Downtown to get a new brewery taproom and more (Thur update #2)

Awesome news: Downtown is getting a second craft brewery taproom. Ghost River plans to open a taproom at the corner of Main and Crump in time for Oktoberfest. The brewery is opening the taproom as part of its 10th anniversary. The first brewery taproom Downtown was opened by High Cotton two years ago at 598 Monroe.

There’s a new Fast Pass you can buy to skip the line to get on Beale Street. It gets you and a guest free cover at participating venues, and discounted parking at 250 Peabody Place. You’ll receive an e-newsletter about special promotions at the venues on Beale for Fast Pass holders. The pass is valid April 15 to October 1.

You have until April 10 to register for Downtown Olympics and pay your fees in order to guarantee your team’s spot on April 16. Come be a part of the debauchery and hilarity – as a participant or a spectator – and help raise money for the Urban Bicycle Food Ministry.

The Monster Energy Outbreak Tour comes to the New Daisy tonight, with performances by Issues, Crown the Empire, One OK Rock, and Night Verses. Doors at 6, performance at 7. Tickets $25 at the door.

The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses – Master Quest comes to the Orpheum tonight at 8. Come see your favorite game moments from Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda franchise set to a gorgeous orchestral score. The music was approved by Koji Kondo, Nintendo’s director of sound and the Legend of Zelda franchise composer. Tickets are $31.50-$87.50.

This Flyer article on the Memphis Comedy Festival discusses the rise of comedy in Memphis and has a nice piece about the Tuesday comedy nights that happen downstairs at the Brass Door.

Today is your last day to order a special ticket to Jewish Heritage Day with the Redbirds for their game Sunday, April 10 vs. the Colorado Sky Sox. The ticket gets you a commemorative shirt with the Redbirds logo and their name in Hebrew. (I think that’s Hebrew; not Jewish myself so am not sure)

Hay! It’s Opening Day! is the theme of this Saturday’s Memphis Farmers Market. They have published a list of 2016 vendors and if you didn’t believe me when I said there was tremendous diversity in the offerings at the Market, just check out the list.

Want to find a specific vendor so you can get in and out quickly? No problem, the Market has published a week-by-week stall map.

Here’s a Vendor Chitchat with Kathy Katz of Cooper Street 20/20, which sells pre-prepared meals at the Farmers Market. She says her tamale pie is her “underdog,” her offering that is a hit but sometimes doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves. I love tamale pie!

From 8:30 to 11:30 kids can participate in an activity that will teach them about life on the farm. This Saturday kids can learn about seeds and decorate a planting pot to put their seeds in. There will be live music by Tony Manard 8:30-10 AM and Angie Keilhauer from The Voice 11 AM-12:30 PM. The Memphis Farmers Market happens every Saturday from 7 AM to 1 PM at the corner of Front and G.E. Patterson.

With my BBQ team having a regional in Atoka tomorrow and Saturday, there was some question about whether I would be able to attend Opening Day at the Farmers Market. However, Moody Ques pitmaster Frank and vice-president Erik are both on the board of directors of the Market, and they have assured me they understand the importance of me being there. “We will cover photo duties in Atoka for you,” they said. “You go to the farmers market where you belong.” Yay! It’s nice to have such supportive teammates.

That’s the news for now. Hoping these severe storms stay north of us and I have a safe drive home. Out at the Silly Goose after work probably.

The Memphis Farmers Market ambassador to Romania, Paul Ryburn

Yesterday I walked over to the Brass Door to meet some of my friends who wanted to play Diamond Dave’s British Bingo. I got a seat at the bar and Dana, the Romanian bartender, handed me a bingo card and pen. The first game (of six) had already started and Dave had already called quite a few numbers, so I sat the first game out.

“Paul, I have a question about something you wrote in your blog,” Dana said. “This farmers market you wrote about is something I want to go see. How do I get there? Do I walk down Main Street?”

“Yes,” I said, “It is a bit of a walk but I do it all the time. Walk down Main about 12 blocks until you come to a traffic light at a street named G.E. Patterson. You’ll see Earnestine and Hazel’s and the Arcade restaurant at this corner. Turn right and walk less than a block and you’ll see the Farmers Market.”

“Okay, I think I know how to get there,” said Dana. “Now, I have one more question. The hours. You said 7 AM to 1 PM, what does that mean? We don’t talk about times that way in Romania.”

“Okay, I’m not sure I have the words in the right order, but…” I replied, “şapte… ora….”

“Ora şapte,” Dana corrected me.

“Da, da,” I said. “Ora şapte to ora treisprezece.” Romanians use a 24-hour clock and there is no AM or PM.

See? I’m an international ambassador for the Farmers Market. If they count the number of countries from which their customers come, the total just went up by one. I wonder if I get a reward for this, like 49 cents off a bag of kale or something?

When I walk back north from the Farmers Market, I usually encounter a panhandler or two. They work the Civil Rights Museum area facing Main, knowing that it is a good spot to hit up gullible tourists. They tell the tourists they’re trying to get money for something to eat. (“I need money to get a bottle of Night Train,” while closer to the truth, doesn’t play as well.)

So the next time one of them stops me and says, “Look here, big bro, I’m just trying to get something to eat,” I can whip out a just-purchased Ziploc bag filled with green leaves and say, “Sure, man, I’ll give you something to eat. Here’s kale!”

VERY IMPORTANT PBR NEWS: Before I walked over to the Brass Door, I had a beer at the Bear with Greg from Club 152. He told me that on Monday nights, 152 has $2 PBR cans on the first floor. 152 is not on my normal Monday route, but perhaps it will have to be.

Want to stock up on some Grizzlies gear at a deal of a price? Come to the Grizzlies garage sale for St. Jude on Saturday, April 16 from 9 AM to 2 PM (ora nouă to ora paisprezece). There will be over 6000 items for sale, some for as little as $1. Hats, photos, promotional giveaways. PRO TIP: If you want the one dollar stuff, you better be there at nine on the dot.

The CA’s Jennifer Biggs has a first bite of Sabor Caribe, the new restaurant on Madison in The Edge in the old Arepa and Salsa location. Sabor Caribe serves Venezuelan, Cuban, and Puerto Rican cuisine. The food looks delicious. I will have to try this place soon.

Here’s a throwback to the 1980s when Donald Trump’s ego cost 500 Memphians their jobs. He wrecked the Holiday Inn brand name for his own personal satisfaction.

I had mentioned that I would have an update about a new trivia night at the Brass Door on Thursdays. They are delaying that for two weeks. The reason why is that they plan on having two bands next Thursday. They don’t want to start a new trivia night and then not have it the second week. I agree, that is not a good way to develop regulars; waiting is the smart move. I will gather info on next Thursday’s bands for you.

That’s all for now. Time to drive to work. Possibly back later today with a second post.

Wednesday update

Representatives from 19 cities, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, are in town this week to take part in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ innovation efforts, announced Mayor Strickland today. The cities’ reps hope to learn from one another. Memphis is one of five cities, along with Atlanta, New Orleans, Louisville, and Chicago, that has tested the innovation team model over the past four years.

My BBQ team treasurer emailed me and told me that the Moody Ques are ready to open up and add several new members for 2016. Want to be on a BBQ Fest team that has brought home a trophy every year since its inception in 2012? Check out this post on what you get as a team member and the type of teammate we are looking for. We are looking for an additional sponsor too. Email if you would like a packet describing sponsor opportunities.

The Bring Target to Peabody Place petition is up to almost 1000 signatures. A lot of people think the Peabody Place Mall would be an ideal location for one of the retailer chain’s City Target stores.

Tonight’s Memphis-Ole Miss baseball game scheduled for tonight at AutoZone Park has been postponed due to the threat of stormy weather. It has been rescheduled for April 19 at 6:30 PM.

The Grizzlies host the Denver Nuggets tonight at 7 at FedExForum.

Quench is having a wine tasting Friday night from 5 to 7 PM. Stop by for Belaire Luc Rosé’ , Virginia Dare Chardonnay, and Virginia Dare Pinot Noir.

Angie Keilhauer from “The Voice” plays the Green Beetle this weekend. Hear her covers and originals that are making her so popular on The Voice. Food and beer bucket specials all night.

Saturday night at the Beetle, Jimbo Mathus and The Dirty Crooks play 9-11 PM. Beer bucket and food specials during that performance too as guests enjoy their blues, country, and rockabilly style.

Eric Crays, Melinda Milligan and Tony Manard play the Center for Southern Folklore’s Folklore Store Saturday night from 8 to 11 PM.

If you’re one of my neighbors in Number 10 Main, you can pay your rent online now. Thanks for setting this up for us! Rent was my only remaining monthly payment I did not take care of online.

Malco is seeking to turn the Powerhouse building in South Main into a 7-screen movie theater and bar. The building next to Central Station used to provide power for the train station.

The Downtown Neighborhood Association has locked in its spot for DNA happy hour on April 28: Twilight Sky Terrace atop the Madison.

Looks like a rainy drive home. Everyone take it easy on the interstates during rush hour. I will be out after work, Silly Goose probably.

Tuesday update

Last night I posted a detailed look at all there is to do and eat at the Memphis Farmers Market. The MBJ reports that the Market will open with “I do” Saturday. Longtime volunteer Katherine Detroit will get hitched there. The MBJ also reports a new twice-monthly program at the Farmers Market aimed at kids. Kids will learn about animals on the farm, growing crops, and vegetables to eat.

If you can’t make it to the Memphis Farmers Market Saturday, here’s a national directory of farmers markets so you can find one near you. There are over 8500 farmers markets in the US.

If you’re a soccer fan, the second US Men’s National Team Doubleheader will be on tonight at the Brass Door. At 6, the first team gets a rematch in the World Cup qualifying against Guatemala. The team really needs a win here. Then at 8:30, the under-23 team gets a rematch with Colombia in World Cup qualifying. Their last match ended in a 1-1 draw and a win would help the team push on to Rio.

Stay tuned for details on a new Thursday quiz night coming to the Brass Door. They should have information to me about this in a day or so, and I will share here.

Also, I rediscovered something at the Brass Door last night that I had forgot: All appetizers are half off on Monday nights. $3 chicken dip and chips? $3.50 Reuben egg rolls? Not bad at all.

Cafe Pontotoc is changing its hours. No more weekday lunch, but the restaurant at 314 S. Main will be staying open later at night.

The April edition of Drink a Beer, Save a River happens Tuesday, April 12 at the Downtown Central BBQ. There will be $1 off all Ghost River pints. There will also be a special cask that will be tapped, with proceeds from sale of the cask beer going to the Wolf River Conservancy.

Want to connect with people who are innovators, tech enthusiasts, and others in the Memphis startup community? You should check out the monthly Start Co. Lounge for April, to be held at LYFE Kitchen on the 13th from 5:30 to 8:30. Hear fresh ideas while enjoying food and cocktails made with fresh produce.

I approve of this sandwich:

Follow the food truck at @RAWKn_Grub to find out where to get this week’s special.

Memphis Made Brewing Co. has promoted two of its beers, Fireside and Rockbone IPA, from seasonal offerings to beers brewed year-round. The owners found that every time they stopped carrying these beers, customers kept asking for them to be brought back. Memphis Made is also making another customer-friendly change and extending its taproom hours. They were turning a lot of people away at closing time, and since Cooper-Young has a bustling nightlife scene, they wanted to be part of that scene and stay open a bit later. New hours for the taproom are 4:00-10:30 Friday, 1:00-10:30 Saturday, and 1:00-9:00 Sunday.

Abita is rolling into Downtown Memphis tomorrow, March 30, to hand out samples of its Big Easy Session IPA. There will be beads given away and Mardi Gras music. Catch them at Aldo’s Pizza Pies at 8 PM tomorrow and the Flying Saucer at approximately 8:45.

From Money Magazine: Central BBQ and The Bar-B-Q Shop are the two best BBQ restaurants in Memphis. Which is the best?

That’ll do it for now. Leading off at either Brass Door or Blind Bear after work. It’ll be a game-time decision. Back after work or tomorrow with more news.

Farmers Market, Farmers Market, let’s go to the Farmers Market

Longtime readers know I talk about this place all the time, but for the benefit of newer readers, I want to do a complete post about a true treasure we have Downtown: The Memphis Farmers Market. The Market is held every Saturday from 7 AM to 1 PM from April to November at the corner of Front and G.E. Patterson. This coming Saturday is Opening Day.

When you think of a farmers market, many of you probably imagine a few guys in overalls standing at tables selling cabbage and radishes and squash. And it’s true, that stuff is there: If any kind of fresh produce is grown by farmers in the Mid-South region, you will probably find it for sale at the Memphis Farmers Market. You will have no problem getting your fruit and veggie fix there. However, there is so much more to the market than just that. It has been named one of the ten best farmers markets in the United States. Allow me to explain why.

There are people I know who get most of their week’s grocery shopping done at the market – and they are NOT vegetarians. There are plenty of meat vendors who sell at the market. One of them, a seafood vendor I believe, has a refrigerated truck you can walk into and pick out what you want. Pretty much every cut of beef and pork can be found at the market, lamb, chicken, you name it. If it goes moo or baa or oink, it’s probably sold at the market. Fresh eggs can be found there as well. Of course sausage and bacon are on the list of vendor offerings.

The meats are great for grilling season. Last November, the day of the Memphis-Navy game, one of my Facebook friends posted pictures of meats he purchased from a vendor named Pigasus. He was going to take them to tailgating at Tiger Lane to put on the grill. Smart purchase!

By the way, if you don’t eat meat, Pigasus sells BBQ tofu as well. That’s one Farmers Market item you will never see me buy, but for those who eat that stuff, the Market has it.

There are vendors who sell really yummy-looking artisanal breads. I go there and see loaves baked with cheese on top – yum! Ciabatta is a popular option at the bread vendor booths too.

If you want to do a little dipping, check out the booths selling hot sauces, salsas, and other hand-made, locally-produced condiments. Need some dry rub for your meat? The Market’s got you covered there too.

Perhaps you stopped by the bread vendors to pick up breakfast… if you did, you ought to check out booths selling homemade preserves, jellies, and apple butter too. You might also want to take a look at vendors selling homemade tarts and other sweet treats.

Of course, what’s a lunch or dinner without cheese? The Market’s got that too. There is a vendor selling a variety of cheeses each week. Yes they have goat cheese for those of you who prefer it on your plate.

The Market is obviously a great source for people who like to cook… but what if you don’t? No problem, the Market has you in mind too. There are vendors who sell pre-prepared meals, ready to heat and eat.

It’s well known that fans of fresh produce like me love the Farmers Market’s offerings… but what if you want to take it a step farther and grow your own? No problem, the Market has tomato plants and other fruit and veggie plants, as well as seeds for sale. And if you need advice on growing your own food, you’ve got the experts, right there!

Flowers for your dinner table? Check. Several of the produce vendors sell fresh flowers as well. Don’t miss the beautiful sunflowers!

Crafts vendors? Yep, the Market has those too. Stop by the pottery booth and you will meet my friends Gary and Boo, two of the kindest people in all of Downtown. Other booths offer items like bird houses and wind chimes that you can use to decorate your porch and yard.

Are you a coffee lover? Purchase gourmet coffees at the Market, either hot in a cup or in bean form for use in your coffee maker at home.

There’s plenty of treats for you at the Market, but what about the pups? The Market has them in mind as well. There are vendors who sell locally made dog biscuits. Some of the meat vendors sell dog bones. Dogs (other than service dogs) aren’t allowed in the main shopping area, but the Market has a pet-sitting service where you can leave your animal with a dog walker. The dogs have a nice grassy area to play in while you shop.

Or maybe you don’t have a dog, but were thinking about adopting one? You can do that at the Market too. Various dog adoption and fostering services set up shop each week next to the pet-sitting area.

The Market is one place where you don’t have to worry about shopping on an empty stomach… and your stomach might not be empty by the time you leave. Food trucks set up shop in the back each week. These vary, but the Rock’n Dough pizza truck is there most Saturdays. They serve breakfast pizza slices as well as traditional ones. The Central BBQ truck makes regular appearances. Last year they had a tandoori truck that sold Indian-inspired dishes, but it stopped coming in July. I miss the tandoori truck. Even their vegetarian dishes were good.

The So Fresh juice truck was another regular in the food truck area, selling smoothies and juices, as well as add-ons to provide protein and other things the body needs. For vegans, they have vegan forms of protein too. I will advise you that the juice truck is VERY popular and during peak times, waits for a smoothie can run as long as 25 minutes.

One of my favorite things to do is buy a smoothie and then walk around and talk to people I know who are at the Market to shop. I don’t buy a lot of fresh produce myself but I love the Market because it’s an opportunity to run into my friends – friends who don’t go to bars like my regular hangouts like the Blind Bear and Silly Goose, but who I can count on seeing at the Market.

Speaking of the Blind Bear, quick story – my Sunday bartender B-RAD at the Bear saw a photo of me walking around with a smoothie at the Market last year, and commented that I looked menacing. That led me to write a rockabilly song called “Farmers Market Boogie” whose opening line is “Well, I’m the bad, bad man with a smoothie in his hand.”

I’m not the only songwriter at the Market… did I mention there is live music by talented local musicians? Don’t worry, it’s music that is appropriate for the setting… no one is going to be plugging in amps and blasting out a cover of “War Pigs” by Sabbath anytime soon (much to the disappointment of my BBQ teammate Budd Ha). It’s acoustic music by one or maybe two performers. They have two to three live music acts each week at the Farmers Market.

Not only can you buy all kinds of different products at the Market, but you can learn how to cook from some of the best. There are cooking demos on some Saturdays. Chef Felicia Willett from Felicia Suzanne’s is known to give several demos a year, cooking with her line of Flo’s products.

By the way, if you have any doubt how legit the Market is, come down there early in the morning and look around. You may well see Felicia shopping for her restaurant. You may see my friend Michael Patrick shopping for his kitchen at Rizzo’s Diner. You may see Patrick and Deni from the Majestic Grille picking out some locally-sourced veggies. When the chefs themselves shop the Market, you can be confident that there’s good stuff there.

There are activities for the kids every week, so they won’t get bored while you decide which bag of kale is the one you want. There are crafts activities where they can make market-themed items to take home. There’s also a vendor that sells frozen pops that is a hit with the kids – and the grownups too. The weeks the smoothie truck isn’t there, I get a walk-around pop instead.

There are also health demos throughout the year. Health professionals set up shop and give you tips on cooking healthier, preventing heart disease, quitting smoking, all sorts of good things to know.

The Market partners with local organizations to bring other fun demos as well. One week last year there was a performance by Opera Memphis. Another week there was a free yoga class. You just never know what you’re going to find at the Market. However, if you want to know, you can sign up for their mailing list at the bottom right corner on MFM’s home page. You can also keep up by reading this blog. Every Thursday or Friday I post what you can expect to find at the Market that Saturday.

You can also talk to the people at the information booth at the Market. If you like what you see and want to show your support, you can buy MFM T-shirts, shopping bags, koozies, and other goodies. I have two Farmers Market T’s that I wear proudly.

Every year the Market holds a race called Crop Hop 5K that is one of their main fundraisers. After running the race, runners are treated to locally-brewed beer and a buffet. (There’s also an option to skip the run if you’re mainly there to eat and drink.) After the 2015 after-party ended, I was hanging out at Max’s Sports Bar nearby and a runner told me the food was unusually good compared to most race after-parties. They even had a Texan compliment the brisket that was served. You may have read somewhere about the team who did the cooking; they’re called the Moody Ques, I believe. The Moody Ques also cooked for the Market’s fall fundraiser in 2015, MFM@Ten. That reminds me… did you know this will be the Market’s 11th season?

When the weather isn’t scorching hot, I can often be found sitting on the side wall at the Market, sipping my smoothie, eating food truck fare, checking in on Swarm and Facebook, catching up with friends. Due to schedule and weather I don’t make it every week, but when I do I am usually there mid to late morning, departing around 10:40 to meet up with my “DAWG” John D at Bardog when it opens. Sometimes, when a friend comes to the Market with me or if I get caught up in a really good conversation, I will push my departure past 11 and text my “DAWG” to try and save me a seat if he can.

If you read my blog all the time but have never met me, come introduce yourself if you see me there! I love meeting my readers. If you ask nicely maybe I will serenade you with “Farmers Market Boogie” too.

I hope to see you on Opening Day! Back tomorrow with a regular news post.

Great River Indoor Food Truck Fest recap and Sunday update

Yesterday I led off at Bardog Tavern then walked north to the Great Indoor Food Truck Festival at the Cook Convention Center. It was a beautiful day in the low 70s and sunny outside and I enjoyed the walk.

The food truck festival was in the South Hall downstairs, with the food trucks parked outside with a nice view of the river.

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After examining my options, I decided I was in a burger kind of mood. I went to the Memphis Mojo Cafe Street Eats food truck and looked at the menu.

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I decided on the Smoke Cheeseburger, a 6-ounce burger with Gouda cheese, caramelized onions, chipotle mayonnaise (I’m sorry, I refuse to call anything used to top a burger “aioli”) and bacon.

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This. Was. GOOD. To the owners of the Memphis Mojo Cafe food truck: I don’t know if you compete in Best Memphis Burger Festival but I think you should consider it. You would stand a fighting chance of making it on stage to pick up a trophy with this burger. I hate to admit it but this burger was better than the one my own team handed in.

For dessert I stopped by the MEMpops truck.

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This was the Neapolitan pop with strawberry, vanilla (yogurt I think), and Mexican chocolate. They also had solid Mexican chocolate pops as well as coconut-pineapple and mint lemonade flavors.

I walked around South Hall and snapped some photos of the festival. There was live music, about 15 vendors, as well as a game area with cornhole and table tennis. Landers Jeep sponsored the event.

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I want to take a minute to talk about the charity for which the festival raised money, Hospitality HUB. When a person is homeless, the journey back into society can seem like a jump over an enormous chasm. For one thing, homeless people often lack proper forms of ID, such as birth certificates, driver’s licenses, state ID and such that are needed to become employed. The HUB helps them get these. The HUB also gives them a temporary mailing address and a place to receive phone messages, useful when interviewing for jobs. Bus passes and vouchers for nights at the Union Mission can also be obtained at the HUB. Perhaps most importantly, the HUB opens its doors and invites the homeless in for coffee and conversation, making them feel like they are part of the world again.

It is very hard to start a brand-new festival in a city like Memphis, and I tip my hat to the people who organized this event. Having a festival indoor in March was a splendid idea.

That said, I didn’t stay the entire afternoon as planned. I blogged earlier that I planned to eat two or even three meals, but I decided one was enough. There wasn’t as much diversity in the food trucks as I had hoped to see. I had hoped for Mexican food, Asian food, other ethnic specialties. All the trucks there were more or less American food. After the burger I kind of had a “been there, done that” feeling.

By the way: The number one food truck on my list to try right now is 4 Dumplings. I hope they will consider coming Downtown sometime on a day other than weekday lunch.

With unexpected free time on my hands, I walked south to the Blind Bear, stopping at home for a minute to pick up a box of Marshmallow Peeps for Lacey behind the bar and a box for my BBQ team president as well. My mother sent me 150 Marshmallow Peeps for Easter. I like Peeps but I don’t think I can eat that many.

While at the Bear I composed my message to Zoo Brew and Zoo Rendezvous sponsors and zoo members. Let me be clear: I am not going to be militant about this. I am not going to go to the Blind Bear any less if they continue to sponsor zoo events. I am not going to stop going to Aldo’s places if he continues to be a sponsor. However, I realized something yesterday. Previously I had not voiced an opinion on the zoo/Greensward parking issue because I didn’t see it as a Downtown issue. Now I see that it is. Many Downtown restaurants support the zoo. I won’t visit you any less if you continue that support, but as a loyal customer I want to say that I am very unhappy with the zoo and think it is being a poor neighbor. I would encourage you to look for other outlets for your sponsorship dollars if the zoo continues to use the Greensward for overflow parking.

About 6 I decided to walk over to the Brass Door. As I crossed Madison I saw some good news for residents of Bartlett.

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A second Havana’s Pilon restaurant will be opening there soon. If you live out that way, you are going to have some tasty and affordable Cuban food coming your way. Very few of their dishes are over $10 and they come with two sides. My personal favorites are the ropa vieja (shredded beef) and the picadillo (Cuban ground beef). I always get the Congri rice with beans as a side, and usually select the boiled yucca as my second side. Their empanadas are really good too.

I took a seat at the Brass Door bar and Dana, the bartender, said “Can I get you a beer, Paul?”

“Hold on, I want to order,” I replied. “As dori…” Dana’s face immediately lit up.

“As dori un Brass Door roşu, va rog.” (I would like a Brass Door Red, please.)

(They don’t have PBR.)

Dana gave me several tips on learning Romanian – apps to download, TV shows I might be able to watch. I didn’t tell her but I had already downloaded a free learn Romanian app the day before. BBQ team president Clay had made fun of me for playing with the app at Bardog brunch earlier in the day. Meanwhile our friend John D was sitting there playing the Simpsons game on his phone and nothing was said about that.

“I will teach you five new words each time you come in,” Dana said. “If you come here five times a week, you will know Romanian in six months.” If I come there five times a week, I am going to have some very pissed-off bartenders at Blind Bear and Silly Goose who are not going to like their “Paul time” (and Paul tips) diverted to another source. I will have to figure this one out.

Has anyone learned a foreign language entirely through a phone app? Languages are a case where I would be willing to pay for an app, if I knew it was really effective.

While there, I noticed that the Brass Door is having a comedy show Tuesday.

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Here’s the event description, which I stole from Facebook:

The greatest local lineup yet! Award-winner Sammy Anzer talks shop! Award-winner Wes Corwin talks folklore! Award-winner Kate Lucas talks being alive! Ashawntee wins an award! Headlined by the one and only queen of Memphis Comedy, two-time who’s who on twitter and 2015 Memphis Flyer’s Best Local Comedian – Katrina Coleman!

I left the Brass Door about 8. I planned to walk to Max’s Sports Bar, but as I got to the Blind Bear I thought, “This is far enough” and I went in. I was starting to tire out, so I did some bar yoga to wake up.

I can do tree now!
I can do tree now!

Happy Easter everyone! Today at 11 I will be attending a special service at Blind Bear with Reverend B-RAD and his altar boy Rahul. I will bring a few boxes of Peeps up there. I will ask Brad if he wants me to pick him up anything at the Farmers Market this coming Saturday, knowing that he is almost as big of a fan of fresh produce as I am. Rahul will probably jump in that conversation and ask if I can get him a nice long squash or zucchini. Tony will give me a shopping list of fruit to put in his cocktails, I am sure. Time to hit Publish and get outside and enjoy this nice weather!

Attention Memphis Zoo members and Zoo Brew/Rendezvous sponsors

I just posted this to Facebook and wanted to share here too:

I’ve stayed silent on the zoo/Greensward debate because it is not a Downtown issue. Now I am speaking up. I am friends with several on here who are sponsors of Zoo Brew and Zoo Rendezvous. I hope you will consider withdrawing your support this year. Also if you are a zoo member please consider not renewing. It is unbelievable how the zoo has handled their parking overflow. Horribly managed and the City Council shares the blame.

Saturday update

Whew… this morning about 7:30 I walked from my apartment to the Peabody to use the ATM. That’s about a four-block walk round-trip. During that walk I was hit up by three panhandlers. The early bird gets the worm, and the early bum gets the dolla, I guess. They didn’t get it from me, though.

Work let out at 3, and I was at the bar at the Silly Goose at 4. My plans were to have two quick beers there, then walk over to the Brass Door to watch a little soccer before heading south to Trolley Night. However, plans changed when this wonderful woman walked through the door:


Moody’s back for the weekend! The co-founder and legal counsel of the Moody Ques showed up at the Goose. My Brass Door plans were dropped and my Trolley Night trip was delayed as we caught her up on all the Downtown gossip from the past few months.

One last reminder: There is an awesome food truck fest at the Cook Convention Center today. It is indoors so no need to worry if it is cold. 14 or more food trucks, vendors, some great live bands. This is where I will be most of the day. I am bringing the camera and am going to do a photo album and recap post as I did for the Moody Ques MEAT and Greet last week and as I plan on doing for Downtown Olympics in three weeks. The Flyer has an article about today’s festival and another food truck fest happening in May.

Reminds me: DTO organizers, if you have any announcements or updates you would like me to share with my readers, let me know. I am friends with all of you on Facebook, so hit me up on there.

If you were planning on going to DTO and then the Memphis Flyer’s Bacon and Bourbon Fest down the street afterward, and you don’t have a ticket to the bourbon festival as of yet, you’re out of luck. The Flyer announced a sellout yesterday.

More goodness from the Twitter account that reports on the Memphis police scanner:

If you’re looking for work, @JobsMemphis and @MemphisJobForce tweeted a lot of good jobs yesterday, at all levels from entry-level to highly skilled.

If you want to do something to observe Easter tomorrow, but just aren’t much of a church person, here’s something you might want to consider: There will be an Easter service on the lawn facing the Lorraine Motel at the National Civil Rights Museum tomorrow from 10:30 to noon. There will be prayer, song, a resurrection message, and for the children there will be an Easter egg hunt. Free and open to everyone in the community.

Aldo’s Pizza Pies has announced that they now have a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar from 11 AM to 2 PM Saturdays and Sundays.

Trolley Stop Market at 704 Madison is hiring. They need two servers, two pizza masters, and a delivery driver. Come by in person Monday-Friday after 2 PM to apply. No phone calls.

Many creative people who were part of our childhood have passed away recently, but one is still with us. The TODAY Show reports that children’s author Beverly Cleary is still going strong at 99. I grew up reading her books. I remember Henry Huggins’ father yelling at his younger brother, “Fudge, you will eat those corn flakes or you will wear them!” and then took Fudge to the bathtub and dumped the entire bowl of corn flakes over his head. I laughed so hard. According to Wikipedia, Cleary will turn 100 on April 12.

The Memphis Grizzlies will have their final beer tasting night on April 5 vs. the Chicago Bulls. This special beer tasting ticket (which must be purchased in advance through the website, gets you not only a seat ($97.50 club, terrace starting at $43), but samplings of Sweetwater beer, hors d’oeuvres, and a Grizzlies pint glass.

Developer Billy Orgel’s company Tower Ventures will move into the Tennessee Brewery when renovation is complete in summer 2017.

For my fellow Hog fans: Now that QB Brandon Allen is heading to the pros, his brother Austin Allen is ready to step into his shoes.

Undecided whether I am going to lead off at Bardog or go straight to the food truck fest. I will be there most of the afternoon, so come find me if you want to hang out.




Friday update

A couple of weeks ago during the heavy rain, there was a mudslide on the bluff at Riverside Drive, de-stablizing the river walk above. City engineers hope to stabilize and re-open the bluff walk by Memphis in May.

Speaking of Memphis in May, the official 2016 BBQ Fest poster is now on sale.

There’s a USA Soccer Watch Party tonight at the Brass Door, with two matches that have huge implications for the USA men’s team. At 5 is the first leg of the qualifying playoff for the Olympics, with the U-23s playing Colombia. At 9:00 the USA first team takes on Guatemala in the semifinal of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

The Grizzlies are hosting an Assists for St. Jude donation drive. You can pledge to donate 10 cents, 50 cents, a dollar, or whatever amount you prefer for each assist the Grizzlies record between now and April 5. Point guard Mike Conley led off the drive with a pledge of $15 to donate per assist.

Stanford will hire UAB’s Jerod Hasse as men’s basketball head coach. Why do Memphians care about this? Because Grizzlies commentator and former player Brevin Knight was under consideration for the job. I enjoy Brevin’s commentary and am pleased we will get to hear more of it. If head coaching is his dream job, though, I hope he gets the chance one day.

Here’s a video of a car falling 4 stories off a parking garage. Something similar happened Downtown several years ago, in the garage cat-a-corner to the Flying Saucer at Second and Peabody Place.

Check out the Peabody Hotel’s celebrity visitor photo album.

My group of friends were discussing this last night: Women would destroy Trump in a general election.

Office closes at 3 today, so I will lead off at Silly Goose at 4. Last night I enjoyed the Goose more than I have in a long while and I expect that trend to continue today. Might have to make a run over to the Brass Door, though, to practice newly-acquired language skills. At 6 I will head south for South Main Trolley Night. I still intend to have that drink at Nate’s bar too. Happy Good Friday everyone.

Thur update #2

After a couple of weeks of delay, Curb Market, Midtown’s new market which will sell locally-sourced fresh produce, dairy products, and meats, will open tomorrow. It will be at 596 South Cooper in the former Easy Way space. Of course, my number-one recommendation for Downtowners to shop for fresh produce is the Memphis Farmers Market at the corner of Front and G.E. Patterson, Saturdays from 7 AM to 1 PM beginning April 2. However, if you cannot make it to the Farmers Market, this is an option.

“The Piano Man” plays FedExForum tomorrow night at 8. Get tickets to Billy Joel here.

I’m setting a goal for myself at South Main Trolley Night tomorrow night: I plan on having a drink or two at Nate’s bar. I have thrown around “Nate’s bar” a few times on this blog recently with the assumption that my readers knew what that was; however, I have picked up a number of new readers in the past 12 months, so some of you probably don’t. Allow me to explain.

Around 9:00 on Fridays and Saturdays at Earnestine & Hazel’s, a door is opened, exposing a stairway to the second floor. If you go up the stairs and go all the way down the hall to the back right corner, there is an upstairs bar tended by a gentleman named Nate who has been there 20+ years. It’s a small bar that seats no more than ten. In my early years Downtown, I went to Nate’s bar nearly every weekend, especially during 2007 when Downtown had a shortage of locals’ bars. Some of the most interesting and fabulous conversations of my life happened with strangers I met at Nate’s bar. Many of those strangers I never saw again. Some of those strangers became good friends of mine to this day. By 2012 my visits to Nate’s bar had decreased to once or twice a year. By then I had so many places I loved within four blocks of my home that my trips to South Main became more rare.

If you’ve never been to Nate’s bar, you need to go. You will feel the soul of Downtown Memphis.

For my newer readers, if you’ve never played a song on the jukebox downstairs at E&H and eaten a Soul Burger, you owe it to yourself to have that experience too. I recommend some soul or Motown from the ’60s for your jukebox selection. “Try a Little Tenderness” performed by Otis Redding would be a good one. Of course, you can’t go wrong with anything by Al Green.

Yesterday a Trump supporter tweeted a bad photo of Heidi Cruz side-by-side along a photo of Donald Trump’s former-model wife Melania. Trump manually retweeted it. Ted Cruz responded, “Donald, real men don’t attack women. Your wife is lovely, and Heidi is the love of my life.” Wow, the Republican primary season has gone so far out of control that I find myself agreeing with Ted Cruz.

Here’s more on Trump and Cruz dragging each other’s wives into the mudslinging. To my Republican friends, aren’t you proud of the display of class the two frontrunners of your party are putting on this week? Obama would never sink to this level. Bernie would never sink to this level. Hillary is probably capable of sinking to this level, but she’s too smart to go there.

St. Jude is hiring an Advisor, Organization Development. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen my friends who work at St. Jude post “I love my job!!!” to Facebook.

Cookies on Tap is tonight at High Cotton brewery taproom. It’s a pairing of beer with Girl Scout Cookies, with proceeds going to benefit Troop 901. Online ticket sales have closed, but tickets will be available at the door.

Happy birthday to The Undertaker, who turns 51 today. He will face Shane McMahon at Hell in a Cell at Wrestlemania this year.

That’ll do it for this post. I will be out at the Silly Goose this evening for either a very short time or a couple of hours, depending on whether they re-stocked PBR today.