We have an important birthday to celebrate today + Thursday news

One year ago today, I was in the Walgreens at Church Road and Highway 51 in North Mississippi, picking up some supplies on my lunch break. As I walked down the toy aisle, I noticed a lot of merchandise from the Trolls movie that had been released a month earlier. One item was a foil-wrapped mystery pack – you knew you were getting something from the movie but didn’t know what. It was only $2.99. I figured, what the heck, I can give this away as a gag Christmas gift. I got the foil pack back to the office, found some scissors, and cut it open, being extra careful not to damage any troll hairs inside. This is what came out.

That Saturday, as she stood on the bar at Bardog watching me drink my PBR, I decided I liked the little troll too much to give her away. So I gave her a name and kept her. Amazingly, an entire year of standing on bars has gone by and I have not lost her. She went with me to Little Rock when my mom passed away. A conversation-starter, in February her presence led to a discussion where I recruited two new BBQ teammates. After that I gave her an official title, Deputy Director of Public Relations, on the team. It’s a good feeling to know that if I ever step down as Director of Public Relations, I have groomed an able successor.

So, happy birthday to my troll. May her second year be as great as her first.

The Memphis Farmers Market Holiday Market happens under the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson this Saturday from 9 AM to 1 PM. Whether you’re looking for treats to eat or gifts to give, the Market has got you covered.

The Brass Door will host Nollaig na mBan: Woman’s Little Christmas is an Irish celebration of the last of the 12 days of Christmas, where the men take over at home and the women head to the pub. The day will start with Sip, Stretch and Breathe Yoga with Kat Sage, who will help you melt away holiday stress. Next there will be an appetizer buffet of muffins, bagels, granola & fresh fruit. Then there will be an a la carte buffet prepared by Chef Patrick Reilly:

Smoked Salmon & Scrambled Eggs
Harissa Grilled Chicken & Butter Lettuce Salad with mint & feta
Asparagus & Roasted Red Pepper Omlette
Shrimp Salad, avocado, tomatoes, cucumbers & Marie Rose sauce

The Mezzanine level of the Brass Door will be transformed into a spa, with some of Memphis’ best masseuses on hand to help rub your stress and holiday worries away. Availability is limited and tickets must be purchased in advance ($95). Call 901-572-1813 to make reservations.

The Volunteer Odyssey Pop-up Party is back this Friday:

That’ll do it for now. Home slightly after midnight so this qualifies as a Thursday post. Highly successful BBQ meeting – details on that to come – followed by an evening listening to Charvey at Blind Bear. Time to get a little sleep. Back later today with more news.

Lunch at McEwen’s and Wednesday news

Back at work after a fantastic mini-staycation. I didn’t do anything big or special, but the time off was a reminder how many wonderful people and places I have in my life. To all who are part of it, thank you for your friendship. I returned to work this morning de-stressed and relaxed.

Monday afternoon I was sitting at the bar at the Blind Bear, and one of the other regulars, Mr. Bill, was telling us about one of his favorite spots to go for lunch, McEwen’s. It’s funny, I live right down the alley from that restaurant, but I never think to go there. The bartender and one of my very good friends, Stacey, said she’d never been there, so Stacey, Bill and I made plans to have lunch there yesterday.

We got seats at the bar. I had researched McEwen’s menu online, but it didn’t matter – as soon as the bartender told us the special of the day, all three of us ordered it. Red snapper with mushroom risotto, Brussels sprouts, and bread. Bill said McEwen’s does a great job with fish, and he was right. I love a good risotto, and the bacon made the Brussels sprouts delicious.

We went there at noon and the place was busy. McEwen’s seems to be popular with lawyers and there were many jackets and ties. With my PBR hoodie, jeans and flip-flops, I stuck out like a sore thumb. Also I seemed to be the only customer with a troll doll standing on the bar next to his food. Oh well. On my days off I do what I want.

Service was excellent and the price was quite reasonable for the quality and quantity of food I got. I plan on going back.

Random topic that came up in bar conversation this week: Bath bombs that smell like a stripper.

Bluff City Dental at 269 S. Main will have a holiday party from 4 to 6 PM on Thursday, December 14. Stop by and enjoy some cocktails and light appetizers, and meet your friendly neighborhood dentist, Dr. Issacman.

Janet Jackson’s State of the World Tour comes to FedExForum tonight at 8.

Police have identified a man accused of stealing a St. Jude family’s luggage from a vehicle parked in an alley near Gus’s. The family was running in memory of their 4-year-old niece who died of leukemia after being treated at St. Jude. People who steal from St. Jude families are absolutely the lowest of the low.

Equipment from the recently-closed Spaghetti Warehouse is up for bid at auction.

On Friday, December 15 at Downtown Yoga, you can take any class for free when you bring non-perishable food items for the Mid-South Food Bank. Classes that day include Yin Yoga, Meditation, Power Lunch, Ashtanga, and Candlelight Vinyasa. YOGA!

South Main Sounds will have a special Christmas Show this Friday, December 8 from 7 to 9 PM at 550 S. Main. Jimmy Stephens Jr., Brad Webb, Rice Drewry, Jon Dillard, Abby Francis, Jackie Flora, Cecil Yancy, and Melinda Milligan will perform.

2016 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees Chicago will play the Orpheum Tuesday, May 15, 2018. Tickets go on sale this Friday. If you’re on a BBQ team keep in mind that the show occurs during BBQ Fest week.

Donair Poutine @ Kooky Canuck

Poutine is a Canadian classic. French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy… it’s a dish you just can’t go wrong with. One of my very favorite things to order at Kooky Canuck.

A few years ago Kooky expanded their menu and added the Donair, a Halifax, Nova Scotia specialty. The Donair is house-made shaved Gyro meat inside a pita with tomatoes, onions, and a sauce. At one point Lana told me it was her favorite sandwich on the menu. It’s a great little taste of The Maritimes.

When Kooky expanded their menu again recently, they combined two of their signature dishes, creating Donair Poutine. It’s the fries, the cheese, the gravy, but topped with Gyro meat, tomatoes, and onions. A delicious treat to eat. If you take my suggestion to try the Donair Poutine today, be advised that their 34 oz. mixed drinks are only $5 on Tuesdays.

Expect another food post soon, because I have lunch plans with two friends today. Time to get out there and enjoy the last day of my vacation! Back tomorrow with more news.

Monday update

I want to start off this post by standing up for a great local business that is getting an unfair rap. There was an unfortunate incident at The Den on Marshall Avenue Saturday night that is not reflective of what the place is. The Den is a place of warmth, creativity, and expression, a place where people can make their voice heard, whether it is through art, words, or music. The Edge is a richer neighborhood in character because of its presence. Don’t let one bad night – and the Negative Nancys who come out of the woodwork every time a place has a bad night – stop you from going to The Den and enjoying what the venue and the artists who perform there have to offer.

The Memphis Farmers Market is seeking an executive director. Allison Cook, who held that position for the past six years, is moving on to a new chapter in life. Have a look at the job description and if you think you’re a good fit, send resume and cover letter to resume@memphisfarmersmarket.com.

My sources that told me either Texas or good ole West Virginny would face Memphis in the Liberty Bowl turned out to be wrong. Instead, we’ve got the Cyclones of Iowa State. Not thrilled about that selection… while Texas and West Virginny would have likely been safe W’s for the Tigers, Iowa State has shown it can beat any given team on any given day. I hope Cyclones fans travel here from Ames in large numbers so our Downtown hotel and restaurant scene gets the payday it deserves.

Random thought I had yesterday… people can write in the names of candidates if they don’t like either Roy Moore or Doug Jones in the Alabama special election to the Senate. Wonder how many votes Saban will get?

Check out this beautiful fried avocado salad Minh made me yesterday at Oshi Asian Kitchen!

It was delicious and my troll liked it because the avocado matched her hair.

I’d like to encourage my fellow Downtowners to take a field trip to Lafayette’s Music Room sometime soon. Our friend Roscoe, longtime manager of the Silly Goose, has taken a job there. Roscoe is the bestest primate I have ever known, so let’s support him in his new gig.

It’s 7:40 AM as I type this and I don’t have to be at work today. You know what that means… BARDOG! Nice to have a bar around the corner that opens at 8 AM. Time to get in the shower and make sure I get there on time. Back tomorrow with more news.

Sunday update: Liberty Bowl rumors and more

Hearing some very interesting scuttlebutt about the Liberty Bowl this weekend. The SEC had so many bad teams this year that they are going to fail to fill their allocated bowl slots, including the Liberty Bowl, normally reserved for a team finishing between 3rd and 8th in the SEC. So Memphis may get the bid. I’ve heard mixed guesses about the opponent, either Texas or good ole West Virginny.

While Memphis to the Liberty Bowl would be great for our city, many of my friends in the service industry are hatin’ it. Memphis fans won’t stay in hotels Downtown, party for several days before the game, spend money more than usual in the bars on Beale and Main and nearby. Service industry people count on two out-of-town teams to bring in revenue. The good news is that past experience indicates that both Texas and West Virginny travel extremely well. so that’ll somewhat make up for it.

Hey B-RAD… the day of the Liberty Bowl parade, do you think anyone will pre-game at the Blind Bear, checking to see if I am there, hoping to sit with me and talk to me, having come up there several times over a period of several months looking for me?

Wherever they end up, congratulations to the Tigers on possibly their best season ever. There is no shame in losing in 2OT to a UCF team that was woefully underranked at 14. The U of M has made this city proud and I hope the Power Five conferences take note the next time they think about expansion.

WREG has an article about the financial benefits to the entire city from the St. Jude Marathon. Tens of thousands of people staying in hotels, spending money carbing up in restaurants, celebrating after the race. The CA reports that there were a record 25,000 runners this year.

Sunrise Memphis at 670 Jefferson (old Neely’s location) tweeted a photo of its breakfast tacos:

I’m still trying to research whether Sunrise does indeed start selling beer at 5 AM every day. If anyone would like to help me out with this research, I would appreciate it.

The Skitch, three brothers with a rock, doo-wop, indie style play the Hard Rock tonight at 8.

Tin Roof has drink specials in the Green Room for NFL Game Day Sunday. $3 mimosas, $4 craft beers on draft, $5 Tito’s Bloody Marys, $15 beer buckets.

It’s a beautiful day in Downtown Memphis! The marathon is over, Stumbling Santa is over, and it feels like our neighborhood has been through a cleanse. I’m off ’til Wednesday and plan on taking full advantage of my free time. Just in case I don’t get a post up in the morning, I plan on getting to Bardog sometime between 9 and 10 AM tomorrow and my readers are welcome to join. I want to check out that South Main food hall at some point during my vacation too. That’ll do it for now, back tomorrow or Tuesday with more news.

Saturday update

Got one more deal to tell St. Jude Marathon runners about. Lyfe Kitchen in the Chisca is offering 26.2% off runners’ checks through Sunday, December 3.

And one more: 20% off your food at The Dirty Crow Inn with bib.

Flying Sobie’s will be back at the Ghost River taproom tomorrow, Sunday, December 3 at 12 PM and will be there all day (they’re there every Sunday). They’ll be serving up a brunch of Cornish game hens with your choice of waffles or fries. Their website says that available hen sauces are Original, Buffalo, Memphis Gold, Spicy Memphis Gold, Real Lemon Pepper, Hawaiian Teriyaki, and Sweet Caribbean Jerk. I’m told that the Memphis Gold is the must-get. The taproom will have its full selection of beers and brunch drinks as well. Brunch drinks include Bloody Beers (Grindhouse Cream Ale paired with your choice of Bloody Mary mix), Beer-itas (Prestige Pilsner + Crazy Good Rita Mix), and Gose-Mosas (Howzit Gose with O.J.)

Sunrise Memphis, the new breakfast joint at 670 Jefferson, posted this:

Brunching with us? We are open all weekend for Breakfast, but unfortunately we can only sell you beer right now. However, we will sell you Bloody Mary mix and carafes of OJ of you brown bag your vodka and sparkling wine. We will honor this until our license becomes available. Thanks for understanding! #seeyouatsunrise #brunchinginmemphis #ilovememphis #choose901 #stjudemarathon #baconfordays

Waiiiit a minute… a place that opens at 5 AM and serves beer? This I must investigate.

Dos Gatos plays a free show tonight at Center for Southern Folkore. 8 PM. Ozzlee Art will be on display.

Hockey fans: Kooky Canuck offers $4.99 34 oz. Yazoo Gerst during Nashville Predators games. Pretty much every seat in the house has a good view of a TV and the Preds are always on when they’re playing.

Holiday treats at Bluff City Coffee!

The University of Tennessee named Phil Fulmer its athletic director yesterday, hopefully putting out the season-long dumpster fire that its football program has become. Or will it?

It was Mueller Time again yesterday! Here’s a copy of the official charge against Michael Flynn. So refreshing to see liars, batshit crazy, and the people who enable their lies start to get their just desserts this month. KARMA! The charges stipulate that a very senior member of Trump’s transition team directed Flynn to talk to the Russians. Know who was a senior member of the transition team? Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Know who was in charge of the transition team? Vice President Mike Pence. As pro wrestler Goldberg would say, “You’re next!”

Leading off at Blind Bear this morning for Hung Over Like a Bear brunch/D-RANKS with B-RAD. Over to the Downtown Holiday Parade on Beale at 2, then back to the Bear where I will probably run into my friends Rahul and Tony. Last night I was watching a classic comedy segment from the 1990s on YouTube and thought of them.

That’ll do it for now. Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update (although most of the news is about Saturday)

The Woodruff-Fontaine House Museum is having their annual Victorian Yuletide Open House tonight from 5 to 8. There will be a focus on old Southern Yuletide traditions and customs, with an emphasis on Yuletide masquerade. All three floors will be open and there will be refreshments and decorations. Free to museum members and guests alike, although donations will be appreciated.

The Grizzlies host the San Antonio Spurs tonight at FedExForum at 7. Which sports event will happen first – the Grizzlies win a game or Tennessee hires a head coach?

Just a quick reminder that the Memphis Holiday Parade is at 2 tomorrow on Beale Street. Floats, marching bands, car clubs, cheerleaders, community organizations, and Santa with all his reindeer. I PLAN ON BEING THERE outside the King’s Palace Tap Room, although I will frequently pop inside to check on the Memphis-UCF game. One other piece of news… my TROLL plans on being there too! Come on out and meet my troll!

Loflin Yard is opening early at 11 AM tomorrow to celebrate the St. Jude runners and for those who want to watch the Tigers. Runners get a free beer with their bib. Old Dominick will be there offering $5 drinks with proceeds benefiting St. Jude.

If you’re doing Bob and Roland’s Stumbling Santa pub crawl tomorrow night (starts at Flying Saucer at 7), Porter-Leath has a list of suggested toys you can bring to donate to kids in need. The greatest need for toys is for children under 5 years old. Alternately, you can bring a donation of $20 or more for Porter-Leath. There will be a large heated tent with a DJ on Peabody Place for all the Santas as they assemble to crawl from bar to bar. The Saucer will be selling Stumbling Santa pint glasses before and after the event, with proceeds going to Porter-Leath.

Happy St. Jude Marathon Weekend, YOGA! Downtown Yoga is offering a special Restorative Yoga for Runners class tomorrow from 3 to 4:15 in the afternoon. After you run the race tomorrow, this class will take your body into a deep state of relaxation and healing. Regular class fees apply. Those who didn’t run the race are welcome as well.

If you bring two canned food items to the Memphis Tigers vs. Mercer game tomorrow at 4 at FedExForum you can get a Terrace Level ticket for $5.

The Memphis Flyer has news on two great Memphis hangouts, Brass Door and Pontotoc Lounge. I am going to have to try that Vegetable and Chickpea Balti, a Pakistani curry, sometime soon at the Brass Door. As for Pontotoc, its menu is “Mississippi Southern” and I am going to be checking out those PBR Peanuts and Alligator Fritters. I did not realize Daniel, owner of the Silly Goose and Pontotoc, is also involved in Civil Pour, the new bar to open in the food hall at 409 S. Main.

Bill Cosby’s star has been removed from the sidewalk in front of the Orpheum. It will make room for a star commemorating the 40th anniversary of Friends of the Orpheum. No decision has been made on what to do with Cosby’s star. Dumpster? Landfill? Take it halfway across Big River Crossing and drop it in the Mississippi?

The CA has a first look at Sunrise, the new breakfast cafe at 670 Jefferson. Bi Bim Breakfast and biscuit sandwiches were among the favorites. Their hours are 5 AM to 3 PM and they are adding lunch service next week.

The Memphis Hustle have a treat for their noon home game tomorrow: America’s Got Talent Season 8 semifinalists the Chicago boyz will perform.

Redbirds manager Stubby Clapp has been named Minor League Manager of the Year by Baseball America.

Off to Horn Lake for four hours of work, then it is time for a four and a half day vacation! I will still be blogging through my time off. Back tomorrow with more news.