Wed update: Redbirds, cigar event, congrats to Drew Barham, and more

Big win for the trivia team last night. Our tab starts anew with our $50 prize. We also won a $25 Blue Fin gift card which will be auctioned off within the team.

Rocky Patel, a cigar producer who has been called America’s top cigar celebrity, will be in town for a big event Saturday, August 28. From 11 AM to 4 PM at Primetime Sports Bar, there will be cigars, a grand buffet, giveaways, and live auctions, with the biggest prizes being 10 all-inclusive trips to Patel’s resort and cigar factory in Honduras. Tickets are $50; there are also $250 and $350 ticket levels offering more access to Patel. The event is sponsored by Havana Mix, and will feature the introduction of Patel’s new Beale Street Cigar, which will be sold exclusively in Memphis. For more info or to buy tickets go to

The Redbirds kick off their final homestand of the year tonight, which continues until Tuesday, August 31. Friday the 27th will be the final fireworks show of the season for the Redbirds. Other highlights include Fan Appreciation Night on Saturday with prize giveaways, and Singles Night on Tuesday. For the Tuesday game there will be a Single Mingle on the club level prior to the game, and a Memphis area bachelor and RedHot will be up for auction during the game. Mention the bachelor’s name, Mark, at the box office for discount on Club level seats. Visit for more information.

Huge congratulations to Memphis Tiger player Drew Barham on receiving a scholarship this year. Coach Pastner was so impressed with walk-on Barham’s performance in 10 practices and on the recent Bahamas trip that he believed Barham had earned the scholarship. You know, I was listening the other day to someone complaining about how they can’t catch a break. Well, Drew Barham is an example of how to make your own luck. He went out there and worked hard and constantly tried to improve every day. When you do that, unexpected good tidings often come your way. You don’t make your own luck by sitting around and listening to Howard Stern all day.

Thinking about hitting up poker night in the basement of Bardog tonight. The past two times I’ve played live, the card gods definitely have not smiled upon me, shoveling way more than my fair share of trashy hands my way. Hopefully tonight will be different.

Elsewhere Downtown, Rusty Lemon performs at the Silly Goose at 9:00. I believe Brick is working tonight, so Rusty Lemon may not be the only entertainment. Oh that reminds me… I have a new quote of the week from her… it will be coming soon in a post…

Tue update: Happenings at Goose and Rehab tonight, City Taste canceled, fundraiser for Willie Kemp’s mother, Memphis PHP, and more

A few options if you’re looking for things to do tonight: First of all, there’s live music at the Silly Goose, by Star & Micey, at 9 PM.

Meanwhile, over at Rockbottom in the basement of Rehab Disco, DJ EZ-Lay spins ’80s music from 10 to 3. There will be beer and shot specials.

The organizer of The City Taste event, scheduled for October 9 in the One Commerce Square building, has decided to cancel the event. Sad to see that it won’t happen, as I was really looking forward to a quality food event so close to home. Although, with it not happening, that pretty much makes my decision that I’ll go to the Cooper-Young Brewfest which happens the same day. September, October, April and May are hard months to schedule events without them conflicting with several others (not to mention football in the fall months).

The monthly Memphis PHP meetup will be at LunaWeb Thursday night, August 26 at 6:30 PM. Paul Jones will speak on the topic “Organizing your PHP projects.” There will be snacks and drinks (I heard something about pizza). Free food? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up, even though she knows nothing about PHP. You can RSVP to attend and get more information here.

This isn’t a Downtown event, but Downtown businesses have donated prizes and I wanted to mention it: A fundraiser called “Unity Day” will be held in Audubon Park Saturday, August 28 from 11 AM to 1:30 PM. This event is to raise money for a kidney transplant for Maxine Kemp, mother of former Memphis Tiger basketball player Willie Kemp. There will be food, games, prizes, a silent auction, live blues, autograph sessions, and appearances by the Memphis staff and players.

Some people just don’t get it dept., vol. 1: I got an e-mail wanting me to join a grass-roots movement to create a third political party for the 2012 election. The subject of the e-mail: “Geering up for the 2012 election.” Um, when you misspell the first word in the subject line of your message, it’s kind of hard to take you seriously. Message moved to the trash. If it is indeed a serious movement, firing their communications person should be priority one.

Some people just don’t get it dept., vol.2: I received three e-mails this morning from someone wanting to “place an ad in my paper,” soliciting a tutor for their child. Um, this isn’t a paper. This is a blog. There’s a big difference. I suspect a scam. That message is heading for the trash too.

Time for trivia at the Saucer.  Think I’ll work on a few plate beers tonight.

Big party this Sunday in the alley next to Bardog Tavern on Monroe

It may not be fall quite yet, but the start of the fall outdoor party season is upon us. It kicks off this Sunday, August 29, with Bardog Tavern’s second birthday. They’ll be partying in the alley next door to Bardog from 9 AM to 6 PM, and then the party will continue inside until 1 AM.

This year it’s a party with a cause: Most of the money raised will go to St. Jude. I say “most” because St. Jude does not accept donations raised from the sale of alcohol. That’s okay, though, because there are still many more opportunities to support the cause, including a dunk tank, VIP tables, raffle, 5K, and food sales. Call 901-275-8752 to reserve a table.

There will be a “Bust Grandma’s Balls” challenge, to see who can eat the most meatballs in 8 minutes. These are Bardog’s famous meatballs, whose recipe came from Aldo’s grandmother… and Grandmom herself will be there to judge the competition. They’re still looking for contestants – call 901-275-8752 if interested. The event will occur at 5:30 PM in the alley.

You can reserve a 6-10 seat VIP table for $1500. Each table gets a bottle of Fireball, a bottle of Jameson, and unlimited sliders and PBR. Bardog will also put a banner on your table, to show your company or organization’s support of St. Jude.

There will be an all-day raffle going on from noon to 6, with great prizes like a New Belgium Fat Tire bike to be won.

There will be a dunking booth, and you can buy balls and attempt to dunk your favorite bartenders and servers. If you weren’t there last year, let me tell you, Jean in the dunking booth is a sight to see.

“The Backsliders” will provide live music in the alley from noon to 6.

Before the party, there will be a Bardog 5K to raise funds for St. Jude. The first 150 entrants will get a goody bag with a T-shirt and mug. Race starts at 9 AM, and participants get free PBR and burgers until 11 AM. Sign up for the race here. Not a runner? Doesn’t matter, there will be plenty of people walking.

You can view my photo album of last year’s party here. I took almost 150 pics. Actually, I took over 150 pics, but about 10 of the dunking booth were deemed “not fit for public posting.” Which is all the more reason you need to be down there, so you don’t miss those moments. There are also a few videos on YouTube – search for “Aldo getting dunked” or something like that.

This is the best alley party of the year thrown by any Downtown bar. You don’t want to miss it! And the weekend after that, festival season really kicks into high gear with the Memphis Music & Heritage Festival. More details on that festival coming soon.

Memphis Strip @ Blues City Cafe

As always on Monday, I went to Pint Nite at the Saucer, where I met my friends Clay and Lee.  I started at the bar, but comfy couches and chairs came open, and we decided to relax.  Lil’ Kim, realizing we were now in her section, came over, and said, “Paul, can I get you anything?”  I realized I was in her section as well, and as I would do for any server who was kind, friendly and courteous, I started a tab with her.  Since I’d only had one beer at the bar, I transferred it to Lil’ Kim.

About 9 we decided we were hungry.  Lee was celebrating a milestone at work, so we decided to go to Blues City Cafe to celebrate with ribs and steak.  My order was the Memphis Strip.

Glad I let Clay talk me into the steak fries, as opposed to the new potatoes.  The fries were perfect for rubbing in the drippings from the steak.

We finished up and were about to leave, when the server told us we had to stay.  The manager had identified us as locals, and decided that we needed to try an apple dumpling for dessert.  A few minutes later, it arrived at our table.

I thought about texting the Nuh-Uh Girl and asking her if an apple dumpling showed up at her table the last time she ate at Blues City, but really, I was just too busy enjoying dessert to pick up the phone.

A couple more beers at the Saucer and a great Monday night winded down.  Good times with good friends.

Mon update: Uncle Lou’s sale, ATM $100 challenge update

It’s a slow Monday and there’s not much to report, so I’ll keep this one brief.

Usually when I post about deals, I restrict them to Downtown restaurants, but today I’m going to make an exception. LivingSocial has a deal for $20 worth food and drink from Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken for $10. The deal expires at midnight. Having worked near the airport for a year, I am familiar with Uncle Lou’s, and it is worth the drive to Whitehaven – it’s on Millbranch just south of Winchester. Some people think the chicken is better than Gus’s. The burgers are also considered to be among the best in town. If you’ve never been to Uncle Lou’s, this is your chance to try it while saving some money.

Speaking of saving money on food, my friend Air Traffic Mike continued with his $100 challenge yesterday. On day 2 of his quest to see how long $100 will feed him, ATM cooked breakfast. For about $1.75 grocery cost, ATM made a breakfast bowl of biscuits, tomatoes, bacon and eggs that looked every bit as good as the brunch items the Sunday Fun Day crew ordered at the Majestic. He washed it down with a 24 oz. PBR that, bought in bulk from the Cash & Carry, cost about a dollar more. As I’ve noted before, ATM has a nice pension, and if he wanted to eat out and drink beer all day, he certainly could have done it. He has the income, and he also doesn’t have to worry about driving home. With the challenge, however, he’s demonstrating that one can have a lot of fun on Sunday Fun Day without spending upward of $50. He’s alluded to a “change in circumstances” that will let him loosen up on beer purchases within the challenge, and I can’t wait to hear what that’s all about.

Monday roundup: $2.75 Pint Nite at the Saucer. Half priced wine and pizza at Spindini. Trivia with Will at Local at 8. Texas Hold’em at the Silly Goose, two games at 9 and 11:30.

Gone with the Wind at the Orpheum this afternoon

If you’re trying to think of something to do this afternoon, Gone with the Wind is playing at the Orpheum at 2 PM.  Most of us have seen the movie on TV, but I’ve been told it’s magnificent on the big screen in a theater that was around when Gone with the Wind was first released.  It’s part of the summer movie series.

Still annoyed with myself for allowing our trivia team party to be scheduled the night of Rocky Horror.  From now on I’m going to check event schedules to see what’s conflicting with potential party dates.

Up early enough to go out when the restaurants open at 11 AM.  Probably I’ll do brunch at the Majestic, although Kooky Canuck also looms in my mind as a possibility.

Exceeds expectations

Last night got off to a slow start.  Was bored at the Saucer.  Was bored at Bardog.  About 11 I got hungry for breakfast food, and decided to go back to the Saucer, to bide my time waiting for Cockadoos to open at midnight.  As I walked down Second, I got a text: “Don’t you dare walk past my bar without coming in to say hello Pau Pau.” It was Lana from Kooky Canuck.  So I turned around and doubled back to Kooky, where I had a beer with Shawn and Lana and had a really good time.  They wanted me to go with them to the Memphis Sounds club on N. Third Street, but I was tiring out and needed to get some food and get home, so I took a rain check.

And I literally mean a rain check – by the time I left Kooky, it was pouring outside.  Thank goodness Cockadoos is only about 50 feet down the street.  I made the dash down there.

My original plan for Cockadoos was to try an experiment.  I have some Chinese mustard and soy sauce packets at home, left over from a visit to Wang’s.  I was going to order two of Cockadoos’ country ham biscuit sandwiches to go, and take them home and experiment with Chinese mustard and soy sauce as condiments.

However, I wasn’t interested in walking home in the rain, so I decided to dine in.  I ordered the hash browns ($2.99) with added toppings of cheese, bacon, and mushrooms for 50 cents each extra.  I wasn’t expecting much.  “It’ll probably come with a few sprinkles of cheese and a few bacon bits,” I thought, “but at this point, I just need food in my stomach.”

This is what came out:

The hashbrowns were absolutely smothered in cheese, large pieces of bacon, and plenty of mushrooms.  Every bite was delicious.  They really loaded me up and this was a real value for $4.49.  Talk about exceeding expectations!

Do the Air Traffic Mike $100 Challenge for 71% off

Yesterday I posted that my friend Air Traffic Mike is doing a $100 challenge – he bought $100 worth of groceries, and starting yesterday, he’s seeing how long he can live on them, how cheaply he can eat.  ATM is a retired air traffic controller and can afford to eat out every day, but he was just curious how much money he could save, if he needed to in these tough economic times.

I did a little searching and found a way to do the $100 challenge even cheaper.  There’s a nonprofit program called Angel Food Ministries that sells food in bulk at very affordable prices.  You don’t have to be unemployed or on government assistance to qualify – anyone can order from the organization.  You pick up your food package at one of the many delivery points, which are mostly churches.  A search revealed 37 delivery points within 20 miles of the 38103 zip code.

Every month they sell a box of food for $29 that will make healthy, delicious, balanced meals for about a week.  Their August box includes four 6 oz. New York strip steaks; 1.5 lbs. breaded chicken nuggets; 2 lbs. ground beef; 1 lb. fish wedges; four 6 oz. pork chops; 1 lb. pasta and a 26 oz. jar of pasta sauce; broccoli, carrots, corn and cauliflower for veggies; and milk and eggs.  At only $29, you could do the $100 challenge and still have $71 left to spend on beer.  Or, if you’re out of work, you have $71 left over to put away for a rainy day, or to spend on a professional resume writer or interview coach.

They have other specials too.  If you don’t like to cook, they have a box of a dozen frozen dinners.  They have an after-school box for kids.  They also have veggie boxes, and for those who like to grill they have a grill special box full of quality meats.  All of these contain enough food for about a week, and none of them are more than $29.

For more about Angel Food Ministries, visit their website.

Air Traffic Mike’s $100 challenge

Fellow blogger Air Traffic Mike is a retired air traffic controller.  Even in retirement, air traffic controllers make very good money, and he could afford to eat out every day if he wanted.  However, times are tough, and he sympathizes with people he knows who are out of work.  So he decided to do the Air Traffic Mike $100 challenge.

He went to Schnucks and bought $100 worth of food.  Starting today, ATM will cook and eat at home, and see how far he can stretch his $100.  He’s not eating “beans and rice, rice and beans” all week either.  He bought the staples that were in his pantry growing up – ground beef, pork spare ribs, fish, chicken.  He’s an excellent cook, so he’ll probably be eating better than he would if he went out.

He figures he can make it until at least the first of September on what he bought.

It will be interesting to see the meals he posts, although we’ll miss him at the bars for the next 10 days or so.