Yesterday morning I walked south to the Memphis Farmers Market’s winter market. On the way down there I noticed that American Apparel has the entire store at 50% off in anticipation of its closing at the end of the month. If you need anything you have a couple of weeks to get by there.
I was greeted at the Market by one of my favorite volunteers, Terre, who was working the front table. She thanked me for my Thursday post outlining what’s happening at the winter market. I appreciate that. It’s always nice when I go out of my way to promote a Downtown event and the organizers thank me.
I expected the winter market to be small, thinking maybe half the main aisle of the pavilion would be occupied by crafts vendors. That was not the case! The entire main aisle and most of the side aisle were occupied with vendors, and nearly half of them were selling produce. There were carrots and fall vegetables like gourds. There was kale too. Kale never seems to go out of season. The market was by no means crowded but there were more people there than the last markets in November, for sure.
“I notice the popsicle vendor didn’t make it today,” I commented to Terre. It was about 30 degrees outside at the time I was there.
“He’s here, just selling something different,” Terre replied. “He’s selling soup today.” Oh, really? I walked toward the back. Sure enough, there was a food truck I had never seen before, The Daily Soup. I walked up to the window, and sure enough, there was Popsicle Guy. “Your winter business?” I asked.
“Yeah, this is a lot more profitable than selling popsicles,” he told me.
I had been recommended the chicken and corn chowder soup on the way down there, but once I saw the menu, my stomach was set in a different direction: The Maryland crab soup. It came with my choice of cornbread or oyster crackers. I got the cornbread.
I got the most prime seat in the entire Market, the table on the main aisle, just off the side aisle, in the seat facing the entrance. There was no wind and it was really peaceful, sitting there eating my soup and watching the world go by.
After eating I visited my friend Boo in her pottery booth. I mentioned that I had just got a new toaster, one which burns the PBR logo into the bread. Toast by itself is boring, though, I told Boo. I needed to get something to put on toast to make it interesting. “Dodson’s Farm!” she exclaimed, pointing a few booths to her left. I walked down there and checked out the booth of the Forrest City, Arkansas farm. I selected a jar of peach butter which I cannot wait to try.
Here’s a list of their jams and jellies, which I grabbed from their Facebook page: Apple Butter, Apple Rosemary, Basil Jelly, Bellini, Blackberry, Blueberry, Caramel Apple Jam, Cherry Amaretto, Cowboy Jam, Fig Preserves, High Dumpsie Dearie, Jalapeño Peach, Jamboree, Mimosa, Mint, Muscadine, Nectarine Vanilla Bean, Caramelized Onion, Peach, Peach Butter, Pear & Apple Butter, Pear Honey, Mild Pepper, Medium Pepper, Hot Pepper, Plumcot, Strawberry Limeade, Tomato Basil Jam, Tomato Marmalade, Zucchini Marmalade, and Spicy Zucchini Jam. You won’t be able to visit them at the Memphis Farmers Market until the 2017 season starts on April 1, but it looks like Curb Market out in Midtown carries their products.
Good catching up with my BBQ vice president Erik who is a board member of the Market. Hard to believe we are five months away from BBQ Fest!
After the Market it was time to pay Clarence a visit at Earnestine & Hazel’s. Clarence had been polling the regulars as to whether he should be open Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and what hours. He has made a decision and asked me to pass it on. E&H will be open from 10 AM to approximately sometime around 11 PM or midnight Saturday, December 24, Christmas Eve. It will be closed on Christmas.
People from Nashville who had heard of Clarence came in. “Tell us stories,” they requested. Clarence referred to E&H as a “working women’s house” from 1960 to 1992, which I suppose is a polite way to put it.
In my coat pocket I had a Christmas present for one of Clarence’s other regulars. She didn’t show up though.
Don’tcha just love those crazy trolls?
From E&H I walked over to my home away from home on the south side, Max’s Sports Bar, to have a couple of beers and watch Tiger basketball. Then it was time to wander back north to see what was going on at the Blind Bear. “The new menu is out!” Jeannette told me, and when I saw Colin put an apron on, I knew good things were in store. Colin’s chili was going on the menu! Jeannette described the various ways you can have Colin’s chili:
Combine Pepperjack Mac & Bear Chili
A cup of Chili
A bowl of Chili
Add Chili to your Hotsy Totsy (Baked Potato)
You tell me
The new menu is not a major overhaul. Don’t worry, popular items like the Bear Balls, Mexican Pizza, Gangster Philly, and Pepper Jack Mac & Cheese are still there. They still have hot sauce behind the bar too, for those who like to add it to their mac & cheese.
A Caprese Salad is new to the menu. This is slices of Buffalo mozzarella with tomatoes and basil, drizzled with a balsamic reduction. It’s nice to see an additional vegetarian option on the menu.
The Hibernation Fries have been promoted to the main menu – no more waiting around until the clock strikes midnight so I can order them off the late-night menu. For those who have never had them, these fries are the best thing ever. The Bear Rub Fries are topped with spiced ground beef, melted pepper jack, fresh jalapenos, tomatoes, and bacon crumbles with a side of ranch. The jalapenos are what makes this dish so good, and you will definitely want to have something cold nearby to drink when you eat these fries.
Also new to the menu is Hotsy-Totsy, a baked potato with sour cream, cheese, butter, bacon, and chives. For $2 more you can load it up with any or all of salsa, blue cheese, ranch, Jager BBQ sauce, pepper jack, tomatoes, grilled onions, jalapenos, mushrooms, and peppers. For $3 more you can make it a meal and add buffalo chicken, spiced ground beef, Bear chili, or grilled asparagus. Add steak for $5 more.
All right, I am going to shake things up a bit this morning. B-RAD has the week off from the Blind Bear, so I am going to lead off at Bardog. I feel really bad about missing so many Saturdays there the past few months. It is absolutely no fault of their own; I just had something I needed to do in another part of town. So, I am going to make it up to them this morning by leading off there. Panda told me she has a PBR Christmas ornament for me. Not exactly sure what I will do with that since I don’t have a tree. Blind Bear will be stop #2 on my Sunday agenda. Think I may give the Hotsy-Totsy with ground beef a try. Back tomorrow with more news.