down like Pink did at last year’s Grammys but she stayed true to herself.  Did anyone else notice the hearts all over her skirt?  Too cute.  And the tribute to her new hubby, comedian Russell Brand, was too cute!  I must admit,  I rolled my eyes a little bit when she dedicated Teenage Dream to all the Valentine lovers.  But only a little bit.  I’m trying not to hate on love.



Detroit, WHAT!  Em put it down this year.  Ever since he dropped “Recovery” his shows seem so genuine.  They seem to come from a place of hard work and sacrifice, not drug-induced excitement.  Mind you, I had no problem with Purple Pill-poppin’ Em, but I’m always down for a man trying to make a change.  Clearly his has been positive, as reflected in his attitude, his music, this performance, and his Grammy win.  It was great to see Dre back on somebody’s stage again.  And Skylar Grey shitted on Rihanna vocally.  That’s a damn shame.





  • The Aretha Franklin tribute (mainly Jennifer Hudson and Yolanda Adams)
  • Train’s win for Hey Soul Sister – I love that song
  • Usher, Justin Bieber and Jaden Smith – did anyone catch Will yell “that’s my baby”? LOL!
  • Rafael Saadiq leading Mick Jagger’s band


  • Ricky Martin’s pants
  • Christina Aguilera trying to out-sing Jennifer Hudson and Yolanda Adams
  • Miranda Lambert’s dress (I kept saying she looked like Mud from the Swiffer commercials)
  • Bob Dylan sounding like a pack-an-hour smoker
  • Rihanna’: the single performer with the least vocal ability got two performances
  • “Diddy” being introduced as “Puff Daddy” who the hell is he these days?
  • Separate mention for the bottom grill that fool was wearing
  • Raheem DeVaughn not winning shit! *folds arms and pouts*

For a complete list of the winners go to

Deborrah Kaye “Debbie” Allen

Born January 16, 1950, in Houston, Texas, the third child of Pulitzer-winning poet Vivian Ayers, and dentist Arthur Allen. Allen was three when she began taking dancing. By the age of four she had become determined to be a professional performer, and her parents enrolled her in dance classes at the age of five.

Allen’s parents divorced in 1957, leaving mother Vivian as the main caregiver for Debbie and her siblings. Under Vivian’s watchful eye, the Allen children were expected to complete writing assignments to encourage their creativity, and each of them had to perform household chores to establish independence. Debbie’s mother also taught her children to try new things. In 1960, on a whim, Vivian took Debbie and her siblings to live with her in Mexico. “She didn’t know anybody in Mexico,” Debbie later recalled in the Washington Post. “She didn’t speak Spanish. She was looking for another level of experience…I respect that so much.”

After nearly two years in Mexico, Allen and her family returned to Texas, where the 12-year-old Debbie auditioned for the Houston Ballet School. Although her performance was good enough for admission, the school denied her entry based on the color of her skin. A year later, a Russian instructor at the school who saw Debbie perform secretly enrolled the aspiring dancer. By the time the admissions department discovered the situation, they were so impressed with her skills that they let Allen stay in the program.

But that wouldn’t be the end of Allen’s segregation struggles. At 16, during what she believed was a successful audition for the North Carolina School of the Arts, she was chosen to demonstrate technique for other prospective students. Later, however, her application was rejected because her body was “unsuited” for ballet—a criticism often used to discourage black dancers.

The rejection hit Allen hard, and for the duration of high school, she focused mainly on her studies. An honor roll student, Allen entered Howard University, and graduated cum laude from the institution in 1971, with a degree in drama. She headed straight for Broadway after college, and in 1972 she landed several chorus roles, eventually making appearances on television, in commercials and series.

In 1979, Allen had a brief moment in the spotlight when she landed a small part in Alex Haley’s epic TV mini-series, Roots: The Next Generation, which discussed race relations in America. But Allen hit it big in 1980, after she starred in a Broadway revival of West Side Story as Anita. Her performance earned her a Tony nomination, and the critical acclaim necessary to land a role as a dance instructor in the movie Fame (1980). Fame won several Academy Awards, and helped launched a dance fad across the U.S. The wild success of the film evolved into a successful television spin-off in 1982, in which Allen also co-starred. For her role as choreographer on the show, Debbie snagged three Emmy awards for choreography.

After Fame was canceled, Allen headlined Bob Fosse’s revival of the musical Sweet Charity, for which she was honored with a Tony award. Then in 1988, Allen stepped behind the camera to direct The Cosby Show spinoff, A Different World. (Her sister, Phylicia Rashad, had starred as mother Clare Huxtable in the popular The Cosby Show franchise.) Allen boosted the show to the top of the ratings, continuing to produce and direct the sitcom until its finale in 1993.

In 2001, Allen opened the Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles, California
( The nonprofit school offers a comprehensive dance curriculum for students ranging in age from four to 18, regardless of financial status.

Allen has received several honors for her work, including an honorary doctorate from the North Carolina School of the Arts— where she had originally been rejected. She also earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Women in Radio and Television.

Allen is married to former NBA star Norm Nixon. They have two children.

© 2011 A&E Television Networks. All rights reserved.

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