Nov 302011
 

If you don’t want a traditional beef burger at Huey’s, they can accommodate. You can make any burger a chargrilled veggie, black bean, or turkey burger for 50 cents more. Vegetarians and non-red-meat-eaters have options.

I’m a meat eater, but after hearing numerous good things about the black bean burger, I decided to give it a try. I got it with Swiss cheese. And bacon. On the side I got fries, and I requested ranch instead of the usual ketchup for dipping. It is seriously damn good. It doesn’t taste that differently from a beef burger.

I didn’t take a pic (it’s half eaten as I type this) but what a delicious sandwich. Huey burger lovers, open your mind to the black bean patty.

Just be sure to top with bacon. And for bacon, there is no substitute. Bacon.

I would get it again.

Nov 302011
 

If you’re a Grizzlies fan, this blog post by Flyer writer Chris Herrington is a must-read. It spells out what the changes to the NBA collecting bargaining agreement will mean to the Grizzlies. In short, the CBA seems to be a good thing for our team. It will better enable us to compete against large-market teams like the Lakers, Dallas and Miami who don’t mind spending to the sky.

Speaking of the Grizzlies, Kerry from the I Love Memphis Blog has a new project where people read Tony Allen’s tweets aloud. Grizz guard Allen has one of the best Twitter accounts in the city (follow him at @aa000g9). Tony is a happy-go-lucky guy who is more concerned with putting his stream of consciousness on Twitter than about things like capitalization and punctuation. He loves his life and shares it with his fans through his tweets.

There’s a Digital Copywriter position available at Downtown firm archer>malmo. Read the description here. I have several friends who work or have worked there, and without exception they have told me it’s a great place to be. Office is right in the middle of the Downtown core, where you’d be able to walk to places like Majestic Grille, Front Street Deli, Bardog, and City Market for lunch. Free Cokes? That’s a perk I’d love to have.

Just want to remind everyone that the Stumbling Santa Pub Crawl is three days away. If you plan on participating, better find yourself a Santa suit (Party City has them). You also need to pick out a toy to bring with you, to donate to Porter-Leath. Details of the stops on the crawl have not been made public yet, other than it will start at the Flying Saucer at 6:30 PM Saturday, December 3. Follow the Stumbling Santa event page on Facebook to see the list of stops once the organizers get it figured out. One word about the pub crawl – it’s best to bring cash to buy drinks. Big delays can happen at the bars when 250 people, all of whom look like Santa, all try to tab out via credit card at the same time.

If you can’t make the pub crawl but still want to donate a toy, I imagine you could probably drop it off at the Saucer during the day Saturday, and they’ll make sure it finds its way to Porter-Leath with the others.

There’s a Twitter interview with Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay at 2 PM today, presented by the Memphis Redbirds. To participate you need to follow @memphisredbirds and @jonjayU. If you have questions to ask, tweet them to @memphisredbirds with hashtag #twinterview.

Got unpaid parking tickets? Better get them cleared up within the next month. If an ordinance passes City Council next week – and it’s expected to – the city court clerk’s office will start booting cars with 3 or more unpaid parking tickets. If the booting and ticket fees aren’t paid within 48 hours, cars will be impounded. The license plate scanning boxes on top of MPD cars will be used to identify violators. The Flyer has more details here.

All right time for a quick lunch then an exciting afternoon creating web photo galleries. I’ll be out somewhere tonight, Saucer or Goose I would imagine.

Nov 292011
 

If you wanted to own the Bardog hearse, but didn’t win it in the Halloween night raffle, you have a second chance. The hearse’s winner is selling it on eBay. It’s a 1987 Cadillac Brougham hearse. I know the owner personally and he’s an honest guy, so contact him if you have questions about it. Auction ends 5 days from now.

The Daily News had an excellent an excellent article on MemphisWeather.net and meterologist Erik Proseus yesterday. Eric has become my favorite Memphis weatherman because of his knack for explaining technical weather terms in layman’s language. On rainy/snowy days I keep an eye on StormView radar on MemphisWeather.net. His @MemphisWeather1 account is a good one to follow, and he also has apps for iPhone and Android.

Just a quick reminder that the Majestic Grille half-off gift card sale happens tomorrow starting at 8:30 AM. You have to buy them in person, and usually they sell out by about noon. If you can’t get down there tomorrow morning, better make arrangements for someone to buy the cards for you. This is one of Downtown’s best deals of the year.

Eastman & Beaudine has been named as the firm that will search for the next University of Memphis head coach. Here’s a link to their “What We Do” for Collegiate Sports page.

I had fun playing poker at the Goose last night, even though I didn’t win. Shout-out to eventual winner Josh, who had an excellent read on me last night. After playing fairly tight all evening, I shoved all my chips in after missing a flop. Josh correctly guessed I didn’t have anything and his lowly pair of Deuces held up to eliminate me. Well played sir! I love that new 7:30 game, because even if I win, I’m done by 10 and can get a full night’s sleep.

All right, off to lunch. Thinking Quizno’s today. If more news comes in, I’ll do a second post after work.

Nov 282011
 

Today Kooky Canuck announced a new special: Two hours before Tigers men’s basketball home games, until two hours after the end, they will sell 34 oz. cold BLUE Bud Lights for $3.00. Pretty good deal. There’s a home game tonight at 7, so the special is happening now! Might want to get there early and eat too – great food!

Nov 282011
 

BREAKING NEWS: R.C. Johnson is retiring at the end of the fiscal year! Best news for Memphis Tigers athletics in a long, long time!

Well, a wonderful four day weekend has come to an end. I prefer sitting at a bar to sitting in a cubicle, but being back at work is not a bad thing… got to make that money so I can write a check for December rent in three days!

I guess the first thing I’ll do is recap my Saturday night. Get ready for a shock… I LEFT DOWNTOWN MEMPHIS.

And get ready for a second shock… I went to a COUNTRY bar.

Yep, I was hanging at the Saucer with my friend Joe, and he said a group was going out to the Electric Cowboy off Sycamore View. Since I didn’t have plans, I figured, “why not,” and wandered over to Barton Flats to meet up with Joe and my friends Chad, Nikki, Mardoqueo, Robin and the Mad Hatter. Nikki lost a bet as a result of my showing up, and had to do a shot of tequila.

The club was actually very nice. Huge space, clean, reasonable beer prices, lots of pool tables. People were line dancing and two-stepping early on, but later in the evening it was mostly just regular dancing. I was impressed with Joe’s line dancing abilities; I did not dare get out there, since I don’t know any line dances. Was perfectly content to be a wallflower and drink beer. I checked in on Foursquare, which prompted a number of “what the hell?” reactions. Country music is not really my scene but it was a perfectly enjoyable Saturday night nonetheless. Thanks to the manager who came over and talked and told me all about the place. To steal a quote from Raiford, they made me feel more than welcome.

On to the news… Christine by Shelton Clothiers is closing. They will be closed Monday-Wednesday of this week, and then will open Thursday, December 1 with a 50% off sale. Good clothes buying and gift buying opportunity! By the way, men’s store Shelton Clothiers down the street is not closing, and in fact is still going strong.

Hollywood Disco at Main and Vance has been sold. They are getting rid of all the lighting, sound system, appliances, electronics and memorabilia to make room for the new owner’s plans. If you want to buy anything that was in Hollywood Disco, give Anthony a call at 901-692-7042.

The Tigers’ men’s basketball team hosts Jackson State tonight at the FedExForum. Game time is 7 PM. Go Tigers! That should produce a good crowd at Pint Nite before and after the game. Undecided whether I’ll stay at Pint Nite all night, or go next door to the Goose to play the 7:30 poker game.

Nov 262011
 

It looks like the Grizzlies will be going back to work! The NBA owners and players have reached a tentative agreement that would start the season on Christmas, with 66 games. The agreement has to be approved by a majority of owners and players, but it is said that approval is likely to happen. If approved, training camps and free agency would start on December 9. Hopefully the Grizzlies’ first order of business will be to RE-SIGN MARC GASOL!!!

The Memphis Business Journal reports that Memphis in May has bought one of Prince Mongo’s buildings on Front Street. The Cotton Row building will serve as a permanent home for the organization. Good move, and one that underscores the success Memphis in May has had the past quarter century.

Good news for dog owners and art lovers in the Downtown core: The CA reports that the empty lot at Main and Jefferson, once the home of Jack’s Food Store before it burned in 2003, will become The Barking Lot. Dog owners will be able to take their dogs for walks there, and former UrbanArt Commission chairman John Weeden is consulting with the owners of the lot for art possibilities. There will also be space for food trucks to park, and for people to eat. The lot opens December 10.

Congratulations to LSU, who soundly defeated the Razorbacks yesterday. I’m now changing my mind and rooting for Alabama to beat Auburn today. If Bama wins, we will likely have a national title match between two SEC teams who are without a doubt the best in the country.

Stuff to do today: It’s Small Business Saturday, so why not stroll the shops on Main and pick out some Christmas presents? It’s also the first annual Big Wheel Race on Beale Street from 1 to 4. If you want a couple of live music picks, how about Blind Mississippi Morris and Brad Webb at the Center for Southern Folklore (8 PM), and FreeWorld at the Flying Saucer (9:30 PM). If you want to dance, there’s an “I  the ’80s” party at Mollie Fontaine Lounge from 11 PM to 3 AM with “Diamond” Dave Nestler and Justin Hand.

Got another beer recommendation for you, although I didn’t take a pic this time: Abita 25th Anniversary. I printed a ticket for this beer Thursday night at the Saucer, then tore it up after reading that Turbo Dog was the inspiration for it. If you’re a long-time reader of my blog, you know that I’ve compared the taste of Turbo Dog to rhinoceros urine and the sweat off an elephant’s ass. However, the description of the brewing process of 25th Anniversary was intriguing, with flavors of vanilla beans, caramel and chocolate. I got on Facebook yesterday and asked if it was any good, and after getting two votes in its favor, I gave it a try. That is one delicious beer! If you plan to try it, I should mention that it comes in a big bottle (22 oz. I think). It’s 7% alcohol by volume, so you won’t find it at the grocery store.

Plans for today: Beyond the fact that I’m starving and in the mood for chili mac at Cockadoos, I really don’t have plans. I’ll probably go watch the Big Wheel race for a while, and stop in the Saucer at some point (120th consecutive day). Later I’ll decide if I feel like catching a cab out to Mollie Fontaine’s for their ’80s night.

Nov 262011
 

If you’ve kept up with local news, Facebook, and Twitter, you may have heard about the entrepreneurial culture that is growing in Memphis. You may have heard about organizations like EmergeMemphis, LaunchMemphis Launchpad, and SeedHatchery that support local startups. But how do they all fit together? I have to admit I was a little unclear on the concept myself. Tuesday night, local entrepreneur Eric Mathews took me on a tour of EmergeMemphis and explained it all.

EmergeMemphis is the small business incubator down on Tennessee Street. Businesses pay rent for office space, and gain access to value-added services, high-tech education, and mentoring programs. Graduates include RedRover Sales & Marketing, Destination King, and the Memphis & Shelby County Film & Television Commission; these are among the businesses that have leveraged the incubator’s resources to become successful and move out into spaces of their own.

Businesses do have to pay rent at Emerge, though, and I know the rent for a typical office space to be roughly what I pay a month for my Downtown apartment. That’s affordable compared to other office space Downtown, but it’s still significant. For businesses to be able to afford rent, Eric explained, they need to either have venture capital (which is hard to come by in Memphis) or they need to have a good revenue stream. How do startups build themselves from an idea to the point where they can pay rent?

That’s where LaunchMemphis LaunchPad comes in. It’s a coworking space that is one of the companies inside EmergeMemphis. There’s no rent; anyone with an idea can talk to LaunchMemphis about using the space. Companies that cowork there gain access to Emerge’s resources: They can reserve meeting rooms, make copies, access kitchen facilities, etc.

Although many of the well-known current startups in Memphis are tech startups, Eric told me that LaunchMemphis will work with anyone. I was surprised to learn that one of my favorite bars in the Downtown core went through a business plan bootcamp with them a couple of years ago.

If there’s no rent, what does the Launchpad ask of people who come in and use the space? “If and when you get through the process and succeed with your business, we ask that you give back,” Eric said. “Remember how I said venture capital is hard to come by in Memphis? We ask that if you’re successful, that you give back, become an angel investor and help the next generation of Memphis startups.”

In the meantime, Seed Hatchery is addressing the issue of venture capital. “People come in with an idea, and if their business plan is strong enough we’ll make an investment to help them get started,” Eric said. “But we’re serious. We want and expect to get our money back.” Seed Hatchery participants go through a rigorous program that includes mentoring and exercises designed to build successful entrepreneurs. “You basically won’t have a life for 90 days,” Eric said.

Furthermore, some of the exercises are designed to lead to failure, Eric told me, because an entrepreneur needs to experience failure. “The average entrepreneur fails 3.7 times before they start their first successful business.” I remember following one Seed Hatchery startup, Work for Pie, on Twitter. They linked to a blog post describing the intense startup program. They were told that everything they thought they were going to do was wrong, and yet it was refreshing and inspiring because the mentors were willing to give their time to show them how to do things the right way.

The Seed Hatchery program is also designed to be action-based, Eric said. Participating businesses don’t spend a lot of their time reading textbooks or attending presentations by experts in the field. Rather, they get out there and DO. They build their business and learn from their mistakes.

Eric and I discussed the cultural change that needs to happen in Memphis for the entrepreneurial climate to work here. “In Silicon Valley, if people go off and you don’t see them for several months, everyone’s like, oh I get it, they’re starting a business. Here it’s considered weird for people to do that. We need to change that way of thinking.” He also wants to get the entrepeneurial mindset in the schools, because startups are the great equalizer – whether you’re black, white, yellow, rich, poor, or whatever, anyone can make a startup succeed. They just have to be willing to put in a lot of very hard work, and not get frustrated by failure.

SeedHatchery is getting ready to select its 2012 class of startups, so if you have an idea for a business you can apply here.

The chain is not complete yet, Eric told me. The missing piece of the puzzle is venture capitalists that are willing to invest in the Memphis startup market. He told me he hopes to get a new group, Wolf River Angels, going in the coming year to address this and complete the path from idea to success.

Check out the LaunchMemphis website to see the calendar of events they have throughout the year to support entrepreneurial minds: 48 Hour Launch, Business Plan Bootcamp, BarCamp, Tech Cocktails, Ignite Memphis and a lot more. Thanks to Eric for a fantastic tour and an orientation to the Memphis startup scene. If you have an idea for a business, I hope you check out the links in this post, and take full advantage of the resources this city has to offer.

Nov 252011
 

The best winter seasonal beer I’ve ever tried has returned to Memphis. Harpoon Winter Warmer is a spiced ale. The overall character, according to Harpoon’s website, is “a smooth, medium bodied ale spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg.” If you like pumpkin pie, you’ll probably love this beer. As you can tell by the background, I drank this one at the Saucer, but if you don’t like to drink your beer in bars, you might want to call a store like Raffe’s or Whole Foods to ask if they carry it. This is the second time I’ve seen Winter Warmer at the Saucer. The last time they had it, they only ordered one case, so if you want to try it you better hurry and get down there.

I had a great Thanksgiving yesterday. In the early afternoon, I rode my bike over to my friend Bob’s house on Mud Island, where we had turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, dirty rice, salad and bread. This is the friend I sometimes refer to as “Bicycle Bobby.” This photo of his garage explains his nickname:

Bob thumped my bike’s tires and asked how the ride over was. “Pretty rough,” I told him. “I didn’t think it’d be that bad a ride.”

“Well, that’s because your tires are inflated to about one-third of their proper pressure!” he said. I need to invest in a tire pump with a gauge on it.

I rode back Downtown with newly-inflated tires, and sure enough, the ride was much smoother. As always on Thanksgiving Day, I arrived at the Saucer right at opening time at 5 PM. I got fussed at by the girls for not bringing them a plate from my Thanksgiving dinner. What was I going to do, balance it for two and a half miles on a bike? Very interesting night up there, as is usually the case on Thanksgiving. Some of the conversations I had (and a photo I took) have been deemed inappropriate for the blog, but will be shared with select friends.

Maybe I’ll do another post listing events going on around Downtown today, but let’s face it, there’s only one event that matters: The Arkansas-LSU game at 1:30 PM today. If you’re not a fan of either school, here’s why you should root for the Hogs: If the Razorbacks win, then LSU, Bama and Arkansas will remain 1-2-3 in the BCS standings (although probably not in that order). Due to the incredibly stupid BCS rules, only two teams from a conference can play in BCS bowls (national championship, Rose, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta). So the #3 team in the nation will play in the Cotton Bowl, while a crummy Big East team that is not within miles of the top 25 will play in a BCS bowl. That’s so ridiculously stupid that it will force the BCS rules to be rewritten for sure. So, if you hate the BCS concept, root for Arkansas!

Just a few hours until it’s time to CALL THOSE HOGS!!! Currently trying to decide whether Max’s or Saucer will be my watch location. Either way, I’ll have a beer in my hand and will be loudly cheering the Razorbacks. Wouldn’t mind seeing Auburn knock off Alabama today too. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO PIG SOOOOOIEEEEEEE!

Nov 252011
 

If you’re looking for something family-friendly to do today, the Peabody has its annual Christmas tree lighting in the lobby. It will start at 11 AM when the ducks march from their rooftop home to the lobby fountain. Local choirs will perform all day. Immediately after the ducks march back upstairs at 5 PM, Santa and his elves will appear. Good place to take the kids to get them in the holiday spirit.

If you want a non-family-friendly recommendation, I’ve got one of those too, just waiting for iPhoto to finish upgrading. Back soon with another post.

Nov 242011
 

It’s Thanksgiving morning, and I’m up early listening to Kerry Crawford‘s show Mystery Train on WEVL 89.9. It’s the first time I’ve ever listened to it, and it is fantastic! I can’t describe the type of music, because she’ll play just about anything – just tune in and see if you like it. I think you will! She’s on every Thursday morning from 8 to 10 AM.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are coming to the FedExForum early next year. The “I’m with You” tour stops here Friday, February 3. Tickets go on sale a week from Saturday, which would be December 3.

Speaking of December 3, that will be a big day at the Center for Southern Folklore. From 10 to 4 they’ll have a Holiday Bazaar. “Shop the Lore”: Items discovered deep in the Center’s storage area, plus artists and craftspeople selling gifts in the Heritage Hallway next door to the Center at 119 S. Main. Looking for a gift for someone who appreciates regional music and culture? This sounds like the place to shop, and it’s not in a mall! The Center’s Folklore Store will also be open for shopping from noon to 6.

From 3 to 5 in the Center, author Robert Hastings will autograph copies of his book “Back When Mary Alice Was Still a Blonde,” a tongue-in-cheek tale about two bickering southern sisters trying to overcome their differences long enough to plan their mother’s funeral.

Then from 8 to 11 that night, the Daddy Mack Blues Band will perform in the Folklore Hall. It will be a big day for the Center!

The Flying Saucer has had a run of successful beer dinners over the past several years. On Thursday, December 8, they’re going to try something different: A dessert and beer pairing with beers by Lazy Magnolia brewery. There will be 5 desserts, each expertly paired with a beer. Manager Mike was telling me about it last night – he says he’s going to make the desserts himself. Tickets can be bought at the Saucer and are $20 for UFO members, $25 for nonmembers.

Sorry for yet another day without a lunchtime post yesterday. I actually had one, but couldn’t get it done and also eat at the office potluck within one hour. I was working on a rather long post about a tour I took Tuesday night. I got an inside look at how some of the organizations that support entrepreneurship in Memphis – EmergeMemphis, Launch Memphis, the LaunchPad, Seed Hatchery – all fit together. I’ll have it up soon. Could finish it today, but I don’t know if Thanksgiving (when my blog readership is about 40% of normal) is the best day to put it up.

Wow I’m noticing how good the speaker on the Kindle Fire is as I listen to Kerry’s show. I don’t even have it hooked up to external stereo speakers or anything, and yet it sounds great.

I’ll be riding my bike for the first time in a while today. Going to ride over to Mud Island this afternoon, where my friend Bob is having some people over for Thanksgiving dinner. “I like to serve dinner in the early afternoon,” Bob told me. “That way we’re all done eating and ready to go out when the bars open.” I like the way he thinks. The Saucer opens at 5, and Thanksgiving tends to be one of the most fun and laid-back days of the year there, so that’s where I’ll be. If it’s like last year I’ll have my nose pressed against the glass at 4:57.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!