Ask Aparium Hotel Group, owner of Madison Hotel Memphis, to do the right thing; plus, Sleep Out Louie’s and more Thursday news

Chicago-based Aparium Hotel Group acquired the Madison Hotel and related properties on the southwest corner of Main and Madison last year. In doing so, they declined to honor a longtime agreement for Christopher Reyes and his young family to purchase the condo on the second floor of 1 S. Main, a space he had occupied for 25 years. Aparium lawyered up and not only obtained a court order for the family’s eviction, but a judgment of about $102,000, part of which is for upgrades for a space the family no longer occupies. Reyes and his partner Sarah Fleming are both artists who make the community more vibrant, and they have been longtime supporters of Downtown and music and the arts here in Memphis. Please take a moment to sign this Change.org petition asking Aparium to do right by these wonderful people.

Aparium: If you find this blog, please know that I will not promote any events in spaces you own/manage unless you do the right thing. This blog is a go-to source for many people who live, work and play in Downtown Memphis, and it’s a shame they will no longer be learning about your events here.

The Memphis Flyer has the info on the return of legendary Downtown bar Sleep Out Louie’s, not in its original location but on Second next to Texas de Brazil in the former Encore space. Wanting a place for the ServiceMaster folks to go (it will have a back door that connects directly) with a decent price point and quick serving times, landlord Belz talked River City Management into bringing back the Sleep Out’s concept. The ties will be back and the weekend brunch will eventually. No fish races though. :( The new menu will be smaller and more modern, including a Pabst Blue Reuben. Now that sounds like a sandwich I’ve got to try!

Oh, and they’re going to have prosecco on tap. Not that I’ll be drinking the stuff but it drew a lot of positive comments from my female friends when I posted the Flyer story to Facebook yesterday.

Star & Micey headline the Peabody rooftop party tonight. $15 to enter, $30 VIP with ladies and hotel guests free until 7. Your admission includes a buffet of pizza rolls and mini-corn dogs with mustard. If you’re in VIP you have a second buffet of gourmet pizzas, hamburger sliders, and onion dip with crostini.

Goner Records, Dogfish Head brewery, and the Flying Saucer will celebrate National Record Store Day Saturday at the Saucer. There will be special tappings and new releases of Dogfish Head beer. Bring in Goner Records receipts to receive Dogfish Head discounts and chances to win a Dogfish Head record player.

Volunteer Ruth Martin will lead a tree tour of Elmwood Cemetery on Saturday, May 5. Elmwood has 1500 trees, some older than the cemetery itself. Some of the trees are tagged, but there is so much more to know than just the tree’s scientific and common name. This is a walking tour beginning at 10:30 AM and the cost is $10.

The Memphis Daily News has an excellent article called Doubleheader about AutoZone Park, which will soon be the home to both professional baseball and professional soccer. Craig Unger will be GM of both ventures and is excited about the challenge of building a soccer culture in this city.

In other soccer news, the Brass Door and the American Outlaws Memphis are helping Memphis soccer great Ross Paulie raise money for the Great Strides Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. They will be raffling off a US Men’s National Team jersey signed by Tim Howard. Tickets are $5 each. Get ’em at the Door or PayPal MemphisOurlaws@gmail.com.

Ghost River has new hours for its taproom: 4:00-10:30 Wednesday-Thursday, noon-11:00 Friday-Saturday, noon-8:00 Sunday.

I returned to West St. Diner yesterday for lunch, for one of their daily specials, fried chicken livers.

Delicious. I chose mashed potatoes and blackeyed peas as my sides, spicing up the peas with a little chili pepper hot sauce.

Thanks to my readers who responded with suggestions for a bakery to go to in Far East Memphis/Near West Germantown to get a pie for Pie Wednesday at work. I have a plan put together. I have co-workers who read this blog so I don’t want to spoil the surprise of what kind of pie they’re getting, but I’ll post a photo on May 3, the day after.

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow with more. I’ve already got some good stuff in the queue that didn’t fit into today’s post.

RiverArtsFest moving and more Wednesday news

RiverArtsFest is getting a new location this year. The largest juried arts festival in the region is moving to Riverside Drive between Jefferson and Union. A big part of the reason is that the closure of Main south of G.E. Patterson for a year for Central Station construction denies the festival the footprint it needs in South Main. I’m definitely not going to mind RiverArtsFest being steps away from me in the core. I plan to be there! The festival will be Saturday and Sunday, October 27-28.

The Majestic Grille’s Supper Club is back with a Spring Dinner on Wednesday, May 2 at 6 PM. Chef Patrick is planning a menu of delicate veggies, flaky buttery fish, and spring lamb. Five-course dinner perfectly paired with wine and spirits. $75 plus tax and gratuity. Call 901-522-8555 to book your reservation for the dinner.

Friends for Life is a wonderful organization that supports those with HIV/AIDS and their caretakers. Next week you can Dine Out For Life to support FFL. Here’s the schedule. Participating Downtown restaurants include Civil Pour, Pontotoc Lounge, Silly Goose, Green Beetle, Mollie Fontaine Lounge, and McEwen’s.

Memphis in May has announced the music lineup, the food vendors, and the craftspeople and artists for 901 Fest, the Memphis-themed celebration that wraps up the month of May in Tom Lee Park.

There will be a Memphis Made meet and drink tonight at Food Truck Night at Miss Cordelia’s/Cordelia’s Table from 5 to 8 PM. Stanley’s Sweet Street Treat food truck will be there, as will desserts from Memphis Twist. There will be a Memphis Made beer and cheese pairing and Andy, co-founder of the brewery, will be on hand to answer any beer questions you may have.

I saw a post on Facebook implying that trolleys would be coming back to The Edge on April 30. That is not accurate. Only the Main Street line will open at the end of this month. The Riverfront line will open in early 2019, and the Madison line – stretching from the Downtown core to The Edge to the Medical District – will return late 2019 or early 2020.

RIP Barbara Bush, a lady who was the epitome of class and grace and who spent her life in service of others.

I went back to Exlines’ yesterday for lunch. I had my eye on their Ultimate Tamales on their online menu, but it looks like they don’t carry them anymore, at least not at the Quince and Kirby location. So I changed it up and went with six of Uncle Walt’s wings with hot sauce and a side of fries.

(…Aaaand I’m getting an HTTP error when I try to upload the photos. Just imagine a picture of wings and a picture of fries in this space.)

 

Wings were big and meaty, hot sauce was good, and they brought me a big cup of ranch for dipping. I appreciate places that give you enough dip to accommodate all your wings, rather than giving you a tiny cup that runs out after the second or third one. The steak fries were well seasoned and I dipped those in ranch as well. (For those who don’t know this about me, I much prefer ranch over ketchup with fries.) The wings were $5.25 for six big ones, an excellent value.

Question for my readers: Two weeks from today, I have to buy a pie for Pie Wednesday in our department here at work. Where, within a 10 minute drive of Poplar and Kirby Parkway sells whole pies? I know the bakery at Bougie Kroger across the street does, but where else? Email me at paul@paulryburn.com if you know of a place.

Yesterday I turned on 92.9 on the way home. The first thing I heard was Gary Parrish say that Geoff Calkins recommends not putting Nashville hot chicken near your butt. I turned the radio off after that.

There’s a speed trap that often operates on north-bound Kirby a couple of blocks before Humphreys. The speed limit is 35 on that stretch and people accelerate to try and make the green light. Shelby County deputies lay in wait two streets before Humphreys, at the intersection of Massey Lane. Yesterday a deputy stepped out into the road and signaled three cars in the right lane and one in the left lane to turn onto Massey Lane where another deputy was waiting. Glad I was far enough back to not get pulled over. The cars were doing probably about 42, so the deputies don’t give much leeway. Watch out if you travel on that stretch of road.

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow with more.

Tuesday update

A few weeks ago, I commented that the building at 64 S. Main, just north of City Market, appeared to be getting a cleaning-out in preparation for an upcoming renovation. The Memphis Flyer has details on what will be going in there: A one-stop shop for people contributing to Memphis’ growth, as the proprietors put it. It will contain a restaurant serving healthy food and a boutique health and wellness center including a nutritionist, physiologist, certified dietitian, gym, classes and other services. A restaurant in the penthouse of the building serving contemporary Southern food will open within a year. There will be art shows and pop-up dinners as well. The first “Gallery” art show and dinner will happen Saturday, April 28.

The trolleys are finally coming back, just in time for Music Fest. The Main Street line will resume passenger operations on Monday, April 30, immediately following a ribbon-cutting/grand re-opening type of ceremony at 11 AM. The other two routes, Riverside and Madison, are expected back (in that order) in 2019 or early 2020. There will be free trolley rides the first two weeks they are back in service on the Main Street line.

I don’t know if I have any readers who are big fans of mac & cheese, but if I do, you’ll want to buy a special ticket to the Thursday, April 26 Redbirds game. The ticket includes an all-you-can-eat mac & cheese bar as well as all-you-can-eat hot dogs from 6 to 8 PM. Bacon bits, diced chicken and ham will be available to add protein to your mac & cheese. For those of you who love mac & cheese and who are vegetarians, the bar will also have broccoli, green onions, mushrooms, pico de gallo, jalapenos, blue cheese, shredded cheese, and various sauces. $2 beers at select locations throughout the park, and on Thursdays the Redbirds don their throwback Memphis Chicks uniforms.

I’ve been trying to keep up with the Michael Cohen, Donald Trump, Stormy Daniels, Sean Hannity, etc. situation as best I can, but a lot of good stories are from newspaper websites behind paywalls. Thanks to a web developer trick I’ve figured out how to get around them, and thought I’d share. You have to use the Google Chrome web browser to do this. When you see a link that is behind a paywall, right-click it and select “Open in incognito window.” This is a feature built into Chrome for those who want to browse with privacy, but it has a couple of nice side effects as well. For web developers, it’s useful for emulating a new user, who does not have any kind of browsing history, cookies, or user sessions. This leads to another useful side effect – websites with paywalls can’t tell you’ve been there before.

In a previous post, I mentioned that Meddlesome Brewing Co. is rolling out Jerry “The King” Lager. However, you don’t have to go to their taproom far out east to get this new beer. Not surprisingly, Jerry “The King” Lawler’s bar and grill on Beale carries his namesake lager. In a new Rassle Me post by Kevin Cerrito of the Memphis Flyer, Lawler discusses how he never touches alcohol, even if it is named after him. Brings to mind the tacky 1996 angle when Jake “The Snake” Roberts tried to pour booze down Lawler’s throat.

Africa in April is back this weekend. The event is held on Beale Street and Robert Church Park (just east of Fourth on Beale) with African food, exhibitors’ booths, health and wellness stations, performing arts, fashions, culture and history. Things kick off on Wednesday with an International Entrepreneur’s Day, followed by Children’s and Seniors’ Day on Friday, Family Heath Wellness & Community Day on Saturday, and International African-American Music Day on Sunday. $5 admission.

Michael from one901 writes about his experience judging the gumbo contest at Rajun Cajun Crawfish Fest this past Sunday.

Terri Lee Freeman, president of the National Civil Rights Museum, will reflect on MLK50 at the Tuesday, April 24 Downtown Neighborhood Association meeting at the museum. 6 PM social, 6:30 program. This event is free for members and $10 for guests.

Yesterday I tried another new place for lunch, One & Only BBQ across Kirby Parkway from where I work. The smoked wings had been recommended to me by a friend, but I decided to save that for next visit and ordered the kielbasa dinner instead.

Generous-size helping of kielbasa, smoked and dusted in their dry rub, along with two sides and Texas toast. I got BBQ baked beans and deviled eggs for my sides, although I have heard good things about the twice-baked potato salad and want to try that next time. Service was quick and the people there were very nice. I look forward to trying the wings soon. As close as we’re getting to BBQ Fest, I will hold off on ordering pulled pork for a while. There’s plenty of that in my future already.

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

Monday update

I led off at Pontotoc Lounge for D-RANKS with B-RAD at Sunday brunch yesterday. It was good to see the folks from City Tasting Tours leading a tour there. If you’re a foodie, the tours are a great way to discover the cuisines of Memphis. The tours make several stops, with a different small plate at each stop. They were headed to Rizzo’s after they got done at Pontotoc, an excellent choice as well.

I didn’t eat at Pontotoc, but the people next to me had the bagels and lox and it looked fantastic. You get a whole bagel with smoked salmon with capers, onions, tomatoes and cream cheese.

After Pontotoc, I stopped by Blind Bear, then over to the Majestic Grille to eat. There are very few menu items at the Majestic I have not tried, but yesterday I found one… the sausage and cheese plate. It’s a chef’s selection of meats & cheeses along with Dijon, crackers, apple slices, BBQ walnuts and cranberries.

The BBQ walnuts are the star of this show. All delicious. Nice to be able to discover something new at a restaurant I’ve been frequenting for 12 years. It’s kind of like finding money in my coat pockets.

The Commercial Appeal has a photo album of last Saturday’s Memphis Brewfest.

The Memphis Medical District Collaborative will have its annual meetup at the Balinese Ballroom, 330 N. Main, on Wednesday, April 25 6-8 PM. They will look back at successes of the past year and forward toward plans for the future, and you’ll get to meet the people who have made the Medical District a more vibrant place. Get free tickets to the meetup here.

If you work near a Hardee’s, they’ll be giving away free sausage biscuits (one per person) tomorrow, Tuesday, April 17 from 7 to 10 AM.

Excellent, excellent decision by the Memphis Flyer: They are adding a regular feature called Rassle Me in which Kevin Cerrito will cover professional wrestling.

Sad to hear about the declining health of Barbara Bush. What a grand lady.

That’ll do it for now. I haven’t been to Brittini’s bar at Silly Goose in a couple of weeks, so I think I’ll do that for happy hour after work. Back tomorrow with more news.

Seafood pasta @ Regina’s Cajun Kitchen/Saturday recap/Sunday news

Sometimes you have to break the rules.

Officially my rule is “No more Fireball, ever” and I have held to that since January. However, I try to enforce a rule of “no shots of any kind, anymore” upon myself for good physical as well as financial health.

However, yesterday at Bardog, Panda had her first drink since August, her first since having the baby. I couldn’t pass that round of shots up. I had a Jameson. Welcome back, Panda!

Ashley, Panda and me

I was also celebrating because I helped work out an arrangement to ensure we’ll have great music in our BBQ team booth again this year. The music coming out of your booth that is heard from the sidewalk is part of your team’s brand. I was worried someone would plug their phone into the PA at 10:20 Friday night and start blaring “LAWD I WAS BAWN A RAMBLIN’ MAYUN… MAYUN…” and people would get the idea that we’re all in there wearing Confederate flag T-shirts with the sleeves cut off drinking Busch beer. Happy to have one less thing to worry about.

My troll made another new friend yesterday.

Pink Bunny was a gift from a 3-year-old to her father, a computer programmer with a traveling job. She asked that he take pictures of Pink Bunny at the places he goes. The daughter is now 14 and Pink Bunny has been to 47 states and 9 countries.

I may have given up Fireball but Pink Bunny sure hasn’t.

Great crowd at Bardog yesterday and I stayed until almost past 2:30, well past my usual time. By then, and in part thanks to the shot, I was getting super hungry. Inspired by my recent lunch adventures in Germantown, I was determined to try something new and different, and I did. But this was not a lunch in Germantown. It was Downtown. Which means it’s time for the most recent installment of…

The Perjorie T. Roll Lunch Series

Regina’s Cajun Kitchen opened several months ago at 60 S. Main in the ground floor of the Lincoln-American Tower, in the space that years ago was the Yellow Rose Cafe. They opened their bar yesterday, and I decided to have a seat and order lunch. After looking over their breakfast, brunch and lunch menu, I decided to have their Saturday special, the Cajun seafood pasta.

Shrimp, crawfish, sausage, and either penne or ziti (I don’t know my pastas that well) in a cheese sauce spiked with hot sauce. As a fan of spicy food, I appreciated the flavor of this dish. I also appreciated the piece of bread which was buttery and perfect for dipping in the extra sauce. No problem recommending this to my readers.

The bartender was very attentive. Great service. They gave me complimentary popcorn while I waited on my food. Regina’s is a large space that can comfortably fit well over 100. I don’t know if they rent the place out for private events but they easily could. It’s a space with a lot of potential. Even though I had a Coke with lunch, I am glad they opened the bar. When I eat by myself I prefer to sit at bars/counters.

I do want to mention a couple of very minor things, things that didn’t detract from the quality of the meal, but style points. I don’t understand why they put a cafeteria tray under my plate when they served my food. It’s not like my pasta was going to fall off the plate, or I was going to pick up my food and move to another part of the restaurant. Also, food of this quality should not be served with plasticware. It was deluxe plasticware, but still plasticware. Again, these things didn’t bother me but I can see then subtracting a couple of dollars from the perceived value of the meal in some diners’ eyes.

Regina’s menu can be found here. I want to come back and try an entree sometime soon. Those meatballs stuffed with cheese, spinach and shrimp sound interesting.

I wonder if they make a vegetarian version of that pasta? Asking for a friend…

A bunch of us got to spend the evening with this beautiful woman:

We started off at Bardog then went to the Silly Goose and Blind Bear. Quote of the night: “We need more nautical bars Downtown” -Buddha

This is Memphis and sooner or later somebody had to do it. Meddlesome Brewing Co. celebrates the release of Jerry “The King” Lager on Wednesday, April 18. This fusion of pilsner and pale ale comes off the top rope and delivers a piledriver of taste. It is 6.2% ABV, made with Mosaic hops and German pilsner and aromatic malts. The King (who ironically, doesn’t drink alcohol) will be there for the release of his namesake beer, and there will be wrestling trivia and wrestling games.

This coming Saturday, April 21 is Hopped IV at Memphis Made Brewing Co. from noon to 10 PM. First 100 people get a special 16 oz. Hopped IV mug. The brewery will release its new Breakfast IPA, Snap Crackle Hopped, that day. Amy LaVere & Will Sexton, Hash Redactor, and River City Tanlines will provide the live music. Food by Sushi Jimmi, Smoke and Rolls, and MEMPopS.

On Mother’s Day, May 13 in Health Sciences Park, the Memphis Medical District Collaborative will show a Movie Under the Stars from 7:30 to 9:30. The movie will be Babies, a documentary chronicling the development of four babies from different parts of the world. There will be multiple food trucks and it is BYOB (bring your own blanket).

Best Donald Trump photo ever:

Monday afternoon is going to be a fun time to watch the news. 

Time to get this day started! D-RANKS with B-RAD at Pontotoc Lounge is first on the agenda today. I haven’t seen Brad in two weeks and we have much catching up to do. I will be back north at the Blind Bear sometime before 2. Back tomorrow with more news.

Saturday update

Next Friday, April 20 from 7:30-10:30 there will be a Hoedown for Hope at Propcellar, 2585 Summer Avenue. This will be a fun, casual event with Southern food, music by He Said She Said, beer, specialty drinks, dancing, a silent auction, and a mechanical bull. The proceeds from this event benefit Hope House, an organization that helps children affected by HIV and poverty.

It’s the first Fireworks Night of the year at the Redbirds. The fireworks are presented by Tennessee Lottery and are launched from center field. First 1500 fans in the ball park get a replica of the PCL Championship Trophy the Redbirds won last season. Opponent is Iowa with first pitch at 6:35 and gates opening 5:00.

Margie’s 901, the former Maggie Moo’s ice cream parlor on the Main Street Mall, is having a free giveaway on Tax Day, April 17. Free chocolate covered strawberry with purchase, while supplies last.

 

Memphis Tigers men’s basketball coach Penny Hardaway signed Cordova High’s Tyler Harris yesterday. Along with East High’s Alex Lomax, Penny has now recruited the two top Memphis prospects, overcoming objections that they are both point guards. Tubby Smith wouldn’t have got either of these players. He wouldn’t even have tried. I am the most excited I have been about Memphis Tigers basketball in years. I definitely plan on going to some 2018-19 home games, and might even consider 2019-20 season tickets.

So Nuts and Confections will be the featured vendor for Small Shop Saturday 12-4 today at Ghost River.

Drafts and Laughs XXIV with the Comma Comedians happens tonight at 7:30 at Memphis Made. This is a free show.

Ham what am!

My Thursday lunch at West Street Diner was so good that I went back for their country ham, purple hull peas, and a tossed salad.

The salad came in a separate bowl and I figured, you all know what a salad looks like so there’s no point including it in the photo. This was quite possibly the best piece of ham I have ever had in my life! Too bad my mom is not around for me to take there – ham and purple hull peas are a meal she would have loved. She used to buy purple hull peas at the Little Rock farmers market, and she and I would sit at the dining room table and shell them. The ham is an every-day menu item, whereas the purple hull peas are daily specials on Mondays and Fridays. The server, realizing I am becoming a regular, introduced herself. “See you this weekend!” she said.

“No, you won’t!” I replied. I explained to her that I work in Germantown, but I live Downtown. “You might see me Monday, though,” I said.

Did my taxes this morning! I got a federal refund, but annoyingly, I owe the state of Mississippi $12. Even more annoyingly, I will have to file a Mississippi tax return next year because I worked there 9 days this year.

Catching up with a friend from out of town today. Probably will stay local and skip the crawfish fest in Midtown. Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

Friday the 13th! So far so good, and I hope it stays that way. I’ve been superstitious about Friday the 13th ever since a day in 2013 when my Saturn died coming off I-40 at Second Street, and it took months to find a competent mechanic who could diagnose the cause and get it working properly. I know at least one of my blog’s readers has been through a traumatic Friday the 13th in the past as well. Let’s hope today goes better than those.

By the way, I never told my readers what turned out to be wrong with the Saturn. A piece of carbon got sucked into the fuel line, shutting off fuel without which, of course, the car cannot run. This likely happened because I let the gas get down to 1/16 of a tank before filling up a few weeks before it happened. Since then I pull into a gas station every time my Jetta hits a quarter of a tank. Still loving the Jetta, by the way. I can’t thank my friends at Gossett VW/Porsche enough for getting me into it and out of the Saturn.

Games on Front returns to the courtyard outside the Cossitt Library, Front and Monroe, this afternoon from 4:30 to 7. Come out and enjoy free yard games and live music by a different artist every week, and this week it’s a good one: John Paul Keith. There will be beer and snacks as well.

The Redbirds host Iowa tonight at 7:05, with gates opening at 6. Block party in the Plaza before the game, with $2 beers. The Beale Street Flippers will perform before the game and at a break between innings. Don’t forget that it’s Free Stuff Friday with prizes every inning and one fan getting to roll giant dice for a chance at $10,000.

Chick-Fil-A has a Friday Family Pack Specialty Ticket. Purchase a minimum of four field box tickets at the link provided and also receive four free hot dogs, four free sodas, an extra large popcorn to share, and four Chick-Fil-A combo meal offer cards. It’s the specialty ticket that combines the joys of paying for Downtown parking and being 30th in line at Chick-Fil-A’s drive-thru.

The CA’s Jennifer Biggs has named brunch at Downtown restaurant Catherine and Mary’s a Best Bet.

The Memphis Daily News has an update on renovation in The Edge District of the former Wonder Bread building and other nearby buildings, as well as plans for a linear urban park. The hope is that the project will lead to a lot more people who work or go to school in The Edge living there too.

Mud Island River Park opens Wednesday. For the first time ever the park will allow dogs.

Kale, yeah! is the theme at the Memphis Farmers Market this Saturday. Whether you’re into kale or vegetables that don’t taste like ass, the Farmers Market has you covered. The University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy will have a table at the market 8 AM to noon to discuss diabetes awareness and prevention. Also, the federally-recognized organ procurement organization of the Mid-South, the Mid-South Transplant Foundation, will have a table from 8 to noon. Live music by Bud Summers 8-9:15, Amy Andres 9:30-10:45, and Bashville 11-12:30. The Market happens every Saturday under the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson from 8 AM to 1 PM.

The weekend before I started my new job, I made a post on Facebook, asking where is good to get lunch within a 10 minute drive of Poplar and Kirby Parkway. I got something like 60 comments, but one of the places that kept coming up over and over was West Street Diner, a diner much like Jerry Seinfeld might visit in New York, but instead located in the heart of Germantown. However, one friend told me that the place was small, parking was limited, and I’d probably want to get my food to go and take it back with me. I’m not much on eating lunch in office break rooms, so for several weeks I put West Street Diner on the back burner.

However, earlier this week I was flipping through Google Reviews and I saw some photos of the interior of the place. I saw it had a lunch counter with stools. So if I got there right at 11, I’d get one of the stools and not take up a 4-top in a small restaurant by my lonesome. Also, by getting there at 11 I wouldn’t have to worry about a lack of parking. So, yesterday I went out there. I had scoped out the menu online in advance, particularly taking note of their daily specials. I penciled in West Street Diner on the calendar for Thursday after noting that was turkey & dressing day.

I got a seat at the counter and was brought a menu. I placed my order, and my food was out in about 4 minutes. Makes sense; if it’s a small but popular restaurant you want to have the food ready quickly so the tables can turn as many times as possible.

Good, home-style turkey and dressing like you might have on Thanksgiving. I selected mashed potatoes and green beans from a list of about 14 vegetables and sides. Good-sized portions of everything, making me regret that I somewhat killed my appetite with a bag of Fritos earlier in the morning. I have to give the folks at West St. kudos on one small but important touch: they put the cranberry sauce in a plastic cup. I am not a big fan of cranberry sauce and don’t want it there on the plate, commingling with my dressing and gravy. The cup allowed me to put it aside and have it as a small dessert.

I read on Google Reviews that the place has a lot of regulars, and I met one of them sitting at the counter. The staff was very welcoming as well when I told them I had just started a job on Kirby Parkway and am exploring the Germantown lunch scene. My check was $13.15, $16.15 after tip. I don’t want a lunch tab that high every day, but I have to admit the food and service were worth what I paid. I plan on coming back Wednesdays when two of my favorites, meatloaf and chicken livers, are on the daily special. The country ham on the every day menu has caught my eye as well. West St. Diner is the latest place to earn top-tier status among my lunch spots.

As you can see, I’m still really enjoying my lunch spots out east, the people I meet while at lunch, my job and my co-workers. By the way I plan on doing a “how I’m doing these days” post in more depth sometime soon, maybe over the weekend. One thing I learned during my time off was that a lot of people followed my personal story and I even inspired a few people. That touches my heart and is a major reason I do this blog.

In other news about me, I had the good fortune to run into members of my second BBQ family twice in six days. I still do love you guys (even if I haven’t acted like it at times the past two years or so) and miss hanging out with you guys to the extent that we used to. I’ve never been mad at you guys; it’s just that there are some things you don’t know that I wish you did. I look forward to seeing all of you at BBQ Fest and I’m glad our booths are closer than they have been the past couple of years.

That’s it for now. Check back tomorrow when I’ll have news about a fundraiser for Hope House, probably another food photo and more news.

Thursday update (on a Thursday)

Yesterday I got a bit ahead of myself and titled my Wednesday Update post Thursday Update. I didn’t catch it until about 6 hours after I posted it. Good thing I read my own blog or I wouldn’t have caught it at all.

Los Angeles based vendor Pranom Pop-Up, which travels the nation selling authentic Thai street food, will be back in Memphis once again this month. They will be at Memphis Made Brewing Co. today and April 19, and at Minglewood April 14. I had their Thai food at the Tennessee Brewery a few years back, and let me tell you, it is worth going out of your way to find when the mobile restaurant makes a stop in Memphis.

In other Asian food news, you can get Filipino egg rolls at South of Beale:

Sports 56 WHBQ radio show Fish and Stats will broadcast live from the Flying Saucer this afternoon from 3 to 6. They will have VIP tickets to Memphis Brewfest to give away.

There will be a South End neighborhood cleanup this Saturday. Meet at Ghost River at 10 AM, get your cleaning assignment, then return to Ghost River at noon for a free beer and music by Me & Leah.

For my Uptown readers: Please take a minute to fill out the 2018 Uptown Community Plan Survey.

Former Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins is opening a new restaurant in Overton Square in the former Stanley BBQ space. The restaurant will serve Southern-inspired fare and will donate 2% of net food sales to the Mid-South Food Bank.

ALIVE Rescue Memphis will host Tax Day of the Dogs at the Green Beetle Sunday from 3 to 7. Live music, free Old Dominick swag, and plenty of adoptable dogs will be on site.

Random fact I learned at trivia last night: Green olives and black olives grow on the same tree. Black olives are ripe green olives. I’ll keep that in mind the next time I hit the olive bar at Bougie Kroger near where I work.

I gotta disagree with one thing Charles the Trivia Guy said last night, though. There was a question about Pope John Paul II, who served 27 years. After announcing the answer, Charles said Pius IX was the longest-serving pope at 31 years. Actually, Pius IX is the longest-serving elected pope. St. Peter, the first Bishop of Rome and considered the first pope by the Catholic Church (although that title was not yet in use), held the office from A.D. 33 to 67, a total of 34 years.

Regina’s Cajun Kitchen at 60 N. Main will celebrate the grand opening of its bar tomorrow night, Friday, April 13, 11 AM-10 PM. There will be $3 Jello shots and fruit shots, and select new appetizers will be $3. $5 well drinks and food specials too. They’ll have Game Night at 7 with Battle of the Sexes, trivia and more.

No “what I had for lunch yesterday” photos because I ate at Mayuri Indian Cuisine and have already posted photos from there. However, I do have one additional recommendation if you go: Get the papadum (thin round Indian crackers) and then get some of the spicy carrot sauce they have for dipping. Really tasty.

All right, outta here for now. Tomorrow I do expect to have a food photo for you, along with more news.

Wednesday update

Tomorrow is the season opener of the Thursday night Peabody rooftop parties. The Molly Ringwalds, who cover all the musical genres of the 1980s, will keep you entertained. $15 general admission, $30 VIP admission with ladies and hotel guests free before 7 PM. Admission includes a buffet of chicken drummies with honey BBQ sauce and celery and carrots with Fiesta Ranch dip. If you’re in VIP you get a second buffet of lamb on a spit, stuffed grape leaves, spanakopita, and baklava.

If you plan on coming to a lot of these parties in 2018, it’s a good idea to go ahead and purchase the season-long VIP pass for $150. That gets you into all the parties including the VIP section, and it gets you discounts at the Peabody restaurants and valet parking.

For those new to Memphis, these parties are considered prime spots on the singles scene. (They can also be fun to go to and watch some of the singles try WAY TOO HARD.)

The Peabody’s restaurant Chez Philippe and Memphis in May will present a Cuisine of the Czech Republic experience May 12 from 6 to 10 PM. Czech chef, best-selling author, TV personality and entrepreneur Zdeněk Pohlreich will prepare a five-course dinner of cuisine from this year’s Memphis in May honored country.

The Center for Southern Literary Arts will present the 1st Annual Memphis Literary Arts Festival in The Edge District Friday-Saturday, June 15-16. That Friday there will be a Dinner in the Hibiscus Ballroom, an MLAF benefit featuring D. Arthur (chef), Kiese Laymon (author), Ada Victoria (musician), and Andrea Morales (photographer). Tickets are $85 general and $250 VIP.

Saturday there will be a street fair, free to attend, on Monroe Avenue between Orleans and Madison 9 AM-5 PM. There will be appearances by authors and artists Kiese Laymon, Eloisa Amezcua, Hanif Abdurraqib, Sam Sax, Jenny Johnson, Kaitlyn Greenidge, Alice Bolin, Heather Dobbins, Alice Faye Duncan, Andrea Morales, Siphne Aaye, Arthur Flowers, Maurice Carlos Ruffin, Christina Oliveras, Osayi Endolyn, Ashanté M. Reese, and more to be announced. Readings, conversations, and performances in the Premiere Palace Ballroom and Marshall Arts Gallery. After-party at Premiere Palace 7:30-10 PM with DJ Siphne Aaye. First 100 drinks at the after-party are on the CSLA.

Fridays will be Free Stuff Fridays at the Redbirds this season. Every inning, prizes will be given away, and one fan will be selected to roll a pair of giant dice for the chance to win $10,000. If they don’t win, the prize rolls over to become $20,000 the next Friday there’s a game.

Downtown Candle Co. is having a 3 for $35 online sale today. If you buy at least 6 candles you’ll be entered into a drawing to win $100 worth of candles.

For lunch yesterday I tried Noodles Asian Bistro on Poplar, just east of Exeter in Germantown, for the first time. There were several dishes on the menu I wanted to try, finally settling on the Korean Spicy Seafood Noodles.

These are egg noodles tossed in a wok with shrimp, scallops, calamari, snow peas, sweet peppers, bean sprouts, cilantro, and Korean spicy sauce. They asked if I wanted the noodles mild, medium or hot, and I paused for a second here. Hot is my default value because I love spicy food, but in some Asian restaurants they can turn up the heat to tongue-scorching levels. “Well, if that happens, it’ll be a mistake I only make once,” I thought.

At Noodles, you order at the register then they give you a number you take to your seat so they can find you. I’ve seen several places in Germantown that do this, and I like it – it speeds things up at lunchtime. It also means I don’t have a server, saving me a few dollars on tip. While waiting on my food I noticed that they have $8.50 daily specials. I took a photo, as much for my own future reference as for yours:

The noodles came out with a spring roll on the side. They were delicious and just the right degree of hot (but remember, I like spicy; if you don’t you might want to stick to medium or mild). There was an abundance of seafood, and the sweet sauce that came with the spring roll was a nice counterpoint to the heat of my entree. With a $2 Coke and tax, I was out of there for $13.99.

Noodles has earned a spot in my first tier of lunch restaurants. I plan on coming back for their basil fried rice, Pad Thai, Dan Dan Noodles, and Vietnamese noodle soup.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has announced he’s not going to run for re-election. Wait, I don’t get it. The Republicans have control of both houses of Congress, a puppet in the White House who’ll push their agenda, Gorusch on the Supreme Court… the 2019-20 Congressional term could be the GOP’s opportunity to shape America in its vision. Why wouldn’t Speaker Ryan want to be a part of that? He could go down as one of history’s greatest Republican legislators.

You don’t suppose… the FBI raid on Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s home, office and hotel room has anything to do with this? Naaahhh… I’m just being a conspiracy theorist.

Maybe Ryan is been bullied into not running for his seat… could be someone named RICO coming after him. :mrgreen:

That’ll do it for now. Back tomorrow.

Tuesday update

The Grizzlies clinched with last night’s loss on the road. No, they didn’t clinch a playoff spot. They clinched the second-worst record in the NBA for 2017-18, meaning they will have the second most ping-pong balls in the draft lottery. The Grizzlies will have a 19.9% chance at the first pick and a 55% chance of picking in the top three, with the pick being fifth in the worst case scenario. Tankathon has a lottery simulator that is fun.

Want to work for the Grizzlies? They have a Video Archivist position open.

Memphis Brewfest, one of the city’s largest beer festivals, will be held on the field of the Liberty Bowl this Saturday, April 14 from 4:00 to 7:45 PM. Complete list of participating breweries

A Paranormal Evening with Alice Cooper comes to the Orpheum October 19. Cooper’s theatrical brand of hard rock draws from horror movies, vaudeville, and garage rock. Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 AM.

In other Orpheum news, two legends of comedy, Steve Martin and Martin Short, are coming September 29. Tickets on sale this Friday at 10.

Baseball! Who’s in from Downtown? Just in time for the start of the season, Jennifer Biggs of the Commercial Appeal has five foods to try at AutoZone Park. The Redbirds have their Opening Day at home tonight. Gates open at 6:00. First pitch is 7:05 but fans are encouraged to be in seats by 6:40 for a presentation honoring the championship-winning 2017 club. Penny Hardaway will throw out the first pitch. First 1500 fans will receive a championship pennant with the name of every player and coach who helped win the 2017 PCL title. Select beers throughout the stadium for only $2, and there will be $1 hot dogs courtesy of Polk’s Meat Products.

The Kaleidoscope Food Festival returns to Wiseacre Saturday, April 21 from 3 to 7 PM. This will feature food from multicultural chefs in the Binghampton area. There will be dance performances and storytelling as well. Kids and dogs welcome.

WWE Smackdown Live returns to FedExForum on Tuesday, June 12. Tickets go on sale to the general public this Friday at 10 AM. There will be a Superstar Shake-Up between Raw and Smackdown next week, so until after that it is not clear who will appear on the show.

Belle Tavern will have all three of its Rabbit Hole Bourbons – the bourbon, rye, and PX sherry cask – half off all this week through Sunday. Rabbit Hole is only available in 9 states.

Volunteer Odyssey has open volunteer positions for the Tambourine Bash on April 19 benefiting Music Export Memphis’ ambassador program. This program provides tour grants for Memphis musicians to spread the good news of Memphis on the road. The Tambourine Jam will be at Old Dominick Distillery.

A bill allowing liquor stores to open on Sunday has passed the Tennessee House 55-35. It would also allow grocery stores to sell wine on Sunday. However, an amendment to the bill would ban liquor sales on Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The bill now goes to the Tennessee Senate.

For those of you who weren’t paying attention to the news yesterday, FBI agents raided the home, office, and hotel room of Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen. They took away boxes of communications between Cohen and his clients, including Trump. Now, normally such communications would be inadmissible in court, due to attorney-client privilege. However, that privilege does not apply when the attorney and client were conspiring to commit a crime. Furthermore, the judge who issued the warrant had to find probable cause that conspiracy to commit a crime existed. Long story short, Cohen is in deep doo-doo.

Oh, one other thing… although Special Counsel Mueller referred the evidence, this is being handled by the public corruption unit of the Southern District of New York. In other words, Cohen will be hit with state charges. Presidents cannot pardon convictions at the state level. So Cohen is almost certain to go to prison. The only way out would be for him to turn state’s evidence and testify against Trump. Even though there were no indictments or convictions, yesterday was a pretty terrible day for The Donald.

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow with more news.