Best Memphis Burger Festival is today

The big day is here! Today 22 teams will compete for the title of Best Memphis Burger in the parking lot of Minglewood Hall at 1555 Madison. There are four burger competitions: Veggie (turn-in time 11 AM), Anything But (beef; turn-in time noon); Extreme (at least 2 lbs., turn in time 1 PM), and Best Memphis Burger (turn-in time 2 PM). I am one of the judges in the Best Memphis Burger category. I am really looking forward to it. A lot of my fellow judges are people I know from blogs, media, or social media, but haven’t met in person. I am honored that Seth selected me to help pick out the Best Memphis Burger.

The festival is free, but donations to Mid-South Spay and Neuter Services are encouraged. In addition to the burger cooking competitions, there will be a Kooky Canuck Kookamonga eating competition and a children’s chalk art competition. Live music, Minglewood will be selling beer, there will be vendors, and if you want to adopt a pet you can do that too. Come on out!

Fri update: South Main Trolley Tour, Vision Awards, Ghost River video tour, Bikes on Beale, pirate fair, NBA stopping flopping

It’s the last Friday of the month, and that means it’s time for South Main Trolley Tour. Many of the shops and galleries will be open from 6 to 9 PM this evening. Some shops offer appetizers and beer/wine; some offer discounts, and some restaurants in the area will try to lure you in with specials. There will be musicians and street performers, and the SMA will host a blood drive. Beautiful night to get out and mill around and meet your fellow Memphians. Also, Christmas is less than 3 months away, so it’s not too early to scour South Main for some unique holiday gift ideas.

Hoop City Memphis, makers of the “38103” shirt I’ve been wearing lately, will be at South of Beale selling their Memphis-themed apparel. It’s too bad they never took the suggestion to make a 38103 tube top that was requested by one of my readers.

Also at Trolley Tour, look for deep discounts at Delphinium, which is moving to an online presence only. There will be deep discounts at Shop Girl New York, which is about to move to a location in the core. More info on those businesses here.

Read about the recipients of 2012 Downtown Vision Awards here. These are people who have significantly contributed to Downtown’s advancement. The awards were presented yesterday at the DMC open house.

The FuzzyBrew blog has posted a video: Behind the scenes at Ghost River. Good to watch if you’re curious what goes on at a brewery.

Bikes on Beale, the Wednesday night gathering of motorcycles, has been extended through the end of October. Hampton Inn and Suites at Third and Beale sponsored the extension.

There’s a pirate fair on Mud Island this weekend. Yay.

Bad news for Chris Paul and Blake Griffin: The NBA is finalizing penalty procedures for flopping. “Flopping” is when a player hits the floor hard, in an attempt to make the referee believe that the opposing team had committed a foul. Many players in the NBA flop, especially in the playoffs. The L.A. Clippers are especially known for it.

Plans for tonight: I’m going to go to Trolley Tour, and tonight I plan to actually GO and walk around and look at what’s in the galleries. Too often I say I’m going to Trolley Tour and then make a beeline for Max’s Sports Bar or Double J. Hope to see you out on South Main this evening.

The way to my heart

I just got home from Bardog with the Dog of the Day. It’s the “Model T,” available however you want it, as long as you want it with black beans, black olives, rice, pico, and hot sauce. I got mine with potato salad instead of fries. I don’t know what Henry Ford would have thought about the side dish option.

Ladies: Cooking dishes with black olives in them is a key to my heart.

Or, if you can’t cook, wear a lot of tube tops.

Thur update: DMC party, RiverArtsFest admission fees, karaoke for a cause, Red Deluxe new digs, movie attendance, the politics of beer, the CA’s timely news coverage

The Downtown Memphis Commission is having an Open House this afternoon from 4 to 7 at their office at 114 N. Main (at Adams). They will present Vision Awards to honor Jason Wexler, University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, Robert McGowan, Annie Mahaffey, and Jimmy Ogle. Live entertainment will include Preston Shannon, Valeria’s Wings, Misti Rae Warrent, Beale Street Flippers, and Tiger High. Beer, wine, and refreshments; complimentary food by Downtown Memphis restaurants. Free food? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up.

I had heard they were going to be charging admission for RiverArtsFest this year. Here are the details. Free Friday, October 26; $5 admission Saturday, October 27; $5 admission Sunday, October 28 but free 10 AM to noon. This is a great festival and $5 is a small price to pay to get in.

Karaoke for a cause: The Double J Smokehouse and Saloon will have karaoke from 7-11 PM Sunday night in support of the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). There will be food and drink specials. Karaoke is a lot less atrocious when it benefits a charity, so come on down to the Double J and show your support.

Red Deluxe is leasing the office space on the southwest corner of Union and Main. The space had previously been leased by Thompson and Company, which merged with CS2 to become Sullivan Branding.

I’m surprised to learn that there’s someone who goes to the movies even less often than me: 101-year-old woman goes to the movies for the first time

The politics of beer: This chart shows which party you’re more likely to vote for, and how likely you are to vote, based on the beer you drink. My first reaction to this chart is, they left off PBR!!! Unthinkable. At the Flying Saucer, one of the few bars that doesn’t carry PBR, I drink Dos Equis, which casts me as a middle-of-the-road voter and slightly less likely than average to go to the polls.

This morning I pulled up Google Reader on my laptop and looked at the Commercial Appeal’s RSS feed. They announced the winner of the Smokin’ Aces BBQ contest in Tunica. So, the contest ended Sunday and the CA is just now getting around to reporting on it? Not exactly timely coverage. Also, they only covered the grand champions. You’d think they might have mentioned that a local team, Squeal Street BBQ, won People’s Choice for the second year in a row, but nope, they didn’t. Also reported early today was that there are 12 new electric car charging stations Downtown. Other news sources (including this blog) reported that last week. Keep up the good work, CA.

That’s all for now. Plans for tonight: Could head north to the DMC party, south to poker at Max’s, or go have a beer at the Saucer. I’ll make a game-time decision which to do.

Upstairs party rooms at Dancin’ Jimmy’s

Saturday night I went to Beale Street with our local Fireball ambassador and some friends. One of the spots we hit was Dancin’ Jimmy’s, in the space that used to be Pat O’Brien’s. The corner bar and the courtyard area on the ground floor are the parts of the building open to the public. I didn’t take pics of those, because they look much the same as when the place was Pat O’s.

Because we had a liquor rep, though, we got the chance to check out some of the rooms upstairs, which can be rented out for private parties. The upstairs was beautiful. This would be a good place to have a holiday or birthday party, or a corporate gathering. Full bar and access to Dancin’ Jimmy’s food menu, as well as balconies overlooking Beale. Here is a clickable photo gallery. Please forgive the graininess of a few images; I didn’t know we were going to be going anywhere nice, so I didn’t bring my digital camera and had to rely on my iPhone’s cam.

Wed update: Huey’s pint night, ice cream festival Saturday, watch party at SOB, “Hey St. Jude” on Mashable, Tigers TV schedule, gambling rant, and UT students keep it classy

I’ve got some beer news to lead off this Wednesday post. Downtown Huey’s is starting a Wednesday pint night, beginning tonight. All their draft pints will be $3 from 4 to 10 PM.

Looking for something fun to do with the kids this weekend? The Big Scoop Ice Cream Festival is this Saturday from 11 AM to 4 PM. Your ticket ($7 advance, $10 at the door) will entitle you to try a variety of ice cream flavors, frozen treats, and snacks. There will be live entertainment and kids’ activities. Proceeds benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Memphis.

South of Beale will be on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives next Monday, October 1, and they’re having a watch party. Guy Fieri was at the gastropub three days in May filming for the show. Happy hour prices will be extended to the show’s end at 10 PM, with $3 drafts, $4 wells, and $4 happy hour wine. Starting at 8:30 they’ll have pass-around hors d’oeuvres, including some that were on the show. Free food? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up. They’ll also have a special caramel popcorn specialty cocktail to complement their homemade popcorn.

Every morning I check the social media site Mashable to keep up with the latest news. Today I got on there, and said to myself, Hey, there’s St. Jude! The “Hey, St. Jude” remake of the Beatles classic has gone viral to the point that the big news sites are picking it up.

The national TV schedule for Tigers men’s basketball has been released. Among the games are the November 22-24 tournament, Ohio, Louisville, Tennessee, Harvard, and some C-USA games.

Okay. time for a mini-rant. According to this TIME Magazine article, the botched call at the end of the Packers-Seahawks game may have caused $250 million in gambling money to change hands. They say that the NFL, whether it wants to admit it or not, is driven by legal sports betting. From what I’ve observed this seems to be true. I’ve been in sports bars with people who have a total in the 4 digits bet on all the NFL games happening that day. I know of fantasy football leagues where the payout at the end is in the 4 digits.

Yet I can’t go to an online poker site, deposit $200 which is a fraction of one percent of my yearly income, and play tournaments where I never have more than $10 of that $200 at risk at any one time. Because, according to Congress, that could lead to me developing a serious gambling addiction which is a threat to the American family as we know it. It’s all so ridiculous.

You’ve probably heard this by now, but just in case: A University of Tennessee student was hospitalized after he and his frat brothers gave each other alcoholic enemas. They hooked up rubber tubing to stick in each other’s behinds (yeah nothing gay about that at all) and the hospitalized student had a BAC above .40, considered lethally toxic. Way to keep it classy, UT.

I’ll be at Blind Bear at 8 for a special “Jamie trivia” night in celebration of his birthday. Happy birthday Jamie!

White pizza @ Silly Goose

I wanted to try a white pizza at Aldo’s Pizza Pies tonight, but a final table appearance at Blind Bear poker prevented it. Aldo’s shuts down their kitchen at 10 PM weekdays, 11 PM weekends (I believe Thursday is included in the weekend).

What to do if you have a craving for pizza and Aldo’s is no longer serving? Walk down the street to the Silly Goose. They recently redesigned their menu to include more pizzas. A 12″ pizza is just $10. Olive oil, spinach, mozzarella cheese, ricotta. They have plenty of meat pizzas for the same price.

As good as Aldo’s? Impossible to say, because I have not yet had Aldo’s white pizza. But for the hour of the night at which I ordered it, the Goose’s white pizza is PAP (perfectly acceptable pizza). After a 10 minute walk home (funny how a 5 minute walk home turns into 10 after PBR is consumed), all I had to do was heat the slices in the microwave for 30 seconds and they were good to go.

Sorry for no other post today, but there just wasn’t that much news. I hope to be back tomorrow at lunch with something worth reading. If it’s not worth reading, I don’t post.

Back to Aldo’s. Maddison told me she’s bartending next Monday and she may wear a tube top. This needs to happen.

Okay. Drunk. Bedtime.

Mon update: Chili’s, new Blind Bear brunch items, learn to homebrew, and funny BBQ competition story

First of all, a reminder: 100% of Chili’s profits today go to St. Jude. I realize I’m blogging this after most of you have eaten lunch, but if you don’t have dinner plans, how about Chili’s? Let’s raise a big pile of money for the children’s research hospital.

Yesterday I dropped by the Blind Bear while they were serving their Hung Over Like a Bear brunch, and learned that they’ve added a couple of items to the brunch menu. They now have biscuits and gravy, a staple at many restaurants that serve brunch.  They’ve also added chili cheese bear dawgs, a good thing to have during football season. Hung Over Like a Bear brunch runs from noon to 6 PM.

Ever thought about brewing your own beer? The Bluff City Brewers will have a Learn to Homebrew Day on Saturday, November 3.

Social media/marketing guru Jay Baer got fired as a BBQ judge last weekend. It’s not a Memphis-related story, but I thought I’d post it since a lot of my readers participate in BBQ festivals, either as team members or as judges. His story is pretty damn funny.

That’ll do it for now. I’ll be at Pint Nite at the Saucer about 6. Poker at the Silly Goose (8:30) is a “maybe” this week because I stayed out way too late last night.


Fried jalapeno chips @ Flying Fish

Yesterday I took a break from Sunday Fun Day beers in the mid-afternoon to get something to eat. Having not been to the Flying Fish in several months, I went there.

As I walked in, I scanned the Fish’s rather extensive menu. I realized that, although the Fish has been open for more than four years, I have not tried the majority of the menu items. I made up my mind to try at least one new thing. Scanning the “Starters” list, the fried jalapeno chips sounded good, since I love spicy food. I ordered them, and having satisfied my requirement to try something new, I ordered a 3-piece catfish filet basket as well.

Ten minutes later, my buzzer went off – they give you buzzers to let you know when you can pick up your food, similar to the chain Italian restaurant Fazoli’s. I walked up to the counter and found a huge basket of fried jalapenos, with a cup of ranch for dipping.

There were enough that I could have satisfied my appetite just with the jalapeno chips alone. I suppose that would not have been a nutritionally balanced meal, though, so I’m glad I got the catfish too. It seems like frying the jalapenos took out some of the heat. They had a spicy zing but didn’t set my mouth on fire. The ranch dressing took some of the edge off as well. I also dipped some of the jalapeno chips in the tartar sauce that came with my catfish, and that was a good combination too.

At $2.99, the jalapeno chips were an excellent value. I will keep them in mind next time I need an inexpensive snack.

I noticed a couple of changes since my last visit to the Fish. For one, the fried chicken livers are gone from the menu. I guess they weren’t popular. I’m sorry to see them go, though, because my grandmother got me hooked on chicken livers when I was a little kid (back then KFC sold them). They still have the coolers from which you can grab a beer as you wait in line to order, but they now carry PBR in bottles rather than cans. I have a slight preference for the cans, but either will work. I’m just happy to see they carry PBR in any form.

The Fish is on Second across from the Peabody. Great place to bring kids, great people watching at the garage-window seats facing the sidewalk.

Sun update: Memphis-Arkansas bridge tour and free concert in Court Square today

Quick post about a couple of things happening this afternoon…

At 2 PM, historian Jimmy Ogle will lead a free tour of the Memphis-Arkansas (I-55) bridge. As you walk halfway across the bridge, you’ll learn about the river, the other bridges, the railroads, Crump Park, and more. Bringing a camera is recommended. If you want to take the tour, meet at Crump Park on Metal Museum Drive.

At 4, Jeremy Shrader’s Quinessentials play a free concert in Court Square. Blankets, coolers, and lawn chairs are welcome. Pets too, if you clean up after them. This is the first in a 4-week Court Square concert series presented by the DMC.

Fun night last night. I met up with the Fireball people and discovered/re-discovered a couple of cool places Downtown.

Our first stop was Peoples, the pool hall on the less-traveled block of Beale between Third and Fourth. It’s funny, when we think of places to play pool Downtown, we often think of the lone bar table at the Flying Saucer or the Blind Bear. Peoples has about a dozen full-sized tables that you pay for by the hour. Very nice tables, good equipment. The bartender just couldn’t have been nicer, and they have PBR on draft. It’s the first time I’ve been there since 2003, and I don’t know why it’s taken me 9 years to get back. Definitely enjoyed Peoples last night.

Also, Peoples is the only place Downtown where you can get tampons out of a vending machine.

The next stop was Dancin’ Jimmy’s, a bar I have never been to. It’s in the old Pat O’Brien’s location. The corner bar and the courtyard/fountain area are Dancin’ Jimmy’s itself, and then upstairs are several rooms where private events can be held. We got to go upstairs (it helps to have a liquor rep with the group) and the rooms are absolutely beautiful. I took about a dozen pics and will post them when I get more time.

About to head out to brunch at the Majestic. Normally I skip the Majestic on weeks when there’s an Orpheum show, but I won’t get to go next week because I’ll be at the burger festival in Midtown. After brunch I’ll probably bounce back and forth between the Flying Saucer and Blind Bear, with a trip south to Max’s Sports Bar a possibility as well.