Elvis Presley may have been the King of rock ‘n’ roll, but he was also the King of comfort food. Entire cookbooks are devoted to the extravagant meals and over-the-top snacks he enjoyed after shows, during recording sessions, or while taking a break from filming one of his many flicks. The Memphis Flash loved foods that were high calorie, high fat, and high sugar, which sounds like the holy trinity to us. August 16th marks the anniversary of Presley’s passing and the last day of #ElvisWeek, so we wanted to honor his legacy and his legendary appetite. Here are seven Elvis inspired dishes and drinks fit for the King.
Arcade Restaurant, Memphis, Tennessee
The King used to be a regular at this Memphis mainstay, which is just 15 minutes away from Graceland. In honor of their multi-platinum patron, the Fifties-style diner serves his favorite sandwich: fried peanut butter and banana on Texas toast. Bacon is optional, but why wouldn’t you get it?
Restaurant Eve, Alexandria, Virginia
It’s a little-known fact that Elvis loved pound cake, but we’re guessing he never had one quite like this. Chef-owner Cathal Armstrong –whose birthday falls on the anniversary of Elvis’s passing – and his team put out a benne seed pound cake complemented with raspberry jam and a tangy, herbaceous lemon verbena ice cream. You can’t help falling in love with it after just one bite.
Sweet Chick, New York, New York
Inspired by the King’s special sando, the bar team created the Black Velvet Elvis cocktail. Made with banana liqueur, dark rum, a couple of dashes of black walnut bitters and some caramel-y demerara sugar, it’s garnished with a lemon twist and a rasher of candied bacon. We’re certain Presley would approve heartily.
Delicatessen, New York, New York
Only in New York. Executive chef-partner Michael Ferraro makes a creamy peanut butter cheesecake with a crust of crushed candied bacon and Wonder Bread, which he coronates with caramelized bananas and even more candied bacon. Wearing blue suede shoes while you eat it is entirely optional.
Ted’s Bulletin-Merrifield, Fairfax, Virginia
Another riff on Elvis’s favorite sandwich, this time in the form of a heart-stoppingly awesome burger. The plump patty is slathered with peanut butter and topped with bacon, as well as a sweet and spicy tomato jam. You could call it a hunk, a hunk of burger love.
Lavo, Las Vegas, Nevada
In 1976, Elvis wrapped up an epic string of 837 shows over seven years in Sin City, which shattered attendance records. To honor his role in making the desert oasis an entertainment capital, beverage director Tim Keller came up with the Viva Las Vegas cocktail. Crafted out of Grey Goose Le Citron, white cranberry juice, and a touch of blue curacao, it’s easy to imagine Presley knocking a few back after a performance.
City Tap House, Washington, D.C.
Fried pickles were a staple in Elvis’s doctors-orders-be-damned snacking routine. These frizzled kosher dill rounds battered with garlic, cayenne, and oregano come with a side of piquant Cajun remoulade for dipping. Well, lawdy, lawdy, lawdy, Miss Clawdy, they sure look good to me.
Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell.