Apr 232014

Sorry, there wasn’t a longer post at lunchtime. I was catching up on work, and besides I wanted my alert about this coming big fun weekend to remain near the top of the blog for a while.

Yesterday evening turned out to be a very enjoyable one. I was out a few minutes early and was on my way to the Flying Saucer, when I got a text from one of my friends. “There’s a couple here who just moved to Memphis,” he told me. “They were looking out east but decided to move Downtown because of your blog.” I love hearing that, so I detoured to the Goose. They live a few blocks from me and are looking to meet Downtowners and the lady was looking to volunteer for some nonprofits. I told them to come to the party at the Warehouse Friday night, Carnaval de Panama hosted by the South Main Dirty Dozen. Great place to meet a lot of like-minded people. As for volunteer opportunities, I told them to check out Volunteer Odyssey.

After the Goose, I went over to the Flying Saucer and tried several newly-returned Dogfish Head draft beers. My favorite was the Dogfish Head 120 IPA, which checks in at a massive 21% alcohol by volume. To compare, Bud Light, the most commonly sold beer in North America, is only 4.2%. It wasn’t even possible to get above 12% until some recent advancements in brewing. Most IPAs are bitter but this one had so much alcohol that it turned the beer sweet. Delicious. The Saucer had 12 Dogfish Head beers on tap yesterday. Most of them are only here for one keg, but many will stick around in bottled form after that.

Speaking of high-alcohol beer, the Tennessee legislature passed a bill to raise the cap on what is considered beer. Previously it was 6.2% ABV; in 2017 it will go up to 10.1%. That will allow grocery stores to sell high-gravity beers, although you’d still have to go to a liquor store to get a bottle of the 120 Minute IPA I had last night.

The monthly food truck rodeo happens tomorrow in Court Square at lunchtime. Eight food trucks will be on hand to serve you.

A man broke into two rooms at the Civil Rights Museum last night. He broke windows in two rooms near the one where Dr. King stayed in 1968, and was found sleeping in one of the beds. Those sheets probably haven’t been changed since the Lorraine Motel closed in the early 1980s. Ewww.

There will be parties in the plaza outside FedExForum starting two hours prior to all Grizzlies playoff games, including the ones tomorrow night and Saturday.

That’ll do it for now. Happy hump day and I’ll be back tomorrow with more news.



Apr 222014

There is so much going on this coming weekend that I wanted to go ahead and post about it now. Except possibly for the first weekend in December, there is no other weekend on the calendar with such a huge variety of big events.

Tip for Memphians who don’t live Downtown: Why not get a hotel room for the weekend, and experience Downtown as the locals do it, walking, biking or trolleying to all these events?

All right, let’s get started. This is not a comprehensive list (go to DowntownMemphis.com and look at the event calendar for that), but these are the big ones that are on my radar.

Thursday, April 24

Grizzlies vs. Thunder, FedExForum, 7:00: It’s game 3 of the seven-game playoff series, currently tied 1-1. If the Grizzlies can defend the home court this game and next, the Thunder will be in a world of trouble when they head back to OKC. PRO TIP: If you’re going to the game, park at Double J on G.E. Patterson about 6 blocks south of the Forum. You can pre-game there with a drink or dinner, and they have a limo that will shuttle you to the game and back. Good way to avoid heavy traffic around the arena.

Peabody rooftop party: Aces Wild will be the headlining band. Come party with host CJ from The Q 107.5/96.1 and House DJ Mark Anderson spinning the tunes between the band’s sets. The Grizzlies game will be shown on the big screen in the adjacent Peabody skyway. Doors open at 6 PM. $10 admission includes a hot dog buffet with potato chips. If you’re in the VIP section you also have access to a hamburger buffet with chicken skewers and tater tots. Ladies and hotel guests free until 7.

Spring Fling at Twilight Sky Terrace: This is the inaugural Thursday rooftop party atop the Madison Hotel. This party offers live music with amazing views of Downtown Memphis as a backdrop. There will be spring cocktails and a photo booth, and you can enter a drawing to win a weekend at the Madison. 7 PM – midnight. Rain date May 1. $10 cover.

Friday, April 25

Tennessee Brewery Untapped: We’ll have one of our first looks at what can be done in this beautiful space. From the Facebook page: “Untapped will include regular and spontaneous programming, including a cafe serving locally-sourced beverages, food trucks, live music, movie screenings, workshops, and other kinds of do-it-yourself, makeshift fun.”

South Main Trolley Night: Happens the last Friday of every month, in the South Main shops, galleries, and restaurants. The name is a bit misleading because most people walk and mingle with friends and neighbors rather than ride the trolley. Live entertainment will include

Pistol and the Queen @ D’Edge
Po Boys @ Green Beetle
Mara Danielle @ Sache
Crissy Owen @ Charlotte
Melinda Milligan @ Main Law
Eric Crays/Steve Black/Danny McGregor @ Rizzo’s Patio
Steve Reid @ Memphis Thing
Chelsea Chandler @ Douglas & Associates
Tim Plunk (6-8), Nick Garrison (8-Midnight) @Double J
Delta Joe Sanders @ SMA Member Area
Live Music on the Trolley sponsored by Memphis Music Commission
More music at Earnestine & Hazel’s and Grawemeyer’s

There will also be an art opening: Adventures in Love by Sue Layman Lightman, 125 G.E. Patterson Suite 3, as well as multiple artists and vendors on the street. Although Trolley Night happens once a month, the nice-weather Trolley Nights especially tend to get huge. Temps should be in the mid 70s and rain is not expected.

South Main Dirty Dozen presents Carnaval de Panama at The Warehouse: $10 donation at the door supports two awesome charities, Hospitality Hub and Urban Bike Ministry. The Dirty Dozen decided to celebrate Memphis in May’s honored country, Panama, with an authentic Carnaval. Festive attire is encouraged. OPEN BAR (!!!!!) and music by DJ Joe Carey.

I have never been to a bad Dirty Dozen party, and this is the first one they have thrown at The Warehouse. Furthermore, I have never been to a bad party at the Warehouse. Double recommendation to go based on that. The Warehouse is a unique performance space which is part of the home of Kris Kourdouvelis at the northeast corner of G.E. Patterson at Front.

All of these events are within a 3-block walk. It goes without saying that the South Main area is the place to be Friday.

Saturday, April 26

Southern Hot Wing Festival: Hot wing cook teams compete to see who has the best wings. This event is on Riverside Drive around Jefferson at Jefferson Davis Park on the river. Open to the public 11 AM to 8 PM. Food trucks, live music on two stages, hot wing eating contest, and of course awards for the best wings. This is the festival that was located in South Main a few years ago, but it outgrew that space.

PRO TIP: If you want to see me in my native habitat, pre-game for the festival at Bardog Tavern on Monroe between Front and Main. I will get there at 11 and will stay for an hour or two.

Tennessee Brewery Untapped: Notable today is Kenn Flemmons, author of Finest Beer You Ever Tasted, the definitive book about the Tennessee Brewery and Goldcrest 51, the beer that was brewed there. He will answer your questions about the brewery at 12:30 and 3:30.

Memphis Brewfest: Beer festival at AutoZone Park from 4 to 7:30 PM. Many beers that are not normally available in Memphis will be on hand for you to sample. This is the main event of Memphis Beer Week which has been going on since Monday. Get tickets here. I’m taking the year off from this festival simply because there is so much going on, but I’ve been to it in past years and it’s worth checking out. PRO TIP: Lines get about 6 deep during peak times, so get in line for your next beer sample before you finish the one you’re drinking now.

Grizzlies vs. Thunder, FedExForum, 8:30: Game 4 of the best-of-seven. Atmosphere at the Forum should be electric, especially if the Grizzlies win Thursday’s game and come to this game with an advantage.

Sunday, April 27

Rajun Cajun Crawfish Fest: This yearly event happens on Wagner and Riverside between Union and Beale, noon to 6. Crawfish are sold by the bucket (get there early to avoid long lines, although they keep the lines moving quickly). There’s live music, including zydeco bands, as well as cornhole, a gumbo cookoff, and bobbing for live crawfish. For the kids, there are crawfish races. Not into crawfish? There will be several food trucks there as well serving festival and gourmet food. The festival benefits Porter-Leath, one of Memphis’ finest nonprofits.

PRO TIP: By mid-afternoon the lines for beer and restrooms get quite long, especially on Wagner which is the main path. Get off the beaten path and use the facilities on Riverside for less time in line.

If you can’t find something to do Downtown this weekend, you just aren’t trying! I’ll leave you with one final PRO TIP: Take a vacation day Monday.

Apr 222014

What an exciting win last night. The Grizzlies stole Game 2 on the road, tying the playoff series with the Oklahoma City Thunder at one game apiece. Now the Thunder have to come play two games in an arena where Memphis is on a 14-game winning streak.

Lots of beer events going on today as Memphis Beer Week continues. There is a Goose Island rare beer and food pairing tonight at the Peabody Corner Bar. The pairing features 312 Urban Pale Ale, 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Halia, Backyard Rye BCS, Bourbon County Stout, Brie, and Lolita. 6-8 PM. Tickets are $42. Call Lyndsey at 901-529-4183 to reserve your place.

Dogfish Head beer is back in Memphis. A number of beers will land on draft at the Flying Saucer today, including

60 Minute IPA
90 Minute IPA
120 Minute IPA
Midas Touch
61 Minute (I haven’t heard of this one but I assume it’s an IPA?)
Burton Baton
Indian Brown
Positive Contact
American Beauty

I’ve had Midas Touch and 120 Minute before, but not on draft. Really looking forward to giving those a try tonight.

If you would prefer to spend your money on local beer, Memphis Made dropped off their first 750 ml bottles of Southern Julep to the Flying Saucer. Tamp & Tap has it also. Southern Julep is a Belgian style brown ale is brewed with fresh mint and aged with American oak.

The Green Beetle is looking for a qualified line cook. Details here.

MATA is running a selfie challenge. Submit a photo of yourself on the trolley or a MATA bus and you could win a 31-day pass.

Local singer Amy LaVere is crowdsourcing funding for her upcoming tour of the UK. She is pre-selling orders of her next CD, and will provide extras and personal touches based on the amount donated. It’s a way for her fans to be part of the making of the music from now until the moment the CD is released. The Daily News has details.

Plans for tonight: I plan on trying some of those Dogfish Head beers! If cost is not a factor, I would have to say that Midas Touch is just about my favorite beer ever, and I can’t wait to give it a try on draft. Maybe I’ll have one of those Memphis Made Southern Juleps too.

Apr 212014

Memphis Beer Week has begun. You can view the full schedule of events for the week here. Today there are events Downtown at Local, Automatic Slim’s, Bardog, Aldo’s Pizza Pies, South of Beale, and Green Beetle.

Work has begun demolishing the Greyhound bus station on Union across from AutoZone Park. YAAAAAYYYYYYY!!! Wish this had happened ten years ago.

Today the St. Louis Cardinals announced the appointment of Craig Unger as general manager of the Memphis Redbirds. Unger has worked in the Cards’ front office for five years. In that time he has been field producer for the 2009 All-Star Game in St. Louis, he has negotiated the return of the Cardinals to KMOX Radio, and he coordinated the 2011 World Series victory parade. Congratulations and welcome to Memphis, Mr. Unger! Former GM Ben Weiss will stay on in a senior advisor role.

Amidst all the Beer Week festivities, don’t overlook the fact that there’s a very good wine event happening Downtown this week. That’s the Spirit!, a wine tasting to benefit Hospitality HUB, is Thursday at the Robinson Gallery from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. Buy tickets here. Great way to support a cause that helps and empowers the homeless.

As part of a cost-cutting measure, MATA is considering dropping shuttles to Grizzlies games. Shuttles to U of M football games, the Southern Heritage Classic, and the Liberty Bowl are on the chopping block too.

Today is the last day to purchase a Beale Street Music Fest pass for $85. At midnight the price goes up to $115.

Time for beer. I’ll lead off at Bardog, where perhaps I will try some of the Beer Week beers. I may have to, if they took over the PBR tap.

Apr 192014

… Here’s a recipe for Cadbury Creme Egg one-pan brownies.

Reminder of stuff going on today:

Harbortown Crawfish Festival, 5 to 8 on Mud Island. Charvey McLemore plays at 5.

Redbirds game followed by fireworks, 6:05.

Grizzlies vs. Thunder on ESPN, 8:30. Tickets go on sale for Thursday and Saturday’s home games at 10 this morning.

Fun day coming up. I’m going to lead off at Bardog and have a few beers at Panda’s bar as usual, then this afternoon I’m going to a cookout on a friend’s Downtown rooftop. There will be steaks and there will be chicken and there will be mashed potatoes and there will be grilled corn, but there won’t be a muffin. Thank God there won’t be a muffin.

Happy Saturday, and in case I don’t post tomorrow, Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it.

Apr 182014

Congratulations to Volunteer Odyssey, which is receiving a $10,000 grant from Chicken of the Sea. The check will be presented mid-field at Saturday’s Redbirds game. Volunteer Odyssey is an organization that provides customized volunteer experiences so you can do the most with your time. There are special programs for job seekers, corporate teams, and you. Awesome organization. Congratulations!

The theme for the Memphis Farmers Market tomorrow is “Eggstastic,” with a 9 AM Easter egg hunt for kids. Over 500 eggs will be up for grabs. The Easter Bunny will be there as well. The market runs from 7 AM to 1 PM at Front and GE Patterson. There will be live music by Max Pickard 7-9, Toni Norton 9-11, and Heather and Sam 11-1.

A suburbanite friend of mine was asking on Facebook where there will be an Easter Bunny. So, there you go. She’ll probably take the kids to the mall instead though. I hope she keeps in mind that there are stores in the mall that sell tube tops.

If you plan on going to the 1:35 PM Redbirds game Sunday, you don’t have to miss Easter brunch. The Redbirds are offering a package for $50 that includes a club-level ticket and all-you-can-eat brunch. Buffet items will include eggs benedict, Rendezvous BBQ, fried chicken, bloody marys, mimosas, and more. Gates open at 12:30 and the opponent will be Oklahoma City.

I’ve learned of yet another beer dinner Downtown next week. This one will be Tuesday, April 22 at Aldo’s Pizza Pies, 7 PM, with Yazoo Brewery from Nashville. The menu:

Course 1: Goat cheese stuffed peppers with marinara and garlic herb toast points
Paired with Yazoo’s spring seasonal

Course 2: Spinach salad with feta, candied walnuts, strawberries, red onions, and citrus vinaigrette
Paired with Yazoo Hefeweizen

Course 3: The Drunken Pig Pie – Vodka sauce, pulled pork, pepperoni, capicola, and bacon
Paired with Yazoo 10-year IPA

Course 4: House-made New York cheesecake with strawberry coulis and chocolate straws
Paired with Yazoo Sue

The dinner is $35 and includes tax and tip. Call 901-5-777-PIE to reserve your place. As I said yesterday, these dinners will fill up, so do not delay to call.

On Tuesday, May 7, there will be a wine dinner featuring Belle Ambiance wines at Cafe Keough. Here are the courses:

Photo Apr 17, 9 59 51 PM

There will be a “Halfway to Halloween” party on Saturday, April 26 at Kudzu’s. Live music, costume contest, drink specials. Here’s the flyer:

Photo Apr 17, 10 06 38 PM

From Grantland: If there were true seeding in the NBA playoffs, as opposed to conference seeding, the Grizzlies’ first-round opponent would be Golden State rather than OKC.

Work let us go early after a company picnic, so it’s Saucer time for me. Happy Good Friday!

Apr 172014

Breaking news: The City of Memphis is working to bring a Hard Rock Hotel to Beale Street adjacent to Hard Rock Cafe’s new 126 Beale location.

Memphis Made Brewery’s beer will be available in bottles beginning this weekend. They have bottled Reverberation, their coffee stout which is a partnership with local coffee company Reverb, in 750 ml bottles. Those bottles will be sold at the Madison Growler and Bottle Shop, located in the Cash Saver at 1620 Madison, beginning Saturday. The brewery will release a second beer, Southern Julep, in bottles next week.

If you’re coming Downtown Friday night, be aware that there will be a 5K for autism being run which will block some streets at times. Second, Beale, and Riverside will be among the streets on which the runners will run. The permit lists 6 to 9 PM as the time range in which streets could be blocked.

Huey’s has posted a blog about 2014 Beale Street Wine Race and they have video of the grape stomp and wine relay.

Remember Gilbert Arenas, who played a few games for the Grizzlies in 2012 and hasn’t played in the NBA since? That didn’t stop him from being the 30th highest-paid athlete in sports in 2013. That is because the Orlando Magic amnestied him in 2011. His salary doesn’t count toward the Magic’s cap, but they still have to pay out his six-year, $111 million contract.

If you’re a fan of singer Charvey McLemore, he’ll be making a Downtown appearance this Saturday. He’ll be performing at Harbor Town Crawfish Festival from 5 to 8.

Developer Henry Turley is backing a proposal to light South Main underpasses.

To end this post, I have information about two beer events happening Downtown next week as part of Memphis Beer Week. Bardog will host a Sierra Nevada beer dinner next Wednesday, April 23, at 7 PM. Here are the pairings:

Course 1: Shrimp & Lobster Salad, Avocado, Citrus Vinaigrette
Paired with Kellerweis, Banana and Clove

Course 2: Marinated Chicken and Pineapple Kabobs, with Red Onion, Cherry Tomato, Torpedo Mole
Paired with Summerfest, Golden & Crisp

Course 3: Chef John’s Smoked Baby Back Ribs, infused with Sierra Nevada Porter, Sierra Slaw, Roasted Red Potatoes
Paired with Porter

Course 4: Chocolate Pudding infused with Sierra Nevada Stout, Captain Crunch Crumbles, Rumchata Whipped Cream
Paired with Stout

$35 includes tax and tip. Call 901-275-8752 to get your ticket to the dinner.

These dinners are usually held in the Underdog Room, so most likely Wednesday poker is not happening at Bardog next week.

Thursday night of next week, April 24, Central BBQ Downtown will host “Brews and ‘Que Bites” from 5 to 8 PM. There you will be able to relax and enjoy beers from local and regional breweries.

Featuring beers from
Ghost River
Memphis Made

Panko Crusted Boudin
Pulled Pork and Smoked Tomato Empanada
BBQ Shrimp
BBQ Eggplant Sliders

$25 for beers and apps. For tickets call 901-672-7760 or email jc@cbqmemphis.com. Of course, you must be 21 for both events. These events will sell out, so if you are interested in either I recommend you make reservations as soon as possible.

That’ll wrap it up for this very newsy Thursday. Back tomorrow with more.

Apr 172014

The Grizzlies beat Dallas in overtime last night, earning the 7th seed in the West and a playoff series vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder. Here’s the schedule for the first four games.

Game 1 (road): 8:30 PM Saturday April 19, ESPN
Game 2 (road): 7:00 PM Monday April 21, TNT
Game 3 (home): 7:00 PM Thursday April 24, TNT
Game 3 (home): 8:30 PM Saturday April 26, ESPN

Having extended the winning streak at home to 14, the Grizzlies’ strategy is simple: Steal game 1 or 2 on the road, forcing the Thunder to win at least one at the FedExForum in order to advance.

Tonight is the first in the series of the Peabody Hotel’s spring-summer Thursday night rooftop parties. Almost Famous will headline tonight’s party, with special guest Icona Pop. Admission is $15, with ladies and hotel guests free until 7 PM. Admission includes a buffet of fried chicken fingers, tater tots, and popcorn. If you’re in VIP you get a second buffet of grilled chicken tenders, jumbo shrimp, and antipasto. Doors open at 6 PM and the party runs until 11.

If you’re going to Memphis Brewfest on April 26 at AutoZone Park, and you haven’t bought a ticket yet, you might want to get that done soon. Tickets are currently $40 but go up to $43 at 11:59 PM tomorrow night.

The Africa in April festival returns to Robert Church Park this weekend. The park is on Beale, just east of Fourth. Live entertainment, vendors, and a diversity parade will be among the festival events. PRO TIP: Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken usually has a food truck at this festival. It’s a rare opportunity for Downtowners to get some Sweet Spicy Love without driving to Whitehaven.

Update on the Carnaval de Panama party to be thrown at The Warehouse on Friday night, April 25: They will have beer. In the past, South Main Dirty Dozen party organizers were unable to provide beer for guests due to the venues in which the parties were thrown. I’m very happy with this development because I much prefer to drink beer rather than liquor. A minimum $10 donation gets you in the door, and goes to support two fine charities, Hospitality HUB and Urban Bike Ministry.

Memphis Que blogger, and my former Computer Literacy student from my University of Memphis days, Craig Meek is writing a book. He will explore the history of Memphis as told through BBQ. The book will be called Memphis Barbecue: A Succulent History of Smoke, Sauce and Soul and will be out June 24. Interestingly enough, he didn’t even intend to write a book when he started the blog. The History Press found Craig’s blog, which is excellent by the way, and contacted him and asked him if he’d be interested in being an author.

The Green Beetle will host a gourmet dinner on Sunday, April 27 benefitting Wounded Warriors. Cocktail hour and silent auction at 6 PM, dinner at 7 PM. Here’s the menu, by guest chef Stephen Hassinger:

- Tomato watermelon salad with country ham
- Seafood stuffed flounder with asparagus and carrot ginger butter
- Tri tip steak with stuffed baked potato galette and homemade worcester sauce served mid rare
- Homemade bread pudding

Email HollyeT@dishcrawl.com to purchase tickets. Tickets are $40/person or $75/couple.

Dogfish Head beers will return to Memphis next week, which happens to be Memphis Beer Week. Here’s a look at the Dogfish Head selection that the Flying Saucer will offer Tuesday, April 22:


Downtown’s second annual bocce ball smackdown happens tonight at 5:30 at Main and Talbot.

Got enough news to merit a second post today. Check back around 5:30. After that I’ll hit the Silly Goose for a PBR or two. If the weather is nice I might walk down and check out some bocce after that.

Apr 162014

If you’re Downtown at lunchtime, check out the Downtown Alive! events running through the end of this month. Most of them are in Court Square. Today there was a Grizzlies pep rally. Tomorrow Hope Clayburn will perform. There will also be a tour of the Shelby County Courthouse tomorrow. The complete event schedule is here.

The Silly Goose has been getting a lot of requests for a night dedicated to electronic dance music (house, techno, progressive, etc.) They are going to make that happen on Friday nights. DJ Cody will kick it off this week, then MLW will have it next week.

Holly has a post on the I Love Memphis Blog about the Bootstrap City Lecture Series happening three days next week at the High Point Ballroom at 330 N. Main. Talks will include changing development patterns as the economy changes, changing the culture of a city, and how we measure the city.

Speaking of changing a city’s culture, the latest High Ground News has an excellent article about our BBQ team sponsor Start Co., whose goal is to make Memphis a venture city. By the way, it was great seeing Richard from e-book publisher Screwpulp the other night. Screwpulp is one of Start Co.’s biggest success stories.

WREG has a video that will show you the proper way to eat crawfish. There are two crawfish festivals coming up Downtown, in Harbor Town this Saturday and the Rajun Cajun festival on Riverside a week from Sunday.

An MPD officer was struck by a car this morning in a garage at Fourth and Washington. The driver of the car had a medical condition and lost control. Best wishes for a speedy recovery for both.

Neely’s BBQ may be moving back into their original location at 670 Jefferson. The owners have applied for a $67,500 loan for renovation.

The big event Downtown tonight, of course, is Grizzlies vs. Dallas at the FedExForum at 7. This is effectively a playoff game, because the winner will secure the 7th seed in the West and win the prize of not having to play San Antonio in the opening playoff round. I’m not making any predictions but it must surely be tough for Dallas to come in and play a team that has won 13 in a row at home.

I’ll lead off at the Silly Goose after work and watch at least the first two quarters of the game there. It’s hard to beat $1.50 happy hour PBR.