Apr 182015

Mexican food is about to return to the Downtown core. The MBJ has a sneak peek of Agave Maria, set to open soon in the former Pa Pa Pia’s/Cafe Samovar location on Union across from Mesquite Chop House and Scratchy’s Alley.

The Majestic Grille is having the next in its “10 til 10″ series on May 5 leading up to its 10th birthday. Deni emailed me the menu for the next in this special sinner series (not a typo – it was in the email. Freudian slip?) Here’s the menu:

Empanada de Chorizo & Queso de Oaxaca
Enchilada Mole Coloradito de Pollo
Tamal de Puerco
Lisa’s Margarita or Luis’s Michelada

Primer Plato
Cerviche de Pescado
(white wine tbd)

Plato Principales
‘Borrego Adobado’ Braised Lamb Shank Adobado with Ancho Chili Sauce
(red wine tbd)

Flan Mexicana with Orange and Vanilla
Chocolate Mexicano Cordial

The dinner starts at 6 PM and is $65 plus tax and gratuity. Call 901-289-3870 for reservations.

The MBJ reports that Grizzlies home game playoff tickets are still among the cheapest in the NBA. We have the league’s 3rd cheapest, with the average playoff ticket cost at “only” $172.04. What a bargain, and you get a free growl towel!

Last night I hit Max’s, the brewery, and the Saucer. Tried Goldcrest 51 and can say if you’re a PBR fan like I am, I think you will like it. While at the Saucer, Panda checked in at Bardog on Facebook and said that night bartender Melissa “has a TUBE TOP on!” Needless to say, I was sitting at Melissa’s bar about 10 minutes later. Early night for me because there is a lot to do today. I am charging the camera batteries for Downtown Olympics and will be down there in a bit. Due to weather I am going to have to cross Harbortown Crawfish Fest off the agenda. Sorry Charvey but I only get rained on at BBQ Fest and Sunset Symphony. DTO opening ceremonies begin at 10 and I am heading that way.

Friday update

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Apr 172015

Last night at the Silly Goose there was a BBQ menu discussion among head cook Frank, assistant cook/team VP Clay, and team workhorse “Mr. Load-in.” Now, of course as “Mr. Load-in” I am more interested in planning how we’re going to get all the hard work done to construct our booth, but I do realize that a lot of the team reads my blog and might be interested in what we are going to have to eat.

We will have pork shoulder, of course, since that is our competition entry. I believe the plan is to have it for one of our three meals every day, so the cooks can practice. Brisket sliders were discussed for one of the other meals, and of course ribs will be on the menu too. A fish dish is a possibility as well. Our head cook happens to be the Memphis Farmers Market board president, and he said he is going to use his influence to make sure we have plenty of vegetable sides so there will be healthy choices in the Moody Ques booth. Fried okra (not sure how healthy that is), kale in various forms, and mashed potatoes were mentioned, along with some other veggies. And yes, before Squeal Street members ask, our award-winning Moody Ques microwave popcorn will be back.

Moving on to the news, I love it when someone else does my job for me (I know a lot of you are surprised to hear “Mr. Load-in” say that). Four of Holly’s five things to do this weekend are Downtown: Brewery Revival, Africa in April, Downtown crawfish festivals, and Memphis Brewfest. Click through to her blog to read about them.

A long list of celebrities including sports, outdoors, and racing celebrities will attend the Bass Pro Pyramid grand opening on the 29th.

There’s a guy who solved the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle in 5 minutes, 38 seconds. My friends John D and Otto have a new hero.

Follow @tennbrewery on Twitter to keep up with which food trucks will be at the brewery on days Revival is happening.

There will be a “Show Your Ride” event on and around Beale tomorrow with about 500 Corvettes and 40 Camaros.

I always take a vacation/recovery day the day after Rajun Cajun, so a few hours from now I will begin a three-day weekend. I’m thinking Max’s Sports Bar and then the Brewery will be the running order tonight, weather permitting. Going to be a wet weekend but I intend to make the best of it anyway.

Apr 172015

nuhuh-closeupSome news went up on Facebook yesterday afternoon that is going to dramatically increase food costs for the local teams competing in BBQ Fest this year. The Nuh-Uh Girl has booked a plane ticket to Memphis for that week. For those not familiar with her, she is a tiny little girl who used to live in my building before moving to California to attend sommelier school. There was nothing tiny, however, about the portions she ate, as documented in photos on this blog from 2006-2014. Her favorite things to eat include other people’s food, free food, and samples of food at supermarkets. It’s funny, every time I go to any of the local BBQ teams’ Facebook groups and go through their photos, without fail I will find at least one photo of the Nuh-Uh Girl in their tent.

By the way, BBQ teams that are not local and who are reading this from out of state are not safe either… she’s really good about making new friends at BBQ Fest and then helping herself to whatever food is laid out. I think her goal may be to have something to eat in all ~270 team booths.

The Nuh-Uh Girl had some good news to share as well. She has found a job that will let her put her wine training to good use, and she starts tomorrow. Congratulations to her.

Grizzlies fans instantly recognize the voice of Rick Trotter, the arena’s announcer during games. Want to have Rick say whatever you want? Call into Cerrito Live Saturday between 11 AM and 1 PM, and he will say whatever you like on the air at Sports56/FM 87.7. Call 901-360-8255 or tweet @cerrito with requests.

The Memphis Flyer has news about The 5 Spot’s new food menu. Chef Kelly English describes it as “fancy shitty bar food,” the kind of food you wanted when you were a drunk college student. That description alone makes me want to go there.

Here’s an article about the new Gus’s location to open in Chicago’s West Loop.

Former Tiger Joe Jackson has won the award for the NBA D-League’s most improved player. It’s voted on by the league’s 18 coaches.

Time for work. Possibly back with one more post today.

Apr 162015

I got a good Aldo’s Pizza Pies tip last night: You know the vodka cream sauce that is one of the sauce options for their pizza? You can get a cup of that on the side. “Get some garlic knots and a side of the vodka cream sauce for dipping,” I was told. Yum! Then I got a second tip from the same person: You can get a cup of the poblano cream sauce on the side too.

The Grizzlies now know their playoff destiny. #4 seed Portland plays #5 seed Memphis in the opening round. However, in a strange twist, Memphis has home court advantage in the best-of-seven series despite being the lower seed. Portland won its division and therefore can be seeded no lower than fourth. However, Memphis has a better record than Portland and therefore gets home court. First game is at FedExForum, Sunday at 7 on TNT.

That’s the Spirit, a wine tasting benefiting the Hospitality HUB, is today at 5:30 at Jack Robinson Gallery.

Cultural awareness festival Africa in April kicks off today at the park on Beale just east of Fourth. Honored country this year is Gabon. The festival runs through Sunday.

Fashion news from LOOK magazine: Shop Kylie Jenner’s Stripy Tube Top and Skirt

Grace Askew plays the Blind Bear tonight at 9.

The Downtown Neighborhood Association is having its monthly happy hour tonight at 6 at The Arcade. Casual, no agenda, just friendly conversation.

Gotta get back to work. Doing a fair amount of bar-hopping tonight, so you might see me out.

Apr 152015

Tomorrow is the season premiere of the Peabody Thursday night rooftop parties. There will be entertainment by Hollywood with special guest Shaggy along with DJ Mark Anderson. The doors open at 6, and the cover is normally $10 but for this special event the cover is $15 this week. Ladies get in free until 7, and the party lasts until 11. Admission price includes a buffet of jerk wings, sweet potato fritters with jerk dip, and pineapple with spiced rum dip. Drink specials for this week include a guava margarita, a Malibu peach sparkler, and Jamaican breeze.

You have the option of buying a season-long pass to the rooftop parties for $150. This gets you into all 18 parties and you get a private area on the rooftop with chef tastings and beer tastings. VIP chef tasting this week includes jerk chicken, pork tostones, Caribbean coconut shrimp, spicy crab balls, pineapple with spiced rum dip, and crudite with jerk dip. The beer tasting this week in VIP is Goose Island IPA.

VIP card holders get other benefits too, including a rooftop party T-shirt, 20% off in several of the Peabody’s restaurants, and 10% off at Sammy Hagar’s bar across the bridge at Southland.

When I listed this weekend’s upcoming Downtown festivals, I totally forgot one: The Harbortown Crawfish Festival happening on Mud Island Saturday afternoon. It’s a fundraiser to benefit the Memphis Food Bank and admission is $5 or two canned goods. One of the most talented musicians I have ever heard, Charvey McLemore, will be performing. Holly has more info about the festival (and Sunday’s Rajun Cajun) here.

Damn. DTO, Harbortown Crawfish, and Memphis Brewfest. That is a STACKED festival day. Not going to Brewfest this year but am going to have to figure out what to do about the other two. Charvey will likely be playing on the Island right when synchronized drinking, the best of the five DTO events in my opinion, is happening on South Main, three miles apart. Going to have to figure that one out. I hope the green buses running the trolley line are efficient. May need them.

Argh… and it’s Goldcrest 51 revival week at the brewery too. There is no way I will be able to do all the things I want Saturday.

And to top it all off, there’s yet another festival happening over in Midtown Saturday: Food Truck Fest. Not gonna make it to that one. Too much to do, not enough time.

AutoZone Park is making national news and unfortunately it’s not good: The park changed its BBQ nachos, going with an in-house vendor rather than The Rendezvous which has done the nachos in years past, and baseball fans are protesting.

Last Saturday night I was at South of Beale for a birthday party. I didn’t eat but people who were at the party had the duck patty melt and had high praise for it, so I wanted to pass that tip on.

Arkansas’ Bobby Portis has declared for the NBA draft, giving up his remaining two years of college eligibility. Not surprised, but the Hogs will certainly miss his contributions next season.

And now it’s being announced that Michael Qualls is turning pro too.

Beer recommendation: Blue Pants Peanut Butter Pinstripe Stout. I had this beer last night at the Saucer after seeing it on the “Just Landed” board. 8%, 15 ounce glass, $6. I did the math and realized this beer had a Value Drinking Index (percent * ounces / price) of 20, an excellent score. I went to the UFO computer (remember when they called it the Beer-Tron-a-Ton? Glad they gave up on that), printed a ticket, and ordered it. It was delicious! Tasted just like peanut butter. I’m not normally a fan of stouts but this one was really, really good.

Speaking of the Saucer, here’s a pic of the 420 glass that will go on sale in less than two hours.

That’s the news. Hope you enjoyed Nikki’s guest post at lunchtime. Outta here for now, time to grab a PBR.

Apr 152015

Quick note from Paul: I’ll be back at 5:30 with a Wednesday news post. Peabody rooftop, a festival I missed in the last post, burger and beer recommendations and more. And now, here’s Nikki with information about Downtown Olympics.

It turns out the Tennessee Brewery is not the only revival going on in Downtown Memphis this year.  If you like an excuse to get together, enjoy cold beverages,  and watch a group of adults act like fools, all while helping out a great cause, I have the event for you. The Downtown Olympics (DTO) are finally back this Saturday, April 18, and things are shaping up to be better than ever.

One night many years ago, some friends were having some PBRs while watching The Olympics (the ones with trained athletes, who have to do their events sober). Somewhere in the midst of idle bar conversation, inspiration struck, and a brainchild was born. Although The Downtown Olympics was a must-see for many downtowners for a few years, somehow the proverbial ball was dropped, and the event fell to the wayside. This year, fueled by some fresh, young faces, and a few guys from the old crew, we are dusting off the tricycles, warming up our livers, and making a comeback! Cue the Rocky theme music.

The opening ceremony will begin at 10:00 AM Saturday, with Double J Smokehouse as home base. Events are as follows:

Bar Relay Race - Café Pontotoc ->SOB->Rizzo’s->Max’s Sports Bar-> Double J Smokehouse

Beer Pong Tournament/Corn Hole Tournament – Occurring simultaneously to conserve time.

Tricycle Race – My personal favorite. Watching semi-intoxicated, grown people maneuver something built for a toddler is a win for everyone, in my opinion.

Synchronized Drinking – Because there is nothing illegal about drinking and dancing.

Teams consist of 4 people total; At least one team member must be a resident of downtown Memphis.

For a detailed list of events, or if you would like to participate, please visit the event Facebook page. Our only rules for spectators are that you have fun, and drink beer! I recommend leaving anyone with sensitive ears or impressionable minds at home. There will be much alcohol consumed by all, making the use of profane language, and random outbursts of hilarity that some might find offensive, inevitable. All proceeds from DTO will go toward the Urban Bicycle Food Ministry, who help provide food and other essentials to the homeless right here in Memphis. So if you start to feel guilty after a few beers, remember it is for charity, and have another.

I can’t wait to see you all there. Cheers! –Nikki Lassiter @NikkiThump1


Apr 142015

I’ve blogged several times that the Memphis Farmers Market is more than just produce, and Saturday I tried one of the market’s hidden secrets, tucked away in the back. There’s a tandoori cuisine food truck. I love Indian food and gave it a try.

Photo Apr 11, 10 02 21 AM

I wasn’t hungry enough for a full entree, so I got the curried chickpeas with veggies and yogurt sauce. Really good, although next time I will probably add a little hot sauce to make it even spicier. The truck has an entire menu of Indian dishes, so I will be back. This is one of the few places serving Indian food that has a beef curry on the menu.

You know, I don’t buy a lot from the vendors, but I really like hanging out at MFM. There are a lot of Downtowners I really enjoy talking to who aren’t bar people like I am, but who go to the market.

I finally made it to Brewery Revival on Sunday. They do indeed have PBR, although it costs $5 just like all the other beers. I didn’t care; I happily paid it. They have the Memphis sign where you can get a crayon and write what you love about Memphis. I wrote “TUBE TOPS.” They had crawfish for sale and I was told that is going to be a regular Sunday thing.

Grizzlies flip-flop voucher redemption starts today. Details here.

There are three big Downtown festivals coming up this weekend:

Downtown Olympics – 10 AM to 5 PM Saturday in the area around Max’s Sports Bar and Double J. 16 teams will compete in a bar relay race, beer pong, cornhole, tricycle races, and synchronized drinking. Teams will be dressed up in homemade uniforms. If you want to see Downtowners at their silliest finest, there is no better day to do it. There will be a guest post about DTO on my blog tomorrow. I plan to be there for the entire thing and I guess bringing the camera wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Memphis Brewfest – 4 to 7:30 PM Saturday in AutoZone Park. I’m not going this year due to the conflict with DTO, but I consider it one of the best beer festivals in Memphis. Walk around the ballpark’s concourse and sample many different beers, including some that are not generally available in the Memphis area.

Rajun Cajun Crawfish Fest – 11:30 AM to 6 PM Sunday on the river, on Wagner and Riverside between Union and Beale. Buckets of crawfish will be for sale, but there is a lot more to do than just eat crawfish. Live zydeco music, food trucks, gumbo contest, crawfish races for kids, bobbing for crawfish contest, and of course beer. This is one of my very favorite festivals of the year. The lines for crawfish, beer, and bathrooms get super long mid-afternoon, so best advice is to go early. I will do a very shortened edition of D-RANKS with B-RAD at the Bear on Sunday at 11 then hit the festival about 12:30.

Speaking of the Bear, they’ve scheduled their 16-week poker final table the night of Rajun Cajun. Oh my. I didn’t make the final table this time so it doesn’t affect me, but those who go to Rajun Cajun and party and get wild during the day are going to be at a definite disadvantage at poker.

A note from my friends Dennis and Mary Pat who live in Huntsville, Alabama: Last night they saw a band called The Boxmasters, with Billy Bob Thornton on vocals, They said he was very personable and stayed after the show and did autographs and photos. They noticed that the band will be at Lafayette’s Music Room in Midtown tonight and wanted to recommend them.

Congratulations to Peabody groundskeeper Willie Parker, who won the AHLA Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year award.

Late getting out tonight because I have a date with TurboTax, but I will be out eventually at the usual spots.

Apr 122015

There are about 250 BBQ Fest teams, but only one has their own theme song for load-in, which is only three weeks and six days away.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Equipment’s unloading
And the scaffolding
And Natty Light beer
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

The carpet we’re laying
For ice we are paying
For warm kegs we fear
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Porta-potties are green
Staple guns and Visqueen
Put the fridge in the rear
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

There are forklifts and trucks
It may rain, and that sucks
But we have to be here…
It’s the most wonderful time…
It’s the most wonderful time…
It’s the most wonderful time….

Apr 122015

So I didn’t make it to Brewery Revival yesterday, and judging from my news feed on Facebook I am the only one in town who didn’t. So I guess this really isn’t news to anyone, but I will report it anyway.

THERE’S PBR AT BREWERY REVIVAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :mrgreen:

A source confirmed it yesterday morning while I was at Bardog. I did such a happy dance in my chair that Panda thought I was having a seizure.

For those who just found this blog and don’t know what I am talking about, Brewery Revival is an open-air revival of an 1890s brewery with live music, great beer, and food trucks Thursday-Sunday through the end of May. It’s at the Tennessee Brewery on Tennessee Street a half block north of G.E. Patterson Avenue.

Apr 112015

Usually I end posts with my plans for the day, but today’s plans are so awesome that I will go ahead and lead off with them.

Memphis Farmers Market
Panda Time at Bardog
MEMFix Pinch
Tennessee Brewery Revival
D-RANKS with B-RAD, special birthday edition, South of Beale/Blind Bear

This is the tentative, minimally possible awesome schedule. Stuff could get added to make it even more awesome. I love Saturdays in April.

Next Saturday is the rebirth of Downtown Olympics. I have never participated in the event or seen it all the way through, but it’s an interesting concept and they’ve gotten rid of the parts of it that I considered liability issues. Last night I was at Max’s and lined up a local writer to do a guest post about DTO. Look for that soon.

It’s opening day for Mud Island River Park and there’s a Rock ‘n’ Romp going on over there today.

Rain, a tribute to the Beatles, happens tonight at the Orpheum at 8:00.

A new gallery called Nappi Head Art has its grand opening in The Edge today. Address is 664 Marshall.

There will be fireworks after the Redbirds game tonight. First pitch is at 6:05. Iowa Cubs are the opponent.

Sing for your supper: On Tax Day, if you get up on stage and sing a song at Hard Rock Cafe, you’ll get a free Local Legendary Burger. All ages are welcome.

I found a good resource for anyone looking for a green career, one that benefits the environment.

Four weeks until the big day: Load-in Saturday for BBQ Fest! Moody Ques workhorse “Mr. Load-in” is ready. I’m working on a slightly updated version of the BBQ Fest Load-in Theme Song that I hope to post later this weekend.  Right now, I’m going to slam a Mountain Dew Kickstart and see if I can get the f***ing dryer to stop squeaking. Today is going to be a looooonnnnnggggg day but I am ready.