Muck Sticky at the New Daisy tonight

This will be brief because I’m blogging from my iPhone. In my earlier post this morning I forgot to mention something else going on Downtown tonight… Muck Sticky at the New Daisy. Talented artist with an inspiring positive outlook on life. If you haven’t heard him before, search YouTube to see some of his videos.

What to do tonight: Alley Jams or Trolley Night?

First day of vacation went okay last night… I started at happy hour at the Saucer, but a lot of people were starting to come in for a young lawyers’ event and I knew the place was going to get crowded.  I remembered it was poker night at Max’s (the former Calhoun’s) and decided to head south.  My winning streak didn’t continue this week… about an hour in, I lost on a hand that was rather interesting.  Poker is all about getting your opponents to make bad decisions.  This hand was a case where all three of us in the hand did the correct thing, and yet only one person can win.  In this case, it wasn’t me.  I analyzed the hand a few minutes ago on my poker blog.

It’s the last Friday of the month, which means it’s Trolley Night in South Main.  Most of the galleries and shops will open from 6 to 9 and invite shoppers in.  Many of the stores offer wine and hors d’oeuvres to their guests.  There are usually bands and street performers outside, and lots of folks come out to mingle with their neighbors.  When the weather is nice (as it should be tonight), the SMA grills out, offering free burgers, hot dogs and Ghost River beer to its members.  Free food?  Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up.  Trolley Night is always a good time, and normally it’s on my agenda every month.

However, this time I have to make a decision, because there’s something good happening in the Downtown core as well.  It’s the third in the Alley Jams concert series, with Ryan Peel and the City Champs performing at Main and Peabody Place.  There will be food and drink vendors there as well… sales start at 4:30, music at 5.  More info about tonight’s show can be found here.

It’s also Disney on Ice at the FedExForum, and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that’s high on my list of things to do.

I hope you realize I’m joking.

Anyway, I’ll try to hit both events, and happy hour at the Saucer, this evening.  In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy my second day on vacation.  My e-mail Inbox is really backed up… over 100 messages and I don’t know if I’ll get it cleared today.  If you send me anything, apologies in advance if I take a couple of days to respond.

I may go back to Lunchbox Eats today.  That burger sounded absolutely delicious.  It will be my last chance to get to try it for a while.

Looks like plans for an Arkansas-Alabama game watch party have fallen through.  Now I have to figure out where to watch it tomorrow.  Calhoun’s, er, Max’s, will likely be too crowded for my taste.  Wonder if the Saucer can be convinced to put the sound on for the game.

May post more today since I’m not on a schedule.

Cubicle-free Thur update: Bon Ton Cafe, Memphis Sounds, Pink Pig party, new vintage store Downtown, panhandling

Ahhh… I’m going to enjoy this Thursday update, which is not being typed from the confines of a cubicle on a lunch break.  Let’s see what we’ve got…

Bon Ton Cafe is making a comeback.  Mac Edwards posted on Facebook this morning, announcing that it will be open again in early 2011, and everyone is invited to “like” the cafe on Facebook to stay up to date on its progress.  The breakfast/lunch restaurant on Monroe closed unexpectedly when the owner died two years ago.  Being only 50, he hadn’t bothered to create a plan for keeping the restaurant going.  Glad to hear it’s coming back, as that was one of my favorite meat-and-two lunch spots Downtown.

Another Downtown business is also on Facebook – Memphis Sounds Lounge, the blues lounge on Third Street sharing a building with A&R BBQ at Court.  You can “like” them and receive news about the place.  I’d tell you more, but when I try to pull up their page I get “An error occurred while processing your request” and a reference code.  Damn Facebook sucks.

Shelton Clothiers is having a birthday party for its Pink Pig line of apparel!  Wear your Pink Pig attire to the store between 5 and 9 PM Friday, October 1, and enjoy Squeal Street BBQ, wine, and Ghost River beer.  Free food?  Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up.  No alligators, whales, or polo players allowed.  Don’t own any Pink Pig merchandise?  Buy a T-shirt that night for $10, a hat for $15, or receive $10 off any knit.  Ladies can wear their Pig apparel down the street at Christine by Shelton Clothiers for a 20% discount that evening.

A new vintage shop, Hoot + Louise, will have its grand opening at 109 G.E. Patterson tomorrow night during Trolley Night.  A friend of the owner sent me some info about it.  Here’s what she had to say:

Named for the owner’s grandmother, Hoot + Louise reflects the style and charm of Louise “Hoot” Williamson. “Hoot” is a one-of-a-kind woman, and her uniqueness serves as inspiration for the hand-selected items you’ll discover in this eclectic boutique. The feel at H+L is like granny’s living room, where old mingles with new and where everyone feels at home.

We encourage our customers to cozy up with a cup of tea and browse our carefully chosen vintage, new and handmade apparel, jewelry, accessories and gifts.

For years, Anna Avant has looted her grandmother’s home of its retro knick-knacks to add charm to her own Memphis home. A self-confessed shopaholic, Anna loves handmade apparel, unique jewelry and rare gifts. So when Anna left the corporate world to open a boutique, she hoped to bring to clients similar treasures to those shes taken from granny’s house. Except the buttermilk pie. Thats only for Anna.

I heard this afternoon that the mats the CCC ordered, which will mark zones Downtown where panhandling is permitted, have arrived and they will be out October 1.  I am about to meet my friend Mike King at the Saucer… he has received details on where these mats will be placed.

Working on the Best of Memphis commentary, but it’s not done yet… perhaps tomorrow or this weekend I’ll get it up.  Time for BEER!  I like it when I get to do the entire 3-hour happy hour at the Saucer.

3rd Period Smoking Birds @ Lunchbox Eats

Today I made the walk to Lunchbox Eats, the school lunch-themed restaurant that just opened at 288 S. Fourth just south of Linden.  I ran into two of my friends there, who happened to arrive just as I did, so we all sat together.  The entire menu looked good, but all three of us arrived at the same order… the 3rd Period Smoking Birds sandwich, pictured above.  It’s turkey, chicken and duck along with their veggie slaw, stacked on two slices of buttery 7 grain whole wheat bread.  It’s served with Tri-Bird Pan Liquor and your choice of BBQ sauce or green tomato relish.  The sandwich was out of this world.  I’m glad they brought extra napkins because this thing is as messy as any BBQ sandwich.  Which is not a bad thing – messy usually equals good when it comes to dining in Memphis.

They told me that their Graduation Burger is also popular, and reading the menu I can see why.  It’s a juicy cut of meatloaf, tunneled with pepper cheese, topped with mashed potatoes, tomato gravy and crispy tobacco onions on white bread.  That will be my next meal there, although since I work in Horn Lake, who knows when my next meal there will be.  It’s open Monday-Friday 10-3.

Congrats to my fellow Best Blog winners – it’s a good thing for Memphis

So, I came in third, tied for third actually, in the Best Blog category of the Memphis Flyer’s 2010 Best of Memphis poll.  I’ve had a few people ask I’m disappointed about it.  Maybe a little, but overall I think it’s a very, very good thing for Memphis.  In 2010, a vibrant, thriving city needs to have many good local blogs writing about it.  We haven’t always had that.  In 2008, when I won, I was happy I won, but I thought, “there really need to be others…”  Now we’ve got them.  Some are new.  Others have been around for a while, and are finally getting some much-deserved recognition.

As I mentioned yesterday, Kerry Crawford’s I Love Memphis Blog is a pleasure to read.  She truly does love the city and is the perfect person to be promoting it.  I have learned about many things going on around town from her blog.  And, if you meet her in person, she is sooooo nice.  She could not have deserved her first-place win more.

I didn’t discover the Eat Local Memphis blog until relatively recently, but I can see why people enjoy it.  I’ve already picked up a lunch recommendation from the blog – Lunchbox Eats, where I will probably go today or tomorrow.  Well written, laid out well, lots of photos of the food.  If you want to step beyond the Chili’s and the Applebee’s of the world, this blog will tell you where to get some delicious food prepared by people who are part of the fabric of the city.

On the other hand, I’ve been reading Dining with Monkeys for years.  I actually went to college with Stacey, and met her when I had a paper-typing service.  I’d type papers for $1 a page on my Macintosh SE with 9-inch black and white screen, and print them out on my Apple ImageWriter dot matrix printer.  If it was a really important paper, I’d put the paper on disk and go to the computer lab to print it out on the LaserWriter, with its stunning 300 dpi resolution.  Ah, those were the days.  But anyway, Stacey was a good writer even then.  I really enjoy her restaurant reviews, and even if you don’t have kids (or “monkeys” as she calls them), there’s a lot to be learned about Memphis restaurants from reading her blog.

It’s a very, very good thing that these blogs have gotten as popular as they are.  They dispel the myth that there’s nothing to do in Memphis.  People will read all there is to do (and eat) and get out more and start enjoying Memphis, and saying good things about it, creating a positive snowball effect.  People from out of town will read these blogs and want to visit, or even relocate here.  Disappointed that I didn’t win?  Like I said, a little, but overall, I am thrilled to be mentioned in the same breath as these bloggers, and thrilled that I’m one of the people spreading the good word about Memphis.

I will say that I’m proud of one thing I’ve done on this blog though – even though it got popular and became a source of information about Downtown Memphis, it never stopped being my personal blog.  I never stopped voicing my opinions and doing things my way.  I had to deal with people saying I hate the homeless because of my anti-panhandling posts, even though I’ve said repeatedly I’m not after the homeless but rather the scam artists who operate Downtown.  I’ve had to deal with people who think Tube Top Month is not politically correct.  Then there are the people who got their panties in a wad over my references to “Brick.”  But you know what?  I don’t care.  I’m going to do the thing these people dread the most – I’m going to keep on being me.  I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who voted for me and got me to the top three.  I write this blog for you and I appreciate your readership and your support.  I intend to keep writing for you in the year ahead.

Commentary on the other categories still to come.

Hungover, cubicle-free post

I think I’m going to swear off liquor altogether.  Not all alcohol, mind you – beer will still be on the agenda for sure – but lately liquor has not led to good things.

With a party to attend and a vacation day today, my plan was to have a blast at the Memphis Flyer party, then come back Downtown and hang out at the Saucer until close, and then try to carry on at either Bardog or the Silly Goose.  Didn’t happen.

The plans changed at the Flyer party, when Air Traffic Mike and I decided to do Fireball shots with the Bardog winners.  A few minutes later, another Fireball shot arrived.  Followed by another one 40 minutes or so later.  By the time I made it back Downtown to Bardog and then the Saucer, I was wobbly.  Only made it a little past midnight.

The food at the Memphis Flyer’s Best of Memphis party was superb.  I actually had to pick and choose and not load up at the first food station I went to, because there’s only so much room on a plate.  Pizza from Memphis Pizza Cafe was an obvious selection, as were BBQ nachos from Central BBQ.  And the sushi!!!  All three sushi winners – Sekisui, Blue Fin, and Sekisui Pacific Rim – catered the event, and the sushi was just amazing.  Sushi covered a good portion of the real estate on my plate.

It was also good seeing the new Playhouse on the Square.  Tip for those who haven’t been there – there’s a bar at the back of the first floor that is very very comfortable.  It kinda feels like “Cheers.”  The stage and seating area is a big improvement over the old space.  The new theater is very well done.

And yet, I kinda didn’t like it as a venue for the Flyer party.  Previous parties have tended to be in big, open spaces, like last year’s at Minglewood Hall, with food stations and bars along the walls.  I think those venues work better for this kind of party than Playhouse.  And WTF was up with “business casual attire” on the invitations?  A dress code at a Flyer party makes about as much sense as my BBQ team throwing a potluck and saying “vegetarian dishes only please.”  Dress code or not, I wore jeans.

All right… trying to clear the cobwebs out of my head and get the day started.  I may make some changes to the layout of my blog today and get rid of some of the sidebars I haven’t updated in a while.  Also need to get back in touch with someone who claims they can serve up relevant ads on my blog.  I don’t mind ads on here if they are indeed relevant – for example, Groupon is relevant because restaurant deals are something my readers would be interested in.  Car insurance is not relevant.  I may give it a shot, but if I don’t like it I won’t hesitate to take it down.

Also going to go through the list of Best of Memphis winners, and will post comments about the poll.  Check back – I’m not confined to a schedule and a cubicle today, so there will be more posts!


“Well, if I lose this year, I hope it’s to Kerry.”

That was my thought as I completed my Memphis Flyer Best of Memphis ballot a couple of months ago. A lot of Memphians think it’s “cool” to bash their own city. I’ve always thought, for us to take the place we deserve as a first-class place to live, we’ve got to stop doing that, and start talking about all the wonderful things Memphis offers. Kerry Crawford’s I Love Memphis Blog does just that. Every day she offers up evidence that this is a vibrant, diverse community with tons of things to do. She’s one of the rare people who has managed to turn her passion into a job. It’s great that she won and I heartily congratulate her. Congrats to her on winning Best Twitterer too. If you’re not following her at @ilovememphis, you’re missing out!

The important thing for me is not so much winning, but making the top three so I get invited to the annual Best of Memphis party the Flyer throws, which is one of the best events of the year. The restaurant winners in the poll do the catering, and guests walk from station to station to sample the best food in town. And, of course, there’s beer, which I like. I’ll be rolling out there with Air Traffic Mike about 6:00. The party will continue once I get back Downtown, because I’m taking the rest of the week off!

Okay, let’s get on to the news.

MPACT Memphis has a very cool event coming up next Tuesday, September 28. It’s one of their “Happy Hours with a Twist,” and they’re partnering with Team-Up Grizzlies Mentoring to present opportunities to mentor in the Memphis community. Nonprofits including Youth Villages, Memphis Prep, Girls Inc., and Families of Incarcerated Individuals will speak. Oh and I guess you might be interested to know that there’s an OPEN BAR for members from 6-8 ($5 nonmembers). There will also be free snacks all night long. Free food? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up. The event will be in the beautiful lobby of the Westin Hotel.

The Downtown Neighborhood Association meeting is also on the 28th, and it sounds like a good program: The Watoto Memphis Dancers will perform, and Donald O’Conner of Watoto will speak about how the organization is getting kids excited about music, dance and their heritage. The other speaker will be Paul Morris, president of the CCC. Meeting will be in the Folklore Hall of the Center for Southern Folklore, and Circa will provide light hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.

Look for free Budweiser when you go out in the next week. Bud is launching its largest ever free-beer campaign to attempt to freshen its image. Bud’s not my favorite beer, but if it’s free, heck yeah I’ll drink it. More info here.

It’s Oktoberfest stein night for “Buy the Beer, Keep the Glass” night at the Flying Saucer. I saw a preview yesterday and it’s one of their best offerings in a while. If you want a beer stein, stop by at 7:00 and buy one.

This is pretty much all I’m doing in my lunch break today… given the food situation at tonight’s party, I want to show up with an empty stomach. Everyone have a good afternoon, and congrats to all the Best of Memphis winners! As soon as I see an issue, I’ll comment further on this year’s BOM poll.

Tue update: Lunchbox Eats, Trolley Night, Marley’s restaurant, and more

The Memphis Flyer’s Hungry Memphis blogger recently made a visit to Lunchbox Eats at Fourth and Linden. That 3rd Period Smoking Birds sandwich, made with turkey, duck and chicken, looks really good… it’s a turducken on bread! I know where I’m going for lunch either Thursday or Friday when I’m on vacation.

Lunchbox Eats was also featured on Kerry’s I Love Memphis blog yesterday. She had the chicken and waffle sandwich.

You know, Lunchbox Eats has only been open a short while, but it seems to be the latest restaurant in Memphis that everyone is talking about on social media. YoLo and Muddy’s Bake Shop are other restaurants that have benefited from the viral effect online. I guess the same could be said for the Midtown Chik-Fil-a when it opened. Glad to see it happening to Lunchbox Eats, as the previously dormant South of Forum neighborhood begins to awaken…

It may not seem like we’re approaching the end of September, as temperatures continue to hover around 100, but Friday is the last Friday of the month, and that means it will be Trolley Night on South Main. This month, area businesses are forming a Food Chain on South Main.

Support the Mid-South Food Bank by bringing a bag of non-perishable food products or a monetary donation to be dropped off at one of the South Main merchants participating in the Food Chain. There will also be artwork on display at area merchants, which will be auctioned off in a silent auction with proceeds going to the Food Bank. There will also be entertainment by the students of the Visible School in Founder’s Park. I must admit I don’t have a clue where Founder’s Park is. I guess I need to find out before Friday.

Couple of news links from Action News 5: Marley’s is almost ready to open in the former Plush Club space at 380 Beale. It will be a family restaurant with Caribbean fare, and Caribbean bands on the weekends. Downtowners: Please support this business! This is our chance to put the era of the Plush Club behind us for good.

Also from Action News 5: Ground Zero got evicted from its space on Beale Street. Sounds like all the partners weren’t on the same page and somehow the rent didn’t get paid. Hopefully they’ll figure things out and re-open.

The Lowenstein Building is about to have a tenant on its ground floor. ServiceMaster by Stratos, a janitorial company that, among other facilities, keeps the FedExForum clean, is moving in. That corner has been vacant for a long time and it is GREAT to hear it will be occupied again! Recession or not, Downtown is booming.

Lunchtime, and I’m thinking about giving Maria’s a second try… just checked Foursquare, and I don’t see any douche checked in, so off I go!

Woot-off today is putting various items on sale throughout the day.  Reload their page frequently to see if there’s anything you want, and if you see “Random Crap” (or “Bag of Crap” as it’s commonly referred to), buy immediately.