THIS WEEK'S BIG TIP: Blockers Soul Food, 3624 Austin Peay Hwy 4 in Raleigh Oak Plaza, Memphis or 1056 E. Brooks Rd. in Whitehaven, (901) 381-2648, http://blockerssoulfood.com/default.aspx
Dad 'Pops' Blocker in Whitehaven and son Chris Blocker in Raleigh combine 30-plus years of cooking experience to whip up some of the best soul food meat-and-three's in the business.
Baked chicken - check. Catfish - check. Sweet potatoes - check. Black-eyed peas - got 'em.
But what keeps each and every customer coming back is the Blockers' Blessing Dressing.
"I can't put my finger on it," said Sandra Brown of Arlington, TN. She operates a day care near the Raleigh location. "The ingredients...something about the texture. I don't know what it is!"
I'll tell you what it is. It's a magical mix of cornbread, home-made chicken stock, onions, peppers and seasonings that will get you in big trouble with the woman of your house!
"I'm not going to say it's any better than my wife's or my mother's, but it is," said Fred Heros of Raleigh. "Every time I come, that's what I get."
Chris Blocker said the Blessing Dressing's origin goes back 40 years when Pops would cook it for holiday and family meals at home.
"We used to all have Sunday dinners with the family, and everybody would gather around and say, 'Oooh! That's just a BLESSING! And that's kind of the way we came up with the name, the Blessing Dressing," he said.
You could eat the dressing's final mix right out of a bowl, watching a ball game or something -- and that's before it's even baked. It's THAT good!
The Blockers sell their "secret" seasoning for the Blessing Dressing right in their restaurants, but they won't reveal the recipe.
I wouldn't, either. It's more of a blessing to get it straight from the Blockers.
WHAT ANDY LIKES: Blessing Dressing (more! more! more!), Catfish, Baked Chicken, Soul Food Buffet.
For all of the week's Memphis-Shelby County restaurant scores, please click here.