So, yesterday was the Overton Square crawfish festival. I didn’t go, although it looked like a lot of fun from the photos I saw on Facebook and Instagram. As I went through my normal Saturday routine Downtown, I thought to myself, Hmmm, I didn’t go to Cooper-Young Fest last year either. In past years I would have thought it unthinkable to miss either festival. Why don’t I care about outdoor spring and fall festivals as much as I used to?
And then the answer came to me.
You see, in the past festivals were a big deal to me because a large number of people attended. I’d see people I only got to see once or twice a year, and reconnect and catch up with that is going on in their lives. Those kinds of moments were the things I looked forward to the most, even more than the food, the drink, the live music.
But now I don’t need to reconnect with those people. I’m friends with them on Facebook. Not only do I keep aware of the big events happening in their lives, but what they had for breakfast as well. I can post to their timeline anytime I want, and they can post to mine. They can invite me to events, and I can invite them to events. As a result, I really don’t feel the need to go to festivals like I used to.
Anyone else experienced this? Is Facebook a festival-killer?
So anyway, I went through my usual Downtown routine yesterday, starting at Panda’s bar at Bardog, and then Christina’s bar at the Saucer. (On the way to the Saucer I stole the Foursquare mayorship of Scratchy’s Alley.) After a couple of Saucer beers I decided it was time to think about food. I remembered a tip I received last month that I had yet to follow up on: Someone told me that Hard Rock Cafe had an excellent burger. I decided to check it out.
As I’ve written in the past, Hard Rock’s kitchen makes everything from scratch, rather than relying on pre-prepared Sysco foods. So, it’s probably fairer to compare their food to a mom-and-pop place than other chain restaurants. I got the Legendary Burger, a burger with the traditional trimmings weighing in at a whopping 10 ounces. As you can see, rather than sliced onions they topped it with a fried onion ring, which I thought was a nice touch. I ordered it medium and slathered on mayonnaise and mustard (but not ketchup – not a fan of ketchup as a condiment) before digging in.
The verdict? Well, I don’t give star ratings or try to declare one burger as the “best” – that’s Seth’s thing, and besides, this is a Downtown blog, not a food blog. However, as a Downtown blogger, I can comfortably say this: There are certain go-to spots I have where I know I will get a really good burger: Kooky Canuck, Dyer’s, Huey’s, the Majestic Grille. After eating most of the Legendary Burger (I knew I wouldn’t be able to get the entire 10 ounces done), I deem it worthy of a spot on this list. The cheddar, bacon, and onion ring all contributed to a thoroughly enjoyable taste.
The real standout of my Saturday afternoon lunch, however, was the fries. As I munched on them I thought, “now, these definitely came from a scratch kitchen.” I have a list of my favorite fries Downtown too, including the Brass Door’s chips and the Majestic’s parmesan fries. The Hard Rock’s fries are right up there with them.
I also found that I rather enjoyed the fact that I was seated with mostly tourists, and got to be the local giving advice to those around me. “What time should we get to the arena for the Grizzlies game? Are there any movie theaters Downtown? Which is the best club to go to tonight? etc.” When I hung out at the Tap Room as my main bar, I talked to tourists all the time. Now my three main bars are the Saucer, Goose, and Bear, which are mostly locals. I need to hit Beale a little more often.
Service was excellent and efficient. To be fair, I should mention that Hard Rock’s management is well aware that I write this blog. However, the other guests at the bar seemed to receive the same excellent service I did, so I don’t think they pulled anyone aside and said “take extra good care of him.”
If you want to try a Legendary Burger, tomorrow would be a good day. Say “Tax Day Special” to your server tomorrow and get the burger for only $10.40. They have other burgers besides the classic, including a chipotle/guacamole burger, a hickory bacon BBQ burger, and a Buffalo/blue cheese burger. They have a veggie burger for non-carnivores, and if you’re not that hungry they have a smaller 6 ounce burger too.
Moving on to other news: The Belz Museum is taking 25% off all of its Japanese merchandise this month. Inventory includes geisha dolls, sake sets, Japanese table tiles, Zen gardens, and the Asian Dreamland CD. Good opportunity to gift-shop for friends and family who love the Land of the Rising Sun. The Belz Museum is in Pembroke Square, with an entrance between the Center for Southern Folklore and the Blind Bear on the Main Street Mall.
One of the endearing features of Max’s Sports Bar is that they serve old-school square lunchroom pizza, like you had in the school cafeteria when you were 10. However, if you’re a North Mississippi suburbanite and don’t get north of State Line Road much, there’s good news for you: Now you can get lunchroom pizza too. Boiling Point has started carrying it on their late-night menu.
So, I finally did my taxes this morning. I don’t know why I put them off every year. TurboTax had everything done in 25 minutes and I got a federal refund. The only irritating thing is that I owe money to the state of Mississippi where I work – not much, just $22. But I have to go to the trouble of printing out a payment voucher, writing a check, and sticking it in the mail, because Mississippi is too backward to allow people to debit their bank accounts. And of course my printer at home isn’t working.
Plans for today: My friend Moody is having a birthday brunch at Bardog today at noon. Bardog opens at 11 though, and I’m a big fan of showing up early, especially when there’s PBR. This afternoon I’ll hit the usual spots then play poker at the Blind Bear at 6:30.