Monday update: UT football team wins championship of life and more

You just can’t make this stuff up.

Saturday Down South has reaction around the Twitterverse over the latest stupid thing to come out of Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones’ mouth. Someone added the life championship to the list of Jones’ accomplishments on his Wikipedia page. And radio host GP had this to say:

I tried unsuccessfully to find a list of requirements to claim a life championship, but there is one requirement I am quite sure is not on the list: “Beating South Carolina”

On a more serious note, there will be a public meeting Tuesday at 5:30 at the Balinese Ballroom to discuss the future of The Pinch. As much as $25 million will be pumped into the area to improve the district between Bass Pro at the Pyramid and St. Jude. Leaders are seeing The Pinch as a gateway to the city. Just a couple of days ago I was predicting that Overton Avenue would become Downtown’s next great street, lined with restaurants, bars and shopping.

Sip, Shop and Spa is coming to The 101, 101 S. Main, Tuesday from 11 AM to 2 PM. Get an exclusive hand spa experience from Jamila Naturals. Tiara’s Place Boutique and Massage on the Go will be on hand as well. Exquisite Catering & Events will be serving Yazitini beverages and heavy hors d’oeuvres. Free food? Wonder if the Nuh-Uh Girl will show up.

Congratulations to Grizzlies play-by-play TV announcer Pete Pranica on his nomination as Tennessee State Sportscaster of the Year.

Garrison Keillor comes to the Orpheum Friday, March 10. The voice of the popular radio show A Prarie Home Companion will bring Lake Wobegon to you for an evening of storytelling.

If you were planning on going to the Friday, January 13 show by AJ Croce at the Halloran Centre, it is being moved down the street to the Orpheum. It will be a cabaret-style performance, the first ever at the historic theater. The move makes way for planned improvements to the Halloran Centre.

Want a job at Downtown’s new ice rink? Apply here.

That’s it for now. I’m on my way out to Bardog for Melissa Monday. Already got a few news items for tomorrow, so check back.

Thanks everyone!

I just wanted to say a quick “thank you” to everyone who helped make my birthday weekend special. My friends mean the world to me and I enjoyed celebrating with every one of you.

Now we move into Thanksgiving week… always an odd one for me because one of my work’s three national tournaments starts on Thanksgiving Day every year and lasts until the Sunday of the following week. Each time the tournament is in a different city – you may remember the Spring 2012 tournament that happened in Downtown Memphis. This one is in Orlando, and although I don’t have to travel there, I am on-call in case anything comes up. That’s why it’s been years since I went out of town for the holiday.

That doesn’t mean I won’t be eating turkey though! Wonderful friends have invited me to their place in South Bluffs for Thanksgiving dinner, and then that evening there’s another Thanksgiving gathering I will probably attend (the South Main one – since it’s semi-private I won’t say the name of the place). Then on Friday some of my Sunday brunch crew is having a Friendsgiving at a friend’s house.

As for Saturday, Bardog gets me back as a regular, and they can expect to find me standing outside about 10:58 waiting for them to unlock the door.

Still in shock about the WWE Survivor Series pay-per-view last night… I won’t spoil it, but I’ll just say this, if you’re a WWE Network subscriber, you need to watch Goldberg vs. Lesnar. Very surprising ending.

I haven’t been paying much attention to Downtown news these past few days, so nothing to report right now. Should be back with a news post tomorrow.

Sunday update: Original Raiford’s being renovated, bubbles dinner and more

The original Raiford’s at Mulberry and Vance is being refurbished into a restaurant, the Memphis Flyer reports. The inside has been completely gutted. The building housed the best disco in the world from 1975 to 2005, and was the origin of many stories which I wish I could blog here. No word on what restaurant will go into the space, but it is being leased by Loeb and February is the target date. For those of you who still like to boogie, fear not: Mr. Raiford is still shaking the maracas at his new location on Second just north of Monroe, along with his daughter Paula.

Keep an eye on Rizzo’s in the coming weeks – Chef posted yesterday that a “Bubbles Dinner” is coming in December. Bubbles are always perceived to be the best in food and drink, including champagne, ice cream, bread, and of course beer. I can’t wait to see what Michael Patrick has in mind.

If you need help dealing with your family this Thanksgiving, I have three words for you: cranberry jello shots

Maxwell and Mary J. Blige play FedExForum tonight at 7. If you want to pre-game, Loflin Yard has Jeff & Leah playing at 3.

Here’s a tutorial on how to play the blues guitar like Clapton, Beck and Page.

Former Tiger Will Coleman is selling donuts, but read the story. With his attitude, he is going to make it far in life.

Another former Tiger, Austin Nichols, has been dismissed from Virginia’s men’s basketball program.

I more or less camped out at Max’s Sports Bar all day yesterday, where I watched my Hogs beat Mississippi State 58-42. Seven wins, and probably eight after Missouri next week, is not bad in the SEC West. Liberty Bowl committee, you can pick anyone from #3 to #8 in the SEC, how about calling those Hogs for a second year in a row? Bielema, if it happens, please come visit Max’s again! I want a picture!

Speaking of Max’s, check out the swag I scored yesterday:


Those of you who go to the place are familiar with the cabinet with all the bobbleheads and statues. Yesterday Max was cleaning the cabinet out and dusting and found some T-shirts in there. “Paul, you want one?” Of course I wanted one! I will wear it all the time.

Before I went to Max’s, I had a bit of a disappointment: I went to play the jukebox at Earnestine & Hazel’s, and discovered that “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne is NOT one of the choices! It needs to be mandatory for every jukebox in America to have that song. Get on that, Trump! Introduce a Constitutional amendment if you have to.

Start Co. visited San Francisco recently for mentoring and networking for several of its startup companies. Among the stops was an incubator in the Mission District which had a zen room. Does YOUR company have a zen room, and if not why haven’t you talked to your CEO about it?

Time for D-RANKS with B-RAD at Blind Bear. Back tomorrow with more news.





Mushroom & Poblano Enchiladas @ Agave Maria + Saturday news


Growing up, I loved cheese enchiladas. When I went to Casa Bonita at the corner of Asher and University in Little Rock and got the Deluxe Dinner, the cheese enchilada would always be the first thing I would devour. Yesterday I had the adult version of cheese enchiladas.

With a birthday dinner in Midtown at 7, I knew I needed to eat something. I led off at Bardog, and before long “Paul let me get you a shot for your birthday” started happening. About 1:30 I walked down Center Lane (Scratchy’s Alley) to Agave Maria. I didn’t want anything big. The short rib items sounded delicious, but I was worried I wouldn’t be hungry again by the evening. The last item on the menu – the mushroom and poblano enchiladas – caught my fancy. They come with poblano cream, Jack and Oaxaca cheeses, pico, and crema. That sounded perfect. I am a big fan of spicy (which would be my undoing at dinner) and the poblano cream did not disappoint. Definitely do not shy away from this dish because it is meatless! I posted a photo to Facebook and my friend Aaron “Liked” it. Aaron is my BBQ teammate and the only vegetarian from West Virginia in the shoulder division at BBQ Fest, so that’s quite an endorsement.

Random thing I learned yesterday: I share a birthday with Nikki, creator of Hot Ass Chips, Hot Ass Seasoning, Hot Ass Bloody Mary Mix and more. Her stuff is the best, so if you like spicy check out her website for sure.

I didn’t get any Nikki’s Hot Ass products for my birthday yesterday, but I did get this:


Rachelle’s Hot Ass Satan’s Ass Three Pepper Spice Mix! DAMN! This girl’s got talent! We may have to put her on the BBQ team! On a related note: If you go to Golden India in Overton Square, telling them to “turn up the spice a little” on the Lamb Saag may not be exactly the best idea. On a better note, I discovered Lucky Buddha beer last night. It tastes a lot like PBR, so I liked it!

After dinner, we went to the Blind Bear, where I was the password.




Actually, the first places I went after I escaped were the Farmers Market and Earnestine & Hazel’s, but I did spend a good amount of time at the Bear in that costume…


Kisses from Hot Vegetarian Katie from D.C. and another girl


So anyway, at the Bear I got a special birthday gift.


Back in August, a friend of mine brought me a present from a trip to Colorado: A koozie, which looks like a brown paper bag, with the PBR logo on it. Koozie had a long life, lasting two months, not bad for a paper bag. Around that time I was given Son of Koozie, who lasted a mere 22 days, and Grandson of Koozie, recently drafted into service. Last night I received Koozie IV, Koozie V, Koozie Vi, and Koozie VII. I’ll be in koozieland through BBQ Fest! (Hey team, has anyone worked on getting PBR donated for 2017? We need to get on that.)

The Pirtles posted this on my Timeline yesterday:


Best. Cake. Ever.

All right, got several news items but they’re not time-sensitive and I need to get to the Farmers Market so I’ll hold them until tomorrow. Fall has finally arrived, but a jacket and a PBR will keep me warm.

Friday update – busy day!

There is a LOT going on today folks! The biggest event of all will happen at the corner of Main and Peabody Place, at the south entrance to the Main Street pedestrian mall, from 5 to 7 this evening. Mayor Jim Strickland will light the Downtown holiday tree. There will also be beer by the Tapbox beer truck, music by the MDs, caroling by Downtown Elementary, face painting, and holiday treats. I WILL BE THERE* and hope you will be too!

(* by THERE I mean at the lighting ceremony or down the street at the Silly Goose drinking PBR. One or the other)

The new Downtown location of Kooky Canuck is set to open today, if all inspections are passed, at 87 S. Second, right down the street from its old location at 97 S. Second. The MBJ has a photo slideshow.

Over at Clayborn Temple from 7 ti 11 tonight, Funksgiving will happen. This is designed to promote the temple by bringing together people of all ethnicities and cultures. There will be old and new school funk by Bluff City Soul Collective and Southern Ave. The Tapbox will be serving beer there as well. Tickets are $8.

Over at the Cannon Center this weekend, there will be three performances of New Ballet Ensemble Nut Remix presented by Nike. The performances are at 7:30 PM tonight and tomorrow and 2:30 PM Sunday. Tickets start at $15.

Down at South Main Sounds at 550 S. Main, it will be Songwriter Night #42 tonight from 7 to 9. Songwriter night veterans Melinda Milligan and Evan Farris will be joined by newcomers Ted Horrell, Gene Lee (my neighbor!), and Chris Curtis. If you’ve never been, this is an intimate venue where you can get up-close and personal with the artists. The seating is comfortable, and merchandise and beverages will be available.

In other news, Loflin Yard is ready for winter. The patio just outside the safe house is enclosed, and gas heaters and fire pits have been scattered around the yard.

Bountiful Blessings is the theme of the last Memphis Farmers Market of the regular season, tomorrow at Front and G.E. Patterson under the pavilion from 7 AM to 1 PM. Adam Levin will provide the live music, For the kids, corn, the vegetable you see again tomorrow, will be a big part of the crafts booth where you can make Thanksgiving decorations 9-11. The Streetdog Foundation will be there adopting pets 9 to noon. It’s the last Lost & Found, so if you’re missing anything from a previous week come get it! There will be a holiday market December 10 and then they will be off until April 1. Needless to say, I WILL BE THERE**.

(** THERE = the Market itself or nearby at E&H or Max’s drinking PBR.)

Great WREG news story on how Chef Gary from DeJaVu gives back to the community.

Purchase of an adjacent site will allow development of One Beale to proceed, providing room for a parking garage.

There’s a scavenger hunt by Urban Adventure Quest this Sunday. Tickets are $44 for teams of 4.

A holiday pop-up shop is coming to Clayborn Temple, across from FedExForum on Hernando, Friday and Saturday, December 2 and 3. Memphis-themed shirts, hats and mugs will be on sale, as well as (appropriate for the holiday) tacky sweaters. Items will be in the $5 to $50 range. They ask that your purchase with credit or debit card. If you use cash, only exact change will be accepted.

High Ground News has an article on EDGE Arts, the new space at 600 Monroe.

It’s my birthday. I’m off work. The bar around the corner opens at 8 AM. You see what’s going to happen here, right? Having lunch at Agave Maria, then Bardog and Silly Goose time, then watching the Christmas tree lighting then a dinner at Golden India in Midtown. I’ve been stalking their menu online and am torn between the vindaloo and the saag. There’s going to be plenty of Fireball and PBR, so tomorrow’s post probably won’t be something you confuse with a Shakespearean soliloquy.


Thur update #2: Where to pregame for 11 AM Tigers games and more

Every time there’s an 11 AM Tigers men’s basketball game on a Saturday, I get the same question: “Hey Paul, do any bars open before 11 so I can get a beer and pre-game for the Tigers?” Up until this season I really didn’t have a good answer. Now I do, one I discovered quite by accident. If you don’t mind a 10 minute walk to FedExForum, you can pre-game at Downtown’s most legendary dive bar, a place most people don’t think to go until about 1 AM.

The Saturday before BBQ Fest, I was running ahead of schedule and got my Farmers Market stuff done by 10:05 in the morning. “Hmmm, Bardog doesn’t open til 11, I’ve got 55 minutes to kill, guess I’ll walk home and see what’s on TV,” I thought. I crossed G.E. Patterson, turned left on Main, and started my walk north – for all of about 3 feet. The door to Earnestine & Hazel’s was open. Curious, I walked in. “Are you serving?” I asked the man behind the bar, figuring maybe he was just doing prep work to open in an hour or two.

“We are open!” he replied. “Come on in. My name’s Clarence. What can I get ya?” Since then I have returned to E&H nearly every Saturday following the Farmers Market. Now, I know what some of you are thinking – “OMG E&H in the daylight” – but trust me, the Soul Burgers are still just as good, and the great thing about being there at 10 is that you get to smell them prepping grilled onions for the burgers. They have the door to the second floor open in the mornings now, so if you’ve never been up there, you can see the rooms where the ladies took their customers. E&H was a brothel from 1960 to the early 1990s, and the rooms are largely unchanged from that era.

And, of course, they have the best jukebox in town. Maybe Saturday when I go down there, I’ll flip through the CDs and write down some recommendations for songs to play for a future blog post. Kinda in the mood to play some Eagles… I wonder if they have “Lyin’ Eyes” in the E&H jukebox. Might play some Ozzy too!

PRO TIP: If you take me up on my suggestion to pre-game at Earnestine & Hazel’s, take another page out of my book. Come a little early and before hitting up E&H, visit the Memphis Farmers Market half a block down G.E. Patterson. It’s the last market of the regular season. I haven’t received their weekly e-newsletter listing live music and special events, but when I do, I will post an update.

Three-day passes are now on sale for Memphis in May’s Beale Street Music Fest, May 5-7, 2017. The passes are $95. No bands have been announced yet, so you’ll be going on blind faith that there will be music you will like.

Saturday you can apply for a new passport or get one renewed without an appointment at the post office at B.B. King at G.E. Patterson. To apply for one, you will need to bring photo ID and either birth certificate or naturalization papers.

From WREG: Watch out for fake shopping apps this holiday season. Shop at places you know – if you don’t keep it local, do your holiday shopping on apps like Amazon that you know you can trust.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, YOGA! I know that a lot of my readers will be off work on Friday the 25th, and will be looking for more to do than just eating leftover turkey. Instead of fighting all the Black Friday crazies at Target, why not do something to leave you feeling balanced and centered while supporting a local Downtown business? Downtown Yoga will offer two classes that afternoon. From 1:00 to 2:15 there will be a Gratitude Flow class with Amy, and from 3:00 to 4:15 a Restorative Sound Bath with Kristina. Sign up for classes here.

The Metal Museum’s 2016 Look Book and Holiday Guide has been released. View it here.

My birthday weekend starts in four hours! I will lead off at the Silly Goose as usual after work, then over to the Blind Bear. May throw a Belle Tavern stop in there somewhere since I had a good time there Tuesday. Got to stay up til midnight so I can ring my birthday in! No work tomorrow for me. There will be a blog post tomorrow but it will not necessarily happen at the expected time.

Thursday morning update

I can’t resist starting off this post with a link shared by one of our BBQ team’s Yankees. In Beaver, Ohio, a suspected prostitute was arrested for allegedly soliciting an undercover officer, saying she would have sex with him for $50 and some nachos. If I have any “working ladies” who read this blog who work the Cooper-Young area, you might want to take a page out of Beaver, Ohio’s book and see if you can score some Bad Ass Nachos with your next trick.

Downtown business owners: Do you need to repair sidewalks in front of your place? The DMC has a fund for that, providing interest-free loans of up to $5000, although most loans are expected to be in the neighborhood of $1000. The loans are for sidewalks in the Downtown core as well as the Pinch as far north as A.W. Willis.

The Comma Comedians are back at Memphis Made Brewing Co. for Draughts and Laughs VII tonight. Show starts at 7:30, $2 to get in. Enter through the York Avenue doors.

Want to rock Coach Fiz’s glasses? Verno with the news on a Grizz giveaway on the 25th:

Fiz, by the way, refuted a story I linked to yesterday and said there is no truth to the story about the Grizz boycotting Trump hotels. He said the decisions about hotels are made long before Election Day.

Doubleheader alert: This Saturday, November 19, both the Tigers and the Grizzlies will play home games. The Tigers will lead off things at FedExForum, hosting Savannah State at 11. Then the Grizzlies take the floor at 7:30 versus the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Time to get started with the Thanksgiving news. Add the Peabody to the list of places that will cook a Thanksgiving dinner for you to take home:

On the other hand, if you’re cooking at home, here’s a Southern Weekend video of Chef Felicia teaching how to make a bourbon pecan pie.

If you want to get out on Thanksgiving, either early in the day to eat or after 5 to drink, Holly has an ever-growing list that is worth bookmarking and checking again in a few days to see what has been added.

If you’ll still have family in town the day after Thanksgiving, November 25, Trolley Stop Market will be showing off its brand new brunch menu. There will be local eggs, breakfast plates, burritos and pizzas. Groups large and small are welcome and you can call 901-526-1361 for reservations.

That’s it for now. Probably back later today with Farmers Market news.

Wednesday update

Last night I stopped in Belle Tavern on my way home and had their homemade potato chips and onion dip. Really, really good.


You know, it’s funny, I’ve been in Belle Tavern before but this was the first time I looked at a food menu. I heard the food was really good, but for some reason I assumed the menu was the same as its sister restaurant Belle: A Southern Bistro, and that I would be looking at a $20 tab if I ate there. That is not the case. They have a bar menu with plenty of items in the five, six, seven dollar range. That’s about what I spend at the grab & go at City Market on the way home in the evenings, so I am going to stop by Belle Tavern for a late-night snack more often in the future. It also doesn’t hurt that they have PBR (in bottles).

Some of you are probably thinking, “I’ve heard about Belle Tavern, but where is it?” Here’s how to get there. On Main Street Mall, there’s an alley, Barboro Alley, between Oshi and Local. Walk east down that alley, toward Second Street. Halfway to Second, at the intersection of another alley, S. November 6th Street, you will see a modest, unassuming door to the left and “Belle Tavern” spray painted on the wall. That’s it. (They’re working on a window and signage.) It’s open 4-1 Monday Saturday and noon to 10 on Sunday with brunch until 3.

Trolley Stop Market is cooking for Thanksgiving, selling side dishes that serve 8 to 10 people as well as desserts. If I have any blog readers who are vegetarian and shop at Trolley Stop, you will be happy to hear that their dishes are vegetarian friendly. The list is too long to post, but highlights include traditional cornbread dressing, a mac & cheese bake, kale and white beans, sauteed bok choy with carrots and radish, pumpkin bisque soup, several varieties of pies, and a cookie platter. 901-526-1361 or to order. Your order will support local farms such as Whitton Farms, Williams Farm, Wilson Farms, Rosecreek Farm, McKaskle Farm, and Hillbilly Acres.

More vegetarian news, although news I am much less excited to report: PETA dumbass poses as turkey on carving board at Beale and B.B. King. They’re trying to spread the “turkeys are our friends” quote but I like “as God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly” better.

Food truck night is back at Miss Cordelia’s this evening from 5 to 8. They’ll have Riko’s Kickin Chicken, The Creamery Memphis, Dejavu’s food truck, and great deals on pints of beer.

The Score reports that at least 3 NBA teams have chosen to stop using Trump-branded hotels when on the road staying overnight in New York and Chicago. The teams are the Dallas Mavericks, the Milwaukee Bucks… and the Memphis Grizzlies. Excellent decision, excellent marketing. The Grizzlies don’t need their brand tarnished by the Trump brand.

Off to work. We’re having a Thanksgiving potluck at lunch, so there probably won’t be a lunchtime post unless a piece of time-sensitive news comes along. Maybe I will put up something after work. Outta here for now.

Tue update #2: Instant Memphian, cheap NOLA flights, and more

The night before Thanksgiving tends to be one of the biggest going-out nights of the year, with people in town visiting family and returning to their old haunts. Those of you visiting Memphis next week will have a new haunt to check out – Loflin Yard. The Dead Soldiers will play Wednesday night, November 23 from 9 to midnight. Come check out this rustic indoor/outdoor space with great food and craft beer.

New to Memphis and want to learn about your city? Come to Instant Memphian at Trolley Stop Market tonight at 6. You will get a complete introduction to Memphis from the locals who live it and love it. There will be karaoke afterward, and of course Trolley Stop has some good food.

Today only: Book a flight to New Orleans on GLO for $15. The offer is valid for fights through January 31.

Bruno Mars has announced a Memphis date for his upcoming concert tour. He’ll play FedExForum September 17, 2017. Tickets will go on sale November 21, 2016.

Out in The Edge, there will be a holiday market at 600 Monroe November 26-December 18.

South Side Supper Club will play the Dirty Crow Inn Friday at 9 PM. I wish that I could make it down there to see my friends perform, but due to an excellent password that night at a bar closer to home I doubt I will be there.

The Trumpster could make school lunches great again. The Donald is a big fan of fast food (particularly taco salads. He loves Hispanics!) He could sign an executive order getting rid of the apple wedges and other healthy lunch foods, and bring back the days of pizza, sloppy Joes, burritos, and fries. Heck, maybe Trump will even dispatch Chris Christie or Marco Rubio to McDonald’s to pick up lunch for the entire school!

Memphis has its first Bitcoin ATM. It’s at the Shell station at the corner of Dudley and MLK Ave.

The Brass Door will be showing USA vs. Costa Rica tonight at 8. This is another event for the US Men’s National Team in qualifying for the World Cup in soccer. This is the official American Outlaws watch party for the match.

Great article by George Takei, interned in a camp for Japanese-Americans during World War II, on how to have hope during what seem like America’s darkest days. I especially recommend this article to Clinton supporters who unfriended people on Facebook because they were astonished their friends would support what they saw as a campaign of bigotry and misogyny and hate. I also recommend this to those who gloated in the days after the election and belittled those who felt genuine grief and pain over the result.

Congrats to the Tigers on their victory last night. Glad to hear they were shooting the ball. Tubby Smith is a fundamentals guy and is not going to tolerate the AAU-ball-played-in-college style the way Pastner did.

This is my second post of the day, so if it is your first visit here today, keep scrolling. You wouldn’t want to miss news about a Downtown ice rink and a hootenanny! I will most likely be out after work at the Blind Bear. Back tomorrow.

Finally, some good news: Ice rink, a hootenanny, Oreo candy bars and more

Very, very cool news to start off this post: An ice rink is coming to Downtown Memphis. It will be at Mississippi River Park, the park at Riverside and Jefferson formerly known as Confederate Park. It will open next month and could stay open as late as Valentine’s Day. The rink is part of a national initiative called Reimagining the Civic Commons.

Off work on Friday and with no plans until 7 PM, I had been trying to decide what to do with my day. Yesterday afternoon a new option came across my radar.

There’s a hootenanny!

It’s the Medical District’s district-wide fall hootenanny from 11 AM to 2 PM Friday, November 18 at 799 Madison, which appears to be the Health Sciences Park. There will be food trucks, games, and live music by the Bluff City Backsliders. You know, in my entire life I have never been to a hootenanny. Maybe I should go!

More good news:

Memphis Animal Services is holding a New Volunteer Orientation at its office at 2350 Appling City Cove on Saturday, November 19 from 10 to noon. Learn about opportunities to help the homeless animals of Memphis. Per city policy, volunteers must be at least 18.

I see I’m not the only one ranting about turn signals. David Waters of the CA is too.

That’s it for now. Fairly short post but the ice rink story alone warrants it. I may be back at lunchtime with more.