New Mexican joint, weekend festival info and more

There’s a new restaurant on Beale called Burrito Blues Mexican Grill. It is in the old Johnny G’s Creole Kitchen location near Club 152. I will try to find a menu and post a pic or a link soon.

Festival season continues and I have three to tell you about, two huge ones and a smaller one, happening Downtown this coming weekend.

On Saturday, the 13th annual Southern Hot Wing Festival happens at Jefferson Davis Park, just south of the Tennessee Visitors Center on N. Riverside Drive. Many cook teams will compete to see who has the best wings, and if you drop a dollar or two in the can for Ronald McDonald House, many of the teams will give you a sample. There will also be a wing eating contest, silent auction, kids’ corner, food for sale and more. $12 tickets, or $10 if purchased in advance at Mapco or Ronald McDonald House. Kids under 12 get in free. Outside coolers and pets are not permitted at the festival.

Wing Fest is a good festival but I am undecided whether I will go… by the time I pay to get in and donate to sample wings, I’m out about 20 bucks and I haven’t even bought a beer yet. Then again, I get to see people at these festivals who I rarely see other times during the year. Don’t know. If I don’t do the festival, my usual lineup of Panda Time and librarian glasses will be in effect. No Farmers Market trip Saturday no matter which plan I go with.

Sunday is the Beale Street Wine Race. Teams from bars and restaurants all over the city (but many Downtown) compete in four events. There is an opening parade where teams attempt to win Best Float. Then there’s Queen of the Vine in Handy Park, where women shake their stuff in bikinis and answer pageant questions. Next up is the grape stomp, where the team that stomps the highest volume of grapes wins. The final event is the wine relay itself, where teams of four see who can run the fastest down Beale with a tray full of wine bottles and glasses.

Wine Race is debauchery at its very finest, and if you have never gone you should see it. In my opinion the first two events, the opening parade and Queen of the Vine, are the best, so try to get there right at 1. There is rule against nudity at Queen of the Vine, but sometimes when all that dancing happens on stage, a nip or a vag pops out, and well, accidents will happen. I do not recommend bringing your kids to this, unless they grew up around the bar scene. I have seen people bring dogs. Needless to say I will not be missing this one, although I may not take photos as I have in years past. The Blind Bear is participating and they have already ordered a team shirt for me.

The 8th annual Dead Elvis Scooter Rally happens this weekend. Here is a note they sent me about the event:

“The Memphis Kings Scooter Club, established in 2003, is Memphis’ largest and oldest scooter club. We welcome all sizes, shapes, and makes of scooters. Throughout the year we have group rides and socials, attend out of town rallies, participate in parades and other local events such as Bike Night on Beale Street, and host an annual rally. This year we are hosting our 8th Dead Elvis Scooter Rally, Friday– Sunday, April 24 – 26. Come join us for scooter socials, short rides around the city, and long rides through the winding country roads of West Tennessee. We are also having our scooter games and scooter judging at the Mud Island River Park. Sunday morning the rally will conclude with an Awards Brunch and Scooter Raffle. For more information please visit”

Bleh. Back to work after a 3-day weekend and the week is not off to a good start. I lost my parking pass to my Downtown garage and had to go get a new one. Two bugs flew up my nose. And I am finally starting to accept a situation I desperately tried not to accept for over a month, up to and including this past weekend. I still have the best group of friends I could ask for, though, and I hope to hang out with some of them tonight. Home from work, now it’s time to begin my quest for PBR.

Drinking game

This weekend I was thinking, I wonder if anyone has ever made a drinking game about my blog/Facebook statues/life? So this morning I woke  up a little early and made a list.

Mentions PBR – 1 drink
Mentions tube tops – 1 drink, 2 if it’s during Tube Top Month
Mentions the Nuh-Uh Girl – 1 drink
Posts pic of the Nuh-Uh Girl eating – 5 drinks
Posts pic of the Nuh-Uh Girl NOT eating – 20 drinks
Mentions any of the following bars: Flying Saucer, Blind Bear, Bardog Tavern, Silly Goose, Max’s Sports Bar – 1 drink

Mentions any of the following: Panda Time, Melissa Monday, D-RANKS with B-RAD, librarian glasses – 1 drink
Mentions Brooke – 5 ounce Fireball shot
Pro wrestling reference – 1 drink, 2 if Ric Flair is mentioned
Mentions the BBQ team – 1 drink
Refers to self as “Mr. Load-in” or “Moody Ques workhorse” – 2 drinks
Mentions that my team won a trophy in 2014 and Squeal Street did not – 3 drinks
Mentions that my BBQ team owns a flamethrower – 4 drinks
(I mentioned the flamethrower :mrgreen: )
Photo of my BBQ team’s booth – 5 drinks
Photo of my BBQ team’s booth and there’s food in it – chug
Uses the word “shitshow” – 1 drink
Uses the word “dranks” – 1 drink
Chair dancing – 1 drink
Mentions the Arkansas Razorbacks -1 drink
Mentions how much I hate Bruce Pearl – 1 drink
Mentions how much I hate UT and/or Ole Miss – 1 drink
Mentions poker – 1 drink
Wins poker night – 3 drinks
Wins poker league final table – 10 drinks
Posts pic of gong won at poker league final table – 20 drinks
PBR hoodie – 1 drink
Mentions how many plates I have at Flying Saucer – 1 drink for each plate, currently 8
Sleep Out Louie’s reference – 1 drink
Travels east of Danny Thomas on the weekend – 5 drinks
Travels east of East Parkway on the weekend – 25 drinks
Gets rained on at a Memphis in May event – 10 drinks, 20 if Music Fest
Mentions the creepy guy who shows up at the same places I do – 1 drink, plus an additional one for every time he says “Well, you know…” or “ONE… more.”
Mentions cougars – 1 drink
Posts Flying Saucer selfie with object balanced on head – 10 drinks
Posts pic of Blind Bear crawfish mac – 2 drinks, 4 if there’s also a PBR in the photo
Posts pic of Majestic Grille filet – 2 drinks, 4 if there’s also a PBR in the photo
Posts pic of self dressed up as a Saucer girl – drink until blind
Mentions “halftime” nap – 1 drink, 2 if I fail to wake up from the nap until the next morning
Posts pic taken on any rooftop – 1 drink
Shows up to first bar of the day on Saturday/Sunday with wet hair – 1 drink
Drinks Miller High Life pony at Cafe Keough – 1 drink
Wears Ickey Woods “get some cold cuts” shirt – 1 drink
Posts Wine Race photos – 1 drink, 5 drinks if there are wardrobe malfunctions
Call-a-Cab (the Wet Willie’s drink) – 3 drinks
Mountain Dew -1 drink
Mountain Dew Kickstart – 2 drinks
Mentions Romanian girls -1 drink
Posts “ROMANIAN GYMNASTS!!!!!” during the Summer Olympics – 3 drinks
Air Traffic Mike comments “Well, you know…” on my Facebook status (just to clarify, he isn’t the creepy guy I referred to earlier) – 1 drink
Orders ranch instead of ketchup – 1 drink
Mentions panhandlers – 1 drink
Mentions bacon – 1 drink
Mentions Fireball – 1 drink
That’s all I can think of for now. Will add to the list later. Probably back at lunchtime with a post.

Mexican restaurant opening in the core soon and more Saturday news

Mexican food is about to return to the Downtown core. The MBJ has a sneak peek of Agave Maria, set to open soon in the former Pa Pa Pia’s/Cafe Samovar location on Union across from Mesquite Chop House and Scratchy’s Alley.

The Majestic Grille is having the next in its “10 til 10” series on May 5 leading up to its 10th birthday. Deni emailed me the menu for the next in this special sinner series (not a typo – it was in the email. Freudian slip?) Here’s the menu:

Empanada de Chorizo & Queso de Oaxaca
Enchilada Mole Coloradito de Pollo
Tamal de Puerco
Lisa’s Margarita or Luis’s Michelada

Primer Plato
Cerviche de Pescado
(white wine tbd)

Plato Principales
‘Borrego Adobado’ Braised Lamb Shank Adobado with Ancho Chili Sauce
(red wine tbd)

Flan Mexicana with Orange and Vanilla
Chocolate Mexicano Cordial

The dinner starts at 6 PM and is $65 plus tax and gratuity. Call 901-289-3870 for reservations.

The MBJ reports that Grizzlies home game playoff tickets are still among the cheapest in the NBA. We have the league’s 3rd cheapest, with the average playoff ticket cost at “only” $172.04. What a bargain, and you get a free growl towel!

Last night I hit Max’s, the brewery, and the Saucer. Tried Goldcrest 51 and can say if you’re a PBR fan like I am, I think you will like it. While at the Saucer, Panda checked in at Bardog on Facebook and said that night bartender Melissa “has a TUBE TOP on!” Needless to say, I was sitting at Melissa’s bar about 10 minutes later. Early night for me because there is a lot to do today. I am charging the camera batteries for Downtown Olympics and will be down there in a bit. Due to weather I am going to have to cross Harbortown Crawfish Fest off the agenda. Sorry Charvey but I only get rained on at BBQ Fest and Sunset Symphony. DTO opening ceremonies begin at 10 and I am heading that way.

Friday update

Last night at the Silly Goose there was a BBQ menu discussion among head cook Frank, assistant cook/team VP Clay, and team workhorse “Mr. Load-in.” Now, of course as “Mr. Load-in” I am more interested in planning how we’re going to get all the hard work done to construct our booth, but I do realize that a lot of the team reads my blog and might be interested in what we are going to have to eat.

We will have pork shoulder, of course, since that is our competition entry. I believe the plan is to have it for one of our three meals every day, so the cooks can practice. Brisket sliders were discussed for one of the other meals, and of course ribs will be on the menu too. A fish dish is a possibility as well. Our head cook happens to be the Memphis Farmers Market board president, and he said he is going to use his influence to make sure we have plenty of vegetable sides so there will be healthy choices in the Moody Ques booth. Fried okra (not sure how healthy that is), kale in various forms, and mashed potatoes were mentioned, along with some other veggies. And yes, before Squeal Street members ask, our award-winning Moody Ques microwave popcorn will be back.

Moving on to the news, I love it when someone else does my job for me (I know a lot of you are surprised to hear “Mr. Load-in” say that). Four of Holly’s five things to do this weekend are Downtown: Brewery Revival, Africa in April, Downtown crawfish festivals, and Memphis Brewfest. Click through to her blog to read about them.

A long list of celebrities including sports, outdoors, and racing celebrities will attend the Bass Pro Pyramid grand opening on the 29th.

There’s a guy who solved the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle in 5 minutes, 38 seconds. My friends John D and Otto have a new hero.

Follow @tennbrewery on Twitter to keep up with which food trucks will be at the brewery on days Revival is happening.

There will be a “Show Your Ride” event on and around Beale tomorrow with about 500 Corvettes and 40 Camaros.

I always take a vacation/recovery day the day after Rajun Cajun, so a few hours from now I will begin a three-day weekend. I’m thinking Max’s Sports Bar and then the Brewery will be the running order tonight, weather permitting. Going to be a wet weekend but I intend to make the best of it anyway.

Food budgets for Moody Ques and other local BBQ teams just went up

nuhuh-closeupSome news went up on Facebook yesterday afternoon that is going to dramatically increase food costs for the local teams competing in BBQ Fest this year. The Nuh-Uh Girl has booked a plane ticket to Memphis for that week. For those not familiar with her, she is a tiny little girl who used to live in my building before moving to California to attend sommelier school. There was nothing tiny, however, about the portions she ate, as documented in photos on this blog from 2006-2014. Her favorite things to eat include other people’s food, free food, and samples of food at supermarkets. It’s funny, every time I go to any of the local BBQ teams’ Facebook groups and go through their photos, without fail I will find at least one photo of the Nuh-Uh Girl in their tent.

By the way, BBQ teams that are not local and who are reading this from out of state are not safe either… she’s really good about making new friends at BBQ Fest and then helping herself to whatever food is laid out. I think her goal may be to have something to eat in all ~270 team booths.

The Nuh-Uh Girl had some good news to share as well. She has found a job that will let her put her wine training to good use, and she starts tomorrow. Congratulations to her.

Grizzlies fans instantly recognize the voice of Rick Trotter, the arena’s announcer during games. Want to have Rick say whatever you want? Call into Cerrito Live Saturday between 11 AM and 1 PM, and he will say whatever you like on the air at Sports56/FM 87.7. Call 901-360-8255 or tweet @cerrito with requests.

The Memphis Flyer has news about The 5 Spot’s new food menu. Chef Kelly English describes it as “fancy shitty bar food,” the kind of food you wanted when you were a drunk college student. That description alone makes me want to go there.

Here’s an article about the new Gus’s location to open in Chicago’s West Loop.

Former Tiger Joe Jackson has won the award for the NBA D-League’s most improved player. It’s voted on by the league’s 18 coaches.

Time for work. Possibly back with one more post today.

Aldo’s tip and more Thursday news

I got a good Aldo’s Pizza Pies tip last night: You know the vodka cream sauce that is one of the sauce options for their pizza? You can get a cup of that on the side. “Get some garlic knots and a side of the vodka cream sauce for dipping,” I was told. Yum! Then I got a second tip from the same person: You can get a cup of the poblano cream sauce on the side too.

The Grizzlies now know their playoff destiny. #4 seed Portland plays #5 seed Memphis in the opening round. However, in a strange twist, Memphis has home court advantage in the best-of-seven series despite being the lower seed. Portland won its division and therefore can be seeded no lower than fourth. However, Memphis has a better record than Portland and therefore gets home court. First game is at FedExForum, Sunday at 7 on TNT.

That’s the Spirit, a wine tasting benefiting the Hospitality HUB, is today at 5:30 at Jack Robinson Gallery.

Cultural awareness festival Africa in April kicks off today at the park on Beale just east of Fourth. Honored country this year is Gabon. The festival runs through Sunday.

Fashion news from LOOK magazine: Shop Kylie Jenner’s Stripy Tube Top and Skirt

Grace Askew plays the Blind Bear tonight at 9.

The Downtown Neighborhood Association is having its monthly happy hour tonight at 6 at The Arcade. Casual, no agenda, just friendly conversation.

Gotta get back to work. Doing a fair amount of bar-hopping tonight, so you might see me out.

Peabody rooftop starts tomorrow, a Downtown festival this weekend I forgot, and more Wednesday news

Tomorrow is the season premiere of the Peabody Thursday night rooftop parties. There will be entertainment by Hollywood with special guest Shaggy along with DJ Mark Anderson. The doors open at 6, and the cover is normally $10 but for this special event the cover is $15 this week. Ladies get in free until 7, and the party lasts until 11. Admission price includes a buffet of jerk wings, sweet potato fritters with jerk dip, and pineapple with spiced rum dip. Drink specials for this week include a guava margarita, a Malibu peach sparkler, and Jamaican breeze.

You have the option of buying a season-long pass to the rooftop parties for $150. This gets you into all 18 parties and you get a private area on the rooftop with chef tastings and beer tastings. VIP chef tasting this week includes jerk chicken, pork tostones, Caribbean coconut shrimp, spicy crab balls, pineapple with spiced rum dip, and crudite with jerk dip. The beer tasting this week in VIP is Goose Island IPA.

VIP card holders get other benefits too, including a rooftop party T-shirt, 20% off in several of the Peabody’s restaurants, and 10% off at Sammy Hagar’s bar across the bridge at Southland.

When I listed this weekend’s upcoming Downtown festivals, I totally forgot one: The Harbortown Crawfish Festival happening on Mud Island Saturday afternoon. It’s a fundraiser to benefit the Memphis Food Bank and admission is $5 or two canned goods. One of the most talented musicians I have ever heard, Charvey McLemore, will be performing. Holly has more info about the festival (and Sunday’s Rajun Cajun) here.

Damn. DTO, Harbortown Crawfish, and Memphis Brewfest. That is a STACKED festival day. Not going to Brewfest this year but am going to have to figure out what to do about the other two. Charvey will likely be playing on the Island right when synchronized drinking, the best of the five DTO events in my opinion, is happening on South Main, three miles apart. Going to have to figure that one out. I hope the green buses running the trolley line are efficient. May need them.

Argh… and it’s Goldcrest 51 revival week at the brewery too. There is no way I will be able to do all the things I want Saturday.

And to top it all off, there’s yet another festival happening over in Midtown Saturday: Food Truck Fest. Not gonna make it to that one. Too much to do, not enough time.

AutoZone Park is making national news and unfortunately it’s not good: The park changed its BBQ nachos, going with an in-house vendor rather than The Rendezvous which has done the nachos in years past, and baseball fans are protesting.

Last Saturday night I was at South of Beale for a birthday party. I didn’t eat but people who were at the party had the duck patty melt and had high praise for it, so I wanted to pass that tip on.

Arkansas’ Bobby Portis has declared for the NBA draft, giving up his remaining two years of college eligibility. Not surprised, but the Hogs will certainly miss his contributions next season.

And now it’s being announced that Michael Qualls is turning pro too.

Beer recommendation: Blue Pants Peanut Butter Pinstripe Stout. I had this beer last night at the Saucer after seeing it on the “Just Landed” board. 8%, 15 ounce glass, $6. I did the math and realized this beer had a Value Drinking Index (percent * ounces / price) of 20, an excellent score. I went to the UFO computer (remember when they called it the Beer-Tron-a-Ton? Glad they gave up on that), printed a ticket, and ordered it. It was delicious! Tasted just like peanut butter. I’m not normally a fan of stouts but this one was really, really good.

Speaking of the Saucer, here’s a pic of the 420 glass that will go on sale in less than two hours.

That’s the news. Hope you enjoyed Nikki’s guest post at lunchtime. Outta here for now, time to grab a PBR.

Outdoor events this weekend and more Tuesday news

I’ve blogged several times that the Memphis Farmers Market is more than just produce, and Saturday I tried one of the market’s hidden secrets, tucked away in the back. There’s a tandoori cuisine food truck. I love Indian food and gave it a try.

Photo Apr 11, 10 02 21 AM

I wasn’t hungry enough for a full entree, so I got the curried chickpeas with veggies and yogurt sauce. Really good, although next time I will probably add a little hot sauce to make it even spicier. The truck has an entire menu of Indian dishes, so I will be back. This is one of the few places serving Indian food that has a beef curry on the menu.

You know, I don’t buy a lot from the vendors, but I really like hanging out at MFM. There are a lot of Downtowners I really enjoy talking to who aren’t bar people like I am, but who go to the market.

I finally made it to Brewery Revival on Sunday. They do indeed have PBR, although it costs $5 just like all the other beers. I didn’t care; I happily paid it. They have the Memphis sign where you can get a crayon and write what you love about Memphis. I wrote “TUBE TOPS.” They had crawfish for sale and I was told that is going to be a regular Sunday thing.

Grizzlies flip-flop voucher redemption starts today. Details here.

There are three big Downtown festivals coming up this weekend:

Downtown Olympics – 10 AM to 5 PM Saturday in the area around Max’s Sports Bar and Double J. 16 teams will compete in a bar relay race, beer pong, cornhole, tricycle races, and synchronized drinking. Teams will be dressed up in homemade uniforms. If you want to see Downtowners at their silliest finest, there is no better day to do it. There will be a guest post about DTO on my blog tomorrow. I plan to be there for the entire thing and I guess bringing the camera wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Memphis Brewfest – 4 to 7:30 PM Saturday in AutoZone Park. I’m not going this year due to the conflict with DTO, but I consider it one of the best beer festivals in Memphis. Walk around the ballpark’s concourse and sample many different beers, including some that are not generally available in the Memphis area.

Rajun Cajun Crawfish Fest – 11:30 AM to 6 PM Sunday on the river, on Wagner and Riverside between Union and Beale. Buckets of crawfish will be for sale, but there is a lot more to do than just eat crawfish. Live zydeco music, food trucks, gumbo contest, crawfish races for kids, bobbing for crawfish contest, and of course beer. This is one of my very favorite festivals of the year. The lines for crawfish, beer, and bathrooms get super long mid-afternoon, so best advice is to go early. I will do a very shortened edition of D-RANKS with B-RAD at the Bear on Sunday at 11 then hit the festival about 12:30.

Speaking of the Bear, they’ve scheduled their 16-week poker final table the night of Rajun Cajun. Oh my. I didn’t make the final table this time so it doesn’t affect me, but those who go to Rajun Cajun and party and get wild during the day are going to be at a definite disadvantage at poker.

A note from my friends Dennis and Mary Pat who live in Huntsville, Alabama: Last night they saw a band called The Boxmasters, with Billy Bob Thornton on vocals, They said he was very personable and stayed after the show and did autographs and photos. They noticed that the band will be at Lafayette’s Music Room in Midtown tonight and wanted to recommend them.

Congratulations to Peabody groundskeeper Willie Parker, who won the AHLA Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year award.

Late getting out tonight because I have a date with TurboTax, but I will be out eventually at the usual spots.

Slightly revised: BBQ Fest load-in theme song

There are about 250 BBQ Fest teams, but only one has their own theme song for load-in, which is only three weeks and six days away.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Equipment’s unloading
And the scaffolding
And Natty Light beer
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

The carpet we’re laying
For ice we are paying
For warm kegs we fear
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Porta-potties are green
Staple guns and Visqueen
Put the fridge in the rear
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

There are forklifts and trucks
It may rain, and that sucks
But we have to be here…
It’s the most wonderful time…
It’s the most wonderful time…
It’s the most wonderful time….

VERY important PBR news

So I didn’t make it to Brewery Revival yesterday, and judging from my news feed on Facebook I am the only one in town who didn’t. So I guess this really isn’t news to anyone, but I will report it anyway.

THERE’S PBR AT BREWERY REVIVAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :mrgreen:

A source confirmed it yesterday morning while I was at Bardog. I did such a happy dance in my chair that Panda thought I was having a seizure.

For those who just found this blog and don’t know what I am talking about, Brewery Revival is an open-air revival of an 1890s brewery with live music, great beer, and food trucks Thursday-Sunday through the end of May. It’s at the Tennessee Brewery on Tennessee Street a half block north of G.E. Patterson Avenue.