Sunday update

Run. Drink. Eat.

That is all you need to know for today. Monroe Fest, or the Bardog alley party as it has been known in the past, is the place to be this afternoon. Monroe Avenue between Front and Main. Noon to 6. Be there.

I was in Bardog yesterday, and I saw a really nice kayak that is one of the many raffle prizes to be given away throughout the afternoon. Come be a part of this and remember, donations raised go to the kids of St. Jude.

For those of you who know the Send Bob to the Dunk Tank fundraising team, the big payoff for that will be at 2 this afternoon.

I did the Stumblin’ Elvis pub crawl at Flying Saucer, Club 152, and Blind Bear last night. Here are a few pics.

Ariel n me lookin’ all legit. She and I competed in a Big Wheel drag race for a Saucer gift card. Despite falling off the Big Wheel three times before the race started, I somehow managed to win.

Elvis impersonator at Club 152. For a minute I thought that was my neighbor Buddha up on stage.

My neighbor Liz getting her Jailhouse Rock on at Blind Bear for the final stop of the crawl.

Staci stole my Annoying Elvis Tourist outfit. She needs to bring her friend Hot Vegetarian Katie from D.C. down for Burger Fest. Vegetarians love the Moody Ques!

Earlier in the day, I stopped by LYFE Kitchen for some $2 PBR. I got a request for clarification – LYFE has $2 PBR all day, every day, whether or not you are sitting at the bar. I ended up trying another beer too:

Memphis Sands by Wiseacre, a tribute to the pure water in the aquifer deep beneath the ground here, is a light, refreshing beer that is great in the summertime.

Time to get out and about. I’ll lead off with an hour of dranks at the Blind Bear at 11, then over to Monroe Fest. I’ll be there all afternoon, so come say hi!

I ordered way too much

Yesterday I had dinner at Bangkok Alley, ordering off the sushi menu. The sushi chef doesn’t play around with quantity of food. I ordered way more than I could eat (and the troll was not much help) so more than half of it is in my refrigerator in a to-go box.

They had a nice selection of craft beers, including some local offerings, at very reasonable prices. I had a Memphis Made Fireside with my sushi.

Fried bananas with ice cream for dessert. This was not the cheapest tab I have ever had, but I decided to treat myself on the first day of my 4-day weekend.

Cerrito Trivia has announced that they will no longer be at the Green Beetle starting this coming week. You can still play Cerrito Trivia and Bingo at Loflin Yard, Tamp & Tap, and The Arcade.

Independent R&B/soul music pioneer Eric Roberson plays the Orpheum tonight.

I swiped my MOU card (Master of the Universe – it replaces your UFO card when you get 5 plates) at the Flying Saucer yesterday… and it worked! I thought it was broken forever, but it turned out the old kiosks, which they got rid of during the renovation, were actually what was broken. I found that I was a little farther along to my 9th plate – 129 beers out of 200 – than I thought. I bumped that number up to 132 yesterday. It’s the first time in several years I’ve made a serious effort to go for a plate. I plan to have it done early to mid October, probably waiting until after Burger Fest so my plate party won’t conflict with a team practice cook.

The Annoying Elvis Tourist will be out today. With his Elvis movie T-shirt, pink bedazzled ELVIS hat, Blue Hawaii lei, sunglasses, Elvis arm band, and pink Elvis coin purse, he is hard not to notice. He is going to run around Downtown and take pictures of people dressed as Elvis. Needless to say, he will be at Stumblin’ Elvis tonight starting at the Flying Saucer at 5. Put on your Elvis or Priscilla gear and stumble with us to some of the Downtown Memphis core’s best bars.

Time to eat some leftover sushi and get this day started. Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

Recently I was asked, “Paul, there are certain events you really promote hard on your blog,” (like Breakaway-Bardog 5K and Monroe Fest this Sunday. Would you like more information about that event?) “How do you decide which ones you push to the moon when you write?” Well, I don’t really have a conscious process. But subconsciously, I guess I ask myself three questions.

Do people benefit from this event? And/or does it make the vibe of my city richer, make it more interesting?

Do I know the organizers? Do I know of the organizers? Are they good people?

Are the people the organizers associate with also good people?

An event that scores 3/3 on this quiz is likely to get heavily promoted in my blog. That’s why I recommend Plunge to Expunge at Memphis Made this evening. That’s why I recommend making Stumblin’ Elvis your plan for tomorrow (starts at Flying Saucer 5 PM). That’s why you’re going to read a lot on here about the Memphis Music & Heritage Festival over the next couple of weeks.

Songwriter Night #63 is tonight at South Main Sounds, 550 S. Main. Newcomers Abby Frances and Lauren Moscato kick things off, followed by acoustic sets from Thompson Springs and Coyote. 7-9 PM, free to attend.

First 1500 fans at AutoZone Park tonight receive a tire gauge that can be put on a keychain, courtesy of AutoZone. There will be fireworks post-game and it’s Scout Night and Teacher Appreciation Night. Block party in the plaza with select $2 beers and music by Big T prior to the game. Gates at 6, first pitch 7:05.

Hey, there’s Jubi and Sarge’s dad!

The Rusty Pieces play the Flying Saucer tonight 6-9 PM.

I had one of the new appetizers from the Silly Goose’s new happy hour menu last night, the fried chickpeas.

Tasty and high in protein, you get a very good sized bowl of these for $5. For those of you who want to graduate from popcorn to the next level, this is an ideal bar snack. High in protein too!

Loflin Yard is hosting a Mayweather vs. McGregor viewing party on the 26th. I like Conor McGregor but he gonna get his ass beat. He could have a lucrative career in the WWE if he wanted it.

Bring It Food Hub is now signing people up for its fall fresh produce subscription. Locally grown produce you can pick up at a point near you every week, September 5-November 17.

Off work today. I like to take the Friday before the Breakaway-Bardog 5K and Monroe Fest off and go down to Bardog to show my support. I show my support by getting to the bar at 9:30 AM and drinking PBR and playing the jukebox. Might stop by the Saucer this afternoon too. Time to get out there and enjoy not being in a cubicle. Back tomorrow with more news.

Thur update #2: Tried a gourmet Flying Saucer burger, Stumblin’ Elvis (costume contest insider tip) and more news

As many of you know, the Flying Saucer closed temporarily for a couple of months in early spring. When they reopened in late April, they had a greatly expanded kitchen. For the new menu, they drew on gourmet burgers from Rodeo Goat, another chain of restaurants within the Saucer family. Up until now I hadn’t tried one – simply because my mind hadn’t been conditioned to think of the Saucer as a burger joint! However, last night I was in there for a couple of beers, and started looking at the menu, and thought, “I need to take one of these burgers home.”

I ordered the Telluride, a burger topped with green chiles (Hatch when available), lettuce, beefsteak tomato, red onion, poblano goat cheese, and green chile chutney. I asked them to hold the tomato, because I don’t like tomatoes on my burger; and the lettuce, because I didn’t think it worked with the other toppings. I ordered a side of fries, with ranch for dipping instead of ketchup.

It was really good! The peppers gave the burger a taste unlike any burger I ever had, and the meat was quality and cooked medium as I requested. While adding a lot of flavor, the peppers did not make the burger’s taste overwhelmingly hot. The fries were outstanding! Nice, thick, hand-cut with the skin on. I would definitely get a Saucer burger again, although I will probably try a few others from the menu before coming back to the Telluride.

Sorry I didn’t get a picture… my troll had already gone to bed for the evening, and I knew she would be very unhappy if I took a food photo without her standing nearby.

The Blind Bear has announced that those stumbling through the Bear for Stumblin’ Elvis Saturday night will get $3 moonshine, $3 Fireball, and $5 16 oz. draft Yazoo Hefeweizen. By the way the event starts at the Saucer at 5 PM with the Big Wheel races happening at 5:30. I believe I may have previously posted 7 PM, in error.

Oh also, the Saucer posted this morning updating who will win prizes at Stumblin’ E:

Remember to dress up as The King or as Priscilla for a chance to win some AWESOME prizes:
Best Dressed – VIP Tour of Yazoo Brewing Company + Hotel Stay + Gas Card + $100 gift card from Saucer
Best Couple – Gift Basket from Yazoo + $30 gift card from Saucer
Sexiest Priscilla – Gift Basket from Yazoo + $30 gift card from Saucer
Big Wheel Champion will receive 2 rounds on brew on us plus some Yazoo swag.

INSIDER TIP: Some of the usual Elvises who do this annual pub crawl will be away from Downtown Saturday night attending another event. This is a great costume contest for a dark horse to swoop in and win the thing unexpectedly. So get your Elvis on and come crawl!

But for the Grace is the film tonight in Clayborn Temple’s 15 Film Series. Free to attend and the film starts at 7. Here’s a description:

“Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. pointed out that Sunday morning at eleven o’clock is the most segregated hour in America. Decades later, the church still remains one of America’s most segregated institutions. Although church-going Americans believe that all believers in Christ are part of an extended family, the concept is limited along racial lines. Efforts for racial reconciliation within the church generally emphasize transformation of the heart, repentance and forgiveness. Though these efforts are well intentioned, they often fall short of addressing the deep rooted issues of a segregated American church, which tend to be ideological. But For The Grace addresses these issues.”

I am so proud to have David Fizdale as head coach of my city’s NBA team. Fiz’s comments about statues and Donald Trump yesterday were on point. The passion with which the coach spoke is inspiring.

Great idea to get Trump to go away:

Counting down the hours to my long weekend! Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update: Plunge to Expunge tomorrow and more news

It’s hard to get a job when you have a criminal conviction on your record. On the other hand, it’s hard to pay the expungement fee for the conviction when you don’t have a job. It’s a catch-22. Come out to Memphis Made Brewing, 768 S. Cooper, tomorrow evening, Friday, August 18 from 4 to 10 PM, and dunk local celebrities in the dunk tank to raise money for the Clean the Slate Fund. The event is organized by Just City and Memphis Made. Taking the Plunge to Expunge are celebrity dunkees Katrina Coleman, Geoff Calkins, Reginald Milton, Steve Mulroy, and Stacy Spencer. The Hot & Heavy Dogs food truck will be on site if you get hungry. Follow @JustCity901 on Twitter for more news about this event.

Don’t wear out your throwing arm at Plunge to Expunge on Friday, though, because there will be a dunk tank to raise money for St.Jude at Monroe Avenue Fest on Sunday.

Another opportunity to lend a helping hand:

All-You-Can-Eat Night returns to AutoZone Park tonight, with a special ticket that gets you a buffet of tacos and all the toppings, as well as hot dogs, sides, and one bottled water or Coca-Cola per person. DJ Epic will be back performing beginning at 6:00. As always on Thursday, there are $2 select Thirsty Thursday select drafts, and college students can get a $5 left field bluff ticket with ID. Opponent is Nashville with first pitch at 7:05.

There’s even more reason to dress up as Elvis or Priscilla and come to the Stumblin’ Elvis pub crawl that begins at 7 at the Flying Saucer this Saturday. Best costume wins a gas card and hotel fare for a trip to Nashville and a VIP tour of Yazoo Brewery. Come support this fine cause… well, actually Stumblin’ E isn’t for charity this year, but the consumption of beer and alcohol is a mighty fine cause on its own.

If you’re into history this is a great account to follow:

The railroad underpass on G.E. Patterson between Front and Main is about to undergo improvements to connect the future Central Station neighborhood with the soon-to-open Downtown Malco theater. The MBJ has a slideshow.

The band Widespread Panic, through its Tunes for Tots Foundation, donated more than $175,000 to purchase musical instruments for two Shelby Country high schools.

Off to work. I have a four-day weekend ahead of me once I get today done. I may do another post at lunchtime, so check back.

Wed update: Put your blue suede shoes on and stumble with The King Saturday night

Three days until Stumblin’ Elvis 2017. Above is a photo of me from the very first Stumbin’ Elvis, back in 2009. Meet at the Flying Saucer on Saturday, August 19, at 7 PM, dressed as Elvis or Priscilla, and stumble with your fellow Elvii from bar to bar. Tin Roof and the Blind Bear are two of the other bars on the schedule. The Bear staff always dresses up as Elvis for this. Lots of fun to be had in the Downtown core Saturday night!

Elvis: The Wonder of You 40th anniversary concert is tonight at 8 PM at FedExForum. See Elvis perform his favorites on the big screen, accompanied by a live symphonic orchestra. Special appearance by Priscilla Presley and other surprises.

Work near a Dunkin’ Donuts? You can stop by for a free medium iced coffee today. One lucky guest will receive a year of free iced coffees.

The August Downtown Neighborhood Association will be on the Pembroke Square rooftop deck Tuesday August 22, social at 6, meeting at 6:30. Benny Lendermon and Dorchelle Spence, president and vice-president of the Riverfront Development Corporation, will speak about possible plans for Memphis’ most beautiful asset, our riverfront. Appetizers will be catered and there will be a cash bar. $10 for guests, free for members.

The DNA will have its 2017 riverboat cruise Sunday September 17. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the dock. There will be a pre-party at The Front Porch at 4 PM, with free hors d’oeuvres, music by Josh Cosby of Star & Micey, door prizes and silent auction. Then at 5:30, come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with the DNA!

The Redbirds host Nashville in a 6:35 game at AutoZone Park.

If you’re looking for something to do with the kids this weekend, here’s a reminder that Stroll with the Trolls is this Saturday at the Children’s Museum. Bring a camera to get photos with your favorite Trolls, and get clip-in hair extensions so you can have hair like a Troll.

Former Grizzlies forward Tayshaun Prince is taking a job in the Grizzlies front office. A locker room leader and respected among players, he will bring the perspective of the player to front office meetings. Sounds like a strong hire.

Stopped by Bardog yesterday for happy hour and found out that Panda has permanently taken over the Tuesday happy hour shift – so if you’re a Panda fan, you have an additional day to come see her. Panda asked if my BBQ team wanted to buy a table at Monroe Fest. It’s not the right year for my team as we reorganize and prepare for Best Memphis Burger Fest, but I will throw it out there as a suggestion to other local BBQ teams. Great way to have fun and camaraderie while helping the kids of St. Jude.

I am just so flabbergasted by Donald Trump’s press conference yesterday that it’s hard to know what to say. I was born a white heterosexual male whose family went to a mainstream Protestant church. Therefore, I cannot understand what it is like to be targeted by hate groups, to face discrimination, to face harassment. I can imagine what it must feel like, but I cannot innately understand it. However, to those who have been victimized, I stand with you. Republicans: It’s 25th Amendment time. Get this insane fool who is clearly unfit for office out of the White House and into a mental health institution.

Should be an interesting happy hour at Silly Goose this afternoon… the first day since they went non-smoking that the regular gang will all be there. Will they all sit outside on the patio because a couple of them are smokers? We shall see. I’m not saying I won’t go on the patio at all, but I plan on spending the vast majority of my time inside. That’s it for now. Back tomorrow with more news.

Tuesday update

Sad to learn of the passing of Arkansas head football coach (1958-1976) and athletic director (1974-2007) Frank Broyles. As head coach, he led Arkansas to its only national championship in 1964 with a team that included Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson. In the early 1990s he negotiated Arkansas’ move to the SEC, a move that has kept the Hogs relevant in power conference football. Broyles embodied Arkansas athletics more than anybody in the history of the program.

The Mersey Beatles return to the Halloran Centre on October 11. This is an all-Liverpool band, endorsed by John Lennon’s sister, and widely considered the premier Beatles tribute band. They spent 10 years as the house band at the Cavern Club, where the Beatles themselves were the house band from 1961 to 1963.

MATA’s declining ridership numbers are making national news. We cannot be a great city until we have great public transportation.

Open on Main, the initiative that gives free rent to vendors for a pop-up shop on the Main Street Mall for several weeks, has been so successful at 7 and 9 N. Main that it is being expanded to 86 and 88 N. Main. Tenants will include Bluff City Soap, Monster Market, Mushroom Vintage and several more.

The 2017 regular season Grizzlies schedule has been released. Happy to see that the Civil Rights Game on MLK Day is back in Memphis, as it should be. The Grizzlies’ opponent that day is the L.A. Lakers.

Interesting article: There’s a type of crow that can make specialized tools and plan ahead for their use. That would place their intelligence on par with early human species.

Thursday is the season finale of the Peabody rooftop party season for 2017. Graceland Ninjaz will supply the live music. $10 admission, ladies and hotel guests free before 7. Admission includes a buffet of grilled jerk chicken and island pineapple slices. If you’re in VIP you have a second buffet of whole roasted Mojo pig, black beans and rice, pinapple salsa and tostones, Cuban sandwiches, and mini rum cakes. Drink specials will be a mystery margarita and Firefly ginger snap moonshine.

The Redbirds are back at home tonight with a 6:35 game against Nashville. It’s $1 King Cotton hot dog night.

For the first time in a long time, I led off at Pint Nite at the Saucer last night. Old friends welcomed me back, and the vibe in there was great. G-Rock told me he wants me to come to his next plate party, which will be his 34th. I had Gose from Abita and Yazoo, and then I had a Wiseacre Tiny Bomb. Tiny Bomb for three bucks, not bad! Glad I rediscovered Pint Nite. I’m 76 beers (I think) away from my 9th plate. Maybe it’s time to start back up again. I like how they feature their most highly recommended beers on the new menu.

That’ll do it for now! My Tuesday night is wide open, so who knows where I will land. Back tomorrow with more news.

One of the biggest and best street festivals of the year happens Sunday

The late summer/fall festival season begins this Sunday, August 20, with the Breakaway-Bardog 5K and Monroe Avenue Festival, raising money to support the great work done at St. Jude. No child’s family ever receives a bill for their cancer treatment at the children’s hospital.

The 5K, which happens at 9 AM, has become one of the biggest in the city, with 1500 runners. After they get done running, they enjoy one of the best after-parties around.

At noon the Monroe Avenue Fest starts, stretching from Front to all the way on the other side of Main this year. Once upon a time this party fit in the alley next to Bardog. Not anymore! Way too much going on!

All day long they will be collecting money toward the head-shaving of Taylor, one of the bartenders at Bardog. They are hoping to raise $10,000 for St. Jude just from the head shaving alone. Taylor is new to Bardog and it is awesome that she jumped right in and volunteered to have her head shaved. Please drop some money in the bucket to support her! If you can’t be there Sunday but want to donate toward her fund, you can drop by donations to Bardog this week. If you want to get your hair cut for St. Jude as well (you don’t have to shave your head), Dabbles will have a pop-up salon.

There’s also the dunk tank, where you can donate to St. Jude to buy balls in an attempt to dunk local celebrities as well as various folks from Bardog, Slider Inn, and both Aldo’s Pizza locations.

New this year will be a food truck court including STIX, Fuel Cafe, Bedrock Eats, and more.

You can buy an entry to a special craft beer tent and enjoy samples from over 20 different brewers thanks to Eagle Distributing. Bell’s and Sweetwater will be among the brands represented.

The Michael Brothers, Me & Leah, and Marcella and her brothers will provide the live music at the festival. DJ Superman will also be on hand.

Face painting, cotton candy, The 901 Balloon Guy, Sache T-shirt truck, Amurica photo booth, Rockey Redbird, the Grizzline… there will be no shortage of things to do. Be sure to buy raffle tickets, because fabulous prizes donated by the events sponsors will be given away throughout the afternoon.

If you want to really do this festival in style, buy a ticket to the VIP tent. It will be catered by McEwen’s, Felicia Suzanne’s, Bardog Tavern, Aldo’s Pizza Pies, Jameson, Fireball, and Old Dominick.

In the late afternoon the fun kicks into overdrive, as it will be time for Grandma’s Meatball Eating Contest. Perhaps you have tried the meatballs with spaghetti or on a sandwich at Bardog, or on a pizza at Aldo’s Pizza Pies. Those meatballs are Aldo’s grandmother’s recipe, and will will see who can eat the most balls with their hands behind their back in a set period of time.

Then it will be time to take the electric shaver to Taylor! You’ll get one last chance to drop in a donation before the clippers are turned on.

This is a fun, fun, fun event and I encourage all of you to come out. I will be there for the entire duration of Monroe Fest, noon to 6, and I plan on taking some pictures for the blog. Every year this festival raises more and more money for St. Jude. Together we can kick the amount raised into six figures for 2017!

VERY IMPORTANT PBR NEWS: LYFE Kitchen has $2 PBR at the bar all the time

This is the breaking story I had to confirm via investigative research today. Yes LYFE Kitchen has $2 PBR happy hour 4-6 PM. However, if you sit at the bar it’s always happy hour.

There you go: Be seated at the bar any day, any time and enjoy happy hour pricing. Above are their other specials. All domestic beers are #2 but why would you want anything other than PBR?

I had the parmesan encrusted chicken for dinner at LYFE. It comes with black bean relish, quinoa, smoky pepper aioli, and seasonal vegetable.


LYFE had beers from three of the best local craft breweries in Memphis, Wiseacre, Memphis Made, and Ghost River, as well as regional offerings.

Elvis Week events at LYFE

Huge thanks to my friend Ariel who bartends there for making me aware of this. LYFE was not really on my radar before. It definitely is now!

Sleepy time. Back tomorrow with more news.

New Sunday brunch menu at the Silly Goose starts today

One of the reasons the Silly Goose went nonsmoking indoors beginning yesterday is that they are rolling out new menus, and they want the food to be properly enjoyed. The new brunch menu is available 11-5 today. Here it is (click the image to view in a larger size):

They have a Pomme Rosti for $16. If your first reaction to this is, “WTF is a Pomme Rosti?”, you’re in good company. PBS ChefSteps to the rescue.

They also have fried rice, a bacon and egg entree, and a “basic lady” for vegetarians. They also have a variety of sweets. Solid menu that I think I will be a big hit.

They’re rolling out new bar and dinner menus too. I didn’t get photos but there was a duck entree and a friend chickpea appetizer.

Good day yesterday… I led off at Bardog, where Panda played the entire Dark Side of the Moon album on the jukebox. It had been many years since I heard it all the way through. Pure musical genius.

Later in the day I was up at the Silly Goose. You remember those peanut butter cookies that showed up in the Moody Ques’ booth at BBQ Fest? They were back yesterday. Our teammates Jeremy and Jeana brought them, from a bakery in Kennett, Missouri.

A little Internet research revealed that the bakery is named Causby’s and it seems to be pretty famous. Those of you traveling north to catch a Cardinals game might want to make a quick detour to Causby’s to pick up some goodies. Of course it goes without saying that you need to stop at the home of the throwed rolls too.

Almost time for D-RANKS with Jeannette today at the Blind Bear. B-RAD suffered an injury playing football with his son and his friends, so he will be out for a few weeks. I will be at the Bear for a few hours then I have to leave to go conduct some research. I got a lead on a major news story yesterday that will be of interest to people who appreciate the finer things, but I want to check it out for myself before reporting it on here because it sounds almost too good to be true. That’s it for now. Back tomorrow with more.