Feb 292012
 

I’ll be doing ticket giveaways to the River City Brewers Festival tomorrow night. That’s the festival I wrote about earlier this week – in Handy Park, Saturday, March 31, afternoon (12-4) and evening (6-10) sessions. Last year this festival was loaded with beers not often seen in Memphis, and they were generous with the pours.

Here’s how it will work. Tomorrow night, Thursday, March 1, I will park myself at a location somewhere Downtown. At 7 PM, I will post where I am to Facebook and Twitter. All you have to do is come find me, and tell me whether you want a pair of tickets to the afternoon or evening session. First come first served, and I’ll be there until 8 or until the tickets run out (I have several pairs for each session). Obviously, since this is a beer festival you need to be 21 or over to win. If you look young and I don’t know you, don’t be offended if I ask to see your ID.

Might be a good idea to keep your eye on Facebook and Twitter a few minutes before 7, though, because I plan on getting to the location a little early. I may drop some hints where I am.

Hope to hand you a pair of tickets tomorrow night! Should be a beautiful night Downtown.

Feb 292012
 

One of Magyn's works

I want to start off with a reminder that there’s an art exhibit tonight at the Silly Goose. “Gravitional Anarchy: Works by Magyn Darmstaedter” happens from 7 to 9. $3 house wine and $4 sangria, and music by Jeremy Stanfill.

Tonight is an important Grizzlies game, and not only because another W would improve our chances of getting in the playoffs. Proceeds from tonight’s ticket sales benefit Plus-1, the MIFA program that helps those in need pay their utility bills. Purchase tickets here. If you can’t make it to the game but would like to make a donation to the Plus-1 program, you can do so here.

Tomorrow night, March 1, is Paulette’s 1-year anniversary on Mud Island. They’re offering a special menu for only $19.95 tomorrow night to celebrate:

Starters

FIELD GREEN SALAD
Mixed field greens, iceberg, romaine,
tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots
tossed in tarragon vinaigrette

SOUP OF THE DAY
Made fresh daily

Entrees

FILET TIPS PAULETTE
Fresh beef tips lightly coated with cracked pepper,
sauteed in a Worcestershire cream sauce
with julienne tomato, onion and bell pepper,
served with whipped potatoes

LOBSTER AU GRATIN
Maine lobster in sherry cream sauce topped with parmesan bread crumbs, baked in a casserole, served with roasted new potatoes, fresh asparagus

CHICKEN BROCHETTE
Marinated fillets of chicken breast, mushrooms, bacon, and scallions grilled an a skewer, served on a bed of rice with our creamy mushroom sauce

Glass of Wine
HOUSE CHARDONNAY, CHAMPAGNE, OR MERLOT

To make a reservation, call 901-260-3300 or go to www.opentable.com.

I’d like to offer some words of praise to my BBQ team sponsor WordPress. This morning I had to post a bridge hand to my company’s website, then copy and paste it into a WordPress blog I maintain. I dreaded doing it, thinking how WordPress’s editor would probably screw up the formatting ten ways ’til Tuesday and I’d have to spend a lot of time fixing everything. I pasted, previewed the post, and discovered that WordPress’s editor had maintained all the formatting PERFECTLY. The only work I had to do was change the color of the hearts and diamonds to red, and it was good to go. If you’re setting up a new blog, or if you’re setting up a website and need a content management system so non-technical users can create posts and pages, WordPress is the best.

Plans for tonight: I’m going to attend Magyn’s show, of course. I see from the event listing on Facebook that several of my BBQ teammates will be there – always a treat to hang out with them. Reminds me, I need to spend some time reading Eat Local Memphis, the blog of Thomas who reminded me to post about the Plus-1 event. I like his writing style, and since I’m more or less the food blogger for the Moody Ques BBQ team, perhaps reading his posts will help me write about ‘que more effectively. Anyway, Goose will be the main stop tonight, with side trips to defend my Saucer and Bear mayorships on Foursquare.

Gotta run. They’re about to have Wise Guys Pizza for us at work. (Wow, I didn’t know sites were still hosted on Tripod)

Feb 282012
 

The biggest news today is that the Beale Street Music Fest lineup has been announced. The Flyer has the list here. This looks like one of their better lineups in a while.

Beer news: Tickets for the River City Brewers Fest are now for sale and you can buy them here. There are afternoon and evening sessions available. This is the one that happens in Handy Park. They absolutely hit a home run with this beer festival last year – large serving cups, and lots of beers not usually seen in Memphis. I definitely recommend you go to this if you’re into beer.

The Redbirds are selling tickets for opening night that include 2 1/2 hour buffets. For more information, see this image. There are two buffet options. Game is Friday, April 13 at 7:05 PM.

LaunchMemphis has announced that they are doing office hours, free to the public. You can stop by and get free business advice Tuesdays 9 AM-noon and Thursdays 2-5 PM. Office hours are at the LaunchPad, inside the EmergeMemphis building at the corner of Tennessee Street and G.E. Patterson.

South of Beale will be closed Friday-Sunday. Owners Ed and Brittany are getting married, and they want the entire SOB crew to be able to celebrate with them. Congratulations to Ed and Brittany!

Pigeon news: There’s a pigeon who rides the ferry from Manhattan to New Jersey every day. Wonder if any of our Downtown pigeons will hitch rides on the Great American Steamboat cruises when they begin operations from Memphis?

Plans for tonight: Poker at the Blind Bear, 8 PM. I was in there last night, talking to Jamie about it. If you’ve ever seen the World Series of Poker final table, you know how they put the grand prize – millions of dollars – right there in the middle of the table. Jamie is going to do the same thing for the final table of his 3-month poker league – but his grand prize is going to be an iPad. Still plenty of time to earn points toward the final table, so come on down. Jamie has told me that the game is becoming so successful that both poker tables fill up, plus a third table in the back, and he may have to add a fourth table.

Time to grab a quick bite, then spend the afternoon making a Google Mini search appliance smarter.

Feb 272012
 

Congrats to Chad on becoming the final table winner at the Silly Goose tonight. Poker Jon does a 10-week league and the top 9 meet at the final table for the chance to win a grand prize. Chad eliminated Lauren after a lengthy heads-up session to claim first place.

Jon’s games are free to play and happen at Silly Goose (7:30 and 10 PM Monday) and Bardog (7:30 PM Wednesday). I’ve heard Aldo’s Pizza Pies will be added once open. Each tournament has a prize of its own, usually $50 or something equally good like Grizzlies tickets. You also accumulate points toward Jon’s final table, for a big prize.

Feb 272012
 

Sure enough, yesterday morning I got up too late in time to make it to my usual 11:00 brunch at the Majestic. I got out right before 12, hit an ATM, and checked Foursquare to see where people were. Didn’t matter though – I thought to myself, in past weeks if I don’t get to the Saucer by about 1, bartender Christina will start tweeting “Where’s @paulryburn?” I walked in, and Tiffany immediately went “PAUL!!!!!” and ran over and gave me a hug. I chatted with Tiffany and Brittany for several minutes before going inside to get a beer.

General manager Kirk had the opening shift, and he told me I needed to check out an article about a new concept in bars on CNBC. Manhattan bar New York Beer Company is borrowing an idea from the New York Stock Exchange, and pricing their beers based on supply and demand. A ticker runs along the walls of the bar, listing beer prices. As more people order a certain beer, its price rises. If hardly anyone is drinking a particular beer, its price falls and you get a bargain. There’s a maximum price for each beer, so prices will never shoot to the moon. All beers fluctuate between $4 and $8, so even at the maximum you’re getting a good deal considering it’s Manhattan. For those of you who travel to New York, the bar is at 321 44th Street.

The Bloody Mary bar was back, and Kirk told me more about it. “I started it five years ago, at the Cordova Saucer. By the time I thought about bringing it Downtown, the Silly Goose was already doing their Bloody Mary bar and so I didn’t see the point.” However, the FedExForum asked the Saucer to do the bar a week ago, and it was a hit, so they brought it back yesterday. People seemed to enjoy it, buying a glass of vodka and ice, and then building their own drink according to their taste. Temperatures were in the 60s and the Saucer raised their garage windows for one of the first times this season. Lots of people enjoyed their drinks in the fresh air.

There were a number of hot sauces to garnish the Bloody Marys, and the Saucer girls were giggling because one of them was named Butt Burner. I was going to post a link to it, but it seems there are a number of different hot sauces named Butt Burner. The one they had was green and was jalapeno-based.

“Paul, are you going to go to THAT PLACE again today?” Christina asked me. For the past two months, she has been less than thrilled that I leave at 3 now. I go to Hung Over Like a Bear brunch at the Blind Bear, whereas I used to hang at her bar all afternoon on Sunday.

“Christina, I have to leave at 2:58 today,” I explained. “I’m one day away from stealing the Bear’s mayorship.” On Foursquare, if you check in at a venue more days in the past 2 months than anyone else (only 1 checkin/day counts), you become “mayor” of that venue. When I checked in Saturday, the app told me that I only trailed mayor Puckett by one day. I had mentioned this to people, probably not a good idea because I knew it might get back to Puckett, making him eager to defend his hard-earned mayorship.

Puckett, however, is not a morning person, and by morning I mean 3 PM. I got to the Bear at 2:59, peered through the glass until Jamie unlocked the door, and then hit the “Check In” button and stole the mayorship. Jamie handed my my first PBR of the day. “And, of course, that one’s on us, because the mayor gets their first beer free every day,” he said.

Trouble is, that mayorship is going to be near impossible to keep. Now Puckett is only 1 day from stealing it back. I have a very strong suspicion that at least one other person is also within one day. This is going to seriously screw up my schedule. It’s Monday and I like to spend as much time as possible at Pint Nite at the Saucer (where I’m also mayor). But if I don’t get to the Bear right at 6 when it opens, the mayorship is probably gone. I expect that the Bear mayorship will be traded back and forth between several people for the next two weeks or so.

One of my Facebook friends has started using an app that looks like it has a lot of potential: Oink. “Discover and experience great things around you,” the site says. With Oink, you don’t rate venues, you rate items within those venues. So instead of rating the Saucer, I’d rate their Dos Equis Lager. Instead of rating the Majestic, I’d rate their filet mignon. I grabbed Oink from the App Store yesterday (it’s free). I hope to start sharing stuff on it this week.

I posted links to several excellent photo albums of Double J SmokeHouse and Saloon on the Moody Ques site. I forgot to bring my camera, so I only took a few photos with my iPhone. Glad others got more. Don’t forget that opening night is this Friday!

Plans for tonight: Defend the Blind Bear mayorship, then Pint Nite at the Saucer. It’s the league final table at poker at the Silly Goose, but as far as I know I didn’t qualify, so I get the night off from poker.

4:30 AM

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Feb 262012
 

Apologies to the 98% of you who don’t care, but this is the easiest way of letting the brunch crew know that I probably won’t be there in the morning.

Saucer: May not be there at 12 when you open either. Don’t worry, I’m not dead.

Took a nap midday and this is the result. Ended up trading stories with Steve Anne from Blue Fin for an hour. Well, 90% of the time was his stories, because his stories were far more interesting than mine. He is a treasure chest of knowledge about Memphis. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Now that I’m home, I realize I could’ve stopped at Cockadoos for Paul’s Drunkass Food. Too late to do anything about it now though. Not going back out. See you tomorrow for Sunday Fun Day.

Feb 252012
 

Last night I headed to South Main for a meet and greet at our BBQ team sponsor, Double J SmokeHouse and Saloon. It’s not open to the public yet, but they wanted to let their friends check the place out in advance.

Grand opening will be next Friday, March 2. Based on what I saw, heard, and tasted last night, I think a second trip to South Main is going to be on next Friday’s agenda.

They were handing out plates of really good food prepared by Chef Demitrie. There was flank steak and coleslaw, and later in the evening BBQ sliders. Of course the Nuh-Uh Girl showed up for free food.

The opening band, Vintage

Wagon wheels above the bar

Leigh and Gary

The main stage. They have really gone to a lot of effort to make this an area in which bands will enjoy playing.

Suzy helped Demitrie in the kitchen and handed out plates of food. At one point she had one plate of food left and handed it to the Nuh-Uh Girl. “Here, I know you’ll eat it.”

The Eddie Smith Band took the stage at 8. Their first song was “Livin’ on Tulsa Time.”

If you had told me 10 years ago when I moved Downtown that I’d be hanging out in a saloon, I probably would have laughed. But, this thing totally WORKS and I will be in there from time to time. You can tell these guys absolutely love what they do. They have a real passion for their business and want every customer to enjoy themselves at the Double J.

So when I walk out my front door, I can walk or trolley to an Irish pub, a neighborhood bar, a speakeasy, a lounge, a beer garden, a sports bar, and now a saloon. Downtown Memphis just keeps getting more diverse.

Speaking of that sports bar: After I got done listening to some good honky tonk-style music at the Double J, I walked across the street to Max’s Sports Bar. I got there just in time to watch Bad Shane unwrap his birthday presents.

Winter’s coming to an end and things are starting to heat up Downtown. 2012 looks to be the best year ever down here.

Feb 242012
 

It’s an avalanche of news today. If Monday’s news update was a baked potato with butter, today’s news post is a loaded baked potato with cheese, sour cream, chili, onions, jalapenos, and tomatoes. And bacon. Gotta have bacon. Lots of bacon.

Hospitality industry workers: Church Health Center Wellness will have a wellness day for you tomorrow, Saturday, February 25, from 10 AM to 2 PM. The event will include family wellness check-ups, health screenings, doctor consultations, yoga and stretching classes, healthy cooking demos, activities for children and tours of the facility. The wellness center is located at 1115 Union.

Yee haw! Monster truck show at the FedExForum tonight and tomorrow! Get tickets here.

The Memphis Flyer has a GREAT interview with Eric Mathews, the interim director of Emerge Memphis. He explains how all of the pieces of the entrepreneurial culture developing in Memphis fit together, and does so in a very concise fashion. Read it here.

ArtSpace, the nonprofit that builds affordable housing for artists, will hold a meeting on March 7. They want local input on what to do with the warehouse they recently purchased at 138 St. Paul. Meeting will be at the Memphis College of Art’s Hyde Gallery (477 S. Main) from 5:30 to 7 PM that evening. More info here.

Folk Alliance artists will perform at the Center for Southern Folklore today and tomorrow. Here’s the list:

Friday, February 24
12:00 to 1:00 LISA LAMBERT AND THE PINE RIDGE BOYS
6:00 to 6:45 DAVID OLNEY (with Sergio Webb & Dan Seymour)
7:15 to 8:30 KEVIN GORDON

Saturday, Feb. 25
7:30 to 8:30 THE JAMIE DAVIDS EXPERIENCE
8:30 to 11:00 DEVIL TRAIN

The Peabody is hosting a Titanic 100th Anniversary dinner Sunday, April 15. The hotel’s chefs will replicate what turned out to be the final dinner of the 2200 passengers aboard the Titanic’s maiden voyage. 9 courses, paired with wine, $150. 901-529-4188 for reservations, and you better hurry, because the hotel has tweeted that it’s filling up vast. Valet parking and a take-home memento are included in the price.

The Brass Door will be showing the 6 Nations rugby games that are on BBC America. First game is tomorrow at 10 AM. Here’s the schedule:

England vs. Wales
Twickenham in London
Saturday, February 25, 10 am

Wales vs. Italy
Millennium Stadium in Cardiff
Saturday, March 10, 8:30 am

England vs. Ireland
Twickenham in London
Saturday, March 17, 12 pm

Seth at @BestMemBurger has tweeted that it’s official – Burly’s Burgers at 662 Madison is closed. They were damaged by fire last year and I guess they never were able to recover. Sadly, I never made it to Burly’s.

DNR plays the Flying Saucer tonight. I remember hearing them in the past and being very impressed with their performance. I’m not sure, but I think that was the band that totally nailed a cover of “White Rabbit,” not an easy thing to do. Tonight’s show is an acoustic show.

When I got to work this morning, two mallard ducks were in our pond. Then I heard honking and two Canadian geese flew in and landed. The ducks swam across the pond to where the geese were. I guess the ducks think of the geese as friends. Or maybe they think of them as unusually big ducks.

It’s South Main Trolley Tour tonight, with many shops and galleries open 6-9 PM. I am super excited about getting to visit our BBQ team sponsor Double J SmokeHouse and Saloon for the first time! It’s not officially open tonight but they’re having a meet and greet. I hope to get some photos of the place and chat with the owners. Time to get a few more hours of work done, then I’ll be out and about.

Feb 232012
 

1960s British Invasion cover band Jeffrey and the Pacemakers perform at the perfect Downtown spot for them Saturday night – the Cavern Club in the basement of the Brass Door. Lots of Beatles, Kinks, Animals, Donovan, and songs from other British bands of that era, as well as some American covers. Start time is 8 PM.

The Brass Door also has Amy LaVere in the Cavern tonight (8:30 PM, $5 cover) and Myla Smith tomorrow (4:30, main floor, no cover).

Our BBQ team sponsor Double J SmokeHouse and Saloon is now on Facebook. “Like” them here.

There will be an art show at Art Under a Hot Tin Roof tomorrow, February 24. Title is “Ben Caldwell: Forged Silver & Copper Bangles.” The artist will be present at the show. 4-9 PM. Art Under a Hot Tin Roof is at the corner of Main and Gayoso, next to the Blind Bear.

The Great American Steamboat had its job fair this week, and thousands applied for the 300 open positions. Read the story here on the Memphis Business Journal’s site. It takes a certain kind of personality to handle that 6 weeks on, 2 weeks off schedule, but you arrive back in town with your pocket full of money. Room and board are provided when on the boat, so there are very few expenses when working.

Lifehacker posted a very interesting Wall Street Journal article about how servers read their tables. More and more, they’re being trained to watch for body language and visual cues, and customize their service accordingly. If you dine out a lot, the article may give you some tips on how to act to get the service you desire.

Plans for tonight involve squeezing lots of limes into Dos Equis Lager. I’ll be at the Saucer around 6.