Tuesday update

This weekend I heard about a very interesting AirBnB location. Tourists I met at the Blind Bear on Saturday told me they were staying at an urban camping site. It was on a gated, fenced, well-protected lot on Carolina near the candy store and the cash & carry. They stayed in a tent that was very nicely furnished, and there was a shower tent people could use as well. “The guy who runs it just couldn’t be nicer,” they told me. “He wanted to make sure we had everything we needed. It was very inexpensive compared to Downtown hotels. At night he built a campfire and we sat around and drank beer.” Very very cool. I would love to know more about this, if anyone has info.

I hope all my readers survived Saturday night’s storm. It was terrible, but what happened Sunday was an example of what a wonderful community we have here. All over Facebook there were offers to help those affected by the weather. “I’ll be here all day if anyone needs to use my shower.” “I have hot coffee if anyone needs it.” “I have a chainsaw and can come to you.” “I’m opening the restaurant early for anyone who wants to sit in the A/C and charge their devices.” “I have a spare generator I’m not using.” I remember an interview with Mr. Rogers in which he said his mother told him, in times of tragedy, look for the helpers. He wouldn’t have had to look very far in Downtown Memphis this past weekend.

Tiger Woods got a DUI over the weekend. His mug shot was all over Twitter, and it clearly had the look of a man who realized his career was officially over. On TruTV there’s a World’s Dumbest Criminals show with Danny Bonaduce, Tonya Harding, Leif Garrett, and Todd Bridges doing commentary. Tiger, that’s your future.

The Front Porch, the restaurant in Beale Street Landing which is being operated by Patrick and Deni Reilly of the Majestic Grille, now has a Facebook fan page you can “Like” to keep up with that is happening there. Applications for back-of-house and front-of-house at the Front Porch can be filled out at the Majestic beginning tomorrow.

Trolley Stop Market is having its 7th birthday party Friday evening. Kids crafts, face painting, prizes to be given away, drink and dinner specials.

Gdansk, Poland will host a Memphis in Poland festival next month.

Post-Memphis in May, Riverside Drive from Beale to Georgia is open again.

Demolition begins on Foote Homes today. It was the last remaining old-style housing project in the city.

That’s it for today. Back at work following the long weekend. I will probably hit happy hour at the Blind Bear after work. Back tomorrow.

A deal I’m making with my readers

I really don’t want this to be a political blog.

The reason I write this blog on almost an every-day basis is because I love my life in Downtown Memphis. Before I moved down here, I never had such a large group of wonderful friends. I never had the ability to walk to so many places I enjoy… and in many cases know the owners of those businesses. I write this blog to chronicle my life Downtown and show how much fun I am having down here, and to make people aware of upcoming events in my neighborhood.

It’s worked, too. Several times a week, I get “Hey Paul, I read your blog” when I go out. I love it when people tell me “I never would have known about _____ if not for what you wrote.” That’s why I keep going after 13 years. By my count at least 14 people have decided to move Downtown because of things I have written on my blog, including at least three from out of state.

I fully intend to keep informing people about my neighborhood. First and foremost that is the purpose of this blog. It is how I serve the community.

However, we are living in very unusual times.

General Mike Flynn, the disgraced former National Security Adviser, is exploring a deal to turn state’s evidence, I have read, to avoid spending the rest of his life in prison for crimes related to his ties to Russia. The government will only cooperate if his testimony lands them a bigger fish than himself. The main fish he might lead them to are Tillerson, Pence, or Trump himself. I’ve also seen evidence possibly implicating Ryan, McConnell, Don Jr., and Ivanka. Oddly I haven’t seen anything implicating Eric yet. Nor Betsy DeVos, although she’s too stupid to be of any use to the Russians, I would suspect. Thankfully I have not seen any evidence against James Mattis, the one reasonable adult in Trump’s Cabinet.

We may be looking at a case in a year or two’s time where President Trump is either successfully impeached and removed from office, or he resigns, and the presidency falls to Orrin Hatch (fourth in line of succession as president pro tem of the Senate) because Pence and Ryan are under indictment. I thought that was insane when I first heard it, but the more I read, the more possible it looks. I can’t NOT comment on this stuff in my blog. We have never seen anything like this in 241 years of American history. The Founding Fathers tried to build a Constitution that would grow with the country, but they never could have foreseen this coming.

So here’s the deal I’m making with my readers. I will comment on the Trump-Russia thing as I see fit, but I will always do it at the end of my posts. When you reach the point when I start talking about politics, you can choose to keep reading or not. If you choose not to, I promise you won’t miss news about Saturday night’s promotion at the Redbirds or who is playing live music at the Ghost River taproom today or which movies will be in the Orpheum’s summer film series this week. Fair enough?

Photos: BBQ Fest 2017

I finally got around to getting my BBQ Fest photos off the camera. I was dreading doing it, because Picasa is no more and I figured it would take forever to go through the photos and crop and edit them. Surprise, surprise, though… Windows finally comes with a photo program that doesn’t suck. As I stated in an earlier post, I focused on the food more than I have previous years.

Our booth design. We got 3rd in Best Booth. Besides winning the award, it was nice to have a front porch area this year.

Our 3rd place Best Booth trophy. Always nice to have some hardware to display on the bar.

Smoked sausage, a nice simple appetizer for Wednesday night.

Of course, you can’t have smoked sausage without cheese. Well, you could I guess, but it wouldn’t be much fun.

Otto relaxing

A mighty fine looking pan of pulled pork shoulder, the Moody Ques’ main competition category.

Orzo pasta salad by Aaron

Chocolate chip brownies for dessert

Here’s a photo of the Nuh-Uh Girl eating.

Frank injecting a shoulder

Need to cool off there buddy?


Our inside sign

Asa and Uncle Ray

Front porch

This beef that came off the grill for lunch Friday was absolutely delicious. We’re more than just a pork shoulder team!

Boxing it up for the judges

Serving it up for the team

Sapana’s famous gummy bears soaked in booze

Here’s another photo of the Nuh-Uh Girl eating.

Bacon-wrapped jalapenos. Seth, you should’ve come by Friday night!

Here’s another photo of the Nuh-Uh Girl eating.

Whoever brought these peanut butter cookies on the right, thank you. They were SO good!

Full photo album is on the Moody Ques website. I think there may be a few duplicates of photos due to HTTP errors the first time I tried to upload, but hey, two photos are better than none.

That’s it for now, off to D-RANKS with… well, not B-RAD, he’s with his family on Spring River. Later today I want to get by Belle Tavern and check out those garage door windows. I’m off tomorrow, so I may go late into the night.

901 Fest, Flying Saucer’s local beer challenge and more Saturday news

Memphis in May’s celebration of our city, 901 Fest, happens today in Tom Lee Park from 3 to 10 PM. While Music Fest brought in nationally and internationally known artists, 901 Fest showcases the talent of one of the premier music cities of the world, Memphis, Tennessee. Acts on four stages include The Band CAMINO, DJ Paul of Three 6 Mafia, Star & Micey, John Paul Keith, Opera Memphis, and many, many more.

The festival will also feature the best of local food, including Sushi Jimmi, Gus’s, Central BBQ, Muddy’s Bake Shop, Say Cheese, MEMpops, Reverb Coffee, and many more. (Yes there are Pronto Pups. They’re the one non-local thing about this festival, but Memphis in May knows what people want.) Local merchandise vendors will be at the fest selling their goods as well.

Pro tip: If you plan to go to 901 Fest, get there by 6 PM. There will be an airshow over the Mississippi.

If you go down there today, get a weather app on your phone with a radar loop of Downtown Memphis. The worst should hit tomorrow but this is Memphis in May we’re talking about; weather surprises are always a threat. I like the MemphisWeather.net app and it’s worth the small purchase price, but if you don’t want to pay, WeatherBug is good too.

Belle Tavern now has garage-door style, open-window seating just in time for the summer.

Speaking of bars with garage-door open-window seating, the Memphis Flyer has a good article on the Ghost Gauntlet at the Flying Saucer. Four unnamed local beers are temporarily on the menu. The idea is that within a couple of weeks, you go in and try all four. You can then vote on your favorite. The beer that gets the most votes will be added to the Saucer’s regular menu of 75 drafts and about 150 bottled and canned beers. While you’re there, grab one of the Saucer’s new gourmet burgers.

Here’s another insider tip: If you work Downtown, go there with a co-worker at lunch on Mondays. From 11 to 2 that day the burgers are 2 for 1.

The MBJ has an interactive map of hotels Downtown: current, under construction, and planned.

Parking meter rates Downtown will increase soon. The new price will be $1.50 an hour, up a quarter from the old rates. The hours of enforcement will be extended to 8 AM through 10 PM Monday through Saturday. Maximum time will be two hours on weekdays and four hours on Saturdays. Man that kinda sucks for those who come Downtown for Music Fest or some other all-day event… you’re basically forced to park on a private lot or in a garage now. I wonder how bad this will hurt Downtown businesses. Some people may decide they don’t want to deal with the additional cost and hassle of parking. I understand the city’s need to raise revenue but I do not see this as a positive for our neighborhood.

Sign the Change.org petition to remove Confederate statues from public parks in Memphis.

Here’s another good article about Trump’s Russian Mob ties. By the way, @TrueFactsStated is an excellent account to follow on Twitter if you want to learn more.

Time go get out there and get this 3-day weekend started. I have not decided whether to check out 901 Fest but that Sushi Jimmi food truck does seem to be calling my name.



Friday update: Trolley Night events, ballroom dancing and more

Old Dominick Distillery on South Front Street will have an open house this evening from 5 to 8 PM as part of South Main Trolley Night. There will be a live performance by Chris Johnson and a $5 specialty cocktail.

Also for South Main Trolley Night, Songwriter Night #55 happens at South Main Sounds. Justin Paul Bloss plays his farewell gig at the venue before he departs to Oklahoma. Sandie Lollis from L.A., local teen sensation Rose Ragsdale, and the debuting Richard Wilson will perform as well. 7-9 PM tonight.

Down the street from South Main Sounds at South Main Book Juggler, Aisha Zorelle Raison signs her book Fear of Enlightened Black Women.

My readers ask from time to time what my sources are for information for this blog, and there are many. One of the best, though, is the flyers left on the courtesy guard’s desk in my building. That’s how I learned that we have full-service ballroom dancing Downtown. Cat’s Ballroom offers lessons (including private and group lessons), parties, and special events. It has something for everyone, from people who trip over their own feet to highly competitive dancers. Dances include Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Quickstep, Rumba, Mambo, Cha Cha, Jive, Swing, Salsa, and Bachata. They’ve even been known to throw in a little hip-hop and country.

Another thing I didn’t know… Miss Cordelia’s offers pottery classes. The next one will be June 6th where the class will make candle holders.

The 2017 Memphis Zombie Walk happens tonight at Handy Park at 7:30.

Legendary Beale Street musician Dr. Herman Green turns 87 this week and he will perform with FreeWorld at his birthday parties this weekend. Catch him at Rum Boogie Cafe Saturday night or Blues City Cafe Band Box Sunday night.

Grace Askew and Tonya Dyson perform at Fourth Bluff Fridays tonight at Memphis Park, 51 N. Front. Food trucks, T-shirt truck, 10 beers on tap.

Downtown Yoga will host a workshop on running in the summer heat Sunday, June 11 from 1 to 3 PM. There will be a yoga class designed to build strength and stamina for summer running. You’ll also get hydration tips, tips on pace adjustments, advice on racing in the heat, and recovery strategy.

Downtown restaurant Catherine & Mary’s is hiring.

For Memphis wrestling fans: There is a new book out about Chrstine “Teeny” Jarrett, who worked in the Memphis wrestling promotion for 52 years. She was the mother of promoter Jerry Jarrett, who with Jerry “The King” Lawler co-founded the Memphis promotion that got so big in the 1980s. She was the grandmother of Jeff Jarrett. Another of her grandchildren, Jeff’s cousin, is the book’s author.

Okay, if you don’t want to read about politics you can stop here.

Several years ago, I read Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America’s Most Powerful Mafia Empires. From that book, I learned that if you engaged in a construction project worth than $2 million in Manhattan in the early-mid 1980s, you were paying off the Mob. Most likely, you were paying off a member of the Gambino family, headed by “Big Paul” Castellano, a cousin of the late Carlo Gambino by marriage; or the Lucchese family, headed by Anthony “Tony Ducks” Corallo, protege of the late Tommy Lucchese. When Donald Trump announced his candidacy, therefore, I thought, there is no way he has not been in contact with the Mob, given the structures he built on Manhattan in the ’80s.

This article suggests that he indeed was… but the Russian mob. Remember how he filed for bankruptcy, and then only a few years later, he was suddenly a wealthy tycoon again? He had some “help” with that.

Gonna be an interesting year.

That’s it for now. We get out of work at 3, so I should be at Silly Goose happy hour by 4. Undecided whether to hit Fourth Bluff, South Main Trolley Night, or something else later in the evening. Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

A Place at the Table has an excellent reminder to be good to those serving you. I hate it when I see people come in to my favorite hangouts and be rude to the bartenders and servers. The attitude of “I AM THE CUSTOMER, you should cater to my every whim and I have the right to abuse you since I am giving you my money” is not appropriate nor appreciated.

Luke Wade is the featured entertainer at tonight’s Peabody rooftop party. $10 to get in (or $150 season-long VIP pass) gets you access to the party as well as a buffet of mini Italian meatballs and fried ravioli. If you’re in VIP you’ll have a second buffet of gnocchi with shrimp and pesto cream, rosemary pork loin, and hot Caprese dip with Italian bread. Drink specials this week will be peach margaritas and Firefly apple ginger moonshine. Doors open at 6, with ladies and hotel guests free until 7.

Pack a Patriotic Picnic is the theme of this Saturday’s Memphis Farmers Market. The Market has meat for grilling, veggies to go on the grill as well, salad makings, and desserts. From 9 to 11 kids can create a Healthy Eating Wheel encouraging them to make healthy food choices. The Master Gardeners will be back to answer your questions. Live music by Buck Hutcheson 8:30-10 and Adam Levin 11-12:30. The Market runs every Saturday 7 AM to 1 PM under the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson.

Market vendor So Fresh Juice shares their recipe for their blueberry matcha smoothie.

There’s an open house at FedExForum tomorrow from 1 to 4. You can check out seat options for season tickets, and shoot a half-court shot for the opportunity to win an autographed jersey.

The Memphis Flyer has a list of BBQ Fest winners. Where are the Best Booth winners?

Tigers football fans: If you bring any stuff with you to the stadium for home games, you will want to know that the Liberty Bowl has implemented a clear-bag only policy for 2017.

The Hard Rock Cafe will hold a fundraiser on May 27 to fund a chapter of Musicians on Call. This organization makes hospital stays more enjoyable for patients. With St. Jude and LeBonheur here, Memphis is a perfect fit for Musicians on Call.

There’s a career counselor position open at my alma mater Rhodes College.

The “Invest in Good Times” T-shirt from the Tennessee Brewery Revival days is back at Sache for the summer.

That’s all for now. I’ll be happy-houring at the Silly Goose after work. Back tomorrow with more news.

Wed update #2: City & State coming to The Edge and more

Great news for The Edge: City & State, a coffee and retail shop located at 2625 Broad, is opening a second location at 421 Monroe. It will have coffee, a full bar, a small kitchen and retail. The owners are said to be expanding their concept of City & State to fit in with The Edge District and the Memphis Medical District.

Speaking of the district, the Memphis Medical District Collaborative had its annual meeting last night at Premiere Palace. The MBJ has a report.

The City Council has voted to lower the cost of Beale Street Bucks from $10 to $5. The program charges a cover to people who enter the Beale Street entertainment district after 10 PM on Saturday nights. Both Mayor Strickland and MPD Director Rallings believe the cover is necessary to reduce crime on Beale on Saturdays.

A project to repair the cobblestones along the river is back on track after a two-year delay.

City Tasting Tours has a new Brunch So Hard Tour (details on this page; you’ll need to scroll down a bit to see them) with stops at Cafe Pontotoc, Rizzo’s Diner, and Scoops Parlor. The tour starts at Cafe Pontotoc at 12 noon on Sunday. You get brunch dishes, two brunch cocktails, and your choice of a complimentary bottle of champagne or a dozen cupcakes. You also get an engaging guide with a love for brunch and things that happen after a mimosa or two.

Bluefin has added a new Korean menu.

Songwriter Phillip Jackson from Jonesboro, Arkansas will provide the live entertainment at Tacos & Tunes on Felicia Suzanne’s patio tomorrow evening beginning at 7 PM.

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words:

That’s it for now. I’ll be out at Silly Goose happy hour after work. Back tomorrow with more news.

Wednesday update

Golf and dogs at the Yard… Loflin Yard is hosting a mini-golf tournament on Sunday, June 11 to benefit the Memphis Humane Society. It’s sponsored by Yazoo. $80 per foursome includes entry fee, team shirts, and 2 drink tickets. Come on out, play some golf, drink some beer, and pet some dogs.

Ghost River is celebrating its first canned beer release Thursday with a Grindhouse Can Release Party. “Grab your 6-pack for the long weekend,” they tweeted. I have a feeling there are quite a few Downtowners who need more than one 6-pack for a long weekend.

If you don’t have plans for Memorial Day weekend yet, might want to put some baseball on the calendar. The Redbirds are planning three big nights. Things kick off Saturday (first pitch 6:35) with Star Wars Night. They will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the movie release with specialty jerseys, which will be auctioned to benefit Pitch In For Baseball. There will be characters from the movie, including Darth Vader. There will be fireworks following the game.

There will also be fireworks following Sunday’s game (first pitch 6:35). The ZOOperstars!, a show featuring inflatable characters with hilarious names, will perform. The performance has synchronized dance, acrobatics, tricks, and comedy. There will be a special ticket that includes a 90-minute Stadium Menu buffet, with burgers, dogs, chips, cookies, Coke products, and bottled water. The specialty ticket is $20 for a Field Box seat and $23 for a Dugout seat.

The ZOOperstars! return for Monday’s game (first pitch 12:05). The Stadium Menu buffet will again be available. The Redbirds will show names of those who died protecting our freedom on the video board. Submit the name of a friend or family member here.

There’s a Manager, Marketing Engagement position open with the Grizzlies.

Discussions are under way about bringing back the Memphis Tigers-Arkansas Razorbacks men’s basketball games for a home-and-home or possibly a home-and-Little Rock. I would love to see this happen. The 1990s-2000s series produced some great basketball before being discontinued by John Calipari in 2003.

By the way, I rooted for Arkansas in the 1990s games. I would be rooting for Memphis today. This is my home.

The Belz Museum will have a free showing of Slumdog Millionaire at 12:30 and 2:45 this Saturday, May 27. Note to parents: This movie is rated R.

That’s it. Off to work. Possibly back at lunchtime with more news.

Tuesday update

Apologies for the break from the blog. There was so much going on at BBQ Fest that I just didn’t have time to post, and let’s just say yesterday turned out to be a crazy day. But today I’m back!

I thought The Moody Ques had a stellar year at BBQ Fest. We got third place in Best Booth, which we really were not expecting. We had a simple wrap designed by our artist Sarah Dalesandro, rather than an elaborate structure. However, I guess the images of Colombia we had on our wrap resonated with the judges.

The ancillary competitions were a problem for everyone. Due to weather (at least that’s what Memphis in May is saying), the park was closed from 1:30 to 4:30 Friday afternoon. That caused turn-in times to be pushed back. Some teams had to throw their food out and did not bring enough to make a second round of their ancillaries at the later turn-in time.

As for the main event for our team, competition shoulder, we did not get in the top 10 for a trophy, but the results were encouraging. All three judges came back after judging to talk to us about the shoulder and the presentation. We were complimented on the texture and flavor and got at least one perfect 10 from a judge. We also received some useful advice on how to improve.

Most of you have probably seen this by now: Last Thursday a man passed out on a car at a lot at Riverside and Carolina. The lot was poorly lit and the couple who owned the car drove over 10 miles, all the way to 240 and Lamar, with the man asleep on the trunk. It’s amazing that he didn’t fall off into traffic. A police officer pulled the car over and informed the driver that the man was back there.

Here’s another “this is SO Memphis” story: Three people shot at vigil to remember man killed by stray bullet last year

Bleu will have their monthly wine tasting dinner Thursday night from 6 to 9. It will be hosted by Bobby Maupin of West Tennessee Crown Distributors. $60 plus tax and gratuity, and 3 hours of free valet parking will be provided. Here’s the menu.

The MBJ has a photo gallery of new candy store Beale Sweets Sugar Shack at 156 Beale.

MATA is hiring:

Cafe Pontotoc is hiring servers.

If you do the Grizzlies room at the new Memphis Escape Rooms at Main and G.E. Patterson, be sure to take a picture and tweet it to be eligible to win some prizes including premium seats or autographed swag.

Pool season is here! The Shelby County health department has some important advice:

That’s it for now. Back at work and I will be out at one of my favorite spots afterward.

Pranom Pop-Up coming to Belle Tavern today

Pranom Pop-Up, a nationally known vendor of Thai street food, will be at Belle Tavern 4 PM til sold out today, Sunday, May 21. Read about Pranom here. They were at the Tennessee Brewery a couple of years ago. Seriously good.

Sorry for no posts lately, been BBQ Festing. Everything is OK and it was a good year for the team.