Suggestion for the new food hall, respect to Iowa State, and Saturday news

Iowa State… regardless of what happens in the game today, I have to say I have much respect for you. Never in my life have I seen a school’s fans travel so well to the Liberty Bowl. The only other year that even came close was 2012… and that was Iowa State as well. Happy to have all of you in town, and in hindsight I wish I’d taken the past couple of days off so I could have met more of you. I hope you get invited back to the Liberty Bowl soon.

The Bluff City Fire & Ice Chili Cook-off and Polar Bear Plunge, hosted by Special Olympics of Greater Memphis, has been announced for Saturday, February 3 at Mud Island River Park.

The chili cook-off, beginning at 10 AM and costing $75 to enter (entry forms due by January 19) has divisions for red chili, salsa, and people’s choice, with additional prizes awarded for showmanship. If you don’t cook chili, you can pay $5 to be a people’s choice judge, taste-testing all the different chilis from the teams.

At 2:30 PM, hundreds of people will take an icy plunge into the Wolf River. $50 per individual to take part and you must fill out the waiver and wear shoes. $50 in pledges raised gets you the official T-shirt. Wackiest costume will win the Golden Plunger. More info about this event here.

Anna Benson plays The Vault at 124 G.E. Patterson tonight at 8.

I walked through the 409 S. Main food hall last weekend, hoping to have a drink at The Civil Pour, the bar in there run by Daniel Masters from the Silly Goose. It wasn’t open at the time I went in though. Neat space with about 7 food vendors and it looks like there are room for plenty more.

I especially like what Java Cabana did in the food hall, testing the Downtown waters with Java Cabana West in a small, affordable space, and I want to put a bug in the ear of restaurant owners across the city. I would love to see owners of successful ethnic restaurants experiment with a small second location in 409 S. Main. Indian, Ethiopian, Vietnamese, and Filipino are a few cuisines available in other parts of the city but not Downtown that I think would be very well-received here. Downtowners who agree with me, I encourage you to sound off on social media and let people know there’s a desire for those kinds of foods in this neighborhood.

The Little Rock food hall I visited in January had an Indian vendor:

Two entrees, basmati rice, and naan at a very reasonable price. Believe me, every time I visit Little Rock from now on I will go there. I would love to see something like this in Downtown Memphis.

The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Advisory for Memphis Sunday night/Monday morning with the wind chill dropping to -4F.

I had a trip to Nashville planned for this weekend, but it fell through, so I’m headed out to D-RANKS with B-RAD at the Blind Bear. Go Tigers. This should be a great game.