Saturday update

Yesterday evening the rain let up, so I made the journey down to my “home away from home on the south side,” Max’s Sports Bar. Max was there and he told me he was thinking about doing a crawfish boil soon. Crawfish boils at Max’s are excellent, but he hasn’t had one in several years. I think the last one was around the time the 2012 group photo was taken. This is very very very tentative, but he told me he was thinking about the first Saturday of May, which would be May 7. I have nothing on my calendar that day, so I would be up for it. Again, this is tentative at this point, but I will keep you informed.

Also on Saturday, May 7, live music returns to Loflin Yard. Dead Soldiers play 8 AM to midnight.

Interested in playing sandlot baseball? Sandlot Memphis is gearing up for a second season. Anyone interested is welcome to come to an organizational meeting at the High Cotton taproom in The Edge Wednesday, May 11 at 6 PM. You don’t have to have any particular skill at baseball, just a general knowledge of the game and a willingness to represent yo ‘hood.

The Redball Project is at Beale Street Landing today. If you go to Music Fest you’ll be able to see a big red ball on the way in. Yay.

There’s a burlesque show at Earnestine & Hazel’s tonight. My next-door neighbor is one of the performers. Doors at 8:30, show at 9:30. $10 cover, $20 VIP. This is a 21 and over show.

Thursday I put out a request for volunteers to sign up for help with load-in, load-out, kitchen, and side dishes for the Moody Ques. I was blown away by the response. In my 10 years on BBQ teams I have never seen so many people so willing to help. The team email box was blowing up all afternoon. Yesterday I posted on the team website thanking everyone for their responses and within three hours, another six emails offering help had come in. My mind is just blown how different this team is from a year ago. We’ve got a committed group of people, our cooking is close to getting on par with the top-level teams, and although our team president keeps emphasizing that we are a cooking-first team, I want to emphasize something else… we are the BEST DAMN PARTY IN TOM LEE PARK and that is not going to change. You want to get a taste of the music we will have? Go to the Silly Goose tonight. DJ Cody. That’s our guy. He can’t bring his equipment but there’s no rule that says a team member can’t hook up an iPod to our sound system. So if you want to hang with the team that brings the damn party, come visit the Moody Ques. Team members who haven’t signed up for load-in/load-out yet and want to can email and let us know your availability.

Oh by the way, that sound system? That’s another way the team has matured. We BOUGHT it this year. This is something I have been riding the team’s ass about for years… in the past we have rented too often, or bought items only to throw them away after BBQ Fest and buy them again the following year. I am so happy to see us acquiring, storing, and re-using assets. That’s going to make the budget so much easier to manage in future years.

Not gonna let a little rain stop me from my day’s activities… Farmers market is first up, then Bardog, then maybe a little people-watching on Beale. Time to hit Publish and head south. Back tomorrow.

New dive bar The Dirty Crow Inn has opened + Friday news

After 14 years of watching my neighborhood grow, a milestone I have been expecting has finally happened: The Downtown bar scene has extended to the other side of Crump. The Dirty Crow Inn opened this week, after several months of preparation, at the corner of Crump and Kentucky. It is described as a “5 star dive bar” with eight beers on draft, four TVs, and homemade food. It is open 7 days a week 11 AM to 3 AM, so it’s an option for those who want to post-game Music Fest. I drove past the place on my way to work this morning, and the outside is about as dive bar as it gets.

Thai street food vendor Pranom Pop-Up is at Sache today noon to 9, rain or shine.

If any of my pilot friends are looking to change companies, FedEx is hiring a a corporate pilot.

Another interesting-sounding job opening is for a Geographical Information Specialist at the post office.

Paxton Lynch has been drafted by the Denver Broncos. The Broncos moved up in the draft via trade to get the former Memphis Tigers QB. This seems like a superb fit. Lynch just couldn’t have asked for a better organization where he can reach his full potential.

The Redbirds have announced a couple of special promotions happening in early May. The team will celebrate Cinco de Mayo on Thursday, May 5, with TruGreen Bluff tickets for $12 and Field Box tickets for $15. Holders of these tickets get an all-you-can-eat taco buffet from 6:30 to 8:30 in the left field picnic area, and can purchase $5 margaritas as well. Want tacos but not hungry enough for all-you-can-eat? They will be sold for $2 each at other vendor locations in the park.

All you can eat tacos? Bet the Nuh-Uh Girl wishes she was back in Memphis. By the way, welcome back to her sister the Nuh-Uh Sister, who will be moving back to Memphis in 3 weeks.

AutoZone Park will have a special Mother’s Day package for $89. The package, suitable for a gift to a mother who loves baseball, includes four field box tickets for the Saturday, May 21 game, It also includes four vouchers for King Cotton hot dogs and Cokes. There will be fireworks after the game. In addition, the gift includes a $25 voucher to Seasons 52 restaurant and the opportunity for a pre-game family photo on the field. Only 50 packages will be sold. They can be purchased here.

I had another moment recently where people whispered “Is that Paul who writes the blog?” but were afraid to come over and say hello. Those moments amuse me but the fear of talking to me is unfounded. I remember a Saturday back in September 2009, when Downtown Central BBQ didn’t exist yet so I rode out to the Midtown location with my friends Clay and Lee. As we stood in line to order, there was some whispering in the back of the room and I heard my name once or twice. Finally Clay turned around and shouted, “YES! THAT’S PAUL RYBURN!” It’s amusing because my friends know me as a normal Downtowner who does normal Downtown things. I just happen to write about it. Otherwise, I’m no different from anyone else.

Another story in the same vein… I remember one day back in early 2015, I was at the bar at the Blind Bear. It was the last Saturday shift B-RAD worked before my favorite pair of librarian glasses took over and he switched to Sundays. After I’d been there about an hour and a half, B-RAD came over to me and told me that someone who reads my blog had just left. This reader had been asking about me, Brad said, and wanted to come talk to me but was too shy. I just want my readers to know there are no barriers to having a conversation with me, then or now. Feel free to approach me.

I also want to give my readers an inside tip. A lot of people don’t make it to the Shoulder division at BBQ Fest because it’s the southernmost from the Beale Street entrance. However, the Shoulder division is the best one. Definitely don’t let the distance or any other reason stop you from walking down to Shoulder and visiting the teams you know.

Music Fest goers: City Market has ponchos for sale. That’s the grocery at the northeast corner of Main and Union.

The Schwag: The Grateful Dead Experience plays the New Daisy tonight.

MPD will have officers out directing traffic tonight as far east as Third, as far south as Vance, and as far north as Union. They will let traffic flow freely until the festival ends, then may close streets to direct traffic out of the area (which sounds like to me they want to discourage cruising, which I can agree with). If Front becomes severely congested they may close it going southbound from Jefferson to MLK.

The Daily News has alternate transit information for Music Fest. Given the weather, I bet those bike racks don’t get much use tonight.
A gift package to Memphis and BBQ Fest was given away on The Price Is Right yesterday. Watch it here.

Time to get back to work. I asked to work from home this afternoon so I could get home and parked before the Music Fest crowd got down here. When the rain started moving in, I moved back my departure time from 1 to 10. My trip to South Main tonight looks out of the question, so most likely I will take my own advice about people-watching from the Silly Goose patio for happy hour. Everyone be careful driving home, and have a good weekend.

Lettuce Toss it Up at the Memphis Farmers Market, plus Thursday news

Tomorrow night, Friday, April 29, is South Main Trolley Night, with shops and galleries in the area open late. As I posted earlier, there will be happy hour live music at South Main Sounds. There will also be live music at Double J, The Green Beetle, Earnestine & Hazel’s, outside of Guiding Point Financial, Obsidian PR, Rizzo’s Diner, Cafe Pontotoc and maybe more. Art will include Nosey42 at Stock & Belle and Women Who Paint at Art Village Gallery.

There’s a chance of storms tomorrow, but weather permitting I plan to make it down to Trolley Night. Of course, I hope to see my South Main friends down there, but it would be a pleasure to see people from other Downtown neighborhoods as well, for example Harbor Town, South End, and The Edge.

Lettuce Toss it Up is the theme at the Memphis Farmers Market this Saturday. In his 1996 movie Bring the Pain, Chris Rock talks about getting his salad tossed with either jelly or syrup. He prefers syrup. Did you know that you can get salad ingredients, jelly, and syrup at the Memphis Farmers Market? The Market had a tip for patrons: If your lettuce begins to wilt on a hot car drive home, placing it in a bowl of icy water will bring it back to life. Live music by Ted Horrell 8:30-10 and Ashlee Thomas 11-12:30. The Farmers Market is at the corner of Front and G.E. Patterson every Saturday from 7 AM to 1 PM through the fall.

Learn about chow chow from “Lil” Bit of Country in this week’s vendor chitchat.

I have a couple of links to share with Market patrons. First of all, kale is SO 2015. Here are three super-greens you probably hadn’t heard of that you need to try. Given that they think we haven’t heard of turnip greens, I’m pretty sure this article was written by a Northerner.

Interesting argument from Mashable: It’s impossible to be a vegetarian. The argument is that while animals eat plants and other animals, plants eat animals and other plants. They derive their nutrition from the soil, which is partly made up of decaying plant and animal matter. So when you eat a plant, you are eating animals. It’s all one big eco-system. Now that this matter has been cleared up, why not get in the car, stop by the dumpster to drop off the tempeh and the quinoa, and drive to Tops for a cheeseburger topped with some pulled pork?

Last month I mentioned that Diamond Dave and Seamus were going to perform on their new guitars tomorrow night in the Cavern at the Brass Door. Unfortunately that will have to be postponed, because Seamus is traveling to St. Louis.

Memphis in May warns of a ticketing scam. Buy your tickets online and print them at home, or buy from authorized vendors. Don’t buy from “Got Tickets? Need Tickets?” guy standing on the street. Those tickets are possibly duplicates that will be rejected at the gate by the bar code reader. I have had friends who have been scammed this way.

The Downtown Neighborhood Association is having its monthly happy hour at Loflin Yard today.

Moody Ques: We have a new team information post on the website. Of particular note is the menu, which includes brisket cooked by a Texan and “Frank’s Special Surprise” Friday night. Unfortunately Al Roker’s team had to back out due to a conflict.

More and more it’s looking like liar vs. liar in the fall general election. The pawn of the banks vs. the billionaire megalomaniac. Hillary basically admitted that she takes political positions because they’re expedient, not because they’re necessarily what she truly believes. Sadly, I am probably going to be casting a ballot for this woman in November. I will do so reluctantly.

That’s it for now. Normally Thursday is Silly Goose day but yesterday it was just too damn crowded and they ran out of PBR, so I am going to lead off at Blind Bear instead. Pam and Terry play at 10 so I will probably stay a while.

Al Roker to captain a BBQ team + Wednesday news

Uh oh, looks like I’m going to face some stiff competition at BBQ Fest this year. Today Show weatherman Al Roker is leading a shoulder team at Memphis in May. Roker’s Smokers is his team, and he is said to be very serious about it, with an intention of winning Grand Champion. Roker is a known BBQ lover and has even written a book on the subject. Al, I know you will be busy in the kitchen, but if you have a chance to get down to S-319 The Moody Ques for a minute, my team would love to meet you and I bet my cooks Frank and Erik would love to talk BBQ with you.

Cruisin’ Heavy headlines the Peabody rooftop party tomorrow night. $10 cover gets you live entertainment as well as a buffet of New Orleans red beans and rice and Andouille sausage. Pineapple margaritas are the margarita special this week, and the drink special is Firefly peach sangria. If you’re a VIP ($150 for a VIP season pass, sold at the door) you get a second buffet of shrimp Creole, chicken and Andouille jambalaya, and mini crab cakes. VIPs also get a tasting of Wiseacre Neon Brown from 5 to 6. Doors open at 6, band at 7.

Dawn Vinson of Daydreaming on Paper will present a workshop at South Main Book Juggler at 548 S. Main from 1 to 2:30 PM Saturday, May 7. For $10 participants will make a soft-cover, single-signature notebook and will get ideas on ways to use it. There will be hands-on instruction, journal exercises, and a handout for future reference. This class is suitable for beginners. I don’t know Dawn personally but I recommend this class. Journaling has helped me uncover secondary facts about my life that might have stayed below the surface had I not had a conversation with myself.

Memphis FootGolf Fest will happen Sunday, May 22 out in Cordova. Check it out if you are a fan of playing golf, but with a soccer ball.

Park(ing) Day Memphis happens tomorrow, April 28, from 12 to 6:30 PM. The concept re-imagines public spaces, with parallel parking spaces on the street turned into miniature pop-up parks. The event will happen in front of the Halloran Centre on Main.

USA Today has a good article on Paxton Lynch and what life is like with his friends away from football.

High Cotton Brewery has announced that the 5th and 10th customers today will get a free pint, with the 15th receiving a free trucker hat. Their taproom opens at 4.

Not going to Music Fest Friday night but want a patio view of people going by? I’ve always found the Silly Goose patio to be excellent for that during happy hour. If you’ve never seen the people who come in town for Music Fest, it is a freak show and a half and the Goose is a great place to watch. Saturday and Sunday late morning to mid-afternoon, Beale Street is ideal for people watching.

Felicia Suzanne’s hosts communal cooking classes. Contact if interested.

That’s it for now… time to run to Target and buy a pair of earplugs in case anyone hovers behind my group and prattles on endlessly about their cat this evening. I have a Moody Ques board meeting at 7, so I suspect I will have information to put out to the team at some point tomorrow.

Tuesday update #2

In case you didn’t end your day on a highlight yesterday, Scott Van Pelt of ESPN devoted his 1 Big Thing segment to the Grizzlies last night. SVP: “You can honor yourselves in defeat. The Grizzlies did.” Completely agree. Congratulations Grizzlies, because given what you had to work with, you exceeded expectations.

Hot Rods on Beale starts tonight at 6. It will happen the 4th Tuesday of every month through the fall.

Jerry “The King” Lawler’s new bar opens at 159 Beale this Friday with my friend Eric Hughes playing there from 5 to 8. There will be Slamburgers, Pile Driver drinks, and plenty of wrestling memorabilia.

Felicia Suzanne’s has added a Grit Bowl to its menu, with organic stone ground Hanna Farm Grits, brown butter, and Bonnie Blue feta.

Details of Tubby Smith’s contract with the University of Memphis have been released. Like Pastner, he will get 100% of his buyout if fired without cause, but there are no rollover clauses. In other Tiger news, the NCAA is expected to make a rule change Thursday that will allow Keelon Lawson to be reassigned to a non-coaching role, keeping his sons Dedric and K.J. here in Memphis.

I have posted trophy photos from Southaven on the Moody Ques website. Team members – check your email please. If you did not get an email last night email and I will fix it.

I posted this morning before work, so scroll down to read more Tuesday news. Leaning toward a lead-off at Brass Door for happy hour, then will decide my next stop after that.

Tuesday update

Downtown Memphis is a place where anything can happen. About 9 I was sitting at the Blind Bear, thinking, “Gonna call it an early night. Soon as I finish this beer I’m out.” Next thing I knew, I was showing tourists around. I took them to Silky’s patio because they wanted to see the goats. Then they were hungry and I described the Double-Double from Dyer’s and they thought that sounded perfect. We walked down there to find that Dyer’s closes earlier than I thought on weekdays. So I took them to Kooky Canuck for Yonge St. Burgers. Fun night.

Prior to that, they had wrestling on at the Blind Bear for a while. If you grew up in the ’90s watching The Rock, or the ’80s watching Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair, the next big talker in the business has arrived. Introducing Enzo Amore and Big Cass:

My name… is Enzo Amore. And I’m a certified G, and a bonafide stud. And You Can’t. Teach. That. And this right here, this is Big Cass. And he is seven foot tall… And You Can’t. Teach. That. Ba da boom, realest guys in the room. HOWYOUDOIN’!

A big red ball that has been all over the world is coming to Memphis. It will be Downtown for Music Fest weekend at the New Daisy, Beale Street Landing, and 409 S. Main. On May 3 it will be at the MyHQ block party in Barboro Alley.

Memphis Magazine has a great article about the DJ at the best nightclub in the world. Raiford has been going strong for over 40 years.

Another well-known Downtowner, Shawn Danko of Kooky Canuck, talks about food from Canada as we head into Memphis in May.

South Main Sounds is doing a special early songwriter night Friday so people can catch their event then head to Memphis in May. It happens 5:30-7:00 in the evening at 550 S. Main. Ashlee K. Thomas, Chris Hill, Lydia Waldrop, Todd Poole and Amy Jamison-Poole will perform.

The Redbirds have a $40 ticket to their exclusive club level tonight. I think this may be the one I blogged about a couple of days ago that includes food, beer, and wine. They play the Round Rock Express at 6:35 with the gates at 5:30. There are $1 King Cotton hot dogs every Tuesday.

Heading out to work. Possibly another post later today.

Cheese plate @ Loflin Yard + Monday news

I didn’t make it to Loflin Yard this weekend, although looking back I sure wish I had gone there rather than Wing Fest. My friend Jeremy Miller did, and he took a photo of this gorgeous cheese plate, which I asked for permission to use on my blog.

loflincheeseplateI have not heard of anyone who has had a bad experience at Loflin Yard. What a great fit for the neighborhood. It’s in South End, at 7 West Carolina.

“I don’t know you, but I know you from the blog” strikes again: Yesterday at Wine Race, I was catching up with Bones, one of the big dogs on Squeal Street BBQ. He and I were talking about the Moody Ques’ strong showing at Southaven Springfest the day before. Nearby was my Blind Bear bartender B-RAD, off work early so he could participate in the 4-person wine relay.

“Hey, are you Brad?” asked Bones. “I don’t know you but I feel like I know you from reading Paul’s blog.” They talked for a few minutes and Bones asked, “Do you do BBQ Fest?”

“I’m not on a team but I go visit The Moody Ques and Porkosaurus,” said B-RAD.

“Well, now you have another team to visit,” Bones said. “Squeal Street BBQ. We’re a few booths down the sidewalk from these guys (pointing at me) in Shoulder. Come see us and get some BBQ.”

I think it’s very nice that the Squeal Street members who have never met B-RAD will get to. Be sure to ask him what it’s like to have a well-known local blogger at his bar every Sunday, and if he has any stories about me. :mrgreen:

I haven’t looked at the photos I took yesterday, but I have a feeling they’re not very good. I was more interested in just hanging out with my friends than I was in taking photos. I have to say it was a real pleasure to be part of the Blind Bear family yesterday. The Bear’s Queen of the Vine contestant gave me her hat to wear after the event was over.

2016-04-24 16.33.23Several people commented that the hat looked good on me, so it’s probably coming to BBQ Fest at least one day.

Comedy returns to The Brass Door tomorrow night at 9. Katherine Jessup of DC and Justin Thompson of Atlanta will headline, and also appearing will be Memphis Rap Queen Happi Johnson, and the Oxford, MS Vigilante Comedy duo of Connor King and Sam Lyons.

Here’s a video of Mayor Strickland lip-syncing “Great Balls of Fire.”

The Redbirds play the Round Rock Express at 6:35 tonight at AutoZone Park. Yesterday at the Blind Bear a friend of mine told me how to watch Memphis’ AAA team in style. “Get a club-level ticket for $62,” he told me.

“Sixty-two dollars?” I replied, “To watch a baseball game?” That didn’t start out sounding like a deal to me.

“Yeah, but it’s all-inclusive,” he told me. “You not only get a club seat, but an all-you-can-eat buffet and all-you-can-drink beer and wine. For a 7:00 game, I think the buffet starts at 6 and goes until 8:30. Wine and beer through the end of the 7th inning.” Obviously I wouldn’t want to spend that kind of money every night, but for someone like me who goes to one or two games a year, it’s something to consider.

I got clarification on how the Moody Ques’ 12th place finish in shoulder in Southaven was better than our 9th place finish in Atoka. The Memphis Barbecue Network uses the same scoring system at every event, and our score in Southaven was seven points higher than our Atoka score. So our cooking continues to improve. Some of the most successful BBQ competitors in the park came to our cooks and said, “Keep on doing exactly what you are doing. Do not change a thing. It’s always the luck of the draw which table your blind box ends up on. You can’t help that, but your preparation is on point. You are going to be a serious competitor.”

That’s it for now. It’s Melissa Monday night at Bardog. I will be there after work.

Spinach and onion pakoras @ Memphis Farmers Market, Moody Ques win a trophy and more Sunday news

As I have said many times, there is a lot more to love about the Memphis Farmers Market than simply fresh produce. Yesterday I visited my favorite food truck at the market, the tandoori truck, and tried an item I had never had before.

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Spinach and onion pakoras with a side of veggies and yogurt for dipping. This was a monstrous amount of food for $7. Cooked from scratch and it only took about 5 minutes. They have sauces you can put on your food at the tandoori truck, including an Indian plum sauce and several of the hot sauces sold at the market. The pakoras are hot when you get them, so it’s a good idea to wait a couple of minutes before digging in. By the way, I don’t know if I have any vegetarians who read this blog, but on the off-chance that I do, more than half the items the tandoori truck sells are meatless.

I found a seat at a table in the main corridor of the market, where I had plenty of room to eat my pakoras as I watched people shop.


What is the Memphis Farmers Market, Alex?

My seat in the front part of the main corridor gave me an excellent vantage point to people-watch. And many of the people were women in yoga pants! “Why have I not been coming here every week for the entire 11-year run of the market?” I wondered as I watched people walk around.

After finishing my food, I was a man on a mission. My Saturday brunch bartender Bloom had mentioned that she wanted some mint so she could make mojitos. “They sell it at the grocery store, but in such huge bags that I throw most of it away,” Bloom told me. After visiting several vendors selling green, leafy stuff including lots of kale, I found what I was looking for.

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I found a perfect-sized bundle of mint for Bloom for only $2. “Which one is the mint?” I had to ask the vendor, because it was indistinguishable to me from all the other green produce.

The Farmers Market runs every Saturday from 7 AM to 1 PM at the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson. It runs well into the fall months. The weather was beautiful yesterday but at one point I found myself wishing it was late September as I walked around the market.

I forgot that Bardog gets super busy super early the day of Hot Wing Fest. I am known for getting there right at 11 and being the first person in the door (or second if my “DAWG” John D goes in first). Yesterday I got there precisely at 11, yet I was the 12th person in the door! I barely got a seat at the bar! Luckily it was near the window so I could watch people go by as they walked to Wing Fest… and watch MLGW dig up Monroe Avenue, as they have been doing every day for the past four months.

About 2 I walked over to Wing Fest. I was happy to pay my $15 to support the Ronald McDonald House but I didn’t stay long. I made one loop through the park and I was out. Only about 20% of teams had wings out as I walked around and there were long lines for those that did have them. Too many strollers, too many people who didn’t know how to put one foot in front of the other. If I go next year, my friends the Pirtles have a VIP option for an additional donation to the Ronald McDonald House and I may do that. At any rate, by 2:45 I was headed south to see my favorite pair of librarian glasses at the Blind Bear.

I considered a trip south to Max’s Sports Bar at 4:30, but decided I was comfortable where I was and remained at the Bear. Before long texts from Southaven started coming in. The Moody Ques were down there competing at Springfest and the results were good. For the first time since we started competing under our current name, we won a trophy for food! We took third in the Seafood competition. I know Erik is our point man on seafood, so congratulations to him as well as Frank, Clay, John D and everyone else who was part of the Southaven event.

There was more good news: We finished 12th out of approximately 50 teams in Shoulder. This was said to have been a better finish than our 9th in Atoka because of the number of teams.

Hey gang, someone want to take a photo of the trophy and text it or email it to me? That absolutely needs to be on the team website.

I would also like to congratulate my friend Heath and his team Victory Lane BBQ on their Grand Champion win at a MBN/KCBS event yesterday at Springfest. Great job!

Keelon Lawson has made it publicly known that if Tigers basketball coach Tubby Smith does not retain him as an assistant, his sons K.J. and Dedric are done with the University of Memphis, and they can say goodbye to 2019 prospect Chandler and 2021 prospect Johnathan. I know this is an unpopular opinion but I think Tubby needs to show Mr. Lawson the door. How can Tubby make the program his own if one of his employees bullies him and has the ammo to continue to bully him until possibly 2025?

As I walked down Main Street on my way to the Farmers Market yesterday, I noticed that a new cigar lounge is soon to open on the block between Pontotoc and Vance, on the east side of the street.

Tuesday night the Orpheum will have a free public showing of 1989 movie Purple Rain, a special tribute to Prince. If you’re thinking about bringing the kids, might want to keep in mind that this movie is rated R due to sexuality, nudity, and violence.

Cafe Pontotoc is hosting a reservations-only Cinco de Mayo supper on Sunday, May 1. $45 charge. The restaurant will open at 6 and serve dinner at 7. There will be chips and dip, build-your-own tacos, baked chicken enchiladas or spinach enchiladas with rice and beans, and tres leche. To drink there will be margaritas, Mezcal with salsa chasers, and Mexi-beers. Call 901-249-7655 for reservations.

It’s Debauchery Day! Beale Street Wine Race kicks off with an opening parade into Handy Park at 1 PM, followed by Queen of the Vine, the grape stomp, and the wine relay. If you’re not driving, get you a Call-a-Cab across the street at Wet Willie’s. Know how I joke about being “the bad, bad man with a smoothie in his hand” at the Farmers Market? I really am a bad, bad man when there’s a Call-a-Cab in my hand on Beale Street. Of course I will be supporting Team Blind Bear. About to head down there now to see if my favorite pair of librarian glasses needs any help slipping into her Queen of the Vine outfit. Back tomorrow with more news!


Niko is home + Saturday news

Niko, the missing dog I posted about yesterday, was found in the afternoon a few blocks away and is safely home with his family.

The Orpheum has announced its summer movie series for 2016. Of note: Two venues will be used for the series, with about half at the Orpheum itself and half at the Halloran Center next door. Also notable: Rocky Horror Picture Show will be shown on June 10. In the past it has usually been late August or September.

In other Orpheum news, Puscifer plays tonight. Puscifer is the project of Maynard James Keenan, formerly of Tool and A Perfect Circle. Tickets $38-58 or $250-350 VIP.

From the Memphis Flyer: Remembering Rufus Thomas and Prince at the New Daisy, 1997.

Historian Jimmy Ogle leads a free Riverfront Walking Tour today at 2. Meet at the foot of Monroe Avenue and Riverside Drive. Ogle will discuss the Cobblestone Wharf and the sinking of the Sultana.

River Series at the Harbor Town Amphitheater is tonight. $5 cover, DJ at 6, bands start at 7. Nots, Chickasaw Mound, and DJ Painted Bird will perform. The series benefits Maria Montessori School.

Ugh… renovations of the Benchmark Hotel, already ongoing for 6 years, are over budget and another investor may have to step in and finish the project.

You guys remember former Memphis Tiger Preston Laird? He was the white kid who played during the Joey Dorsey era, best known for coming in with 0:16 remaining in the game with the Tigers up 105-63. He’s had a successful post-basketball career. This week he was named the UNLV men’s basketball director of operations, having previously held the same position at New Mexico State. I would say he’s following a similar path to Pastner but I don’t want to jinx the guy.

There’s a Prince Purple Party in the Twelve Bar, the upstairs of Jerry Lee Lewis’s club on Beale from 5 to 9 tonight. DJ Swagg will spin the Prince hits. It’s a fundraiser for the Christopher Hope Foundation Food Drive, so bring a non-perishable food item. Free to attend.

Check out this incredible video of Prince playing guitar on While My Guitar Gently Weeps at the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.

Thanks to WordPress guru Otto for fixing some of my plugins last night at Max’s Sports Bar. In particular, take a look at my Loflin Yard post from two weeks ago and notice that if you click on a photo, it opens up a carousel. Before, when you clicked on a photo, it would open up the photo in 500×500 with an ugly Title: P1073106 page with no way to click forward and back to get to the other images. With that fixed, I can use this blog to host my Wine Race and BBQ Fest photos and not have to resort to Facebook. Charging up the camera batteries so I will be ready for Wine Race tomorrow.

After leaving Max’s around sunset, I ran into friends a little ways up Main. My artist friend Bad Shane painted a tribute to Prince on The Smurfy Door:

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After that it was wing grilling time.

If you weren’t there, you missed out on a good time!


Plans for today: Farmers Market, brunch with Bloom at Bardog (with Panda managing so I will get to hear about Niko’s return), then more wings at the Southern Hot Wing Festival. My BBQ team is competing at Southaven Springfest today, but since I am not one of the cooks my presence is not required. They will send me photos of the shoulders and the trophy so I can do my PR job from Memphis.

I’ll have to do Bardog without my “DAWG” John D who is cooking at Springfest, but I will find a way to muddle through somehow. Beautiful weekend for people-watching and tube top watching. Time to get outside!

Niko, missing dog in Poplar-Perkins + Friday news update #2

If you live in the Poplar-Perkins area, be on the lookout for a missing dog with no collar:


He answers to Niko and belongs to Panda, my Saturday brunch bartender/manager at Bardog. Email me at if you find him and I will get you in touch with Panda.

Anyone else finding that the light at Front and Peabody Place is a traffic hazard? Every morning I take Peabody Place to Front and turn left. The light remains green for Front, and the walk signal remains “walk,” for over 2 minutes sometimes before the signal turns to “don’t walk” and starts counting down from 19 to 0 and then finally Peabody Place gets the green. The light stays red for so long in the Peabody Place direction that drivers assume it’s malfunctioning, and turn left on red.

I won’t be turning left at that intersection for the next month though… tomorrow Riverside closes for Memphis in May and bluff repair. It will reopen May 30. Alternate route is south on Second to G.E. Patterson, take a left, right on Third, right on Crump, and then exit turning right south on to I-55.

It’s Growl Towel time! The Grizzlies host the San Antonio Spurs at FedExForum tonight at 8:30. If you’re going to Game 3, arrive early for heightened security at the door. If you’re not going, you can watch the game on ESPN.

The DMC is opposing a proposed parking lot at the northwest corner of Front and Pontotoc in what is sometimes known as the Front Street Chicken District. The DMC says the block between Front and Wagner is too valuable to waste on a surface lot.

iPhone users: Beware of a phishing scam informing you that your Apple ID is about to expire.

Last day to purchase 3-day passes for Music Fest. The offer goes away at midnight tonight.

Over the Edge happens tomorrow. People will rappel off the Raymond James Tower overlooking the Mississippi River to raise money for orphans.

A few days ago, I said that Max was polling his customers on whether to go nonsmoking with his sports bar, and that I had mixed feelings about it. Now that the poll has closed, I will share my feelings.

1) On a personal level: I am a nonsmoker. Therefore I would prefer to hang out at a bar that is nonsmoking, although it is not such a strong preference that I would let it keep me from seeing my friends.

2) My friends: Several of my friends who hang out at Max’s more than any other place are hardcore smokers. If Max went nonsmoking, their favorite place as they have known it since 2007 would no longer be the same. I don’t want them to lose their favorite spot. I think about how I would feel if the Blind Bear changed so drastically that it became a place I would no longer care to frequent. There would be a sense of loss, for sure. I hate the thought of my friends who call Max’s their home experiencing that.

3) Smoking is keeping people away: I can go back as far as 2009 and find blog posts I wrote saying that Max’s is the friendliest bar Downtown, the easiest to meet locals and make friends. I know FOR A FACT that there are regulars who would not have found Max’s if not for my blog. I wonder how many more people tried Max’s, and understood what I wrote but decided not to go back because of the smoke. I wonder if there are people who I would have become good friends with at Max’s, but never met them because of the cigarettes. I wonder if my friends on Squeal Street BBQ or Porkosaurus or my own team would have had a few additional members this year, but because of the smoke they/we never met those people. That’s a shame.

4) The fact that smoking in public places is legal at all, anywhere in Tennessee in 2016 is just fucking stupid: Most states have enacted smoking bans. Check Wikipedia for a list.

The official BBQ Fest app has dropped. Search for “Memphis in May Barbecue” on Apple or Android to get it. It is a free app. Maps, team lists, merchandise, FAQ, and more.

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow probably.