Friday update

Yesterday, for the first time in 8 years, I was able to get Indian food on a work lunch hour. Horn Lake did not have any Indian restaurants (although it does have a Golden Corral) and there are none Downtown, so I have rarely been able to satisfy my hunger for one of my favorite types of ethnic food. Yesterday, though, I had an easy 2 mile drive from my office at Poplar and Kirby Parkway to the buffet at Mayuri Indian Cuisine on Quince. Look at this gorgeous plate of food!

The only downside is that after adding a Coke, tax and tip, I was out $17.09. I love exploring my new lunch spots but I don’t want to be spending that much every day!

Retailers: Open on Main returns May through October of this year. This is your opportunity to have a pop-up retail shop at a highly visible location in the Downtown core. The locations are 100 Peabody Place Suite 175 (I believe that would be the old Life Is Good location) and 147 S. Main (which I believe is the former Shelton Clothiers). If selected, you get a rent-free lease on one of the locations, large storefront windows, a location near a trolley stop, and access to employee bathrooms.

The speaker lineup has been announced for Ignite Memphis Food at Playhouse on the Square on April 12. Speakers will have 5 minutes each to speak on topics they are passionate about, with slides auto-advancing every 15 seconds. Tickets include beer and lots of food samples.

Felicia Suzanne Restaurant is celebrating its 16th anniversary with complimentary dessert bites for all guests who dine there this weekend.

Major, major respect to Shelby County Schools superintendent Dorsey Hopson. This week he announced a minimum $15/hour salary for all SCS employees. Then he announced that no SCS student or employee will be punished for a planned April 20 orderly walkout to protest gun violence.

Loflin Yard will host Easter Hoppy Hours on Saturday, March 31, the day before Easter. From 11:30 to 8 there will be an Adult Easter Egg Hunt. The eggs will be filled with candy and some will have drink cards. From 3 to 6 there will be an Easter Bunny dog costume contest.

Max’s Sports Bar will have another crawfish cook by Glaze tomorrow with the first batch coming out about noon or 12:30. Crawfish are sold by the pound and come with sides of corn, taters, sausage and mushrooms.

The river has receded enough that the Arkansas side of Big River Crossing is being re-opened today. Watch out for damage to trails across the bridge, though.

A third Maciel’s is coming to the Broad Avenue district but this one won’t be exactly like the other two. It will be a coffee shop/bodega kind of place with Wi-Fi and items like breakfast burritos.

Big weekend coming up for the BBQ team! We have our team Meat & Greet tomorrow, a chance for teammates to get to know one another, sample a competition shoulder, drink some Ghost River beer, and get their questions answered prior to BBQ Fest. We will also have news about a new sponsor, news I will be posting in several locations next week.

You know, it’s interesting talking to other BBQ teams about how they run various aspects of the team. I recently talked to members of two teams who hire professional bartenders to work the busy nights, Thursday and Friday of BBQ Fest.

Team A: “We don’t pay our bartenders anything. They’re there because they want to party with us. They get to eat and drink for free. If we have a really good night we might give ’em 100 out of the tip jar at the end of the night.”

Team B: “We pay our bartender 600 a night.”

Wow. That’s a wide range. However, both of the people I spoke to agree (and I do too) about the concept of the “courtesy 20.” If you’re on a team, and you go and visit another team, even if you only stay long enough to have a plate of food and one beer, you drop a 20 in their tip jar.

Apologies if I am slow to answer emails and texts this weekend from non-BBQ team members.

We have breakfast in the office on Friday mornings, so I’m not hungry enough for a big lunch today. Going to go get a few of those stuffed peppers from the olive bar at Bougie Kroger and that should be enough. Back tomorrow with more news.

Olive Bar @ Bougie Kroger + Thursday news

I visited the olive bar at Bougie Kroger across the street from where I work (Poplar/Kirby Pkwy) yesterday. One of my readers informed me that it was more than just olives – there are cheeses, items associated with antipasti, etc. as well. So I went over and took a look. Put it this way – if you like the salad bar at Texas de Brazil, you’ll probably like the olive bar at Bougie Kroger.

Dolmas, stuffed grape leaves (couldn’t figure out what the stuffing was); and a cherry pepper stuffed with salami (or some kind of Italian meat) and cheese. The stuffed cherry pepper was the best thing on the bar and I wished I’d got more than one.

Mozzarella, tomatoes, and mini olives and cheese cubes

The olive bar was $8.99 a pound. The food shown here cost $6.59. I’m liking Germantown better than I thought I would. I wouldn’t live there because of the dependency on cars to get everywhere, but it’s a nice place to visit.

On to the news… I don’t know if I have any vegetarians who have been reading this blog regularly for years, but in case I do, I have good news for you. The New Wing Order food truck launching in September will have something you can eat. They’ll have vegan-friendly avocado tacos on a flour tortilla with shaved red cabbage, pico de gallo, fresh pineapple, cilantro, and spicy bang bang sauce.

Tickets are now on sale at Jerry Lawler’s Bar and Grill for an April 16 Meet & Greet with WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley. It starts at 6 PM and your $20 ticket includes an 8×10 autographed by Foley and a Monday Night Raw watch party. Foley will be inducted into the Memphis Wrestling Hall of Fame by Lawler. Foley played the characters Mankind, Cactus Jack, and Dude Love. He is a best-selling author. He is also the creator of Mr. Socko

The Memphis Hustle have their final home game of the season Friday night at the Landers Center. Rumor has it that some of the L.A. Lakers will be in attendance. They are in town to play the Grizzlies on Saturday.

Here’s what you missed if you didn’t go to St. Pat’s at the Brass Door:

There will be a Yappy Hour, the off-leash dog park in The Edge at Madison and N. Orleans, tonight from 6 to 7:30. Bring your dog, or if you don’t have a dog, bring yourself and meet your neighbors.

Did you know there’s a compliance test that NCAA men’s basketball head coaches must pass? Penny Hardaway passed it. Take a practice test.

I played Diamond Dave’s British Bingo at Belle Tavern last night.

Each colored box is a separate game. There are 90 numbers total on the card, and 15 of them appear on each game. Diamond Dave calls a number every 7 seconds, and the first person to get a “full house,” meaning you get all 15 of your numbers for that game, gets a bingo. Dave uses British rhyming slang as he calls the numbers. “23, Thee and Me,” “62, Tickety Boo.” Fun way to spend a Wednesday evening, and they had cans of PBR. This was my card at the end:

As you can see, I didn’t win, although I came very close in the second game.

Two months after giving up Fireball for good, I’m discovering another benefit this week… I don’t hate driving anymore! In fact, I actually kind of enjoy the drive to and from work. That nasty rotgut candy-flavored liquor made me so nervous and jittery that every tailgater, every person who cut me off, every traffic jam, every person going 45 in a 55 freaked me out and ticked me off. Now I’m like, yeah those things are just part of being on the road.

Twitter has been abuzz with conversation about whether Stormy Daniels can get out of the non-disclosure agreement Donald Trump made her sign. @TeaPainUSA wins Twitter with this comment: “What we really need to see is the non-disclosure agreement Putin made Trump sign.”

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow with more news.

Wednesday update

99 Cent Soul Food near Main and Huling will host Soulful Music Soul Food Sunday this Sunday, March 25 from 3 to 6 PM. Their full menu will be available, and there will be performances by Wyndie Oh!, and Nicky Parrish and The Underground.

Elmwood Cemetery is bringing back its Scandals & Scoundrels public tour on Saturday, April 28. The 75,000 buried at Elmwood include mayors and madams, sinners and saints, the famous and the infamous. Come learn about the notorious side of Memphis history.

From Lifehacker: How to make the most of airport bars. Several good pieces of advice, but most importantly: Order a double.

The Redbirds will become the Memphis Musica for a season-long series by Minor League Baseball called “Copa de la Diversion” (Fun Cup) embracing the culture and values most important to Hispanic and Latino communities. They will play as the Musica June 6 and August 3 and 26, and will have new jerseys and hats as well as culturally-relevant promotions.

Too bad I didn’t stay unemployed a couple more days… Bardog had 1 cent PBRs yesterday from 4 to 5 PM to celebrate Penny Hardaway’s return to Memphis as men’s basketball head coach.

We got the beat… we got the beat, we got the beat… YOGA! Downtown Yoga presents Drumyasa Vinyasa and Live Drumming Wednesday, April 11 from 5:30-7:30. This will be a vinyasa flow led by Amy to the beats of percussionist Brad Ellsworth of Druminyasa. The class is $20 for members and $25 for non-members.

As of yesterday Memphis had gone 18 days without a homicide. That’s cause for celebration ’round these parts, absurd though that may be.

WMC Action News 5 has tips to avoid telemarketers. One I didn’t know about: Forward text spam to 7726 to block it.

Zebra Cakes! I had one of those a couple of days ago. Here’s a recipe to make your own giant Zebra Cakes.

Good news: Penny Hardaway’s hiring is expected to boost Downtown businesses. Very true. 15,000 people attending a Tigers game as opposed to 3000 means approximately 5 times more people will go eat dinner at a nearby restaurant before the game.

Here’s a great New York Times article explaining how Cambridge Analytica was formed (and why it was formed and who was interested in forming it) and how it got its data.

Really starting to enjoy my new work neighborhood. Monday we went out to Rock & Dough Pizza for a team lunch. It was so good that I went back by myself yesterday and had a USA! USA! calzone – mozzarella, pepperoni, sausage, onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers. The one thing I would suggest to Rock ‘n Dough is that they create a new calzone honoring our president, which could be called Russia! Russia! All kidding aside, I will keep all of you updated on my Germantown lunchtime adventures, and I appreciate those of you who have given me suggestions where to eat. In case you’re wondering, no, I don’t bring the troll to work, so there won’t be photos of her with my food.

I’m finding that the optimal routes to work and home are different. 240 to Nonconnah to Kirby seems best in the morning. Kirby to Humphreys to Walnut Grove to 240 is best in the evening. Both around a 30 minute drive if there are no wrecks.

I’m also noticing a stark difference in gas prices. There’s a BP at Quince and Kirby that has gas for $2.17, and the Mapco next to Bougie Kroger charges $2.18. The gas stations on Poplar, though, some only a couple of blocks away, are charging $2.59.

I’ve been told the olive bar at Bougie Kroger has more than just olives and I really should give it a chance, so I’m heading over there. Back tomorrow with more news.

Tuesday news + a technical interview story

Some quick news items then I want to share a story that may be helpful to some of my readers.

The Brass Door is doing Oyster Monday today on Tuesday, because they were closed yesterday. Dollar oysters, raw or their chargrilled recipe of the week, your choice. 3 PM until they run out and they have $4 Guinness while oysters are being sold.

If you have kids and you’re going to the Grizzlies game Saturday, you’ll want to get there early. Free lunchbox to the first 5000 fans to celebrate Grizz’s birthday.

The Redbirds will be celebrating the hiring of Penny Hardaway’s hiring as the Memphis Tigers men’s basketball coach by offering tickets to opening night on April 10 for a penny for a limited time.

Sunrise Memphis has 1 cent coffee today to celebrate Penny.

Memphis Made Brewing Co. will host a World Water Day celebration this Thursday from 5 to 8 with all proceeds benefiting the Wolf River Conservancy.

And now, the story…


Now that I’m gainfully employed again, I want to share an interview experience I had (not with the company that hired me). In my field of web development, it’s common to do a technical interview, in which the applicant is asked to solve problems or plan projects. I want to discuss a technical interview that went off the rails and a couple of things I learned from it. My experience may be helpful, especially to my IT-centric readers.

I interviewed first with the company’s CIO. I had visited the company website and downloaded their app, and was able to speak about how my past experiences related to the company’s mission. He complimented me, saying I asked him excellent questions that most IT people wouldn’t have thought to ask. I pointed out that the development platform the company was using was one I last worked with in 2008. I asked if he was OK with that. He said that no one can know every IT platform and the ability and motivation to learn is what’s important. I assured him I had that.

“Now I’m going to have you talk to our technical lead,” he said. “He’ll talk with you for a bit and then administer a skills test. Don’t worry, it’s not pass-fail, just do the best you can.” The technical lead started throwing around acronyms, but again, I had done my homework. The recruiter had sent a list of questions he had asked other candidates and I was able to keep up with him. I was beginning to think this job was in the bag.

Then he handed me the skills test. He wanted me to write a project plan using a framework I had never even heard of, much less worked with. He wanted me to use a design pattern I had never heard of, and there was an acronym I had never heard of and had to ask the meaning. “I don’t even know where to start,” I told the tech lead. “You saw my resume. You know I don’t have these things in my background. How can you expect me to build a project plan using things I have never worked with?”

“Just do the best you can,” he said, and reminded me it’s not pass-fail. After a few minutes of utter frustration, he said, “If you want, you can take it home with you, and email me the plan.” I elected to do that, although I still had no idea how I’d even get started.

I drove home, feeling like I had been blindsided, like I had been ambushed. I knew I could learn the technologies needed for the job. But how could he test me on them, when he knew I didn’t have them in my background at the time? This seems like a great job, I thought, and now I’m going to miss out on it because of this totally unfair test.

I didn’t get the job but I learned two things from this experience.

1) After I got home I posted on Facebook about what had happened. (Of course, I did not name the company.) A few of my IT friends had valuable feedback. They said they had actually seen skills tests like that before, where applicants were quizzed about technologies they couldn’t be expected to know. The idea is that in IT, you’re exposed to new technologies all the time, and they want to see how well you will adapt. (As a result of their advice, I researched the technologies I didn’t know, and emailed a project plan the next day.)

2) When a company interviews you, you’re interviewing them as well. They’re showing you what working there will be like. What was my first impression? One of being blindsided. One of being put on the spot. One of being made to feel like I don’t know enough. How do I know that’s not what the job itself is going to be like? Really, if I had received an offer I don’t know if I would have taken it. One of the lessons I learned at my former job is that everything a company does is marketing, and the skills test failed to market the company I interviewed with well to potential new hires.

Anyway, I don’t have to worry about technical interviews anymore. Enjoying my time working in Germantown so far. My co-workers took me out to lunch at Rock ‘n Dough Pizza yesterday and the calzone I had was so good that I’m going back for another one. Found a way to get home in only 27 minutes yesterday too. And in response to my reader who emailed, I have a feeling I will learn to love Bougie Kroger and will go there quite frequently. That’s it for now, back tomorrow with more news.

Sunday update

For animal lovers who read this blog, here’s a worthy organization to support: Lucky Farms Animal Rescue. They rescue dogs, specializing in large breeds, and work on finding them foster and forever homes. You can view their adoptables. A friend of mine lost his senior companion that he adopted from Lucky Farms yesterday, and I wanted to honor her loss by mentioning this great animal rescue.

FAIL: King’s Palace Tap Room had ONE bartender working yesterday, on a sunny 78 degree day when there was a parade going on outside. It was taking people up to 45 minutes to get beers. Not the bartender’s fault at all by the way – she couldn’t have been working any harder. It’s just that they needed at least three more people back there.

I left about 15 minutes into the parade. Just too damn crowded and I wasn’t in a position where I was going to catch any beads.

Later in the day I walked up to the Brass Door for their St. Pat’s celebration. I got to try the Pabst APA.

This was one of the better pale ales I have tried, and given that I have 8 plates at the Flying Saucer I have tried quite a few. Maybe one day in the future Pabst products other than Blue Ribbon will become common in the Memphis area.

With St. Pat’s and the NCAA tournament going on, it’s easy to go a day or two without watching the news. President Trump was counting on that to hope a couple of items fly under the public radar. FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe was set to retire today, his 50th birthday. Trump fired him Friday, two days before his planned retirement. That will cost McCabe his pension. What a petty, spiteful, vindictive man our president is.

Trump has also strongly hinted that he wants deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein to bring an end to the Russia investigation being conducted by Special Counsel Mueller. Sealed indictments will come flying open if that happens. This investigation is too far along to be derailed now.

All right… time to send out a BBQ team email and then it will be Sunday Fun Day. Determined to get to sleep by 8 PM tonight so I am well rested for my first day at work tomorrow. Back sometime between tomorrow and Wednesday with more news.

Bougie Kroger and Saturday news

I may take a couple days break from this blog early next week. I will get back in the habit of posting at lunchtime, but I need time to explore my new work neighborhood and get all my questions answered – where’s the nearest Target, where’s the nearest Walgreens, where’s an ATM I can use for free, that kind of thing. As with my old job, there is a Kroger across the street. Comparing my new Kroger to the one in Horn Lake is an exercise in seeing how Kroger customizes each store to the neighborhood. The one in Germantown has a hot bar as the one in Horn Lake did, but it also has a sushi bar and – get this – an olive bar. Never in my life have I thought, “I wish I could go shopping at an olive bar.” Does everyone in Germantown drink martinis?

Comment from my friend JBell: “An olive bar? That’s some EXTRA white people shit.”

I hereby dub my new Kroger “Bougie Kroger.”

So I named Bougie Kroger and I know the guy who named the Grindhouse. You wanna exchange tickets? I’ll get you tickets to the Olive Bar if you get me Grizzlies tickets.

Wait, what’s that? Kroger doesn’t sell tickets? Oh, okay, didn’t realize. Can I still get Grizzlies tickets?

Yesterday reminded why I love March Madness. 16 seed the UMBC Retrievers became the first ever 16 seed to take down a 1, throttling the Virginia Cavaliers by 20 points. It was a joy to watch. The Retrievers said “Nope, we’re not letting you back in” every time Virginia started to go on a run.

FiveThirtyEight has added draft lottery probabilities to its 2018 NBA predictions. As of today, the Grizzlies have a 21% chance of getting the #1 pick and a 57% chance of getting a top three pick. The Grizz can increase those chances with a 20th consecutive loss tonight to Denver at FedExForum. 7 PM tip time. First 5000 fans get a Grizz Girls poster.

Angus McEachran, the longtime editor of the Commercial Appeal, passed away earlier this month. The CA memorialized him by misspelling his name in a headline.

I found an interesting article on Twitter about the smartest birds: ravens, crows, and African grey parrots. Despite having a brain the size of a nut, these birds have shown the ability to use tools, plan ahead, and solve puzzles that apes cannot.

I have details of the Moody Ques rooftop party happening next Saturday on the team website. We’ll have a competition shoulder. We’ll show you the booth design – we’re going for first in Best Booth again. We also have a SUPER cool family connection for T-shirt design that we will tell you about. Let’s just say that if you’ve watched TV in the past 30 years, you’ve probably seen the designer’s work. There will also be a Q&A. I am going to propose a change to our door policy to make it less rigid and easier to get guests in.

St. Patrick’s Day! I will be doing the parade at 3 on Beale Street then going over to the Brass Door celebration. I’ll be in front of the King’s Palace Tap Room for the parade. Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

Rainy day ahead, but better today than tomorrow so it will be nice outside for the Beale Street St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Paddy’s Day at the Brass Door. I’ve been invited to the King’s Palace Tap Room by two friends to watch the parade, and that sounds like an invitation I will accept! So, if you want to see me at the parade, come to the Tap Room.

I heard about a new St. Patrick’s drink yesterday: the Memphis Drive-By. It’s a car bomb but with Wiseacre Gotta Get Up to Get Down instead of Guinness.

Due to the rain, I will be taking a Lyft/Uber down to Max’s Sports Bar to watch my Arkansas Razorbacks play Butler at 2:10. Not sure what to think about this game… most stats and betting sites have Butler as a slight favorite despite being the lower seed. On the other hand, Charles Barkley showed his bracket yesterday, and he has Arkansas going to the Elite Eight. I hope Sir Charles is right. He has more faith in my team than I do.

Arkansas’ game is focused on guard play with seniors Jaylen Barford, Daryl Macon, and Anton Beard. However, the Hog to watch is number 10, freshman center Daniel Gafford. Analysts are discussing him as a potential future NBA lottery pick. I just hope he doesn’t enter the draft this year. He needs at least one more college season to soak up every lesson Mike Anderson has for him.

Crawfish news: Regina’s Cajun Kitchen at 60 N. Main will have crawfish for $8.99 (I assume that’s a pound) today and tomorrow starting at 2 PM.

My “DAWG” John D is a subscriber to Loot Crate, and every month he gets a goodie box filled with T-shirts, sci-fi stuff, stuff to nerd out on. Well, yesterday I learned there is a similar subscription service called Snackcrate, where every month you get a box full of snacks. Snacks from a different country are featured each month. Hmmm I may have to try this. They have an Ireland Snackcrate on sale for $5 through Monday in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.

Lansky Lucky Duck at the Peabody is hiring a Gift Shop Manager. Must be comfortable supervising others and be able to work a flexible schedule. High school graduate with supplemental courses in merchandising and business administration. Effective communicator, good at marketing and promotion, familiar with administrative and personnel management techniques. Email a cover letter and resume to They will not accept applicants over the phone or by walk-in.

The Memphis Chamber has a great post on Meritan’s move Downtown.

The Grizzlies extended their losing streak to 19 last night at FedExForum.

Good seeing my buddy Josh last night. He was one of the managers at my original Downtown hangout Sleep Out Louie’s. He’s now the Assistant Director of Sports Information at Lane College. Glad to see him doing well.

Time to get to Max’s. I’ve got basketball to watch.

Thursday update

I didn’t repeat as trivia champion at the Blind Bear last night, but I did win Best Team Name for the second week in a row.

A major construction clustermess will happen in South Main today through January 2019. South Main between G.E. Patterson and St. Paul will be closed for Central Station construction. Wasn’t Central Station supposed to be done by now? And how are the trolleys going to turn around on the south end?

The MBJ has a slideshow of the newly renovated, soon to reopen Agave Maria.

FiveThirtyEight did a statistical analysis of the high seeds (in the top 8) most likely to be upset by lower seeds in the first round of the NCAA tournament today and tomorrow. I was sure Arkansas would play a starring role in the analysis, but they are seventh most likely to be upset, the model giving the Hogs a 52.7% chance of losing. Most likely to lose is 5 seed good ole West Virginny, 64.8% to fall to 12 Murray State.

The Redbirds are hosting a Family Fun Day at AutoZone Park Saturday, March 24 at 2 PM, culminating in a candy drop from a helicopter. There will be inflatables and games on the plaza, catch and wiffle ball on the field, kids run the bases, ball park tours, the Cardinals spring training game on the video board, chances to win prizes, and ticket specials.

The Brass Door will host the Fleet Feet Pub Run Tuesday, March 20 at 6:30. Join them for an easy 3-mile run around Downtown followed by a pint or three at the Door.

Memphis in May presents One Night in Prague at the Orpheum May 10, a celebration of the sounds and tastes of the Czech Republic. There will be food prepared by Czech chef Zdenek Pohlreich, traditional folk sounds of the Domazlice Bagpipe Band, and more music by the Epoque Quartet. Tickets are $18.

Felicia Suzanne Restaurant is hiring part-time servers and bartenders to work the patio during the busy warm months. Email

Affordable housing is being built near FedExForum at Danny Thomas and MLK Avenue.

South Main Sounds is back with a songwriter night this Friday at 7.

The Grizzlies host the Chicago Bulls at FedExForum tonight at 7.

Crosstown Brewing Co. is hosting Crawfish Sunday this Sunday from 1 to 4.

The Metal Museum has a foundry apprenticeship open. This is a two year gig that includes housing, insurance, a living stipend, and unlimited access to studio facilities. Applications are due by May 1.

Max’s Sports Bar will open at 11 today through Sunday for those looking to watch the NCAA tournament.

I got the 2018 team list updated on the BBQ team website. Don’t see your name there? PAY YO DUES!

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow with more news.

Wed update #2: My first Ethiopian dining experience

Sometimes things just have a way of working themselves out. I will explain what I mean toward the end of this post.

I have always been curious about Ethiopian food, but trying it has just never worked out. I almost tried Abyssinia near Poplar and Hollywood a couple of times, but I was in that area during peak lunch rush and could never figure out the parking. Then Blue Nile Ethiopian Kitchen opened in Midtown, and my Sunday brunch friends Robyn and Kelly raved about it to me. “You have to try it. It is so good,” they said. When I got this unplanned 9-week vacation, I decided I would have to get out there one of these days. Of course that took the effort of getting dressed and driving the car, so I procrastinated for almost the entire nine weeks.

Monday night I told a lot of people, “Okay, I’m making it out to Blue Nile tomorrow.” I knew I would regret it if my time off ran out and I didn’t make it down there even once. And yet, when Tuesday morning rolled around, I was having one of those not-feeling-it days. I didn’t have the energy for a field trip. Sometimes you just need what’s familiar, and for me that is Bardog.

This morning I thought, “Tomorrow is Thursday food truck rodeo in Court Square and the NCAA tournament. Friday is the tournament again and Arkansas plays. It’s now or never today.” I got out of bed at 7:30, did my blog, did some BBQ team stuff, and was rarin’ to go to Blue Nile. So now it’s time for…

The Perjorie T. Roll Lunch Series

My troll and I hopped in the car about 10:50. I prefer to dine out for lunch either at 11 or at 1, missing the 11:30-12:30 peak hours where there are long lines and long waits for tables. Realizing that Blue Nile shares a parking lot with the super-popular Bar-B-Q Shop – they’re both on the north side of Madison between Auburndale and Idlewild – I thought, I better make it 11, because the parking lot was likely to be packed at 1.

I was the first customer there. Blue Nile Ethiopian Kitchen is a small place but there is ample table seating and seating at the bar. I took a bar stool and was handed an ice water and a menu. I noticed they have PBR in 12 ounce bottles, although I did not partake. On tap they have a selection of local and regional beers, including Wiseacre, Southern Prohibition, and others.

I had scoped out their menu online in advance, as I almost always do when I try a restaurant for the first time. I had been advised to order their combo plate, the Pick Four, where you can order whatever combination of wats (stews) and veggies and salads you desire. I started to order the Pick Four but was told they no longer had the Doro Wat, the savory chicken stew with boiled egg. That left me with only vegetarian wats from which to choose. Although I am not opposed to all-vegetarian meals, I did not want one for my first experience in the restaurant. So I abandoned the Pick Four idea.

Instead I ordered the Lamb Tibs, diced lamb sauteed in a blend of spices, onions, tomatoes and jalapenos. “Do you want that spicy or mild?” the server asked. Okay, I have learned to be careful here. I have ordered dishes spicy at Golden India and Bangkok Alley and have torched my tongue and my throat.

“How spicy is spicy?” I asked.

“Not very,” he said. “It’s got a kick to it, but it’s not too spicy.”

“Let’s do spicy then,” I said. I ordered collard greens and potatoes and carrots as my side.

Here’s a photo of my lunch. You’ll notice that the lamb, greens, and potatoes and carrots lay across a piece of injera, an Ethiopian bread that is porous on one side, good for soaking up the sauces and spices. They gave me a basket containing more injera.

I wasn’t exactly sure what to do. I had been told you eat with your hands at Ethiopian restaurants, using the injera to scoop up the meat and vegetables. However, the injera in the basket was far too soft to use as a scoop. After a couple of tries I gave up and started using the fork they provided.

As I ate, the owner (I believe that’s who it was) was sitting next to me at the bar and the news was on. We discussed the state of world affairs and worries that World War III could erupt, that world leaders are crazy these days and they all seem to be out for themselves and not for the people of their countries. It was a good conversation.

The flavor of the lamb tibs was very good, and the server was right, a little spicy but not overpowering. Different people, different cultures, have different ideas of what is spicy, he explained. The side dishes were very tasty too, and I was pleased with my decision to try Ethiopian cuisine. However, as I got part-ways into the meal, I realized ice water was not going to cut it as a beverage and asked for a Coke. It wasn’t the spiciness but I just needed something sugary to offset the savory flavor of my lunch.

As I got further into my lunch, I discovered the goodness of the injera sitting underneath my lunch. It had soaked up all the juices from my meats and vegetables and was absolutely the best part of my meal. I am so going to be looking forward to that next time I go back. And I am going to be looking for creative ways to use the injera in the basket next time I go back. Maybe next time I really will eat only with my hands.

In addition to lamb, they have beef, chicken, and tofu tibs on the menu, in the $11-13 range. They had a lunch special of salmon tibs today. They have vegetarian wats in the $11 range, and kabob platters for $9-12 and veggies and sides $4 each. This is not a place for vegetarians to worry they won’t be able to find anything to eat – in fact, both my friends Robyn and Kelly who recommended the place are vegetarians.

So you know how I said it’s funny how things work out sometimes? As I was paying my tab, the owner commented, “It may be slow in here today. We were closed the past three days for spring break.” If I hadn’t said, “Ah, screw it” and gone to Bardog yesterday, I would have wasted my time to drive all the way to Midtown to a closed restaurant.

If you’ve never tried Ethiopian, I recommend you give it a try at Blue Nile. By the way if there are people in your dining party who are just totally resistant to the thought of ethnic food, they do have cheeseburgers and lamb burgers. A great lunch experience and I regret having not got out there sooner.

Second post of the day, so if it’s your first visit keep reading…

Wednesday update

Let’s start off with several food news items. The DMC tweeted some photos of newly opened Grecian Gourmet at 412 S. Main yesterday, including a photo of the menu.

Ignite Memphis is coming back April 12, and this time it’s all about food. Ignite is a format in which speakers give 5-minute talks using 20 PowerPoint slides, which auto-advance every 15 seconds. “Inform us, but make it quick” is the idea. They are currently accepting submissions from those who would like to give a talk.

If you have gotten into the Girl Scout Cookie and beer pairings in recent years, today is your lucky day. Miss Cordelia’s will be doing pairings tonight at Food Truck Wednesday 5-8 PM.

The Dirty Crow Inn’s special this week is a Nathan’s hot dog wrapped in bacon and deep fried, then topped with Pancho’s cheese sauce and more bacon. Yum!

Next up… got a couple of events associated with one of Memphis’ great craft breweries, Memphis Made. On Monday, March 19 from to 6 to 9 PM, Memphis Made’s co-founder Andy will be at the Rec Room at 3000 Broad. He’ll be playing old-school Donkey Kong. Beat the brewer and walk away with Memphis Made prizes.

Enter your motorcycle in the Bike Show at Memphis Made on Saturday, April 14. Prizes will be awarded in all categories of bikes. There will also be a pinball tournament. $10 to enter a bike, free just to come be a spectator.

South of Beale and Shawn Gates of MyBlockMusic are establishing a new concert series called Music on Main. It kicks off March 31.

FiveThirtyEight has posted their NCAA bracket predictions for March Madness 2018. Mouse over any school and see their chances of reaching each stage of the tournament. Probabilities will be updated in real-time as game results come in. Sad to see that my Arkansas Razorbacks, the 7 seed in the South, are a 40% underdog to 10 seed Butler. I think that’s probably accurate, but still not happy. The Hogs may have drawn the worst opponent (worst in terms of likely to beat them) in the tournament relative to their seed.

Then again, it may not be the Hogs but 1 seed Kansas, facing off against 16 Penn. This is the best chance for a 16 to upset a 1 in a long time. Would be really cool to see an Ivy League school send the Big 12’s dominant force packing.

Memphis in May, in conjunction with Indie Memphis, has announced its Cinema of the Czech Republic Series that will be happening around town during the month of May.

Q&A time! I love it when a bar conversation starts up and I get to share knowledge, whether it’s where to go Downtown, web development, or tips on writing a blog! The question that came up this week, though, pertained to social media.

How do I know if a Facebook friend is hiding posts from me?

Been there, done that, got the T-shirt on that one, and the answer is counter-intuitive. Add them to your Close Friends list.

When you post on Facebook, you have options concerning visibility of posts. You can make the post Public, in which case anyone can see it. The other common option is Friends, in which case it will only appear on the news feed of people you’re friends with on Facebook. However, a less-often used option is Friends Except… where you can specify particular friends whom you don’t want to see the post.

When you add someone to your Close Friends list, you get a notification every time they post. Click through the notifications. If you see a “This post is not available, it may have been deleted or you may not have proper permission to view” and it is the first time you have seen that from this particular friend, I wouldn’t worry about it.

If it happens twice, I would start to get a little suspicious.

If it happens on a regular basis, they are hiding posts from you. And that doesn’t mean EVERY post. You may see all their posts for a week and a half before a ghost post appears. Then you see their posts for another week, then another ghost post. Then two weeks before another ghost pops up. This is still sufficient evidence they’re hiding posts from you.

What do you do about it? Well, you have options:

  1. Confront them about it
  2. Keep silent about it and see how long they’ll continue to hide posts, while pretending like everything is just hunky-dory
  3. Move them from your Close Friends list to your Blocked list and don’t give them another thought

And now it’s time for…

The Perjorie T. Roll Lunch Series

For this, my last week Downtown before I begin a new job, my troll and I are hitting some of the best lunch spots in and near the area. Getting my lunch yesterday didn’t take a whole lot of effort.

Quintessential neighborhood bar Bardog Tavern opens at 8 AM on weekdays. During my time job hunting I tried not to go in there during the morning hours, wanting to be productive and available for phone calls and emails with recruiters. Now that I have the offer letter, though, there is absolutely no need for me to be productive! Well, I have been studying the client-side Javascript frameworks I will use in my new job, but I decided to call yesterday a true vacation day. I got to Bardog a few minutes before 10.

Melanie, the bartender, asked me if I wanted to order breakfast. I said no, wanting to see what kind of specials would get written on the board for lunch, which began at 11. So I nursed a PBR for an hour and the wait paid off… they had chicken enchiladas on special!

Now, keep in mind they probably won’t have chicken enchiladas today – the specials rotate daily. However, Bardog’s food is consistently well above average, and you’re always going to find something different on the special board. Could be Mexican, could be Cajun, could be Italian, could be a variation on sliders, could be a turkey sandwich on wheatberry. Follow the restaurant at @bardogtavern where they tweet their specials of the day. Of course, there’s plenty good on the regular menu too. I recommend the burger sliders, meatballs, deluxe grilled cheese with ham and bacon, and the Amazing Island Club sandwich in particular.

One note about Bardog during the cold months… might want to bring an extra layer of clothing. Their ceiling fan system does a great job sucking up cigarette smoke (yes, you can smoke inside there). However, it also creates a wind chill. In combination with the door opening frequently between the busy lunch hours of 11 and 1, it can get cold if you’re sitting near the door. I thought I could get away with just a T-shirt yesterday, given that it’s mid-March. Wrong! I had to keep my leather jacket zipped up.

Bardog is at 73 Monroe between Front and Main, across from the Shrine Building.

The troll and I are taking a road trip to Midtown today for lunch. I haven’t started the car in 6 days so it seems like a good and necessary idea. Unlike the other stops on the lunch series, this is not a favorite restaurant – although I suspect it will be in about three hours’ time. It’s not a favorite yet because I’ve never eaten there. However, it has been highly recommended by friends. Look for a post later today or tomorrow on that experience.